Master your home’s full potential as we explore the allure of pro ranges for residential kitchens, reveal the secrets to stylish home makeovers on a budget, and discuss the craft of setting up a dedicated hobby space. Listen to these and other home improvement questions on today’s podcast episode!
- Pro-Style Ranges: Pro-style kitchen ranges offer a wide menu of options for home gourmets.
- Thrifty Home Makeover: Learn how to redecorate on a budget with makeover tips that cost little or nothing.
- Hobby Space: Create a personalized space at home for your favorite hobbies or crafts.
Top Questions & Answers
- Thermal Windows: Karen wants to allow sun through her windows in the daytime without losing heat at night. Thermal cellular shades are an inexpensive solution.
- Ceiling Repair: A ceiling leak made the sheetrock separate. If it’s sagging, Ken can cut out and replace that area, or else just retape, spackle, prime, and paint the seam.
- Flooring Gap: Nancy has a gap between the new wood floor and the front door threshold. She can either cover the gap with molding or fill it with a cut piece of flooring.
- Garage Heat: Henry’s overhead natural gas heater in the garage is expensive to run, but an electric heater costs even more. We suggest using a compact kerosene heater.
- Structural Beam: Jason is worried about a support beam that’s sagging on either end of his house. He needs a structural engineer to determine how to stabilize it.
- Driveway Replacement: Can you put blacktop over a concrete driveway? Donna must either replace it entirely or use a patching product to repair the concrete surface.
- Siding Installation: What are the pros and cons of hanging vinyl siding vertically instead of horizontally? Greg should have no issues if the siding is rated for vertical installation.
- HVAC Maintenance: Carol has heating problems due to air in the lines from her boiler. She should just let out the air through the bleed valves in the radiators.
- Crawlspace Vents: Can crawlspace vents be kept closed? They’re needed to control moisture and Chris should leave them open in spring, summer, and fall and closed in winter.
- Structural Renovation: Mary has questions about renovating a home to create an open plan. An architect can design the proper specifications to do the work correctly.
|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: We hope that you guys had a great holiday season. And our focus now in the year ahead, if there’s a project on your to do list that you’d like to get done in the days and the weeks to follow here in 2024, we would like to help reach out to us with your questions. Two ways to do that. You can call us at 1-888-Money-Pit or you can post your questions to moneypit.com/ask. Coming up on today’s show, you know, few things define an upscale kitchen like a commercial range. Their beautiful heavy cast iron grates, the big beefy knobs, the big burners, those types of ranges are more popular than ever. So we’re going to share what you need to do to accommodate one of these fire breathing beasts in your home.
|LESLIE: And if the New Year has you just starting out in your first home or your first apartment, but you don’t have the budget to spruce it up, we’ve got some tips for makeovers that require little to absolutely no cash.
|TOM: Hey, everybody can afford that, right? And you guys enjoy sewing and scrapbooking, maybe woodworking. Well, we’re going have some tips on how you can set up a space for those hobbies and more in your home.
|LESLIE: But first, our focus is you. This new year. We want to know what you want to know. So if there’s a DIY project in your to do list for 2024, let us help it make it a DIY done project. So let us know what it is, what you are working on, what your big plans are, and let’s help you formulate a way to tackle all of those DIY dreams in this new Year.
|TOM: The number here is 1-888-Money-Pit, or again for the fastest possible response, just go to Money Pit accomplish, ask and click the blue Microphone button. Let’s get to it. Leslie, Who’s first?
|LESLIE: We got Karen in Tennessee on the line is feeling a chill. What’s going on?
|CALLER: I have some really nice windows that get lots of sun and they let the heat in from the sun in the winter time. And they are like the double window, I guess, like the type that’s supposed to kick up the cold, but it doesn’t. So I need something to put over them that will allow the heat to come in, but keep the cold out. And I’m wondering if you have some kind of like film or something, you know, that I can put on there to do that.
