Today’s show offers a trifecta of home beautification tips! Unravel the mysteries of proper paint storage so leftover colors remain fresh and usable, then learn the art of securely hanging wall hangings for a picture-perfect gallery. Finally, spruce up your entryway with front door décor ideas to welcome holiday guests. Plus, get answers to even more home improvement questions!
- Storing Paint: Leftover paint is useful for touchups and other projects, as long as it’s stored the right way.
- Securing Wall Hangings: What goes up won’t come down with these tips for securing wall hangings.
- Front Door Décor: Make a lasting first impression with festive front door décor to welcome holiday guests.
Top Questions & Answers
- Drainage: How can John improve drainage on a home surrounded on three sides by soil on a steep hill? A curtain drain can intercept and redirect water around the foundation.
- Concrete Patio Surface: Jennifer’s concrete patio has gotten pitted from rock salt. She can use a concrete resurfacing product on the entire slab to fill in the pockmarks.
- Hardwood Floors: After a contractor did a bad job stripping his hardwood floors, Billy gets advice on how to sand and refinish the surface, plus how to stop the squeaks.
- Insulation: Brrr! Both kitchens in Lora’s home are cold due to insufficient heating and insulation. We suggest calling the home inspector and taking steps to warm things up.
- Asphalt Driveway: How can you repair a crumbling asphalt driveway? Bruce may be able to patch small holes temporarily, but a latex patching compound would be better.
- Accessible Cabinets: Nancy doesn’t like the old soffits in her kitchen but is concerned about reaching high spaces. A certified kitchen and bath designer could offer accessible options with pull-down shelves.
- Heating Installation: Virgil is installing an energy-efficient furnace in his old home. The manufacturer can tell him the proper installation and venting for that equipment.
|TOM: Tom and Leslie. Coast to coast and floorboards, the shingles. This is the Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
|TOM: And we are here to help you take on your ho ho home improvement projects this special time of year. See if you’re trying to get a few last minute things done around your house and you need some help. Reach out to us with your questions at 1-888-Money-Pit or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com again, ask maybe you’re thinking about projects you want to tackle in the year ahead. Maybe it’s tied to a New Year’s resolution you want to make whatever’s on your to do list. Please slide over 2 hours by reaching out with those questions. Coming up on today’s show, I have a question. Let’s see. I know what your answer would be. This It’s this. Are you a paint collector?
|TOM: If you save partial, use cans of paint for that just in case moment when you’re going to need it for touch ups or a new project. Well, if that’s you, we all share with that habit. Well, we’re going to teach you how to prevent that paint from actually going bad. So it truly is ready when you need it. If you ever need.
|LESLIE: You’re going to need it. You should hold on to it. Also ahead, especially here, we’re talking about hanging pictures. It can be daunting. You can mess up the wall and then you have to cover it up, not with just the painting, maybe some paint. So here you see it all ties together, but definitely when it comes to hanging pictures, sometimes they’re pretty heavy. And no matter what wall surface you’ve got that you’re drilling into, there is a tried and true way to secure all of those things that you hang on the wall safely. So we’re going to explain that.
|TOM: And if you’re jumping into holiday decor, we’ve got some tips on how to make the best first impression by decorating the first thing, your guests see your front door. So whether it’s classic or contemporary, we’re going to make sure yours can stand out.
|LESLIE: But first, we want to help you create your best holiday home ever. What do you work at on this very busy season? And kind of just take it easy and focusing on the holiday? Probably not. You’re probably getting your house in tip top shape so you can make it all sparkle and make it the most memorable holiday or whatever it is. We can totally lend a hand.
|TOM: The number here is 888-Money-Pit. 888-666-3974.
|LESLIE: Hey, John in New York, you’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: That week I heard something about a guy talking about rent issues in the basement and you start talking about certain things to make sure with the gutters and the drip, the foot drains and making sure the soil slopes away from your house. Yeah, my situation’s a little weird. I have a soapbox style house, 1750 square feet, the very steep hill my house is built into. So basically three sides of the base, two sides of the basement are partially in the soil. One side. What’s up to the garage at the ground level, on one side of the house and one wall, the basement below the ground completely. I have very good drainage. I want a hill. Like I said, however, when it rains heavily, I do get that seep around the foundation. And my thought was how do you slop soil away in a situation where there’s an overwhelming grade from the property coming right up against the house?
|TOM: Yeah, that’s a good point. So in your situation, the grade is not as important as what you can do to intercept that runoff through your property. So two things. First of all, the advice that we gave you about gutters, that’s really critical even in your situation. The gutters have got to be clean, free flowing, and those downspouts have got to be discharging away from the house. In your case, you’re going to probably want to go from the uphill side to the downhill side. You might want to run them underground through solid PVC pipe and have them break out the daylight somewhere on the downhill side. So you’re really managing that roof water in terms of the runoff, the way you handled that was something called a curtain drain. Basically, it’s a trough drain and it gets laid into the soil. And as the water runs down the hill, it falls into the stream and then it gets intercepted and sort of run around the house. Now, instead of going through all the work to construct a French drain where you have to dig trenches and use perforated pipe and stone and filter cloth, there’s another type of a prefabricated French drain pipe that you can pick up at Home Depot. And it’s made by NDS. It’s an easy drain pipe, and you’ll recognize it when you see it because it’s a plastic drainage pipe that’s surrounded with it looks kind of like a packing peanut. And then there’s a filter cloth around that. So they’re one piece, they’re modular, and you basically stack these up side by side and then put the soil back on top of them. It’s a very fast, easy way to put that French strain in without going through all the work that you would have to if you were building it kind of from scratch. So in your case, you have to put the strain in to intercept the runoff of the water, running around the house again out to daylight. And then I think that your water problems will go away. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Jennifer in Missouri, you’ve got the Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
|CALLER: I have a rental house that is a basement home and it has a concrete patio that is rather large, probably around 12 feet long by eight foot wide. The house has been built several years ago. And over the course of time, the concrete patio has gotten pitted, it looks like, from the use of rock salt to melt the ice and snow off of it. And I didn’t know. Just because of the size of the patio. I’m guessing it’s going to be pretty costly to replace it. I didn’t know if I had any other options.
|TOM: Yeah, you do. And this is a perfect scenario for this. Kwikrete makes a product called Concrete Resurfacer and it’s specifically designed for scenarios like this. You can apply this resurfacer to the entire slab and it’s designed to stick to it and fill in those pockmarks and those little gaps, and it will give it a whole new look. It’ll look like a brand new slab. But it will resurface it completely.
|CALLER: Wow, that’s great. What is it called?
|TOM: It’s made by Kwikrete and it’s called Concrete Resurfacer. It’s basically a blend of Portland cement and sand and polymers and the polymers and the other additives basically set it up so it can stick to the original concrete. There is a preparation you have to pressure wash it first to get it nice and clean. But once you apply this, you can basically squeegee it or trowel it on and you can use a brush finish. So it gets that nice sort of slippers and finish when you’re all done.
|CALLER: That’s great news. I didn’t realize there was anything like that. So thank you.
|TOM: Specifically designed for this project. All right. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Bill, you’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you with your flooring project?
|CALLER: I bought a house like three years ago and I hired these people to come in, you know, foot my other hardwood floors in my living room and they never did a good job. But I can I can never get a hold of them. And the hardwood floor, the hardwood squeaks. I want to redo it. What is the best the best way to refinish it?
|TOM: So the issue is that you want them to be to stop squeaking or you want to refinish it or kind of both.
|CALLER: Stop squeaking and also how I refinish.
