Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | August 13, 2022

Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | August 13, 2022

In this week’s episode, we provide solutions for out-of-control Asiatic jasmine and a dripping range hood. (Carey Bradley, Today’s Homeowner Media/Osvaldo Maldonado, Getty Images/BillionPhotos)

Hour 1

In Hour 1, we share a listener’s tip on how to track down rats in an attic, offer solutions for an invasive ground cover and more.


Tracking Down Rats in an Attic

split photo of a rat and urine stains under a black light
Find where rats have been in your attic by using a black light. (Photo illustration: MikeLane45, Getty Images Pro/Adobe Stock)

In the July 30 show, Chris Welsh in Florida called to ask about eliminating the rat urine smell in his attic. He wanted to install new insulation and asked us if he should remove the old, soiled insulation before he installs new. 

We told Chris that since it’s been a few years and the smell is still there, plus he’s already going to install new insulation, he should get rid of the soiled insulation. Although it can dissipate over time, there’s no guarantee. Plus, this could be his only chance to remove it, because once the new insulation is installed, it’s there for good.

Listen to the “Soiled Insulation” segment in Hour 2 of the July 30 episode of Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast.

One of our listeners, Dean, heard this and called to give this tip: Use a black light to find rat urine in an attic. 

This is a great tip because it’s often hard to see how widespread the rat infestation is on smell alone. 

According to chemistry expert Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., urine glows under a black light primarily because it contains the element phosphorus. Phosphorus glows yellowish green in the presence of oxygen, with or without black light, but the light imparts additional energy that makes the chemiluminescence easier to see.

A black light also works well to find pet urine. So if you have a problem cat that’s not keeping its business in the litterbox, use a black light to find urine spots. 


Water Dripping from a Range Hood

Water dripping from a range hood indicates an insulation problem. (Photo illustration; Osvaldo Maldonado, Getty Images/BillionPhotos)

Water is constantly dripping from the range hood in David Henderson’s kitchen. He’s spending a small fortune on paper towels to absorb the drips on the stovetop.

The duct vents to the outside of the house, he maintains a steady temperature inside, and the new roof he just had installed didn’t make a difference. 

“I’ve been beating my brains out trying to figure it out,” David says. “I am 69 years old and have lived in many houses in my life but have never seen this before.”

The vast majority of the time, when a vent pipe is dripping water down through the range hood, it means condensation isn’t forming on the outside but on the inside. 

Install some duct wrap insulation on the pipe to minimize the difference in temperature inside the pipe and in the attic. Since the pipe is already in place, get the type that comes on a roll, not a cylindrical form. That way you won’t have to disconnect the pipe to slide the insulation over it.  

This will stop the dripping and you’ll also greatly reduce your paper towel budget! 


Controlling Asiatic Jasmine

Asiatic jasmine is a great groundcover, but it can get out of control if not properly maintained. (Carey Bradley, Today’s Homeowner Media)

Sue wants to know: How can I get rid of Asiatic jasmine that is taking over our yard? 

“It has spread from the neighbors on each side of us. Pulling it up is a never-ending task and we have gotten too old to deal with it. Help!” Sue says

Asiatic jasmine is a perennial evergreen vine that makes for a wonderful ground cover, but it’s very invasive.

First, try cutting it right at the bed, and keep it under control with a string trimmer. 

We don’t often recommend using herbicides, but you might need them in this case. Cut it back as far as you can, then spray on an herbicide.

If you don’t want to use an herbicide, spray it with home and garden vinegar.


Hour 2

In Hour 2, learn how to paint unfinished cabinets yourself, when to paint walls in a new house and more.


Painting Unfinished Cabinets

You can get the look of professionally painted kitchen cabinets yourself if you make the right preparations. (Kameleon007, Getty Images Signature)

A caller wants her unfinished cabinets professionally painted, but the professionals have given her “outrageous” estimates.

“Can I do this myself, and what kind of sprayer should I get?” she asks.

It is a fair amount of work to finish cabinets yourself, but the end result is very gratifying. 

Because the cabinets are unfinished, you won’t have to worry about removing any old paint. 

Basically, here’s what you need to do.