|TOM: So, Karen, I think the fact that you have thermal pane windows, that’s what you’re describing, that’s insulated glass is a good thing. It’s nice to hear that they let some heat in during the day. But the reason that they’re letting cold get in through that same glass in the in the evening is because there’s probably not a low e window. So it doesn’t have any reflectivity to it to keep the heat on the hot side, so to speak. So here’s what I want you to do. I think you should have a thermal shade, like a cellular shade. Cellular shades have an insulating ability. And what you’re going to want to do is just make it a habit of keeping those open during the day and then keeping them down at night. Now, by the way, there are fairly inexpensive automation systems that can raise and lower these shades for you based on the time of day and where the sun is, in fact. So you could look into those as well. But I think having them up during the day be able to capture some of that heat and then dropping them as soon as the sun goes down will help keep some of that warmth inside. Because what happens is when the air from your house starts to circulate higher rises, but when it strikes that cold glasses, it gets really cold, it chills it, it falls kind of feels like a draft. Even though it may not exactly be a draft. It’s uncomfortable for you when you put the cellular shade in between the window and you, then that doesn’t happen as much and you’ll be a lot more comfortable.
|LESLIE: All right. Ken is on the line. He’s got a leak in a ceiling and something is going on with that drywall. Listen, we’ve all been there. What’s happening?
|CALLER: What I have is a had a ceiling leak that caused the sheetrock and the set of the ceiling to separate. And I’m just wondering how I need to approach that project. And is it a do it yourself project that I should that I should try myself?
|TOM: So, Ken, as long as the leak has been fixed, you certainly probably could repair this yourself. Now you see the ceiling is separated if the ceiling is swollen, in other words, if it’s sort of sagging down from this leak and it’s physically deformed, in that case, you have to cut out that bad section of drywall. But if it’s just that the seam perhaps has started to separate, sometimes water gets under the seam and then the drywall tape will peel off. If that’s the case, that’s not such a big deal. You just pull off all that old loose stuff, whether it’s spackle or tape, pull it off, and then you’re going to reshape that from scratch. Basically, you’re going to put in like two or three two coats of very thin spackle with tape, maybe a third coat on top of that sanded off. And then this is really important, by the way, you have to prime the entire area that leaked, because if you don’t prime it and he’s staining this in that drywall will pull through to the finished coat of paint. And it’s really annoying because you’ll paint it. You stand back, Oh, it looks great. Couple hours later, you see the stain start to leak through it. So you absolutely have to prime it. But I don’t see why you can’t do that yourself as long as you’re comfortable, you know, working with spackle and drywall tape and…
|LESLIE: Being on a ladder.
|TOM: Or sanding and breathing all that mess, too, because that often happens as a part of it. But a dust mask on, it makes it a lot more pleasant.
|LESLIE: And, you know, make sure your neck you’re going get a quick in your neck because when you’re looking at painting a ceiling, I always feel like I’m like, oh, my neck.
|TOM: Yeah. You mean like Michelangelo, right? Yeah.
|TOM: I think he has scaffolding.
|LESLIE: Hey, you want to make our day? Well, go ahead and leave us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts and we’ll be jumping for joy. Plus, you guys, your feedback helps us make the show even better for you. Just go to Money Pit icon /review heading to Arkansas. We’ve got Nancy on the line who’s working on a project. Let’s just say there was some flooring maybe done by her husband that I need some help now. What’s going on?
|CALLER: I have a question about a gap between our new wood floor that my husband put down and the front door threshold. There is a gap that needs to be filled.
|TOM: Well, he did the hard part, Nancy, right? I mean, he finished the whole floor except for this little spot near the front door threshold. So couple of ways you can deal with that. Now, it depends on how big a gap this is in. If it’s a fairly thin gap in that you can’t really get another piece of flooring in there, like let’s say it’s maybe less than a quarter of an inch. In that case, you’re going to want to use a piece of molding on top of it to basically go between the front door threshold and the new section of the floor. However, for Furby, if it’s a little bit wider than that, I would cut a piece of flooring to fit that exact distance, whatever the width is, I would cut a piece of flooring and drop it right in there. Even if it was only an inch wide, I would cut that flooring. I would pre finished the floor. By the way, if the rest of it is already done, it will make it a lot easier and then tap it in. And in fact I would probably make it a little snug. Or then maybe you think it needs to be. So it kind of holds itself in place or you’re going to need to attach. This is maybe two or three pretty sturdy finish nails and you would pop it out the holes before you dry the nails in. So like if it was a number eight or number ten now, you’d probably use like around a maybe 330 seconds bit first. And that’s where I want to split that thin piece of wood. You tack it in place, a proper of glue under it, and then you should be good to go. And after that, the only one that will ever notice that gap and the story behind it will be you. Everybody else is going to step on it, walk right over it. It’ll look great.
