Is using white marble for kitchen counters a bad option?
Marble is not as impervious as granite and thus absorbs tamarind and oil stains easily. Most people prefer to use black granites as it “hides” all stains. But if you want to use white marble for your kitchen counter, treat the surface with a clear, hard ‘surface sealant’. Nothing is better than clear ‘epoxy solution’. This is eight times stronger than other cementitious material and acts as a perfect surface (pore) sealant. This is what is used to fix most foreign (Italian, Iranian, etc) soft stones. You could also use other products such as ‘Ashford formula’ that penetrates the porous structure of the stone and makes it almost impervious. But, like everything else, each of the solutions has a life, ranging from four to eight years. It is less if you chop vegetables on the countertop.
Is piped gas in the kitchen a good option? Do long piping lengths mean a substantial loss of gas in daily use?
Leaking gas could explode on the flip of an electrical switch. Piped gas is common, though it is preferable to install it while the kitchen is being refurbished. Using a copper pipe with 12mm outer diameter and a 2mm-thick wall would be ideal. However, confirm the following with the vendor before installation:
• That a special resin has been applied on every joint before it was welded with a gas torch.
• That they used a spool (it looks like a wheel pulley), and not hammer, to bend the pipes.
• That the minimum bending radius for pipes is 50 times the diameter of the pipe.
• That they used ISI certified “non-return valves” and knobs on either side of the copper pipe. These valves are similar to the ones used in car tyres and ensure that the pipe will always have gas in them.
What are the precautions one should take while using stainless steel in kitchens?
You need to keep three things in mind while purchasing stainless steel sheets: The higher the gauge, the thinner the sheet would be; find out the grade of the sheet; and also check the finish (satin) and colour (gold, black, blue, etc). A 22-gauge sheet (a little over 1mm thick) in satin finish of normal grade and natural colour is available in 8ftx4ft size and costs approximately Rs90 per sq. ft. The entire sheet has to be bought and no cut pieces are available. A 26-gauge (less than 1mm thick) sheet in satin finish and normal grade is available in a 4ft-wide coil or roll form (like a wire mesh) and costs approximately Rs70 per sq. ft. You will have to buy a minimum size of 4ftx2ft. These sheets have a plastic coat which can be peeled off after installation.
Is it advisable to install the washing machine in the kitchen?
Installing a washing machine in the kitchen is a practical solution. However, you should make sure that you get a front-loading machine for this, as a top-loading machine kept under the counter doesn’t work. Ideally, the machine should be located near a sink as it needs a water connection and a drain. Also, ensure that the machine is connected to the water source with a flexible long pipe, as you will need to pull it out before disconnecting it.
(Navneet Malhotra/ Better Interiors)