- Over the winter, garages get pretty gross. Between the stuff that never quite gets put away from last fall — to the dirt that drips off your car – the floors can be a real mess. We’ll highlight the best garage floor solutions that are easy to clean.
- Given that over the last year we’re all been we’ve all been eating out a lot less, the kitchen has become an even more important “hub” of the home – and that’s impacting the way we refrigerate food. We’ll highlight new trends in these all-important appliances, just ahead.
- If you are longing for a new look at home but don’t have the funds to go all out, reupholstering the furniture you have can do the trick. For a fraction of the cost of buying new, you can change the entire look of your room. We’ll share what pieces work best and what fabric can create a lasting new look with this DIY project.
- Spring is a good season for closet cleaning and but if you have a lot of accessories, it can be hard to find places to keep all of that organized. Did you know that you can use kitchen items to organize your bedroom closet? We’ll share those ideas.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions, installing baseboard trim, deck stain options, purchasing new central air units, insulating a cathedral roof, best air filters for eliminating odors.
EPISODE #2087: Easy Clean Garage Floors | Fun Closet Cleaning Hacks | Trends in Kitchen Design | Reupholstering Furniture
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you take on home improvements, décor, repair projects around your house, your home, your apartment, your condo, your yurt, your tent. Whatever you live in, wherever you call home, if you’ve got questions to make it more comfortable, more energy-efficient, want to save some money on a project, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You can call us, 24/7, at that number: 888-666-3974. Or you can post your questions at MoneyPit.com, because that’s what we do. We answer your questions.
Coming up on today’s show, over the winter, garages get kind of gross. I mean between the stuff that never quite gets put away from last fall, to all the drip from the salt and dirt that comes off the cars, the floors can sometimes turn in to be a real mess. So we’re going to highlight some garage-floor solutions you might want to consider for spring that are easy to clean.
LESLIE: And given that over the last year we’ve all been eating out a lot less, the kitchen has become an even more important hub of our home. And that’s really impacting the way that we refrigerate our food. So we’re going to highlight new trends in these all-important appliances, just ahead.
TOM: Hey, guys, if you are ready for a new look at home but don’t have the funds to go all out, why not think about reupholstering your furniture? You can do it for a fraction of the cost of buying new and you can change the entire look of your room. We’re going to share what pieces work best and what fabrics can create a lasting new look with this DIY project.
LESLIE: And when you listen to The Money Pit, you get great advice, you get help with all your projects. But you also get a chance to win the tools to get the projects done. And today, we’re giving away the HART 20-Volt Cordless 4-Tool Combo Kit. It’s a great prize.
TOM: Absolutely. It’s worth 178 bucks. And HART Tools are durable, well made and available exclusively at Walmart. Now, that’s going to go out to one listener drawn at random who calls in with a home improvement question. So make that you. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Kyle in Iowa needs some help installing some trim. Tell us what you’re working on.
KYLE: We just put in some new Willamette wood floors a couple weeks ago and we decided to rip out all the old – the construction trim that comes with the newer homes and …
TOM: Baseboard molding?
KYLE: Yeah, the baseboard molding. And we’ve decided to upgrade to – I think it’s about a 5¼-inch tall, almost ½-inch-thick baseboard, to kind of upgrade the look around the house.
And I’m just having a hard time. I’m using my buddy’s miter saw and it’s not tall enough to do a vertical cut for my outside corners. And every time I lay it horizontally and try to tilt the miter saw to cut it, there’s no real clamping mechanism on it to hold the boards in place. And every time I push the miter saw into it, it moves it just slight enough to where my angles for when I try to do a scarfing or an outside corner – it just kind of pushes my angles off on it just a little bit and it’s making the process harder.
TOM: Well, let me ask you this: when you’re making your baseboard cuts for an inside corner, are you mitering it?
KYLE: For the inside corner, I’m doing a cope.
TOM: Oh, good. OK. That’s what I was concerned about.
KYLE: And the coping turns out to be easier than the outside corners for me, so …
TOM: Now, actually, when you do the outside corner, the only part of the miter that’s got to be perfect is the top edge of that board. As long as you have a straight line, if you end up taking up a little bit too much wood on the inside of that cut, nobody is ever going to see that. In fact, many times, when I’m doing that type of a corner, I’ll sometimes cope out the back of the miter cut, take a little bit extra meat out of that so that it kind of gets out of the way and I can pull it together really nicely, tightly at the corner. As long as I have a crisp line that pulls together on the corner, then I’m happy with that.
