EP212: Black Gold

SEGMENTS 1 & 2: Black Gold

Composting is a great way to cut down on the amount of trash filling your garbage can. However, most of us have probably seen or experienced a compost pile that smells and attracts pests. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how to do composting right!

Wood Chips/PelletsCarbonHigh carbon levels; use sparingly
Wood AshCarbonOnly use ash from clean materials; sprinkle lightly
Tea LeavesNitrogenLoose or in bags
Table ScrapsNitrogenAdd with dry carbon items
Straw or HayCarbonStraw is best; hay (with seeds) is less ideal
Shrub PruningsCarbonWoody pruning are slow to break down
Shredded PaperCarbonAvoid using glossy paper and colored inks
Seaweed and KelpNitrogenApply in thin layers; good source for trace minerals
Sawdust PelletsCarbonHigh carbon levels; add in layers to avoid clumping
Pine NeedlesCarbonAcidic; use in moderate amounts
NewspaperCarbonAvoid using glossy paper and colored inks
LeavesCarbonLeaves break down faster when shredded
Lawn and Garden WeedsNitrogenOnly use weeds which have not gone to seed
Green Comfrey LeavesNitrogenExcellent compost activator
Grass ClippingsNitrogenAdd in thin layers so they don't mat into clumps
Garden Plants-Use disease-free plants only
Fruit and Vegetable ScrapsNitrogenAdd with dry carbon items
Flowers, CuttingsNitrogenChop up any long woody stems
EggshellsNeutralBest when crushed
Dryer LintCarbonBest if from natural fibers
Corn Cobs, StalksCarbonSlow to decompose; best if chopped up
Coffee GroundsNitrogenFilter may also be included

SEGMENT 3: Meet the Professor

We are joined by Brad Krause, president of Service Professor. We talk about shortages we are seeing across industries and speculate on how long term that may be. Plus, learn all about the services they offer, including a new technology that improves your heating and cooling efficiency.

SEGMENT 4: Curb Appeal on a Budget

Obviously, painting the entire exterior will have the most impact. Fortunately, there are small projects that can improve the curb appeal of your home with less time and money invested. In this segment, color is the name of the game as we point out some overlooked projects….

EP202: Dutch Doors and Decoupage

SEGMENT 1: Weekend of Wallpaper

Last week we talked about ways to incorporate wallpaper into your design. This week, we want to dig into one of our favorite kids’ room wallpaper projects: creative cutouts!

Here’s what you’ll need:

RepcoLite Locations with Wallpaper Books

  • 17th Street Location (Holland)
  • Lakewood Blvd. Location (Holland)
  • Byron Center Location
  • Fulton Street Location (Grand Rapids)
  • Broadmoor Location (Grand Rapids)
  • Plainfield Ave. Location (Grand Rapids)
  • Kalamazoo Location

And also . . . in the course of the conversation, we talked about a dad who photoshops his kids’ drawings into realistic images. And they’re hilarious! There are a couple below. Click here for more!

SEGMENTS 2 & 3: Meet Mac Flook

Before becoming the Manager for our Jenison store, Mac went to school for Political Science. His plan was to go into medical law, but that slowly shifted. We learn why and discuss the value of trade skills.

SEGMENT 4: Dutch Door Friendly

Dutch doors date back to the 17th century and were extremely practical before screens were invented. Now they are coming back as a bold design feature that adds a ton of curb appeal . . . we weigh the pros and cons . . . .

EP63: Wool Carpet, Solid Color Stain Explained, A Crafty Flower Pot Project, and Sewer Backups No More!

Today’s show covers a wide variety of topics. We start by discussing the long-term benefits of wool carpet (as well as the sheep that make it possible). From there, we discuss a confusing topic among homeowners: solid color stain. What is it? Why use it? How is it different from paint? We dig into all of that and then, Betsy goes all “crafty” and has a great project using solid color stain. Finally, we wrap up with an interview with Service Professor in Grand Rapids about sewer backups and all the different solutions that are available to you!

Listen Here:

Show notes for episode 063:

Wool carpet is expensive, right? Overpriced? Not worth it? Absolutely not! We sit down with Nick Sargent from Johnson Carpet One in Grandville to talk about the charm, durability, and incredibly functionality of wool carpet.

Solid Color Stain is typically a confusing product. People think of stain as something you can see through and which has a brown tone! They don't realize that solid color stains actually look pretty much like paint!

But that brings up the next question: when do I use paint and when should I use stain? We answer all of that and more!

Finally, we mentioned an EPA Guide to Lead Safe Repair, Renovation, and Painting. Here it is if you'd like to check it out!

