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 we are so happy to be here with you today to help you with your home improvement projects. We want to help solve any DIY dilemmas that you’re facing. If there’s a project on your to-do list that maybe you need a pro to help with, give us a call. We’ll talk you through that. Or maybe you’re just trying to make some décor decisions. That’s all great stuff for us to talk about. Help yourself, first, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve noticed that the borders around your lawn, your driveway, your walks, your patios maybe are looking a bit frazzled, well, there’s a new brick product out on the market that can make that look super sharp in no time. The nice thing is that these are as easy to install as stacking blocks. We’re going to have those details, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, is there one area of your home that seems hard to cool and even harder to heat? Well, a split-ductless air conditioner might be the solution. We’ll explain that, in just a bit.
TOM: And with a season change just ahead, do you know the one thing that can help you cut energy costs more than anything else? It’s getting a home energy audit. We’re going to have tips on a no-cost DIY version that’s already helped over nine million homeowners, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, if you call now at 888-MONEY-PIT, you will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize to one caller drawn at random. We’ve got up for grabs the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. And it’s a prize worth $249.
TOM: Yep. It lets you see and speak with visitors at your door, from anywhere, using your smartphone, your tablet or your computer. With Ring, you are always home. The Ring Video Doorbell is available at The Home Depot but we’ve got one to give away this hour. So call us, right now, and maybe that will be you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s going out to one caller drawn at random at 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Judy in Virginia, you’ve got a painting question. How can we help you with that project?
JUDY: We are trying to put an epoxy on our basement floor, like we did on our garage floor. And we are having a very serious problem with this basement-floor project, because we went through all the process of putting down the pre-treatment that would get rid of any oils or solutions on the floor. That bubbled up the way it was supposed to. Then we went in and we put down the epoxy as we were supposed to and it came right back up. It turned to a brown powder and then just came up.
And so, we got all that off and then we went back in and put down a sealer and then came back with the epoxy again. And it’s doing the same exact thing. We had no problem with our garage floor and it’s a garage floor that was put down several years after the basement was done. And we were told that – from some people who know the history of the house – that the basement – or that the house was built in the winter months, back in the mid-80s and that they likely used calcium chloride to help the cement set up and that it could be having an effect on this epoxy.
We’re using a very good-quality – a name brand. It’s not a box-store quality; it’s a quality, quality product that we’re using.
TOM: OK. Have you turned to the manufacturer to ask the question as to what might be going on?
JUDY: Well, we have asked and the calcium chloride did come up as a possibility. But they don’t really know what to do about that.
TOM: So, you did talk directly to the manufacturer, not the retailer, about this.
JUDY: The retailer actually talked with the manufacturer about it.
TOM: I would go right to the manufacturer and speak with them directly about this. I don’t like going through the middle man because – not that I don’t trust the retailer to do this. You can never be sure if they’re actually talking to the right guy. And they could be talking to – you see, they could be talking to a field rep who thinks he knows the answer and maybe he doesn’t.
I mean obviously something – the first thing that came to mind was moisture. Did the floor – was the floor thoroughly dried before you started this whole process?
JUDY: Yes, it was. We made certain it was very dry in there and used big box fans after we had scrubbed the floor real thoroughly. The big box fans were used and the doors were opened to let the air circulate through. And it was very dry.
TOM: Both times, the paint that you put down, was it from the same batch?
JUDY: No, different batches.
TOM: I’ve never heard of an epoxy floor not adhering, so this is an unusual situation. And it’s one that I would turn to the technical experts at the manufacturer. As you mentioned, it’s a major brand. They have folks – chemists – that basically are standing by to take questions like this; most of them do.
If you have difficulty identifying the right people to talk to, if you e-mail us to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details, perhaps some photographs and the name of the manufacturer, I am certain that we could quickly get through to the right person for you. There’s a chemical reaction going on here that’s causing this issue and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.
