Builder-Grade Cabinets in the Kitchen

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 9, Part 1

Bob’s in Punta Gorda for kitchen finishes to this storm-ready home. Jack Ballantine from Ambassador Kitchens joins him for the installation of the Cardell maple builder-line cabinets with solid wood framing, maple faces, and pressboard box construction. Richard Wagner of Wagner Cabinetry shows Bob how the upper cabinets are installed on the exterior wall and the base cabinets are set for level, shimmed, drilled in place, and finished with a toe kick and maple crown molding. Andrea Johnson from DuPont Corian shows Bob some of the more than 100 colors and patterns available. These solid surface countertops are stain and scratch resistant, non-porous, and easy to clean. The new colors, like Canyon, are inspired by nature and designed to bring the outside in. Scott Lawyer, the countertop fabricator, joins Bob first to create a template for the solid-surface counters that will be made in his shop, and then to install them. The Luan template is made from blueprints, checked at the site, and set on the Corian as a cutting guide. The Corian integral sink and counter are installed. The counter sections are joined and finish sanded for an invisible seam. Mike Goodrich installs the Whirlpool dishwasher for quiet operation.
Part 1: Builder-Grade Cabinets in the Kitchen
Bob is in the Punta Gorda house with Jack Ballantine of Ambassador Kitchens, where builder line kitchen cabinets have been installed. These Maple cabinets from Cardell Cabinets of San Antonio, Texas, have maple faces, solid wood frames, and pressboard boxes. The hinges are from Blum and are fully adjustable European or concealed hinges. The drawers feature a builder-grade box, which means it's of consistently high quality but not of the company's highest grade. A builder-grade cabinet will feature baseline construction with custom features like cabinet faces and wood selections. The benefit, Ballantine explains, is that the cabinets are delivered on time, consistently. A special rate and quality service are extended to customers, like Ambassador Kitchens or Mercedes Homes, who outfit a number of homes with their line. In Florida, where the demand and wait times are significant, a delivery period of three to four weeks is terrific. Richard Wagner of Wagner Cabinetry is in Punta Gorda for the installation of Cardell Maple cabinets. He starts with an overhead box that is marked for placement using a laser level. Since the exterior walls are concrete and the wall studs are steel, Bob asks how they handle installation. Wagner explains that as with wood, it's a matter of finding a stud and tacking with a finish nail before screwing the cabinets in place. Once tacked, the cabinets are checked again for level and screwed together with 2 1/2-inch flathead, square drive, zinc-coated screws with wood master tips that are serrated and cut through wood like a drill bit. With these screws, Wagner can avoid pre-drilling. After the doors are reattached and adjusted for swing, the crew moves to the base cabinet, which is nearly level and needs only be shimmed in the back. It is checked with a laser line at the wall and two feet out before being drilled in and finished with a toe kick. Bob shows the crown molding that is glued and tacked in place at the top of the cabinets for a finished look.
Part 2: Building a Template for a Kitchen Countertop
Part 3: Installing the Dishwasher
When hurricanes strike again and again, as they did in Florida in 2004, the effects are devastating. Bob Vila and crew work to completely rebuild a damaged house, using new standards for storm-ready housing. Along the way, Bob investigates a home's vulnerabilities in extreme weather and learns why some building systems fail and others succeed.

Also from Storm-Ready Design

  • Episode 1 - Rebuilding to Beat a Hurricane


    Bob is in hurricane battered Punta Gorda, Florida, to build a storm-ready home in Season 1 of Bob Vila. Bob visits two homes in the same neighborhood, one that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, the other that was built to exceed hurricane codes and was left unscathed by hurricane winds and water from the same storm. Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes shows how enhanced building practices and technologies can create a storm-resistant home, while Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Secretary of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen discuss rebuilding Florida. Building inspector Randy Cole and Mercedes Homes’ Jesse Gonzalez review the site and watch the pour of a three-stage steam wall that sits below grade and ties the slab foundation to the ground. The resulting foundation will resist water penetration from storm surge by allowing water to move around the foundation without encountering entry points. Bob reviews the house plans with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes and learns how the house is constructed as an integrated system. Building connections are emphasized and reinforced rebar and steel mesh are extended from the stem wall to the roof line in preparation for the solid concrete pour that will form the exterior walls.
  • Episode 2 - Building a Reinforced Concrete House


    Bob recaps construction of the stem-wall foundation and integral concrete slab, the vertical steel reinforcing, steel mesh, window bucks, headers, and spacers put in place for the cast-in-place concrete walls. Cameron Parker and the crew of Solid Wall Systems spray the aluminum wall forms with an organic oil spray to prevent adhesion from the concrete and set the forms for the pour. Bob joins Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County Emergency Manager, to review cleanup, demolition, and repair one year after Hurricane Charley. sallade explains that housing built in the 1960s through the 1980s, before the Florida Unified Building Code, had stick framing, gable roofs, and siding. "It didn't stand a chance," he says. Looking at surviving 1920s Florida architecture, it's clear that unified construction, concrete walls, protected windows, and hip roofsare the way to design wind-resistant homes. Back on site, bob watches the pour, learns how the walls and window openings will be vibrated to eliminate voids, and sees the bracing set to hold the walls square before leaving the site to let it cure overnight. Once the forms are removed, Jesse Gonzalez explains how a traditional three-coat Florida plaster job will complete the exterior once the structure has cured for two weeks.
  • Episode 3 - Building a Storm-Ready Roof


    This episode of Bob Vila will focus on roofs, how they are built and tied down to keep structures safe. Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, explains how FLASH brings information about safe housing technologies and practices to homes across America, to protect them against floods, winds, hail, and wildfires. Chapman-Henderson explains how a connected house works as a system to beat back the pushing and pulling forces of wind. Randy Shackelford of Simpson Strong-Tie shows Bob the embedded truss anchors that will tie down each truss member of the roof framing, as well as retrofit tie-downs and heavy connectors designed to fight wind uplift forces. Jesse Gonzalez walks Bob through the steel-framed interior that has a master suite and bath, and lots of open space. Bart Cox of Hanson Roof Tiles brings factory-extruded cement clay-look tiles that are pre-drilled for mechanical installation. Dave Peck of D. Peck Roofing explains that stiffer 5/8-inch plywood sheathing, 30 pound felt that is nailed, hot mopped with asphalt, and covered with 90 pound felt makes a strong, water-resistant roof deck for the tiles. Metal nailer boards keep cap tiles in place when wind strikes.
  • Episode 4 - Impact-Resistant Windows for a Storm-Ready Home

  • Episode 5 - Storm-Ready Doors, Fiberglass Wallboard, and Power Backup

  • Episode 6 - Faux Columns and a Gunite Pool

  • Episode 7 - Storm-Ready Stucco Paint, Foyer Tile, and Textured Finishes

  • Episode 8 - Concrete Color Staining, Soffits, and Energy Efficiency

  • Episode 10 - Pool Deck, Toto Washlet, and Wind-Proof Garage Door

  • Episode 11 - Sustainable Landscaping, Water Use, and Termite Control

  • Episode 12 - Hurricane-Safe Pool Structures, Pool Mechanicals, and Safety

  • Episode 13 - Surge Protection, Plumbing, Bamboo Blinds and Garden

  • Episode 14 - Completing the Punta Gorda Storm-Ready House



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