Do It Yourself Kitchen Tips And Advice

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                                             DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Getting Started With Do-It-Yourself Kitchen

DIY - Kitchen - All About Vents

DIY - Kitchen - Basic Stove Repairs Made Easy

DIY - Kitchen - Contemporary Built-In Appliances

DIY - Kitchen - Creating a Kitchen Island

DIY - Kitchen - Do-It-Yourself Kitchen Projects 101

DIY - Kitchen - How to Install a Kitchen Sink

DIY - Kitchen - How to Install Overhead Cabinets

DIY - Kitchen - How To Replace A Dishwasher

DIY - Kitchen - Kitchen Countertop Options

DIY - Kitchen - Kitchen Flooring Options

DIY - Kitchen - Kitchen Lighting, Mix and Match

DIY - Kitchen - Laminate Countertops

DIY - Kitchen - Modern Stove Options

DIY - Kitchen - Staining Kitchen Cabinets

                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Getting Started With Do-It-Yourself Kitchen

One of the hardest things about do-it-yourself kitchen projects isn't the skills required. There are some,
but they can be learned by just about anybody. Nor is it the need to acquire some good tools. Those
have become affordable by anyone who thinks they'll use them at least a few times. Getting started is
mostly about overcoming a lack of self-confidence.

Imagine that you'd like to install some new cabinets. It looks like a job for a professional and you reach
for the phone. Even the most reluctant can easily discover that installing cabinets is actually quite
simple. Staining cabinets is even easier.

You'll need some tools to carry out just about any kitchen do-it-yourself project, of course. But,
fortunately for your budget, they are the same ones over and over again. Unlike, say, repairing cars,
there is rarely a need for that one special tool that you will use only once.

A pair of screwdrivers - flat head and Philips head (or a power drill with screwdriver add-ons), a hammer,
a level, and a hand power saw will be enough for 90% of all projects. That entire set can be purchased
for under a hundred dollars. Much more than that amount would be spent on just one visit from a

Next, some patience is required. There's a reason that good professionals get paid well, and it isn't just
because they have experience. They have the patience to do the job right. They know that it's better to
take a little more time to find the right materials, develop a good design, and make the right plans.
Careful execution lowers costs and minimizes unsightly mistakes. As the old carpenter's saying goes:
'Measure twice, cut once.'

Some knowledge is needed to install a countertop or create an island, it's true. Some, but not a college
education's worth. A short time spent on tutorials online and you'll find the basic information needed to
do the job right.
                                                                         DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

You'll also soon learn that many do-it-yourself projects don't require making things from scratch.
Countertops are pre-made by the manufacturer. They require only installation, which is as much a
matter of care and patience as it is any specialized ability.

Islands, cabinetry, and more all come pre-made. Staining isn't just easy, it's fun. An assistant can hold up
anything that requires a second pair of hands. Anyone who can put together a bookcase or a TV stand
can do most do-it-yourself kitchen projects.

Of course, like anything, to produce a truly outstanding result requires some creative vision. Remodelers
and design consultants really get paid mostly for that. But even that can be built-up with a little practice,
assuming the do-it-yourselfer has at least some creativity to start with. Luckily, that covers just about

                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - All About Vents

In a kitchen, cooks cook. What could be more obvious? But what the cook may not notice much are the
vents that carry away smoke and odors. Not until they no longer do the job, that is. What then?

The old phrase 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is nowhere more true than in the
kitchen. One application of that idea is to have enough venting to handle the busiest days. Easter,
Christmas, birthdays, and many more occasions often see a lot of cooking going on. No one wants that
spoiled by smoke detectors going off unnecessarily or seeing those gathered around the kitchen island
get a face full.

The first step to ensuring that is to keep the vents clean. It's a messy job, for sure. Vents accumulate
grease that deposits on the cooler surfaces after wafting through the air. Grime builds up. Food drops
down some and smoke deposits particulates on others. While stoves have advanced, unfortunately no
one has yet come up with a self-cleaning vent.

But, they have produced an astounding array of cleaning products to make the chore as easy as possible.

Stove cleaner is useful. It's designed to combat grease and vents are made of metal so it's safe to use.
Today's formulations are not the choking mixture of yesteryear. Still, use sparingly. Any grease cutter
will help, too. Ammonia-based products should be used in a way that doesn't necessitate breathing
concentrated vapors. That burning sensation to the eyes and lungs isn't merely unpleasant, but a real
health hazard.

When even clean vents simply can't handle the volume, the volume is just too low. Adding bigger vents
is a chore, but still doable by any dedicated do-it-yourselfer.

The three basic options are overhead, through the wall, and below the floor.