JUDY: Will do. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s an unusual situation and there’s got to be a reaction going on between that floor.
LESLIE: Yeah. I’ve heard of instances where a previous homeowner maybe put like a water-based sealant or a water sealant on a concrete.
TOM: Or a silicone.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you don’t see it.
TOM: I was thinking about a silicone sealer. Yeah, yeah. If they put a silicone sealer down on the concrete, that could impact it, as well.
LESLIE: Right. And then you might not know it’s there.
TOM: But that’s what the pre-treatment is supposed to deal with. You know, the idea of using the acid-etch products that all the epoxy floors come with – the epoxy, they come with an acid etch and it sounds like that’s what Judy did. So, let’s hope she can get to the bottom of it.
LESLIE: Jim in Pennsylvania is on the line with moisture. What’s going on over at your money pit?
JIM: OK. I live in an old home that has a wrap-around porch. The only wall that’s exposed is – that goes out to the end of the porch is our backyard. My backyard slopes very gently downhill. It’s been landscaped with several swales and I never have standing water in my yard. I have no drainage that goes out the back or anything.
As a matter of fact, I’ve lived here for 30, 40 years and I’ve never had water in my basement until 5 years ago when we had a tropical storm come up the coast, come inland and dump almost 20 inches of rain right on us. But two years ago, I had the same thing happen. This one dumped about 10 inches of rain.
OK. Water both times that I had to get out of there – out of my basement, which is finished. But anyhow, my walls – even during those storms, my exposed walls and other walls are completely dry and the water is coming up through, it looks like, the back side starting towards the middle of the back wall, through the floor. It must – I’m thinking it’s groundwater.
TOM: It’s not. It’s clearly not. And I know that with absolute certainty because it’s tied in with precipitation. Whenever you have heavy rain and you get any type of leakage, it’s always drainage. It starts from the top, works its way down. It just happens to be showing up under the floor.
That can very easily happen because water can accumulate outside the foundation wall. Sometimes, it goes into the walls and leaks through the walls. Sometimes, it goes around the walls and pushes up through the floor. I’ve seen geysers show up in the middle of basement floors because somebody had a blocked gutter on the other side of the house. Water does strange things. But this is a drainage problem; that’s all it is. So you need to look at your drainage very, very carefully.
Now, you mentioned that you had a swale and I hope that swale is still working for you. If that swale is not working just by the swale itself, you may have to install what’s called a “curtain drain” at the bottom of that swale, to collect the excess water and run it around your house and then dump it out to a place that’s lower on the lot.
The other basic things that you could look at – and the very easiest thing is to look at – is your gutters. You need to have at least 1 downspout for every 400 to 600 square feet of roof surface. And those downspouts need to be extended 4 to 6 feet from the house, minimum. Minimum. Not just out a foot into a splash block but 4 to 6 feet from the house, minimum – minimum. Not just out of a foot into a splash block but 4 to 6 feet away. I say that because whenever you have a water problem, we’ve got to move that water away from that first 4 foot or so of soil that’s around the foundation perimeter.
So, gutters are really important, downspout discharge is really important and then, finally, the slope of the soil at the foundation perimeter is important. But if you manage and maintain and improve the drainage conditions around the foundation perimeter, you won’t have enough water to push up around those walls and into the floor.
JIM: OK, OK. So a sump pump wouldn’t work.
TOM: No. A sump pump will take the water out once it gets there but it doesn’t deal with stopping it from getting there in the first place.
JIM: The initial problem.
TOM: Right. And by the way, putting a sump pump in doesn’t do anything to improve the structural integrity of the foundation because, again, that water has to go around that foundation to get to where the pump is.
So, deal with the drainage, keep that soil as dry as possible and you’ll make the whole thing go away.
JIM: OK. Thank you.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can be part of the home improvement fun. So give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’d love to hear what you’re working on. We love to give you a hand. We want to make your projects easier. Whatever it is, let us help. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, Leslie, when you were young, did you enjoy playing with blocks?
