Posts Tagged With: DIY tool

A Message to the Beginner of Herb Gardening

Lavender Farm in Sequim, Washington, USADear, Runyon Equipment Rental: Well, well, well! I am not a gardener! My husband has had a vegetable garden for years and does the flower garden for us. I want to try my hand with an herb garden. I stumbled across your website and liked what I saw. I have rosemary in the front of my house and mint on the side. You gave some great ideas on the fragrances and colors. Any suggestion that you can give to get this beginner started would be great! Thank you! – Darlene, Hatfield, PA

Dear, Darlene: First of all, since you are a beginner, I recommend you purchase herbs at Lowe’s and keep your receipt! If the plant dies, you are able to receive a new one as long as you bring in your receipt with the dead plant. This policy was a lifesaver when I first began growing my own herbs. Bonnie plants come in a pot that you can plant in the ground. I think they are the best to buy, but I always cut the plant out of the pot prior to planting.

Some do’s and don’ts:

  • Avoid planting mint or lemongrass in the ground since these plants are known to be invasive and will literally overtake your garden. Plant these in containers!
  • Sage is lovely and grows into a beautiful bush, after about 10 years, though it starts to get leggy. Oregano is another perennial that tends to grow large and will need to be trimmed. I have mine in my English Garden surrounding the bird bath.
  • I love lavender too. I love to cook and make my own herbes de provence which is great on pork and chicken. There are many varieties of lavender, which is in the mint family. If you are using for culinary, buy lavandula augustifolia. Use the purple flower for cooking. I plant rosemary and thyme around lavender since they contrast so nicely.
  • Chives, which are a cross between garlic and onion in taste, add beautiful contrast because of their long green stems. They flower pinkish purple on top. Make sure the stem is not used when adding this herb to food. The texture is tough, and it would be like chewing on a stick. Chives also tend to be spreaders, so I have mine cornered with the patio and paver blocks.

All the above come back year after year and grow with great scent and with vibrant color. All herbs need a lot of sunlight, so  ensure these are planted in areas that receive sufficient sun. I always plant around Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner! Some words of advice – make your hole twice the size of your pot, remove the plant from the pot gently, and rub around the bottom and the sides so the roots are loosened, and then plant in such a position that their little heads poke out of the ground. I use top soil to fill in the hole surrounding the plant.

herbsThe next herbs are annuals. Unfortunately, they wither away at the end of the summer into fall. I always buy dill, basil, and Italian parsley. For eating basil, you will want to pinch off the tops so they won’t flower and make the leaf bitter.  In the summer, you have to pinch daily.

When picking them, grab from the top since it encourages growth. Pick after the dew has dried. I use juice size glasses, filled with water and put them in the fridge in separate glasses. They last about a week or two as readily available ingredients to flavor your cooking.

When drying herbs for winter’s use, I grab my colander and cut what I want, rinse from the hose and rubber band the stems together and hang upside down.  It takes about a week for them to dry out, remove the leaves from the stem over wax paper and dryingherbsthrow into the coffee mill.  I use little box tins from Michael’s and give as gifts too.

Plant citronella and lavender near your patio or seating areas since they are a known mosquito repellent. Herbs are super easy to grow – just water in the morning with a watering can or pump and be sure to water the dirt, not the plant. Feel the dirt, and if it’s not moist – the plant needs water. You’ll want pots that have a hole in the bottom and water until a small stream comes through. When your herbs are in the ground, again, just water the dirt.

Hopefully, you will have a wonderful herb garden that makes you happy like mine does for me. The food tastes so much better with fresh herbs!

From aerators and lawn mowers to wheelbarrows and tillers , our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next outdoor DIY project. Looking for additional information on gardening? Check out our infographic on growing vegetables for more helpful tips. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Categories: DIY Projects, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, Restore and Renovate, spring checklist | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2 Fall Lawn Maintenance Tasks: Aerating/Plugging and Slice Seeding

Aerate & Slice Seed Your LawnYou have a beautiful, healthy lawn and you work hard to keep it that way — mowing, watering and fertilizing as part of a regular maintenance schedule. But lately, you notice that your lawn looks a little lack-luster. It was established back when your home was new, and it’s been a good number of years since then. Perhaps the homebuilder used sod, and now the soil is layered, which disrupts natural water drainage and leads to poor root development. Plus, your kids and pets are running around on it all the time, compacting the soil underneath the grass roots, and now it dries out quickly or feels sort of spongy. This indicates your lawn may have too much thatch that’s inhibiting the proper health of your beautiful lawn.

For all these reasons, aerating your lawn can help keep it beautiful. The best time for aeration is during the growing season in early fall, so grass can heal or fill in any open areas before it goes dormant in winter.

Aeration Accomplishes Several Important Things

  • 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

If you aerate your lawn and fertilize it at the same time, it can help the lawn breathe more easily. To learn more about this combination, read our blog post, Mark an Item Off Your Fall Checklist – Aerating and Fertilizing.

Types of Aerating Tools

Spike Aerator: pokes holes through the grass, thatch and roots and into the ground with a solid tine, or fork. This method is the least effective for soil compaction.

Aerator/Plugger: removes a patch of grass and soil from the lawn, called a plug. This method can achieve fantastic results with regard to soil compaction.

Slice Seeder: cuts 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. To learn more, read our blog post, Improve Your Existing Turf with Slice Seeding.

Tips for Aerating Your Yard

  • Aerate when the soil is moist, such as after a rain shower or a deep watering of the lawn
  • Run the aerator over the most compacted areas of your lawn several times, to make sure the compacted soil is completely treated
  • Dry excavated soil plugs and break them up, giving your lawn a uniform appearance
  • Research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention measures
  • After aerating, make sure to continue basic lawn care practices such as mowing, watering and proper fertilizing

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you make aeration part of your yearly lawn care regime. From aerator/pluggers to slice seeders to fertilizer, 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. Plus, your beautiful lawn will thank you for helping it breathe again!

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12 of Our Favorite Woodworking Tips and Tricks

12 woodworking tips & tricksWhen it comes to woodworking, there’s no greater relationship than that of a carpenter and his (or her) saw. After all, a woodworker relies most on cutting machines to create works of art out of wood — even if it’s just a window frame. Woodworkers are always ready to try new ways of working faster and smarter in the shop. Great advice, tips and tricks on sawing are readily available, too. Below are 12 important ones to keep in mind during your next wood project.

  1. To crosscut safely, clamp a one-inch block of wood to the fence of your table saw before the blade, then make the cut length by setting the fence scale one-inch greater than the desired length. This way, the end of the board is free of the fence during and after the cut — and you can avoid getting a board kicked back directly at you.
  1. Stair gauges are an inexpensive way to make your own crosscut guide for circular saws. Usually used to lay out stair jacks, stair gauges are available at hardware stores or home centers and can be clamped on the same tongue of a carpenter’s square and used as notch markers. Make sure to clamp the square in place so it won’t slide around while you’re cutting.
  1. Use a drafting square for measuring accurate 2- to 3-foot squares. Drywall squares can be inaccurate and carpenter squares can be especially cumbersome because they have to be hooked onto the edge of the work piece. Drafting squares are accurate, as well as, inexpensive and can be as useful as a tape measure in the shop.
  1. If you’re always trying to find a level workspace, put your saw on a mobile base so it’s easy to move around the shop. Then find a convenient place for sawing where the floor is level and free of obstruction. Mark wheel positions on the floor with duct tape in a bright color. Now you can roll the saw to the same flat spot every time you saw. 
  1. To avoid staining wood with oozing glue along joints, clamp the pieces together using tape instead of glue. Lay the tape down on the joint, then cut the tape along the joint with a sharp blade. Separate the tape pieces, apply the glue and clamp them together again, so the glue oozes onto the tape, not the wood. Peel off the tape before the glue dries.
  1. When you have to cut, shape, file, sand or finish something small, reach for your hot glue gun and glue the piece to a pedestal stick instead of fumbling with a clamp. When you’re finished, gently pop the piece loose with a putty knife. If this doesn’t work, try sticking the work piece into the freezer for an hour or so, freezing the glue, which will usually give way with little force. A third option is to try a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the piece slowly and soften the glue for removal without scorching the wood or damaging the finish.
  1. Install saw blades so the teeth face forward, because hacksaws are designed to cut with a forward stroke. When you do a lot of cutting, the blade will heat up and expand, so check and make sure the blade is tight in the saw, tightening when needed so it won’t bend.
  1. To use your shop space economically, raise the base for your saw about 3-1/8 inches higher than the bench top, so you can slip a short length of a 4×4 under each end of your work piece for support. This way, you won’t have to devote space to a long support table and you won’t have to clear the entire bench to make a cut.
  1. Whenever you raise and lower your saw blade, save wear and tear on your saw table by taping a wooden stop-block to the column of your radial-arm saw about 1/8-inch below the surface of the table. The block prevents the blade from digging deep into the table.
  1. Build a hold-down for your radial-arm saw like those available for table saws and router tables by attaching two screw eyes to the saw’s fence about 8 inches to the right and left of the blade. Make the hold-down out of 3/4 x 3-inch stock at a length that’s equal the width from the fence to the front edge of the saw table. Fasten on a handle. Position a roundhead screw in the end of the hold-down so it sits flush with the thickness of the wood you’re cutting. Make sure the fence is securely anchored so it doesn’t pull up when you push down on the hold-down.
  1. Make your own reusable sanding blocks from scrap 3/4-inch plywood. Cut 2-1/2 x 4-3/4-inch blocks for each sandpaper grit you commonly use, spraying adhesive on both a square of cork tile and each block. Stick a block to the cork and cut the cork flush with a utility knife. Spray the adhesive on a sheet of sandpaper and stick it on each block cork side down, cutting the sandpaper flush with the cork. Label each block. 
  1. Stack your table saw or circular saw blades for storage or transport using plastic coffee can lids as spacers instead of cutting them out of hardboard or plywood. Spacers help prevent the carbide teeth from chipping each other. The lids of three-pound cans work great; simply bore a hole the size of your saw’s arbor in the center and place them between your blades.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next woodworking project. From wood saws to clamps and blades, 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 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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5 Ideas to Spruce Up Your Garden with New Plants

Create a Garden Oasis with These 5 IdeasThe long days of summer are just right for getting all those garden improvement projects underway. Along with abundant sun and warmer weather, new plants have a chance to establish root systems and thrive during summer months… just like people tend to do, enjoying a tall glass of lemonade (granted, plants prefer a cool drink of water). Although you may have a fabulous garden already, there are so many ideas for expanding it, or creating designated areas for entertaining or relaxing. This time of year is perfect for enjoying the outdoors, so make your backyard oasis your own. All it takes is a little hard work and a passion for making your garden vision a reality. Below are five ideas for sprucing up your garden.

1. Plant New Trees

If you live in a frost-free or rainy region, give your garden a tropic vibe by planting palm trees. To protect tall palms from wind damage, support them with stakes for at least a year, until roots are established. Other trees that lend themselves to an exotic landscape are Japanese maples, which can add vibrant color in the summer and fall. Ginkgo balboa, sumac and flowering fig have the added benefit of a voluptuous fruit harvest, ready in September. (Helpful Tool: tree spade)

2. Add a Shade Garden

Almost any yard or garden has shady areas. Don’t let them go to waste! From hydrangeas to hostas to hardy fuchsias, fill those dark areas with shade-loving perennials or shrubs and see it come to life with beautiful greens, gentle lavenders, stunning blues and pinks with some showy flowers for good measure.

3. Aquatic Life

Aquatic plants such as water lilies and lotus add depth and breadth to any water feature, especially those located in a sunny spot. Fill two-thirds of a 12-inch diameter pot with garden soil (do not use potting mix). Then place the roots of one plant into the center of the pot. Cover with two to three more inches of soil, and add a light pea gravel covering. Place the entire potted plant in at least 12 to 18 inches of water, and watch them flower.

4. Carpet of Succulents

Succulents such as hens-and-chicks, aloe and sedum are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant sun-lovers that will grow anywhere, from pots to cracks in a stone wall, even in the shade. With so many varieties in striking shapes, colors and blooms, succulents also provide visual interest in nearly any type of garden. Protect succulents from extreme cold and don’t over-water, otherwise, they are easy to maintain, keeping your garden lush.

5. Garden Path of Herbs

Hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme not only flower in the summer, but also add intoxicating fragrance, especially when planted along a garden path. Group the herbs with a sprinkling of Alyssum in white or purple to intensify the sweet smell (especially after a summer rain). Plus, with a little judicious clipping, you can enjoy an herb-filled marinade or dressing for all that summer grilling you plan on doing!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. From landscaping tools to tree spades, 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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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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For Healthier, Stunning Roses, Prune, Prune, Prune!