                                                                          DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

Overhead vents thread a wide pipe above a stove usually in a specially designed space and up to the top
of the house. Creating a larger vent isn't as difficult as it may seem. Most cabinetry can easily be
widened by several inches with a bit of sawing. Ditto the roof pipe, though it may take a bit longer. The
key is to seal the final result carefully to keep out rain.

Examine the underside of the roof by moving into the crawlspace or attic. Most pipes narrow down the
closer they get to the roof, terminating in a plastic pipe about 2 inches in diameter. But it's not difficult
to replace it with one that is 2 1/2 or even 3 inches wide. The neighbors will never notice and you'll get
much more capacity. Increasing the diameter by 1 inch adds about 1 1/4 square inches of area.

Similar considerations apply to through-the-wall venting, only in some cases the vents are rectangular
tin, aluminum, or stainless steel, rather than round plastic. Cutting a wider space in the wall can be a
chore, but even houses with an outer layer of brick don't make the job impossible. Masonry drill bits and
a good drill will readily make a larger opening to accommodate a bigger vent.

For homes with a kitchen island, the stove typically has internal venting that leads to a large, thin metal
pipe that goes under the house. If the home has a crawlspace that allows access, it's a simple matter to
install a larger vent pipe. It's less often needed in these cases, though, since the pipe is already about 10-
12 inches in diameter. If it's intact, it will handle just about any thing.

                                                                          DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Basic Stove Repairs Made Easy

You may have had it with your stove and want to replace it entirely. That can be as easy as unplugging it
from the electrical outlet and wheeling in a new one. Or, it may be a relatively simple matter of turning
off the gas, then fitting a new hose for the replacement.

But there are a range of repairs (pardon the pun) that you can carry out if your stove still has a lot of life

The exhaust system is a case in point. Exhaust systems are composed chiefly of a fan and vent.

When the fan dies, it's usually just a case of undoing a few screws, unplugging the old one and plugging
in the replacement. Exhaust vents often require only cleaning to perform good service again.

Other vent problems can be a little larger. Holes can develop in the metal tubing. Mice can make their
way into cabinets that house overhead exhaust pipes, or under the floor for integrated stove exhausts
that pipe under the house. They chew on an amazing range of things, including any plastic components
that might seal the vent. In other instances, the heat increases the rate of oxidation and eventually the
tubing develops a hole.

Here again, though, it's often a simple repair. Some models of exhaust tubing require only a good tug to
come loose. Others have a strap secured by a screw. Replacement tubing is inexpensive. Just make sure
that all the parts are clean and free of grease and dirt deposits to keep the area odor free and less
attractive to insects.

Burner replacement for a traditional coil-type electric stove is even easier. Most simply plug into a
receptacle. Make sure the burner is off, then pull firmly and the coil will come loose. A new one snaps in
even more easily.

                                                                           DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

Before replacing it, though, you'll want to make sure this will cure the problem. A coil has no moving
parts and does only one thing: turn current into heat. Any disruption in the current will cause the coil to
malfunction. That can happen if the tabs on the end of the coil where it forms two straight, parallel lines
have become loose.

One way to discover if this is the real reason the coil isn't heating is to run a continuity test. Using a
standard ohm meter, measure the resistance. It should be between 20-30 ohms.

Gas stoves can fail to function for a number of reasons. All are uncommon, but some happen more often
than others. For example, since the holes through which gas flows are very small, they can become
plugged. In theory, natural gas burns to release heat and generate only CO2 and water vapor. But small
impurities, either in the gas or from the stove parts, can introduce carbon that may narrow the opening.
Grease can migrate down into the small holes.

Cleaning is the first step. Just remove the outer sections and see if light comes through all the holes.
Using a small mirror check the valve behind and look for any obstruction.

For more extensive repairs, it's frequently safer to call for a professional. Many gas utility companies will
perform some repairs or safety inspections free.

                                                                         DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Contemporary Built-In Appliances

Built-in style appliances have been around for decades. Ovens, stoves, and more have been integrated
into the cabinetry of a modern kitchen since, well, since they became modern. But contemporary
designs take the idea one big step further.

Induction Stoves

The latest in stove tops until recently was the ceramic glass top. These highly stylish and very functional
appliances eliminated the bulky and unsafe coils of the previous generation. Instead, they use a special
type of ceramic that heats quickly and, better still, cools down very rapidly. They're still very attractive
and functional.

But the idea of making the electric stove safer and more streamlined has gone even further. Induction
stoves are designed to put no heat on the top of the stove at all. How can a stove that generates no heat
cook anything? Simple... and ingenious.

Instead of putting the current into the stove top, they create (or induce, as the professionals say) a
current in the pans themselves. It doesn't work with Pyrex or some metals, such as copper bottomed
pans. But stainless steel and cast iron work great.

