clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

S19 E30: Kitchen Upgrades

Kevin learns how quartz countertops are made and helps to install one; Richard repairs a hot water shutoff valve in order to replace a kitchen sink faucet; Nathan upgrades kitchen cabinets to soft-close.

Previous episode: S19 E29 | Next episode: S20 E1

In this episode:

Kevin O’Connor travels to Minnesota to tour a facility that manufactures quartz countertops. Traditionally, people choose granite or marble that comes out of the Earth in a large slab. But recently, a new option has surged in popularity—quartz countertops. Quartz is extremely hard, so people like it for countertops and other stone surfaces because it doesn’t scratch. It’s non-porous, meaning it doesn’t really stain. It’s easy to clean, and it doesn’t require sealing like granite.

Kevin walks through the process of how these countertops are made, from the newly mined quartz chunks to the polishing of the slabs. Then, Kevin helps install one of these countertops in a young family’s kitchen. The cabinets were recently painted, but the yellow laminate counters are dated and overdue for a replacement. The homeowners have decided that quartz would be a good replacement for their family since it hardly requires any maintenance and it’s less susceptible to staining. Kevin partners with the fabricator and installer of the project to put the countertop in place.

Next, Richard Trethewey helps a fan replace her kitchen sink faucet. The faucet is out of date and has a loose spray head. Richard offers to buy her a replacement, but the homeowner had already bought one after watching an Ask This Old House faucet replacement segment. She previously attempted to do it herself but noticed that hot water kept leaking out of the faucet after she shut off the water valves. So, she decided to stop the project and call in a professional. Richard commends her for stopping when she did. He then looks at the problem and demonstrates how the issue can be fixed. Afterward, Richard installs the faucet the homeowner wanted in the first place.

Then, Nathan Gilbert helps a homeowner upgrade her cabinets and drawers with soft-close hinges. The homeowner recently moved in and had been renovating parts of the house. Luckily the kitchen was in good condition and only needed some minor tweaks. One thing she was hoping to have was soft closing cabinets. When the kitchen was last renovated, slow close hinges and sliders would’ve been too high-end and pricey to fit the budget, but recently they’ve come down in price, so they can be easily retrofitted. Nathan goes through the steps and materials of removing old slides from the drawers, installing new slides, and adding slow-close hinges to cabinet drawers.

How to Install a Quartz Countertop

Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor learns how quartz countertops are manufactured and then helps install one in a homeowner’s kitchen.

Where to find it?

Kevin toured the manufacturing facility for Cambria Stone. The slab that was installed at Jenny’s house was also Cambria quartz in the color “Windermere.”The tools required for installing the quartz, including the hammers and pry bars for removing the old counter, and the silicone to secure the new countertop, can all be found at home centers.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Gemini Stone, LLC of Everett, MA.

How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner replace her kitchen faucet.

Where to find it?

Richard installed the Fairbury Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet in stainless steel, manufactured by American Standard. It comes with washers and gaskets and most of the materials required to install it.

Everything else he used to replace the kitchen faucet, including the putty, soap dispenser, wrench, and screwdriver, can be purchased at home centers and plumbing supply stores.

How to Upgrade to Soft-Close Cabinets

Ask This Old House carpenter Nathan Gilbert upgrades a kitchen to have soft-close cabinets.

Where to find it?

While there are a few low-cost options to upgrade to soft-close kitchen cabinets, Nathan suggests changing out all hardware to soft close.

Nathan installed TEC Soft-Close cabinet hinges, which are manufactured by Grass USA. He recommends identifying the brand currently installed in the cabinets and replacing the hardware with that same brand, which is what he did in this case. Usually, that will require less work on the cabinet doors to get the new hardware to fit.

For the drawer slides, Nathan installed 22” soft-close, full-extension, ball-bearing, side-mount drawer slides, which are manufactured by Everbilt and sold at home centers. The plastic cup Nathan mounted to the back of the cabinet was manufactured by Everbilt as well. To determine which type of slides to get, measure the cabinet front to back for the length, and get the same mounting type as the original slides, since they will be easier to install. Opt for a full extension over 3/4 extension to gain full access to the drawer.

The drawer slides jig Nathan used is manufactured by Kreg Tools. The jig makes the drawer slides installation significantly easier because it can hold everything in place.

The rest of the tools Nathan used to install the soft-close hinges and slides, including the drill driver, screwdriver, and self-centering drill bit, can all be found at home centers.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Nathan Gilbert Carpentry.

Original Air Date: Sep 23 2021 Season 19; Ep.30 23:42

Products and Services from this Episode