Learn how to create an outdoor oasis to relax and enjoy your outdoor room. Make sure your patio has a sturdy door to stand up to high summertime traffic. Water heater maintenance tips from the experts at This Old House. Discover the best ways to upgrade your garage door opener for safety and security. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about, eliminating crab grass, backyard drainage, staining a deck, heating fans, planting trees for privacy, installing a wood floor, fixing drywall holes, updating kitchen countertops, framing a house, cleaning grout off of tile, insulating, adding a room, and pet doors.
(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: Pick up the phone; give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are here to part the clouds to help you see the light on how to get that project done around your house. Yes, we know it’s hot; we know it’s sticky; you’re probably not feeling that motivated but, heck, maybe you can work inside your house. Stay out of the heat: paint a room; fix a squeaky floor board; improve that kitchen; maybe finish off those cabinets once and for all. You know there’s a really …
LESLIE: Or just stand in front of the air conditioning. (chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, you could do that, too. Or maybe if your air conditioning is not working, you can call us and we can tell you how to fix it. Whatever is going on at your money pit, we want to help you turn it from house to home to castle, so give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up this hour, the staycation is still a very popular option for those of you that want to take time off but enjoy relaxing in your own backyard, so we’ve got some tips to help you really turn that outdoor space into an oasis, coming up.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Generally, you go up to your sink, you turn the tap and the hot water just comes out. You probably never even think about your hot water beyond that moment. But your water heater needs periodic maintenance and we’re going to have the step-by-step for you in just a little bit.
TOM: And is your garage door opener safe or are you one of the last hold-outs with no automatic opener? (Leslie chuckles) Well, there have been many advances in openers, so we’re going to tell you what to look for in new models as well as how to tell if the opener you have is still working safely.
LESLIE: You know, Tom, why do I always feel like when you talk about no automatic garage door opener, that that’s like a little jab at me? (chuckles)
TOM: You’re the automatic opener in your house. You’re garage door is so old it doesn’t qualify for an opener. (chuckles)
LESLIE: It’s so funny. Our garage is just such a disaster, it really needs to be knocked down and rebuilt. But the thought of putting in the automatic door on that is just a joke.
Alright folks, and this hour we’ve got a great prize for you. We’re giving away the Dremel Multi-Max tool. It’s worth $99. It’s great for repairs, remodels and even restoration projects.
TOM: So give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Doug in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DOUG : I’ve got a crack in my concrete – my walkway in front of my home – and there’s crabgrass that’s continually growing through it.
DOUG: I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried different patches to go in it but it keeps going strictly coming right back up through the center of it.
TOM: Well, are you trying to patch the concrete or are you trying to kill the crabgrass?
DOUG: I’m trying to do both.
TOM: OK. Alright. Well, when you patch – first of all, killing the crabgrass is one thing; I like a product like Roundup for that. But in terms of the crack, what you need to do is to stop using more concrete or cement to patch that and use an epoxy patching compound. Epoxy is much more flexible and adheres to the concrete surface and it doesn’t freeze and break and strip away. So epoxy products are much more successful in making a repair that’s going to stick and stay around for a long time to come.
DOUG: OK, well that sounds good to me. I’ve tried several things but I have not tried epoxy.
TOM: I think that’s the solution, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: OK, now we’ve got Bea in Texas who’s dealing with a drainage issue, I guess. What’s going on, Bea?
BEA: My mother and I live in a retirement village. We’ve got small lots. We had a sunroom built on the back of the house and they put in a couple of great boxes with the four-inch pots going out. We had a rain. The rain came into the back of the room. We had someone come out and they put in French drains for us. We had another rain. We got flooded again. They came back out and extended the French drain and put another drain that tied into five downspouts between our house and the neighbor’s house. We’ve had a third rain and we’re at a loss now on what to do.
BEA: We’ve had two proposals and my question to you is which proposal do you think would be the best one. The first proposal is from the same gentleman that has been doing the French drains that have not worked (Leslie chuckles) and he says we need to put in a dry river bed behind the sunroom and down part of the side of the house.
The second proposal is by a new contractor and he is suggesting a channel drain with catch boxes.
TOM: And where is he going to drop the water once he collects it?
