Monday, April 29, 2013

18 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

by: Laura Gaskill

If you're itching to reduce allergy symptoms, this mini guide to reducing allergens around the house can help

1. Stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Keeping dust and pet dander at bay is a continual process, and it's especially important to stay on top of cleaning when allergies are a concern. Be sure to wipe surfaces with a damp rag rather than dry dusting, which often just brushes dust back into the air.

Ideally, members of the household without allergies would take on the dustiest jobs, but if you have bad allergies and must clean, wear a dust mask — or hire a cleaning service if you can.
2. Start a no-shoes policy and beef up doormats. Keep dust, pollen and more from entering your house in the first place by encouraging visitors to slip off their shoes at the door. Provide ample interior and exterior doormats to trap shoe muck and a basketful of slippers for guests.
3. Upgrade your vacuum cleaner. Get one with a HEPA filter to trap allergens — these filters work wonders. Also be sure to choose a vacuum cleaner with a bag that can be changed easily (that is, without spewing dust everywhere).
4. Swap out heavy drapes. Thick drapes with lots of folds and pleats are masters at trapping dust and other allergens. Instead choose blinds you can wipe down or machine-washable curtains.
5. Remove carpeting. Traditional wall-to-wall carpeting is notoriously difficult to get and keep clean. Whenever possible, go with hard flooring (wood, tile, linoleum) instead.
6. Steam clean; don't shampoo carpets and area rugs. If you really want carpeting, vacuum it regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter (see above) and deep clean with a steam cleaner. Most rented carpet shampooers do not get hot enough to get rid of allergens, so consider making the investment in a real steam cleaner to keep at home.
7. Store all food in airtight containers. Don't tempt bugs and mice — every time you open a package, put the contents inside an airtight container in the cupboard or fridge.

8. Green your cleanup. Harsh chemical cleaners may irritate those with allergies. Luckily, it's quite easy to find safe and effective natural cleaners, so you can cut back on the synthetic stuff.

9. Cover mattress and pillows. Zip on dust mite covers to protect your sleeping area. If you have kids, be sure to get covers for their mattresses and pillows, too.

10. Keep under the bed free of clutter. Clutter attracts dust bunnies and makes it more difficult to reach the entire space to vacuum. Keep this area clean and clear, and be sure to reach under with a hose attachment to vacuum regularly.

11. Streamline kids' spaces. Children's rooms accumulate stuff like nowhere else in the house. But if allergies are a problem, having lots of toys — especially soft toys — everywhere will only make things worse. Try rotating out toys to keep things fresh (and neat), and store extras in an out-of-the-way closet. Washing stuffed animals when possible can also help keep dust at a minimum.
 12. Wash linens in hot water. Bedding, towels and kitchen linens should be laundered in hot water — remember that when you are shopping and choose fabrics that can stand up to the heat.
13. Store only clean, dry items in closets. Putting away clothes or linens that are still slightly damp can create the perfect environment for mildew and mold to grow, while dirty clothes and blankets attract fabric-eating moths. Keep your closets fresh and bug free by washing and thoroughly drying items before storing them for the season.

14. Clean and ventilate the bathroom regularly. Frequent cleaning and plenty of fresh air should keep mildew and mold at bay. But if you do see mold, be sure to use a cleaner that says it kills mold — not all of them do.
15. Replace filters in fans and heating and cooling systems. This is key for keeping the air in your home clean. Each time you change the filter in your bathroom exhaust system or air conditioning or heating system, mark the next change date on the calendar.

16. Keep pets out of bedrooms, at a minimum. No matter how sweet and cuddly your furry friend is, if he's making you wheeze, it's time to set some boundaries. Keeping pets in a protected outdoor area would probably be ideal, but at the bare minimum enforce a no-pets policy in bedrooms.

 17. Detox your home. Harsh chemicals can aggravate allergies, so do your best to avoid bringing them into your home. Swap out chemical cleaners and air fresheners for natural versions, and air out new furnishings and freshly dry cleaned clothes to give toxins a chance to off-gas.

