LadderTalk Podcast 3: Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa Interview with Kevin Hermann

In this episode of LadderTalk, Betsy and Dan talk with Kevin Hermann from Benjamin Moore Paints about Aura Bath and Spa–the best paint bathroom paint you’ll ever use. We’ll talk about what it does, why it works, and how it will save you money every single time!!

Episode Outline

  • Introductions (0:38)
  • What is Aura Bath & Spa and What Does It Do? (2:24)
  • What Makes it Different? (4:24)
  • What’s Your Experience With Bath & Spa Since It Was Released? (6:19)
  • It’s the Best Product for Bathrooms! (5:35)
  • How Soon Can the Bathroom be Put Back into Operation? (6:00)
  • From a Contractor’s Point of View, Why Should They Be Using Bath & Spa? (7:30)
  • What’s the Benefit of Aura Bath & Spa’s Matte Finish? (8:23)



Paint Behind the Toilet Without Pulling It (Or Even Removing the Tank!)

030916_wb_5Years ago I tackled a bathroom remodel and in all my wisdom, I pulled the toilet out myself. At 10:30 at night. Before having the kids use it. It was a nightmare.

Oh, there were so many things that went wrong on that particular project, I can’t even really begin to list them. But most of the pain that I felt revolved around that stupid toilet. See, it was the only one in our house and the minute I pulled it, the kids started showing up at the doorway. The toilet, at that point, was sitting in the hall, and it wasn’t long before they were eyeing it with interest, or perhaps desperation, as they danced.

Suddenly, the pressure was on. I had to get the toilet back in ASAP. And of course, doing exactly that was, perhaps, the most painful home improvement experience I’ve ever had.

My wife was helping me and every time we’d try to set the toilet down, the toilet bolts would fall through the floor and land in the basement.  I’d run down, stuff them back up through the holes in the basement ceiling/bathroom floor and then, before I’d get 10 feet away, I’d hear one ping off the concrete. My wife’s muffled “Sorry!” would drift down from the upstairs and I’d do the whole thing again. And again and again.

We struggled like this for over an hour.  We argued.  We laughed.  We fought.  We nearly cried.  Maybe we did cry.

We cried. Let’s just be honest. At least I cried. All in all it was horrible and I resolved never to pull the toilet out again.

And that’s why this tip about how to paint behind the toilet without pulling the toilet or even taking the tank off is so intriguing to me.

After all, painting in a bathroom is bad enough. It’s crowded. Tight. And then, to top it all off, at some point in the project you’re going to need to find a way to wedge yourself alongside the toilet, hug the bowl, and then do your best to reach around with a roller or a brush and slop some paint on the wall behind the tank. If you’ve ever tried to do this, you know how much fun it is.

But here’s a tip that will make it easier the next time you try.

Here’s What You Need:

1. Replacement Pads for a Shur-Line Edger. ($3.45 for a 2-pack at RepcoLite)

2. Some double-stick tape (or duct tape, or hot glue, or something sticky).

3. A stir stick.

Here’s What You Do:


1. Gather your supplies.


2. Affix the double-stick tape to the back of the edger pad.


3. Affix the stir stick to the edger pad using the tape.

And that’s it. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got a thin, easy to maneuver “paint brush” of sorts that will allow you to reach behind the toilet tank and apply your paint without having to remove the toilet or the tank! It’s a great time saver and it’s going to cost you, at most, $5.

If you’re going to give it a try, here are a couple other tips to make sure the project goes quickly and smoothly:

1. Don’t forget to clean behind the tank first. You could use a rag on a stir stick to reach back there and remove the cobwebs.

2. Wrap the tank with a garbage bag and tape it tight, so it’s not loose or in your way. Then, you can get behind there with the tools we talked about and it won’t matter if you bump the tank.

The Vile Showerhead (or, Finding the Dread-Free Life)

shower-1027904_640(1)I’m a “dreader”.  That’s not a word–I know that.  But that doesn’t change the truth:  I dread things.  On a regular basis.

