View Full Version : Pre-Remodel Advice Sought
10-22-2008, 10:11 AM
Looking for any advice while planning a kitchen remodel that would entail the following things:
- Removal of a chimney that wastes precious space in our tiny kitchen -- any downsides other than the demolition dust to consider?
- Moving our electric stove where the chimney was and installing an exhaust vent through the chimney's roof penetration (we cook a lot and smoke is a bummer) -- are some vents better than others?
- Replacing the vinyl kitchen floor which is shot - -what kind of flooring should we use?
- Reconfiguring existing cabinetry -- existing cabinets are flush with the ceiling but hang too low and interferes with the counter top work space. We would also like more storage so things are better hidden away (and are a little concerned about getting things to match well)
- Possibly removing all or part of a wall which separates our galley-style kitchen from a hallway (i.e. waste of space) to gain more work space are for our frequent cooking. As it is, we constantly bump into each other when cooking, which is a real annoyance.
- Moving the 220 power for the stove, supplying power to the vent, and light switch (if the wall is removed), but little else in terms of electrical as we had other stuff done a couple years ago.
- No plumbing location changes likely. Possibly a new wall-mount faucet and backsplash in the same location (the existing ones are old and UGLY). The double flush-mount basin is separate from the faucet and seems OK to us.
- replacing our _horribly loud_ and _stupidly placed_ gas furnace (combustion air supply PVC pipe actually blocks part of a doorway!) with a high-efficiency one that would be upstairs and hidden behind the living space's knee-wall. It would still be directly adjacent to the chimney, just a floor up, so ducting hot air supply, return and exhaust venting should be pretty easy I'd think (we'd gain a coat closet where the furnace currently is and the ducting would go through there to/from new furnace location).
Alternately, the furnace could be moved out to the utility room, as we are considering replacing the (dying? see my other recent post in plumbing forum) gas water heater with a tankless one to save space. The utility room is a walled-in breezeway between the house and the formerly unattached garage, thus it is outside of the foundation and I am wondering about the difficulty of ducting through it.
I know my description lack a lot of context for y'all, but any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
10-22-2008, 12:49 PM
... are some vents better than others?
- Reconfiguring existing cabinetry ... more storage ...
- Possibly removing all or part of a wall which separates ... from a hallway
.... outside of the foundation and I am wondering about the difficulty of ducting through it...
1. Post about the furnace in the HVAC forum here. Support the remaining part of the chimney since you are only removing a part of it and still using the upper portion. So yes this is a big thing to consider compared to demolition dust.
2.a. Ducting for kitchen cooking vent -- how to install if you are still using the chimney for gas venting?
2.b. Induction cooktops use less energy make less heat and so require less venting in general. What size duct are you thinking ? 6", 8", 10" ? Do you cook with woks?
2.c. Vents vary a lot, in how much noise they make to pull the same amount of air. Noise = comfort.
3. To maximize storage space and ergonomics above the counter, consider one long row of shelving or two shelves, instead of a series of upper cabinets screwed together.
4. Removing a butt wall at the end of one counter? Good. Also in a galley style kitchen, to gain more space to move around in, you can make one of the two main walls thinner. And ensure that the major appliances do not stick out needlessly - for example the oven and its plug behind it can be aligned so the plug "bump" fits into a recessed space in the back of the oven instead of pushing the oven out proud of the counter line. How deep will your fridge be? How wide is your aisle now?
5. String a series of lights around the perimeter and the space feels bigger. I-ke-a's Liesta, Dioder, Non, Lack, etc. under the lowest upper.
6. Undermount your old sink in the new counter and you feel you gain space.
8. It's no big deal cutting a hole to put a duct through the wall from the old garage breezeway.
10-23-2008, 06:39 PM
removing chimney? where does it go after the 1st floor ceiling? through 2nd floor or just into attic & through roof? If the house is a ranch style then I would take it down from the roof down to under the floor joist or if a slab home to the slab eliminating it all together. If it does go through other rooms on the 2nd floor then you may want to consider holding off until your ready to remodel the upstairs. If the flue is abandon it would make a good place for the exhaust fan to terminate, HOWEVER the size in CFM may be regulated in your area >size of cooktop (gas) that COULD be installed in the same location as the electric resides now. I know "let the next person worry about it if they put in a gas range or cooktop" but you'll probally find that the jurisdiction you reside in feels different about it. Talk to a local HVAC person they should know local codes, since you are allready going to be working with one over the furnace issues just ask them.
