In today’s show, we’ll focus on winter wisdom for your home, with tips on how to use space heaters safely, ideas for luring colorful winter birds to your yard, and info on easy and effective spray foam insulation! Join us as we navigate these cold weather challenges and delights, plus answer lots more home improvement questions.
- Space Heaters: If you want to enjoy warmth without worry, remember these space heater safety tips.
- Winter Birds: Add life and color to your yard by attracting winter birds with the right feeders and food.
- Foam Insulation: This innovative spray foam kit boosts insulation, seals drafts, and improves energy efficiency.
Top Questions & Answers
- Tile Grout: Christine wants white grout for her white bathroom tile. Using sand grout for the floor, epoxy grout for the walls, and sealing it well will help keep it clean.
- Chimney Repair: Rebecca’s chimney has external cracks and the mantel is chipped and shifting. This sounds like a significant structural project that requires a professional home inspector to determine how to make repairs.
- Crown Molding: There are gaps between the ceiling and the top of the crown molding. We suggest that Jason add another thin molding to cover the seam.
- Double Fireplace: Danuza has questions about creating one open fireplace instead of two. It may not be a good idea, but a home inspector or chimney contractor may decide.
- Solar Panels: Should a roof be replaced before installing solar panels? Lawrence must consider the ROI of investing in solar energy and giving up ten years of roof life.
- Heated Floor: Can you install in-floor heating with a Terrazzo floor? It’s a big, expensive project, but Sylvia can run PEX piping under the tile.
- Driveway Repair: Water pools in low spots on an asphalt driveway. Scott would have to redo the driveway to correct the base underneath, but in the meantime, he can seal the surface to extend its life as long as possible.
- Bathroom Caulk: Mary is having trouble removing the caulk around her bathtub. We offer tips on using a caulk softener and the best way to apply new caulk.
- Driveway Stains: After a golf cart leak stains his new driveway, Richard learns about using TSP to remove the stains.
- Mold Problem: Cumi found black and green mold in her rental home. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to address this problem, which can pose a serious health risk.
|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: Hope you guys are starting off 2024 on a good foot. If you’re thinking about taking on a project to improve your space, well, that’s what we do. We’d be glad to help you out with some tips and advice on how to get your project done right the first time. Help yourself first are reaching out to us with your questions. You can do that two ways. Call us at 1-888-Money-Pit. That’s 888-666-3974. Or better yet, just go to Money Pit icon/ask and click the blue microphone button. You can record your question. We’ll get back to you as quick as possible. We’ve got a great show planned for you today. You know, sometimes the winter can be a little bit dreary on some days, but you can bring some life and color to your backyard by attracting a variety of winter birds. And you can do that with the right kind of bird feeder and bird food. So we’re going to walk you through that project and tell you what you need to know.
|LESLIE: And with the chilly weather, do you have a room or an area where a space heater might come in handy? Well, before you reach for those space heaters and we want to just make sure that you’re using it safely. We’ll share some tips coming up.
|TOM: And when you insulate a home, you’re kind of limited to the walls depth, which is about three and a half inches for a two by four. Well, there’s a new product on the market that actually can help you boost Wall insulation, seal out drafts before they happen, and improve energy efficiency for greater comfort. Tell you all about that.
|LESLIE: But first, what resolutions do you have in your home improvement list for the New Year? Well, whatever you’d like to get done, if you can dream it, you can build it and we can help. So let us know what you’ve got on the plans for this new Year.
|TOM: Standing by for your questions at 1-888-Money-Pit. That’s 888-666-3974. And there’s lots of people that want to talk to us. Must be a lot of work going to be planned for this new year. Leslie So let’s get to it. Who’s first?
|LESLIE: We’ve got Christina on the line, who’s got a question about grout. What is going on at your Money Pit?
