Posts Tagged With: how-to

Keep Popcorn in the Bowl & Off the Ceiling

How to Remove Your Popcorn CeilingIs looking at your ceiling giving you the inspiration for your next DIY project? If you want to remove that ugly popcorn texture immediately, then it is! If you’ve also heard this is an easy thing to do, then you’ve heard right. The process does create a mess; however, with a little preparation (and our help) you can tackle that popcorn ceiling – no problem. Ready to get started?

What You’ll Need for Popcorn Ceiling Removal & Repair

Beware – Asbestos Often Lurks in 70’s Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings and acoustical panels were all the rage in the 60’s and 70’s, but today they are a turn-off to potential home buyers. They can be used to hide flaws in the drywall but they collect dust, which may aggravate allergies. The biggest drawback is popcorn ceilings installed prior to 1979 often contain asbestos and will need to be tested. These ceilings are only dangerous if disturbed, which is why professionals need to remove them.

6 Steps to Removing Popcorn Ceilings

  • Prepare the room – Remove furniture and light fixtures; lay plastic over walls, floors and doors to contain dust and debris.
  • Wet the ceiling – Spray water lightly over small sections of the ceiling to soften it up and make it easier to remove.
  • Scrap it off – Use a texture scraper for larger areas and a putty knife for corners and trim.
  • Sand the area – To remove any remaining lumps, sand the ceiling and then run a damp sponge over it to remove dust and debris. Allow to dry.
  • Make repairs – Redo any failed joints and edging tape with drywall mud. Fill in cracks with spackle. Lightly sand again.
  • Prime and paint – Use a bright white ceiling paint to help reflect light in your room.

This is a Messy Job If You Aren’t Careful

This stuff is like wet oatmeal that dries into annoying drywall dust, so unless you want it to get into everything, hang and lay plastic drop cloths. Overlap and tape all the seams. It may seem like overkill but when done all you do is remove the tape, roll the plastic up and stuff it in a trash bag.

Don’t Over Saturate Your Ceilings with Water

If you have moistened the ceiling enough, the popcorn material will scrape off easily. You may have to spray it a couple of times because the texture is dry and porous. Don’t overdo it or the drywall can be damaged when you scrap. Go slowly and work in small sections.

A Putty Knife Comes in Handy in Tight Spots

A ceiling texture scraper is good on large spaces and often comes with a refuse bag to collect popcorn debris. To remove popcorn from tight corners and around molding you may want to use a putty knife. Once the ceiling has dried lightly, sand it and vacuum up the dust.

Are You Ready for Some Mud in Your Life?

Prepare to do a little drywall work when removing a popcorn ceiling. Many installers will do a basic/rough taping of the drywall if they know it is to be covered with popcorn texture. For a smooth surface, put a skim coat of drywall mud on the joints and sand lightly.

Ceilings Are Tough on the Back and Neck

A large room can be a tough workout for someone with a bad back or neck, so consider rounding up some helpers or hire a professional. Yes, this is an easy DIY project but only if you prepare your room first. Take your time, do it right and save the popcorn for a bowl in front of the TV.

Expert Advice

Once you finish removing the popcorn ceiling, do you need some advice on painting? Our blog, Paint Like a Pro – Tips for Painting Your Ceilings and Walls, will help you achieve beautiful results. From tank sprayers and wet/dry vacuums to paint sprayers and drywall tools our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home renovation project. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Get a Head Start on Spring Gardening with Fertilizer

fertilize your garden this fallThe kids are headed back to school, the summer flowers are fading and – here’s the big news  it’s no longer taboo to fertilize your plants in the fall. Now that we know more about the year-round development cycle of plants, giving them a boost in the fall with fertilizer may be just what they need to survive the harsh winter.

Fertilize to protect plants from the elements

Once it was thought that fertilizing in late summer and fall would cause a plant to develop new growth that would be damaged in the first cold snap. Scientists now believe that in the fall plants store food and nutrients in their root systems to help them survive until spring. Fall fertilizing can help strengthen a plant.

