BFF — Bug Friends Forever – On the House

BFF — Bug Friends Forever

By on July 18, 2020
BFF -- Bug Friends Forever

BFF — Bug Friends Forever 


Concrete and Spray Paint Don’t Mix

Spray paint on a concrete patio, driveway, or sidewalk is a nuisance, whether it is the result of overspray while performing a weekend project or the aftermath of vandals. Removing fresh paint is not as tricky, but spray paint dries quickly and requires more effort to clean. We’ll show you how to remove spray paint from concrete using a few simple tools and some elbow grease. 

Porous surfaces such as concrete absorb stains quickly and easily, making these surfaces challenging to clean. While there are many graffiti removal cleaners on the market, there are ways to remove a paint stain from your garage floor and other concrete floors using DIY techniques. 

Removing Spray Paint from Concrete Surfaces 

There are several ways to remove spray paint from concrete, including simple solutions that only require some soap and a scrub brush, and more extensive techniques that require a sandblaster, pressure washer, or chemical stripper. 

We’ll show you how to remove paint from a concrete surface using both basic and heavy-duty cleaning solutions. 

If you are removing paint from concrete walls and plan to re-paint, it’s doubly important that the surface is free of dirt and old paint residue. After cleaning, wash walls with vinegar before painting a new coat to ensure that all types of stains and grime are completely gone. 

Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Concrete with Soap and Water 

Instead of bringing out the big guns and sandblasting the concrete, start with the simplest solution when cleaning a porous surface. One of the easiest ways to concrete or remove spray paint from concrete is with soapy water and scrubbing action. 

To get oil out of concrete or remove unsightly paint or other stains, fill both buckets with hot or warm water, and add several squirts of dish soap to one of the buckets. Use the edge of a scraper to remove as much of the paint as possible. Sweep the area to clean away dirt and debris. 

Dunk a stiff bristle brush into the water bucket and scrub the painted surface of the concrete. Dip the brush into the soapy solution and scrub the area using circular motions. 

Blot the stain with heavy-duty paper towels to soak up loosened paint particles. Repeat the process until all of the paint is gone. 

Cleaning Small Areas of Paint off of Concrete 

If soapy water doesn’t do the trick to remove spray paint from the concrete, several household items are convenient for cleaning a small area. There is a good chance that you have at least one of them in your home for quick paint removal. 

How to Remove Paint from Concrete Porch with TSP 

Trisodium phosphate is an all-purpose, blended cleaning product that is not only the best cement cleaner but also works wonders for removing tough stains from concrete. Here is how to remove paint from concrete porch with TSP. 

Put on protective clothing, gloves, and goggles before cleaning the concrete. Dissolve the TSP with one gallon of warm water in one of the buckets and fill the other bucket with plain warm water. 

Dunk a scrub brush into the TSP solution and scrub the stained area with circular motions. Use the clean water to rinse the area and repeat the cleaning process until the paint is gone. Rinse the concrete thoroughly with a hose. 

How to Remove Spray Paint from Concrete with a Power Washer 

A power washer is a great choice to clean away paint and remove wood stain from concrete not coated with a sealer. However, they create a lot of water spray during the cleaning process and are best to use outdoors. Consider using an alternative solution for cleaning basement floors and other indoor concrete. 

Lay sheets of plastic over nearby areas to protect them from damage. If the stain is the result of latex paint, consider applying Goof Off before using the power washer to help loosen the stain. 

Use a paint scraper to clean away as much of the dried paint as possible. Apply a recommended layer of the cleaner. Allow it to dry completely before spraying. 

Follow the instructions on your power washer and stand ten feet away from the paint stain with the sprayer pointed to the edge of the affected spot. Turn the sprayer on and use a side-by-side sweeping motion to spray clean the area until the paint is gone. 

Power washing is one of the preferred ways to clean a concrete patio, too, whether you have paint stains or other grime. Be sure to protect all furniture and nearby plants or you may end up with a bigger mess than when you started. 

