Author Archives: Heidi Barker

About Heidi Barker

I oversee all the marketing efforts for Runyon Surface Prep Rental & Supply. Runyon is a distributor in the polished concrete and surface prep industry for equipment, chemicals, tooling, etc. As the director of marketing, I'm constantly refining the marketing strategy, determining best practices, measuring ROI, identifying areas for improvement and developing creative new ways to reach our ideal customers in an organic way. More specifically, my specialties include: Content Creation (blogging, on-page SEO, infographics, etc.), Social Media, Lead Nurturing (email marketing, direct mail, lead generation, building customer relationships, etc.), Event Management & Public Relations (industry publications, trade show coverage, etc.), Website Development, Advertising, Graphic Design and Overall Marketing Strategy.

Let a Lighting Makeover Bring Your Décor into Focus

how to make over an antique light fixtureHow many times have you finished painting a room only to look up and see an outdated light fixture staring back at you? Often overlooked, lighting can make or break a room’s décor. Rather than buying a new chandelier (at a premium cost) challenge yourself to refurbish an antique fixture and install it! It’s easier than you think.

A Thrift Store Treasure Lights the Way

Scour your local thrift or reclaimed hardware stores for the perfect lighting fixture. Once you find the size, shape and material you want, fire up those creative juices and get started. Decide whether you want it to blend with the colors of the room or serve as a focal point by giving it a pop of color.

What You Need for an Antique Light Makeover:

  • Mask and safety goggles – Protect yourself from spray paint mist.
  • Drop clothes –Paint mist gets on everything, so cover furniture, built-ins, etc. left in the room. Cardboard boxes make great paint booths.
  • Spray paint/primer – Apply in a well-ventilated area where there is no dust or moisture. Fans directed away from the spray zone can help dissipate fumes.
  • Painter’s tape
  • Screw driver
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Pliers
  • New electrical lighting elements (if needed) – Replace old wiring if worn.

Add Some Bling to Your Refreshed Chandelier

Decide on how you want your light fixture to look. Do you want to add crystals or other decorative items? Do you only want to use some of the elements of the chandelier? Do you want a high gloss or matte finish paint? Let your creativity shine and experiment with the look of your room.

5 Steps for Transforming an Antique Light Fixture

  • Clean the chandelier – The surface needs to be free of dirt, grime and oil for the paint to adhere.
  • Take it apart – Remove the wiring and anything else that isn’t getting painted. Hint – as you take the fixture apart, keep the pieces in the proper order, so you can re-assemble it easily.
  • Tape it – Anything that is not being painted like the light bulb sockets, glass panes or crystals should be covered.
  • Paint – Spray paints are the easiest. Apply 3-5 light coats. Heavier coats will run. Sand lightly between coats, especially if you have drips.
  • Allow time to dry – Humidity and temperature will affect drying time so don’t rush it.

Installation Time!

Turn the power off at the electrical box and remove the old light. If the current receptacle is old, you may need to add a coupler to lengthen the mounting screw enough to accept the new light. Connect the wires. Screw the new fixture into the coupler flush to the ceiling. Be bold and add some industrial style light bulbs to add a new twist.

Get Inspired by Repurposing Old Items

Repurposing old items is about using your imagination in ways that save you money and beautify your home. Look around for inspiration and challenge yourself to take on more creative DIY home projects. Remember, there are no mistakes in artistic repurposing endeavors, only new opportunities.

Expert Advice

From ladders and fans to precision rotary tools and detail sanders, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next home decorating idea. Ready to tackle more DIY projects? Find new ways to spruce up your abode with our blog, Use Your Home as a Canvas to Express Yourself. As always, if you have any questions about 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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The Versatile Wooden Pallet – Who Knew You Could Make That?!

how to diy a pallet wine rackAh, the versatile wooden pallet! If you love to re-purpose found items, then you know about these multi-talented platforms. The internet is filled with how-tos on making everything from lawn furniture to dog houses. However, our favorite project is a wine rack with a glass holder on the bottom. It has our DIY name written all over it!

Wooden Pallets Easy to Find

Why buy lumber for your projects when you can repurpose wooden pallets? If you don’t have them on hand, check with your local stores. These shipping platforms are everywhere; you just have to look for them.

Wine Anyone?

Creating a wine rack out of a wooden pallet is easy and inexpensive. The toughest decision is what size to make it. For a small rack that will hold two to three bottles and four average sized stemmed wine glasses, you will only need to use half of a pallet.

8 Easy Steps for Building a Wooden Pallet Wine Rack

  • Cut the pallet – Use the end section for the base and cut it to the height you want. The standard width of a pallet is 40 inches so adjust it to the width you need.
  • Remove extra boards – Take two boards from the discarded portion of the pallet to use at the bottom of the rack. One board will be the bottom of the shelf where the bottles go and the other will separate the shelves.
  • Create spacers – Cut three 1 x 1 pieces to go between the bottom board for the glasses and the bottom of the wine bottle shelf. You need room to slide the glasses on and off the shelf.
  • Sand the boards – Pallet wood is notoriously rough and splintered, so use a 120 grit sandpaper for smoothing and a 220 grit paper to finish.
  • Openings for glasses – Use a jigsaw to make cuts in the bottom board for the glassware stems. Space them about 4 inches apart.
  • Assemble – Make sure your rack is sturdy by reinforcing the wine bottle shelf with an extra board. Use 2-inch nails and 3-inch wood screws to hold the board together.
  • Finishing – Stain the wood or paint it. If you choose to stain, keep in mind that sanding softens the wood and will cause it to soak up a lot of stain. Due to the rough wood, you will need to work the stain into the cracks and crevices with a cloth or brush.
  • Hanging the rack – Mount it directly into your wall studs to support the weight of the bottles and glasses. Add felt bumper pads to the backside to keep it from scuffing your wall if bumped.

Other Projects to Make with Wooden Pallets

  • Outdoor furniture like sofas and chairs
  • Patio dining table
  • Garden potting table
  • Headboard for a bed
  • Vertical wall garden
  • Dog house

Save Money and the Environment by Repurposing

Repurposing old wood from pallets helps keep them out of our landfills and saves you money. They add rustic charm to the home and garden. Stop wishing for new patio furniture or flower containers and start building what you need with wooden pallets. There are so many DIY projects to use these wooden wonders on – your Winter to-do list may stretch into Spring.

Expert Advice

From circular saws and drills to jigsaws and orbital sanders, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home project. Still wondering what you can do with the wooden pallets around your house? Check out our previous blog, Summer Garden Update 2 – Garden Boxes Add Pizzazz to Planting, to help get those creative DIY juices flowing. As always, if you have any questions about 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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Use Your Home as a Canvas to Express Yourself

Ways to Personalize Your HomeIf your home is your castle, shouldn’t it look like yours? When working on home improvement projects, put your personality into the equation. Getting inspired by DIY designers is fine, but in the end, your domain should be a reflection of your tastes. Time to get creative and express yourself!

Reveal Your Personality

Personalizing doesn’t mean putting your monogram on everything. It is a way of communicating your style and interests through design. From the paint colors you choose to the flowers you plant, a home is simply a blank canvas on which to reveal your personality.

5 Ways to Personalize Your Home

Little personal touches inside and out are the best way to make a big statement. Here are just five quick and easy DIY projects to help you do just that.

  1. Display Your Interests: From family photos and vacation souvenirs to hobbies and sports memorabilia, use these items in different and unusual ways. Add them to furniture with upcycling or exhibit them in unexpected places like a garden bench or a flower pot.
  2. Show Your True Colors: Add your favorite shades throughout the house – on pillows, as accent walls or on the front door.
  3. Be Inventive: Why just put up wallpaper when you can stencil a design on your wall. If you love English manor décor a la Downton Abbey, add crown molding and ornamental flourishes to your ceiling for that Victorian feel.
  4. Stage Scenes: Just the way a set designer stages scenery for a movie or a play, you can do the same with your home. Whether it is painting the front door or using colorful plants as accents, create a look for your entrance that gives a warm and inviting feeling.
  5. Re-use, Re-Invent & Re-organize: While personalizing your home, don’t forget to re-purpose old furniture, re-use items and organize spaces in new or more efficient ways. If your family drops everything on their way into the house, look for ways to create a place for coats, book bags and muddy shoes right inside the front door.

Where Do You Start?

No need to feel overwhelmed; consider personalizing your space a work in progress. Start with one area and then move to the next. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Paint Your Front Door: Make a great first impression (and express your style) by reinvigorating the front of your house. Our blog, 10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal Now, has other ways to make your residence stand out.
  • Landscape: Create a peaceful oasis for you and your family to enjoy. Want to add a water feature to your garden? Read How to Build a Backyard Pond in 10 Simple Steps.
  • Decorate with Color: Start small. Try adding an accent wall in your living room or dining room. Learn how to achieve the look you want here: Paint Like a Pro – Tips for Painting Your Ceilings and Walls.
  • Stencil Artwork and Peel n’ Stick Graphics: These are great alternatives to having paintings or photographs on a wall. Experiment and combine some of each for a one-of-a-kind display.
  • Personalize Your Home Address: Create a display for your house numbers that reflects your favorite pastime like fishing or skiing. Put your wood working skills to the test and customize one just for your house.

Let Your DIY Projects Reflect You

Don’t worry about whether your home looks like those on your favorite home improvement shows or some fancy website. Home is where your heart is, so let your DIY projects reflect what you are passionate about. It’s time to let “you” shine through.

Expert Advice

From circular saws and drills to pressure washers and paint sprayers, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home decorating project. As always, if you have any questions about 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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Get Creative with DIY Home Address Displays

First impressions are lasting, so make your home’s appearance stand out from all the rest by creating a unique DIY address display. It’s an opportunity to add a little personality and color to the front of your house while marking it with important information. Time to get creative!

House Numbers That Express Personality

Even in this time of the GPS, having your house number prominently displayed is how everyone from the post office and fire department to the kid who delivers the newspaper (you remember those) finds you. Traditionally located on or near the front door, today house numbers are displayed everywhere from planters to flag poles. They’ve evolved into personal expressions.

Why Display House Numbers?

  • Identification – They make it easy for the people to find your home (especially police and fire/rescue).
  • Requirement – Some homeowner’s associations require house numbers be displayed on a certain area of the property (but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring!)
  • Self-Expression – Show off your family’s interests or tastes with house numbers done in your team’s colors or favorite activities.
  • Creative Statement – Many of us enjoy working on crafts so use your talents to make a unique display.
  • Finishing Touches – House numbers that match the style of your home (contemporary, craftsman, cottage) are small finishing touches that complete the look.

Sketch Out Ideas First

Think of the front of your home as a blank canvas, what do you want to show the world? Take a photo of your front entrance and use your computer’s drawing program to sketch out your ideas. Maybe you want to add colorful accents or try out different locations for your house numbers, this will help you experiment.

8 Ideas for Creative House Number Displays

  1. Rustic wooden display – Use recycled boards from wood pallets as the backdrop for your numbers.
  2. Flower pots – Create a row of colorful flower pots with one house number stenciled on each. You can add live or silk flowers to them.
  3. Upcycled doors or windows – An antique door or a small window can be painted and propped up against the front of your house or in the yard.
  4. Picture frames – Stencil the numbers on a board and frame it. Hang it from a ribbon on the door.
  5. Light fixtures – Paint house numbers on the side of a large lantern and mount it. Your guests will be able to see the address, even at night.
  6. Monograms – Large scale monogram letters (sold at most craft stores) with painted numbers can be attached to your house.
  7. Planters – Paint numbers on large containers with colorful plants and place them at your entrance.
  8. Seasonal creations – Design an address plaque that allows you to change out the decorations with the season. A metal plate made from roof flashing will allow you to place seasonal magnets on your display.

Replace Old Mailboxes

Many people have house numbers on their mailboxes at the street. Liven yours up by repainting the box and adding stylized numbers in a bright color. If your mailbox has seen better days, replace it. Read our blog, Replace Your Old, Damaged Mailbox in 5 Easy Steps for helpful tips on getting it done right.

Envy of the Neighborhood

If impressions are lasting, be sure the one you make is a good one. Your home’s curb appeal could be the envy of the neighborhood – and functional at the same time. Make sure your address display is easy to read, placed where it can be seen and shows your unique style (you want to show off your handy work).

Expert Advice

From miter saws and circular saws to drills and orbital sanders our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home improvement project. As always, if you have any questions about 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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Stones, Wood & Wire Make 1 Indestructible Outdoor Table

gabion wire mesh outdoor tableWant a durable outdoor table and bench set that can stand up to all kinds of punishment, from family to the weather? Consider building one with a gabion wire mesh kit. They are easy to assemble, virtually indestructible and add a touch of “industrial chic” to any outdoor décor.

Versatility and Ease Earn Wire Cages a Big Thumbs Up!

“Gabion” comes from the Italian word “gabbione” meaning ‘big cage’ and that is exactly what these wire containers are. Used in construction and landscaping, it is a box made from wire mesh that acts as a support or building block, which is filled with stones, concrete or dirt. DIYers are building patio benches, planters and even water features out of these versatile containers.

Pre-Cut Kits Make Building a Breeze

You can use rolled wire mesh to build a Gabion cage, although using ready-cut kits is so much easier. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are generally constructed out of 3/16th-inch gauge wire. Some are available with a PVC coating so you won’t need to seal them.

Fab Re-Purpose for Old Lumber

Determine the size of your table and where you want to place it. Once your stones are added, moving it will be difficult. Decide on the materials to use for the table top and bench seats. Used lumber, railway ties, pallets and even stone are all options.

Materials & Tools Needed

  • (4) small rectangular Gabion wire kits for bench supports
  • (2) large rectangular Gabion wire kits for table supports
  • reclaimed wood for table top and bench seats
  • (6) small 1” x 2” boards to fasten table and bench tops onto
  • filler material – pebbles, stones or recycled glass
  • angle grinder and safety goggles
  • circular saw
  • pliers

Right Size Supports Make a Sturdy Table or Bench

Select the size kits that will best fit your design and will support the maximum weight expected.

The pre-cut sides of the kit are assembled using the wire spirals provided. After wrapping the wire through the corners bend the ends back with pliers. Use an angled grinder to cut the cage down to the height you want and to trim off any unwanted sharp edges.

Construct a Gabion Table & Benches in 6 Easy Steps

  • Cut wood – Use a circular saw to cut reclaimed wood for table top and benches to the length you desire. Cut 1” x 2” cross supports with 45-degree on ends.
  • Assemble – Join table and bench tops to the cross supports.
  • Brace box – Attach a wire from one side to the other (6” down from top) to help the box retain its shape when rocks are added.
  • Fill cage – Adding a lightweight object or cheaper fill material in the center of the container will cut down on the amount of high grade stones you will need.
  • Add tops to the support pillars – The cross supports should fit snuggly inside bin. Adjust rocks to create a level surface.
  • Paint or stain table top and benches – Depending on the materials used you may want to coat the boards in polyurethane to protect it from the weather.

Endless Choices for Fill Material

If you want a densely packed cage, combine smaller pebbles with larger stones to fill in gaps. Another option is to use logs to line the visible sides and fill the center with cheaper gravel. A chic choice is adding a clear plastic or Plexiglas container inside the cage, lining the outside with sea glass, then filling the rest with sand. The choices are endless.

