Monthly Archives: March 2014

The 4 Secrets to Beautiful Tile Accents in Your Home

The 4 Secrets to Beautiful Tile Accents in Your HomeTile is a beautiful thing. At first glance tile can seem like an expensive accent for your walls or floors. Not to mention, a time-consuming, specialized do-it-yourself job to boot. The good news: making a stylish upgrade to your kitchen or bathroom with a tile backsplash or floor makeover adds value to your home, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money or time doing it. The secret: embellish your living space with beautiful tile accents.

When it comes to tile, how do you make creative choices? Here are a few tips:

1. Create a focal point around cooking areas in the kitchen or in back of a bathroom sink.  Mix and match different tile colors, textures, metals, glass and ceramic, or use more expensive tile along with more affordable options, to create a pattern. Consider the look of the counter – intricate backsplashes look great with solid countertops. On a floor, create a tile “rug” in the center of an entryway or in front of a backroom counter.

2. Accent the entire room by wrapping it with the tile backsplash design, which can help make a small space seem larger. In the same way, wrapping a floor with a tile border can look pretty spiffy.

3. Use affordable tile in unusual ways. Place tile vertically or on a diagonal. Simply by changing the orientation of inexpensive subway or field tile, you can give it a modern look.

4. Plan your design, right on the wall or floor by prepping the surface to be tiled with a layer of white thinset. Once it’s dry, draw the design with pencil. Even easier: splurge for tile that’s sold already in pattern.

Gather your tools for the job. Here’s a list of all the tools you may need for tiling a backsplash or a floor in the kitchen or bathroom:

Follow these steps for a beautiful tile project. Regardless of the type of tile project you decide on, the following steps will start you on your way.

Step 1: Prepare the substrate. Substrate is the surface to be tiled and can be made from drywall, cement board, plywood or other type of backing. Tape, plaster or mud the substrate seams so the surface is smooth. After this work is complete, make sure the surface is free of dust, oils or residues to guarantee a strong adhesive bond.

Step 2: Plan tile design. Draw the design with pencil, directly on the prepared surface to be tiled, or snap chalk lines to be used as guidelines, measuring to determine the best location to start tiling. Allow full tiles to be places in areas that draw the most attention and hide cuts in corners and under cabinets.

Step 3: Apply mortar. Spread adhesive with the flat side of the trowel, flip the trowel over to the notched side and double back over the area to remove any excess. Cover the entire surface with a medium-thick layer of adhesive.

Step 4: Install tiles. Begin installing full tiles or tile sheets, working off of the countertop surface, or one corner of a floor and move up or out.

Step 5: Make cuts. Make cuts to fit tiles around electrical, cabinets, light fixtures, toilets or bathtubs, and then fit the tiles into the design.

As always, contact us with any questions on your tile projects, or comment below. We’re here to help!

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Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give Your Furniture a Fresh Look with a Little Paint, New Hardware and Glaze

Bedroom Dresser MakeoverOkay so we have all built our custom headboards by now right? Good! Still got the bug to make changes in your bedroom, how about freshening up your dressers and night stand? This dresser makeover pin is the perfect starting point. This DIY-er re-finished her dresser, along with a couple of night stands. Now this is a somewhat in-depth project with many steps, but seeing your like-new redone furniture will make the effort well worth it!

First things first, prep and paint your furniture.

You’ll need a drill to remove all hardware from the drawers. Then, remove the drawers as well. Grab your sander and fine grit sandpaper, ideally 220, and smooth out all the surfaces you plan on painting. You don’t want to do too much sanding, you are just trying to get a nice, smooth surface that is ready for paint. Once you’ve sanded, paint your little heart out — a couple coats of primer and then a couple coats of your color of choice.

Dress up your dresser with new hardware.

Before you put your drawers back in you’ll need to address your hardware. So if you’re replacing them, now is the time to get your drill and put your new hardware on. But why not take that old hardware and refinish it like you did your dresser? Find an old board and use your drill to fasten all your hardware to the board so that while you paint everything stays in place and gets a nice even coat of paint. While you wait for everything to dry, look back at your before pictures and compare the difference so far — pretty amazing huh?

If you’re feeling fancy, get out the glaze.

