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


Simple Tips for Choosing Paint Colors in Your Home That You Can Live With

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Simple Tips for Choosing Paint Colors in Your Home That You Can Live With

 

When giving color consultations or bids, I often hear the words, “I want to paint it neutral colors so if we sell the house it will appeal to more buyers.” While I understand this thought process, it still seems a little disheartening to hear. Why disheartening? It’s disheartening because homeowners are missing out on enjoying the home they live in for the sake of worrying about resale. It’s important for people to remember that if they don’t care for tan or neutrals, they shouldn’t paint with them just because another person might buy their home based on these colors.

Choose colors that offer continuity throughout the house and make you happy at the same time. It is possible to have the best of both worlds! Forget “resale thinking” and paint your bathroom lime green if it makes you happy. Why shouldn’t you enjoy your home and add “special touches” to it to be unique and make you feel good?

If you choose an eccentric color because you like it, great! But keep in mind that continuity is key. While looking at the color wheel, there are several things to consider when understanding color continuity:

Most colors do well with hues in the same family (different shades of blue, for example) or the colors next to them (orange and violet are both on either side of red).

Colors look good with their opposites. While looking at the opposite sides of the color wheel, you can see that red and green are opposites. This concept is called the “complementary.” Warm colors always have cool complementaries, and vice versa.

If you choose to paint a wall two different colors above and below a chair rail, you may want to consider complementary colors or different shades of the same family.

A question some people have asked is, “should I choose my paint colors first or pick my colors from my room decor that I already have?” My answer is: choose whichever of the two means more to you. For instance, if you have a quilt that your grandmother made you and you want to showcase it, pick a color to match the quilt and accentuate it. Conversely, if lavender makes you happy and you want to paint a bedroom with it, choose it first then pick out decor.
Owning a home is the American Dream. It’s something most of us have had to work hard and save up for. Home is a place you can go to after a long day at work and put your feet up. It’s also a place where memories are made and dreams birth new life. My whole point in writing this article is to say that there are concepts that you can follow to make color selection easier, but there is no right or wrong way to choose colors. It’s ultimately about making your home a place to call your own.

Kevin Schaben

Interior house painting

Selecting Color

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


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This is a fantastic color selection tool provided by Sherwin Williams.

Upload your photos to change the colors of your own home.

Wallpaper Removal DIY

Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Wallpaper Removal DIY

I helped write and edit this article about Wallpaper Removal

Kevin Schaben

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

Removing wallpaper can be a pain, but you can make it easier on yourself with the right equipment and approach. Read on for a comprehensive look at how to get the job done.

Steps

Preliminary Steps

  1. Lay drop cloths over carpet and anything else you want to protect. Use small nails to attach to wall edges if necessary, but keep in mind that drop cloths move around a lot even if you nail them. Moving furniture out of the room to be stripped will make your life easier.
  2. Shut off all circuit breakers to any room outlets and lights. If you have a job and an active weekend social life (and therefore intend to do this at night after work), invest in a halogen work lamp and a long extension cord.
  3. Keep the covers in place and tape over the exposed area. This keeps water from getting inside during the removal process. Even outlets without power are dangerous to get wet and can pose a fire hazard. You may remove the paper underneath towards the end of the process.
  4. Figure out your walls are made of. This let you know how gentle you have to be while stripping your wallpaper. Most walls are made either of plaster or drywall. While plaster is hard, durable, and fairly water-resistant, drywall is nothing more than paper-covered gypsum and shouldn’t be allowed to get too wet. The easiest way to tell the difference is to tap the wall in various places; if it sounds hollow, you have drywall. If you use a wallpaper removal method that involves liquid or steam, go easy on your drywall.
  5. Determine what type of wallpaper you have. There are many kinds of wallpaper, but the removal process will go a lot smoother with the strippable type or peelable-top-layer type than the traditional varieties. To test this out, work your putty knife under a corner of the wallpaper, loosen it, and try to peel it back with your hands.
    • If the whole thing peels away in one piece, you have strippable wallpaper. A bottle of champagne is in order.
    • If, much like a cheap label, only the surface layer peels away, leaving a papery bottom layer, your wallpaper has a peelable top layer. This isn’t as easy to remove as strippable wallpaper, but you should still consider yourself lucky that you don’t have the traditional kind.
    • If you cannot peel your wallpaper away from your wall by hand (or can only peel a thin strip away at a time), you have traditional wall paper. You will have to remove it either with stripping solution or a wallpaper steamer.

