This Guy Got Knocked out at Work

I walked into the office yesterday morning and I could see that things were about to break bad, although I expect that it may be part of some sort of scheme to sue the people who own the company. Obstensibly it started over the latest news from the never ending Trump news feed. Obviously he is always saying things that normal folks are really perplexed about. Then you have all sorts of people who very rightly take offense and the small group of people who will defend just about anything he does, even if it is completely outrageous. This stuff in Charlottesville is just really perplexing, honestly how hard it is to know that Nazis are bad. Continue reading


DIY Tips For How To Remove Old Ceramic Tile From Bathroom

DIY Tips For How To Remove Old Ceramic Tile From Bathroom

DIY Tips For How To Remove Old Ceramic Tile From Bathroom

If you are interested in remodeling a bathroom in your home, one of the most common places to start is with the tiling. Tile is an effective material for bathrooms because it’s easy to clean, hygienic and resistant to humidity and moisture. However, even the best tiles will eventually need to be replaced. A new bathroom floor can breathe new life into the space, and it even has the potential to raise the overall value of the home. Here is a DIY guide to removing bathroom ceramic tile on your own.

Create space

The first step has little to do with the tiles, but it ensures that you will be comfortable while you work. You will want to take out anything that can be removed, and that includes toilets and even freestanding cabinetry. It is also important to turn off the water mains so that there is no chance of flooding as you remove the bathroom tiles. Once the area is ready, then you can begin with the steps below.

First tile

The first tile is generally the hardest to remove. Pick a tile in the center of the room to start with, and use a utility knife to scrape the grout out from around a tile. Using a putty knife or a solid trowel, try to gain some traction underneath the tile and pry it off. Take it slow, and don’t be surprised if it takes a few minutes. It is important to start off on the right foot with this single tile.

Working out

From the first tile that was removed, you will want to work your way out by removing one tile at a time. Again, the best tools for the job will be a simple putty knife. You will want to wiggle it underneath a tile, lift up to get leverage and wait for it to crack, break or come off in a single piece. Don’t try to salvage whole tiles, which is nearly impossible for this kind of project. Expect many of the tiles to break, and keep a bucket on hand to deposit the tiles and avoid an injury from the sharp edges.

Additional tools

You can remove ceramic tiles from the bathroom floor with just a putty knife, but other tools can make the job easier. A mounted scraper on a pole, for example, lets you lift up the tiles while standing, which is easier on the body if you are tackling this project on your own. Similarly, an electric demolition chipping hammer can be useful if you have a larger bathroom or if you are doing several rooms at once.

Posted in DIY

How To Add A Shower To A Freestanding Tub

How To Add A Shower To A Freestanding Tub

How To Add A Shower To A Freestanding Tub

Freestanding tubs add a certain “wow” factor to any bathroom, but when push comes to shove, we all need a shower. Rather than install a brand new shower, a capable DIYer can add a shower to a freestanding or claw-foot tub. Continue reading to see the benefits and how you can add a shower to a freestanding tub.

Shower Costs

According to our shower installation cost estimator, the national average for a new shower is $2,689, but large, luxurious showers can run a homeowner up to $10,000. Likewise, if you wanted to add a shower-tub combo, be prepared to spend somewhere between $2,500 and $3,686.

On the other hand, if you already have a freestanding or claw-foot tub available, one can easily add a shower for less than $500.

Tools Needed to Add A Shower to A Freestanding Tub

  • Tub-and-shower assembly
  • Shower head
  • Wall support for shower rods
  • Mounting bracket
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Teflon tape
  • Wall anchors

How to Add A Shower to A Freestanding Tub

Freestanding Tub

1. Turn the water off.

Close the tub’s shut-off valves. Try turning on the water and make sure it is in fact off.

2. Use a wrench, preferably an open-ended adjustable wrench, to disconnect the water supply lines and faucet.

We have to attach a new faucet that doesn’t only connect the bath, but the shower head as well. There may be a few connections to unscrew. Totally remove the old faucet from the tub.

3. Connect all parts that come in your tub-and-shower assembly, but do not attach to the freestanding tub just yet.

Make sure you do not attach the new faucet to this new assembly. You will most likely have to add the faucet first and then attach the assembly to the faucet and freestanding tub.

4. Attach the faucet to the freestanding tub.

Add some plumber’s putty on the backside of the faucet handles on the threaded fittings. These handles will not be seen. Once set in place, tighten the lock nuts with that same adjustable wrench. Make sure the new faucet is installed nice and tight with the tub. Then, connect both the hot and cold water lines. Once again, tighten each bolt, lock nuts and compression fitting with your wrench. Scrape away excess putty.

Claw-Foot Tub

5. Add the shower riser to the new faucet.

Use Teflon tape and wrap it around the edges of the shower riser. This tape will make sure water flows smoothly from one section of the shower rod to the other. When completed, thread the shower riser into its designated position. Make sure it is level. Either way, you will have to add a support rod that connects the shower riser to a wall.

6. Attach the shower riser support rod.

Most wall supports come in prefabricated lengths. You will most likely have to cut it to fit your new shower-tub combo. Hold it up against the wall, perpendicular with the hole designated for this support rod. Determine where the wall support needs to be trimmed and mark that point. Use a tube cutter to cut it to length. Screw the wall support range into the wall (preferably with a drill) and then connect it to the shower riser (screwdriver).


7. Add mounting bracket to the back wall and/or sidewall to attach the shower-curtain ring.

Make sure your brackets are mounted into wall studs. Assemble the shower-curtain ring. Attach one end of the shower-curtain ring to the shower riser you just installed and attach the back to the wall bracket. Likewise, also attach the shower ring to the sidewall as well. Hang a shower curtain from the ring as well as any other shower accessories your heart desires.

