Refreshing a First-Time Homeowner’s Kitchen

Refreshing a First-Time Homeowner’s Kitchen

In this episode, we’re helping first-time homeowner Dawn Nelson, who’s in over her head with her kitchen renovation.

Dawn wanted to take down one wall that separated her three main living areas, the dining room, kitchen and living room. But then realized she removed all the drywall on a load-bearing wall.

Homeowner Dawn Nelson's kitchen before the renovation.
Before, Dawn’s kitchen was dull and just didn’t fit her style.

A contractor helped her fix that mistake, but then she realized that removing the wall also exposed a small patch of old flooring.

We’re going to pick up where the contractor left off, and make this place look great!

Patch of vinyl flooring left over after cabinet was removed from Dawn Nelson's home
Removing a wall and cabinet revealed a patch of flooring that the previous homeowners worked around — and it’s an eyesore that Dawn wants covered up, asap. No problem!

Fill In Ceramic Tile Flooring

Dawn was lucky because the previous homeowner left just enough ceramic tiles to fill this eyesore of vinyl flooring.  

The project won’t be difficult because vinyl flooring is the perfect subfloor. That means we don’t have to remove it; we can just install tiles right over the old flooring.

But first, we need to remove some of the ceramic tiles surrounding the hole. They were cut around a cabinet that used to be on the vinyl flooring.  

Ceramic tile after shot in Dawn's home.
The new tile in Dawn’s kitchen makes the space more cohesive!

Once the tiles dry overnight, we apply stain-resistant FusionPro Grout from Custom Building Products.

Mounting plate for over-the-range microwave seen in kitchen before microwave's installation
The over-the-range microwave is ready to be installed, but there’s just one problem: it needs to be properly vented to the outside. We will create an access hole to make that happen.

Install Microwave

An over-the-range microwave has been purchased, but it needs to be installed, and more importantly, it needs to be properly vented to the outside. Otherwise, OTR microwaves just recirculate the air in the kitchen, which isn’t healthy.

I drill through the wall to create an access hole for the venting. Then I take a sledgehammer to the home’s exterior to complete that hole.

With the path for the vent clear, Bear and I lift the microwave into its new home and trim off the vent on the outside. I also add a little paint to that vent so it blends right in.

Over the range microwave in kitchen
The new microwave is complementary to the rest of Dawn’s appliances.
Today’s Homeowner Radio Show | July 31, 2021

Today’s Homeowner Radio Show | July 31, 2021

fireplace arch
Adding an arch gives your fireplace character and enhances its visual interest.

Are you looking to finish a fireplace arch with glass, pottery shards or other materials, and need some tips to do the job right?

Or are you building a small patio and don’t know the best materials to use? How about making a birdhouse? It’s a popular project, but do you know the next steps to take?

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show where we cover these topics and many more such as:

  • The best way to clean an old concrete birdbath
  • Which adhesive to use when installing tile on the sides of kitchen countertops
  • What to do when dealing with an unresponsive contractor
  • How to fix visible cut-ins from a botched paint job
  • How to repair damaged drywall from a loose towel bar
  • Steps to take when staining a solid oak front door
  • What to do when your concrete sidewalk begins to crack and rise
  • Hybrid water heater vs. regular water heater
  • Repairing or replacing a soffit
  • Durable materials to dress up your concrete patio

Best New Product

Google Nest Smart Thermostat Do you want a thermostat that recognizes your comfort preferences? Lucky for you, Google has the solution. Learn More >>

Radio Show: Send us your question!

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Previous articleToday’s Homeowner Radio Show | July 24, 2021

Backed by his 40-year remodeling career, Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. His extensive hands-on experience and understanding of the industry make him the go-to source for all things having to do with the home – from advice on simple repairs, to complete remodels, to helping homeowners prepare their homes for extreme weather and seasons.

Google Nest Smart Thermostat Goes Hands-Free

Google Nest Smart Thermostat Goes Hands-Free

Smart thermostats have been around for a while now. In fact, Google Nest was actually one of the first companies to introduce the technology — now they have a new product.

By now, most of us know the value of a smart thermostat, even if we don’t have one yet. They can save energy by automatically turning the temperature up or down when we leave the house. In addition, they allow us to can control them from anywhere with our smartphones and other devices.

The new Google Nest Thermostat takes that a step further by offering voice control through the Google Home app so you can change the temperature without getting off the couch or out of bed. Just say, “Hey Google, turn up the heat” — I could really get used to that!

It also looks out for your heating and cooling system. If something doesn’t seem right, it can send an alert or it can send you helpful reminders when it’s time to change your filter.

In addition to Google, the Nest also works with Alexa on other smart devices and it’s easy to install yourself — usually in 30 minutes or less.

To learn more about this product head on over to!

Moving Out the Right Way with 3M Products

Moving Out the Right Way with 3M Products

Moving out doesn’t have to be stressful. You just need a plan — and the right moving products. (©3M)
  • [0:27]: The importance of planning your move
  • [1:15]: Meet the 3M products that make moving easier
  • [4:54]: Why you should use Command Hooks
  • [8:04]: The packaging tape you need to prevent your boxes from popping open
  • [10:56]: Tips to make packing and unloading moving boxes more efficient
  • [12:21]: More information on moving made easy!

In this special episode of Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking to Trevor Stromquist, Sales Manager at 3M, about products that can make moving out less stressful.

Moving truck with an open back door, revealing heavy items in the front and boxes in the back
Moving doesn’t have to be stressful. Just plan ahead. (©Monkey Business, Adobe Stock Photos)

Easy Moving

Moving anywhere can be a stressful process. Whether it’s to a different country, a different state, or even just down the street — but planning the trip can take off lots of stress.

For instance, purging unwanted items and donating them or selling them can clear up space and leave you with less to pack.

