Air gaps--anything new out there?

Fori is not pleasedMay 23, 2014

It's me again. Anyone have a brilliant way to place or disguise an air gap?

It's not that I mind it--I'm used to it after all--but needing a hole in the corner for one is really limiting my sink options!

If you don't know what an air gap is, consider yourself lucky. It's that doodad near the faucet that allows a dishwasher to barf in your sink if it gets mucked up. I can't avoid it where I live.


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Air gaps are virtually obsolete. If you don't feel like appealing the decisions of your local division of inspection, have one installed that can be switched to a soap dispenser after inspection.

This has been covered here previously:

Here is a link that might be useful: Air gap

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 11:30AM
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You likely can't avoid having the hole drilled and having the airgap installed for inspection, but you can remove the airgap after final (doing that loop thing with the dw hose) and install a soap dispenser in the hole. That was my intention, but then I realized after the fact that the soap dispenser would be on the wrong side of the sink. The air gap doesn't bug me at all, though.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 11:35AM
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fori, glad you asked this -- I'm curious too, as our contractor is suggesting switching out our air gap after inspection.

Have you seen an air gap in action? I have, and was so happy that it existed. If you just have a high loop rather than an air gap, where does the "barf" go?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 12:55PM
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I live in Air Gap Country. It seriously doesn't bother me at all. At the time of my kitchen remodel I kept my old, non-high-loop DW, so it was needed. Since then I've replaced it with a new Bosch. I miss my old DW. If the Bosch has high loop capability, I don't care. Already have an air gap, don't want a soap dispenser, hole is already drilled. Anything that could prevent misplaced DW barf is okay in my book.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Our air gap is in our R/O faucet.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Where are you all located? I thought California was the only place that required an air gap. As others have noted, the air gap has been replaced by the "high loop hose" that comes with DWs now. And I think the Miele DWs have some extra protection thing so that you don't need an air gap with a Miele DW, even in California (ask on the Appliances Forum for specifics if you are interested).

If you are located in one of the rare places that still require an air gap--and you should check with your local Building Dept. to make sure--definitely switch out the air gap after inspection for a soap dispenser.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Santa Rosa, CA (northern Bay Area).

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Fori is not pleased

It just appears that there haven't been any advancements in size of the darn things. My dishwasher doesn't need one but my city does.

I don't mind an air gap. The only issue I have with it is that I want a sink with faucet holes; I don't want holes in the counter at all. Sink manufacturers don't seem to have a good layout for a single hole faucet with accessories. I don't want faucetairgapairswitchsoapdispenser all clustered in the middle!

I'll probably have to go with a sink which lets you punch your own holes--then I can have the air gap in the corner. I just don't want it in the middle!

I HAVE seen an airgap in action! I don't know enough about plumbing to know why it's done that way. Why can't it just back up into the bathtub like the rest of my plumbing? :P

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 4:17PM
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I also live in California and my city still requires an air gap. They don't bother me.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 6:05PM
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I like my airgap! I like knowing that I have to clean out the muck when it barfs! Weird crap that people put down the disposer behind your back comes up in the airgap. Like plastic film and twigs (disposable chopsticks?).

Mine is a Blanco cutie with ridges. It looks like a Dalek and R2D2 had a whelp. :) Waterstone and Newport Brass make a number of interesting and stylish ones.

They also make ones that are also above counter soap dispensers and clever newer ones that are below counter and just have big pump heads, as well as the RO ones. There are some guy-design ones, too, from that are a soap dish/sponge tray, or a Dixie cup dispenser.

If you prefer to go high loop, you can put a plug in the hole. They do make plugs for that purpose. :)

It should definitely be in the corner. My sink came with an option of five holes across or one in the middle for the faucet and one in the corner for the airgap. :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Sahmmy, maybe California just has lousier plumbing than everywhere else so our dishwashers are more prone to spew? ;-)

plllog, that is a very stylish air gap! We had just ordered the one from our faucet manufacturer, but maybe it is not too late to switch . . .