8. Attach the shower head and try it out.

Finally, attach the shower head to the riser. Open the shut-off valves, turn the water on and admire your work.


If you already have a freestanding tub and want to add a shower, rather than installing a new shower, save some money and just add a shower to your existing tub. With all the supplies and materials in place, this project should take no longer than five hours.

Posted in DIY

Bathroom Fan Installation Costs

Bathroom Fan Installation Costs

Bathroom fans have virtually become the industry standard when renovating. Whether replacing an existing fan or adding a brand new model, the cost of bathroom fan installation can vary to some degree. Given its low cost, the benefits, such as mold prevention, far outweigh the risk of not owning one. Therefore, the cost of installing a bathroom fan of any kind is usually a sound investment.

Bathroom Fan Prices

Brand new bathroom fans can vary greatly in both necessity and price. Ranging in price from about $60 to almost $800, bathroom fans are no different than most products as the price does, in some sense, dictate the quality. On the other hand, purchasing the most expensive fan on the market is also illogical. A quality, reasonably priced bathroom fan installation should be priced in the area of $100 to $350, depending on the job in question.

Bathroom Fan Prices

Bathroom Fan Cost Factors

First and foremost, existing ductwork and electricity will greatly affect your total bathroom fan investment. If neither is in place, your new fan bill just went up. If there is an existing bathroom fan, the ductwork that provides the necessary airflow is already in place. The electric wires and switch supplying power to the fan is also something that can greatly affect the cost. In most cases, if there was an existing fan, the electrical wires are also already run. Of course, with safety being the first priority, as long as there are no frayed, crimped or damaged wires, there is no need to replace them. If the existing ductwork and electricity are both undamaged, you’re left with minimal labor in addition the actual bathroom fan.

On the other hand, if new ductwork and electricity are needed, this greatly increases the price on both labor and materials. Generally, this requires a licensed electrician to run new wires and install a switch, as well as a plumber to install the air ducts themselves. The involvement of additional subcontractors, or even just additional labor itself, is the main reason the price can substantially increase. In addition, most people do not supply their own raw materials – such as wire, switches, electrical boxes or ductwork – making it very easy for the contractor to mark these items up a substantial percentage. Again, the installation of a brand new bathroom fan may add a few hundred dollars more for labor and material costs related to a renovation, but it can save money in the long run.

Finally, the type of fan you buy will certainly play a role in your bathroom fan installation price. Bathrooms can vary greatly in size, shape and construction. As such, you may need a specific fan to stand up to the task at hand. If you’re installing yourself, make sure your fan has an efficient CFM, or cubic feet per minute, rating. Expectedly, the bigger your bathroom, the higher the CFM rating you’ll need (and the more expensive it will be). Furthermore, the CFM should be high enough to replace the air in your bathroom eight times per hour.

Why Install A Bathroom Fan

Believe it or not, besides defogging your mirror after your shower, there are other reasons to install a bath fan. Bathroom fans prevent mold and mildew. Bathroom fan, at least good ones, sucks warm, moist steam out of a room to prevent condensation. This excess water from steam can damage tiled surfaces and finished wooden ones as well. While replacing or repairing certain tiles and wooden surfaces are not expensive, it’s an expense and timely chore that can easily be avoided.

Additionally, fans can improve your health as well. While we like to think we’re living with clean air all around us, sadly toxins and other harmful substances can enter our homes. Bathroom exhaust fans limit those toxins and improve our indoor air quality.

As you can, given its low cost and relative high health risk, it’s no wonder homeowners are installing bathroom fans across the country.

Bathroom Fan Cost Factors

How to Install A Bathroom Fan

Installing a bathroom fan is not a simple process, but one that the average DIYer can accomplish. Depending on your DIY experience, it could take awhile, but with a good guide in front of you, you should complete the installation in less than a day. As such, we broke down all the steps for installing a new bathroom fan.

Step 1: Plan the Project

The first step in any home remodeling project is planning. Before installing your bathroom fan or beginning any electrical work, be sure you have the required permits. Failure to do so is illegal and may invalidate your homeowner’s insurance. If you’re replacing a bathroom fan, please skip to step 2.

Then, make sure you know the exact route all that extra steam will take to exit the home. If you’re installing one through the roof, be sure you have access to the attic and have enough duct area to go from the bathroom to the top of the home. The same process goes for installing a fan on the side of the house. The manufacture’s instructions will greatly help with this step, as well as the entire process for installing a bath fan.

Before purchasing your ducts, check with the fan’s instruction and your city codes. Some may require steel pipes while others may need aluminum or insulated ducts.

Step 2: Pre-Wire and Mount the Bath Fan

Turn the power to the circuit off. Then, follow the instructions from the manufacturer to carefully pre-wire the bath fan. Next, depending on the location of your fan, you may have to cut out a piece of drywall. If you’re venting through the roof, you may just need access to the attic. Mount the bath fan to a joist (like a stud) with nails. Make sure it’s sturdy.

Why Install A Bathroom Fan

Step 3: Run the Ducts and Drill Exit Point

Use your ducts to mark the exit point of the steam (through roof or wall). Mark the center point with a pen. Drill a hole or nail from the inside of the home through this center point so you can locate it from the outside. For roof installation, make sure the vent exit is as close to the unit as possible. You can use a utility knife to score the opening if you don’t have a drill.

Step 4: Complete the Exit Route

If you’re installing a bath fan on the side of the house, be sure to add some sort of covering over the exit hole. This will prevent rain or snow from entering the home. Make sure you use heavy-duty caulk or glue to attach the outer piece to the home.

For roof installation, remove the shingles around the exit point to match the shape of the vent. Add some roofing cement or heavy-duty caulk to the bottom of the vent and slide it into place. You can add that same caulk around the vent or seal the vent with nails.

