EP33 – November 18, 2017: Painting Stairwells, Decluttering, Cleaning Hacks, and Decorating With Kids

 

Thanksgiving is just days away and soon our homes will be filled with guests. For some people, this is no big deal; their homes are always clean. For others, panic is setting in as they realize their house is nowhere near ready for company and probably won’t be unless they pull some college type all nighters. But don’t worry! We’ve got some quick decluttering ideas that can be done in a weekend and some cleaning hacks that will have the house sparkling in no time.

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 033:

Painting a stairwell is a daunting task for homeowners. How in the world do you paint the edge of where the wall meets the ceiling when it's 17 feet off the floor?

Well, there are a lot of "answers" out there. But some of those answers just don't cut it in our books!

For example, one solution given on the world wide web is to tape a paint brush to an extension pole. Or, better, to use an actual paint brush extender tool that's made for the job. In either case, you've got a brush on a pole that you're hoisting way over your head to cut a straight line between the wall and the ceiling . . . . Um. Right. For an experienced contractor, maybe. For a regular DIY'er, probably not.

Shur-Line Paint Edger

Instead, try the Shur-Line Edger.  You can see it over there on the right. It's a weird little gadget that can make your day or make you so mad you'll want to toss it across a room.

There are all sorts of mixed opinions regarding this little tool. You could honestly start a mini-war in the paint store just by vocally denouncing it or praising it!

Still, for this job, it might be the perfect solution because you can put it on an extension pole and use it to edge right up to the ceiling. You'll get a straight line and be able to do all of it from the ground!

However, there's a reason this little tool can cause arguments: if you don't use it correctly, it can really cause trouble. And the most common way of using the tool the wrong way is to load it with paint incorrectly. Here's a video that demonstrates the right way to load it:

The holidays are upon us! Here are a few quick weekend projects that will help get your home ready for your guests!

This segment is basically Part 2 of the Thanksgiving Survival Guide we started in the previous segment. With the Decluttering done, now it's time to talk cleaning. And we've got some great cleaning hacks to make your life easier and your cleaning quicker!

The Oven

For quick oven cleaning, mix baking soda, water, and vinegar in an oven safe bowl to make a paste. Dab the paste onto the messiest areas in your oven and then set the bowl with the remaining paste on the shelf in the oven and bake it for 45 minutes at 100 degrees. When that's over, wipe the oven clean with a sponge! It's quick and easy! Check out this video from cleverly.com to see the process:

The Microwave

To get all that gunk that's all over the inside of your microwave, try this quick fix: put water and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 6 minutes or so and then let it sit and cool for a little while. Then, remove it and wipe the microwave clean. The steaming effect coupled with the vinegar or lemon juice will make clean up super easy! And the microwave will smell lemony fresh.

The Shower

For those overnight guests, it might be a good idea to give the shower a once over. And here's something simple: Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and Dawn Dish Soap. Spray it on, let it sit for a while (the dawn will keep the solution in place on the surface) and scrub clean. The soap scum and other gunk will wash away!

Another method is to put the same mixture in a dish wand--something with a scrubby on the end. Then, during your next shower, just use that and give it all a good scrubb!

Moldy Caulk

Moldy caulk around your tub or shower can be easily dealt with by wiping the caulk with a rag dampened with bleach. If the mold is surface mold, you'll be amazed how easily and quickly that terrible black caulk will turn white!

If the mold has established a bulkhead in your caulk, you could try a heavy gel toilet bowl cleaner that contains bleach. The heavy gel will keep the cleaner on the mold for longer, hopefully attacking the mold and whitening the caulk. After an appropriate period of time, rinse it off and measure your success!

Dusty Mini Blinds

Cleaning mini blinds is a pain. I hate pulling them down and tossing them in the bath tub and then trying to dry them off. I know I'm probably damaging the gears and mechanisms of the blinds, but I've always struggled to find a good way to get them clean. Well, here's the answer:

If they're dusty, simply use an old paint brush! Super fast! Super effective.

If they need a damp cleaner to remove other dirt, just mix vinegar and water. Then put a sock on your hand, dip it in the solution, and wipe over the blinds.

Ceiling Fan

Dusty ceiling fans are so messy! Sure there are little dusters that will go up there, but the problem is, you pull the dust off onto yourself or the surfaces below. Here's a Betsy-Approved method that will eliminate ALL of the mess:

Use an old pillow case. Just carefully slide the pillow case over the blade and then sandwich it top and bottom with your hands and pull. The dust comes off and stays in the pillow case! It's perfect!

Pet Hair on the Furniture

If you've got pet hair all over your furniture, there are a lot of different hacks out there to help you clean it off. Sure, you could use lint rollers and tape and all that, but here are a couple other options that are a little more unique:

The Squeegee. A regular window squeegee, when dragged across your furniture will actually pull the dog hair into little piles. It's really fun. It's almost relaxing. Until you actually look at the pile of fur you've scraped up and realize you've got enough to create another dog. Still, at least you've got it off your furniture!