A soil test shows what’s missing

Not all plants will need an extra boost of nutrients in the fall. Do a soil test to see what nutrients and minerals may be missing from the area you would like to treat. Many testing facilities will analyze the soil and give you their recommendations for the type of fertilizer to use.

More is not always better

A common mistake with fertilizing is to assume that every plant will benefit from a dose. If the soil is healthy, then the plant may not need extra nutrients. Soil testing also helps to determine if an area has been over-planted. Remember – more is not better. Just replenish what is missing from your soil. Too much fertilizer can kill your plants or grass.

It’s all in the numbers

All fertilizers have a three-numbered code or NPK code on the bag. This corresponds to the amount of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) in the fertilizer.

  • Nitrogen promotes foliage growth
  • Phosphorous stimulates root growth
  • Potassium is important for proper cell function and overall plant health

The right mix will work wonders

In September apply a 20-8-8 mix fertilizer to your grass to help it recover from the summer heat and drought. Apply a 13-25-12 mix at the end of October to encourage root growth. For perennials, a high phosphate/low nitrogen mix will strengthen the plants and produce more blooms in the spring. Adding a phosphate mix when you plant bulbs this fall will help roots establish.

There’s a lot going on

Scientists have discovered that a garden is a year round living organism. Even though plants are dying above ground in the fall, there is a lot of activity going on beneath the soil surface. Roots continue to grow, storing nutrients from the soil. These nutrients help a plant fight off disease and strengthen the roots. When the temperatures drop to around 40 degrees, plants also release amino acids and sugars that help them withstand freezing.

2 Types of Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers:

  • Made from natural plant and animal sources, such as manure, wood, fish and bone meal and seaweed
  • Not water soluble
  • Usually in granular form and take time to release nutrients into soil
  • Remain in the soil for an extended period
  • Stimulate beneficial microbes, which help break down the organic material and release soluble nutrients
  • Help improve the quality and structure of the soil
  • Best if applied in the fall so nutrients are released to soil over the winter months, making them available for plants in spring

Synthetic Fertilizers:

  • Manufactured chemical compounds
  • Water soluble
  • Make nutrients immediately available to plants
  • Can “burn” foliage and damage plants if too much is applied
  • Leach out of the soil quickly
  • Can contaminate ground water, streams and ponds due to runoff
  • Do not improve soil quality
  • Best when applied in the spring when ground is cold and microbes are inactive

Keep your plants happy – fertilize!

Good soil preparation, mulching and adding fertilizer where needed will keep your plants happy, healthy and thriving. Your garden feeds your body and your soul. Return the favor. Your plants will love you for it. 

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your lawn and garden projects. From a rake and a shovel to a wheel barrow and mulch, 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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Outdoor Refreshers – How to Install a Sprinkler System

How to Install a Permanent Sprinkler System

Dragging garden hoses around the yard and setting up sprinklers is one summertime chore no needs to sweat over. Keep the lawn, flowers, trees and shrubs looking their best by installing a dedicated sprinkler system in your yard.

Do Your Homework

If you’re an intermediate do-it-yourselfer, installing a sprinkler system yourself will take several days, yet the extra planning and set-up on the front end of the project will be worth it as the growing season progresses. Before heading to the hardware store, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need a building permit to install a permanent sprinkler system?
  • Do I know where the underground utility lines are located in my yard? If not, what’s the number for your utility company?
  • Are any local watering restrictions or ordinances in effect?
  • Do your state/ local regulations require a licensed professional to help with part of the installation? Some require professional electricians and plumbers to handle the technical stuff.

Once your homework is done, focus on the details of your sprinkler project. First, set an overall budget that includes the use of professional service people to connect the timer box or tap into the main water line of the house. Also, if you are adding a system to an existing lawn, then factor in what it will cost to fix the damage that trenching may leave across the grass, such as additional sod, grass seed, fertilizer, etc.