See What Gabion Cages Can Do for Your Yard

Once you see what you can do with Gabion wire cages, you’ll be ready to tackle bigger and better DIY projects. Why stop with a table? Why not terrace the back yard? Move over Caesar, today you conquered the patio, tomorrow you party!

Expert Advice

Looking for a companion piece to go along with your new table? Our blog, A DIY Couch to Enjoy All Summer Long, has easy tips on building a seating area out of concrete blocks.

From circular saws and angled grinders to paint sprayers and wheel barrows, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY project. As always, if you have any questions about 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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Build Your Own American Flag Cornhole Set in 10 Steps

DIY American Flag Cornhole SetAlready making plans for the 4th of July? Well, we’ve got the perfect DIY project that is sure to get your family and guests in the patriotic spirit. Build a stars and stripes cornhole game set! The fun will last long past Independence Day.

This is No Bean Bag Toss!

The dimensions of a cornhole board, according to the American Cornhole Association, should be a 48-inch by 24-inch rectangular shape that is inclined 12 inches off the ground at one end. All you need are the following materials:

  • (4) 2” x 4” x 8’ boards
  • (2) 2’ x 4’ plywood panels (1/2” thickness)
  • (4) 3/8” carriage bolts
  • (4) 3/8” washers
  • (4) 3/8” wing nuts
  • 5” wood screws
  • 5” wood screws

Find Your Favorite Design

Decide on the patriotic decoration for the front. Stripes can be done with painter’s tape and you paint the stars freehand. Research designs on the internet and print your favorite onto stencil plastic or check with your local sign company to see if they can make the stencils for you.

10 Easy Steps to Building an American Flag Cornhole Set

  1. Cut the wood – use a circular saw to cut the pieces for the frame, face and legs.
  2. Construct the frame – join the sides and end segments together with 2.5-inch wood screws. Pre-drill holes to avoid splitting.
  3. Attach face to frame – apply wood glue to the frame, then add the face. Screw the board to the frame. When dry, fill screw holes with wood filler.
  4. Drill hole for opening – measure 9 inches from top and 12 inches from sides to find center. Cut out a 6-inch diameter hole with a jig saw or a 6-inch hole drill bit.
  5. Round one end of legs – mark 1.75 inches from end of each leg and draw a circle across the end of the board. Use jig saw to round it off.
  6. Drill holes /Attach legs – create holes for carriage bolts to secure legs to inside of frame. The rounded end goes at top and bottom of the frame. Legs should fold up underneath. Sand rounded end if they do not move freely.
  7. Sand – use an orbital sander to smooth the top, sides and inside of hole to prevent splintering and cracking.
  8. Paint – prime the board white on the top and sides. Two coats will give you a good solid white for the stripes (paint the legs if you wish).
  9. Tape or stencil flag pattern – use painter’s tape to mark the stripes and a stencil for the stars. Fill in using a high gloss latex paint.
  10. Seal it – after the design dries, add a polyurethane coating to protect it.

Use the Right Tools

You can use a paint sprayer to apply the primer and the sealant. Depending on your design, you may need to use a brush to complete your flag. The board face should be smooth but not slick. Use fine sand paper to smooth in-between the polyurethane coatings to get rid of rough patches. Allow 24 hours to dry.

Show Your True Colors This Fourth!

The materials listed above will produce a complete game set with two boards. You can make your own bags to toss or buy them online. Show your true colors this Fourth of July with a very patriotic cornhole game. Easy to build and fun to play, it is a great summer time distraction. Just don’t forget to mind the burgers on the grill!

Expert Advice

Want to throw a spectacular Fourth of July BBQ but don’t know where to start? Check out our blog, 3 Things to Help Pull Off Your First Outdoor Barbecue of the Season to get your home ready to entertain guests. From circular saws and drills to paint sprayers and sanders, our expert staff is always on hand to help you tackle your next fun backyard project. As always, if you have any questions about 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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4 Steps to Renew an Aging Concrete Driveway

diy concrete driveway repairYou’ve been working really hard on your home’s curb appeal and there’s one thing that has you stumped – the driveway. Do you repair the cracks or bite the bullet and replace the whole driveway? It’s a quandary facing many homeowners today. Let’s look at your options.

Age Matters When It Comes to Concrete

A driveway puts up with a lot, from the weight of the family cars to harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, age does matter when it comes to driveways. Concrete surfaces have a life span of 20-25 years before the materials just give out.

Take a Real Look at Your Driveway

Take a close look at the condition of your concrete. Cracks less than a quarter of an inch wide are usually signs of expansion and contraction due to weather. Cracks larger than a quarter inch may be due to tree roots or water erosion underneath. Potholes are normally a sign that the concrete is deteriorating to the point where it needs to be replaced.

What You Need to Repair Your Concrete Surfaces

  • Cement resurfacing mixture – A fast drying polymer based coating that covers cracks.
  • Long-handle squeegee – To apply resurfacing material and work into cracks.
  • Duct tape – Tape off expansion joints to avoid filling them in with resurfacing solution.
  • Chisel – To cut debris from cracks.
  • Wire brush – Helps dislodge broken concrete.
  • Concrete sealer – Fills and expands in small cracks.
  • Trowel – Works sealants into cracks and smooths surface.
  • Sand – To fill in deep cracks first before applying sealant.
  • Water sealer – Helps waterproof your concrete.

Power Wash Your Driveway

Once you determine the condition of the concrete, power wash your driveway. Use cleaners and scrub brushes to remove motor oil, dirt and stains. A clean surface allows sealants to adhere and fill in cracks fully. Let the concrete dry full before using sealants.

Repair Your Concrete Driveway in 4 Steps

Step 1 – Fill cracks and potholes. Use a trowel to compress concrete caulk or sealer into cracks.

Step 2 – Protect yourself. Many products have harsh chemicals and fumes, so wear gloves and a mask.

Step 3 – Let it cure. It may be 48 hours before you can park cars on it. Read your product instructions for recommendations.

Step 4 – Seal it. After your repairs have dried, protect your concrete with water sealant.

Renew by Resurfacing

Resurfacing is an economical way to renew your concrete at a fraction of the cost of replacing it. The liquid compound dries quickly (in about 30 minutes) so work fast with a squeegee to smooth it across the concrete. Tape off your expansion joints so they aren’t filled. For a non-skid surface, use an old broom to brush across the mixture, giving it texture.

So Many Choices

Resurfacing allows you to choose different finishes (glossy or dull), colors and patterns. Due to the quick drying time, test a small area until you get the look you want. This process is not a permanent fix and will need to be re-done every two to three years.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

If you are trying to sell your home, a cracked driveway is going to raise a red flag for buyers. Consider resurfacing prior to putting your house on the market. It is amazing what a fresh, new driveway can do for your curb appeal.

Keep Your Driveway Looking Good for Years

Replacing a driveway can be a big expense but thankfully one that you only have to do once every 20 years, give or take. Repairing cracks as you find them will help keep your drive looking good for years to come.

Expert Advice

From concrete mixers and trowel machines to pressure washers and grout pumps, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next DIY home improvement project. Want more information on repairing a driveway? Our blog, The 7 Step Process to Restore Your Cracked and Eroded Driveways will help. 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: Featured Products, How-To's, Restore and Renovate, spring checklist | 1 Comment

DIY Pergola – Just What Your Patio has been Missing

outdoor backyard pergolaWant to add some architectural interest to your deck or yard? Add a pergola. Often called an arbor or trellis, these canopy-like structures will provide shade to an otherwise fully exposed area, among other advantages. Building one is an easy DIY project that requires an extra set of hands. Ready to raise the roof on your new pergola?

A Structure with a Purpose

What is the function of your pergola? Is it to provide a quiet secluded oasis for you in the garden or to act as a privacy screen for your outdoor dining area? Will it be free-standing or attached to the house? These are some of the considerations that will affect your design.

5 Things to Consider When Designing Your Pergola

  1. Style of your home – Whether French country or contemporary, Tuscan villa or mid-century modern, keeping your pergola design in the same style as your home gives you cohesive curb appeal.
  2. Ambiance – What kind of experience are you trying to create? Romantic, rustic, relaxing?
  3. Play up your property’s best features – Use the view you’ll see from under your canopy (river, stream, skyline, garden, etc.) to locate the pergola accordingly.
  4. Privacy – Adding additional lattice screens will offer seclusion.
  5. Think outside the box – Pergolas are often square or rectangle, although they can be round, octagonal or multi-leveled. Get creative.

Protect Your Pergola from the Elements

A pergola, like a deck, will need to be protected from the elements. Decide on the amount of maintenance you want to do on a yearly basis when selecting your materials. If you want to add lights or a ceiling fan, be sure to account for the added weight your structure will have to support. Electrical wiring will also need to be installed and hidden from view.

Materials to Use for a Pergola

  • Pressure treated wood – The least expensive option and can last a long time with weatherproofing.
  • Cedar – Can be costly but its naturally beauty is hard to beat.
  • Brick – Build the support pillars with brick and attach beams across the top for a sturdy structure.
  • Natural stones – Creates a rustic feel, especially when including a fireplace.
  • Wrought iron – Classic arched metal offers superior support for large plant coverings like roses or material such as canvas.

A Solid Foundation is Key

Whether you are adding a pergola canopy to a concrete patio or building a stand-alone structure, make sure your foundation isn’t going to shift. Use 6×6 posts to give you solid support. Always use stainless steel nuts, bolts and brackets that won’t corrode and give way.

To Build a Free-standing Pergola:

  1. Bury the support poles – Dig down at least 24-48 inches.
  2. Pack the dirt – Tamp it down firmly or pour concrete to stabilize the supports. Check posts to see if they are plumb.
  3. Cut pillars to same height.
  4. Place crossbeams on top – You’ll need help from those two extra hands for this stage.
  5. Cut lap joints – These interlocking notches connect posts and crossbeams. (Use stainless steel brackets if you prefer).
  6. Add optional lattice panels – Put these down the sides of the structure for privacy.
  7. Stain or paint – Protecting the wood will help it last longer.

Time to Decorate

After your pergola is built, decorate with climbing plants that may look delicate at first, but they can become heavy over time. Clematis, Passion flower, Wisteria, grape vines and of course, climbing roses are all good choices. Other decorations include a canvas ribbon awning or flowing outdoor curtains, which add sun protection and a bit of color, too.

Wow Factor

A pergola can add drama to a blah patio or create a quiet retreat in your garden. It is simple to build and will give your landscape the added “wow” factor it may have been missing. Beware, pergolas are like peanuts, you can’t stop at just one. Happy building!

Expert Advice

From jigsaws and hammer drills to post hole diggers and chop saws, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next DIY building project. Want more ideas on how to spice up your patio or deck? Learn how to Boost Outdoor Entertaining Potential with New Design Elements in our recent 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, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | 1 Comment

Show Off Your DIY Skills with Flooring – Creative Remodeling Project Idea #2

Remodeling Project #2 - Update Your FlooringOne of the best places to show off your DIY skills is in the kitchen where the floor takes a daily beating. No room gets more spills, splatters and stains. Finding an inexpensive flooring option is very doable and we’re here to help you find the perfect one.

Don’t Let So Many Choices Floor You

If you’re getting overwhelmed by the vast array of flooring choices and are not sure which material is right for you, let your budget and the style of your kitchen narrow down your options. Here are a few possibilities to consider:

  • Hardwoods
  • Tiles – Terra Cotta, ceramic
  • Concrete
  • Marble
  • Travertine tiles
  • Cork
  • Bamboo
  • Vinyl
  • Laminated hardwood

Hardwoods Add Warmth to a Room

Hardwoods are very popular in kitchen design right now. Wood adds warmth to a room and comes in a multitude of widths, colors and textures. Today’s pre-finished hardwoods have an average of eight coats of finish baked on, so it can take wear and tear.

Easy Hardwood Installation

Tongue and groove hardwood flooring is easy to install using the right equipment. Rent a flooring nail gun so the nails go in at the proper angle. Hardwoods like Teak require special nails due to their hardness. The wrong nails can bounce off and damage the flooring.

Laminates Install in a Snap

Laminates also come in a tongue and groove system that snaps together. These floating floor installations can go in over your existing flooring or subfloor. A vapor barrier or underlay put down first will help protect against moisture.

Tile Floors – A Great High Traffic Solution

Tiles are easy to clean, scratch resistant and great for high traffic areas. To install make sure your subfloor is level by using a self-leveling compound. Tiles will crack if the subfloor moves or is un-level, so choose a tile size that can help you avoid this. Depending on your choice of tiles, you will need to seal it once a year to avoid staining.

Think Outside the Box for Your Floor Update

Hardwoods, laminates or tiles not what you’re looking for? Try thinking outside the box and consider one of these ideas:

  • Rubber Flooring – If you do a lot of cooking you’ll love these pliable floors. They are durable and are available in custom colors.
  • Painted Laminate Floors – Use painter’s tape to block off a chevron pattern or stripes and apply your favorite colors. Seal with polyurethane when dry.
  • Concrete – Rehab your concrete subfloor with a thin layer of concrete. Treat it with an acid stain to get a permanent, non-fading color.
  • Epoxy Coating – Coat your concrete subfloor with epoxy resin and add color flakes to match your décor. It’s hard as nails and easy to clean.
  • Brick Pavers – Add an old-world ambiance to your kitchen with pavers. Practically indestructible, you will need to seal them once a year to keep them from staining and to protect the grout.

Your DIY Project Will Be a Snap

Today’s flooring options are tough, beautiful and easy to install, which makes your DIY project a snap. The toughest thing you’ll have to do is decide what type of flooring you want. But that will be our little secret.

Expert Advice

From flooring nail guns and rollers to concrete mixers and tile cutters, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to handle your flooring projects. If you’re considering a floor refinishing, learn helpful tips from our blog, How to Re-Finish Your Hardwood Floors to Perfection. 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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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.

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Top 10 Most Popular Runyon Equipment Rentals for Fall

Top 10 Fall Rentals from RunyonThe first day of fall is about a week away (September 23 this year), and it may seem like finishing all the things on your DIY-do list seems impossible. We’ve put together a list of our most popular equipment rentals for fall – “fan favorites” that’ll help you complete those projects in no time (in no particular order).

