Options in Timber Kitchen Benchtops

Options for Timber Kitchen BenchtopsAllkind Joinery Brisbane achieved their reputation as Brisbane’s prestige joinery decades ago because of their commitment to quality timber products. Aside from their timber windows and doors, they are sought out for their timber kitchens. It sometimes comes as a surprise to customers when they are told that solid timber is not their only option when choosing a kitchen benchtop from Allkind Joinery. In fact, there are times when timber may not be the best choice.

Options for Timber Kitchen Benchtops

A good kitchen designer will discuss the pros and cons of a variety of kitchen benchtop materials and products with their clients. Some of their options include:

  • Plastic laminate, best known by brand names such as Laminex and Formica, is the least expensive and most popular.
  • Solid Granite is a popular choice, but its cost can be prohibitive for some.
  • Solid surface materials such as Corian are very expensive, but can be restored if stained or scratched.
  • Engineered stone is an increasing popular choice. Made from a mixture of ground quartz or granite and resin, engineered stone looks like solid stone but has a uniform appearance.
  • Timber is a perennial favourite. Usually manufactured from laminated lengths of solid timber, it is ideal for many traditional styles of kitchens.
  • Stainless steel is the professional chef’s choice, but is one of the most expensive options.

Price is obviously one consideration when choosing a timber kitchen benchtop. That’s why laminate is such a popular choice.

Style is another consideration. Of course, style is a personal choice. Some have their hearts set on granite and are willing to pay a premium for it, while others may find the perfect colour or pattern in a laminate benchtop.

Finally, most kitchen renovators are concerned about how good their timber kitchen is going to look in 5 years. How long a kitchen benchtop is going to last is one of the most difficult questions to answer. The fact is that no benchtop material is impervious to scratching and, with the exception of stainless steel, none is completely stain proof. If you’re looking for a kitchen benchtop that will outlast the others, you need to choose a material that can be sanded back and refinished. That limits your choices to two: solid timber and solid-surface.

Choosing a Benchtop for Your Timber Kitchen

Choosing a benchtop for your timber kitchen is a balancing act between price, style and durability. Laminate can be a winner when it comes to price and style, but arguably is the least durable material. With care, granite can be kept stain-free and can be re-sealed if it gets surface scratches. Small scratches can be removed from engineered stone benchtops and if spills are removed as they occur, staining can be avoided.

When choosing between granite and engineered stone, style should be your major consideration. If you like the fascinating variety of subtle colours and patterns in granite, look no further. If you’re looking for a more uniform surface appearance, choose engineered stone or a solid surface material.

Have a look at the Timber Kitchens Gallery on the Allkind Joinery website. You’ll see a number of examples of kitchens that tastefully blend natural materials like timber with modern materials. Really, a kitchen like this gives you the best of both worlds: a practical kitchen with incomparable style. Ultimately, the choice of benchtops is yours, but Allkind Joinery will be happy to help you make an informed decision based on their decades of experience.

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post Options in Timber Kitchen Benchtops appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Rob Schneider.

Putting Your Best Business Foot Forward with Timber Joinery Products

Timber door entries - first impressions count

Have you ever walked into an establishment and suddenly felt a little uneasy about it without quite knowing why? The reception area may have had something to do with that uneasy feeling. The adage, “Image is everything” may not be entirely true, but when it comes to introducing your business to new customers, the image you project can make the difference between success and failure.

The word “image” implies a visual image. No one knows the importance of a positive business image better than the advertising industry. There may be no real difference between one brand of runners and the next, for instance, but by creating a positive image for their client, an ad agency can make one brand appear to be better than the others.

The same principle applies everywhere. Let’s say, for example, that you run a café that specialises in healthy lunches and cappuccinos for the downtown lunch crowd. The new kid on the block, you want to entice customers into your café and get them to sit down and give your business a go. How do you achieve this?

