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Some Questions Answered

My web server provides me with information on the search phrases that people use that bring them to my site. Many of them are questions that several people have searched for answers for so I am posting the answers for the future searchers.

If you have a question that you'd like help with please feel free to ask me by sending it to my email [email protected] I'll be glad to help.

Are full overlay cabinet doors (1-1/4" overlay typically) more expensive than standard overlay (1/2" overlay typically)? Generally yes. Overlay refers to how much the door overlays (covers) the frame of the cabinet. The doors on full overlay cabinets cover almost all of the face frame leaving only 1/2" of the frame exposed between the doors (when the door is closed). Standard overlay doors leave 2" exposed between the doors. They generally cost more since full overlay doors are larger than standard overlay and they require more material and a more expensive hinge. Some manufacturers charge 10-20% more for this even though the additional cost for them is in the 1-2% range. They make more profit because full overlay has a higher perceived value. At our shop, we only add the 2% cost which is minimal.

Do you need a range hood over your stove? Most building codes do not require one. Their only concern is fire danger. Check with your local building inspector and the specs on your specific stove or cooktop for their recommendations. Generally building codes require that any flammable material (i.e. cabinet) must be at least 30" above the cooking surface and the sides of adjacent cabinets must not extend over the cooking surface. With gas cooktops the adjacent cabinets must sit back 3" or more if they are 18" above the cooktop.

I do recommend a metal range hood for the fire safety. Many home fires start at the stove and having the hood above the stove as a fire barrier can help keep it from spreading.

Hoods serve 3 purposes: fire safety, lighting and ventilation. I must say that the recirculating hoods are simply a joke. They are only really good for fire safety and lighting but not ventilation. These are the ones that suck the air through a charcoal filter and then blow it out above your head. They don't remove odor very well at all because in about a month the charcoal is completely saturated and no longer absorbs odors. They do collect grease but are very hard to clean. If you want a hood that actually works you must use one that is ventilated which exhausts the fumes outdoors.

Microwave oven placement? I see more questions on these than anything else. Go to my article "Microwave Overview" for information on placement.

How do brand X cabinets compare with brand Z? I see this question regarding specific cabinets a lot. There are over 200 national and regional manufacturers in North America not to mention the many 1,000s of local shops. When it is all said and done most cabinets are built pretty much the same. For more info see my web page "Cabinet Basics 101"

How do I organize my new kitchen? This is a very common question and the simple answer that applies to all of the items in your kitchen is store the items at the point of first usage. This means you want, for example, canned goods near to the prepartion area or dishes & silverware close to the dishwasher and the dining area. Cooking utensils should be near the cooking area and so forth.

When working with my client's they often say "I'd like a tray storage cabinet near the oven." But if you think about it having them near the oven is not the point of first usage. You actually want them near the prepation area because you first put the food on the cookie sheets or roasting pans before you put them in the oven.

Put items that you seldom use (holiday serving pieces, etc.) in secondary storage areas (areas that are not part of the main work area). Think it through carefully asking yourself "where will I first use these items?"