|CALLER: So I have a renovation going on and one bathroom has light shower tile and white floor tile. And I wanted to use white grout on both the shower wall and the floor. My architect says, don’t use why it’ll get so dirty so fast. My boss says she has two rooms and they’re both all white grout and they don’t get dirty. And then there was somebody else who said, you know, there’s opinions on both sides. I want to know what is the right answer?
|TOM: Okay. Well, Leslie, I think it really comes down to the type of grout. I mean, if it’s sand grout, it’s much more likely to get dirty than if it’s an epoxy grout, right?
|LESLIE: Yeah. And it also depends, You know, if you treat it after the grout is applied. You know, there are some steps you can take to make sure that once the grout is applied, it can stay cleaner longer. And there’s different ways that you can apply that grout sealer as well.
|LESLIE: So taking notes.
|TOM: So we think that white’s probably a fine choice. And yes, there may be a bit more maintenance, but if you do seal the sand grout like the whiter grout joints like for the floor and you seal those properly, you minimize that. And for the tile walls, if you use an epoxy grout, then you really have no worries. That’s just is almost as easy to clean as the tile itself.
|CALLER: Oh, okay. Thank you so much.
|LESLIE: James in Colorado is on the line. Has a question about a rusty window. Well, what’s going on?
|CALLER: So our home is about 14 years old and we have some window wells that butt upright against to the driveway. And they’ve started having little quarter size or half dollar size rust pits that are coming through on the inside of the window. Well, and I’m doing some things that mask that. But I just wonder in the long term, can I stop that from happening or what’s going to be the long term consequence of that?
|TOM: Yeah, I’m probably not, you know, galvanized metal. As you probably know, there’s different levels of galvanized and some of it’s going to last longer than others. You mentioned this is near your driveway. I imagine there’s probably some salt getting there perhaps in the winter, and that’s corrosive as well. So I think this is just a state of where that these window wells are experiencing. They do make window wells that are not still there. There’s very sturdy plastic window wells that are available. These are these between sort of like the foundation wall in your driveway and are they, you know, covering maybe half the way up the glass for the basement or can you describe to me.
|CALLER: It covers up almost the whole way of the glass. We’re in a in a newer neighborhood, but it’s designed to look like an older one with detached garages and the space between the houses is narrow. So the driveway actually comes right up to the foundation. And so these window wells take up about a half a 30 foot above the driveway.
|TOM: James, are you familiar with the Belco Company? They’re kind of famous for the Belco door, which is that sort of slanty metal door that helps people get into basements from the outside. They actually make a polyethylene window. Well, that would replace the steel window. Well, of course, you know, they’re like a hundred bucks compared to like, you know, 20 bucks for the steel one. But those window wells are very attractive and sturdy, and you’re not going to have any problems with corrosion in the future with them. So there’s an option for you, perhaps if they get any worse and you get to the point where there’s not look, I’m not looking that great. You want to replace them. You might want to think about doing that. Okay.
|CALLER: Is it a pretty big deal to replace them?
|TOM: Not really. You’re going to have to just dig out the old one and what I would do is I would lay down a tarp so that you’re collecting the soil on top of the tarp and getting it all over the place and then dig out the old one. You eventually be able to pull it right out half the time. I mean, they’re designed to be both the wall, but half the time they’re not. So once you pull the soil away, you’ll be able to remove it. And what I would do is I would get that window. Well, the new ones set in there and I would try to put a little blue stone around the outside the window. Well, and then what I would do is at the bottom of the window. Well, on the window side, I would go, you know, a good three or four inches under wear. The window is for the basement. And I would put stone in there. And the reason you’re doing that is because when it rains, you won’t get dirt and mud that splashes up on your basement window.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you so much. Has been very helpful. I’ll look up that company and see what some of their options are.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with the project, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Hey, guys, if you’ve heard a helpful tip or two while listening to our show, please help us help even more home improvers by dropping us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts.
|TOM: That would be awesome. And you might even win a copy of our book My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. Just go to MoneyPit.com for review.
|LESLIE: Rebecca in Tennessee is on the line with a question about a crack in a foundation. Tell us what’s going on in your money pit.