  • Advertising will help attract attention to your business.
  • Your signage will attract customers.
  • Your building facade should reflect the quality and service your customers can expect to receive.
  • A pleasing interior will motivate your customers to sit down and order something.

Where do timber joinery products fit into this? Imagine a customer walking towards your door and seeing an ordinary aluminium framed entry door. Would that inspire confidence that you have something a cut above the rest to offer? Now imagine replacing that ordinary door with a timber door. The door alone tells the customer they can expect to find a healthy, gourmet lunch inside. Add some timber panelling to the facade and perhaps a timber window and the image is complete.

Your new customer is going to size you up further after they step inside. If the first thing they see is a plastic counter that looks like the counters at every cheap takeaway shop in town, they won’t be very impressed. On the other hand, if they see beautifully polished timber veneer panelling and touches of stainless steel, they will immediately associate it with healthy, natural food and hygiene.

A prestige joinery like Allkind Joinery Brisbane can enhance your company image and help attract customers or clients to your door, through your door and up to your reception area. After that, it’s up to you. If you’re confident in the quality of your products or service, success will follow naturally.

Compare the price of quality timber joinery products to mass produced fit outs. Yes, they do cost more, but the difference in cost is far outweighed by the return on investment. This has been proven time and time again. For starters, have a look at the Allkind Joinery 2014 catalogue. You’ll be surprised by how affordable the best timber joinery products can be. Then contact Allkind Joinery directly to find out more. If value, quality and service count in your business, you speak the same language.

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post Putting Your Best Business Foot Forward with Timber Joinery Products appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Richard Travers.

Ventilating Timber Windows and Doors – the Cure for Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a variety of health problems associated with “sick” buildings – buildings that contain high levels of air contaminants. In some countries, SBS is called Tight Building Syndrome or Closed Building Syndrome. These more descriptive terms are the key to understanding why ventilating timber windows and doors are the cure for SBS.

A syndrome is not a specific disease, but rather a group of symptoms that all share a common cause. Some of the symptoms of SBS include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Low level nausea
  • Itchy eyes
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Throat irritation or dryness

Sick Building Syndrome was identified in the 1970s after office workers repeatedly complained about having these and other symptoms while at work. Researchers discovered that the cause of the syndrome was the office environment itself. Many of the building products in modern offices are manufactured using a variety of chemicals that emit toxic fumes for years after they are manufactured. Because the office buildings were sealed environments, the air quality was so poor it was causing sickness.

SBS is not confined to the office. The same chemicals used in office building materials can be found in the home. They are present in many paints, flooring materials, carpets, treated timbers, and even many common cleaning products. Technically called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), they can be easily identified when you open a fresh can of paint or varnish and smell a strong odour. When the paint or varnish dries, the odour vanishes. VOCs continue to be emitted, though, but in much smaller volumes.

Researchers did sophisticated tests to determine safe and unsafe levels of VOCs in office environments. The first thing they discovered was that many offices were more polluted than the outdoor environments of the world’s most polluted cities. One cure for SBS was to replace all the flooring materials and office furniture in polluted offices. An easier cure was to improve ventilation. When sealed windows were replaced with windows that could open and small office doors replaced with wide pivot doors, office workers immediately reported drastic reductions in the symptoms of SBS.

Recent Building Code of Australia (BCA) changes revolve around making homes more energy efficient. One of the recommended changes is to improve ventilation. The legislation is not retroactive, though, and many Australian homes in the past were designed to be virtually hermetically sealed to improve heating and air conditioning performance. Because they were also built with modern building products, they became both unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly.

The cheapest and easiest way to make a “sick” house healthy again is to improve the quality of the air with ventilating windows and doors. An earlier blog, The Best Timber Windows for Ventilation gives a lot of tips for improving ventilation with timber hopper windows and other timber windows. Installing timber bifold doors and windows is another way to bring fresh air into the home.