LESLIE: Yeah, of course.
TOM: Well, we’ve got tips on a new masonry product that can actually help create beautiful borders around your walks, your patios and your gardens. And it’s actually as easy to install as stacking those building blocks.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize. I like this; it’s the Ring Video Doorbell.
Have you seen this product? It lets you see and speak with visitors at your door, from anywhere, using your smartphone, your tablet or your computer. The way it works is somebody walks up to the door, they push the button and bam, you get a video image of them on your smartphone. You can choose to talk with them, you could choose to ignore them or if they look a little shady, you could call for help.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro comes equipped with an HD camera with night vision. It’s got a built-in, two-way speaker and smart motion detection. You just download the free Ring app and connect to Wi-Fi to start receiving alerts on your smart device whenever someone rings the doorbell or motion is detected.
You can learn more at Ring.com. The value is $249. It’s going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Ring our doorbell at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leonard in North Carolina on the line with a lighting question. How can we help you today?
LEONARD: Yes, I have a hallway in my home that is totally dark. And I want to know: what kind of options do you have available?
TOM: So you don’t have outlets in the home, so you basically want to add some additional lighting.
TOM: Alright. So, why don’t you simply run an extra circuit to feed a ceiling fixture?
LEONARD: That might be an option.
TOM: I mean it’s not as hard as you might think. Electricians do this sort of thing all the time. They will look for the path of least resistance, both electrically and physically, to get the wiring where it needs to go and provide that additional lighting option. You don’t necessarily need an outlet to do that.
If you had an outlet or even if you had an outlet, for example, on the opposite walls – say the – let’s say the hallway is between – the other side of the hallway is a bedroom and there’s an outlet on that same wall, they might go down that wall to grab power from that outlet, bring the wire up across the hallway, drop it back down again and put in a ceiling fixture.
LEONARD: Never thought about that.
TOM: So I would consider – yeah, I would consider just running a ceiling fixture and forget the idea of using any kind of plug-in device.
LEONARD: You guys have been a big help. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to create a beautiful border around your walkway or your gardens, even your planting beds and tree rings, there’s a great, new masonry product that can help and it makes it so easy. It’s called the RumbleStone Edger and it’s a Pavestone product that increases the possibilities for your backyard landscape. Really, all you need is your imagination.
TOM: Yep. The RumbleStone Edger makes decorative concrete edging around the lawn and garden area both attractive and functional. It’s a quick and easy way to create order and organization around your yard or your garden.
LESLIE: Yeah. What I like best is that the Pavestone RumbleStone Edger is really simple to install. Basically, it’s as easy as stacking blocks. And it makes your lawn look sharp while simplifying your mowing and all your trimming chores.
TOM: You can use RumbleStone Edger as a border for walkways, for gardens and plant beds. It’s available at The Home Depot. You can learn more at Pavestone.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going over to Michigan where Linda is on the line and wants to add onto a farmhouse. How can we help you with that?
LINDA: Well, I have about a 100-year-old farmhouse and I – the only bathroom is upstairs. It’s a two-story farmhouse. And I want to age in place, so I want to add another bathroom downstairs. And also, I inherited a doll collection from my mother and it’s stored in all the storage in all the rooms, so I kind of want to bring it into one room and add another room for that and hobbies.
People have been suggesting that I just – oh, just add – break up one of the rooms in the house and just put a bathroom any old place. But the rooms are really well-proportioned; it’s good cross-ventilation. I don’t want to have a mess. I want to have some style to the additions, so people have suggested that I go to either an architect or a drafter or interior designer. I don’t know – I’m not sure what that process involves and how many I should go to or …
TOM: Well, I think that you hit the nail on the head and that is to hire an architect. Because, essentially, you want to make sure that whatever you do to this house flows and maintains its structural integrity, as well as its design integrity. So an architect can help you do just that.
