Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How To Not Get Stuck Without Supports

Plan Ahead, Don’t Compromise

Charlotte, NC – July 6, 2010

One of the great influences for compromise in kitchen design and construction is lack of time. Countless homeowners have been forced to go with solutions that only barely meet their satisfaction because they either did not know what was required or procrastinated until it was too late to get the perfect solution to meet their design and functionality needs.

One area where this “no time – got to compromise” principle shows up is in the support of countertops. After investing thousands of dollars in their countertops most owners are never told that they need support for countertop overhangs. Well, they are likely told but not until the countertop fabricator shows up to run the templates or possibly when the installer shows up to put in the counters. This seriously limits the homeowner’s ability to select a desirable solution for supporting their countertops.

Countertop support brackets are more than just shelf brackets or standard decorative wood corbels. A countertop overhang is no small matter and true countertop brackets are designed to handle the load of the overhang. These types of brackets really constitute hardware in the kitchen and should be selected as such. You cannot pick up them up at the local hardware store or from large box stores because they are not carried. The countertop support brackets used to hold up stone counters are specifically designed for that purpose and are often made to order or when in stock require shipping to the customer’s construction site.

Cathy Morgan knows about the significance of delaying selection of countertop supports. The general manager of Federal Brace, a designer and producer of custom countertop support brackets says, “We hear daily from people looking for countertop supports having just learned that they need them for their countertop installation scheduled for the next day. Unfortunately, that leaves the customer limited to those supports that are stock and bearing overnight shipping costs in order to fill the need.” The additional costs associated with shipping overnight are one thing. But more unfortunate is the customer’s inability to take advantage of the full line of designer countertop supports available or the possibility of using the customization service provided by the company.

Bottom line - time is needed to select the right countertop support bracket. Homeowners are asked, months before they are needed, what type of knobs and handles they want on their cabinets. Why wait until the week before installation to ask what type of countertop support is desired? The answer is a bit simple. No one is sure whose job it is to specify the need for supports. The contractor will generally rely on the countertop fabricator. The fabricator may defer to the installer. Ultimately, they can all point to the problem with limited knowledge of the requirement standards.

Federal Brace is trying to eliminate this problem by educating the contractor and the customers. Their website boasts one of the most comprehensive resource areas on the topic of countertop support. Their customer service representatives are knowledgeable on solving the issue of timing as well. Cathy gives her pointers very concisely – “First, do not wait to hear that you need countertop supports. If you are planning a serving or seating area at your kitchen countertop you will likely need supports for the counters in that area. Be proactive and start your search early. 2. Do not compromise your desires because of timing. It is likely that whatever is put under your countertops will be there until they are removed. Make sure that it is a support that meets your needs visually and functionally.”

About Federal Brace
It all starts with helping people. Federal Brace designs and produces custom, designer countertop support products made specifically to solve the problem of countertop support. Federal Brace serves homeowners, interior designers, architects, builders (commercial and residential) as well as countertop installers and fabricators. Federal Brace supports the creation of U.S. based jobs by producing all its countertop support products right here in the USA.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How To Support My Overhang

Yesterday we talked about how to know when you need to support your countertop overhang. Today we are going to talk about how to support your countertop overhang and what type of support may be used.

There are many different ways that you can support your counter top overhang. Included in these ways are traditionally used methods as well as more contemporary methods. Below is a listing of a number of support terms and brief descriptions of what they represent:
  • Corbels- corbels are generally wood, some are metal and some are even made in plastic. Corbels are decorative in nature and are limited as supporting members. A Key hole is used for attaching the corbel to the support structure. This method allows for no fastener to be seen from the face of the corbel but it also weakens the connection between the support structure and the corbel. In most cases the keyhole set up provides less fastening strength than a through hole.
  • Brackets- brackets, also called braces or supports, are most commonly made out of metal but also may be made using wood. Brackets are true supporting members that provide a great degree of carrying capacity than corbels. Brackets use a through hole set up so that the full extent of their carrying capacity can be utilized. A metal bracket is stronger than a wood bracket of the same dimensions. However, wood brackets can be made thicker and bulkier in size to increase their strength. A thicker metal bracket is stronger than a thinner metal bracket.
  • Legs or Columns- these are terms used to describe supports that extend from floor level to the base of the countertop. When installed with the base secured to the floor these types of supports with carry the most weight. Due to the size of legs and columns they tend to be the most expensive type of supports.
  • Plywood Substructure - this describes the use of plywood board to "stiffen" and add additional support to a countertop overhang. However, it is important to understand that plywood board tends to be flexible overtime and may deteriorate over time in some environments. Plywood should not be relied upon as a supporting member for large countertop overhangs.
  • Metal plates- metal plate are sometimes used as support for countertop overhangs. When using plate to support a granite overhang remember that it will act just like a non gusseted bracket (for information on non gusseted brackets click here). Under point load situations or in large overhang applications metal plate will be susceptible to deflection or bending.

Whatever support system that you choose for your countertop overhang application remember the importance of tying your supporting members into a strong support structure (stud wall, reinforced cabinet backs, etc.) In some application, such as a standard cabinet back, you will not find sufficient fastening material into which to anchor your support system. Make sure to make the most of your countertop support by setting it on a strong substructure. Also, at Federal Brace we recommend that the counter top support extend within 4 inches of edge of your countertop overhang to prevent compromise from point load events. Use fasteners that are substantial enough to hold your supports to the anchoring members. You can either use an adhesive or fasteners to attach your countertop to the supporting brackets and structure.

First and foremost plan ahead. Do not wait to the last minute to determine the need for your supports. It is best to know what you need to early and make preparations before the installation day. If we can help you please let us know -- www.federalbrace.com