How to Properly Prune Your RosesMost flowering trees and shrubs benefit from annual pruning, especially roses. Not only does pruning rid the plant of dead and diseased wood, it encourages new growth and gives it a nice shape — one that promotes beautiful blooms. With a few tools such as pruners, long-handled loppers, shears and thick gloves, a gardener can cut and shape to their heart’s delight!

For some flowering plants, timing an annual pruning is important. For instance, here’s a list of trees and shrubs that respond favorably to an early summer pruning, after a bloom:

  • Azalea (Rhododendron species)
  • Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
  • Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spirea x vanhouttei)
  • Flowering Crabapple (Malus species and cultivars)
  • Forsythia (forsythia x intermedia)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus species and cultivars)
  • Hydrangea, Bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Magnolia (Magnolia species and cultivars)
  • Mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius)
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)
  • Slender Deutzia (deutzia gracilis)
  • Weigela (Weigela florida)

When and How to Prune Roses

When gardeners think of pruning, most likely it’s associated with rose bushes — although pruning techniques apply to all flowering trees and shrubs. Pruning a rose bush is very good for the plant plus it’s pretty difficult to kill a rose bush with bad pruning, because most mistakes grow out quickly with this hardy plant that produces such delicate blooms. Generally, roses respond best to pruning in two ways:

1. If the plant blooms on new season growth, prune while dormant or just when the plant is about to break dormancy

2. If the plant blooms on last year’s canes, prune after flowering.

Rose Pruning Basics

  • Use clean, sharp tools and protect your hands and arms from thorns by wearing thick gardening gloves
  • Prune potted roses the same as planted roses
  • Remove any broken, dead, dying or diseased wood and weak, twiggy branches all around the bush
  • Remove sucker growth below the graft
  • Begin pruning from the base of the plant, cutting to open its center for light and air circulation, which dries the leaves and helps prevent foliar diseases from attacking
  • Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch just above a “bud eye,” or the area on the stem where branching occurs
  • No reason to protect a pruning wound, as cuts are called; however, you may apply Elmer’s Glue to a cut, if rose cane borers are a problem pest

Pruning for the Healthiest Roses

Most rose gardeners are interested in removing dead, damaged or diseased branches from their plant to promote the growth of large, full flowers that are pleasing to the eye.

  • Cutting dieback or broken branches promotes vibrant growth
  • Pruning away winter freeze damage opens up the plant to air circulation
  • Removing diseased wood prevents the disease from spreading to the rest of the bush or to neighboring plants

Prune out crossing branches, all branches smaller than a pencil in diameter and even extra long canes, which prevents the roots from being loosened by strong winds or freeze/thaw cycles. Pruning is also an opportunity to correct any problems with the plant’s overall form or reduce the overall size of a plant in relation to the rest of your garden.

For most rose bushes, leaving six to eight strong, healthy canes will produce a full, nicely shaped plant. Deadheading, a form of pruning to remove spent blooms, prevents the formation of rose hips or seedpods and encourages new, attractive blooms (although rose hip cultivation can be advantageous for home chefs who make rose hip jelly and tea drinkers who enjoy a cup of rose hip tea).

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping 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.

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How-To Remove Your Dead Tree in 6 Simple Steps

How-To Cut Down Your Tree in 6 Simple StepsIn addition to providing beauty and increasing your property value, trees keep the air and water clean, hold soil in place, and give you and your family a shady spot to enjoy a sunny day. It’s a tough decision, removing a tree from your property, but if the tree is old and dead, taking it down helps keep your yard and the surrounding area safe. No one wants an old dead tree falling into a neighbor’s yard.

There are a number of reasons why you’d want to cut down a tree besides it being already dead. Is the tree healthy? Is the trunk damaged? Is it leaning to one side or dead on only one side? Is it interfering with power lines? Is there enough space around the tree for more growth? And finally, is the tree stunting the growth of nearby trees? Depending on the answers, you may decide to take the tree down.

Tree removal can be a job best left to a professional arborist, one who is fully insured, licensed and certified by the state in which the tree lives. However, depending upon the size of the tree and the scope of its demise, do-it-yourselfers can handle a successful tree removal with ease. Below are the six steps of how to do it.

Step 1. Prepare for the fall. Determine the direction the tree leans naturally, because this is the direction you want the tree to fall. Make room for the fall by clearing away anything in the way, making sure the tree won’t hit anything of value like a fence, car, power lines, house or other structure. Keep helpers and family out of the way. Remove any of the lower tree branches with a handsaw or a chainsaw.

Step 2. Choose two escape routes. Determine two ways to get away safely from the base of the tree as it falls.

Step 3. Make the undercut. Using the chainsaw, make a V-cut at a 90-degree angle on the side of the tree in the direction it is leaning, about one quarter into the circumference of the tree.

Step 4. Begin the backcut. On the opposite side of the undercut, start cutting the tree about two inches higher than the V-cut. As soon as the tree starts to fall, turn off the chainsaw and hurry away using the safer of the two routes.

Step 5. Remove limbs. Once the tree is on the ground, move from the bottom of the tree to the top, cutting branches on the side opposite from where you are standing. Then cut the tree trunk into pieces.

Step 6. Clean up. Feed the cut branches into a wood chipper. Use a stump cutter to grind the stump into wood chips. The wood chips can be recycled into your landscape.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next home improvement 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 with all your landscaping needs!

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Improve Your Existing Turf with Slice Seeding in 7 Easy Steps

Slice Seed Your Lawn in 7 Easy StepsEspecially 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.

Steps for Slice Seeding

Step 1: Prepare your yard. Slice seeding is designed to work on the existing turf and soil. Remove any large rocks or debris from the area and mow the lawn to about 1-inch in height, which gives new seedlings the best start.

Step 2: Determine the condition of your lawn. If the thatch is too thick to establish new seed, use an aerator to reduce the layer before seeding. This allows the equipment to slice easily through the thatch and into the soil.

Step 3: Crank up the seeder. The slice seeder cuts vertically through the grass and thatch, into the soil, dropping seed in the rows cut behind. Run the slice seeder over the entire area to be seeded.

Step 4: Add a starter fertilizer. A good fertilizer with slow release nutrients will feed the new seedlings and help develop the plant and its roots.

Step 5: Water, water and water some more. New grass requires gentle watering frequently for short periods of time. For the first 3 to 3 1/2 weeks, do “light, frequent” watering three times a day (morning, noon and evening) for approximately 10 – 15 minutes, while establishing plants. Use a sprinkler system or a water hose that comes closest to natural rainfall, to avoid washing seed away from the soil surface. After your turf grass is established, switch to “heavy, infrequent” watering one or two times a week to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, which takes around 45 minutes. Consider using automatic timers to make watering easy.

Step 6: Stay off the grass. Avoiddislodging the shallow roots of new seedlings, which stops any new growth completely. Do not walk on new grass and keep dogs and other animals away too. It’s a good idea to cordon off any sections of lawn that were slice seeded until it matures.

Step 7: Mow when the height is right. Wait until new grass blades are 2.5 to 3 inches high before making your first cut. When the blades reach around 4 inches, mow back to three inches; avoid removing more than 1/3 of the total blade length. Only mow as your lawn grows, which could mean every four or five days in the spring. If the lawn dries out stop mowing all together, until adequate moisture returns.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next lawn and landscaping 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 give your lawn an upgrade!

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9 Easy Steps to Keep Outdoor Lighting Bright

9 Outdoor Lighting Repair TipsOutdoor lighting for your home and yard is not only a practical design feature that keeps stairways, porches, patios and driveways bright during dark hours, but it adds style to your home’s exterior appearance. However, malfunctioning lights can signal neglect to neighbors and passersby, putting your property in potential danger. Luckily for homeowners, a few easy do-it-yourself steps are all you need to keep outdoor lights working correctly. So, get out the ladder and let’s begin!

Outdoor Lighting Maintenance

  1. Always turn off power
  2. Dismantle light fixture
  3. Clean out debris from around and inside with a brush, or blow it out with an air gun
  4. Wipe any grit and dirt away with a cloth or damp sponge
  5. Tighten any loose components on the inside of the fixture
  6. Replace all burnt-out bulbs; consider using energy-efficient lights
  7. Tighten screws on covers or lids
  8. Refocus light projections, if applicable
  9. Reset timers, if applicable

Troubleshooting Common Repairs

  • Survey for broken fixtures or light stakes (in the case of landscape lighting) and replace
  • Check for exposed wiring and re-tape
  • Intermittent lighting signals a connection issue; corrosion may be to blame
  • If all the lights are out, the cause could be an electrical short, a bad fuse or breaker
  • Dim bulbs indicate improper voltage

A DIY Fix for Corroded Light Fixtures

  • Trim an emery board with scissors to fit into the fixture
  • Remove the bulb
  • Lightly file the contacts in the fixture with the emery board
  • Spray the contacts with automotive ignition sealer to prevent future corrosion
  • Replace the bulb
  • Turn on power and check lighting

Leave Electrical Work to the Professionals

Diagnosing and repairing challenging problems with outdoor lights or an exterior lighting system is a challenge best left to a professional. Any electrical system – and the repairs made to them –must comply with specific electrical codes, which needs expert experience. Find a professional whose electrical experience includes exterior lighting and can resolve issues specific to outdoor systems such as voltage and corrosion.

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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Clean Exterior Windows, Doors and Trim Like a Pro

3 Simple Exterior Home RepairsMake a Great First Impression. Cleaning your exterior doors and windows is a sure-fire way to get your house noticed. Add a paint job for the trim and you’re well on the way to that oh-so-desirable curb appeal, transforming a nice-looking house into a beautiful home your visitors will admire. It’s surprisingly effective to clean doors and windows with a few readily available tools.

1. Clean Exterior Windows

Use a good ladder to reach high windows, taking care to observe safety first.

Step 1: Lightly soap up a strip applicator, a handheld sponge or hog-bristle brush with a little dishwashing liquid and water, then clean dirt and grime off without scratching the glass.

Step 2: Wipe the window clean with a squeegee that’s sized appropriately for the pane. Simply pull it over the window in one direction, wiping off the squeegee blade with a lint-free rag at the end of each stroke.

Step 3: Use a damp, wrung-dry soft rag, like a chamois, to dry off corners and any place the squeegee won’t reach, without leaving streaks.

Clean Window Tip: Get rid of stubborn mineral stains without scratching the glass by gently rubbing them with fine 000 steel wool or a cleansing powder that contains oxalic acid (such as Zud or Barkeeper’s Friend).

2. Clean Exterior Doors

Clean wood, steel or fiberglass doors with these same steps:

Step 1: Mix equal parts water and vinegar, or the same dishwashing liquid you use on the windows in a spray bottle. Start by spraying the entire doorframe — top and all — then wipe the frame with a soft cloth to remove dirt, dust and fingerprints. Continue by spraying the door itself and wiping dirt and grime away with a clean cloth. Thoroughly dry the door to prevent any water damage after cleaning.

Step 2: Clean the door’s windows or a complete glass door the same way you would clean the exterior windows, using appropriately-sized tools. If you’re cleaning a sliding glass door, remember to vacuum the tracks and wipe them clean with a little multi-purpose cleaning spray and a dry cloth.

Step 3: Clean locks, handles, kick plates and other hardware by applying a brass or steel polish with a soft cloth, then wiping the hardware dry with a clean rag.

Clean Door Tip: Clean tough grease and stains without damaging the door by applying mineral spirits to a cloth or sponge, then using it to scrub away the stains on the door, wiping the surface clean with a rag.

3. Paint Exterior Trim

If your exterior trim could use a fresh coat of paint, consider using an airless paint sprayer. This tool comes with a variety of features to help you achieve a crisp, clean, painted finish, without the effort of using a roller or a brush.

Easy, Economical, Quick and Versatile. Once you clean and tape around the trim to be painted — to protect other painted surfaces — the accuracy of an airless sprayer lets you paint up to four times faster than rolling or brushing, which means you can be done with your trim job in a jiffy! And you’ll also get an even coat of paint on the trim.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY dream. 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 home be a stand-out on your block!

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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[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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3 Things to Help Pull Off Your First Outdoor Barbecue of the Season

3 Tools to Help Make Your First Outdoor BBQ of the Season a SuccessWouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a juicy steak grilled outside? You could add an assortment of yummy roasted veggies to the menu and grill up pineapple slices served with a little vanilla ice cream for desert. And maybe even invite your neighbors over for dinner too, yeah?