|CALLER: Well, let’s see. Where do I start? I have an external chimney. I believe that it was limestone. There are cracks that are going from the bottom of it all the way to the top on the front. And if you’re basing it on the right side as well and on the inside, around the mantle, I said to you this way, there are paint chips that have shifted about an inch apart from where they were originally on the wall. And there are cracks kind of coming from the vicinity of the chimney down to the windowsill. I had someone take a look at it, and he said the foundation under the chimney was cracked. And what it is I really been given two different opinions as to what I need to do to fix it. Okay.
|TOM: Let me ask you a question, Rebecca. The person you had look at it was this a chimney contractor or a mason?
|CALLER: It was a he’s actually a roofer, an external specialist, but he also works on chimneys.
|TOM: He is a contractor. And who is the second opinion from another contractor?
|CALLER: Yes, another contractor. And what opinion is the chimney needs to be torn completely down. And the other one is it needs to be knocked down to the roof level and tied into the roof.
|TOM: Now, let me ask you a question here, Rebecca. What do both of these guys have in common?
|CALLER: I don’t know.
|TOM: They both want your money. That’s what they have in common. Okay. So they have a conflict of interest. This is a significant project and a potentially serious one and one that may go deeper than what you’re saying. What you’re telling me is concerning because of the number of cracks and the evidence of movement. So I’m going to tell you that what you should do is find a professional home inspector. You can find one that’s certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors and have that inspector look at your chimney. Either a home inspector or a structural engineer. But not a contractor. A home inspector does not do work on the house. They only inspect, so they don’t have that conflict of interest. If you go to the Web site for the American Society of Home Inspectors, which is actually ashi.org or I think it’s also home inspector.org, you can enter your zip code, you’ll get a list of certified inspectors in your area. You can call if you chat with them about what’s going on. They’ll charge you a small fee, you know, maybe 100 or $200, I would guess, to do what’s called a partial inspection and basically to come out and look at one item. But I really think you need a set of skilled eyes looking at that where the guy’s not trying to sell you a repair to tell you what exactly is going on and what has to happen before you start spending money with these contractors. They may be completely right, but I’m uncomfortable whenever you have a contractor that says, You got a problem, lady, but I’m just the guy to fix it for you. It’s just a big conflict of interest and you got to guard against it. Okay.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you very much.
|TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Jason in Louisiana is on the line with a cracking issue in the walls. What’s going.
|CALLER: On? I’m doing a crown molding five and a quarter inch crown molding in my home and so I installed it and then I cocked it. And then it still keeps on cracking, like I’ve had the carpet two or three times. And I just wonder if there’s any better something better to do for that than keeping on doing this thing over and over again.
|TOM: So the cracking is between the crown molding and the ceiling and walls on both sides, both top and bottom of the molding or what.
|CALLER: It happens mainly between the ceiling and the molding or the crown.
|TOM: And what are you come up with? Are you using acrylic latex, caulk, water cleanup, right? Not silicone based.
|CALLER: Yes. Yeah. Water. Yes. Yes.
|TOM: Well, I mean, what’s obviously happening is you have a lot of expansion and contraction, differential expansion, contraction between the molding and in the ceiling. One thing I could suggest to you, depending on how deep that upper edge of the crown molding is, you could add another piece of molding covering that edge and letting it float. So that was the last piece of molding would be like a very thin shoe molding or quarter around. And you attach that to the ceiling. And I would I would glue it as you do this to it, glue it and tack it at the same time so that you’ll have essentially a seam between those two pieces of molding. And as it as it moves, it expands and contracts. It just sort of slides and it doesn’t break free. That makes sense to you.
|CALLER: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah.
|TOM: But I do suspect, Jason, that you’re probably the only guy that sees that crack. So, you know, just put it in proper balanced perspective, okay? There’s probably other projects in your house that fits like mine that deserve more attention than the seam between the whole thing and the ceiling. Okay.