|LESLIE: It’s true. It must be.
|TOM: We hyperfocus on the one thing we know. What’s wrong with the room, right? I mean, you and I do it just because it’s like a habit, you know.
|LESLIE: Because you see it. So, you know. All right, we’ve got Henry on the line. Wants to talk about something going on in the garage. Why don’t you tell us about it?
|CALLER: Currently, I have an overhead natural gas heater. It’s quite expensive to operate on a regular basis. My garage has approximately 12 inches of fiberglass insulation overhead. The walls are insulated. I didn’t know whether to keep what I currently have. Or would it be perhaps wise to go to an electric heater that would provide sufficient heat?
|TOM: So I think you’re going to find that the cost of operating the electric heater is going to be even more than operating the gas heater. How big is your garage?
|CALLER: Approximately 800 square feet.
|TOM: Oh, it’s a pretty big garage, Yeah.
|CALLER: Yes. So three car garage.
|TOM: Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve got a 20 by 30 garage myself. And what I did to heat that is I have one kerosene heater. Now it’s not just a kerosene heater to explain. I put insulation in the ceiling like you did and I put foam. I actually used foam boards in between the floor joists. Like thermal insulation, that’s like foil face foam. I also closed off the opening to, like the attic storage space above it, so I wouldn’t have all the heat rush up there. And then I improved the weather, stripping around the doors and around the windows the same I would if I was doing something, you know, for the regular part of the house. And I found that this particular heater that I used, it was rated for that size space and it did a really good job. First of all, taking that cold edge off and if I leave it running long enough, it warms the whole place up. So I found that to be a more affordable way than in in actually a smaller, more convenient way to heat the garage because I’m not heating it all the time. You know, I might go out there on a weekend and do some projects, so I just wanted something I could turn on and turn off. But those big space heaters, a gas fired, forced air space heaters that hanging from the ceiling there are not that efficient about that. Nothing at all. They just they use some of those use as much use gases as the heating system that heats your entire house. The only other alternative I would suggest would be kerosene. But if you try to go electric, those electric heaters are going to be just as expensive to operate.
|CALLER: Okay. Well, thank you very much for the suggestion. I’m certainly going to check it out.
|LESLIE: Well, few things define an upscale kitchen like a commercial range with those heavy cast iron grates, the beefy knobs and the high BTU burners. The pro sale range has become a focal point in our homes. Plus, a serious stove can boost your cooking powers, too. Not to mention your home’s resale values. Could you imagine if these super stoves made you an amazing chef?
|TOM: I think that’s automatically I mean, you’re paying enough for and it doesn’t come with stock.
|LESLIE: That comes with the magic powers.
|TOM: Well, here’s something, though. You guys may not know. An actual commercial range is not designed for a residential kitchen. That’s right. You can’t buy a commercial range, the kind that would go into a restaurant and put it in your kitchen. The main reason is they don’t have the same level of insulation and they’re going to be very unsafe. So instead, many manufacturers offer a type of range simply called a pro style range. Looks like a commercial range, but has some of the safety features that are really important.
|LESLIE: Yes. And it also comes with pro style cooking skills. So you’re still going to have the superpowers, you guys. Now, the pro-style ranges, they’re scaled to fit that standard depth counter and they’ve got beefed up insulation which are going to keep them safe in your home. And their biggest burners still blast out 18000 to 25000 BTUs versus a basic ranges burner, which is 12,000 BTUs. And most pro style ranges come in standard widths from 30 to 60 inches. And the larger width means more burners or those other cooktop options, such as griddles and grills, and just more space too, which is pretty, you know, kick butt, you guys.
