Tune in to today’s show for a wealth of essential winter wisdom! We’ll guide you through snow preparation tactics, effective methods to eliminate pesky Christmas tree bugs, and insights into handling and preventing common household poisons. Empower yourself with knowledge to safeguard your home and family, plus answers to more home improvement questions.
- Winter Checklist: The best time to prepare for snow is before it starts, with this winter-ready checklist.
- Christmas Tree Bugs: Learn what to do when your unwelcome holiday guests are Christmas tree bugs.
- Household Poisons: Take these important steps to protect your family from common household poisons.
Top Questions & Answers
- Leaking Roof: Cindy has tried everything to fix a leaky corrugated metal roof. She’ll need to either add another layer of roof with an ice and water shield or replace the whole roof.
- Generator: Rich wants a generator to guard against power outages. We recommend a natural gas whole-house generator to keep things running and offer peace of mind.
- Window Replacement: Some of Donna’s old windows no longer open or close. After so many years, it’s time to replace them with windows that are more energy-efficient.
- Attic Fan Energy Savings: Is it worth having an attic fan? Rob learns why an attic fan can waste energy in the summer and how not to use it in the winter.
- Uneven Floor Joists: A dip in Deb’s old home is twisting the staircase. It’s rarely a good idea to try to raise the floor unless it’s a structural issue and would be easier to build new stairs to fit the space.
- Concrete Flooring and Walls: What’s the best way to seal concrete walls and floors in a basement? Gary can use standard masonry wall paint and epoxy on the floor.
- Countertops: Cheryl needs ideas for resurfacing her plywood countertops. Tile would be a good DIY option that’s quick, affordable, and stylish.
|TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
|TOM: And happy holidays, everybody. We hope that you are enjoying this magical time of year. And you know what? We’re even prepared to give you the day off of your home improvement project. That’s the kind of folks we are. It’ll be our gift to you. You don’t have to do a project today while you’re enjoying the holidays. But you know what? If you’re thinking about something you want to tackle, once it’s time to put all those decorations away. That would be a great question to ask us right now. How do you do that? Well, you go to moneypit.com/ask. Click the blue microphone button or pick up your phone and call us at 1-888-Money-Pit. 888-666-3974. Coming up on today’s show, if you are enjoying having a real live Christmas tree this season, you might be surprised to learn that there is a good chance your first horde of holiday guests could be Christmas tree bugs that came with it. Sorry to say, but we’re going to tell you how to spot and evict those holiday hitchhikers.
|LESLIE: I tell you, whenever we cover these types of stories, it just gives me the mule looking at my tree the heebie jeebies. So thanks a lot, Tom. Also ahead, you guys.
|TOM: Just trying to help out.
|LESLIE: Yes, thanks. Also ahead, guys, as the winter temps drop, it is the right time to get ready for snow. So to help make sure that you’re ready for anything that Mother Nature wants to throw at us, we are giving your winter ready checklist.
|TOM: And we’re going to fill you in on some surprisingly common household poisons. We’ll tell you what they are and how to make sure they are stored properly, especially when all the guests come to visit. Because sometimes kids get into houses but don’t have kids and bad things can happen. So we’re going to go through the steps and what you need to do to keep everybody safe.
|LESLIE: All right. But first, our focus is you. We want to know what you want to know. So if you’ve got a DIY project on your to do list, let us help you make it a DIY done project. Let us know what you are working on and how we can lend a hand. And it’s totally okay. If you want to know how to hang a wreath on a front door or need some help putting up the lights because those are seasonal questions and we’re open to them.
|TOM: The number here is 1-888-Money-Pit. Or better yet, go to moneypit.com/ask and click the blue microphone button. Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
|LESLIE: Cindy in Louisiana, you’ve got the Money Pit. Tell us all about your roofing problems.
|CALLER: We have a camp and it’s got it’s a metal building with the pitch on the roof. There’s several different layers of the pitch. It goes down. And so let’s be like three different pitches on it. We had it put in oh, probably in oh seven or oh A And then around 2011 we decided to pull off that plastic wrap insulation off the inside of the roof and spray on the spray insulation on it. Once we did that, that’s when we started noticing the leaks. So we tried different things. We even had another company come out, pull out all the screws and put in new ones that were a little fatter. And so with the washers and all that mess with them to seal it. That has not worked. We’ve been up there on that roof. I don’t know how many different times trying to put silicone on this on top of the screws after we clean it down along the seams. Sometimes we’ve even had to get up there and he’s had to pull out the screw, put silicone in and put the screw back in. It’s just been an absolute nightmare to try.
