Category: Painting


INFOGRAPHIC: Your Everything Guide to Painting Prep

Nothing refreshes a home like a new paint job. Read on for helpful tips, tools, and prep ideas to help you make the most of your next painting project.

Few home improvement projects are as transformative as a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house—whether indoors or out—is one of the smartest upgrades any homeowner can accomplish on their own. But for a DIY paint project that looks truly professional, it pays to prepare the space by cleaning, scraping, patching, and sealing walls and trim.  Knowing the right way to prep will give any paint job a clean, seamless look and ensure your work will last for years. So before you get to started on your next project, check out these tips from the experts at DAP.

Painting Prep Infographic DAP

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This post has been brought to you by DAP maker of caulk, patch and prep products for all of your painting needs. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Bob Vila Radio: Painting Exterior Brick

For best results, painting brick requires proper preparation, never more than when it's being painted for the first time.

Keeping exterior brick masonry walls looking their best requires time and effort. When you paint, proper preparation is key. Here’s how to go about it.

Painting Exterior Brick

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING EXTERIOR BRICK WALLS or read the text below:

First, use a sandblaster to get rid of any flaked or peeling paint. Next, clean the brick using a solution of trisodium phosphate—TSP for short.

If the brick hasn’t seen a previous coat of paint, apply a masonry sealer. Oil-based, pigmented sealers work best, since they soak deeper into the brick. Apply the sealer using a long-nap roller in combination with an angled-sash brush. Make sure you fully seal the surface, including mortar joints.

Once the sealer’s dry, use a pole sander and medium-grit sandpaper to scuff-sand the wall. After that, you’re ready to paint. Choose a moisture-resistant masonry paint. A single coat is usually enough, but if you want to apply a second coat, scuff-sand the finish first.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


Bob Vila Radio: For No-Hassle Decorative Painting, Use a Dual Roller

Whereas many other decorative painting techniques can only be mastered through experience, a dual roller brings unique, arty effects within reach for even novice do-it-yourselfers.

Want to add a designer touch to your next interior paint job? One option is to experiment with a dual roller, a tool that weaves together two colors of paint in unpredictable, arty ways.

Dual Roller Decorative Painting

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Listen to BOB VILA ON DUAL-ROLLER DECORATIVE PAINTING or read the text below:

Dual rollers usually come as part of a kit that includes, besides the roller itself, a paint tray split down the middle to accommodate the different hues you’ve chosen to combine. To test the combination, it’s a good idea to first apply the roller to a large sheet of cardboard or, if you happen to have one, an extra panel of drywall.

Use diagonal strokes with the roller for best results. Less rolling produces more contrast between the colors; more rolling blends the colors. Roll as close to edges as possible, then use a trim brush and a sponge to blend the line.

If you compare the time, effort, and cost of wallpapering versus using dual-roller effects, it’s easy to see that, if you like the effects, dual rollers are the better deal. And perhaps the biggest plus is that if you don’t like the results you get with the dual roller, you can always just roll on another coat!

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.

How To: Remove Paint from Brick

Tastes change and fashions change, so the white-painted brick that looked so great ten years ago may seem a little dated now. Though it's no easy feat to remove paint from brick, a determined DIYer can tackle the project with the right product ands enough time.

How to Remove Paint from Brick

Photo: shutterstock.com

If you’ve ever tried to remove paint from brick, you know that it can be a painstaking process. Depending on the scope of the job, it might take you several hours or several days to complete the work. Because of the time and effort involved, many homeowners are unable or unwilling to commit their schedules to the project and choose instead to hire professionals.

If, however, you’re dealing with only a modest expanse of brick, or if you relish a challenge, there’s some good news: Paint-stripping products have improved over the years, making the work friendlier to your health and to the brick itself. And these new, safer formulations are the way to go. You may be tempted to try a shortcut, possibly sandblasting or power-washing the paint, but this may do more harm than good, leaving the brick in a vulnerable condition. Many caustic chemical-based paint-removal solutions compromise brick in a similar way. If you remove paint from brick using any of these potentially damaging methods, you may end up with a problem that’s much more serious than paint.

