If you've already decided to refinish your tub instead of replacing or lining it, your next decision: do it yourself or hire a professional refinisher.
Even though I made that fancy chart, linked above, I can boil it down for you in one sentence: In all respects except one, hiring a pro is the way to go.
There are many reasons, but one is that the acrylic-epoxy paints you as part of the DIY kit are meant to be rolled- and brushed-on. Now, this is fine for kitchen walls, but a bathtub is a more demanding, visible surface.
It's an evil trifecta:
- Highly glossy paint.
- Bright lights that bathrooms typically have.
- Weird, curvy surfaces.
This means that, even though DIY bathtub paint is meant to be "self-leveling," your glops, drips, brush strokes, and roller edges still manage to show up pretty well.
The one factor that caused me to make that chart is money. Lots of my readers have extremely limited budgets, so the $300 to $400 they can save between DIY and pro finishing is a big deal.
Image © Lee Wallender
Install a light dimmer switch by guesstimating the wiring configuration.
Yes, that's a recommendation. No, not a recommendation for the right way to do it, but for the quick way for $23 to go up in smoke.
After you do DIY electrical for a number of years, you get cavalier. Cavalier is fine when it comes to painting or flooring, but electrical--being a force that can hurt you, burn down your house, or kill you--is never good to be cavalier with.
How about giving a thing called "Reading the Instructions" a shot?
Somehow, I mixed up the wire connection. I went back downstairs and flipped the circuit breaker ON. Good so far: it didn't flip back immediately. I went upstairs and flipped the dimmer switch ON.
BZZZRT PAFFFFF! A flash of yellow-white light and that sickly smell of burning plastic. Dimmers don't recover well from overloads. After something like that, they're shot.
I drag myself to the computer and dig up Lutron's massively detailed, single-sheet .pdf instruction sheet because I couldn't read their massively detailed single-sheet paper sheet.
Yup, that wire goes there, and that other one is...unneeded and gets wire-nutted off.
Start with our Electrical Expert's guide on Dimmer Switches.
Image: © Lutron/The Home Depot
Walk down your Home Depot lighting aisle, recessed lights specifically, and Lithonia is one brand you'll find. Previously, I'd only installed the piece-together kind, where by buy housing, trim, and bulbs separately. The Lithonia Recessed Gimbal LED Recessed Light is all-in-one.
If you're too busy to read the review linked above, here's the gist of it:
So easy to install. It truly is complete, including wire nuts.
How the heck do you replace the bulb? I'm not even sure you can get a replacement bulb module unit. I think you need to replace the entire product, should the bulb go out.
Image: © Lee Wallender
I began this article about dutch doors with great hopes of finding at least a small number of retailers of these fun, lovely doors. I found few.
In fact, one online retailer even closed business between the time that I began and finished the article.
So, in this respect, Jeld-Wen rules. It's a huge multi-national manufacturer of windows and doors, but it also has some interesting custom products like these dutch doors.
Image: © Jeld-Wen
In the true spirit of The Internet, I must say of the above photo: "You Won't Believe This Image Isn't Photoshopped!"
Yeah, that's a lever-style door handle, and it's freakishly bending inward. As if that's not enough, it bends backwards, too.
Honest, that's a real thing and it's called a Brinks Push-Pull-Rotate Door Lever. It gives you three options of opening a door.
You can push it downward, in a conventional lever-style manner. Or...
If you're entering a room and have your hands full, you can hip-check the lever and push it inward (as shown here). Door opens. Or...
If you're leaving a room, you can pull the lever straight back. Door opens.
Image © Lee Wallender
Recessed (or "can") lights have a kind of 1980s and 1990s period reputation. They really proliferated all over those Eighties ceilings like rabbits.
I happen to like them. To me, they have a perennial look. They're flat, they're round, they're a light. In fact, they're like the quintessential light.
It's so easy to take down an existing ceiling light fixture and replace with a recessed light. In some cases, you don't even need access to the ceiling crawlspace/attic area.