BEA: There will be one pipe that will go out the back of the sunroom; there’ll be one that will go down the side of the sunroom. They will be at 90-degree angles.
TOM: OK, but once we carry that water off beyond the sunroom, where is it going to end up?
BEA: It goes under the sidewalk and out to the street.
TOM: OK. Alright. That’s the idea I like. I think Contractor A is basically suggesting something we call a dry well which is essentially a hole with stone in it. And you know, that has a – it’s like a small retaining pond.
LESLIE: And that water still has to go somewhere.
TOM: Yeah, and theoretically it sits there and builds up and then it slowly goes back to the water table. But if you can get it around the house and out to the street, I think that’s your best chance of success.
BEA: OK, that’s what I needed to know.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Pick up the phone and give us a call because we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and with Christmas in July just around the corner, maybe you’re having a winter festival party right in the middle of summer. We can help you get your money pit in tiptop shape for that, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, it’s staycation season. We’ve got patioscaping tips to create the perfect outdoor space of your dreams, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:23]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru Doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit Therma-Tru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you may just qualify to win the Dremel Multi-Max oscillating tool system. It’s a compact, multitasking tool that can sand, cut, scrape and grind. It comes with about a dozen accessories for help with repair or remodel or restoration projects around your house. It’s worth 99 bucks but it’s going to go to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, pick up the phone and give us a call because we’d love to hear what you’re working on and give you a hand with that project. And maybe your summer project is strictly looking for a relaxing place to escape this summer. Well, if you are, you should look no further than your very own backyard.
Now, many of you are choosing to stay at home more often and even taking a vacation at home – also known as the staycation – and according to a poll by the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association, two-thirds of you say you’d rather have a cookout than eat at a restaurant. And many of you are spending your home improvement dollars on items like firepits or outdoor lighting or outdoor décor. They’re all really, truly great ways to enhance your patio or backyard. Whatever you’ve got, you really can make it look fantastic.
TOM: Absolutely. Now the entry to your patio creates the impression of what’s to follow on the other side and since summertime barbecues and pool parties and picnics funnel traffic through your home’s patio door, make it a pleasant experience. Avoid irritating traffic jams, frayed screens and cloudy glass by installing doors that can stand up to the high traffic and look really good over time.
We always recommend patio doors made with fiberglass because they don’t ding; they don’t dent; they don’t rust like the steel doors. They’re not going to swell, rot, crack or warp either. And one example is Therma-Tru’s Fiber-Classic hinged patio door, which has an exterior grain look and an interior that is ready to stain or paint. Visit ThermaTru.com for more information on that product or pick up the phone and call us with your patio question for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Gene in Texas is refinishing his deck. What can we do for you today?
GENE: Well, I’m talking about wood decks on the lake; you know, around the house. And what I’m wondering is what solution – like a wood stain or preserver; things of that nature.
TOM: Mm-hmm. You know there have been great advances in wood stain products. It used to be that they were all oil-based and they were difficult to apply. Now the best stains are acrylic, so they’re water-based. They’re easy to clean up.
Behr has a line that just came out this summer called the Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes. Now, these are either semi-transparent or solid color and they’re made of 100-percent advanced acrylic – which means the application is easy to do – and they soak into the deck very, very nicely and they protect it for many, many years. So I would take a look at those products. You can see them at The Home Depot.
They have these little WoodSmart kiosks set up in the store where you can actually check out the colors that are available. There are a whole lot of colors. They can mix it to exactly what you need. But I think that’s the right approach for a wood deck right now.
GENE: So you think the acrylic is better than an oil-based type?
TOM: I do. If you have a good manufacturer like Behr and you use 100-percent advanced acrylic formulation, what you’re going to find is you’re going to get a product that soaks into the wood a lot more than the oil-based ever did and it really gives it ongoing protection for a number of years.
GENE: OK. And what do you do; put it on with a roller, paintbrush or what?
TOM: Yeah, actually a little bit of both. The idea is to get that material spread out there, so I think you’re probably – I mean if it was me, I’d probably be brushing to get it in between the cracks but I’d also be rolling it over the surface.
LESLIE: Janet in Wyoming is having some issues with heating her open-plan house in the cooler season. What can we do for you?
JANET: The heating vents are in the ceiling and we live in a cold climate. So we freeze in the wintertime because all the heat goes up the open staircase. And is there any way that that can be changed without costing too much, so that heating vents can be changed to – put into the floor or maybe a wall or something?
TOM: Well, it’s pretty expensive to change your heating system but what you might want to consider is supplementing it with some electric resistance heaters. Generally I don’t recommend those because they’re very expensive to use but in the coldest parts of the winter, it may be a good, viable option because redesigning your duct system is pretty major work. And the cost of that, compared to the cost of running electric resistance heaters for a month or two when it gets really chilly, it makes a lot more sense just to run the electric heat.
JANET: Yes. We have one of those. I think it’s called the Eden Electric Heater.
TOM: Oh, you have a space heater; that’s an EdenPure. I was suggesting what you might want to do is put in baseboard electric resistance heat.
TOM: Baseboard strip heaters. OK? You could hook those up to an automatic thermostat so they only come on when it gets super cold out but that would supplement the forced air heat and make you a lot more comfortable.
JANET: Is this very expensive to put in? Do you have any idea?
TOM: Well, compared to the cost of rerunning your heating ducts, it’s, I think, the most cost-effective way to go.
Janet, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Edwin from California. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
EDWIN: I think it was Leslie mentioned some trees that you could use as a good blind between you and your neighbors; that grow real fast.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
EDWIN: What kind of trees were they?
LESLIE: I’ve used both arborvitaes and Leyland cypress. They both grow really, really well; work well in direct sunlight to, I would say, moderate shade. If you get too, too shady they don’t do that great. But we put ours in – we have Leyland cypress which is a little bit more drapey in their branching; whereas the arborvitaes are more sort of upright in their branching. But they do both weave very well together and really create a good blockade.
And we got them at the three-to-five-foot range and they were, at their highest point, as tall as the roofline of my home and we had to shorten them. But we’ve been in the house six years and they’ve grown tremendously and they’re really worth their investment.
EDWIN: And they grow fast?
LESLIE: They do and – you know I’m talking about 15 feet in five years.
EDWIN: Oh, great. OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Edwin. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Claire in Illinois wants to install wood flooring. How can we help you with that project?
CLAIRE: I am getting ready to have installed 3/4-inch prefinished hardwood in my kitchen floor.
TOM: Nice. OK.
CLAIRE: I’m considering the pros and cons of having the flooring in a room where there’s possible moisture from a dishwasher or a leaking refrigerator. There is a big bow – b-o-w – under the linoleum that I currently have under there; a kind of a gradual rise and then it slopes down on both sides. I’m wondering what might have caused that and how I could best repair it.
TOM: Well, if you have a big bow in the floor, it’s probably caused by floor joists that …
LESLIE: Are crowning.
TOM: … have crowned; have bent. Crowning means it’s sort of bent; bent up.
LESLIE: It’s bowing upwards.
TOM: Bowing upwards.
LESLIE: So it’s creating that lift in the floor.
CLAIRE: OK, would that be bent from water?
TOM: No, just sometimes dimensional lumber just that. And it’s very obvious when it’s under a sheet product floor like vinyl.
LESLIE: That’s flexible.
TOM: It will be not nearly as obvious under hardwood floor.
CLAIRE: OK. Somebody did say that in order to correctly lay hardwood floor so you won’t have gaps, that you have to address the bow.
TOM: Well, if that’s the case, the way you address it is as follows. Typically, what you do is you can cut the floor joist in one or two places and what I would do is I drill – when I do this repair, I drill about a one-inch hole about an inch-and-a-half down from the top of the floor joist; I run a reciprocating saw blade and basically cut it right down. So now the joist is cut in half; completely ruining the structural integrity of the floor joist. That will help bring it down to where you need it to be but now you still have the problem of having to reinforce the floor joist.
The way you do that is you add an additional floor joist which is exactly the same length and size and you put it against the one you just cut and you glue it and bolt it together, creating sort of a …
LESLIE: Is that called sistering?
TOM: Yeah, it’s what we call a sister joist.
TOM: Yes. So it’s a job that will take a few hours to accomplish but you can level the floor that way.
LESLIE: Phil in Utah has had some incidents with his drywall, let’s just say. What can we help you with?
