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 what are you working on this fine August day? Is it sort of the dog days of summer in your part of the country? Is it just so hot you don’t want to do a thing? Our advice: turn on the air conditioning and work inside. We’re not going to give you the day off. We don’t get it off, either, but we are here to help you tackle those projects at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up this hour, summer is coming to an end soon but your fresh supply of veggies doesn’t have to. We’ve got tips to turn your summer-vegetable garden into a fall-vegetable garden so you can enjoy those veggies well into the chilly weather.
LESLIE: Yum. Because that’s when it’s the best time to make all sorts of yummy veggie soups.
And guys, we are right in the middle of the peak season for home break-ins. Would you be surprised if I told you that most of these burglaries happen during the day? And many of them are not forced entry. We’re going to share some tips so that you can prevent thieves from just walking right in your door, in a bit.
TOM: And also ahead, if you own an older home like Leslie and I proudly do, you know that they have their challenges, like stuck windows. Well, Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House will be here with tips to free them up without damaging the frames or shattering glass.
LESLIE: And you know that horrible smell that comes from your garbage disposer? It’s so gross. Well, one lucky caller that we talk to this hour is never going to have to fight it or even smell it again. We’re giving away a Glisten Family of Cleaners Prize Pack. And that includes the Glisten Disposer Care.
Now, it’s going to get rid of your garbage-disposer grunge, buildup, germs and that odor. And it cleans in such a cool way.
Tom, you use it all the time at your house.
TOM: Absolutely. You put it in the disposer and it foams up and then drains away. And it’s just sparkling clean as a result.
It’s a prize pack worth 50 bucks. Going to go out to one caller drawn at random, so why not make that you? Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Dave in New York is on the line and has a plumbing question. What are you working on?
DAVE: I had a couple plumbing and heating contractors go ahead and come give me estimates and now I’m – PEX piping put in. And they discouraged me from it because they were told that it was made with soy oil so that they could put a green label on it. And they already had to replace, in some homes, the PEX piping because rodents had been chewing on the pipes.
TOM: Yeah, I guess I could see that. I mean I can see rodents potentially chewing on plastic pipes. But I will tell you that I have not heard that as a long-term – as a widespread problem. PEX piping is really quite good and enables you do things that you can’t do with metal piping – with copper piping. And it’s just a lot less expensive to install, as well.
So, I don’t think it’s a wide enough problem that I would stop using it. I would continue to use it.
DAVE: But you don’t know if they make it with soy oil or not.
TOM: No, I don’t. But I tell you what, rodents will chew anything. So it doesn’t surprise me that maybe they had some rodent issues with it. But I don’t think it’s a problem that would prevent me from using PEX.
DAVE: OK. I was just curious to know.
TOM: Alright, Dave. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lisa in Tennessee on the line who’s dealing with a home she bought without having an inspection first. Let’s hear what’s going on.
LISA: Hi. Well, first of all, let me just clarify that my husband is the one who bought the home and he bought it before we were married, so I just kind of inherited it whenever I (inaudible at 0:04:34) and married him, so …
TOM: See, now, if you were married, you never would have let him do that without a good home inspection.
LISA: Exactly. OK. We have some spots – we have carpet in a few of our rooms and each of the rooms, there are some sunken spots. Like you can walk across and it sinks, kind of gives with you. And then the rest of the time, it’s OK. There’s other places that are just fine.
And I’ve had somebody go underneath and check for structural damage, water damage or termites. Can’t find anything; they say it’s OK. So, beyond ripping up the carpet and just seeing what it is, do you have a suggestion on what that could be?
TOM: Well, just define the sunken spot. When you step on it, is it soft or something like that?
LISA: Yes, it’s kind of spongy, almost, like it just sinks; it gives with you.
TOM: And you can get underneath and you can look up and you don’t see any decay or anything of that nature?
LISA: Well, as far as I know. Now, I’ve not been under. My husband – we’re not either one able to get underneath, just due to health conditions. And so we’ve had others go under and look and they’ve all said structurally, it looks sound, didn’t see any termite damage. We don’t have any water damage underneath. So, don’t really know what it is that’s causing it.
TOM: And how many areas across the floor do you see these sunken spots?
LISA: Well, you can’t actually see them. It’s just when you walk across them. But I would say …
TOM: You feel them?
LISA: You feel them, exactly.
TOM: Yeah. I wonder if the – I wonder if it’s something as simple as the padding breaking down under the carpet. Maybe it’s not a structural problem.
Well, listen, the only way you’re going to know is – we can’t really guess. You’re going to have to pull that carpet back. It’s not a terrible project to pull that – pull wall-to-wall carpet up and then have it, you know, re-tacked down. If you’re really concerned about it, that’s what I would do.
LISA: Right. I’ve been looking to get new carpet anyway, so that might be a good excuse.
TOM: Well, there you go. Now you’ve got a great excuse.
TOM: And let me tell you something, when you pull that carpet up, Lisa, if you evaluate that floor – how old is this house?
LISA: Oh, gosh. See, I’m not even sure. Probably back in the 80s?
TOM: OK. So it probably has a plywood floor and it was nailed down, if it was done in the 80s. What you want to do is you want to have the installer – or you could even do this yourself – take some drywall screws – those are those long, black, case-hardened drywall screws. You drive them in with a drill driver, so you do it automatically, and you screw that plywood to the floor while the carpet’s up. And that will quiet the floor and prevent any future squeaks that could occur.
LISA: OK. Sounds great.
TOM: Because the nails will loosen up over the last 30-plus years and once you have that carpet up, that’s a golden opportunity to do that.
LISA: Alright. Well, these are some things to definitely look at. Yes, sir. Thank you so much.
TOM: OK. Thank you, Lisa.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Well, summer is almost over, which means fall home improvement season. Yippee, hurray! It’s our favorite time of year, plus the cooler temperatures that I know we are all looking forward to. So if you’ve got some projects you want to start planning for, let us give you a hand, tell you the right steps and get things going. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, eating fresh and local doesn’t have to end when summer does. We’ve got tips for transitioning a summer-vegetable garden into a fall-veggie garden, when The Money Pit continues.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.
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: Well, if you’ve ever had a stinky garbage disposer, you know that you can throw all the lemon you want into it but sometimes that gross smell just will not go away.
LESLIE: Well, this hour’s lucky winner has odor relief on the way. We are giving away a $50 Glisten Prize Pack and it is chock full of cleaning products, including the Glisten Disposer Care.
Now, it’s going to clean your garbage disposal and it’s going to take all of those gross smells that just seem to come from it all the time.
TOM: Another great product from Glisten, the machine-cleaning experts. Find out for yourself at GlistenCleaners.com. And pick up the phone and call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement project and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got William from Texas on the line.
William, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
WILLIAM: Well, my daughter bought a house. And the person that she bought the house from smokes cigarettes. And the house – when you walk – as soon as you walk in the door, the cigarette smell hits you. And it was basically throughout the house. And we’re in the process of trying to figure out how we’re going to get all that smell out, short of ripping the walls out.
TOM: Does the house have carpet?
TOM: Then it’s probably got to go.
TOM: I mean you can try steam-cleaning it but it gets into the padding and everything else. The least you have to do is steam-clean it. But what you want to do on the walls is you want to paint the walls with a really good primer. And so an oil-based primer or an alkyd-based primer will seal in that odor.
Clean the walls well, use a TSP – trisodium phosphate – to wash them down and then prime the walls. If you don’t prime the walls, the odor will basically permeate right through the new paint. But if you clean them and you prime them well, that will do a – go a long way towards getting rid of a lot of that odor. That plus removing the carpet or at least steam-cleaning the carpet are the two most important things to do.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? If you do end up removing the carpet, make sure they remove the padding, as well. And if it’s a wood subfloor, you want to paint it again with that same odor-blocking primer because that will do a lot to help with that, as well. And I don’t know if you’ve held on to any of the draperies or any other soft goods from the previous owners. Just get rid of them or really have them cleaned well.
WILLIAM: OK. That will work. I appreciate your answer.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, that steady stream of fresh tomatoes from your garden might be coming to an end. But you can keep the produce coming well into the cooler weather by transitioning your summer-vegetable garden into a fall-vegetable garden.
LESLIE: Yeah, broccoli and cabbage, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, beets and turnips, they all grow really, really well in the cooler weather. The key here, though, is you’ve got to rejuvenate your soil. And that’s going to replenish all the nutrients that it spent growing all of the summer veggies. So you’ve got to start with good soil.
TOM: So here’s the trick: first you want to pull out the plants that are done producing and yank out any of those loose weeds or debris, then add some compost and mulch. And layer in some straw or hay on top of it, too, because that actually acts as an insulator for the garden when the temperatures do start to drop.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And most fall veggies can actually endure a little frost. But you can extend their season by up to a month if you add a frost blanket on top of the hay.
TOM: Yep. Just lay down 1 seed every 2 inches and before you know it, you’ll replace those store-bought salad fixings with the fresher version right from your own backyard garden, fall or not.
888-666-3974. If you’re getting set to plant your own home improvement project, give us a call. We’ll help you get started in the right way, 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cindy in Illinois is on the line with a basement question. What’s going on?
CINDY: I lived in my home for over 40 years and had no trouble with water in the basement. And then, about 3 years ago, we had a terrible drought here and it seems like ever since then, if we get a hard rain I end up with water coming up through the floor of the basement.
TOM: So, the reason you’re getting water that comes up through the floor of the basement in a hard rain is because there’s some defect in your drainage conditions outside the house. So, you need to start by looking at the roof and making sure your gutter system is clean and making sure the downspouts are extended away from the house. It should be out 3 or 4 feet.
If that’s all in good shape, then I would take a look at the angle of the dirt around the house, the grade. If it’s really flat or if there’s an area where it’s tilting in or you’re getting neighboring water from runoff from a different lot or something of that nature, you’ve got to regrade to keep the water away from the house.
The only way it’s getting down there is it’s coming from the top and pushing under. It’s not a rising water table, because that takes months to happen. If it’s reactive to the rain, then it’s a problem with drainage, Cindy. So you need to look carefully in that area and I’m certain you’ll find the cause of it and be able to stop it.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Robin in Kentucky who’s noticing an odd odor. What’s going on at your money pit?
ROBIN: Well, purchased a house last February and about two months later, the house developed an odor.
LESLIE: Wait, the whole house? Like inside/outside? Where is this odor that you sense?
ROBIN: It appears to be coming from the ductwork. It’s slab construction and the people in the area say that it’s – the house was built in ‘55. They say that they used ceramic ductwork under the slab and they’re thinking that the ductwork has cracked and is letting an odor from underground come up.
TOM: Eh. Maybe not. But go ahead.
ROBIN: Well, we’ve had a number of people into the house to look at it and they’ve taken air samples and stuff and no one can really say what it is. All they can say is, “Well, we suggest that you replace that ductwork with overhead ductwork through the attic.”
TOM: That’s a pretty big change. Have you ever had a duct inspection done with cameras?
ROBIN: No. I’ve tried a number of people to get that done and no one in the area can do it. We called Roto-Rooter because we know they do it but they said they wouldn’t do it for ductwork. They would only do it for pipes.
TOM: Well, Robin, as you’ve probably discovered, tracking down odors that are associated with heating and cooling ducts is a very tricky business. And part of the reason for that is because there’s so many possibilities: it could be mold, it could be other forms of organic matter, it could be sewage gases that are somehow working their way into those ducts.
What I’m going to do is send you to a resource guide where every conceivable cause of duct odors is presented and explored and lets you research this a little bit better on your own. And maybe you’ll put two and two together based on what you read here and what you’re experiencing in your home and come up with a solution.
Alright. So, I want you to go to a website called InspectAPedia. InspectAPedia. It’s a website actually put together by an old friend of mine named Dan Friedman. He’s one of the best home inspectors in the country. He’s gone through a lot of trouble to collect information on problems just like this. And if you go to InspectAPedia – so it’s Inspect, A and P-e-d-i-a – and you search “how to find and remove odors in heating ducts,” you’ll find this guide. And it’s thousands of words long. And you should be able to go through and see if you can get to the bottom of it.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jody in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JODY: I actually have a problem with my foundation. It’s an exposed foundation; about 3 feet high around the whole footprint of the house is exposed. The cement-block foundation that had parging on it originally – and the parging was cracking, so it was recommended by a masonary (ph) contractor to put DRYLOK over it.
So, this is what I did. I put on – it’s a – they add color to the DRYLOK. So I put it over the whole foundation and it started to crack and peel and bubble.
TOM: Yeah, it didn’t adhere properly.
First of all, isn’t DRYLOK usually an interior masonry paint, not an exterior masonry paint?
JODY: Well, this particular masonary (ph) guy told me that he’s actually used it on the bottom of swimming pools, so he thought that it would work. And when he saw it later, he said, “Wow. I’ve never seen it do that.”
TOM: Yeah. How about that? He just experimented with your house.
JODY: I did call the DRYLOK people, too, and talked to them.
JODY: And they told me to try to power-wash it, try scraping it. But it’s just become a huge mess, you know? I mean it peels in some places. Some places, it adhered.
TOM: Yeah, the problem is that now that you’ve got that on there, you’ve got to get it off because you can’t put any – you can’t put new stuff over the bad old stuff. It just will continue to peel.
JODY: Yeah. The problem is is that we are on filled-in marshland – is where the – and so, we’re on clay and sand. And the cement block, it sort of leaches up through there, so it’s always sort of damp coming up from the ground anyway.
TOM: Yeah. That’s what I was going to – that’s what I was kind of thinking. I was thinking that the block wall might have been wet when you applied it. It might not have been visibly wet but see, those block walls are hydroscopic. They absorb water really, really well. And so, if it’s on a moist situation, that water is going to draw up, get behind that paint. And nothing causes paint to peel faster than water.
So, unfortunately, at this stage, you’re going to have to strip that off.
JODY: Oh, my gosh. And we’re right on the water, you know what I mean? We’re on the bay. So I’m always worried about things that are not environmentally friendly.
TOM: The other thing that I think you probably could do – and this is a big job in and of itself, though – is you could have a mason attach a woven-wire mesh to that foundation and re-stucco it. And in that case, it could go right on top of the old, junky paint because you’re not really sticking to the foundation; you’re sticking to the mesh. So that’s another possibility.
JODY: I gotcha, yeah. Yeah. Because, I guess, in some places that was used before, underneath the parging.
TOM: Well, the parging is simply a stucco coat that goes on top of the block wall and it’s typical for the parging to crack. And usually, it cracks along the lines of the masonry block.
JODY: Yep. That’s what it did.
TOM: And that’s not necessarily a defect. That’s pretty much just the way it goes with that stuff, especially if they don’t put it on thick enough.
So, I would consider, if you really want to have it to look like a traditional masonry foundation, I would consider having mesh put up there and then properly re-stuccoed. If not, you’re just going to have to peel that paint off any way you can.
LESLIE: Up next, older windows, they are more challenging than charming at times, especially when they get stuck or worse: stuck open or stuck shut. And then you’re banging on the sides and then maybe you’re breaking things. Does that sound familiar at all? And no, it doesn’t really bother me, personally. Yes, it does.
Well, we’re going to have Tom Silva stopping by from This Old House. And he’s got tips on how you can work those stuck windows open without causing damage, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools. Stanley Tools has been helping to build America since 1843. Look for specially marked Stanley packaging featuring the Made In U.S.A. With Global Materials logo. Visit StanleyTools.com/BuildYourAmerica.
[audio timestamp: 0:19:33]
MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton. With a focus on safety, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs. To get more information about how to help improve your home’s electrical safety, visit www.GetSafeToday.com.
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: Well, the kids are headed back to school this time of year but unfortunately, there are plenty of bugs waiting to hitch a ride to classrooms and college dorms with them. If you head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com, you’ll learn which bugs thrive during this back-to-school season and how you can keep your kids safe and bug-free. The details are right there on the home page, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Well, old windows have their charm but they also have their maintenance headaches.
TOM: One of which is how to get them moving again if they get stuck. With us to talk through the step-by-step solution is Tom Silva, the general contractor on TV’s This Old House.
TOM SILVA: Hi, guys. How are you?
TOM: So, it’s hard to paint a window, sometimes, without it getting stuck. And the adhesive quality of paint is something, really, to behold.
TOM SILVA: Boy, it sure is. And once that window’s stuck, getting it free can be a challenge.
TOM: So, where you do – what do you do? How do you approach this? Because you want to get it moving and you don’t want to break the glass.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, you definitely don’t want to break the glass. You don’t want to hit the sash, around the perimeter, with a hammer because just by hitting the wood …
LESLIE: You don’t?
TOM SILVA: No. Well, just by hitting the wood, you could break the glass. But a 5-in-1 tool is a great tool to have. It’s a stiff knife. Also, I’ve used drywall knives or wide putty knives. They work great. And they also have a thing called a “sash saw.”
TOM: A sash saw. OK.
TOM SILVA: A sash saw is a little, tinny saw with a little, black handle. It looks like a heart.
TOM SILVA: What you do is you place the sash saw flat against the surface of the sash and you run it down where the stop bead meets the sash.
TOM SILVA: When you pull, it’ll cut through the paint. Just go back and forth so it’s almost like a file. It opens up that joint. You can go across the bottom where the stool meets the sash and up the other side.
TOM: So you – basically, you’ve got to get that opened up on the inside. Do you also do it from the outside, as well? From both sides?
TOM SILVA: Yep. In some cases, you’re going to have to do it from the outside, too. Because they’ve painted the meeting or the parting bead into the sash, also.
LESLIE: So once you’ve done your vertical, sort of, parts of the sash, what do you do on that bottom horizontal edge between the sash and the sill? Because that gets stuck, too.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Well, again, the sash saw will run in there. If you can’t get the sash saw in there, a putting knife – a stiff one – or even a drywall knife works good. You just tap it in gently with your hammer and move it along. And you’ll actually feel the window pop away from the paint when you’re real close to finishing.
TOM: Now, one mistake, I think, that a lot of times homeowners make is they try to take their hands and sort of drive that window up by pushing the upper rail of the sash. And that can actually pull that whole sash apart.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. And you can actually break the glass and you’ll cut your wrist, so you’ve got to be really careful by doing that.
TOM: Bad idea.
TOM SILVA: Wear gloves – a good pair of gloves – when you’re doing it. Gloves with a cuff on it is always important.
What I like to do is I’ll take a narrow or a thin flat bar and I’ll take it outside, get on the window sill and have two of them, one on each side of the stiles of the window. You don’t want to be in the middle and putting any pressure. And then you just gently tap it in on each side and the window should come up gently. But you’ve got to work it easily, take your time, because the glass will crack.
LESLIE: And you’ve got to think that this is occurring because you’ve been painting a lot over years. So we’re probably looking at, potentially, lead-based paints. I mean you’ve got to be careful with this.
TOM SILVA: If you’re worrying about lead paint, you’ve really got to think about a HEPA vac, you’ve got to think about protecting yourself. You’ve got to make sure you use a P100 or an N100 respirator. You want to make sure that you cover your skin around. Again, gloves. It’s important. You’ve just got to be careful with lead paint.
TOM: Safety counts.
Now, once you get this window moving again, you pick it up and you find that, uh oh, it falls down. It completely slams shut because the weights are broken.
TOM SILVA: Mm-hmm. Yeah, they’re cut in the lines.
TOM: But now you’ve got yourself into a whole ‘nother scenario (inaudible at 0:24:05).
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Well, now you’ve got to take the sash out, alright? So then you’ve got to get to your screws that are holding your stop beads into place. You get those free, you cut those out and then you can pull the bottom sash out.
If the upper sash needs to have sash cords, also, then you have to break the pane away from that window to make that operate, get the stop bead out or the parting bead out.
TOM SILVA: That’s a little piece of wood that you can pop that out. And then you can pull the top sash out. Once you have it out, you’ll see there are little doors on each side that there’s one screw holding each one in. You take the screws out, you pull the boards out and you can then see the window weights.
TOM: And you’ll probably find it right there in the bottom of that part of the wall cavity, if you’re lucky, right?
TOM SILVA: Yep. And it’s usually behind the lower sash.
So once you get that out, you take the window weights out, you take the old cords out, get everything out of the way, get it cleaned up. Now, the next thing you want to do is you want to take a pencil and you want to mark on each face of the sash the location of the holes that are in the sides of the sash.
TOM SILVA: And they’re probably 6 or 7 inches down. But just have a little reference. You could do it with a piece of painter’s tape. Mark that location.
Alright. Now, push the sash away. Now you’re going to take and you’re going to push the cord down the pulley until you can get the cord with your hand. Tie it to the weight and push it back into the opening. Two on each side if you’re doing the upper and the lower.
LESLIE: Has sash cord advanced at all over the years or is it still strictly like a cotton …
TOM: Cotton rope?
LESLIE: Yeah, cotton rope?
TOM SILVA: Pretty much cotton clothesline, you know. A good one – you didn’t have to use a sash chain that they – brass or gold color. And they’re a little noisier but people liked them because they were original and they want to use those, also.
TOM: Alright. So we freed up the sashes, we fixed the weights if they dropped. What about the replacement jambs that sort of are spring-loaded, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of having to find those weights again?
TOM SILVA: Yeah.
TOM: What do you think of those? Do they work?
TOM SILVA: Yeah, they do work. They call them “spring balancers.” There’s one that’s aluminum or vinyl. Some of them have a padding on them that’s – basically, it becomes a compression-balance system. And that’s also an insulator, also.
The benefit to using those are you don’t have to worry about the pulleys, you don’t have to worry about the cords. My suggestion, in that case, would be take the pulleys off, take the weights out, fill the cavities with insulation.
TOM: Ah, good point.
TOM SILVA: If you’re going to fill the cavity with insulation, it’s tricky but you’ve got to get it in there so it’s nice and tight. You can actually blow it in. If you wanted to rent a cellulose machine, you could blow in …
LESLIE: But not an expandable foam?
TOM SILVA: You’ve got to be careful with expandable foam. I’ve used expandable foam lots of times. It’s got be open-cell and you’ve got to know what you’re doing. You’ve got to make sure that you not only insulate the two sides, you’ve got to insulate across the top and underneath the sill. Because if you have an old window, you have a space there that’s probably 2½ to 3 inches wide across each side, 3 inches across the top and probably 3 inches across the bottom. That’s where a lot of your air is leaking.
TOM: You know what I love about this project? It’s one that can take 15 minutes or a whole weekend.
TOM SILVA: A whole weekend, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, no doubt.
TOM: You never know what you’re going to find when you’re working in an old house.
TOM SILVA: If you – but if you’re going to use a compression balancer, one with a foam on it, you may have to plane your windows down just a little bit or cut them on a table saw, just a little bit, to make up for that. You just don’t want to take too much off, because you want the windows to fit in that opening snug.
TOM: Make it two weekends.
TOM SILVA: Right?
TOM: Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thank you so much for helping us free up our windows once again.
TOM SILVA: Always a pleasure 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 State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Still ahead, did you know most break-ins happen during the day? And many are as easy as walking right in an unlocked door. We’re going to have tips to help you protect your home and your family, 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: Well, they’re supposed to make life easier but dishwashers and garbage disposers become yet another headache when they start to smell.
LESLIE: Yeah. And they smell really gross when they do start to smell. So a lucky winner this hour is going to find an end to all of those yucky smells.
We’re giving away a $50 prize pack of Glisten cleaning products. And that’s going to include Glisten Disposer Care. And it’ll take all the germs and all the smell with it.
TOM: Learn more about Glisten, the machine-cleaning experts, at GlistenCleaners.com. And call now for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win, 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, 2 million home burglaries are reported every year in this country and nearly one-third of those are because of an open window or an unlocked door. That’s just crazy. Break-ins increase during the summer months, so we want to make sure that you’re taking steps to keep your home safe from burglars.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, this is going to sound like a no-brainer. You want to make sure that all doors and all windows are secure, even if you’re just running out for a minute. Because, guys, most of these break-ins are happening right in the middle of the day.
Now, you’re probably using your slider or your back door more often in the summer months. You can use a stick to secure the track on your sliding door. They even sell braces for this purpose but I mean a stick or a dowel or something like that will work very well.
Do not keep your spare keys in obvious places, guys, like under the doormat. People do that and burglars know it. It happens far more often than you think. You’ve got to get more clever, guys.
TOM: Now, if you want to be really proactive, you might want to think about installing a security system. Because if you don’t have one, you’re up to 300 percent more likely to be broken into.
And if you’ve been thinking that security systems are too complicated, they’re expensive, they require these crazy, long-term commitments, you’re going to love our new favorite security system. It’s called SimpliSafe. It can be totally DIY. There’s no installers needed to schedule. There’s no electricians needed to hook it up.
LESLIE: Exactly. This is a completely wireless, do-it-yourself system. You’re going to get all the components that you need, right in your kit. And in about a half an hour, you’ve got a professional security system in place. No wiring, no drilling, no outside people trying to help you or bill you extra money. This truly is a do-it-yourself home security system.
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LESLIE: Jim in Washington, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JIM: I’ve got a rear patio that’s an aggregate cement. And there’s a gap between the edge of that that goes under our rear sliding-glass door, under the threshold. It’s a gap of about 3 to 4 inches and about maybe a foot or 2 in length. What can I use to kind of fill that void so we don’t get like rain in there and insects or even rodents?
TOM: So, you have space between the patio and the actual patio door? Like it didn’t press up against the house kind of a thing?
TOM: You said it’s about 3 or 4 inches deep?
JIM: Yeah. The gap is, yes.
TOM: The gap is. And you said it was a foot-and-a-half wide. You threw me on that because it sounded like it’s not going along the entire length of the door?
JIM: Yeah, correct. It’s just about maybe a third of it.
TOM: So we need to figure out a way to kind of fill this in and perhaps make it blend in with the patio. What I probably would do here is – can you dig this out and make it a little bit deeper so we can get a bit more concrete in there?
JIM: I could do that. It’s aggregate, though, so I’m not sure how well it’s going to match.
TOM: Because I’m afraid if you put something in that’s not very thick, it may crack and break up very easily. But if you were to dig that out a little bit, put a little stone in the bottom of the pit and then use an epoxy patching compound and mix the concrete up with the epoxy products, then you’re going to have something that’s going to be less resistant to cracking and more likely to stick to the old patio.
Now, in terms of coloring it, you’re probably going to have to use some concrete dyes. And they come in different colors but you may be able to dye it to get somewhat close to what you have there now.
JIM: OK. It’s aggregate, so how do I deal with that?
TOM: So it has sort of a stone – has like a stone-like finish on top?
TOM: Well, could you add aggregate to the top of the concrete mix?
JIM: Yeah, I could try that.
TOM: So there’s another way to do it. This way, you’ll have the texture and the color, as well.
JIM: Yeah, OK. Sounds good.
TOM: Just do it all at once and let it set. But use the epoxy patching compound, which is kind of like a concrete mix except that it’s very sticky.