Attach the ducts to both the vents (roof or wall) and tape around the connection so no steam will leak. This is especially important if your ducts are running through the attic. Connect the ducts to the actual bath fan and complete the wiring according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn the power on and you should be good to go.

To visually see how it’s all done, please watch the video below.

DIY Vs. Hiring A Pro

As you read and watched above, installing a bathroom fan is not a one step process. It takes time and precision, especially if existing ductwork and wires are not in place. While we always encourage homeowners to challenge themselves around the house, most tend to hire professionals for this remodeling project given their low cost.

As a gentle reminder, the price above includes professional installation. If you install the bath fan yourself, you’re just looking at the product cost, which generally ranges between $50 and $175.

Find A Pro

Bathroom fans have to be replaced every 10 years. Luckily, even if you hire a pro, their replacement cost is nothing more than $340. If you plan on hiring a pro, make sure you get multiple quotes from local bathroom contractors.

Posted in DIY

6 DIY Bathroom Remodel Ideas

6 DIY Bathroom Remodel Ideas

6 DIY Bathroom Remodel Ideas

DIY bathroom remodeling is not only a popular trend going around the U.S., but it’s also one of the most valuable. In fact, on average, bathroom remodeling projects yield a 60% return on investment. As such, you may not only get to enjoy the luxury of using an updated bathroom, but the monetary return as well.

Nevertheless, bathroom remodeling is not easy. To make a difference, you need honest advice from the pros. As such, we rounded up six common DIY bathroom remodeling projects and the steps to complete each without a pro.

If you feel some these are biting off more than you can chew, be sure to contact a professional bathroom contractor near you.

Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Before we dive into each project, we must cover the average costs. According to our bathroom renovation cost estimator, the national average for a bathroom remodeling job is $7,920. This price includes hiring a professional. Therefore, expect your DIY bathroom project to be much less expensive (expect longer completion time though).

DIY Bathroom Planning

Before you start your DIY bathroom remodel project, you must ask yourself six essential questions. By asking and answering all six, you will know if this bathroom project is not only worth your investment, but time as well.

The six questions you need to ask yourself before every DIY bathroom remodeling are:

  1. What is in the bathroom remodel budget?
  2. What do I need & what do I want?
  3. Who will be using the bathroom & what is its function?
  4. How long can the family function without this bathroom?
  5. Do I want to install energy efficient products?
  6. Do I need more bathroom ventilation?

Bathroom Painting

DIY Bathroom Ideas


Time to jump into your DIY pants. I am going to start off with the easiest and most prevalent DIY project around the house. Believe it or not, new paint can transform your bathroom from 1980s drab to 2010s fab. Whether you go bold with dark blue or casual with stripes, new paint will not only give new life to an outdated bathroom, but make it feel larger as well.

Making your small bathroom feel large is not as hard as it sounds. There are easy, proven painting tips that can make your small bathroom feel like the lavish master bath you deserve.

  • Use light colors
  • Keep all same tone
  • Blend tile color & wall color
  • Paint ceiling & wall same colors
  • Paint vertical stripes to make it seem taller
  • Paint horizontal stripes to make it seem wider
  • Use light colors on doors, windows & molding
  • Color unexpected accents
  • Paint a statement or accent wall

Shower Remodeling


We spend much of our time in the shower and fortunately for DIY homeowners, there are a few easy DIY shower projects you can complete without a pro.

Clean & Unclog Shower Drains

The first shower project is not so much a DIY project as much as it is DIY maintenance. With long hair myself, I know what it’s like to see hair all over your shower drain. Anyone with longer hair knows the struggle of cleaning your shower drain. Luckily, there are a few over the counter ways to unclog/clean your shower drain.

  • The Baking Soda & Vinegar Solution: After pouring boiling hot water down your drain, add a ½ cup of baking soda and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, add a ½ cup of vinegar and one hot cup of water. Cover the drain.
  • The “Gorilla Style” Method: Bend a metal coat hanger so that the hanger portion forms a hook. This is a great way to fish out any clumps of slimy hair that might be clogging your shower drain. With an old plastic grocery bag acting as your catch-all for the mess, quickly tie the bag shut when all the gunk is gone to contain the odor. Pour baking soda down the shower drain. Then, add vinegar and immediately plug the shower drain with the rag. Wait 20 minutes for tougher clogs.

Retile Shower

Retile Shower

Retiling a shower is not a project for the weak. It takes good old elbow grease to get your old tile out of there. Retiling a shower consists of completely knocking out the existing tile and installing new tile. You will need many tools, which I have outlined in How To Retile A Shower, to complete this project right.

After removing your shower head and handle, cover your shower floor with newspaper. Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place the chisel on the side of tile and use your hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out. Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.

After cleaning the walls, prepare them with mortar. Cover the bottom half of the wall with thinset mortar and spread it with your notched mortar trowel. Press down hard with your trowel. Make sure it’s clean and even throughout the wall.

Set the bottom row of tile in place, starting at the center of the wall. Press the tiles into the mortar with spacers between them. Work your way to the sides, cutting the end tiles if you need. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting tile yourself, take it your nearest Home Depot and they can cut it for you. Add grout and voila!

Freestanding Tub

Add Shower to Freestanding Tub

Freestanding tubs look terrific, but more often than not, we opt for a shower. Why not have two in one?

Without a pro, you can add a reliable and relaxing shower to your freestanding tub. Other than look great, it could also save you thousands of dollars off a regular shower installation. Below are all the steps needed to install a shower to a freestanding tub.

