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DIY: The Tried and True

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Life has been a bit crazy for me lately. It is a busy time for many… a transitional time for some with schools already back in session while others are still able to relax on vacation during these last few weeks of August.

Even with all the craziness in my day, life is good. I can usually handle a lot on my plate, but with our moving “To Do” list and a few business trips, I realize I can’t do it all. Hence the lack of posts the past few weeks. I’m trying, but I also know I’m human and run this blog of mine pretty much by myself so I have to go easy on myself.

How to declutter a house in a few easy steps

Ed and I have gotten a ton accomplished on our “To-Do” list…new carpet, light fixtures, cabinets in the laundry room, faucets, plumbing, painting, fixing, trimming, cleaning, and purging.  We filled a huge dumpster that we had in our driveway for 10 days. It made the process of getting rid of unwanted items a bit easier. I kept nice things and have them on one side of the garage waiting for the thrift store to come with a truck to pick them up.  The house is looking good, but focusing on the “To-Do” list has taken me away from creating blog posts.

The biggest project on my getting the house ready to move “To Do” list is refinishing and re-staining the deck.  Say…what? Didn’t you just do that in the fall?  Yep!

Last fall I used a new product called Restore 10X on the deck and was quite happy with the results.  I followed all the steps EXACTLY and it all looked great.  In the Spring I was still singing the products praises. My deck never looked better. Then around late June I noticed a small section looked different and when I touched it, the thick painted coat lifted right off in my hand in one big sheet!!!   As the weeks went by I noticed a few more small spots. I couldn’t believe the paint was failing since I took my time, did everything according to the directions and still the product was failing. One of my readers commented that she experienced the same thing and told me the product ruined her deck.  I started to research online for a fix and all I found was many other homeowners in the same situation…all very upset.

When I realized we were going to move, I knew I could not leave the deck as it was for new owners or disguise the areas where the product failed. I would not be able to sleep at night. I had to get the deck surface back to normal, but how?

The products mentioned on the Rustoleum website didn’t help remove it at all. I spent hours researching. I tried power washing, chipping and strippers, none of it worked. After all my research we ended up renting a drum sander with 36 grit sandpaper to remove it. It worked, but was a huge undertaking.

Rustoleum Deck Restore 10 X fail

It took Ed 2 days to get the product off. I felt so bad since I felt it was all my fault using a “new product” for such a large project, but Ed is my rock and told me not to think that way. After two days of sanding, he got it all off….“whew!”

On the bright side of this product/project fail and all the time and expense for the drum sander rental and sandpaper is that the wood on the deck looks better than ever now.  A fresh new surface. I will stain it along with the railings over the next few days with the product I have used on it for years…Behr Solid Color Stain that I have color-matched to the siding on the house and in white for the railings… my tried and true.

Sometimes it is worth just sticking with the products you know work and leave the new stuff on the store shelves until the company has time to see how it really works out in the real world and not in a test lab.

I learned a lot from this fail… NEVER use a new product for a large project. Test it out on a smaller one first. I feel that this product was not ready for the consumer market since I did everything according to the directions. Rustoleum now has a new primer to use before using the product and they have new videos with new directions.  All the consumers who used it before this, had to find out the hard way that the product was not ready to be on the market at least for consumer use.

I don’t want to leave you with a negative vibe, so I thought I would share the product wins that I have used in my home.

These are the  products that worked beautifully and have stood the test of time…I sing their praises and will use them in my next house.

Gallery Glass – It is going on 20 years since I used Gallery Glass on the sidelights by my front door.  It is one great product. I hope they never stop making it. It is still available at some craft stores and on Amazon.

AirStone – This is one of those dream products. AirStone is fake stone that can be used on fireplaces and walls that make them look like a real stone facade. It is affordable and easy to use. It looks just like stone. I smile every time I look at my fireplace.

Zinsser Ultimate Polyurethane – I used this poly on my Staircase Redo – If my new house has carpeted stairs,  I will not hesitate one minute to rip the carpet up and use this poly to create a classic stained steps with white painted riser staircase.

Poplar Plywood – The banquette in my kitchen is a built-in that I can’t take with me to the next house, but sure wish I could. My dad helped me with it. :-)

He passed away a year and a half ago and every time I sit on it I am reminded of him and his love of woodworking. He hand picked the plywood which was poplar. It costs more than regular plywood, but was worth every cent. No warping or roughness even after 18 years and daily use.