Remove Strippable Wallpaper

  1. Find and loosen a corner. Strippable wallpaper is easily removed and can often be pulled off in one piece.
  2. Strip the wallpaper off the wall. If the sheet tears, find a new corner and start over.
  3. Wash away residue. Clean with soap and hot water, rinse, and then dry with a clean towel or rag.

Remove Wallpaper with a Peelable Top Layer

  1. Find and loosen a corner of the top layer. The top layer is often made of vinyl and should pull off easily. Once the top layer is off, the backing paper remains. If the sheet tears, find a new corner and start over.
  2. Soak the backing paper with water for several minutes. Apply warm water with a rag, sponge, or paint roller (for hard-to-reach places).
  3. Scrape and peel the backing paper off the wall. Use a plastic putty knife to scrape the sticker areas.
  4. Wash away residue. Clean with soap and hot water, rinse, and then dry with a clean towel or rag.

Remove Traditional Wallpaper with Stripping Solution

  1. Score the wallpaper per the instructions on your wallpaper scorer. Putting holes in the paper will help your stripping solution to penetrate the adhesive.
  • Some people skip the scoring process because it can create small holes in the paper on the drywall. If you have a real plaster wall, this isn’t as much of an issue.
  • If you don’t want to score your wallpaper, use 120-grit sand paper with a vibrating sander. Sand just enough to take some of the color off.
  • Fill a bucket with hot water. Make sure it’s as hot as you can stand. Mix in a wallpaper-stripping solution according to the instructions on the bottle.
    • A vinegar solution would also effective, cheap, and non-toxic. Consider using a 20-percent solution, but if you’d feel more comfortable with a milder concentration, feel free to experiment.
    • Another cheap alternative is fabric softener at about 25- to 50-percent solution. It doesn’t have to be fancy fabric softener, but do make sure it’s unscented.
    • Mixing your stripping solution in small batches will keep the water hot.
  • Soak a paint roller in the hot water/stripping solution. A sponge or large paint brush also works well.
    • A spray bottle can make the solution much easier to apply but will also cool down it faster. Weigh your options.
  • Saturate one section of the wall at a time. Don’t saturate more than you think you can strip in 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Let it soak for several minutes. This will give the solution time to do its job.
  • Strip the wallpaper. With the help of a plastic putty knife, peel pieces of wallpaper away one at a time.
    • Peel upwards. This will make it easier to wedge the putty knife between the uplifted paper and the wall.
  • Wash away residue. Clean with soap and hot water, rinse, and then dry with a clean towel or rag.

Remove Traditional Wallpaper with Steam

  1. Rent a wallpaper steamer. The steaming method is ideal for wallpaper that proves difficult to remove.
  2. Score the wallpaper per the instructions on your wallpaper scorer. This helps the steam penetrate.
    • Some people skip the scoring process because it can create small holes in the paper on the drywall. If you have a real plaster wall, this isn’t as much of an issue.
  3. Steam the wallpaper in sections. Hold the steamer against the wallpaper to soften and loosen the adhesive. The longer you steam the paper, the easier it will peel off.
    • Be careful when using the steamer around drywall. The extra moisture may damage your walls.
    • Since the steamer will probably drip hot water, be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves.
  4. Scrape the wallpaper as you go. Use a plastic putty or drywall knife.
    • Peel upwards. This will make it easier to wedge the putty knife between the uplifted paper and the wall.
  5. Wash away residue. Clean with soap and hot water, rinse, and then dry with a clean towel or rag.