|CALLER: Sounds good.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit. Well, would you guys like to add some life to your backyard during the winter season? If so, you might think about making some simple changes to attract winter birds.
|LESLIE: Now, all birds don’t catch the red eye from Mexico at the first sign of cold weather. I mean, even the northernmost parts of the United States has cardinals, woodpeckers, finches and many more winter loving birds. And you can attract them to your yard simply by giving them the right food. Now, most winter birds eat seeds and they have to because insects are kind of hard to find in the cold. So stock up on both sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. And the great thing about safflower is that squirrels don’t like them. And if you love woodpeckers, you can hang suet for them as well. But hang that pretty high because most of the other winter mammals that hang around, they really love suet, too.
|TOM: Yeah. You know, we have a feeder outside our kitchen window and I love to watch the birds eat that, but I also enjoy watching the squirrels try to get to it. They used to, like, launch themselves and hang on to the suet feeder, which is sort of like a metal box, like a great. And what I did was I put a little tin roof above it on a string on a piece of wire. So they have to land on this tilt, these piece of metal roof, and then they fall off of it or slide off it down to the ground. They don’t get hurt, but at least it makes the suet last a little bit longer. And it’s really funny to see how much they strive.
|LESLIE: To do that. You know what else I also learned recently is that squirrels hate spicy foods, but birds can’t taste spicy foods. They have no taste. But so there’s birdseed available that is crazy, crazy spicy that the birds seem to love, but the squirrels just stay away from.
|TOM: You know, it’s funny because I do remember seeing suet in those, like, spicy flavors, but I didn’t realize why.
|LESLIE: The news in Georgia is on the line with a heating question. Everybody is chilly this winter. What is going on down there?
|CALLER: It’s cold. It’s very cold. And I’m asking, you know, calling about a fireplace. We live in a arts and crafts house and there is a fireplace smack in the middle that faces to eat. And so the entrance and then opening it would be the kitchen and dining area. The opening to the front door is a fireplace. The other one was at one point blocked. And I know we have two chimneys. My question is, is it possible, do you think, for me to integrate, to open it straight through, to make it a one fireplace that would go both ways? Or would I have to stick to the way it was built one way.
|TOM: And the other words you would like the fire pit to go straight through from one side to the other.
|CALLER: Yes, but I have to have chimneys. Yeah, I don’t.
|TOM: I don’t think so. I don’t think you can do that because the structure of this is such that you probably have one physical chimney and then you have two liners. So two…
|TOM: Okay. And one is on the fireplace side and one is on the other side or one’s on the living room side, one’s on the kitchen side. So why would you want that to be opened up Just for esthetics?
|CALLER: Yes, exactly. And my question would be, even if I did it using, you know, the guests kind of daily, or do I still need a chimney for that?
|TOM: I think if you’re asking me, you know, I put a gas fireplace in there where without venting it, and I would say no.
|CALLER: No, okay. Because yeah.
|TOM: Well, because there is there are no invented gas fireplaces. I’ve never liked them at all. I’ve always made me very uncomfortable. They do dump a lot of moisture into the house and you know, they’re allowed here in the States. But I think last time I checked, they were illegal in Canada who is much more conservative about things like this. So I would say there is an invented gas fireplace. I also would not convert those existing wood fireplaces to gas fireplaces because they’re going to burn a lot of gas, be really expensive to run what you might want to do is think about seeing if there was an insert that might be available for the fireplace side because that can have some built in circulation with a vent fan that could improve the heating distribution of that one side. Now, you mentioned that one side’s blocked. I’d like to know why it was blocked. If the chimney is still the floor is still functional, if it’s deteriorated, maybe it’s not line. I don’t know. But you ought to find out why it’s in the condition it’s in. So I think you need to talk to a good home inspector. Or a very good chimney contractor. Not a sweep. Okay. And I want you to be cautious. Not this. Find somebody that just wants to sell you a big repair, but something that can give you some true independent expert advice as to what it’s going to take to get this work going again. Okay.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you very much. That was very helpful because I think the thing that most helped me was about the non-venting thing, too. Yeah, I didn’t realize how dangerous that could get, but thank you. I really appreciate it.