Particularly if you’re dealing with old brick, it’s critical to remove paint by means of the method least likely to harm the material. Today, the best solutions are gel or paste compounds, followed by fabric-based peeling strips. The paint stripper triggers a chemical reaction that causes the paint to soften and adhere to the fabric. In the final step, the fabric strips are peeled away, taking the paint with them in the process and exposing the natural brick. Know what you’re getting into, though. The right paint stripper can do much of the work for you, but most situations call for a great deal of further scrubbing and/or scraping by hand.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Paint stripper
- Peeling strips
- Protective gear
- Drop cloths or plastic sheeting
- Painter’s tape
- Trowel, drywall knife, or similar
- Stiff-bristled brush

How to Remove Paint from Brick - Texture Closeup

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 1
Before applying paint stripper to the brick, it’s wise to test the stripper on an inconspicuous part of the installation. You may find that the stripper you’ve chosen does not work as well as expected, or you may discover the brick was painted to conceal its poor condition. Another good reason to start with a test: Doing so gives you a sense of how much effort the job is going to take. You may still opt to hire a pro, or you may decide, hey, maybe you can put up with the paint, after all!

STEP 2
No doubt about it, this is going to be messy. Minimize cleanup by setting up your work area in a thoughtful way. First, lay down a series of drop cloths or some thick plastic sheeting to catch the peeling and flaking paint that will fall away from the brick. Don’t forget to tape the drop cloth or plastic to the bottom edge of the brick. If you don’t want to disturb the finish of nearby painted areas—the adjacent wood trim, perhaps—take the time to cover it up completely with painter’s tape.

STEP 3
Don the protective gear recommended by the manufacturer of the paint stripper you’ve chosen. Before applying the gel or paste, start out by scraping away any paint that’s already loose. Next, using a trowel or a specialized tool provided by the paint stripper manufacturer, apply the compound to the brick. Be thorough, making sure to push the gel or paste into all the little crevices in the brick and mortar. Layer by layer, build the stripper up to the thickness recommended by the manufacturer.

STEP 4
With the compound in place, start positioning the peeling strips. Typically made of fabric, these strips should be pressed and held against the stripper until firmly attached. Overlap the strips so that no brick remains visible. Once the strips have been applied, let them set for the period of time stipulated by the manufacturer. In many cases, particularly when multiple paint layers are involved, it takes a full 24 hours for the compound to cure and really work its magic.

STEP 5
Once sufficient time has passed, return to the work area and begin lifting off the strips. If necessary, use the trowel to gain purchase behind any sluggish strips. Peel the strips in a slow and deliberate fashion; don’t rip them. As you peel, the paint beneath should come off too. Wherever the strips leave behind either compound or paint, use the trowel to flake off as much residue as possible. If the trowel doesn’t cut it, scrub with a stiff-bristled brush and rinse with water.

Dispose of the used strips according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For some products, the chemical reaction stops on its own, while for others it stops only after the addition of a neutralizing chemical. Also important: Do not attempt to remove paint from brick if, within a month or so, there’s any chance that the temperature is going to fall below freezing. If the brick doesn’t dry completely before the frost, it will be especially likely to succumb to damage.


Bob Vila Radio: Is This the End of Oil-Based Paint?

Health and environmental concerns aside, oil-based paint used to provide the best finish. But thanks to advancements in manufacturing, safer formulations now perform equally well, if not better.

For decades, if you wanted a smooth, resilient finish for a project you were painting, you would turn to oil-based paints. They adhered better than water-based paints, left fewer brush marks, and created a rock-hard finish.

Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Paint

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Listen to BOB VILA ON OIL-BASED PAINT or read the text below:

Balanced against the advantages of oil-based paints are a set of significant drawbacks, including long drying times and more difficult cleanup, not to mention health and environmental concerns.