Use a Sprinkler Template

Many sprinkler manufacturers can create a customized design for your landscape. They offer templates for you to map all of the features in your yard like shrubs and flower beds, areas of sun and shade, and hardscapes like retaining walls. From this, they will help you design a sprinkler plan with the correct number of zones and suggest the materials needed to install your system. This service may cost a nominal fee but it is worth it to have the details worked out so you don’t have to.

Turn on the Waterworks in 13 Steps (It’s Lucky, We Tell You!)

  1. Mark the location of all the trenches and sprinklers with stakes or plastic flags.
  2. With a gas powered trenching machine, dig trenches 4-12 inches deep according to your plan. The manufacturer will have taken into consideration the area you live and how deep the water lines need to be to keep them from freezing.
  3. Turn off water to house at meter.
  4. Cut into the main water line. This may be where you want to hire a professional plumber to make sure that the work is done properly and your water pressure is maintained. They can also install a backflow prevention device.
  5. Dig a trench from the main water line to the valve box location. At the end dig a hold about 18 inches deep and 2-3 feet long. Line hole with 2 inches of gravel and set the valve box into it. The box lid should be flush with the grass.
  6. Next glue together the manifold and attach the zone valves. Set manifold in box.
  7. Dig a shallow trench from valve box to the location you want for the timer. Lay the 24 volt underground wire in the trench and connect it to the wires leading from each valve.
  8. Place pipes in trenches leading from the valve box. Whenever a pipe branches off you will need to splice a tee fitting to the main pipe and attach a short length of flexible pipe.
  9. Using 90 degree PVC elbow joints join pipes in trenches to the valve box. Turn on the water and flush the pipes to eliminate dirt in line and avoid clogs. Turn water back off.
  10. Install pop up sprinkler heads to each of the flexible pipes.
  11. After mounting the timer box where you want it, attach the 24 volt wires from the zone valves to the timer. You may want to hire an electrician to run power to the timer box.
  12. Set timer and run tests on the system to see where sprinkler heads need to be adjusted. Check lines to make sure there are no leaks that can cost you money down the road.
  13. Fill in trenches with soil and repair the lawn with sod or seed.

Take Time for the Timer

You may want to save money doing the job yourself, but that’s no reason to skimp on the quality of the parts you use. Sprinkler heads take a beating from day to day use and getting mowed over. Putting money into quality sprinkler heads will cut down on you having to go back and forth to the hardware store. Also, research the features you want on your timer. You may want one that allows you to test the system without having to disrupt your programmed schedule. You may also want features like rain sensors or frost sensors so the system doesn’t run during those times.

Homework, folks, will help you avoid any headaches and get you the sprinklers you want. Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor and forget all about those stupid garden hoses – except, of course, if you like watering your prize roses by hand. Then by all means, find a great water hose at Runyon!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From landscaping tools to a trencher, 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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Spring Refresh DIY Idea #4 – How to Construct a Poolside Bar

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

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

Tiki Bar Technique

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

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

I’m Never Leaving This Pool-Side Bar

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

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

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

Expert Advice

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

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Spring Refresh DIY Idea #3 – How to Build a Patio

How to Build a Patio

Now that spring is here it’s time to get outside. Time to put those DIY plans you’ve had rattling around in your head all winter into action. Let’s build that patio you’ve been dreaming of.

First things first, make a few key decisions before starting to haul in the pavers.

  • How will you use the patio? – For entertaining? To relax? How you plan to use it will determine the size and materials you will need.
  • Where will you build the patio? – Look for an area that has good drainage, isn’t too close to trees, and is away from any buried utility lines. Call the power company before you start to dig and they can mark the location of the lines.
  • How much do you have to spend on the project? – Figure out how much you have to spend and let that help you determine the size of the patio and the materials to be used.
  • Do you need help? – Don’t forget that much of the materials needed are heavy and will have to be delivered. You may not be able to deposit the sand, gravel or stones close to your project site which means you may need to use a wheel barrow or front end loader to move the materials around.

