Can fireproof material compensate for inadequate cabinet clearance?

Paul Bianchina
Inman News

Q: I purchased a 27-inch, four-burner Wolf commercial range, with an oven, about 30 years ago. I was told when I purchased the range (commercial) that there should be at least six inches between the range and cabinets on both sides; the rear was tiled already. I had my kitchen remodeled in November 2006. Is there a way to protect my cabinets by installing any fireproofing products so that the range can set within the one or two inches against the cabinets, or should I tile the rear wall and the two sides next to the cabinets? –Fran K.

A: The required clearances for ranges will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even between models, but any commercial gas range will generate quite a bit of heat, and the rear, top and side clearances are critical to its safe operation. Also, adding ceramic tile directly over wood is not in and of itself adequate to create a noncombustible surface, due to the amount of heat transfer that occurs through the tile itself.

You will need to contact Wolf directly to find out what the specific clearances are for the model you have, and ask their technical department if there are any acceptable materials that can be used to reduce that clearance. However, due to the thickness of materials or material assemblies that can be considered noncombustible, it’s doubtful you will be able to adequately cover the cabinets and still have clearance for the range to slip into the opening.

Incidentally, if the contractors that did the kitchen remodel did not comply with the appropriate clearances to meet the manufacturer’s requirements, they have exposed you to danger and themselves to quite a bit of liability. Once you have spoken to Wolf and have obtained and checked the necessary clearances, if the current installation does not meet those clearances you need to have the contractor back out immediately.

Q: We have a charcoal-gray granite counter in our kitchen. We left a container with diluted bleach solution on the counter, and the container leaked. Now we have an area where the leak was that is slightly discolored and appears to have a somewhat duller finish. Do you have any recommendation on how to treat this area? –Ken G.

A: Granite is actually more porous than most people realize, and many installers will use a sealer on it to help prevent the granite from absorbing greases and oils. I suspect what has happened in your case is that the bleach penetrated whatever sealer was used when the granite was installed, which is what is accounting for the duller finish. Once it got through the sealer, it soaked into the marble slightly and bleached out some of the natural color in the stone.

It’s hard to say if you are going to be able to get the color back completely, but I would recommend that you have an experienced granite installer take a look at it. Good installers have a variety of techniques they can use for blending colors — they do it regularly to help conceal the seams where the pieces are put together — and they may be able to do something here to bring back some of the color. They can definitely redo the sealer to get rid of the dull spot, and then re-polish the counters.

Check with any of the larger countertop shops that do granite installation, and they will have or be able to recommend a good installer for you.

Q: I purchased a synthetic deck last year and noticed (just like real wood) that it has faded. Can conventional deck stains be used in order to bring back the color? In addition, the manufacturer does not recommend cleaning the deck with a power washer thus, what is the best way to clean a synthetic deck? –Scott A.

A: You can clean the deck with hot soapy water and a stiff-bristle scrub brush. Many home centers have brush heads with a female thread that fit the male thread on the end of an extension pole — the type of pole that fits a roller handle for painting — so that will save you some stooping over.

After it’s dry, you should be able to stain it with any type of stain that is suitable for wooden walking surfaces, such as a deck stain. I would check with the manufacturer of the decking you purchased to see if they have recommendations for specific brands of stain that work best with their product.

Speaking of manufacturers, if the deck is less than a year old, you may have some warranty issues with the fading. Before undertaking any re-staining, I would check with your dealer or directly with the manufacturer.

Copyright 2008 Inman News

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