Induction stoves are also very efficient. Gas stoves dissipate about 60% of their energy to the air rather
than the pan. Only 50% of the energy of traditional electric coils goes into heating the food. But 90% of
the energy used to power an induction stove goes into heating the pan.


                                                                          DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

Several traditional built-in appliances have gotten a makeover in recent years. The microwave,
dishwasher, and others have long been features of the modern kitchen. Now, they're even more stylish
and functional than ever. They now come in drawer styles.

A microwave drawer operates internally by the same method as any other. It still uses microwave
energy to heat moisture inside food. But the appliance is designed to be pulled out and pushed in like a
drawer. That can keep the device out of sight when not in use. Other styles push in and out, but the
door is the cover, so the front of the microwave is still visible.

In either case, the result is an attractive and very useful appliance in the contemporary kitchen.

Dishwashers have received similar upgrades. A drawer dishwasher pulls out somewhat like the familiar
trash compactor. You load the dishes, push the appliance back in and off you go.

So, what's the advantage to that over traditional pull-down dishwasher doors? Among other things, the
dishwashers themselves are more compact. For those who don't need such a large dishwasher there's
considerable savings of space in the cabinetry. They also use less energy and water, so there's some
savings on the utility bills.

True Built-Ins

Other common kitchen appliances are seeing the benefits of ingenuity. Blenders, juicers, and coffee
makers are now available that don't just sit on the countertop, but the mechanism is actually built into
the surface. Pull the jar out of the cabinet, fill it, press the button, then clean and put the jar back. No
more cluttering the countertop with a half-dozen devices.

It's a great new world in the contemporary kitchen!

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                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Creating a Kitchen Island

Those not fortunate to have a home with a kitchen island already hardly know what they're missing.
Attractive, ultra-convenient, and even soothing these small work areas - often housing a stove as well -
are the perfect addition to any kitchen.

It might seem like a small thing where the stove goes. But having it in the center of an island allows the
cook to look out rather than at the wall. That can make a big difference in mood when preparing a
stellar meal. Who wants to look at a wall when they could be seeing a beautifully decorated kitchen or
living area?

Islands are also a big convenience. They provide extra counter space to put all the ingredients needed to
whip up that fabulous dinner. When finished, the island is super easy to clean. They're open and are
typically much better lit than a section near the wall.

Building one is not anywhere near as difficult as it may seem, either. Any good do-it-yourselfer can do it
in a day, and at a cost that may surprise some. It's really no more than a pedestal or, in more elaborate
designs, a large cabinet with drawers.

The pedestal style is especially simple to build. Choose the wood desired - cherry works well, but oak or
even treated pine are also very good choices. Select according to your desired kitchen decor. Detailed
building instructions are readily available online, but this type is so simple you hardly need them.

A pedestal requires just an oval base. A large piece of plywood will serve if it is to be covered up.
Otherwise, a few planks will do well. Glue them together, then just cut a hole in the middle for venting
and wiring, then form the oval. The stand can likewise be a series of planks, say in the form of a
hexagon. A six-sided figure is sturdy and easy to brace.

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                                                                         DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

A set of brass L-braces for the base and top is a very easy method to employ. Braces connecting the
stand to the top are already hidden. Those at the base can easily be hidden by putting them on the
inside, through the hole, rather than on the outside.

A range of countertops is available. If the pedestal is built well, it could be a Corian material, or some
other specialty stone. They stand up to stains, last forever, and are extremely easy to clean. But
hardwoods are making a big comeback on kitchen countertops. Properly treated they can last for
decades and they look stunning. Butcher block is a perfect choice.

Staining the base and stand are simple, or wood can be pre-ordered already treated. It has only to be
cut and assembled. If the island is to be used only for preparation, and possibly seating and eating, the
task becomes even simpler. Then there's no need for creating a space for vents and wiring or gas piping.

If your kitchen floor space area is limited, but not too limited, a smaller island can still serve as a
functional and attractive kitchen aid. Even something the size of an old-fashioned malt and hamburger
shop table can be a great place to make sandwiches. Shop around at antique sites and you may just find
one pre-made!

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                                                                          DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Do-It-Yourself Kitchen Projects 101
You might want to install a new sink. Don't call the carpenter. Do it yourself! Your kitchen might get a
whole new look from a lighting redesign. No need to spend a lot of money on a professional lighting
designer. With a little bit of creativity and some minor homework, you can get just the look you want.

These are only two examples of a large variety of kitchen projects that really only require a basic level of
skill, some common tools, and a little bit of planning.

Anyone who has lived in a home a while - or who has acquired a fixer-upper - will need to tackle
replacing a countertop sooner or later. It just takes some careful measuring, a lot of patience to remove
the old countertop, and some basic instruction on how to install the new one.