Once you have determined your design plan, location and budget, then you will need to choose the materials you want to use. Here are a few options:

  • Concrete – This is probably the cheapest way to add a hard surface to your landscape but it can be problematic. If you choose to dye it with a coloring agent then you will need to be prepared to reapply the coating every couple of years in order to keep the color.
  • Natural Stone – Flagstone, slate, bluestone and limestone cost more. The thicknesses vary so you have to carefully install each stone in order to keep the patio level.
  • Brick – Offers Old World charm but needs maintenance. It is very porous and cold weather can cause it to crack leaving space for weeds or moss to grow through.
  • Pavers – Home improvement stores carry a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They are all uniform in thickness so they are easier to install than natural stone and they are fairly inexpensive.

Get Down to Building

Your materials have been delivered and you are ready to begin. All patios need to be built on a level surface no matter what materials you use. Cracks, uneven surfaces and water pooling can all be traced back to not having a proper, level foundation. Let’s get started.

  • Mark the site – Whether you use the old string and stake method or the new aerosol paint technique, outline the area where you plan to build.
  • Dig, man, dig – Excavate down at least 8 inches for the sub-base of your patio. Whether you are going to pour concrete or lay pavers, the process is the same.
  • No sub-standard sub-base for you! – Clear the area of all roots, rocks and debris. Stamp down the dirt with a hand or power-driven stamper. Check to see if the ground is level. If it is, add a layer of gravel and pack it down. Once again, check to see if it is level.
  • Power to the pavers – Time to add the paving stones. Once you have laid them out in the design you want, stamp them down, and check to see if they are level. Adjust where needed.
  • Sand in your pavers? – Spread sand into the joints between the stones. Don’t scrimp on the sand. Work it in between the pavers to help lock them in place.
  • Wash down – Spray the remaining loose sand into the joints and now you are ready to clean up the patio and decorate.

Now, you are the proud owner of an outdoor room. “What will I do next?” you may be saying to yourself as you roll that shiny new grill across the new patio surface. Anything! The world is your oyster. Go forth and build more.

Expert Advice

Need more inspiration? Read our recent blog, Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with these 3 Project Ideas. Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects.

From power driven stampers to front end loaders and more, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Structural Home Fixes Part 1: How to Fix or Replace a Roof

How to Fix or Replace Your RoofHomeowners today are making measured, timely decisions about their homes that take care of improvement projects like structural fixes or replacement before they become emergencies. In this way, homeowners are protecting their property as well as their investment, financial and otherwise. In part one of our series that tackles structural home fixes, we explore options for fixing or replacing your roof.

Your first decision should be based on a thorough inspection of the roof to determine whether simple patching or repair can repair leaks or other damage you may find – or if it is better for the life of your home to replace the roof entirely. Before the inspection, hire a professional cleaning service or rent a pressure washer to clean the roof, especially if it has moss or a fair amount of debris on its surface. This allows for you to better evaluate the actual condition of the roof. Continue the inspection inside the attic, if possible – especially if you find evidence of leaks.

General Roof Repair

If you find damage to shingles resulting from wind, weather or fallen limbs, it is usually easy and inexpensive to fix:

  • Inspect under the shingles, making sure the roof deck is sound.
  • Remove any worn, torn or damaged shingles and replace with new ones. It’s always a good idea to store new shingles that match the existing roof just for this type of repair. However, you can have the building contractor order matching shingles for you, or you can go with a new one, even if it’s not an exact match.
  • Consistently replacing worn shingles could extend the life of the roof by 10 years or more.

If you find evidence of leaks, such as discolored felt paper under the shingles, other water stains and especially rotted wood around plumbing boots, vents, chimneys, windows, dormers or anything else that is built through the roof, you can still make a fix:

  • If the leak is due to condensation on cold “shiners,” nails that have missed their mark, clip it with a side-cutting pliers.
  • If a plumbing vent is torn, rotted, cracked or has broken seams, replace it with a new one. If the vent is in good shape, but nails are missing or pulled free, replace them with the rubber-washer screws used for metal roofing systems. Be careful when removing shingles around the fix so they can be reused.
  • To repair around windows or dormers, make sure the area is still sealed using a putty knife. Dig in to reveal any old, crumbling caulk. Remove all of it and re-caulk using a silicon latex caulk. Replace any cracked, rotting or missing siding, overlapping the step flashing by at least two inches.
  • If the flashing around a chimney is rusted through, either slip new flashing under the old or cut what’s called a saw kerf into the mortar and install new flashing.
  • If the step flashing along walls is rusted through, replace it with new flashing. If the flashing has come loose, exposing the wall, re-position it and re-nail to the roof.
  • If you find tiny holes in any shingles or in the roof, do not inject caulking into them. Fix the holes by using flashing.

