EP05 – April 29, 2017: One of a Kind Furniture and More!

 

Today, we sit down in the studio with Kim DeBoer and discuss the adventures of refinishing furniture. Kim talks about some of her best experiences and the joys of taking something old and unwanted and turning it into a centerpiece in your home!

That and more in today’s episode of the RepcoLite Home Improvement Show!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 005:

Shopping for furniture to refinish or repurpose can be stressful! What's worth buying? What can actually be refinished and what is just going to make you sad? And where do you look to find these pieces?

Kim DeBoer is a professional painting contractor who does a lot of furniture refinishing on the side. She's been doing this for years and has answers for all of these questions and more!

It's Spring and the weather's getting warmer! And that means that we're right on the cusp of air conditioner season. But did you know that there are a few simple projects you can tackle on a Saturday morning (or anytime!) that will help you make sure your unit runs efficiently, for less cost, and lasts longer!

Today we go over the 2 must-do jobs this Spring!

Staining a deck is a great project! It's fun and even relatively easy. In fact, the most confusing part of the whole project is trying to choose the right stain. Should you go with an oil-based product? Or a waterborne? What opacity is best for your situation? Clear or Solid or something in between?

On today's Ask RepcoLite segment, we've got all the answers!

Spring is here and with it, we get warmer weather, baseball . . . and ants! My home is right now under invasion and so I'm very excited to be in the studio with David Popp from Rose Pest Solutions. He's here to talk about ants, termites, what to look for and what to do when you find a problem!

EP01 – April 1, 2017: Getting Your Deck Ready for Spring

 

It’s Spring! At least mostly…. And there is no better time to clean your deck and get it ready for the season. In this episode, we talk all about what it takes to get that deck cleaned and ready for stain. We also talk with Rose Pest Solutions about a common outdoor pest: mosquitoes.

That and much more on this inaugural episode!

Listen now:

Shownotes for episode 001:

Cleaning the deck is a simple Spring project (or Summer or Fall!!). We ran you through the basics on the show today, but there's a lot more information out there. If you're interested, stop out at any RepcoLite, Port City Paints, or Snyder Paints location and let us help.

Also, we recorded a podcast last summer. It's basically a Deck Cleaning Q&A and it's full of great info. Check it out:

OnFloor Machine Demo

Here's a demo of the OnFloor Machine we discussed in the episode, though we want to note that the situation in this video shows the OnFloor Machine removing nearly 5 layers of freshly applied stain (yikes!). As a result, the speed is dramatically reduced. Still, you can see a great example of how clean the OnFloor Machine will get your deck. It's a very quick way to get your wood ready for stain without having to do any cleaning or introduce any water to the deck at all. This means you could clean it and stain it on the same day!

We have an OnFloor Machine for rent. You can contact us at 616-396-5213 to check availability and rental rates!

Which Tools are Best?

We didn't have time to get to all the different tools on the radio show today, but below we have a video that walks you through a number of different application options and how quickly (or not!) they work!

Mosquitoes are a giant pain in the neck! You just get your deck looking great and find that you can't even be out on it for more than 10 minutes at a time. And all of that time is spent running in circles, waving your arms, and trying to present them with a moving target.

Today, we sit down in the studio with David Popp from Rose Pest Solutions and we talk about prevention and reduction of this annoying spring, summer, and fall pest!

In this first Ask RepcoLite! segment, we answer your exterior paint questions:
  • How early is too early to paint outside?
  • Can you use exterior paint inside?
  • Can you use interior paint inside a garage?
We've got the answers!
It's Spring and that means we're going to be working on our lawns soon enough. Is your lawn equipment ready? What do you need to do to make sure it's ready to go for the season? We sit down with Brian Stacey from Bergman Power Equipment and he tells us everything we need to know!

LadderTalk Podcast 1: The OnFloor Machine Interview with Travis McCutchen

In this first episode of LadderTalk, we interview Travis McCutchen from OnFloor Technologies about their OnFloor Machines. If part of your business involves cleaning and staining decks, doing garage floors, warehouse floors, hardwood floors, you need to check out this interview. The OnFloor Machine is a floor preparation machine that is designed to quickly and easily prepare a wide variety of surfaces for paint and coatings!

