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10 Details That Make the Kitchen (from

201408 onsite 10 kitchen details  1 10 Details That Make the Kitchen (from

Ample countertop space adjoins this stovetop and ovens, allowing landing areas for pots, dishes and anything needed while cooking. Photo by PhotographerLink, courtesy of Nar Fine Carpentry.


[This article appears courtesy of]

Small design details make a big difference in functionality.

Myriad details determine the success of a kitchen design. Some are basic to optimal kitchen functionality, while others are personalized to the homeowner’s lifestyle. Still others have been culled from years of experience and are often what separate a professionally executed kitchen from one that serves up frustration.

Following are 10 kitchen areas where attention to detail can improve usability, comfort and visual appeal.

Aisles. Islands are a must-have in today’s kitchens, but just as important is the ability to maneuver around them with ease. Designer Nicolette Patton, CKD, of Nar Fine Carpentry in Carmichael, Calif., recommends an aisle space of 42 inches to 48 inches between an island and perimeter cabinetry. If there’s a dishwasher or refrigerator, widening the aisle to 48 inches or more allows the door to open with ample room left over for someone to pass by.

Pro-style ranges. Because some models are deeper than typical base cabinet depth, they may prevent adjacent cabinet doors and drawers from opening when placed too close to a corner, notes Jean Stoffer, eponymous owner of a Chicago-based interior design firm. Don’t assume all 36-inch pro-style ranges are equally deep. Consult the appliance specifications before finalizing the design.

Panel-ready vs. fully integrated refrigerators. Educate homeowners on the difference between the two, Patton says. The latter costs more but, when installed, is completely concealed; panel-ready units protrude a few inches and look like refrigerators with cabinet paneling. With fully integrated models, the base cabinets may need to be pulled 1 inch forward during installation or made deeper to ensure they’re flush with the refrigerator, Stoffer says.

Countertop corners. If opening the refrigerator causes the door to bump into a countertop corner, round the corner or angle it back, Stoffer suggests. Alternatively, install a 90-degree stop on the refrigerator door. If the refrigerator is housed in a tall cabinet, extending the side of the cabinet so it’s even with the countertop edge eliminates the corner altogether.

Landing space. Make sure there’s at least 18 inches of counter space on either side of the cooktop or range, notes Courtney Ziething, owner and head designer of C.C. and Company in Newport Beach, Calif. Similarly, wall ovens, microwaves and refrigerators also require nearby landing areas.

Counter seating. Provide enough room to accommodate “at least the family and possibly a few friends,” Ziething says. For the comfort of those seated, Patton recommends an overhang of at least 15 inches for a 36-inch-high countertop and 12 inches for one that’s 42 inches high.

Wall space. Not all wall space is an invitation to install cabinets, especially if it’s narrow and next to a window or a ventilation hood, Patton says. Instead, consider leaving it as is, which may enhance the kitchen’s overall aesthetic appeal and add a feeling of lightness.

Lighting. Position the lighting over work surfaces to eliminate shadows. And be mindful of scale when selecting pendants or chandeliers for suspension over an island or peninsula. The bottom of the light fixture should be at least 72 inches above the floor, Stoffer says.

Pot fillers. In northern climates, if the plumbing for a pot filler is located in an outside wall, it should be insulated against cold temperatures, which requires installing a thicker wall during framing, Stoffer says.

Natural stone countertops. For a cleaner look, the veining should align across seams when possible. On islands, which are centrally located and brightly illuminated, Patton eliminates this problem, as well as seams, by staggering counter heights and using different materials.

Posted in Kitchen Remodeling & Renovation.

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Worker Safety Considerations in Residential Remodeling

By Matt Blank

Worker safety in residential Remodeling is a top priority for us here at MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC. If a person cannot expect to be safe at work, the trade as a whole will suffer. Hundreds of Contractor Continuing Education courses every year in the US focus on keeping employees, clients and neighbors as safe as possible, while also highlighting the latest and greatest in advances in safety features for the different tools and machines needed to get projects done right.

Danger can be found in any corner of the house, no matter whether you’re remodeling a kitchen, bathroom or basement. Especially in exterior situations, such as windows, siding and roofing, safety must ALWAYS be on your mind; ladders and scaffolding of 40ft or higher may be needed.