|TOM: Yeah. Now you’re going to pay more for it. Probably somewhere in the area of like, say, around 3 to 4000, up to maybe $20,000 for a pro range, depending on the size and the features in the models. And you can also expect, though, to get at least 20 years out of that appliance. But keep in mind that repairs can be expensive. But I guess if you’re paying that kind of money for the range, you pretty much expect the repairs to be along those same lines. Well, let’s talk about fuels. Now, personal burners are always gas, but they can also be paired with a gas or an electric oven. And the latter option is simply called dual fuel. Most importantly, let’s talk ventilation. These ranges produce a lot of humidity, a lot of odor, a lot of carbon monoxide. And if a recipe goes wrong, a lot of smoke. So a correctly sized Ben Hood, that exhaust to the outside is a smash. Not going to get away with a recirculating fan here. It’s got to go right outside. That’s got to be the right size.
|LESLIE: All right. Now, here’s some other features that you can be looking for. We’re talking about those high BTUs. Again, these signature features of any pro-style range truly is one or more burners that are capable of that super high heat. So when you want to sear, when you’re sweating, when you want super-fast boiling, but don’t get hung up on those numbers too much. For most home chefs, 18,000 B to use is plenty hot, you guys. You also want to look for maybe a low simmer burner that can handle more of those delicate tasks like simmering an unattended pot of chili all day without bringing things to a boil or burning it. You know, different manufacturers use different technologies to achieve a steady, even heat. So be sure to test the simmer before you buy if you can. And closed burners. Now, the vast majority of ranges offer sealed burners, which means the entire range tops allow for no place for spills or grease to drip down into the stove itself. And as a result, those jets are positions that the gas flows out to the side, then up slightly, reducing efficiency, but making cleanup relatively painless. So definitely a must have You might be a messy chef.
|TOM: Yeah, well, we want a pro-style commercial range, but we don’t want a commercial range That has to be clean like a commercial range, right?
|TOM: I want the best of both worlds. Now, listen, finally again, be prepared for the heat. There’s a lot of it. That cook space gets really toasty when you’re blasting up to six burners, plus a griddle or a grill sometimes all at once. You also need to buy heavy bottomed pans that are several inches larger than the burners. So the heat doesn’t just bypass them and go around them. And keep in mind, too, that with those cast iron grates that are part of these ranges, those get really hot, They’re really a ton of heat and they take a long time to cool off. They could take like an hour or so. So you got to be careful. You know, having a versatile range is a great thing to have. It’s probably also going to impact your air conditioning system. I don’t think you can be comfortable in front of it. I think Leslie and Cook at the same time with all of those burners blasting you. But listen, if that’s what you’re into, go for it.
|LESLIE: All right. We’ve got Jason on the line who’s dealing with potentially a major structural issue going on at their newly purchased home. What’s going on?
|CALLER: I bought my house four years ago, and we kind of overlooked some problems because we had a looking resolve. But basically, I have been that holds up the main part of my house is like grounded the whole length of my house, like there’s a home and my floor from end to end. The floor sags on both sides of main beam.
|CALLER: And I think part of the problem is the actual upper parts. So walls and stuff don’t actually go over the beam. They go on either side. Is it even worth trying to fix it? Should I get out of the house?
|LESLIE: This is definitely something because you kind of rushed the whole process. I mean, had you had a home inspection, this definitely would have been seen right, Tom?
|TOM: I think so, for sure. Based on the amount of sag that you’re reporting, I don’t think the fact that the interior bearing walls, which is what it sounds like you’re talking about, are offset from the from the beam is the cause of this. I mean, that’s actually not an uncommon thing to do. Within reason. It could be offset a little bit and still provide plenty of support. But the fact that this being moved is definitely a major concern and we need to figure out why that is. I my one question would be, do you think it’s active or has it always been this way? Because if it’s active, then it’s even more serious of a problem. I think in this case, what I would do is I would hire a structural engineer to evaluate this problem and determine what has to be done to stabilize it. And the engineer should specify what repairs needed. And then with that specification, you can find a contractor to make the repair. I am confident you don’t have to run away from this house. These things are fixable. It’s just that this is a significant issue that requires that level of attention. And you want to work for the engineer and not just a contractor who thinks contractors are always famous should go. I know how to fix that. Well, maybe, maybe not. More likely not. And this way, if you are an engineer, you have sort of a of a pedigree, so to speak, in terms of a file. It would be building that if you going to sell this house and this repair is evident or the sag is evident, you can say, Hey, I had an engineer check it out. It’s it is a problem or it’s not a problem. And if it was a problem, I fix it. According to his specs. Then the engineer should come back and certify that the repair was done correctly. That’s the way to make sure that you sort of reset the clock here and reset the value of the house by proving that it was done correctly, made sure you get building permits and follow it through. And that’s the best way to solve it at this point in time. But less like you said, even though it’s a tough market and even though you’re pressed to find the perfect house and you think you may have, it never makes sense to skip the home inspection and to rush into these things because these problems can get really expensive if they’re overlooked.
|LESLIE: Oh, yeah. And I feel like now that you’ve already bought the house, like you’re on your own with these costs, like beforehand, you could have at least negotiated something or made the choice to not purchase.
|TOM: Yeah, not only that, you’re basically you would basically need to disclose now that the house has a problem. So it’s got to be solved and this is the best way to do it.
|LESLIE: Head on over to Mississippi, where we’ve got Donna on the line dealing with a worn out driveway. What are you looking to do?
|CALLER: My driveway is partly crumbled, partly scored, partly rusted on. Can you put a blast top surface on top of a concrete surface and have it hold up?
|TOM: Hey, Donna. So I can definitely see how that might make seem to make some sense, putting blacktop over concrete. But it really is not going to work because the way you build either a driveway made of concrete or a driveway made of blacktop is entirely different. So you can’t mix the two. So you’re going to have to if you want to go blacktop, you have to take out the driveway that’s there, and then you have to put it in the right layers because blacktop drivers are made up over layers. And the usually at least five or six inches thick by the time you’re done. But they put in different layers. They start with a stone base. Then they roll that stone base with a tool that backs it down really, really tightly. It’s almost as tight is as hard as a road when the stone base is down.
|LESLIE: We forgot the part where they wait for weeks because they want it to settle and then you drive.
|TOM: Well, yeah, but I don’t. I’ve never had that when I’ve done them. I’ve done driveways, we’ve always rolled them and then put the blacktop on all at one.
|LESLIE: Time or contractor made us wait four weeks minimum so that it’s settled and gets rain. You drive on it.
|TOM: I have to say that anybody that makes you wait all the time is not doing a really good job on the base because if you put the base in right, you shouldn’t have any of that happening.
|LESLIE: I mean, it was super firm, but that was their thing.
|TOM: Well, maybe that their thing, but that’s not what I did. And I don’t think you necessarily have to do that as a matter of course, the driveway, the asphalt itself, I’m starting to say there’s different grades of it. So you want to get one that’s about a medium grade because you try to get one. It’s too smooth, it’s not very strong. And the medium grade has as bigger pebbles in it and it locks together very, very nicely. It lasts a long time, so you can’t put on top of the concrete. You have to take the old concrete off or out and start again from scratch.
|LESLIE: And I will say switching from concrete to the blacktop, it’s gorgeous. What a big difference it made. It just made the house look sharp. I love it.
|TOM: Yeah. And it should also mention that the concrete is not in horrible shape. It could be resurfaced. There’s a product called recap that quick treat makes that is designed specifically for that. You could add a layer of this recapped product on top of the old concrete and give it a fresh new surface. So that’s another option for you as well. Well, you just starting out in your first home or apartment or you’re on a maybe a really limited budget. There are ways to stretch that budget along with your creative muscles, to create a place that you’d be proud to call home just by repurposing what you already have, or perhaps some items that you collect from friends or family.
