How To Get Stains Out of Concrete

If your garage floor looks like a Jackson Pollock painting from all the stains that have settled in over the years, don’t despair. You can remove unsightly oil stains over a weekend. Here we’ll learn how to get stains out of concrete — all you need are a couple of easy-to-find materials and a little bit of muscle to get it looking like new again.

Concrete is a porous material so it’s best to try and remove a spot as quickly as you can. If the spill is still wet, try and soak up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels. Don’t rub, as the liquid can settle in and do more harm than good.

For older oil stains, there are different schools of thought on what type of solution to use. Trisodium phosphate, or TSP, seems to work well. After protecting your eyes and donning gloves, get a bucket and mix 1 oz. of TSP with water and an absorbent material like talcum powder, or follow the specific directions on the bottle.


Once the solution has been mixed, do a test on an inconspicuous area because some cleaners can leave a different type of stain. Spread the paste onto the stain. Use a stiff, wire brush to scrub the stain. The mixture will soak into the concrete, capture the oil and bring it to the surface. Next, sprinkle cat litter or diatomaceous earth over the stain to pull more out. Note: you will have to crush the kitty litter into the concrete for it to work as an absorbent. See how here, which compares different stain removal methods.

Scrape the residue away or sweep it up after about 15 minutes. Rinse the area with a hose or bucket of water. Stubborn stains may require additional applications, so you may need to repeat the process more than once.

Have a good way to remove stubborn stains from concrete? Please share it in the comments!

How to Install Backsplash Tile

There’s no doubt an attractive backsplash increases the beauty and value of your kitchen. But if you don’t know how to install backsplash tile that requires grout, it can be a challenge. In addition to the level of expertise required, your time and material costs are also factors. After you’ve chosen your tiles, you’ll need to stock up on materials and tools (see below).

Once you’ve assembled your materials and tools, the work begins. First, “dry fit” the tile on the floor or table to get an idea of the design and make sure it works in the space. Prepare the wall by removing switch plates and outlet covers and sand it to rough up the surface. Next, measure and mark the center of the visual focal point. Using the lever, draw a plumb starting line through the center mark.

Next, apply the mastic or thinset to the wall with the v-notched trowel, covering enough area for about 6-8 tiles. Place the first tile on the edge of the line you marked, pressing firmly. Be sure to leave room at the bottom where it will abut the countertop edge. You’ll be filling in that space with caulk at the end. Continue going outward on each side of that tile with the same technique. When you encounter a cabinet or other edge, you’ll need to cut tiles to fit the space. Using a full tile, place it in the space and mark where to cut using a tile cutter, snips or wet saw.

When all the tiles have been applied to the wall, allow the mastic to dry overnight. The following day, mix up a batch of grout, following the directions on the packaging. With a rubber grout float, pack the grout into the spaces between the tiles. Afterwards, clean the tiles with a sponge soaked with water, rinsing the sponge repeatedly. Wait for the grout to set, about 30-45 minutes. A thin, hazy film will develop. Wipe that off with a dry cloth until the tiles shine. Finally squeeze a thin bead of tub and tile caulk between the bottom edge of the tile and the built-in backsplash or countertop lip, in the corners and where tile meets cabinets.

Now, if you have the time, ambition and wherewithal to undertake installing a backsplash, go for it. But if you want to install a backsplash that’s less labor intensive, and less expensive, consider one of the many backsplash products offered at

Fasade decorative thermoplastic panels are quick and easy to install and don’t require grout. You get a designer look for a fraction of the price of a traditional tile installation project. Aspect Peel & Stick metal, stone and glass tiles also require no grout and easily stick to any surface. They’re both projects the DIY’er can easily do in a weekend, adding value and beauty to your home with their striking elegance.

Tools Needed:

  • Sandpaper
  • A level
  • Tape measure
  • Rubber grout float
  • Notched trowel
  • Caulking gun
  • Sponge and bucket
  • Tile cutter or motorized wet saw

Materials needed:

  • Tile mastic or thinset
  • Caulk
  • Tile grout
  • Tile spacers

Have you completed a backsplash project? Let us know how that went and share in the comments!

How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings were all the rage years ago. But they fell out of favor in the 1980s, just like Harvest Gold and Avocado Green appliances. If your home features a popcorn ceiling and you want to get rid of it, the good news is that although it’s a messy task, it’s not a difficult job. This article gives you an idea of how to remove popcorn ceilings.

Before you get started, you’ll need to check and see if the popcorn contains asbestos. If the popcorn was added before 1979, it likely does. To find out, wet a small area and scrape into a plastic bag and take it to get tested. Or have a pro come to your home and test it.

If it’s asbestos free, you can do the job yourself.

Here’s how to remove a popcorn ceiling:

Use a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to completely cover the floor. Put a fan in the window for ventilation. If you don’t have a window, place the fan on the floor but don’t aim it toward the ceiling.

Use a portable hand sprayer to spray down small portions of the ceiling, about a 3’x3’ area. Let the liquid soak in and reapply if it gets dry but don’t get it too wet or it will damage the drywall.

Scrape using a ceiling texture scraper which contains a handy bag to catch falling debris to remove the popcorn. If you don’t have that, a putty scraper will do the trick, but you’ll have to clean up the floor when you’re finished.

When all the texture has been removed, sand the ceiling to ensure smoothness. If it appears to be in good shape, simply prime and paint for that finished look. If that’s not the case, you may need to apply joint compound and a skim coat.

Of course, if you want to avoid the task altogether, you can cover the ceiling with a ceiling product. Choose a decorative option like Fasade faux tin panels or a real tin ceiling like Great Lakes Tin Ceiling panels. Or install a grid system with lay-in panels. You don’t have to live with an ugly popcorn ceiling and fixing the eyesore is easier than you think.

What do you think of popcorn ceilings? Have a unique removal method of your own? Let us know in the comments!