Monthly Archives: January 2016

Paint Like a Pro – Tips for Painting Your Ceilings and Walls

DIY Project - How to Paint Your WallsOne way to re-invigorate a room without breaking the budget is with a fresh coat of paint. With so many great paint choices out there, painting is a weekend DIY project that creates immediate results. Go ahead, let your imagination run wild and choose a bold new color to breathe life back into your home. We’ve got the painting 4-1-1 to help you paint like a pro.

What Room Needs a Paint Lift?

Before starting your project, think about how your room is used. Is it a high traffic area like a kitchen? You may want to be able to scrub stains and scuff marks off walls. Or is the room a little quieter like a bedroom? The type room you are painting will determine what type finish you select.

6 Paint Finishes for Interior Walls:

  1. Matte or Flat – Has no shine. Covers imperfections well but it scuffs easily. Good for ceilings.
  2. Matte Enamel – More durable, can be cleaned easily. Good for kitchens and kid’s rooms.
  3. Satin – Low sheen, can be cleaned often, shows imperfections. Works well on hallways and other high traffic areas.
  4. Eggshell – Subtle shine, cleans easy and can cover more surface area with less paint.
  5. Semi-gloss – Used mainly on trim, easy to clean.
  6. Gloss – High shine, shows imperfections but easy to clean. Takes longer to dry.

Ceiling First, Walls Next

Give yourself room to work by clearing as much furniture out as possible. Cover remaining items as well as the floor with drop clothes. Clean the surface of the walls and ceiling to remove any dirt or dust. If you spackle holes, paint them with primer to help them blend in when painted. Paint the ceiling first then the walls.

Paint Loves Loose Fuzz

Use a 2-inch angle brush and 9-inch roller and shallow roller pan. If you have a smooth ceiling use a roller with a smooth or medium nap. For rough ceilings use one with a thicker nap. Wrap new rollers in masking tape then remove to eliminate any loose fuzz.

8 Proper Techniques for Painting Ceilings & Walls

  1. Cut in  Paint a 3-inch strip around the perimeter where the walls meet the ceiling.
  2. Work in small sections  Lap marks result if you allow the strip to dry before the roller can go over it.
  3. Use primer paint – It will help cover up stains and imperfections.
  4. Roll paint on in “W” pattern  Work across the body from left to right to avoid neck and shoulder strain.
  5. Fill in the pattern  Apply paint in even vertical strokes, overlapping the 3-inch strips to blend in paint.
  6. Outline corners, windows, outlets and finally baseboards – Don’t get too far ahead so the outline remains wet for the roller.
  7. Paint from top to bottom – Roll paint on from the ceiling to the floor to cover any drips that may happen.
  8. Paint molding last – After the walls and ceiling have dried, apply painter’s tape to the wall or ceiling and paint the molding.

Is a Paint Sprayer More Your Speed?

If a roller and brush are slow for you, try using a paint sprayer. Just make sure to completely cover anything you don’t want to get paint mist on (including yourself). For more helpful hints check out our past blog on how to properly use a paint sprayer.

Fresh Paint Can Brighten the Spirits

After the paint has dried and the furniture is re-arranged, take a step back and look at your new creation. Fresh paint can brighten the spirits as well as a room. You’ll be able to brag about this until your next DIY project. Take a load off, you deserve a break.

Expert Advice

Whether you need ladders, vacuums or paint sprayers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to handle your home painting projects. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Give Kitchen Cabinets a Face-lift in 10 Steps with New Stain

How to Restain Your Kitchen CabinetsWhile pondering your next home DIY project over a morning cup of coffee, you suddenly realize that it is staring you right in the face. Your kitchen cabinets could use a face-lift! Re-staining wood cabinets is an easy and economical way to perk up the busiest room in the house. If yours are looking a little lackluster, all you need is some wood stain and a little sweat equity.

What you will need:

  • Drill
  • Orbital sander
  • 220 grit sand paper and sanding block
  • Mineral spirits
  • Gel or spray stripping solvent
  • Putty knife
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint sprayer
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane coating

Do you have fiberboard cabinets?

Determine if your cabinets are hardwood or fiberboard. Test an out-of-the-way spot by sanding off the finish or paint. Fiberboard will not stain so you may have to re-paint them. If you have hardwood cabinets, then you’re ready to start.