If you’re feeling fancy, now is the time to give your refinished dresser not only a new look, but a new feel! Glazing is a really great way to give a rustic flair to an otherwise plane jane piece of furniture. Grab your sander and that fine grit paper and sand away, again. Tedious maybe, but you are ensuring that you will have the best finish possible, one that will last for years to come. Now with your accent color, paint the insets of the dresser. Once you’ve done that, line the drawers up and start glazing. You will want to glaze them all at the same time in an effort to keep the glazing pattern consistent. Once it has all dried and you are happy with your new finish, seal it with a clear coat. You can spray the sealer on the faces of the dresser and paint it on all the large flat surfaces.

After all is said and done, you are going to have a beautifully re-finished dresser that changes the whole mood of your room. Enjoy your restful oasis while you can, because spring is just around the corner, and we all know that after this winter it will be hard to stay inside except to sleep! Happy refinishing!

*photo courtesy of Thrifty Inspirations
Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Repurpose Yard Debris for Next Year’s Stockpile of Firewood

Stockpile Yard Debris for FirewoodThe reports are in — the last six months have been the coldest for much of the country in the last 100 years. That’s quite a statistic, extending from mid-fall in October all the way through this record-breaking winter that continues to whiteout snowfall totals, in addition to low temps.

Is there still a chance to save a little money on heating costs this year, or save up for next? Perhaps… if you have a fireplace, an insert or wood-burning stove, and a lot of fallen wood in your yard from all those winter storms.

During typical stormy weather, howling wind will knock dead tree branches to the ground, wood that could already be seasoned and used for fuel. Here’s how to tell if wood is ready to burn:

  • Dry wood is lighter in weight
  • Bark is dark or gray or missing, wood is whitish on the inside
  • Appears dry when freshly cut; cracked if already split
  • When tapped together, dry wood makes a hollow sound; wet wood makes a thud sound

Fallen limbs and tree debris can come in large pieces, so you’ll need to cut it down to size. Once you’ve gathered the stash, use a chainsaw to chop up long slender branches and medium-sized chunks to a size that fits easily into your fireplace or wood stove. If an entire tree has fallen, remove smaller branches right at the site, then use a log splitter to cut up the bigger trunk. You’ll probably work up a bit of sweat doing this kind of yard work – and make a bit of a mess, too – but nothing needs to go to waste. Rent a wood chipper and make mulch from all the little pieces. Your garden will thank you later this spring!

If the fallen debris is wet wood, cut it up anyway and stack it for use next winter. Proper seasoning takes at least a year, more if the stack is covered with a tarp, slowing moisture evaporation. The best-burning wood has been seasoned for two to three years.

Tips for Fireplace Efficiency

An open fireplace is no more than 15 percent efficient, because a huge amount of heat is lost up the chimney. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window slightly and close the doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F. Here are a few more tips for increasing heating efficiency:

  1. stockpiled firewoodIf a fireplace is never used, plug and seal the chimney flue
  2. Keep fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning
  3. Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible
  4. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room
  5. Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room
  6. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth
  7. Install a fireplace insert or a wood-burning stove
    1. Placed partly into the fireplace, using the existing chimney to vent exhaust gases
    2. Placed in front of the fireplace (self-contained, free-standing units vented into the fireplace chimney)

Although it is finally warming up, and building a fire may not be as necessary anymore, why not use your yard debris for firewood and tinder next year? Stock pile it and then you have one less thing to worry about come October. If you have additional questions, contact us here. And, any other ideas for how to use yard debris? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Pressure Wash Your Home Exterior Prior to Painting

Pressure Wash Your Home's ExteriorProperly preparing the outside of your house for paint is extremely important. All exposed painted surfaces develop a layer of electrolysis dirt film, and most cleaners cannot penetrate this film. This is where degreasers come in handy for removing film when used with a pressure washer. Shipp Cleaning Systems carries a product called CREST, which has surfactants that penetrate static films and all dirt without harming the surface. If the electrolysis film is not removed before painting your house, the paint will not bond to the surface, causing premature chipping. CREST cleans away all grime, dirt, and films.

Pressure Washing: as easy as 1, 2, 3

1. Most portable pressure washers have a chemical injector hose that goes directly into the CREST container. With the chemical tip on the wand, this will spray out at either a 1-10 ratio or 1-15 ratio depending on the machine. This dilution is good for medium-to-heavy dirt on a home. If the dirt is light, the CREST may be pre diluted by half in a bucket.