|TOM: Yeah, take that out of consideration, All right. And is a good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: We’ve got Laurence on the line is looking to add solar panels to the roof. It has a question about his existing roof. Tell us what’s.
|CALLER: Going on and looking into and possibly going to have solar panels installed on my roof. But the roof is over ten years old and they’re talking about replacing the roof. And I just wanted to maybe talk to you about it and maybe get some advice.
|TOM: Well, first of all, I presume the reason you’re talking about a new roof is because you don’t want to put solar panels over an old roof because you would have to remove the solar panels to replace the roofs, you know, sooner than you expect. And that does make sense. But aside from that, though, I would just look very carefully as to whether or not you’re going to get a return on investment by installing solar panels, especially because now you’re giving up another ten years potentially of roof life just to get those solar panels. What I find, unfortunately, with the solar industry today is there’s a lot of fancy back of the napkin math, if you know what I mean. That goes on when they try to show you what the savings is going to be. You really need to figure out how long those panels are going to last and whether or not you’re going to be it’s going to be worth the investment either in paying for the project or outright or sometimes you can lease them, too. But in the case of leasing, you don’t own the panels in the end up. If you want to sell your house, having to try to get the next buyer to kick in and agree to pay for that lease as well, or you got to buy them out of the lease. So there’s a lot to consider when it comes to adding solar panels to your house. And you’re just dealing with another aspect of this is whether or not you should replace your roof at the same time. But think about it, if that roof is not ready to be replaced, you’re given up ten years of life just to get the solar panels. So certainly impacts any cost savings that you think you might experience.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’ve got Sylvia in Pennsylvania on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: I am moving from Pennsylvania, moving further south to get away from the snow. I don’t know if it’ll be South Carolina, Georgia or Florida, but I am going to build myself a house and it’s going to be a small house. I’m wondering about in floor heating. But I would like to have a terrazzo floor. So can you put in floor heating and cooling in it to raise a floor?
|TOM: So first of all, congratulations on your plan. That sounds really exciting. Secondly, in terms of the floor, first of all, the floor can be heated. It can’t provide your cooling. You’re going to have to have a central air conditioning system for that was.
|CALLER: I was wondering about that because I was wondering, too, because cold settles and I’m thinking the floor would be cold, but nothing else would be.
|TOM: So but in terms of the heated floor, yes, there is a way to run pecs piping, which is a cross-linked polyethylene, hot water piping through a underlayment that would go under tile. In fact, they make a specific type of plywood that’s actually channeled out for this very purpose with the plumbing sort of lays inside tracks in the plywood and then the mud floor or whatever you’re using underneath the trouser goes on top of that. So certainly you can do that. It’s a pretty big project. But if you’re set on having this kind of floor, you can definitely do it. But it will it will it will be more a more expensive heating system than other types.
|CALLER: Well, I’m not really set on the terrazzo, but I was thinking of it, and because it would be easy to clean, it would be just from living in Florida. I am familiar with terrazzo floors, and I just thought that, you know, it was a possibility. You know, I have not decided exactly yet. I just gathering information now. Yeah.
|TOM: The answer is you could put hot water heat through your floors pretty much with any type of material, including that. So definitely an option for you. Sylvia, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit. Well, space heaters can be a great way to save money on your heating bills, but only if they’re used safely. So first, you want to remember that space heaters should be used to provide supplemental heat and not in place of your entire or home heating system.
|LESLIE: That’s right. And also, you don’t want to use the space heater to warm your bedding, to cook food, to thaw pipes or to dry clothing. I mean, listen, guys, all this sounds like a no brainer, but if it hadn’t happened somewhere, somehow we wouldn’t be warning you about it.