Another great way to improve air quality in the home is with house plants. Plants have the unique property of absorbing CO2 and releasing fresh, clean, healthy air. In many ways, they work like a carbon water filtration system works to filter out water contaminants. As an added bonus, house plants are a welcome addition to any room decor.

If you think your home could be healthier, download a copy of Allkind Joinery’s 2013 Timber Windows and Doors Catalogue and discover how affordable a more beautiful and healthier home can be.

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post Ventilating Timber Windows and Doors – the Cure for Sick Building Syndrome appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Rob Schneider.

World Wood Day 2014: Honouring Timber Craftsmanship

Back in November 2013, we belatedly covered the inaugural World Wood Day. An initiative of the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS), March 21st 2013 was chosen as the first World Wood Day because it corresponds with the International Day of Forests, which was recognised by the UN General Assembly in 2013. Organisers hope that by raising awareness of the cultural and ecological value of timber, the public and woodworking community will have a better understanding of the importance of conservation and forest reclamation projects. At the same time, they hope to highlight the skills of timber artisans from around the world and promote timber arts and crafts.

Established in 2007, the non-profit society’s larger mission is to:

  • Promote the “Wood is Good” concept, advocating a “harmonious coexistence between nature and people.”
  • Explore the value and usage of wood from a cultural perspective.
  • Provide a platform to study wood culture and encourage woodworking practice and promotion of woodworking.

In 2014, China is hosting World Wood Day, but concurrent events are scheduled for other locations around the world as well. Over 50 countries, including Australia, will be participating in what promises to be an exciting series of events.

The theme for 2014 is “Wood in a Changing Culture.” Culturally, wood has significance as a medium for artistic expression and cross-cultural communication. World Wood Day 2014 honours multi-cultural creativity with a collaborative wood art project. From the 6th to the 18th of March, an international team of wood artists will work together to create a truly international work of art that will be unveiled after events kick off on March 21st.

Other events to be held between the 21st and 24th of March include:

  • “Wood: Art, Joy and Culture” wood carving exhibition
  • “Homeland” wood carving show
  • Woodturning demonstrations
  • A furniture making event
  • Chinese college students’ woodworking competition
  • Folk arts and wood crafts exhibition and live show

The World Wood Day events are going to be held at the Xianyou China Classical Art Expo City in Fujian province. Because of its distant location, it’s not likely many Australian woodworking enthusiasts will be able to attend in person, but it’s nice to know that fine woodworking is finally being acknowledged on an international scale. Now only in its second year, the event has already expanded. More countries are participating this year and the event is expected to be larger than the inaugural event, which was held in Tanzania.

In choosing March 21st as World Wood Day, the organisers hope to achieve two goals:

  1. Promote traditional timber craftsmanship from around the world and
  2. Increase public awareness of the International Day of Forests.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations writes on their official International Day of Forests website: “Forests and trees sustain and protect us, providing clean air and water, safeguarding biodiversity and acting as a buffer against climate change. For many people, they also offer food, shelter and employment. It is up to us in turn to sustain and protect our forests.” No one understands this better than we who work with timber every day. At Allkind Joinery, we applaud the establishment of a special day to highlight the importance of forests and timber to all of us.

Image courtesy of InternationalWoodCultureSociety

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post World Wood Day 2014: Honouring Timber Craftsmanship appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Rob Schneider.

Transforming Your Bathroom with Timber

The trend in bathrooms today is away from the slick-surfaced, institutional look of traditional tiled bathrooms towards a more natural look. What could be more natural than timber?

The trend towards the natural look in bathrooms began with natural healing spas, where all natural ingredients are used in massage oils, cosmetics, and facial treatments. The philosophy behind these spas is simple: nature has healing properties. Just the aromas of nature, fresh air and the soft colours of leaves, flowers and timbers are deeply relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

If anything held back the trend towards transforming the home bathroom into a home spa; it was the misconception that it had to be an all-or-nothing transformation. The bathroom had to be stripped bare and all the fixtures and fittings replaced with the latest and greatest (and most expensive) fittings. That’s fine if you can afford it and have the space in your bathroom to fit a spa bath for two and a waterfall shower. Most of us have limited budgets and limited space, though. Does that mean we have to settle for the clinical look?