  1. Aerator/ Plugger – Fall is prime time for treating your lawn to a little TLC. By aerating, you help keep the soil from compacting and strangling the grass roots. Our blog on fall lawn care will show you why an aerator is a lawn’s best friend.
  2. Slice Seeder – If your lawn has thinned over the summer, then a slice seeder will help you bring it back to its “greener” self. As its name suggests, a slice seeder slices through the turf, creating furrows for seeds. The dirt that it kicks up buries the seeds, eliminating a need for straw or top soil. Learn more about this effective machine in our article, Improve Your Existing Turf with Slice Seeding.
  3. Tiller – Now that you are wrapping up your summer garden and flower beds, don’t forget to give back to your soil. Tilling helps to oxygenate the soil and mix in organic materials. Our post, Time to Till it Up, can help you decide if a tiller is in your future.
  4. Chainsaw – A chainsaw can make easy work of trimming trees or removing any that have died. We run through some handy tips on cutting down trees and using a chainsaw in this blog.
  5. Chipper – When removing a tree, what to do with the debris is always a consideration. We suggest using a chipper. You will eliminate the yard waste and get back mulch in return. We review different types of chippers in this article. Check it out.
  6. Log Splitter – While a chainsaw is handy for taking down a tree, a splitter will cut up the larger sections of a downed tree into usable pieces for your fireplace. Our blog post on repurposing yard debris for your fireplace may light a fire under you to rent one of these.
  7. Stump Cutter – Cutting a tree down and grinding up the debris is usually step one of the process. There is always a stump left to deal with. A stump cutter will break up the tree base and roots so that they are easier to remove. That’s why this piece of equipment is listed as one of the Essential Yard Tools for Your Fall Maintenance.
  8. Auger – Fall is an ideal season to plant trees and shrubs. In our post, Garden To-Dos Pt 3 – Planting Trees and Shrubs, we discuss how augers make digging holes for planting trees and other plants so much easier.
  9. Bobcat/ Dingo – Ever had to transport endless loads of dirt, gravel or mulch from your driveway to the back of your house with a wheelbarrow? You swore never again. What you need is a bobcat. From hauling to excavating, this is the “Swiss Army knife” of maintenance tools due to all the attachments available. We outlined how to use a Bobcat in our blog, How to Safely Operate and Maneuver a Bobcat.
  10. Boom Lift – For jobs that are too high or too dangerous for traditional ladders, the boom lift should be your choice. It will safely deliver you and your materials to the height you need. See how one of these can help on your projects in the article, Versatile Uses of Boom Lifts.

By selecting the right tools and equipment to do the job, your to-do lists don’t have to be so overwhelming – they can actually help you tackle your projects in record time. You may be able to add even more items to your list! On further reflection, taking one’s time while doing home improvements can also be seen as a virtuous endeavor. Food for thought, folks, food for thought.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with all of your DIY home improvement projects. 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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How to Tackle Your Lawn in Less Than an Hour

How to Tackle Your Lawn in an Hour or LessHaving a lush, green lawn is every homeowner’s dream. It’s a badge of honor the whole neighborhood can see and it means something because it is not at all easy to achieve. The weekends already pass by too quickly and the thought of spending your entire weekend doing yard work can be infuriating. Don’t give up your sanity or your weekends to have an enviable yard. This one hour plan will change your views on yard maintenance and have your neighbors asking for your secrets.

First 15 Minutes: Master the Art of Watering

Get a jump start by beginning in the yard early. In the first 15 minutes, master the art of watering. If you water too much, your lawn will have deep, but few roots. Water too little and you will have too many shallow roots. Early morning waterings will have less evaporation and your water will go straight to the grass. You want to water deeply, though infrequently. You should use a rain gauge to determine exactly how much you need to water each week.

Mother Nature is your friend, so embrace the natural moisture that is provided by rainfall. Most grass types need about 1 inch of water each week. You can use sprinklers for between 5-15 minutes, depending how much your lawn needs to reach the 1in mark.

Next 30 Minutes: Make the Most of Mowing

For the next 30 minutes, make the most of mowing. Mowing the lawn is a notorious chore, but done correctly it can save you time and stress. Invest in an efficient lawn mower to cut your mowing time in half. Find a machine that works with you, instead of against you. Popular Mechanics compiled a list of the best choices – be sure to read the comments to discover real people’s opinions.

Have your blades sharpened at the beginning of every season so that you can get the most from your effort. [Runyon can sharpen your blades for a small fee, so bring in your mower and the service department will fit you in.] While you mow, try to take off just ⅓ of the grass’ height at a time. You want the plant to be able to continue photosynthesis. By not taking off too much, you keep enough plant tissue on the blade to do so.

Final 15 Minutes: Hand Weed Your Lawn

A lawn free of weeds is a true prize, and can feel far away. Most homeowner’s first response to the appearance of weeds is to seek out a chemical herbicide. This is often a big mistake. These weed killers can be dangerous to humans and pets and often weaken the grass you favor along with the weeds. The strongest combatant to weeds is a healthy, thick lawn. If your lawn grows strong, it can defeat pesky weeds in the war for space. A dense lawn blocks out the sun needed for their seeds to sprout.

For the final 15 minutes, hand weed your lawn and take note of the different types of weeds you see. These can be signals to other issues in your soil that can be corrected. Certain weeds grow only where the soil is damp, some only in over fertilized areas. Learning to identify the types of weeds that plague your garden can help you eliminate them and save more time.

In just an hour, you’ve made huge improvements to your yard. Follow this quick plan each week and your yard will be the talk of the neighborhood. Finally, you can stop worrying about your lawn and get back to enjoying your summer.

Guest Author: Jane Blanchard

Jane Blanchard is a writer at Modernize. For more tips and tricks, head to Modernize.com. And to purchase or rent lawn equipment in the Indianapolis area, visit Runyon Equipment Rental in-store or online.

*Photo Courtesy of rockymountaintrees.com
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Refresh Your Home with Interior, Exterior & Shutter Paint

DIY Home Refresher: Interior, Exterior and Shutter PaintingSummertime is often when we decide to spruce up our homes, and nothing can give your home’s exterior better curb appeal than a fresh coat of paint. Whether you decide to tackle the outside of your home or just an interior room that needs a makeover, painting is an easy DIY project.

Preparation Pays Off

There is only one word to remember in painting: “prep”. The key to any successful painting job, whether it is the exterior of your home or an accent wall in your den, is preparation. To achieve a professional paint project, follow a few key steps.

Prepping an Exterior Paint Job:

  • Pressure wash your house – Removing the dirt and debris will make sure the paint adheres correctly. Learn more about it in our blog, How to Pressure Wash Your Home’s Exterior for Paint.
  • Remove add-ons  Take down storm windows, screens, shutters, awnings, wall-mounted light fixtures and even downspouts.
  • Scrape loose paint – Remove cracking, peeling paint and sand smooth before painting. If paint is intact, don’t scrape to the bare wood.
  • Repair surface flaws – Use a repair compound that is rated for exterior use. Sand after it dries.
  • Remove old caulk – Re-caulk around door trim, windowsills and other areas with paintable exterior caulk.
  • Repair and re-putty windows – Remove old putty and apply new glazing. Let dry before painting. Don’t forget to check under eaves and doors for any damage that needs to be repaired.
  • Use drop cloths to protect flowerbeds and lawns – Gently tie up shrubs or small trees to keep them from rubbing up against wet paint.
  • Prime bare wood or anywhere repairs are made – The primer will help the paint adhere to the wood or newly repaired area. The primer you use depends on the paint you are going to use.

The average paint job on the exterior of a home can last from five to eight years if the proper preparations are done.

Why Not Paint the Shutters?

Since you have removed your storm windows, screens and shutters, now is the perfect time to repair or paint them. A paint sprayer makes an easy job of painting shutters. (Check out our blog post on Airless Sprayers to see how they can make quick work of your painting jobs.)

Here are a few guidelines for painting shutters with a paint sprayer:

  • Clean the shutters to remove grime and mildew.
  • Scrape off loose or flaking paint.
  • Lightly feather sand the shutters.
  • Prime any bare spots.
  • Starting with the back, paint all the shutters on the same side, let dry and then flip them over to paint the other side. This will keep the painting uniform.
  • Spray at a slight upward angle so that you can paint the upper portion of each slat.
  • Spray the entire face including the frame.
  • Use a dry brush to eliminate drips and runs.
  • Avoid drips and runs by painting two or three light coats rather than one heavy coat.
  • Paint the metal hinges that hold the shutters in place.

The Inside Scoop on Interior Painting

Painting the interior of your home is similar to what we’ve discussed for the exterior. Preparation is still the most important part. Though time consuming, prepping your walls the right way will give you professional results. Here are some steps for guaranteeing success:

  • Remove as much furniture as possible – Cover the remaining pieces with plastic to protect against accidental spills.
  • Clean the walls – After vacuuming or dusting, wipe them down with a damp cloth. When washing down kitchen walls, use a mixture of 3 tsp of laundry detergent to a gallon of warm water to eliminate grease build-up.
  • Tape trim, windows and door frames – No matter how steady your hands are they will get tired. Stay on the straight and narrow by putting blue painters tape down. Remove immediately after painting (before the paint dries) to avoid peeling off any with it.
  • Prime walls – Some say a wall with multiple coats of paint doesn’t need it. However, if you want a uniform look to your color choice, don’t take the chance – prime.
  • Use a brush where you can’t use a roller – Use a paint brush to get around trim and in the corners of walls.
  • Use the “W” technique – Paint a 3 x 3 foot “W” pattern on the wall and then fill it in without lifting the roller. It helps hide seams where you picked up the roller and put it back down.
  • Paint the trim – Once the walls are dry, tape where the walls meet the molding and door frames. Straight edges give you a crisp, professional look.

Find out more tips for painting the interiors in our blog, Painting Walls in Your Dream Home Made Easy.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your DIY painting projects. From pressure washers to paint sprayers, 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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How to Create a Custom Picture Frame in 6 Simple Steps

How to Make A Custom Picture Frame

Have you ever come across an incredibly unique poster, painting or photograph that doesn’t fit into a standard frame size? If you live in Indianapolis you’ve probably seen the Neighborhoods of Indianapolis poster, which unfortunately falls into this category. Because of this, I had to find a new solution for framing mine, and since a custom frame from a craft store costs a small fortune, I decided to utilize my dad’s expert DIY ability instead.

First things first, gather the tools…

Thankfully my dad has a mecca of power tools in his shed, so he was able to come up with everything we needed. However, for those of you without an extensive tool collection, Runyon has a huge array of tools for rent and purchase. Stop in or check out our website for the full catalog of products. Here are all the tools you need (assuming you already have trim for the frame and plywood for the back frame piece):

Things to keep in mind, according to good ol’ dad…

The goal is to find a way to join the corners of the trim that will ultimately form the frame. If you want to get fancy with it you can use a router bit to form tongue and groove joints, but this is only optional. You could also consider a layered frame look, i.e. stacking trim to create a shadow box style. The key to this whole process though, is to make sure your parallel sides are exactly the same size in length and that the corners are cut to perfect 45-degree angles. Accuracy is crucial for this to work properly.

And now the steps…

  1. The first thing you have to do is measure and cut your frame sides into parallel pieces i.e. make sure parallel sides are equal in length. Also, make sure you leave enough length for the 45-degree angles in the next step.
  2. After cutting the trim pieces to the correct length, it’s time to measure and cut 45-degree angle corners. The miter saw is integral for this step because it will ensure accurate cuts. Test and fit your pieces as you go to make sure they line up with no gaps.
  3. Once all your frame pieces are the proper length and have well-fitting corners, glue and clamp the corners together for at least an hour.
  4. Then for additional stability, toe-nail the corners together with a brad gun (nailer). At this point your frame should be complete with the exception of the back piece and hanging hardware.
  5. Attach the back piece of plywood with a nail gun after ensuring it’s the correct dimensions (i.e. enough to cover the frame opening, but not too big that it overlaps outside the far frame edge).
  6. And the very last step, install hardware for hanging the frame. You can pick up brackets, a wire set, etc. from a hardware store. Just be sure whatever you buy is rated for at least the weight of your frame – for instance, mine weighs about 50 lbs.

And voila, you’re ready to hang and admire your picture for years to come! If you have any additional questions about this process or the tools used, please don’t hesitate to comment below or contact us. Happy DIY-ing!

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Outdoor Refreshers: Install Decorative Outdoor Lighting

How to Install Decorative Outdoor LightingFirst and foremost, outdoor lighting adds safety to your property. A well-designed exterior lighting plan increases visibility around your home, along paths, sidewalks and stairs and in your yard, eliminating darkness and shadows. Investing in outdoor lighting certainly pays for itself in the long run and enables you to extend your outdoor activities well into the night. So, are you looking for an intermediate-level do-it-yourself project that will also enhance your exterior lighting plan in the process? Reward yourself – and your landscape – with decorative outdoor lighting.

Sunshine at Night

Solar and low-voltage lighting for outdoor use is economical, safe and easy-to-install and operate. Usually sold as lighting systems, both are shock-less, safe for children and pets. While low-voltage lighting includes a power pack, cable and lamps or fixtures that can be adjusted to your liking, everything you need for solar lighting is contained in the fixtures themselves. Low-voltage lighting is brighter than solar lighting. Also, avoid using any solar or low-voltage products labeled “interior only.”

Choose solar lighting in areas:

  • that get lots of direct sun
  • that are large or remote, such as the corners of your property
  • that are located far away from a power source
  • that are near water, such as a pond, swimming pool or hot tub
  • that are rough terrain, such as rock gardens
  • that require very low light

Choose low-voltage lighting in areas:

  • that are near the house
  • that are on smooth terrain
  • that are shady
  • that need to be illuminated, such as landscaping features, decks, patios, architectural surfaces or features, statues, walls, fountains, pathways, walkways, steps, destination areas in the garden or house signs
  • that are in need of a border

How to Plan Exterior Lighting

Survey your property to determine areas in need of illumination. Bring along a measuring tape and take measurements, especially to exterior power outlets.

Look for dark spots and corners that might need lighting for safety reasons. Note hazardous steps or curbs that could use light. Make a sketch detailing landscape features and their location, such as the house, pathways, driveway, water features, gardens, trees, shrubs, garden art. Be sure to include each location of any outdoor electricity source.

Decide which areas would benefit from solar light installation, keeping in mind these areas need no wiring. Choose the types of low-voltage lights you want in each area – downlights, backlights, uplights, and softlights (see below). Be sure to check your plan against local codes. You might need a permit before you begin work.

Lighting Effects and Techniques

Getting creative with your exterior lighting plan is as simple as choosing different light effects that pack a powerful visual punch.

Downlighting directs light toward the ground and is used to create safe pathways and stairs.

Backlighting directs light onto a wall or fence behind the desired subject to be highlighted and is used to feature trees, artwork or architectural enhancements of your house.

Uplighting directs light up, illuminating the underside of a surface, and is used to feature address signs, statue, foliage or fountain.

Soft lighting directs light in all directions for an atmospheric effect and is used to create mood, romance and ambiance.

Shop for Light

Low voltage halogen lights range from about 4-50 watts. The higher the wattage, the higher the level of brightness. Choose light fixtures first, then add up the wattage. You’ll need a power pack that supplies enough wattage for all lamps. It takes 110 volts. Divide a large lighting system into smaller ones if necessary, using a power pack or transformer for each. In addition, you’ll need cable and cable connectors to support the wattage. As mentioned earlier, solar lighting is all-inclusive.

DIY-ing It All Together

  1. To install your lighting system, keep safety in mind at all times.
  2. Place the power pack within 1 foot of the outdoor electricity source – 110 volt standard US household current with a GFCI receptacle. Use a waterproof cover to protect the receptacle and plug-in. Do not install the power pack indoors.
  3. Attach the low voltage cable(s) and turn on the power pack. Always read power pack instructions.
  4. Lay the cable to your lighting fixtures according to your plan. Keep it above ground rather than burying it. You can use cable connectors to join two or more cables, or to change run direction. For runs of over 150 feet or if you’re using 10 or more lamps, use heavier cable.
  5. Attach the individual light fixtures to the cable with the power on.
  6. Make sure the fixtures produce light when connected. Follow the instructions provided with the light fixtures.
  7. Set the timer on the power pack to the ON/OFF times you desire.
  8. Do not use extension cords.

