EP82: Just Do It, All About Stoves, Squares, and Not Your Grandma’s Wallpaper

On today’s show we talk with Rob Cackowski from Heritage Fireplace and Design about alternate sources of heat for winter: wood stoves, gas stoves, and pellet stoves. Which one is right for you? Rob goes through all of the pros and cons to help you decide.

We also talk with Mike Zamarron from Home Repair Services of Kent County. The topic? Squares. A simple tool with a lot of functionality! (Check out the pics below to follow along with Mike)

Finally, we wrap things up with a segment on wallpaper. After all, it’s clearly out of style, right? Nobody uses wallpaper anymore, right? Absolutely not! Wallpaper is still on the cutting edge of every trend out there. Today, Betsy introduces you to a few of her favorites.

Listen here:


Segment 2: Squares


EP69: RepcoLite is Born, Bugs Be Gone!, Betsy’s Toolbox: 3rd Edition

On today’s show we are doing something a little different. You see, before we had this show, we had a podcast. And for one of our podcasts, we interviewed Dave and Dan Altena, the former and current President of RepcoLite. It was a GREAT interview but it was an hour long…and that’s too long for this show. So we’ve decided to share with you the first part of the interview. It covers how RepcoLite came to be, how the paint was made, and how we got our crazy name! It’s a very interesting listen!

And, after staring at the dead bugs plastered on the front of Betsy’s car, we decided to try out some of the methods from the internet and compare them with things you can buy off the shelf. Our results were very stunning! The stuff we thought would be great didn’t always work and the methods we thought couldn’t possible work really surprised us.

And last but not least, we have a 3rd installment of Betsy’s Toolbox. We discuss 6 tools Betsy just can’t live without. Most of them are tools that you might not use every day but they are ones you certainly want to have on hand when the need arises.

Listen here:

SEGMENT 3: Bugs Be Gone!

Just in case you’re looking for a list of our recommended methods for removing bugs from your grill, here it is:

First Place: The Bug Sponge!

Second Place: Used Dryer Sheets and Water!


Third Place: Turtlewax Power Foam Bug and Tar Remover!

EP62: The Wall Doctor, Lawn Tool Maintenance, and the Nearly Magical Scuff-X!

Benjamin Moore’s Scuff-X is one of the most unique paint products we’ve ever run across. It’s not every day that we get this excited about a product. But Scuff-X is the real deal! Today we sit down in the studio with Kevin Hermann from Benjamin Moore to talk about Scuff-X as it’s first birthday approaches!

Listen Here:

Show notes for episode 062:

After doing a segment a couple weeks ago about installing new drywall to hide a popcorn texture on your ceiling, we were excited to meet Jason Austin from The Wall Doctor. Jason will actually come out and mud, tape, and finish drywall that YOU'VE hung! And that's just the beginning of what he'll do to help you improve your home!

Many of us use our lawn tools and just toss them back in the garage or shed when we're done. We don't clean them and we don't think to maintain them. And yet, by doing a few simple maintenance tasks, you can keep them looking great for years!

Also, we referenced an article in the show. Here's the link if you'd like to read it! Finally, we mentioned a great rust remover product called Must for Rust. Here are some before an after shots of an old garden hoe that was not cared for at all! The "after" shot is after soaking it in a bucket of Must for Rust for about 30 minutes! No scrubbing, sanding, or grinding required.

Scuff-X is one of those incredibly unique products that lives up to (and even exceeds) the hype! It's remarkably scuff-resistant AND painting contractors are beginning to use it in more and more unique situations!