18. Keep the air fresh. Open the windows to let in fresh air, unless you have seasonal allergies, and consider using a room air filter to clean the air. Avoid using fireplaces and definitely do not allow smoking in the house.

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630



Monday, April 22, 2013

9 Molding Types to Raise the Bar on Your Kitchen Cabinetry

by Shane Inman

Customize your kitchen cabinets the affordable
way with crown, edge or other kinds of molding

Moldings can make any project look custom. When applied to kitchen cabinetry in particular, these architectural details can help enhance the most basic cabinet style. With the multitude of different configurations and designs available, crown molding, edge molding and more can help personalize your next kitchen project.

1. Traditional crown molding. Traditional crown molding tends to be the industry standard for kitchen cabinetry. Here it has been used to fill an empty space between the cabinets and the ceiling. Empty space above cabinets is a common problem, because the distance fluctuates depending on ceiling height and cabinetry height. If you have an average ceiling height, about 8 feet high, 3 to 6 inches of crown molding can usually help fill any kitchen cabinet gaps. 

2. Stacked crown molding. Many ceilings are too high for the designer to take the cabinetry all the way up, so crown molding becomes more of a decorative element, like in this kitchen. This crown molding is composed of many pieces of molding, all meticulously stacked on top of one another for a uniform look.

Moldings are detailed design accents, so some types can be expensive. They're usually priced by the linear foot and, since most are available in 8-foot lengths, it's easy for the cost to add up. One rule of thumb: The more elaborate the design, the more expensive it usually is.

3. Stepped crown molding. This kitchen design uses upper cabinets in varying heights for a stepped look, and the molding has the same stepped appearance.

To pull off this look, you may want professional help. The placement of each piece of molding needs to be precisely calculated, and the end of the molding needs to butt up against an adjacent wall or cabinet. It may sound easy, but it definitely isn't!

4. Interior crown molding. Placed around the perimeter of this kitchen's ceiling, the crown molding immediately draws the eye upward. And it incorporates the ceiling's crown molding for continuity.

It is important to know that additional molding means an additional expense. Looking to save money? Try interior moldings made out of foam or a similar material.

5. Edge molding. Moldings can be added to almost every part of a cabinet or shelf. This homeowner or designer added molding to the outside edge of the shelving, known as an edge molding.

Decorative molding on open shelving not only adds a new design feature, but it can also add a structural element. Some shelving, depending on the span (anything over 36 inches) can bow from weight if it isn't supported correctly. Applying an edge molding to the outside edge of the shelf can prevent sagging.

6. Light molding. Also known as a light rail, molding on the bottom of cabinets helps conceal undercabinet lighting. Light molding offers huge impact for your dollar. It's often available as a standard cabinetry feature in multiple styles and lengths, meaning it has almost no impact on a budget.

7. Shoe molding. Shoe molding (sometimes known as quarter round) is applied to the perimeter of all the base cabinets here, connecting cabinetry to flooring. You can install shoe molding to match your cabinets, as shown here, or to match your flooring.

Should you have to install new flooring in your kitchen without removing the base cabinetry, shoe molding can help hide any installation imperfections by camouflaging cut edges.

8. Applied molding. Molding on walls or built-in cabinetry is called applied molding, because the molding is adhered or applied to the surface.

The most common area in the kitchen for applied molding is the surround for the range hood. This area is often a focal point, so it demands attention to detail. Molding is usually added to coordinate or match with the door style or surrounding motifs. Although it seems like a small detail, applied molding creates balance and cohesion.

9. Bottom molding. Molding at the bottom of the base cabinet doors and above the toe kick is known as a bottom molding. As you can see here, it helps make an island look more like furniture than kitchen cabinetry, especially when it's used in conjunction with some of the other molding elements mentioned previously.