I understand you’ve got challenges with your tools. I’m not going to be able to give you a solution, because you don’t have the right tools. What you really need is a compound miter saw that’s sort of half miter saw, half radial-arm saw. And that will give you the exact capabilities that you’re looking for. But to do this by hand with a regular hand-miter box is just going to be a challenge.
KYLE: So, it’d be easier maybe to try to find someone to borrow a compound one from?
TOM: I think so. Yep. Yeah, you’ll be very happy. Because it sounds like you’ve got the skills. If you know how to cope a joint, then you’ve got the skills.
And for those that have no idea what we’re talking about, when you put up baseboard molding or any kind of molding or even crown molding in a house, you don’t cut a 45-degree angle much like you would for a picture frame. You actually put one piece in whole and square it to the wall and the other piece, you cut that 45 as if it was going to be a miter but you take a coping saw and cut out the back of all of that wood, except for that crisp line that’s on the front of the angle of the miter. When you push that together, you get what appears to be a perfect, mitered cut but it’s actually not; it’s actually a butt joint but it looks like a miter.
And it’s the best way to work with trim because it allows you to work with a house that’s not quite straight, because none of them are. And the other trick is I like to cut those boards just a little bit longer than what you need, because then it puts additional pressure on the joint and brings it together nice and tightly.
So I think you’re on the right road. You just need to get some better tools to help you get there, OK?
KYLE: OK. Thank you, guys.
TOM: Good luck, Kyle.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Paula from Arkansas on the line. How can we help you?
PAULA: Well, I was looking for a sealer for my deck but I also wanted it stained. I don’t want it looking like the wood – the original wood. I think it’s pine. And I’d like to have it – something to match the trim of our home.
PAULA: I’d like a stain and a sealer all in one, if that’s possible.
TOM: Yeah. Well, first of all, you don’t have to buy these things separate, because exterior stains are just that: they are sealers and stains in one. What you need to know about it, Paula, is that you’re going to have different choices on the transparency or the translucence of the stain itself. Because you can buy clear stain, which is just that – it doesn’t have any color – or you can buy semi-transparent, which is sort of a medium amount. Or you can buy solid color, which is completely opaque. Although the grain will show through, you won’t have any differentiation in grade. Semi-transparent will give you some differentiation.
So you want to buy a good-quality exterior stain. I would recommend solid color because it lasts a lot longer. And in terms of which color you choose, there’s lots of options. You can get a cedar, you can get a redwood, you can get sort of a nice sort of charcoal gray. All the major manufacturers have a good selection of colors with that product.
Most importantly, you need to do a good job on the prep. You’ll follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But generally, you’re going to want to pressure-wash the deck and wait a few days of sunny weather so it dries out really nicely. And then you can apply the solid-color stain after that, OK?
PAULA: OK. So this is a stain and a sealer?
TOM: It’s a stain. It’s an exterior stain. Don’t get confused by looking for two products, OK? It’s one product: exterior deck stain. It seals and stains together, OK?
PAULA: OK. I was trying to confuse you but I guess I can’t.
TOM: Nope. Nope. Try harder.
PAULA: I don’t want to.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Give us a call so we can lend you a hand but also give you these awesome tools. Up for grabs, the HART 20-Volt Cordless 4-Tool Combo Kit. Now, in the kit is the Drill Driver, an impact driver, a reciprocating saw, an LED light, two 20-volt batteries, a super-fast charger and a tool bag.
And the best part about having two batteries is that you can either have two tools going at one time or when that one tool is done working, just swap out the other battery that’s ready to go. It really makes working on any level of a project just super fantastic. So it is a great prize pack up for grabs this hour.
TOM: It’s available exclusively at Walmart, offering a complete line of tools and accessories so you could easily tackle any project. Do it with HART. Learn more at HARTTools.com.
That 4-Tool Combo Kit is worth 178 bucks. Going out to one listener who calls us with a home improvement question. You’ve got to have a question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now I’ve got Andy in New Jersey on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you today?
ANDY: I added on an addition – an enclosed porch – to the back of my rancher. It’s a 12×24 addition. And so, first, it was just a porch. And now, we’re enclosing it and trying to make it part of the house. So, the question I have was about insulating the ceiling. Because what it is – it has a gambreled (ph) roof on it. And it comes out of the house 14 feet to the back door and it’s 24 feet wide.