Wait Until Dark

Do the lights come on? How do they look? Make adjustments by resetting the timer or moving lights around. After you’re satisfied with your decorative outdoor lighting design, bury the cable with dirt, mulch, sod or rocks. You can also hide it behind foliage.

Illumination Transformation

Now that you’ve installed your decorative outdoor lighting, you home and outdoor living spaces, landscape and gardens will feel inviting and magical. Summer nights are made for this! Come holiday time, consider switching out light bulbs for color and charm.

By the way, you’ve also provided safety and security for your home. How practical of you!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with gardening projects. From ladders and other equipment to event lighting and more, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Patch or Resurface Your Cracked & Spalled Concrete Driveway

How to Repair A Spall or Cracked DrivewayFor those of you with garages at the forefront of your home, it’s safe to say a cracked and spalled driveway completely dampens curb appeal. And with such bipolar Indiana weather, it’s no wonder freeze-thaw conditions contribute so much to this. Depending on the cause of concrete driveway failure, there are solutions and ways to prevent unwanted defects.

What’s Causing Your Driveway to Fail?

The first step in repairing your driveway, is to determine what is causing it to fail.

If it is a stabilization issue, then unfortunately resurfacing won’t permanently fix the issue. The reason being, that when the foundation under placed concrete starts to deteriorate, there is a void created, which results in the concrete cracking and falling more than the concrete around it. You could level out the concrete temporarily, but if the concrete underneath the patch moves, then inevitably the patch will move with it. In essence, the concrete can’t support itself and falls through. The only solution if this is the case is to tear the driveway out and pour completely new concrete at full depth.

On the other hand, if you have concrete cracks or spalls not caused by a foundation issue, then there are a few easy approaches for remedying them….read on….

Preventing or Patching Concrete Spalls

Many driveways have spalls. Freeze-thaw in the winter and summer creates pop-outs when concrete contracts, then expands. This phenomenon pops pieces of concrete loose (hence the name), which result in what are known as spalls. A way of preventing this is to keep water from penetrating into the concrete to begin with. Concrete sealer can assist with this – you can purchase sealer here.

For repairing spalls, the first step is to use a pressure washer for cleaning them out, then clean them up with a hand grinder and wire wheel. After all the debris and loose bits of concrete are removed from each spall, you can fill in the voids with Concrete Resurfacer. Keep in mind, the color may not match exactly, but it will do the trick.

Leveling Your Driveway and Filling-In Cracks

If your main issue is concrete cracks (not caused by stabilization issues mind you), then you can also use Concrete Resurfacer to level the surface of your driveway. However, this is only recommended for use on substrates with 1/8″ or less difference in depth. On anything 1/4″ or greater, you can use Skim Coat.

Expert Advice

Our goal is to assist with any repair tricks and tips to keep your home happy and healthy, so please let us know if you have additional questions about this process. We have an entire concrete division as well, so be sure to check out our Runyon Surface Prep website for the full line of products.

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Spring Refresh DIY Idea #4 – How to Construct a Poolside Bar

How to Build a Poolside BarIf you are looking out at your lonely pool, still garnishing the cover, devoid of any lawn furniture, it just makes you sad. Cheer up, though – temperatures are rising and the pool will soon be back in use. Sure, you have some spring cleaning to do but why not indulge your dreams of adding a poolside bar? Just think – no more wet feet running through your house in search of food and drinks!

In your mind, is your poolside bar a stand-alone structure away from the water? Or do you want a bar with in-pool seating? Let its location, the style of your home and your budget dictate your choice for making it a reality.

Tiki Bar Technique

A stand-alone bar can be one that you build from scratch or assemble from a kit. You can even retro-fit a former garden shed by opening up one wall and building the bar there. There are so many options! Keep a few things in mind if you go with a stand-alone.

  • You need to make sure the structure has a firm foundation or is anchored to the ground to avoid being toppled by strong winds.
  • Extend the roof out over the bar and chairs to provide cover from the elements for your guests. You can line it with bamboo or palm leaves to give it a tropical feel.
  • Consider adding a raised deck floor in front for bar stools. It will help anchor the structure and will allow guests to get their feet off of the hot pool deck.
  • Add some hanging lanterns around the roof for a pop of color during the day and a romantic glow at night.

I’m Never Leaving This Pool-Side Bar

A swim-up bar can look a little intimidating but don’t let that hold you back. Keep in mind the bar needs to be accessible from the pool and dry land, so it will need to be an open structure on two sides. Again, you can choose to build it yourself or purchase a kit. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose a section of the pool that is 30 inches deep to allow you to add the in-pool features.
  • Add a raised shelf poolside and cover with tiles.
  • Since you need to clean the pool anyway, drain the pool in order to install the bar stools. These are usually made of concrete pillars and the seats can be covered with tile that matches the new shelf.
  • Give enough space between stools to allow guest to come up on their floats.
  • Install a canopy of sailcloth or thatch out over the poolside shelf to allow swimmers to get out of the sun. You can use the same covering over the dry side of the bar as well.
  • String lights beneath the canopy to give the bar an inviting feel at night.

A poolside bar is a great way to create a gathering place for friends and family. Be sure to decorate your new structure in whatever theme strikes your fancy. Make it a Tiki bar with palm leaves and bamboo or give it a nautical flare with anchors and fishing nets –whatever looks great against the backdrop of your home. Your bar can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. What matters the most is the hours of fun you will have outside with your loved ones. So light those Tiki torches and mix up some fruity drinks, your new bar is ready to open for the summer.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. If you’d like some advice about how to build your own fire pit, check out our blog post, How to Make a Concrete Fire Pit or Fire Bowl in 5 Easy Steps. Or better yet, you can purchase a completely all-inclusive glass fire pit from us! From concrete mixers to tile cutters and more, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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[Infographic] Your Guide to Lawn Aeration: The Basics

Spring, between March and May, is the perfect time to consider aerating your lawn. If your yard suffers from poor drainage, poor subsoil, or brown, worn grass, then it is definitely a good idea to consider renting an aerator for a day and giving your lawn fresh new life again. For steps on how to aerate, check out this blog post, and for other helpful tips, read What Everyone Ought to Know About Lawn Aeration. Hopefully this infographic gives you a good overview of the 101 basics involved in lawn aeration. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have other questions or would like advice on which aerator to use. We have a variety for rent here. Happy plugging away!

Lawn Aeration Basics Infographic

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When & How to Use a Shot Blaster for Surface Prep

Contec Shot BlasterShot blasting is a process used to remove built-up coatings, contaminants or impurities from surfaces by forcibly propelling an abrasive material against it to achieve a clean result. Often used to prepare a floor for further processing, such as the application of industrial flooring systems and epoxy coatings, shot blasters use the blasting material, or media, to smooth and shape a surface, as well as, roughen a smooth surface, depending on the size, shape and density of the media, the coverage of the blast and the angle of impact.

This type of abrasive blasting takes several forms, including bead blasting, soda blasting and sand blasting, and has seen effective use in industries like shipbuilding, automobile and metal manufacturing, foundry and welding, aviation and the production of tanks, silos, pipelines and chassis. A form of shot blasting is also used in the fashion industry, to roughen brand new denim for instance, giving it that well-worn patina.

The Difference Between Shot Blasting and Sand Blasting

Shot blasters use centrifugal force powered by a rotating wheel at high speed to shoot media made from steel, copper, nickel, glass, iron ore, even dry ice, ground walnut shells, or water, at the work surface. Whereas sand blasters use compressed air to shoot a high speed stream of abrasive sand at the work surface. Shot blasting does not generate dust like sand blasting, which has less impact on the environment, and can improve the fatigue strength of the surface. Sand blasting also improves the surface quality and mechanical performance.

Shot blasting is an ideal process for cleaning off thin coatings and paint from large spaces because it is dust-free and usually dry, the blasters provide an accurate blast pattern and a wide assortment of abrasive media is available and re-usable, all at a relatively moderate cost.

When using a shot blaster, protect yourself by wearing eye and ear protection, heavy boots, long pants and shirt. Turn the shot blaster on and adjust the pressure incrementally from the lowest setting, moving up to the highest speed as you test the area to be cleaned. Starting at the furthest corner of the work area, walk slowly with the machine in a linear motion across the surface, making several passes until the area is completely clean.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with renting or buying sand blasters and shot blasters. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. For more information on shot blasting, read these two posts from our Runyon Service Prep blog: What Grinders, Scarifiers, Shot Blasters & Scabblers Can Do For You and Remove Residue Build-Up with 4 Proven Methods.

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Turn Post-Holiday Clean-up into a Fresh Start for Your Home

Post-holiday clean-up in 3 simple stepsWhen all those festive lights are turned off at the end of the holiday season, it’s easy for a do-it-yourselfer to get a little melancholy. After all, boxing up the shimmer and shine can make any room in your home seem a little less bright. And if you’ve had your fill of crumb-covered buffets, leftovers in the ‘fridge, overflowing trash cans and more dirty dishes than the dishwasher can hold after celebrating, you’re in for a treat – because it’s easy to turn your post-holiday clean-up into a fresh start for your home. Not only that, you’ll already be preparing for next year’s festivities!

Here are three tips to take to task:

1. Operation Decoration De-Clutter

  • Decide on a deadline for taking down the tree and storing holiday decorations. Whether it’s New Year’s Day or a week after New Year’s Day, it helps keep you focused on your clean-up efforts.
  • Purge holiday decorations of things that are no longer of use before boxing everything up for the season.
  • Consider buying color-coded storage bins for different kinds of decorations. For example, red for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day, light green for Easter, orange for Halloween. This way, you won’t have to open each box to see what’s inside come next holiday.
  • Box up decorations by room or area rather than type. You may have several different holiday displays for mantles, living room, foyer, etc. Next year when it’s time to decorate, you can pull out one or two storage totes and have everything available to re-create those looks quickly and easily.
  • Rather than storing ornaments and other decorations in the boxes they come in, wrap each in recycled wrapping paper and place in a larger container. Wrap Christmas lights around the wrapping paper tubes. Use tree skirts and other large pieces of material such as table cloths at the bottom of storage bins for added protection.

2. Spring Clean by Winter’s Clock

  • Lots of homeowners remove regular pieces of furniture and home décor to make room for Christmas trees and other decorations. Before arranging rooms back to normal, give the carpets a good vacuuming and check them – and your furniture – for stains. If you spot any, clean immediately.
  • Vacuum drapes and curtains, and clean windows before the furniture is re-set.
  • Repair and/or polish wood pieces before lamps and other room décor are replaced.

3. Dare to Prepare for Next Year’s Holiday

  • Make next year’s baking and cooking clean-up easier by lining baking sheets with silicone baking mats and broiling pans with foil beforehand.
  • Decrease clutter in the kitchen by rotating new gifts and gadgets with the tried and true ones.
  • Turn the dishwasher on before your go to bed and unload it in the morning, so it’s empty before guests arrive.
  • Line trash cans with several clean bags, which will already be ready for more trash once you remove a full one.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any kind of clean-up project. From vacuums to carpet cleaners, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] 11 Popular Rental Items for Your Holiday Entertaining

It’s that time of year – endless Christmas and New Years parties, family get-togethers, gift exchanges, and all the fun festivities that the holidays bring. However, with all the planning and preparation that goes into such events, you may like a few tips on which equipment and around-the-house supplies may make it easier. Check out the infographic below for 11 rental items that are perfect for your winter-time entertaining.

Holiday Entertaining Infographic

1. Ladder | 2. Snow Blower | 3. Generator | 4. Extension Cords | 5. Vacuum | 6. Patio Heater | 7. Table and Chairs | 8. Lighting | 9. Grill | 10. Wet Dry Vacuum | 11. Carpet Cleaner

This isn’t an exhaustive list of equipment Runyon rents for events and parties, but it gives you a give taste of what there is available. Be sure to visit the website if you have additional inquiries, or contact us for more specific information. Happy Holidays!

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9 DIY Projects That Inspire Holiday Decorating & Entertaining

With the holidays right around the corner, you may be feeling the pressure to get all your Christmas shopping done, your holiday decorations down from the dusty attic and as many baking and family meal-time groceries checked off your grocery list as possible. Well, not to add any additional stress to your to-do list, but we find getting out the craft supplies and power tools is a great way to relieve some energy and personalize your home for holiday entertaining and get-togethers. Who doesn’t love a little drilling and cutting? To get your creative holiday juices flowing, below is a list of DIY Thanksgiving and Christmas projects compiled from several famous bloggers. Pin your favorites and have fun with it!

[4 DIY Thanksgiving Ideas:]

Idea 1. Branch Centerpiece

Branch Centerpiece

Source: Marty’s Musings

Tools Needed: drill1″ drill bit & wood chisel

Idea 2. DIY 2×4 Pumpkins

DIY 2x4 Pumpkins

Source: Su Soutter

Tools Needed: electric sander & handheld saw

Idea 3. DIY Pumpkin & Gourd Planters

DIY Pumpkin Planters

Source: DIY Network

Tools Needed: handheld jigsawdrill & drill bit

Idea 4. Give Thanks Sign

Give Thanks Sign
Source: Nikki, In Stitches

Tool Needed: handheld sander

[5 DIY Christmas Ideas:]

Idea 1. Christmas Crate

DIY Christmas Crate

Source: The Idea Room

Tools Needed: nail gun, drill & jigsaw

Idea 2. DIY Holiday Ladder

DIY Holiday Ladder

Source: Tatertots & Jello

Tools Needed: drill, drill bit & screw gun

Idea 3. 4×4 No Melt Snowman

4x4 No Melt Snowman

Source: So You Think You’re Crafty

Tools Needed: sander, miter saw, drill & drill bit

Idea 4. Wooden Shim Christmas Tree

Wooden Shim Christmas Tree

Source: By Stephanie Lynn

Tools Needed: miter saw, nail gun, hand saw & staple gun

Idea 5. DIY Wood Reindeer

DIY Wood Reindeer

Source: The 36th Avenue

Tools Needed: drill & sander

These are just a few DIY project ideas for your holiday decorating and entertaining – with your bright imagination I’m sure you could come up with more! So, if you ever need advice or help choosing which tool/s to rent for such an undertaking, let us know and we can set you up. Happy Holiday DIY-ing!

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How to Use a Concrete Planer (Scarifier) Effectively

How-To Use A Concrete ScarifierAs a seasoned do-it-yourselfer, you’ll come across projects that require specialized equipment to get the job done right. Say you’re re-flooring a barn, workshop or warehouse building on your property, or you want to re-surface your long concrete driveway – these kinds of projects need tools that can accomplish surface preparation such as removing epoxies, elastomerics and masterplate for planing concrete and asphalt with ease. These are times when a concrete planer comes in handy.

What is a Concrete Planer?

