EP55 – April 21, 2018: Silicone Caulk, GFCIs, and Thomas Jefferson: Interior Designer

This show has a little of everything! We talk about GFCIs and why those little buttons should actually be used. We talk about a couple new electrical gadgets. And one will save you money if you have kids! And because Dan needs his own segment, we have a great one called Use With Caution. And finally, we are airing the last segment from last week because it didn’t air due to technical difficulties. It was too good to let slip by!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 055:

Betsy has her own segment so it's only fair that Dan should have his own, right? That's why we are introducing a new segment, very appropriately named, "Use With Caution!"

In this segment we tackle silicone caulk. A lot of people think caulk is just caulk and that the more water resistant it is, the better. However, we recommend using it with caution for a reason! If you use it for the wrong application, the consequences can be almost tragic.

We might not all know that GFCI outlets can actually save our lives. Any place that has water present should have them. We also might not be aware that those little buttons in the middle of the outlet should actually be pushed regularly to test the outlet.

In the studio with us to explain the finer points of GFCIs is Brad Krause, Master Electrician and owner of Service Professor. And don't think they only do electrical! They do everything from heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical to air duct cleaning (that's duct NOT duck!). And they have outstanding customer service. There's a reason these guys (and ladies) get stellar reviews!

Last week we had some "technical difficulties" and segment 4 didn't air. The problem is, the segment was too good for people NOT to hear it! Who knew that Thomas Jefferson was such an amazing interior decorator?!

EP54 – April 14, 2018: Home Repair Services, Solving Paint Problems with the Right Info, and Thomas Jefferson: Interior Designer

Today we interview Joel Ruiter from Home Repair Services in Grand Rapids. It’s a remarkably non-profit organization who’s mission is to help homeowners of all income brackets maintain and improve their homes! We’ll also be talking with RepcoLite’s president, Dan Altena, regarding a paint question that came in on our Facebook page. And finally, we’ll wrap up with a little decorating segment built around our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 054:

Joel Ruiter, the Executive Director of Home Repair Services, stops by to talk about just one of the many programs they offer: the Remodeling Together program. It's an incredibly unique (and almost too-good-to-be-true) program that helps homeowners install brand new kitchen cabinets and counters in their home for as little as $1300! If you're in Kent county, you NEED to check out this segment!

And just to give you a taste of what they can help you do, here are a couple of before and after shots of regular folks who updated their kitchens:

Sometimes a paint problem is straightforward. The answer is clear. However, there are other times when a wide variety of causes could be at the root of the issue!

When that's the case, we need as much information as possible to help you find a resolution. Today, we're joined in the studio by Dan Altena, president of RepcoLite Paints, to discuss just what information you should bring with you to the paint store whenever a frustrating problem arises!

Spring is apparently never coming. And so we decided to talk about the perfect color to add some warmth and energy to your walls! Interestingly enough, Thomas Jefferson looms large in this talk about yellow!

Yellow Inspired By Thomas Jefferson

SaveSave

EP35 – December 2, 2017: Kitchen Trends that Last, Head Lice 101, The Perfect Workshop, Dealing with Ice Dams!

 

Kitchen renovations are expensive. But if they’re done right, they’re worth it. Just make sure you do it right! Today we talk about some kitchen trends that always work! We also dig into the creepy, crawly topic of head lice. Sure, we didn’t want to talk about the, but if you’ve got school-age children, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing with the stress of head lice in a classroom. When that happens, it’s good to know what you’re up against and how to protect your family! That and more on this episode!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 035:

A kitchen update or renovation is expensive. However, if we do it right, the benefits will outweigh the costs. And if we do it right, we could even recoup nearly 70% of our investment if we'd sell. But...we've got to do it right! And with all the choices and decisions to make, it's easy to make a mistake along the way.

One of the most common mistakes people make in a kitchen is to get drawn into trends and fads--items and colors and styles that are new, unique, interesting...but which have limited staying power over the years!

On this segment, we talk about some tried and true kitchen trends that will never go out of style! Choose these items, these colors, these styles, and you won't be looking back 2 years from now wondering what you were thinking!