|TOM: You said these are metal roof panels. Is it like corrugated roof? What kind of metal roof is it?
|CALLER: Right, it is. It’s like a corrugated roof.
|TOM: So they’re big metal panels, right, right? When you try to replace these screws, I guess you’re essentially taking the panels almost off the roof, right, Because you’re removing all the fasteners.
|CALLER: Yeah, well, we can’t. with the spray and everything else, we had even thought about could we take the roof off and start over. And now with the spray down on it, we can’t even do that.
|TOM: Oh, so this spray is actually up on the underside of the metal roof itself, right?
|CALLER: So it’s like glued down now.
|TOM: So there was basically no there was no, like sheathing or anything underneath this?
|CALLER: No. When we started this project, we started it with someone who we thought we didn’t know anything and we thought the person knew everything and now we know better. But we messed up and now we’re kind of caught in a bad position.
|TOM: So, yeah, it’s not a good situation because it’s kind of hard to try to repair something that probably wasn’t put in well to begin with. So I have one idea for you, and that is to put another layer of roofing over the roofing that you have now, but put ice and water shield in between the layers. So ice and water shield is very effective as sealing these kinds of leaks that’s specifically designed to seal around fasteners. And if you were to if it was possible for you to put another layer of metal roofing over this, but put ice and water shield in between, that would definitely stop the leaks from happening. Short of that, I think there’s a situation where the roof has to come off and you really have to do it right from the get go because I don’t think the roof was just put on, I guess, over some sort of fairing strips or something like that. There was never any water shield underneath that. And so I’m not surprised that it does leak, especially from driving rain. I don’t think you can rely just on the fasteners or even fasteners that have like rubber gaskets on them to keep that kind of a roof completely leak free.
|CALLER: All right. Well, I’ll try. Thank you.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-Money Pit. 888-666-3974. I wish we could give everybody a quick fix, but some time we just can’t. Especially when you have a roof has been gone so wrong on so many levels for so long, you just can’t bring it back.
|LESLIE: Hey, you want to support our podcast and help us grow? Well, go ahead and leave us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts and we’ll be forever grateful. Plus, you’ll be helping other homeowners discover our show. Just go to Money Pit icon /review. We’re going to chat with Rich from Myrtle Beach, who’s thinking about a generator. How can we help you?
|CALLER: Well, as you mentioned, I am in the search for a generator for the home. As you mentioned, I’m from Myrtle Beach. So we tend to have a lot of hurricanes coming during hurricane season.
|TOM: Bet you do.
|CALLER: We get more warnings, though, truthfully, than we actually do hurricanes. But either way, I have a family. I want to keep them safe and with food and everything. So I’m looking to get these good generators that will work for the entire house.
|TOM: Sure. So first question, do you have natural gas?
|TOM: Perfect. Yeah, that’s important because when the power goes down, it becomes hard to get gasoline, right, for portable generators because the gas stations are also down. But if you have a whole home generator that’s powered by natural gas, then you have that fuel 24/7 because utility lines rarely go down. In a storm such as that you would experience down in South Carolina. Now, Leslie and I both have had whole home generators for a number of years. And for me, I’m super happy. I have a Kohler 20 K, And the way it works is when the power goes off within about 10 to 15 seconds, the generator kicks on automatically. And I’ll tell you what, it’s a really nice sound when you have no power and you hear that generator kick in because it basically replenishes all the power for the house. It used to have a generator years and years ago before the developments that these machines have gone through over the years where it only powered part of the house. But now every single circuit in my house is covered. The refrigerator, the air conditioner, the boiler, all the lights, everything.
|LESLIE: Yeah. And you don’t have to think about anything.
|CALLER: We have a special needs child for sometimes. If I need to get the oxygen, go into a monitor, it’s going to. And that’s one of my biggest concerns, is having constant electric.
|TOM: And if I remember it right, you actually went into labor during a power failure, didn’t you?