When it comes to packing, you can find hundreds of 3M products at The Home Depot to help make your move easy. Like painter’s tape, Scotch tape, packaging tape, products to fix your walls if they are damaged, and so much more!

Use Command Wire Hooks to free up shelf space in your cabinets
Hanging items no longer requires putting unsightly holes in the wall. Not when you use Command Wire Hooks. (©3M)

Hang Things Without Damaging Your Walls

Beyond the task of packing, you may have to do some touch-ups to your home before moving. There might be some paint touch-ups here and there, or covering up nail holes left from pictures hung on the wall.

Instead of nails, Command Hooks are a great alternative that we absolutely love. The application and removal are easy and there’s no need to worry about damage.

There’s also a new product joining the Command Hook family for those heavier items you want to hang. The 3M Claw is heavy duty and can hang up to 50 pounds!

Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Tape, seen on moving boxes
Everyone needs basic moving supplies: boxes, cushion wrap and tape. And it’s better to have more than you think you’ll need. (©3M)

Using Packaging Tape That Won’t Fail

There’s nothing more frustrating about moving out than having the wrong-size box, or having a box that pops open during the trip.

3M has a full line of Scotch Packaging Tape to help with that. Scotch Box Lock Packaging Tape is heavy-duty and comes off the roll quietly. It sticks to any box and will keep your box closed so you don’t have to worry about your items falling out!

Want to quickly identify which box goes where? We all know about marking boxes with a permanent marker, but here’s a pro tip: Color-code your boxes for different rooms of your house.

That will make packing and unloading your boxes much more efficient!

To learn more about the trusted brands at 3M and tips to make your move less stressful, click here.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets: How to Do it The Right Way

Painting Kitchen Cabinets: How to Do it The Right Way

You can easily update your kitchen cabinets by painting them. However, a good paint job depends on a great prep job. Prepare the surface properly so the paint will adhere and not peel or chip over time.

While you can paint cabinets with a brush, a sprayer is faster and leaves a smoother surface.

Woman sands cabinet door before painting it
Sanding kitchen cabinets before painting them is important to ensure the paint will adhere to them.

Preparing the Surface

Before you can start painting the kitchen cabinets, you need to prepare the surface. Prepping usually is the longest part of the job, and it’s the most important part to ensure the finishing coats properly cover the cabinets.

1. Remove doors and drawers: Take the doors and hardware off the cabinet boxes and remove drawers and hardware from the cabinets. You will paint the doors and drawers separately.

2. Place the doors on sawhorses. Spreading the doors on two-by-fours stretched between sawhorses will allow you to prep and paint without moving the doors.

3. Clean the Cabinets: Clean all surfaces thoroughly with a household cleaner to remove any grease or grime.

4. Sand the Cabinets: Lightly sand all the surfaces. If the old finish is in good condition, you don’t have to sand it down to bare wood, just until it’s smooth and free of gloss.

A pad sander with 220-grit paper will make quick work of the flat areas and a sanding sponge is ideal for curved edges and recesses. The goal here is to rough up the surface enough to accept the primer.

If there is any greasy residue left after sanding, mineral spirits will remove it.

5. Remove the dust: Vacuum off any sanding dust, and then wipe the cabinets down with a clean, damp cloth.

“Today’s Homeowner” host Chelsea Lipford Wolf discusses painting safety with a homeowner on the set of Today's Homeowner.
Before you prime and paint your kitchen cabinets, make sure you know who’s doing what, if you’re working in pairs or groups. In addition, wear the proper safety gear, such as safety glasses and a respirator.

Priming and Painting the Kitchen Cabinets

1. Prime the cabinets: Apply an oil-based, stain-blocking primer to the cabinets. Oil-based primers adhere and block stains better than latex primers.

We’re using a high-volume, low-pressure spray gun to apply both the primer and paint. These sprayers are inexpensive and user-friendly but the operator should be protected by a respirator.

When you spray paint, it’s important to keep the spray tip a consistent distance from the surface and make slow passes back and forth. Each pass should begin and end beyond the edge of the door so there’s no buildup of paint on the edges.

We’re using the same sprayer on the cabinet boxes inside since the floors are covered and the room is sealed.

In this case, we’re painting the inside of the cabinets to avoid overspray marks or the need to mask each opening of the cabinets.

2. Cover imperfections. After the primer dries, fill any holes or dents with a two-part auto body filler. After the filler has hardened, sand it smooth with the surface. You also may need to putty nail holes or caulk cracks and seams.

3. Paint the cabinets: Use a high-quality woodwork enamel paint on your kitchen cabinets. You can use oil or latex paints, though they each have their advantages and disadvantages:

    • Oil-based paint has a smoother surface and dries harder than latex; but it requires a solvent like mineral spirits for clean-up, has a strong odor, and slowly dries.
    • Latex paint cleans up easily with water, comes in low and no VOC (volatile organic compounds) formulas, and dries quickly; but it shows brush marks more, is softer, and tends to imprint, allowing items placed on shelves to stick unless shelf paper is applied.

I prefer a medium gloss (such as semigloss or eggshell) paint for kitchen cabinets, though high gloss holds up well. Avoid using flat paint on kitchen cabinets, since it doesn’t clean as well.

Apply the paint, sanding lightly between coats. Spraying the doors horizontally reduces the risk of drips, which can mar the finish.

Allow the two coats of finish paint to dry thoroughly before handling the doors and replacing the hardware.

If you’re changing hardware, consider buying new hinges with the same footprint as the old ones. This will simplify installation and hide any indentations left by the old hinges.

Watch the video above to see the entire process!

Further Reading

Your Source for Beautiful Kitchen Cabinets and Organizers
Rain Chain: A Stylish Alternative to Downspouts