Well, it’s totally possible! With just three tools and equipment, you can pull off the first outdoor barbecue of the season (given you’ve already got a deck and a grill and a few neighbors you like to spend time with). So here’s what you need:

1. Pressure Washer

The first thing to do is clean the deck and all your outdoor furniture, washing away any dirt and grime that winter left behind. Not to mention, that pine or flower pollen that’s coating every surface in your backyard. Using a pressure washer makes quick work out of this traditional warm-weather chore. Chose an appropriate cleaning solution for your equipment and rinse away. Just be careful to monitor liquid pressure. The deck can handle a more powerful stream than an outdoor set of table and chairs.

You can even pressure wash the grill – give it a good cleaning after getting it out for the season. If you need a more thorough refurbishing job, check out our recent blog post, Master of the Grill: Clean and Repair Your Grill in 10 Easy Stepseverything you need to know to get your grill in top form for a season of good eats.

2. Propane

It’s time to stop by for a propane tank for the grill. We carry a variety of tank sizes, which are made of steel, engineered for lightweight strength and manufactured to Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications in facilities that have a Quality Management System certified to ISO 9002 requirements. In fact, propane is so integral to a happy grilling experience, you should consider getting a spare!

Of course, if you’re a charcoal kind of griller, then your number two would be heading to your local hardware store to pick up charcoal fuel for your grilling fire.

3. Power Tools

Once you clean up the patio and get the grill ready, you can focus more attention on making those backyard patio transformations that you’ve been dreaming about a reality. You may remember the projects we wrote about in our recent blog post, Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with These 3 Project Ideas. And with each of these ideas it’s rather likely you’ll need a nail gun, stapler, circular saw, drill or any number of other power tools to help you accomplish such a feat. From new landscape features to new cushions for your furniture and attractive privacy walls, our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY project.

So that’s it – the three things to help you and your guests to inaugurate the grilling season. 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 enjoy that steak dinner in style!

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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How-to Tutorial: Stain Your Fence in 3 Simple Steps

Stain Your Fence in 3 Simple Steps

Staining and sealing a fence is a lot like staining and sealing your deck. In just three steps you can guarantee that its color and durability are maintained.

Step 1 – Prep the fence by clearing away any plants around the bottom and using a pressure washer to clean and remove tough residue.

Step 2 – Apply stain usinga hand-held paint sprayer for a consistent, uniform coat that goes on quickly. Fill the sprayer with the stain and spray it evenly from one end of the fence to the other in a steady, vertical pattern, overlapping each row.

Step 3 – For maximum protection, wait at least two days for the stain to dry. Then, seal the fence by applying sealer with a paintbrush or roller.

This is a very brief how-to, so if you would like more in-depth tips about staining outdoors, read this post about staining your deck. And as always, contact us or comment if you have additional questions!

About the Author

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

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Replace Your Old, Damaged Mailbox in 5 Easy Steps

Replace Your Mailbox in 5 Easy StepsHas this spring’s snow melt revealed a mailbox that’s been pummeled by plows?

Now’s the time to add a little curb appeal to your home and replace that damaged mailbox with a new version, which not only meets federal regulations, but it’s stylish too. All you need are a few hours and some basic tools to check this outdoor improvement off your spring checklist.

Before you replace an existing mailbox or install one for the first time, keep in mind these federal regulations:

  • Install the mailbox about two feet in from the edge of the street, on the right-hand side as traveled by your mail carrier
  • Place the bottom of mailbox at a height of 42 inches from the ground
  • Clearly mark your house number on the mailbox with painted digits or stickers no less than one inch in height

5 Easy Steps for Replacing Your Mailbox

Once you’ve checked for underground utilities, you’re ready for the first step.

Step 1 – Dig the mailbox posthole using a post hole digger or a shovel, making sure it’s deep enough to set the post at the correct height, allowing for about 6 inches of gravel at the bottom.

Step 2 – Add gravel and prepare quick-setting concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3 – Set the post and fill the hole with the prepared concrete mix, tamping to eliminate air pockets and sloping around the base to allow for water runoff. Or, you can fill the hole to within a few inches of the top and conceal the concrete with soil after it sets.

Step 4 – Attach the mailbox to the post after it sets with attachment brackets that come with the new mailbox. Use the old brackets or purchase them separately. Use a level to check the mailbox and adjust as needed.

Step 5 – Label the side and the front of the box with your house number using stick-on digits or stencils and paint.

While you’re at it, take another step to improve your curb appeal by co-coordinating your mailbox numbers with your house numbers. For more ideas about how to prep your home, yard and garden for warm weather, visit our how-to page. If you have any questions about this process and the tools necessary, be sure to comment below or contact us on our website.

About the Author

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

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Create Curb Appeal with Concrete Resurfacing

Repair Your Cracked and Eroded DrivewayToday’s the day for that do-it-yourself concrete repair project you’ve been meaning to accomplish for a while now: restoring your driveway, walkway and patio. The weather’s been cooperating all week long — there’s been no rain and temperatures are ranging between 70° and 75°F — which is not only great for your mood, but perfect for your concrete, which needs to maintain a surface temp of at least 50°F before you can repair those cracks or crumbles successfully.

No jackhammer needed. Unless your concrete has extremely wide cracking and an uneven surface, there’s no need to tear it out, repair the sub base and pour new concrete. The existing concrete can be restored to look like new with a little repair and resurfacing. Smaller cracks are relatively simple to fix, if you have these tools and products on hand:

*A quick note about power trowels: available for rent, this equipment comes with accessories for working out surface imperfections and creating a satin smooth concrete finish with ease. As always, let us know what questions you have, or if you need advice on which tools will help you effectively complete a project.

Small cracks up to a half-inch wide are the simplest to repair. Use a wire brush or chisel to scrape any debris from the crack, then spray or hose clean with water. A latex concrete patch can be injected with a caulking gun or troweled into the crack, leveled and smoothed out.

Tiny cracks up to a quarter of an inch wide should be worked with a chisel to widen slightly, enough to help hold the patch material in place. Spray the crack clean with water and let dry before applying a concrete adhesive, then a concrete patch compound. Level the patch with a trowel. Once any crack is filled, cover the repair with plastic and allow it to dry slowly before moving on to resurfacing.

If you plan to resurface your concrete, mask the expansion joints. These are the dividing areas of large slabs that help control cracking. Mask them with duct tape before applying a dressing. Mix the resurfacer with a portable mixer or electric drill fitted with a mixing paddle, pour it onto the clean slab and spread it out immediately with a trowel. Remember to texture the surface with a push broom, to create slip resistance.

Time is of the essence. Experts say is takes about one hour to resurface 60 square feet of concrete. If you use a polymer-based cement resurfacer, you’ve got less than 30 minutes to apply once water is mixed in, so prepare it in batches. The treated surface can be walked on after about two hours; wait six hours before driving a car onto a driveway. After 24 hours, protect the new surface with a clear, waterborne masonry sealer.

Learn more about restoring cracked and eroded surfaces from our blog post, The 7 Step Process to Restore Your Cracked and Eroded Driveways.

About the Author

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

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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.

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DIY Projects: Spring Cleaning Ideas and Inspiration

In continuing with this week’s Spring Cleaning theme, I’d like to share some of my current projects to get you thinking about projects you can do around your house. Although it is a holiday weekend, maybe you’d like to knock a few things out before family gets in tomorrow or Sunday. So, take a look at some of my pictures below and get inspired!

Again the importance of organization: I’ve been cleaning out my closets and garage, which as you can see are full of shoes! I used to work at a shoe store, hence the exorbitant amount. You can also see some of the boxes and storage bins I’ve started to use though, a key to keeping things in their respective places and all together. We’re moving furniture and getting clean under the beds too. It’s been a month of sheer work, but once summer is here, it’ll be nothing but fun!

Closet and Garage Organization

Give your rooms new life: In addition to organizing, I’ve been redecorating and sprucing up some of our furniture and decor in various rooms. You can see below our bathroom. We’re having a new shower put in and I’m getting ready to paint above the toilet. There used to be a cabinet there and a while back we painted around it, but recently we removed it, so now the wall needs painted. Also, the living room furniture is brand new, bringing a modern chic vibe to the space. The bar chairs we’ve had for a long time; I bought them at a furniture store by Castleton several years ago, so they were a tad dated. To give them a fresh and updated look, I cleaned them up with a new coat of paint and reupholstered the fabric. You can go to the hardware store and get touch up kits for furniture in all colors to get the knicks out and keep it looking new. And remember, now is also the time to take things up a notch and clean ceiling fans, light fixtures and bulk heads.
Spring Decorating and Home Updates

Get your yard in order: Below are before and after pictures of a dead tree we cut down in our front yard. It once added to our curb appeal, but then it started to rot, so time to go! We cut it down with a chainsaw, easy as pie. Now is also the perfect time for planting spring flowers. Poppies can be planted safely in pots. Oh, and another thing, it’s a good time to spray around the exterior of your house so insects cannot make their way in. If you need more tips on which yard clean-up tasks should be on your checklist, read this post.

Cutting Down a Dead Tree

Hopefully this DIY project recap helped give you a few ideas for your home. If you need any advice for which tools to use for your projects, let us know! And please post your own ideas for Spring Projects in the comment section below. For more inspiration, be sure to read the post from earlier this week.

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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Tackle Spring Clean-Up in Your Yard with This Handy Checklist

spring clean-up checklistFor the gardener and do-it-yourself landscaper, springtime is nature’s way of giving you a little breathing space, a moment to reflect on how your yard creations are holding up through the tests of weather and time before the real growing season begins. Once you clear away winter’s debris, mulch or dead twigs, you can decide where to focus your efforts. Whether it be thinning out crowded areas, filling in bare spots or preparing your yard for new growth, buds and blooms. Here’s what you’ll need to start your spring clean-up and give your yard a fresh start.

Gather all the necessary tools…

If you’ve got a lot of clean-up to do, and you like trying out different kinds of equipment, consider renting a soil conditioner attachment. You can grade, soften, mix, level, rake, remove debris as well as pulverize and prepare seedbeds, remove entire lawns and weeds, all with this one tool that attaches to a Bobcat. Sweet!

Complete the spring yard clean-up checklist:

  1. Prune dead and damaged branches back to live stems and clip off wayward shoots to an intersecting branch. Summer-flowering shrubs should be pruned before the plant buds. Wait to prune spring-flowering plants until after blooms fade.
  1. Trim overgrown evergreens back, starting from the bottom of the tree trunk to eliminate dead branches and encourage an appealing tree shape.
  1. Cut back flowering perennials to a height of 4–5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2–3 inches, which encourages new growth.
  1. Thin crowded beds by digging up perennial bulbs. Instead of throwing them away, divide the extra bulbs, leaving at least three stems per clump, and transplant them in other areas of the yard.
  1. If rose bushes are winter-damaged, cut back to 1 inch below the blackened area. Remove older woody canes on climbing rose bushes, fastening younger canes gently in place with jute twine or Velcro fasteners.
  1. Rake out fallen leaves, dead foliage and annuals, as well as spent mulch to prepare for a new layer once your planting is finished.
  1. Spread an appropriate fertilizer for existing plantings on the soil’s surface so that April showers can carry it to the roots.
  1. Inspect any drip irrigation lines and repair if necessary.
  1. Give beds a clean edge with a shovel or a weed eater.
  2. Remove damaged grass turf to prepare for spring seeding. It’s also a good time to test the soil’s pH and add an appropriate fertilizer, if needed.

And finally, feed the compost pile! Dump all debris, cuttings, foliage and last season’s mulch into your compost pile, and you’re done…at least until it’s time for spring seeding! And as always, for questions and comments please visit our website or leave a comment in the section below. Happy yard cleaning!

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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It’s That Time of Year to Sharpen Your Blades and Chains

Sharpen your blades and chains this spring

Lawn mowers, trimmers and chain saws, oh my! When you open up your tool shed or garage for the first time this spring, this is probably what you’re looking at. And it feels great doesn’t it, getting ready for the new lawn mowing and yard-work season? Especially if you winterized your power tools last fall. If not, don’t worry – they are ready to be dusted off and spruced up. We know it!

Sharpening Blades and Chains

Keeping your blades and chains sharp is an important step in maintaining your power tools. A sharp blade and chain not only keep your equipment running smoothly, but they make yard work easier on you and your lawn. Not to mention, it’s much safer.

Sharpening blades and chains, and even replacing them, is not always the easiest do-it-yourself project. For one thing, it could require specialized tools. Both jobs use a file, and the lawn mower job may require a power grinder, blade balancer and precision. This is especially true when it comes to sharpening blades at proper angles. Care needs to be taken so the blade isn’t sharpened too much, or it will curl up as it gets dinged by pebbles and debris. Using coarse grit sandpaper for a quick sharpening will do in a pinch, but this method won’t smooth out any big nicks and dings in the blade.

