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Gemini Homes

 

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Building Success 101

Q: What's the difference between the various grades of stainless steel used on outdoor appliances?

A: The grade of stainless steel indicates the amount of chromium and nickel in it. 304 stainless has more of these elements and is thus more rust-resistant than 430. How to tell the difference? The most common suggestion is to place a magnet on the grille in question: if the magnet sticks, it's probably 430, which has a higher carbon content. Note that some manufacturers will use 304 on the lid (because that the part most people check) but not the body, so the test should be done in more than one place. These days, 304 stainless is used mostly in high-end grilles, with most of what's on display at box stores being 430. Also examine the screws: some manufacturers use non-stainless screws, which will rust.

 

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The Successful Outdoor Kitchen

Creating a backyard gathering space that works hard and looks great.
Outdoor kitchens are hot. In a 2012 survey by Professional Builder magazine, a fourth of the respondents named outdoor kitchens as one of their top selling features. There's no shortage of ideas for these spaces, as a simple online search will show, but the best ones have some important things in common: they're easy to use, work well in less than ideal weather conditions, and are outfitted with thoughtfully chosen appliances and materials. Here are some things to consider when designing your ultimate outdoor kitchen.

Come Together
In the best designs, the indoor and outdoor kitchens function as one space, half of which happens to be outside. The most basic consideration is placement: putting the two spaces as close together as possible makes it easier for the cook to move between them. Large windows and sliding doors can visually link the spaces, while making it easier to pass food and dishes back and forth. Placing a small pantry in the pathway between the indoor and outdoor kitchens can make dishes and cookware easily accessible to both.

The two spaces can also work together visually. For instance outdoor decking or concrete can be colored to mimic the indoor flooring, similar countertop materials can be used, and the brick or stone used on the grill island can be chosen to match the indoor fireplace.

Extending the Season
There are ways to extend an outdoor kitchen's usable season.
Many outdoor kitchens lack shelter from the sun or rain. That's a mistake. Adding a pergola or simple roof will make it usable in all types of weather, and adding lighting or a ceiling fan will make it even more so. When the weather gets chilly, a gas or propane heater can extend the season considerably, as can a simple wall or fence placed where it will block prevailing winds. A shelter can also make it possible to add amenities like a flat screen TV.

Choosing Wisely
Marine-grade plywood is a good choice for outdoor cabinets. So are granite, glazed tile, or stone countertops.

The grill is the centerpiece of the outdoor kitchen. Stainless steel is the top choice, but can be expensive: for instance grilles made from #304 stainless steel have been known to last for years in harsh climates. However they do need cleaning and lubrication; even stainless steel will get surface rust. If stainless isn't in the budget a powder-coated grille will last if maintained properly, but it needs to be made from quality steel.

The outdoor kitchen isn't really a kitchen without a sink and fridge, but these can be approached differently than for the main kitchen. The sink is relatively simple choice, but ideally it should be big enough to hold party platters. The performance of outdoor refrigerators can be less than ideal. On a very hot summer day, for instance, even an expensive model may not provide adequate cooling. A simple alternative is to build a stainless steel beverage well into the counter and fill it with ice.

Following these guidelines will support an outdoor space that friends and family members can enjoy year round.

Warm Regards,

Kelly Arnold, President
Gemini Homes Inc.
1685 Pleasant Hill Rd.
Bowling Green, Ky 42103
kelly@yourgeminihomes.com
www.yourgeminihomes.com

(270) 782-8893 - Office
(270) 791-2742 - Cell

Agent, ColdwellBanker
Legacy Real Estate Group

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