And then there’s an A-frame, OK, that goes on top. So I call it a “great gambreled (ph) roof.” I don’t know if I’m using the right terminology but – so the insulation in the ceiling on the two sides, OK, it’s like a vaulted ceiling, I guess you might say. See, the rafters are 2×8 and then they drop into the eaves. So, I’m not sure about the ventilation of the roof.
TOM: So that’s what we call a “cathedral ceiling.”
ANDY: Right. But it only comes up that far for about 8 feet.
TOM: Right. It’s like a partial cathedral, so part of it’s flat and part of it is cathedral. Is that correct?
ANDY: Yes. It comes up – yeah, it comes up right along the rafters of the ceiling for about 8 feet and then it cuts right across.
TOM: OK. So let me give you some suggestions.
So, first of all, unrelated to your question, you just mentioned that you built this addition on a porch. Does the porch have a proper foundation?
ANDY: Well, no, I’m sorry, we built the whole porch there as a porch.
TOM: Oh, it was all part of it. OK, fine. Because a lot of times, we see folks that take old porches and try to turn them into additions and they don’t have the right foundations. Because before we put money in this, we want to make sure you had a good foundation.
Now, in terms of insulating the cathedral section, the way you do that is if you have a 2×8 cathedral, roof-rafter kind of span, you can only put 5½ inches of insulation in that. You need to leave the balance of the space for ventilation, as you’ve mentioned. And you are going to need to make sure that you have ventilation at the peak and also towards the bottom of that.
Now, depending on how it’s configured and how it intersects with the lower slope or the flatter section, you need to figure out a way for air to move above that insulation and get up underneath between the insulation and the rafter and out.
Now, another way to do this is to not use fiberglass at all. What you could do is use spray-foam insulation – Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation. I did this in my house. And in fact, I just got an assessment of how well the home was insulated compared – or how energy-efficient the home was compared to my neighborhood. And it went up to being in the top 19 percent of the neighborhood for insulation, which I thought was quite an accomplishment because my house was built 125 years ago. It’s not like we started with a house that was built in the year 2000. This is a 125-year-old house. It’s in the top 20 percent of the most insulated homes in the area because I used Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation.
And if you use the spray-foam insulation, you don’t need to ventilate. Basically, you’re changing that area from an unconditioned space to a conditioned space. You can spray up right against the underside of the roof sheathing and case the whole thing in foam and it’ll be far more insulated than you could ever get with the fiberglass. Because let’s face it: we like to see R-30, R-40 in terms of insulation ability. But all you can get is R-19 because you can only get 5½ inches of insulation in there.
ANDY: Alright. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: Yep. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, over the winter, garages can get pretty gross. You know, between the stuff that never quite gets put away correctly from the fall, to the dirt that’s dripping off of your car, that floor can be a real mess. And because most are concrete, they’re pretty tough to clean.
TOM: And that’s why sprucing up your garage floor is a really great spring project. Now, there are a couple of ways to go: coatings or coverings, in particular.
Now, coatings include stains and floor paint and epoxy paint and sealants. They’re generally easy to apply. If they’re well done, they can provide for a very attractive surface that’s much easier to keep clean. We have used the Daich Coatings one, for example, because it’s durable, it’s beautiful and it’s really easy to apply.
LESLIE: Now, coverings are garage-floor options that are much tougher than a coating and they can be more expensive, as well.
Now, most garage-floor coverings are either mats or they can be interlocking tiles. Both can be super easy to install and the tile, in particular, looks very attractive. And the tile also tends to add a ¼-inch or so of height to that floor, so you’re going to lose a bit of space. So, you want to make sure that, you know, you’ve got the clearance for it if you have any weird storage. But that added height really helps because whatever drips off the car is going to properly drain away and not puddle on the floor itself.
TOM: Yeah. My favorite part of a garage-floor project like this is it also forces you to empty your entire garage and clean it at the same time.
Hey, we’ve got a really popular post on the home page of MoneyPit.com titled “Garage Floors: Paint, Tile or Mat,” where we walk you through all of the details.
LESLIE: Karen in Arizona is on the line with an air-conditioning question. How can we help you today?
KAREN: Yeah, I was just curious which is a better choice between the Ruud and the Trane. I need four units. I have to replace them all.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a good question. I would look at a couple of things.