|TOM: That’s right. Now, the space between the space heater and anything else that’s combustible is really key. And this is where most fires develop. You need to maintain at least a three foot safety around the space heater, so nothing combustible should ever get any closer. And when you’re buying space heaters, look for devices with an automatic shut off feature and heating element guards. The shut offs will shut off the heater if it gets bumped and say knocked over.
|LESLIE: Yeah. You also want to make sure that you choose heating equipment that has the UL mark. And now that you all mark on a product means underwriters laboratory, it means their technical staff members have tested that product thoroughly, know they’re looking for safety hazards. They want to make sure that it you know it’s good to use at your home and that you’re going to operate it well and you’re going to be okay with it.
|TOM: Absolutely. This way you can be both warm and safe.
|LESLIE: Always love taking calls from my neck of the woods. We’ve got Scott in New York who’s working on the driveway. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: In my house. In my driveway. I have a blast up driveway, I notice hitting water spots after a rainstorm. I was wondering what my options for fixing.
|TOM: So are these actual potholes or just sort of low spots?
|CALLER: This low spot?
|TOM: I got to tell you, it’s difficult to address a situation where you just have low spots like that because it’s a failure of the base of the driveway. If when the driveway was put in the base of the driveway underneath, you know, probably wasn’t prepped correctly. And so over time, it settled and sagged. And that’s why you’re developing those water spots now. It’s difficult to patch over that unless it’s a fairly contained area. So, for example, if you had a section of broken up driveway that maybe was a foot or so square, you know, there are different densities of patching compounds. They come everywhere from like a gravel mix that is a latex product that you could put it in and will dry solid, you know, to something that’s fairly liquid for cracks. But to really raise the level of low spots in there, you’re really talking about a situation where you’d have to replace the driveway or put a second layer on it. And I got to tell you, I probably would not even put the second layer on it because I would not be confident as to how the original driveway was constructed. And if I wanted to avoid that in the future, I would probably tear it up and start again. So I guess your question is how much does this really bother you? Does it bother you enough where you want to tear it up or you just want to live with it for a few more years before you get to that? If it’s not cracked, you know, perhaps just sealing it is going to protect it as long as possible. Keeping that water from saturating into an area and soaking the area will help stabilize it for at least for the immediate future. Okay.
|TOM: Help. All right, Scott, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Heading over to Alabama now where Mary is trying to remove some old caulk from a bathroom fixture. What’s going on?
|CALLER: Hi. I recently was trying to remove my cork from around my bathtub and cannot get it removed. I purchased one of the tools that home improvement store and it is so hard that it won’t remove. And I’m worried about scratching the bathtub and the edge if I get like a razor blade.
|TOM: Have you ever used a paint remover to move? Remove layers of paint? Yes. Okay. Well, just like a paint remover will strip paint. There’s a product called a caulk softener. And the caulk softener gets applied to the caulk and it sort of re liquefies. It softens it up. It makes it a lot easier for you to scrape it out. So you want to apply the cork softener first. Once it works and softens the caulk clean, it really, really well. The next thing you want to do is take a bleach in a water solution and wipe that seam down really well, because you want to kill any bacteria that’s in there. You want to make sure there’s no mold spores that are left behind. And the next thing that you want to do is fill the tub with water. We always caulk tubs when they’re full of water. And here’s why. Because when the cork dries, the tub sort of comes back up. When you fill the tub with water, it sinks down. When you put the cork in, let the cork dry, then let the water out. The tub comes back up and compresses the cork and it’s not likely to fall out again or pull apart again at the scene. Okay. So those are the steps you want to follow. Start with the cork softener. Wipe it down with bleach in water. Fill the tub with water, cork it when the cork dries, let the tub water out and you’re.
|CALLER: Good to go. Okay. Can you recommend a good cop to replace it with?
|TOM: I would take a look at the DAP products that include Microban. Microban is an additive that stops any mold from growing inside the cork.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
|TOM: You’re welcome. Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Well, when you’re insulating your home’s walls, the walls depth is a crucial factor. Consider a two by four studded wall, which only offers about three and a half inches of insulation space. But there’s a smart solution that allows you to beef up that insulation and reduce drafts simultaneously combining that insulation with depth touch and foam.