The most precise way to sharpen a chain is by hand, using a file and a guide – if you have a lot of time that is. It also requires patience, especially when it comes to adjusting the height of depth gauges. Special equipment required would be an electric chain sharpener, which works as well as a new chain.

Since sharpening and replacing blades and chains are not as easily done at home, why not stop by our store so we can do it for you? Our in-house service department is full of pros! We offer a high degree of advice, expert instruction and in-store services that customers have come to expect. We carry thousands of tools, and our inventory is frequently updated. We even offer extended hours of operation, so lawn mowers, trimmers and chain saws can get serviced at your convenience. So come in and experience the Runyon Equipment Rental difference first hand!

About the Author

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

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Utilize 3 Easy Steps for a Glorious Garden This Spring

Soil. Fertilize. Mulch.Soil. Fertilize. Mulch. Repeat.

Soil. Fertilize. Mulch. Repeat.

It’s the gardener’s mantra, and sometime during the growing season you’re probably adding “Harvest,” and “Enjoy” to the chant as well. As long as you follow this mantra and do your due diligence in preparing your garden for plants, grass, flowers or shrubs, it really will look glorious. So, get out your wheelbarrow and shovel, and get to work.

1. Prepare the Soil

Before you start digging into your garden patch or lawn, make sure the soil is dry enough to work without causing damage. Turning over or tilling wet soil can actually cause it to clump, becoming brick hard after it dries out. Form a ball of soil with your hands, then see if you can break the ball apart easily. If you can, the soil is dry enough to work.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Test the soil pH every three to four years. Use lime to raise pH and iron sulfate or elemental sulfur to lower it, according to recommendations.
  • Improve poor, compacted soils by adding a six-to-eight-inch layer of rich organic compost.
  • If the soil is especially poor, consider building raised beds and filling them with a mixture of good topsoil and leaf compost, for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers.
  • Avoid erosion by protecting bare soil with cover crops, ground-covers, turf or mulch.

2. Fertilize

Most plants used in landscaping get adequate nutrition from a soil that’s rich in organic matter. Garden beds that get yearly applications of at least one inch of compost are also nutritionally sound. Overusing fertilizers can cause weak growth, more pests and water pollution. Make sure to sweep granular fertilizers away from paved surfaces to prevent them from washing into storm drains and waterways.

Plants that typically benefit the most from fertilizer are flower-producing annuals, fruit trees and vegetables. Apply a soluble fertilizer to the root system or to foliage. Fruit trees are usually fertilized in the spring; however, landscape trees, mature shade trees, fescue and bluegrass turf are best fertilized in the fall.

Cow, horse, sheep, pig, goat and poultry manure makes a nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining fertilizer for your plants. In the spring, use cow and horse manure in flower or vegetable beds and on acid-loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas, mountain laurel and rhododendrons. Chicken manure is good for vegetables and potato crops.

3. Mulch

Mulch is a gardener’s secret weapon, protecting plants and soil in a number of ways:

  • Conserves soil water
  • Suppress weeds
  • Moderates soil temperatures
  • Reduces soil erosion and crusting
  • Increases water absorption into the soil
  • Improves soil structure through aeration, moisture control and less cultivation

To properly insulate the soil, apply mulch evenly at a uniform depth of about two inches. If weeds are a problem in your garden, consider treating the area with a pre-emergent herbicide before mulching.

Ideal mulch is one that is free of weeds, insects and disease, adding organic matter to the soil. It’s also readily available, economical, easy-to-apply and remove, yet stays in place. Summer mulches applied in mid-spring, once the soil is warm enough for roots to grow, are made to warm the soil, reduce weeds and retain moisture. Whereas, winter mulches applied in late fall, before the ground has frozen, protect the soil and plants from winter weather.

Gardeners should choose the right mulch for each garden location:

  • For vegetable gardens or fruit plantings, use black plastic, landscape fabric and straw
  • For shrub beds or around trees, use wood chips, bark chunks and pine needles
  • For annual or perennial beds, use attractive bark granules, wood shavings, sawdust, cocoa shells and buckwheat hulls
  • For rock gardens, use crushed stone, fine gravel or volcanic rock

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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2 DIY Project Ideas from a True DIY-er and Tool Expert

2 DIY Spring Projects

With the weather finally warming up and spring in the air, I’ve spent the past few weekends doing DIY projects. The first involved restaining some old furniture, and for the second I patched up all the holes and out-of-use phone outlets in my home. They both turned out really well, so I’m excited to share them with you.

1. Re-Staining Furniture

This project went so well that I’m doing 2 more pieces. For the first time in my life, I took to staining a piece of furniture that had become discolored. It had come down to change it or trash it. Since it was already finished, it just needed slightly sanded. I used a bucket of water and a washcloth to get rid of the powder and wiped it down. Then I bought stain with poly something or the other to stain and protect at the same time. I think the name was mini something in a satin finish, but you can get gloss too. The trick is to always go to a darker shade. Two coats did the trick and it looks great. I was quite pleased with myself, so I decided to do 2 more pieces, one that’s too oak gold for my taste and the other just to restore its original color. This is an easy project with a dynamic effect!

2. Patching Holes and Outlets

My husband and I had our house built, and like many people at the time we had phones installed. Now, with cell phones and satellite internet I decided to kill our landlines. It’s been over 5 years since we’ve used it, and for a time we had a picture over the box to cover the hideous plastic kitchen outlet. However, I finally decided to fix it all together, so I bought a drywall kit and mud and actually did my first patch. I had so much fun that not only did I cover the old phone outlet, but I removed every picture and nail in my home and patched every hole. I repainted them and now I’m ready to rehang the pictures, but at the right height.

These are only two DIY project ideas; there are so many others! We’d love for you to share your successful past projects in the comment section below. And as always, be sure to ask your questions about these and any other tips and tricks of the trade!

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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The 4 Secrets to Beautiful Tile Accents in Your Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First things first, prep and paint your furniture.

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

Dress up your dresser with new hardware.

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

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

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

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

*photo courtesy of Thrifty Inspirations
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Bedroom Makeover: 4 Custom-Made Headboard Ideas

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

Upholstered Headboard

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

Tufted Headboard

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

Headboard Shelf

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

Repurposed Door Headboard

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

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

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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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9 Ideas for Your Perfect DIY Bathroom Remodel

Feel brand new! Refreshing a room in your home –especially a bathroom- can be as easy as updating drawer pulls or a shower curtain, to installing new cabinetry, tearing out tile and starting all over again. Whatever your creative ideas –and your budget- can handle, here are a few ideas you can do in as little as a weekend to make your bathroom feel brand new. Below are nine ideas and tips for how to conquer a bathroom makeover.

DIY Bathroom Remodel - sink

1. Put some thought into your potty area.
Make sure you’ve got everything you need for your remodel – paint, plumbing fixtures, tile, tub, toilet and special orders – before you take a hammer or Sawzall drill to your bathroom, so you can use it all the way up to the day you start the project. Your family will thank you! Plus, with all you need on hand you can estimate the extent of work, such as moving the plumbing lines or running new lighting wires, more accurately.

2. White is the new black.
If you’re going to install new sinks, tubs or toilets, even surface tile, consider purchasing them in white. Manufacturers produce and sell more white bathroom fixtures than any other color, so they cost less than those potentially special-order varieties. Add splashes of color with low-cost accents, such as paint, furnishings, artwork, towels and other accessories.

3. Go to town with paint.
Bold enough to transform a room, yet practical enough for a weekend project, paint is great for freshening up a bathroom. Mold- and mildew-proof primers and paints are not only good for walls and ceilings, but for refinishing cabinet doors and hardware or towel racks and other fixtures. There are even options for painting over tile and other ceramics. Create a spa environment with watery blues, greens and neutral colors; even white does the trick. Use an airless sprayer for overall coverage and protect any painted designs with two coats of clear polyurethane. Learn more about using an airless paint sprayer here.

4. That old thing is new again.
Repurposing old furniture for a bathroom adds personality, not to mention, storage with character. Turn an existing sideboard or dresser into a vanity by cutting a hole in the top for a drop-in sink and faucet. Add a freestanding chest of drawers for storage. Install vintage shelving in smaller bathrooms. Comb salvage yards for vintage tubs, sinks, countertops, flooring, benches and other unique finds.

DIY Bathroom Remodel - sink and toilet5. Accent with architecture.
Using tile as an accent can add a punch of color in the right places. Even though glass tile can be expensive, you don’t need a lot of it to create a dazzling effect. Use a tile cutter to cut up larger tiles or break old tiles with a hammer to create your own mosaic designs. Apply colored gout quickly with a grout hand pump, adding an extra layer of design. Add interest to a wall by running a tile border vertically, instead of the usual horizontal accent. You can also add texture to walls by using beaded board. Use an air stapler to install panels, which look as authentic as individual beaded boards, are lightweight and less expensive. Think of the lighting as architectural interest, too – change outdated fixtures with new lights made especially for bathrooms and have a purpose. Recessed lighting over the shower for better illumination, Hollywood lights around a mirror for romance, even a floor or table lamp for a boudoir feeling.
 
6. Reflect a new image.
If your medicine cabinet looks like it belongs on the set of Mad Men, replace it by hanging a framed mirror or two, making the room seem larger. Some mirrors are made to tilt away from the wall, which adds functionality.

7. Daring demo.
If you plan to remove the floor, use a faster, simpler technique: rip up the floor from the underlayment – the layer of material next the subfloor. Set a circular saw blade just deep enough to cut through the floor covering and the plywood underlayment. Then cut into small sections, making removal easier. Afterwards, install a new underlayment of quarter-inch plywood or cement board and install the new floor on a clean surface.

8. Simple does it best.
Use basic tools like an air nailer, stapler or screw gun and make short work of easy updates like installing a new toilet seat, towel bars or toilet paper holder, replacing a standard shower rod with a curved one, adding pullout shelves to deep cabinets or changing out an old shower head with a new handheld sprayer. Even replacing the countertop is a simpler job with the right tools – if your vanity is in good condition.

9. Out of your comfort zone? Call a pro.
With any home project, do-it-yourself mistakes can cost you big time. If you need the help of an electrician, plumber, carpenter or mason for your bathroom update, call one. If you have questions or comments for us, please utilize our section below or the contact us page on our website. We’re here to help!

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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Find Air Leaks in Your House and Plug ‘Em Up Fast

Find Air Leaks in Your House & Plug 'em Up Fast Right now, you may be sitting in your cozy living room watching television, but wondering why your feet are freezing. Perhaps that perpetual draft in the family room has you always putting on a sweater, or three. If you’re feeling air leaks in your living space, imagine what’s escaping through your attic and basement! You may think your home is air tight, but the fact is, quite a lot of heat (or air conditioning) is leaking out through those little gaps and cracks all over the house, especially in unheated areas. This is costing your family precious energy, not to mention, big bucks. Sealing off air leaks is a relatively easy task to accomplish, once you find them. Below are 10 places you can look.

Common Places Prone to Air Leaks:

  1. Behind knee walls (i.e. the short, three-foot wall used to support roof rafters and open stud cavities)
  2. Attic hatch
  3. Wiring holes, such as those found around cable and phone wires
  4. Plumbing vent
  5. Open soffit (the box that hides recessed lights)
  6. Recessed lights
  7. Furnace flue or duct chase-ways (the hollow box or wall feature that hides ducts and chimneys)
  8. Basement rim joists (where the foundation meets the wood framing)
  9. Windows
  10. Doors

Once you determine where your house may be experiencing air leaks, you can look to a variety of methods for plugging up these leaks in the most cost effective and timely manner. Depending on where a leak is and the severity, there are certain options most suited, per below.

What Plugs Air Leaks Quickly?