Rule of thumb: Base cabinets = 34.5" tall x 24" deep-->wall cabinets 12"X30" tall with 18" between counter top and bottom of wall cabinet. With a 96" ceiling this leaves 12" on top of your wall cabinets (between ceiling and top of wall cabinet) This space can be utlized for alot of different thing, 50s-60s era homes it was a bulkhead(wasted space except for lazy plumbers and electricans to run lines they did'nt want to drill holes for) before that, probally like what you have, cabinets all the way to the ceiling. The trends seem to be going for a mixture of heights like the end-of-run wall cabinets and the corner cabinets reach the ceiling or near it, maybe a 3" down to allow for a full overlay door style to accept crown moulding.
Your "galley" style kitchen presents unique problems though, long and narrow and not much to do about it without major remodeling. The common wall you are thinking about removing can have it own issues also like IS IT LOAD BEARING, if it is how are you going to support the ceiling/roof load, also by removing it you lose valuable cabinet storage space and work surface that are probally there, and where to put that darn ref. Big and bulky and just doesn't fit anywhere in your new design.
After being in the biz for over 20yrs I can feel your pain. But your on the right track ask question again and again and again and again and well you get the pic. Do yourself a favor, sketch out your kitchen to the 1/16, place obstacles (doorways and windows,chimeys chases) where there are in porportion to the room, measure to the casing as you can't place wall cabinets over window or door casings without a magic wand :) don't worry about appliance and cabinet placement yet. Once you have the basic shell of the room make a copy and white-out the wall you want to remove. This will give you an idea of how much your actually going to loose or gain. Then make another copy of the newly altered print. Now start placing in your sink base as it is'nt moving because of plumbing then put in any corner cabinets and work from there. Most manufatures make cabinets in 3" wide incerments so you'll probally have some filler here and there but thats ok, it gives you some wiggle room, not like custom built models.
Hint: Try to keep the wall cabinets aligned with the base cabinets: ie you don't want the middle of the base cabinet to align with the middle of a wall cabinet door, keep the lines straight.
When you got what you think you want then take it to a cabinet supply Co. "Big box store" they will probally generate a print for you for free and also be able to start pricing some cabinets, so you can see just what the cabinetry is going to cost (without installation of course) installation can differ between cabinetry (High end cabinetry = more careful installation= more $$$) this is just because the cabinetry is more expensive and the contractor dose'nt want to buy any expensive screwups.
Beware there are alot of different choices in cabinetry out there, Wood species,door style, overlay, stain color, CONSTRUCTION, price. Our cabinet co. boosts they have over 5000 different choices in one line (there are 3 lines)
10-23-2008, 10:42 PM
While the chimney occupies space in our kitchen on the first floor, it is not in the living space on the second floor. It is behind the kneewall in the gabled section of the second floor. Therefore it could be removed without disturbing the bedroom/office up there. Then again, that room is pretty small, and it might provide a nice opportunity to make improvements up there later on (like give it its own closet). I figure that we'd take the chimney down to the crawl space and vent the stove exhaust hood and the furnace exhaust out the roof penetration the chimney currently occupies.
I'm just feeling clueless about how to go about figuring what goes where, as I have very little building experience/knowledge, but I really appreciate your advice on mocking up kitchen floorplan, especially as regards whether or not removing that wall would really be worth the trade-offs (less cabinet and appliance surface area) -- assuming it is even possible (whether it is load bearing or not -- how do I figure that out?).
10-24-2008, 08:24 AM
.... how to go about figuring what goes where... especially as regards whether or not removing that wall would really be worth the trade-offs (less cabinet and appliance surface area) ....
A piece of long wall behind a counter? Or a stub wall at the end of a counter?
Draw, sketch, what you have now. Scan and post it here as an attachment. Or draw it in a sketching software already in your PC. Search on *.bmp in your PC.
Approximate sizes are OK at this first stage. Include showing the hallways around the kitchen, and include the chimney. Be precise about the width of your kitchen corridor aisle. 42", 46", 48", 52" etc.
This will enable you to get several answers immediately. To your questions.
10-26-2008, 10:28 PM
Here (hopefully) are sketches I did in Sweet Home 3D, an awesome free download http://sourceforge.net/projects/sweethome3d/. Sorry if the 2D pix is a little cluttered with items -- they make more sense in the 3D walk-through view, but they still represent the space things take up pretty well in 2D, so I kept them.
What you can see in the first pix (forum.gif) is the chimney colored green, some janky shelves to the left of it colored yellow, and the wall we are thinking of removing in red.
