Five Great Updates for Your Home

By: Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford in completed kitchen with five great updates for your home.

Danny Lipford in completed kitchen with five great updates for your home.

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If your house is looking a little dated and in need of a facelift, check out these five great projects that can update the look of your home.

Update #1: Install Recessed Lighting

Adding recessed lights can add a touch of class to a room. Use remodel cans when installing recessed lighting in an existing ceiling.

Installing recessed light fixture in ceiling.

Installing recessed lighting.

Start by marking the locations for the recessed lights on the ceiling, making sure they fall in the space between the ceiling joists, then cut the holes using a drywall saw or hole saw.

Next, run the proper gauge electrical wire to the recessed light fixtures and wall switch. If there’s not an accessible attic above the room, you may be able to snake the wires through the ceiling or remove part of the ceiling to gain access.

Attach the wires to the recessed light fixtures, then insert the cans in the holes in the ceiling.

See our video on Recessed Light Fixtures to find out more.

Update #2: Remove Textured Ceiling

Danny Lipford scraping texture off ceiling.

Removing texture from ceiling.

Before removing textured “popcorn” ceilings that were installed before 1980, test the texture for asbestos. If the texture doesn’t contain asbestos, cover the walls and floor with plastic, fill a pump up sprayer with a mixture of hot water and a little fabric softener, and wet the ceiling down thoroughly.

Use a wide drywall knife or special texture scraper—such as the Homax Ceiling Texture Scraper, available at The Home Depot—which reduces the mess by collecting the texture in a plastic bag.

Read our article on How to Remove Textured Popcorn Ceilings and watch our video on Tips for DIY Textured Popcorn Ceiling Removal to find out more.

Update #3: Remove Wallpaper

To remove wallpaper using the solution recommended by Brian Santos, the Wall Wizard, put three gallons hot water in a five-gallon bucket then add:

    Removing wallpaper.

    Removing wallpaper.

  • 22 oz. concentrate wallpaper stripper, such as DIF.
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup fabric softener

Go over the wall with a wallpaper perforation tool, such as PaperTiger, which creates tiny holes that allow the wallpaper remover to penetrate. Pour the wallpaper remover in a pump up sprayer, saturate the wall, and cover the wall with thin plastic (7 mil) sheeting.

Wait three or more hours, then remove the plastic and peel off the wallpaper. If the wallpaper is hard to remove, allow the solution to remain on overnight before removing the wallpaper.

Watch our video on Removing Wallpaper from Walls to find out more.

Update #4: Replace Kitchen Countertops

When replacing old plastic laminate countertops, start by disconnecting the plumbing supply lines to the faucet and drain from the sink. If the countertop has a built-in cooktop, turn off and disconnect the wiring to it.

Granite countertops.

Granite countertops.

Remove the screw clips holding the sink and cooktop in place from underneath. Take out the screws attaching the countertops to the cabinets and remove the countertops.

Before installing granite countertops, reinforce the cabinets as needed, and make sure the top of the cabinets are even and level. A bead of adhesive is used to attach the granite to the cabinets while the seams are joined with epoxy glue. An undermount stainless steel sink, faucet, cooktop, and glass tile backsplash completed the project.

See our video on How to Join Seams in Granite Countertops to find out more.

Update #5: Install Tile Floor

New tile floor.

New tile floor.

While a layer of cement backer board is needed when installing tile on a plywood subfloor, you can tile directly over an existing tile floor, if it’s in good condition and the tile are firmly attached.

Start by laying out the location of the tile on the floor, then apply latex fortified thin-set adhesive to the floor with a notched trowel. Use a wet saw to cut any tile to size.

Once the adhesive has set, apply grout to the floor, and allow it to harden.

Read our article on How to Lay a Tile Floor and watch our video on How to Tile a Bathroom Floor to find out more.

Project Materials

Other materials used on our kitchen remodel included:

  • Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore #1565 (Mount Saint Anne) eggshell.
  • Trim Paint: Benjamin Moore white in high gloss oil.
  • Countertops: St. Cecilia (3cm) granite with a demi-bull edge.
  • Floor Tile: 20″x 20″ Interceramic Instanbul, Takism.

Other Tips from This Episode

Frosted globe on light fixture.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Installing Light Fixtures

To get the best lighting from light fixtures, use clear bulbs on light fixtures with frosted glass shades, and frosted bulbs on fixtures with clear shades. Some light fixtures can also be inverted, so the glass shades face toward the ceiling, which may give more even lighting.

Hampton Bay Wireless Remote Control for ceiling fans

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ceiling Fan Remote Control

The Hampton Bay Wireless Remote Control for ceiling fans can be installed on a variety of brands of fans. The remote works up to 30’ away, has three-speed fan control, and can be used to control both dimmable incandescent bulbs and CFL or LED bulbs. The Hampton Bay Wireless Remote Control is available at The Home Depot.

Energy saving CFL light bulb containing mercury

Ask Danny Lipford:
Energy Saving Light Bulbs

While compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, and safety precautions should be followed if they’re broken, they last much longer and use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. LED (Light Emitting Diodes) bulbs are an even more energy efficient lighting option that don’t contain mercury, though they’re more expensive.



Please Leave a Comment

12 Comments on “Five Great Updates for Your Home”

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  • MGowan Says:
    June 26th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    The wallpaper stripper solution episode you say removes the wallpaper and backing. How is it on removing the glue residue? What do you recommend for that?



  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 9th, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Hi Susan,
    Regarding the cost of the five updates in the article above:
    1. Install Recessed Lights: Labor plus the cost of the recessed light fixtures ($20-$60/each), wiring, bulbs, and switches.
    2. Remove Textured Popcorn Ceiling: Labor plus scraper, joint compound, and paint (about $75).
    3. Remove Wallpaper: Labor plus wallpaper remover, joint compound, and paint (about $75).
    4. Replace Kitchen Countertops: Labor plus cost of countertops ($30-$150/linear foot).
    5. Install Tile Floor: Labor plus tile, adhesive, and grout ($1-$5/square foot).

  • Susan M. Says:
    April 7th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I enjoyed your show today. Do you have a list of the cost of each of the updates? or a total cost?

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Robin,
    I’m glad to hear the scraper info was of help!

  • Robin Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for info on the ceiling scraper passing it onto a friend who is starting demo in their kitchen.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 8:59 am

    The paint colors used in the kitchen have been added to the bottom of the episode article above under “Project Materials.” Thank you for your interest!

  • mamushe Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    can you please tell me the paint name

  • Rhonda Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I would like to know the paint brand and color as well.
    Thank you.

  • Tom Kiersky Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Hi Danny, I was a private real estate appraiser for the past 29 years, (retired), and have a fair amount of experience looking at homes and problem areas. I am so glad you mentioned above to have the ceiling “popcorn” or “cottage cheese” checked for asbestos. I may have missed it on the televised version but I do not recall that being said. Very important since if it does, it could be very harmful without proper procedures taken. The same wold apply prior to cutting the holes for the new lights. Might have removed the texture before cutting the holes. On another note I think I would have removed the baseboard prior to installing the new floor tile. It seems that would have been a cleaner look without too much effort. Thanks for your show, I enjoy it every time I watch, Tom

  • marla kohutek Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 5:57 am

    What was the paint color used by the homeowners in their kitchen?

  • barbara Says:
    February 4th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I would like to purchase the back splash tile decals,could you send me the web sit.
    Thank you,

  • suzzanne Says:
    February 4th, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for another wonderful episode. Can you please tell me the brand and name of the paint you chose? It is beautiful!
    thank you,

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