DIY tips

A Room for Improvement OwnerWelcome to my DIY tips blog

My name is Kevin Schaben.  I am the owner operator of A Room for Improvement Painting and Wallpaper Removal Omaha.  In this section you will find trade tips.  On this blog you will find many tips on the interior and exterior of your home.  You will also find videos on removing wallpaper.   I am not shy about sharing my 15 years of knowledge with the do it yourselfers out there.  I only ask that you like the page and freely ask questions.  402-630-9957

DIY Guide to Wallpaper Stripping

Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Wallpaper Stripping for the DIY homeowners

wallpaper-removalwallpaper for a homeowner can be a very difficult task.  Wallpaper removal can prove difficult and time consuming.  Using this simple to follow wallpaper removal guide will make your project much easier.

  1. Cover the floor with a medium to heavy duty plastic.
  2. Tape up the baseboards and connect the plastic to the portion of tape that overlap.
  3. Place tape over outlets and shut off circuit breakers for the room.  The covers can be removed later and the wallpaper can be removed underneath with a moist rag.Wallpaper preperation
  4. Fill a pump sprayer with hot water and add a few drops of dish detergent.  This breaks down the glue behind the paper.
  5. This step is the key.  Far too many homeowners do this step wrong and end up frustrated or defeated.  Select a section of wall about 6 x 8 feet and start spraying.  Saturate the entire wall very well making sure the water is contained at the floor level with tarps or plastic.  After spray wait 5 minutes and repeat the process.  When it is sprayed a second time you can begin pulling the edges of the paper to see how it responds.  If you are getting decent sized pieces, start removing and re-spray the wall every 5 minutes to keep it wet.  If the paper is coming off difficult continue the process of spraying and removing every 5 minutes.  This may be a long process but you have begun removing the edges of the paper and it will become easier the longer you are at it.  Sometimes it just takes time.  I have found no method or trick that works better than this process.

Here are some videos of the process I mentioned.

Kevin Schaben

I also have videos on the topic Video 1 Video 2 Video 3


Many moods of color

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Choosing colors

Choosing the right color for moods

Room Color & Mood: Warm & Cool Colors


When choosing a room’s color scheme, remember that balance is best achieved with a mix of warm and cool colors.


Warm Colors

Colors with warm tones like reds, yellows and greens. These colors are bright and comfortable.  They may also make small rooms appear smaller and large rooms more cozy.

Cool Colors

Colors with cool tones and include blue-greens, purples and blues. These colors have been shown to be calming. They may also make small rooms appear larger and large rooms more coldly.

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors are generally white, gray and black, but in decorating, neutral color can encompass a broad spectrum of colors.

Primary colors

When choosing primary colors it may be best to take a less is more” attitude towards primary colors.



Blues can relax, soothe, and calm us. For this reason it can be a good choice for bedrooms.  Blues also help motivation. This makes a soft blue a good choice for an office or child’s bedroom.



Red is a color of passion. Red has been shown to increase energy levels as well as heart rate.  Red can also stimulate the appetite and discussion.



Yellow has a tendency to make people cheerful and happy for short times and exhausted for longer periods. Softer yellows may be better long term. They cause less strain on the eyes and tend to be more calming.


This guide should give you a good start on choosing colors to evoke the correct mood.


If you have any questions you can email me or visit my website at

Exterior Spring Painting

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Exterior of a home freshly painted

Exterior Spring Painting

Early spring is a time for working outdoors.  Whether you are cleaning up the yard or planting seeds it’s an absolutely wonderful time to be outside.  Peeling paint and wear on your house exterior may be one of the things you noticed as you started your yard work.

Kevin Schaben, paint and color consultant forRoom for Improvement, says spring is one of the best times to begin exterior painting:

Schaben says that if your house paint isbeginning to show it’s age, postponing repainting may cause extensive damage to your home. It doesn’t take long for exposed wood to begin to rot, and other types of exteriors also suffer when the paint wears off. The longer you wait to remedy the distressed areas, the more replacement that may be a required before you paint.  Another reason for spring painting is exterior paint forms the most durable, protective finish when the weather is mild. It’s almost always best to do exterior painting when the temperature is above 50 degrees F. If you wait for the weather to get hot, those hot days can cause the paint to dry too quickly.  By painting in the spring, you’ll likely get a longer-lasting paint job.

If a day starts off relatively mild, but will later become hot, try to avoid painting in direct sunshine, since sunlit surfaces can be 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the air temperature. Work your way around the house so that you are always painting in the shade, this will have the added bonus of making your job more pleasant as well. It’s also important to pick a day that isn’t too windy. Very windy days can cause latex paint to dry too quickly and prevent the best finish.

It’s also important to prepare the surface before doing any exterior painting by power washing, caulking and priming surfaces as needed. Lastly, paint selection can be one of the most important componants of a long lasting exterior finish.  Choose the highest quality 100% acrylic latex paint, which is especially durable, flexible and keeps it’s color. Top quality paint often lasts 10 years or more, compared to about four years for ordinary paint, saving you time, work, and money in the long run. For the longest-lasting paint job, always apply at least two coats with a brush and roller.