|TOM: Yeah, that’s introduced the touch and foam professional wall and cavity foam. Now it’s a portable, self-contained one component polyurethane foam kit. So it’s versatile. It’s great for sealing gaps in a lot of areas like the walls, the floors, the attics, the basements in crawl spaces and the is that as the foam is applied, it expands to fill gaps and that seals out drafts, keeping you warm and comfortable.
|LESLIE: Now, to improve your wall’s insulation, you want to start by applying a layer of touch and foam to the exterior wall, and you can watch as expands to seal and then insulate the entire wall cavity. And once it’s dry, you add the bad insulation into the cavity. Now, this two-pronged approach is going to seal out future drafts while maximizing the wall’s insulation capacity. And that ultimately is going to lower your energy bills.
|TOM: And that’s the bottom line. Today’s weatherization tip has been brought to you by DAP, featuring the innovative touch and foam professional wall and cavity foam system. DAP has revolutionized spray foam application with its one component broadcast spray foam. You can find the DAP, touch and foam system at Menards and select Home Depot stores or learn more at DAP E-commerce, DAP dot.
|LESLIE: Richard in Florida is on the line with a question about a driveway. What’s going on?
|CALLER: Well, I had a golf cart parked in the driveway and it must have been leaking something. And I’ve got a rough stain and it looks like some oil stains and it’s a brand new driveway. And I was wondering if there’s anything I can use to remove those stains.
|LESLIE: Well, it’s a brand new driveway with a brand new stain.
|TOM: That’s funny.
|LESLIE: That always happens. You start off with something brand new and then it just gets ruined, right?
|TOM: Yeah. The first one hurts the worst, too. It’s the first dent you get in a new car.
|LESLIE: But you know what you could try is something called tri sodium phosphate goes by TLC. You’ll find it mostly in, like, the painting aisle at home centers. And it’s a powder, and you can mix it into a paste, you know, and I would sort of put that on to the oil stain and the rough stain and let it sit there as a thicker paste. And then as it seems to start to be drying up a little bit, you can take a brush and, you know, kind of scrub it just gently to see. And that should pull everything out, the rust and the oil. I mean, that oil’s probably going to have to be done a couple of times just because it is so porous and the oil does just want to get into every nook and cranny. But that should do the trick.
|CALLER: Okay, I’ll try it.
|TOM: All right. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|CALLER: Thank you.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’re heading out to Wisconsin, where Comey has a question about mold. What can we do for you today?
|CALLER: It’s like on the walls and it started at the bottom of the wall is like black mold. In some areas, it’s somewhat green, but most of it is black. And I was trying to get the basement refinished when the guy came and started it. He had to stop because the mold is coming through the panel and you still see it at the bottom. Yeah.
|TOM: Now, this is a home at your own, Jimmy.
|CALLER: No, I’m.
|TOM: You’re renting it. Okay, so this is the landlord’s problem. This isn’t your problem, and it’s a potentially serious problem depending on how much of it is there. That type of mold that you describe is what’s known as Starkey Mattress, that sort of blackish greenish mold and in some cases it can be cause an allergic like effect on people could make you not feel very well people that are really sensitive to mold can get super sick around it. Removing it is possible, but there’s a process to it. It’s not just a matter of tearing out the old walls or scrubbing it away, because if you do it incorrectly, you can release those mold spores. They float around the air and they can get up into the parts of the house that don’t have mold and kind of contaminate it. So I would take some pictures of it. I would send a letter to the landlord and let him know what’s going on. And he’s got to address it because this is a potentially very serious problem. You can’t let it continue.
|CALLER: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I notice that since I moved here, asthma runs in my family, but I never had asthma. And now I have asthma. I have bronchitis.
|TOM: You may be living in a sick house. Your dog seems quite happy.
|CALLER: A child, even they know, said that it could be dog.
|TOM: You know. Now, if you got that kind of mold, you’ve got a serious problem. You need to put them on notice that they’re going to fix it.
|LESLIE: Sarah in California reached out to the Money Pit and says, I would love to install crown molding in my home, but I can’t cut all of those fancy corners and the contractors won a fortune to install it. Are there any other options?
|TOM: Ah you know, Sarah, the market has responded to this very problem. Installing crown molding actually has become a lot easier because of the development of foam crown molding, just a said foam. They’re extrude foam moldings. They’re an excellent alternative, they’re attractive, they’re lightweight, and they’re easy to handle. And the corners, the most difficult part of any crown molding project are pre-cut. That makes installation very, very easy. And the best part, I think, is that they install with painter’s caulk, You get adhesive caulk, you don’t even need nails. You line it up and you press it into that space between the wall and the ceiling and you are done, DOA done. So it really goes on quite simply, and it looks fantastic. Once it’s up, you can paint them or you can leave them in there in their original white format, but certainly a lot easier than trying to cut crown moldings.
|LESLIE: Yeah, and they paint really nicely. I feel like the paint just flows super smoothly across that foam as well. So it’s a nice project. All right. Nick wrote in saying it’s really cold outside my hardwood four and tiled kitchen floor are super cold. Even with the heat set to 70, is it worthwhile to insulate the ceiling joists of the basement?
|TOM: Absolutely. If it’s accessible, it is definitely a good idea to do just that. Your floor will be a lot more comfortable as a result. And by the way, the other thing you ought to do in a place like that, especially if it’s a place you walk a lot, is just use an area rug. It really makes a big difference. So insulate area rug and those tootsies will be a lot warmer this winter.
|LESLIE: All right. I love it. You can also get a good pair of slippers.
|TOM: Well, guys, for all the cutting edge design ideas that are out there, most of us still follow some unwritten design rules. You know, those things that someone at some point decided we should never, ever do? Well, sometimes breaking the rules is necessary. And Leslie has got ideas for shaking up the status quo and making some big design statements. In today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
|LESLIE: Yeah, You know, whether you inherited these rules from your parents or you just never thought to break them, it’s time to go rogue on those old design rules. And we’re going to start with one of my favorite ones to break, which is neutral colors only in small spaces. Now, even if bold colors do make a small space seem a little smaller, the illusion is for sure worth the added eye candy. Now, somewhere along the line, somebody decided that master bedroom should be serious. Well, throw that one out as well. Fun decor gives you something exciting and inspiring to wake up to, and it can bring out the kid in all of us and kind of boost your creativity. So don’t be afraid to use fun colors in There are big wild patterns or a crazy wallpaper, but you know you can do it also in tone down tones as well so that it still feels kind of cozy and relaxing. Just have some fun with that. Now artwork, everything’s got to be eye level. Everything’s got to be in a line. No, it doesn’t. You can lean things on the floor, you can mix and match sizes, you can create a cool gallery look on the wall. It’s all about having fun, but also planning, you know, if you’re kind of trying to mix and match different shapes and sizes, go ahead and make little template pieces out of paper and just tape them around the wall at first before you go ahead and actually commit nail to wall to hang these things this way. You know, if it works, if you like it, if it’s going to play well on the space and who said chairs have to match, they for sure do not. You can mismatch chairs in your dining areas and that’s a new take on me. I mean you can have a bench on one side and two chairs on the other and two different chairs on the end. Go ahead, mix it up, use it how your family’s going to enjoy it best and just have fun this year, guys. It’s your home. It’s your allowed.
|TOM: You know, were on vacation this past summer and we happened to go into a restaurant where all the tables and chairs were mismatched on purpose and it was a pretty cool place as a result. Yeah, exactly. So it’s definitely a thing. This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show coming up next time. Ah, you do for a new furnace. If you are, we’re going to teach you what to look for as you do that shopping, including what kind of warranty you should get to protect you for a long time to come. But until then, 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.)