|LESLIE: Yeah, and I think really here the first step is just kind of experimenting with what you already have, you know, move things around, put something from one room into another room, kind of give it a test drive, see if you like it. Experiment with creating these groupings, you know, little vignettes or sort of moments where you have things grouped together three or five. I always like odd numbers. They kind of work best on side tables or chests or on some shelving units. And the key here, guys, is to not worry about matching, you know, designers, for the most part despise those sets of furniture. You’re going to end up with much more personal and homey. Look, if you mix and match pieces and you can even carry this idea into your bedroom, if you buy some single sheets that you can find on sale, pillowcases, shams, etc., and then create this sort of custom look for your bed by mixing and matching those colors, those patterns, those textures, It really helps create a unique look that’s all your own. So don’t be afraid to go for it and try stuff out.
|TOM: Yep. With a little imagination and a willingness to maybe bend the court rules a bit, there’s no reason why your apartment or home can’t be a place you’ll love coming home to. And we’ve got more tips for budget decor options right now on MoneyPit.com.
|LESLIE: All right. We’re heading out to Illinois, where we’ve got Greg on the line, who’s dealing with some vinyl siding issues. What’s going on?
|CALLER: Well, I’m wanting to replace the vinyl siding on the house and I’m seeing more of a trend where houses have their siding hung vertical instead of horizontal. Are there any pros or cons installing the siding vertically? And what’s the best material to use?
|TOM: Well, yeah, I am seeing that as well. And whatever siding it is has to be rated for a vertical installation and the backer for the siding as well. So typically you’re going to have some sort of a weatherproof backer on a lot of those products. But I’ve seen it, I’ve not seen it with vinyl, but I have seen it with composite.
|TOM: And I think as long as it’s installed consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions and they rate it as an installation method, that I wouldn’t have any fears about doing it. You know, we’ve seen ship left siding, for example, done vertically or horizontally for years, and it seems to hold up just fine. It’s got a pretty healthy dose of weatherproof building paper behind it, but it seems to it seems to work fine. I see. I also see a lot of folks use that as an accent, like, for example, just on the front wall of the house, but not on the remaining walls. So I think it’s a viable option. I think we’re seeing more and more of it. And certainly it’s been around in commercial construction more than residential, but I wouldn’t have any hesitancy about using that if that was a look that I was trying to go for.
|CALLER: Yeah, I was more concerned about when currently I have vinyl siding that runs, of course horizontally and when rain hits the house, of course it just rolls right down. I was concerned if the siding is vertical or vertical, that rain would have a chance to get in between the boards.
|TOM: Yeah, of course they’ll starting pieces are designed for that. So they’re going to have a way of channeling that water away or a backer board to the point where it doesn’t matter.
|CALLER: Okay, sounds good to me.
|LESLIE: We’ve got Carol joining us, who’s got a lot of air in the pipes and causing some heating issues. What’s going on at your money pit?
|CALLER: I have a boiler. I have air in the lines. My boiler has an automatic burner. I love the lines, but there’s more air than usual.
|TOM: Hey, Carol. So I actually never heard you say your boiler has a beeper. And I’m quite sure what you mean by that. But when you have air in the heating system, in a hot water heating system, what you need to do is you need to let the air out at the radiators themselves. So the air is going to work its way out of the system. And you open up the bleed valve, which is out the radiators, and you let that run until the water starts coming up. When the water starts coming out, then you’ve released all the air and that’s really all you need to do for that system. And the reason the air gets in there is because when the boiler refills, which it will do from time to time, that water that comes in from the tap is going to have air and trained as it’s heated, it gets released. So that’s where the air comes from. But by bleeding it at the radiator valves, you should be able to eliminate that water and restore heat to those chilly radiators.
|LESLIE: We’ve got Chris in Arkansas on the line. What is going on at your money pit?
|CALLER: Well, Leslie, I’ve been wandering on my crawlspace vents. I’ve heard that they’re not really useful and best go ahead and just close them up. I was wondering if they are good or they are bad. I do.
|TOM: Yeah, I think that’s a really bad idea. And here’s why. The crawlspace vents are there for a reason. They’re, in fact, they’re mandated by building code. Now they have a they have a sliding cover on them. So you can have the louvers open or close. What I generally suggest is that you want to have the crawlspace vents fully open in the spring, the summer in the fall, in the winter, when the temperature really starts to drop, then you should close them. But in the spring, the summer in the fall, leave them open. It helps the moisture that’s going to be present in the crawl space, evaporate to the exterior by mixing with drier air from the outside. The other thing that you could do is I don’t know what kind of crawlspace surface you have there, but if it’s if it’s dirt, you ought to be covering it with plastic. So big sheets of poly, this green plastic, for example, that prevents the moisture from evaporating up off the soil. And the reason we’re trying to control moisture is because if you let the moisture condense on the wood framing in the crawl space, you’re going to get mold or rot. And you can also make the insulation damp, which renders it somewhat ineffective, even if it’s just a little bit of dampness. So for all those reasons, I recommend you keep them open in the three warmer seasons that help you out the most.
|CALLER: Certainly. And I sure appreciate it. Love the shows.
|TOM: All right. Thanks so much.
|LESLIE: Well, many of us have dreamed of the space in our homes dedicated to our favorite hobby. You know, maybe for you, it’s a workshop, sewing room, a writer’s nook, or an art studio. Well, there’s no better time than now to live your dream. So let’s start off with the basic questions about your hobby. How much space and storage are you needing? Do you need a lot of outlets? Does it may be involve something that needs special ventilation? If you’re using an existing space, think about how you’d use closet space with the doors removed. Does that work? You know? Are you looking for space in your basement or maybe even the garage? And just because you call the room in your home and dining room doesn’t mean you have to use it that way.
|TOM: That’s right. So when planning your room, you want to think about the three most important areas. For example, if you’re creating maybe a sewing room, the key areas might be like a cutting table, a sewing area, and maybe an ironing board. But for woodworkers like me, it might be a table saw, a really large saw and a workbench, you know, in kitchen design. We call this the working triangle. It’s the space between the range and the refrigerator in the sink, because those are the three things that you’re sort of moving between all the times. The idea applies here to your hobby room. Maintain a short distance between the key workstations, and that makes the space a lot easier for you to navigate and a lot less stressful and tiring as you go about your projects.
|LESLIE: Well, it’s time to talk remodeling with Mary. We’re heading up to Utica in New York to do that. Mary, tell us what you’re working on.
|CALLER: I have a seasonal home and it was from the 1960s, the early all paneling and everything. My site took all of.
|LESLIE: That down right.
|CALLER: Down to the studs and the ceiling and everything. And he would like to do away and part of it with the ceiling joists. And go up to the rafters so that to make it look more like it has the open space all there. And I’m worried about the structure, integrity of the place.
|TOM: Yeah, you definitely should be worried about that because you can’t just take away the ceiling joist. They’re keeping the walls from spreading outward. You need an architect to look at that and to tell you exactly how to accomplish this, because you’re going to have to make some structural adjustments to make that happen. You can’t just take away all the ceiling joists because the outside walls will bow.
|CALLER: Even if you put a tower up there.
|TOM: Well, I mean, you are going to put some sort of a collar tie across, but where you put that, how you attach it, what the width of that is, what the size of that is. Those are all structural questions that have to have calculable answers. If you have an engineer or an architect, spec it out for you, but to just guess what it is is really risky.
|CALLER: Oh, okay.
|TOM: It’s also going to be harder to insulate by the way that area because your ceiling joists are probably not that deep. So it’s very hard to insulate a cathedral ceiling unless you use spray foam insulation. And if you do that.
|CALLER: It’s going to use spray foam on it.
|TOM: Yeah. If you use spray foam, you’re going to have to have a with that. Obviously, if you spray foam, then you don’t have to worry about the ventilation part of it and it’ll be a much more efficient way to go.
|CALLER: Yeah, I just thought maybe there is a rule of thumb of how far down you should put the collars, but apparently not.