When It’s Time for a New Roof

  • If your roof is more than 20 years old – the projected life of any roofing surface – it’s time for a new roof.
  • If just part of the roof is significantly showing its age, and you live in a severe weather area, replace the entire roof.
  • If you find evidence of a worn or damaged roof deck, do a replacement, so it too can be repaired or in some extreme cases, replaced.

Do the Job Right

Save yourself the hassle of continuous interruptions to the project by having these tools and materials on hand before you start:

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home fixes and repairs. Learn more by reading our blog, Repair and Prepare Your Shingles and Windows for Winter in 6 Easy Steps and 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 Repair and Replace Window and Door Screens

How to Fix a Window or Door ScreenSpring fever is on the rise – Get ready to enjoy it!

Very soon now, the warmer, milder weather of spring will motivate us to open windows and doors and feel the fresh air. This goes for flies and insects, too – it doesn’t take much of a hole in a screen for them to fly right into your home. Now’s the time to make sure all of your screens are in good condition. What might you find?

  • Holes and punctures in the screen
  • Screens torn away from frames
  • Window, door or screen parts that are rusted, corroded or damaged
  • Screen windows and doors in perfect condition (do a little jig!)

Depending on the condition of your screen windows and doors, you may decide to buy new ones, which can be an expensive proposition especially if your screens are custom-made.

However, do-it-yourselfers are likely to decide on repairing or replacing screens themselves.

How to Repair a Screen

Repair small holes or tears in screens using a patch. Patches will look obvious, yet still do the job of keeping insects out of the house. You will need screen material that matches the original, scissors, a block of wood and a tape measure or ruler.

  1. Trim the hole of excess or damage.
  2. Cut a piece of screen two inches larger than the hole on all sides.
  3. Secure the patch to the outside of the original screen by lacing a piece of wire through completely. Twist the end of the wire around one section of the original screen to finish.
  4. Or, use about ½-inch of the wires on the edges of the patch on all four sides to secure it to the original screen. Bend the ends over a wood block or the ruler edge of a ruler to form prongs.
  5. Place the patch over the hole and push the prongs through the screen.
  6. Bend the prongs toward the center of the hole to secure the patch.

How to Replace a Screen

A less obvious repair job is to replace the entire screen. You will need screen wire fabric, screen staples or tacks, bedding strips or splines for metal frames, scissors, screwdriver and hammer. Metal or nylon screen fabric comes in rolls or large pieces, which is attached differently on wood or metal frames.

  1. Work with each frame on a smooth, flat surface.
  2. Remove the damaged screen from the door or window:
    1. Wood: To free the wire fabric, use a screwdriver to pry up moldings, then remove old staples, tacks and brads.
    2. Metal: Lift and pull the cut end of the bedding strip up and out.
  3. Measure and cut the replacement screen fabric on the grain.
    1. Wood: Cut the fabric 6 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the opening.
    2. Metal: Cut the fabric 3 inches larger than the opening on all sides.
  4. Position screen fabric on the frame. Make sure the grain of the screen fabric lines up parallel to the sides of the frame.
    1. Wood: The screen fabric should extend about 1 inch from the top opening and 1-½ inches from each side.
    2. Metal: The screen fabric should extend about 2 inches from the top opening and 2 inches from each side.
  5. Attach screen fabric to frame.
    1. Wood: Insert screen staples or tacks across the top of the frame every 2 inches. Stretch the screen fabric from top to bottom of the frame, and attach the fabric in same manner as for the top. Tack or staple the sides every 2 inches. Attach the fabric to the center rail last.
    2. Metal: With a screwdriver, seat the bedding strip and edge of the screen fabric into the metal channel. Push the bedding strip into the channel on top of the screen. Pull the screen fabric taut across the frame and secure the other side, then secure the top and bottom by pushing the wire fabric and bedding strip into the channel.
  6. Trim excess wire fabric with a sharp knife or scissors and remove.
  7. Attach molding or quarter rounds. Touch up wood frames with paint, if necessary. 