EP51 – March 24, 2018: A Historic New Home Shortage, Betsy’s Toolbox, Top 5 Projects When Selling, Under Deck Oasis

Today we debut a new segment that we’ll repeat from time to time: Betsy’s Toolbox! Betsy is a tool geek and she’s always eager to make recommendations about the best tools to use. Today, in her inaugural Toolbox segment, she leads in with unique story about a farmer who had a cow…. We’ll also be talking with builder, Bob Snowden about a historic shortage of new homes we’re experiencing right now. That and much more!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 051:

This week we noticed that Bob Snowden of Snowden Builders, someone we have interviewed on the show before, was featured on the COVER of the Wall Street Journal! He was interviewed for an article titled The Next Housing Crisis: A Historic Shortage of New Homes The article spurred an extended conversation about some of the potential causes for the new home shortage and why it's harder than ever to build a brand new starter home for a reasonable price.
This is a segment we are calling Betsy's Toolbox because, believe it or not, she probably owns more tools than Dan. And today, we're talking about a tool that's been around since 1924...the Irwin Vise Grip. It's an extremely versatile tool that has been upgraded in recent years to make it even more amazing! Now, although this isn't the best video, it really shows how much better the NEW Vise Grips are compared to the old ones.
After talking with Bob Snowden in the first segment about the lack of available homes, we thought it would be a good idea to poll some realtors in the area for their Top 5 Projects when selling a home. If you are considering selling your home, check out one of these great realtors!  
A few weeks ago we were walking around the Grand Rapids Home and Garden Expo and found a really cool product the converts the underside of your second-story deck into a useable outdoor living space. Ross Morgan from Under Deck Oasis tells us about this very unique product and some of the things the converted space can be used for. The before and after pictures say it all!

EP36 – December 9, 2017: Wood Staining Basics, Snowblower Buying, DIY Gifts, and Wallpaper Stripping


Christmas time can be very stressful! Not only does life seem to be more chaotic this time of year, but there are gifts to be bought and that alone causes panic. What do you get for someone who has everything? What if they don’t like what you give them? Are you just wasting your money?

In the spirit of giving, we thought we would help make everyone’s shopping a little easier by giving you our lists of great gift ideas (suited for every budget!) for that DIYer in your life. Most are practical, some are a must, and others may be as much a gift to the giver as to the receiver.

Listen here:

Show notes for Episode 036:

It's not uncommon for people to start a wood staining project only to discover--very quickly--that the wood they're staining doesn't seem to take the stain the way they had expected. And when that happens, things get frustrating quickly!

On this segment, we talk about some common woods and their limitations when it comes to accepting stain. We also dig into some of the concessions we as homeowners have to make when tackling a staining project. After all, wood is a natural substrate and as such, it's full of "character"! And that means the pieces aren't going to be exact duplicates. There will be variations. Accepting it right at the beginning will help.

And here's a bonus point that didn't make it into the broadcast:

On top of EVERYTHING we said in the segment, if you have the opportunity, before you have custom cabinets, built-ins or even trim installed, talk to the finisher. The builder you hire can direct you to the finisher he or she uses. And once you can actually sit down with that person, take time to discuss the color you want to achieve with your stain and listen to the recommendations regarding wood choices!

Finishers are always in the position on a job to take whatever wood was used and make it beautiful. And sometimes, this is a monumental task. They definitely know what woods are going to produce the best results and can make some solid recommendations for you based on the color you want to achieve. Take that info to your builder and see if you can have the items built in that wood so you end up with the color results you want.

If you don't have a finisher or are doing the work yourself, make sure you stop at any RepcoLite or Port City Paints Store, and bring your target color and we will gladly make a wood recommendation!

Some of us procrastinate when it comes to buying a snowblower. We really just want to see snow on the ground and KNOW it's going to stay before we shell out the cash.

Or, sometimes we find ourselves in the market because after the first real snowfall happens, we start our old one up only to realize that last year was it's last year!

Whatever your situation, if you're in the market for a snowblower, we've got answers! We're on the phone with Larry Bergman from Bergman Power Equipment and he's got some solid recommendations to help you make sure you pick up the right machine for your situation!

Looking for a great list of home improvement tools for that DIYer on your Christmas list? We've got the best recommendations out there.

Around $10

Dan's Choice

My first choice is a good tape measure. Yes, it's boring. No, it's not flashy. But it is practical.

The tape measure I like is called the TRUST 72-7525 Tape Measure. You can pick it up for around $12 (so I'm stretching the price limits a little), but it's worth it!

