Posts Tagged With: Tools and Equipment

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

Get Decked Out for Entertaining with a New Deck!

Get Decked Out for Entertaining with a New DeckDetatched

 Do you never have enough room to entertain family and friends? Consider adding a new deck. Having the extra space to cook out or enjoy a quiet summer evening is one reason why building a deck is such a popular DIY project. It adds to the beauty of your home and increases the overall value of your property.

Deck Materials – Maintenance Free versus Natural Beauty

With so many materials to choose from, the decision really comes down to what is important to you – maintenance free, natural beauty, or cost? Budget and personal preference are what usually determines the materials used. Do your research though. Some wood materials are beautiful but dense and difficult to drill. You will need special equipment.

Here are five of the most commonly used decking materials:

  • Pressured treated lumber – The most popular, this material is inexpensive, pest resistant, and easy to install. It can split and crack if not treated every 1-2 years. Yearly power washing is recommended.
  • Redwood and cedar – More expensive than pressure treated lumber, they resist decay and pests. To keep their natural color, a preservative will need to be applied every 2-3 years. Left untreated, the wood turns a soft shade of gray.
  • Tropical woods – These exotic materials (massaranduba, ipe, and tigerwood) are durable and beautiful but pricey. They are dense hardwoods which makes them difficult to cut and drill so special installation is required. They also do not accept stains well.
  • Composite – This material is made from wood fibers and recycled plastics. Though more expensive than pressure treated lumber, it comes in a variety of colors, is weather and stain resistant, and very low maintenance. Prone to mold and mildew, a yearly power wash is a must.
  • Plastic – Since it contains no wood, this material is virtually maintenance free. It does not have the look of real wood but it also doesn’t have the upkeep.

Who Says a Deck Has to be Square?

Think outside the box, don’t limit your design. No one said you had to build a square deck. Opt for a multi-leveled deck that flow out from your home and into your garden. Consider wrapping the deck around your house to allow other rooms to open out onto your new space.

Plan Wisely and Keep Your Guests Safe

Whatever your design, remember to check local building codes. Depending on the size of your deck, you may need to apply for a building permit. If you plan to entertain a large number of people on your deck, invest in additional supports and make sure the substructure can handle the excess weight. Keep your guests safe.

Don’t Skimp on Materials That Matter

Will your deck be attached to the house or freestanding? To build the safest, most durable structure possible, avoid the temptation to skimp on fasteners, nails or screws. Buy a high quality, non-corrosive material like stainless steel. Inferior screws and nails will corrode, discolor and shorten the life of your deck.

Things to remember when building your deck:

  • Wood materials have imperfections – Sort through your lumber, choosing the best boards for highly visible areas. Keep pieces with defects for out of the way sections.
  • Create a solid base for your deck – Set your foundation posts in concrete and allow them to set before continuing your construction.
  • Make sure your deck is level – If attaching a deck to your house, make sure the ledger or board you secure to the outside wall is securely fastened and level.
  • Space your boards – Lay boards 1/8” apart to allow for expansion and contraction.
  • Protect it – Applying a weather-proofing finish will guard your wood against the elements and keep it looking great.

Company’s Coming – Time to Get Decked Out

Once you have your deck completed, go wild and decorate! Don’t be afraid of adding color. Deck stains now come in a wide assortment of colors. Add a pergola for some additional shade, install outdoor speakers or hang flower boxes from the railings. The sky is the limit so get out there and fire up that grill. Your company is coming.

deck

Expert Advice

From circular saws and drills to augers and concrete mixers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next DIY building project. A new deck needs some pizzazz! Learn how to add decorative outdoor lighting in our previous blog “Outdoor Refreshers – Install Decorative Outdoor Lighting”. 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.

glossy deck

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

[INFOGRAPHIC] Guide to Growing a Vegetable and Fruit Garden in Indiana

Finally, the long-awaited spring season is here, along with its warmer weather, sunshine, and rainy days! With that said, now is the time to start designing and planning for the garden of your dreams. Liven up your outdoor space by creating a garden of beautiful, fragranced flowers. Or perhaps you would like to take that extra step toward self-sufficiency this year and home-grow your produce. Well, if so, you are in luck! We have put together an easy-to-follow beginner’s guide for growing a productive vegetable and fruit garden, and best of all, we have tailored it for the Indiana harvesters. Enjoy local, healthier, home-grown food straight from your backyard by following this simple guide! Please remember that we have a variety of gardening tools for rent and purchase here to help you accomplish any gardening task headed your way– from aerators and lawn mowers to wheelbarrows and tillers – we got you covered!