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Here are the common safety inspections and precautions we go through on every project:

  • Where job materials will be placed – We always inspect first where and how we will get building supplies to the project. Can a truck dump it? Does it need to be hand carried? How do we keep it away from exits?
  • Where trash/dumpster will be placed – Workers need safe and efficient access to get rid of trash and debris, but it also needs to be in a spot that is easy for the truck to pick it up when it needs emptied. This is often in the driveway, and making sure it is not blocking the view of someone leaving the home is critical.
  • Level areas for ladders, scaffolds – This is not always the easiest to do, but a ladder/scaffold must be secure and level for workers. Sometimes plywood may be used to help level out the ground below.
  • Hard hats
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Yellow tape and/or signage when necessary – This could be blocking people from walking under or around a jobsite and/or dumpster.
  • Extra person– When a situation calls for an extra person on hand for helping with things like handling heavy jobsite materials or holding the ladder when climbing, it is always best practice to have at least one extra person on site and sometimes more depending on the size and scope of the project.

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Kitchen Remodel Cost Basics

What goes into the cost of your kitchen remodel? Many times meeting with prospective clients around Lancaster, PA, they want to know a ballpark estimate for what their kitchen will cost. There are many issues with this, but the first is we need to be able to get in the existing room and take a look at the current state of everything and then start to lay down the places you want it to go.

There are A LOT of different cost factors when it comes to remodeling your kitchen. Whether it is just some cosmetic upgrades or a complete tear out and replace, there are many small decisions that could wind up having a big effect on your final investment amount.

We begin to break it down below. Please note that there are still plenty of other factors that an experienced kitchen remodeler will understand and discuss, but this is a good guide to get started.

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Appliances –

  • Keep existing
  • Name brand and model type can significantly increase your Appliance allowances.

Cabinetry –

  • Type of wood
  • Type of finish
  • Door Style
  • Hardware
  • How many? All of these will determine the range your cabinetry budget fall under.

Walls/Ceilings –

  • The most common is painted drywall, of course.
  • People also choose plaster and wood for their project.
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Kitchen Addition inside after.

Countertops –

  • Laminate
  • Solid Surface (Corian)
  • Granite Slab
  • Quartz
  • Marble

Backsplash –

  • Sink with 4” backsplash combo
  • Laminate
  • Ceramic Tile – The style of tile you chose will determine the cost here. You could range anywhere from $1/sq ft to $40 or more.

Flooring –

  • Vinyl
  • Luxury Vinyl Tile
  • Ceramic Tile

Lighting Possibilities –

  • Decorative
  • Recessed, general light
  • Task under-cabinet
  • Ceiling fan/lights

KitchenRemodelLancasterPA 300x224 Kitchen Remodel Cost Basics

Plumbing –

  • Faucet with pull out spray
  • Pot-filler faucet
  • Garbage disposal
  • Moving the main sink area to another part of the kitchen
  • Instant hot water

Sink –

  • Porcelain
  • solid-surface
  • stainless steel
  • under mount
  • self-rimming

Other –

  • Bigger windows? We have several clients who have had us add a bay window behind their sink, replacing the original, smaller single hung window.
  • What’s behind the walls? Experts suggest saving an extra 10% over your budget as a rainy day fund because you can never know what’s behind the walls until you get in there and look.

When it’s time for your Kitchen remodel – call the best in Lititz, Lancaster, Mt. Joy, Conestoga, Millersville, Landisville, Elizabethtown… You get the idea!

MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC

Check out the Cost vs. Value Report 2014 for Central PA here.

Posted in Kitchen Remodeling & Renovation.

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Matt interviewed for Angie’s List Experts article!

Matt Blank of MBC Building & Remodeling, LLC in Lancaster County, PA was recently interviewed with two other remodeling contractors from around the nation for an Angie’s List Experts article on “What’s Trending With Bathroom Tile?”!

You can read the whole article below. Thank you to for the opportunity!

Read Article on Angie’s List here.

What’s trending with bathroom tile?

 Matt interviewed for Angies List Experts article!

Larger, neutral-colored tiles remain a popular choice for both bathroom floors and walls. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Melissa B., of Euless, Texas)


A classic never goes out of style. If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, tile is durable enough to withstand the environment, and diverse enough to fit into anyone’s design decor.

Here to explain why tile will always be trending in today’s bathrooms are three highly rated professionals: Cal Doyle, president of Budget Bathrooms in Phoenix; Matt Blank, marketing director for MBC Building & Remodeling in Millersville, Pennsylvania; and Madeline Pillow, marketing coordinator for Moss Building & Design in Chantilly, Virginia.