  • Sand the cabinets so the paint will stick. 
  • Smooth out any imperfections with water putty or epoxy finish
  • Prime the cabinets with a bonding primer
  • Apply two coats of acrylic latex paint in either a semi-gloss or eggshell finish

If you want to use a sprayer, use a high-volume, low-pressure paint sprayer. We recommend the Earlex Super Finish Max HVLP Sprayer

For a detailed guide on how to paint kitchen cabinets, read Painting Kitchen Cabinets: How to Do it the Right Way.


Should You Wait to Paint in a New House?

Empty room in a newly built home, featuring a black lantern light fixture and laminate wood flooring
Don’t wait for your house to “settle” to start painting it. (Curtis Adams, Pexels)

Robert Lang in Kentucky just bought his first home — a new build that was completed in February 2022. 

“I want to paint the interior to not only change the color but use a better grade of paint. I’ve read that I should wait before painting. If this is true, how long should I wait? Do I need to allow the house to settle before I attempt to paint?” Robert asks.

There’s no reason to wait to paint in a newly built home. There’s no way to know how much settling or expansion and contraction are going to happen.

There are so many factors that could influence it, like how wet the framing got during the building process or how many screws were used versus nails.

If there is going to be some settling, it probably won’t show up for at least five years. 

Go ahead and make the house your own. Just, make sure the walls are nice and clean before you paint them. 


Simple Solutions

Keep your paint fresher longer with this Simple Solution. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Paint Can Tip — When you bring home a new gallon of freshly shaken paint immediately remove and clean the underside of the lid of all paint.

Then, stir —don’t shake — the paint before applying it.

And when you’re done painting, place wax paper or plastic wrap over can before tapping on the lid.

That will seal out air, free the can of crusty bits of dried paint, and keep the underside of the lid clean.

Watch: Paint Can Cleaning and Sealing Tips

Fingernail hardener can keep a screw from coming loose. (Pauws99, Getty Images)

Stay-Tight Screws — Machine screws have an annoying tendency to loosen up over time. Here’s how to prevent that from happening:

  • Brush a little clear fingernail hardener onto the screw threads prior to tightening the screw.
  • Once the hardener dries, it’ll lock the screw in place and prevent it from loosening, but you’ll still be able to remove the screw, if necessary.

Other Products & Links Mentioned


Further Reading


Radio Show & Podcast: Send us your question!

If you have a comment, general question about home improvement, or something we’ve featured on Today’s Homeowner, please fill in this form:

Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | July 23, 2022

Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | July 23, 2022


Hour 1

In Hour 1 of the Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast, learn how to remove rusty bolts from concrete, get the most out of kitchen cabinet space and more.


Removing Rusty Bolts From Concrete

Rust can spread through concrete if you don’t eliminate or seal off the source. (Stolk, Getty Images Signature)

Cliff Dodd in Mobile, Ala., recently removed his pool diving board and pedestal base, but the severely rusty bolts are still embedded in the concrete.  

“When I took dive off, the bolts were three rusted mounds. I couldn’t differentiate between the nuts, bolts and washers,” he says.

He wants to know, is there a way to remove the bolts, and if not, what’s the best way to prevent these old bolts from rusting and having a rust stain on the concrete in the future?

Removing bolts from concrete can be tricky, because they were put there in the first place to stay put. To remove them, use a center punch tool to drill a hole in the middle of the bolt. Then, drill it out as much of the rusty bolt as you can. After that, use a hammer and cold chisel to crush what’s remaining of the bolt inward to get it below the surface. This way you’re not disturbing the concrete around it too much.

Another option is to grind the bolts down below the surface as much as you can. To do this, use a disc grinder, and make sure you wear safety gloves and glasses while doing it. Hone the grinder back and forth until the bolt is about a quarter-inch below the surface.

To prevent the rusted bolts from staining the concrete, spray or brush on two to three coats of metal primer over the rusted bolt. This will seal off the rust and keep it from spreading into the concrete. To keep the paint from getting onto the concrete surface, cut a hole that’s the same size as the bolt in a paper plate and place it over the bolt area.

Next, cover the holes with a concrete patch. The challenge when working with existing concrete is getting the patch to match. For a uniform look, apply a concrete resurfacer over the entire slab.