  1. Turn the water off.
  2. Use a wrench, preferably an open-ended adjustable wrench, to disconnect the water supply lines and faucet.
  3. Connect all parts that come in your tub-and-shower assembly, but do not attach to the freestanding tub just yet.
  4. Attach the faucet to the freestanding tub.
  5. Add the shower riser to the new faucet.
  6. Attach the shower riser support rod.
  7. Add mounting bracket to the back wall and/or sidewall to attach the shower-curtain ring.
  8. Attach the shower head and try it out.


The bathroom toilet can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Sadly, a leaky toilet is one of the most prevalent issues in a bathroom, but thankfully, it is also one of the easiest to fix.

Generally, there are two major culprits that can lead to a leaking toilet: the inlet valve or the flapper. Once you have identified the problem, turn off the water main and drain the tank of the toilet so that you can tackle the specific issue.

If the problem is with the flapper, you can remove it once the tank is empty. You might notice a few cracks or a loose fit, which is likely why the problem exists in the first place. Slip on a new flapper, check for a tight seal and then reintroduce water to the tank to test it. A single flush should be enough to tell if you were successful.

If the problem is with the inlet valve, you may need to separate the toilet from the water main and take apart the whole assembly. This requires a number of tools and can take several hours. Unless you have a lot of plumbing knowledge, this part is best left to the professionals.

Exhaust Fan

Exhaust Fan

Honestly, the bathroom will get foggy and smelly. No matter who is using your bathroom, it’s going to smell and the mirrors are going to fog up. One way to combat both dilemmas is through a bathroom exhaust fan.

Installing a bathroom fan is not a simple process, but one that the average DIYer can accomplish. While it’s not expensive to accomplish (average is $338), it can take a good chunk of your time.

To install a bathroom fan, you must:

  • Plan the project
  • Pre-wire and mount the bath fan
  • Run the ducts and drill exit point
  • Complete the exit route


The bathroom is one of the most trafficked rooms in the home and as such, deserves to be one the most attractive and functional as well. Fortunately, all the above DIY bathroom projects are easier then they sound and will save you hundreds, if not thousands, by not hiring a pro.

Posted in DIY

How To Retile A Shower

How To Retile A Shower

How To Retile A Shower

Nothing in the home lasts forever, including tile, and since the bathroom is the most trafficked room in the home, retiling a shower is a project one must consider. Even more so, a shower gets rid of dirt, sweat or any other unwanted growths on your body. As such, it deserves to be as clean as possible.

Existing tile can only be cleaned so much. Many choose to revitalize their bathroom by retiling the shower. It can be a lengthy and sometimes timely project, but those who do bite the bullet almost always agree that it is well worth it.

How to Retile A Shower

Retiling a shower consists of completely knocking out the existing tile and installing new tile. For those of you with larger showers, this is by no means a short project. However, before you can get started, you must first choose your existing tile, which I will get to later, and gather all your tools. The tools you will need to retile your shower are:

  • New tile
  • Utility knife, chisel or putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Sander
  • Scrub brush
  • Grout
  • Grout trowel
  • Mortar mix
  • Mortal trowel
  • Paint remover
  • Tile spacers
  • Caulk
  • Goggles
  • Gloves

Remove Shower Tile

Step 1: Remove Old Tile

First, remove the shower head and shower handle. You may need a drill or screwdriver. Then, cover the shower floors to prevent damage from falling tile. You can use multiple towels or cardboard.

Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place chisel on side of tile and use hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out.

Some of the shower tile may chip, but your goal is to get each individual piece off by itself. As you move your way inside the shower, you may have to the use putty knife or flat bar instead of a chisel. Go across one row first and then move your way down. It makes the process much easier.

Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.

Tip: Be very careful with tile along the wall and ceiling. Use your utility knife and make a cut along the top, bottom and side tile along the ceiling, floors and walls. Be very careful with these tiles. You don’t want to ruin the walls, ceilings, or floors.

To see it all in action, watch how to remove shower tile below.

Step 2: Clean & Prepare Walls

Before moving forward, you must get all walls smooth and flat. If you missed any mortar spots, chisel those spots off now. The wall needs to be smooth before you add any tile. An uneven wall makes for uneven retile.

Next, measure the width of one wall. Find the middle and make a vertical line from top to bottom. That center is where we will start.

Step 3: Retile the Shower

Before you begin, measure your wall and decide how much tile you need. Go to the store with this number in mind. This way, you won’t overspend and the store can cut some of the tile needed for the edges and around the shower fixtures.

Starting off, cover the bottom half of the wall with thinset mortar and spread it with your notched mortar trowel. Press down hard with your trowel. Make sure it’s clean and even throughout the wall.

Set the bottom row of tile in place starting at the center of the vertical line you drew earlier. Press the tiles into the mortar with spacers between them. Work your way to the sides, cutting the end tiles if you need. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting tile yourself, take it your nearest Home Depot as discussed earlier.

Repeat the above steps for each row. Always use spacers to leave room for grout.

Let the mortar and tile set overnight.

Step 4: Add Grout

Remove the spacers from the mortar. Spread grout over the walls from the top to the bottom, pressing it into the spaces with the grout trowel. Use a damp sponge to clean off any excess grout as soon as possible. Be persistent with cleaning. The grout could harden and stick to your brand new tile.

Grout all lines except the vertical lines along the walls and horizontal lines along the floor.

Let the grout set for 24 hours. Finally, caulk the vertical lines along the wall and the horizontal lines along the floor. Let grout and caulk set for 48 hours before using the shower.

For more guidance on grouting, including its costs, please see our regrouting tile cost estimator.

Shower Tile

Shower Tile types

Most of the time, homeowners go with the same tile they already had on their shower wall. Others like a new and refreshed look and end up with a new type of shower tile. The final decision depends on taste and of course, budget.