  1. Caulk fills gaps best that are less than 1/4-inch wide, such as those cut around electrical boxes and cable wires, and can be used anywhere around the house. Use silicone caulk with nonporous materials like metal flashing and in places where temperature extremes exist. Acrylic latex caulk cleans up with water.
  2. Sometimes, you may need to remove old caulk before running a new bead. A sealant saw removes sealant, caulking and glazing putty as well as damaged acrylic or silicon sealants quickly, saving you time and effort.
  3. Low-expansion polyurethane foam in a can is great for plugging openings 1/4-inch to three inches wide, like those around plumbing pipes and vents in the basement or attic.
  4. Weather-stripping and foam weather-stripping can alleviate air leaks around doors and windows, including the attic access door, pull-down attic stairs and the inside door to a basement or garage. You can also seal the attic door with caulking, or you can buy a pre-insulated hatch cover kit. If a draft comes in at the bottom of a door, install a new door sweep.
  5. Unfaced fiberglass insulation stuffed into plastic garbage bags, a critical step for efficiency, can block air leaks behind knee walls, above dropped ceilings, soffits and open stud cavities. For large gaps, use scraps of drywall or pieces of reflective foil insulation.
  6. Aluminum flashing can close the gaps created between wood framing, metal flues and brick chimneys due to building code requirements. Seal the flashing in place with high-temperature silicone caulk.
  7. An airtight baffle can insulate recessed lights that are not labeled ICAT, for “insulation contact and air tight.” Look for the label next to the bulb; if you don’t see one, assume the light leaks. Remove the bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, and replace the bulb.

As always, contact us for more information if you are having an air leak problem, or comment below. Stay warm and cozy this winter, fix those leaks now before your energy bill gets too high!

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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How to Repair Your Damaged Drywall in 9 Easy Steps

Drywall Repair in 9 Easy Steps[Restore & Renovate] This is the second installment of an informative series on making structural repairs to your home. Find the first here.

Drywall, also known as wallboard, plasterboard, gypsum board or sheetrock, is that durable, sensible material covering nearly every wall and ceiling in your home. It is prevalent in most rooms, including your finished garage or basement, and even the attic storage area. Drywall damage is relatively easy to fix using just a few tools and skills you’ve probably already mastered, such as sawing, drilling, sandpapering and painting. The trick is to repair and conceal holes and other damage so no one can tell. There’s the rub! However, if you learn the right way to repair holes in drywall, your walls will always look good as new.

What You’ll Need:

  • Drywall – for making repairs, buy a smaller amount such as 2′ x 2′ section, in the correct thickness for the repair. Most interior walls use ½-inch drywall; ceilings may use 5/8-inch.
  • Paper Tape or Mesh Tape – whatever your preference
  • Spackling or Wallboard Joint Compound
  • Backer Board – such as plywood to secure the new piece of drywall
  • Setting or Patching Compound (Mud) – a powder that you mix with water, which dries very hard with little shrinking. The compound is sold with different set times calculated in minutes, so choose one that works for you.
  • 100 Grit Sandpaper
  • Primer, Paint and Brushes

What To Do:

Adjust these steps to the size of the drywall damage.

1. Clean up the damaged area by brushing away pieces of paint or drywall and evening out the edges of the hole with a file or sandpaper.

2. Cut the hole into a square or rectangle using a drywall saw, so it’s easier to work a new piece of drywall in its place.

Good-to-know tip #1: Before cutting or drilling, be sure you won’t hit pipes or electrical wires inside the wall.

3. Attach a backer board such as plywood or a scrap board inside the hole using a drywall screw gun and screws in each corner, countersinking each one.

4. Cut a new piece of drywall that fits into the hole.

5. Cover the joints and edges with tape using a mud taping tool or by hand, or spread spackling compound with a putty knife.

Good to know tip #2: wash or wipe away excess compound between putty knife swipes to insure a cleaner patch job. Also, don’t let the knife cut into the drywall paper.

6. Mix a batch of setting compound and apply the first coat with a drywall knife. Use thin coats to eliminate a lot of sanding and mess. Once the first coat is set, continue applying compound, feathering out until the patch is as smooth as possible.

7. Sand the surface smooth using a drywall sander, removing any dimples or ridges.

Good-to-know tip #3: it’s better to use too much compound that not enough – you can always sand down smooth. Also, damp wiping is cleaner than sanding, but use sparingly and let the paper covering dry thoroughly before sanding.

Once all the components are dry:

8. Prime the area with primer because compound takes paint differently than drywall does.

9. Paint the patch using paint that is matched to the wall color.

Good luck with all your DIY in-home repairs – you’ll be glad you took the time! And as always, if you have questions or comments please utilize our section below or the contact us page on our website.

About the Author

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

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Protect Your Home from Disaster: Inspect and Repair Pipes, Ducts and Vents

3 In-Home Repairs[Restore & Renovate] This is the first installment of an informative series on making structural repairs to your home.

Right about now, you may be thinking more about checking into a nice resort for a long weekend getaway rather than checking up on all the pipes and duct work in your house. But, in the middle of this stormy winter, it’s a good idea to take a look before you go, so the house is in perfect working order upon your return!

Pipes and ducts are your home’s veins and arteries, allowing water and air to flow where they’re needed, nourishing its life-space. With the extreme winter weather Central Indiana is experiencing, a DIY homeowner doesn’t want to take any chances with frozen water pipes that could burst, or energy-depleting leaks in furnace duct work or dryer vents so full of lint; they could start a fire. Below are a few ways to alleviate the stress, so your home can relax.

FROZEN WATER PIPES

The moment you notice that a water pipe is frozen, try to unfreeze it using a heat gun. If you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, it’s an indication to act quickly. No matter what the pipes are made from, PVC plastic or copper – both kinds can freeze:

  • Where they’re not insulated
  • If located along an outside wall
  • Underneath a cabinet usually kept closed

What to Do:

  1. Locate the freeze. Feel along the pipe for cold spots.
  2. Open the hot water side of the faucet, if the hot water line is frozen, and vice versa. Opening the offending faucet can help to alleviate pressure in the line.
  3. Move the heat gun steadily along the pipe. Depending on where the frozen pipe is located, a hair dryer or a heater positioned closely can also do the trick.
  4. Leave the faucet open for several minutes when water begins to run again, to clear away any ice. Turn the water off and inspect for damage or leaks.
  5. In the case of a leak or burst pipe, shut the water off at the main valve.
  6. Patch the leak or hole, then replace the pipe.

Protect Your Pipes

  • Let Faucets Drip – before temps drop low, open faucets of pipes prone to freezing enough to let water drip slowly. The continuous flow is the best prevention.
  • Insulate – water pipe insulation is inexpensive and readily available at your local hardware or at your local home supply center. The round lengths can be cut to size and slipped over a pipe using a slit along one side.
  • Install Heat Tape – considerably more expensive than insulation, heat tape is wrapped around exposed pipes and plugged into a household outlet. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

FURNACE DUCT REPAIRS

The furnace, the thermostat and the duct system – together, they deliver heat throughout your house, so you want them working at peak efficiency. Age and unnoticed damage can cause any one of these workhorses to stumble. You’ll most likely need to crawl under the house, but it will be worth it.

What to Do:

1. Conduct an inspection, either by yourself, or hire a licensed HVAC contractor to do it for you. Turn the furnace on, so air can move through the ducts, making it easier to hear and feel any leaks. Bring a powerful, cordless light and follow each duct passage from the furnace to its end. Mark any areas needing repair with flagging tape, so you can find them easily later on.

  1. Look and feel for loose joints, gaps in fittings or duct boots.
  2. Note where support straps are missing or sagging, which impede airflow.
  3. Find areas where insulation is missing and where the ducts are resting directly on the ground, which can also cause moisture-related problems.
  4. Inspect the large sheet-metal box attached to the top or bottom of the furnace where the ducts originate, called the plenum. Make sure it’s fully insulated and all ducts are well sealed at the connection points.

2. Make repairs. A basic repair kit includes a hammer, tin snips, utility knife, cordless drill, some short sheet-metal screws, a roll of metallic foil duct repair tape and duct strapping.

  1. Repair loose joints in solid sheet metal ducting using sheet-metal screws, then seal with foil tape. Flexible ducts typically use a clamp system to secure joints. Sometimes the original clamp can be reused; otherwise, use a large worm-drive or flexible plastic clamp to secure, re-wrap insulation and seal.
  2. Attach duck strapping to a solid support using nails or screws, and secure the ducts up off the ground.

3. Insulate the ducts using R-8 or R-11 insulation – in cold climates as well as warm, so heated and air-conditioned air is not lost.

DRYER VENT CLEANING

While you keep up with your family’s endless laundry, lint keeps building up in your dryer and venting. Just cleaning out the lint filter before every load simply isn’t enough to alleviate this condition, dangerous enough to start a fire, or worse. Experts say a full load of wet clothes contains about a half gallon of water. Lint is created from the clothes as water is removed during the drying process. This lint builds up deep down inside the lint filter trap and all along the dryer vent hose. Warning signs of danger include:

  • Clothes take longer and longer to dry
  • Clothes don’t fully dry
  • Clothes are hotter than normal at the end of the drying cycle
  • The dryer exterior gets very hot
  • Low exhaust velocity is apparent outside at the exhaust vent flapper
  • The laundry room gets very humid or a burnt smell is evident

What to Do:

The best defense is a good cleaning of the entire dryer/vent hose/venting system, and for this you may want to purchase a special dryer duct cleaning kit, which includes a set of brushes made especially for this type of cleaning. However, a good vacuum and attachments, along with some cleaning brushes can work in a pinch. Try using a long handle 20″ gong brush or long handled scrub brush.

  1. Unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall.
  2. Remove the lint trap filter, remove the screen by pulling it straight out and clean it gently with a fine bristled brush.
  3. Vacuum the lint trap-housing cavity, where the filter goes. Extend a brush with a long flexible handle all the way into the bottom of the cavity. Then, twisting gently, pull out the brush with the clumps of lint. Repeat until no more lint is revealed.
  4. Disconnect sections of dryer vent and remove lint build-up on the sides with a stiff brush at the end of an extender using circular motion. Repeat on all vent sections, until they are free of lint.
  5. Reassemble dryer ducting, plug in the dryer, move it back in place and replace the lint trap filter.

Good luck with all your DIY in-home repairs – you’ll be glad you took the time! And as always, if you have questions or comments please utilize our section below or the contact us page on our website.

About the Author

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

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Fix Winter Damage to Shingles Now and Avoid Costly Repairs in the Spring

How is your roof holding up during this crazy winter season? Especially in colder climates like ours, roof damage can occur easily from stormy weather and extreme temperature changes. Your shingles are going to take the brunt of wind, snow, ice, even rain – sometimes, all in one day! So don’t wait until you see water stains inside on the living room ceiling before you investigate if your roof is safe, sound and stress-free. When you know what certain weather conditions can cause, you can determine what preventative measures or repairs you may need to get done, and pronto. This means you can improve your property in the spring, instead of spending time and money on costly repairs that are too far gone for DIY repair. Below are three major causes of roof damage and the steps you can take now to prevent extensive issues.

Clear Your Roof of Snow1. Extremely Heavy Snowfall.  Piling snow adds extra weight on the roof structure, and too much weight can cause the roof to sag, leak or worse.

  1. Choose the next good-weather day and clear snow from the roof. Bundle up, use a ladder to climb up and brush snow away with a broom or shovel. Like any debris, snow tends to collect in crevices and places where melting moisture can break down the shingles, or prevent water from flowing off the roof and into the gutter system.
  2. Check for leaks that may have already formed. Common places where roof leaks can start include flashing, chimneys and skylights. It’s also a good idea to check for moisture seepage inside, at the attic level.

Clear the Ice Off Your Roof2. Ice Buildup. Fluctuating temperatures can cause heavy ice on the roof to melt, re-freeze and accumulate, causing ice dams that prevent snow melt and water from draining down the gutters properly. This can result in shingle damage and more leaks.

  1. Break up ice dams with an ice pick or a shovel. Just as you would with snow, clear the roof of ice thoroughly. Applying ice melt can help.
  2. Clear the gutter system of ice too, making sure the entire system is in good condition and drains are unobstructed.
  3. Consider having the attic properly insulated and vented so heat from your home cannot escape through the roof, keeping it at a temperature that avoids conditions where ice damming occurs. Learn more about attic insulation here.

How to Repair Wind Shingle Damage3. Wind Storms. Relentless wind can cause shingles to crack, bruise, blister or simply blow away.

  1. Fix shingle damage immediately with the right tools. You’ll need new shingles, shingle nails, a hammer, a pry bar or shingle remover and protection for your hands and face.
  2. Loosen and pry away the remainder of a damaged shingle, including the nails (which may need to be cut with a hacksaw or utility knife). Fit and hammer a new shingle in place. Learn more about shingle replacement and repair here.

Good luck with all your DIY roof endeavors – you’ll be glad you took the time! And as always, if you have questions or comments please utilize our section below or the contact us page on our website.

About the Author

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

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

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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Make Doors Look New Again with 2 Fast and Easy In-Home Repairs

There’s no better time like the present to roll up your sleeves and find out how you can complete home improvement projects and repairs yourself. All you need is a plan and the right tools for each job. Besides taking care of nagging repairs like a leaky faucet, you’ll increase the beauty of your home with fast and easy in-home repairs, like refurbishing your doors.

