EP214: In a Neighborhood Near You…

SEGMENT 1: Memorial Day

Dan flies solo and shares stories of families with fallen heroes. As we enjoy the festivities this weekend, let’s take pause to remember what Memorial Day represents.

SEGMENTS 2 & 3: Maintenance Free?

The maintenance-free promises of vinyl siding often come up short. Even vinyl needs regular maintenance such as cleaning and inspection. We talk about how to catch the problems your siding might be hiding and answer the age old question…can you paint it?

SEGMENT 4: Here Comes the Judge…

Tick magnet, Dan, is ditching the trails for neighborhood sidewalks… and what kind of Home Improvement Show would this be if he didn’t spend those walks noticing…and perhaps, judging the homes he passes? Luckily we have the solution to a common problem he is seeing.  

EP213: To Paint or Not to Paint

SEGMENT 1: Tick Explosion

Tick populations are exploding in Michigan! Warmer winters and bird migration have contributed to a rise in the tick population in west Michigan. We talk about a few simple ways to help protect your whole family this summer. 

SEGMENTS 2 & 3: Where Do You Stop?


Is painted trim right for you? We weigh the pros and cons of painting your trim and explain how to tackle this project yourself. We also discuss the growing trend of painting the trim colors other than white! The sky’s the limit for color but if you aren’t painting all the trim where do you start and stop? Tune in for an easy rule of thumb. 

SEGMENT 4: Junk Royalty

Dan is clearing out the barn! We know he’s not the only one with junk to get rid of so we thought we’d discuss all the options. Whether you need to hire a service to haul it away for you or just need to know where to take it, we’ve got you covered!

Paint and Primer All-In-One: Miracle or Marketing?

By now, we’ve all heard about Paint and Primer All-In-One products. We’ve seen commercials, we’ve heard the promises. And we know that using a two-in-one product is going to save us almost miraculous amounts of time, right? Well….

Brilliant Marketing

To start with, let’s clear something up right away. Paint and Primer All-In-One products aren’t new. The labeling is. The name is. But in all actuality, all high quality, 100% acrylic paints will function as paint and primer all-in-one. There is no inherent difference between a product labeled as a paint and primer all-in-one and a high quality acrylic paint. It is really just a brilliant marketing gimmick revolving around the concept that we all like to save time and skip steps!

RepcoLite carries any number of products like this even though we don’t label them as such. Our Hallmark Ceramic Paints and Carefree Interior Paints are all paint and primer in one products. Benjamin Moore’s Aura, Regal, Natura, and Ben also fall in to this category.

So, in actuality, paint and primer all-in-one products aren’t as “cutting edge” as we may have been lead to believe by the smart tv ads! But are they still great time saving products?

Can We Really Skip the Primer Step?

Yes and no. As we mentioned in the previous post primers are different from paints. Paints are different from primers. When the two are combined into a single product, compromises have to be made. Drywall, for example, is porous and needs to be sealed. Just rolling a finish paint on, especially a finish paint that has a sheen, can result in an uneven finish. The paint is absorbed at different rates into the drywall. In the areas where it lays up on the surface, it will look shinier. In the areas where it penetrates deeply, it will look flatter. Subsequent coats can mask this problem, but not always eliminate it. A drywall primer however is made to seal and provide a uniform surface for your finish paint. And, on top of that, it’s about $15 cheaper a gallon! Why spend all that extra money for lesser results?

Or, if you want to paint a tile backsplash, a paint and primer in one product is likely going to peel right off. You need to use a special bonding primer that is designed to adhere to smooth, glossy surfaces.

Or, let’s say you stripped wallpaper off your walls and want to paint. The paste residue that is often left behind is water soluble. A regular waterbased paint and primer all-in-one will react with this and will result in a texturing problem on your walls. Use an oil-based primer (Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Multipurpose Oil Primer or RepcoLite’s ProFlo Primer) and you’ll seal that paste in and you’ll have no problems. (For more information and painting a wall that previously had wallpaper, check out our blog post!)

Bottom line, there are many situations that we run into on almost every painting project where a separate primer and finish paint are going to give you better results than just using a primer and paint in one.