What’s the latest and greatest with tile?

Doyle: For floors, a growing trend is plank, wood-like porcelain tiles. When properly installed, these tiles have the look of real wood, without the risk of water damage inherent with natural wood. These are a great choice for baths.

Blank: The most popular tile continues to be ceramic. However, over the past two years, we’ve seen a steady rise in the use of luxury vinyl tiling for flooring. Larger tiles (12-by-12) seem to be the size most often selected. Colors are all over the map depending on individual tastes, but they remain neutral at their core. On average, the prices range from $4 to $10 a square foot.

Pillow: Large-format porcelain tile, using 12-by-24s on the floor and the same size, or smaller rectangular tiles, on the walls. Prices average $5 to $15 per square foot. Gray tones are also really big right now.

How do you clean tile?

Doyle: There are many good cleaning products on the market. Avoid those that are acidic and abrasive, which will quickly dull the surface, destroying the “wow” that you worked so hard to capture.

Blank: There are myriad cleaners on the market. Many experts recommend heating the tile up 10 degrees or so by running the shower very hot. Which can double the effectiveness of cleaners.

Pillow: Clean with a mild detergent and water. Use a rag instead of a sponge. Natural stone requires a little more care — avoid natural acidic cleaners such as vinegar solutions or lemon juice.

Why hire a professional for the installation?

Doyle: A specialized bath renovator knows how to build a bathroom correctly. The professional can advise on what gives the most “bang for the buck,” which can save thousands of dollars. Often, a person may think they’re saving money [DIY], but in the end discover they’ve done nothing but purchase problems and grief and an installation that must be torn out and rebuilt.

Blank: Experience. The average homeowner has most likely never tiled anything before. If the tiles aren’t installed correctly, they can easily crack. Which means more money to replace them. Also, leaks in showers can cause rotting, mold and plenty of issues that you may not be aware of until it’s too late.

Pillow: Improper installation can result in cracked or popping tiles. It’s important to know the details of leveling and proper installation to ensure that the tiles adhere to the surface. An experienced tile installer will have the necessary tools and skills to create a beautiful and long-lasting space.

Posted in Bathroom Remodeling & Renovation.

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Pre-Finished Hardwood Floor Care Guide

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Connie Lapp at Martin’s Flooring of Central Pennsylvania for this AWESOME Care and Maintenance guide for Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors. Martin’s offers a ridiculous selection of these things!  Pre Finished Hardwood Floor Care Guide

Care and Maintenance Guidelines for Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors

1. Before performing any maintenance on the Hardwood floor, thoroughly vacuum the floor with a vacuum with a soft brush and wand attachment to ensure the flooring is free of any sheet rock and wood flooring dust. Do not use vacuums with beater bars or hard heads.

2. NEVER CLEAN OR WET/DAMP MOP WITH WATER, INCLUDING STEAM MOP CLEANERS (i.e. “SHARK” cleaners). Water may permanently damage the floor.

3. Never use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia-based cleaners, acrylic finishes, mop and glow products, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, oil soap, abrasive cleaning soaps, or acidic materials such as vinegar. Many of these products can pit or etch the finish of your flooring or prevent the proper use of recommended maintenance materials.

4. After vacuuming the floor, dust mop the floor if needed. A swivel-head mop with a soft cover is highly recommended to eliminate finer particles of grit and dirt that can act like sandpaper on hardwood floors.

5. Spills and tracked-in dirt should be wiped up immediately. For spot cleaning, apply manufacturer’s hardwood floor cleaner onto a clean cloth and rub onto the spot. Never apply wax treatments to your urethane-coated floor.

 Pre Finished Hardwood Floor Care Guide

6. Clean the entire floor with manufacturer’s hardwood and a swivel-head mop with soft cover. Spray the floor cleaner directly onto the floor or on the mop cover. DO NOT allow excess floor cleaner to remain on the floor’s surface. Excess liquid may damage the fiber of the wood.

7. Use interior and exterior doormats at all entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent it from being tracked onto the hardwood floor.

8. Area rugs are recommended in front of kitchen sinks, at all pivot points and within high-traffic areas. Do not use rugs with solid rubber or vinyl backings. The rugs must be made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment.

9. Protect your floor from direct sunlight. Use curtains and UV resistant film on large glass doors and windows. Move area rugs occasionally as they block sunlight and may give the appearance of discoloring under the rug.

10. Keep animal nails trimmed to minimize finish scratches.

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