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Bring New Life to Your Garden with a Chandelier Bird feeder

chandelier bird feederff

Bring New Life to Your Garden with a Chandelier Bird feeder

Ever wondered what to do with an outdated old chandelier? Renovations often leave us with items we have no clue what to do with. Do you donate them or throw them away? Many times they lay forgotten and unused in the attic, just waiting on a second chance. Give your old chandelier a new lease on life by turning it into an elegant bird feeder.

Add Whimsy and Fun to Your Garden with Yard Art

Yard art can add interest and fill in blank areas of your garden where plants have a tough time growing. Repurposed items like chandeliers add a sense of whimsy and fun to formal gardens and are great conversation pieces.

Express Your Artistic Side

This DIY project is quick, easy and gives you an opportunity to express your artistic side. Here is what you’ll need:chandelier bird feeder

  • An old chandelier
  • Saucers, bowls or cups (one for each arm)
  • Outdoor spray paint
  • Wire cutters
  • Plyers
  • Waterproof glue
  • Plumber’s epoxy putty
  • Ladder
  • “S” hook and chain for hanging

A Stripped Down Chandelier Finds New Life

Start by taking the electrical elements out of the chandelier. Remove the light fixtures and wires.

Next apply waterproof glue to the bottom of a bowl and place one on each arm. Allow the glue to dry overnight before attempting to paint.

Branch Out with Your Paint Choices

Break out of your comfort zone and use bright, fun paint colors (the birds won’t mind). Hang the chandelier from a low tree branch so you can easily cover all sides at once. If you prefer, paint one side, allow time to dry and then flip it over to paint the other side. Paint hides imperfections like excess glue or rough spots. Once dry it is ready to hang from your favorite tree with the “S” hook and chain.

Bling Out Your Birdfeeder

You don’t have to hang your bird feeder from a tree, instead mount it on a painted wooden spindle to create a candelabra feeder or place it on a fence post. Add some “bling” to your chandelier by hanging colored crystals from the arms. Mismatched forks and spoons can act as wind chimes. Set your imagination free and decorate your feeder to reflect your personality.

Re-inventing Old Items is Addicting

Repurposing old items is addicting. Don’t stop with just your birdfeeder. A chandelier can also make a beautiful planter. Substitute terra cotta pots for the bowls and you are ready for planting.

Some other easy DIY garden art projects:

  • Old lamp bases with china platters added on top make unique bird baths.
  • Wheelbarrows make great planters or bird baths.
  • An old sink or bath tub can make convenient raised garden beds.
  • Add bird houses to your chandelier instead of seed bowls.

Turn Trash to Garden Treasures

Reusing old items keeps them out of our landfills and gives you an inexpensive way to add color and creativity to your garden. Get busy and convert some of your would-be trash into outdoor treasures. Your guests will be impressed by the clever, artistic touches in your yard.

Expert Advice

From drills and saws to ladders and paint sprayers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next garden DIY project. Want to make your garden an inviting habitat for wildlife? Find inspiration and helpful tips in our previous blog, “How to Attract Birds and Butterflies for a Livelier Yard”. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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

5 More Landscaping Ideas to Create a Fabulous Fall Yard

5 Landscaping Ideas for Your Fall Garden

Since fall landscaping is done after the growing season has essentially ended, gardeners don’t have to worry so much about weeding, since weed seed is dormant, unlike in spring when it’s just bursting to grow. And in the spring, you’ll see a whole new garden that blooms early! This article is our third on tips to freshen up your landscape for fall, adding color, texture and panache!

1. Contrast Light and Dark

They say that opposites attract, especially when they’re dark and light. Play up the drama of silvery ornamental grass plumes with deep-color foliage, such as that of Diablo ninebark, purple-leaf filbert, ‘Velvet Cloak’ smoke bush or ‘Black Lace’ elderberry.