Getting the Most Out of Your Cabinet Space

Hand opening a kitchen cabinet
Pull-out shelves prevent an avalanche of Tupperware when you open cabinets. (sirawitt99, Getty Images)

Dorene in Pennsylvania needs some advice on her kitchen cabinet storage. 

She has pull-out shelves in her base cabinets, but half of them are broken. She’s ready to just remove them and install permanent half shelves. 

Our advice: Don’t install stationary shelves; repair or replace the pull-out shelves.

When you look at the cubic feet of storage in a cabinet, you’re only using about 50 percent of it with stationary half shelves. 

With a full pull-out shelf, you can use the most space and still have easy access to your items. 

Repairing the pull-out shelves could be as simple as replacing the slides. Purchase new slides through the manufacturer.  

To utilize even more cabinet space, consider installing a new pull-out shelf configuration. Home Depot offers many pull-out options, from corner cabinet pullouts to spice racks and more. 

Before buying, take careful measurements of the depth and width of a cabinet. Retrofitted pieces of hardware are only expandable to a certain degree. 


Hour 2

In Hour 2, we talk about the pros and cons of peel-and-stick wallpaper, the best paint for hardwood floors and more.


Pros and Cons of Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

Roll of wallpaper sticking to wall
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a temporary way to add style to a room. (asbe, Getty Images Signature)

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is perfect for renters or homeowners who like to change their interior design often.

Because the adhesive is already applied, you don’t have to worry about making a mess with paste.    

Before buying peel-and-stick wallpaper, consider the following:

Price: Prices for peel-and-stick wallpaper can vary. The cheaper it is, it will probably be more difficult to hang it smoothly. If you’re on a budget and going with the lowest price point, consider just using it for an accent wall. Also, keep in mind that the cheaper adhesive might damage your wall.

The higher in price you go, the easier the application and stronger the hold will be. Also, the more expensive types are easier to remove and leave behind less residue.

Location: Before putting up peel-and-stick wallpaper, take the room into consideration. A bathroom is very humid, so you need wallpaper with a strong adhesive. Otherwise, it might peel off by itself. 

Also, because peel-and-stick wallpaper is made from plastic, heat can melt it. Don’t install it near a stove or a fireplace. 

Our advice: Don’t buy the cheapest option. Buy mid-price peel-and-stick wallpaper and always check the reviews. If you find it costs the same as traditional wallpaper, you might as well hang regular wallpaper


Painting a Wood Floor

Paint roller on paint tray with white paint on wood floor
If you must paint a wood floor, be sure to prime it first. (mattjeacock, Getty Images)

Karen Pittman in Tennessee lives in an older home that needs new flooring. Her current floors are wood, but she says they’re not worth refinishing. 

“Until we can afford new flooring, is there a paint that will withstand the pitter patter of my 100-pound puppy’s little feet?” she asks.

We don’t often recommend painting a wood floor, but if it’s your only option, you need to use the right kind of paint. 

Behr Premium Low-Lustre Enamel Porch and Patio Floor Paint will hold up to the heavy foot traffic of that 100-pound “puppy.” An anti-slip option is also available. 

To paint the wood floors, prep it like you would any surface for painting and add a coat of primer. 

Read “Painting Wood Floors” for a detailed guide on how to do it. 


Red shade sail
A shade sail is a stylish way to seek shelter from the sun. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Around The Yard

This time of year we spend more and more time outside. But for many of us It’s just downright HOT in July. So finding some shade for our outdoor living spaces is a priority. If you don’t just happen to have a perfectly positioned tree over your deck or patio, here are some ideas that may give you some relief from the Summer sun. 

A pergola or arbor is the first thing many people think about when they want shade, but most of these structures don’t actually provide much of it on their own. Those vertically oriented boards across the top of them look really cool but they only block the sun at just the right angle. However, if you plant some climbing vines around the perimeter of the structure, in time they’ll create a canopy over the arbor that provides plenty of shade.

If early morning or late afternoon sun is a problem in your favorite spot, you may get some relief from a vertical hanging screen. The big decision here is whether you want to be able to move the screen when the sun isn’t intruding. Lattice panels are great for fixed screens but for a movable option, you might consider a rolling screen that works much like a window shade on a larger scale. I’ve even seen people make shade curtains from drop cloths with some success.