|LESLIE: Well, Charlie was born during Hurricane Sandy. And Hurricane Sandy was a major storm event, I should say, Superstorm Sandy for the East Coast, New York, especially. And we had no power for four weeks following Hurricane Sandy. And then sadly, if you’ll remember, then my husband passed away. So there I was with no power for ages and ages with a newborn baby. And then this major tragedy. And I did not want to find myself and my family in that situation ever again, never again. So we also put in a Kohler 20 KW and it’s excellent because, truly, since then, I think the most we’ve ever been without power when the generator was running was possibly 6 hours. So luckily we’ve never had an event like that again. But it is so comforting to hear it test every week and kick on even for those short 32nd little power outages that happen every so often. Just to know that I don’t have to think about it. Every circuit will come on that I need. I will have access to all of the power that I need and I don’t ever need to be scared or unsure again. And I think that’s super important for peace of mind. It’s just important.
|TOM: Yeah, absolutely. the other thing that it does for us is it keeps us on the air because we both have home studios and so we don’t ever go down when the power goes out. So for all those reasons, we’re big believers in whole home generators. We both have coolers. They’re really built to last. And they need very little maintenance. So I think I have my generator service tech come about once a year to service it. It also automatically comes on once a week to sort of exercise itself and keep the battery charge and that sort of thing. But it’s pretty much hands off and it does a great job.
|CALLER: Now, what about installation and how is that?
|TOM: And so you purchased the generator, right? And then you have to hire installer. But a lot of companies out there that do both. There’s companies that specialize in generator installation because it is a fairly big installation project in the sense that you got to run a gasoline.
|LESLIE: And we had to run the gas line ourselves beforehand from the installation of the generator. We spoke with the installer. They said this is where it has to go. Our town had to sign off on it. There’s certain noise variances that your village, town community may say it’s got to be X amount of feet from a neighbors line or from here, from there just because of these ordinances. But I feel like the process was super easy.
|TOM: Yeah. And the other thing you’ll need is an electrical permit, because obviously there’s a lot of electrical wiring involved in making sure that you have that new switch that goes in called a transfer switch that does just that. It senses when the street power has gone down and transfers power to the generator. So there’s a bit of work to be done. But I’ll tell you what, it become very, very affordable and I think they’re just really smart to have. They also improve the value of your home. So for all those reasons, I think it’s a good project, especially if you live in down there in South Carolina, because you’re certainly more prone to hurricanes than those in other parts of the country.
|CALLER: That’s a great endorsement. Kohler, okay. There are different sizes based on the size of the home or how many electrical appliances you’re running off it.
|TOM: Yep, there is. And that’s when we mentioned 20 K that’s a short for 20 KW or 20 kilowatts. That’s the size generator that we both have. Our houses are about the same size and have relatively the same systems, but there are calculators that the manufacturer will provide where you can actually enter in the number of circuits and whether you have central air and all that sort of stuff that consumes power and they’ll recommend a generator for it. But generally it’s going to be somewhere in that 20 to 26 KW range for your average single family.
|CALLER: Okay. One other question. I make contacting color through the Internet.
|TOM: You certainly can. I would encourage you to go to their Web site, Kohler’s spelled Kohler .com on that website. They actually have a locator. There’s a button to get a free quote. You can complete a form and submit it and let them know if you need the installation and the generator or the installation by itself and then someone will be in touch with you. So I think it’s important to work with dealers and installers that are familiar with the product. And most of these dealers are they work with Colorants probably all they work with and for very good reason.
|CALLER: Okay. I appreciate that.
|TOM: All right, Rich, well, good luck with that project. And let’s hope that once it’s installed, you never have to need it.
|CALLER: You know what? I’d actually like to see it work.
|TOM: It is kind of fun when I come home at night during a power outage. And I’m the only house that’s got two lights on.
|CALLER: Do you go outside and rub it in and put your Christmas lights on and everything else? You blow up?
|TOM: Hey, during Hurricane Sandy, I kept the neighborhood flush with fresh eggs and milk and ice cream and butter. My house was I.
|CALLER: Watch out for those extension cords coming from the neighbor’s house.
|TOM: Yeah, well, we would never do that. But it’s certainly offered them the opportunity to keep their spoiled whole foods from getting in bad shape was something we’re happy to do. Yeah. Rich, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-Money-Pit. Good luck with that project.
|CALLER: Thank you, sir.
|LESLIE: Well, if you’re one of the millions of households who enjoy having a real live Christmas tree to gather around, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a pretty good chance your first horde of holiday guests might come with that tree.