2. Decorate with Accents

Give your landscape personality with found objects and artwork installations such as ironwork or statues or ornaments. Just like indoors, adding artistic accents to your landscape will reflect your personality.

3. Think Small

Not every planting in a fall landscape has to be big and bold. Planting shrubs with subtle details like richly colored berries or fruits, such as the beautyberry, which produces small clusters of amethyst-purple fruits in fall, give your garden exquisite beauty up close.

4. Punch it Up with Container Plantings

Perk up dull spots in your garden with containers filled with grasses, mums, asters or flowering kale that put on a beautiful show for weeks.

5. Relax and Enjoy

Take advantage of wonderful fall weather with seating area that lets you sit back and enjoy your landscape. Include a fire pit or fire bowl for warmth, or place the seating on the east side of a favorite tree to enjoy the remains of the day.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. From lawn mowers to leaf blowers and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Landscaping Ideas to Create a Fabulous Fall Yard

4 Landscaping Ideas for Fall

Many people think spring is the best season for planting, but gardeners have figured out that fall is actually the best season for planting and landscaping. Because of the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall, fall is great for planting perennials – plants that come back year after year. There are far more “good days” in the fall when the soil is still warm, which allows a plant’s roots to establish better and grow until the ground freezes, or continue to grow throughout a milder winter climate. In the spring when the ground is cooler or in the summer, when it’s hot and dry, a plant’s roots can get stressed and unhealthy, and grow less robustly.

Fall is also a great season to give your garden a “boost,” planting turf grasses, spring-blooming bulbs, “cool crop” vegetables and certain annuals – plants that last only one season – to enjoy well into the cooler season. This is the first of three articles on tips to freshen up your landscape for fall, adding color, texture and panache!

1. Create the Unexpected

Add a series of intimate spaces to your landscape, which helps give the sense that the garden goes on and on. Start by planting evergreens in a variety of coordinating colors near the edges of your property, giving you privacy throughout the year. The evergreens also act as a dramatic backdrop for other trees, shrubs and flowers to show off their brilliant fall color. Then use large shrubs and small trees as living walls, forming outdoor “rooms” and adding interest to your yard. Since no one spot has an entire view of your garden, there’s something unexpected around every corner.

2. Pattern with Shapes

Build a theme in your landscape by repeating a plant shape. Plants develop different shapes as they grow. Some have an upright look, others are mounded, and still others weep gracefully. Couple an upright columnar white pine with a tall blue spruce, which give rise to a narrow, intimate path. Boxwood pruned into round balls all in a row gives the allusion of a string of pearls. Weeping willows planted together with a ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple and forsythia resemble a girl’s long hair fluttering in the breeze. Combining plants with different growing habits makes your landscape more intriguing.

3. Add Carpets of Color

Ground-hugging ground-cover plants reduce weeds and protect the soil while creating a vast expanse of color, especially in the fall, when plants can turn from greens to vivid purple-reds. The fall show helps make your garden more interesting.

4. Include Structure

In addition to plants, give your garden visual interest by incorporating a structure such as a pergola, an arbor, a fence or retaining wall — even an assortment of pots and planters grouped for visual impact will do the trick. Stone is maintenance-free and suited to a variety of landscaping styles. However, choose a material that complements your garden, giving to a natural look, and be sure it fits your budget.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. From lawn mowers to leaf blowers and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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 Concrete Fire Pit or Fire Bowl in 5 Easy Steps

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

How to Make a Fire Pit

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make a Fire Bowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expert Advice

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

*Photo Courtesy of The DIY Network
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Advanced Tutorial: How to Reupholster a Chair in 5 Steps

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

Difficulty: moderate-hard

Necessary Tools and Supplies:

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

Reupholster Your Chair in 5 Steps:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources and Help:

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

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How to Choose the Right Drill for the Job

The drill is an essential part of any do-it-yourselfer’s toolkit. Drills are versatile beyond a doubt, with reliable design, adapting to functional improvements such as keyless chucks, the addition of work lights and the subtraction of cords and weight. For most everyday jobs like drilling holes and driving screws, it’s the workhorse of the work bench.