When Can I Use a Paint and Primer All-In-One?

There are certain situations where a paint and primer in one product makes sense:

  • New Coat of Paint (same color)
  • Drastic Color Change
  • Small Repairs

Putting another coat of paint on a wall? Primer isn’t usually needed, so the paint and primer in one products work well. Switching colors? A paint and primer in one will offer better hiding than a cheap paint, so that’s an option. Patched a small area of your wall and you don’t want to buy a separate quart of primer? OK, paint and primer in one makes sense. And there are a number of other situations where paint and primer in one would make sense.

However, remember what we said earlier: Paint and Primer All-In-One products are technically no different from a high quality acrylic latex paint. So, in any of the above situations, do you need to seek out a specific Paint and Primer All-In-One? Absolutely not! If you’ve already got paint, and it’s a high quality acrylic, it’s perfect!

What Do the Professionals Choose?

Professional contractors make their money and build their reputation based on the speed of their projects and the quality of their work. And by an overwhelming margin, they choose to use a separate paint and primer. They know that they will get reliable and consistent results with a separate paint and primer. And they know they’ll get those results at a better price than using the “miracle” paint and primer all-in-one products!

So, why use a lesser system that costs more money when you could use the system the pros consistently choose?

EP07 – May 20, 2017: Enjoy that Outdoor Living!


Outdoor living spaces are big right now! They’re exciting ways to expand your home, your entertaining space, and make the most out of some of our beautiful Michigan summer weather. Today we talk with Rob Cackowski from Heritage Fireplace and Design Center ALL about outdoor living spaces and what you need to do to create the perfect one for your home!

That and much more on today’s episode:

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 007:

Shopping for carpet can be overwhelming. Most of us don't do it very often and every time we do, it seems that the industry has changed dramatically since our last visit to the carpet store!

Today, we're in the studio with Nick Sargent from Johnson Carpet One in Grandville and he's going to help us cut through some of that paralyzing confusion. He's got tips for how to find the perfect carpet for your space and we'll also talk about the pros and cons of the most common carpet fibers. It's like a Carpet Shopping 101 class for anyone who's starting the process!

Nicolas Sargent is a Flooring and Design Consult at Johnson Carpet One in Downtown Grandville Michigan. Nicolas has a background of working with Interior Designers and Builders in a wide variety of products and design styles for the past 15 years. He also has his own clients helping them achieve their own design vision. Some of his favorite products are Wool Carpets, Custom Area Rugs, Hardwoods and Natural Stone.

Most of us have at least 4 - 5 gallons of leftover paint sitting on shelves in our basement at any given time. Sometimes it's paint we plan to use for touch-ups later. But often, it's just extra. And the collection usually keeps growing as time goes by. Well, did you know that there was a green, environmentally friendly solution to all this leftover paint? And best of all, it's incredibly economical.

We're in the studio with Dave Williams from Re-coat Recycled Paint and he explains how easy it is to clean out your basement and, at the same time, help keep old paint out of our landfills!

Re-Coat Recycled Paint Details:

As Dave mentioned in the episode, you can bring any of your usable latex paint to any RepcoLite or Port City Paints location for recycling. There are just a few requirements:
  • Only latex paint can be recycled at this time
  • Paint must be in the original container
  • Paint must be in liquid form
  • Cost is $2 per container
  • There is a 20 gallon maximum per visit

Oil-Based Paint Disposal Options:

If you have oil-based paint or other household hazardous waste you want to dispose of or recycle, you need to contact one of the following locations. Be sure to check with them regarding the times they're open!

When it comes to innovations in the paint and coatings industry, nothing has caused more of a stir recently than the introduction of "Paint and Primer All-In-One" products. They're marketed to be time-saving, money-saving, labor-saving workhorse products. But are they everything they're cracked up to be? We dig into it on this Ask RepcoLite! segment.

And from our blog:

So, last fall I may have done something kind of dumb that may have destroyed my grass in a large are of my backyard. But rather than cry over spilled milk, I'm thinking I'm going to convert that enormous dead zone into an outdoor living space. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start beyond just throwing down some patio blocks down.