Selecting where to put that bathroom will be a balance of compromises trying to decide where it fits best in the design, where the plumbing is now, what it would take to get the plumbing where it needs to be for this particular bathroom and then how best to design those rooms for your collections and that sort of thing. The architect can handle with the structure and the mechanical systems. Once that’s done, then you could consider bringing in an interior designer to help lay it out and choose colors, choose furniture and make it work for you visually.
LESLIE: And I think the other good thing about bringing in the architect is they may have an interior designer that they work with. You can bring in your own. They’ll be able to sort of work together to help you specify the right materials for the right areas. So it really is a strong partnership.
LINDA: I see. Now, do I bring – do I talk or consult with two architects and get their ideas? Or do I just go with one and get the designs?
TOM: What I would do is I would bring in one or two or maybe three architects to see the property, tell them what you want to accomplish, find out how they work. You get a feel for them, yeah, they get a feel for you and then you make a decision based on that.
LESLIE: I think you meet with somebody – you meet with two or three architects, as Tom suggested. Just get a feel for them, because you’re going to know if you want to work with them, you’re going to know how well you communicate back and forth. You’ll sort of spitball ideas there during that meeting and get a really good sense of how much they’re understanding you. And whoever you feel the most comfortable with, I think, is what’s going to lead you to the right decision. And then you’ll start drawings.
LINDA: OK. I did get a card from someone who used them but – used this person but he was – this card says he’s a drafting – and a consultant.
TOM: You don’t want a drafter, OK? You want an architect. You just want an architect – the good-quality architect. So focus on that first. You can take – usually, they’ll have books that show some of their past projects. You can see what kind of work they do.
It’s going to be – you’ll figure out, through a process of elimination, which one you’re most comfortable with and that’s the person that’s going to get the job. But they’re well worth the investment because they’re going to make this process easy and they’re going to be – you’re going to be assured that it comes out exactly as you plan.
If you bring in some – if you go right to the contractor step, they’re just going to squeeze this bathroom in wherever they think it fits and you’re not going to be happy with it. So get the architect; they’re well worth their investment.
LINDA: OK. Great.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cody in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CODY: Yes, ma’am. I was calling because I’m having a problem with scorpions and bugs and stuff. And I was going to see if you could recommend an economical way to treat them, both inside and out. You know, we’ve used commercial businesses in the past to come in and spray. That’s just not in the budget right now. And I’ve tried Sevin Dust granules outside and just wanted to see if you could recommend anything that would be good inside and out.
TOM: Well, if you’re concerned about spiders, there’s a new product out called Miss Muffet’s Revenge that’s made by the Wet & Forget Company that’s inexpensive and can keep them out for a year. But I don’t think that’s going to keep the scorpions out.
TOM: One natural product that folks have reported good success with is boric acid. And boric acid can be applied a number of ways. You can sprinkle the powder, you can mix the powder with water and spray it. But you have to remember it doesn’t kill on contact; it essentially kind of messes with the skeleton system of the scorpion and causes them to die from dehydration. So, it’s more a preventative than it is sort of an immediate use – an immediate-result product.
CODY: Spray it around the foundation, on the exterior of the home? I actually wouldn’t want to spray that inside or would it be OK to spray inside?
TOM: Well, you could spray it inside, as well. I mean it’s pretty safe to spray inside and outside.
LESLIE: Yeah. Another natural oil that they just don’t seem to like, for whatever reason, is cedar oil. So if you mix cedar oil with water and then spray that around your perimeter or if you’ve got gaps or cracks in your foundation or on your interior, you can use that, as well. They also don’t like lavender. So if you plant some lavender around your foundation, they’ll tend to stay away.
CODY: Awesome. I appreciate the help, guy. You all have a great rest of the day.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, do you have a room or maybe rooms in your home that are too hot or too cold? Well, a mini split-ductless HVAC system might be your magical answer. We’re going to tell you more about it, after this.
