Get tips to clear clutter in time for holiday guests. Find out the easiest way to clear a clogged toilet from the experts at This Old House. And learn how to clean your oven naturally without chemicals. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about removing asbestos tile, installing replacement windows, removing paint on walls, fixing a leaky pipe, bathroom renovations, removing paint from a brick fireplace, fixing plumbing odors, adding insulation, cleaning urine from a laminate floor, installing patio pavers, stopping washers from shaking, circuit breakers, and repairing foundation bricks.
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 0:025]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Here to help you get the job done; add a little inspiration, a little information to help you with your home improvement projects. Why don’t you pick up the phone, give us a call right now so we can help? The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
The holidays are upon us. We know that you’re going to be visiting and you’re going to be hosting guests and you’ve got lots of little projects that perhaps you want to get done. We’re going to help you out this hour, starting with some tips to help you clear the clutter. Yes, when your friends come to your house, do you want them to think it looks that good all year long? Well, you would but we all know it’s not the case.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s not true.
TOM: We’re going to give you some strategies for helping you clear that clutter and perhaps they’ll even last with you beyond the holidays.
LESLIE: And with all that company coming over your house, let’s hope that you don’t have to deal with a clogged toilet in the middle of, say, the big holiday feast because it is definitely one of the worst things about home ownership – bathroom maintenance. But the experts at This Old House have some insider tips that will make this chore a lot easier.
TOM: Plus, if you think that oven cleaning has to involve caustic chemicals and super-hot ovens, well, it doesn’t. We’re going to have a natural oven-cleaning recipe for you, so you’ll want to grab a pen. We’re going to have that for you in just a bit. It’ll allow you to get that oven sparkly clean without any hassles or headaches.
LESLIE: And we’re giving away a great prize this hour. We’ve got an Electrolux vacuum worth almost $300 up for grabs to one lucky caller who we talk to on the air this hour.
TOM: So, let’s get to the phones and get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Deborah in North Carolina has an asbestos question. How can we help you?
DEBORAH: Yes, we would like to take up some asbestos tiles. They are on a concrete floor. What should we do and what kind of cleanup would be necessary after that?
TOM: Well, first of all, asbestos tiles are made of cement asbestos or a vinyl asbestos, where the asbestos is contained within the tiles itself. And so, it’s not easy for that type of asbestos to be released to the air and, in most areas of the country, removal is not regulated; disposal, however, typically is in that they have to be bagged specially and marked and taken to certain types of dumps and so on.
Now, what’s the reason you’re removing these tiles?
DEBORAH: We want to put down hardwood laminate.
TOM: You want to put down laminate floor? There is absolutely no reason to remove the asbestos tiles.
TOM: The best thing for you to do is leave them right in place. The laminate goes on top of an underlayment; usually a very thin foam pad, like 1/8-inch thick, that can be laid down right on top of the asbestos and then you assemble the laminate floor right over that. Laminate floors are floating floors, so they don’t have to be glued in or attached to the old floor in any way, shape or form. They just, by virtue of their weight, they stay in place. And so there’s really no reason for you to get into that big mess, Deborah. I would just lay them down right on top of it and leave it alone.
DEBORAH: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You can worry about it in another 40 years, OK?
DEBORAH: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Otis in Texas has a window question. How can we help you?
OTIS: My problem is I have aluminum windows in a house that’s brick veneer …
OTIS: … and the nailing fan is attached to the wood under the brick veneer. I’ve read up on retrofit windows but my other problem is I can’t find a vendor that’ll make those windows and sell them to me.
OTIS: Because I don’t want to pay an installer to come out and install windows that I’m absolutely positive that I can do.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, when you have aluminum windows, it’s very, very difficult to do a retrofit or to use a standard replacement-style window because you don’t have the same kind of jambs, the same sides. So, typically, you have to cut those out and you end up doing like sort of some saws awl surgery to kind of cut them all out and get them apart.
Now, installing the new windows, you can use a standard replacement window but you have to flash it between the brick and the wall, so the most important part of this whole process is measurement. And if you can measure the windows properly, you could order those from a home center. You don’t have to work with a window contractor. You can order those from a home center and you can order very good-quality ones from home centers today that are low-e glass, Energy Star rated. So you don’t have to deal with somebody who will only sell it to you with installation.