Repair Your Doors

1. Refurbishing Interior Doors

Interior doors are usually made from wood and can be susceptible to seasonal changes in climate, which can cause squeaks or sticking. They also can be scratched from usual wear and tear.

What to Do:

  • Inspect the hinges for deterioration or loose screws.
  • If hinges look oxidized, add a lubricant to alleviate squeaks; work the lubricant into the hinge by opening and closing the door after application.
  • If the hinges are caked with old lubricant or dirt, tap out the pins with a hammer and screwdriver and clean with steel wool, then clean the pinholes with a small circular wire brush. Remember to place a shim under the door for support.
  • If screws are loose, place a wedge on the latch-end of the door for weight balance before tightening with a screwdriver.
  • If a door continues to stick, use a planer to scrape a small layer of wood off the offending edge:
    • Draw a line on the door at the spot where it’s hitting the jamb
    • If that spot is at the top or on the handle end, you can plane the door without taking it off its hinges. If the tight spot is on the hinge end or at the bottom, take the door off its hinges and set it on its side to plane.
    • Inspect the door surface for scratches.
    • Fill any scratches with door filler, such as a pencil, crayon or felt-tip pen-type product found at many local hardware stores. Find the shade that most closely matches your door and rub it into the scratch.

2. Restore a Front Door

Exterior doors are made from wood or metal and are usually exposed to the elements. After years of wind, sun, heat and precipitation, your front door and all its hardware may need an upgrade.

What to Do:

  • Inspect the door, hinges and hardware for damage, wear and tear.
  • If repair is required, take the door off its hinges and remove the hardware.
  • Place the door on saw horses and lay down drop cloths.
  • Strip off old paint. While latex paint may need a chemical paint stripper for this job (work outdoors or make sure you work indoors with adequate ventilation), most paint can be removed using putty knives, paint scrapers, sandpaper and a hand-held sander or belt sander.
  • If you want to finish the door as natural wood, remove all the paint, sand thoroughly and apply a natural product like mineral oil. If you’re re-painting the door, sand roughly until the door is smooth and ready for paint, removing all dust from the surface.

Be sure to stay tuned for two more posts similar to this one, part of our 3-part in-home repair series! And for questions or comments concerning this post, contact us or use the comment section below. Happy door maintaining!

About the Author

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

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

Spruce Up Your Wood Floors in Time for Winter Entertaining

Are you planning to host a huge Super Bowl party at your place this year? How about a Valentine’s Day soiree, February book club or a group binge-watch of Downton Abbey? If so, would you like to spruce up your floors first? Well, here’s the good news – you have more than enough time to refinish your floors and even install new flooring. If you start the project now that is…and, we can help!

Equipment, Materials and Time

Wood Flooring RenovationTo install a new floor you’re most likely looking at a weekend project. Add at least a week to the weekend project if you’re refinishing a floor. However, most of the equipment and materials you’ll need to get the job done efficiently are not stored in your garage. Tools like floor strippers, sanders, polishers, laminate floor staplers, tapping blocks or wood saws are available for rent, while a vacuum, hammers and a pry bar can come from your toolbox. You’ll probably want to spend a little time choosing laminate wood flooring and the foam cushioning recommended for the type of laminate floor that gets installed underneath. Then you’ll want to buy wood glue, sand paper, polyurethane finish, plywood and spacers from your local hardware store.

Once you get it all home, each project requires a bit of demo work before application, from removing all furniture from the room to sanding or buffing existing wood floors, to prying up old carpet, baseboards and flooring.

How to Install New Laminate Wood Flooring

Installing a “floating” floor, which is not directly attached to the subfloor, but uses padding in between, cuts down the sound and compensates for any irregularities in the floor.

  1. install laminate flooringAfter all the old material is stripped away, make sure what’s left is level with the floor in the adjoining room.
  2. Cut new plywood to size, then secure in place with wood glue and nails.
  3. Position a layer of foam padding on the plywood.
  4. Place the first row of floorboards against the wall with the grooved side to the outside, putting spacers between the boards and the wall, which allows for the wood to expand. Cut the floorboards to size as needed.
  5. Fit each board tightly together by tapping each board into place using a hammer and tapping block.
  6. Move out from the wall, fitting boards and tapping them into place until the entire floor is covered.
  7. Once the new wood flooring is in place, remove spacers.
  8. Replace the baseboard molding, covering the gap between floor and walls.
  9. Bring back the furniture.

How to Refinish Wood Floors

If your wood floors are scratched on the surface, you can clean and remove the scratches without having to sand down to bare wood. Here’s how:

  1. Clean the floor with a hardwood floor cleaner or mix your own (10 parts water to 1 part white vinegar).
  2. Wipe down the floor with a soft cloth.
  3. Hand sand any parts a buffer can’t reach, such as the perimeter of the room, with 180-grit sandpaper. Rub with the grain about five inches out from the baseboard, until the finish dulls.
  4. Put on a dust mask and lightly sand the rest of the floor with a buffer/polisher, sander or stripper in the direction of the grain, making sure to keep the machine moving at all times, covering every area.
  5. Let the dust settle for about 15 minutes, then vacuum it up using a soft-bottomed attachment, following each strip of flooring, then sweeping across them to get any powder that settled between the boards.
  6. After vacuuming, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the floor a final time, along the grain.

refinish your floorsNow you’re ready to refinish the floor by applying a fresh coat of finish. If you use a water-based polyurethane, you can apply a second coat in about three hours. If using an oil-based polyurethane, you’ll have to wait about eight hours for each coat to dry before adding another. Instead of using the finish straight from the packaging, it’s a good idea to remove any impurities by straining the finish through a cone filter into a clean plastic container before application. Also, cover your shoes with booties and your nose and mouth with a respirator.

Once a section of finish begins to dry, lap marks will appear. To guarantee a line-less finish, pour only as much finish as you can spread in a 10-minute time frame.

  1. Starting for a point that’s farthest from the exit door, brush a 3-inch-wide stripe beside the baseboard.
  2. Next, pour a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish in line with the wood grain.
  3. Using a long-handled roller with a ¼-inch nap cover, roll out the finish with the grain, then across it.
  4. Working quickly to keep a wet edge, overlap the finish with each pass, for 10 minutes.
  5. After the 10 minutes, brush more finish along the edge, then pour and roll for 10 more minutes until the floor is covered.
  6. Wait three hours before adding a second coat of finish.
  7. Wait about a week before replacing furniture.

To keep your floor looking as good as new, experts recommend a fresh coat of finish every two years. We carry a wide variety of the tools needed for installing or refinishing wood floors. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us.

About the Author

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

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

3 Last-Minute Improvements to Keep Your Home Happy for the Holidays

With winter fast approaching, and December 21 the shortest day of the year, giving your home a little TLC can do wonders for your property value. There are three exterior improvements you can make to ensure happy holiday living: installing outdoor lights, spraying for pests and storing outdoor hoses. Each of these is easily accomplished and will help you mark another item off your fall checklist!

 

1.Install Timers on Outdoor Lights

An outdoor light timer is a convenient and efficient way to turn them on and off, especially when you’re not home. At the end of the day, the timer programs lights to turn on, and you won’t have to fumble for your house keys in the dark when you do get home. Later in the evening, the timer will automatically turn off the lights, saving you money on utility bills.

Nowadays you can find timer devices for your outdoor lighting that screw right into the light socket. These timers have simple settings for programming the light switch. After you’ve set the timer, install it before screwing in the light bulb, keep the light switch on and you’re good to go.

If you’re jones-ing for a more involved project, get out the screwdriver, voltage tester, wire stripper and electrical tape, and replace the ordinary light switch with a timer switch.

The Steps:

  • Turn off the main power supply to the outdoor lights
  • Unscrew and remove the existing switch from the wall box
  • Using a voltage tester, check the switch terminals for power
  • Remove the wires from the switch, cut them with a wire stripper and make a fresh area of exposed wire
  • To connect the timer switch, attach the black wire to the black wire on the wall box
  • Attach the white wire to the white wire on the wall box (the green wire on the switch is for grounding)
  • Tape where the two wires meet with electrical tape and insert the timer switch into the wall box, making sure the wires clear the edges
  • Secure the faceplate, then turn the main power supply on and check the switch

2. Spray for Pests

When outdoor temperatures plummet, ants, spiders, crickets and other outdoor insects take shelter inside. Homeowners can use indoor pesticides such as baits, dusts or sprays to keep pests at bay. But if you have youngsters living at home, the first defense is for a child’s safety, avoiding the use of pesticides inside the house whenever possible.

A good alternative for indoor pesticides is to use a perimeter treatment on the outside foundation of your house. Perimeter treatments form a barrier on exterior surfaces, which stop pests from entering in the first place. For a perimeter treatment to be effective, get it in place before insects start entering the house or garage. You may prefer to hire a local exterminator to get this job done. However, it’s also on the to-do list of most do-it-yourselfers.

The Steps:

  • Choose the kind of insecticide to spray: liquid or granule (note: if you are treating a hard, vertical surface, liquid sprays are best)
    • Liquid sprays can either be ready-to-use or may come in a container for use in a pump sprayer
      • Pump spraying is our preferred method – just fill it with your liquid insecticide
      • Ready-to-use liquid sprays attach to the water hose and mix in with the water as they’re sprayed
    • Granule insecticides are applied using a spreader (note: unless rain is forecast water the treated areas well after application)
  • Spray the entire foundation area around the house, behind steps, around decks or concrete slabs, in cracks and crevices, near window frames and in areas where utility wires enter the house
  • Include a 10- to 12-inch band of soil around the foundation
  • Apply insecticide anywhere insects are prone to gather: sheds, woodpiles and carports

3.Winterize & Store Garden Hoses

After you finish using hoses for the season, drain them of water. Turn off the water at the spout, then either use the spray nozzle or hold the hose vertical until every drop trickles out. It’s also a good idea to disconnect hoses from waterspouts, and then protect them with inexpensive foam spout insulators. Storage for garden hoses comes in three basic types: racks, reels and pots.

  • Racks: the space-saving, and often decorative, rack hangs on the wall and keeps hoses off the ground. Hoses are coiled around it by hand, but can be taken off and brought inside for the winter.
  • Reels: with reel-type storage, turning a crank handle easily coils the hose up, and it keeps the gardener less dirty. These practical units also have wheels to move around the yard with ease, or into the garage for the winter.
  • Pots: garden hose pots need to come with drainage holes and are a good option if they’re kept near a watering area. Pots can also be transported to a storage area for the winter.

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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How to Efficiently and Easily Insulate Your Attic

A somewhat overlooked energy and heat cost-cutter is “adding insulation to your attic.” Central Indiana is known for harsh winters, and this year is no exception. By spending a little time and money re-insulating your attic this fall you will not only save on heating costs, but you’ll ensure a comfortable and happy home for the rest of the year.

Attic Insulation Installation

A few things to consider…

First and foremost, determine if you even need to re-insulate your attic. There are several key indicators:

  • Heating bills are significantly higher in the winter months than normal
  • Snow melts on-contact with your roof
  • Your A/C ran more than normal this past summer
  • Your rooms are drafty and uncomfortable
  • There are noticeable temperature changes in different parts of your house

You may also be able to tell by actually going up into the attic and inspecting the current insulation, doing a DIY attic audit if you will. An obvious tell-tale is how much insulation is in place, the condition (wet, soggy, molded), etc. Once you know for a fact that installing new insulation is a must, then you can move to the next step.

One of the first things you need to know prior to doing any insulating is what R-value your batts should have. For a colder, temperate climate like Indiana, R-49 is an accurate estimate. Make sure you ask your local hardware store or insulation supplier which value is best suited though, because a higher insulation level will prevent hot air from escaping via the attic during the next few winter months. And if you’re feeling ambitious, for more information on how to calculate your own insulation needs, visit this blog post.

After determining your R-value, you’ll need to gather equipment – the fun part! We recommend using both an insulation vacuum and an insulation blower. You can use both of these in lieu of simply laying down rolls of insulation, or you can use them all in conjunction. It really depends on your preference. Keep in mind however, that using an insulation vacuum and blower will cut your time in half, as opposed to putting it all in by hand. Other tools necessary:

Bundle up and get to work

Once you have all the insulation you need – per your supplier’s instructions or DIY determination, and the insulation vacuum and blower, you can begin insulating. First things first, remove your old insulation with an insulation vacuum. This machine makes quick work of wet or dry insulation and drywall chip removal. All you do is plug it in and start sucking up everything. Some of the bigger pieces of insulation you can grab and throw out by hand, or you can use the vac for everything, especially for smaller pieces in nooks and crannies.