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, if your home is comfort-challenged with rooms that are too hot or too cold, you might want to rethink how you’re conditioning those spaces and consider a type of technology called “split-ductless.”
TOM: That’s right. Split-ductless are ductless heating and cooling systems that allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms or spaces. And by doing so, you’re not only customizing your home comfort but you’re saving significant energy by controlling temperatures in individual rooms rather than the entire house. Roy Kuczera is Senior Vice President with Fujitsu General America and he joins us now with more on this technology.
ROY: Glad to be on the show. Thank you for having me.
TOM: So let’s talk about mini-split systems. Can you just explain how they differ from typical room air-conditioning units and also from central?
ROY: Window units tend to block your view in a room, they’re noisy, they’re unattractive. And the central-air systems are – typically require more expensive, intrusive ductwork in a home, take longer to install. Mini-split technology enables us to install the outdoor unit – the noise-making component – outside and having a quiet indoor unit inside the space.
LESLIE: And I think it’s interesting. Because of the technology, you’re really allowed to condition a space that you might not otherwise be able to get any other sort of air conditioning to.
ROY: Sure. Just through a 3-inch hole in the wall, we’re able to run our copper tubing, electrical and drain lines, enabling us to go places where ductwork cannot. And it’s very good for conditioning spaces that are remote or additions in a home, as well.
TOM: And they are super quiet. In fact, I’ll tell you, right now, that I actually have a Fujitsu in my recording studio. And we can have it running and record at the same time, which you certainly can’t say about very many air-conditioning systems.
Now, I know that there are several different types of mini-split systems. How do you decide which is best? And what are some of the options?
ROY: Well, we have a single-zone system for spot-cooling or spot-heating additions. So if you have a sunroom or a bonus room over the garage or an extension on the house, you may opt for a single-zone piece of equipment. If you’re trying to condition a whole home or a whole business, you could go with our multi-zone units that range up to eight indoor units to one outdoor condense unit.
We provide both heating and cooling. So we go down to low temperature as cold as minus-15 degrees outside and still provide heating through our electric heat pumps. We offer wall mounts, floor mounts, ceiling-mounted equipment, concealed ducted units. So there’s a wide variety of indoor units to choose from to meet the particular application.
LESLIE: You know, it’s interesting. I feel like this whole theory or whole idea of a split-ductless system – well, Tom and I are both fans. I feel like the United States has been slower to catch on. Are you seeing that it’s gaining popularity here in the States?
ROY: Yeah. It is one of the fastest growing segments in the HVAC business in the United States. When you look at countries like Asia and Europe, Asia’s probably 90-plus percent ductless technology and in Europe 50, 60 percent. But in those countries, the cost of gasoline and fossil fuel has been really high.
So people have become rather frugal in the way that they manage their homes. When your parents or the kid told you when you leave the room, you turn the light off, well, mini-split technology, having a different temperature in each room, as you leave the room you’ll be able to set the temperature back or turn the unit off. Why condition spaces that you do not occupy?
TOM: We’re talking to Roy Kuczera – he’s a senior vice president with Fujitsu General America – about split-ductless technology.
Roy, I had a friend come to me the other day and ask me about heating-system options. In this particular case, the second floor of this home had never had heat and the first floor was on a hot-water system. And I suggested split-ductless as an option. When you’re looking at a scenario like that and especially where you have, say, multiple rooms on the second floor of a home, does split-ductless still make the most sense when you have, say, three or four smaller rooms as opposed to one big space? Is it still economical compared to traditional heating systems?
ROY: Well, you have a couple choices in that scenario. You can place a ducted unit in the attic space and feed multiple rooms. Or you could have the need for individual cooling. I mean we have indoor units that go down to as low as 7,000 BTUs, which would be very similar to what you would be acquiring as a window unit.
Mini-splits tend to be a little bit more expensive when it comes to the actual equipment purchase. But because the labor is significantly less than the ducted alternative, the systems turn out to be economical when you consider that they’re somewhere between 30- and 50-percent energy savings compared to the central-air alternative. A ductless solution like ours has a variable speed compressor so that as individual rooms are turned off or not calling for cooling, the compressor slows down to just eat or consume as much electric as needed to condition that space.
TOM: I think it all comes down to lots of options that all deliver comfort and efficiency. Roy Kuczera from Fujitsu General America, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you’d like to learn more about this technology, visit ConstantComfort.com. That’s ConstantComfort.com. Or you can reach Fujitsu at 888-888-3424.
ROY: Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, mini-split systems sure are energy savers. But if you’d like to find even more places in your house to save energy, doing a home energy audit can help a lot. We’ve got some tips on a DIY version that’s helped cut energy costs for millions of homeowners, next.
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.
Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We want to help you with whatever it is that you are working on this weekend at your money pit or even planning to work on. And of course, we love to help you out by giving away some great prizes. And this hour, to one lucky caller, we’ve got up for grabs the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
Now, this is pretty awesome because if you work a lot or you travel a lot, this will let you see and speak with whoever is at your door, from anywhere. And I mean anywhere in the world. All you have to have is your smartphone, your tablet or a computer. And it has some really cool features, like a crystal-clear 1080p high-def video. So you’re really going to see who’s at the door. It’s got advance motion detection and two-way talk. So you can talk to this person at your door but they can’t see that you’re on the beach somewhere on vacation. It really is a win-win situation.
Comes with four interchangeable faceplates. So you’re going to have a great match for your home, whatever your architectural style. Plus, it’s got a weather-resistant design, so no worries about rain or sleet or snow or heat. If you want to check it out, head on over to Ring.com. It’s a prize worth $249 but it’s going out to one lucky caller for free.
TOM: That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Sean in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SEAN: I have black kind of like peel-and-stick tile but it’s real thick. It’s real thick and it’s real brittle. And it’s on a concrete floor and I cannot get it up. I’ve tried a scraper and everything, a chisel and a hammer. And I didn’t know if there was an easy way to get it off.
TOM: Why are you trying to get it off the concrete floor? Can I ask what the finished floor is going to be?
SEAN: I have no idea but this tile is pitch black and my entire house is cedar on the inside.
TOM: OK. Because it may not be worth the aggravation of getting it off. What you might want to do is to put another floor over that. For example, laminate floor is beautiful. It comes in hundreds – hundreds – of different patterns. And some of the patterns can look like tile or stone or marble and a lot of the patterns can look like hardwood. And it’s a floating floor and it could lay right on top of that old, nasty-looking black tile. And you might just be better off doing that.
I don’t see what you’re going to gain from taking that tile off. You’re right: the adhesives are very, very hard to release, because they get imbedded in the concrete. You’ll end up with a rough, nasty surface. Even if you were to get it off, I don’t know what you would do with it. So if it was my house, I would leave it alone and put a new floor right on top of it.
SEAN: So, yeah. And we had put the floating floor in the living room. And I asked my wife if she wanted it in the kitchen and she said no. She wanted me to take up the old tile. OK. So I’m all about happy wife, happy life, right? So I thought, “Yeah. Ain’t no problem. I know just the person to call.”
TOM: Yeah. Well, tell her that we gave you some good advice, which is that you should really think about a floating floor in the kitchen, as well. And take a look at the laminate.
Or you know what? If she doesn’t like the laminate, there’s another thing you could do and that’s called “engineered hardwood.” So engineered hardwood is suitable for a kitchen because the way it’s built is instead of being sort of solid hardwood, it’s kind of like plywood in that it’s made of different layers. But from the top surface, it looks just like a solid board of oak or maple or whatever kind you choose. And that’s another way you could have a real wood floor in that kitchen and be absolutely beautiful.