10 Steps to Reinvigorate Kitchen Cabinets with Stain

  1. Remove the doors from the cabinets – Clean out all cabinets and drawers. Label the doors and cabinets so that you can re-assemble them in the correct order at the end of project.
  2. Unscrew all hardware and hinges – If you are keeping existing hardware, label them to match where they came from.
  3. Clean the surfaces – Use mineral spirits to clean dirt and grease from the wood. It may take several passes.
  4. Apply gel stripper – Spread the solvent onto your cabinets and allow it to bubble up old finishes or paint. Scrape it off with a putty knife. These chemicals are very corrosive and toxic so wear a mask, gloves and safety googles.
  5. Use wood putty to fill holes and gouges – To install new hardware, cover the old holes with wood filler and let dry 24 hours.
  6. Sand all surfaces – An orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper will smooth the wood and remove any old paint or finish. For any trim or hard to reach places, it is best to sand by hand. Wipe with tack cloth to remove dust and debris.
  7. Apply stain – Work with the wood grain and apply light, even coats. Wipe excess off with a cloth. To get a deeper color, apply several coats not thicker ones. Allow wood to dry completely between each pass.
  8. Add a polyurethane coating – This will help protect the wood and allow for easier cleaning. A paint sprayer will make it easier to do a large number of cabinets and will help prevent streaks.
  9. Re-assemble the cabinets – Match the numbered doors to corresponding cabinets.
  10. Install new hardware – Drill new holes to add new knobs, pulls and hinges.

You are on a roll!

Staining the existing wood cabinets is not only a great way to freshen up the look of your kitchen without spending a lot of money, recycling the cabinets is also eco-friendly. Now that you’ve done such a great job on the cabinets maybe it’s time to tackle the backsplash. Looks like you’ve found your next DIY project without even trying. You are on a roll!

Expert Advice

Whether orbital sanders, drills or paint sprayers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to handle your home DIY project. If re-staining the cabinets isn’t enough of a change for your kitchen, check out our blog, How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets to Perfection for some excellent tips on doing it like a pro. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Give Old Chairs New Life with Fresh Paint & Upholstery

How to Reupholster ChairsWhile cleaning out the attic (a New Year’s resolution, perhaps?) you come across a pair of your grandmother’s old chairs. You realize that with a fresh coat of paint and new fabric, you can breathe life back into them – and they would be perfect for your home. Congratulations, you have just found your next DIY project!

Good Bones Are Good Bones

Furniture left languishing in attics and storage closets just needs a little TLC to bring out its beautiful essence, not to mention, to make it functional once more. Repurposing well-made old chairs with new paint and upholstery is an easy, inexpensive weekend project. Let’s get started.

To repaint a wood chair, you will need the following:

  • Drop cloth – to keep your floors drip free
  • Tack cloths – to wipe off dust and debris (paper towels/rags leave lint!)
  • Mineral spirits or dish soap – the wood needs a good cleaning
  • Sandpaper – 120 and 220 grit
  • Sanding block – to work in those hard to reach areas
  • Orbital sander – makes easy work of large areas
  • Paint – buy one that can take frequent cleanings
  • Foam roller and brush – these will give you a smoother finish
  • Water based polyurethane – protects your paint and make clean ups easier
  • Wood blocks – to position chair off floor

Tips for Successfully Painting Wood Chairs 

  1. Prep work is key – Start by removing the seat cover. Inspect the chair’s paint condition, if it is chipped or cracked, strip it off to give the paint a smooth surface to stick to. Use a chemical stripper to bubble up the old paint and a putty knife to remove it. A heat gun can also help remove old paint. Be careful not to scrape too hard or you can damage the wood.
  1. Give wood a good cleaning – Clean the surface of the chair using dish soap or mineral spirits to remove any dirt or grease. Why? Contaminants cause paint not to adhere to the wood. Fill cracks and gouges with wood filler, which comes in a variety of color tints so they blend in. Let filler dry 24 hours before painting.
  1. When painting, go with the grain – Use 120 grit sandpaper to smooth off excess filler and to rough up the wood surface. Place the chair on the wood blocks to get it up off floor. Apply your first coat of paint, working from the top down. Paint with the grain of the wood. Allow it to dry, then use the 220 grit fine sandpaper to smooth any remaining rough spots or paint drips. Wipe the chair down completely to remove dust or debris before applying a second coat.
  1. Seal and protect with polyurethane – Seal the chair’s paint with polyurethane. Apply slowly and carefully, using a mini foam roller, to avoid forming air bubbles in the coating. If using a paint sprayer, hold it at least 8-12 inches away from the wood surface. Aim for multiple thin layers instead of doing one or two thick layers. When finished allow 72 hours for the chair to dry completely before using.

