puntloos

Share your research on 'obvious items' - list a few good ones.

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Vague title, sorry.

TL;DR: Share your research on "common house components" in this sheet

 

How many standard things have "good ones", where the "bad ones'" will only turn out bad when it's too late. Can we share the research?

 

Tons of things have personal choice in there.. color of your kitchen doors, or features of your microwave. But in particular super common things, like e.g. "power sockets" probably have 200 brands, all roughly the same, but some are terrible (e.g. switches that die after 5x switching) and some are fine.

 

Here's what prompted my question

IMG_20200823_151338.thumb.jpg.64e2ff751109984891e6a0b5cb935d72.jpg

Can you tell this is a bad one?

No? Well it is, it's in my new rental, the 'open' position is so elevated above the sink that it never actually drains water away from e.g. some vegetable scraps, it immediately gets pushed back in. And if you don't spot it this will bug you every time you clean your kitchen. (ok, well, it bugs me.)

 

How about this - I've started a shared spreadsheet here

 

I'd love to put things in here that "we all need at some point" when we're building. Simple stuff like power cable, sockets, faucets, downlights, hinges, windows, but if you're willing to share, please also tell us which ovens and hobs and fancier stuff you've chosen and why!

 

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Posted (edited)

Got one of those strainer plugs. They fall apart after a few years.

 

As for the list:

 

Dishwashers - Quite like Bosch appliances but our Bosch Dishwasher has had issues. The heating element is printed onto the outside of a steel cylinder. If just a little scale builds up on the inside the element overheats and fails right where the scale is. Had two go like this and our water is hard but not very hard. Problem is you can't just buy the element, got to buy a whole new pump assembly as well. Now we run weekly descaling cycles with vinegar to try and prevent it happening.

 

Pocket Door - We also have an Eclisse pocket door which is ok. However I would avoid pocket doors in general where you intend to open and close it regularly (eg on a bathroom or WC). They are far too slow. 

 

Shower Door - I see its a bifold door. I would go with a standard door as there is one less gap and fewer hinges to go wrong.

 

Network switch - Why such an expensive switch? Yes Cisco are good but 5 or 6 times the price?

Edited by Temp

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Temp said:

Got one of those strainer plugs. They fall apart after a few years.

 

We recently moved. A hassle, but it's been very helpful comparing and contrasting. Previous place's strainer plug worked pretty well, and much better than the current. And to be clear I don't think it's just the bit that you can pull out, it's also the hole it fits in. Current house's is very shallow. Not sure it matters.

 

Quote

As for the list:

 

Dishwashers - Quite like Bosch appliances but our Bosch Dishwasher has had issues. The heating element is printed onto the outside of a steel cylinder. If just a little scale builds up on the inside the element overheats and fails right where the scale is. Had two go like this and our water is hard but not very hard. Problem is you can't just buy the element, got to buy a whole new pump assembly as well. Now we run weekly descaling cycles with vinegar to try and prevent it happening.

 

Wow, that seems like poor design. 

Quote

Pocket Door - We also have an Eclisse pocket door which is ok. However I would avoid pocket doors in general where you intend to open and close it regularly (eg on a bathroom or WC). They are far too slow. 

 

I was wondering about this. Another useful feature of new rental (to compare/eval) - it has pocket doors between living and kitchen. I must say I find it harder to open/close them than I expected, and they aren't even huge. maybe 1.7m wide. I was expecting a good system to allow opening and closing "with your pinky" so to speak, but especially the first 5cm takes a serious shove to get it going, not helped by the fact there are no good handles on it.

 

There's one pocket door in my design that is probably going to be used daily - our master bedroom. (see here for a reminder) - the reason for it is that it 'effectively' adds the walk-in to the master bedroom, so master feels more spacious, yet when closed you can quietly, and with light, get dressed/undressed. Also, I hope/imagine the pocket door can be opened fairly quietly

 

But indeed, I think I need to get the absolute best quality pocket door mechanism I can find. Elisse might be 'ok' but perhaps I need like fancy swiss engineering precision or somesuch..

 

Quote

 

Shower Door - I see its a bifold door. I would go with a standard door as there is one less gap and fewer hinges to go wrong.

 

Good point, this one is mainly intended for space saving.

