Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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Interior Improvement Projects for Your Home


Watch this video to find out how to improve the inside of your home by installing a hardwood floor, recessed lighting, a central vacuum system, and more. ...More




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Interior Improvement Projects for Your Home

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Watch this video to find out about:

  • Installing prefinished, engineered, hardwood flooring.
  • Advantages of installing a central vacuum system.
  • How to add recessed light fixtures to a room.
  • The proper way to use a paddle ceiling fan in winter and summer.
  • Tips when installing a new air conditioner system.

Read episode article to find out more.

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Danny Lipford: Everybody loves to improve their home. This week, we’ll show you five great ideas for the inside of your home.

Announcer: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. The voice of home improvement. With projects, tips and ideas to help you improve your home.

Danny Lipford: You know, there’s really only one environment that you can control and that’s the environment that you create inside your home. Well this week, we’re looking at five different projects that have been requested by viewers that will make your home more attractive, more comfortable and more efficient.

Now hard surfaces like hardware floors have been very popular for number of years. They are hotter than ever now and well show you what’s involved in installing a hardwood floor. Lighting, improving your lighting in any room of your house will definitely improve the look of the room.

Ceiling fans, they’ve been around a long time, still very effective to keep you nice and cool during the summer time. But also, can help maximize your heat you have in your home by recirculating that heat that may be trapped up near the ceiling area.

Also, air conditioning systems. There’s more air conditioning systems now than there’s ever been before and we’ll give you some tips on how to keep you cool. And you might be tired of lugging that old vacuum cleaner around your home. Might be time for a central vac system. We’ll get you up to date on that as well. Stay with us.

The first project that we’ll look at this week is installing a hard surface floor. Now hard surface flooring like this composite marble or granites, ceramics, or porcelains have been very popular over the years in entry ways, bathrooms and kitchens.

Now, one of the reasons for their popularity is that those twenty five percent of Americans that are suffering from allergies are realizing it’s a lot easier to keep a hard surface clean than it is a fabric floor like carpet. So, a lot of people are changing out that carpet for a hard surface.

Now, another hard surface floor that finding its way in just about every room in the house, hardwood. These homeowners chose to include the kitchen when they recently updated the flooring in this home with hardwood. After the old flooring was removed, the sub flooring required the addition of floor patch. This compound levels the surface which is often necessary before the instillation of a hardwood floor.

The next challenge was layout. With the wood plank floor, you have to choose which direction you want the boards to run. And here it seemed that parallel with the hall made the most since. So that’s where we started, working off of the straight line running down the hallways. We applied a little adhesive to the subfloor and set the board in place, one after the other. Each board was tapped up tight against the previous one so there were no gaps. The inseams of each row were staggered for a more random look.

To finish it off, we established quarter round molding with stain to match the floor all around the perimeter. The hardwood floor that these homeowners chose is a prefinished, engineered flooring which basically means several very small layers of wood were laminated together then the finish with the stain and the sealer was applied in a factory environment so that they could really control the overall drying time and very good hard surface and looks pretty darn good.

Now the regular ¾-inch oak or maple are still available and still can be used on wood sub floors where you can nail it down but here, we had both concrete and wood sub floor to deal with so this was the perfect chose that allowed us to glue everything down.

Now, even with a hard surface floor of any kind, you have to keep it clean so far amount of damp moping will be necessary. But also it’s a good idea to run a very good, strong vacuum cleaner over it from time to time to really pick up any of the sand or any of the dirt that might be down in the cracks and crevices.

Now, hauling a heavy vacuum cleaner around the home is no fun, and a lot of people are realizing that central vac systems actually exhaust the air straight to the outside, instead of recirculating the same air within your home, which can really improve your indoor air quality. So, central vac systems are becoming very popular.

This home already had an existing central vacuum system but it was old and not too effective. Our solution was to remove the vacuum motor itself, replace it with a new model that’s five times more powerful than the average vacuum. This unit is designed to handle up to a six thousand square foot home and will connect to the existing PCP pipe in the house. Which you should know, is that this pipe isn’t the same stuff you’ll find on the plumbing isle of the home center. So whether you’re making repairs or installing a system from scratch, you’ll need to find a supply store that carries P pipe for vac systems.