First of all, they’re both good brands. So I would look at the efficiency rating for all of the units. I would look at the warranties for the units and I also would make sure that you choose your HVAC contractor carefully. Because a lot of the efficiencies in these systems rely heavily on the quality of the installation. So, we do want to be very careful about who’s installing it. Make sure the ducts are all sealed and that kind of stuff. Because if not, you’re going to have inefficiencies as you use the system as time goes on.
But they’re both great brands, so I think you can’t go wrong either way. Just make sure when you’re comparing apples to apples that you make sure they each have the same efficiencies and warranties.
KAREN: Well, you said something about ducts.
TOM: Yeah, the duct system that feeds the air to the different rooms, you want to make sure those ducts are properly installed and that they’re sealed. Because a lot of times, where ducts are joined, especially in older homes, those intersections are not sealed properly and a lot of air leaks out there. So the little things like that have a big impact on efficiency of the system.
KAREN: OK. And the other question is – I have a pet-boarding business and I’m trying to use some sort of air filter that will get – will take up smells. Do you know if any are better than others? Because I put the Oreck and another brand in the cat room and I can still smell cats.
TOM: Yeah, I bet. That certainly would be the test of any HVAC – any filtration system.
Well, look, the best filtration systems are really designed more for dust than for odor. However, I know that 3M has one that has a charcoal base to it that is far more efficient at taking odors out than just about anything else out there. And so – is this a forced-air system that you would have for that area, as well?
KAREN: No, this is just – like I had gone into one pet-boarding place and I smelled urine really bad and I thought, “This isn’t going to make it, this place, because of the urine.” And then they had four filters that were sitting on the wall, just – they kind of look like a mini-Oreck. They were on the wall, hung on the wall, just like the size of maybe 1 foot by 1½ feet. A little rectangle? And they really took the smell out and I don’t know which brand she used.
LESLIE: Now, Karen, I think the issue that you’re having in finding something that is going to work well for you is that we really want to make sure that we find you something that works from a commercial standpoint: something that’s made for a business like yours, which has a lot of animal odors.
And there’s a company out there called Air Oasis and that’s their website: AirOasis.com. And if you click on their Commercial section, you’ll find that they’ve got commercial air purifiers and air sanitizers that are carbon-based and they will really reduce a lot of this odor and bacteria and viruses and VOCs.
So I would check them out and there might be something that would work well for you there.
KAREN: Alright. Yeah, that’d be good. It might help for smokers, too. I don’t smoke but in case the audience is listening. So, OK, I will go to Air Oasis. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Karen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, over the last year, life has been turned upside-down and adjusting to the new normal has magnified some of the shortcomings of existing home design. But it’s also unearthed some new opportunities.
LESLIE: Yeah. And given that we’re eating out far less, the kitchen has become a more important hub of the house. And one of the most significant changes has been in the area of food storage and preparation.
TOM: With us to talk about new trends in refrigeration, that makes all that possible, is Steve Kleber. Steve is the president of K&A, a PR and marketing firm that specializes in home building products. He’s also the immediate past president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association Center for Kitchen & Bath Education and Research and one of our go-to experts for trends in the home design space.
STEVE: Thank you, Tom and Leslie.
TOM: So, you did a recent article that I found fascinating. You called it “Cool Refrigeration Trends for Healthier Living.” And you talked about that the most successful kitchen appliances, through time, have always addressed a changing of lifestyles and a changing of society. And that’s been the case, you point out, since the invention of the refrigerator, right? And I didn’t know this story. So talk about that early refrigerator and what it was a reaction to.
STEVE: Sure. The first fully-electric refrigerator was introduced around 1913. That was just before World War I. And you might imagine we were having massive food shortages during that time. It wasn’t until after the war, around 1918 – which, by the way, was the same time as our last pandemic – that refrigerators would start to become mass-produced.
LESLIE: So, fast forward 100 years to today. We’re in a pandemic situation. Everybody has sort of reevaluated the needs of the house and their lifestyles to accommodate this changing situation. You know, we’re definitely seeing some trends emerge, like health and wellness, making sure you have the right supplies at home, fridge-to-table kind of thing and a vintage appeal, correct?
STEVE: That’s right. Fridges have definitely become the new cool. People are stocking up on groceries that’ll last a week or more. And they want to make sure that they have appliances that are going to keep those fruits and vegetables fresh.
