Plumbing – Kitchen and Laundry

Make sure you have thought about all the following plumbing fittings:

Kitchen

There are a wide range of sinks the choice is a lot wider than one basin or two so you need to spend some time looking at various options.

Similarly there a wide range of mixers.

Boiled /Chilled Water Service used to be an office fitting but they are becoming more common in homes. (I think they can waste a fair bit of energy and are a scalding safety riskn so I can’t recomend them myself).

Dishwasher are normally installed as cold fill but there are some hot and cold fill machines around or you can just use the hot water.

If you like refrigerators with a chilled water you will need a water supply to the refridgerator location..

Butlers Pantry

In many larger houses a Butlers Pantry is included rather than a simple larder.

This is somewhere where the messy part of food preparation can be done when you are entertaining.

Depending on how much room you have these can be almost second kitchens so they may need a similar range of plumbing fittings

Laundry

Do you really want a laundry trough?…….. why not have a standard sink basin?

If you go for a trough why not think about a smaller size.

Whatever your choice you will need either a mixer or taps.

Washing machine – although you may only have a cold fill machine its always worth getting a hot water service installed.

People that do a lot of gardening like a toilet with wash basin off the laundry to avoid them going through the house with dirty boots.

Roof Water / Recycled Water

With roof water tanks and recycled water becoming more common in suburban properties you need to think about where you will use this supply, which has to be kept separate from the mains supply.

Will it be toilets only? or are you going to use it for the laundry?

Its simpler if you live on a rural block because it will be all roof water!…………. If so I would seriously think about a domestic water filter, although I wouldn’t bother for a suburban house with mains water.

Addititionally

My son is a concretor and I work for a drainage company so my wife prefers to wash our overalls in an old washing machine on the back veranda and keep the newer washing machine for her clothes and our non work outfits.

 

For similar posts see Plumbing

More plumbing information and 24 pages of Check Lists

in the ‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

 

How Much Longer For Artificial Stone?

Over the last 20 years artificial stone benchtops have become more and more popular. . . . but there is a dark side to this material.

There has been a massive rise in cases of Silicosis (260 in the last 3 years), a disease which has been linked to exposure to the dust when manufacturing and cutting stone benchtops.

What Is Silicosis?

Silicosis is lung disease which can be fatel, caused by breathing in small pieces of silica.

Silica is a mineral found in natural materials, including sand, rock, and ore.

When these materials are cut, ground, or blasted, the dust contains varying amounts of silica.

Compared to natural stone, many artificial stones contain over twice the amount of silica.

Cutting and grinding artificial stone to create benchtops thus massivly increases the risk of exposure to silica dust.

Acute silicosis can lead to weight loss and fatigue with just a few weeks of exposure.

Is A Ban Likely?

Australia has strict regulations for activities that generate silica dust.

They require the use of extraction fans, water spray systems, and respirators. helped severely reduce the prevalence of silicosis.

This sort of equipment is not however common on construction sites where the stone is installed!

Without stricter enforcement of health and safety regulations, Australia will  continue to see a rise in silicosis.

There already calls for the material to be banned.

As with the asbestos ban in the late 20th century, implementing a ban on engineered stone benchtops will help save Australian lives.

In the meantime increasing public awareness of the dangers of silica dust may reduce demand for engineered stone benchtops.

Conclusion

Silicosis ris a threat to thousands of workers throughout Australia.

Until a total ban occurs consumers and businesses can help reduce exposure by selecting other materials for their kitchens.

Benchtops

There are a wide range of different benchtops around………. so which benchtop should you buy.

Here are some thoughts about the options.

Laminex/Formica

Probably the most popular benchtop available in a wide range of colours and patterns and reasonably hardwearing.

Just don’t get one with a textured finish.

We made that mistake once, never again.

Tiles

Wide range of colours and sizes, a few problems are;

        • Uneven surface
        • Dealing with the exposed tile edges,
        • Keeping the grouted joints clean.

Wood

Can look good but will tend to suffer chips and dents.

Can stain easily especially around the sink.

Requires a lot of maintenance to keep its looks.