Nearly any tile type can be applied to a shower wall as long as it’s waterproof, durable and correctly installed. Tile types you can use for your shower wall include:

  • Ceramic Tile
  • Porcelain Tile
  • Stone Tile
  • Metal Tile
  • Glass Tile

While ceramic and porcelain tend to be most popular types of shower tile, stone is starting to gain steam. If you go with stone, there are various options, including:

  • Limestone
  • Slate
  • Marble
  • Travertine
  • Granite
  • Polished Stone

Shower Retile

Tile Costs

Beyond looks, costs generally prove to be the biggest factor in choosing a shower tile.

Ceramic tile is one of the lowest-priced options on the market. Besides being extremely economical, it’s also very popular and comes in all sizes and shapes. Prices range from $0.49/sf of ceramic tile all the way up to $12/sf with the average being closer to $2/sf.

Porcelain tile, on the other hand, is much harder and more durable. While the installation cost is certainly a bit more than ceramic, when analyzing the lifetime value of its cheaper brother, porcelain oftentimes is the logical choice. Porcelain is available in styles that look very similar to natural stone and can be purchased glazed or unglazed.

Stone is a more expensive type of shower tile. As stated above, there are various types of stone tile and all would certainly bring a welcomed upgrade to a dated shower. However, their timeless look doesn’t come without a price. The average price of stone tile ranges between $3/sf and $12/sf.

Finally, while not as prominent as the previous three, metal and glass do have their places in showers across the country. Brushed steel, pewter, bronze and copper are just some of the types of metal wall tile, which can also be mixed with glass tiles for an elegant look. Prices average about $15/sf for metal mosaic tile mixed with glass and about $12/sf for stainless steel tile. Pricier grades of metal wall tile can be as high as $57/sf.

Retile Shower


Retiling is by no means a short process. It takes elbow grease and determination to get the job done right. Wit the proper guide, any motivated homeowner can accomplish the job.

On the other, if you seek professional guidance, click here to speak with a bathroom contractor near you.

Posted in DIY

DIY Barn Door Installation

DIY Barn Door Installation

DIYing your very own barn door is easier than you might think. It’s not as simple as, say, chewing, but for the impact it delivers, the DIY necessary is definitely doable for anyone describing themselves as handy and/or owners of power tools.

It’s an awesome way to make a big change in several rooms. Yet, it takes up almost no space and is simple to use. What’s not to like?


While we love the idea of using reclaimed wood so we can morph into a purely Pinterest-based existence of fictitious barns and factories from days of olde (yes, with an ‘e’), reclaimed lumber is expensive and can be hard to find and work with.

What we do instead is buy new lumber. And for us, the knottier, gnarlier and more figured, the better. We used #2 Eastern White Pine 1 x 8 for this door. One ‘new’ thing we do like—straight, untwisted boards.

To design your own door, you need enough verticals (slats) to cover the door opening, plus no less than 1-inch on each side. At least one diagonal brace (or an X like we did) is nice and one stand-off. This goes horizontally above the door. It accepts the door hardware and projects the door past any base molding near the floor. It also looks cool.


We used a miter saw and our pneumatic stapler for this door. A table saw may come in handy too. We got lucky covering this door and were able to use seven full pieces. If you need to adjust for the size of your door opening, it’s best to make the two outside pieces the same.

What do I mean with the same? I mean that if you need to trim six inches off your assembly of full boards, you don’t lop six off of one end board. You take three off of each end board. Also, you may be able to simply buy a board a size or two down: 1×8 > 1×6 for example. Or 1×8  > 1×4.


We used a CS Hardware package for this door. The door mounts had just the look we liked for this design and they roll on a pipe. Why do we like this? Some door systems roll on rails, which works, but the pipe is plush. It rolls very smoothly. And you can expand the pipe system or double doors. It looks nice, plus the prices are great and the variety of looks cool. Sorry, this isn’t an ad for CS. I just geek out sometimes. Moving on.


You probably have your sweet spot already picked. We installed this one in a bakery makeover on the Food Network Show we did the design-build on called Save My Bakery. But they can be great anywhere from toilet rooms and laundry nooks to kitchens.

How To Install Barn Doors

Work Space

A large, flat table is your DIY best friend on a project like this. Sawhorses with 2x4s and a sheet of ¾-inch plywood is about as complex a set-up as you need.


Determine the width of your opening and the door you want to cover. Cut the outside edge boards to width needed as described above.

Next, height. Determine where you want the stand-off and hardware. A few inches of wall color between the top of the door and the bottom of the stand-off is nice proportion.

Measure the distance from the hardware to the floor. Then subtract ¾-inch. The ¾-inch is so the door can move without obstruction and so air can pass freely underneath it when it’s closed. Yes this is important and yes, this why good remodelers are worth working with because they know that and other important things about how a house works. Sorry, back to it. This gives you the length of your door slats.

Tip: I actually just installed a piece of hardware on a board and measured it all in real life so that I could see how it all adds up. You can even put it in place to see how it looks and make adjustments to get what you like.

Slats & Rails

Slats are the verticals. Rails, the horizontals. The rails hold the slats together. There’s no rule or even rule of thumb on where they go. But about eight inches from the bottom and top looks right to us.

There are lots of ways to join them; we’ve used lag bolts and washers, for example. On this one however, we turned to our narrow crown stapler, which we love for this kind of application.

Before fastening, we use the plywood work surface as a template to keep our slats parallel and square during assembly. We use a framing square to keep the rails 90-degrees to the slats.

Diagonal Brace

The diagonal isn’t really necessary on a door like this. Since it’s supported evenly from the top—not by hinges on one side like a regular door—it’s not going to sag. However, we like the look and it does keep the wood between the rails from moving.


