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: And Happy New Year. 2015 is here. And if you’re stuck on how to best update your home décor to keep up with the latest looks, this hour we’ve got a sneak peek at the hottest colors interior designers are predicting for the season.
LESLIE: And also ahead, we’ve got the latest trends in bathroom design. You know, more Americans are looking for that spa-like experience in their own home, so we’ve got the tips on the latest fixtures and products that are going to give you that spa feeling.
TOM: And speaking of bathrooms, is that steady drip, drip, drip slowly driving you crazy? Well, we’re going to teach you how to silence faucet leaks for good and stop that drip, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re giving away a tool to help you keep up with your home maintenance digitally: the HomeZada Cloud-Based Software System. So if being more organized is one of your 2015 resolutions, HomeZada is for you.
TOM: And a one-year subscription to the HomeZada Premium is worth $59 but it’s free for one caller we talk to on the air this hour. So, get out that list of New Year’s resolutions for your home. Pick up the phone and call us. We are here to help you check them off. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Going out to California where Marlene has got a question about a rotten-egg smell in the bath. What’s going on?
MARLENE: In our master-bathroom shower, when you turn on the hot-water faucet, it smells like rotten eggs. It’s really awful. And this lasts for several minutes and then it’ll go away. We have, oh, six other hot-water faucets in the house, including a shower, and none of these faucets do this. And so we were wondering, should we call a plumber? Would a plumber know what to do to change this?
TOM: Marlene, that odor usually stems from your water heater. Even though you’re only smelling it in those couple of bathrooms, I suspect it could be forming in your water heater. That sort of rotten-egg or sulfur smell is actually caused by a bacteria in the water. And it’s reacting to the deterioration of the sacrificial anode, which is inside a water heater. It’s usually made of magnesium or aluminum and it will react with that and cause that odor.
So, one of the solutions is to replace that anode. And if you look at the top of the water heater, it looks like there’s a bolt sort of stuck into the top of the water heater? That’s the anode there. And if you pull that anode out and replace it, even with one – a better bet is one that’s made of zinc. There’s a type of anode called “zinc alloy.” That will stop that odor from happening.
MARLENE: Oh, OK.
TOM: It’s probably best to have a plumber do that, yeah. But if you call a plumber about this rotten-egg odor and tell him to look at your anode, I think you might find the solution right there.
MARLENE: That’d be wonderful.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Olin (sp) is on the line with a wainscoting question. How can we help you today?
OLIN (sp): Yes. I was wanting to do some wainscoting in my living room. And I’d seen some people do it with pallets, actually taking the pieces off and using the slats for the wainscoting. And I know they do treat them with some chemicals and stuff. And as long as I run it through a planer and everything, would that pretty much treat it, as long as its sealed up with polyurethane and all that to keep it from being toxic from – for the children and stuff?
TOM: Well, I can’t really answer that question because I’m not sure how they treat the pallets. And frankly, I’ve torn a lot of pallets apart in my day, as things have been delivered, and I never really had a concern about treatment and never actually can recall smelling an odor from the treatment.
OLIN (sp): Well, I never would have thought about it but I looked at some pallet ideas online and I saw where some people had done wood floors with them and the wainscoting and it just – it looks stunning, really. It was totally different-looking from what you’d think a pallet would usually be. And so that’s what gave me the idea and I thought, “Well, that would be a cheap idea to use.”
TOM: Yeah. And hey, it’s an upcycling, too, Leslie. I mean you’re taking something and reusing it in a new and creative way. Better than sending it to ground to a dump.
OLIN (sp): Yes.
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t be, personally, too concerned about treatment, because I’m not sure that they are treated. But I would say that if you detect any odors and you think that they’re treated, then by virtue of the fact that you’re going to seal them will probably minimize that.
So I – for me, I don’t think it would be a concern.
OLIN (sp): OK. Well, that sounds good then. I appreciate it, guys.
TOM: Alright, Olin (sp). Good luck with that project. 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.
Happy New Year, everybody. It is officially 2015, which means you will be writing 2014 on your documents for the next, I’m guessing, 3 to 6 months. It does take a while. But we are here to help you with all of your home improvement problems, questions, dilemmas, home improvement resolutions. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, get your first peek at the color trends making their way to the palettes of interior designers everywhere when The Money Pit continues, after this.
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TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And if we talk to you on the air this hour, you could win a one-year subscription to HomeZada.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re already struggling with those New Year’s resolutions – come on, we’re only a couple days in but it’s easy to start struggling. So, we’ve got a solution for your resolution. It’s HomeZada.
It’s an online and smartphone software app that tracks everything, from your home improvement projects to your maintenance, to cleaning schedules and receipts and it puts it all in one place.
TOM: You think I could put my teenagers on HomeZada and give them a cleaning schedule that they’d follow?
LESLIE: Yeah, why not? I bet you can do it.
TOM: I’m sure you could do it, whether they’ll actually listen or not. If it had sort of like a stun gun built into it so if they don’t clean their rooms, then maybe it’ll give them a shock in the pocket or something, that could be helpful. But I doubt that they would go that far.
But for the rest of you, it’s a great product. It’s worth $59. Going out to one caller drawn at random. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to the phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Denise in Ohio is on the line with some window condensation. Tell us what’s going on.
DENISE: I’ve got some windows; they’re double-pane. The house is about 10 years old. And I’m constantly battling condensation in the windows. I typically, with a lot of the windows, open them daily and close them at nighttime. If there’s some windows that I don’t get to in the wintertime, when it gets really cold, there is water dripping. It pools, it turns to ice. I try and get some of that putty-type stuff that you can put in the bottom and along the sides.
TOM: Is the condensation inside the panes of the windows or is it like on the inside surface?
DENISE: Inside surface of the house.
TOM: Alright. And these are thermal-pane windows or single-pane windows?
TOM: Well, clearly, the insulated glass is not insulated, so that’s why you’re getting this level of condensation. If you had truly insulated glass, it would be too warm for this condensation to occur. But you have warm, moist air in the house, it’s striking the very, very cold, virtually uninsulated glass and then condensing on that glass and dripping down. So that’s what’s going on; that’s what’s causing the moisture. It’s nothing more than, unfortunately, bad windows.
So, with that said, replacement windows are in your future. Now, you don’t have to do it immediately but it’s a project you’re going to have to face. I mean the good news is that replacement windows, the costs have come down. They’re all custom-made by just by nature, so the company will measure the windows in your house. And by replacing them, they simply pull out the sashes – the old sashes – and slip in a new window into the old hole. And it looks great, it works well. It’s just a good system. So that’s in your future.
For now, though, what we need to do is two things: we need to take as much humidity out of the house as we can and secondly, I’d like to see you get a barrier in front of those windows. So, if you could use, for example, an insulated shade – one that has sort of those honeycomb kind of designs – that would help a little bit.
DENISE: I’ve got double right now and I’ve just ordered triple for some other windows.
TOM: Well, that will help because that, basically, will stop some of that warm, moist air from hitting the window. And also drapes. Shades and drapes help the situation.
In terms of the humidity, there are a number of ways we can attack this. First of all, you want to make sure you start outside your house, looking at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. Because believe it or not, if water is allowed to collect around the foundation and it doesn’t run away from your house, if the gutters aren’t extended away from the house, that foundation will absorb water and it will release into the air once it gets inside. That adds to the humidity. So I would definitely do that.
Secondly, I would ask you to check to make sure that all your vent fans are venting out, not recirculating. Because that will help, as well.
And thirdly, up in the attic, you want to make sure that you’re well-ventilated. Because that vapor pressure starts at the basement or first floor – will permeate all the building materials and end up in the attic. And if the attic’s not ventilated enough, it’s going to kind of hang right there.
So, those are ways to reduce humidity inside the house. Of course, you could also use a whole-home dehumidifier. But I think, in this case, if we just control moisture and try to get something that’s protecting those windows, that’s the best you’re going to do short of replacing them.
DENISE: Well, what about getting some circulation? If I open them earlier in the morning and get some circulation going, will that …?
TOM: Nah, you’re – listen, this is just science, OK? Warm, moist air against cold surface equals condensation, you know? You see this in the summer when you go outside with a glass of iced tea and moisture forms on the outside of it. It’s the same thing. It’s just happening in the winter in your house because everything is reversed: the warm, moist air is inside the house and that cold glass is your window.
DENISE: Yes. And unfortunately, we have to keep the humidity at a certain temperature because of asthma and allergies.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah.
DENISE: Alright. Didn’t get as good a window as I thought I did. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Denise. Sorry we couldn’t give you better news but maybe you’ll get through with that.
LESLIE: Well, it’s a new year and do you find that you’re looking to give your home a color update? Well, House Beautiful asked 11 interior designers – I don’t know why they didn’t ask me. But they asked 11 other interior designers to give their predictions about the hottest colors for 2015. And there were some really surprising results.
TOM: Like the 60s color palette is making a comeback in a renewed way. You may see use of Avocado Green and Sunset Orange but with a more modern feel. And another decade is also making an appearance: the 80s. These designers predict the pastel colors popular in that era will be back in style, as well.
LESLIE: Yeah. Grecian Blue is a color that you’re going to see everywhere. It’s a rich shade that really evokes the Mediterranean and it’s going to make an appearance on walls, furniture and fabrics. And gray is still the hottest neutral going and it gives you a great backdrop for some of these more vibrant colors that you can feature.
TOM: And designers predict dynamic color groupings, as well, like black and white with pops of red or brown and green and hints of orange.
And one thing we always say: paint is the cheapest and easiest way to transform a room. So don’t be afraid of color. After all, it’s just paint. You can do it again and again and again.
888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Terry in Illinois is on the line with a water pressure sort of issue going on, because the shower is just not strong enough.
Tell us what’s going on, Terry.
TERRY: I live in the country. My home is about 1,300 or 1,400 feet from my meter. And we have somewhat of a pressure problem. The biggest problem is the temperature that gets robbed when you’re in the shower or one of the faucets, if another faucet is turned on or if the washing machine starts up or whatever.
TOM: And so you’re getting shower shock, right? You’re getting – the temperature in the water is changing, getting hot or cold and causing a domestic disturbance in the house?
TERRY: Mostly when I’m in the shower.
LESLIE: Of course.
TOM: Alright. So, Terry, we have the technology; we have a solution. And it’s called a “pressure-balanced valve.” This is going to save your domestic tranquility. We’ll return it to its natural state of peace and calm.
And here is how it works. Basically, a pressure-balance valve makes sure that the mix between the hot water and the cold water, once set, does not change regardless of what happens to the pressure on either side of the equation. So while the mix is locked in, you might find – you may find that the flow changes. You might get a little more water or a little less water, depending on what’s going on with other fixtures in the house but the mix won’t change. And because the mix doesn’t change, your temperature is steady.
LESLIE: Your temperature is going to stay.
TOM: Does that make sense?
TOM: So you want to replace that shower valve with one that’s called a “pressure-balanced valve” and that will solve that problem.
TERRY: OK. Alright.
TOM: Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Sherry in Texas is on the line with a siding question. How can we help you today?
SHERRY: We had this little cottage moved in that has siding on it. But we want it to look like the other outbuildings and put redwood siding on it. To put siding over siding, do you use a special nail? Is it possible to do that or do you use screws?
TOM: Well, first of all, the siding that you have right now, is it flat or is it clapboard? What does it look like?
SHERRY: It’s flat siding.
TOM: So, like a plywood kind of a surface?
SHERRY: Yes, yes. It’s an ugly siding and we want to go with a redwood siding.
TOM: Alright. So here’s what I would do. And this is for a shed?
SHERRY: Yes, uh-huh.
TOM: So what I would do is I would take building paper – tar paper or even Tyvek but it’s really not necessary – but just tar paper. I would put that up first and then I would attach the siding on top of that, driving the nails into the original siding. You do not need to remove the original siding.
That said, remember, if you’ve got doors or windows, you may have to build out the edge a little bit around to make up the difference. Because the siding is going to be thicker than the old stuff.
SHERRY: OK. Alright. Put tar paper under it. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: John is on the line and he’s dealing with a mold situation. Tell us what’s going on.
JOHN: I have a mold problem around my shower door. I bought the house two years ago. I stripped all the caulking out when I had the mold problem. I’ve put caulking in with a nationally known brand. I even used a Saran Wrap-type thing on my finger to eliminate any contamination. Before I did that, I cleaned it, I stripped it out with a plastic scraper. I also used mineral spirits to clean it out. I put it in and I still have problems with it.
God, I’m just at my wits’ end here. I run the humidity in my basement between 40 and 50 percent. I leave the shower door open. I even shut the furnace vent off in there to try and keep it so it doesn’t have a breeding of bacteria or anything or mold in that.
You’re going to tell me what I need to do. I don’t know if I have an off-spec caulking that I used, which is nationally known, or if I have an off-spec aluminum frame and door that causes the mold. I have no idea.
TOM: Well, look, you’re going to get mold when you have moisture and organic material. And in a shower, that organic material can be soap and dirt and that sort of thing. So you’re doing the right thing but let’s just back it up and try it again here.
You want to remove the old caulk. You mentioned mineral spirits. I usually recommend a bleach-and-water solution because this kills – this is a mildicide that kills anything that’s stuck behind. After you get that all dried out and cleaned out really, really well, then you can apply a caulk with mildicide. I would use a caulk that has Microban in it. DAP caulks are available with Microban and it’s a good antimicrobial additive that will not grow mold.
Now, the other thing I would do is I would also make sure that you have – obviously, have a bath exhaust fan and that you have an exhaust fan that’s hooked up to a humidistat, which takes sort of you and anyone else that’s using that bathroom out of the equation. If it’s on the humidistat, it’s automatically going to kick on when the humidity gets high enough to cause mold problems. And it will stay on for some number of minutes when that humidity goes down, to make sure that the room is thoroughly vented out.
That’s the best way to handle that. And I think if you do those steps, you will find success.
JOHN: Hey, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Hey, it’s the middle of the night and you’re wide awake. Why? Because you are listening to that steady drip, drip, drip and you are slowly going crazy. We’re going to share some faucet-repair tips, from This Old House plumbing-and-heating contractor Richard Trethewey, that will help restore your sanity. That’s next.
TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch Mechanics Tools, delivering the rugged reliability you’ve come to expect from Bostitch. Designed for the professional, built to last.
JOE: This is Joe Namath. Now, when I’m not throwing a football around, I’m listening to Tom and Leslie on The Money Pit.
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TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
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LESLIE: Carl in Arkansas is on the line with a thermostat question. How can we help you?
CARL: I bought an older house and it’s – the thermostat that’s in it now for the heating and air conditioner is an old mercury switch. And what I bought is a Honeywell 5-2 switch, a programmer for 5 weekdays and then 2 weekend days. And what I’m wanting to know is, can I – is that something I can change out myself or is that something I need to hire an electrician to come do? The package says “easy to install” but I’ve looked it over and it doesn’t look like it’s that easy to me.
TOM: Well, look, if you’re uncomfortable with it, I would not hire an electrician. Kind of heat do you have? Is it gas? Oil? What is it?
CARL: It’s electric.
TOM: Oh, it’s electric heat. What kind of furnace do you have?
TOM: Is this a heat pump?
CARL: No, no, no. It’s not a heat pump. That’s one thing I didn’t want was a heat pump.
TOM: It’s a straight electric furnace?
CARL: Right. Straight electric furnace and it has an outside unit, which is also a Trane.
TOM: Uh-oh. Wait a minute. Listen to me. If you’re telling me you have an outside condensing unit that works with this, you’ve got a heat pump. You’ve got the compressor outside and then the furnace inside.
Now, a heat pump is a combination heat pump/electric furnace. That’s the way they’re designed to work. And the reason that that’s important is because the thermostat that you chose – and I don’t know that this is the case or not but it has to be rated for a heat pump.
Because the way heat pumps work is when you set your heat – let’s say you set your heat at 68 degrees. It starts getting cold outside, right? Then inside the house, it falls to 67, the heat pump comes on. Still cold, falls to 66, heat pump stays on. Still cold, falls to 65, now it’s at more than 2-degrees split between what it was set at and what it is. The heat pump says, “I can’t keep up with this. I’m going to bring on my friend, the electric furnace.” So now the electric-furnace coils kick on and then bring the house up to temperature.
But by you not having the right thermostat, what can happen is you can run more of the electric furnace and less of the heat pump, which will significantly increase your electric bill. So, the thermostat you choose has got to be designed for a heat pump.
So I would say your first thing to do is to confirm – I don’t know if you have an HVAC contractor that you work with but get that system serviced. I mean all these compressors have to be serviced once a year. If you haven’t done it, get it serviced, get the refrigerant checked out. While that guy is in the house, have him install a heat pump-rated thermostat. Because you’re obviously uncomfortable with it and we don’t want you to have all those wires apart and just have a problem where you’ve got no heat or no air.
So I wouldn’t do it myself, because you’re uncomfortable with it. And when it doubt, don’t do it. But make sure you use the right thermostat. Otherwise, you may drive up those costs unexpectedly. OK?
CARL: OK. Well, I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Even if you can do it yourself, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it yourself. And just like Carl said, if he read the instructions and it still seems confusing to him, then don’t do it. If you’re not comfortable with it – and especially with something like your furnace where if you hook up the wires wrong – you’re probably not going to break it but you’re not going to have heat and that could be very unpleasant.
LESLIE: The drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet doesn’t have to drive you crazy. You’ve got options.
TOM: And we’re not talking about ear plugs. Here to tell us how to diagnose and fix a leaky faucet is This Old House heating-and-plumbing contractor Richard Trethewey.
RICHARD: Hey, guys. And don’t call me a “drip,” please.
TOM: Certainly not that. But we do waste a lot of water in this country because of leaking faucets and fixtures. What’s the main cause of a leak with those faucets and fixtures? Where do they break down?
RICHARD: Well, they wear out over time. The old-style faucets that you might try to keep repairing have a rubber or neoprene washer in it. And every time you turn that handle, it’s compressing the washer. And over time, it starts to wear, it starts to wear, it starts to wear. Sometimes, you can get impurities up into the water that can add to the wear, as well. Excessively hot water can make a washer wear out sooner.
People don’t realize how hard these faucets work. A family of four, that faucet – hot and cold – goes on and off in that lavatory a lot every day, never mind the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink takes a beating.
And a little drip on a faucet is not inconsequential when you start thinking about it. A drip of one drip per second – drip, drip, drip – can use 3,000 gallons a year. Alright. What’s 3,000 gallons a year? That’s the same water you might use for 180 showers. It adds up and it shouldn’t be ignored.
TOM: Wow. So, there are obviously a lot of moving parts when it comes to a faucet. Is it possible to repair it and stop that leak?
RICHARD: It’s almost always possible to rebuild any faucet, even the ones that go inside the wall. On the old-style faucet, there’s a stem – a thing with these threads on it – that has a washer at the end that goes up and down. And that washer goes down against a seat. Well, you could replace the seat that’s inside the faucet; you know, that’s a part that you can get. You can replace the washer. You can replace the stem. So, fundamentally, you could rebuild any faucet and make it like new. But it still is that old-style faucet that still will be given the chance to wear because it’s sort of primitive the way it goes up and down and works against that washer. That washer takes a bit of a beating.
LESLIE: So, Richard, it seems like this year is the 50th anniversary of the single-handle faucet. And you mentioned that these rubber valves tend to leak but it seems that today you’re finding more and more ceramic valves. Is that a smarter choice? Does it help it to not leak as often?
RICHARD: When you just talked about that single lever, that was a cartridge. And that thing would last and last; it wasn’t like the rubber washers that wear out all the time. And then that gave way – or is giving way to a thing called a “ceramic disc.” And this is – to hold the water, there’s two pieces of ceramic that are milled so beautifully that you slide them back and forth and it opens a port for the water. And it isn’t a rubber washer that wears and it’s so precise that it lasts and lasts and lasts.
So the days of repairing a washer every year or two are really going away with this ceramic valving. And that’s really – you see this ceramic valving everywhere now and it’s really the rage because it lasts long and it’s so easy to operate.