Marble

A natural stone which can look very attractive.

For kitchen benchtops its big problem is that it is porous and not very acid resistance.

Any breakdown of the surface sealant will result in staining which is nearly impossible to remove.

Granite

Available in a wide range of Colours including light greys.

Being less porous than marble staining is less of a problem.

Matching can be a problem if a piece is damaged during installation so its best installed by professionals to get the jointing right.

Engineered Stone

This covers a wide range of materials.

Basically it is consists of natural stone chips, which are mixed with some binding agent to form a stone like surface.

The binder can be anything from cement, to polymers, and epoxy resins.

Very resistant to stains and is available in a wide range of colours and can usually be easily matched.

Very durable, but usually more expensive than a natural stone like granite.

Keep away from the installation as the dust can cause major health problems.

Stainless Steel

The standard choice for commercial kitchens because its easy to clean.

Currently more of a fashion statement, which isn’t for everybody.

Will probably look dated as another look replaces the commercial look.

 

One issue I have found with the stone type products is that they are much noisier when you put plates down.

Not too good for me as the kitchen is next to the bedroom, and I get up over an hour before my wife.

Finally

On cost I would choose laminex but for a more classy look it would be either granite or one of the engineered stones.

Before you make a decision remember that you shouldn’t cut food directly on a benchtop.

Always cut it on either a wooden or plastic cutting board, other wise you will  damage your knives and/or the benchtop.

 

For similar posts see Selection

For more  information on choosing fittings for your new house see

 ‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

5 Things To Consider When Choosing The Right Tile Grout

Guest Post by Chad Singson

If you’re planning to replace the tiles in your bath or kitchen, besides choosing the right tiles, you’ll also need to find the tile grout that perfectly fits the look you’re going for. (Tile grout refers to the paste that seals the gaps between the tiles)

Although choosing the tile grout may seem like an insignificant part of the process, your choice will have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic and durability of the tiling job.

Tiles and grout work hand in hand to make the design shine.

That’s why it’s important to equally pay attention to the grout for your tiling project. For excellent grout options, check out Ardex Tile Grout.

In this article, you’ll find a few essential things to consider when you’re choosing the grout.

Type of Grout

Cement and epoxy are the two most common types of grout.

Both these types come in sanded and un-sanded varieties.

Cement grout is easily available and doesn’t cost much.

Epoxy grout, on the other hand, is more expensive and difficult to install, but is more durable and is more resilient to damage caused by water or chemical cleaners.

When choosing between sanded or un-sanded grout, keep in mind that sanded grout is more resistant to cracks, which is why it’s used for grout lines that are wider than 2 mm.

When sealing grout, the breathable sealers are ideal for light-colored tiles, especially in high moisture areas, since they don’t darken due to moisture.

If you’re checking out alternate design options, opt for brass or stainless-steel metal inlays.

Choosing the Color

While choosing the color of the grout, the tile design you have in mind is a crucial consideration.

You’ll have to decide if you want the tile and grout design to be matching, complementary, or contrasting.

    • Matching Grout: Using a grout color that matches your tiles will produce a subtle overall effect, making the tiles look more pronounced. This can also make the place look more spacious. Matching grouts work well if you have beautiful tiles you want to showcase, while keeping the layout basic.
    • Neutral Grout: Grouts in neutral colors like grey or beige work well to compliment almost all tile layouts. Neutral grouts are the safest design choice, especially when you’re going for a traditional and simple tile layout.
    • Contrasting Grout: Grouts used in colors contrasting the tiles are best when you want to accentuate the overall tile pattern. Dark tiles with contrasting grout can make the area look busy and are great for geometric design patterns.

The Shade of the Grout

When choosing the right grout color, consider both the aesthetic and practical aspect of each option.

Darker grout color can conceal the stains, but it also tends to fade quickly.

On the other hand, a lighter grout color may get dirty quickly and can be high maintenance.

That’s why neutral grout colors like beige and grey are popular, as they are easier to clean and don’t get discolored easily.

Overall Appearance

While choosing the right tile grout, consider the overall appearance of the area.