With the range of choices available today, this project is not only within reach of any competent do-it-
yourselfer, it's also great fun! There are laminates galore. They run the gamut from simulated marble to
faux wood that are practically indistinguishable from the real thing.

Contemporary built-in appliances are now offered in designs that would once have been considered
science fiction. An induction stove, for example, can heat pans without producing any heat at all at the
burner or stove top. They're ultra-easy to install, since that basically only requires laying a 2-inch thick
device on an island countertop and plugging it in.

Even mundane projects can be very fulfilling. A new dishwasher can do more than replace the old one
that has started to leak. It can be an opportunity to really spruce up the kitchen. Contemporary styles
offer such innovations as a dishwasher in a drawer that are worth looking into.

Repairing a stove may not provide a lot of creative outlet, but doing it yourself can save tons of money.
Coils on electric stoves are super easy to replace. Gas burners sometimes stop working solely because
they're dirty. Re-wiring an infinite switch doesn't require a professional electrician, once you've done a
little reading.

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Even venting can be replaced with only a modest amount of knowledge and a willingness to exert a little
extra effort. Installing behind-the-wall vents, for example, requires only a masonry drill bit powered by a
good power drill and a bit of care and patience.

Getting started requires a little self-confidence, the key to any successful project. That comes from doing
some research, getting a little practice with common tools, and then just committing to a do-it-yourself

The rewards are big savings, a beautiful kitchen, and the pride of accomplishment. That's a pretty good
combination of values for such a small investment.

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                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Though it may take a day or more, installing a kitchen sink is well within the ability of even the amateur
do-it-yourselfer. Some care, a bit of patience, and a few guidelines are the only basic prerequisites.

Clear out everything under the sink to provide working room and space for some towels and a bucket.
Then turn off the water valves under the sink. If, for some reason, they're absent it will be necessary to
turn off the water main for the whole house. Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the garbage

Open the faucet and run the garbage disposal for a second or two, to clear out as much water as
possible. When you remove the hoses attached to the hot and cold water, as well as that to any
handheld sprayer, be prepared for some drippage.

Now remove the U-shaped pipe (often called a trap or trap bend), followed by the straight pipe that is
directly attached to the sink. Remove the garbage disposal by first disconnecting any wires and
dishwasher hose. There's a large ring retainer that will need to be removed from the unit's neck as well.

From the top of the sink, work loose any caulk and plumber's putty that is keeping the sink in place. This
will be tedious because it has to be done with great care. The odds of scraping the cabinetry or
countertop are high. Go slowly and keep control of the utility knife to avoid any scrapes. Work it all
loose a little bit at a time.

Once the caulking and plumber's putty between the sink and cabinet/countertop is loosened the sink
can be pulled free. Most people will want to replace the faucet and controls when replacing a sink. But if
you plan to reuse them, they're easier to remove once the sink can be turned upside down on the floor.

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                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

Before placing the new sink in the hole, some preparation is required. This is an extension of that same
tedious work as before, but it's vital. Remove any remaining caulk and plumber's putty so you have a
clean, smooth surface around the rim of the opening.

A combination of utility knife scraping and sanding will probably be necessary. It isn't fun, but it's the
only way to guarantee a good seal for the new sink. Drips of water that move between the sink or
countertop to the cabinet below creates mildew, foul odors, and ultimately a weakened surface where
you store household cleaners.

Tip the new sink upside down to install the flange. Place some plumber's putty on the underside surface
of the flange and have an assistant push it up into the sink. From your side, place the retaining ring/nut
and tighten it down. Then turn the sink back over and remove any excess putty squeezed out. Allow the
putty to set for an hour or more, according to the directions on the can.

The rest is very straightforward.

Simply apply plumber's putty to the rim and gently drop the sink into place. Again wipe up any excess
from around the rim and allow the putty to set. Then replace the hoses and pipes. When you replace the
pipes be sure to wrap Teflon plumber's tape in the direction that will squeeze it into the threads, not
loosen it, when you tighten the slip-joint nut.

Attach the garbage disposal unit onto the sink flange and tighten the retaining ring and/or nuts into
place. Replace all wires and the dishwasher hose. Test the new sink for drips before turning back on the
circuit breaker.

To test, just open the cold water valve slightly and open the faucet. Allow the water to run for a minute
and watch carefully for any drips. Any leaks will usually be the result of incorrect plumber's tape

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DIY - Kitchen - How to Install Overhead Cabinets

Installing kitchen cabinets is well within the ability of the average do-it-yourselfer. It just takes a
willingness to be exact, and following a few simple tips.

Before you even lift a cabinet, you'll need something to keep the cabinet in place while you work on it.
Even with two assistants some arms could get tired before the cabinet is secured. So, start by buying or
building a cabinet holder.