Betsy gets all "crafty" and talks about a perfect Saturday project for you, your kids, your grandkids . . . pretty much everyone!

Sewer backups are tremendously . . . inconvenient. Horrible. Life-Altering. You name it. But did you know there are alternatives to simply "rootering" your line every few months? Alternatives that don't require you to dig up your yard?

We're in the studio with Paul Gerbaisi from Service Professor in Grand Rapids to highlight all the options available to you!

EP04 – April 22, 2017: Painting Vinyl Siding and More!

Vinyl siding was supposed to last forever. But . . . it doesn’t. At least the color doesn’t. After a while, houses with vinyl siding can start to look tired, faded, boring . . . old. Well, Benjamin Moore’s Revive is a paint specifically made for vinyl siding. It sticks remarkably well and is available in a range of over 300 vinyl safe colors! It’s definitely worth a look if you’d like to change the entire look and feel of your home this summer!

That and more on this episode!

Listen now:

Show notes for episode 004:

Did you know you can paint vinyl siding? Kevin Hermann dropped by our studio to discuss Benjamin Moore's Revive Vinyl Siding Paint and gave us some tips to get the job done right. The best news is, there are over 300 "vinyl safe" colors to choose from! These colors will allow you to choose a color that is darker than your original siding, without warping your siding. A whole new world of possibilities has been opened!

Kevin also stressed the importance of proper prep/cleaning before painting. Revive does not require a primer if you take right the steps to clean the siding first. Check out our blog post for everything you need to know about getting your siding ready for paint.

Browse Revive's Color Palette of over 300 Colors!

Kevin Hermann is a Territory Representative for Benjamin Moore. He has been with the company for 26 years and has a wealth of paint knowledge. He answers questions from what type of paint to use for a specific project to application tips. And if you really push him, he might even tell you a fish story or two!

How often do we drive through a neighborhood and slow as we come to a house with a beautiful front yard? We sigh heavily as we dream about that house.

But wait! This can be your house. No need to dream! These curb appeal projects are simple and inexpensive. They range from cleaning the exterior of the house to landscape primping. We've got 4 projects that don't take a lot of time or money. And if you go through these and are STILL looking for more ideas, listen to our podcast about curb appeal, check out our front door color Pinterest board, or read our blog post that gives you 6 more inexpensive projects.

We also found this great HGTV slideshow with before and after curb appeal photos. It proves how far a change in landscaping (often minimizing it!), some paint and a little color will go!

When it comes to snowblower maintenance, how many of us just fill the gas tank and push it to the back of the garage to collect dust for the next 6 months? Lots of people! But there's more to it.

If you have limited time or energy, we have the one step you ABSOLUTELY should not bypass. If you have a bit more time to spend, we have 4 other things that will help your snowblower start the first time you pull the cord when faced with a foot of snow next winter. We also have a tip that will save you from being like Dan and annoying your neighbors for the better part of four hours!

Imagine this scene: you are shoveling your driveway after a long day at work. Everything is fine until you are stopped abruptly when the blunt end of your shovel tries to impale you through the stomach. Dan is all too familiar with this feeling.

But the pain is over! Andy Van Dyke from VDC has the solution for those pieces of sunken concrete. The best news is, it's way cheaper than we would have imagined.

Color Me Home Episode 9: Tips For Selling Your Home Quickly!

On today’s episode, Betsy and Dan discuss some tips for those of you who are thinking about putting your homes on the market. Even though homes are selling faster than they have in recent years, there are still some things that you can do to make sure your home sells quickly AND for as much money as possible….

View our Pinterest Board for Episode 9!

Episode Outline

  • First Impressions Matter (0:52)
  • Start Outside (2:58)
  • Organize, De-Clutter and De-Personalize (11:56)
  • Make Those Small Repairs (19:58)
  • Paint the Walls Neutral? Or Go Bold With Color! (23:42)

Color Me Home Episode 4: Curb Appeal on a Budget, 2

This week, Betsy and Dan continue their discussion regarding simple exterior projects designed to help you increase the curb appeal of your home without breaking the bank!

Episode Outline

  • Is Your Front Porch Inviting? (1:06)
  • What Does Your Landscaping Say About Your Home? (17:10)
  • Have You Ever Considered Painting the Whole House? (23:50)
  • A Simple Cleanup Can Make a Tremendous Difference! (28:14)

Haint Blue

One of the interesting discussions we had in this episode revolved around an old tradition in the South where porch ceilings were painted blue. There were a number of reasons why people did this, but one of them revolved around the ability of blue paint to ward off or deter spirits, or “haints”. You can read one of the articles we referenced right here!