Episode Outline

  • Introductions to Travis McCutchen and OnFloor Technologies (0:38)
  • What Is an OnFloor Machine? (2:24)
  • The OnFloor Machine Is Tremendously Easy to Control (4:24)
  • What Types of Surfaces or Applications are Ideal for an OnFloor Machine? (6:19)
  • What Makes OnFloor Different from Other Machines in the Marketplace? (8:33)
  • Is this Machine ONLY for Contractors or Professionals? (11:00)
  • Does That Make it Less Ideal for a Contractor to Use on a Daily Basis? (12:28)
  • The OnFloor Machine Gives You a Surface That is Ready to Coat Immediately! (14:07)
  • How Does the OnFloor Machine Handle Raised Nails/Screws or Uneven Boards on a Deck? (16:23)
  • How Does the OnFloor Machine Handle Hardwood Floors? (18:20)
  • How Does the OnFloor Machine Handle Dust and Mess? (20:37)
  • What about the Price? How Much Is It to Purchase? (22:48)
  • Why Is It Worth It? (24:06)
    • Muriatic Acid Prep on a Concrete Floor: Is It A Good Idea? (24:42)
  • RepcoLite Rentals (27:10)
  • Wrap Up  (27:42)

Rental Rates

Currently we have 1 OnFloor Machine (the 16″ model) for rent. It’s located at our 17th Street store in Holland, but we can make arrangements to get it to any of the Grand Rapids or Muskegon locations should the need arise. If you’re interested in scheduling a rental or asking for more information, you can reach us at 616-396-5213. Rental rates for the machine and vacuum are listed below. The various tools are rented as sets of 3 and are all available at different prices ranging from as low as $10 up to $40. It all depends on the tool you need. Call or stop in with your situation and we can more accurately recommend which tools are most suited for the work you need to do!

DESCRIPTIONRATE
OnFloor 16 Pro -- FULL DAY$175.00
OnFloor 16 Pro -- 1/2 DAY$100.00
OnFloor 16 Pro -- FULL WEEK$450.00
OnFloor Vacuum -- FULL DAY$25.00
OnFloor Vaccum -- WEEK$100.00
Trailer Rental$25.00
Assorted Tools (Prices Vary--Call with Questions)$10.00 - $40.00

 

Color Me Home Episode 14: The OnFloor Machine

In this episode, Betsy and Dan spend some time discussing one of the greatest time-saving tools available for decks right now: an OnFloor Machine. And while that may not sound exciting . . . you’re going to want to give this episode a listen. Once you understand what this machine is and what it will do, you’ll see how easy it is to shave DAYS off your next deck project…

Episode Outline

  • What is an OnFloor Machine Exactly? (1:00)
  • Benefit 1: Clean and Stain Your Deck in a Single Day! (6:06)
  • Benefit 2: End Results Will Be Better than Cleaning with Chemicals (3:33)
  • Benefit 3: Raised Nails? Uneven Boards? No Problem! (6:37)
  • Benefit 4: The OnFloor Machine is So Easy to Use! (16:00)
  • Benefit 5: When Used with the Vacuum System, There’s No Mess! (22:31)
  • RepcoLite Rental Information: (26:12)
  • Save Money Versus Using Chemical Cleaners (28:37)
  • Best of All, the Machine “Just Works!” (31:31)

Our LadderTalk Interview with Travis McCutchen from OnFloor Technologies!

In the episode we mentioned LadderTalk, a new podcast we started that’s geared specifically towards professional painting contractors. Our first episode involved an interview with Travis McCutchen from OnFloor Technologies and it was so interesting and informative, we figured we’d make it available to anyone looking for more information about this machine and why it’s so valuable. Check it out!

 

Deck Staining Tools: What’s Better, What’s Best?

When it comes to applying stain or sealer to your deck, there are a wide variety of tools and applicators available. But which tools work the best? Which ones do the job quicker than anything else?