Increasingly, consumers are choosing latex and acrylic paints instead of oil-based. So are they settling for a sub-par finish? Not anymore, it seems.

Paint producers have been fiddling with new additives that help water-based paints mimic the good qualities of their oil-based cousins, but without the health concerns. In fact, development of acrylic paints has progressed to the point where many products actually surpass the performance of oil-based. They’re generally less expensive too.

Bottom line: New water-based and acrylics combine the best of two worlds, and that makes them worth a serious look when you’re planning your next painting project.

Bob Vila Radio is a daily radio spot carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

The Right Way to Buy Paint

With a little planning, accurate measurements, and careful calculations, you can ensure that your next paint project doesn't leave your basement littered with a slew of half-full paint cans.

How Much Paint Do I Need?

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Once you’ve conquered the often Herculean challenge of choosing a paint color, you must then figure out how much paint to buy. It’s a tricky calculation with a number of variables, ranging from your painting technique to the composition and condition of your walls. Buy too much paint, and you’ve not only wasted $30, but you’ve also got to store the surplus somewhere on your already crowded shelves. Buy too little, and on the day you finally work up the energy to paint, you’re delayed by needing to make a second trip to the local home center. Neither outcome is desirable, but fortunately you can avoid both with proper planning.

The major paint manufacturers each provide an online calculator aimed at helping consumers decide how much paint they need. For a ballpark figure, visit:

• Benjamin Moore

Sherwin-Williams

Behr

As handy as they are, online calculators sacrifice precision for convenience. Though more tedious, handling the calculations yourself enables you to purchase exactly the right amount of paint—no more, no less. The math isn’t difficult to do, and all you really need, besides a pencil and sheet of paper, is a tape measure.

THE SCOPE OF THE PROJECT
You first need to determine which surfaces you want to paint. Think it through: Are you going to paint the ceiling? What about the baseboards? Once you know exactly which surfaces you’re going to paint, figuring out the amount of paint to buy is a simple matter of calculating the square footage of those surfaces. You’ll also need to account for the fact that a satisfactory paint job usually requires at least two coats, particularly if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker one.

How Much Paint Do I Need? - Measuring Tape

Photo: shutterstock.com

MEASURING SOLID WALLS
Doors and windows tend to complicate things; solid walls are the easiest surfaces to deal with in terms of paint project planning. For each solid wall, simply multiply the width by the height to get the total surface area. For example, a solid wall that measures 12 feet by 10 feet would have an area of 120 square feet. If a second solid wall totals 100 square feet, the two solid walls together would be 220 square feet. Be sure to omit the trim—baseboards, crown molding, and so on—from your measurements.

MEASURING AROUND WINDOWS
To calculate the square footage to be painted on a windowed wall, first measure the wall to find its total area, then subtract the area of each window—just the window frame and the glass; leave out any molding. So for a 12-by-10-foot wall with one 4-by-6-foot window, you’d subtract 24 (the area of the window) from 120 (the total area of the wall), which would leave you with 96 square feet to be painted (120 – 24 = 96).

MEASURING AROUND DOORS
Follow a similar procedure to determine the surface to be painted on any wall with a doorway. First, measure the length and width of the wall and multiply those two measurements together to get the wall’s square footage. Next, calculate the area of the door panel only; for now, ignore the case molding. So for purposes of explanation, if a 12-by-10-foot wall has one door that measures 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall (or 18 square feet), then you’d subtract 18 from 120, leaving 102 square feet to be painted (120 – 18 = 102).

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you’ve measured every wall and subtracted the area of any windows and doors, you know the total wall surface area to be painted. Let’s say that, according to your calculations, you need enough paint to cover 500 square feet. How many gallons do you need to buy to get the job done?

Manufacturers typically say that one gallon of paint covers 250 to 400 square feet. That’s a pretty wide range, largely due to the fact that different surfaces take paint differently. If you are painting a smooth surface, chances are you can stretch a gallon to cover 400 square feet. If the surface is rough, textured, or previously unpainted—or if you’re making a dramatic color change—that gallon may cover only 250 square feet.