Many homeowners that have central vac systems have told me they love the ability to just carry a hose and a few attachments around the house instead of that heavy vacuum cleaner. And the attachments that are available for central vac systems include a beater bar that’s perfect for cleaning carpet. Also, other attachments for hard surfaces and even attachments to get in to the real tight places that you’re bound to have to vacuum from time to time.

Some other advantages of a central vac system include all of the noises is right here in one spot and this one’s located in the basement of this home which is a fairly typical place for the location. Another advantage, your exhaust goes down and out of the house so that you’re not mixing any dusty air with your indoor air which can certainly affect your indoor air quality.

And, when it’s time to empty out your vac, it’s as simple as unclipping the canister, dumping it outside in the garbage can. Maybe rinsing it a little bit, then bring it right back in, clip it in place, and you’re ready to go again. Now, in just a minute we’ll look at another central system that’s very important in your home, especially when it comes to keeping you comfortable.

Announcer: It’s time for this week’s Simple Solution from home repair expert Joe Truini.

Danny Lipford: Many homeowners have discovered what a professional looking paint job they can get they can get by using painters tape.

Joe Truini: The great thing about this tape is that it has a quick release adhesive, so you can stick it on to a piece of painted trim like this and when you remove it later it won’t peel off the paint. In this case, we’re running it along the piece of trim that I’m going to hang some light weight plastic underneath it and drape it down so when we paint the upper wall area, no paint will get on the trim or the paneling below.

Danny Lipford: And Joe, what do you think of the tape dispensers that are out on the market with the handle and you pop the tape on and use it. What do you think?

Joe Truini: Right. Well those are great for applying tape to broad surface but to get it along the edge they don’t work so well. And also, they’re so bulky they don’t fit in your pocket, and there’s no place to lay them down because typically when you paint your room you take out your furniture.

So what I prefer to do to keep the tape handy is to just make this little holder for a bit wire hanger. Just bent it into a U shape and bent the ends over so it’d fit onto my belt and you can see it holds the tape really well, and when you want a piece you can just peel it off, tear it.

Danny Lipford: That’s real similar to what the drywall guys used to hold their tape.

Joe Truini: Absolutely. And it makes it really quick and easy to apply the tape and you always know where it is. It’s right at your side whenever you need it.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re looking at a number of projects for the interior of your home, now a couple that’ll keep you kind of cool. First of all a lot of people have found out about how easy it is to install a ceiling fan. You just want to make sure you’re really securing it to something substantial.

And another thing is once you get the ceiling fan in place and you’re using it, it’s good to reach up where the switch is a switch it to reverse it summer and winter so that during the summer, the air is blowing down on top of you to keep you cool and should be running as you’re looking up at it in a counterclockwise manner.

Now another system that’s very important to the comfort of your home is your air conditioning system. And recently, these homeowners had a brand new heating and cooling system installed, but before they had anything changed out, they had professional do a size calculation on the house to make sure they were putting the right size unit in. And, we tagged along to give you an idea of the process.

Well, as you can see, the drop clothes are down, which means the work is started to replace the heating and cooling systems in this home. Now this will make a big difference in the comfort of this family. Now most of the work is taking place in changing out the old air handler units up in the attic. And that’s where we’ll find our contractor, Edward Leatherbury.

Boy you can really feel the heat when you start coming up the attics here. Edward, I don’t know how your guys can handle this all day long.

Edward Leatherbury: It’s almost 100 degrees up here, but we supplement it a little bit with the second system in the house.

Danny Lipford: OK, so you’re keeping one system running while you’re replacing the other one. Now obviously, I guess, comfort for the homeowners as well as a little bit of survival up here.

Edward Leatherbury: That’s right, it gets to 135 degrees, it’s hard to stand in an attic without a little help.

Danny Lipford: Well you guys are moving along well; tell us how we’ve gotten to this point, some of the things that have taken place over the last day or so.

Edward Leatherbury: We started with an air handler with hydro heat and an evaporator coil in it with a spider duct system. A spider duct system is a bunch of flexible hoses going in every different direction. We took it out and are now putting in the main fiberglass trunk line, and coming off of that we’ll have sheet metal pipe with two inch wrap instillation on top of it that will hold up a lot better to the pressures of variable speed air hander.