Tips

  • Don’t fret if you mark up the wall with cuts and dings. You can always sand it, plaster it, repaint, or put up new wallpaper.
  • Use a plastic spatula (egg turner) instead of metal scrapers. This will leave fewer gouges in wallboard.

Warnings

  • Plastic moldings will, in all likelihood, be destroyed in this process.
  • No matter how careful you are, the old wallpaper glue will stick to everything.
  • Wallpaper and wallpaper paste can contain toxic fungicides. Dispose of the waste and wash-water accordingly and restrict access to the area while working.
  • The whole process will take three times as long as you anticipate. It’s inevitable.

Things You’ll Need

  • Drop-cloths
  • Plastic scraping tool
  • Paint roller or sponges
    • Use a spray bottle as an alternative
  • Bucket
  • Wallpaper stripping solvent
    • Use vinegar or unscented fabric softener as an alternative
  • Steamer
  • Gloves

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Remove Wallpaper. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Painting an exterior door

Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Kevin Schaben

How to Paint an Exterior Door

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Painting an exterior door is a 1 day project. It is an easy way to freshen up the outside of your home. It only takes a little preparation with a few easy steps to paint an exterior door.

Steps

  1. Choose the type of paint for your exterior door. Acrylic latex paint is the best choice for painting most exterior doors. It will cover most types of old paint that may have been applied. If you are painting the door for the first time, you could also use oil-based paint.
  2. Decide on a color of paint for your door. You can always paint it the same color as before. This assures good coverage. It is sometimes fun to change up the color of your exterior doors to add variety to your decor.
  3. Purchase a primer. Using a primer will give the new paint something to adhere to. Priming usually gives better results than choosing not to prime.
  4. Remove the door from the hinges. Use a nail to carefully tap the pin from each hinge.
  5. Place the door on 2 saw horses or a bench. Check to be sure the saw horses are in an area that will not be harmed by dripping paint. If you are inside a building, you may want to put down a paint cloth.
  6. Remove any hardware from the door. Be careful to keep up with any small pieces and where they go back when finished.
  7. Sand the door to prepare it for painting. Scrape away any thick paint or flaking paint before sanding. Use a cloth to remove particles left over from sanding. You can clean the door well with mineral spirits.
  8. Cover any glass or other non-removable items on the door with painter’s tape and newspaper.
  9. Stir the paint in the can with a paint stick to thoroughly mix the paint. Dip the brush into the paint and wipe any extra off on the inside edge of the paint can. If using a primer, stir it the same way and apply it before the paint.
  10. Paint the edges of the door first. Next, paint all the panels that are part of the door. A good technique is to then paint from the top of the door to the bottom.
  11. Go over the painted surface lightly with the paint brush. Do this after you paint each section to remove any brush marks.
  12. Replace hardware when the paint is dry and rehang the door on its hinges.

Tips

  • Avoid painting the door on a day when temperatures are below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). Also, avoid painting exterior doors on a day when the humidity is high.
  • If you are painting the door inside a workroom, be sure you have proper ventilation for painting.
  • Make sure the door has several hours to dry before hanging. Paint pulling away at this point is very difficult to correct.

Things You’ll Need

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Saw horses
  • Paint Brush
  • Mineral spirits
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint stick
  • Hammer and nail
  • Soft cloth
  • Painter’s tape and newspaper

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Paint an Exterior Door. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

10 painting tips

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


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10 Painting and Wallpaper tips

 