Fabric Medium –  I painted an upholstered chair earlier this year so it hasn’t stood the long test of time, but so far, I am quite pleased with the results. I sit on the chair every morning when I read my favorite blogs and catch up with email. I also sit on it when I take the time to read.  I don’t know why I waited so long to try using fabric medium. But if I find an upholstered piece of furniture that is in good shape at a yard sale, but don’t like the color. I will use this method and product to transform it.

DIY Chalk PaintCalcium Carbonate Powder is my tried and true ingredient that I use to make chalk paint.

Minwax Polycrylic – It is water-based poly, easy to use and comes in 3 different sheens, as well as a spray formula. 

Glidden Gripper – Love this stuff. It is affordable and the best primer I have ever used. I use it on many projects.

Purdy Paint Brushes –  I would not paint with anything but a Purdy paint brush. I have been using them for a long time. They lessen the look of brush strokes, don’t shed, and if you take care of them they will last for years. Worth every cent!

Martha Stewart Crafts Decoupage – I like this Matte Multi-Surface Decoupage formula much better than Mod Podge. It goes on smooth and dries to a non-sticky clear finish.

Project: Map Covered Boxes

CitraStrip Stripper – The first time I stripped a piece of furniture I used a heavy duty stripper that made me sick. It smelled horrible and ate through everything it touched, even the gloves I wore to protect my skin while using it. Soon after I learned about CitraStrip. It is the only stripper I use now. It takes a little longer to do the job, but is less toxic and has little smell. I like that it comes in a spray can, too.

Project:  Repurposed Mirror Coffee Table

I have to remember that I found some of these great products after another product failed and I went in search of something better.

Note to self: Don’t let projects stress me out. It’s not only about the finished project, but more about the journey that gets you from Point A to a happy Point B.

What are your favorite tried and true products?

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  1. So sorry to hear about your deck! Your advice about using a new product on a small area first is a good one. A couple of years ago, my daughter bought Pittsburgh Paint’s Revitalize for her huge deck area. She picked it out herself, and I helped her apply it and did a blog post about it. This product did not hold up well either, and now she has a big mess.

    1. Hi Jann – I feel for your daughter. I kept reading stories that homeowners had to replace all the boards or tear down their decks. I lost a few nights sleep stressing over how we were going to be able to fix ours. Once it was sanded, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. Being back to square one with a tried and true product has me doing a happy dance once again. I hope your daughter can find a fix for hers. XO

  2. Thanks for the list of tried and true products…is there some way to pin them as a list? You are a great source of information. I was going to try that product on my front and back steps but the price made me hold back. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You take great care of your readers and I trust you as a good friend.

  3. Would love to read more about getting a house ready to sell. We are enough older that my husband thinks that what it is, is good enough. Picture 45 years of wear on hardwood floors. Definitely a refinishing job in my future.

    A recap of each day, with not too much detail, would give readers an idea of what is realistic to accomplish in a day.

    1. Hi Barbara – I used to have a real estate staging business and know at least in the Philadelphia area, homes sell faster and for more money if you fix them up and neutralize the decor a little. In your area it may not matter. Every market is different. I do think getting rid of clutter and personal items is a good rule of thumb no matter where you live though. The more you can make the house neutral, the more buyers will be able to envision their style and belongs in the space. That is what your goal should be. :-) I will write a more detailed post about this very soon.

  4. I too have read about Rustoleum’s Restore 10X and how it really doesn’t hold up. I saw a deck redone with it and really didn’t like the result. Wasn’t even impressed by the sample at the store :-(

    So glad for you that your wonderful hubby got it all sanded off. The new owners of your home will love you for it! :-)

    Hmm….about favorite products. If a good paint+primer is what you need but your budget is small, I’ve found Olympic One Paint+Primer does a nice job for a little less than Valspar (which I also like). I’ve used so many paint brands (some high end, some not so high end) and for the money the Olympic is a good buy. I totally agree with you on Purdy brushes! I have two. They’re well worth the extra money because the end result truely is a much better finish. (The crummy brushes I have are for dry brushing cuz they leave just the right amount of brush strokes. LOL!)

    So excited for your move to your home by the water—wherever that will be! We’ll all watch you make your new house into the most wonderful home! :-)

  5. Hi Diane
    Thank you so much for sharing you favorite products. Does the Glidden Gripper work on metal?