|TOM: Yup. There are actually over a half dozen species of Christmas tree bugs that may have attach themselves to your life tree. We’re talking about aphids. Al Jed’s pine needles, scale bark beetles, and even spiders that I hate to say it can bite.
|LESLIE: But excuse me while I’m vomiting and going to check my Christmas tree. I’m telling you, this is the worst. All right, So here’s what you have to do, because I know a lot of you still haven’t gotten your tree. Some people do it as a Christmas Eve tradition. And heck, even if you’ve got a tree in your house right now, let’s just check it out together inside right now so you can be prepared. So before you do head out, make sure you bring a bright flashlight with you and you want to shine that flashlight along the trunk because you need to highlight any bugs or any eggs that are on the trunk, that tree itself. And you can scan a few sections of needles for bugs, even for eggs as well.
|TOM: Now, next, you want to shake it out. Even if you’ve inspected your tree for any hitchhikers, it’s a good idea to give the tree a good shake because shaking the tree is going to encourage any bugs to leap off so you don’t bring them home with you. As Christmas tree bugs are so common that some shops or stands actually have what they call a Christmas tree shaker. You can use that before you die off the tree to your car and make sure that you’ve separate yourself from any of those insects for the ride home.
|LESLIE: Now that the tree is in your house every so often vacuum. Because as the tree has been in there a while, those needles are going to fall off and you might be likely to find some dead bugs under the tree. Now, many of the bugs that live on Christmas trees are going to run out of food once you bring that tree inside or they’re not going to be able to cope with the change in humidity. So the best solution is to just vacuum up any dead bugs along with the dried out needles that are ultimately going to collect on a very daily basis and sometimes multiple times a day, depending on how many times your children or dog like to just interact with the tree.
|TOM: And one more tip If you are vacuuming, make sure you replace the vacuum bag as soon as you’re done. This way, if there are any that are filled with a few live bugs that are still clinging onto your holiday spirit, you will dispose of them promptly. And there you go. Leslie A bug free Christmas tree.
|LESLIE: Donna in Tyler, Texas on the line has some questions about Windows. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: We have a double pane windows that we replaced our windows with that 20, 25 years ago. And now I have some that don’t close. And I have one that has that. I can’t open the mechanism in the side of the window frame. And I don’t know if there was any hope for repairing them or fixing them or if I just need to get new windows.
|TOM: Well, are you really done in 20 to 25 years? Leslie, I feel like she got a lot of others windows. that’s for sure, the life rate for windows and certainly you may be able to repair some of the mechanism if you can locate the parts. But it frankly, might just be better to replace those windows, especially because windows today have become less expensive and they’ve become more efficient. And if you go with replacement windows where you’re only really replacing the operable part of the sash, the part that slides up and slides down and you leave the old sash in place, they’re really pretty affordable and easy to install because you basically ordered them to fit inside that space and they can be installed in really quick. I could do a window like that inside of an hour easily. So they’re not that difficult to replace these days and especially if you have bad seals because the seal. It would definitely not be worth at all taking out the window that has the bad seal and having the seals replaced. That would be much more expensive than getting a new window. So I think you ought to be happy with the 25 years you got that window and think about replacing them. And you know what? If you want to approach this in a way that kind of keeps the costs in check, I would think about whether or not I was more concerned about my heating bills or my air conditioning bills. If it was the air conditioning bills, and I would do the south side of the house first followed the West and it was the heating bills. I would do the north side of the house first, followed by the east. You don’t have to do the whole house at once. You can do the one or two sides at a time.
|LESLIE: Robin, Massachusetts, you’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: So my wife and I just bought a brand new house. And when we first got there, it turned on a light switch. Our fan in the attic started smoking, so went up there. It looks like it’s the back of a submarine. And it’s like this really big old, like, propeller fan. So that’s got to go. So as I’ve been doing a little bit of research online, it seems like there’s kind of two camps going on as to whether or not it’s really worth having an attic fan or not, whether it really saves energy and saves you money over time, or if it’s really just something that is kind of a legacy or a holdover from a different era. So I guess I just want to get a take from that. Okay.
|TOM: So is your home air conditioned? It is not. It is not. Okay. So you’re using what, window air conditioners in the summer window?
|CALLER: We have two window air conditioners up on the second floor and the first floor is actually been pretty cool.
