Today’s Homeowner Radio Show Podcast | February 4, 2023

This week, hear our tips for painting ceramic tile, plus what you need to know about removing stains from stone tile. (MarioGuti, Getty Images Signature/Alex_Schmidt, Getty Images)

Hour 1

Listen to learn how to remove stains from stone tile, paint ceramic tile and more. 

Removing Stains from Stone Tiles

Gray travertine tile
Removing stains from stone tile requires prompt action plus using a cleaner that won’t damage the surface. (Alex_Schmidt, Getty Images)

Emma in New York recently had stone floor tiles installed in her kitchen. She now has mysterious spots on the stone that she can’t remove. 

“Any suggestions on how to clean this?” she asks.

To remove the mystery spots, start with a homemade solution of hot water and dishwashing detergent and scrub the stain. If that doesn’t work, you can try mixing salt with warm water to form a paste and carefully scrub it.

If these methods don’t work, you may need to use a commercial stone cleaner. But be sure to read the label carefully and make sure it’s designed for your specific type of stone, as not all stone cleaners are suitable for all stones.

Stone tiles can easily get stained due to various reasons such as bacon grease, dirt, or even from tracking something in. This is why sealing the stones is crucial to prevent these stains from setting in.

Although, sealing the stone does not have to be a high sheen, but it should seal the pores to avoid any future stains.

Different stones have different porosity levels and softness, so you want to make sure that the cleaning solution won’t damage them. For example, never use vinegar when cleaning travertine stone, instead, use dishwashing detergent.

Painting Ceramic Tile

Woman using a paint roller to paint ceramic tile white
Painting ceramic tiles is a quick and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom. (MarioGuti, Getty Images Signature)

Bernice in Alabama wants to change up the pink ceramic tile in the bathroom of her older home. “Can they be painted? If so, what’s the proper way to do it?” she asks. 

Many older homes have colorful tiles like this, and they can indeed be painted with epoxy paint.

To properly paint the tile, the surface must be prepared thoroughly. Sand it, clean it, and apply a primer before painting. 

Epoxy paint has a strong odor, so make sure there’s lots of ventilation while you’re painting. 

This works great on wall tile, but I wouldn’t recommend it on the floor. 

There are special bath and tile paints available in the market, but make sure to choose one that’s specifically made for tiles. The longevity of the paint will depend on how often the surface is exposed to scrubbing and hot water.  

Read our full guide: How to Paint Over Ceramic Tile in a Bathroom

Hour 2

Hear how to keep a paintbrush’s ferrule clean, the best option for building an addition, and keep wallpaper from curling. 

Keeping a Paintbrush’s Bristles Clean

Dirty paintbrush with white paints rests on a half-painted board previously painted pink
If paint gets under the ferrule of the brush it can cause the bristles to become misshapen, making the brush less effective and potentially ruining the brush altogether. (sarahdoow, Getty Images)

A homeowner says, “When I clean my paint brushes I can never get the bristles clean where they meet the metal band of the brush. Do you have a solution?”

That metal band is called a ferrule, and here’s what you can do to clean it: 

  • Soak the brush in a solution of warm water and mild dish soap for several minutes.
  • Use a brush comb or an old toothbrush to gently scrub the bristles where they meet the metal band, being careful not to damage the bristles.
  • Rinse the brush thoroughly with warm water.
  • If the bristles are still dirty, repeat the soaking and scrubbing process.
  • After cleaning, reshape the bristles and let the brush air-dry completely.

Some paints can be particularly stubborn, so it may take several cleaning cycles to get the brush completely clean.

This is a fairly common problem, and there are a few simple solutions to prevent this.

First, buy good paintbrushes and take care of them. Second, don’t dip the brush so deeply into the paint to where it reaches that part. 

Wrap painters tape around the ferrule and allow it to extend onto the bristle. This keeps the paint from getting beneath the ferrule.  

Watch: How to Keep Paintbrushes Cleaner When Painting

Building an Addition: Go Up or Out?

Subfloor covering a new home addition basement foundation
Building an addition to a home can provide extra space and increase the value of the property, but it requires careful planning and consideration to ensure that it blends seamlessly with the existing structure. (Willowpix, Getty Images Signature)

A homeowner wants to build an addition to their small one-story home.

“We’re not sure whether it would be better to build up, adding a second story, or build out from the house. What should we consider before making this decision?” he asks. 

The vast majority of the time it’s much cheaper to build out instead of up. The reason is the need to install a staircase. A legal, code-compliant staircase takes up a lot of room, and unless you have plenty of room for the travel of it going up, you’re going to be taking away a sizable amount of your existing square footage to create the square footage above. 

Other things to consider are:

  • Accessibility: Building up may require the use of stairs, making it difficult for those with mobility issues, while building out may be more accessible.
  • Zoning restrictions: Some areas may have restrictions on the height of buildings, making it difficult to build up.
  • Cost: Building up is typically more expensive than building out due to the additional foundation and structural support required.

If you have the room and your lot size is big enough, I would consider building out. Consult with an architect or contractor to see what would be the most economical way of adding more space. 

Preventing Wallpaper Curl

Wallpaper curling up while it's applied to the wall
Curling wallpaper can be difficult to glue down properly, leading to more wallpaper damage over time. (asbe, Getty Images Signature)

A homeowner wants to know: “Would it help to steam the curled edges of peeling wallpaper before trying to glue them back down? These edges seem to have a memory and want to curl back no matter how good your glue is!” 

Just like steaming releases wrinkles from clothes, it also can help keep wallpaper from curling. 

The heat from the steaming can help to relax the wallpaper and make it easier to lay flat, reducing the likelihood of it curling back again. Additionally, it can help to activate the adhesive qualities of the glue and improve the bond between the wallpaper and the wall surface. 

However, be careful not to over-steam the wallpaper as it can cause it to become too wet and weaken the paper fibers.

You can also try this: Soak a sponge or thick cloth in hot water, wring it out, and press it into the curled edges. This will introduce enough just enough warmth and steam that it will soften the curled edge. Then glue it to the wall and press it down with a wallpaper seam roller.

Best New Products

Person using the RYOBI ONE+ 18V Cordless 4.75 Gal. Wet/Dry Vacuum Kit with 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger in a garageRyobi’s new Cordless Wet/Dry Vac has an extendable hose so you can effortlessly clean hard-to-reach places with ease. Learn more >>

Simple Solutions

An egg carton can elevate a cabinet door so you can neatly paint the top and all the edges. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Edge-Painting Tip — When you need to paint the edges of a workpiece, like a cabinet door, drawer front or shelving, raise the pieces off the work surface with small stands cut from an egg carton.

Use scissors to cut out the individual egg-holding cups from a paper carton. Then, place the cups upside down on the work surface, and set the workpiece on top.

Now, with the workpiece elevated off the surface you can very easily and neatly paint the top and all four edges. 

Watch: Tip for Painting Edges of Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Carpenter using a brad nail gun to nailing base molding trim for works new home
If you’re careful when removing wood trim and moldings from a room, you can often reuse the trim, saving a lot of time and money. (valentynsemenov, Canva)

Salvage Wood Trim — If you’re careful when removing wood trim and moldings from a room, you can often reuse the trim, saving a lot of time and money.

Usually, when you pry off the moldings, the nails will pull out of the wall. However, don’t try hammering out the nails from the back; they’ll splinter the front, finished surface of the moldings.

Instead, use locking pliers to pull out the nail from the backside of the moldings.

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:

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, gif, mov, avi, png, mp4, Max. file size: 300 MB.
      Add up to 80Mb of images and/or video to better illustrate your question.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here