But, unfortunately, you can’t – I mean you can’t put a replacement in when you already have the aluminum window in place because it’s just not set up for that. Replacement windows are designed to work with wood windows, where you remove the operable sashes and then you can slide the new one next to it. In your case, the whole thing’s got to come out and a new window has to be slipped in and it’s got to be sealed and weatherstripped very carefully and if you do that, you’ll be able to enjoy them.
OTIS: OK, I’ll give it a shot. Thank you very much.
TOM: Otis, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Henry in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
HENRY: I had some unexpected guests last night. They came and used about two spray cans of paint; sprayed on my barn.
TOM: Oh, no. You had some vandals?
HENRY: I guess you’d call them that.
TOM: (chuckling) That’s too bad, Henry. Yeah.
LESLIE: They left you a lovely message that perhaps contained some four-letter words?
OTIS: No, no. It was like they drew or they spray-painted a human hand and fingers.
TOM: Oh, boy. Alright, so we’ve got to get rid of this, right?
OTIS: Four-by-eight, yeah.
LESLIE: And so this is on, you say, sheet metal?
OTIS: Yeah, this is on a barn. (inaudible at 0:06:15.30)
LESLIE: OK, so the barn is already painted, right?
LESLIE: You know what’s worked and – I mean I would imagine this is sort of similar to trying to remove spray paint from a car. If you’ve ever tried a detailing clay that you can get at an autobody shop or like any sort of car shop, you can get it – one of them is called Meguiar’s Quik Clay; there are several out there. And then what you would do is, according to the directions, you would rub on this clay and that should do a great job of getting off the spray paint from the steel. It won’t take away the color of the steel itself – it might take away some of the sheen – but you’ll get that spray paint right off.
OTIS: Super, I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. We are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to give you a hand with your home repair or your home improvement question. So pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, maybe you don’t have to actually declutter your home to make it look neater. We’re going to tell you how, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:07:23.8]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we talk to you on the air, your name will be tossed into the Money Pit hardhat for a prize we’re giving away this hour which is very cool. It’s the Electrolux Versatility, the first bagless upright vacuum cleaner from this company. The cool thing about this is that the handle pops up to reveal sort of a telescoping wand system with several different cleaning tools all on board. It’s worth 299 bucks, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question for your chance to win.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller-inner right now is like, “Excellent, I don’t have a vacuum and I’ve got a lot of people coming over and need to clean my house quickly.” (Tom chuckles) “So pick me, pick me.” (chuckles)
Seriously, though, this is the time of year when you have a lot of people coming and going from your house and, if you’re like me, your house could be a bit of a disaster from time to time. I know most of us are parents and we’re dealing with messy houses. You know, what can you do about it? But when you’ve got your company coming over, you really need to think about finding a home for all those things that you maybe just don’t know where they go and suddenly that whole notion could be very overwhelming. Now, you could procrastinate a little bit longer – like, say, until that first doorbell rings – but don’t. Get on top of it, folks.
First of all, you want to get rid of that stuff that you don’t use or that you don’t need every, single day. If you’re not using it daily, put it away. Now, once you’ve pared down a bit, you can use laundry baskets to sort of sort things and then hold them temporarily so you know all the toys are in one, all of the work stuff is in another; and then you can store that in a bedroom closet. And suddenly, your home is instantly decluttered.
Now, this is a temporary fix, folks. We’re not recommending that you turn into a packrat and just shove everything in the closet.
TOM: And here’s another tip: why don’t you just give yourself an early holiday gift? Go ahead and hire a cleaning service for just a one-time visit. You don’t have to have them come back every week; of course, that might be nice.
LESLIE: Mmm, that sounds lovely.
TOM: But if you can’t afford it, just a one-time cleaning before the holidays or when you have guests that are going to show up. It’s a really nice thing to do for yourself because now you can really concentrate on the decorating and preparing the food and not have to worry about cleaning all of those rooms.
Hope these tips help you out and help you have an enjoyable holiday this year.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones. Got lots of home improvement questions out there. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Charlotte in California needs some help with a fireplace makeover. Tell us about the project.
CHARLOTTE: Yes. OK, I moved into this house a few months ago and it’s a brick fireplace that was painted white. And I tried some solution on it, on part of it. Ooh, my goodness; it was very sticky and gooey and it didn’t really take all the paint off the brick either.
