EP50 – March 17, 2018: Mental Toughness, Painting Over Wallpaper: Yes or No?, and Get Off the Couch!

There are all kinds of reasons we hesitate to jump into home improvement projects. Sometimes we lack the tools for a certain project. Sometimes we lack the knowledge to accomplish certain tasks. And sometimes, we’re just plain scared to even try. The thought of the unknown and our lack of confidence holds up back from great things. But the time has come! Get off the couch and give it a try. You might be amazed at the result!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 050:

We are not always what we seem. Our minds are powerful and can help us accomplish great things. Mental toughness will help not only in life, but also when it comes to accomplishing home projects we never thought possible. Sometimes we just need a little motivation.

Navy Seal, Joe Kuhns, stops by the studio to coach us on mental toughness. He tells a story that proves people aren't always what they seem; just because they look tough, doesn't mean they are.

We are back in the studio with Joe Kuhns because we just couldn't let him leave (plus, he wanted his card punched again!). This time he covers why looking at the "big picture" isn't always the way to go.

We got a question on Facebook from a listener who wanted to know which paint and/or primer to use when painting over wallpaper. Now this seems like a great idea for getting rid of that dated, 60's style wallpaper, without going through the headache of actually stripping the paper. But is this shortcut really all it seems to be? We'll tell you what we think and then let you decide!

We talked to tons of people at the home shows the past couple of weekends. And it seems like almost everyone wants to tackle some sort of home project...many of them painting! The problem is, many people feel they can't do these projects for any number of reasons.

In the first couple of segments Joe taught us that we CAN do these things. We've got some ways to help get you started on the road to home improvement success. Get off the couch and get started....after you listen to this show!

And, for those who care: we fade the show out today to the Indigo Girls' Hammer and a Nail. It's a great song and it's included here in all of it's 90's glory for your listening pleasure!

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EP49 – March 10, 2018: Bidets, the Order of Painting, Cleaning Windows, & the Walls of Death!

 

Some weeks are busier than others! This week we just had too much going and were unable to get to the studio to crank out a new episode. So, instead, we’ve put together Volume 1 of the RepcoLite Home Improvement Show Greatest Hits! On this episode, we revisit some of our favorite segments from the past 48 weeks!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 049:

Well, this segment has been 41 weeks in the making! When we started this Home Improvement Show, we interviewed Mark DeVisser from the Plumber is Here about another topic. After that interview, and off the record, Mark, launched into one of the most hilariously frank discussions about bidets we've ever encountered. We knew we wanted to re-do that discussion on the radio . . . but we also knew we needed to establish ourselves a bit before we launched into a bidet talk!

Well, that moment has now arrived. And today we aired our favorite segment to date! It's funny AND informative. Check it out!

When it comes to starting a paint project, a lot of people find themselves wondering: where do I start? What should I paint first? Walls? Ceiling? What next?

If you've ever wondered that, we've got the system the pro's use to get beautiful results everytime!

We also deal with another common question we hear all the time at RepcoLite: "Do I really need to prime EVERYTIME I paint?"

Many of us dread washing windows because it takes so long and it's so hard to get them streak and spot free. As soon as the sun is at just the right angle, we can see (very clearly!) every swipe of the rag we made.

  We tried the top three window cleaning solutions we found on the internet, and this is the one we thought worked the best.

Magic Cleaner #1

1/2 gal. warm water

1 Tbsp. Jet Dry

2-3 Tbsp. Dawn

  The other solutions we tried were:

Magic Cleaner #2

1/2 bottle Jet Dry

4 Tbsp. Alcohol

1/4 c. ammonia

1 handful powdered dishwasher soap

2 gal. hot water

Magic Cleaner #3

2 c. water

1/4 c. vinegar

1/2 tsp Dawn

This is easily one of our favorite segments of all time! It's a historical look at a crazy chapter in the world of decorating...

To summarize (without giving the whole fun story away), in the 19th Century arsenic was used to create vivid pigments that were then used in dyes and inks, on clothing, in paint, on food, and on wallpaper! Turns out, installing arsenic-laced wallpaper was actually a poor decision when it came to the health of you and your family! (Who would have thought!)

It's an interesting segment and is definitely worth a listen!

Shadows from the Walls of Death!

On the show, we talked about a rare book that you can view in the rare book collection at MSU. There were 100 copies produced in 1874 and now, only a handful remain. One of them is at MSU. Another is at the U of M. At any rate, the book actually contains actual arsenic-laced samples of the wallpapers that were common in the early to late 19th Century. It is a piece of bizarre decorating history you can hold in your hands! (And the pages are now encapsulated in plastic, so you're safe!) However, if you're not up for a road trip, here's a link to a beautiful full-color scan of the book! Check it out!
 