The function of the stand-off is to push the door out past any existing door casing and base molding. On this door, we were deliriously tired at the end of a 48-hour makeover (yes, we really did them in 48-hours) and installed it the first time without the stand-off. There was upset-ness. And laughing. I could tell you stories. Anyway, we were reminded why it’s there. If you want to get fancy, add a routered edge to it before installing.

The key is to install it so your hardware lands where you want it. I do this by a technique I call ‘measuring centers.’ Reason is, with all these pieces, it’s hard to know what you’re measuring to and from.

Anyway, I make a level line on the wall where the stand-off goes (at the top of the stand-off location so it’s covered). Next, at the ends of the stand-off, I make marks ½ its width down from the line (in other words, I measure down 3 ¾-inches for a 1×8). I then mark the center of the stand-off (on its edges) and line them up with the wall marks and install. We like screws for this and they should go into the studs for certain.

Then, I install the hardware, which I usually install on the same centerline on the stand-off. Sometimes, I have to measure to the center of the hardware, then match that up with the centerline on the stand-off.

The point of all this center stuff, once you get the hang of it, is so instead of covering up marks as we install things, we can see what we’re doing.

Oh, and it looks great.

Finally, a guide on the floor to keep the door in-line is key. We used a router to cut a groove in the bottom edge of our door.


Theresa painted a cool, distressed finish on this door to match the décor of her bakery design. If you’re staining, wood likes to be sanded first, with a fine grit like 120. This opens the pours of the wood and it takes stain better.


There may be a lot of steps, but adding a barn door adds functionality, rustic and modern décor to any home. Are you ready to add a barn door?

Posted in DIY

DIY Workspace: Home Offices That Inspire Productivity

DIY Workspace: Home Offices That Inspire Productivity

DIY Workspace: Home Offices That Inspire Productivity

One of the most significant benefits to working from home is that you get to create an office that has your own style to it. Instead of having to worry about rules regarding what you can and cannot put on your cubicle walls, you’re allowed to do whatever you want to personalize your own office. When you do give your personal space some character, remember that you’re there to work and anything you do should promote productivity. From saving time to saving space, there are plenty of DIY solutions you can use to get the most out of working from home.

Be Practical About the Size of Your Desk

Your desk needs to fit the job that you will be doing. If you know that you will be moving around a lot of paperwork, then a larger desk could be appropriate. But it is also important to remember that a large desk tends to invite distractions. A desk that is too large gives you a lot more surface area for putting pictures, games and other distractions within arm’s reach. Your desk also needs to be the right size for you and your office. A good DIY solution is to build a basic desk that fits your ergonomic needs to prevent injuries, then build additional storage solutions for your papers. When you work from home, a large desk can only compound the distractions that already exist.

Combine Practicality & Style With Your DIY Storage Solutions

One of the most important design elements for your personal office is storage. Without enough storage, you cannot stay organized and productive. Corkboards and paper-holders on the walls can be great DIY solutions for organizing your office, and they can also be personalized to fit your style. To stay organized, you should create storage systems that keep related items together to make them more accessible. For example, you should develop a way to keep all of your invoices together so that you can quickly refer to them when needed. You should also consider getting creative about storage solutions. Utilize any closet space as business storage space, maximize wall space with shelves and cabinets, and don’t forget about all of the space wasted by tables with no storage space under them.

Don’t Be Afraid to Decorate

It’s important to focus on the practical side of working from home, but you can also decorate your office in ways that will inspire productivity. When you decorate your space, remember that there are going to be business considerations to take into account. For example, you do not want an offensive or distracting poster hanging in the same area where you may be doing video conferencing. However, the smart design professional will use one of their own pieces as wall art and make sure that gets seen by prospective customers. According to Glamour Magazine, choosing the right colors to decorate your office can improve your productivity. Use bright colors that will heighten your mood to help you get the most out of your own personal office.

Think About Safety

With all of the electronic devices you’ll be using in your office, you should give some thought to merging decor and safety. Most home offices are cozy places where any cords that are exposed could become tripping hazards. Sometimes, actions as simple as running cables and cords behind storage elements that are placed on the floor will do the job. You can also bundle cords together with wraps and then attach them to the legs of tables and your desk to get cables up and out of the way. An important safety tip to remember is to never hide your electrical cables under your rug or any floor covering. You could be creating a fire hazard if your cords become frayed or damaged in some way.

Practical Lighting

If you want to inspire productivity in your home office, then it’s important to have the right lighting in place. In many cases, people who work from home tend to spend more time working than people who work in an office located outside of the home. By taking the time to understand just how much lighting you really need to make your office comfortable, you can enhance your creativity and increase productivity. Remember that you can save money on energy bills when working from home by using natural light instead of artificial light.

A DIY office space can be the ideal setting for you to be productive. But in order to get the most out of your experience when working from home, it is important to design your office with elements that encourage you to stay focused on the job at hand.

Posted in DIY

How To Put A Fresh Shine On Old Countertops

How To Put A Fresh Shine On Old Countertops

How To Put A Fresh Shine On Old Countertops

Countertops are the foundation of your kitchen. The cleaner and shinier the better, however, there isn’t a universal method for putting a fresh shine on your countertops. This is why it’s important to not only learn general cleaning techniques, but also instructions for cleaning your specific type of counter.

The cleaning method you use to make them shine depends upon the materials in the countertop. From laminate to granite countertops, applying the right cleaning techniques will give your countertops back their shine. See tips for putting a fresh shine on old countertops and instantly improve the look of your kitchen.

Ready to start your kitchen remodeling project? Connect with a pro today and receive up to four free estimates.

Solid Surface

Solid Surface

Solid surface is typically available in matte, semigloss and gloss finishes. These countertops do require a bit of extra care and maintenance and, depending on the quality of materials, can cost more than other countertops. See below for shining specifics depending on the surface type.