But by far the easiest and most popular way to produce shade is by hanging a fabric shade sail over the space. These are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors depending on your situation. The important thing to consider here is the tie-down locations. Be sure they’re sturdy enough to support the shade in the wind and allow some way to re-tension it since it will inevitably begin to sag over time. 

This Around The Yard segment is brought to you by Quikrete and Pavestone.


Best New Products

Temperature display on the Nexgrill Neevo 720 Propane Gas Digital Smart Grill A smart grill takes the guesswork out of grilling. See why this new technology can make your barbecue better than ever. Learn more >>

Simple Solutions

Spray bottle spraying ammonia into outdoor trash can
Ammonia not only disinfects trash cans, but it also repels critters. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans — Fill a spray bottle with ammonia and spray the outside of your garbage cans to repel raccoons, dogs and other critters from knocking over and rummaging through your trash. Also, liberally spray the ammonia on the ground around the garbage cans. 

Watch: Tip for Disinfecting Outdoor Trash Can

DIY drywall pole sander made from a sponge mop
Converting a sponge mop into a pole sander can save you from stretching. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Improvised pole sander — A pole sander is great for sanding and smoothing lots of different surfaces, including walls, ceilings, decks and porches. However, if you don’t own a pole sander, you can make one from a sponge mop. Start by removing the sponge head from the mop and then wrap it in sandpaper. Screw the head back onto the mop and you’ve got a long-handled tool that’s ready for sanding.

Watch: Turn a Sponge Mop Into a Drywall Pole Sander


Other Products & Links Mentioned


Further Reading


Radio Show & Podcast: Send us your question!

If you have a comment, general question about home improvement, or something we’ve featured on Today’s Homeowner, please fill in this form:

The Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | July 23, 2022

The Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | July 23, 2022


Hour 1

In Hour 1 of the Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast, learn how to remove rusty bolts from concrete, get the most out of kitchen cabinet space and more.

Removing Rusty Bolts From Concrete

Rust can spread through concrete if you don’t eliminate or seal off the source. (Stolk, Getty Images Signature)

Cliff Dodd in Mobile, Ala., recently removed his pool diving board and pedestal base, but the severely rusty bolts are still embedded in the concrete.  

“When I took dive off, the bolts were three rusted mounds. I couldn’t differentiate between the nuts, bolts and washers,” he says.

He wants to know, is there a way to remove the bolts, and if not, what’s the best way to prevent these old bolts from rusting and having a rust stain on the concrete in the future?

Removing bolts from concrete can be tricky, because they were put there in the first place to stay put. To remove them, use a center punch tool to drill a hole in the middle of the bolt. Then, drill it out as much of the rusty bolt as you can. After that, use a hammer and cold chisel to crush what’s remaining of the bolt inward to get it below the surface. This way you’re not disturbing the concrete around it too much.

Another option is to grind the bolts down below the surface as much as you can. To do this, use a disc grinder, and make sure you wear safety gloves and glasses while doing it. Hone the grinder back and forth until the bolt is about a quarter-inch below the surface.

To prevent the rusted bolts from staining the concrete, spray or brush on two to three coats of metal primer over the rusted bolt. This will seal off the rust and keep it from spreading into the concrete. To keep the paint from getting onto the concrete surface, cut a hole that’s the same size as the bolt in a paper plate and place it over the bolt area.

Next, cover the holes with a concrete patch. The challenge when working with existing concrete is getting the patch to match. For a uniform look, apply a concrete resurfacer over the entire slab.


Getting the Most Out of Your Cabinet Space

Hand opening a kitchen cabinet
Pull-out shelves prevent an avalanche of Tupperware when you open cabinets. (sirawitt99, Getty Images)

Dorene in Pennsylvania needs some advice on her kitchen cabinet storage. 

She has pull-out shelves in her base cabinets, but half of them are broken. She’s ready to just remove them and install permanent half shelves. 

Our advice: Don’t install stationary shelves; repair or replace the pull-out shelves.

When you look at the cubic feet of storage in a cabinet, you’re only using about 50 percent of it with stationary half shelves. 

With a full pull-out shelf, you can use the most space and still have easy access to your items. 