A concrete planer is sometimes called a surface planer, milling machine or scarifier. Planers use multi-tipped cutter assemblies that rotate really fast, creating a pummeling action that chips away at a concrete surface and removes old coatings. The cutting wheels or flails are interchangeable, depending on how smooth a surface profile you need to achieve for any job.

The EDCO™ CPU12-38K Gasoline Self-Propelled Concrete Scarifier

This 800-lb concrete planer moves by itself, which cuts down on the work you’ll do to operate it, but makes cutting through and removing old concrete or asphalt quite efficient. The hydrostatic drive transmission moves the machine forward and backward while you control the speed, milling a 12-inch wide surface area with each pass to complete as much as 1,500 square feet in one hour. In addition, the hydraulic-powered drum lowers and raises itself with the touch of a lever, to a depth of up to ¼-inch into the surface.

The Edco CPU12-38K also has a cam-operated fifth wheel that allows you to reposition or change direction while the engine is still running. If you use the Standard Outrigger Axle Assembly, you can follow the contours of uneven surfaces more closely, which provides uniform surfaces removal.

Expert Advice

This 12” Gas Concrete Planer is available for rental. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with surface preparation projects. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Part 2. Essential Fall Tools for Your Lawn & Garden

In continuing our discussion of essential tools for the month of October – those pieces of yard equipment that help accomplish everything on your outdoor to-do list – we’re introducing five more. Whereas the previous five revolved around trees and their maintenance, the following five items have to do with your lawn and garden specifically. Continue reading for the second set of essential yard tools and why they’re important for your fall maintenance schedule.

5 Essential Tools for Your Lawn & Garden

1. Aerator

Aerating removes a patch of grass and soil from the lawn, called a plug. This method can achieve fantastic results with regard to soil compaction. In addition, aerating has several major benefits:

  • Aerating perforates the soil with small holes, helping to alleviate soil compaction
  • Aerating helps air and water to penetrate lawn thatch or built-up organic debris so it doesn’t starve the roots
  • Aerating breaks up soil layering, allowing water to reach the roots
  • Aerating allows vital nutrients to reach the soil beneath the grass
  • Aerating helps the roots grow deeply, producing a stronger, more vigorous lawn

2. Lawn Vac

This gas-powered device is used to help clean up leaves, as a practical alternative to painstakingly raking your leaves. Thus, it’s a huge time saver. Lawn vacuuming also helps with lawn maintenance. A high capacity leaf vacuum can do almost all the work in one pass, with additional benefits including:

  1. Ease of use: the tough, manual yard work is a lot easier on the body.
  2. Removes leaves from corners and tight spaces: eliminating the inconvenience of manually raking, gathering more leaves in less time.
  3. Creates ready-to-use mulch: leaf vacuums also have the ability to shred and bag fallen leaves, ultimately saving money.
  4. Gathers other debris in addition to leaves: rid your yard of litter, too.
  5. Relatively quiet: the noise won’t wake the neighbors.

3. Tiller

High performance tillers are perfect for breaking new ground and cultivating soft soil.  That said, tillers are particularly ideal for raising garden beds, tilling in tight spaces, tilling close to existing plants, not to mention they’re easily transported and stored. However, keep in mind that your tiller will perform best if you adjust it to match the soil conditions. To optimize your tilling, we recommend following Honda Power Equipment’s acronym ESTER:

  • Evaluate your soil conditions.  Is the ground hard, or are you working in loose soil?
  • Set the tiller according to the conditions.  Depending on your model of tiller, you can adjust the depth bar, the tine configuration, throttle, or gear selection.
  • Till the area briefly.
  • Evaluate the tiller’s performance.
  • Reset the depth bar or other controls as necessary, and continue tilling.

4. Slice Seeder

Slice seeders cut vertically through existing grass and thatch, into the soil, dropping seed in the rows cut behind. Slice seeding makes direct contact with the soil for the seed to germinate quickly. The technique literally slices into the soil, creating rows for the seed to fall into, all in one motion.

Especially if your lawn turf was planted years ago, re-planting with today’s improved grass varieties can help your mature lawn resist disease and insect damage, making it stronger and more adaptable to the changing conditions of your yard due to landscaping, sun and shade.

One of the best ways to make dramatic improvements to your lawn in short order is by slice or slit seeding. Conventional and over-seeding are great for helping to thicken an existing lawn. Use slice seeding to make direct contact with the soil for the seed to germinate quickly. The technique literally slices into the soil, creating rows for the seed to fall into, all in one motion.

5. Over-Seeder

An over-seeder’s design allows seed to be delivered directly to its curved-shaped discs. This helps place the seed directly into soil slits, allowing ultimate seed to soil contact and consequently, better germination. You can seed at a variety of rates for different grass varieties and applications. You control the seed flow rate right from the operator’s station. The flow stops automatically when you raise the reel, allowing for maximum control and precise operation.

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Part 1. Essential Yard Tools for Your Fall Maintenance Checklist

Fall is not surprisingly one of the biggest times of year to clean up your yard, which includes maintenance of trees and branches. With winter just around the corner, for those lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace, that means dead limbs make the perfect source of fuel, not to mention being ideal for fall mulching. That said, it seems to us that five fall maintenance tools tend to be most popular, and thus incredibly helpful. Read on to find out which and why.

5 Essential Fall Tools

1. Wood Chipper: Besides making mulch, wood chips can be used for several other purposes. A brilliant use of wood chips would be as fuel. It is a good source of biomass fuel, making it environment friendly, as well as energy efficient. If you are using it in your homes, you could use the chips in place of firewood. They can be lit up in much the same way and you can add bigger quantities of the chips to ensure your fire burns for a longer time.

Another interesting use of wood chips is for decoration. A large number of interior designers are now incorporating them into their designs to create wood chip paintings, murals and even furniture, which can be done by mixing other organic substances with it.

2. Stump Cutter: Now is also an ideal time to consider which rotten old trees to cut down, and with that, any old stumps from trees you’ve already cut. Stump cutters provide an easy and efficient method for shaving down old tree stumps – essentially grinding them down to dust. Getting rid of old tree stumps makes a huge difference on your lawn’s appearance and the overall health.

3. Log Splitter: Speaking of chopping down old, rotting, unwanted trees, once you yell timber, you’re left with some large tree trunks to clean up. And what better way of eliminating that mess, but to split them into firewood? Then you can start your winter stockpile. Log splitters may seem fairly hefty, but they are strong and reliable, so if you rented one you could finish all your log splitting in a day.

4. Post Hole Digger: In addition to chopping down trees, fall is also the perfect time to consider planting new trees, such as oaks and evergreens. However, you’ll want to get started on this sooner rather than later, meaning you’ll need a post hole digger to make room for your tree’s roots to grow down deep. Read this post to learn how to plant new trees.

A post hole digger is also the ideal tool for replacing old, rotten fence posts or deck/porch posts that need reinforced. You can rent a heavy-duty auger for either of these tasks, a post hole digger that attaches to a dingo or a simple handheld post hole digger.

5. Tree Pruner: Lastly, tree pruning is a popular to-do for this time of year. With all this arbor talk, it goes without saying that trees still alive and kicking probably need a good trim to prepare their healthy branches for the harsh winter weather fast approaching. For a few pruning tips, check out this post: How to Hedge and Trim Your Garden Greens.

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10 Must-Have Fall Lawn & Garden Tools

Fall is the perfect time to catch up on all your lawn maintenance to-dos, especially due to the cooler temps. Whatever that may entail, below are 10 lawn tools that encompass a wide range of outdoor tasks. We carry all 10 items in stock for rent and some for purchase as well, so please check out our online store for more details or stop in today! Happy lawn maintenance and gardening!

10 Must Have Lawn Tools

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

[HOW-TO] Cisco Seeds Yard Transformation: Initial Evaluation

Runyon Yard Makeover - Part 1Sometimes the best way to learn how best to solve tough yard problems is by learning from someone else’s. Well, that’s the aim of this continuous how-to series, brought to you by Runyon Equipment Rental‘s very own Jack Runyon and our distributor Cisco Seeds. Jack’s yard definitely needs some work, so with a little help from our friends at Cisco, we identified problem areas and underlying issues in order to put a plan in place.

Issues Upon First Review

First things first, we did an in-depth walk-through of the yard with Jack’s wife. One of the major issues: swampy grass. The underlying source is pre-existing bedrock not far below the soil surface. However, a more manageable source is over-watering. These inevitably led to dying trees in the front yard due to grounding issues. One of the trees could literally be pushed over because there isn’t enough room for the roots to grow down.

In regards to the over-watering situation, at the time of the evaluation, sprinklers ran three times per week for 15 min, which was way too much according to the Cisco Seed experts. Another problem area, the front yard has an abundance of yellow nutsedge. Now, normal weed killer won’t get rid of this pesky weed, so a strong solution is in order. Finally, because of the pre-existing issues, there is a lack of nitrogen in the soil, which is extremely evident where the dog pees because it turns the grass dark.

Looking Deeper (Literally)

After having a more in-depth conversation with Jack’s wife about the history of the house, we discovered that the Runyon household was built last in the whole sub-division, meaning that before it was there, the land was a dumping ground for all the muck pulled out of the now-pond. Trucks most likely drove up to this land and dumped off pond gunk in their now-yard. This accounts for a morrow smell in the soil and some of the other major issues.

Also, in the back yard the soil is incredibly deep, about a foot or more down, rather than a typical 6″ before hitting clay. Not to mention, the concrete and rock underneath keep trees from taking root — they are staying just a few feet below the surface, accounting for wobbliness and instability.

Overarching Goals

Before determining the action plan for restoring this yard, as should be the case for anyone, it’s important to consider short-term and long-term goals. Jack and his family would like to move in the next 1-2 years, so the main goal is to make the yard more presentable and “sellable.” That said, the short-term focus is on immediate, easy-to-fix issues.

Short-Term Solutions

1. Aerate at least once a month for the next few months

2. Fertilize with Endure 2603 fertilizer (use 1/2 bag now and 1/2 later)

3. Only water about every 10 days, not 3 times per week

4. Rid the yard of weeds

a. Use an herbicide nut grass killer for yellow nutsedge (grassy weed)

b. Use Q4 speed zone on the rest of the yard

[Note: do both in the same day and don’t water (or no rain) for at least 1.5 days after i.e. turn off sprinklers and check the forecast]

Before looking into longer-term solutions, soil samples have to be analyzed. The result from the soil samples will determine what other factors may be out of balance and how to amend these imbalances. However, a long-term solution may be re-infusing carbon and possibly another chemical that reaches deeper under the soil and breaks down the hard rock surface underneath.

Key Takeaways

Although there is an incredibly specific set of issues for Jack’s lawn, there are definitely key takeaways for you. The first of which being, that if you’re currently experiencing issues with your lawn, it may be prudent to take a deeper look at what may be going on, literally and figuratively. Also, for problem grasses and soil, consider your watering schedule, weed elimination and prevention, as well as any other short-term solutions that you can identify and treat right away. If you have questions about your lawn, the problem areas discussed in this post or lawn products, please contact us or comment below. We’ll update you in a few weeks about how the makeover is going!

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How to Make A Custom Cobbled Vanity in 6 Simple Steps

How-To Make A DIY VanitySometimes the best DIY projects are imagined by looking at items you already own and simply morphing them into a whole new creation. That was precisely the case with this elegant wood vanity. A mirror and wall shelf came together to form this wall-mounted, full-length make-up station. And the beauty of this particular project…it was relatively simple  to execute. Follow the directions below for the step-by-step process.

What You’ll Need:

  • mirror & shelf
  • table saw & dado blade
  • screws (several small & 4 large heavy-duty)
  • 2 strips of hardwood (1″ x 4″)
  • laser level
  • drill

What To Do:

  1. First things first, the mirror had a carved design on the top edge originally, so a dado blade and table saw removed it for a nice clean line.
  2. The shelf was left as-is, but again the dado blade was used to insert the shelf into the mirror. Keep in mind that there needs to be a slight lip of the mirror over the shelf, so that it can fit on the anchored braces. Do this by creating a 45-deg slot.
  3. From there the two were lined up and screwed together.
  4. After the vanity itself was assembled, cleats were made as anchors (to hang in studs). [Note: this was a relatively heavy piece, so stud anchors were crucial.] This is where the hardwood comes in (make sure it’s strong). First, run the hardwood through a table saw to split it half. Then cut one edge of each piece at a 45-deg angle so you have two cleats. After the cleats are cut, drill two holes in each so you’re all set to screw them into the wall. Make sure these are even vertically, as well as the two cleats’ holes to each other.
  5. Once your cleats are made, find your studs, measure where you want the cleats to go (longitudinally) then latitudinally to each other. The laser level assists with this. Once you ensure it’s even, drill the holes.
  6. Finally, you can hook your vanity into place on the stud anchors, and voila, all finished!

This of course is not the only tried-and-true method for creating a custom vanity. There are so many other ways to go about this! We’d love to hear about your cobbled creations, so comment in the section below. And as always, if you need the right tools for the job, or if you have questions, please visit our website or contact us.

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How to Make a Concrete Fire Pit or Fire Bowl in 5 Easy Steps

Adding a specialty feature like a fire pit to your backyard retreat can create a relaxing atmosphere in your landscape, not to mention, it can also help to extend the use of your outdoor space in cooler seasons, adding warmth and light. Even though a fire pit can be considered special, no special tools are required for do-it-yourselfers to make one.

How to Make a Fire Pit

How to Make a DIY Concrete FirepitIf a fire pit is more to your liking, here’s how you can make one:

Step 1. Prepare an area for the fire pit, making sure it’s a solid, level foundation with base rock or sand.

Step 2. Build a wood form for pouring concrete using wood nailed together in a square or a rectangle. The form needs an exterior box and a smaller interior box that creates a five-inch gap where the concrete goes. Build the form as high as you want the fire pit, using stakes to hold the wood in place as well as to the ground. Make the entire wood form sits level.

Step 3. Reinforce the wood form, making a grid with rebar. Drive pieces of rebar vertically into the corners and along every foot inside the form. Then run rebar horizontally between the vertical rebar and tie them together with steel metal wire. Cut wire mesh or matting pieces to fit inside the form for extra reinforcement and tie it to the rebar grid with wire.

Step 4. Pour concrete inside the form, tamping down to fill any holes. Smooth off the top with a trowel and tap the forms to release the wet concrete from the forms while drying. Let the concrete dry overnight. Once the concrete is completely dry, carefully remove the wood forms.

Step 5. Add any finishing touches to your concrete fire pit, such as a slate top or fine sanding of the concrete for smoothness. Fill with fire pit about three quarters full, placing a metal fire bowl on top, so it’s flush with the top of the concrete frame. Add decorative glass around the outside of the metal fire bowl until only the top rim of the bowl is exposed.

How to Make a Fire Bowl

How to Make a DIY Concrete Fire BowlIn fact, you can craft a modern, elegant fire bowl using nothing more than concrete, a tarp, sand, some plastic sheeting and a permanent marker.

Step 1. Lay out a 10-foot by 10-foot tarp on the ground, drawing a circle on it with the permanent marker that’s at least 36 inches wide.