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 7:32PM
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pillog, I wish my air gap was as cute as yours. I'd install one just because it's so cute.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:12PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks all. :)

Pll, what brand is your sink, if I might ask? I've pretty much given up on tile due to lack of sink selection, but I still want faucet holes.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 1:59PM
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It's a Kohler Entree tile in, but was in its last year of production. I wouldn't be surprised if it's still out there somewhere, though. I saw it at the local plumbing supply and kind of loved it before I started thinking about my kitchen, and I didn't see anything I liked better while shopping. Same for the faucet and the faucet in the laundry. They were all just there. :) The store is small, but they have great displays. :)

Here it is on an overstock plumbing supply. This place has it too.

It's the opposite of the apron sink, though. It's deep, and, being tile-in, is set back a few inches. I think the problem you've been having with the apron sinks is that the look they generally call for is a three hole faucet. The Kohler Alcott comes with a corner hole for an airgap, but still has the three centered holes for the faucet (it also comes in 3 and 5 hole).

Have you thought about doing a tile faucet deck? Get a long tile or several short ones (and spares because creating the holes might lead to breakage) that match the sink, and a sink that doesn't have a deck. Oh, wait. Since you've been talking about reach, the faucet controller might be too far back. Sigh.

You sure you couldn't settle for plugs?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks, Pll!

I'm giving up the apron sink. I think I'll manage. And a Tapmaster is definitely in the plan so I don't mind having the handle farther back. But you know, that tile deck thing is interesting. That would open up all the undermount apron sinks to consideration. (Another reason I liked the apron-front concept is to spare the tile from abuse--the tile I'm considering is a tiny bit fragile. And custom. So maybe they'd make me something with holes at the tile factory? This is getting expensive! :P)

I'm tempted to get the Silgranite one where you pop your own holes out. It looks like it can be tiled under. Tiled over. Tiled in?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 7:13PM
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Well, you know that I know about custom tile. :) I'm surprised yours if fragile, though. Mine is made from the most excellent bisque and the tile setter was thrilled with how few broke.

If your tiles are custom, they can definitely make you a deck with holes. The holes don't have to be perfectly round. They just need to be large enough for what passes through and small enough to be covered by what's on top. So if the tile dries a little funky, it's probably fine. The most important thing is to emphasize that it must be flat, since long tiles have a tendency to curl if they're not drying evenly.

Whatever you do, don't believe any promises. Get your tiles on site and inspected for flaws, shape, color, etc., before you even start. Voice of experience. :)

But yes, a Tapmaster will help, though you still need to be able to adjust temperature.

OTOH, the tile is supposed to spare the sink from abuse, not vice versa!

As to what you can do with a Silgranite sink, ask your tile setter. I think you can pretty much write your own ticket with tile, overmount, undermount (tiled in), or flush, depending on the supports for the sink underneath, but ask an expert.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 9:56PM
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Fori is not pleased

I know, tile is supposed to be tough, right? Spouse says meh, get a few extra pieces and don't worry about it and maybe that'll be good enough.

We're looking at Fireclay tile, for a variety of reasons (trim pieces for sinks isn't a small one but it IS pretty) and the tiles do ding a bit if you try hard enough. I don't know much about tile but there must be a few layers of glaze on them--still can't stain the tile after breaking through the glaze.

It's more "order and then we'll make it" tile than totally custom but I think they'll do special requests if they aren't ridiculous.

Yeah, they're not gonna want my samples back. They don't get to sit around and look pretty.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:58AM
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I don't know about the tile, but fireclay as a product is pretty tough, though not like good bisque. And you shouldn't be able to stain the tile, though I admire you for trying. :)

LOL about the samples. :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 2:37PM
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I'm in KY and they are required here, which I didn't even realize until my granite installers were here the other day asking me where I wanted the hole drilled for my air gap... Anyway, I honestly don't even realize it's there. Just bought a stainless steel one to match my faucet.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:46PM
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Fori is not pleased

Yeah, they really aren't that offensive but if you're trying to use the holes that come in a sink instead of drilling into a countertop, they can vex you. :P

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:39PM
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Court1000 - just cause your granite installers wanted to put an air gap hole in doesn't mean air gaps are still required in your area. I would ask your local Building Department. Sometimes counter fabricators have a checklist that they use for installation, never questioning it, or that it's been the same for the last 10 years. As others have mentioned, the air gap has been replaced by the DW "high loop hose"--your counter installers may not be aware of that.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 7:28PM
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If your dishwasher is on an outside wall, you can have the airgap go out the back wall (at least that's what I have).

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 9:36PM
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