One of the great things about using timber in the bathroom is that you don’t have to use much of it to create a dramatic effect. Timber accents like wall panelling or even custom-made timber towel racks are all you need to bring that touch of nature into the room. Some other ways Allkind Timber customers have used timber in the bathroom include:

  • Replacing their vanities with timber vanities;
  • Having a timber screen installed to hide the toilet;
  • Installing timber hopper windows; and
  • Installing a wall-mounted or freestanding slatted timber bench.

Ideally, it’s better to have a few matching or complementary timber accents rather than just one, but you needn’t go overboard. Just enough to create a homogeneous bathroom design and highlight the other decorative surfaces in the bathroom is perfect.

If you have a small bathroom, use timber sparingly. The best timbers for bathrooms are usually darker timbers. Dark colours used extensively can make a small space appear even smaller. Used in moderation, though, timber used as an accent against pale colours creates an illusion of three-dimensional depth that makes the room appear larger. Timber also reminds us of the great outdoors, relieving the “closed-in” feel of a small bathroom.

Your choice of timber and timber treatments is very important in the bathroom. Some timbers are more water resistant than others and one surface finish may be more appropriate for a wet area than another. An experienced joinery like Allkind Joinery Brisbane will know what timbers to use and how to polish them for long-lasting beauty and easy maintenance.

If entering your bathroom feels like entering a dentist’s office, think of ways you can use timber in the bathroom to make it feel more like a welcoming spa. You’ll be surprised by how cost-effective the timber solution can be and what a wonderful difference it can make.

Timber Bathrooms

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post Transforming Your Bathroom with Timber appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Rob Schneider.

The Hazards of Lead-Based Paint on Timber Windows

Until 1970, lead-based paints were used extensively on Australian homes. Until that time, the health hazards of lead were little understood and most paints contained extremely high levels of the toxic metal — as high as 50% of their entire contents in paints produced prior to 1950. Thousands of these homes are being renovated today. One of the charms of these older homes is their original fittings, such as timber windows. Whilst the windows may have been repainted many times over the years, the original lead-based paint still lurks beneath the surface.

Home renovators today appreciate the beauty of natural timber. the temptation to scrape the paint off of old timber casement windows and timber double hung windows is hard to resist, Before you do, though, it’s important understand the hazards of lead-based paints.

Lead Alert is a publication released by the Australian government designed to teach the public about the dangers of lead-based paint and how to protect yourself when stripping off old paint. The instructions begin with a list of measures you need to take before stripping paint: Some of them include:

  1. Wearing a particulate or air purifying respirator that meets Australian Standard (AS) 1716.
  2. Wearing gloves, coveralls and disposable overshoes.
  3. Covering the head to avoid paint dust or flakes getting into the hair.
  4. Wearing protective eyewear.

If these measures sound extreme, the booklet goes on to emphasise that even very small amounts of lead can be dangerous if inhaled, ingested or absorbed by the skin.

To give you an idea of how seriously the government takes this problem, allowable lead content in paint was reduced to 1% in 1970, but in 1992, it was reduced further — to just .25%. In 1997, lead content limits were reduced again to a tenth of a percent. Lead Alert recommends testing any paint in older homes (even those built after 1970) for lead content before disturbing the paint for any reason.

If you decide to strip, sand and refinish your old timber windows yourself, we recommend removing them first and doing the work outdoors. If this isn’t possible, make sure you minimise dust and the possibility of releasing lead-based paint dust or flakes into the indoor environment during or after the stripping process:

  • Remove curtains and cover the floor and furnishings with plastic drop cloths.
  • Wet the surface you are going to strip before you begin.
  • Scrape, don’t sand. If you have to sand, use wet-dry sandpaper and clean up as you go.
  • Clean up carefully.
  • Remove your protective gear outdoors after cleaning up and then bathe.