Behr Premium Plus Ultra ®

Sherwin Williams Emerald

Diamond Vogel Evercryl


If you have any questions you can email me or visit my Spring Exterior Painting

Painting Exterior Trim

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Exterior Painting Trim


Tips for painting a home exterior


Red Exterior Door Trim

  1.  Exterior Preparation

When painting exterior trim on your home, make sure and use a high quality semi-gloss exterior paint

Why choose a semi-gloss paint for your exterior trim?  The reasons can be both aesthetic and performance.

Generally semi-gloss paint goes on smoother  than a flat paint providing a more seamless finish, and semi-gloss paint is also more durable.  Having a better looking and more durable finish provides several advantages:

better resistance to grime and dirt buildup

better ability to stand up to harsh weather conditions

better durability, like the movement you generally receive on doors and windows as we open and close them repeatedly.

In addition, if shutters, doors and windows become dirty with grit and grime, semi-gloss exterior paint washes much easier than any flat paint.  Scrubbing these surfaces does not wear it down as quickly as a flat paint would.

Choosing a semi-gloss paint is also preferable aesthetically.  Generally this type of paint has better color retention also.  Trim colors tend to be darker so this could be an important factor.

Another important factor is your selection of paint brands.  If you choose a poor quality paint the sheen will not guarantee a durable finish.   Below I have listed some excellent choices that you can find in almost any market.

Behr Premium Plus Ultra ®

Sherwin Williams Emerald

Diamond Vogel Evercryl


When choosing a paint make sure you look for a product that is 100% acrylic.  Having a fully acrylic paint will give you the best possible performace.

If you have any questions you can email me or visit my Exterior Trim

Home Exterior Painting tips

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Exterior Painting Tips


Tips for painting a home exterior

Exterior of home

  1.  Exterior Preparation

One of the greatest mistakes a homeowner can make is prepping a home improperly.   If you miss this most important step you are simply wasting time and money.  To insure you have a good start, power wash the home a full week before the other work is to begin.  This will ensure ample drying time.  When power washing start with the tallest surfaces first and work your way down.  After this process is done, scrape away any loose paint with a scraper.


  1.  Smooth down rough edges

When finished scraping the paint, sanding down some of the rough edges with sandpaper will provide the best end result.  If you use an electric sander for tougher jobs, make sure you use the correct grit of sandpaper.  Heavier grits may make the finish even worse.  With any type of sanding wear a mask.  Houses built before 1978 could contain lead paint.  Please check for proper safety guideline on


3.     Use a Primer

Use an exterior primer for any new or existing bare wood.  This is an absolute must for adequate preparation.  If any areas seem to be chalking or breaking down this process should be completed on those areas as well.


4.        Replace soft or rotten wood

Check the exterior for soft or warped pieces of wood.  It is very important these areas be replaced.  An area that is soft tends to spread.  Make sure all of the lower edges of wood get a coat of primer where they begin to swell.


5.         Caulking the home

Locate any gaps or cracks where water can enter the home.  Caulk these areas to ensure they do not deteriorate.  With caulking, it is important to buy a better grade of caulk.  I prefer to use a urethane based sealant for a long life.


6.         Applying paint

The best finish for an exterior is using a brush and roller.  This works the paint into the surface of the home and provides a more unified appearance.  Pay very close attention to the areas they eyes do not see.  It is those areas that are often missed time and time again.  Paint the lower edge of the siding to prevent swelling and extend the life.  Sometimes two coats of paint are needed.  For a more durable finish, consider using a sheen on an exterior other than flat.

If you have any questions you can email me or visit my Exterior Tips

Painting over wood paneling

Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Painting over wood paneling



priming panelingWhen painting over paneling, it is important to start off with a good surface.  Find any loose areas that may be separating from the walls.  Secure those areas with small nails

Fill holes with a wood filler and sand

Caulk any gaps where the paneling may be separating or trim pieces that may be pulling away.Spackle grooves

 It may also be appropriate to spackle large areas.


Sanding panelingSand the entire surface with a fine grit sandpaper.  Pay special attention to any burs or rough areas.

Wipe down the surface with a degreaser or denatured alcohol.

Prime the paneling with a bonding primer.  This will help provide a durable undercoat for the paint.


Use a mohair roller to apply paint to the surface of the paneling.  Apply even coats until fully covered.  Trim the surrounding areas with a brush.  Omaha Painting Company

painted paneling

Correct Temperature to Paint A House

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Working outside

Exterior Painting Temperature

Correct Temperature to Paint an Exterior

When choosing to paint an exterior it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the back of the can. This is a guideline and there are other important factors you should consider.
1. Typically the correct temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees.
2. The paint in the can should also be between those temperatures.
3. If it was very cold the night before, consider the current temperature of the siding. You’ll want to make sure the siding isn’t too cold.
4. If you are in an area with greater humidity, your dry times will take much longer. Finishing a bit earlier in the day would be recommended to allow the paint to fully cure if you are expecting a drop in temperatures.
5. Consider the surface you are painting. While the siding may be an appropriate temperature, a strip of metal flashing may be several degrees hotter or colder.
6. If the home had some overnight moisture lingering in the morning, it may be best to wait for the surface to warm up first. It is not uncommon to see the surface of the house begin to steam when the sun first hits it.
7. Lastly, use good judgment. This guide can help you in your decision but ultimately many factors could change your decisions.