Step 2. Pour out a bag of fine sand in the middle of the circle, adding enough water to make it the consistency of beach sand for building a sand castle. Begin to mound the sand into an inverted bowl shape as wide and round as the tarp circle, smoothing it out with your hands or a trowel. Continue to add wet sand to the mound, until it’s as large as you want the fire bowl to be. Cover the “sand mold” with a plastic sheet to prevent moisture evaporation.

Step 3. After preparing the concrete, take the plastic sheeting off the sand mold and cover it with the wet concrete, applying in layers until the concrete is about three inches thick. Insert several straws near the top of the concrete layer through to the sand, creating drain holes for rainwater. Cover with plastic sheeting.

Step 4. While the concrete is still wet, place a board on top of the covered concrete and use a level in north-south-east-west directions, making sure the top is level and straight for the bowl to sit on when it’s inverted. Smooth out as necessary.

Step 5. Allow the covering concrete to slow dry for at least 48 hours. Once it’s dry, lift the bowl from the sand mold and remove the straws. Lightly sand the concrete fire bowl to your preferred smoothness, if needed.

Expert Advice

Stop by our store for a full line of CTS Rapid Set concrete mixes, designed to harden and set within minutes, making your job faster and simpler and allowing you to move onto the next step of your project much sooner than with other concrete mixes. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY project. We’re open seven days a week!

*Photo Courtesy of The DIY Network
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How to Make a DIY Wood Palette Shelf in 5 Easy Steps

How-To Build A Palette ShelfIt’s pretty incredible the amount of things you can make out of a wooden palette, one of which being a wood palette shelf. Since shabby-chic and rustic charm are two popular trends lately, this could be an ideal project for you. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is functional and makes for a unique addition to your home. Simply gather a few materials and follow the five steps below and you’ll have a wood palette shelf all your own!

Gather Your Materials:

5 Simple Steps:

  1. Sand your palette to satisfaction. First, sand your palette down to remove any chalk lines and create a nice smooth finish for a more even stain. This is where you’ll use both sanders, depending on which part of the palette you are sanding down. The micro belt sander gets between slats and in smaller spaces better, and the vibrating sander can smooth out the top surface.
  2. Liberally apply your stain. Once you’re satisfied with the sanding job — accomplishing a shabby-chic appearance — it’s time to apply the stain. This can be as liberal as you want. For a darker stain, apply as much as you want until you’re happy with it.
  3. Let the palette dry a while. Then, leave the palette be for about 15 hours so that all the stain is dry. Preferably outside if possible, otherwise it’ll really stink up a room.
  4. Spray on a few clear coats. After your palette is entirely dry, spray on the clear adhesive spray to seal in the stain and color. Two full coats are recommended.
  5. Hang your new creation. Lastly, get out your drywall screws and drill. Line up where you want your new wall feature and screw it into place (preferably into studs).

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY project. From palette shelves to repurposed coffee bars, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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[DIY Project] How to Convert An Old Record Player Into A Coffee Bar

How to Turn a Record Player Into a Coffee BarRepurposing furniture is one of the most satisfying and self-accomplished thing an avid DIY-er can do, myself included. My husband and I were thrilled at the prospect of making a personalized coffee bar for our new apartment, perfect to house all our tea and coffee essentials. Coming from a fairly handy family, it just so happens that my dad had the perfect piece of furniture…an old record player with loads of character. With a little help from him [and all his power tools] we turned this dated record player into a fun and functional coffee bar.

First things first, we assembled our tools and materials….

Tools & Materials:

Then we got to work transforming our soon-to-be coffee bar. You can see what it looked like before (let’s just say my dad had other plans for it before I got ahold of it…hence the green spray paint). Then, see the painted and waxed pieces ready for assembly. [Note: a few key steps are left out of the gallery, but read about them in the steps below].

The Steps:

  1. Clear and Spray Paint the Hardware: use your screwdriver and pliers to remove hardware, such as handles, hinges, etc. All the removed hardware was then spray painted with glossy black paint.
  2. Flush Cut the Wood: for removing wood pieces precisely and accurately, use a vibrating saw. For this piece of furniture, the bottom piece where the lid lifts up was removed (see the lid picture above). In addition, the back of the cabinet was removed and a new panel was installed (see how in next step).
  3. Cut and Mount Louwon Board: a new back for the cabinet was installed, made from Louwon. In order to get a precise piece, a paper template was placed and a handheld power jigsaw (or band saw) made the exact cuts. Then the board was put in place and attached with an air nailer. [Note: for this coffee bar there is actually a secret compartment in the bottom right compartment, so that back part was carefully cut out and a new bottom was installed to make a shelf for more storage].
  4. Paint the Doors, Frames and Coffee Bar: the lattice frames, two doors (from the top lid and front right), as well as the coffee bar itself, were painted thoroughly with Annie Sloan paint and then sealed with Annie Sloan wax. This paint is easy to apply and only takes one well-covered coat. The beauty of it is the shabby-chic look it portrays.
  5. Reupholster and Mount Door Inserts: the old door inserts were removed, as were the old fabric panels by unscrewing from the lattice frames. While the lattice frames were painted and drying (as seen in the picture above), new leather panels were measured and mounted to the insert boards with contact cement. After the leather panels dried and the lattice frames also dried, the panels were screwed back into the frames.
  6. Reattach the Doors and Frames: the doors and frames were reattached to the coffee bar with their respective hardware. Then voila! The completed coffee bar!

A Word From Me (the author):

Although your next DIY project probably won’t entail turning a record player into a coffee bar, there are many ideas out there for repurposing old furniture into functional and stylish pieces for your home. Check out Pinterest for a little inspiration! That said, some of the tools and applications from this project can definitely be used for yours. Simply let us know what tools you are looking for, because we do daily rentals out the wahzoo! And please comment below if you have any great ideas for DIY upcycles or your own projects to share.

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Advanced Tutorial: How to Reupholster a Chair in 5 Steps

Reupholstered Chair (before and after)Reupholstering any piece of furniture, let alone a complex wingback chair, is not for the faint of heart. It takes a decent amount of hard work, familiarity with sewing and using power tools, an eye for detail and a precise hand. Although this particular project took several weeks to finish, the result was well worth it all. Now, there is a lot involved in reupholstering a sturdy piece of furniture on your own, so below is a loose set of steps. Also, consider the following tips before undertaking such a project, or for you ambitious DIY-ers, keep them in mind throughout the project.

Difficulty: moderate-hard

Necessary Tools and Supplies:

  1. Fabric (this project took about 6 yards)
  2. Sewing machine and thread
  3. Pliers and/or flathead (for prying up staples)
  4. Scissors
  5. Fabric marker
  6. Staple gun
  7. Nailer
  8. Screwdriver

Reupholster Your Chair in 5 Steps:

1. Prep Work: First things first, you have to take off the chair legs (unscrew with a screwdriver). Then you must begin taking staples out of all the fabric. This may seem simple (I certainly thought it would be), but be prepared for a lot of prying — having the right tools really makes a difference here. I used a pair of pliers and a flathead screwdriver for popping out the staples.

Now, be sure as you take each piece of fabric off that you label which part of the chair it came from so you don’t mix them all up. Then once all the upholstery has been removed from your chair, you can start tracing and marking the old fabric pieces onto the new fabric, again being sure to mark which piece goes where.

2. Sew Back Together: Next, you have to sew together your new fabric pieces (based on which of the old pieces were sewn together…be sure you make note of this too). Again, this was a process, and it took really careful detail, being sure to cut and sew very close to the original fabric.

This chair had piping as well, so I also had to sew the piping and then sew each between the two respective pieces they went between. The cushion cover was crucial in this step because I had to make sure it fit correctly. And keep in mind, it is much easier to make a piece smaller than to try and make it bigger.

3. Assemble It All: After the upholstery is sewn and categorized by where it goes, you can begin placing each piece onto the chair form. My suggestion is to begin placing each piece in the same order with which you removed each piece. So, the first piece I took off on the old chair was the bottom side panels, so I put those back on first, then worked my way up. Again, this will be as complicated or as simple as the original chair, ottoman, couch, etc. that you choose. I also chose to add tufts, so this was something I made sure to place before stapling anything down.

4. Secure Down with Staples: After each panel is in place, you can begin stapling them in an organized order. For this chair, the back panel and the bottom panel were the last to go on. Keep in mind, you want the fabric secured well, not too tight, but also not too loose. If worse comes to worse, you can always take staples out and re-do them. However, this would be arduous and counterproductive, so be sure the fabric is placed well before pulling the trigger.

5. Final Touches: The last step is to put your legs back on the bottom and the cushion back in the seat. Then, as long as everything looks clean and crisp, you’re done!

Resources and Help:

This was definitely the down-and-dirty version of reupholstering, not as specific as a post explicitly for reupholstering a wingback chair. That said, if you would like a resource for step-by-step pictures and nitty-gritty details, check out this blog post. It helped me a lot. Really once you start though, it all starts making sense. If you have any questions about how to reupholster, the tools to use, renting tools, specifics on my process, etc. please comment below or email me (heidi@runyoncompanies.com) Happy reupholstering!

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How to Create Unique Ambiance with a Wallpapered Accent Wall

Hang Elegant Wallpaper for a Lasting EffectHanging decorative wallpaper is back in style, and when done right can really give new life to a room…creating truly unique charm. Albeit somewhat difficult for someone who’s never wallpapered before, when only applying to an accent wall the process is totally doable. Not to mention, peel and stick wallpaper is a popular new option — much easier and less permanent.

Essential Tools

  1. wallpaper {duh!}
  2. paste
  3. tape measure
  4. level
  5. ladder
  6. sandpaper
  7. spackle*
  8. putty knife*
  9. bucket*
  10. water tray*
  11. sponges*
  12. rags*
  13. utility knife
  14. smoothing brush
  15. seam roller
  16. screwdriver {to remove outlet and light covers}*

*don’t be deterred by the tool list, these are optional

The Sticky Process

1. prep the area/surface: remove outlet and light covers from the wall, move any furniture that may be in the way, spackle any holes or divots in the wall and sand them down, wash any dust or dirt off the walls and lastly, set up your wallpaper work station (sawhorses or a worktable are ideal).

2. measure and cut: look closely at the wallpaper design and determine how it should be aligned and where you want it to meet the ceiling. Measure the length of the wallpaper and make a small mark to indicate where it should meet the ceiling (try to leave excess on the top and bottom so you can cut it down to the right size at the end). Then measure and cut your strips based on the width of your wall.

3. activate adhesive and apply paste: for pre-pasted wallpaper, loosely roll up the first strip and immerse it in room temperature water and allow it to unroll slowly, then lay it flat on your work surface, paste side facing up. Next, “book” the ends by pulling them towards the middle and allow the paste to activate. If your wallpaper isn’t pre-pasted use a paint brush or paint roller to apply pre-mixed paste, working from the middle to the ends. Try not to crease the wallpaper in either scenario, and keep the ends folded into the middle. [For more specifics on how to prep and activate wallpaper, read this blog post.]

4. hang the first strip: start at the ceiling and unfold the top half of the first wallpaper strip so it is lined up on the side with your measured line (or the corner crease where the wall ends). Remember to leave a few inches excess at the top. Then drop the bottom half down gently. Use a damp sponge to remove any air bubbles and a seam roller to press down the edges of the wallpaper.

5. smooth and hang the other strips: take care to line up the next strip next to the first, matching the pattern and overlapping the edges where necessary. Continue leaving excess for ceiling and baseboard (floor), smooth out air bubbles and press down the edges.

6. trim the edges: finally, after all strips have been laid, use a putty knife to crease the strips at the ceiling and the base of the wallpaper in preparation for cutting the excess. Once you define the top and bottom borders, take a utility knife and carefully cut the excess paper. Use the sponge to remove any air bubbles or extra paste.

7. final touches: as a final touch, press the seams together once more, making sure all the wallpaper lays even and flat. Once your wallpaper is all in place, you can replace any outlet or light covers and put your furniture and pictures back in place. Then voila! You have a beautiful accent wall.

[Note: for peel and stick wallpaper, the process is less involved. However, keep in mind that you should peel the back off slowly, moving your way down the wall (from top to bottom). Don’t try to align an entire sticky piece all in one go. For more details on how to apply peel and stick, watch this video.]

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t go too quickly.
  • Cover all of the wallpaper pieces with paste.
  • Smooth the paper down gently.
  • Calculate precisely how much paper is needed.
  • Heavier paper is easier to apply.
  • Wet the self-adhesive paste {on the wallpaper} before hanging.
  • Don’t take the backing off all at once {peel & stick}.
  • For peel & stick, save the backing for future application.

For the savvy DIY-er, wallpapering the traditional way may be a breeze. However, peel and stick wallpaper or simply covering only an accent wall are options for the novice wallpaper-er. If you have any questions about this process or the tools necessary, please contact one of our experts or comment below. Happy wallpapering!

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Plan the Perfect Summer Event & Outdoor Entertaining Space

Summer is the perfect time to have friends and family over for outdoor entertaining and parties. So why not pull out all the stops this year and cover your bases with this in-depth event planning guide. Not only does this involve prepping your yard, but event equipment and unique DIY inspirations can make your home the perfect spot for relaxing and entertaining this summer. We hope you can take a few ideas and best practice tips from this infographic, and as always, let us know if you have questions about the equipment, steps or other specifics. Happy outdoor party planning!

Event Planning & Outdoor Entertaining Infographic

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[INFOGRAPHIC] 11 Lawn & Garden Tips for Spring

Spring has sprung! Lately it’s been the perfect weather for beautifying your lawn and garden, so if you haven’t already started doing so, you may want to consider putting on your gardening gloves, breaking out your mower and other lawn care equipment and getting to work! To help guide your lawn and garden efforts, the following infographic outlines 11 tips to a gorgeous outdoor space. Use it as a jumping off point, and if you have other ideas for spring lawn and garden tasks, please let us know in the comment section below. And as always, if you have questions about the tools and equipment necessary for your lawn and gardening efforts, don’t hesitate to contact us. Happy green-thumbing!

11 Lawn and Garden Tips for Spring

 

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Digital Marketing Manager at Runyon Equipment Rental. She is passionate about blogging, with a sincere desire to help answer questions and provide inspiration for creative DIY-ers and homeowners.

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Check These 10 Indoor and Outdoor Improvements Off Your Spring Checklist

Continuing with the spring cleaning trend, this infographic provides you with tips for those pesky indoor and outdoor tasks that need checked off your to-do list. Some of these you may not think about typically, so take a look and identify which may be applicable to your home. And it’s a great idea to get a head start on these now, so by the time summer break, and consequentially summer entertaining, rolls around you’re ready to relax!

Spring Cleaning Infographic

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Digital Marketing Manager at Runyon Equipment Rental. She is passionate about blogging, with a sincere desire to help answer questions and provide inspiration for creative DIY-ers and homeowners.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Give Your Home a Thorough Spring Cleaning with These 4 Weekend Projects

It is that time of year again, time to unpack your warm-weather clothes and do some around-the-house Spring Cleaning. So open up your windows, let a little light in and get ready to get dusty! This year’s winter was pretty rough, with an exorbitant amount of snow, ice and slush, all inevitably tracked into your home. Not to mention all the other dirt, grime and mess that has probably built up over the past few months. Well, since sunshine re-energizes us all, channel some of that inner motivation and get to work cleaning and breathing some much-needed life back into your home this spring!

household spring cleaning1. All-Around Cleaning Spree

Begin your spring cleaning by giving your whole house a touch-up. This means cleaning your toilet, shower and sinks, sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, basically all those fun things you just love to do, eh? Then, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can go a little more in-depth and wash your windows, clean ceiling fans and light fixtures, etc. Taking the time to wipe away all the grime will literally make your home sparkle, so the result is well worth it.