They're simple to make. An upside-down U, made of a 2 x 4 cross beam and two supports, will do in
most cases. Just brace the joints with an angled piece or two L-braces. With rubber feet it can be leaned
against the wall without slipping. It will support the base of the cabinet while an assistant easily keeps
the cabinet hugged against the wall.

Instead of a support structure, it's possible to substitute a 1 x 3 rail secured along a line where the
bottom of the cabinet will be. Simply nail or screw it into studs at that location. That can work well, but
it introduces the need to repair the holes made when you're done. Unless you plan on leaving the
support there permanently.

Now for some measurements.

Measure the vertical distance up from the floor or down from the ceiling. In most cases, the cabinet will
go up flush against the ceiling, so this is easy. Mark the wall an inch in from where the edge of the
cabinet will be and down in rows for the vertical stays.

Mark a horizontal line on the wall where the base of the cabinet will reside and several X's along the line
for the horizontal stays.

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In sum, mark a smaller outline of the back of the cabinet with X's where you will screw in supporting

Now, using a stud finder, locate a stud (or better, two) where the back of the cabinet will be. Mark their
locations, and draw X's six inches down from the top of the cabinet, and six inches up from the bottom.
Studs are typically 16 inches apart, center to center.

Drill pilot holes at the X's that are slightly smaller than either the screws or screw holders you plan to
use. For screws, the drill bit can even be much smaller. If you screw into studs, no inserts are needed,
just wood screws about 2 inches long. For screwing into drywall, plastic or metal inserts are commonly
used to ensure the screw doesn't tear out.

Depending on how heavy the cabinet and its contents will be, three screws each into two separate studs
might well be enough. But a row along the top and/or bottom provides extra support. A cabinet can
never be too secure.

Now for the tricky part. Ensure that everything is kept perfectly level while you secure the cabinet.

A cabinet that is not perfectly parallel to the ceiling may be inevitable. Not every ceiling is perfectly flat
or horizontal. But if the bottom of the cabinet isn't, and therefore the sides aren't perfectly vertical, it
will be noticeable.

It may be necessary to shim the back of the cabinet slightly to get the shelves exactly horizontal in the
other direction. One direction is from your left to right. The other is from front to back. That's just more
proof that some walls (and cabinets) are not at the exact right angles and perfectly flat. You need to

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                                                                            DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - How To Replace A Dishwasher

Professional repairs are expensive. Anyone who has paid a plumber knows that. Fortunately, there's at
least one appliance in the kitchen that is a snap to replace on all your own: the dishwasher.

First, shut off the electricity to the dishwasher. Just flip off the breaker that protects the circuit. To test,
turn on the dishwasher to make sure nothing comes on.

At the bottom of most dishwashers is a panel that comes off easily. Remove it and look for wiring that
powers parts of the dishwasher. Before touching any wires, make sure the power is off by testing with a
voltmeter. Cap off the wires with plastic wire caps for protection.

Next, turn off any water supply to the dishwasher. Many use a small, separate valve under the kitchen
sink. In rare cases, it may be necessary to turn off the house water supply for about an hour.

Now disconnect the drain line, which typically connects to a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink.
Also disconnect the water supply hose, sometimes made of copper but just as often a plastic tube.
They're typically found threaded through the cabinetry to the space under the sink.

To remove the old dishwasher unit, open the door far enough to see and remove any retaining screws
threaded into the underside of the cabinet top. Sometimes the retaining screws are placed into the floor
instead. Then just slowly pull forward. Most sit on four adjustable feet that are integrated into the
casing. If necessary thread the feet screws to change the height.

To replace the unit is about equally easy.

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With the power and water still off, attach any drain line and water supply pipes and/or hoses to the new
unit. In most cases, it's advisable to replace them with new parts to ensure that water runs easily and

Gently push the new unit back in place while an assistant takes up any slack from the drain hose and/or
water supply. It's important to prevent any kinking that can lead to a leak. Re-attach the drain line to the
garbage disposal and the water supply hose to the valve.

Re-attach the wires, matching the colors. Soldering isn't necessary or recommended. Just twist them
together and twist on a wire cap to keep the pair joined securely and safely. Make sure the unit is well
grounded by testing the ground wire.

Turn the water back on before you turn the power back on. Check for any leaks. Some hoses will require
that you wrap plumber's tape around the nib. Be sure to wrap it in the direction that causes it to tighten
into the threads when you tighten any threaded nuts.

Turn the electricity back on by inserting the wall plug into the outlet and flipping the circuit breaker to
the ON position.

Simple. Inexpensive. And fun, since you did it yourself!