Special Jobs Benefit from Specialized Drills

For some special jobs however, drill manufacturers have come up with specialized models that handle specific tasks more efficiently than the traditional drill. You may not need to include one in your home workshop though, as they’re readily available for rent. Here’s a look at the differences between impact drivers, hammer drills and rotary drills.

Choosing the Right Specialized Drill for the Job

1. The Impact Driver

The impact driver is smaller than a regular drill, with a hex socket in place of the chuck. It only works with bits that have a hex shaft. This drill not only grips the drill bit, but it applies torque automatically when needed to spin the bit, resulting in better control.

Ideal for…

  • Driving very long screws with little effort
  • Driving screws for on-site cabinet installs and general construction work
  • Making DIY projects easier

Because of its powerful torque, impact drivers are generally not appropriate for use with fine woodwork or brass hardware.

2. The Hammer Drill

The hammer drill looks and works like a regular drill, using a clutch to hammer a punch. However, in addition to drilling, the hammer drill hits the surface thousands of times per minute, with torque similar to a jackhammer to make the work faster and easier. Hammer drills also include a lock that stops the hammering, while drilling continues.

Ideal for…

  • Driving screws though concrete and other masonry
  • Driving screws through softer materials that do not require as much power as a rotary drill (see below)

3. The Rotary Drill

The rotary drill is a more powerful type of hammer drill that moves the hammer in a circular motion, making it a better choice for jobs with harder materials. The rotary drill is powered by a piston, which puts more force behind its punch, allowing it to work faster and bore bigger holes than a hammer drill.

Ideal for…

  • Drilling or boring holes into a surface
  • Drilling into masonry, stone, concrete and metal
  • Larger jobs that benefit from using a hammer drill

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next construction 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. Ask us about our full line of regular and specialized drills available for rent!

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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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Easy Bush Removal Takes Planning and a Few Power Tools

Remove Unwanted Bushes in 5 Easy Steps

Seasonal maintenance or an update to a mature landscape could mean removing overgrown, diseased or unwanted shrubs and bushes from your yard. You can do it yourself, with a little planning and a few power tools. Here are Runyon Rental’s easy-to-follow instructions:

Step 1. Survey the situation. Look around each bush for bird nests. Schedule the removal after hatchlings leave. Make sure the bush is not a protected species. If it is, you may be obligated to follow certain removal procedures or transplant to an appropriate site. And last but not least, know where utility or sprinkler lines are buried before digging into them. Call your local utility company for this specific information.

Step 2. Choose your tools. Depending on the size of the removal job, you can start with a heavy spade-type shovel, manual hedge clippers and a large wheelbarrow to get it done. To save yourself some sweat, consider renting a power hedge trimmer, a chainsaw, a stump cutter and even a wood chipper, for easier cleanup.

Step 3. Cut down to size. Cut each bush to a manageable size, removing branches first, and cutting the trunk into manageable pieces that fit into the wood chipper. If you’re going the manual removal route, leave enough of a stump above the ground to get a good hold on it. Otherwise, cut the bush down to the ground.

Step 4. Remove the stump and roots. Especially if the bush is diseased, get rid of the stump and the roots with a stump cutter. Most of the roots can be pulled from the ground manually. If you’re working without a stump cutter, dig a trench around the stump and start breaking it down by cutting through the roots and throwing away any soil containing them, until one piece of the stump is left. Dig the shovel deep into the ground near the stump, moving it back and forth until the roots directly below the stump are cut. Then stick the shovel into the trench, angling it to the middle and push and lift. Repeat this procedure around the entire stump until you can lift it out with your hands.

Step 5. Fill the hole…with soil and continue with your new plan for the landscape. Throw wood chips on the compost pile or use as mulch.

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. If you plan to plant a new bush or tree, ask us about our tree spade rentals!

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

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

Event Planning & Outdoor Entertaining Infographic

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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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How to Plug Your Lawn in 3 Easy Steps

Aerate and Plug Like a Pro!

2×2, 12×12 and add water. One way to quickly establish a new lawn, or a bare part of an existing one, is by planting pieces of sod called plugs. This technique works especially well during the warm spring-summer season, spreading grass varieties such as Zoysia and Bermudagrass. A plug is a 2×2-inch piece of sod, which is planted in rows 12 inches apart and 12 inches away from each other. Eventually the plugs take root, or rhizomes, spreading the grass across your yard.