2. Organizing Those Messy Closets

closet organizationNot sure about you, but sorting and organizing closets is always therapeutic for me. At least once a year it is a good idea to get rid of the old and make room for the new. With the weather finally warming up and the seasons changing, not only does that mean packing up and putting away winter sweaters, boots, scarves, etc., but even better, that means getting out your warm summer outfits! And while you’re doing a wardrobe switch-out, you might as well reorganize wayward boxes, files, and all sorts of other things that have most likely accumulated. File folders, storage crates and designated boxes really help with this I’ve found. Everything has a home as I like to say, so make a place for things and it will be much easier to find what you’re looking for later on.

carpet cleaning3. Clean Your Snow-Stained Carpets

As briefly mentioned already, winter probably did a number on your carpets, so now is a good time to think about deep cleaning them. It isn’t a difficult feat, one we’ve already outlined in a prior post. There are several heavy-duty carpet cleaners you should consider when determining which is best for your floor, and keep in mind that lighter carpets stain more easily, thus stains are more apparent, so they require greater cleaning strength. Find a full range of carpet cleaners here.

redecorate for spring4. Redecorate and Liven-Up Your Home

Spring means fresh and new, so give your home a little life by rearranging furniture, repainting select rooms, switching out decor (i.e. pillows, pictures, curtains, etc.), upgrading fixtures or changing up your style altogether. If you need a little inspiration, check out some of the posts we’ve written recently with specific DIY project how-to’s.

I’m sure there are many other Spring Cleaning projects, so tell us in the comment section below what some of yours are, we would love to hear them! And as always, let us know what questions you have, or if you need advice on which tools will help you effectively complete a project.

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Equipment Rental. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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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.

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How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets to Perfection

Paint Your Kitchen CabinetsCould your old and outdated kitchen use a little TLC? Just like adding a backsplash can liven up your space, painting your cabinets adds color and dimension, recreating your room into one you really enjoy cooking and entertaining in. And the good news, this project is incredibly affordable, especially when you choose it over replacing your cabinets all together. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to paint your kitchen cabinetry, breathing a little life back into it this spring.

Assess the project and gather supplies.

Depending on how much cabinetry you have to paint, you may need more paint and primer, and the amount of time it takes you to complete will vary. You should also consider your cabinetry’s material type, whether it be wood, laminate or metal. This can change the process concerning whether it needs sanded and what you use to paint the surface.

Also, if you want to switch out the hardware on your cabinets  after painting everything, getting it all done in one go, then you’ll need to coordinate the paint color with knob style, color, size, etc.

As a general list of supplies, you will obviously need paint, primer, paper to cover the counters and backsplash, painter’s tape, scrubbing sponge or cleaning cloth, degreaser, tack cloth, orbital sander, drill (or screwdriver) and paint applicator i.e. paint sprayer and/or paint roller. Once you have all your supplies, it is time to start prepping.

Prepare for paint.

First things first, remove all the cabinet doors, drawers and hardware. It may be a good idea to number corresponding cabinet frames and doors/drawers to be sure you put them back in the appropriate place once you’re all done. Next, set up a paint spraying station outside or on your porch, namely away from valuables in your home. Or, if you decide to paint indoors, you could lay a canvas or plastic tarp on your floor and set saw horses on top to lay your cabinet doors on, being sure this paint area is away from furniture and fixtures. We suggest going outside though.

After you’ve designated an area specifically for painting the cabinet doors and drawers, you’ll want to clean all cabinet surfaces and the doors thoroughly, removing any built-up grime or dust so that the paint can adhere well. This is the step where degreaser, a scrubbing sponge and tack cloth come in handy. Now if your cabinets are plastic laminate or metal, then obviously the next step is not applicable, but if you have wood cabinetry, as is most common, the next step is very important.

Once everything is cleaned, it is time to sand. If you are only giving the cabinets a facelift, you may not want to sand inside the cabinets, inside the drawers or on the backside of the doors, but that is up to you. All the doors will need sanded, on both sides (if you plan to paint both sides that is), and so will the front of the cabinet frames and on the front of the drawers. If there is already paint on the cabinet surface, just rough it up a tad so the new paint will adhere firmly. If there are shiny areas on the cabinets, sand these well, and if there are paint flakes in certain areas you’ll need to sand down to bare wood. The goal is to create a purely flat surface for the paint to adhere to, so keep this in mind as you go.

After sanding, vacuum up all the dust and paint chips, ridding the cabinets of any excess debris. Then you should apply an even coat of primer. This will ensure your cabinets resist stains and water, and it provides the paint a good base. As will be true for the paint, make sure one side of a door, for instance, dries before flipping it over and doing the other.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get colorful.

For your cabinet doors you can use a paint sprayer (if you are doing so outside that is), but for the cabinetry frame you’ll obviously have to use a paint roller or brush. If you are only doing the front of your drawers use a brush, but for the whole drawer a paint sprayer works more quickly and efficiently.

First, paint your cabinet doors, only the first side, paint your drawers, then start by working inside out, painting the inside of the cabinets, if you choose to do so, and working your way out to the face frames. Then you’re able to go back outside and flip your dried doors to paint the other sides (if applicable). Working in this fashion gives you the most time, allowing the doors and drawers to dry while painting inside, thus eliminating your wait time. This said, you should wait about four hours between coats.

A few tips while painting: always apply thin coats, cover all areas, especially overlapping paint sprayer passes, try to avoid leaving brush strokes, don’t lay on paint too thickly or overwork the brush/roller, avoid creating air bubbles. You generally only need to coats of paint, so after painting the first, lightly sand again, and then lay your second.

Put on the finishing touches.

After all doors, drawers and frames are completely dry, to the touch, you can begin reassembling your cabinetry. Screw the hardware back on [this is where you install new hardware if desired], then put the drawers back in place and screw the doors back onto their respective frames (note: this where the numbering system comes into play). And then, you should be all finished, voila, a brand new kitchen to enjoy for years to come.

For more information on how to use a paint sprayer, its benefits, etc. check out this post. If you have other questions about painting your cabinets, any step in the process, specific types of materials and supplies needed, etc. be sure to contact us or comment below. And happy kitchen DIY-ing!

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Equipment Rental. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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Install a Tile Backsplash in Your Kitchen for a Fresh New Look

How to Install a BacksplashSpring is almost here, and with it a chance to transform various rooms in your house! This week the focus is on your kitchen, with a few projects that give the heart of your home a fresh new look. Now, as with any DIY project, a little work is to be expected, but it’s time to bite the bullet and just do it, because these ideas really make a difference. The first is installing a backsplash. You can be as elaborate, or as simple as you want with this. The beauty of a backsplash is that it can add color and texture to your space, all in one swoop. Keep in mind however, that the next project is painting your cabinets, so if you want to do both you should consider coordinating colors and styles prior to buying supplies for either.

First, gather your supplies.

Then, it’s time for prep work.

Before buying your materials i.e. tile, grout and tile adhesive, you must measure the dimensions of your backsplash area. You can determine the square footage by multiplying the length of the area by the width.

Once you buy all the material you need, then it is time to get your hands dirty. Lay down cardboard or plastic tarp to keep your countertops from getting dirty or damaged. Then, put on your handy safety goggles and gloves, shut off power to all outlets within the backsplash area and remove the outlet covers.

Clean the pre-backsplash surface with warm water and give it a few minutes to dry. Then, you’re ready for the fun part!

Next, precision is key when laying backsplash tile.

Apply tile adhesive with your trowel, being sure to only cover a small area at a time. This prevents it from drying out. However, be sure you do this in the very center of the area you are laying with tile. You can position the tile by using a twisting motion and then pressing down firmly to make sure it adheres properly.

Add the remaining squares of tile in a methodical pattern around your starting piece, using spacers if necessary. Also, if you need to cut a section of backsplash tile, measure the length and width required, use a tile cutter to score it and a tile saw to cut away the area that will show.

When tiling around outlets, be sure the edges will be hidden under the cover once it is screwed back in place.

Finally, complete the job with finishing touches.

Once all the tile is laid, be sure to wipe off any excess adhesive and ensure the lines between are cleaned and ready for grout. Once the adhesive sets completely, remove spacers if applicable, then prepare for grout application. Mix grout in a bucket per the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a rubber float in a 45 degree angle to the tile joints, working into the lines between the tiles in a sweeping motion.

Then, once you allow the grout several minutes to dry, use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess. Repeat this until the backsplash area is visibly clean. Wait several hours before removing haze from the surface, once the grout is entirely dry and cured. Use a clean cloth, such as a cheesecloth, to wipe it clean. Over the next several days, mist the backsplash surface evenly with cool water. Replace the outlet covers once all the grout is dry.

As a final measure, you may consider using a pH neutral sealant to protect the grout from water and stains. In addition, mildew-resistant caulk applied at the base of your backsplash, where it meets the countertop, is a suggested preservation measure as well.

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Equipment Rental. A graduate of Butler University with a double major in International Business and Marketing, Heidi writes articles that outline seasonal projects and answer frequently asked questions, making your DIY lifestyle more fun and easier than ever before.

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[Infographic] Do You Know Which Heater is Best for Your Needs?

With such cold, harsh weather this winter, portable heaters are a hot item. However, there are a lot of options to choose from, whether it be outdoor, indoor, electric, kerosene, etc. The following infographic aims to differentiate which factors are important and how to decide the type of heater best for your needs.

Portable Heaters: what you need to knowOnce you determine which heater/s you need for your home, jobsite, event, etc., visit our website for more details on what we have available for rent. If you have additional questions, please contact us or comment below. Stay warm this winter!

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. A graduate of Butler University with a double major in International Business and Marketing, Heidi writes articles that outline seasonal projects and answer frequently asked questions, making your DIY lifestyle more fun and easier than ever before.

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Gather These 5 Essential Tools to Make Your DIY Dreams a Reality

DIY Window Seat CoverWinter snowstorms giving you cabin fever? Don’t despair! They say winter is the season for imagination, and we’re inclined to agree. Continuing with our DIY theme this week, use your time stuck indoors as an opportunity to get creative and start a few of those DIY project ideas you’ve been pinning. Since we’re your go-to tool rental shop for do-it-yourself home decorating projects, we’re here to help you get to work, and we have five essential tools to help you make that happen.

For instance, if you want to add a little color and pizzazz to your living room, why not recover a window seat cushion? You can make quick work of it by using an air stapler. Air staplers are built for efficient stapling. A lightweight, compact model with comfortable handgrips makes it easy for you to move along a surface quickly, and stapling in a tight area is no chore at all. An easy-load air stapler typically holds more staples than a regular stapler and many are equipped to clear jams without a tool. Easy peasy! Plus, you can use the air stapler on other DIY pinning projects, like making a personalized headboard for your bedroom.

If brawny power tools are your thing, we can supply every tool you need to build a set of stylish corner shelves for any room in your home. Let’s take a look at the tool list:

  • Circular Saw: A circular saw is ideal for cutting lumber and plywood beautifully. Durable and strong, it has special guards that allow the saw to glide over a work area with ease, letting the blade do its work. Whether cordless or equipped with a cord management system, many electric models have a powerful blower to clear the dust from the cut line, allowing an unobstructed view of what you’re doing. Many also have a brake to stop the blade in seconds. You just need to decide how large a blade you need.
  • Miter Saw: Miter saws can be hand-held or electric and are best for cutting joints on all kinds of moldings and wood pieces that need to fit together tightly. In fact, a power miter saw can easily fine-tune a joint by trimming off a hair’s width. It’s important to do your measuring beforehand, mark your board with the saw, make your cut, test the fit, adjust the blade angle and cut again, if necessary.
  • Power Drill: Power drills are built to drill holes fast through many types of surfaces. Most drills run at variable speeds and are equipped with a reversing switch for greater control. Depending upon the drill bit used, you can also install screw anchors and screw in screws.
  • Air Nailer: No hitting your thumb with a hammer here! An air nailer makes quick work of pressing nails into your work surface and keeps on nailing until you’re ready to stop. A brad nailer and a finish/trim nailer are good for smaller projects like attaching molding or cabinet backing. They use air compressors to do the job, whereas a portable finish or framing nailer use an internal combustion engine, a gas cartridge and a battery.

When using power tools such as the ones mentioned above, make sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions and take safety precautions, such as wearing safety glasses and ear protection, and keeping fingers the proper distance away from saw blades, drill bits staplers and nailers.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY project. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store – we’re open seven days a week. We’d love to help you make your pinning ideas come to life… and help your cabin fever go away!

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. A graduate of Butler University with a double major in International Business and Marketing, Heidi writes articles that outline seasonal projects and answer frequently asked questions, making your DIY lifestyle more fun and easier than ever before.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, DIY Projects, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with these 3 Project Ideas

Outdoor Patio TableIf you’ve got cabin fever, why not dream a littleand start planning some of those outdoor DIY projects you’ve been pinning! It’s never too early to flesh out your creative ideas, especially when it comes to securing all the equipment and materials needed to get the look you’re dreaming about.

For example, take backyard patio transformations – a big feat, but not impossible. Especially given your big dreams and the proper equipment to help you bring it to reality.

Since we’re a go-to tool rental shop for all your outdoor DIY and gardening projects, count on us for concrete equipment, landscaping tools and woodworking supplies. Here’s a look at what we have to offer:

1. New Backyard Retreat

From paver breakers to concrete saws to portable mixers to concrete nailers, you can turn that old patio slab into a luxurious backyard gathering place. Build retaining walls, make lots of seating areas and perfect spots to set plants and other garden accents. We’ve got everything you need to demolish, cut and finish concrete. All you need is sand and gravel!

Take advantage of design possibilities with different colors and textures, such as combining concrete with bricks, block or stone. Our easy-to-use brick and block cutters can help. Use demolished masonry and concrete as decorative gavel to line garden paths or build a low wall. You’d be doing yourself a green favor too by reusing materials. You could also pour concrete to make sturdy, waterproof planters of gorgeous greenery. Or, stack bricks together and fuse with masonry adhesive, creating a stylish pillar or side table.

2. New Landscape Features

Transform that patch of grass into a gorgeous garden with a little sweat equity, and help from our rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows. Haul everything from pea gravel to top soil anywhere you need to, quickly and safely. Dig holes for new trees and rake up debris before mowing, or smooth out garden paths after planting.

3. New Furniture and Privacy Walls

For excellent outdoor entertaining, plan lots of places for guests to eat, drink and be merry. One backyard essential is a picnic table, and another is a stylish privacy wall. Both of these projects can be accomplished by yourself, using a few woodworking tools and a little creativity. Circular saws, drills, air nailers or air staplers can also help make them pretty and painless.