Betsy's Choice

My first choice is cooler than Dan's: it's a bucket organizer. Simply put it in a 5-gallon bucket and you've instantly got a very portable tool box!

It has pockets and looks for all your tools and you can put larger items in the bucket. It also works great for all your painting supplies.

Around $25

Dan's Choice

A stud finder. Stop pounding the walls and hoping to hear a different sound. And even more so, stop pounding nails in the walls in little trial and error sections! I've done both and definitely have enjoyed the ease of use and accuracy of a stud finder. No, they're not perfect. Yes, they can make mistakes from time to time. But overall, it's a time saver and a wall saver!

Betsy's Choice

A multi-tool. I love these things! And while you could go crazy and buy a very expensive one, even a $25 multi-tool will get you at least a knife, a pliers, a wire cutters, and flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers! Everything you need to use in a pinch!

Around $50

Dan's Choice

An orbital sander. You'll use it all the time and on all kinds of different projects. I've used it to sand everything from furniture, to boards, to the edges of a deck where a bigger floor unit wouldn't reach. It is remarkably handy. And best of all, you can get a good one for under $50.

Betsy's Choice

Vampliers Screw Extraction Pliers! These these are AWESOME! I did everything I could on-air to describe them, but a picture's worth 1000 words. The rows of teeth are designed to grab even the slipperiest screw and help you extract it with ease! Just read the reviews on this tool! It's definitely something for every toolbox. And, best of all, it prices out at about $40. So you've got $10 you can spend on that bucket organizer!

Around $100

Dan's Choice

A jigsaw. And a good one. Don't skimp! Get one that has variable speeds and an easy mechanism for changing blades. This is another of those tools that is a workhorse around the home. No, it's not as fancy as Betsy's Vampliers, but you're going to use it way more! (Unless you routinely strip screws!) The biggest point to stress here is to invest in a good saw. Read reviews, ask questions and find one that will do what you need.

Betsy's Choice

A laser measure. Specifically, I'm recommending the Bosch GLM 40 Laser Measure. It'll measure area, length, volume and will also do addition and subtraction! It's pocket sized and is perfect for anyone who has the need to measure larger areas, like rooms, on a regular basis.

However, as Dan pointed out, NEVER point the laser at a helicopter or an airplane or any other vehicle or person for that matter! Trouble will ensue. Don't believe us, look below (and consider this a bonus present for the holidays that will keep you out of court and prison!)

Over $100

Dan's Choice

If you can spend the money on someone you love dearly, you can't go wrong with this drill/driver and impact driver combo set! As we mentioned in the show, an impact driver is an amazing tool if you drive a lot of screws. It's better than any other tool at the job and makes easy work of drilling screws into even the thickest, most dense boards.

Betsy's Choice

Man Crates. Yes. You read that correctly. As Dan said, they're basically funny and cool crafty kits for guys. There are knife making kits, pipe carving kits, a chef kit (complete with band-aids). And best of all, many of them come in super cute (ahem, I mean ultra-manly) wooden crates. With a tiny pry bar. Which is actually half the fun! Give the gift and then laugh til you cry as your loved one tries to open it! It's awesome. Unique. And definitely makes me the winner of this contest! Check them out!

When you hear the words "wallpaper stripping," do you cringe? When you see dated wallpaper in a potential new home that will have to be stripped, do you make a beeline for the door and cross the house off your list? These seem to be common reactions when people even THINK of stripping wallpaper. And this can happen for a couple of different reasons.
  1. People have stripped wallpaper before and had a terrible experience.
  2. People have heard horror stories of stripping wallpaper and don't want any part of it.
Our goal with this segment is to give you all the information you need to make wallpaper stripping painless and to ensure success. Betsy is of the opinion that it can even be (gasp!) fun and oddly satisfying as the paper comes off in large sheets.  
And....spolier alert!
The secret to stripping wallpaper is PATIENCE and KEEPING THE PAPER WET! These two things will put you on the path to wallpaper stripping glory!