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DIY - Kitchen - Kitchen Countertop Options

Just as with kitchen flooring, there are many materials and hundreds of styles to choose from. Many of
the same criteria apply: durability, stain resistance, ease of cleaning, and so forth. In this case, the 'floor'
is for your hands and dishes, but the selections are similar. Luckily, there are even more options for
countertops than floors.

Stone has long been a great option for a countertop. But because of the weight and cost, and the
sometimes hard-to-achieve stain resistance, composites are more popular here.

Corian, for example, is a man-made material that resembles marble, both in appearance and function.
That's one of the reasons for its popularity. It provides an extremely durable surface that stands up well
to knife cuts and bangs. It is highly stain resistant and ultra-easy to clean.

Granite is still a hotly desired countertop material, though. Stains become hard to clean when the
material can soak into the surface where it can't be wiped away. Because granite is not very porous it
stands up to stains very well. That makes cleaning a breeze. And there's nothing stronger or more

One recent variation is something called Kirkstone. This English stone is midway between granite and
slate. Its surface can be highly polished lending a beautiful sheen to the countertop. At the same time, it
cleans up with a wipe and is lighter than the other two.

Stainless steel is often used in large sections of the kitchen. It's extremely easy to clean and
contemporary alloys make rusting a thing of the past. But it does scratch fairly easily and it is highly
conductive. Bright sunlight can make it hot to the touch.

Wood remains the choice of many, for some sections of the kitchen anyway. It is naturally beautiful and
a few knife cuts don't necessarily detract from the look. It feels good to the touch. It can be prone to
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retaining bacteria, though, so it has to be kept very clean and disinfected from time to time. Still, it
makes for a great option for kitchens that have hardwood floors.

Tile is still installed in millions of homes every year. The reasons aren't far to seek. It's highly heat
resistant. It provides a durable surface that is absolutely stain proof and easy to clean. Unfortunately,
grout is not. Grout has improved but it is still porous and can retain tea, dirt, and other common kitchen
compounds. But tile comes in hundreds of beautiful styles that will last forever.

Laminates used to be the sure sign of a cheap, and cheap looking, kitchen countertop. But modern
materials science has improved the look and durability immensely, while still providing a low-cost
alternative. Any design imaginable can be stamped or printed into the surface. So, for those looking for
the widest possible array of designs, this is an option.

Give some thought and time to selecting your desired countertop. You'll be living with it for a long time.

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DIY - Kitchen - Kitchen Flooring Options

The kitchen floor sees more abuse than any other in the house. Even the kids' basement play area
doesn't get such torture. Where else does a floor get hot grease spilled on it? What other room gets
juice stains on top of that?

Fortunately, there are a dozen different flooring options for dealing with those practical issues. There
are a hundred different styles of each to lend beauty also to this utilitarian space.

Once upon a time hardwood floors were the only 'high tech/high style' option. It was that or brick (when
it wasn't just plain dirt). That option has come back to life with a modern slant. Contemporary hardwood
floors offer a durable, beautiful surface. Coated and maintained properly, they'll last for generations.
Brazilian Teak, American Oak, and others provide a sturdy, attractive surface that will stand up to just
about anything.

For those who need a truly indestructible kitchen floor, stone is the way to go. Take care selecting the
right material. While marble is ultra-strong it can be stained easily if the surface isn't coated with the
right compounds. Slate is a very popular option. A bit on the pricey side, but it provides a strong,
beautiful surface that doesn't show stains.

Laminates are a nice middle ground. Not as durable as stone, nor as beautiful as natural hardwoods,
they do a good job of emulating either. And they do that at a much lower price. They are available as
tiles, but more commonly come in planks, to create the look of a hardwood floor. Made of high density
fiber with a resin on top, they give terrific support. No bowing with age.

Laminates come pre-coated with a stain-resistant compound that will keep the surface from getting
damaged by juice, coffee, and other common spills. They don't fade or change color from long-term
exposure to sunlight, either. Most manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty for their laminates.

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                                                                       DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

Ceramic tile remains one of the most popular choices, and for good reasons. Older tiles were prone to
cracking. That's much less likely today with contemporary composites. If installed correctly, they provide
a highly pressure-resistant surface. That surface is also one of the best for spills. Tiles themselves are
practically stain proof.

Grout, unfortunately, is not. But cleaning it has gotten easier with the evolution of commercial grout
cleaners. Once upon a time dirt, tea stains, and other common kitchen compounds would muddy grout
forever. Today, with proper sealing and regular care, the grout can be kept looking new for decades.

Vinyl is still an option. Once, and still usually, the cheapest option, it no longer has to look cheap.
Modern materials science has developed vinyl tiles and sheets that are attractive and sturdy. With
proper underflooring, the 'valleys' that would appear in a few years are mostly a thing of the past. The
range of designs available is greater in this arena than for any other type of flooring.