Removing Spray Paint from Concrete with Chemicals 

If all else fails, try using a lacquer thinner or chemical stripper to remove spray paint from concrete. These chemicals work by breaking down the paint for easy removal and are also useful for cleaning walls made of concrete. 

Use a paint stripper of your choice and follow the instructions accordingly. Make sure the area is appropriately ventilated and put on protective gear before proceeding. Apply the stripper to the affected area and use a cloth to wipe the spot. 

Continue to apply and rub the stain until the paint is no longer visible. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water or a garden hose. 

Accidental paint spills and overspray happen to the best of us, and while removing paint from a concrete surface takes some time and effort, it is not impossible. A quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a paint remover and a wire brush or rent a power washer is the first step to recovering the surface of your concrete.

Bathroom Materials That will Withstand Any Abuse  


We don’t ask much from bathroom surfaces

Just that they be beautiful and withstand every cleaning chemical invented, steamy showers, piles of damp towels, and, did we mention, tantrum-induced line-drives with bath toys? 

Oh, and they should be easy to clean. That’s all. 

So what materials can live up to the ask? We asked the experts. Here are 10 they recommend: 


#1 Engineered Stone Countertop 

Dying for a white marble countertop? Join the club. But get ready to seal, reseal, and reseal. Then repeat; year after year. 

Or, go for engineered stone, which can mimic marble (and other stone materials) for about the same cost, but minus the hassle. It’s non-porous so it resists bacteria, mold, stains, and water damage better than the real thing. Better! And it never needs sealing! 

#2 Glazed Porcelain Tile Floor 


Moisture is Enemy No. 1 for bathroom floors, and glazed porcelain tile is its most-worthy adversary. 

It won’t hold onto water like laminate and porous materials, and porcelain tiles glazed with glass are nearly stain-proof — as are today’s high-quality epoxy and urethane grouts, which don’t require sealing. 

#3 Vinyl Floor 

Time to rethink vinyl. Hear us out. Luxury vinyl tiles, which mimic stone and wood, are awesome at resisting moisture. 

Other affordable options like laminate just can’t keep up. Plus, vinyl sheets are so large; you can cover a small bath without a single seam or grout line, making it easy on the eye and easier to keep clean. 

#4 Plywood Cabinets 

Yup. We said plywood. But today’s “grade A” offering isn’t your mother’s plywood. (Or your Swedish cousin’s, which is actually particleboard.) 

Composed of pressed layers of alder, birch, or cedar, “grade A” plywood (also known as furniture-grade) remains more stable in the face of moisture than solid wood, which will shrink and swell in response to bathroom humidity (causing cracks in painted surfaces and even warped panels). 

As for the finish, you don’t need to spring for anything fancy: The factory finish applied to cabinetry nowadays will hold up to the moisture. Isn’t living in the future great? 

#5 Tempered Glass Shower Doors 

While you need your glass to be tempered for safety, you don’t need a special spot-resistant treatment or upgraded texture to have crystal-clear shower doors. 

“Glass is easy to clean,” says Ebony Stephenson, a certified kitchen and bath designer. “I tell my clients, ‘I’ll give you a squeegee and you can save $2,000. It’s a lot of money when you can just wipe off your glass.'” So definitely get tempered glass, but skip the add-on treatments that promise no spots. 

#6 Glossy or Semi-Glossy Paint 

A full-on glossy paint has a shiny, sealed surface that blocks out moisture and wipes clear of residue, say from hairspray, without leaving a mark like a matte finish will. But the sheen can be a bit overbearing on anything more than trim, and calls attention to wall flaws. 

A semi-glossy finish will hold up nearly as well to cleaning and moisture, without calling quite as much attention to bumps, dents, and other imperfections. 

#7 Cast Iron Tub 

A tub forged from molded liquid iron is likely going to be the toughest thing in your house — maybe even your neighborhood, depending on where you live. 

You may need extra support for your floor (and your pocketbook) to bring it home, but cast iron won’t chip, scratch, or dent like fiberglass, acrylic, and even porcelain can. 