If you have any questions you can email me or visit my painting website

Good Luck!

When to say when

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Kevin Schaben is the Owner/Operator of A Room for Improvement Omaha

Working outside

We are in the very heart of the busy season.  Phone calls pour in, appointments are forgotten and promises are broken.  Welcome to the world of a small business.

The issue actually begins during the slow season.  As a painting contractor, this time starts in the winter.  We lower our prices due to more competition and less work during that time.   In short, you get hungry.  Every job you take on matters.  During the busy season jobs come and go.  Calls don’t always get returned.  This is not a good way to run a business but it is a reality.  This year I have taken a different approach.  I’m slowly learning when to say when.  At the beginning of the year I went 3 months with no time off.  I have tapered away from that and now I have spread out my schedule a bit for those emergency jobs for long time clients.  When I take a phone call I let them know an expected time frame for us before I waste everyone’s time on a bid.  I only promise what I can deliver.  It’s just good business.

Know when to say when.


Kevin Schaben

Call today for aFree Estimate in the Omaha, Metro








Selecting the right paint sheen

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Kevin Schaben

Often times I am approached by homeowners who are confused on which sheen to choose for a particular room. I have found out throughout the years that this confusion is definitively warranted.  Paint manufacturers don’t always utilize the same system when it comes to labeling.  Sherwin Williams for example have a paint line called pro mar 200.  Originally the sheen’s that paint offered were Flat, Satin and Semi Gloss.  Many painters complained about the Satin being a lot duller than other Satin finishes they were used to.  They didn’t want to change the Satin product because they were worried about confusing people who already used that product.  For this reason Sherwin Williams decided to add an EggShell finish to their line up.  The chart below would not apply in that instance.  For that reason its always good to ask when you are purchasing just to be sure.  I have found the below guide to be correct 95% of the time.  Good Luck!


This chart was furnished by Home Depot

  • Offers an elegant low-sheen finish
  • Best for low-traffic areas
  • Smooth surface
  • More washable than flat sheens
  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Bedroom
  • Foyer
  • Family room
  • Hallway
  • Kitchen
  • Trim
  • Provides a smooth, subtle finish
  • Camouflages imperfections
  • Ideal for low-traffic areas
  • Absorbs light
  • Holds dirt and is more difficult to clean
  • Rubbing with cleanser may burnish the finish
  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Bedroom
  • Ceiling
  • Family room
  • Hallway
  • Can be scrubbed clean with ease
  • Offers a smooth, high-shine finish
  • Ideal for surfaces that require frequent washing
  • Trim
  • Woodwork
  • Molding
  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Kitchen
  • Bath
  • Can be wiped clean
  • Provides an elegant finish
  • Soft sheen reflects light
  • Ideal for more active rooms
  • Extremely versatile
  • May be used indoors or outdoors
  • Family room
  • Playroom
  • Laundry room
  • Kitchen
  • Guest bathroom
  • Dining room
  • Children’s bedroom
  • Trim
  • Shutters
  • Doors
  • Can be scrubbed clean with ease
  • Smooth sheen reflects light
  • Ideal for high-traffic areas
  • Easy to wash
  • May be used indoors or outdoors
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Cabinets
  • Doors
  • Trim
  • Molding
  • Hallway

Room for Improvement

Paint your home like a Pro

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Kevin Schaben

Paint like a Pro

Interior painting can dramatically increase the value of your home.  It also provides an atmosphere created just for you.  It can however, be very expensive.  Follow these tips to get a professional product.


  1. Remove pictures from the wall and cover furniture with plastic.  Cover the floor with a tarp.
  2. Fill nail holes, cracks and imperfections with joint compound.
  3. After sanding, roll over the repaired areas with an oil primer.  This provides a stipple like a previous painted surface
  4. Tape baseboards and trim with blue painter’s tape. It often helps to use a putty knife to push down the edges of the tape
  5. Using a good quality brush, trim the edges of the room.  Start just below the edge to be trimmed and move the brush slowly until you reach the trim.  The bristles will bunch up and give the user advanced control.
  6. Pour paint into a paint tray.  Load the roller by moving it back and forth until the roller has an even amount of paint.  Sometimes it helps to attach a small pole.
  7. Apply paint to the wall like a “W” shape, approximately 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet.  Fill in the rest of the “w” creating a rectangle.  Repeat the process above and below the area until you have three roller width rows completed floor to ceiling.
    • Continue around the room until the entire room is painted
    • On the final coat draw your roller from floor to ceiling in a single line down.  This prevents flashing
  8. Remove the painter’s tape.

Things You’ll Need

  • Plastic sheet and tarp
  • Blue or green painter’s tape
  • Joint compound
  • Sanding sponge
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint tray
  • 3/8 inch Paint roller
  • Good quality paint brush
  • Ladder