TOM: How is that changing refrigerator design, Steve? Are the sizes of the refrigerators changing? Is the internal layout shifting?
STEVE: Not much is changing in terms of the size and layout because, obviously, the appliances need to fit into standard spaces in kitchen. So, instead, technology is being brought in. There is a new, French three-door refrigerator made by Beko that has brought out an Active Fresh Blue Light technology. It provides continuous photosynthesis. It actually emulates the light energy of the sun so that it preserves nutrients and retains the natural flavors in your fruits and vegetables.
TOM: That’s really interesting.
Now, another aspect of healthy living, speaking of fruits and vegetables, is to be able to grow and enjoy those fresh veggies and herbs and spices at home. And that’s not always possible. We saw a big surge in the garden – home garden – activity this past spring and summer, when the pandemic hit. But those that were kind of left out would have been the urban gardeners. And now, you say there’s a new product that actually does that for urban gardeners, even if they can’t get a plot of land?
STEVE: That’s right. You can embrace your inner gardener. There’s an appliance called the Urban Cultivator Residential. And it’s an all-in-one home garden appliance that allows homeowners to enjoy fresh herbs, micrograins and vegetables year-round. The unit is preprogrammed to be able to regulate water, light, humidity. And it actually fits into the space of a typical dishwasher.
TOM: Wow. It’s like a fully-automated mini-greenhouse.
LESLIE: It really is amazing. And it’s funny when we talk about all these sort of modern advances, to sort of help you with things that were so traditional, we’re seeing such a surge for this feeling of nostalgia. Are you finding that manufacturers are bringing that sort of comforting feel to the appliance design, as well?
STEVE: That’s right. When you talk about vintage, of course, my mind always comes to wine. And just like food preservation, people who collect vintage wine want to keep those stored properly, as well. The right humidity so that the cork isn’t dried out and the right temperature and less vibration. Filters for UV light. Everything to keep that wine preserved. Because, after all, what’s old is new again.
TOM: So, Steve, where do you see this all going? I mean we saw some statistics that suggested that 90 percent of those that did home improvement projects during the pandemic are planning to continue projects even after vaccines are widely distributed. Do you think we’re going to continue to see this level of innovation as we get further past what’s been an incredibly difficult year for so many?
STEVE: It has been a difficult year, of course, but it has been a great season for the home building industry. After all, people have been at home and the house down the street has gone up in value, which is exactly the opposite of what happened during our last recession. So people are feeling good about their homes. They’ve spent money on Peloton and Wayfair to bring new products into the home. And the next thing that they want to do is to improve it, to make sure that the kitchen fits their lifestyle as the new hub of the home and as well, to take care of outdoor living.
TOM: Steve Kleber, the president of K&A, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you’d like to learn more about Steve’s work, you can go to KleberAndAssociates.com. You can also visit Beko.com to learn about the refrigerator that Steve mentioned. That’s B-e-k-o. Or for the gardening product, the Urban Cultivator, just go to UrbanCultivator.net/Kitchen-Cultivator.
Steve, thanks again and have a great day.
STEVE: Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Leslie.
TOM: Well, when you listen to The Money Pit, you can always get in on our fun giveaways, especially when you pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question, because one person that does is going to win the HART 20-Volt Cordless 4-Tool Combo. Includes the HART Drill Driver, the Impact Driver, the Reciprocating Saw, LED light, two batteries, fast charger and a tool bag. Pretty much everything you need to take on dozens of remodeling projects around your house.
The tools are well made, they’re versatile. And the kit offers everything you need for your next project.
LESLIE: HART Tools are available exclusively at Walmart, offering a complete line of tools and accessories so you can easily tackle any project. Do it with HART. Learn more at HARTTools.com.
TOM: That HART 20-Volt Cordless 4-Tool Combo is worth 178 bucks. It’s going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us with your question – your home improvement question – at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joe in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOE: I have a single-story house that’s got hot water. I’ve got a boiler with a hot-water heat baseboard. And about eight years ago, I had air – central air conditioning installed.
JOE: And when they did all that, they ran all the trunk lines up in the attic, put all my registers in the ceiling.
TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.