Repairing the pull-out shelves could be as simple as replacing the slides. Purchase new slides through the manufacturer.  

To utilize even more cabinet space, consider installing a new pull-out shelf configuration. Home Depot offers many pull-out options, from corner cabinet pullouts to spice racks and more. 

Before buying, take careful measurements of the depth and width of a cabinet. Retrofitted pieces of hardware are only expandable to a certain degree. 


Hour 2

In Hour 2, we talk about the pros and cons of peel-and-stick wallpaper, the best paint for hardwood floors and more.


Pros and Cons of Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

Roll of wallpaper sticking to wall
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a temporary way to add style to a room. (asbe, Getty Images Signature)

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is perfect for renters or homeowners who like to change their interior design often.

Because the adhesive is already applied, you don’t have to worry about making a mess with paste.    

Before buying peel-and-stick wallpaper, consider the following:

Price: Prices for peel-and-stick wallpaper can vary. The cheaper it is, it will probably be more difficult to hang it smoothly. If you’re on a budget and going with the lowest price point, consider just using it for an accent wall. Also, keep in mind that the cheaper adhesive might damage your wall.

The higher in price you go, the easier the application and stronger the hold will be. Also, the more expensive types are easier to remove and leave behind less residue.

Location: Before putting up peel-and-stick wallpaper, take the room into consideration. A bathroom is very humid, so you need wallpaper with a strong adhesive. Otherwise, it might peel off by itself. 

Also, because peel-and-stick wallpaper is made from plastic, heat can melt it. Don’t install it near a stove or a fireplace. 

Our advice: Don’t buy the cheapest option. Buy mid-price peel-and-stick wallpaper and always check the reviews. If you find it costs the same as traditional wallpaper, you might as well hang regular wallpaper


Painting a Wood Floor

Paint roller on paint tray with white paint on wood floor
If you must paint a wood floor, be sure to prime it first. (mattjeacock, Getty Images)

Karen Pittman in Tennessee lives in an older home that needs new flooring. Her current floors are wood, but she says they’re not worth refinishing. 

“Until we can afford new flooring, is there a paint that will withstand the pitter patter of my 100-pound puppy’s little feet?” she asks.

We don’t often recommend painting a wood floor, but if it’s your only option, you need to use the right kind of paint. 

Behr Premium Low-Lustre Enamel Porch and Patio Floor Paint will hold up to the heavy foot traffic of that 100-pound “puppy.” An anti-slip option is also available. 

To paint the wood floors, prep it like you would any surface for painting and add a coat of primer. 

Read “Painting Wood Floors” for a detailed guide on how to do it. 


Red shade sail
A shade sail is a stylish way to seek shelter from the sun. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Around The Yard

This time of year we spend more and more time outside. But for many of us It’s just downright HOT in July. So finding some shade for our outdoor living spaces is a priority. If you don’t just happen to have a perfectly positioned tree over your deck or patio, here are some ideas that may give you some relief from the Summer sun. 

A pergola or arbor is the first thing many people think about when they want shade, but most of these structures don’t actually provide much of it on their own. Those vertically oriented boards across the top of them look really cool but they only block the sun at just the right angle. However, if you plant some climbing vines around the perimeter of the structure, in time they’ll create a canopy over the arbor that provides plenty of shade.

If early morning or late afternoon sun is a problem in your favorite spot, you may get some relief from a vertical hanging screen. The big decision here is whether you want to be able to move the screen when the sun isn’t intruding. Lattice panels are great for fixed screens but for a movable option, you might consider a rolling screen that works much like a window shade on a larger scale. I’ve even seen people make shade curtains from drop cloths with some success.

But by far the easiest and most popular way to produce shade is by hanging a fabric shade sail over the space. These are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors depending on your situation. The important thing to consider here is the tie-down locations. Be sure they’re sturdy enough to support the shade in the wind and allow some way to re-tension it since it will inevitably begin to sag over time. 

This Around The Yard segment is brought to you by Quikrete and Pavestone.