Happily, we have a home improvement radio show and something even better: connections! We got in touch with Rob Cackowski from Heritage Fireplace and Design Center. Besides helping us with all our indoor fireplace needs, Heritage is big into helping people create outdoor living spaces that they'll love. It's a great interview that gave me a little insight into all the possibilities out there!

Rob Cackowski is the General Manager of Heritage Fireplace and Design Center in Grand Rapids. He has 20 years experience in the Hearth, Patio & BBQ industry. He's NFI Certified (National Fireplace Institute) and received his BBA in Finance from Western Michigan University.

Heritage Fireplace is a fully mechanically licensed, bonded and insured company. We specialize in both retail and direct to builder sales and installation. We have serviced the greater Grand Rapids and Lakeshore area for over 25 years.

Is Primer Really Necessary? Not If You Like Problems!

OK. We all love saving time, right? Of course we do. My kids do as well. In fact, everytime I ask them to help with any household task, they instantly slide into “time-saving-mode”. Which really just means that they look for shortcuts and ways to cut steps out of projects.

For example, when it comes to doing dishes, they routinely cut out the “scrubbing” step. We don’t have a dishwasher and so we end up standing at the sink every night after dinner. And since this is so boring, the kids have found that they can skip the scrubbing step in order to cut a lot of time out of the job. They run their little fingers over the glasses and the forks in a half-hearted cleaning effort and then they rinse like champions.

And then, days later, we have a guest over and inevitably, the guest needs a glass of water or something. And I get a cup out of the cupboard and stifle a scream when I see a spaghetti noodle, crispy and razor sharp, draped across the cup like a worm on the sidewalk in the sun. I try to hide the glass and reach for another only to find a hunk of hamburger stuck to the next one. Quickly, I toss that one behind my back and reach for a third glass only to find that it’s lined with sticky, leftover Mountain Dew.

I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. It’s really embarrassing. And it proves the point that saving time by skipping steps isn’t always the best plan.

And that’s brings me to the paint point: Many of us want to save time on a paint project and one of the easiest ways to do that is to cut out the primer step. After all, it’s just a time-consuming, boring, and labor-intensive step that serves no real purpose, right? Why put 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of finish when we could just do 2 coats of finish? Can’t we save time by just skipping the primer and going straight to paint?

It’s a great question and we’re going to answer it in chunks. First, let’s start by pointing out that paint and primer are fundamentally different products which serve fundamentally different purposes. Yes, they look similar in the can and they’re applied the same, but a lot of the similarities end there. Paint is designed to take tint and lock that color in a paint film that offers you a sheen (should you want one), scrub resistance, durability, and protection from the elements. Paint is designed to look beautiful and provide you with the durability you need on any given surface.

Primer, on the other hand is made to seal, to adhere, to block a stain, to resist rust, and for a wide variety of other specific situations:

So, using a finish paint on bare drywall, for example, is going to cause problems. Yes, you’re skipping the primer step, but in that instance, you’ll find that your more expensive finish paint is soaking into the surface unevenly. If you used a finish with a sheen (anything other than flat), you will notice that the wall has dull areas (where the paint soaked in) and shiny areas (where it didn’t). Subsequent coats will not completely even this out and you have the potential to produce a wall that has shiny spots that are visible no matter how many coats you apply. A specific drywall primer like RepcoLite’s Quick Seal would resolve this problem for less money!

Using a finish paint over a ceramic tile backsplash is only going to result in sorrow when you find your paint peels off whenever you bump the wall. Again, a bonding primer like Stix from Insul-X, would take care of the problem!

The bottom line is this: skipping the primer may save you some time, but it will likely cause a larger number of problems that are much more complicated and expensive to deal with. If you’re unsure if the project you’re tackling requires a primer, let us help! Just ask at any RepcoLite or Port City Paints location and we’ll let you know the best way to proceed.

Now, of course, the next issue that comes up revolves around the paint and coating industry’s newest innovation: Paint and Primer All-In-One products! All this talk about primers goes out the window when you’re using one of these miracle all-in-one products, right? Well . . . not so fast. We’ll deal with that in the next post!