Will the results of your efforts be worth it? If your timber windows were made out of the same timbers we use at Allkind Joinery Brisbane they will. The reason why our timber windows and doors are in such high demand is because of our selection of timber and meticulous attention to the highest standards of craftsmanship. We’re all for recycling timber and restoring it to its former glory. Just take care. Read more on the  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website before you begin and work safe with lead-based paints.

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post The Hazards of Lead-Based Paint on Timber Windows appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Rob Schneider.

Open Plan or Zone Living?

Today, we usually think of open plan design in relation to residential spaces. Actually, commercial interior designers introduced the concept in the 1950s as a means to improve office efficiency by eliminating barriers between office workers. The open plan office had two advantages. By eliminating walls, employees were better able to communicate with each other. At the same time, more workers could work in a smaller space, reducing overheads.

It wasn’t long before the disadvantages of open plan offices became apparent. Whilst greater ease of inter-office communication was welcomed, the lack of privacy and sense of having a private workspace proved to be a distraction. That problem was solved by the introduction of office cubicles.

The open plan concept caught on in homes in the 1960s, but until recently, most homeowners just put up with the disadvantages of sacrificing private space for the sake of the greater sense of spaciousness afforded by eliminating walls. The balance is shifting, though, and homeowners are looking for ways to get the best of both worlds: an open plan and privacy when it’s needed. The solution is in zone living.

What is Zone Living?

Even in an open plan design, the home is still divided into zones. The kitchen remains the cooking zone, for example, while the living room is reserved for relaxation and socialising. Acknowledging these separate zones without turning back the clock and erecting permanent walls between them is the essence of zone living. How do you accomplish this? In two ways:

  1. By installing sliding glass doors or bifold doors between zones.
  2. By installing moveable screens between doors.

The first solution only became available when improved door hardware systems like Centor bifold door hardware came on to the market. The Centor system allows the installer to hang wide banks of timber bifold doors instead of just a pair. Just as importantly, they open and close effortlessly. Innovative interior designers and home renovators simply took the concept and installed these doors in the space between zones rather than just thinking of them as exit doors.

Ideally, timber bifold doors should be double glazed. Double glazing offers the twin advantages of better acoustic and thermal insulation: 

  • Acoustic insulation allows you to enjoy a conversation around the kitchen island while the children watch TV in the living room.
  • Thermal insulation allows you to heat or cool a smaller space, helping you reduce your energy consumption and bills.

Screens are not a new concept. Shoji screens, for example, are an integral part of traditional Japanese architecture and office cubicles are basically screens between work stations.

Allkind Joiney Brisbane has been making custom timber screens for clients for decades. A big advantage of timber screens over walls or flimsy factory made screens is that a timber screen enhances the appearance of the home. At the same time, timber is a great acoustic insulator. Install a timber screen between the kitchen or home office and the TV and you get just enough privacy and quiet to carry on your work without being distracted by the TV.

You can also install timber screens outdoors to provide shade and privacy without sacrificing the feeling that you are enjoying the great outdoors. Outdoors, slatted timber screens are a favourite, allowing filtered light and air to enter the patio while offering protection against strong winds and harsh sunlight.

Does the zone living solution sound like your solution to the disadvantages of open plan living? If so, contact Allkind Joinery Brisbane and find the best zone living solution for your needs.

zoned living bifold and sliding doors

Allkind Joinery - A tradition of excellence

Please call us toll free on 1800 757 949 with any questions you may have on timber joinery products, our friendly staff are always happy to help with any advice you need.

The post Open Plan or Zone Living? appeared first on Allkind Joinery & Glass Pty Ltd written by Rob Schneider.

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