Well, this is a topic guaranteed to have you scratching your head. As unappealing as they are, head lice are worth talking about.

On this segment, we bust some common "Lice Myths" and then move on to provide you with a handful of preventative measures--little things you can do to keep your kids lice-free this school year!

Years ago Dan painted the dirty concrete floor of an old basement room. What started as a simple job turned into a full room repaint and resulted in a workroom anyone could be proud of! And, best of all, the new room also brought about a surprising effect: Dan spent a lot more time there, working on projects, learning how to do new things, getting more done. All because the room was enjoyable.

No matter how much work you do with tools, every home needs a good workshop. And the good news is that a great workshop is EASY to create. You just need the right paint and the right stain on the right surfaces!

So, in this segment, we talk about the products you'll need to make the perfect workshop in your own home!

Benjamin Moore's Scuff-X is Magic!

Every winter, ice dams become a problem for many homeowners. In this episode, we talk about why they form and then give you a couple ways to deal with them: solve them, or fix them as they arise. Both approaches have their place depending upon your situation.

Now, there were a lot of things we said we'd link to in these notes. Here it all is:

Insulation

We mentioned a chart to determine the R-Value of the insulation in your attic. We've got it below along with a couple of articles that are worth checking out.
  • Fiberglass (blown): 2.2 – 2.9
  • Fiberglass (batts): 2.9 – 3.8
  • Cellulose (blown): 3.1 – 3.8
  • Rock Wool (loose): 2.2 – 3.3
  • Foam (sprayed): 3.6 – 8.2
Just measure the depth of your insulation, determine the material and the multiplier, and do the math! And here's an article highlighting how much insulation you should have.

Avalanche Roof Rakes

I've used a lot of different roof rakes as a homeowner and this is EASILY my favorite. You push the "rake" up the roof and it rolls on wheels, cutting the snow. Huge pieces then fall off your roof, sliding down the big plastic chute!

Sure, it takes some getting used to and yes, it's still work...but it's significantly better than any other rake I've ever used. And it's easier on the roof at that!

And below, in all it's glory, is the video Betsy referenced in the show.

Save

EP34 – November 25, 2017: Stress-Free Holiday Decorating, Safety Tips from Holland DPS, and Drywall Patching and Touch-Up Tips!

 

Every day seems to bring new scam and fraud alerts. The news outlets tell us to be careful with our credit cards and identity. Facebook is full of posts warning us about some new scam that has us on edge every time we go to our inbox. That’s why we contacted the Holland Department of Public Safety. They will help us know what to look for, how to stay safe while out Christmas shopping, and a few other things many listeners probably don’t know. Their goal is to keep us safe so we can all have a Merry Christmas season.

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 034:

Christmas decorating can be very stressful. It can also seem stale. All too often we get stuck in a rut of putting the same decorations in the same spot year after year. If this sounds like you, maybe this is the year to try something different. Maybe it's the year to go "Scandinavian." Now this doesn't mean go out and buy all new decorations and take up new traditions. It simply means to scale down what you are doing. And, if you happen to be selling your house, this is the perfect way to highlight your home's best features while still having that Christmas feeling.
Every time we turn on the news, pick up a paper, or check Facebook, there seems to be a scam or fraud warning. Are they really something to worry about or just a lot of hype? It's the Christmas shopping season and we want to be sure that all of our listeners are safe at home, as well as when they leave the house. We sat down with Officer Dan Keuning and Officer Adam Sokolove of the Holland Department of Public Safety to get their thoughts on these warnings. They also have some ways to keep our homes and property safe while we enjoy all the season's festivities.
Officer Dan Keuning and Officer Adam Sokolove in our studio! Thanks for stopping by!
Do you have a wall in your home that has a hole from that time last year when the kids decided it would be a GOOD idea to play catch in the house?? Are you concerned that no matter how hard you try, everyone will be able to tell where you made the attempt to patch and paint the wall? We've been there before. We've left the hole because we simply didn't know how to fix it and have it blend in. We've got the tips on how to properly patch that hole in the drywall and then touch-up the paint so no one will ever know what happened. And if you teach the kids how to do this, you'll never need to know about another hole in the wall ever again!

Save

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