This will help you visualize how the grout will look in terms of the overall design.

Consider the location where you’ll be placing the tiles.

Wall tiles are more ornate and may require complementary or neutral grouts to highlight the tiles, whereas darker grouts for floor tiles can work well to define the space.

The spacing of the grout will also play an important role in the overall tile design.

Narrow-spaced grouts can give a seamless, blended appearance, while, wider grouts can make the tile grout stand out.

Maintenance Required

Since light-colored grouts tend to stain easily, they require frequent cleaning.

If you’re choosing darker colors, keep in mind that dark color grouts can produce efflorescence that would also need cleaning.

It’s important to seal your grout with a breathable sealant so the grout doesn’t peel off.

Your sealed grout will also require regular cleaning for maintenance.

Conclusion

When you’re planning to tile your bathroom or kitchen, remember to also focus on getting the right tile grouts.

Tile grout is much more than just a substance that fills the space in between the tiles.

It has a significant impact on your overall design.

That’s why, it’s vital to do your research and choose the right color, material, and sealant, instead of leaving it as a last-minute purchase.

You can get a few samples and try it with your tiles before you go for the final layout, which will help you get a clear picture of how the tile grout will look in the overall design.

2017 Innovative Kitchen Designs for Australian New Homeowners

Guest post By Andre Smith

The kitchen is the heart of the house, and a home without a proper kitchen is a place where family happiness and warmth is lacking.

It is the place where many families spend a lot of their time together, and rather than being considered just another room it acts as a social club in the home.

Have you ever thought of upgrading or remodelling your kitchen?

If you haven’t, this is the perfect time to find kitchen sinks online to make it trendy with exciting new designs and products.

There are many reasons why you need to modernise it.

Most of the activities we undertake at home from socialising, helping the kids with their home-work, entertaining, planning ahead to cooking these days take place in the eating space.

Since for most of our day-to-day functions and activities we depend on the kitchen, it is only sensible to make the space as functional and as inviting as possible.

It is true that many people faced with the task of upgrading their kitchens are at a loss on how to proceed.

That should not stop you because in this article, there are important tips and advice on what you need to do to modernise the space.

A good kitchen design needs to have proper ergonomics coupled with a thoughtful and innovative layout.

It also incorporates durable kitchen products and tasteful finishes which should help you to make the right decisions when you are renovating your kitchen.

Here are the things you need to consider about kitchen sinks online for you remodelling.

Layout and Design

Kitchens are today shared family spaces that allow eating and working in the same place.

The spaces in the kitchen should therefore borrow from other areas of our lives to permit versatility.

The design should allow flexibility for things like integration of a bench top dining table to double as workspace for home-office.

The design should be spacious enough to encourage family chit-chat and social vibe for the family.

A secondary prep or bar area in the kitchen layout can be created in an island position to allow group interaction while cooking is taking place.

Often the island can contain a sink but have you considered putting your cook top there.

Kitchen Finishes, Styles and Colours

To help create a homey ambience in the space, you can try to use colour palettes that are darker and moody like charcoal grey or black palettes.

Many modern kitchens have black features such as stone splash back, feature tiles or black appliances.

New designs incorporate various colour layering and texture that have mixes of mediums for creating practical spaces that are visually interesting.

Some choice colours to think of are slate bench tops or dark porcelain with splashback tiles that are 3-Dimensional.

Bench tops of Caesarstone with polished shining mirror finish imposed on cabinetry of super matte black coupled with brass, copper or gunmetal taps can add to the beauty.

To balance the sleek finishes, use organic elements that look natural for the island, flooring and tiling. Another popular look is the tuxedo look which combines two colour schemes.

Kitchen Hardware and Cabinetry

The way forward for kitchen cabinets seems to be colour blocking with contrasting colours for the wall cabinets.

The colour combos are muted gray with navy, black and white or timber and grey.

But it is generally expected that for 2017 navy will be the kitchen colour because it combines perfectly with brass accessories.

In order to maximise on space for storage, many wall cabinetry reach to the underside of the ceilings in many kitchen designs.

