“Be Aware (and Beware) of Water in Your Kitchen”
by John Allen, Kitchen Views, Newton, MA
Water is an essential element to any kitchen. Cooking and cleaning are basically impossible without it. However, there are some considerations that need to be made regarding water when planning your kitchen.
Having a sink and faucet in close proximity to the stove is essential. You want to make sure that you are not constantly carrying a pot filled with a couple of gallons of water any farther than you have to. Some kitchens now have pot fillers at the stove and/or cooktop. This is a great help when filling a pot but there needs to be a sink somewhere near the stove to empty the pot once the pasta is done.
Water infiltration also needs to be carefully considered in regards to your cabinets. While overflowing sinks and leaking pipes quickly come to mind, most of us will avoid these obvious disasters. However, there are more subtle way that cabinets can be damaged over time when exposed to water from other causes.
The most common ways that doors and drawer fronts are exposed to water are from cleaning and from runoff from the sink. If the front of the sink base gets wet when doing dishes, do your best to dry it immediately. It also helps to have enough countertop overhang that water dripping off the counter falls to the floor rather than onto the doors and drawer fronts. Cabinets need to be cleaned gently with a damp cloth. Be careful not to use a wet cloth. This will leave excess water on the cabinets which could, over time, compromise the finish.
Bathroom cabinetry has another enemy – steamy showers. We all love a hot shower, and we can continue to enjoy them. But the moisture naturally generated in bathrooms must be properly vented to avoid damage to cabinetry as well as walls and ceilings. Most new bathrooms are equipped with ceiling fans for this purpose. But homeowners must be diligent to be certain every member of their family remembers to use the ceiling fan. If you are a parent, you will know about this struggle.
The finishes that cabinet vendors apply, whether painted or stained and clear coated, are amazing. They can be applied smoother, cured faster with less waste and environmental impact than ever before. That said, they cannot protect a wood or MDF from water forever. Water will find its way to the wood and then the finish will begin to peel, chip and discolor. This is not a defect of the cabinet and is not covered under any cabinet manufacturer’s warranty.
Be mindful of your sources of water — how it is used, where it goes and how it is handled — and the experience of using your new kitchen will be even more satisfying.