Success on a deck project–as well as your overall experience–depends largely on the tools you use to apply the stain. Using the wrong tools can make the job more grueling than it needs to be. They can slow you down and prevent you from getting the stain on quickly and evenly. This can affect not just your experience, but also the quality and durability of the finished job. So, finding the right tools is important.

Well, last year, we filmed a review video where we tested out most of the various application tools and techniques that we’ve ever heard discussed at RepcoLite. Some of these were recommended by employees and others are the “favorite” methods of some of our customers. Either way, we put all of these methods to the test and discovered very quickly that some of them are much better than others.

Here are our top 3 recommendations:

METHOD 1: Roller and Brushwooster_bravo_brush

In our tests, we found that the fastest way to apply the stain evenly and quickly was to roll it on with a standard, 9″ roller with a 3/8″ nap and then back-brush it using a Wooster Bravo Stain Brush. If you’re going to use this application method (and it’s the best!), make sure you pick up 1 or 2 extension poles. You can attach the roller to the pole and apply your stain to the deck without leaving your feet. And, that’s why we recommend that particular Wooster stain brush–you can unscrew the handle and instead thread the brush onto the end of an extension pole. So you’ll be able to back-brush your deck from a standing position as well. Which is, (though I don’t have to say it), awesome.

Now, when we tested this method, we found it to be the fastest and easiest way to apply a smooth, even coat of stain to your deck. There are other faster ways (but they’re not as easy). And there are other easier ways (but they’re not as fast.) This method provides, in our opinion, the best balance between ease and speed. However, it’s important to note that the back-brushing step is of paramount importance! And typically will require a second person (helpers are always helpful!).  The reason it’s important is because the roller alone will apply the product too heavily which can lead to all sorts of problems. Back-brushing spreads the stain evenly, helps you get it into the gaps between the boards, and works into deep into the fibers of the wood. It’s a critical step to producing a beautiful deck. So don’t skip it! (And don’t, for your own sake, buy any brush other than the Wooster Bravo–you’ll thank us later. We promise!)

METHOD 2: Padco Paint and Stain Padpadco_floor_pad

Alright, in our testing, there was a second method that we really liked as well: a Padco paint and stain pad. You can see it in the picture here, but just to clarify, it’s a six-inch pad with a handle that can be threaded onto an extension pole. The pad itself is a sponge with a bristled face.

We found this tool to work very quickly and because the face of the sponge is bristled, it does not require back-brushing. It was as fast or faster than the roller and back-brushing method, but, there are two reasons we rated it second. First, it is not nearly as easy to stain the gaps between the deck boards when using this pad. It works and can be done by turning the pad on it’s side, but it’s much easier to do so with the brush. Second, and more importantly in our consideration, the pad works best when the deck boards are in very good condition. If you have boards that are splintered, uneven, or rough, the pad doesn’t perform as well. It’s too rigid to conform to boards that have cupped over time (and you end up with spots that get no stain). It’s also a sponge pad that can be easily snagged and torn apart by boards with splintered edges.

If you’re staining a new deck or a deck that’s in great shape, this is a very fast tool that you won’t be sorry you purchased. If the boards are less than ideal, definitely opt for the roller and brush combo we mentioned above!

METHOD 3: Garden Sprayer and Brush

A third method we tested (and really liked) was the garden sprayer/brush combination. Basically, we took a conventional garden pump-up sprayer and used that to apply our stain to the deck. Now, a couple of clarifications. First, this only works for transparent or translucent stains–sprayers like this are not designed to spray stains with too much pigment. Second, this method can be… will be… messy! So, watch out for overspray on your siding, on your house, on your feet, and so on!

However, if you can take care of all of those issues, then this is a tremendously fast method for applying stain to your deck. Just remember that as was the case with the roller, the stain still needs to be backbrushed to work it into the wood.

And there you go! RepcoLite’s top 3 methods for applying stain to your deck. And if you’d like to check out our full review (and first video–so be kind to the dopes on camera), we’ve conveniently placed it just below this sentence!

How Do I Clean an Old, Gray Deck?

old_weathered_deck_web2“We just bought a new house and the deck looks terrible!  It’s gray and faded. How do we get it ready for a new coat of stain?”