Quote

Network switch - Why such an expensive switch? Yes Cisco are good but 5 or 6 times the price?

 

You would think but on ebay, they go for 250-ish quid if you have some patience. And as the heart of a future-proof network, you'd want something that can really *sustain* gigabit from anywhere to anywhere. Most "gigabit switches" can connect one machine to another and maintain that gigabit, but add one more link (a second pair of devices starting to try and talk) and most cheap switches will drop to 500Mbps. 

 

Not to mention the power-over-ethernet part, which allows you to do wired cameras and other devices without a power socket 

Edited by puntloos

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Posted (edited)

We are a family or four. Wife and kids spend a lot of time on the Internet playing games and iPlayer/Netflix/Prime. I'm sure we occasionally max out our 46Mbit FTTC Internet connection  but I doubt we hit the limit of my Netgear switch.

 

I set up my network cameras and Synology NAS on a second switch so very little traffic on the one our computers are on. The cameras are also POE using Ubiquiti screened cable. 

Edited by Temp

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6 minutes ago, Temp said:

We are a family or four. Wife and kids spend a lot of time on the Internet playing games and iPlayer/Netflix/Prime. I'm sure we occasionally max out our 46Mbit FTTC Internet connection  but I doubt we hit the limit of my Netgear switch.

 

I set up my network cameras and Synology NAS on a second switch so very little traffic on the one our computers are on. The cameras are also POE using Ubiquiti screened cable. 

 

Today there's no way I'm using the speed, but if I'm designing my network closet I figure a bit of give is not a bad idea.

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4K streaming video at full chat with no compression is shy of 20Mbps so well within the scale of a standard 10/100 switch. Most network ADSL/Fibre provider hardware doesn’t have any QoS built in so you’re at the mercy of them anyway, and a lot don’t have Gb built into the backbone so you’re as slow as their kit which is essentially providing your internet gateway and DHCP/DNS anyway.  
 

Cisco 10/100/1G uplink PoE switches can be had off eBay for change of £100 but the downside is you need to know how to manage them - I would go cheap and cheerful Netgear or similar and stack them, 4 ports off the back of the provider device into 4 switches and spread the load that way. 

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Network switches are trivial to change at a later date. Indeed if I moved house I'd probably take my switch with me. Thus I'd really not sweat debating which switch is used, it's akin to debating what brand TV or vacuum cleaner you have.

That said, you'll probably find all your devices are either PoE or  have a realistic need of 10Gbit - hard to imagine anything that needs both, so I'd personally get 2 switches, one optimized for speed one for PoE, it'll probably be more priceworthy and this has benefit that when the PoE switch dies (they all seem to eventually) you don't loose all connectivity. Just my 2p.

 

 

Thinking about things that are more integral to the build and harder to to repair / replace if they fail or don't live up to promise:

Fakro windows - Consider the FTT U8 as it's much better U-value and I can't imagine the external aesthetic is that much difference.

Liebherr fridge - Pros: reportedly  very reliable and serviceable (they make the fridges for Miele). A++ ratings available. Cons: these oversized ones are hard to move and seem to get discontinued very regularly (happened to us this Jan, and we had a chance of heart then too). On the plus side if you make a space big enough for that beast in your layout, you'll be able to put any other fridge you ever want into it.

 

Bora, Liebherr, Fakro, Neff, Sapienstone, Eclisse - all going into our build so ping me in the new year for updated opinions :-)

 

 

You haven't selected main windows yet?  That probably is the single biggest thing that impacts the build, so worth putting effort there.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@joth @PeterW @Temp you're all not wrong about the networking, in that particular case I casually jotted down a 'good one' in one of my hobby trawls through geek forums. Agreed that I probably don't need the speed it provides before the technology itself is mostly superceded, but this particular item on the list, eh, if I can score one on ebay for 250 it might just be 'fun'. 

 

@joth - main windows - that's why I have you! (both you personally and the collective 'you' of Buildhub ;) ) - no we didn't look at windows yet, and we should do so, but indeed in a way they also feel "trivial" purely in the sense that as you said, as long as they are high-quality I don't have a strong opinion for any brand, the Fakro stood out purely for its smart home chops, nothing else.