For example, I re-decorated my bathroom about a year ago.  I put wood planking on the walls, hung some wallpaper, stained and varnished new trim, installed a new (bowed) shower rod and new curtain and finally, to finish the whole thing off, I installed a new shower head.

Which was the biggest mistake I made.

See, right after installing it, my wife marched right in, closed the door and proceeded to take a 45-minute shower.  When she was done, the kids all marched through, one after the other.

When the shower marathon ended that day, I opened the bathroom door and it was as if a cloud had localized in that tiny room.  I literally couldn’t see the other side through the steam.  The little ceiling fan was working overtime, but there was no way it could keep up.

“Fortunately,” I thought, trying to wave away the steam, “this is something that won’t happen everyday.  Once the ‘newness’ of the shower head wears off, we’ll go back to having to fight the kids to take baths.”

Nope.  Not a chance.  Every single day since the installation of that vile shower head, our bathroom is engulfed in steam.  Shower after shower, hour after hour:  steam, steam, steam.

Well, that went on for a long time and then the inevitable happened:  the mold started growing around the edges of the ceiling.  The wallpaper started peeling and curling up on all the seams.  My beautiful bathroom had gone from a place of despair to a place of beauty and then back again to a place of despair all in about 6 months time. It was depressing to say the least.

And that’s where the “dreading” comes in.  Everyday, I’d look at the ceiling and see the mold or the wallpaper and see the peeling and I’d dread the “fix-up” job that was to come.

I dreaded it because it seemed like such a big job:  fixing the mold, fixing the paper, repainting the ceiling.  I’d just gone through some of this work and now, thanks to that dumb shower head, I had an even bigger mess to fix.

And so I stared at it for a long time.  I thought about it.  I tried to ignore it.  But most of all I dreaded it.

Until finally I got so sick of being depressed and frustrated about it that I actually fixed it.

I took a week and on a Monday night, I sprayed the mold with a bleach solution and scrubbed the ceiling.  That took me exactly 17 minutes.

Two nights later I came back with more bleach–no scrubbing this time, just the bleach on the mold.  That took about 7 minutes.

On Friday night I went around the room and primed all the previously moldy spots with ProFlo Alkyd primer and then I re-pasted all the peeling paper.  That night’s work took about 15 minutes.

Finally on Saturday, I got ready to paint the ceiling and finish the job.  I was ready for a big, painstaking job (I hate painting ceilings) but I was surprised to find that the whole thing took about an hour from the time I opened the can of paint to the time I put the paint back on the shelf in the workroom.

In the end, I realized that the job I’d dreaded for the last 6 months or more had taken me less than two total hours to fix.  In my mind, I’d exaggerated and inflated and imagined the work to be 10x worse than it was.  I imagined the mess, the problems to be 10x less fixable than they were.  I imagined the pain to be 10x greater than it was.

I’d spent 6 months feeling bad and frustrated and almost (in a sad and pathetic way) depressed about a room that took me less than 2 hours to fix.

So how does this apply to you?  Well, I can’t speak for you, but I’ve talked to many folks in the paint store at RepcoLite who feel the same way I was feeling.  They’re frustrated about the seemingly endless amounts of work needed in their homes.  They look at the jobs and the work to be done and assume that they’re worse than they really are.  And so they do what I did:  they put them off and they stew on them, thinking about them and mulling them over in their minds for months until the jobs seem even bigger and more horrible.  In short, we dread them and waste our time worrying about them and frowning over them.

But what we really should be doing is “doing” them.  The jobs aren’t as bad as we think.  They’ll go smoother.  They’ll go more quickly.  They won’t be as painful.  And best of all, once we’re done, you’ll notice what I noticed:  a real sense of relief and freedom from the work that had been hanging over my head.

So, bottom line:  If you’ve got a project that’s creating that feeling of dread, jump into it.  Get it accomplished.  And then kick back and enjoy the dread-free life…