|TOM: Okay. So there’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, because you’re doing the refinishing and the repair at the same time, that actually makes it a little bit easier. But what you’re going to want to do is deal with the squeaking issue first. And the reason that that happens is usually because of movement. If you can identify those sections of the floor that are the loudest, they’re probably going to have the most movement. Then simply what you want to do is secure those floorboards to the floor so you can do that with nails. If you nail through the hardwood board into the floor just below it, a slight angle with a nail that’s kind of rough, like a galvanized. Now you don’t have to pilot that hole first. Put a small drill hole in first and then drill nail right through the hole because you can’t nail hard wood directly. The nail will bend, board will split in ones that are really leak. You can actually use a trim screw, which is a long, thin screw with a tiny head. And it’s a little bit bigger than a nail. That’s even a better way to do it, because the screws are really solid. They won’t pull back out again. So I would just take them off the boards as best you can. The loudest areas, you’re never going to get them, get them all. So don’t try and then you’re going to have your floor refinished, sand it and refinish it. And I would definitely have the sanding Then professionally, I would not do this myself because the tools are very rugged and if you don’t use them every day, you’re going to damage your floor. So I would have a completely sanded and then refinished is that makes sense.
|CALLER: Thank you. Appreciate it very much.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Do you love learning about home improvement on our podcast? Well, we love bringing you all the latest tips and tricks.
|TOM: And if you want to make us smile, leave us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Just go to moneypit.com/review.
|LESLIE: Laura in Connecticut is on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: I’m calling from my son. He purchased a home, only has two kitchens okay. And he wants to insulate the outside you know outside wall kitchen. The house is over 100 years old, is perched high, is a home, right. The washer and dryer on the first floor. And she needs a little bit the walls. We took down a couple of the walls. We noticed some of the cabin walls. They are horizontal planks. This space. Okay. And they do have a couple in the hole due to poor insulation of high profile siding. Okay. During the winter, we also noticed that the heat is very challenged. You can actually see it for us. How do we insulate these walls?
|TOM: So you have a really old house, hundred years plus and you’ve got some very cold walls that are cold, rooms that are so cold you can see your breath. So there’s a couple of things we have to start at the beginning with this. Is this a one story house or a two?
|CALLER: It’s a two story house. In fact, both kitchens are on the same side of the house and one above the other. And the kitchen on the first floor not only doesn’t have the washing and drying and shimmies the floor somewhat, but it has a dirt basement.
|TOM: So the kitchens are on stacked on top of each other. First of all, we need to when you’re trying to evaluate how much insulation the house has and trying to make it as warm as possible, the easiest and the most important place to start is the attic. And you’re in you’re in Connecticut, so you need 15 to 20 inches of fiberglass insulation across the floor of that attic. And if you don’t have that much, then you’re wasting a lot of heat. So you got to really insulate the attic. Now, if you’ve got some insulation, that’s great. You could add more to that. On top of that, you want to use unfazed fiberglass bats and then stack the stack them side by side. Okay. Now the other thing to look at is the type of heating system you have in this house. Is it forced air or is it hot water?
|CALLER: Oh, it’s electric.
|TOM: Oh, it’s electric. Yeah. No, even more reason to make sure that place is well-insulated. Did you get a home inspection done when he bought the house?
|CALLER: He certainly did. I was in here. I’m here now. Freezing. That’s why I called. And I wasn’t in. I wasn’t in his state. I happened to come in to help him out with whatever and to find out is really poorly insulated.
|TOM: All right, look. A lot going on with this house. I can only sort of poke around on this from, you know, from a distance. But I would say that if you don’t if you have a cold, uncomfortable house, you have insufficient insulation and probably insufficient heat. Now, the insulation is the easiest, quickest, fastest thing you can fix. And you can start in the attic. You know, insulating exterior walls is rather difficult because they’re already built, although there are ways to do that. But since this is a new house for you guys and since you say your son had a home inspection, the next call I would make would be to my home inspector and I would ask him to revisit the house with you guys together because you’re having some pretty serious problems with it and you’re hoping that maybe he can give you some advice and, you know, in a nice sort of way. Why did this come up on the inspection as well? So I would do those two things because you need more information to determine what’s going on with this. But I can tell you for certain, you don’t have enough insulation. Well, if you’re like us, you probably have accumulated lots and lots of partially filled cans of paint, you know, saving those up from past projects. Because, after all, why throw out perfectly good paint? You might need four touch ups of the project you just finished, right? Makes sense.
|LESLIE: The hole you’d never know.
|TOM: That’s right.
|LESLIE: I mean, it really is. But you know what, guys? As time does go on, those pink ends definitely pile up and that it leaves you wondering if that paint really is even any good anymore. Well, it doesn’t last forever. It doesn’t give you an exact expiration date like you would see on your groceries. But what you’re going to find is that the quality of the paint will definitely degrade over time. How long it’s actually going to last will, That really depends on what kind of paint it is. Is it oil, is water based? What kind of container do you have it in? Are you storing it properly like a cool dry place or is it exposed to high temps? Cold temps, You know, you’ve got to look at all the factors.
|TOM: Yeah. So what is the life expectancy for different paints? Well, for latex, you know, water based paints and acrylic paint that can actually last up to ten years if it’s not opened. And once you open it, though, it drops to as little as two years now for oil based paint and the other hand that potentially can last up to 15 years unopened and five years after you open it.
|LESLIE: All right. So now you’ve got the paint, you’ve opened it up, you’ve been storing it. How do you know if that paint has gone bad? Well, signs that your paint is in gray anymore definitely would be drying out if it smells yucky, if there’s clumps, if you’re noticing a separation of liquids and solids, if you see mold or mildew growth, if the color looks different and issues with the container, like if you see rust or perhaps a malfunctioning spray can, those are all big clues that it’s not good.
|TOM: Now speaking of spray, can spray paint technically can also last several years like other oil paints, but with spray paints, the deathblow is usually when that spray tip clogs and fails. So many times you picked up a half, you can’t spray paint. Leslie shook it up and then went to spray and nothing came out. Now, to keep that from happening, here’s a little trick or treat. When you’re done spraying, turn the can upside down and depressed spray nozzle for a couple of seconds. What that does is force is the leftover paint that’s in the nozzle out, clears it out with the air that’s behind it. And it’s good to go for the next project. Now for a canopy, proper storage is key. You want to make sure you’re sealing those cans tightly. You want to keep them in a cool, dry place away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. And you want to make sure that that rim stays clean for proper resealing. And one trick for that is to use a straight screwdriver and a hammer to punch holes in the bottom of the rim so that the paint drips back into the can instead of pooling in that little well right there. Now, one final tip, and this is really a tip that you’re not going to find too many other places, but I’ve been doing it for years and it works great. Store the can upside down. Now, why would you do that? Because think about it. No matter how clean you make that rim and how well you bang down that lid, air gets in there. But if you store the can upside down, then no more air can get in. It’s completely sealed by the leftover paint that’s also resting on top of that rim. So store it upside down, twist your head to read what color you got. But it definitely makes the paint last as long as it possibly can.
|LESLIE: Now we’re heading to Tennessee, where Bruce is on the line with a question about a driveway. What’s going on at your Money Pit?
|CALLER: Hey, guys, I’ve got a driveway that’s kind of it’s not cracking, but it’s kind of like crumbling into, like, small pebbles and pieces. I have heard from a buddy of mine. They used to do some summer work that you can take that block top and put a little bit of, I guess, sand in it and mix it up into a party and maybe save it for a couple of years. What have you guys heard?
|TOM: So I think that that would work as sort of a temporary patch, but I wouldn’t say.
|LESLIE: Certainly not for the whole surface like do. Yeah.
|TOM: Yeah. I mean, that’s the kind of thing where like if you resurface in the driveway and you and all of a sudden find that maybe there’s a little hole that you mixed that you missed. You could take some of that sealant, mix it with some sand, stick it into that hole and kind of call it a day. But if you want to have if you want to do this the entire surface, you need to use the products that are designed for that because they’re designed to adhere properly to the surfaces that are below. And I think just trying to sort of make this from scratch doesn’t make a lot of sense.