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home repair projects. From power tools such as drills and hammers, saws, nailers and staplers, 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 Choose a Snow Blower that’s Right for You

To keep this winter’s snow tamed and out of the way of your home, your car and your family, a snow blower is an essential tool. Used in conjunction with a snow shovel and ice melt, snow blowers can clear even the most monumental accumulation with a little forethought and elbow grease – from removing that snow plow ridge at the foot of the driveway to keeping the front stoop free of falling precipitation.

It’s All About the White Stuff

Knowing what type of snow your area typically gets (and how much of it) helps to determine which snow blower is right for your snow removal job.

Single Stage v. Two Stage Snow Blower Comparison

Snow blowers are available in all sizes, depending on the typical conditions you face on a snow removal job. For short driveways and moderate amounts of snow, look for a smaller, easier-handling model. To tackle the occasional heavy storm, choose a mid-sized model. Long, hilly driveways probably require a larger snow blower with power-driven wheels.

However, engine size is not the only consideration. Maneuverability is just as important, especially if you have smaller areas that need clearing. Snow blowers can be powered by gas or electricity. Gas-powered models may be loud and require ear plugs. For electric models, use an outdoor extension cord. Also, consider the kind of storage space you can devote to a snow blower when not in use.

Types of Snow Blowers

A good snow blower is one that performs the easiest clean-up for the type of snow you’re removing.

1. Single-stage electric models: small units that pull in snow and throw it out the chute in one step.

  • Best in 4 inches or less of snow
  • Best for short, level driveways, decks and walks
  • Lightest, smallest, quietest and easiest to handle
  • No need to fuel
  • Less engine maintenance
  • Requires multiple passes for complete removal
  • Not effective on steep slopes
  • Power cord limits range

2. Single-stage gas models: small-to-midsize units that pick up and throw snow using a rubber-tipped auger to help propel the machine.

  • Best in 8 inches or less of snow
  • Best for level, midsized paved driveways and walks
  • More powerful than electric units; still light and easy to handle
  • Clear more snow in one pass
  • Four-cycle gas engines are fueled with straight gasoline with electric starts
  • Poor choice for gravel driveways and steep slopes
  • Require regular engine maintenance

3. Two-stage gas models: pick up using an impeller behind the auger to help throw snow out the chute.

  • Best in 8 inches or higher snow
  • Best for long, wide driveways
  • Larger, more powerful, propelled by engine-driven wheels
  • Can handle steeper inclines
  • Best on gravel
  • Relatively heavy
  • Requires regular engine maintenance

More Tips on Renting or Buying

  • Be comfortable with handle height and chute adjustment
  • Look for a “dead-man control,” a safety feature that stops the spinning auger and impeller when the handlebar grip is released
  • Check for a handle or joystick that controls the height and direction of snow throwing with ease
  • Ask about plug-in electric starting for gas-powered models, which is easier that using a pull cord
  • Consider a model with a headlight, if you need to work in the dark
  • Typically included with a snow blower is a clearing tool – a plastic stick used for safely clearing clogs
  • Ask about the choice of speeds, which can help prevent clogs through heavy snow

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any snow removal project. Runyon Rental is a proud dealer of Honda snow blowers. Find all of our snow blowers for rent here or buy one here. For more information on snow blowers and snow removal, read our two blogs, “Be Sure You Have a Snow Blower this Winter – a True Must-Have Item” and “4 Cold Weather Basics: Your Guide to Snow Removal (Part 1)”.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

[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.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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