This is a question we hear all the time–in one form or another. Sometimes, it’s about a deck that’s never been stained or protected. Other times it’s about a deck that has been stained, but so long ago that you can barely tell.

In either situation, people are concerned about how to get the deck looking good again. Some even wonder if they can.

Well, the good news is that yes, in most cases, you can completely revitalize your old deck. It’s just a matter of knowing the right steps and using the right products.

So, here’s the scoop:

Step 1: Check for Rotten Boards

The first step in any deck project is easy: look at your deck. Very carefully. Check the wood over. If it’s rotting, splintered, falling apart, or full of knot holes you’ll have to ask yourself a tough question: is it even worth trying to save this?

Stains will protect your wood and give it some water repellancy, but they won’t turn something that’s rotten into something that’s sound! The hard truth is that some decks just aren’t worth trying to save. It’s better and more expedient just to start over.

So check your boards over. If some need to be replaced, do it. If more need to be replaced than not, then consider building a new deck.

Step 2: Sweep it Off

Once you’ve looked it over and either have replaced the boards that needed it or decided that the deck is sound (even though it’s currently gray and ugly!), then it’s time for step 2: Sweep it. Yes, it’s that simple. Brush off the leaves, buds, acorns, branches and whatever else has collected there.

Step 3: Apply the Cleaner

Next, it’s time to start the actual work of cleaning the deck. At RepcoLite, we recommend two different cleaners depending on your situation:

RESTORE from Benjamin Moore:  This cleaner’s for old, weathered wood that either has no stain on it or so little as to be completely negligible. This cleaner will restore your old wood to a nearly new look.

REMOVE from BENJAMIN MOORE: This cleaner’s for decks that still have a noticeable amount of stain on them. REMOVE will . . . remove . . . that stain. Now, we want to clarify that REMOVE will work well on transparent and semi-transparent stains. It’s not designed to remove solid color stains from your deck.

Whatever cleaner is appropriate for your situation, the application is the same:brighten_remove_web

A.  Mix it with water according to the label instructions.

B.  Mist your landscaping and siding (near the deck) with water to protect them.

C.  Spray the cleaner onto the deck with a garden sprayer.

D.  Wait 10 – 30 minutes depending on the condition of your deck. And be sure not to let the cleaner dry out in this step! If necessary, mist more cleaner onto the deck to keep it wet.

E.  Scrub the boards with a good scrub brush in the direction of the grain. This is an important step! The better you do here, the more effort you put in, the better your end results.

F.  After scrubbing the deck, rinse it clean with a power washer or a garden hose. Be sure to give your plants and siding a quick rinse as well!

Step 4: Apply Brighten

Once you’ve rinsed the deck, you’re likely going to be very excited at the results you’re seeing. And you’ll be tempted to quit and wait for the deck to dry. But don’t do that–not just yet. There’s one more step: you need to apply BENJAMIN MOORE’S BRIGHTEN to the boards. This will neutralize the cleaner that you just rinsed off and will also brighten the boards considerably.

Application is essentially the same as the cleaner and should be done immediately after cleaning the deck.

Mix it according to label instructions, mist the landscaping and siding, spray it onto the deck, let it sit, scrub it around, and then rinse it off.

Step 5: Let it Dry

And you’re done! With the cleaning step, that is. All that’s left before you apply a stain is to let the deck dry. We recommend waiting at least 3 good drying days. And by “good drying days” we mean days without rain. Stain needs to be able to penetrate into the wood of your deck to perform. If the deck is damp, the stain can’t penetrate as well . . . and problems usually follow! So let it dry.

And that’s pretty much it. Cleaning an old deck and getting it ready for stain may sound like a complicated process or a long project, but it’s not! The work goes quickly and, on the right day, can actually be a great 2-3 hours spent outside. And the results you’ll get will be more than worth it.

If you’re still not convinced, check out this video we made last summer when we sampled the Benjamin Moore cleaners. And if you’d like more information about decks and what’s required to get them ready for summer, why not give a listen to our Color Me Home Podcast all about decks! You can listen on your computer or download it and listen to it later on your phone or any mp3 player. Check it out!

And here’s our video: