How to Install a Backsplash with SimpleMat

Tile backsplashes, countertops and shower walls are popular home improvements, but installations aren’t easy for do-it-yourselfers.

For many DIYers, the simpler the project is, the better. And that’s a problem with thinset mortar, a tile adhesive.

Tile backsplash installed over kitchen range
With help from Custom Building Products, I easily covered a bare wall with this beautiful backsplash — and you can, too!

First, you have to spread mortar with the trowel’s flat side and then flip to its notched side to create ridges. Then you have to wait for the tile to set — cure time varies a lot and could be 16 hours or more! Slowly, but surely, the process comes together, but who has that kind of time?

That’s why I love time-saving tools like SimpleMat from Custom Building Products. It’s a double-sided adhesive mat designed to bond tile to drywall and many other surfaces without the hassle.

Want to install a backsplash and upgrade the look of your kitchen? Then read on!

Kitchen with black range, range hood and blue wall and white countertop
A tile backsplash requires less maintenance than drywall and enhances the kitchen’s design — that sounds like a win-win to me!


Chelsea Lipford Wolf measures kitchen wall
Remember: measure twice, cut once.

1.  Measure the Area

SimpleMat comes in rolls or sheets. Rolls cover 30

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Tips to Sell Your Home During COVID-19

Sold sign on house
The COVID-19 pandemic has added challenges to selling a home, but it’s not impossible to do so. (DepositPhotos)

COVID-19 has reshaped the real estate business — 84 percent of top real estate agents have shut down open houses to help slow the spread, according to a recent HomeLight survey — so it could be a challenge to sell your home.

The following tips from 500 of America’s leading HomeLight real estate agents can help you conquer your spring home sale.

Whether it’s sprucing up your curb appeal or painting with neutral tones, we’ve got you covered.

Just look at the infographic below for 2020 trends, including avoiding accent walls (if you’re selling) along with opening up space and adding energy-efficient windows.

Remember: Your home should reflect your needs and preferences. So, don’t be discouraged if you like vibrant colors, accent walls or cozy, divided rooms.

These tips apply only if you want pointers for how to sell your home fast.

HomeLight infographic on how to sell a home fast during COVID-19

Further Reading: Buying or Selling a Home

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Composite Roof Shingles: What You Should Know

Composite shingle roof
Composite roofing can last up to 20 years (or more) than asphalt shingles. Photo: ©pharry –

Asphalt shingles have been a popular roofing choice since the early 1900s. However, since then, several roofing innovations, including composite roof shingles, have been introduced. 

Like asphalt, composite shingles are cost-effective and simple to install. But they also have a range of other benefits. 

What are Composite Roof Shingles? 

Materials like asphalt, slate, laminate, tar paper, wood and fiberglass make up composite shingles. By mixing these materials together, composite shingles can outperform many single-material alternatives. 

In addition, composite shingles can come from completely recycled material. They also can include additives that increase protection. 

The Benefits 

Here are six of composite roofing’s biggest benefits: 

  1. Durability and Longevity: These shingles can last around 30 to 50 years. For comparison, asphalt shingles last around 15 to 20 years. In addition, composite shingles resist splitting, cracking, deterioration and color fading. 
  • Color Options: Like vinyl roofing shingles, composite shingles come in a variety of colors and styles. They can fit almost every aesthetic you want. 
  • Impact Rating: These shingles have a Class 4 impact rating, so they stand up to high winds, along
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Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home’s Front Entry

Wooden house with red door and nice front entry
Your home’s exterior can look as good as new after some concrete resurfacing, pressure washing and mulching. (DepositPhotos)

Refreshing your home’s front entry doesn’t require tons of work or expense. These three simple changes can make a big impact.

Try them and your home will be the best-looking one on the block!

Repaired front porch with Quikrete Re-Cap
Refreshing your front entry starts with cleaning and updating the stoop or front porch.

1. Resurface a Concrete Stoop

Home improvement doesn’t have to cost a lot. Resurfacing a worn-out stoop is a great start toward completely transforming your home’s front entry.

Damaged front porch
An unsightly stoop isn’t very welcoming. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix.

This stoop has two problems: the surface is unsightly and has seen much better days, and the steps have lots of bricks with gaps.

Both these things are hurting the home’s curb appeal, but the situation goes beyond looks.

Gaps aren’t just unattractive; they also make the bricks difficult to walk on. Worse, they collect water, which can undermine the home’s foundation.

Giving concrete resurfacer a broom finish
Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer is easy to apply and the impact is instant.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: First, clean the stoop with a 3,500-psi pressure washer. Next, apply Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer

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5 Durable, Affordable Roof Options for a Detached Garage

Asphalt shingle roof on a hunter green two-car garage
Consider your home’s roofing style and material before choosing a roof for your detached garage. (DepositPhotos)

Whether you use your detached garage for parking your car or you use it for storage, the entire structure needs to be able to protect what’s inside. This means the exterior needs to be in good condition.

If your garage’s roof is starting to age, it may be time to consider a new one.

While roofing isn’t the most affordable house material on the market, there are several garage roofing options that are both durable and budget-friendly, so you don’t have to choose between your wallet and providing protection for your garage.

Metal roof
Metal roofing’s style has evolved from its industrial origins. Options are available to match just about any home’s architecture.

1. Metal

When it comes to durability, you won’t get much better than metal. Comparing metal roofing with other materials, metal tiles give the longest-lasting, most durable roof for the cost.

You can expect to pay around $300 per square for the least expensive metal tiles — more decorative versions get pricey, at around $1,000 per square.

A metal roof will last up to 50 years or more. Keep in mind that

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How to Create Colorful Concrete Stools

Painted concrete layered stools
These colorful concrete stools will make a great conversation piece for your backyard.

Mixing concrete and making something special brings me so much joy! These stained concrete stools are inexpensive, take a few hours over two days to make, and look great in the backyard.  

If you see this DIY project in your near future, here are my tips to make these beauties.

materials used to make concrete stools, pictured posed on a white backdrop
Before we begin, let’s make sure we have everything we’ll need.


  • Quikrete Countertop Mix
  • Quik-Tubes
  • 5-Gallon Buckets (3)
  • Drill with Mixing Paddle
  • 2 Chemical-Resistant Gloves
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Safety Glasses
  • Small Masonry Trowel
  • 60- or 80-Grit Sandpaper
  • Utility Knife with Sharp Blade
  • Tape Measure
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Wooden Dowels (5/16 Inch)
  • Drill Bit — (5/16 Inch or 3/8 Inch)
  • Stain or Paint

Note: Wear pants, a long-sleeve shirt, safety glasses and gloves while working with concrete mix.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf measures a Quik-Tube before cutting it
This tip has never failed me: measure twice and cut once.

1. Measure Quik-Tubes

Quik-Tube Building Forms are the real MVPs of this project. In the old days (I’m told), you had to build wood forms for concrete column projects like fence posts and footings.

Thankfully, those days are gone! Now, we can just purchase these single-use, ridged-fiber forms from

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