Danny Lipford: Well I’m surprised that you actually removed all of the duct work. It seemed like it was in good shape. I know it was a different style than this but why the replacement of everything.

Edward Leatherbury: Well, for the comfort level of the homeowner and the distribution of the system, you really ought to have a good duct system and that’s not really considered a good duct system.

Danny Lipford: OK. I see. Now a challenge is, I know at this point you usually find a few things that maybe were not anticipated ahead of time. Have you run into anything like that?

Edward Leatherbury: Yeah, Danny we have. The refrigerate lines on the existing systems weren’t to the proper size so these old refrigerate lines run down the wall to under the house and to the slab. We can’t follow the place of the old ones so we have to come up with a new route. We’re able to run them around the backside here to stay off the decked area and have found a hollow chase from an old fireplace on the end of the house where the condensing units are.

Danny Lipford: Okay, so you’ll be able to route all the refrigerant lines from here and out to there, and that’s out to the condenser, right?

Edward Leatherbury: From both systems, correct.

Danny Lipford: Okay, so you have two separate lines going out.

Edward Leatherbury: Right.

Danny Lipford: Okay I see where that was a bit of a challenge. Okay we talked earlier about load calculation. How important it is for a heating and cooling contractor to really, not just assume that the existing sized units are big enough but to really provide a load calculation. How exactly does that work.

Edward Leatherbury: Well the load calculations take into the effect the instillation in the attic, the instillation in the exterior walls of the house, window area and direction that they’re facing which is probably the most important whether they’re double paned, single paned and what direction they face.

Danny Lipford: Okay. Well one thing about it being hot up here, the guys are really working fast and moving along. And while they’re up here working hard, we’ll take a look at this week’s Best New Product.

Announcer: Let’s join Danny at the home center to check out this week’s Best New Product. Brought to you by the Home Depot.

Danny Lipford: The use of more environmentally friendly building products, commonly called green building products is more popular than it’s ever been before, and here’s one that’s really catching on—cork flooring.

Now cork flooring has been around for a lot of years, but previous versions of cork flooring required you to glue it down to the floor. This is more like the laminate floors you hear a lot about. It has a tongue and grove that snaps together. No glue or nails are necessary to hold it in place.

Now the reason this is so environmentally friendly is that it’s manufactured from the bark of the cork tree that’s harvested and the tree and continues living up to 100 years, and you can harvest the bark about every eight to ten years. So it makes a lot of since to continue harvesting the bark instead of cutting down a lot of trees to produce building materials.

A few other properties that make this a good choice is that it has a bounce back feature, so that it kind of reduces the fatigue on your feet and legs. And also, it will not absorb any dust or release any dust into your air so it’ll improve the air quality that you have inside your home. Now it’s a fairly reasonably priced floor, and a really good selection for just about any room in your home.

Our next interior home improvement project involves improving the look of a room and the feel of a room by adding additional lighting. Now my favorite way of doing that is to add recess lighting and there are a lot of recess lighting fixtures to choose from. Obviously one of the best places to start your pursuit in finding the right light fixture is the lighting showroom.

Now when you’re in a lighting showroom like this, it’s almost overwhelming because there are so many choices for lighting the home both inside and out. Well we’ll start with one of the most popular types of lighting, recess lighting. Now recess lighting is so popular in really versatile because you can provide the general lighting that you need for a room. Also, you may want to accent something in a particular room like a focal point. Maybe a piece of art a fireplace mantel or task lighting that directs the light exactly where you need it. Very important in the kitchen situation.

Now recessed lighting starts with a recess housing or commonly called a recess can that consists of the housing itself, where your trim and your bulb actually is positioned. Then you have the little arms that attach it to the ceiling joist itself, then you have the little box for the wiring to be put together here in this side of the housing can. Now this is a larger one. And this is a smaller one and again, it adds to the versatility to maybe use a little of both sizes in a particular room.

Now recessed lighting is really fairly easy to install and there’s several different ways to approach it. In a major remodel or in a new construction application, the housing can be mounted from the room itself by simply positioning it in the room, hammering it in place between the joists and making all wiring connections. Then the dry wall ceiling is mounted over the can and the hole is cut out of the drywall to expose the light fixture.