Sprigs will also do the job of plugs. Sprigs are smaller versions of plugs, or 1- to 3-inch pieces of rhizomes. Sprigs are usually planted by hand and will also root into the soil to grow grass quickly. Sprigs work well for smaller plant areas.

Steps to Plug Your Lawn

Step 1. Remove all grass and weeds from the existing lawn by tilling the soil, then add organic amendments as needed and rake smooth to remove any rocks, plant roots and sod chunks. Soften the area to be plugged by watering thoroughly.

Step 2. Use a hand-held grass plugger, a shovel or an aerator/plugger to dig holes in a checkerboard pattern. Fill holes with a lawn starter fertilizer before planting the plug, then tamp down the soil to prevent air pockets. Specifically formulated for new grass plugs or seeded lawns, starter fertilizers give that extra nutrition for fast growth. Not to mention, it prevents root burn.

Step 3. Give each plug and the entire area another deep watering and continue for 7-10 days until plugs are established, roots have grown out from them and new grass growth appears.

Wait at least two weeks and as long as six weeks before mowing, which will further promote spreading. The new plugged lawn can also be fertilized just as a mature lawn.

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 you plan and plant the lawn of your dreams!

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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Dethatch Your Lawn This Spring for Beautiful, Healthy Grass

Could your lawn use a good dethatching?

Who wouldn’t enjoy a barefoot walk through a lush, green lawn? Grass is arguably the most popular groundcover for homeowners who appreciate its excellent ground protection and desirable curb appeal. For those DIY-ers who also enjoy caring for their lawns, dethatching should definitely be on the to-do list.

Grass is a beautiful three-tiered terrarium, if you will. A root system on the bottom supports the thousands of long, green blades that grow above a tightly woven layer of leaves, stems, roots and decomposing material known as thatch. As long as the thatch layer gets no thicker than 3/4″, it contributes to lawn health by:

  • Mulching naturally to slow water loss
  • Allowing sunlight and fertilizer to feed the grass
  • Protecting the soil and grass from insects and disease
  • Decreasing compaction and improving foot tolerance
  • Insulating grass crowns from temperature swings
  • Letting grass root into the soil rather than growing into nutrient-lacking, too-thick thatch

Does Your Lawn Need Dethatching?

Dethatching rids your lawn of too much thatch and can be done with a dethatching rake or a dethatcher, a mechanical gardening tool that rolls over the grass and thins out thatch with rotary blades, tines or prongs. If a lawn has a springy feel underfoot, then often that means it has a too-thick thatch layer.

Other ways to determine if your lawn needs dethatching:

  • Measure thatch for that ¾-inch cut-off by removing a small, three-inch layer of grass and soil or just pry up a small section of turf.
  • Look at your lawn. Is soil visible between turf crowns? Can you touch the soil through the visible thatch layer? If not, it’s probably too tough and needs to be thinned.

Get to Know Your Grass

Certain grasses tend to form thicker thatch layers and do so quickly, such as St. Augustine grass, Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, Bent grass and aggressive Kentucky bluegrass varieties. Also, dethatching is best done at the height of the grass’s growing season. Since warm and cool season grasses grow most vigorously at different times during the year, know what kind of grass your lawn is before dethatching.

When to Dethatch Your Lawn

Choose a cooler day to dethatch when grass is actively growing and the soil is moist, not dry.

After dethatching, the grass usually needs 45 days to grow back fully. If your area is experiencing a drought, watering restrictions or intense heat waves, postpone dethatching until it passes.

  • Late spring to early summer – warm-season turf like Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, Centipede grass, St. Augustine grass, Zoysiagrass
  • Early spring or early fall – cool-season turf such as creeping bentgrass, Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Rough bluegrass and Ryegrass

How To Dethatch Your Lawn

Step 1. Mow the grass to about half the usual height

Step 2. Mark irrigation heads and other objects in the lawn so that they are visible during dethatching

Step 3. Adjust the blade settings of the dethatcher so thatch is removed without disturbing the soil beneath, about ¼-inch above the ground

Step 4. Roll the dethatcher over the entire lawn to loosen the thatch from the ground

Step 5. Remove all the loosened thatch with a rake

Step 6. After dethatching, water the lawn and add fertilizers to 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.