|TOM: So here’s the thing. You’re going to run this attic fan in the summer, and I presume this would be one that’s repaired in nonsmoking. So let’s assume it’s operational if you run it in the summer, what it’s going to do is it will depressurize the attic. Now it’s going to try to make up that air from somewhere. Now, theoretically, it would pull in air from other events in the roof, other past events like events at the gables or events at the soffit or other roof vents to be able to kind of take root air from the outside. It will go in those roof vents up through the attic, fan and out and sort of just cycle. Truth is, though, that those fans are usually a lot more powerful than the amount of passive venting available to make up the replacement air. So they’ll sort of reach down deep into the house and start pulling out air from your house and venting that which they’re not really intended to do. They’re only really supposed to be venting the attic. So what happens in that scenario is they pull out not only the warm air in your house, but the air conditioned air, which is your expensive air that you paid to cool. And so that’s why they can be very inefficient, because they can rob air conditioned air from the house. Bigger problem when you have central air than when you just have window units. But that’s you know, that’s why we generally don’t recommend them. The other reason is that you really don’t need them. You could do just as good a job with proper passive ventilation and by that I mean generally continuous ridge vents are going down the peak of the roof and soffit vents that the overhang with that combination air will always press in under the off. It’s right up under the roof sheathing and exit at the ridge. And it just does a good job passively of keeping the outer cool without impacting the cost of cooling or having attic fires because your fan motor blows up.
|CALLER: And then I guess just to go off of that for a second in the winter, I’ve heard that you can run the attic fan into reverse and push the hot air that’s risen up into the attic, down into the rest of the house. Is that also.
|TOM: That that’s a complete myth. I wouldn’t do that. That would be actually be foolish. You could. You could mess with your with your the natural ventilation and natural draft of your heating equipment by doing that. And it could be dangerous. You could build up carbon monoxide and cause fireplaces the backdraft. It could just be a real messy. I would not do that.
|CALLER: Okay, perfect. Thank you guys so much.
|TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit. Well, guys, as the winter temps continue to drop, it is a good time to get ready for snow. So to help make sure you’re good to go for anything, Mother Nature can throw at us, we’ve got a winter ready checklist just for you.
|LESLIE: All right. Well, first, let’s talk tools. a good snow shovel is priceless. When the white stuff starts to stick. And today there’s many choices and shovels out there with some not nearly as good as the others. So you want to look for a shovel with a bent handle because that’s going to make lifting the heavy snow a lot less stressful for your back. Also, the edge of the shovel should be reinforced so that if you’re scraping ice that’s been stuck to the sidewalk, it’s not going to bend or break that front edge of the shovel. And speaking of scraping ice, don’t forget to pick up a couple of those for your windshields.
|TOM: Next. If there’s ever been a time to think about buying a new snowblower, that time is now. I bought one number of years ago when my kids seemed to get too busy to help out old dad with all his shoveling. I’ve never been happier. you can find these snow blowers in single or two stage models for bigger driveways or for smaller areas.
|TOM: You can pick up a snow thrower, which is kind of perfect if you’re only moving a couple of inches of the white stuff at a time.
|LESLIE: Now, next, it’s time to get the salt and sand ready for all those icy driveways and sidewalks that you’re going to be encountering. Seasoning those slippery sidewalks with sidewalk salt is definitely in to melt the ice. But the wrong kind of salt can also cause your sidewalk surfaces to disintegrate. Now, the best sidewalk salt is made from potassium chloride or calcium chloride, and this type of sidewalk salt is going to melt the ice, but it is not going to damage the concrete surfaces the way that that so-called rock salt would. And now rock salt, sodium chloride. So you want to stay away from that.
|TOM: And for best results. What I like to do is to buy the potassium chloride in advance and then I’ll mix it with playground sand keep a supply stored near each entrance to my house. So I seem to always have a surplus of five gallon buckets around. But whatever you have put the potassium chloride in there, mix it together. So this way, once you start to melt out all of that ice, the sand remains behind to give you a little more grit in case it starts to reform.
|LESLIE: And let’s be honest, Tom, you use those five-gallon buckets in the fall to sit around your firepit. That’s why you always have so many for everything.
|TOM: Whenever company comes, pull up a bucket. You know the rules in this place. Come on.
|LESLIE: Heading to Minnesota, where Deb is having some issues with an unlevel floor.
|CALLER: What’s going on? We’re in a house that the main part of the house was built in the 1930s and that’s our problem right now. Although the rest of the house has got issues, too, it’s over a little over 3000 square feet. And we tried to sell it, can’t sell it. So we’re staying, but we don’t. There’s only two people living in this big of a house, so we want to block off the upstairs and just live on the main floor. We’re going to change the stairs and enclose them. Right now they’re open stairway. But when we started doing that, the floor behind it is probably real close to an inch and a half depth.
|TOM: And why is it important to you that you try to take this dip out of the floor? Because generally when dips form over many, many years, everything gets kind of settled in that space and it’s not always a good idea. In fact, it’s rarely a good idea to try to pick it back up unless it’s an active structural problem, which I doubt this is.
|CALLER: We want to replace the steps going upstairs and we can’t do that because the steps that are there right now are actually twisting from the dip.
|TOM: Well, that’s not a problem. It’s easier to build a set of steps that fits the existing floor structure than it is to try to fix the floor structure. You can easily make a set of steps that has a string of that’s longer on one side than the other. very often when stairs are made, sometimes especially custom stairs, they leave the stringers running long and the carpenters cut them on site so they fit perfectly in the home. But I don’t think it’s necessary to try to rebuild your floor just to fix the stairs. Okay, Deb, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Gary, you’ve got the Money Pit, but how can we help you today?
|CALLER: I have a basement I want to do over. I have four concrete floors, but have poor concrete walls. I want to I want to seal the floor and the walls. And I was kind of thinking, I don’t know a Toxie like you would use in a garage, epoxy paint on the floor. And something is the same thing on the wall or something different from a wall.
|TOM: Well, let’s talk about this, these concrete walls now, do you have any moisture issues here or are you just kind of being preventative?
|CALLER: No, no. I made I made sure that the outside was all tapered. There’s gutters on the outside.
|TOM: Yeah. Then you can use a standard masonry wall paint on that. And as far as the floor, the reason to use the epoxy flooring paint is because it’ll be super durable. I don’t think you need to do that on the walls. You basically want to slowed down natural evaporation of soil moisture through the walls of the interior.
|CALLER: That’s great help, guys. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
|TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit. Well, here’s a big statistic. Every 15 seconds in this country, a poison control center gets a frantic call about an accidental poisoning. And it turns out that a whopping 90% of accidental poisonings actually happening in the home. That’s right. Right in your home sweet home.
|LESLIE: That’s right. So here are a few ways that you can stay safe. First of all, most adult poisonings are a result of mixing chemicals that shouldn’t be combined. So you never want to mix cleaning chemicals, and you always have to read the labels about potentially deadly combinations of products. Now, more than half of all home poisonings happen to children under six because kids are fast and they are sneaky and they go places very quickly. So you have to keep an eye on them. But you also have to keep those poisons out of reach and locked up. It’s also super important to discard old prescription medicines promptly and don’t flush the medications because they wind up in the water supply.
|TOM: Now let’s talk about garages, basements and other places that you work and play. You want to recognize that cleaning products and solvents and paints and all of those sorts of supplies are often right next to the board games, the bats and the balls. toys and toxins literally side by side and places like that. So don’t do that.
|TOM: Keep them separate and keep the kids safe.
|LESLIE: Cheryl in Texas, you’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you?
|CALLER: I have some countertops that are plywood. I just purchased a house recently and I’m planning to do a total remodel in about a year. But right now, the countertops are plywood. And so I wanted an idea to put on the countertop so that I don’t have water damage to the plywood and plus something that looks nice. And I was wondering if you might have an idea.
|LESLIE: Well, there’s a lot of different options, of course, at a variety of price points. And if you’re looking for something that’s just going to be temporary but still stylish and functional probably your quickest and most DIY and affordable option could be tile. Now, that’s going to be something that you could easily do on your own. And there’s a lot of different choices to keep you within a variety of price points and that generally can look really, really great. The other options are laminate countertops, which you can get precut at the local home center, and that just depends on how much of a run you need and how much actual cutting to fit the size that you have to get. But those are probably going to be your two most affordable. I think with tile, it really gives you an opportunity to make it really stylish and your own and something that you can feel proud of doing yourself and last you through the long haul until you’re ready to do a major remodel.
