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Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One is Right for You?

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar

If you’ve been thinking about updating your basement or patio by putting in a bar, you have a lot of options, starting with whether you want a wet bar or a dry bar. But what’s the difference? Both are great for entertaining your family and friends, but they’re each suited to specific purposes. Read on to learn the difference between wet bars and dry bars and which one will suit your home best!

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: A Simple Difference

In some ways, a bar is a bar is a bar. They all provide an additional place in your home for friends and family to gather, chat and have fun while they watch you mix up their favorite beverages. What type of bar you choose is going to depend largely on what kind of space you’re working with, and where you want to put it. The difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is simple—a wet bar has a sink built in, and a dry bar doesn’t, but this leads to some key differences in installation and usage.

Wet Bar Pros and Cons

First of all, wet bars are more versatile than their dry counterparts. For instance, it’s easier to prepare drinks continuously for large groups of people with a wet bar, because you can wash glasses as you go without carting them to the kitchen. Wet bars generally contain more storage, too, which is handy if you have a lot of supplies for mixing different kinds of drinks.

As always, these pluses come with a few caveats—you’ll have to make sure your bar is situated near an existing plumbing line, and be prepared to shell out for a professional plumber to connect the new sink. Aside from being more expensive to install than dry bars, wet bars may also be seen as a little dated according to modern tastes in entertaining, unless you opt for a wet bar as an extension of your outdoor kitchen. The lesson here? If you want a wet bar to enjoy it yourself, go for it—but if you’re hoping a wet bar will increase your home’s value when it comes time to sell, don’t bet on it.

Dry Bar Pros and Cons

Unlike wet bars, dry bars are easy to add to any size space without worrying about running a plumbing line. They’re also on an upward trend as a desirable home feature compared to wet bars (understatement is the name of the game here). Dry bars are a good place to display a curated selection of bottles and glassware, and since they generally take up less space than a wet bar, they’re a good way to make use of otherwise unusable space in a room.

Because of their smaller size and lack of a sink, dry bars are only really ideal for entertaining small groups. You’re also best sticking to a more limited drink menu to cut down on trips to the kitchen.

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May 2018: The Outdoors

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What’s wrong with this picture?

The skylight on this 20-year-old metal roof was leaking like crazy. That’s because the homeowner attempted to seal it with the yellow spray foam insulation you see around the perimeter in order to keep bats out of the house. This caused significant damage to the flashing around the skylight and entire roof panels to pop up as a result!

This homeowner had the right idea when it comes to dealing with bats—every gap does need to be sealed up in order to prevent their entry into a home. But spray polyurethane foam is not recommended for use on roofing materials, nor is it recommended for use in such large quantities. The homeowner would have been better off ordering an inspection of the roof to discover any holes and then using a sealant recommended for use on roofing materials. Check and double-check your labels, and when in doubt, call a professional for advice.

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Monthly Trivia Question

Question: What is the minimum height required for a deck railing on a residential deck, according to the most widely accepted code?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas to Plan Your Dream Cookout

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

With barbecue season a few short months away, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading your grill setup. If you’ve been coveting your neighbor’s slick new outdoor kitchen, we’ll tell you how to plan your own in time for summer!

Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

Before you ever break ground, you need to decide what kind of outdoor kitchen you want. There are a lot of variables at play here, from the features you can’t live without to creating a style that suits your home, personality and budget. Are you more of a no-frills backyard griller, a rustic gourmet or a contemporary entertainer? All these styles and more are possible, but as we’ll find out they all have some basics in common.

Outdoor Kitchen Basics

No matter what kind of grill space you’re looking for, these are the kinds of things you need to keep in mind to get the best results:

  • Placement: Your outdoor kitchen should be a natural extension of your indoor one. Start by figuring out how they’ll work together and what the typical traffic pattern between them will be. Ideally you’ll want your outdoor kitchen to be placed pretty close to your inside kitchen, which among other things will eliminate any long trips across the lawn with heavy pitchers of lemonade. You’ll also appreciate putting your outdoor kitchen close to the house if you’re running a gas line or other utilities out to your grill and other appliances. It’s best to keep the grill at least 10 feet away from your home and out from underneath any eaves to avoid getting smoked out.
  • Durability: Since your outdoor kitchen will be braving the elements 24/7, you’ll want to build it out of durable materials that can stand up to some abuse. We’re talking stainless steel, brick or stucco. Adobe is great for a southwest feel, and stone is also a versatile choice—just make sure to add a clear sealant coat to keep it looking its best. Also make sure that any hardware you choose is corrosion-resistant and recommended for outdoor use.
  • Safety: Just like your inside kitchen, you’ll want to make sure that you’re making proper use of every safety device you can. Build in space so you can keep a fire extinguisher handy, and if you’re building in electrical outlets for additional appliances like refrigerators and extra burners, make sure they’re GFCIs.
  • Guest Seating: To keep your guests from milling around in the cooking area, you’ll need a designated place for them to hang out while you exercise your duties as grillmaster. This can be a separate table, a fire pit, or a bar that’s built into your outdoor kitchen island. Whatever seating arrangement you choose, all the elements should be near enough to one other that they feel like a cohesive gathering place.
  • Room to Grow: You can start small, but make sure to leave room to expand your cooking and recreation area, too. Nothing’s worse than having a great idea for an add-on but finding that it literally won’t fit because of how you first designed the space.

Other Amenities to Consider

Once you have the basics down, you can start in on the fun part—experimenting! You’re definitely not limited to a grill—in fact there’s no end to what you can cook outdoors with the right equipment. We’ve seen great outdoor kitchens come together around a brick or clay pizza oven, induction cooktops and more. For added versatility you can consider putting in sinks, wine chillers, meat smokers, deep fryers and keg taps. You’ll also want to figure out how you want to light the whole area, from ambient lighting for your guests to ample work light for you to cook by.

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NPI is your source for all things home improvement, and we can make sure your home’s features and systems are all in top condition. Before you buy or sell your home, call us and book an appointment.