The Porch on the Grand Hotel (or, Dan’s Wrong Again).

grand_hotel_webDuring the discussion about porches, Dan suggested that the famous porch on the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island was painted blue. He was adamant. Betsy was, of course, skeptical. She offered to check with a “reliable source”, who turns out to be her father. Who turns out to be the supplier of much of the paint that’s used on the Island. Who confirmed that Dan was indeed wrong. The actual color on the huge covered porch of the Grand Hotel is called “Grand Hotel Porch Green”.

Now, technically, it’s a bluish green. But it’s also, technically, called “green”. So, Dan (though he was really close and would get an A for effort if he would accept a grade based solely on effort) was wrong. Betsy, as seems to be her tendency, was right. Oh well, tomorrow’s a new day…

Vinyl Safe Colors

We mentioned this in our previous episode as well, but here’s the link to Benjamin Moore’s Vinyl Safe Colors. Check out the full palette!vinyl_safe_colors_revive4

Painting Your Vinyl Siding

Painting your vinyl siding isn’t typically a project we’d consider “low-budget”. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, it really is. Here’s why: painting the vinyl siding of your home will produce a remarkable change. In fact, not many outdoor projects (if any!) are going to produce as profound a change in the curb appeal of your home. So, the project produces amazing results. And to get those amazing results, you typically only have to spend anywhere from $300 – $600 on paint. Add some supplies and figure in your time to do the work and you’re still talking about a relatively low expenditure to produce the biggest change possible without remodeling or re-siding your home. So, relatively speaking, it’s inexpensive when you consider the results!

And, it’s not a difficult project. We’ll go into greater detail on a future blog post, but for now the basics are these:

CLEAN THE SIDING: Before you apply any paint, the siding needs to be cleaned and free from any surface contaminants. The paint you will later use bonds to the surface of the vinyl. If that surface is not clean and ready for paint, you can end up with the paint bonding to whatever contaminant was there (dust, dirt, etc). So, make sure you clean the siding. We recommend a cleaner called Jomax. It’s designed to clean vinyl siding and if you use this in conjunction with a scrub brush and a power washer, you’ll be able to get the dust, mildew, and any other surface contaminants off the siding to make it ready for paint.

PICK YOUR PAINT: Once the siding’s ready for paint, it’s time to get the paint! We recommend Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Revive. Revive provides excellent color retention, is resistant to mildew and can be applied in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s designed specifically for vinyl siding and comes in a wide palette of vinyl-safe colors. As we mentioned above, to avoid warping caused by colors that absorb heat, be sure to select vinyl safe colors for your project!

Below, we have a gallery showing you why you want to use vinyl safe colors! In the photos, the paint on the vinyl was simply regular exterior paint and a vinyl safe color wasn’t chosen. The new color was darker than the original vinyl and, in the sun, heated up so much that the actual vinyl siding warped, creating a problem that can only be fixed by replacing the siding. The lesson? Always choose vinyl safe colors!

APPLY IT and ENJOY: After cleaning and picking your paint (and vinyl safe color!) all that’s left is to do the work. Apply the paint on the cool side of the house, working out of direct sunlight. You can use a roller (we have various sizes), a paint pad, a brush (generally just for trim work), or even a sprayer (if you can safely do that without having overspray drift throughout your neighborhood!). Painting the whole house is labor intensive. It will take you some time and it’s definitely a work out (you’re going up and down ladders all the time!). But, the good news is that once you’re done, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits for many years to come!

If you decide to tackle a project like this, stop out at any RepcoLite, Port City Paints, or Snyder Paints location and let us give you the full rundown regarding method and tools!

A Simple Cleanup

jomax_400We ended this episode discussing the importance (and ease!) of simply doing a little cleanup around your house. Sure, this is pretty obvious, but we wanted to highlight a couple things that might make this easier for you. First off, as we mentioned above, when it comes to cleaning your vinyl siding, we recommend Jomax. It’s a concentrate you mix with water and it’s designed to help you easily remove tough dirt and stains. Mix it with a little bleach and it will kill mold and mildew fast! (Just watch out for your plants and landscaping . . . or you’ll be in big trouble. Remember: we warned you!)

A second note we wanted to convey is that RepcoLite, Port City Paints, and Snyder Paints all rent out power washers. So if you don’t own one or have a friend or neighbor with one, be sure to call your nearest store and reserve one! It speeds up the cleaning process dramatically and will help you get your house looking beautiful in no time!