Would you like to customize your kitchen cabinets with molding?  Cabinet-S-Top can help!
We are located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630

Monday, April 15, 2013

8 Cabinet Door and Drawer Types for an Exceptional Kitchen

by Shane Inman
Pick a pocket or flip for hydraulic. These alternatives to standard
swing-out cabinet doors offer more personalized functionality

Don't resign your new kitchen to standard, everyday cabinet doors and drawers. Make it extra functional and extra beautiful with cabinetry that utilizes every square inch, camouflages potentially messy areas or accents the unique parts. See if these cabinet doors and drawers can enhance your kitchen's design.

Corner drawers. These are a twist on the corner cabinet, pulling out from the corner. You usually have to bend over backward or crawl on your hands and knees to find items inside a corner cabinet, but these fully accessible drawers help solve that problem.

These drawers may not be available from every cabinetry company; check before settling on a manufacturer.


Track doors. Consider eliminating all of your swinging doors and place your cabinet doors on a track instead. These cabinet doors slide side to side on a ball-bearing track. Slide one door in front of the other to access the inside of each cabinet.

This system can make things easier, but you can't have every door open at the same time, unlike with traditional side-hinged doors. Also, some homeowners consider the track an eyesore, especially in more traditional kitchens. Look into track hardware with an oil-rubbed-bronze finish for a warmer look.

Pocket doors. Pocket doors aren't just for your home's doorways — use them to hide heavily used task or prep areas in your kitchen. A small internal pocket (usually about 3 inches) is built into each side of the cabinet. When the doors are open, they can look just like any other cabinet door. But when they close, they slide back into themselves. They're perfect for a kitchen — isn't bumping your shin or elbow on a cabinet door the worst?

Flip-up doors. Hydraulic mechanisms help raise these kinds of cabinet door up, rather than you opening them with the traditional sideways motion.

These are also known as parallel lift-up doors; they're very popular with European cabinet companies. They're great for specialty areas — such as this microwave station — where the door needs to be completely out of the way.

Sliding doors. These cabinet doors slide horizontally to the right and to the left to open up prep or storage space. Specialty hinges applied to the top, bottom and middle allow them to completely camouflage what's inside, like this appliance center, making for a tidy kitchen.

Tambour doors. Also known as a garage door, the tambour door is perfect for hiding small appliances used on a daily basis — like the blender, coffee maker or toaster.

The door usually opens from top to bottom (some open from side to side), sliding up and down on a track inside the cabinet. Thin horizontal strips of wood with a fabric backing allow the wood to roll over the inside top of the cabinet when the door is open.


Glass-front drawers.
Like glass-front cabinetry, glass-front drawers can make a kitchen look bigger and help you stay organized. This kitchen has glass-front drawers that store dry food items — showing them off is all part of the design. Many glass-front drawers have a 2- or 3-inch space right behind the glass that you can keep filled with food so the drawer always looks full. You don't want to show off an empty drawer after mac-and-cheese night.

 Custom drawers. Get creative with your drawers — don't be afraid to show off your style. Old-fashioned vegetable and fruit crates were turned into wonderfully innovative cabinet drawers here. The look is not for every design style, sure, but it's great for those who want to take a risk.

Tip: Many DIY drawers don't have internal hardware. A little beeswax can help them glide in and out smoothly.
At Cabinet-S-Top, we can help you design your kitchen with more personalized functionality. Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ give us a call to set up an appointment 330-239-3630.

Monday, April 8, 2013

DIY vs. Pro Kitchen Cabinet Makeovers

by Tiffany Carboni

Cabinets are the heart and soul of the kitchen. Because of their importance and scale, cabinets that are worn or outdated are difficult to overlook. Sure, you could start over by demolishing your existing cabinets and replacing them with all new ones, but the options are usually mega-expensive. You can get a refreshed look and more functionality out of your existing kitchen cabinets by updating the doors and drawer fronts, but should you go the cheap-and-easy DIY route? We examine the best of both angles here.

THE "SAVE" FIX: Do It Yourself

Updating cabinets with a coat of paint and new hardware
can change the whole look of your kitchen.
The look: The same bones of the original cabinetry but with a fresh coat of paint, stain and/or new hardware.