Look at all the options and think about the type of use and abuse your kitchen floor gets. Then opt for
something that will provide long-term durability and beauty. You'll live with the choice for years. Make it
a good one.

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                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Kitchen Lighting, Mix and Match

The ideal kitchen lighting design will cover all the tasks you need to perform in this important area of the
home. That entails focusing the design effort (excuse the pun) on each individual area, keeping the
whole in mind. In other words, mix and match your lighting.

For overall illumination, a recessed panel is a must. They come in hundreds of styles with easily replaced
panels that provide any look desired. But that basic glow would work best if combined with some task

Imagine that it's early in the morning and you're stumbling through the still-dark kitchen. Now would be
a great time for some under the cabinet lighting. It will illuminate the coffee pot. Or, suppose it's late,
late, late in the day. The sun has long gone down and you want to make a little late-night snack. A light
that provides just the right amount of illumination for the microwave would be perfect about now.

Track lights often provide both style and a needed extra bit of light focused just where you want. That
could mean bouncing some off a kitchen wall or aiming it directly down onto the counter where the
salad is prepared.

Lots of things hang in the kitchen - cup racks, pot racks, and more. Dress up these elements and add a
bit of practicality by embedding some mini-cannisters to make those items shine. They may come
integrated into the rack or can be added separately. Either way they'll make your kitchen more practical
and more stylish.

Something close to the ceiling can also be practical and stylish. It keeps those lamps away from the head
of a tall person who has to stand on a ladder to get something off the top shelf. But above all it adds a
fashion statement to a room that sometimes doesn't get enough attention in that area.

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                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

You can't get away from those utilitarian needs. A good recessed cannister light is just right for
illuminating those dark corners where you have to work. But why not get one that also adds to the
decor? The perfect place for a CFL or LED light, they come in so many styles of housing and trim you
can't help but find one you like.

Any kitchen with an island will benefit from task lighting. Just as the tasks performed there run the
gamut, so do the styles of lighting available. A row of mini-pendants or a modified chandelier could be
just the thing.

Speaking of chandeliers, in many homes the dining area is technically part of the kitchen, or at least an
offshoot directly next door. The range of chandeliers available to hang over the dining table is simply
astounding. Looking for something classic with a Spanish twist? It's there. Prefer a crystal design that can
easily be moved up and down? Done.

Now the only problem you'll have is narrowing down the choices for kitchen lighting to actually choose
only a few. That's a nice problem to have.

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                                                                       DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Laminate Countertops

Laminates are a newer option in the array of kitchen countertop choices. Old-style laminates were just
plastic or vinyl over a thin support. But with advances in materials science the word really means
something very different today.

That older style still exists, but it is on the lower end of the scale, both in terms of price and
functionality. They display visible seams between sheets, are easily cut, and don't always shed liquids as
well as they should. But they're easy to install and replace. They stand up to impact well and are very
stain resistant. And, they are the low-cost option, making them suitable for certain applications.

Newer laminates are made from binding layers of resin and paper together under high pressure. Then
the top is glued onto medium-density fiberboard to make a a sturdy, quiet, and easy to clean surface.

One of the great advantages of laminates is not just the low cost, however. Because of the materials and
the process used to make them, they can be embedded or printed with any style or design imaginable.

Laminates can emulate a wood surface to a high degree of accuracy today. The material won't feel like
wood, but from a few feet away some will be hard to distinguish from the real thing. They incorporate
the look of natural grain and the tones range over beech, oak, teak, and other natural woods.

Wood isn't the only material laminates can emulate, either. Just as with flooring, they can be made to
look like stone - slate, marble, and many others. Just as with wood, it can be difficult to see the
difference from a few feet away.

Of course, they don't have the durability and other features of the real thing. Burns are nearly
impossible with natural stone. The temperature would have to be much higher than even a pan directly
from the oven. But laminates will burn fairly easily, since the material is essentially a kind of plastic.

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                                                                      DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

Still, they do provide the appearance at a much lower price than stone. The average stone countertop
may run as high as $100 per lineal foot. Laminates range anywhere from $10-$40. Part of that comes
from their being much easier to install. That task is part of the overall cost, naturally.

Some high-end laminates, such as Formica's ColorCore use a melamine compound in the countertop.
That provides a uniform color and texture all the way through the sheet. As a result, any nicks,
scratches, or holes from knife slices, fork pokes, and other common accidents are very well disguised.

Also, since the color and consistency are uniform throughout the sheet, there's no edge effect. The
laminate looks the same on edge as it does on the surface. That eliminates one of the most obvious
visual cues of past laminates.

