TODAY   |  December 13, 2012

Home improvement on a budget: 3 easy tips

Give your home a fresh look with these simple tricks from home improvement expert Lou Manfredini, who shares how to remove wallpaper, paint over old paneling on walls, and keep rooms at the perfect temperature without breaking the bank.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> write about their pesky problems around the house that they don't know how to hand. sthoo here are simple solutions, as always, as "today" contributor of "house smart" our favorite can do guy mr. lou.

>> hello, ladies.

>> let's get to it. ginger writes in, "what is the best way to paint old panelling walls? i would like to update, but do not have many finances."

>> a lot of people have panelling downstairs in their basement or in a room, and they don't want to go through the expense of peeling it away. many my wife and i thought wield just take it off and it will be fine, but the plaster fell to the ground when we pulled it off. i supposedly know that what i'm doing. you can paint this, but it's all about the primer first.

>> it won't cling, right?

>> correct. because there's that oil finish. this bin primer one, two, three, and there are other products here. it's a stain-killing primer. it's tenacious. this is that they use when there's smoke damage in a home. what you are going to do is start with a brush and do these grooves. this has quite an odor to it, so you have to make sure that you are well ventilated when you use this.

>> that can be toxic.

>> now maybe wear a respirator. i don't want to stair people, but don't breathe these fumes. you do this and roll over the top of this. once that primer sets, you can paint it with any color you want. this looks fabulous with those vertical lines. it's like a design element.

>> nothing says 1950s like this?

>> exactly.

>> myingan says i have a lot of wallpaper that needs to come done. what is the quickest and easiest way to remove it? please help.

>> it's a big job, but can you do it. it starts with this tool that is a paper tiger , and it has these little sharp little dimples on there. what you do with your hand is you lightly score over the top of the paper like there, and what you are doing is perforating the paper. then you are going to use wallpaper removal product. it's called dif. what do you is you spray it on to the surface. i should have sprayed this first for crying out loud.

>> there you go.

>> it's working now.

>> we believe you. there we go.

>> you spray this on, and the whole idea behind this is i want this cleaner to get underneath the paper. let it sit for about 15 minutes , and then once you do that you gently scrape away. you wash the wall. you paint the wall. you're done. it's a lot of work.

>> depending how big of a room that is, that could take a long time. start in a bunch of different spots.

>> the whole idea is you want to set yourself up with if it's a room, it's going to take you a good weekend. don't bite off more than you can chew. say i'm going to do this wall today, this wall tomorrow so you don't get freaked out.

>> finally, karen has a question about her sun room . she says my sun room is used as my office. how can i make it warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer? only one vent in the room.

>> all right. so supplemental products is what you want to use for that. this is by a company called lasco. they make those box fans you buy in the summertime. they also make these ceramic cyclone heaters. this can go up against a wall. it plugs in using 1,500 watts. it's safe, and it will take the chill out of that room in the wintertime.

>> you put it away in storage and put it in the garage?

>> plug in, and you are done. in the summer this is called a cool air kull air. this is an evaporator -- i don't want to call it an air conditioner . it uses water. you don't have to vent it. you fill it with cold water . it circulates through the unit, and the fan blows cool air into the space.

>> wow.

>> and so you plug it in. it's about $250. it's amazing. they make these in different sizes. it's from a company called port-a-cool, and it really can help you temper a hot space like that as a sum meant. you can use these outside like if you live in florida.

>> how pricey are those?

>> $250. $99. we're not talking about a huge investment to be comfortable in that space. if you only have one vent, if you were going to have a heating and air conditioning contractor come and try to rework all that, you would be spending thousands. while that would be the preferred method, if you are on a low budget , $99 here, $250, you are comfy working in your home office .