A word of advice though, use bags to tarp off the vacuum port. Otherwise, it could catch fire from all the debris churned up at such a high volume. A little maintenance goes a long way!

After getting out all the old insulation, it’s time to install the new insulation. You can either lay down rolls between the ceiling joists and blow insulation over the top, or you can use an insulation blower to install it all. The beauty of using a blower is that it is durable and powerful enough to insulate the main sections of your attic, in addition to the smaller, hard-to-reach spots. It can also blow both types of insulation – cellulose or fiberglass. Strive for uniform, complete coverage. The better you insulation the entirety of the attic, the warmer and more efficiently your household will modulate temperature. After you finish installing the insulation, you may also want to go back over loose bits with the vacuum, so keep it handy.

And voila, another item you can mark off your checklist! If you would like more information on how to add insulation to your attic in a safe and energy-efficient way, refer to this Energy Star guide.  And as always, we are here to help! So please contact us with questions or use the comment section below.

About the Author

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

Categories: Fall Checklist, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Seal and Stain Your Deck in 3 Easy Steps

This time of year is crunch time for those last-minute weekend DIY projects, before all the holiday craziness ensues. With that said, one of the last items on your fall checklist is “staining the deck,” an important task before the first big winter freeze. Staining and sealing your deck will guarantee that come spring its color and durability are maintained. Although you could wait until the cold weather ends to do this, by then your deck may show significant signs of wear and tear. Follow the steps below and you’ll be all set for patio cookouts when summer rolls around!

Prep Your Deck

Before you can start to clean or apply anything to the deck surface, you must first clear it of any furniture and remove caked-on dirt and grime. So simply said, remove your patio set, benches, plant pots, etc. so that you are only left with the deck itself. Once everything is out of the way, use a pressure washer to rinse the surface. The beauty of using a pressure washer is that it has enough power to remove otherwise tough-to-remove residue. You really want to clean the deck thoroughly before applying any stain or sealer, or else it may diminish the finish. You may also consider covering any close-by plants with plastic tarp so that they aren’t harmed by chemicals.

Apply the Stain Stain Your Deck

Once you’re all set to begin applying the stain, the real fun begins. A hand-held paint sprayer is a really good tool for this part of the process because it ensures consistent, uniform coverage and it is much quicker than using a paint brush or roller, heaven forbid! For more on paint sprayers, visit this blog post. Fill the sprayer with the stain and spray it evenly from one end of the deck to the other in a steady, vertical pattern. Be sure not to leave any gaps between sections by overlapping each row. And don’t worry, this method makes complete coverage an attainable goal. Keep in mind however, that more is not better in this instance – you want to avoid puddles and over-application.

The Finishing Touch

After applying stain to your entire deck surface, you may want to use sealer for maximum protection. If you are going to do this, wait two days for the stain to completely dry. Then apply sealer with a paint brush or paint roller, sorry the paint sprayer won’t work as well with sealer. And once your deck is dry, voila, you now have a beautiful, protected deck. Check your deck periodically (every spring and fall) by splashing water on the surface to see if it is repelled. If so, then you are safe to wait a while longer before reapplying stain and sealer, but if it absorbs, then you’ll know it’s time to get out your pressure washer and paint sprayer once again!

About the Author

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

Categories: Fall Checklist, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fall is the Perfect Time to Plant New Trees

Plant New TreesOne of the more gratifying items to check off your fall checklist is “planting new trees.” The natural beauty of trees growing on your property can be enjoyed by your family, friends and neighbors for years to come. The successful plan for having a yard full of lush, long-lasting trees requires just three essential elements, which give young trees a healthy start. Choose the right place for the type of tree you have and plant it with care.

Special Tools Help with Planting

And since it’s not every season you’re likely to plant a tree, the special tools you need to accomplish proper planting are probably not in your tool shed, but are available for rent. Since trees can be heavy and cumbersome to move, it’s a good idea to rent a tree spade or tree dolly to carry the tree to the planting area without damaging the roots or the tree itself. A post hole digger is made to break through the ground easily, making short work of digging a hole big enough for your new tree.

Landscaping with Trees

Consider the size of your lot when planning a landscape that features trees. They need to be planted at least 10 to 15 feet from the foundation of the house and at least five feet from decks, patios, driveways or sidewalks. Also, make sure to keep tree tops away from utility wires overhead, as well as underground.

  1. Trees need a good deal of sun to grow up strong, so choose a place where your new tree will receive ample sun exposure.
  2. Do you want a little privacy? Planting trees in rows can create a natural wall or fence against nosy neighbors or noisy streets.
  3. Does the wind whip around your home? Trees can also act as wind breaks when planted strategically.

Types of Trees

While you’re scoping out your land, think about tree sizes and shapes, which adds interest to the landscape. When visiting the nursery, learn all you can about specific trees by studying the information on the tags, or ask a nursery employee. In general:

  1. Evergreen trees are good to use for privacy walls and wind breaks because they keep their foliage throughout the year. Evergreens like to be planted on the north side of your home.
  2. Deciduous trees provide shade in the summer and let sun shine into windows in the winter, because they lose their leaves. They like to live on the south, east and west sides of your home. Deciduous trees also add fall color to the landscape.
  3. Trees that grow up to 25 feet tall can be planted under overhead utility lines.
  4. Trees that grow 25 to 45 feet tall are great for shading an entire single-story house or the sides and windows of a two-story home, and slender medium-sized trees can thrive when planted near fences.
  5. Trees that grow higher than 45 feet can shade large, hot areas, like driveways and patios, or large lawns.
  6. Flowering trees add color, attracting birds and other wildlife.
  7. Fruit trees can not only provide shade, but food and fragrance.
  8. Drought tolerant and low-water use trees can protect dry areas of your yard.

Privacy Trees

Planting Techniques for Healthy Trees

  1. Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly shorter than the tree’s roots, also known as the root ball, the area that begins where all the roots start from the trunk.
  2. Loosen the soil in the hole to make it easier for the roots to establish themselves.
  3. If the tree is in a container, remove it gently but firmly, then quickly separate the roots, uncurling, straightening or cutting a little, until they fall outward from the trunk. Take care to shade the roots from the sun while arranging the roots.
  4. Lift the tree by the root ball and place it in the hole, making sure it’s standing upright. You may need to tilt the root ball until the tree is straight. Now’s the time to move the tree around in the hole to make your favorite side of the tree viewable from a window, or have the branches placed where they will grow out unencumbered.  In sunny areas, place the tree so that the best-shaded side of the trunk faces southwest.
  5. Backfill firmly around the tree and cover only the roots with soil. Leave the trunk above the soil surface. Amend the soil with organic compost, if desirable. Pack down the soil to stabilize the tree.
  6. Water, water, water the tree, with at least 15 gallons of water, and then monitor its water requirements at least once a week for the first month.
  7. Stake the tree loosely for protection or support, if needed, taking care not to use wire, which can cut the trunk. Soft, pliable tree ties are best. Place stakes outside of the root ball and use them until the tree can stand tall on its own, in six to 12 months.
  8. Mulch the entire planting area with a three to four-inch layer, especially to prevent a hard crust from forming on the surface of the soil.

About the Author

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

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Airless Sprayer: A Hidden Gem for All Your Painting Applications

Airless Paint Spraying ApplicationThere are probably several rooms, pieces of furniture or outdoor fixtures at your house that could use a fresh coat of paint. Or, perhaps if you’re a contractor you may have several jobs that require you and your crew to do painting applications. Now, although using a roller or brush to paint may seem most cost effective, there is actually another alternative that is much easier and provides the desired results you’re looking for in regards to cost, quality, time and flexibility. And what is this other appealing option? The airless paint sprayer – a device that comes with a variety of features to provide you with a crisp, clean, painted finish.

What Does Airless Mean Exactly?

Airless spraying breaks paint into small droplets without needing compressed air. So in essence, airless paint sprayers are self-contained, eliminating the need of an air compressor. Using an airless paint sprayer to do all your around-the-house or worksite painting is incredibly simple and uncomplicated in this regard. All you do is plug in your machine and press the trigger – it really is that easy. Another characteristic of airless paint spraying is that is provides uniform coverage. Even despite the roughness or unevenness of a surface, airless spraying gives a consistent, quality finish.

Airless Advantages

However, not only is airless paint spraying easy, but it is economical, quick, quality and versatile. These four advantages account for professional contractors’ preference toward airless sprayers.

  1. Economical: airless paint spraying is more accurate than using a paint brush or roller, which means the job is done right the first time, thus saving you time and money
  2. Speed: airless spraying is up to 4 times faster than rolling or brushing, so you can complete jobs in less time, allowing for more to get done and less labor needed
  3. Quality: as previously mentioned, airless sprayers produce a consistent, even coat of paint on all surface types, which leaves a high quality finish
  4. Versatility: airless sprayers can be used for a wide array of coating materials, for both interior and exterior jobs, and they are easily transported

Impressive Results

In conjunction with the above advantages, airless paint spraying elicits desirable results. As per the promise that airless is preferred over brushing or rolling, here are the reasons why:

  • You can finish jobs more quickly – which is a benefit for weather restraints, and on a job site you can stay from start to finish i.e. saving set-up labor
  • It allows you to complete more jobs with less labor – saving you the headache of involving more people
  • Airless paint spraying provides a consistent mil build – thus coatings perform better
  • Lastly, an airless paint sprayer applies a smooth, quality finish – a final result you can be proud of for years to come

Getting to Know the Key Components of an Airless Sprayer

Graco Airless Paint Sprayers

Don’t be overwhelmed by all the details of each type of sprayer – they really are simple and easy-to-use. There are actually three primary types: mounted with wheels, mounted without wheels and handheld. In addition, you can get the mounted paint sprayers as either electric– or gas-powered. Typically homeowners prefer to rent the handheld sprayers because they are less fuss and just powerful enough for standard projects once or twice a year. The mounted sprayers however, are more typical for contractors who will use them on a very frequent basis, hence why they are more powerful and offer greater capabilities and functionality. In addition to the sprayers themselves, they attach to special tips – these help determine the material flow rate.

Airless paint sprayers are the new-fangled paint catalysts for both homeowners and contractors alike. They offer a wide variety of features and benefits, and are not as expensive as one might think. If you would like more information about renting or buying one, please contact us. To learn more about how to use a paint sprayer i.e. more specifics on painting applications, read this post about painting to perfection.

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.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Fall Checklist, Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Winterize and Maintain Your Outdoor Power Equipment in 6 Simple Steps

It is probably a no-brainer that with the chilly weather setting in maintaining your outdoor power equipment is crucial, but here is your checklist all the same! Not only does winter mean you have a few months off from using outdoor equipment, but winterizing, repairing and storing your equipment ensures efficient use come spring when you can dig it all out again. There are some simple measures you can take to accomplish the task, so read up and then get to work marking “winterizing outdoor equipment” off your to-do list this weekend.

Winterize Your Outdoor EquipmentTools Needed:

  • Fuel stabilizer – to winterize the engine
  • Engine oil – to refill oil tank if low
  • Sponge or other scrubber – to clean the equipment
  • Air pump – to air up tires
  • Wrench – to tighten bolts

1. One of the most important things you can do for any outdoor equipment is winterizing it. Fuel stabilizer is your best friend in this step. Pour it into your fuel tank, top it off and then run the engine until the fuel runs out.

2. While you’re checking liquids, also make sure you have enough oil in each machine. Add more if the dipstick is below the suggested line.

3. Then, clean any air filters and other caked-on dirt or grime. It will be harder to clean your equipment if the dirt freezes on, not to mention dirt can really muck up performance once you use the equipment again.

4. Other check-ups: make sure all your bolts are tightened, tires are inflated, cords are in tact (not frayed) and spark plugs are disconnected.

5. Another key element of outdoor equipment maintenance is sharpening blades and chains. This is not as easily done at home, so stop by our store and we will do it for you!

6. Lastly, hang or store all your equipment inside. Inevitably, anything left outside may be damaged by snow, wind, hail, etc. Trimmers for instance are best suited hanging on a wall hook, while lawn mowers just need to be parked inside your garage or shed.

Maintaining your outdoor equipment for the winter months is really not a difficult task to accomplish, and when done properly it is well worth the time spent. So get out your lawn mower, weed eater, tiller, trimmer, hedge shears, chainsaw, etc. and get to work – you’ll be done in no time! If during the process you have any questions, please feel free to contact us – we are more than happy to help. And if you’re feeling ambitious after finishing these six steps, and would like other project ideas, find our checklist here.

