The New Home of Benchmark Kitchens

Step 1: Preparing for the cold Minnesota winter

by Bill Larson

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: Bill will be sending more pictures and words as construction progresses. Bookmark this page and check back for updates.]

    I have been in the commercial cabinet business for over 20 years. A few years back, I decided it was time to stop paying rent and start investing in a building, but I couldn't find one.
    Last November, I noticed a "For Sale" sign on a lot in a very desirable location. Though the lot was zoned "residential," I made an offer contingent on getting the zoning changed to "commercial." The seller agreed, the building commission and township board agreed, and suddenly I was the owner of a commercial lot in a great location for a cabinet shop.
    With some support from my friendly local banker, I suddenly found myself beginning construction of a commercial cabinet shop and kitchen showroom, a project that has quickly and irrevocably taken on a life of its own.

Slab work comes first     One of my first decisions was about the heating system; Northern Minnesota is far from temperate in the winter. I decided that the ideal heating system would be a Wirsbo in-slab radiant heating system, which consists of tubing embedded in the concrete that circulates water heated by a gas boiler. A forced-air system would have been less expensive, but I didn't want forced-air blowers redistributing dust all over everything; this is a dust producing enviornment after all.
     I was lucky enough to get the job of laying out and tying down the tubing. Imagine doing deep knee bends and tripping on wire mesh for 12 hours straight. Needless to say, I wasn't moving too well the next day.

Tubing's In! Now let's hope it's right the first time.    The building has two heat zones: Zone #1 is the 32' x 80' shop, which I plan to keep at about 62 degrees; zone #2 includes the 28' x 56' showroom and offices, which I will keep at 68 degrees. The tubing is now "set in concrete" as it were, so we're hoping it's right; there is no changing it now!

. . . Bill Larson




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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081