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Friday, October 3, 2008

DIY Kitchen and Bathrooms

Value-Adding Renovations for Your Home
Author: Gary Nealon
For most average homeowners, it is almost impossible to think about spending any extraneous money on much of anything these days. However, putting money into the right areas of your home right now, could earn you a considerable return on your investment down the road. Think of it as putting money away into your savings account or retirement plan. Two rooms that have the most potential for not just a return on your investment, but actual profit would be your kitchen and bathroom. These two rooms are usually the focus because they are the most frequently used rooms in the house, and can cost the most to renovate. A good, well thought kitchen remodel can in some cases yield a return that is two times your initial investment. A kitchen or bathroom renovation doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor if you research your options for materials. There are plenty of high quality products on the market that won't break the bank, but they will require a little effort to find. Since cabinetry is usually a large purchase for either room, a very inexpensive, yet affective way to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom is with RTA cabinets. These cabinets are solid wood, come in several different finishes, are higher grade then the "builder's standard", and less expensive then custom cabinetry. The thought of re-doing my entire kitchen on my own seemed a little daunting upon first thought. But after some online investigation, I came to realize that I too could be a do-it-yourselfer. Since labor is a huge part of any kitchen renovation, by doing the work myself I was able to save thousands, so I was then able to upgrage to granite countertops instead of laminate. Upgrading your kitchen using ready to assemble cabinets is a cost-effective way of ultimately growing your single most profitable investment, your home. They are an exceptional alternative to custom cabinetry, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. With a little elbow grease, you can save yourself thousands and increase the return on your investment tremendously. New homeowners will be looking for a home that is move-in ready, so if they walk into your home and see that the cabinets need to updated, it will actually reduce the perceived value of your home. With a brand new kitchen, potential homeowners won't be able to find ways to reduce their offer. With the uncertainty in the mortgage industry, and the slumping housing market, being able to add value to your home without a huge out-of-pocket expense is something that every homeowner should consider.
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About the Author:Find out where the experts go to get all of their kitchen cabinets and accessories. Learn how to save thousand on kitchen cabinet s by buying them where contractors and builders shop.

Friday, May 16, 2008

FAQ's about Painting Formica Counter Tops

I wanted to throw out to you a few answers to frequently asked questions about refinishing Formica countertops.

Durability. I think the most common question is how long does the painted finish last? There are no guarantees because as you know, everyone treats everything differently. If you ABUSE the painted finish, of course, it will scratch or burn just as any surface would. However, if you treat them properly, i.e., use a chopping board when chopping and trivet for hot pots, they will last for years and years. That is not to say, you have to treat your counters with velvet gloves. Who wants to do that? It’s impossible to do in a real working kitchen with a rowdy family and rambunctious friends. (We are posting a video on the website next week, of my counters three years ago when they were first refinished along side a current video of them. You will see, my kids are obviously three years older and the counters are in exactly the same condition. Go to to view.)

If something terrible did happen and you burn the surface (which would be difficult to do) or someone decides to clean their motorbike engine in your kitchen and gouges the counters up, you can always sand the affected area and repeat the four step refinishing process

Color choices and combinations. I am very often asked if it makes a difference if you put a dark/light color down as your base color. If you are going for a light colored faux granite or marble, then you will use a light shade of paint. The same applies for a dark finish.
For example, if you are going for black faux granite, choose a dark base that is going to compliment the finished look such as midnight blue or dark gray. You will add black, shades of blue-black, grey, perhaps some silver, and a smattering of white as an accent. The overall look will be black but with depth and a luster of dark blue/grey/silver. Just like real granite.

Choosing the correct color combinations can be daunting but here is a BIG tip that still helps me out when I am having ‘painters block.’ Go to your local home improvement store and look at a sample of real granite or even pick up a few samples of laminate. You can take those over to the paint department and match the colors in your sample. It really does help. I go over this in detail on the DVD too. A good idea is to test out a few color combinations on poster board first. That really helps you know what you like/dislike and figure out your painting technique. Keep in mind, you can email me for further help.

Where to purchase your supplies? Many ask if anything is special order. The answer is no, and you will find all items you need at most paint store. (UK and Canada too.)You are supplied with a shopping list of everything you need with your DVD. Expect to pay approximately $80 for all your supplies. That is for everything including brushes and paint trays and you will have enough paint to complete an average size kitchen with a little left.

Please note. I am specific about the bonders to use because some say they work but over the years, I have found some work much better than others but you do have brand choices and those are listed.

Cleaning. Everyone wants to know how to clean the painted countertops. I treat mine as I would any other surface and I’m not afraid to use bleach and other kitchen/bath cleansers on them. The only thing I would recommend keeping away from the finish is solvents. That being said, I wouldn’t like solvents near a REAL granite surface either.

I’m sure you have many questions of your own but we have tried to cover many of them on the FAQ page of the website.
Feel free to take a look.
Click on the question and the answer pops up next to it. Alternatively, send your questions here to share. Don’t forget to check back for the three-year-old counter video late next week.Happy painting and have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Learn How to Paint your Old Formica Countertops

If you are like many of us and would love beautiful granite or marble countertops, but the budget will not stretch that far, be sure to watch the Rachael Ray show from 3/31/08
Here is the link:

Here a picture of a very typical 1970's kitchen with dark wood cabinets and drab, worn out Formica counter top. The counter actually had a burn about 5" wide, behind the stove, which was a sure indication that something had to be done with it when we moved in. Yes, very depressing!

I'd had it on my mind for several years to put my counter top refinishing process on DVD but between having children and moving/renovating houses and running my painting business, I never quite got around to it until we moved into this house!

This is when the DVD, CountertopTransfauxmations was born.

Refinishing counters is very easy, as long as you know which products to use.
The best part is, the finish is very durable. We have three children, and they have held up's three years since we filmed and they look like they did the first day. They really do look like granite but the materials cost about $80 for this size kitchen and it took a couple days of my time.

This entire kitchen took about a week to complete and most of that was cleaning and painting the cabinets. We (I) painted inside as well as out to really freshen every thing up. The counters took about ten hours, plus dry time. I changed the hardware and painted the walls a lovely yellow and faux finished with a lime wash. What a difference! Incidentally, if you do apply a faux finish in your kitchen, it is a good idea to seal around the stove and sink area with a satin finish clear coat (water based so that it does not yellow).

For more info on my DVD, go to Have a look at the testimonials. It's great to see what people are doing with this.

Check back for more decorating tips and helpful hints.