Even if a laminate is not your preferred long-term option for a kitchen countertop, it might make a good
intermediate solution. It provides a highly usable and attractive surface while you save for that dream

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                                                                        DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Modern Stove Options

Most homes today come with a stove pre-installed. Even brand new homes typically have one. But
whether you're moving into a just-built home, remodeling another, or are just tired of the stove you
have, there are lots of options available.

Natural gas forms a very large percentage of the models for sale. Countertops come in a wide range, but
Corian makes for an excellent choice. It blends well with a burnished stainless steel model and is highly
resistant to burns and stains.

But natural gas stoves do have some drawbacks. Contemporary regulations in most cities limit the heat
they produce to between 20,000-25,000 BTUs. Commercial stoves of similar design, by contrast, can
easily provide 30,000-40,000 BTUs. So, the home versions have some artificial restraints. With the rising
price of natural gas, they're also not quite the bargain to run that they used to be.

Propane is a viable alternative, especially for those who live outside a traditional suburban
neighborhood. There are more and more of those individuals as demographics change, too. Even track
homes are becoming larger and further apart. At a certain point, propane becomes a necessity since the
local gas company sometimes won't run pipes out to these areas.

But propane, like anything, also has a downside. Most gas-burning stoves will have to be fitted with
different housings to burn propane. That's ultra-easy to do, but there is some cost involved, something
as much as a hundred dollars or more. Also, propane prices, like everything else, have really gone up the
past few years.

Electric stoves continue to be used in a substantial percentage of homes. Contemporary designs don't
have the problem of taking a long time to heat or cool down that older models did. Made of high-tech
glass, they heat in a few seconds and most will cool down to the touch just as quick. They offer an
integrated look - no coil burners sticking up. Halogen burners provide high heat and a very stylish look.

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                                                                      DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

The price of electricity is likely to rise more slowly than natural gas or propane over the next several
years, too. More nuclear power plants are coming online in the next 20 years and that will tend to keep
prices capped.

Whichever basic heating method you prefer, there are hundreds of stylish choices. Modern stoves don't
just work well. They look terrific. Whether you're looking for a brushed steel design, or prefer a dark
glass that matches the rich look you saw in that home design magazine, there's a stove design to suit
your taste.

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                                                                           DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

DIY - Kitchen - Staining Kitchen Cabinets

Staining cabinets is one of the easiest and most rewarding home do-it-yourself projects. It beautifies and
protects the cabinets while requiring very modest effort. In no time, homeowners can have great
looking cabinets.

As with painting walls, the first step to staining cabinets is to select the material.

Stains fall roughly into one of three categories: wood-toned or transparent, semi-transparent, and
opaque, depending on the degree to which they cover up and protect.

Wood-tones allow the natural grain and texture to show clearly, giving only a slight (or even no) tint.
Semi-transparent allows grain to show clearly, but gives a darker finish and covers up more blemishes. It
provides increased protection from sunlight, too. Solid colors are not paint - they're made of different
compounds. But they do cover thoroughly, allowing little or no grain to show. They give strong
protection from UV and other influences.

The next step is simple, though some effort is required. Preparing the surface for stain requires
removing anything that would prevent it from seeping well into the wood. Surface stain doesn't last.
That entails getting rid of any greasy handprints, old paint or lacquer, or latex stain. In short, anything
between the new stain and the absorbent wood fibers.

Depending on the state of the cabinets that can be easy or difficult. Old paint has to be scraped and
sanded away. Greasy handprints are simple to remove.

Once you have a clean, fresh surface the rest is easy. It just takes a bit of care.

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                                                                         DO IT YOURSELF – KITCHEN GUIDE

It's not necessary to remove cabinet doors. But the job will go easier if any handles are removed. Any
stain that ends up on hinges or other hardware is easy to wipe off before it dries. For an extra margin of
safety, you can apply some masking tape over any screw heads that will prevent easy wiping with a rag.

Apply the stain to a portion of the wood on the interior, to test for color. Allow it to dry before
continuing. Stain will change color slightly (often drying lighter) after it's been on the surface for some

Depending on the type of stain that may take only a few minutes, or it can take all day. NGR alcohol
stains dry very fast, though they're not very UV resistant. Oil-based stains take a while, but they provide
lasting protection.

Some newer formulations strike a good balance. They may dry to the touch within as little as 15
minutes. But, since they are a combination compound, they have many of the advantages of penetrating
oil stains.

Once you're satisfied, just wipe the surface in broad strokes, taking care around the hinges. Leave a
window open to allow the stain to dry well and avoid a build up of noxious fumes.

Depending on the age of the wood, it may be necessary to apply more than one coat. Fresh, previously
unfinished wood will soak up a lot of stain the first time. Aging or previously finished wood may soak up
very little. Applying an extra coat helps lengthen the time needed before they have to be stained again.

                                          THANKS FOR READING

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