 

I realise the above 'messiness of real life' drops the quality of the spreadsheet, I debated which columns to create and populate that would reflect things like "thoroughness of research" "rate how weird you are"(e.g. I realise my needing a windowframe that came in bright orange limited my selection somewhat.." and "value for money" etc. but I didn't want to overcomplicate just yet..

Edited by puntloos

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13 minutes ago, puntloos said:

no we didn't look at windows yet, and we should do so, but indeed in a way they also feel "trivial" purely in the sense that as you said, as long as they are high-quality I don't have a strong opinion for any brand, the Fakro stood out purely for its smart home chops, nothing else

 

I suggest researching windows now  with the benefit of hindsight :)   I spent 10+ weeks waiting for planning permission to come though having fun with research on home automation and the best sort of microwave oven to buy, but you know what? When the PP was granted the architect's first question was not about those things but just "what windows are you having?". I then discovered they are a multidimensional nightmare trade-off in price, aesthetic, performance, function, lead time,  helpfulness of supplier, availability of high quality installers approved by the manufacturer, discounts available via "haggling" etc. Making a decision took 5 weeks (and a lot of pre-Covid driving around the south of England to various showrooms) all the while our architect was blocked on progress on the rest of the technical design as apparently windows are pretty fundamental. (We were doing a PHPP-led design mind, may be very different for a conventional build ) FMMV

 

 

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I have a pull out Grohe kitchen tap and was disappointed with the flow rate. I'm not in the best pressure area and had a bigger supply (32mm) to address this. I think the problem is there are 4 pipes within the 35mm body of this tap hence the bores are very small. If I chose again I would not bother with a pull out tap. Fair play to Wayfair they gave me a 100% refund and let me keep the tap, outstanding service if you ask me.

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6 minutes ago, joth said:

 

I suggest researching windows now  with the benefit of hindsight :)   I spent 10+ weeks waiting for planning permission to come though having fun with research on home automation and the best sort of microwave oven to buy, but you know what? When the PP was granted the architect's first question was not about those things but just "what windows are you having?". I then discovered they are a multidimensional nightmare trade-off in price, aesthetic, performance, function, lead time,  helpfulness of supplier, availability of high quality installers approved by the manufacturer, discounts available via "haggling" etc. Making a decision took 5 weeks (and a lot of pre-Covid driving around the south of England to various showrooms) all the while our architect was blocked on progress on the rest of the technical design as apparently windows are pretty fundamental. (We were doing a PHPP-led design mind, may be very different for a conventional build ) FMMV

 

Care to share your research? 😃 but indeed a fair point that "non feature related" stuff such as delivery times still matters a lot. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Oz07 said:

I have a pull out Grohe kitchen tap and was disappointed with the flow rate. I'm not in the best pressure area and had a bigger supply (32mm) to address this. I think the problem is there are 4 pipes within the 35mm body of this tap hence the bores are very small. If I chose again I would not bother with a pull out tap. Fair play to Wayfair they gave me a 100% refund and let me keep the tap, outstanding service if you ask me.

Interesting, I indeed didn't realise that pull-out drops the flow rate. 

Wouldn't it make sense to try to fix the pressure problem though? A pump? Build your own water tower?

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I'm only guessing thats the reason. Normal taps seem to have 10mm flexi's this looks to be on something like 7mm. I get 1.9 bar and with a 32mm supply around 20L per min flow rate from garden tap so my pressure/flow isn't particularly bad, but likewise if you have something a lot better the tap could perform better?

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13 minutes ago, puntloos said:

 

Care to share your research? 😃 but indeed a fair point that "non feature related" stuff such as delivery times still matters a lot. 

 

 

 

A chunk of reasoning is over here:

 

To specifics, we wanted Gaulhofer but couldn't get the U-values to meet what we needed in PHPP (partly due to some of the very human issues craig outlines in that thread). So we went to other manufacturers with similar looking (but PH certified) product. GBS was too limited in the Alu clad options, plus didn't quite feel right for us. Weru were ridiculous price. Internorm were about same price as GBS, but had option of integrated blinds, so we settled with them (Studio / Home Pure mix). The price was close to GBS. We tried to use Aspect in Exeter, but they don't do install in our area and really weren't interested in supply only, so ended up with another one of their other suppliers. This story it To Be continued.

(I can also share a spreadsheet with more specific window-by-window comparisons)

 

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