TOM: And the advances in technology in plumbing fixtures and faucets is really fascinating today. We have the WaterSense program, which I kind of compare to sort of the ENERGY STAR program except that it’s designed to encourage manufacturers to make fixtures and faucets that use as little water as possible. Would you agree it’s important to look for that designation when you’re thinking about making the replacement?
RICHARD: Well, it sure is. You hear about these programs and you say, “Oh, what? Is the government going to teach me to save water?” And this year, we did this project on This Old House. We visited this beautiful water tower on the top of the hill that went back to the development of the City of Boston and with this beautiful, decorated water tower that looked like a Greek temple.
And so we had the head guy from the Water Department for the City of Boston – for all of Massachusetts, actually – and he came out with a factoid to me that really got my attention. And that is even though the City of Boston has grown in population 10-fold, Boston still uses the same amount of water it did in 1900.
RICHARD: And that’s because of the low-flow showerheads, all the legislation, the low-consumption toilets. And that got my attention. That’s saying this program works and if we didn’t have it, imagine what we’d have to do. We could have a water shortage if we weren’t smart about it. So, I’m fully in favor of this program.
TOM: Yeah. And another great reason to, in this case, replace rather than repair. Because you do pick up all of that new water efficiency.
Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice.
RICHARD: Great to be here.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.
Still ahead, looking for bathroom-makeover ideas? We’re going to talk about bathroom trends making their way into showrooms this year. And it’s all about the spa experience. We’ll have details, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
One caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win a one-year subscription to HomeZada, the online, cloud-based home organization software.
LESLIE: Yeah. You guys could say “buh-bye” to all of those notepads and random papers and file folders because HomeZada tracks everything for you, from your receipts to your home improvement checklists and even creates an inventory of your valuables so that should you need to, you will have it at the ready for insurance purposes.
TOM: And it’s all for just $59 a year. But for one caller whose question we answer on the air this hour, they’ll get a complete free subscription to HomeZada.
You can learn more at HomeZada.com. And call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, more and more, Americans want a spa-like experience in their own bathrooms. And bath-product designers are taking note, because bathtubs are coming out in new and exciting styles.
LESLIE: Yeah. For example, taking a cue from your vessel sinks, we’re going to see some vessel-style bathtubs. Now, these are so cool-looking. They look like they’re actually suspended in the air. Think of a hammock-like shape in an alcove between two walls. They almost look like they’re floating above the floor. I mean they’re really interesting.
TOM: Now, another style is a stand-alone tub. No more surrounds and no claw feet, either. These are vessel tubs. They’re very sleek and modern-looking and they also save space.
LESLIE: Yeah. And speaking of saving space, toilets are getting makeovers to become less obvious of a fixture in your bath space. There’s even a fold-up model out there.
Now, another advance in toilet technology includes lights in the bowl which, you know, could make for a fun disco theme or it could make for really simple trips in the evening or nighttime hours to the bathroom.
TOM: Check out more great bathroom trends in our blog at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Charlene in Tennessee with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
CHARLENE: Well, we built our house in 2006 and we purchased, from the mill, solid-oak hardwood planks that we were going to put down for flooring. And it’s 6 inches wide, tongue-and-groove.
Underneath that, we put – my husband thinks it’s called AdvanTech. It was a 50-year warranty and the mill told us between that and the tongue-and-groove solid oak to put 6 mil of plastic.
TOM: Alright. So what’s the problem we’re trying to solve here?
CHARLENE: The problem that we’re solving is in a few areas, one which is mainly the bath and the other is the kitchen, there’s a squeaking noise. It’s like you can’t sneak in that area. It’ll make that noise.
TOM: So when you go on a diet, your husband can hear you when you try to sneak into the kitchen to get to the refrigerator, huh?
CHARLENE: Yeah, something like that.
TOM: Alright. So, look, this has little to do with what is underneath the floor and more to do with just sort of normal wear and tear and expansion and contraction. The reason those floors are – those boards are squeaking is because they’re moving. And so, what you need to do is to tighten them up.