|TOM: Yeah, that’s going to depend on a lot of factors. So that’s why you’re going to have an expert look at it. Okay?
|CALLER: Yeah. Thank you.
|TOM: Good luck with that project.
|CALLER: All right. Bye bye.
|TOM: Leslie, we’ve got some folks from Pennsylvania that look like they’ve had enough of the cold weather.
|LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Here we go. Monty in PA says, Can you tell me the lowest temperature? I can set my thermostat to keep my pipes from freezing while I’m away on vacation. Meaning I’ve got to get the heck out of Dodge. I’m freezing my butt off and go into the Caribbean.
|TOM: Listen, I would not trust just a thermostat setting to keep your pipes from freezing because, you know, listen, temperatures vary. I know in my house before I made some plumbing changes, we would have to get down to six or seven degrees above zero before we got some pipe freezing and I wouldn’t trust that I was going to predict that while I’m away. So I would recommend a couple of things here. Monty. First of all, I wouldn’t turn your set your thermostat any lower than about 65. I really wouldn’t, because aside from, you know, the issue of keeping the pipes warm, if you let too much moisture build up in the house, you can get mold. Secondly, I would turn the main water valve off because if the main water valve is off. You can’t have a leak and leak damage that ensues from it, or at least not very much. I mean, your water heater could leak, but after the 40 or 50 gallons leaks out and that’s it, you’ve got nothing else that’s happening there. So I would turn the main water valve off and I would also shut off all the nonessential circuits. So if your water heater is electric, turn off the electricity, the water heater, no sense paying for water heated while you’re away and so on. Go through the house, any circuits that you don’t need. You know, so it’s not the heat. You want to keep that on the refrigerator. Keep that on. It’s on lights. Keep that on. But, you know, if you have other circuits, which we all do, those can be kept off. So you’re minimizing the chance that anything is going to go crazy on you when you’re away. So don’t just trust the temperature of that setting thermostat. I would definitely turn the water off and make sure that there’s no water that can leak out. If the pipes do freeze and break, you know, you’re not going to get a leak. And if you do, you’ll figure it out when you get home real quick.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’ve got a post from Kim who says, This weekend I tried to remove a dead light bulb from my ceiling fan and it was so brittle, it shattered in my hand. Now, the base of the light bulb is basically stuck in the socket, and I don’t know how to get it out. I thought about using pliers, but what part of the bulb should I grab onto? I’ve had this happen before.
|TOM: I have to. Yep, I have to. So, first of all, the key here is turn your power off. And I’m not just talking about the switch. I don’t want to take any chances. I want you to turn all the power off in the house. Turn off the main. Just have it be off when you do this. But there’s two ways to go about this. Typically, what I’ll do is I’ll grab the edge of the of the remaining piece of the bowl, the socket with a pair of like needle those pliers and just carefully work it in a circle. So I unscrew it, essentially. But there’s also little trick of the trade. If you have a piece of foil, you can sort of ball that up and stick it into that socket right where all the glass was. And that actually becomes like an extension of what the ball was and you’re sort of unscrewing it. So you could do that or you could do it with a set of pliers, but always, always, always turn all the power off first.
|LESLIE: All right. I’ve also heard people say you could use a potato, but that seems a little challenging.
|TOM: I don’t get that. I’ve heard that. It seems like…
|LESLIE: I mean, I feel like these.
|TOM: Doesn’t make any sense.
|LESLIE: You know, the bits of glass and the edge of the bulb itself will stick into the potato and then you turn it. But like, I feel like you’ve got to push really hard and then you’re probably pushing that bulb further in.
|TOM: I think it’s a waste of a good potato, frankly.
|LESLIE: And it’s not like you’re going to eat it after.
|TOM: You have a little unexpected roughage if you did. You’re listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement show. Hey, guys. Thanks so much for spending a little bit of your day this New Year with us. If you’ve got projects on your to do list, we would love to help you get them done. All you got to do is reach out to us any time of the day or night at 1888-Money-Pit or just go to moneypit.com again. Ask until we meet again. 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 2024 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.)