|CALLER: Okay. And what do you usually adhere to the tile with? I’m not really much of a DIY person, but I’m sure I think I could do it. But I was just kind of curious with the water, what adheres that tile and keeps that countertop protected?
|TOM: So there’s two options. There’s tile mastic, which is sort of like a glue that you travel on to the plywood and you stick the tiles onto that and then there’s like a tile mat. It’s like a two sided adhesive mat that you glue that down to the wood surface in your case. Then you peel off a backing and you can stick the tiles right on top of that. There’s a couple of ways to do that. If you can find the mat. What’s interesting about that is you can grout right away. If you use the mastic, you’ve got to let it dry overnight and then you can grout.
|CALLER: Okay. I like those ideas. Okay. Thank you so much.
|TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at eight 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Any road into Team Money Pit asking. Hi. I’m wondering what your advice would be regarding putting a caulk floor in our bathroom. Good choice. Or should I pass?
|TOM: Well, from a durability standpoint, it’s a great choice. It’s a super durable floor. It’s attractive, It’s soft to walk on and it looks great. So that makes it a great choice for a bathroom. Leslie, what do you think about decor when it comes to that? I’ve seen caulk in homes that are 40 or 50 years old, and it stands up pretty darn well.
|LESLIE: Well, and Caulk doesn’t you know, it doesn’t always look like the caulk from a wine bottle or like a corkboard, Like there’s so many different ways that it’s being put together that the flooring can be quite beautiful, have a lot of characteristics to it, be more simple. So I truly do love the way a caulk floor looks. And I also love that it’s softer underfoot. Like I really enjoy seeing them in kitchen or in workspaces just because when you’re standing so much, it’s so much nicer on your body. And as far as water resistance, they seem to be a really great choice for the baths.
|TOM: Absolutely. So I think you’re good to go if you love caulk shortly. Lots and lots of flooring choices available today, but cork is just a wonderful natural product to consider. So good luck with the project any.
|LESLIE: All right. Josh in Michigan wrote in saying, In my bathroom, I’ve been having some problems with what looks like drips on the wall. These drips are sometimes a yellowish color and more noticeable after a shower. Is this a venting problem?
|TOM: Yes, in terms of the presence of the moisture. So I would make sure you have a bathroom exhaust fan, Josh and I would make sure that you have that exhaust fan hooked up to not only a regular light switch or regular switch for it, but a humidistat. If you have humidistatic switch, then the fan is going to run as long as it has to take all the humidity out. That’s going to prevent the condensation on your walls. I’m a little perplexed by the yellowish color you’re reporting. And Leslie, I’m thinking that might be because he has hard water, because it’d be a lot of a lot of minerals in that water.
|LESLIE: it could be. I always remember my grandparents were both smokers and that was be what would happen in their bathroom. They had a super small bathroom. The ventilation wasn’t great. And one connotation would drip on the walls. It did have like a yellowish tint. So I don’t know if that’s what’s going on at your place, but you’re definitely right. It could be contributed to hard water or it could be contributed to a previous owner who was a smoker. All right. Now we’ve got one from Rob who says, My garage is heated and when the snow melts off the vehicles, the water pools in the front corner of the garage and soaks into that black wall that makes up the exterior wall. How do I fix the flooring so that the water runs toward the drain?
|TOM: Well, listen, sloping a garage floor would be certainly a difficult project because you need to report it’s not something you can really repair. So I would suggest you paint the floor in the bottom most row of blocks with an epoxy garage paint. This is going to greatly reduce the absorption that you’re seeing that’s going to inhibit frost damage that can result from that same situation. Now, another thing you could do is consider what I did, which is I put in garage tiles. These are nice because they had just above the floor. So there’s a little bit of water that gets on that floor, obviously goes right through and then evaporates off. Very rare for me to see any buildup of water that gets above those tiles.
|LESLIE: Okay, Rob, there’s a couple good options for you.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit home Improvement Show on this most wonderful of holiday season weeks. We hope that you’re enjoying time at home with family and friends this holiday season. If you are taking a moment to think about planning for the year ahead. We’d love to help you do just that. So remember that you can reach out to us any time and 1-888-Money-Pit or we’re going to MoneyPit.com/ask. Whenever you think of it, reach out, post your question and we will get back to you the next time we are in the studio.
|TOM: Until then, happy holidays, everybody. 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.)