Let’s assume that, based on the condition of the walls in your home, a gallon can cover 325 square feet. You’ve determined that there’s 500 square feet of wall surface to cover. Those walls will require two coats, so you’ll ultimately be covering 1,000 square feet. At 325 square feet per gallon, you’ll need a little over 3 gallons (1,000 ÷ 325 = 3.08 gallons, to be precise).

In general, it’s rarely a mistake to round up and purchase slightly more paint than the math indicates you’ll need. Not only may your surfaces drink up a little more paint than you anticipated, but any extra paint will also be helpful for future touch-ups. But as rounding up to 4 gallons from 3.08 may leave you with more leftover paint than you really want, in this instance I’d suggest buying 3 gallons and 1 quart.

ALLOWING FOR CEILINGS AND TRIM
If you’re painting the ceiling, chances are you’re planning to use a color other than the one you’ve chosen for the walls. If that’s the case, simply measure the length and width of the ceiling, and multiply the two measurements together to find the square footage. If the ceiling encompasses an area of, say, 100 square feet, you know that you need enough paint in the second color to cover at least that area.

As it happens, a quart of paint typically covers about 100 square feet, so if you’re planning on just one coat, you may be able to get away with that smaller container size. But if you’re doing two coats, you’re going to need at least two quarts. The store salesperson is likely to remind you that two quarts usually cost the same as one gallon, so you might as well spring for the larger size, particularly if you’re planning to use the ceiling color elsewhere in your home.

The same advice applies to trim—assuming that you are going to paint it something other than the color you’ve chosen for the walls, measure trim separately from the rest of the room. Once you know how much surface area the trim covers, calculate how much paint you will need in order to give the trim two coats.


How To: Paint Fabric

Paint can transform any surface, even walls. Here, brush up on the tips and techniques that can help you paint fabric like a pro.

How to Paint Fabric

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We’re no strangers to the power of paint. It brightens dark rooms, adds interest to walls, and transforms furniture. It’s no surprise that paint can work wonders on textiles too. Though you might never have considered it before, you can introduce color and pattern to a wide array of fabric items in the home, including but not limited to furniture upholstery, curtains, throw pillows, wall hangings and more. Continue reading to learn how easy it can be to paint fabric successfully.

STEP 1
The first thing to know is that fabric paint comes in two main varieties—opaque and transparent. The former is more commonly used and behaves similarly to the wall paints you’re used to, while the latter helps do-it-yourselfers achieve subtle more effects, particularly when applied to light-colored fabrics.

In addition to choosing a type of fabric paint, you must also decide which tools to employ. While brushes, rollers, and sprayers are par for the course in wall painting, a different set of options are more useful here. As is so often the case in home improvement, the best tool for the job depends on the task at hand.

- Markers and pens are easy to work with and offer the sort of precision that lends itself well to detail work.

Sprays work best in situations when you’re coating large swaths of fabric (e.g., curtains).

- Brushes are more difficult to master, but they allow you greater freedom in the mixing of colors. Different styles of brushes are suited to different purposes. While flat, so-called “shader” brushes create broad lines optimal for filling in a design, thinner brushes execute the long, thin strokes necessary for outlines.

- Stencils can help even inexperienced fabric painters achieve sharp edges and uniformity. For lettering and repetitive patterns, they are highly recommended.

- Sponges leave a more bubbled texture than markers and brushes create. In some cases you may want to keep that texture; in other cases, you may wish to minimize the texture by layering on additional paint. Use a sponge for a medium-to-large fabric surface areas. It’s also recommended for work with a stencil.

How to Paint Fabric - Tube

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Gather the fabric you’re planning to paint. Both natural and synthetic fibers can be painted, though keep in mind that paint spreads most easily on lightweight fabrics an least easily on heavy materials like cotton duck. If the fabric must remain washing machine-friendly, be sure to put it through the washer at least once prior to painting, using regular detergent but skipping the fabric softener. Shrinkage is likely to ruin a fabric paint job, so the goal is to get the initial shrinkage out of the way.