  • Clean the surface with soapy water and an ammonia-based cleaner (i.e. Softscrub, and avoid cleaners that leave behind residues.)
  • For extra shine, clean with an abrasive household cleanser like Ajax or Comet and apply gently with a sponge. The bleach in them doesn’t hurt solid surfacing, but it does take five or six wipe-downs to get rid of the residue.
  • Do this once a month to maintain the original level of gloss.


  • Increase the frequency of cleanings with an abrasive cleanser and sponge.
  • It’s a process that’ll take time and repetition to reach a higher gloss.

If you want a super polished gleam, your counter will have to be refinished. This isn’t an easy job, but it’s usually easier and cheaper than replacing the countertop. If you’re not willing to maintain a glossy surface, maybe you’re better off leaving it matte or semigloss. If you’re looking for something quicker and shiner, then hire a professional countertop fabricator who can bring the surface to a high polish for you. This typically includes sanding and thorough polishing.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tiles

Tile countertops are popular in kitchens and baths alike. Keeping your tiles clean will not only make them look brand new, but also keep them sanitary. Bacteria and microorganisms get into the grout, which is a porous material. This has the potential to make your countertops unfit for hosting food.

Get rid of dirt and germs and avoid staining by wiping down your countertops after every use. You should do a deep clean two or three times a year. Follow these steps provided by DIY Network on how to clean ceramic tile countertops.

  1. Remove the day-to-day dirt by wiping off the countertop with a commercially prepared tile cleaner, or make your own cleaner.
  2. Start with the grout because it’s the dirtiest part of the tile counter. Tile doesn’t stain easily but grout does. Spray the grout with a grout cleaner. You can also use a mild bleach solution. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when using these types of products. They contain strong cleaning agents that could irritate your skin.
  3. For deep stains, allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes. Use a toothbrush or other small scrub brush to brush the grout. This is where much of the dirt from daily use and, often, mildew accumulates.
  4. Start at one corner of the counter and work your way across the surface, cleaning all the grout lines. Don’t scrub the tile itself with the brush because it could scratch the tiles.
  5. Let the grout air dry, then seal with a commercial grout sealer. This will protect your grout from coming out and help it resist stains and dirt.
  6. Should you seal the tile? If you have glazed ceramic tiles, you won’t need to seal it. Unglazed tile countertops will need to be sealed with a commercially prepared tile sealer to protect it and make it stain-resistant.
  7. Finally, rinse the counter and grout with hot water. This will make a tile kitchen counter food-safe, and a bathroom counter germ-free.

Knowing how to clean ceramic tile will keep your counters beautiful and germ-free. If you’re ready to replace your countertops, be sure to review the advantages and disadvantages and set a proper budget for installation before staring the process.

Painted Laminate


I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the answer is, yes, you can paint laminate countertops. In fact, Giani makes stone paints for your countertops so you can get the look without having to spend the money to install new granite countertops. Efficiently add a new shine to your countertops using paint or purchase a countertop redo kit. Laminate isn’t as strong as other countertop surfaces, but they’re less expensive and can be protected from damage using the right prevention methods.

Never cut directly on the surface. You should use a cutting board to protect your countertops. Clean the surface with a few squirts of mild detergent mixed in a bowl of warm water, then wipe down with a clean cloth. Rinse with another cloth and wipe it dry. Don’t let water flood the surface of laminate or get near seams, as this can cause the material to swell. Also, don’t use over-the-counter cleaners that contain residues, as these can leave a streaked finish on the surface.

Natural Soapstone Marble

Natural Stone

The most common natural stones used to make countertops include granite, soapstone and slate. Soapstone counters are highly stain and bacteria resistant and, unlike other natural stones, it doesn’t require yearly sealing. It does require regular applications of mineral oil which will help to disguise any surface scratches, add shine and deepen the stone’s color over time. Just apply a little Topical Stone Polish on the surface, wipe around and buff to a shine. It’s quick, easy and will last quite a while (depending on usage of the countertop), but does not build up, discolor or need stripping.

You may be able to restore the shine to dull granite countertops by removing the layer of soap film that builds up, instead of investing in a full kitchen remodel. Don’t clean your granite, limestone countertops, or marble daily with dish soap, or you’re bound to get dull granite counters, edges, and dull granite around the sink.

Your countertops lose their shine as well as their natural beauty. Avoid homemade concoctions and other cleaners that may have a harmful effect on your granite, marble or limestone. Your best bet to restore granite shine is to remove soap film with a commercially available, professional quality product made specifically for the purpose and use on natural stone surfaces!

Wood Countertops


Wood, or butcher-block-style, countertops are best for food prep and highly heat-resistant. They’re also easily susceptible to absorbing liquids and dirt. The best method for treating and caring for a wood countertop is to follow a few simple steps for bringing back their shine. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to restore the shine in your countertops than to replace them. Wash wood countertops immediately after using, especially when it comes to moisture containing stains, scraps and spills.

To get shiny wood countertops, start by removing stains with a fresh lemon. Wipe down and clean your countertop with a sponge and a non-toxic cleaner. After it’s dry, sand the surface lightly (with the grain) thoroughly with 120 grit sandpaper. Sand again with 180 grit sandpaper until the wood is smooth. Drizzle food-grade mineral oil liberally onto the counters and rub in well with an old cotton rag. Allow the wood to soak in for 20-25 minutes and then wipe clean.

Clean Countertops The Right Way

No matter what type of countertops you own, there are a few maintenance tips everyone should use for shiny counters. If something is spilled on your countertop, wipe it immediately. This habit will make your cleaning very easy in the long run. Remember that most spills can be easily cleaned with water and if not, then you can use detergent.