Top reasons to give quartz benchtops a chance

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

Quartz has brought a revolution in the industry with its reasonable prices, huge variety of designs and patterns and stunning looks.

Granite and marble were always the excellent options in this respect, but Quartz has somehow taken over the monopoly and become one of the most popular benchtops.

You have a variety of choices to choose from which includes laminate, metal, granite, marble and wood.

If you are wondering what is so special about Quartz that you must even put a second of your thought into buying it, then here are five points to show you why quantum quartz in Melbourne makes a great kitchen benchtop.

1. Durability – Quartz is highly durable.
Quartz is one of nature’s strongest minerals.

The  combinations of 93% quartz with resins, provides an exceptionally hard surface which makes it a popular choice for households .

The will  be durable against chips, cracks, scratches and stains.

2. Non-porous
Another great trait of quartz stone is the fact that it is non-porous.

Non-porous materials do not get stained with any spillage and can be easily wiped or cleaned with detergent water to get rid of it.

However, quartz naturally is not stain resistant, but the type of polish and craftsmanship used on the stone makes a difference in its quality.

This factor allows the owner to use the benchtop for all sorts of cooking with every desirable ingredient without worrying about the after effects.

3. Variety of patterns and colours
Quartz is not completely a single piece of stone which means that it will not have a definitive pattern which cannot be altered or changed.

Quartz is made of resins which allow the manufacturers to modify the composition to design it in different patterns and varieties of colours.

Quartz provides numerous options in patterns, colours and designs which make it a more attractive option to be used for kitchen benchtops.

It also gives you the privilege of choosing a benchtop shade which matches the interior decor or theme of your house.

4. Worth your money
If you have to pay slightly more than a regular stone benchtop for an option which provides you with durability, versatility, style, heat and scratch resistance and various other benefits, will you be willing to pay for it?

Well, if yes, then quartz is certainly the best option for your household.

It provides you with a number of benefits at reasonable or a bit over the reasonable price which is worth the quality quartz is offering.

Not only will it look attractive and add a new feel to your kitchen, but it will also last for a longer time than what you might be expecting.

5. Easy cleaning
There is no requirement for heavy solvents, chemicals or specialised cleaning solutions to clean the surface of a quantum quartz in Melbourne.

Quartz comes with a durable surface which is stain resistant and therefore a regular detergent solution or washing with warm water can be used for cleaning all stains and spots.

 

A growing trend for quantum quartz in Melbourne has been observed over the past few years, for the reasons mentioned above.

Quartz has turned out to be the best and most popular stone benchtop option leaving marble and granite behind in the race.

Quartz is capable of inculcating elegance, style, beauty and uniqueness in your home decor.

For smart buyers, who focus on extracting as many benefits as they can from a material, quartz is the best option.

Best ideas to make your kitchen look fantastic

Guest Post by George Hong

Planning a Kitchen?. . . . See below for some considerations for when you’re redesigning this essential space.

Storage

Regardless of your requirements, almost everyone will benefit from increasing the storage capacity of their existing or new kitchen.

To do so, there are number of great options to choose from which should form a part of your kitchen design from the beginning, rather than an afterthought when you’re close to finishing the plans.  

Appliance cupboards, drawers with specific dividers for anything from utensils to pet food, sliding pantries and hollow island benches will provide more space to house your kitchen items.

This leads to a tidier space and enhances the functionality of your kitchen and less clutter will improve the appearance of the room overall.

Butlers Pantry?

Another functional addition to any kitchen, space permitting, is the butler’s pantry.

Not only does this additional space provide more storage for items such as extra crockery, glasses and special occasion cutlery, but they may also include additional power points, dishwashers and sinks.

With the added bonus of a door to hide any accumulated mess whilst entertaining, for example, the butler’s pantry is highly customisable, so you can tailor it to your needs.

Floorplan

With regard to your floorplan, don’t forget the famous triangle configuration for your sink, cooktop and fridge.

This arrangement will mean you can work with ease and not have to walk back and forth too much, or be too cramped.

If you are, however, using your kitchen for a number of non-cooking uses, ensure that through traffic has adequate room.