You'll also see the "stupid furnace" (see below). The furnace exhaust vents through the chimney. There are two air returns currently -- one is in the hall the furnace is in (like 2 feet to the right of the furnace (the 2' of duct ending in mid-air is really weird and ugly!), and the other return grille is over the plant in the dining room just "behind" (left of) the furnace. Fresh combustion air comes through the floor from a large PVC pipe that partially blocks the doorway (!) to the living room. Rounding it all out, it's so loud that I call it "The Boeing Furnace" -- it's a bane of mine....
The second pix (keep-wall.gif) shows the wall staying, but the furnace, chimney and shelves go. Here, we get: more space in the kitchen, an exhaust hood (we don't have one currently, which is a bummer for us) and a _coveted_ coat closet (colored purple) which our house currently lacks. I'd guess that some ducting would go through the back of this closet, with one furnace air return (the ugly "hanging hallway one") being right over the closet door with a nicer "transom grille".
The third pix (forum-no-wall.gif) has the wall going too, which means the kitchen gets a lot larger (drool, drool), but no coat closet. I was thinking of rotating the stove 90-degrees clockwise so it is against the kitchen wall on the left with cabinets above and below on either side and and exhaust hood. What to do with the ducting for the furnace and stove exhaust vent still needs to be worked out. I'm guessing that at least some of the cabinet colored yellow would have to house ducting for the exhaust hood, and possibly the air return that used to be in the hallway (via a grille above the cabinet).
We could put in a small island (colored green) for food prepping to relieve the crowding at the cleanup sink atop the pix. The current pullout cutting board blocks the access to two kitchen gadget drawers (arg!) and the narrowness of the current layout forces one to block another person's access through the kitchen (really annoying). A small prep-sink and cutting board are possibilities in the island to really divide things up and make the most of the space. Plus, that way, you'd have a place to congregate at parties (why do people always end up in the kitchen?).
Anyway, any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
10-27-2008, 06:42 PM
To find if wall is load bearing-> tear it out ->if the house falls down it was-> if house doesn't fall down then it's not :) JUST KIDDING
Rule of thumb:
1) If ceiling joist/2nd story floor joists run parallel to proposed removed wall then it should NOT be load bearing
2) If proposed wall is close to center of house there starts to be chances that it is because 2nd story floor joist may be spliced together over it or if not spliced the total span may to long to clear span and the joist need a place to bear load, somewhere near the middle of the total span.
3) Because your proposed wall is only 8' from what appears as an exterior wall I would guess it's not, also there's another wall only approx 3' further making up the hallway BUT joist could be spliced on top of either one(see rule #2)
4) What appears to be your dining room seems to clear span the distance you want to achieve in your kitchen so again, because there shouldn't be any reason to change the floor system direction in the middle of the house I would say that you could clear span the kitchen the extra 3'
5) CAUTION. use the roof pitch method. the way the roof pitches is usually the way the bottom cord of the rafter goes. This does not apply to 2 story homes as the floor system may be turned 180d from what you would think depending on spans, the floor system will usually span the shortest distance but not always because of placement of interior walls making up shorter (stronger spans) than a full span from exterior wall opposing parallel exterior wall.
Things to KNOW FOR SURE before you start ripping and tearing
a) Direction of floor/ceiling joists
b) Size of floor joists 2 x ??
c) Material there made of ie: Doug fir,TGI,LVL,Floor trusses or ???
Direction for load bearing purpose
Size because of span ability(strength)
Material because some materials you can drill holes through to run lines ie: 11 7/8" TGI can have a 6" hole drilled in it (following the manufactures directions of course) and still maintain it's strength, whereas most dimensional lumber can't have even to many nails in it.
Start with a small fact finding mission, Pull a floor register from the 2nd story floor to see if you can see the size of the floor joists. You may have to pry the duct work aside to see beside it or cut a small hole in the ceiling board, somewhere that is not noticeable in case you have to patch it back up.
Sorry, but you kinda have to know your home inside and out before you can start doing structural changes.
10-27-2008, 07:37 PM
An island would be small and would block the room's flow. Four feet wide aisles is a good target to shoot for.
Pic 2 makes sense to me. You could widen the 2'3" doorway too.
Pic 3 might make more sense if I knew where the space went to. What rooms.
You got good advice above about structure.
10-28-2008, 06:05 PM
Now let's talk basic kitchen design:
First thing you should strive to do is create a right triangle between your Ref. ,Range, and Main sink the distance between these fixtures shouldn't be over 3 steps or 9' the closer the better. Also there should be at least a 18" landing area on either side of each of these fixtures. You should also maintain at a min. 36" between cabinetry for a walking area. So in a small kitchen, islands can be a hindrence, causing trouble not only with the traffic flow but also in the "triangle" design.