Use dry and wet clothes to clean fresh spills on the kitchen counter. A plastic or steel scrubber works well for removing tough spills. Don’t scrub too harshly on the surface of the countertop. You can clean countertops easily with dishwashing liquid and wipe it with a sponge to give the perfect finish to your counters. Kitchen countertop maintenance is really very easy, and obviously the better quality countertop material that’s installed in your kitchen, the easier it is to maintain.


Putting a new shine on your old countertops is a fairly simple task that’ll make a big difference in your kitchen. The most important takeaway is to use the proper techniques and cleaners for your specific type of counter. You don’t want to create more damage by using improper cleaning practices. Although it takes some time and a few resources, you won’t regret maintaining the look of your kitchen counters.

Posted in DIY

How To Prepare For A Stress-Free Holiday Feast

How To Prepare For A Stress-Free Holiday Feast

How To Prepare For A Stress-Free Holiday Feast

The words stress-free should be music to your ears, especially when talking about the holidays. There’s obviously going to be some pressure experienced by anyone who’s hosting and planning a holiday feast. The key is to not let these feelings control you in the preparation phase.

Planning and organizing every last detail is hectic at first, but it ensures your party will go off without a hitch. See tips for preparing a stress-free holiday feast so you can remain cool, calm and collected during the planning stages and on the day of your party.

Guest List

Set Your Guest List

Your first order of business is determining your guest list. Document who you’re inviting, how many people are in each family and decide if you’ll be inviting children or not. If you’re not, be sure you clarify that it’s an adults-only dinner on the invitation.

The reason you want to set your guest list before you start planning is because you need to know how many you’ll be feeding. The number of people you’ll be entertaining is your guide to setting a realistic budget for your holiday feast.

Table Setting

Plan Your Décor

The reason for your gathering is to feast, so it only makes sense to plan for what table settings and décor you’ll present. Hosting the ultimate feast is about more than just the food. It’s about the presentation, installing the right lighting and using the environment to set the mood. Below are the most important décor elements you should prepare and plan for at your feast.

Holiday Centerpieces

Holiday Centerpieces & Tablecloths

While tablecloths are optional, every table needs a centerpiece. They don’t need to be overly elaborate, but they should be tasteful and well put together. Narrow down your options by theme, colors, time of year and texture possibilities. Centerpieces are special because they’re a personal touch of the host.


Holiday Dinnerware

Hosting a feast with large amounts of food means you’re going to need the proper dishware to serve it and dishwasher to clean it. Take inventory of what you have and determine the pieces you’ll need to purchase online or at the store. While you don’t want to blow all of your budget on dishes, it’s essential that the dishes you use are in good shape and that they all match.

Pumpkin Place Cards

Seating Place Cards

You don’t necessarily have to assign seats, but it’s proper to include a favor or small decoration at each seat. Assigning seats is helpful because it removes the confusing and uncomfortable side conversations about where to sit. A pumpkin place card is just one example, but there are an infinite amount of ideas and options out there.

Holiday Lights

Holiday Door Decorations

If you’re hosting a holiday feast, be mindful that some guests may not know where your house is located, or find it difficult to see if traveling in the dark. Install exterior lights and door decorations to put your guests at ease and in good spirits as soon as they pull up to your house.

Holiday Party Outfits

Instead of stressing about what to wear, treat yourself to a new holiday party outfit as a reward for all your hard work. The last thing you need to worry about on the day of your party is what to wear. Have it planned out ahead of time, so that if you’re running late day of, at least you’ll look and feel good once you’re dressed.

Holiday Menu

Layout Your Holiday Dinner Menu

Holiday meals are never easy. They typically involve multiple courses and lots of feasting. Every piece of food matters, from the holiday appetizer ideas to the holiday dinner presentation. The number one reason people look forward to attending parties is the food. Make sure you sort out your holiday dinner menu ahead of time and write down the items you need to buy. Lists are the foundation of all party planning successes.

Drinks & Cocktails

Determine Drinks & Cocktails

The only other party component that may compete with the food are the drinks and cocktails. Research one or two holiday drink recipes to serve, but also include standard drinks the majority of people look for at a party such as, beer, wine and soda.

Holiday Pies

Prepare Holiday Pies & Candy

No holiday feast is complete without serving mouth-watering holiday pies. Holiday cakes, easy holiday cookies and candy are also an option. Put your bakeware to use and have a few dessert choices, but don’t feel like you need to go overboard. Most people are fine with anything, as long as it’s something sweet.

Stress Relievers

Practice Holiday Stress Relievers

In the midst of your planning, don’t forget to take care of yourself. The last thing you need is to get sick before, during or after your big event. Take breaks, rest, ask for help and, most importantly, hit the spa, enjoy the fall weather or get lost in a good book. Give yourself periodic breaks from preparing for your holiday feast so it remains a stress-free process.

Clean Kitchen

Leave Plenty Of Time To Clean

Most of us don’t love to clean, but know it’s necessary to keep a healthy and safe home. Tidying up is especially important when you’re throwing a party. Clutter and messes will stress you out. You’ll be doing yourself a favor so you can find what you need right away and prepare your food on a clean surface.

Put your energy into cleaning your kitchen, bathrooms and dining (or sitting) room. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or short on time, then hire a professional cleaning service to get the job done for you.

Relax & Enjoy

Relax & Enjoy

That’s it, you’ve done it! You’ve been planning and preparing for your stress-free holiday feast and the day has finally arrived. If you’ve completed the steps above and are still standing, then it’s time to give yourself a break. The reason you work hard ahead of time is so you can enjoy your party and visit with your guests. Mingle, eat and leave the cleaning for your family, or the next day.


Planning a party isn’t easy. Upgrade it to a holiday feast, and you have a big project on your hands. Use these tips to get through your holiday planning and preparation stress-free.

Posted in DIY