In a finished room, you located the fixtures and cut holes in the ceiling in the room itself and then mount the housing over the hole from the attic size of the ceiling, making the electrical connections there as well.

Another way to install recess lighting in an existing room is to use what we call a remodel can. Now this starts out with a little cardboard template that you find the location you want your light then you use this to mark and to cut the hole that you’ll need.

Now once the hole is cut, you pull your wire down through that hole and go ahead and connect it then you fish this right into that hole and these little clips slide into place to hold it secure against the back of the ceiling itself. Then you’re able to install your trim, which is the next step in recess lighting.

Once your housing is in place, then your trims are next. Now these are a couple of the very standard trims. They’re called baffles. This one black, this one is white, also available in chrome and silver and some of the other finishes so that you can define exactly how you want to fixture to look. Now these basically clip right inside this and provides light straight down in the room. Now it’s not uncommon to put four, six or maybe even eight different recess lights to really balance the light that you’ll need in your room.

Now another way of lighting is to maybe wash the wall a little. Maybe an accent. This has a highly reflective film, and once your bulbs in place, and once you have these in position, away from the wall a bit, they’ll just wash that whole wall with light. And it really looks good over say a fireplace mantel. Now also, you have other adjustable type recessed lights called eyeball fixtures.

Now an eyeball fixture is adjustable that you can move the fixture itself around to direct the light right where you want it and these are commonly used on slope ceilings where you’re able to adjust the light to put it right where you want it. Now, if you have an open floor plan and maybe you have that breakfast bar between the kitchen and the breakfast room, these look great directly over that breakfast bar. Maybe three or four of these directed straight down on the surface of the bar, really look nice. And also, work well for any of the task lighting you may need in your kitchen.

The question may be how many recess lights would you need in a typical room. Well here’s how this kitchen was approached. First of all, three on this side and three on this side for more of the even lighting and then for a little task lighting, one light directly over the sink and two lights here directly over the bar.

Now, of course determining exactly how many lights you need will be determined by a number of different factors. First of all, how large is the room. How much natural light you have coming in the room, and what wattage that you have in the individual fixture. The lighting professional at the lighting showroom can help you with that.

Announcer: Let’s head outside for Around the Yard with lawn and garden expert Trisha Craven Worley.

Danny Lipford: Trisha, when you’re planting seeds that small, you’d better have some pretty good vision.

And very dexterous fingers too.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, without a doubt.

Well, I call this micro planting, Danny. And you can see I have a flathead toothpick.

Danny Lipford: Right.

Now this is opposed to a rounded head because that doesn’t do what I need it to do. Look what I’m going to do here. I just dipped it in a little bit of water. Now these are some snap dragon seeds, and as you can see, it’s on the very tip.

Danny Lipford: Boy, that’s small.

Isn’t it? Well, what I’m doing is I’m planting for spring, and I can use the same one or a different one, but I can take these one at a time and put them in this pot. Now I’m going to go for about six in this particular pot.

Danny Lipford: Now what’s the problem in just taking a little pinch of these and kind of sprinkling and just sprinkling them in the pot itself.

Well I could do that, but if I do that, what happens is, they will all be clumped together, and when it comes time to divide them, I’m going to run the risk of maybe pulling their roots apart and possibly losing one if not more of them. Because this is just part of the step. Because this, when they’re babies, they’re here, and then they’ll get planted to another pot before they get out to the big yard.

Danny Lipford: I see. Okay, and the tray here, you’re able to, what, plant individual ones then?

Yes, this is a great idea. Here I would water all of this to plump it up and then I would put in one seed in each one and this would start a nice little greenhouse.

Danny Lipford: Takes a lot of patience.

Danny Lipford: Well we’ve looked at a number of very cool interior home improvement projects. Some, very manageable, others, you may need the help of a professional. But the most important thing that you can do when you’re improving your home is to do as much research as you can, so that you can find out everything you possibly can about the project you’re about to take on. That way, whether you do it yourself or hire someone to take care of it, you’ll feel more confident all along the project.

And if you need more details, check in on our website at dannylipford.com. Not only do we have information on everything we’ve looked at today, but a lot of other ideas for improving the interior of and exterior of your home.

I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week.

Announcer: If you’d like to purchase a video tape or DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at dannylipford.com or call us at 1-800-946-4420.