It also works great on your carpet. And if you're not interested in crawling around on your hands and knees "squeegeeing" your carpets, consider a rubber carpet rake/squeegee! They're super inexpensive and very well-reviewed. Click here to view one on Amazon!

Decorating kids rooms can be an incredibly rewarding experience. And it can also be a train wreck! Here's how you can do involve the kids, get great results, and have limited conflict along the way!

Save

EP32 – November 11, 2017: Getting Ready For the Holidays, Fall Projects: Part 2, Oil-Based Paint Q&A, Snow Tools and Gear

 

Today’s episode is largely about getting you ready for the holidays and that dreaded four-letter “s” word…..snow! We have some projects that you should be getting done BEFORE snow comes to stay and some gear to keep you warm once it does. We’ve also got some Dan and Betsy “tested and approved” snow tools that will make life a whole lot easier when the white stuff piles up!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 032:

We are aware that the holiday season begins very soon. So it baffles us why so many blogs, decorating magazines, and paint companies encourage you to paint your whole house now, BEFORE your holiday guests start arriving. Isn't there enough stress already?!

We pondered this concept and came up with what we think is a great compromise. It will have your house looking great, without a ton of expense, time, or stress. And if you ARE thinking of putting a little paint on the walls before the holidays, you might want to check out Benjamin Moore's 2018 Color Trends, as well as their "holiday ready" 2018 Color of the Year, Caliente AF-290!

A couple weeks ago, we had a list of Fall Projects that we thought it was important to get done while the weather was still nice and a bit warmer. Now, with the temperatures dropping like a lead balloon, we have the second part of the list that should be done BEFORE snow moves in for the winter!

Let's suppose you have an old house or a really cool, old piece of furniture. You want to paint but then it dawns on you that the surface you want to paint over just might be oil-based paint. You groan, completely convinced that you are going to have to deal with that slow drying, hard to clean up paint. But do you?

We hear it all the time. People are convinced they can't paint over oil with latex. We talk about this and how to find out if it really IS oil, or if you are having a panic moment for no reason at all.

And if you are concerned that the oil paint in your home may have lead, you can check out great information on the EPA's website.

It's time to face the facts. We live in Michigan. It's November. Snow is coming...soon! And we want our listeners to be ready with must-have, unusual, Betsy and Dan tested tools and gear. These things will help you get through winter with ease!

Here is our list!

TOOLS

Betsy's "Yooper Scooper"

Dan's Avalanche Roof Rake

Betsy chose this video because the excited guy yelling in German makes her laugh! And it shows how well the product works. Dan swears by this tool!

Snow Broom

GEAR

Warmest Mittens Ever!

Stormy Kromer Hats

Betsy owns more than one of these and thinks everyone should have one!

The Rancher Cap

Northwoods Trapper

EP30 – October 28, 2017: Stain Match Perfection, Insulation and Evergy Efficiency, Century from Benjamin Moore

 

On today’s episode we cover a lot of ground. If you’ve ever struggled to get the perfect stain match for a project, or have been disappointed in the past when you just grabbed a color off the shelf, we’ll tell you what you can do to make sure that you get a perfect match everytime! We’ll also introduce you to a brand new paint from Benjamin Moore that actually has to be seen to be believed! That and more on today’s episode!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 030:

We match a lot of stains at RepcoLite and we're very good at it. Still, there are a number of things you can do that will help us make sure you're next stain match is absolutely perfect!

In these segments, we talk with George Clark from WMBG Home Improvements (formerly West Michigan Glass Block) about insulation. At least that was the intent!

It didn't take long before George challenged our thinking that insulation is always the answer!

And if you need to contact George at WMGB Home Improvements, you can click the link or give them a call! Here's the number George couldn't remember on-air: 616-920-8138

EP28 – October 14, 2017: Whole House Surge Protection, Paint Finishes, Color of the Year, and Fall Jobs

 

There is so much stuff on today’s episode! Fun stories about what it’s like to be short, as well as discussions about great fall projects that will help you save money (and keep mice OUT wall winter long!) On top of that, we discuss Benjamin Moore’s big announcement regarding the Color of the Year for 2018. And most importantly, we talk about HOW to use that color in your own decorating!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 028:

In this segment, we're in the studio with Bill Haveman from Haveman Electric talking about whole house surge protection and backup generators! (And with winter closing in, I've got to be honest, the generator part of the conversation really got my wheels turning!

You can reach Bill and Haveman Electric via their website, or by calling them at 616-396-8213.

We see it all the time at RepcoLite: customers are confused about paint finishes. What do the different names mean? Which is shinier a semi-gloss or a satin sheen? And most importantly, where is each finish best used?

We cover all of that and more in this segment!

Benjamin Moore just announced their pick for Color of the Year 2018 and it's a red! Caliente (AF-290) to be exact. In this segment, we briefly discuss how Benjamin Moore came to pick this color, but we spend the bulk of our time talking about how you can make it work in your own space!