Image © Lee Wallender
Every so often, when a great suggestion comes through the blog comment section, I like to pull it out and blog-ify it. This one comes from Tabetha, who says:
I'm nobody special when it comes to home renovations, but my personal experience with my house has been this: We put in reclaimed heart pine floors in our house made out of boards of various lengths 3/4 inches thick and 5 inches wide. When it came time to do baseboards I said, "Well, aren't we going to use the same boards so it will all match?" And that's what we did.
We had to cut the tongue and groove off of the boards, but after that, we just nailed them to the walls. Because they are various lengths, I think they work well - there aren't 16 foot sections spanning and entire wall, bows and all. The other thing that we did was to use caulk and spray foam underneath the trim (this was because we were worried about roaches sneaking around while the trim was left undone), and so I suppose that could help with issues of energy loss.
I've become a big fan of using reclaimed materials in remodeling. I don't necessarily mean buying reclaimed materials from a salvage yard; I mean reclaiming your own materials and recycling them within your house. This is a perfect example.
Should your socks match your pants or your shoes? For many people, it could go either way. It's just a matter of personal style (though correctly, socks should match pants).
Same thing with baseboards. They tend to be painted white. Or they might be painted a matching wall color. In fewer instances, baseboards match the floor boards. In my house, I have both (matching flooring and matching wall color) and they both look good.
As Tabetha points out, you're not going to ever have 16 foot floorboards. The economical type of flooring most of us buy won't ever be that long. But because the ends are tongue-and-grooved, you can slot them together: no need to cut and nail scarf joints.
I had never heard of ice dams before I moved to the East Coast and roofed a house. Back in sunny California, there were no such things as ice dams, or ice for that matter!
Ice dams are an awful fact of life if you live in places that get plenty of snow. In a nutshell:
Snow melts from your roof but doesn't melt well from gutters. After the roof-area snow begins to melt, it courses down to the gutters, which are packed with snow and ice and are nowhere near to melting.
This water seeps under the shingles and creates havoc for everything under the shingles.
Ice dam protection is nothing more than a long, narrow strip of high density cross laminated polyethylene between the roof deck and the shingles, a water barrier.
Read the article or, if you're on the fence about the matter, I'll just say now: add ice dam protection to your roofing job. It's that important.
Image: Public Domain; U. of Minn Extension
If the idea of applying wood filler fills you with mortal dread, go ahead and skip wood filler and paint directly over finish nail/brad nail holes in window or door trim, baseboards, or crown molding--especially if they were installed by a professional. Any guy worth his money will sink those nails right to the level of the surface or just a hair below. It's just what they do; they're good at it.
But if you installed the trim, you may have had trouble sinking those nails just right. It can be hard to calibrate the nailer perfectly in response to factors such as trim and base material density.
I say: fill 'em.
Call me a nerd, but reading information in the form of a chart makes it seem more official and authoritative. That's why I've chart-ified this topic of choosing between site-finished and pre-finished flooring, a topic that I'm betting is not germane to your life in any way, shape, or form.
(First, to explain the lingo. "Site-finished" is the term for installing raw, unfinished solid wood flooring and then sanding, staining, and sealing it. "Pre-finished" is flooring that is sanded, stained, and sealed in the factory, long before it arrives at your home)
I say this because the default choice today increasingly is pre-finished flooring.
As an indicator, look at major online flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators. Currently, they carry 97 unfinished hardwood flooring products, as compared to 237 finished products. This number doesn't even include engineered wood flooring, which is nearly always pre-finished. Additionally skewing the numbers, Lumber Liquidators carries an unusually large number of unfinished products: some retailers carry nothing but pre-finished products.
Lumber Liquidators' 2-to-1 proportion doesn't even reflect actual walk-in demand. My local Lumber Liquidators contact says that almost no homeowner who walks into the store asks for unfinished. Those who request unfinished tend to be flooring professionals, contractors, and the like--not homeowners.
Image of Bellawood Flooring © Lumber Liquidators