|CALLER: Okay. What would you suggest?
|TOM: So there’s a lot of good quality latex products that are out today. And what you want to do is start with the patching compounds, clean the driveway really well, use the patching compounds next, fill in those cracks. Fill in those holes. If you have a really deep one, then there’s essentially like an aggregate that you packaged first, then you seal the surface. And then once those dry, then you go ahead and put your top coat on and kind of broom your way out. You want to buy one of those driveway squeezes, which is kind of like the size of a push broom, but it has a squeegee on it and just very carefully start as close to the house as possible and bring yourself out to the street and do it at a time where the weather’s decent and when you can try to keep cars off it for two or three days at least, because the longer you live set, the better it is.
|CALLER: You suggest a certain temperature.
|TOM: Well, the temperature range is going to be dictated by the manufacturer, but as long as it’s not freezing and as long as it’s not, you know, 100 degrees out, you’re probably okay.
|CALLER: Awesome. Thanks, guys.
|TOM: Hey Leslie, we got another review that came in this week.
|TOM: From the author was Toure WDW. We want to say thank you, Mr. Toure WDW. Wrote a very nice reviews as I gotten to the home improvement kick during the pandemic and then sold my house, I completely renovated for a smaller one to renovate as well, but increased my commute. I discovered Tom and Leslie after my wife suggested they find some podcasts to listen to on my drive to and from work. What can I say? Tom and Leslie are practical, informative and know their stuff. It’s been about two months since I discovered them and they have both confirmed things I already knew and taught me some new things. I listen to the show weekly and appreciate both their planned tips and the questions they answer. Very nice. Thank you so much, Toure. We appreciate it. All right. We don’t know how to write back because you can’t do that here. So we figured we’d just mention you on the show. Hopefully you’ll hear this and we appreciate it very, very much. All those reviews that are coming in are really what keeps us going, guys. So if you like what you heard, please drop us five-star review in Apple Podcasts.
|LESLIE: All right. Thanks so much, you guys. Nancy from Illinois is on the line with a question about a solve it. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: Well, I inherited a house that from a relative that was built in 1960. So it has profits above the cabins. I still have the original kitchen. I mean, everything the floor, the counters, the appliances. You know, I know that in all the newer construction, they’re using either candidate to go from all the way to the ceiling or they have an empty space up there where people can display things. I have a lot of dust allergies. And I’m also a senior citizen. And so I don’t think I want that empty space up there that’s going to collect dust. I don’t want to have to be dealing with dusting that all the time and climbing up a ladder. Okay. So I’m trying to figure out, you know, do you think soffit will ever come back or is it just to have cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, knowing that I’m probably never going to use this top shelf?
|TOM: Well, actually, there is a way for you to use those top shelves because there are ways that you can bring those shelves down to stack things on them and put them back up. There’s cabin designs where the entire shelf contents pulls out and drops down and sort of hinges down, and then it goes back up. There are accessible design options that are made by a bunch of different manufacturers. So it is possible to even have high cabinets and be able to use that that space if that’s a need for you.
|CALLER: I got to turn rotor to both shoulders, so I’m not even supposed to be reaching up high. So I don’t know how difficult it is to get those shelves, you know, to drop down.
|TOM: Usually there’s a handle that’s sort of like shoulder height where you reach out right in front of you and pull it towards you, and then that whole thing drops down from there. It’s all on spring, so it supports itself. It’s called Rev-A-Shelf. And their system is simply called a cabinet pull down shelving system. So that type of system is available. The cabinet is basically completely empty and then the shelving system is put in. And then again, you reach out, you pull towards you and it drops down. And these things are strong enough where you can have like canned goods on every single shelf and it’s still going to hold it. So that’s an option for you. The other thing is, I think the dated part of the soffit, Leslie, and you correct me because you’re the decorator, here is where the soffit extends past the kitchen cabinet, but you could sort of have a flush soffit that sort of flush with the with the front of the kitchen cabinet that wouldn’t give you that sort of ugly overhang. Right.
|CALLER: Minus is flush.
|TOM: Okay, well, then maybe you ought to think about just keeping it the way it is and painting it to sort of blend.
|LESLIE: I mean, I like having the soffit because then it just filled that space. So then you’re not thinking about putting stuff up there, which then be, you know, then it’s just a dust collector. So if you’re going to get rid of the soffit, you really need to think about like, what is the purpose of that space above it? Am I just extending the cabinet higher or am I, you know, putting in some glass, something that makes it purposeful. But I’m telling you, with these cabinet pull downs that Tom has mentioned, they operate smoothly. They really are helpful. I mean, any person can have one regardless of abilities. So it really will make your life so much easier.
|CALLER: And if it’s not Rev as in Victor or?
|TOM: Rev as in victor. Like Rev-A-Shelf.
|LESLIE: Like rev your engine.
|TOM: Rev-A-Shelf, like that.
|CALLER: Kind of thing. Okay. Well, that’s going to be exciting for me to check out. My other question that I was going to be asking was, you know, as an aging senior that has some macular degeneration, that is the slow developing kind. But still, I know what’s coming because relatives have had this lost vision. Would you recommend contacting an architect or is there a certain type of contractor that would be good to help me design this new kitchen?
|TOM: So to design your kitchen, you might want to use the services of a certified kitchen and bath designer. That’s a designation that is sought through the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Guys that have the certified kitchen and bath design designation are very, very competent at designing kitchens and bathrooms that meet those specific needs that you mentioned.
|CALLER: Well, I appreciate all this good advice. Thank you so.
|TOM: Much. Good luck with your project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit. Hey, guys, if you’ve ever wanted to hang a heavy picture or a piece of artwork, your first concern is usually this gravity, right? You want to make sure what goes up does not come crashing down.
|LESLIE: That is true. And you know what? There are many types of walls out there from exposed brick to drywall to surfaces that are covered in tile. And each material is going to have a fastener that it’s best suited for. Now, each type of anchor has strengths and weaknesses, but they really boil down to two types an expansion anchor or a hollow wall anchor. Now, an expansion anchor is going to expand when a screw or bolt is threaded into them, and they work best in thick, solid materials. Hollow wall anchors are best used in thin materials or even a hollow wall because they spread in a variety of ways once they’re inserted into the wall and then you cannot pull them back through.
|TOM: Now, here’s how to combine the fastener with the wall material now for drywall. Nails are okay, but they need to go in at a 45 degree angle. Screws are much better and they should be used with a plastic anchor. Now, if you have anything that’s heavier than 20 pounds, the fastener has got to go in to a stud for plaster. You need to be super careful because plaster walls can crack easily when they’re separated from the lath. So keeping vibration to a minimum is really key. Metal toggle bolts are the wall anchors of choice for plaster, because once they’re pushed through the plaster, they add support from behind. And just like drywall. For heavier items, you need to drill into the stud. Now, if you’re attaching to brick or mortar walls, you want to be sure to choose a spot in a mortar joint. The space between the brick or the stone. You’ll need to use a drill with the masonry bit and then drive a wall anchor into that hole. And that’s going to be what holds the actual screw.
|LESLIE: Now, the best thing for heavy objects are definitely Molly bolts because these combine the ease of installation of a plastic expansion anchor with much greater strength. And the largest Molly’s can hold about 50 pounds. And then, of course, there’s the fastener that we love called a monkey hook. I just think the name is amazing.
|TOM: It’s so cool. It’s like a scribe. It’s a bent piece of wire that’s very thin and very sharp at one end. And you stick it into the drywall, wiggle it back and forth. It pierces the drywall and then sort of goes up behind it and sort of locks in place. And when it’s inserted, it can actually hold 50 pounds, which is amazing. So if you see those in a hardware store, pick up a pack, because believe me, you always find a reason to use them.
|LESLIE: Virgil in South Dakota What can we do for you today?
|CALLER: Well, I’ve got a an old home that I am restoring and renovating and remodeling. It’s over a century old and part of the process has been installation of a relatively high energy efficient furnace. Okay. And I just got it started. And this was away from the home for a while. Came back and everything was froze. So the exhaust had developed plug of ice and the furnace would not run. Ooh, that’s not good. Oh, that’s for sure. Anyway, the contractor that installed it rerouted the pipe so it goes through a heated room instead of up in the attic. Right. And so I have it going above the way and the ceiling over my bathroom. So I’ve got probably a foot to a foot and a half inch to half exhaust pipe sticking out of the side of the house. And I’m wondering if I could have a problem with that. And if so, how can I pretend it’s happening again? Yeah.
|TOM: That’s a good question. In this situation, I would turn to the manufacturers, making sure that they’re that you follow the recommended installation instructions for this type of a system with a high efficiency furnace. What happens is you take so much heat out of that exhaust gas that what’s left is mostly water vapor. Like 80% of it or more is water vapor. And so that’s why you have to be able to have a way to deal with that. Now, if that pipe is in in a heated area, if it’s insulated, that’s going to stop the ice from forming. But of course, it’s dangerous if it does form, because if you can’t exhaust the gas, then that’s going to shut down the furnace, which is a safety switch, basically. So right to me, I would make sure first that I’ve that the contractor has installed that venting consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations. And I’m sure you can find on their website there are very detailed instructions on that sort of thing. And secondly, I would just watch it now and see what happens. Time is going to tell.
|CALLER: Kind of a vacation home, and I’m not there for a good part of the time, so I can’t be out checking.
|TOM: Right? Yeah. Do you have a smart thermostat for that house?
|CALLER: No, there’s no Internet there.
|TOM: Oh, that’s too bad. So I suggest that this would be a great application for a smart thermostat that can monitor the temperature in the house, as we all know, if it’s working or not.
|CALLER: Well, a better choice might be if I put in one of those smart outlets. It turns on at 35, went off at 45. And if it turns out 35, maybe one of the neighbors would see a flashing red light.
|TOM: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Listen, I think that you need to work with the contractor and the manufacturer to figure out why this was why this is happening. But I do suspect that that venting has to run, be run through a heated area, and it’s got to be better insulated.
|CALLER: Well, he did have it insulated and it was in the attic, which is totally unheated. So he did move it down to a heated area. And I can even move the temperature up a little bit by lifting one of the tiles early and sealing in the water.
|TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit. Well, you guys short on time. With all the busyness of this time of year and you’re wondering what to decorate, well, go with the thing that guests see first. Your front door.
|LESLIE: Yeah, and you know what? It’s the first thing that guests see. So your door and pretty much the whole entry way leaves a very big impression. You can easily dress that door up for the season with a classic Christmas wreath, silver bells, glass, ornaments, garland, whatever. Dress it up.
|TOM: Or you can hang a set of sleigh bells on the doorknob or the knocker, and they’ll give a festive jingle every time a guest pass through. And then they can you really be hung over that knob even over the top of the door? That doesn’t impact the operation will work. I remember last season someone gave us to use some beautiful evergreen wreaths, so I took some coat hanger wire and with a pair of pliers, carefully made my own bracket that would slide, overtop the door and allowed us to hang the wreath without damaging the door.
|LESLIE: That’s super smart. Now, another easy holiday update is to actually wrap your door in decorative paper. And this is really popular. If your house has got some small kids, you just crisscross that wrapped door with some white ribbon and then it makes that door resemble like a huge gift wrapped package, which is super fun.
|TOM: Yep. And once that door is set, you can extend those holiday touches to your entranceway to maybe set out some pots planted with seasonal greens, add some holiday welcome mats, maybe consider some bases and dishes full of pine cones or greens. Everything contributes to put you and your guests in the holiday spirit.