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EP44 – February 3, 2018: Finding the Right Builder, Wallpaper Hanging 101, and The Walls of Death!

 

Did you know that wallpaper not only could kill, but quite literally has killed? In a strange historical story from wallpaper’s checkered past, we learn about one of the most bizarre episodes in decorating history. We’re also in the studio with custom home builder, Bob Snowden to discuss how we can make the best choices when it comes to hiring a contractor!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 044:

Building a new home or remodeling your existing home is often one of those projects that often require an expert. But when that time comes, we're faced with a tough decision: how do we find the right expert? There are so many out there, which builder or contractors is the one with whom you'll work the best?

We sit down with Bob Snowden from Snowden Builders and talk about some of the key qualities to look for when you're making your choice. And while he highlights some of the basics, he feels the main quality to look for is . . . .  Well, you'll have to listen to find out!

And by the way, the creepy intro music we used was a song for free use on YouTube. Here's the legal stuff: Medusa by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby4.0)

I want to paper one wall in my 1/2 bath. What is the most important thing to do before I start and while I'm hanging?

It's a great question that came in on our Facebook page and we decided to give it the full, on-air treatment! Listen for the full response, but here's a quick summary:
  • Choose the right paper: make sure it's suited for a room that could experience moisture.
  • Size the walls: A lot of people skip this step, but it is very beneficial. It'll make it a little easier to put the paper up (the paper slips on the sizer and you can move it around). It also makes it easier to remove!
  • Start with a straight line: when hanging the paper, make sure you start with a straight line (use a level or some other method). Don't just assume that the corner is straight!
  • Get help: work with someone else! That means you've got a second brain on hand, a second set of eyes looking at the work, and more importantly, someone to refill your beverage when necessary!
  • Snap a new razor blade EVERY TIME you make a cut! This will help make sure that you don't tear the paper because of a slightly dulled blade!

This is easily one of our favorite segments of all time! It's a historical look at a crazy chapter in the world of decorating...

To summarize (without giving the whole fun story away), in the 19th Century arsenic was used to create vivid pigments that were then used in dyes and inks, on clothing, in paint, on food, and on wallpaper! Turns out, installing arsenic-laced wallpaper was actually a poor decision when it came to the health of you and your family! (Who would have thought!)

It's an interesting segment and is definitely worth a listen!

Shadows from the Walls of Death!

On the show, we talked about a rare book that you can view in the rare book collection at MSU. There were 100 copies produced in 1874 and now, only a handful remain. One of them is at MSU. Another is at the U of M. At any rate, the book actually contains actual arsenic-laced samples of the wallpapers that were common in the early to late 19th Century. It is a piece of bizarre decorating history you can hold in your hands! (And the pages are now encapsulated in plastic, so you're safe!) However, if you're not up for a road trip, here's a link to a beautiful full-color scan of the book! Check it out!
 

EP42 – January 20, 2018: Get the Lead Out, Ask RepcoLite, Tools You Can’t Cheap Out On, Painting Cabinets

 

Some episode are a lot of fun. Others are packed with information. This one is both! On episode 41 of the RepcoLite Home Improvement Show, we cover everything from important lead safe paint information to the hilarious (and informative) discussion about the benefits of bidets. It’s definitely an episode with something for everyone!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 042:

Statistics show that Grand Rapids is seeing an alarming jump in children with elevated lead levels and lead poisoning. This is a concern because lead poisoning can cause brain, liver, and heart damage. Some people assume the lead must be coming from water but, in actuality, it's coming from paint. Any home built before 1978  (the year lead paint was banned) is likely to have lead-based paint. Because this problem seems to be on the rise, we sat down with Paul Hann, Executive Director of the Healthy Homes Coalition to discuss some of the local lead concerns and what parents can do. We also discuss programs like the Michigan Lead Safe Home Program and Get the Lead Out! Grand Rapids that offer financial assistance for lead problems in homes. If you have lead concerns, you can call the Healthy Homes Coalition at (616) 241-3300 or contact them through their website.
We recently had a couple listeners ask questions that we are guessing other people may have as well. One listener has 40+ year old oil paint she wants to paint over. Another listener just bought a cottage and discovered the previous owner put wallpaper in the stall above the shower. Both listeners are looking for advice on the best way to deal with their situation. And, of course, we are happy to oblige!
We recently read an article in Popular Mechanics about tools you should never skimp on. And that got us thinking...we've done a lot of projects lately and having GOOD tools has made all the difference. Dan and Betsy both have the tendency to save a bit of money when it comes to buying tools. But, lesson learned! The screwdriver set you buy for $1 barely lasts through the first screw...and it was a set of 12!!
Dan and Betsy spent last weekend at the Remodeling and New Homes Show, talking to customers and listeners. What was amazing was almost EVERYONE had the same question: how do I paint my cabinets? For those who didn't hear the answer or didn't get a chance to ask the question, we'll tell you how to do it.