About the Author

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

Categories: Fall Checklist, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Master of the Grill: Clean and Repair Your Grill in 10 Easy Steps

In your world, you are “Master of the Grill.” All your friends say so. Your chef skills cannot be denied; you’re known for serving up tasty meals grilled to perfection. From gas to charcoal to electric, you choose each grill option as if it is the ultimate in rendering meats and vegetables roasted. Heck, you even know when the smoker is best.

And when the grilling season is over, you know just what to do – put on your gloves and get to work checking “clean and repair the grill” off your fall checklist. Here’s how you do it.

1. Gather the things you’ll need for an expert cleaning: Cleaning a grill

  • Cardboard or tarp
  • Grill brush, venturi tube brush or small brush
  • Cooking oil
  • Scraper, screwdriver, needle-nose pliers
  • Replacement parts, finishing nails
  • Sandpaper
  • High temperature paint, wood stain and finish
  • Paper towels or rags, steel wool pad, sponge

Note: Using a degreaser to clean grates and other parts of the grill is fast and easy. In one step, degreasers can strip grease, oil and resin deposits from surfaces, de-clogging and deodorizing in the process. Many degreasers are bio-degradable, too. Other cleaning options: using an oven or grill cleaner, or good old dish soap and hot water.

2. Make sure the work surface is protected by placing cardboard or a tarp down underneath and on the area surrounding the grill.

3. Prepare for cleaning by dumping charcoal and ash from charcoal grills, disconnecting the gas supply from gas grills and unplugging electric grills. Dials on all grills should be in the OFF position.

4. Use a grill brush. Clear debris from cooking grates and remove them, taking care to include the metal plates underneath, then you clean with a degreaser, or other cleaner, scrubbing them with a heavy sponge or steel wool, if necessary, or soak them. Once clean, you pat down with paper towels and let them air dry.

5. Remove and inspect the lava rocks for wear. Replace any that are over a year old or too greasy with new lava rocks or ceramic briquettes. You clean those in good condition with warm sudsy water, rinse and let them air dry.

6. Scrape the grill interior with a wire brush or paint scraper, including the sides, cook box and hood. After you brush or vacuum out any debris, wipe everything down with a paper towel or rag (gas grill interiors can be cleaned using an oven cleaner, taking care to remove all traces of the cleaner thoroughly).

7. Remove grill burners for cleaning – a tricky job with some grills. If you need help with this task, consider hiring a gas grill repair professional. Spiders like to nest in the venturi tubes, the part of the burner assembly that regulates the mixture of air and gas that is combusted by the burners. So, use a small brush to remove webs and debris from the inside of the tubes (there’s also a special venturi tube brush for this).

8. Don’t forget to clean the drip pan, which can be filled with liquid or grease, so be careful when removing it. The drip pan should be scrubbed with the grill brush or steel wool, then rinsed and set out to air dry.

9. Once you put back all the parts, fire up the grill on the highest heat setting for about 10-15 minutes to allow residual cleaning materials to burn off. After 15 minutes, turn off the grill, let it cool down, then preserve the cooking surface by wiping it with cooking oil on a paper towel.

10. Polish the outside of your grill by using a sponge and gentle cleaner. Then rinse and dry, sand any oxidation off the grill body with 220-grit sandpaper, and finally, touch up the heat-sensitive paint. Also, if the wood counter surfaces need restoration, sand them down with 100-grit sandpaper, then stain and seal with Danish oil or linseed oil.

A grill master already knows it’s a good idea to clean and check for wear and tear of your grill twice a year. The job usually takes about an hour to complete, time well spent when your reputation for mastering the best tasting food is at stake!

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: Fall Checklist, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Repair and Prepare Your Shingles and Windows for Winter in 6 Easy Steps

When you’re faced with repairing or improving your roof or windows, what comes to mind?

“Big job” “Expensive” “I’m afraid of heights!” “Leave it to the professionals”
“Special orders” “Messy” “Dangerous” “Tedious” “I don’t have the tools”

Well there is no need to worry. Yes, many roof and window jobs require an expert, but industrious do-it-yourselfers can solve a few of the larger problems all on their own. From cleaning and repairing roof shingles to improving the look and functionality of windows, we’re here to help you say, “I’m ready for the challenge.” In continuing to check items off your fall checklist, conquer these two tasks with ease by following the outlined steps below.

Repairing Your Roof

Repairing a roof1. Get up on the roof: If you’re going to tackle a roof job, it’s important to follow a few safety rules to avoid free falling.

  • Choose a good-weather day. Wet and icy conditions make it difficult to see dark patches on shingles, increasing the chances of slipping.
  • Prevent any additional damage to the roof by stepping on it lightly, and as little as possible.
  • Use a high-quality extension ladder to climb up, secured to the house in at least two places.
  • When up there, protect yourself from falls with a safety harness or belt secured to something stable, like the base of a chimney.

For extensive roof repairs and maintenance, consider renting a ladder that includes a platform hoist lift. These nifty helpers are not only made for safety, but for efficiency. Not to mention, they feature a platform strong enough to lift materials and tools up to the skies with ease.

Ladder lifts operate by hand or mechanically, using electricity or gas. And even though gas-powered versions could be noisy, the power source needed for an electric hoist lift may be difficult to access or non-existent near the work area. Either way, a highly efficient hoist is more cost-effective than a crane, forklift or boom truck. If your roof is in good condition and you’re secure in your ability to work well in high places, then by all means, take the challenge.

2. Clean your roof well: Is moss growing on your roof? Have trees deposited too much sap and debris up there? You can hire a professional cleaning service, or you can rent a pressure washer and get ‘er done in short order.

3. Inspect for extensive damage: Do you see shingle damage from a storm or general wear and tear? Have you found evidence of a leak? Roof life lasts about 20 years, so if your roof is aging, it may be time for a replacement –a steep expense, but how much do you value a warm, dry, comfortable home?

To keep your existing roof sound through the teenage years, fix minor leaks and shingle damage yourself. Roofing experts are generally in awe of how a shingle system works. A typical three-tab shingle is made from asphalt and felt, or fiberglass, and covered by mineral granules. However, they are also made from wood or tile. When nailed to the roof deck, one shingle is placed on top of a shingle below, protecting the nails. The mastic tabs on top of each shingle help seal them together, improving wind resistance. When installed properly, water travels smoothly across the roof and down to the gutters.

4. Compile the necessary tools: Depending on the type of repair, you’ll need new shingles, shingle nails, roofing cement, aluminum flashing, a hammer and protection for your hands and face. A pry bar or shingle remover that’s lightweight, versatile and designed to reduce worker fatigue can also be your best helper.

5. Get to work: A shingle remover helps to loosen and pry away the damaged, worn material from the roof deck, without causing more damage. Using roofing cement together with flashing fixes leaks, without the need for a new shingle. Eventually, this fix will need to be replaced, and that’s where the new shingles and nails come in. Be sure to remove both the offending material and the nails (which may need to be cut with a hacksaw or utility knife). Fit and hammer a new shingle in place, and you’re golden.

Preparing Your Windows

Applying Window FilmTired of peeping toms peering in your windows? Is the fabric on your furniture fading? Want to seal up those drafty spots? Installing window film on your windows may be the quick and stylish answer. Window film continues to let light shine in while adding privacy to your home, and keeps uncomfortable temps out, whether hot or cold. A tinted film can protect furniture, rugs and artwork from sun damage, while a decorative window film adds freshness and style, just like new curtains can.

Window film products usually come with an installation kit and instructions, but in general, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the windows are clean and dry.
  2. Cut the pieces of film to measure about 1/2″ larger than each window pane.
  3. Spray each pane with clear water, which makes it easier to position the film pieces on the window.
  4. Remove film backing and place it to the window.
  5. Burnish the film in place with a squeegee, pushing air bubbles to the edge and out.
  6. Trim the film edges with a sharp utility knife.

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: Fall Checklist, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

[INFOGRAPHIC] Mark These 13 Projects Off Your Fall Checklist

How fitting that this infographic outlines 13 projects for you to complete, what with Halloween right around the corner and all! The first item, aerating and fertilizing, is a really key task. You want a gorgeous green lawn come spring right? Well it doesn’t take much, but with it getting colder each day we advise you do this soon – learn how to here. And cleaning your gutters is fairly simple, yet really beneficial. Our latest post outlines how to effectively complete this to-do item. And all the remaining projects will be covered in upcoming posts, so be on the look out!

Fall Project Checklist

Now, although most of these tasks are outdoor-related, there are smaller indoor to-dos that will be covered in a future post as well. This may seem like a lot, but these weekend projects can be knocked out really easily and are worth the effort because it will leave you with less spring cleaning. Not to mention, a lot of these will ensure a warm and cozy winter.

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.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

7 Steps to Cutting Concrete Like a Pro

Repairing and renovating homes very often involves cutting concrete with precision. Removing or resizing kitchen slabs, making holes in ceilings and reshaping driveways are a few instances when it becomes imperative to cut concrete.

Tools Required:

  • Concrete Saw: A good option is the Bosch 12″ Electric Concrete Saw that has AC/DC capacity and features a reversible handle for added convenience and versatility. It also has a large footplate that improves stability and cuts at a greater depth.
  • Electric cut off tool (optional)
  • Pneumatic Chisel (optional)
  • Jackhammer (optional)

Process:STIHL Concrete Saw

  1. Layout: Use chalk to mark the area to be cut. A concrete saw cuts in straight lines.
  2. Prepare the saw: Fit the concrete saw with a diamond or abrasive blade. Set the blade at the required depth, which may be 50.8 mm (2 inches) to 152.4 mm (6 inches). Most house slabs, driveways and retainer walls fall within this range.
  3. Cut: Start cutting from the edge of the concrete, slowly following the line drawn in chalk.
  4. Pour water: Keep the blade cool by pouring water over it as the cut progresses. This also helps to reduce dust.
  5. Progress slowly: Proceed slowly, with minimum RPM as this helps to keep the saw in line, prevents overheating and prevents the tossing up of shrapnel into the air when the cutting is in progress.
  6. Remove the concrete: If the concrete is thicker than what the saw would cut, a jackhammer may have to be deployed to pound the excess concrete away. An alternative is to use heavy-duty concrete saws that cut up to 18 inches deep.
  7. Chip off the edges: If clean corners are required, score off the corners using a 4-inch diameter electric cut off tool and chip away the rest of the concrete using a small pneumatic chisel.

Make sure to take appropriate safety precautions. The process generates high levels of noise and dust. Ear plugs and goggles are a must, as are other safety precautions when cutting large chunks of concrete. Keep in mind that the majority of concrete cutting problems (and injuries) can be solved by using the appropriate tools for the job. Still have questions? Talk to an expert to provide advice on your project.

About the Author

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

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Concrete Grinders Make for a Handy DIY Tool

A concrete grinder is a handy tool for anyone seeking to upgrade the appearance of his or her home or office. It serves multiple purposes, providing finish for graffiti-covered surfaces, smoothing rough edges, and also roughing up floors before applying the finish.Concrete Grinder

Concrete grinders come in many different kinds, ranging from small, hand-held angle grinders to heavy-duty industrial equipment that polishes concrete, granite or marble. The grinders also differentiate by being suitable for wet concrete, dry concrete or both. Small angle grinders work well as a DIY tool.

The key to operating concrete grinders is handling the power switches diligently. However, a smooth operation requires adhering to time tested tips and best practices:

  • For a smooth and uniform finish, ensure that the motor reaches its operational speed before grinding the surface. A good practice is to press down the handle before starting the machine, to release pressure from the grinding disc. The resulting weight shift allows the motor to reach its operating speed smoothly. Once the operational speed is attained, settle the grinder on the slab and begin grinding the surface.
  • Concrete grinder wheels have two settings: transportation and grinding. Always make sure that the concrete grinder wheel setting is correct. Grinding when the wheel setting is for transportation or vice-versa may damage the accessories.
  • When grinding, move the machine from side to side to eliminate swirl marks on the surface.
  • The machine uses an abrasive, usually diamond grinding cup wheels, to grind or polish the surface. The shine depends on the grit of the abrasive surface. Grit starts as low as six, and 1800 provides the highest shine for a floor surface.

Concrete grinder rental offers significant cost-savings. You pay only for what you use. You do not have to use a significant amount of your capital on machinery, and you also do not suffer from the machinery depreciating in value over time. You are spared the hassle of storing and maintaining the machinery, and also get to select the latest and the most relevant machine, rather than having to make do with a single machine that may not suit your purpose.

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: Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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