Author Kevin Schaben

10 Painting Tips every painter should know

  1.  Before taping any woodwork, wipe with a dry cloth.  When taping use a 7 in 1 or putty knife to press the edge of the tape down.
  2.  Tape up a new roller using a white tacky tape.  When you remove the tape loose roller hairs should come with it instead of staying on your walls.
  3. When rolling a wall make sure on the final coat to finish every roller line in the same direction.  I always finish on the down stroke, this prevents flashing.
  4. After sanding spackle, use a 4 inch roller and prime over the area with oil primer.  This will add a stipple similar to what is present on the existing walls.  This is a great way to prevent a flat area against a wall with stipple sticking out.
  5. When removing wallpaper it is almost always sufficient to use water only.  When wetting the wallpaper continue to apply more water with a garden pump sprayer every three minutes until it comes off.
  6. Box your paint.  Quite simply if you are using 3 gallons of the same color mix them together in a larger container.  This will make sure every coat is consistent.
  7. Inspect the woodwork before you begin.  Home owners will go over every job with a critical eye.  It is imperative you point out previous paint carryover or damage before your work starts.
  8. After removing wallpaper it is absolutely essential to use an oil primer.  A latex primer is only delaying future issues.  Down the road the paint will blister and alligator.   (cracks like alligator skin)
  9. Use a urethane sealant on an exterior.  Regular caulk will only last a few years.  Urethane caulk is expensive and difficult to use but well worth the investment.  Your customers will appreciate the extra effort.
  10.  The customer is always right!  My best referral sources are the jobs I wanted to run from in the beginning.  Persevere and do a great job for a lifelong customer.

Kevin Schaben  Owner/Operator  www.paintingandwallpaperomaha.com

A Room for Improvement Painting and Wallpaper Removal Omaha

 

Choosing the right contractor to work on your home

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Steps to choosing the right contractor

 

Author  Kevin Schaben

Most homeowners enjoy the prospect of updating their home.  The idea of having something fresh and “new” can be exciting along with the potential of adding value to your home.  However, the prospect of hiring a contractor can be daunting.  It’s obvious that you want to hire someone who will do a great job, charge a reasonable price, and (most importantly) complete the project on your terms.

While choosing the right contractor might seem complicated and time consuming, it doesn’t have to be that way.  If you follow these tips, the process can go a lot smoother:

1.  Identify exactly what your vision is and set a deadline.  Write this down in a notebook to keep with all project information.

2.  Check your local Better Business Bureau website for a list of contractors skilled for your particular project.  This agency will provide information about negative claims against the contractor you are considering.  Remember: if there is 1 negative claim, there are probably 10 more customers who have thought about issuing a claim!
3.  Choose 4 contractors from this BBB website and call them to inquire about their services.  Chances are, your call won’t be answered by all of them so leave messages and ask for a call back.  If any of them take longer than 36 hours to return your call, don’t consider using them.
4.  When talking to the contractors from your list, ask the following questions:
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have 3 previous clients (references) I can call?
  • Can I have a copy of your business insurance?
  • Can you meet my deadline?
  • What are your terms for payment?

If all of these questions are answered to your liking, ask the contractor(s) to meet for a proposal.

5.  During the meeting for the proposal, verbalize all of your expectations.  These can include:

  • What date and time you’d like to start the project.
  • How you’d like your belongings protected. (Plastic on doorways, tarps on carpet, etc.)
  • A firm or very tight range for total project costs.  Extras may come up if you add on work, but you don’t want to be stuck paying a ton extra for those things that “come up.”

6.  It’s important that you feel safe around the contractor(s) who come to your home and are potentially around your children or loved ones.  If you have a “feeling” that the person giving you the proposal isn’t someone you’d feel comfortable having in your home, don’t hire them!  Trust your gut.  Ask if they’d be willing to let you do a background check.  Just watch for their reaction, it doesn’t mean you actually have to do it.  If they say “yes” without hesitation, that’s a good thing.

7.  Remember that written contracts are very important!  Don’t go by someone’s “word” only.  It doesn’t hold up in court if you ever had to take legal action.  Deposits don’t need to be made until the day prior or the day of the project start.  Don’t give the contractor a huge deposit or they hold all of the cards.  A contractor who is owed money will actually show up consistently and put forth 100% effort because they want to get paid!

Pay attention to the following warning signs:

If the contractor…

is late for the proposal meeting and doesn’t call to let you know.

appears disheveled and doesn’t take notes or measurements about the project.

doesn’t have a professional business card.

isn’t courteous by using eye contact and thanking you for calling their company.

doesn’t give you a solid price for the project. (Saying it will cost between $1000 and $2000 instead of a solid $1500)

By following these suggestions, you could save yourself a lot of time and angst while trying to find the right contractor for your home project!