Also, in the course of the segment, Betsy mentioned our "Caliente-Inspired' Pinterest page. You can check that link out by clicking the button below!

"Caliente-Inspired" Decorating!

Fall is moving quickly! And before we know it . . . we're going to be looking at fields of snow outside our windows! Before we get to that point, there are a number of projects we should be tackling right now to make sure that our home is ready for the upcoming cold season! We discuss some of the main ones and throw out a few curve balls you might not have thought of yet!

Save

Save

 

EP26 – September 30, 2017: Wood Finishes, Light Bulb Early Burn Outs, Tree Trimming 101, Decorating Small Bedrooms

 

 

Lacquers, Polyurethanes, Shellacs, and more! There are so many finishes that can be classified under the broad heading of “clear coat”. Which one is right for your project? Which one is going to give you the most durability? It’s honestly not as confusing as it may seem! Today we clear up the confusion and give you everything you need to know to make the best choice!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 026:

When it comes to choosing the right wood finish for a project, many people are confused. There are so many options. What's best? In this segment, we talk about the most common choices and highlight the best uses for each one!

When light bulbs burn out early, we start to wonder what's going on! The packages say we'll get multiple years out of a given bulb, but sometimes we end up getting just a couple weeks. Why is that? And, more importantly, what can we do about it?

Today we're in the studio with Bill Haveman from Haveman Electric and he's got some answers and some recommendations!

Trimming plants back in the fall doesn't always seem like rocket science. And it isn't. But still, do it wrong (as I have) and you won't have any Hydrangea blooms next year!

Matt Bakker from Landscape Design Services joins us to lay out the do's and don'ts of trimming!

Small rooms can be frustrating to decorate. And often, we tend to just give up and resign ourselves to the idea that they can only be functional . . . not design-oriented.

We want to challenge that! Those small rooms can be eye-catching. You just need to approach the project with a little creativity!

EP23 – September 9, 2017: Bold Cabinets, Clogged Drains, Cold Weather Painting, New House “Must-Do’s”

 

It’s getting colder and we’re heading into sweatshirts and jeans weather, football, beautiful fall colors, and all the other great things that autumn brings. But with the dropping temperatures raise a lot of questions about exterior painting: when is it officially too cold to paint outside? We’ve got the answer to that and much more in this episode of the RepcoLite Home Improvement Show!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 023:

Is it time for a kitchen makeover? Are you thinking of just painting the cabinets white? Have you thought of stepping outside the white box and into a little bit of color? We want to challenge the thought that kitchen cabinets should be white. Kim Scott, of KJS Interiors, joins us in the studio to talk about ways to bring color into your kitchen. Kim is an interior designer who is not afraid to use color in her decorating. She encourages people to the out of their comfort zone and try out a new, fun color. It's amazing how great a little color can look in a kitchen.

How many times have you been brushing your teeth and spit the toothpaste in the sink, only to find that the drain is clogged and the water refuses to drain? Yuck!

We tackle how to unclog a drain, before you call a plumber. And Dan gets the chance to talk about his favorite plumbing tool; a sink auger. The consensus is that he likes it just because it pulls some of the most disgusting looking things from drains!

As the weather gets cooler, we start to get the same questions over and over again in our stores, "Can I still paint outside?" Yes, you can, but there are some very important things that you need to know before doing so. We also talk about proper fall/winter paint storage and how to estimate how much paint you need to paint the exterior of a house. Many people think it is more complicated than it really is. It's just like estimating paint for your walls. You just have to find the total square footage of surface area. To do that:
  1. Assuming you have 4 sides of the house to be painted, take each side separately and find the square footage. To get this, take the length of each side and multiply by the height. Add square footage for 4 sides together.
  2. Subtract windows, doors, and anything else that won't be painted with the body color.
  3. Divide remainder from step 2 by 350-400, depending on surface to be covered. (Ex. 2500 square feet÷350=7 gallons. You would probably need just a bit more; maybe just a quart more.) This is for one coat.
When people move into a new house, usually the first thing they do is unpack. But wait! Before doing that, read this list of things you should be doing as soon as you move into a new house. And even if you haven't just moved, this list might still help you get organized and prioritize home projects. The article, 20 Things to Do When You Move Into Your New Home, originally appeared on the Family Handyman website. We took our favorite ideas and put our own spin on them. Here are our top 13 favorites:
  1. Make a prioritized list with help from everyone in the household
  2. Clean refrigerator coils
  3. Clean dryer (we covered this on Episode 8)
  4. Install a new toilet seat (we thought this was absolute brilliance! Why didn't WE think of that?!)
  5. Replace furnace filter
  6. Clean air conditioner (we covered this on Episode 5)
  7. Locate and mark main water shutoff
  8. Locate electrical panel (it might not be where you anticipate)
  9. Check smoke and CO detectors
  10. Make sure sump pump works
  11. Live in your home for a year before making major changes
  12. Make one room a retreat
  13. Meet your neighbors

Save

Save