|LESLIE: All right. Renee wrote into Money Pit saying, I recently installed a new fiberglass entry door. That looks great. I’ve considered installing a storm door outside for added protection so we can have a full glass view door during the warmer months. I’ve heard, though, that I need to vent the door so it doesn’t warp or ruin the entry door. If so, how do we do this? Or should I just skip a storm door?
|TOM: So preferences aside, you do not need to install a storm door for, as you say, added protection. When you have a fiberglass entry door because fiberglass entry doors are phenomenally energy efficient. They seal really well the insulate really well. Storm doors were a lot more necessary with wooden doors that were naturally drafty and metal doors. And those metal doors also needed to be shielded from the cold. But the fiberglass doors totally solve those problems. That said, it does make sense if you want to install a storm door to take advantage of the outdoor views when the temperatures allow for it. Again, venting is not necessary with fiberglass, but to keep the air flowing. Just swap out your storm door’s glass for a screen door. When the seasons change, as long as you don’t have that storm door up in the summertime, which is completely unnecessary, although I doubt it would harm the door. What I would say is just do it for the winter, even though you don’t really need the protection. But this way, in the summer and in spring, you can get that full screen door effect and have lots of nice fresh air coming in and out.
|LESLIE: All right, Renee, good luck with that project. And I’m so glad you’re enjoying your new door.
|TOM: Well, the holidays are approaching and that means house guests are not far behind. Leslie’s got some tips on ways to enhance your guest rooms for a memorable stay. Today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Words. Leslie, you want to make it nice, but not too nice? Read. Losing will leave.
|LESLIE: You, but you also want to make them feel, like, comfortable and make them so they’re not looking for things or asking you for stuff so that they’re really doing their own thing in your home, which is truly the mark of a great stay is when somebody feels very comfortable. So good ways to do that or kind of make your room more like hotel like. So think about towels. Don’t give them random mismatched towels like, Oh, here’s our weird minions pool towel. Go ahead and give them, like nice matching white towels. And those are going to always be what you use for your guests and you can kind of roll them up nice in a basket, or if there’s a chair in the room or a counter or a shelf and you can create sort of this bathroom spot with all these beautiful towels and maybe a couple of toiletries that they have access to that right there. If you have time and you’re kind of running out of time right now, but if you can, a fresh coat of paint really does wonders to the space. If not, a magic eraser can surely do the trick in a pinch. Now, other things, you know, bedside tables, people use them for all the travel things or keys, tickets, the phones, their chargers. If you don’t have a bedside table, get one and then consider adding something. They’re like a really awesome phone charger or multiple. You USB ports that they’re able to charge all of their devices because that makes it super easy. And then they’re not looking for all the plugs and things and where to put stuff in. I also love two very largely and right in a spot where they’re not going to miss it. Put the Wi-Fi password this way they know exactly what it is. Actually, a friend of mine 3D, printed for us at the ski house, a really cool QR code that when you scan that links you right to our wi fi login. So it’s perfect. So there’s you don’t have to be so fancy, but you can make a little sign and do that too. Bedding Keep it cozy, keep it fresh. You want to make sure you leave extra pillow, extra blanket. If you’ve got the space for it, you really want people to feel comfortable and you don’t want them bothering you too much. They’re going to feel bad about doing so. But it’s so nice having the guests, so make them feel welcome and you’ll be so happy to have them.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit Home Improvement Show coming up next time on the program. If you guys enjoy having a beautiful live Christmas tree this season, you might be surprised to learn there’s a really good chance your first horde of holiday guests could be the Christmas tree bugs that came with it. We’re going to tell you how to spot and evict those holiday hitchhikers on the very 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.
|(Note: The above referenced transcript is AI-Generated, Unedited and Unproofed and as such may not accurately reflect the recorded audio. Copyright 2023 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.)