Islands are nice BUT take up alot of real estate. For instance my island is made up of 5 cabinets in kindof a W design. The longest span across the top is 11'. Because I designed my house and my kitchen I was able to incorperate the island, but it wasn't without ALOT of contraversy with my wife (seem they have opions also) but that is waht we settled on. It's larger than I really wanted but in the end really works fine in my open floor plan. Now that being said you could have a island that is only made up of 1 say 48" cabinet could even mount casters on it so it is moveable. John Boos Co. makes some fine butcher block islands that are mobile, Check out there website, although you will probally have to find a dealer as they don't sell retail.
10-28-2008, 06:15 PM
Oh yea, The prep sink idea in the island :( You will be pissed off every time you look at it because of the plumbing bill you got to install it compared to how much you really use it. Plus if it doesn't get used often the trap can dry out and then sewer gas can enter the kitchen leaving you with the question "Why did I put that there anyway and honey what did you throw in the garbage that stinks so much" or "I just can't figure out where that smell is coming from" causing you to hire a plumber to tell you "You need to run some water in that sink once and a while and that will be $80 thank you"
11-12-2011, 10:03 PM
Well, the first phase of this remodel is done -- removing the stupid furnace from the hallway and replacing it and the water heater with a high-efficiency gas boiler and radiators. A few hiccups there, but overall it seems OK.
Now we are looking at removing the wall and chimney, and moving the stove against the dining room wall to really open things up. I am not sure why I didn't think of posting the 3D renderings of the 2D drawings above, but here they are. BTW, I think we are NOT doing ANY island, so disregard that. We are considering a folding cart like those from http://www.oasisconcepts.com/:
I would not even consider making any suggestions until I saw the actual site. Get a layout and drawing from a cabinet shop, or Home Depot.
Does the existing chimney serve anything other than the furnace? A replacement furnace could be side-vented, if that's more convenient. A displacement of the furnace location could lead to unintended system imbalances without a major rework of the supply and return duct arrangement- get a Manual-D duct design on whatever you end up with.
Is the roof deck insulated behind the knee wall in your newly conceived furnace location? Are there any ducts outside the insulation? Putting either the ducts or the furnace outside the insulation would constitute real weak points in the air-tightness of the building, and the resulting efficiency of the heating system. Building an insulated, air-sealed (to the outdoors) cubby behind the kneewall that keeps the furnace inside both the pressure and insulation boundary of the building is much preferred.
Also, since you have a heating history on the place, it's possible to "right size" the furnace for the actual heat load as measured by the previous unit. By going as small as possible (preferably 2-stage or continuously variable) it'll be quieter and you'll be more comfortable. 2, 3, even 5x oversizing is pretty common, since burners are cheap (and 5AM call from the freezing irate customers are expensive :-) ) but sizing it correctly to the load is both more comfortable and usually lower cost, and can be stuffed into a smaller space. There are many homes with 100KBTU/hr + furnaces & 25KBTU/hr 99th percentile design-condition heat loads in WA. With an annual fuel use and a zip code it's pretty easy to come up with a reliable upper bound on the burner output requirements. It's conceivable that a right-sized 2-stage condensing furnace with a whisper-quiet continuously variable "ECM drive" air handler could be installed near the original location and be side-vented using the joist cavities as a side-vent chase rather than chimney venting it.
Whatever you do, don't just read the BTU numbers of the plate on the existing system and buy something as-big or bigger. Most existing gas furnaces in new construction are more than 2x oversized (what, you need to be prepared for the next ice age when it hit's -80F or something?) and even more so on older stock. A Manual-J type heat loss calculation would be useful/necessary were this an all new building, but you have the ability to do something better- a measurement. Manual-J calcs are prone to oversizing by well intentioned data-entry, and I've yet to see one that wasn't at least 15% above measured-reality.
11-30-2011, 11:53 PM
The existing chimney serves nothing now that the furnace has been replaced by a boiler located in another part of the house.
Yes there is insulation behind the knee wall, but that is not where we wound up putting the new boiler. It is in the utility room with the washer/dryer. That room used to be COLD, but now is almost as warm as the house, because the boiler is there. It's more comfortable to be in there, which is good, but I am concerned with how much heat might be getting lost. Should I worry?
There was a problem with the Triangle Tube Prestige Solo 60 boiler we got, which I posted about in the boiler forum here:
12-01-2011, 12:14 PM
By its nature, any combustion device will generate some heat that radiates into the room. Some are better insulated than others. You can insulate all of the water pipes, and that should help. Depending on the type of flue, you probably can't insulate that or the jacket of the boiler. I'm not too sure I'd worry about it and chalk it up to making the laundry room more comfortable.