PHIL: Yeah, I had some relatives of mine punch some three-to-five-inch holes, about three to five of them, in different walls of the house. Now do I have to have a contractor come and fix a whole section or can I kind of somehow fix them on my own?
TOM: Phil, do you still let the relatives back in the house?
PHIL: No. (Tom and Leslie laugh) No. No.
TOM: Wise man. Well, are they close together?
PHIL: No, they’re not. They’re in different walls.
TOM: Oh, OK. Well then yeah, you certainly can fix them one at a time. Here’s what you need to do. First of all, you’re going to cut out that drywall so that you have a square. So you said it’s a five or six inches around. You may cut it out so that it’s like 6x6 or 7x7 or 8x8 and you need a nice, square hole.
Then you take a piece of drywall and you make the drywall about an inch bigger on all sides than that square hole and then you flip it over and you score the back of the drywall, the soft part, and then peel that chunk of plaster off. So now you end up with a paper lip all the way around. Add some spackle and then basically plaster that patch right back over that hole.
TOM: Little trick of the trade to fill up a punch-sized hole in the wall or maybe when a doorknob broke through it; just to overcut the drywall a little bit and let the paper lip of the drywall serve the purpose of the tape and that’ll fix it.
PHIL: Uh-huh, uh-huh. OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Phil. 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.
Well, your water heater, it performs for you every, single day and you really don’t ever give it a second thought; that is until there’s no more hot water. But maintenance is key to helping appliances like this last.
TOM: We’ve got your step-by-step tips to do just that when we welcome This Old House plumbing expert Richard Trethewey, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:04]
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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is MoneyPit.com, which is chock full of podcasts of this program going back for years, so you can always research something that you missed today, yesterday or any time in the past; all online, all free at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get back to the phones. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Madeline in Rhode Island is dressing up her kitchen. What can we do for you?
MADELINE: Hi. I want to change my kitchen and give it a quick fix by changing the color scheme, repainting cabinets and changing up the hardware and stuff and I’m really limited by the color of my countertops.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
MADELINE: Which I believe is Formica. I don’t know what the real brand name of it is but it’s a laminate. I’d like to change the color of it and my question is can it be painted. People tell me it can be but what is the proper procedure as far as roughing it up – I suppose it would need – and …
LESLIE: Well, there are a couple of products on the market that are made specifically to be countertop paints; perfect for a laminate countertop situation. Sanding it – I would definitely make sure first that I clean the countertop very, very well because sanding it you don’t want to be too aggressive with because some of that scuffing that you might do will show through in the painting process.
Rust-Oleum has a countertop paint and they call it simply the Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating. And it comes in a quart-size; it’s less than 20 bucks a quart. It comes in, I want to say, 20 different color choices so you can go from buttery yellows to ones that are more earthy, taupey, grays; ones that even look like concrete. It works really well. We used it on an episode of $100 Makeover because it was right in our price point. It does take three days to cure; so once you get it on there, you want to make sure that you don’t touch it, clean it, put anything down on it. Just really let it do its work. And that works really well.
Tom and I also know of a company called GIANI. They make a granite paint. And that takes a little bit more skill in the application because you’re doing a base coat and then you’re sort of putting on the veining, if you will, by brushing on, in an artful way, a different type of coating on it. So that can create a granite look. It’s available in sort of like a black tone and a creamy tone.
I prefer, when I’m painting my countertops – unless I’m really skilled at faux finishing – to sort of just go with something more simple because it’s kind of …
MADELINE: Yeah, I’ve never done anything like this before, so I probably ought to stay with the basic solid color.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Rust-Oleum, I would go to their website, which is RustOleum.com, just because – to search it out. The countertop paint is kind of new, so it’s not available everywhere; so you might want to start with the website just to see who might have it in your area.
MADELINE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when you want hot water, you walk up to your sink, your tub, your shower; you turn on the faucet and there’s the hot water. Until that day you turn that faucet and it is just not there. Well, that’s probably the only moment that you actually stop to think about your water heater. Well, it turns out you need to think about it a little bit more than at that moment.
TOM: That’s right. A little maintenance of your water heater is the only way it will last year after year. Here to tell us exactly what to do is This Old House host Kevin O’Connor and the program’s plumbing expert, Richard Trethewey.
Welcome, guys. Where do we begin?