Just make sure that you pay attention to the durability ratings on it. I would probably go for one that’s rated commercial, just because the kitchen’s going to take so much punishment. But you don’t have to worry about spills and things like that because it’s engineered; it’s never going to swell up on you.
SEAN: OK. What about the – she had brought up the idea of ceramic tile. Can I put that over it maybe?
TOM: You possibly could if you use the right adhesive and if that existing tile is really adhered well to the old concrete floor. You could potentially go right on top of that with a ceramic tile. But remember, it’s going to be pretty cold and that’s why the wood floor or the laminate floor – which could, by the way, look like ceramic tile – would be a much more warmer kind of feel underfoot.
SEAN: Awesome. Thank you so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sean. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, sometimes, we take on a remodeling project that we think will save us money but we might not get it exactly right. For example, if you’re trying to decide maybe whether you should add insulation or upgrade your windows, which is going to give you the best return on investment? Well, the answer is it depends, because there are lots of factors that could relate to those energy costs.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that’s why, really, the best way to determine which projects to do first is to do a home energy audit.
Now, while there are professional home energy auditors out there that can do the job for you, you can actually conduct your own simple but diligent walkthrough. And you’ll be able to spot many problems in pretty much any type of home.
TOM: Yep. And while a do-it-yourself home energy audit might not be as thorough as a professional home energy assessment, it can definitely help you pinpoint some of the areas that are easier to address. To help now, there’s a great online tool that’s actually created by the Department of Energy and it’s called the Home Energy Saver.
It’s already helped over nine million people do their own home energy audit. It’s free, it’s online. Just search HomeEnergySaver.com. And what happens is you put in your zip code and then you start filling in the blanks as it walks you around your house and asks you questions about your home. And it’s really looking for the easy-to-improve areas where you can really save some money.
So why not give it a try? Spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon, use the Home Energy Saver tool and see what you find out. You may very well be surprised at what you find and how easy it is to start saving money in your home.
888-666-3974. We’ll help you if you give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Steven in Arkansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STEVEN: I’ve got this porch and it’s got really, really old wood. I guess it’s about 15, 20 years old. Anyway, I cut it up to make a long, shorter porch and I winter-protected it about two years ago with Thompson’s WaterSeal which – it did a job. It just turned pretty looking wood into ugly wood. And I water-treated it. Now I’ve got my wood back and I want to treat it again but I don’t want it to go ugly on me.
TOM: You don’t want it to go ugly on you, huh?
STEVEN: Right. Yeah.
TOM: Well, what kind of wood is the floor, Steven?
STEVEN: I’m pretty sure it’s pine.
TOM: Pine. OK. So, what I would recommend you do is apply a solid stain to that floor. Because a solid-color stain is going to have enough pigment in it where you’ll see the grain come through it but it’s not going to wear off and go ugly on you, I should say. Solid-color staining is what we use on decks. It’s also what we use on porch floors. It’s not like paint; it’s stain. But it’s going to show that grain.
STEVEN: OK. Do I need to water-seal it after that?
TOM: You do not. It’s all built in. Alright? So look for solid-color wood stain and that’ll do it.
STEVEN: Oh, man, I appreciate that. Because I was dreading it, you know? Because (inaudible at 0:32:51) it’s just pretty to look at. We’ve got nice, good-textured wood and I just remember what happened last time. Man, I just don’t want to do that again.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a lot of work just to use the sealer and stop right there. Because what happens is the UV-radiation from the sun gets to it, it breaks down the wood fibers and it starts to gray out on you. So, if you use a solid-color stain – and you can go right on top of what’s there now; just make sure it’s clean – you’ll be good to go.
STEVEN: Yeah. We just got through pressure-washing it and that’s what got all the Thompson’s WaterSeal up.
TOM: Yeah, just make sure it dries thoroughly before you stain it, OK?
STEVEN: Hey, man, I appreciate you and I listen to you all the time. You all are great.