Wood itself is a warm, comforting material – perfect for putting people at ease. Building a privacy wall using wood will let in more light and air, leaving the noise in the street and nosy neighbors without a view. Vary the widths of cedar slats that you lay together for picnic tabletop, and you’ve just added a unique and personal touch to a classic look.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY adventure. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store – we’re open seven days a week. We’d love to help you make your pinning dreams come true…and help your cabin fever go away!

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. A graduate of Butler University with a double major in International Business and Marketing, Heidi writes articles that outline seasonal projects and answer frequently asked questions, making your DIY lifestyle more fun and easier than ever before.

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

Give New Life to Your Walls with a Quick and Easy Paint Job

Prep Your Wall for PaintNothing helps to improve or even maintain the appearance of a room like paint. A fresh coat of paint can transform the entire look of your living space, or just cover up eye sores, like nail holes and wear marks from shelves, picture hangings or absent light fixtures. It can also add value to your property.

For do-it-yourselfers, there’s almost nothing better to master than prepping for a paint job like a pro. Investing a little time in prep work can make painting faster, easier and more beautiful. So roll up your sleeves and find out how to avoid roller marks and spatters, and give new life to old walls.

Here’s What You Do:

  1. Remove all artwork, shelving, fixtures, nails, screw anchors, curtain rods, switch-plates, closet doors and whatnot from the wall surface – anything that can create obstacles for your paintbrush, roller or paint sprayer.
  2. To remove wallpaper easily and completely, use a wallpaper steamer.
  3. Decorative stickers, vinyl words or wall art is usually removable. Use an electric heat gun to gently lift them from the wall. Some brands can be re-applied; however, many designs that use intricate graphics may be ruined by the removal process.
  4. Spackle any nail holes, gouges or other imperfections that could rough up a smooth paint finish.
  5. Hand-sand small rough spots with sandpaper. For larger rough areas, try an electric sander.
  6. Once the walls are bare, clean them with a damp sponge or a dry cloth to remove grease build-up, dust and the like. Dirt and grime on the wall will keep paint from bonding, causing streaks and bubbles.
  7. Mask around windows, door frames, molding, built-ins and baseboards using blue painter’s tape. If you have a decorative design in mind for your paint job, blue painter’s tape is just the tool to use to map out the design on the wall. Tape out your design after you apply primer, if you use that step.
  8. Cover the floor and any furniture remaining in the room with drop cloth.
  9. Apply a primer to any sanded areas, especially larger ones, or simply prime the entire wall. Use a good-quality paintbrush to paint around windows and doors or for any finish work. Many paint brands now offer interior paint that includes a primer, which eliminates the need for a primer step. Either way, accomplish painting the larger areas quickly using a paint sprayer. To accommodate the room height, add a paint sprayer extension pole.
  10. If a second coat of paint is required, apply after the first coat has dried.

Give New Life to Your Walls

Now that your room has a fresh coat of paint, consider adding other decorative elements like crown molding to complete the new look. And for more on how to effectively paint your walls, read this post: Painting Walls in Your Dream Home Made Easy. If you have questions please contact us, and be sure to comment below if you have any of your own painting tips!

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] 8 Simple Home Winterization Tips

The majority of your outdoor equipment winterization should be done already, but now is the perfect time to begin home winterization. Below are eight relatively simple tips for sufficiently preparing your home for all that winter has in store! You’ll find what each task entails and then the tools needed to complete them – some require very little, which make for quick and easy projects. And this may be a no-brainer, but completing all these to-do’s will prepare your home for ice, snow, sleet and whatever else weather may bring. You’ll be glad you put in the extra elbow grease. Happy winterizing!

Winterization Tips

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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3 Elegant Trends for This Year’s Holiday Get-Togethers

The season of good cheer offers so many opportunities to bring family and friends together that do-it-yourself party planners are on the lookout for the best ways to spend less time planning and more time creating unforgettable memories.

Here’s a list of decidedly hip ways to dazzle everyone on your guest list – including yourself!

Trend #1 – Keep Holiday Entertaining Deceptively Simple and Stress-Free

Planning last-minute is really not the same as impromptu party-making. Why? Not giving you enough time to prepare the house, the food, the music and the mood is seriously stressful! And not cool.

Holiday Party DecorPlan your party as one singular sensation that your guests will remember. Feature a favorite signature dish that you can prepare in advance, and pair it with an easy appetizer like roasted nuts and a sophisticated drink you create just for the event. Set the mood with a homemade mix of music, or choose one of the music channels on cable TV or the Internet. Dim the lights, light some candles and invite magic into the room along with the partygoers.

Speaking of singular sensations, party experts say one of this year’s most popular holiday looks is all-white décor. From decorations to wrapped presents to elegant displays of food (silver works well with white), the simplicity of one color wraps the evening up in style, is timeless and easy to create.

Trend #2 – Protect Your Belongings and Rent

Make your house party-ready by re-arranging the furniture to create places for mingling, intimate conversation, comfortable dining and even dancing.

Rent a dolly to help with moving your furniture. Attractive tables and chairs are also available for rent, and assure enough seating for everyone. Rent a coat rack and hangers to avoid having guests pile coats and jackets on your bed. You can even rent china, glasses, serving dishes and silverware, saving your own from any accidental breaks. With the room in party mode, you can enjoy the company you’re with, instead of worrying if everyone is comfortable.

And when it’s time to wind the party down, you can dole out leftovers in fun Chinese to-go boxes and call it a night. Most of the clean up and rental return can wait until morning.

Trend #3 – Make Your Own Holi-date

As the ultimate party planner Martha Stewart likes to say, “There’s no expiration date on glad tidings!” Avoid the strain of too many festivities in one month by choosing a special date in January to throw a party, when life is back to normal.

Invite your friends and family over for brunch –to celebrate the start of a new year, or for an evening of movie-watching or game-playing, or to enjoy a potluck dinner. You can still make it a singular sensation, only planning the entire event may be more relaxed. And all of a sudden, you’ll have an event to look forward to – an unexpected present!

About the Author

is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

Categories: How-To's, Industry Trends | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Smart Guidelines for Hanging Christmas Lights Safely

Decorating your home and yard for the holidays is a festive neighborhood tradition that brings out the designer in all of us. In communities all over the country, so many families vie for “Best Holiday Lights Display” that they’re competing in a national competition on television. That’s right – just this week, ABC premiered a new series called The Great Christmas Light Fight, the first Christmas lights competition of its kind where 20 families transform their homes for the holidays and compete for a total of $250,000 in prizes. Holy Clark Griswold! The show airs through December 23, and will probably give you some fantastic ideas for decorating your own extravaganza.

Christmas Lights

Before you’re ready to flip the switch on your Christmas lights though, here are a few guidelines to help you work smart and stay safe:

  1. Create a Master Design. Break out the camera, some paper and pencil, and get to work. Taking a photograph of your yard from an appropriate distance can keep you focused on the overall look of the display. Choosing a focal point to anchor your design, whether it’s a unique architectural feature of the home or a winding path or the intricate branch patterns of a tree, and start designing from there. Consider including the backyard in your design this year, which you can also enjoy from inside your home. Use a tape measure to determine how many light strands you need, as well as, the distance to the power source. Experts recommend 100 lights for every 1-1/2 feet of tree or shrub you want to cover. The denser the lights, the brighter they shine, so look for light kits where the bulbs are spaced close together, or place two sets of lights side-by-side for the same effect. Choreograph your design using different colored lights to highlight different areas and have fun with the many types of lights available, such as icicles, blinking, LED, light nets and more.
  2. Safety First. This is a big one. Check the roof, shingles, gutters and other surfaces you’ll hang lights on for strength and flexibility. Decorate trees that do not touch power lines. Work with another person, and secure supplies to the ladder safely. Use UL approved extension cords and light kits for outdoor use, and follow manufacturer recommendations on the number of lights you can string together safely. Do not use lights that have frayed or damages cords, and test all lights before you hang them. Choose plastic light clips to easily secure lighting to gutters and other surfaces.
  3. Set a Timer. To save on energy bills, use an outdoor timer to turn lights off later in the evening. These days, timers also come with sensors that automatically turn on at dusk –especially nice when you’re away from home.
  4. Plan the Power Source. In addition to creating a master lighting design, planning the best way to access power for your display is key for safety. Experts suggest that outdoor lights be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault interrupters (GFCIs) that protect against shock. Power stakes are portable and bring the power to where you need it, instead of running too many extension cords all over the place.

If you rent a generator, be sure to follow all manufacturer safety instructions, such as operating it outside, because carbon monoxide exhaust fumes can be fatal. Protect it from rain, snow and wind with a cover made from plywood and 2x4s. Follow state, local and national fire and electric codes and do not connect the generator directly into your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel because it might feed into the electric system and endanger any utility workers in the area. Check County noise ordinances if the generator is noisy, or choose one that’s quiet. Turn off the generator when away from home and while you sleep.

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.

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9 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your DIY-er or Tool Lover

Christmas is right around the corner, which means you probably have a few things left to buy on your gift list. And presuming you have a DIY-er or two, listed below are a few unique items that may be the perfect thing!

Holiday Gift Ideas

  1. Honda Generator: there are a variety of generators to choose from, ranging from larger, commercial generators, to those that are smaller and more portable – ideal for residential applications. Hence the image displayed above. This is a pricier gift though, so keep that in mind. However, it’s ideal for a wide array of useful applications, including as a backup when a snow-induced power outage occurs – just a thought!
  2. iQ 360 Dustless Masonry Table Saw: this is another large present, and an incredibly unique one at that! The iQ360 eliminates the need for a vacuum or dust/dirt clean-up because it is entirely self-contained. This saw is especially suited for cutting brick, stone, paver and tiles. It’s a heavy-duty renovation lover’s dream! For more details, visit this past blog post.
  3. Honda Snow Blower: perfectly fitting for the season and current weather conditions, there are also several snow blower models you could gift. Again, they range in size, performance, applications, etc. A snow blower is definitely worth the money, especially with a really snowy winter projected this year – if today is any indication!
  4. 148 pc. Tool Set: another ever-popular gift item is the exclusive 148-piece tool set. This set includes everything your DIY-er could need: sockets, wrenches, adapters, pliers, ratchets, screwdrivers, hex key set, bits and an incredibly durable case.
  5. Shoe Scrusher: another unique item is the shoe scrusher. You may wonder what this is…and well,  it’s really quite simple. This handy boot and shoe cleaner conveniently sits in your mud room or by your front door so you can scrape off any dirt, grime or snow as you walk indoors. This gift is reasonably priced and useful for everyone in the family.
  6. Cold Weather Gloves: another gift fit for the season, and a great stocking stuffer idea, is a pair of cold weather gloves. These gloves are perfect for working outdoors in the cold, hauling firewood, operating equipment, and really any other task you may have that requires heavy-duty, waterproof hand protection.
  7. 4 pc. Tie-Down Set: who doesn’t love tie downs? This four pack can be used for any vehicle to haul all your cargo loads. Tie-downs are practical and useful, so they’re sure to be well-received!
  8. Sheffield Utility Knife: another practical stocking stuffer gift is a quickchange lockback knife. This knife is perfect for around-the-house use, as well as, heavier-duty applications. It comes with 5 convenient compartments, and it’s really reasonably priced!
  9. SCRUBS Hand Cleaning Towels: the final gift idea for your tool lover/s is another useful item – a container of disposable hand towels. These cleaning cloths wipe grease, grime and dirt from your hands for a truly clean feel. They require no rinsing and come in an easy-to-carry container for your garage, truck, and anywhere else you go.

This is just a small taste of useful, yet desirable gift ideas for those on your Christmas list. Hopefully this can be a springboard for more! To find other retail items offered, visit our 100+ Jobsite Must-Haves page or stop by our location. We’re open seven days a week – perfect for last-minute shopping jaunts. Please comment below if you have any more gift ideas!

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Organize Your Garage with a Fool-Proof 5-Step Plan

When the weather outside is frightful, all dedicated do-it-yourselfers know what to do: take it inside. That’s right; it’s time to organize the garage. Call it what you will – the Man Cave, the Storage Room, the Personal Dumpster or even just the Garage – this open place is pretty important because it’s usually big enough to put anything and everything you accumulate over the years. The garage tends to be the catch all for what you may want or need or plan on keeping, but can’t fit into storage areas inside the living space of your home. Not to mention, using it for what it’s actually built to protect: your car.

In addition to storing your cars and your stuff, garages also house functional equipment like the water heater and furnace, so it really is a good idea to add maintenance steps into your garage cleaning process.

Clean Your Garage

1. Just get started. If you want the end result to be a clean, organized and presentable room, the best advice is to bite the bullet and dig in. Weather permitting, start by taking everything out and clean the space itself. Paint the walls, wash the floor, install shelves or cabinetry, as well as hardware that utilizes any vertical space. The trick is to get as much off the floor as possible, so don’t forget the ceiling space – it’s a great place to hang bicycles and seasonal items. Consider using a hoist pulley system that can be installed directly into ceiling joists.

Working with a clean space lets you decide where to put what – which areas of your garage are best suited for storage or for a workshop perhaps. Think of your garage as a room, take measurements and draw a floor plan just like you would with any other room in your house. If you can’t clear the room, this step can also be done by dividing it into quadrants, then clearing and cleaning one-by-one until you’re satisfied.

2. Change the furnace filter. Now is also a great time to check the furnace filter and either clean it or change it when it’s dirty. Typically, check filters on a monthly basis, which keeps the furnace running efficiently and saves on your utility bills.

Remove the filter, hold it up to the light and look through it. Filters are designed to protect the blower motor from dirt, so if it’s filled with particulate matter it’s doing a good job. It’s important to buy the right filter for your furnace, one that’s the correct size and type. Typically the filter part number is written on the access panel of the furnace. It’s also a good idea to have a few of them on hand for easy replacement. Or you may be able to purchase an electrostatic padding that fits into the filter casing and can be washed and replaced. These usually last longer, about five years. Wash it in soapy water about once a month during heating season and let it dry before replacing it.

Either way, install the new or washed filter in the same direction as the old one, because they’re made to work by filtering air in one direction. Okay, now that the space (and the furnace) is cleaned up the way you like it, turn your attention to your “stuff.” It’s time to decide what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away. And finally, how to organize what you keep.

3. Talk to yourself. Do I love it? Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I toss it? Do I donate it? These questions can help you categorize your stuff into piles that you can then act upon, whether it’s grouping them so they’re easy to find, how they’re used, if they take up huge amounts of space or if they’re nice enough to donate.

4. Label everything. Store like items in the same place, and label the place in the space! Labeling storage containers and shelves can be time-consuming and tedious, but it’s a good way to optimize storage options, big time. Using storage containers on shelving units keeps all your stuff clean. And keep in mind, if you use clear storage containers you’ll be able to see the contents, which can shave minutes off your search.

5. Remember safety. Place hazardous materials like fertilizers, pesticides, paint, sharp tools, guns and hunting equipment in locked boxes or areas where kids can’t get at them. Smaller storage sheds and containers are relatively inexpensive and can be assembled or installed outside, to increase your storage space and accommodate potentially dangerous stuff.

Organizing your garage can take the entire winter, but once it’s done, you’ll be proud to open the garage door!

About the Author

is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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