2. With the chemical tip on the wand and the injector hose in the CREST solution, you are ready to apply the cleaner on the surface from the bottom up. Apply from the bottom up to avoid clean streaks. Also apply to the dry surface, do not pre-wet with just water, letting the chemical be the first thing that touches the dry surface will do a much better job of cleaning. To avoid wasting cleaner, move quickly and evenly, applying a film of CREST over a section of about 30 running feet at a time. DO NOT LET THE SOLUTION DRY ON THE SURFACE! Change tips to a 15-degree, 20-degree, or 25-degree tip. Now pressure wash from the bottom up. This is the cleaning step. By cleaning from the bottom up the pressure washer water is the first thing to hit the chemical as it sits on the surface. If you clean from the top then down the water that cascades down will wash off the chemical cleaner before it is hit with pressure. Hold the tip of the wand approximately 18″ from the surface. This is the action that cuts and cleans. Take your time and spray evenly.

3. Finally, rinse the area from the top down. Make sure CREST is completely and thoroughly rinsed off ALL surfaces including windows and shrubbery. It will take approximately 1 gallon of CREST, at full strength, to clean a single story, 1500 sq. ft., house.

Helpful Hints:

  • Spraying: The chemical spray tip will spray cleaner out as a mist, not at pressure. After applying cleaner, the 50-foot hose will contain cleaner. By putting the 15-degree tip on the wand, you will get chemical at full pressure for about 8 to 10 seconds. Use this time to apply cleaner to eaves and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Protect your plants: Always spray down shrubs and plants with water before cleaning. This layer of water helps prevent “brown tipping” of leaves of plants by incidental cleaner contact. CREST is biodegradable.
  • Sprayer Tips: The tip of the wand should be held at 18” from the surface. The 15-degree tip has a smaller fan pattern that cuts hard-to-clean surfaces.
  • Spray Patterns: Always apply from bottom up to get a good, even cleaning. It will eliminate streaking and blotching the surface. Clean from the bottom up. Otherwise, cleaning from top down will dilute cutting ability as runoff water rinses cleaner away. Rinse from top down to insure all cleaner is removed.

About the Author:

Chuck Shipp is the president and founder of Shipp Chemical Co., Inc. His company has been in business for 35 years, and he has 40 years total experience with industrial and janitorial cleaning. Chuck writes and lectures on cleaning in the hardware and equipment rental industries.

Categories: Featured Products, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Ideas to Make Your Herb Garden Grow

Create Your Herb Garden

Now that the clocks have “sprung forward,” and the official start to spring is just days away, why not make plans for that outdoor herb garden you’ve always wanted? A strategically placed herb garden will not only enhance the flavor of your culinary creations, it can help to beautify your yard too. Here are a few ideas for creating an herb garden that just may cool your spring fever!

1. Start with the herbs. Kitchen herbs are also good-looking plants, lending a visual appeal to a garden bed. Experts suggest choosing plants with variegated leaves or that bloom in different colors. Thyme, oregano and mint come in variegated versions, while certain varieties of basil have deep purple leaves. For added interest, choose varieties with unusual texture, such as the velvety gray-green leaves of Berggarten sage. Remember to choose for fragrance too – the luscious lemon thyme gives off the bright scent of citrus, as do the lovely lavender flowers of rosemary. Mints not only smell and taste minty, but some carry the flavor of chocolate or pear. French tarragon tastes and smells of licorice or anise, while rosemary itself adds a woodsy pine scent.

Herbs thrive in potting soil and need good drainage, but usually don’t require as much attention as flowers or vegetables. Most cooking herbs are hardy perennials that come back every year; however, popular culinary herbs like dill, basil and cilantro are annuals. Most are available at local gardening centers, either as seeds or seedlings. Specialty herb farms may carry hard-to-find herbs, such as lemon verbena, fennel or scented geranium. Here’s a good list of herbs for a starter garden:

choose from a variety of different herbs

Other landscaping supplies you’ll need are a wheel barrow, watering can or hose, rake, shovel and fertilizer.

2. Plant close to your kitchen door. Herbs will thrive in a surprisingly small space. To make the best use of space near your kitchen door, measure an area of the ground with a measuring tool and prepare the soil. Place the plants of herbs you’re most likely to use closest to the door – say, about 20 paces away – so you can snip a few easily during a rainstorm, for instance. Add to your herb garden by planting more varieties in clay pots, which can be moved to sunny spots more easily. 