TOM: Alright. Thank you so much. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Hey, are you planning an end-of-summer party? Well, you can light up the night with Tiki torches if you know how to do it safely. We’re going to share some tips, just ahead.
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: Standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT. You can also post your question to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. We’ve got one here from Melinda in Utah.
LESLIE: Yeah. Melinda writes: “Is there a general rule of thumb for how tall a bookshelf or a piece of furniture needs to be before it should be anchored to the wall?”
I don’t know if there’s an actually height rule. I kind of go by my waist height.
TOM: Yeah. It depends. I mean if your kids are small, then even waist height can be pretty damaging. I don’t think you can go wrong, Melinda, by securing any piece of furniture like that to the wall. The thing about bookshelves and even stands for TVs and things like that is they’re generally pretty narrow in the – they’re not very deep. So they can tip over, especially when kids start to climb and pull on them. So I do think it’s always a good idea to have them tied into the wall when you have young children.
Now, there’s a couple of ways to do that. Sometimes, when you buy new furniture, it comes with kind of like a webbing or a strap that attaches to the top of the furniture and then you could screw that into the wall. But what’s really important is where you attach it to the wall. You can’t just screw it into paneling or drywall. You’ve got to make sure you’re finding a stud behind that wall covering so that you have good security on that. Because remember, when that bookshelf, for example, gets really heavy with books, if you just screw it into the drywall, that screw’s just going to pull right out.
So how do you figure out? Well, there’s a couple of ways to do that. The easy way to do it is with something called a “stud finder” where you actually run a tool against the wall and it’ll show you where the wood is behind it. But if you don’t have one, you can just knock on the wall. Sometimes, when you knock on the wall when you come across the stud, you hear a different sound. It’s harder. It doesn’t have as much bounce to it. And that’s how I always, after all these years of doing it, can tell there’s a stud. And once you find one, there’s going to be another one 16 inches from there and 16 inches from there. So you can pretty much get it close that way.
LESLIE: Alright. Good point, Tom. But you know what I think is funny is that every time you get one of those supports or that kit in any type of furniture, it always comes with these dinky, little plastic anchors.
LESLIE: Do they work, for the most part? Or should you just always try to find the stud and skip that anchor itself?
TOM: I would always find the stud. I would get a really long screw, like around a 2½-inch screw, and I would drive that through the drywall into the stud to be absolutely sure it was secure. I would not use anything that has a plastic anchor, because it’s just not going to hold up.
LESLIE: Yeah. And, Tom, really, we’re talking safety here, guys. So once these pieces of furniture, should it start to fall over, they really gain momentum. And you know what? It could seriously hurt your kids or you. So you’ve got to use the anchor system. It just makes sense.
TOM: Well, are you planning an end-of-summer backyard blowout? You can light up the night with Tiki torches. And Leslie has tips on how to do this safely, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. If you want to set a mood, create ambiance, you know, you can do it with some dramatic lighting in your backyard. And you can do this by picking up oil-burning torches. You’ll find them pretty much at any store this time of year that sells any kind of outdoor equipment. And the best part is instead of using a traditional oil, you can use a citronella oil, which will help to keep the bugs away.
Of course, any time we’re talking about an open flame, you have to practice fire safety. You want to make sure that you’ve got a bucket of water or a hose close by. When you snuff out the flame, you want to make sure that the torches are in a fireproof place. Also, you want to be sure to check SaferProducts.gov to make sure that the torch you’ve selected is actually considered safe and doesn’t have a recall or anything like it. If you really want to be super safe, LED technology really has brought us a wide array of very safe battery- and even solar-powered torches.
Now, some of these will turn on automatically at dusk and they even can flicker like a real flame, which really makes it possible to light up the night without throwing caution to the wind.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’re looking for a great lawn but you just don’t have the time to watch the grass row, laying sod is the best way to get a great lawn going fast. And fall is the perfect time to start that project. We’ll have all the details you need, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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 2016 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.)