JIM: Mm-hmm. How much do I need to cut out? How much should I fill?
TOM: If the depth of that replacement section was 3 inches, that should be plenty.
JIM: OK. Sounds good.
LESLIE: Coming up on the program, antique doorknobs and hardware, they look great. But how they function? Well, that’s another story entirely. We’re going to tell you how you can keep that great vintage look without sacrificing all of those modern locks and keys, when The Money Pit continues.
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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, believe it or not, autumn is just around the corner. So it’s time that you start prepping your home for the cooler weather that lies ahead. You can head to our website for some easy August weekend projects that you are able to squeeze in right now. And you will be thanking yourself for doing this later.
We’ve got all of the details on our home page at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And you can also post your question in the Community section, like Chris did who says, “We’re in the process of remodeling our 1940s house. All the existing doors have mortise-style locks, antique knobs and backplates that are original to the home. However, all of the keys are missing. I’d like to replace the locking mechanisms but keep the antique backplates and knobs. They look great. Is there a way to keep using these old knobs and backplates but add new locks?”
You know, Leslie, it seems that there are a lot of websites that are dedicated to this exact topic. I’ve seen a number online where they supply not so much parts for old locks but locks that look very old and function in much the same way and have a skeleton key and it’ll open it right up.
I suspect that Chris will be better off replacing those old locks with ones that are – look similar rather than find the parts. I mean it might be possible to preserve, say, the knobs. But when it comes to the mechanism – the internal locking mechanism – that’s going to be a real challenge.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? It’s interesting. There are so many websites that do specialize in this. And what they’ll do is they’ll cast antique hardware and then make brand-new ones.
So Tom is right: you’re going to get the exact same look but with modern functionality. One of the sites that Tom and I both really like is called House of Antique Hardware. They have a lot of different things that will match your look, even down to plumbing. It’s just really, really good functions.
TOM: Up next, we’ve got a post from Marie who says, “I want to move my washer and dryer from my basement to my unheated garage. Other than plumbing for the washer, do I need to do anything special beforehand, like add insulation to the space or heat it?”
Well, yeah. Look, using your washer – moving your washer to the garage is a fine idea in, say, the spring, summer and fall in most parts of the country. But you’re going to have some real issues when it comes to the winter if those lines, which – remember, those hoses come right up into the back of the machine. They’re definitely going to freeze. So unless you live in a warm part of the country, I don’t think moving a washer to the garage makes a whole lot of sense.
LESLIE: Now, even if you’re turning off the water supply to the washer after each use?
TOM: Yeah. Because think about it: you would not only have to turn the water supply off to the washer, you’d have to turn the water supply off in the wall that feeds the washer.
LESLIE: OK. So it’s not enough just to get it at that connection.
TOM: Yeah. And you’d have to drain the pipe. Because even if the water is off but there’s water in the pipe, it can still freeze and break.
Now, in addition to that, it seems to me that because the dryer – assuming that would be in the same location, it would be so cold it would probably take longer to dry your clothes. And that would cost you more in energy bills for that, as well. So, all in all, I really don’t think it’s a good idea.
You know what a better option might be, Leslie? And that is to stack these units. In our laundry room, when we remodeled it, we took two full-size units – a washer and a dryer. We were able to stack the dryer on top of the washer, because that’s the lighter appliance, and it fit and it works perfectly. And we saved a whole bunch of room.
LESLIE: Yeah. And surprisingly, most washer/dryers are stackable, depending on what the tops look like. All you have to do is ask at your local center where you’re buying the pieces. You’d be surprised to know that you can stack much of them. But make sure you have the proper height available, because it didn’t work in my house. Don’t ask how I know.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this fine August day with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips, some advice, some ideas, some inspiration to avoid some perspiration when it comes to tackling your next home improvement project.
Remember, if you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers, 24/7, at MoneyPit.com and also on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, where you can post your home improvement question and shockingly, get an answer from us. Thank you so much.
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 2015 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.)