JOE: And now the problem I have is during wintertime, I’m getting condensation. I’ll go around and shut those registers off but it’s not 100-percent shut-off on those registers, of course. And I’m getting condensation that’s forming up in my trunk line and I’m getting condensation dripping out of my registers, which – I’m starting to get some water stains on my ceiling, around my registers, from this.
TOM: Alright. So you have an energy problem. The problem is that those registers are so cold that when the warm, moist air from the house strikes them, it condenses. And so, you need additional insulation in the space above that. You may need to insulate in or around those ducts. You may need to wrap those ducts with additional insulation. You need to keep those ducts warmer and frankly, the bigger problem is one that you can’t see. If it’s that cold at your ceiling, you’re probably losing a lot of heat through that ceiling. So, I would get up in that attic space and take a look.
In your part of the country, having 15 to 20 inches of insulation is not unheard of and it is certainly a good idea.
JOE: Well, basically, I know when they put it in there, they laid those trunk lines right on top. I’ve got like 20 inches of blown fiberglass and they laid those trunk lines. I need to peel that fiberglass back, bury those trunk lines and insulate all around that real good.
TOM: I think that would make a lot of sense.
JOE: Sounds good, then.
TOM: Alright, Joe. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, did you know that over the last 3 years, the average tax refund was over $2,800? Now, for DIYers, that means newfound money to take on projects that you might have been putting off. And today, we’ve got some tips for a furniture do-over with new upholstery. If you’re longing for a new-looking home but you don’t have the funds to go all out, reupholstering the furniture you have can do the trick. For a fraction of the cost of buying new, you can change the entire look of your room.
TOM: Well, to help you take on this DIY project, we’re going to share what pieces work best and what fabrics can create those lasting looks, in today’s Tax Refund Project presented by HART Tools, available exclusively at Walmart.
LESLIE: Alright. First of all, why upholstery? Well, it’s actually a lot easier than it looks. And upholstery is one of those projects where you think it’s far more challenging than it actually is. You get nervous and then you chicken out. Do not chicken out. I repeat: do not.
Here you go. You’ve got to think of an upholstery project like wrapping a gift. It’s that simple. And with the right tools and fabrics, if you make a mistake you can remove and restart that area.
TOM: Now, to assure your success, let’s talk about the best kinds of furniture to reupholster, especially if it’s your first project. I mean you don’t want to start with a couch. That would be way advanced. But there are a lot easier beginner upholstery projects that you can use to build your DIY skill set.
For example, my daughter is super handy. She just took a really old stool that was covered with tons of paint. So she stripped it and refinished it and then she upholstered the seat with a bright, new fabric. It came out great.
So, Leslie, you’ve done a lot of projects like this. What are some of your favorite simple shapes to do?
LESLIE: Yeah. And I think that’s important. You nailed it right there. You have to start with simple shapes and simple forms, because they are simply going to give you the least amount of difficulty.
Now, you can easily re-cover a dining chair if it has a removable seat cushion. You can custom-make a headboard, maybe an ottoman. You know those little cube-style seats or those – even those seating/storage cubes? You can custom-make corkboards, benches. The list really goes on and on. If you can remove the cushion or get to the underside, it’s really easy to do. You’ve got to just be able to see where that fabric is stapled to the frame and you’ve got the green light to go for it.
TOM: Now, let’s talk a bit about fabric. What is the best kind of fabric to work with? Are there some fabrics that you should stay away from?
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it’s important when you’re picking the fabric, especially as a beginner to upholstery projects, because not all fabrics are created equal. You want to stay away from any fabric that’s really stretchy or maybe has a directional grain, like velvet. People don’t realize that when you brush velvet one way, it looks a certain tone and when you brush it the other – so if you’re not paying attention to how it’s put on, it can look really tricky.
Instead, you want to go for heavyweight cottons or a cotton-based fabric. They’re going to stay where you want them, they’re going to wear well and they are easily cut and they accept staples well. And these are all key factors for an upholstery project.
Also, try to stay away from a crazy pattern, anything that’s going to require matching or cause issues if you don’t pull it exactly the right way as you’re stapling it. You don’t want a wonky pattern on the fabric, because then you’re going to feel sad about the project.
TOM: Alright. Now, let’s talk about some basic tools that you’re going to need. So, for any upholstery project you need a few key ones. HART Tools makes a great staple gun. That’s a given. You’re also going to need a super-sharp scissor. But get one that’s designed only for fabric; it cuts much better. Get, also, a fabric tape measure and a tool to remove staples and also a glue gun.