KEVIN: If you have a tank-type water heater – maybe one that’s 40, 60 or even 80 gallons big – you probably don’t think about it much but these appliances are working in our houses every, single day; so they do require some regular maintenance to keep them running.
So Richard, what should we be thinking about?
RICHARD: Well, most people do absolutely no maintenance on a water heater and that’s a big reason why they fail on average of every seven to ten years. Probably the best thing you can do is to flush sediment out of the tank every year. There’s a little drain down at the bottom of the water heater and that’s the place where any sediment will collect and you can flush that into a bucket.
Now you also have a sacrificial anode inside of any water heater and that should be changed every two to five years, depending on water quality in the area. And on electric water heaters, you may need to actually change the heating elements to improve their efficiency.
KEVIN: And how about regular maintenance? Is that going to help extend the life of the heater?
RICHARD: Absolutely. Some people have kept their water heaters running for 15 to 20 years and they’ll operate more efficiently.
KEVIN: Alright. Well, to see a video of how to maintain a water heater, including a cross-section of the inside of a tank, visit us at ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Richard, what do you think about the pressure-and-temperature valve? Do you think you ought to open that up and clean that out occasionally or is that kind of opening a Pandora’s box?
RICHARD: Absolutely, Tom. If you lift that little lever on the TMP, there’s a good chance it’s going to not seal again, so I wouldn’t touch that unless you had to.
TOM: (chuckles) So for that, leave well enough alone.
Richard Trethewey, Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: Great to be here.
LESLIE: Good tips.
Hey, if you water heater is actually getting near the end of its lifespan, there’s never been a better time for replacement. There are federal tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements and they are still up for grabs.
TOM: Good point.
For more tips from the team at This Old House, you can watch This Old Houseplus AskThis Old Houseon your local PBS station, sponsored by Stanley. Stanley is a proud sponsor of AskThis Old House. Stanley – make something great.
Up next, is your garage door opener ready for an upgrade? Learn what to look for in a new model, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:23:56]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
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 and you can be part of The Money Pit. All you have to do is pick up the phone, ask us your home improvement question and, bam, you’re on The Money Pit.
Now, bonus for getting your question answered, you get the opportunity to win a pretty fantastic prize. And this hour, we’re giving away the Dremel Multi-Max oscillating tool system which is a compact multitasking tool. It can sand, cut, scrape, grind and it comes with a dozen different accessories for help with repair or remodeling or even restoration projects. It’s worth 99 bucks but it goes to one of our lucky question-askers for free. So pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, is jumping in and out of your car to open the garage door getting to be a bit of a hassle? It might be a little hard on your back and it might be time, therefore, to look for a new electric garage door opener or maybe you want to upgrade the one that you have. Here’s what you need to know.
There are three basic types. First there is the chain drive. These can be somewhat noisy if the garage is connected to your house. If it’s a separate garage, then not a problem. The good thing is that they are powerful for very heavy doors. Then there’s also the screw drive type. They are good for one-piece doors that tilt open. And lastly is the belt drive, which is probably the quietest but also the most expensive type of garage door opener.
LESLIE: Which is probably what I would choose, which always seems to be the case. You want something nice; it usually has a good price tag to go with it.
Now when you’re shopping for your garage door openers, you also want to consider an opener that has something called rolling code technology. This way, when you push the button on your remote, a coded signal is then sent to the receiver in your garage and that rolling code will change that signal every time you use it so burglars can’t figure it out. They’re not going to drive up and down the block with a garage door opener and, bammo, yours matches up and then opens and then they’ve taken all your goodies. So it’s really a nice feature to look for, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping.
If you want some more opener tips, visit AARP.org/HomeDesign and you’ll find a ton of info there.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dave in Ohio needs some help with building a house. What can we do for you?
DAVE: Yeah, I was wondering if it would be cost-worthy to go with 2x6s instead of 2x4s. I hear it’s only $1 difference in the wood. And would it better to go r19 instead of r21 that you can special order through Owens Corning?
TOM: Well listen, it never hurts to put in as much insulation as you can. That said, keep in mind that if you use a 2x6 wall structure, you can only go – you can go 24 inches on center instead of 16, so that means you need fewer studs than you would if you use the 2x4 construction. So I think all in all, it ends up being slightly more expensive but not that much and you are able to get a much thicker wall and a better-insulated exterior wall. So I think it’s probably a good way to go.