This tub is your forever tub. And probably your children’s forever tub. And their kids’. 

#8 Porcelain-on-Steel Tub 


Don’t let its acronym, POS, misguide you: Heat-fused enamel on steel will resist corrosion, abrasion, and chipping better than synthetic materials, and it is much more affordable than cast iron. 


#9 Acrylic Panel Shower Walls 

Despite their lightweight, acrylic wall panels, often called shower surrounds, are not lightweights. They resist chipping, cracking, and peeling, and are much easier to maintain than stone tiles or slabs. Unlike tile, they nail directly to wall studs or glue to the wallboards, so they don’t require grout. Acrylic is tougher than fiberglass and colored all the way through — so it’s less likely to scratch, and even a deep cut won’t be as obvious. They’re also more affordable than tile and available in textured patterns, if you want to look like you splurged on a fancy design. 

#10 Stainless Steel Sink 

Stainless: not just for kitchens anymore. Corrosion- and stain-resistant, it won’t melt under a hot curling iron like acrylic can, and won’t dent or chip like porcelain if nail clippers plummet down from the medicine cabinet. 

And it’s the perfect match for the industrial-chic look that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. 




5 Common Building Code Violations

Check your home for these potentially hazardous situations 


Prevent accidents and make your home safer by fixing these five common code violations-bad GFCIs, an improperly located smoke alarm, an incomplete handrail, bad bathroom venting and missing deck flashing. 

Correct code violations for a safer home 

Building codes go a long way to assuring you that you live in a safe house. But unless you check, you never actually know whether parts of your home need upgrading to meet the current code. This is especially true when you move into a new home. 

Some common, and potentially dangerous, building code violations are hard to locate and even harder to fix because they’re buried behind finished walls. These include improper framing, excessively cut and notched studs and joists, and inadequate connections between building materials. However, the following common violations are easy to find. 

Violation 1:Missing or defective GFCIs 

Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection is now required for outlets in the kitchen, bathroom and garage and for all outdoor circuits. It cuts power to a circuit if it detects a current change, protecting against electrical shocks. Test for the presence of GFCIs by plugging a GFCI receptacle tester (about $15 at home centers) into an outlet in each of these areas (photo “violation” below). It’ll detect whether there’s a GFCI on the circuit and other wiring problems, such as reverse polarity and open grounds. 

Violation 2:Handrails without returns 

Codes require handrails to have “returns,” meaning they need to turn and end at the wall (photo “Solution” below). Returns keep items such as sleeves and purse straps from getting caught on the end of the rails and causing a fall. Handrails need to be placed 34 to 38 in. above the nose of the stair treads and must be 1-1/4 to 2-5/8 in. thick. 

Violation 3:Improper bathroom venting 

Bathroom exhaust fans should vent to the outside—either through the roof or the side of the house—not into the attic (photo “violation” below). Stick your head into the attic to see how yours is vented. Venting the warm, moist air into the attic can cause rotting in the roof framing and sheathing, and may not properly rid the bathroom of moisture, leading to mold and mildew. 

Violation 4:Missing deck flashing 

Flashing needs to be installed between the deck ledger board and the house, and the ledger needs to be firmly attached (photo “solution” below). A building inspector we talked to said incorrectly installed ledgers are the main cause of problems in do-it-yourself decks because the ledger may pull loose from the house. These decks can actually collapse, especially when loaded with people. 

Violation 5:Misplaced smoke alarms 

Codes require a smoke alarm on each level of the house and outside each bedroom (photo “solution” below). Codes require new homes to have a smoke alarm in each bedroom, hard-wired with a battery backup and interconnected so if one activates, they all go off. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least 4 in. away from walls, and wall-mounted alarms 4 to 12 in. down from the ceiling. 



Buggy but Good!

Good bugs for your home; the insects you should avoid killing 

No one wants their home to be filled with creepy crawlies, but before you follow your instincts and kill the spider that’s moving closer to your foot, ponder this: that same spider might be your home’s best friend. 