TOM: Alright. Well, I mean this is a fairly common problem and there are a couple of different strippers that out there that Leslie and I have had experience with that work better than others.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean I have good success with one called Rock Miracle but the problem, when you’re dealing with brick, is that the brick itself is so porous; so as soon as you put paint on it, it gets sucked in not just on that top layer but all the way in through the brick. So, you know, no matter how much success you have with a paint stripper, there’s still going to be some residue of this paint left. And I’m telling you, it’s going to take coat after coat after coat and a lot of elbow grease.
CHARLOTTE: Oh, brother.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean just sort of sandblasting, which always tends to be the most successful with paint removal on brick, but that’s a huge disaster and not something you can do yourself.
TOM: Are you trying to get back to the original brick?
CHARLOTTE: I would like to, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. You know what? You might want to consider repainting with a brick color. I mean if you use a flat paint and you get off as much of the old stuff as you can, it’s going to be pretty close to original color and it’ll be a lot less work on you. Because remember, brick is very absorbent. It’s one of the hardest materials to strip paint off of. And even if you get – you know, you work on this thing for hours and hours and hours, you’re still going to have that white haze of paint showing through the pores of the brick.
LESLIE: The other option, Charlotte, is that if you’re feeling like taking on a little bit of a project – and it’s as simple as a tiling project – there are products out there called brick veneers which is, essentially, one whole brick but sliced into several thinner layers. So it’s maybe – what are they; like ¼-inch, Tom, ½-inch?
TOM: Yeah, about.
LESLIE: And then you can use that to almost tile over the existing brick, so now you have beautiful, brand new brick with beautiful fresh grout that doesn’t have any paint residue within the grout itself. And it’s not a terrible project, it’s rather easy to do and you can get so many beautiful varieties of brick tones; you know, not just from that traditional red. You can go in browns and in blues. I mean it’s really a beautiful opportunity.
TOM: Yes, absolutely.
CHARLOTTE: Do you get that at Home Depot?
LESLIE: Hmm, I would start with a masonry distributor, just to sort of see. Because Home Depot may have just one variety where, if you go to a more specialized store, you would see a lot of different color options.
TOM: Alright, Charlotte. Now you have a couple of options, OK?
TOM: Alright, well thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sharon in Illinois needs some help with a leaky pipe. Tell us about the problem.
SHARON: Well, I have a sump pump in my basement.
SHARON: And my basement is finished. And the pipe has cracked.
SHARON: And it’s leaking and it’s the pipe that goes from the sump pump to the outside of the house.
TOM: Mm-hmm, right. It’s a white PVC pipe?
TOM: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been stalking you. (Leslie and Sharon chuckle) That’s an easy fix. I mean – and it’s not uncommon because those sump pumps, when they come on, Sharon, they have a lot of vibration.
TOM: And they typically will crack or they’ll certainly get loose around the joints. So that shouldn’t be too difficult for you to remove and replace.
SHARON: OK. Even though it’s through the concrete?
SHARON: That’s my concern.
TOM: Yeah, you’ll find that once you take that apart, that it will simply slide right through that concrete wall. It’s not held in there very tightly, because you know, you’re not going to have a lot of pressure around it as it goes through the block wall.
SHARON: OK. OK.
TOM: And after you put the new one in, you may have to use some silicone caulk to kind of seal between the pipe and the wall but it’s a pretty straightforward project and one that should be done – should be fairly easy and very inexpensive.
SHARON: Oh, OK. Because we’re getting bids of like $6,000 and $7,000. It’s like …
TOM: Are you talking to waterproofing contractors?
SHARON: We’re talking to whoever we can get to come out. I’ve talked to (chuckles), you know …
TOM: Right. But let me just guess? Are you talking to those guys that specialize in waterproofing?
SHARON: Probably, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of rip-off artists in that particular trade. You know, they come and they try to find problems and they sort of fan the flames of your anxiety and then they run up a lot of costs while they do these projects. Yeah, you almost never need a waterproofing contractor. If you improve your grading and your drainage so that your soil slopes away from the wall, gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended, you probably won’t get hardly any water in that sump pump.
So this is a really easy fix which is going to take all of about $10 of material. Even if you paid a plumber to come out and replace this pipe, it wouldn’t cost you more than 100 bucks for his time.
TOM: OK? Yeah.
SHARON: Because like I said, every bid we’ve gotten has been $5,000 to $6,000.
LESLIE: That’s crazy.
TOM: Yeah, that’s because you’re talking to the wrong guys. OK? Good. Well, it sounds like we saved you from a possible big rip-off here, Sharon.