DAVE: Alright. Yeah, for the price difference. I mean you can make it up because it’s kind of a like a no-brainer to me. I mean – but now they have r21 value but it’s like three times as much.
TOM: Yeah, and picking up that 3r, that additional 3r, is probably not going to be worth the additional cost.
DAVE: Well, that’s what I was thinking, too.
TOM: Yeah. I would stick with the basics; you know, six inches of fiberglass batt insulation inside of a 2x6 is going to give you a really nice, exterior wall and that’ll deliver a lot of protection for you from the elements.
DAVE: Right, right. OK yeah, because we live up here towards Cleveland.
TOM: You have winter there, I hear. (chuckles)
DAVE: Yeah. You’d think we’d go down south a little ways but it gets too hot in the summer. (chuckles)
TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, now it’s time to help Fran with a grouting question. What can we do for you?
FRAN: Yes, I just bought this house and it’s got some ceramic tile in it and apparently whoever put it down didn’t know what they were doing …
FRAN: … because it’s got either the cement they put it down with or the grout all over the top of the tile. I need to know how to get that off.
TOM: Well …
LESLIE: Is it like a haze or is it thick chunks of grout?
FRAN: There are thick chunks.
TOM: On top of the tile or in the grout lines itself?
FRAN: On top of the tile.
TOM: Oh, that’s a problem. If that grout has dried in place like that, it’s very, very difficult to get it off. If it’s in the grout lines, you could always use a grout saw and take it off but if it was done improperly and it’s stuck to the surface, that means they didn’t wash the grout off enough when they were doing this and it’s very, very difficult to get that off – if not impossible.
FRAN: Oh. Well then I basically need to take the tile up and start over?
TOM: Yeah, well that might be the best solution because it’s – you know, you could try to get more aggressive with trying to remove it, by using an abrasive stone or something like that, but chances are you’re going to damage the surface of the tile.
LESLIE: Damage the tile itself.
TOM: Yeah. How big of a surface are we talking about?
FRAN: Well, it’s a very small room but it’s on like probably seven or eight tiles.
TOM: Yeah. Well, why don’t you just break out those seven or eight tiles? Can you get some more tiles of that color?
FRAN: I don’t know. I really haven’t looked. I just …
TOM: Well, that would be the first thing to try, Fran. See if you can find replacement tiles and this way you can only break out the ones that are causing the problems.
FRAN: Yeah. Alrighty, thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And again, I would consider just replacing those few tiles.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean that’s a tough project. You’re never going to get that off. I mean there are some chemicals that you can use but mostly those are for just removing the haze, not chunks.
TOM: Good point.
LESLIE: Ron in North Carolina is calling in with an insulation question. What can I do for you today?
RON: Hey, I wanted to ask about insulation under my floor. I have a subfloor for my house.
RON: I have a crawlspace. And the insulation was washed out during a hurricane one time and I had the subflooring put down and I had 3/4-inch plywood put down as a new floor. And I’m wondering if it’s cost-effective for me to put that insulation back and what kind of insulation would I put back under there if I was to do that.
TOM: Well certainly it’s very cost-effective to insulate your crawlspace floor because that’s what keeps your feet warm and keeps the heat in your house and keeps it much more comfortable in the colder weather. What you want to do is remove all of the old insulation and then the next thing you want to do is add unfaced fiberglass batts. You’ll support them with …
LESLIE: The little insulation hangers, right?
TOM: Insulation hangers. And you want to put those about every 12 to 14 inches. And I think that you’ll find that it’s a project – as long as you can get access to the crawlspace – that’s not that difficult to do and one that gives you a great return on investment.
RON: And it’s unfaced insulation, you said?
TOM: Unfaced fiberglass batts. Correct. Unfaced.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. It’s just the pink, fluffy stuff on both sides; no foil covering.
RON: OK. And it could be a do-it-yourself job?
TOM: Absolutely. Not that hard to job.
LESLIE: Yep. You can get under there; you can do it.
RON: OK. Yeah, there’s plenty of space under there for me to get there. Is there a certain kind or make or model or …?