Do not placing seating not too close to hot cooking areas and consider whether there is enough work space if cooking and entertaining or other activities are occurring simultaneously.

In smaller kitchens, this is sometimes why the triangle is abandoned in favour of a kitchen that basically operates in a straight line, in order to maximise space and allow other people to be able to move around when it’s being used.

If you are considering an open design kitchen, planning is essential in order for it to look its best and function as intended. (For example, you may choose to select movable kitchen furniture that serves dual purposes such as meal prep space and a dining area)

Overall

The kitchen island is an example of a multifunctional fixture which you can maximise use of if you predetermine what else you’ll use it for.

You may opt for built in storage and seating on its opposite side so it can function as an informal dining area or homework station in addition to being a food preparation area.  

So whether you’re building a luxury home builder from Melbourne, a Geelong home builder, or Mildura to Lakes Entrance, shop around for inspiration when developing your ultimate kitchen.

The good news is that you can do a vast amount of research online when you’re beginning to planning this space.

Pinterest, design and building blogs as well as architecture sites will all offer copious amounts of kitchen configurations from the budget DIY to the extravagant.

Kettle, or Instant Boiling Water Taps?

I hear that instant hot water taps are becoming more popular but are they a good idea?

Well I’m not convinced.

Instant Hot water Taps

Yes they do save time in boiling water but:

  • Expensive at around $5,000 fitted;
  • Need regular  filter changes at over $250 (and you have to wait around for the fitter, so not that convenient!);
  • Take up room under your bench;
  • They’re using power all the time (though less in sleep mode) around 0.8 kwh/day before you draw off any water;
  • Having nearly scalded myself with one I’m not convinced on their safety.

Kettle

Take longer but:

  • I timed my kettle and it only took 1.5mins to boil a 300ml mug;
  • Low power use at around 0.06 kwhrs/mug;
  • Low cost at from $20 for a cheapy to $60 for a top of the line model;
  • According to Tea experts freshly boiled water means better tasting tea;
  • I can get chilled water at minimal cost, and just as quick, from a jug in the fridge.

Overall

May be OK for workplaces but I’d rather stick with the minimal effort of boiling a kettle and take the savings, how about you?

 

Mirror Splash Back, Yes or No?

The first time I became aware of mirrored splash backs was while watching ‘The Block’ a couple of years ago.

I’ve seen a few examples since then. . . . but would you have one?

When the question was asked on Houzz around 2/3 of the respondants said they love the idea.

Yes to a mirror

Mirrors do make spaces bigger and the reflection does give better light onto your stove and counters.

They also allow you to see someone behind you while you are cooking, good for keeping track of the kids, or just chatting with a friend.

No to a Mirror

The trouble with mirrors is they really show every speck of dirt or grease. . . I get into trouble from my wife when I am cooking and we have a tiled splash back with a mirror I would always be cleaning.

It’s not just the mirror itself, everything on the bench is reflected.

That means you see the dirt and crumbs behind the  coffee machines, mixers, etc so your going to be moving everything to clean the counter more often as well.

 

Overall I would be happy with a glass splash back but don’t think  a mirror is for me . . . . How about you?

Dishwasher Noise

Many of us get a new dishwasher when moving into a new house.

With some builders it’s included in an ‘Upgrade Package’

You might check on the energy rating and the water consumption . . . . but how many of us check how noisy it is?

With our last new house our dishwasher was fairly quiet . . . but with our current flat the dishwasher drowns out the TV!

Dishwasher noise may not be an issue if you have a ‘Butlers Pantry’ but most of us have the family TV near the kitchen area.

Loudness

The preferred background sound level of a living room is 40dB (decibels) with increases in sound level of 3dB being apparent to the human ear.

My research has found the loudness of dishwashers commonly available in Australia ranges from 40dB to 55dB. (55dB is 3 times as loud as 40dB and will make quiet conversation difficult)

it is not unusual to see a difference of 6 – 8dB across the range of a single manufacturer so check carefully before you buy.

Just because your existing dishwasher is quiet doesn’t mean another model from the same manufacturer will also be the same.