STEP 3
Place a piece of cardboard directly beneath the fabric to be painted, thereby protecting against bleed-through. To keep the fabric from shifting while you work, secure it to the cardboard by means of pins.

STEP 4
Start painting the fabric at its top, working your way down section by section. Doing so helps minimize the risk of accidentally smudging any areas you’ve already painted. Once finished, to be on the safe side, let the paint dry for a little longer than the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.

STEP 6 (optional)
Go over the fabric with a hot clothing iron to prevent the paint from coming off in the wash. But rather than bring the iron into contact with the paint, hold it just above the surface, hovering a couple inches above. Alternatively, iron the opposite, non-painted side of the fabric, if possible, for identical results.

Additional Tips
Practice your design on surplus fabric before you begin painting in earnest. That can give you a feel for how the paint takes to the fabric, while allowing you to gain comfort using your chosen paint tools.

Wash your hands and tools thoroughly between coats, if you decide multiple applications are needed.

To avoid mishaps with a stencil, remove it along with any tape as soon as possible after painting.


How To: Paint Your Front Door

A can of fresh paint is all it takes to boost home's curb appeal and brighten your mood upon pulling into the driveway. Cleaning up that lackluster paint on your front door is a simple and satisfying job, so why not make a day of it? Follow this step-by-step for an easy home update.

How to Paint a Front Door

Photo: shutterstock.com

Front doors undergo wear and tear on a daily basis, not least from the elements—precipitation and wind and the glaring-hot rays of the sun. That being the case, it’s no surprise that every so often, depending on the architecture of your home, it becomes necessary to paint the front door. Some might see this as a chore, a purely maintenance-oriented responsibility, but why not capitalize on the chance to paint the front door a new color? After all, a new look for the entryway can go a long way toward boosting curb appeal, and I think the change can make it more enjoyable to return home after a day at work or weekend away. Of course, painting is one of the easiest home improvements one might undertake, and if you start in the morning, you can have the project completely finished by nightfall.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Screwdriver
- Primer (optional)
- Exterior acrylic paint
- Paint roller
- Paintbrush
- Putty knife
- Lint-free cloths

STEP 1
For best results, particularly if you are painting both sides of the door, I highly recommend remove the door from its hinges. Certainly, it can be a hassle to do so—after all, front doors are heavy—but wouldn’t you rather inconvenience yourself for ten minutes than suffer the sight of a poor paint job over the next few years?

How to Paint a Door - Blue Paneling

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Prepare an adequate work area. That includes laying down an old sheet or drop cloth to catch paint drips, then bringing a pair of sawhorses (or makeshift stand-ins) into position to hold the door off the floor. Finally, ask a friend or family member to help you lift the door and place it over the supports.

STEP 3
If the existing paint on the door has cracked or peeled, remove it with a putty knife. Just be careful not to gouge the door with the tool. Next, smooth rough areas with fine-grit sandpaper before washing the surface with warm, soapy water. Wipe the door down with a lint-free cloth and be sure that it’s completely dry before you start to actually paint. Remember, preparation is key in any paint job.

STEP 4
Take off all removable hardware, including the doorknob and lockset. If the door features any immoveable details, such as an integrated pane of glass, cover those carefully with blue painter’s tape.

STEP 5 (optional)
You don’t have to apply a coat of primer, but if the new color you’ve chosen is lighter than the existing one (or if you’ve had to remove a lot of old paint), then it’s probably wise to take this extra step. Priming the door will save you from having to do an extra topcoat or two. Of course, if you buy a primer-paint combination, and you should if possible, then you can very likely complete the job with only two coats.

STEP 6
Stir up the paint before beginning to apply it. Use a three- to four-inch paintbrush around the outside edges and corners of the door, then brush the edging around any raised or recessed panels. Switch to a small paint roller to make quicker work of the flat parts of the door. Assuming you’ve used a water-based—which is to say latex—paint product, each coat should take a few hours to dry in low humidity.