EP17 – July 29, 2017: Wallpaper Myths, What to Fix Before Selling Your Home, Mossy Roofs, Painting Ceilings

Mossy roofs aren’t just an eyesore! That moss up there is actively breaking down your shingles and shortening the lifespan of one of the biggest investments we make in our homes! We’ll tell you how to deal with it safely and effectively. That and much more in this episode!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 017:

The Fabric Softener Fix for Stripping Wallpaper!

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On August 28, 2015, we finally closed on our home in Fruitport, Michigan. Being a short sale, Patrick and I had been waiting since late February of that same year to sign the documents, solidifying the closure. I knew it would be months before we could move in, even after the closure, but that was the least of my worries. We were inching closer to our ultimate goal of remodeling a home. Standing two stories tall, half brick-half vinyl siding, attached garage, on just shy of an acre, seven bedrooms, and three and one-half baths, we were eager to start our adventure in reconstructing and cosmetically reconditioning a three thousand square foot, 1970’s retro home.

A twenty foot dumpster had barely enough space for all the garbage and debris we removed from the home. White ceramic tile and soiled carpet had been pried and stripped from the floors; drywall torn down in the master closet, living room, basement, and upstairs spare bathroom; three layers of shingles had been removed from the roof surrounding the fireplace. Yet, despite all this, the most agonizing and time consuming demolition project was still ahead: the removal of the wallpaper!

Throughout the whole process, my most valuable resource was Patrick’s mom, Phyllis, and her sister, Aunt Diane. Thanks to their much-appreciated help, we were able to remove the majority of wallpaper from six walls, including the kitchen, two bedrooms, a master walk-in closet, and two bathrooms in two days time.

However, even though we got the job finished in the end, it wasn’t without some complications. In fact, after many “oops” and a bunch of experimentation as to what solutions and tools to use, it occurred to me that stripping wallpaper was going to take a lot more time and patience than I had anticipated. Who knew that dogs of all shapes and sizes holding balloons could be so intimidating? (see the photos!) It only took us three walls of peeling quarter-sized paper pieces, one-by-one before I was found myself ready to defeat.

It was around that time, at the moment of near despair, that we decided to shift gears and try something different.

After reading somewhere that fabric softener actually helped in the process of removing wallpaper, we decided to give it a try. After all, what was there to lose?

So, in a yellow garden Sprayer, we combined 1/2 gallon of SUPER hot water (though not quite boiling) with 1/2 gallon of fabric softener (we used the least expensive!) along with 1 cup of DIF Concentrate Wallpaper Remover.

Using a PaperTiger by Zinsser, I scored the wallpaper in circular motions. And here, I’d like to urge a little caution: I cannot stress how important it is not to press too hard when scoring. Using too much pressure with the PaperTiger can easily result in damaged drywall. Light to medium pressure works just fine.

To prevent damage to our sub floors, we used Blue Painter’s Tape to stick plastic sheeting to the top lip of all base boards to catch excess solution that dripped from the walls.

(On a side note: If you find yourself removing wallpaper in a room or setting where you’re concerned about using a garden sprayer, you can get the same effect by using a spray bottle filled with solution!)

Anyway, once we had all the prep work done, we sprayed our new solution onto the walls and let it sit for 20-30 minutes, then scraped it off using a variety of different wallpaper scrapers and putty knives.

The paper came off with remarkable ease and we realized we were finally closing in on finishing the project. A second application of solution was applied to clean what residual glue was left after the wallpaper had been peeled away. After a final wipe down using a sponge and hot water, the walls were left to dry.

Removing wallpaper isn’t typically an easy or fun project, but with the right tools, a little elbow grease, and the right team of determined women (in our case!) you can get it done in a short amount of time.

For us, when all was said and done, we celebrated our accomplishment with a well-deserved Mr. Scribbs pizza and I found myself considering the next step in this renovation!

Supplies Used:

  • Extremely hot tap water
  • Fabric softener (Any kind works: We used the least expensive)
  • DIF Concentrate wallpaper remover
  • Hand held 2 gallon garden sprayer
  • 5-in-1 Hyde hand tool
  • Bucket of hot water
  • Large yellow sponge and bucket of hot water
  • Painter’s tape
  • Painter’s plastic
  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Lots of patience!!