TOM: Owens Corning makes excellent insulation products. For more tips, why don’t you go to their website at OwensCorning.com. They also have a website – I believe it’s called InsulateandSave.com – that’ll help you figure out exactly how much insulation you need for your part of the country.
RON: OK, great. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Well, if you’ve got your house on the market, you know that it can still be a little bit of a tricky endeavor and you’re trying to figure out what exactly is my house worth. Well, when you start to think about that, hmm, what sells better: maybe a three bedroom house with a tricked-out master suite or a four-bedroom with an OK master. Lots of things to consider if you’re putting your home on the market and we’re going to share some tips with you when we come back.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:35]
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.
Well, I know all of you are addicted to your cell phones/mobile computing devices. That’s right; that’s what I’m going to call it.
TOM: Slash iPad, slash …
LESLIE: I know, right? Everybody has become technology junkies; therefore, everyone has become a Facebook addict. So if you are – and I know you are – why not fan The Money Pit? You can do so right from your cell phone. All you need to do is text "Fan TheMoneyPit" to FBOOK at 32665 and you’ll instantly be added as a friend to us on Facebook. We’re happy to have you. We share a ton of great information and you will really enjoy all of the great photos that Tom likes to put up from his high school teaching days. (Tom laughs) You’ve got to search for them but they’re there and you will enjoy.
TOM: And while you’re online, why not shoot us an e-mail question just like Diane did; a very interesting one. She writes: "We have a 2,300-square-foot home built in the 70s with a small master bedroom and a 6x6 closet and the same size bath. We’re considering taking out a wall into the room adjacent and making a larger room with a full bath and double the closet size. Here’s the question: will the improved three-bedroom version sell better or worse than a four-bedroom house? We might only stay here another three to five years and don’t want to make a mistake." Interesting question.
TOM: I think, Leslie, in my experience, that the master suite has become a really important part of a home.
LESLIE: Absolutely. It’s become a very huge design feature and it gives people a really wonderful chance to show some pretty stylized options when it comes to materials, choices.
LESLIE: Plus, it really is that sort of private escape from the rest of the family. So I would say that most likely the three-bedroom version with the master suite would do better. But also, you might want to consider what’s going on on your block. Do people not have master suites? Do they have master suites? Are people in your area more family oriented and moving into the houses because they’ve got a large number of kids? You’ve got to look at what the real estate market is like in your specific area, I think, to really make an educated decision.
TOM: Yeah, and this is a really good time for you to bring in a realtor. Have them do a competitive analysis. Let them take a look at the properties that are selling in your neighborhood, on your street, and they can give you a pretty accurate idea as to whether or not making this renovation is going to make economic sense. Because as you say, you don’t want to be the odd man out; although I will tell you that the three-bedroom, two-bath house is pretty much the standard and if one of those bedrooms is a gorgeous master suite with lots of room for a big bathroom and maybe a room for a crib if you’re just starting out, that’s a pretty attractive part of most homes these days.
LESLIE: I’m like, "It sounds pretty darn good to me." (chuckles)
LESLIE: Well, good luck with that, Diane, and keep in mind that if you seek out a realtor now, even though you’re not planning on selling for three to five years and you’re just asking questions and being inquisitive, they’ll be happy to sort of partner up with you at this point and maintain a relationship with you which could be really useful when it comes time to search for the new house.
Alright, Cindy from Virginia writes: "We are about to put on a screened-in porch on the end of our house and we have a cat. And I was wondering if there is a screen out there that the pets cannot destroy."
TOM: You know there’s a manufacturer in Florida that kind of specializes in solving this problem. They have a product they call …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and Florida is like the screen capital of the world, I would say.
TOM: Yeah. They’ve got a product called Super Screen. It’s Super-Screen.com and it’s designed to stand up not only to pets but also to golf balls and large dogs …
LESLIE: Bad weather.
TOM: … and rough construction and that kind of stuff. In fact, they say it can hold actually up to 880 pounds and I’m sure your cat is not quite that big. (Leslie chuckles) But I think there’s a good possibility that that could solve your particular problem; assuming that you can’t train a cat, which we all know is impossible.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Is impossible. And Cindy, if your cat does weigh 800 pounds, please send a picture because I would like to see that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re feeding him too much. (both chuckle)
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.
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: 0:37:14]
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2010 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.)