Five Great Updates for Your Home

Danny Lipford in completed kitchen.

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These five home improvement projects can really update the look of your home without breaking your budget. Some are do-it-yourself projects, while others are best tackled by a professional.

Update #1: Add Recessed Lighting

Special remodeling cans are used to install recessed lighting on existing ceilings, while standard cans are used when the ceiling has been removed.

To install recessed lights on an existing ceiling:

  1. Mark the location of the lights so they avoid hitting ceiling joists.
  2. Cut the holes for the cans with a drywall or hole saw.
  3. Run the correct size electrical wire to the fixtures and wall switch.
  4. Turn off power at the circuit breaker.
  5. Connect the wires to the recessed light fixtures and wall switch.
  6. Insert the remodeling cans in the holes and secure in place.
  7. Turn the power back on, and test the lights to make sure they work.

Installing a recessed light fixture in a ceiling.

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

Update #2: Remove Textured Ceiling

Some textured ceiling materials made before 1980 contains asbestos, so have the texture tested in older homes before removing. To remove a textured ceiling that doesn’t contain asbestos:

  1. Cover the walls and floor with plastic.
  2. Fill a pump up garden sprayer with hot water mixed with fabric softener.
  3. Wet the ceiling down thoroughly.
  4. Use a wide drywall knife or a texture scraper with bag, such as the Homax Ceiling Texture Scraper, to scrap off the texture.
  5. Repair damaged drywall and smooth the ceiling with joint compound.
  6. After the joint compound has dried, sand the ceiling smooth.
  7. Prime and paint the ceiling with flat latex ceiling paint.

Read our article on Removing a Textured Popcorn Ceilings and watch our video on DIY Textured Popcorn Ceiling Removal to find out more.

Applying wallpaper remover to wall.

Update #3: Strip Wallpaper

To remove dated or damaged wallpaper:

  1. Pour three gallons of hot water in a five-gallon bucket
  2. Add 22 ounces of concentrate wallpaper stripper.
  3. Add 1 cup white vinegar
  4. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda
  5. Add 1/4 cup fabric softener
  6. Mix the ingredients together.
  7. Go over the wall with a wallpaper perforation tool.
  8. Spray the wall until wet with wallpaper remover.
  9. Cover the wall with thin plastic sheeting.
  10. Wait three hours or longer to allow the remover to work.
  11. Remove the plastic and peel off the wallpaper.

Watch our video on How to Strip Wallpaper to find out more.

Update #4: Replace Kitchen Countertops

To remove old countertops and replace with granite:

  1. Disconnect plumbing supply lines to the faucet.
  2. Remove the drain pipe from the sink.
  3. Turn off, disconnect, and remove built-in cooktop.
  4. Remove screws holding the countertop to the cabinet.
  5. Lift countertops and carry outside.
  6. Reinforce the cabinets as needed to support the weight of the granite.
  7. Make sure the top of the cabinets are even and level.
  8. Apply a bead of adhesive to the top of the cabinets.
  9. Position the granite countertops on the cabinets.
  10. Use epoxy glue and clamps to join seams together.
  11. Install sink, faucet, cooktop, and backsplash.

Watch our video on Joining Seams in Granite Countertops to find out more.

Newly installed ceramic tile floor.

Update #5: Install Tile Floor

Install a layer of cement backer board down first when installing tile a wood subfloor. You can tile directly over existing tile, if the floor is in good condition.

To install a tile floor:

  1. Lay out the location of the tiles.
  2. Apply thin-set adhesive to the floor with a notched trowel.
  3. Lay the tile on the floor, using a wet saw to cut tile where needed.
  4. Allow the tile to set over night.
  5. Apply grout to the tile, removing any excess with a damp sponge.

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

Project Materials

Materials used on the 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

Wall switch with paint name and number taped to back.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Documenting Paint Colors

To keep a record of the wall paint used, write it on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the back of a light switch cover plate in the room; or have the paint store print out an extra label, and keep the labels organized in a folder. (Watch Video)

DAP DryDex Wall Repair Patch Kit

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
DAP DryDex Wall Repair Patch Kit

The DAP DryDex Wall Repair Patch Kit contains everything you need to repair holes in drywall up to 3″ in diameter, including spackling, self-adhesive wall patch, sandpaper, and putty knife. The DAP DryDex Kit is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Painting Ceramic Tile Walls

Ask Danny Lipford:
Painting Ceramic Tile Walls

When painting over ceramic tile walls, start by sanding the surface of the tile with 100-grit sandpaper, then wipe the tiles down and clean them thoroughly. Paint over the tile with a bonding primer, followed by epoxy paint. (Watch Video)


  1. Love your show!! In re: 5 Great Updates episode: can a tile floor be layed over linoleum? Also, the green paint color that was going on the wall off the kitchen (laundry room?), can you tell me what color it was?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Meredith and Cara,
      I added the paint colors and other materials used in our kitchen remodel to the bottom of the article above.
      Hope that helps!

  2. I would love to have new tile layed over my existing floor but not quite sure how it would look since my kitchen/breakfast area opens to the family room. Would there be an large “drop-off” to the family room floor? Would that look OK?

    Also, I have a back door so I guess I would have to have it trimmed to open property.

    My kitchen is pretty big so I love the idea of laying it over the existing tile!

    Love your show!

    Pam Robert
    Huntsville, Al.


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