7 Steps for Reupholstering

  1. What you’ll need – cotton material for a liner and fabric for the cover.
  2. Remove old material and inspect the foam cushion. This may need to be replaced if too old.
  3. Iron out creases in both the new liner and fabric.
  4. Put the seat frame on the liner and trace 3 inches from the edge. Cut along this line.
  5. Cover the frame and cushion with the liner. Attach on the bottom at the center of each side, pulling the material tightly as you go. Work your way around, going from center to corner on each side. Fold excess material on corners, avoiding creases on the cushion top. Think hospital corners and use that staple gun!
  6. Once the liner is in place, repeat the same procedure with your fabric. If your material contains a pattern, place it the way you want it to be seen on top first, then flip it over to mark your lines. Pull the material tightly. Remember, staples can be removed and fabric re-adjusted.
  7. Once complete, you can attach the cushion back onto the chair frame.

Granny Would Be So Proud!

Now, your chair looks like a million bucks but you know the truth. Over a weekend you have managed to repurpose clutter from your attic into a serviceable piece of furniture. Feel free to take a load off and sit on your new designer chair. Granny would be SO proud!

Expert Advice

From orbital sanders and drills to heat guns and paint sprayers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to handle your home DIY project. Looking for more ideas on how to freshen up old furniture? Check out our previous blog. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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8 Essential Best Practices for Efficient Heating This Winter

Attic Insulation InstallationHow many times have you looked at the heating bill and almost fell out of your chair from shock? Energy prices are nothing to sneeze at, which is why improving your home’s insulation will go a long way in keeping your family and your wallet comfortable this winter.

  1. Do an Energy Audit

The power company will conduct an energy audit on your home to detect the areas with the most heat loss. Generally, a home loses half of its heating and cooling through the walls, windows, floors and roof. Determining where to insulate is the first step. You’ll likely find that insulating the attic is one of the simplest and smartest ways to lower your heating bill.

  1. Determine Best R-Value for Your Home

Each area of your home requires a different R-value of insulation. The R-Value determines a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the number, the better it is at stopping loss. A typical Indiana attic needs insulation with an R-value of R49. Exterior walls require R13-21 and floors between R25-30.

  1. Blanket or Blown Insulation?

Two popular types of insulation are the rolled blanket insulation and the loose cellulose variety that is blown into place. Insulation comes in a variety of materials like fiberglass, cellulose and mineral wool. Fiberglass tends to settle so thicker layers have to be put down. Insect and fire resistant cellulose is the most common. Mineral wool is made from molten slag, which is spun into fiber. It is more expensive but totally fire resistant. Whichever you choose, remove old insulation and make sure to seal any possible air leaks before installing the new material. Apply a thick enough layer that covers floor joists. For blown insulation, a sprayer makes easy work of distributing cellulose around beams and other obstructions.

  1. Eliminate Drafts with Window Insulation

If you live in an older home and don’t have double pane windows, you may want to look into installing storm windows. These can be added externally or internally and will help keep cold at bay. Window insulation kits are another option. They contain large sheets of plastic that is taped around windows to eliminate drafts.

  1. Keep Heat in with Weather Seal

Foam weather-stripping can help seal around windows and doors, keeping weather out and heat in. Even if you have double pane windows, check the trim around them to make sure it’s sealed tight. Blinds, shades and window treatments such as insulated curtains can also provide an additional buffer against the cold.

  1. Check for Air Leaks and Seal Them

Check for air leaks around pipes, exhaust fans, ducts and chimneys. You’d be surprised how much heat is lost around the dryer vent. Seal them tight with spray foam. Purchase insulating foam plates for electrical outlets on exterior walls. They install behind the plastic outlet cover and block air flow.