SHARON: I appreciate it, believe me, because I really don’t have the money for it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome. Call us again. Yeah, you call us again, OK? If it doesn’t make cents, it doesn’t make sense.
SHARON: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Two trades, two trades that are on my watch list: waterproofers and chimney sweeps – both very big this time of year. Very often come out and try to panic-peddle you a solution that you do need at a very exorbitant price or a solution that you don’t need at a very exorbitant price.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s amazing that they sort of have home improvement, you know, ESP where they just knock at your door and sense you have a problem.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Yeah. Or, in Sharon’s case, she said they showed up. Well, they showed up for a reason and it is hard to get guys to come out and do small repairs. But I mean for one cracked pipe, hey, call a plumber. You know, whatever his minimum charge is, it’s going to be worth it.
LESLIE: Rick in Washington needs some help with a bathroom remodel. How’s the project going?
TOM: It’s going pretty well. We’re down to deciding which type of tub we want and we’re wondering if a ball-and-claw, cast iron tub would gain us any value in the home after the remodel, versus a resin-style – the newer-style resin tubs.
TOM: Well, the good news, Rick, is both will get you equally clean. (Leslie and Rick chuckle) In terms of return on investment, you know I think that a remodeled bathroom by itself is going to be a great improvement because surveys are showing that you get somewhere in the area of 80 to 90 percent return on investment for remodeled bathrooms and remodeled kitchens.
Now in terms of which one is going to be right for your project, that's more of a decorating choice, I would think, Leslie.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean absolutely. If your home is of the certain time period and architectural styling where the claw-footed tub is really the right choice, then – I mean in my opinion, you cannot compete with a claw-footed tub. They're gorgeous; they're ginormous; you can take a beautiful, deep, long soak in a bathtub like that and you've just hit the nail on the head for my dreams of a bath and I would buy your house tomorrow if that was the case. But I really think it's up ...
RICK: See, the house is – I'm sorry. The house is a 1931 farmhouse, so we didn't know if there was an inherent value in going with an older-style tub versus a newer-style resin tub.
LESLIE: I think if, consistently, you're going with historically accurate details, you're better off to go with the cast iron tub.
RICK: OK, very good. Also, we love your show. Thank you so much for the help.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, our pleasure.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You're welcome, Rick. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, how to make one of home ownership’s most dreaded chores a little easier? We’re going to share tips for unclogging your toilet – ugh! – after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:05.9]
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TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, do you find yourself cleaning up for the holidays? Well, just visit MoneyPit.com for great hints and tips. Just click Ideas and Solutions and then look for cleaning. We’ve got lots of articles and tips in the cleaning section online right now at MoneyPit.com that can help you out.
LESLIE: John in South Carolina is having some water issues at his house. What’s going on?
JOHN: Well, we're purchasing a house that was built in 1926. It's been added on over the years. It's got a wonderful piece of property. The problem is it has not been occupied for a year.
JOHN: And we had a home inspection and the home inspector detected a strong odor of rotten eggs when he ran the hot water through the kitchen sink.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, right. Mm-hmm. And did he tell you what was causing that?
JOHN: He suspected that there was a bacteriological problem within the hot water heater itself ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Hmm, no.
JOHN: ... and that I needed to install a sacrificial anode and that went right over my head.
TOM: Well, actually, I think it's the opposite. I think it is the water heater anode rod. It's a rod that is made of sort of self-sacrificing magnesium and, basically, what that's designed to do is dissolve in certain conditions and it protects the tank from rust out but it can result in a sulfur odor.
Now how old is the water heater?
JOHN: Don't know yet.
TOM: Take a look at the data plate on the water heater. It almost always has the date stamped on it. If it's close to 10 years old, replace the water heater.
LESLIE: Just get a new one.
TOM: Yeah, and if it's not, you can actually remove the anode. Now that will void the water heater warranty because it won't be protected against corrosion, but it will make the sulfur smell go away.
LESLIE: So you would never replace the anode?
TOM: Nah, I'd just remove it.
LESLIE: Well, it’s definitely up there as one of the worst things you have to do as a homeowner and I’m talking about unclogging a toilet. And I’m sure you’ve had to unclog yours a time or two.
TOM: Well, if you’ve got kids, who knows what could be stuck in there. We found everything from toy cars to telephones to toothbrushes in ours and here to give us the step-by-step for how to unclog a toilet is Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House, and plumbing expert Richard Trethewey.