Now, since it’s a finished floor, you can’t just go willy-nilly throwing nails and screws into it; you’ve got to be a little more strategic. So what you want to do is find the place where there’s a floor joist underneath. And you can do that with a stud finder.
And once you identify that spot, you drill small holes through the floor and you use what’s called a “trim screw,” which is only a little bit bigger than a finish nail. You screw through the finished floor, into the floor joist, and that will pull that floor down and make it tighter and reduce the amount of movement that it’s capable of. And that’s what’s going to quiet down your squeak. A little harder to do when it’s a finished floor but that’s the way to do it.
CHARLENE: OK. It sounds like it might be an easy fix.
LESLIE: Hey, crooked doors, they can be a nuisance. And you know what? They’re kind of tricky to fix. Well, what is the best way to get them back in place? We’ll tell you, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.
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.
Hey, are you feeling a little guilty about all of that time that you spend online? Well, we can help spend more time online. Head to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and click Like for extra home improvement ideas and advice. And voilà, your time online is no longer wasted. You are getting valuable home improvement advice that you can put to good use at your money pit.
TOM: And you can post your home improvement question online at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got one here from Sarah who says, “My bedroom door is not closing properly. I think it was installed on an angle. What’s the best way to make this small adjustment? I don’t want to run the risk of ruining the door, so should I just sand down the parts that are scraping the door frame?”
Well, maybe but that’s kind of the hard way to adjust a door, Sarah. The thing is, you have to remember that a door is going to move in different ways. So let’s say, for example, if your door is sticking in the top right corner, then the way to fix that is maybe to tighten up the screws behind the hinge that are opposite that, because that will pull that door a little bit tighter into the jamb and loosen it up. So I would try to adjust the door and the door jambs, first, before I just got out a sander and started to sand away my door. Because the truth is you may not have to do that.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it really is sort of trial and error; you just have to sort of experiment with which screw does what. You know, I have the same thing whenever I’m installing cabinet doors, especially with that Euro-style hinge, and they’re not quite closing right and you have to unscrew this one and screw that one and move this one. So, really, just experiment with that, Sarah, and you’ll find a good spot to get that door working well.
Alright. Next up, we have one from Bobby in Georgia who writes: “I’m excited about my new, high-efficiency washer but not about the part in the manual that says I might need to reinforce the floor beneath it. What’s that all about?”
TOM: Well, it sounds to me like that might be a little bit of the washing-machine manufacturer sort of covering their anatomy, if you know what I mean. I don’t think you need to reinforce the floor completely but I don’t think you have to beef it up. I mean the machine is not that heavy.
But here is what happens with high-efficiency machines: they spin really, really, really fast. So, if your floor – if your machine is not perfectly level, they can tend to vibrate. There is a solution, though. It’s called an “anti-vibration block.” And I actually bought some of these at Home Depot when I put my last machine in. They were right on the store shelf; they’re easy to find. They are these thick rubber blocks with sort of spaces in them for the feet of the washing machine. They’re like shock absorbers. And the machine sits in there and they absorb the vibration as the machine spins.
So if it’s level and you’ve got these vibration blocks, I think that’s all you need to worry about.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we have a post here from Minion45, who clearly likes Despicable Me, who writes: “Laminate is on floor. Some is buckled due to moisture. If I sand down these areas, will I be able to lay the vinyl flooring over the laminate? This is the main floor with basement below.”
TOM: No, no. No, no, no. You completely misunderstand what laminate floor is. It’s not a floor that you can sand down. If your laminate’s buckled, you’ve got to tear it up and put down new floor.
I would put down new laminate floor. It’s going to be far more durable than vinyl. But you can’t put it on top of that if it’s buckled. You’ve got to take it apart and start again from the beginning.
LESLIE: Yeah. And while you’re at it, (inaudible at 0:37:12) which, of course, is Minion for “Good luck with that project.”
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We hope that you have had a fantastic holiday season. But the bad news is it’s over and time to get back to work on your house. We’re here, though, to help you 24-7. You can reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you can post your home improvement question to MoneyPit.com and you can also reach out to us on Facebook and on Twitter. Because we’ll be here the entire year to help you get it done around your house.
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.
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(Copyright 2014 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.)