  1. Blanket Hot Water Heater

Another source of heat loss occurs around the hot water heater, which accounts for 19% of your total home energy bill. Today’s models are well-insulated; however, if you place your hand on the side and it feels warm, then there’s heat loss. For $30, wrap the hot water heater with a blanket and save 10% on your yearly power usage.

  1. Wrap Hot Water Pipes for Additional Savings

Wrap all hot water pipes within three feet of the water heater. Polyethylene and neoprene wraps help keep the water hot longer and you can turn down the temperature setting. Be sure to keep the insulation at least six inches away from a gas hot water heater’s flue.

You Can Never Have Enough Insulation

This winter, don’t let your home’s warmth go out the window. Whether you roll it out or blow it in, you can never have enough insulation! Wrap your humble abode in a nice thick layer of warmth and you’ll never have to fear those energy bills again.

Expert Advice

From insulation vacuums and blowers to caulk cutting saws and electric heaters, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your DIY home improvement projects. To learn how to install attic insulation, read How to Efficiently and Easily Insulate Your Attic. Another post, 4 Cold Weather Basics – Insulating Your Home, offers additional info on improving your home’s energy efficiency. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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

Post-Holiday Clean Up? 7 Ways to Bring It On!

Post-Holiday Clean-UpAs the New Year begins, it’s an exciting time, packing away the old to make room for the new. Rather than being overwhelmed with post-holiday clean up, think of it as a new start for you and your home.

  1. The Big Clean – The Japanese New Year tradition called Oosouji means, “The Big Clean” and everyone in Japan takes it to heart. During the final week of the year, they spend time cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, offices and schools in order to start the new year with a fresh outlook. This approach seems to work far better than rarely kept resolutions, so give it a try.
  1. Re-Organize Decorations Before Storing – Start your big clean by re-organizing Christmas decorations before packing them away. Look at everything and eliminate the items you didn’t use. Roll up strings of lights onto wrapping paper tubes to keep them from tangling. Organize decorations in see-through plastic bins and label them according to where they are used.
  1. Organize Storage Areas – Now that you’ve packed away decorations, why not organize the storage space in the attic? Building shelves that fit into the rafters is an easy DIY project. A variety of plans are available online and all you need is some lumber, a circular saw, a drill, maybe a hammer and nails, too. Soon those storage bins will be neatly tucked away until next year.
  1. Mulch Christmas Trees – Recycle the Christmas tree into mulch rather than contributing to landfill overload. Many cities offer curbside tree pick-up or rent a chipper/ shredder and do it yourself. If the tree left a trail of needles on its way out the door, vacuum them up so they won’t burrow deep down into rugs and carpets. Tape lint rollers are great for picking up stubborn needles off of furniture and rugs.
  1. Freshen the Carpet – During the holidays your carpet can take a beating from muddy foot traffic and other unfortunate messes. For wine stains, sprinkle a few drops of white vinegar onto the stain and blot with a damp cloth. If your rugs are really dirty, consider renting a carpet cleaner and freshen them up.
  1. Clear Out the Clutter – Is your house filled with piles of new gifts and toys? Now is the perfect time to clear out the clutter. Make it a new motto – for every new item, get rid of two old items. Other clutter-reducing ideas include:
    • The holiday mailing box challenge – fill old mailing boxes with items like clothing, books and toys to donate to charity. See how many you can fill!
    • Sort through holiday cards, make a note of who sent them (for next year’s list) and cut gift tags out of the cards you like.
    • Swap already read books online at sites like Paperback Swap and Book Mooch.
    • The White Elephant Super Bowl exchange party – re-gift those “special” presents while getting your football face on.
  1. Get Tax Paperwork in Order – The end of the year is also a great time to organize what you need for filing taxes. Set up a special file to deposit all incoming tax forms. Be sure to add receipts from charitable donations. Sort through and shred papers that are no longer needed. Go paperless whenever possible to help reduce the paper clutter.

The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy our friends and family and to usher in the new year. You’d be surprised how decluttering your surroundings will lighten your mood and lift your spirit – start the New Year with a fresh outlook and an organized house!

Expert Advice

From circular saws and drills to carpet cleaners and wood chippers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to handle your home DIY project. Looking for more ideas on how to make a fresh start in your home after the holidays? Check out our previous blog. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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