Now, Kevin, as a homeowner, this isn’t something that you can really escape, is it?
KEVIN: Sooner or later, everyone has to do it. Unclogging a toilet is not a very glamorous job but it doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
Richard, what’s the right way to do it?
RICHARD: Well, first of all, there’s no magic chemical you’re going to put down the drain to clear a toilet stoppage and I’m not really a big fan of using chemicals anyway. Oftentimes, they cause more trouble than they solve.
When I’m clearing a toilet stoppage, I start with the tried-and-true plunger. An important tip is that you actually want to pull not push the stoppage. The plunger goes down over the trapway down inside the bowl and when you get a good, tight seal, then you pull up and you create a suction to break that stoppage and then it should clear.
Now, sometimes it doesn’t and you have to go to the next level of defense and that’s called the closet auger. It’s actually a snake that’s made a special way, with a protective back elbow so you don’t scratch the bottom of the toilet bowl. And you get it down inside and then just go down in through the trapway and that always gets it.
KEVIN: And the closet auger is pretty aggressive. What do you do if even that doesn’t work?
RICHARD: Oh, we have plenty of stories about the toilets that drove us crazy. We just – you know, you put the auger down, you did the plunging and you still couldn’t get to it.
KEVIN: Alright, well to learn more about unclogging toilets and to see a cutaway of a toilet bowl, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: You know, because I am a home improvement expert, one time we had a toilet clog in our house and I knew for a fact it was the willow tree outside getting into the clay drain waste vent pipes.
TOM: So I got my shovel out and I dug down and I opened up the pipe and I snaked one way and I couldn’t find a clog and I snaked the other way and here I am with the hole and the pipe and everything and I'm thinking, “It’s got to be between the hole and the toilet.” So I pulled the toilet off and then I snaked from right below the toilet, right through to the pipe …
KEVIN: And it was still fine, wasn’t it?
TOM: Still wasn’t there. And then, as I went to put the toilet back on, I noticed something blue inside of it. (Kevin laughs) Now, I know toilets and you know toilets and there’s nothing that’s supposed to be blue inside of a toilet and that’s when I found a little toy phone from my cute little, darling son.
KEVIN: Right. And you’re an expert and you admit this story?
TOM: I’m an expert. Right. (Kevin laughs) That’s why I’m standing there with this little plastic phone, a five-foot-deep hole in my backyard and a toilet off the base. (laughs)
KEVIN: (chuckling) It happens to the best of us.
TOM: Richard, Kevin, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
RICHARD: Thanks for having us.
LESLIE: (chuckling) That’s good to know, Tom, because we’re just getting to the point where our son is fascinated by the toilet but he’s yet to throw things in, so I’ll keep that in mind.
Hey, thanks so much, guys.
TOM: Well, to learn more, you can also watch Kevin and Richard on This Old House which is brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot – more saving, more doing.
Up next, cleaning your oven doesn’t have to be a caustic chore. We’ve got a recipe for an all-natural oven cleaner that will do just as good a job, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:23:30.1]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we’d love to have you be part of The Money Pit. So pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Now, if we talk to you on the air, we are going to throw your name – not you, just your name (Tom chuckles) – into the Money Pit hardhat and one lucky caller that we choose at random is going to win the Electrolux Versatility vacuum. And it is the first bagless upright from Electrolux.
Now, it’s got a telescoping wand system that automatically switches over from the floor to the hose when you use it. I love it. And if you’ve got pets, this is the vacuum for you because it’s got a charcoal filter that naturally reduces pet odors. Hey, cat owners, call in because this could help you out a lot. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) It’s worth 299 bucks, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now for your answer and your chance to win.
TOM: And you must have a home improvement question to qualify.
Now, let’s talk a bit about oven cleaning. It’s traditionally a very caustic job because it’s associated with caustic chemicals or the super-high heat setting that burns off the crud. But it doesn’t have to be that way. One way to get your oven squeaky clean before the holiday guests arrive is to make a paste of baking soda and water. You want to apply the paste and scrub it with steel wool.
Now, for stubborn stains, you can add some salt to the mix and if your oven is self-cleaning, you won’t need any paste but make sure you run that cycle well before any big dinner parties are planned because we know from experience that the time that oven is most likely to break down is right after the self-cleaning cycle is run because it puts the machine through a lot of stress. So do it …
LESLIE: It really does.