Best New Products

Temperature display on the Nexgrill Neevo 720 Propane Gas Digital Smart Grill A smart grill takes the guesswork out of grilling. See why this new technology can make your barbecue better than ever. Learn more >>

Simple Solutions

Spray bottle spraying ammonia into outdoor trash can
Ammonia not only disinfects trash cans, but it also repels critters. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans — Fill a spray bottle with ammonia and spray the outside of your garbage cans to repel raccoons, dogs and other critters from knocking over and rummaging through your trash. Also, liberally spray the ammonia on the ground around the garbage cans. 

Watch: Tip for Disinfecting Outdoor Trash Can

DIY drywall pole sander made from a sponge mop
Converting a sponge mop into a pole sander can save you from stretching. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Improvised pole sander — A pole sander is great for sanding and smoothing lots of different surfaces, including walls, ceilings, decks and porches. However, if you don’t own a pole sander, you can make one from a sponge mop. Start by removing the sponge head from the mop and then wrap it in sandpaper. Screw the head back onto the mop and you’ve got a long-handled tool that’s ready for sanding.

Watch: Turn a Sponge Mop Into a Drywall Pole Sander


Other Products & Links Mentioned


Further Reading


Radio Show & Podcast: Send us your question!

If you have a comment, general question about home improvement, or something we’ve featured on Today’s Homeowner, please fill in this form:

Ask Danny | Ep. 3: Answers on All Things Painting

Ask Danny | Ep. 3: Answers on All Things Painting

Split image of Danny Lipford and Tracey Amadio
In this episode of “Ask Danny,” Tracey Amadio offers her tips and tricks for painting.

In Episode 3 of “Ask Danny,” painting expert Tracey Amadio shares her tips and tricks for getting the perfect paint job. 


Tracey Amadio of Porch Daydreamer
Tracey Amadio, a.k.a. the “Queen of Painting Everything” is passionate about painting! (Courtesy Tracey Amadio)

About Tracey Amadio

Tracey Amadio is passionate about painting. She uses expertise from her home improvement career to teach DIY projects, home design, and painting techniques on her website Porchdaydreamer.com.

Tracey’s fans have crowned her the “The Queen of Painting Everything” because there’s nothing she won’t paint!

Her superpower of color memory and long history of color trend analysis is combined to find the perfect paint colors for you.

Her mission is to take the pain out of painting and decorating with her easy-to-understand tutorials.

Tracey was named a 2021 Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker and her work has been featured in HGTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Apartment Therapy and more.


Open paint cans of white, blue and green on a wood background
Color pigments, additives, resins and carriers determine the price of paint. (annastories)

Paint Prices

Why is some paint much more expensive than other brands and types?

Tracey: Price matters… to a point.

Many homeowners only focus on the paint color and don’t think about what’s mixed in with the color pigments. Resins, additives and carriers — like water and oil — are key ingredients that will make paint more expensive. 

Higher-quality pigments and resins will make the cost go up, but you’ll have better coverage. The middle price point is the best option to choose. 

Remember: Quality perception is dictated by the person who’s using the paint. A professional may want a thinner paint because they’ll be using a sprayer, but a homeowner typically wants a thicker paint because they’ll be covering a wall with another color or painting a piece of furniture. 

Spending a little extra on that better paint is going to give you an easier application and fewer brush strokes. Also, the paint will dry to a better, more durable finish.


Hands holding up a sample of paint color swatches against a wall of paint swatches
Picking a paint color can be overwhelming. Find an object to start your color palette and work from there. (Feverpitched, Getty Images)

Picking a Color

Can you offer some guidance on how to choose a paint color?

Tracey: When picking a paint color, start with the color you want to base your palette around. It could be a piece of fabric, a rug, a plate, anything that helps you hone onto the color you want.

Take it to the store with you to choose the right paint. Also base it on the amount of light in the room, if it a darker too choose a  lighter paint color and sop forth.

I have a free guide you can download. 6 easy steps to picking a paint color.

Also, consider the lighting in the room you’re painting. If you have a dark room, lighter paint, if you have a light room, you can go with a darker paint color, a mid-value paint is going to be best for most people.  

After you have an idea of what color you want, buy a foam board and paint it with samples so you can move it around the room to see if it will work for you. 

Take your time deciding before you pick a color. See how the color samples look at different times of the day. 