There are many bugs who — unbeknownst to us — can keep our homes clear of other pests. They can also keep your garden looking fresh.  

We scoured the Internet and tracked down eight tiny, but helpful creatures that you should avoid killing if you spot them in or near your home. 

Meet the Good Bugs 

Letting beneficial insects do what comes naturally makes for a better-looking landscape—and less work for you 


Praying Mantis 

Your yard is crawling with insects—but not everything that buzzes, creeps, or wriggles is there to decimate your begonias. For every aphid ready to nosh on your flowers, there are predator bugs ready to feast on the nibblers themselves. Other insects serve as pollinators. Even the lowly earthworm enriches and aerates soil. So nix nuking the bad bugs with chemicals and encourage these good garden bugs to take up residence in your yard. 

Named for the “praying” position its long and lanky front legs assume, this voracious, sticklike insect will eat just about any living thing it can fit in its mouth, helpful or not. It is known to consume mosquitoes, nocturnal moths, bees, beetles, small lizards, even frogs—as well as fellow praying mantises. 

Ground Beetle 

These shiny black beetles crawl out at night from under logs, stones, and boards to nosh on slugs, snails, cutworms, and root maggots. Your hostas, for one, will welcome their presence in shady beds and borders. 

Green Lacewing 


With two pairs of netlike translucent wings, this delicate-looking predator controls populations of soft-bodied garden pests, including many of the aphids, thrips, red mites, small caterpillars, and mealy bugs that like to feed on the succulent foliage in your landscape. Adults round out their diet with nectar collected from flowers such as angelica and sweet alyssum. 

Spined Soldier Bug 


Also known as a “stink bug” for the foul odor it emits when disturbed, this shield-shaped beetle will save your vegetable garden from ruin as it seeks and destroys Mexican bean beetles, Colorado potato beetles, hornworms, cabbage loopers, and cabbage worms. 



Imported more than 100 years ago to defend orchards and orange groves, these black-spotted red or orange beetles have yet to lose their appetite for soft-bodied, sap-sucking aphids, mites, and mealybugs. These good garden bugs can eat up to 5,000 pests in a lifetime, doing most of their feeding while in the larval stage, as tiny alligator-shaped, orange-spotted black grubs that also go by the nickname “aphid wolves.” 

Braconid Wasp 


Their stingers may scare off humans, but this parasite is more interested in feasting on caterpillars and sawfly larvae than on people. Flitting among the ‘Big Boy’ and ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes, they’ll keep the hornworms in check. 



Easily identifiable by its fuzzy black and yellow stripes, this social creature makes its way from dandelion to rhododendron blossom, foxglove to rosebush, collecting nectar and the pollen that will make tomato plants and apple trees produce more fruit. Worker bees (females) can sting, but they much prefer to stick to gentler business. 


Beneficial Nematode 


These microscopic parasites live in the soil, where they seek out a wide variety of hosts, inevitably killing them. Turf-chomping white grubs and the larvae of dog-torturing fleas and rose-damaging Japanese beetles are all susceptible to beneficial nematodes, which have no taste for helpful earthworms and ladybug larvae. 

Tachinid Fly 


These bristly brown, black, or gray flies resemble ordinary houseflies but prefer the outdoor life, where they can consume pests such as tent caterpillars, gypsy moth larvae, and cutworms. 



These burrowing brown scavengers are nature’s most efficient composters. You won’t find them in very clay or sandy soils, but enrich it with compost and top it with mulch to keep it moist, and they will come. Then they’ll proceed to create the kind of well-aerated, humus-rich soil gardeners call “black gold.” 


Mentioned Links 



~ Thank you~ 

A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming! 

Thank you to our Technical Support: 

  • Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer  
  • Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer  
  • Sam Reed – Associate Producer  
  • Rico Figliolini – Digital Master 


Thank you for tuning in BFF — Bug Friends Forever! And check in next week for more cool tips! 

“BFF — Bug Friends Forever” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired July 11, 2020. 

Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here. 


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