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August 4, 2014

How to Use Your Custom Bar (The Right Way)

Hi, guys. I’m Greg Fox. I’m the owner of Fox Granite Countertops. I hope you guys saw some of the videos on our blog. We’re really excited about talking today about high bars.

I think one of the biggest decisions that I encounter with my customers when I walk into a sales meeting is what to do with a high bar. A high bar, if you guys don’t know what it is, is a section of the kitchen that is maybe six to eight inches higher than your normal countertop height. The reason why it’s there is it acts as a shelf or, in many cases, acts as a place to put stools and sit for bar seating. The question that I receive most when it comes to building houses is “What do I do with this space?” The starting place in this conversation is, chances are your current space is about 12 to 13 inches. That’s your max. When you go to granite, granite’s much, much, much heavier, and the structure that we’re seeing in a granite countertop in your high bar is only about a two-by-four stud wall with sheetrock. That means it’s maybe 4 and 1/2 inches, that total 12 to 13 inches, that it has bracing for. That means you have about six inches or so of non-bracing. That’s like a teeter totter just tipping over. The bond between the granite and the stud – the half stud wall, the wood wall – is very strong so we can go 12 to 13 inches without having any really risk, whatsoever.

If you are the person who doesn’t use it – you don’t put bar stools – there’s no reason to spend more money to make more square footage and then more bracing. That 12 to 13 is absolutely perfect for you. In fact, that’s about 70% of all our customers keep it at 12 to 13 inches. It’s safe, it’s the least expensive option, and there’s no reason to go past that. Now, for the customers who want a custom bar a little bit bigger, the next jump up requires some bracing. It’s not as expensive because they’re just small flat bars, but the range for that is about 13 to maybe 15 inches total width. That gives you anywhere from six to maybe eight inches of knee space. It’s just enough to where it’s comfortable, but not– it still could be not perfect for people over six feet, but it’s still good to put a cup, you can put a plate, [?] where you can eat there. It’s a pretty good width, guys, and that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money for us to screw in these flat custom bars to the top of your stud wall that will carry the weight, allow you to have that 15 inches.

The third option, which is the least chosen by our customers, but is a very effective option for people who really want a large area – they don’t want to have any chance of hitting their knees into the wall, they want to eat comfortably, they want to put tons of platters and plates there, they don’t want a cramped area at all – is about 16 to 18 inches. Now, to do that, you have to use really, really, really heavy flat bars. These things are a quarter inch thick. They’re just strong. They’re strong, they screw into the top of the [?] wall. We notch them in. We put maybe six to ten of them. We have no chance of them falling over. They’re there for life. Everyone’s happy. It does cost a little more money, but if you’re looking for that situation, it’s perfect for you, and we can do it all ourselves. You don’t need a carpenter to do it. We’re happy to do everything for you. I’ll bring the tape measure when we meet. We can show you all the options, but just knowing this ahead of time allows you to think about it and think about really what your objective is – cost, entertaining, safety. Those are all the kind of things I think about when I help you make these decisions. I hope this was very helpful. I’ll see you guys in a meeting, and thanks again for watching.

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