When it makes sense: Your cabinets are in working condition but need cosmetic assistance. Maybe you inherited a color that doesn’t match your tastes, or perhaps the cabinetry’s age is showing scratches or a dulled sheen. As long as the cabinet doors and drawers are in decent shape, you can make a weekend project out of rehabbing them.

What’s involved: A commitment to preparation and follow-through, and savvy shopping to find the right color, finish and accessories. Here are some ideas that will require sweat equity but promise not to break the bank.

Paint: Before you slap on your favorite color, heed the advice of professional painters and take the time to properly prepare your surfaces. First, remove all the doors and drawers from their frames, and remove all hardware and hinges. Set up a proper staging area for painting and drying. Use a degreaser or TSP substitute (find it at your local hardware or home-improvement store) to clean off surfaces. This process may require a few passes, depending on the level of accumulated grease and grime. To prepare the surfaces, you’ll need 100-grit sandpaper, paintable wood filler, and high-quality primer and paint.

Restain: You'll need sandpaper (consult your paint store professional regarding the grit needed for the type of wood you’re working with), stainable wood filler, brushes, stain and topcoat.  Follow the same preparations as above, but with a greater eye toward removing the existing topcoat and stain, as this may show through. Apply stain to the cabinets evenly, and allow it to soak in before wiping off excess with a lint-free rag. Repeat as necessary. After the stain has dried, sand it lightly and apply the clear topcoat.

Expose your cupboards: If your cabinet doors are in bad shape, but you don’t have the budget to replace them, consider removing them. Prime and paint the frames and interior boxes with a consistent color or mix it up, with different hues. You can even line each “cubby” with wallpaper if desired.

Change hardware: Whether or not you paint the cabinets, replacing hardware will go a long way in altering their aesthetic. Before buying, make sure to measure your current hardware (particularly drawer pulls) so you can ensure the new hardware will fit in the existing holes.

Things to consider: While you’ve got your tools out, take this opportunity to tackle other cabinetry problems. Lubricate sticking drawers, adjust hinges on misaligned doors, add peel-and-stick bumpers to banging doors, and replace drawer guides as needed. The cost of these additional materials is minimal.

THE "SPLURGE" FIX: Hire a Pro to Reface Doors & Drawers

Hiring a pro to reface cabinets will give you the feeling of a
brand-new kitchen without the time or expense of full remodel.
The look: An almost brand-new kitchen.

When it makes sense: If your cabinet boxes are in operable condition, but the doors and drawers are either in disrepair or stuck in a time warp that no amount of paint or decorative hardware can mask, you can modernize the entire kitchen by leaving the boxes intact and replacing only the doors and drawer fronts. You might also want to upgrade your cabinets' technology. Keep in mind that drawer guides and door hinges only have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. This, plus the fact that hardware has come a long way (soft-close technology!) in recent years, changing these hidden gadgets will greatly improve cabinetry usage.

What’s involved:  “We start with an in-home consultation to understand what we’re working with,” says cabinetmaker Jeb Boynton of Midland Cabinet Company. “Then we have the customer come to the shop to see all the possible door and drawer styles that might match the existing materials.” Once the new style is chosen, there are plenty of options available to enhance existing cabinetry. Boynton’s suggestions include adding crown molding, installing a light bridge over the sink, installing rollout trays in base cabinets or changing out a few choice doors with a contrasting style like designer or leaded glass.

Things to consider: Refacing and installing new features doesn’t come cheap, but it does add tremendous value to the home and extends the life of your kitchen. The cost depends on the materials you use, the extent of the makeover, the style of cabinetry and the finish.  Frameless cabinetry with full overlay doors is easier to work with and thus cheaper than flush inset cabinetry. Additionally, painted finishes cost nearly double what stained finishes do because of the additional steps required.
Not sure you want to tackle your kitchen or let a Pro handle it?  Stop by Cabinet-S-Top located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 to see if we can help.