STEP 7
Apply the final coat in the same manner as above, starting with the outside edges and corners. Once finished, allow a little extra drying time—perhaps an additional hour. Finally, remove the painter’s tape, reattach the hardware, and replace the door on its hinges. That’s it—see, I told you it wouldn’t take long!


How To: Paint Plastic

Perk up dingy plastic by spraying on a fresh, smooth coat of paint in the color of your choice.

How to Paint Plastic

Photo: shutterstock.com

Whether your goal is to renew a faded surface or bring a new color into the mix, there are two main things to know about painting plastic: It’s possible, and it’s easy. Although there are traditional paints formulated for use on plastic, we recommend spray paint, as it generally results in a more natural-looking, less obviously altered appearance. If you’ve never spray-painted before, practice a bit beforehand—on, say, a cardboard box—in order to perfect your technique. Spray painting isn’t difficult to do; it’s simply somewhat harder than it looks. Most important, be sure to purchase spray paint suitable for use on plastic. Note that the same product may also be appropriate for wrought iron, ceramic, glass, and vinyl, so you’re likely to find another use for any paint that happens to be left over.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Spray paint for plastic
- Mild soap and water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Painter’s tape
- Clear acrylic spray sealant (optional)

How to Paint Plastic - Can Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 1
Proper preparation is the key to a smooth and lasting finish. Begin by thoroughly cleaning the plastic surface you plan to paint, using mild soap and water. Having allowed the plastic to dry, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. Next, to prevent accidents and minimize cleanup, set up a protected work area, lining it with newspapers, sheets of cardboard, or a tarp. If there are any parts of the plastic you don’t wish to paint, cover them up with painter’s tape.

STEP 2
Hold the nozzle of the spray paint can about 12 to 18 inches away from the plastic. Start spraying in a spot slightly to the side of the surface, then move the can across in a smooth motion, stopping only once you’ve gone a few inches past the edge. Continue in this way, overlapping your strokes, until you’ve coated the entire area. Avoid over-spraying; paint formulated for plastic tends to adhere quite well.

STEP 3
For the best results, apply a few coats, each one thin and even (avoid leaving patches of buildup). You can expect the paint to be dry to the touch within only 15 minutes, but you should wait about 30 minutes before applying each subsequent coat. Allow even longer if you are painting in a humid environment.

STEP 4
This is optional, but if the plastic you’re painting will spend time outdoors, we recommend protecting the job with a clear acrylic sealer. Once you’ve given the final layer of paint plenty of time to cure, spray on the sealer using the same smooth, overlapping strokes with which you applied the actual paint. A single coat of sealer may do the trick, but there’s no harm in putting on two or three. Between each, allow 30 minutes of drying time. After the final sealer coat, let the plastic sit for two hours, then you’re done!


Bob Vila Radio: How to Remove Paint Spots from Wood Floors

In the course of completing a recent paint project, stray drops of paint managed to get on your finished wood floors. Don't worry! Here's some advice on how to get those up.

When’s the best time to remove paint spots from wooden floors? Right after the paint hits the floor, of course! But what if you don’t notice a spot until later, by which point the paint has become hard as a rock?

How to Remove Paint from Wood Flooring

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Listen to BOB VILA ON REMOVING PAINT FROM WOOD FLOORS or read the text below:

Try using a rigid plastic putty knife, paired with light taps from a hammer. If that doesn’t work, use a hair dryer to warm the spot, then give the putty knife another try (be careful not to apply too much heat, as that could damage the floor). For paint that’s landed between floorboards, try gentle strokes using a pull scraper. Solvents can also be a big help, provided you choose the type that’s appropriate for the paint you used, be it oil- or water-based.

Stains are toughest when the paint has bonded with the finish of the floor and seeped into the grain of the wood. When that happens, you may need to use a pull scraper to remove the paint—along with the finish—before touching up afterwards to reseal the floor.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.