Hand painting wall trim with a paintbrush
A satin or semi-gloss sheen is best for trim and molding. (JodiJacobson, Getty Images Signature)

Choosing Sheen

What are the different types of sheen, and how should you pick one? 

Tracey: I used to work at a paint desk, and I would often see the “deer in headlights” look when I asked what sheen a person wanted. 

Sheen matters! It’s actually more important than color. 

There are five types of sheen: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss. To determine what sheen you need, consider the room or project you’re painting.

If you’re painting a ceiling, you want a low-reflective paint to hide any imperfections, especially where the joints match up. A flat sheen is best for this. 

For walls, you want a higher sheen, like eggshell. Cooking splatters and accidental spills happen, so you need a finish that’s cleanable. 

When you scrub a flat paint, it burnishes it and makes it shiny. Flat paint is great for touchups but not for high-traffic areas where you need scrutability and durability.

The higher the sheen, the harder the paint will be when it dries. I typically recommended satin, at minimum, or semi-gloss for trim and molding. These sheens are still wipable but they’re more durable, so they’ll stand up to scuffing and jarring. 

I don’t recommend a high-gloss paint. The more reflective a paint is, the more flaws it’s going to show. It’s also hard to apply, so I would leave that to a professional.


Paint brush swiping deep blue paint over faded blue paint on a wood wall
Exterior and interior paint can’t be interchanged. Always paint the outside of your home with a paint rated for outdoor use. (Susie Hedberg, Getty Images)

Exterior Painting

What temperature is best for painting a home’s exterior?

Tracey: Most of the time, exterior paint can’t be applied in temperatures under 55-50 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to paint outside when there’s low humidity and the temperature is moderate — between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Paint has a lot of water in it, so the more water in the air, the longer time it will take the paint to dry. Allow yourself three sunny days, if possible, for the paint to dry.

When painting your home’s exterior, only use paint that’s rated for exterior use. Because exterior paint has to deal with temperature changes once it’s dry, it’s fortified with special resins and pigments for special durability. It can expand and contract to a degree that interior paint cannot.

The best paint for exterior use is acrylic latex. I steer clear of oil paints for the exterior. Oil paint isn’t easy to clean, and if you’re using a white oil paint, it will yellow over time because of the oil in it. 

Now, there is oil-enriched enamel paint that is water-based, so it’s easy to clean with soap and water like acrylic latex. This paint has oil molecules suspended within it, and as it dries, those molecules activate to act like oil paint. The end result is a surface that’s hard and durable with all the benefits and flexibility of latex paint. 


Black and green plastic outdoor furniture around a fire pit
Refresh plastic outdoor furniture with a new coat of paint. (Jonathan Cooper/Pexels)

Painting Plastic

How do you paint plastic outdoor furniture?

Tracey: I take a dual approach to painting plastic furniture. Apply a bonding primer spray first, then cover it with a regular spraypaint. 


Paint droplets on a beige carpet
(travellinglight, Getty Images)

Even Experts Make Mistakes

Tracey: Even though I’m a paint expert, I sometimes go online to see what other people in the painting world are doing. 

About a year ago, I decided to paint my stair risers, which were stained and heavily polyurethaned. 

One blogger recommended liquid sandpaper, and I thought that could save me a step. I taped off the risers, applied the liquid sandpaper and then painted on top of that.

When the paint was still damp, I pulled the tape off at a 90-degree angle. A full piece of film peeled right off the stair riser, and the entire job was ruined! 

I learned a tough lesson: Trust my gut and go with what works. Use a deglosser, then use a bonding primer, then apply the paint.

My paint has stayed put and is vacuum-cleaner proof as well!


Power sander sanding a wood board
Sand away any imperfections before painting wood. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Tracey’s Tips

  • Never ignore proper surface preparation. If you do, the paint will come off. Get the surface nice and clean and sand any failing areas.
  • Use stain-blocking bonding primer if painting over a stain. If you don’t, the stain will rise up to the surface and create color inconsistencies.
  • Pay attention to the re-coat time. A lot of people think dry time and recoat time are the same. Typically, recoat time is longer than dry time. If you don’t wait the proper amount of time recommended by the manufacturer, the paint will stick to itself and never fully dry. You end up with really tacky, sticky paint that’s almost impossible to fix.  

Further Reading