3. Create an herb border. Include culinary herbs in your landscape design by planting the edge of a sidewalk with herbs instead of flowers. Hearty herbs like rosemary and thyme can have the same effect as small shrubs. Create a geometrical bedding design in your backyard, with pathways for walking by and smelling the sweet fragrances.

4. Build raised beds for growing herbs. Just like with vegetables, fresh herbs will grow well in raised beds, too. And if you just want a small spot for growing herbs, build yourself a planter to place on a patio, porch or deck. Buy a few two by fours and other wood for a bottom from the hardware store, cut to size, nail together and you’re set. Remember to drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Others have had luck with using plastic trowels inside as a planting form. Or, you can simply use a large bag of potting soil – build the planter the right size to hold the soil bag on its side, then cut a few drain holes in one side of the bag and cut the other side open neatly with a pair of scissors, discarding the excess plastic. Plant the herbs directly into the soil, water and you’ve got herbs in due time.

5. Reap your harvest. One of the best parts of growing culinary herbs is using them! Take care cutting herbs in a landscape border, but most re-grow quickly after harvesting, so your beautiful garden can stay beautiful.

Herbs are perfect for tossing in food during the summer, but you can also dry them for the winter.  Cut and wash, rubber band the bunches together and let them dry upside down. This way each bundle retains its color. It takes them about a week to dry out, but once they are, remove the leaves from the stem and grind in a coffee grinder. Finally, put in plastic bags and write the herb name and date. I also put them in tins and give them to neighbors and friends! Write your great ideas for how to use and preserve herbs in the comment section below, or contact us for more details on how to make  your garden this spring.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bedroom Makeover: 4 Custom-Made Headboard Ideas

I think we can all agree that winter can end any time now and that it’s getting a little tiresome to stay inside all the time. Feels like you are looking at the same old stuff over and over. Instead of lamenting about the weather and boredom, get busy and do a low-budget and super fun bedroom makeover. There are so many things that you can do to change things up with just a few tools and a few hours of your time. Compiled below are a few awesome custom headboard ideas from Pinterest. Each is accomplishable, even if you don’t have a construction or craft background. Think of the challenge as a good thing. You may even learn a new skill to use over and over again!

Upholstered Headboard

This Upholstered Headboard can update and change up a room quite a bit. The creator went for the “belgrave” shape but you can choose from so many here! I personally love the “Cavendish” & “Eccleston” shapes, if I get the chance to make a headboard I will pick one of these shapes no doubt. And the beauty of this project is that you can get it done with just a few supplies: a circular saw and a jigsaw. I love that this girl is not only doing the project, but she already owns the tools mentioned. Talk about inspiring, her husband hassled her about her ability to make the headboard, and she nailed it. Not only did she nail it though, but her husband was IMPRESSED!

Tufted Headboard

This Tufted Headboard transforms a room and offers a comfortable, serene look and feel, and who doesn’t want that in a bedroom? This is a simple project that can go smoothly if you plan your work and work your plan effectively. First things first: gather all the supplies you would need. For this project you are looking for: plywood, a saw, tape measure, sharpie, carpenters pencil, drill and drill bit, spray adhesive, foam, batting, fabric, and lastly buttons. After you have gathered all your supplies you can get down to business and create your luxurious new headboard. It’s pretty amazing what can be accomplished with a little time and energy.

Headboard Shelf

What about something a little less traditional like a Headboard Shelf? Consider a functional headboard that can altar the whole tone of your boudoir without breaking the bank, or your back! You need so little to complete this project: a 1×10, 1×8, 1×6, shelf supports, wood screws, finish nails, crown molding, stain, a drill and a jigsaw. When you get all your measurements, remember to measure twice and cut once. It can be tricky to get it right at first, but it’s important you cut accurately. Once you get everything assembled and stained, get it mounted. Then, voila! You have a handy, yet attractive new addition above your bed, the perfect spot for your favorite trinkets, pictures and decor. 

Repurposed Door Headboard

A Repurposed Door Headboard will instantly add character to your bedroom. For this project you’ll need an old door, crown molding, paint, fabric, nailhead trim, glaze, a nail gun or drill and a jigsaw. This headboard creates a serious change with major attitude. The possibilities are endless with this upcycle, it just depends on how intricate you want to make it.

Have any questions about these four projects, or if you’ve built, altered, or repurposed your own, let us know in the comments below!

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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