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Cheap kitchen backsplash ideas

If you need cheap kitchen backsplash ideas, I have one idea that’s cheaper than any of the others I’ve seen: Fiber-Reinforced Plastic, or FRP. With FRP, you can knock out a backsplash with less than $50 worth of materials.

It’s not the best looking material but it’s cheap, easy to work with, and readily available. It will do a good job for you until you can get something better. It’s both cheaper and more durable than many cheap kitchen backsplash ideas I see elsewhere. And since I said ideas, I’ll share one more idea I like a little less, but it’s clever.

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Vinyl plank flooring on walls

Someone asked me about using vinyl plank flooring on walls recently. It’s an interesting idea, except for one problem the person brought up: vinyl planks falling off.

The adhesive on vinyl planks works better with gravity helping out. On walls, the gravity is working against it. Here are some tips that will help give you better results with vinyl plank flooring on walls.

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Fix kitchen light bulb flickering

Flickering lights can be a sign of a serious electrical problem. But kitchen light bulb flickering often is due to other issues because a kitchen provides challenges you usually don’t find elsewhere in the house. Let’s look at things that cause kitchen light bulbs to flicker and burn out more quickly than other rooms and things you can do to prevent it.

And yes, flickering usually does go hand in hand with reduced lifespan.

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CFL bulbs burn out quickly? Here’s what to do.

I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about CFL bulbs lately. I’ve written about how to address premature CFL burnout before, but I guess it bears repeating. It’s a five-minute fix, usually, to get the bulbs to last a while. So here’s what to do if your CFL bulbs burn out quickly.

CFL bulbs do seem to be more sensitive to minor electrical problems than older bulbs. Fixing the tab in your light socket or replacing your light switch is often enough to make the bulbs last as long as the package said they would.

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A cheap kitchen makeover

The kitchen cabinets in the house we live in have seen better days. They were reasonably well-built, but 50 years of raising families–mine is the third family raised in this house–took their toll on them. A couple of years back we painted them, to cover the scars of the years. It was an improvement, but the color dated itself pretty quickly, and we didn’t use the highest-quality paint, so the finish wore fairly quickly.

This time, we repainted them white. We used an expensive Benjamin Moore Decorator White in semi-gloss, because it looks good, but also because we’ve found it to be durable in other projects. And you’d be surprised how many half-million-dollar houses have white-painted cabinets. I’m an estate sale junkie, so I’ve seen a lot of half-million-dollar houses over the years, and I would estimate 40% of them have simple, white cabinets in their kitchens. It’s a look that doesn’t date itself, and is cheap and easy to take care of. (As a point of reference, a modest three-bedroom ranch house in the same county costs around $125,000.)

I’ve also seen people do this to improve the appearance of a house prior to flipping it.

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Is linoleum out of fashion? It shouldn’t be.

Every so often someone tells me linoleum is out of fashion. I don’t understand it. We have a linoleum kitchen floor and we love it.

A former coworker told me his ex-wife cleans a lot of high-end houses, and the cool kids are all replacing linoleum with stone or tile.

The cool kids are making a mistake. In 2009, I replaced a trendy tile floor with Marmoleum, a brand of linoleum. It’s one of the best things I ever did. If my son takes a tumble on the linoleum, it’s usually not a big deal. It’s not like it’s foam rubber or something, but he has to tumble really hard to hurt himself.

On tile, he was more prone to fall because that junk was slippery. And if he did fall, it hurt. It was like falling on concrete.

But the tile was exceptionally high maintenance. You pretty much had to mop it every other day for it to look decent. It attracted and held onto dirt like a magnet.

The linoleum looks great if you mop it once a week. If my wife gets busy and misses a week, I never notice, although she seems to. What I do know is that she mopped it on Saturday morning, and right now, four days later, it looks like she just mopped.

The other problem with tile was breakage. After about five years, every tile around the refrigerator was broken, due to something falling out of the freezer. Popping tile up and replacing it is possible, but it’s a project. I did it a couple of times and I can’t say I miss it.

Stone theoretically ought to hide dirt better than ceramic tile in the cleaning department, but my wife’s family likes to rent a condo on the Gulf Coast every summer, and invariably the kitchens have stone floors. We’re cleaning them every single day. No thank you.

I do think a lot of people confuse vinyl with linoleum. Given where my boss lives and the age of the houses there, I think vinyl is a lot more likely. He also said after 9 years, his “linoleum” is shot. Given that it’s common to find 100-year-old linoleum in old houses that’s still perfectly serviceable, I think he has vinyl rather than linoleum. I can see vinyl wearing out in 9 years.

Tile, and especially stone, are very trendy right now. But they’re high maintenance, and I suspect they’re just a trend, like wood paneling in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then it was the thing to do, but now when people run into it, they either tear it out or paint over it.

If I were faced with a kitchen in need of a new floor, I’d put linoleum down in a heartbeat. Pick a shade or shades that go with pretty much anything and don’t go out of style, lay it down, and forget about it. You may never have the trendiest floor on the block, but it will be functional, and it will outlive you.

It sure beats having to put down a new floor every decade.