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

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

household spring cleaning1. All-Around Cleaning Spree

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

2. Organizing Those Messy Closets

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

carpet cleaning3. Clean Your Snow-Stained Carpets

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

redecorate for spring4. Redecorate and Liven-Up Your Home

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

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

About the Author

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

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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.

Categories: DIY Projects, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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Repurpose Yard Debris for Next Year’s Stockpile of Firewood

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Fireplace Efficiency

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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5 Ideas to Make Your Herb Garden Grow

Create Your Herb Garden

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

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

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

choose from a variety of different herbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expert Advice

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

About the Author

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

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

Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with these 3 Project Ideas

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

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

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

1. New Backyard Retreat

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

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

2. New Landscape Features

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

3. New Furniture and Privacy Walls

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

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

Expert Advice

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s What You Do:

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

Give New Life to Your Walls

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

About the Author

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

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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

2 Quick and Easy In-Home Plumbing Repairs

There’s no better time than the New Year to make your home improvement dreams come true, especially for do-it-yourself homeowners. Not all improvement projects cater to your creativity, though. Consider a leaky faucet or a stopped-up toilet. These kinds of home repairs are not only necessary, but also nice to take care of, finally. So roll up your sleeves and find out how you can complete home maintenance and repairs yourself…and become a DIY star!

1. Fix a Leaky Faucet

It’s one of the most common household repairs, one that can save you money on utility bills and help you avoid wasting water. Most of the time, a leak starts because the washer has deteriorated.

What to Do:

  • Leaky FaucetShut off the water to the faucet by turning off the stop valves under the sink
  • Locate the screw that holds the faucet handle in place (back or side, under a metal or plastic cap)
  • Unscrew the handle with a screwdriver and remove it
  • Remove the packing nut with pliers
  • Unscrew the valve stem and remove it from the housing
  • Take out the screw that holds the washer in place
  • Remove the washer and examine it
    • Use the washer to help you locate a replacement, if it’s still intact
    • If the washer falls apart, check the valve-body for the washer size
    • Buy a replacement washer at your home improvement store or plumbing supplier
    • Install a new washer and reverse these steps to re-assemble the faucet

2. Fix a Stopped-Up Toilet

When a toilet backs up, the entire family can get stressed, but don’t panic! First, investigate what’s causing the clog. Chances are, some foreign object is stuck in the bowl. However, you have a couple options for unclogging the toilet.

The Easy Method:

  • Unclog Your ToiletPut on a pair of rubber gloves and try fishing the object out of the bowl with your hands
  • Wait for the extra water to drain, then pour a bucket of water into the bowl (this can dislodge whatever is causing the blockage)
  • Try using a plunger to clear the toilet
  • A plumbing snake or closet auger dislodges clogs by threading a coiled length of metal from the bowl down through the serpentine piping to free what’s trapped there
  • Another option is a compressed air or carbon dioxide sewer air cleaner, which uses stronger pressure than a standard plunger to suction out anything trapped in the piping

If all else fails, you can uninstall the toilet and get to a clog that way. Most toilets are relatively easy to remove from the floor.

A Little Extra Elbow Grease Required:

  • Toilets are heavy, so find a helper
  • Unbolt the tank from the bowl
  • Undo the bolts that attach the bowl to the floor and remove the wax collar
  • Remove the caulk around the base, use a sealant saw if needed
  • Carefully place the toilet onto a plastic tarp with cushioning underneath, to avoid cracking the toilet
  • Cover the drain opening to keep gas from escaping into the room
  • Upend the toilet and find that clog
  • Replace the wax collar before reinstalling the toilet and re-caulk

In the winter months it is especially important that your plumbing works properly, what with the chance of pipes freezing. So, fix your leaky faucet or clogged toilet now, before you have a bigger mess on your hands. These may not be the most glamorous fix-ups, but you’ll be happy after you take the time. Let us know if you have more questions about these issues, especially in regards to the tools you’ll need. Happy amateur plumbing!

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 | 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

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