TOM: Do it a week or so before a big dinner party plan because, otherwise, you could find yourself with a big turkey to cook and no oven to cook it in. (Leslie chuckles) Can we say “take out”?
888-666-3974. Let us help you with your home improvement questions.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: John in Washington has a question about Tyvek paper. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: Yeah, I was curious. We gutted a house that we’ve been living in because – well, it needed some desperate work. It’s a complete money pit.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
JOHN: But we’re putting it back together now and we’re putting insulation in the walls and the studs, you know, they range from like 12 inches apart to 20 inches apart.
JOHN: You know, just because we’re retrofitting this hundred-year-old house.
JOHN: And on your insulation you have your craft paper.
TOM: Yes, mm-hmm.
JOHN: Well, that’s getting all cut up and everything because we’ve got all of these weird cuts and angles and stuff that it has to fit into.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK. Yeah, so your question is can you restore that or can you put a second moisture barrier?
JOHN: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. I know – we used Tyvek on the outside – you know, underneath the siding – and I was wondering if I could use that on the inside as the moisture barrier.
TOM: Yeah, you know, I don’t see why not. Typically, people use just viscuine or sheet plastic for that but I don’t see why you couldn’t use a material like Tyvek on the inside. It’s vapor permeable and it will contribute to that vapor barrier.
JOHN: OK. OK.
TOM: So, yeah, it’s fine to do that and, you’re right, it’s very hard to get a really good vapor barrier with the paper surfaces that are attached to the insulation because you really have to have like a perfect insulation. And even if you do have that, you end up with a lot of extra cuts and that sort of thing.
JOHN: Yeah. So …
TOM: So I think that’s an option. And John, if you want more tips on installation of insulation (Leslie chuckles), you can find that at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got a green section on the website with lots of tips on how to insulate your house.
JOHN: Wonderful. Alright.
JOHN: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re going to help Sheryl in New Mexico tackle a flooring project. Tell us what happened.
SHERYL: Well, unfortunately, my dog had a little bit of an accident on a laminate floor.
SHERYL: And when I discovered it in the morning, some of it had seeped through the seams of my laminate flooring and it kind of separated and bubbled up a little bit along the seam.
SHERYL: So I was just wondering how I can flatten it out and fix it.
TOM: Do you have extra material?
SHERYL: I do have extra material, yes.
TOM: OK, it’s possible that you could extract, so to speak, surgically cut out the damage.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) The damaged area.
TOM: Mm-hmm, yep, and have some new pieces come in. My concern is that the pieces that are there have already swollen. There’s going to be no way to get them to sort of retract back to their original shape. So what you may be thinking about ending up having to do here is actually cut out the bad pieces and putting in some new pieces and that can be done successfully. Even if it was a lock-together product, you can do it.
TOM: What you’re generally going to do is cut out the least amount of material and then, where you have to kind of get it back together again, what you would do is instead of using the locking tile, you’d probably cut off like the bottom of the groove and you would glue the pieces together to replace the locking mechanism that was there originally and that will hold in place.
SHERYL: Jan in Michigan needs some help with a patio. What happened?
JAN: Oh, well I have a patio that's quite old; it's about 20 years old. And they used pavers and in between each paver they grouted it with mortar.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
JAN: And it's all broken up. I'm tired of killing the weeds. I'm always trying to kill the weeds. I'm tired of it. So I asked the one landscape guy in our town to come and could he fix it and he said, “Yeah.” So he brought a bag of like quickset cement and brushed it in and watered it and that didn't work at all. Now it's worse than ever because he had powerwashed it before he did that; so now I have these big, old gaping holes where the mortar was (Tom chuckles) and plus the weeds. So I have everything.
TOM: Alright. That's what happens when you call 1-800-SOME-GUY (all chuckle) to come fix it, you know?
TOM: You know there's a product for this that QUIKRETE makes. It ...
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, it's called Joint-Lock; PowerLoc jointing sand.
TOM: It's a sand that basically you sweep in and then you do water it, but it has a polymer in it so it solidifies and stops the weeds from growing back up.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, but it's sort of still kind of flexible; so as it moves about with pressure from walking it's not going to crack apart. If you do ever need to change out a paver, you can sort of break that seal and pull out the stone without having to deal with a major concreting issue.