LESLIE: Yeah. And with that scissor, when you get a fabric scissor, truly only use it for fabric. Once you cut paper, it changes the way that scissor cuts. So make it a fabric scissor and keep it that way.
And that’s today’s Tax Refund Tip, presented by HART Tools, available exclusively at Walmart. Do it with HART. Learn more at HARTTools.com, where you’ll also find step-by-step plans for dozens of fun décor projects.
TOM: Yeah. And I was looking at HARTTools.com. They have plans for picture frames and centerpieces and even a modern wood chair, upon which you can use your newfound skills to create some beautiful DIY cushions.
Check it out at HARTTools.com.
LESLIE: Ashley in Georgia needs a bathroom window-covering solution. And she writes: “We enjoy your podcast and we need some advice for a home we’ve just purchased. The bathroom has a wood window inside the tub/shower area. The last owners would just hang a second shower curtain up with a retention pole. And this could work for us, as we primarily use it as a bath for our young son, who loves to splash, but we wanted to know if you had any suggestions to make the window more waterproof.”
Well, that’s a tricky spot to have a wood-framed window and a wood window at all. Short of replacing it with something that’s vinyl, you can – you really do need to protect it. So you want to make sure, if you’re putting any sort of blind or any sort of roller shade, that it is a vinyl or a waterproof material.
You can actually take a shower curtain and you could sew it to look like a more adorable drape. Or you can fold it to make it look like a shade and sort of attach it to a ballast or attach it to the tension rod. Think of fun ways to make that very practical solution look better.
TOM: And you know what, Ashley? I know you’re concerned about the fact that the wood is getting wet. But as long as that window dries, getting wet is not going to have a long-term impact. You want to make sure, however, that you have proper ventilation in that bathroom. A lot of times, especially with the older bathrooms, if they had a window, they didn’t have a ventilation fan. And that’s definitely something we would recommend.
You could have it on a humidistat so it always stays on while there’s humidity and moisture in the air. And it will go off as soon as all of that has cleared out. Because if you can keep that humidity down, you’re going to find it’s a lot easier to clean that bathroom. You won’t get nearly as much mold growth, especially in the grout of that tile wall.
LESLIE: Alright. Good point, Tom.
Ashley, good luck with that bathroom project. Enjoy the new house. And remember, let the little guy splash. It’s all going to be fine.
TOM: Well, spring is a good season for closet-cleaning. But if you’ve got a lot of accessories, it might be a little hard to find places to keep all that organized. The solution might be to repurpose some of your common household items. Leslie explains the options, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Now, these are really only going to work if you’ve got multiples or you’re not using that kitchen tool that often, because here we go, guys.
A rolling pin? It really works fantastic for bracelet storage. I mean I have collected so many weird bracelets over the years that I like and I wear on and off. So, I put them on a rolling pin. It keeps them organized. I can get them on and off easily and I can see everything I have.
Now, shower rings, you can use those. Put them on a hanger and you can hang scarves, ties, belts, all kinds of stuff on it. And that hangs right in your closet. And grab a muffin tin. You can even buy small ones at the store and you can put little trinkets in there: pins, earrings. You can use them to store cufflinks, tie pins, sort your spare change.
All these different things are suddenly going to make your drawers a lot nicer to look at and you’ll be able to find stuff.
Now, those toilet-paper rolls that you toss? Those are a perfect way to keep your tights, stockings, whatever you use, from getting snagged in your lingerie drawer. You just roll them up inside the tube and then you label the outside of the tube. You can do this with socks so that you’re not mixing up a navy one and a black one. And you can just write on it: nude pantyhose, whatever; control tops, whatever. Whatever you’ve got. This way, you can easily find them.
And finally, a corkboard works great. If you’ve got some cute, decorative push pins, it’s a fun way to hang costume jewelry, like necklaces. And this way, you can easily find them. You can make sure you’re having a quick time of finding the right accessory for the day. And it keeps things organized.
And remember, if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, donate it. Get rid of some of the stuff so you have room to enjoy what you have.
TOM: Great ideas.
Coming up next time on the program, while new-home baths have nearly doubled in size over the last 30 years, most older-home bathrooms, well, they’re only about 5×8. Now, ripping out the walls to increase space is an option but it’s not the only one. We’re going to share ways to use that space to its fullest potential, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2021 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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