JAN: OK, thank you so much. I'll try that fix.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I mean it's just a major, major maintenance project. You know where we live, on the northeast, my family has a vacation home that has slate; beautiful slate around a pool. But even out there on Long Island, you get the freeze and thaw cycle. Every, single summer it's a major maintenance project with that concrete and the mortar joints. It's just terrible.
TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, shake, rattle and roll; what does that remind you of, Leslie?
LESLIE: Hmm, a disco dance tune?
TOM: (chuckling) No. For many people, it pretty much describes their washing machines.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Oh.
TOM: We’ve got a solution to a smoother setting that will cure that problem, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:31:02.8]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: You can follow our tweets or become a fan on Facebook. The Money Pit is there for you 24/7 online. Simply visit MoneyPit.com right now to read our blogs or to get info on holiday home security. You know, as you go away, a lot of folks suffer burglaries when their homes are vacant. We’ve got some tips to help you keep your home safe around the holidays. Just Google “Money Pit holiday home security” at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And you know what? While you’re online, you can click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and e-mail us your question. And we’ve got one here from Tom in Alaska who writes: “I relocated a washer/dryer upstairs for my mother so she wouldn’t have to go into the basement. The problem is the stacked washer/dryer shakes very badly. The machine was adjusted twice with no luck. The company says it needs a new floor or a concrete floor. Any suggestions?”
TOM: Well, this is a pretty common problem and there’s actually a product on the market that can help you fix this. It’s called a Shake Away. It’s made by Kellett Industries and it’s a vibration pad and you can pick this up at Lowe’s. These Shake Away pads are like four rubber blocks. This company used to design anti-vibration technology for large machines and they thought to themselves, “Hey, this could work for a washer as well.”
So, do the basics; make sure the washer is completely level. But if that is failing you, pick up these Kellett Shake Away pads and put them under each leg of the washer and you’ll be amazed at how quiet that machine becomes.
LESLIE: Now, in his e-mail, he’s mentioning that they’re talking about a new floor. Is there any situation where you might want – I mean obviously you’re dealing with water; you don’t want this on a hardwood floor situation. Should you think about sort of redoing the floor if you’re bringing it upstairs or go with what you’ve got?
TOM: I can’t think of any reason to redo the floor. I mean I don’t know who he’s talking to but he may be concerned if the floor is out of level but you can correct that with leveling legs on the washer. Just make sure the washer is level. It’s got to be level to work. But if it’s still making a racket, put the Shake Away pads under it and that will take care of it.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Connie in South Carolina who writes: “The electrical wall sockets in all three bathrooms have quit working. No-trip circuit breakers are in the circuit box. How can the problem be identified and repaired?” My guess is head to the garage and look at the …
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
LESLIE: Look at the one ground circuit interrupter.
TOM: Yeah, when you find this, you’re going to feel so silly, Connie, but it’s not a silly question. All of the bathrooms are wired into one ground fault circuit interrupter and that could be in the breaker panel but it more likely is built into one of the outlets located either in a bathroom or in the garage. You’re looking for the outlet with the test and the reset button and when you find it, I guarantee you it’s going to be popped out. You want to reset that button and, instantly, all of the bathrooms will have power once again. It’s designed that way because a ground fault breaker will protect you from getting a shock. And I don’t know why electricians always make it so hard to find it and the info never passes on from one homeowner to the next. But that’s the way you can reset the power.
LESLIE: Alright, now Jim from South Carolina writes: “My brick house is 40 years old. I purchased it about three years ago and I notice that some mortar between the bricks on the south side is disintegrating and some bricks are cracked or broken in half. What do we need to do to fix this?”
TOM: Yeah, you know, mortar is pretty darn durable and – as are bricks – but they do deteriorate from time to time. What I would do is I would remove the loose bricks. I would save to preserve as many of them as I possibly can. You’re simply going to have to chip out the old mortar, mix up some new mortar and repatch that wall.
Now, there may be a reason that the bricks are cracking there. It may be that water is pouring off the roof, hitting the ground and bouncing up. That very commonly causes a lot of deterioration. Look for something like that and correct that problem so that once you fix it, it stays that way for a long, long time.
LESLIE: And you know what, Jim? When you do fix it, it’s going to make the house look so crisp and beautiful and all buttoned up; so it is a project worth doing.
TOM: You’ve been listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com where the show continues. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
[audio timestamp: 0:35:42.2]
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2009 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)