Get tips on keeping your home colorful, bright, and warm in today’s show as we discuss what to think about before painting, easy pick-me-ups to beat the winter blues, and doing a home energy assessment. Plus, hear helpful answers to lots more home improvement questions!
- Winter Blues: Lift your spirits and beat the winter blues with DIY tips to brighten up your home.
- Painting Tips: Consider these 6 tips before starting your next painting project.
- Energy Audit: Learn how to make your home more energy-efficient with a DIY energy audit.
Top Questions & Answers
- Deck Stain: Jeanie needs advice for staining the new boards on her deck. We recommend using a solvent-based solid stain that will last longer.
- Water Pressure: The water pressure is different in Brad’s bathrooms. He gets tips on how to figure out if it’s an obstruction or a problem with the valve or faucet.
- Gutter Guards: Risa’s gutters are getting clogged with leaves from nearby trees. We advise her to find a reputable contractor to install mesh gutters that will work best.
- Home Construction: Is prefabricated construction a good option? We agree there are lots of advantages to John building a prefab guest home.
- Storm Door: Katie’s storm door is trapping so much heat, it’s melting her front door trim. She may not need the storm door at all, or else she can just use the screen panels.
- Insulation: Brian is converting his ceiling can lights to LED, but he should check with the manufacturer about how to insulate around the lights in the attic.
- Bathroom Wall Cracks: There are spider cracks in the acrylic wall around Stephanie’s shower. If they’re just on the surface, she can try buffing them with car wax.
- Basement Flooring: Jay wants to warm up his cold concrete basement floor and gets info about subfloor panels he can place over the concrete before adding new flooring.
- Preventing Mice: What is the best way to keep mice out of a seasonal home? Sarah gets tips for storing food, sealing gaps, eliminating nesting areas, and using rodenticide.
- Cedar Siding: Is pine a good replacement for worn western red cedar siding? It’s not as durable, so he should stick with cedar siding or consider using HardiePlank instead.
Ask Your Home Improvement Question
|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 we are here to help you tackle projects you’d like to get done around your house. What are you planning for this weekend? This month or this year? If it’s a deck, a kitchen, a bathroom, if you’ve got a repair to do, something weird is happening in your house and you just don’t know why. We are happy to help get to the bottom of that dilemma. Reach out to us first with your questions. The number here is 1-888-Money-Pit or just go to moneypit.com/ask, click the blue microphone button. You can record your question for the fastest possible response coming up on today’s show. You know, besides choosing a color, what are the important things to consider when you’re getting ready to paint? Well, we’ve got six things to remember before you pick up that paint brush that will assure your project comes out perfectly.
|LESLIE: And now that we’re deep in winter, are you tired of feeling well? Tired. We’ve got easy DIY pick maps for your home that will help lift your spirit and beat those winter blues. Just ahead.
|TOM: And if you’d like to make your home more energy efficient, a home energy audit is a great place to start. We’re going to share the details on how to get this done and highlight a do it yourself option in just a bit.
|LESLIE: But first, we want to hear what you guys are working on. And what are you planning for this new year? Are you taking on a big project, taking on some small projects, looking for some maintenance ideas to keep your house more efficient and toasty during the winter season? Whatever it is, Tim, Money Pit is standing by to lend a hand.
|TOM: The number here is 1-888-Money-Pit. Or just go to moneypit.com/ask. Let’s get to it. Leslie, Who’s first?
|LESLIE: Gina, you’ve got the Money Pit. What are you working on?
|CALLER: Well, we moved into a house that had a big deck around the house, and so we ended up taking all the boards off because the whole board had never been treated with anything. So we put the boards and everything on, and then we go. Went to, like, Lowe’s, Home Depot and all that to find a stain that we could put or, you know, like a liquid that we could put on there that we wouldn’t have to do it every year. It was an oil based stain. We put it on there and they said, Well, you shouldn’t have to do it every year. You know, maybe you should be able to go three or four years. And every year we’ve had to redo it because our deck has been the same all the time.
|TOM: That right? Yeah. I’m not sure what product you’re using, but there’s a wide variety. When it comes to stains that you could choose from. And what we generally recommend is solid color stain. And what most people get is semi-transparent stain. So what I would tell you to do is the next time, make sure you prep that deck really well, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But I would apply a solid color, solvent based stain, water based, solid based stain that has a lot of pigment in it. And what that will do is you’ll still see the green, but it will actually last a lot longer in terms of how it stands up to that surface. Solid color, not semi-transparent. And I think you’ll see a significantly different result.
|CALLER: Okay. Well, I listen to you on Saturday morning and I was that lot. I’ll ask them.
|TOM: All right. Well, we’re certainly glad you did. And we hope that works out perfect. Time now to do that to the deck. Get ready for spring. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Brad in Virginia, you’re up next. How can we help you?
|CALLER: It’s a water situation in my house. Okay. One bathroom. You get cold and hot, you go to the kitchen, you get hot. Barely is running cold. And then the last bathroom, it’s same way.
|TOM: Okay, so you have a good stream of hot and cold water in the one bathroom, but you don’t have it in the other two. So to me, that sounds like it’s a valve problem, because the first thing you want to ask yourself is whether or not you have enough water pressure coming to the house. And if you’ve got it, one bathroom, they certainly do. You just don’t have it in these other two. And we’ve got to figure out why that is. Could be a partially obstructed valve. It might look like it’s open, but it’s partially closed. I mean, it could be a clogged aerator, but that would affect most both hot and cold equally. You could easily check that, by the way, just by unscrewing the aerator. That’s a little tip of a faucet where the water comes out.
|LESLIE: Just make sure you remember how you took it apart, because it goes back.
|TOM: It’s like it was like Rubik’s cubes and was to get it back together again. But the fact that you have water, that’s the correct pressure in one bathroom means it’s not a water pressure problem. It’s definitely going to be in the plumbing or in in the valves or the fixtures are costs themselves, which is another thing, by the way, that the plumbing faucet itself could be a problem. The other thing that you could do is you could disconnect the plumbing at the valve and just hook up some hose lines to it there and just see how much water pressure comes out. So if you can sort of narrow down with the restriction is, you know, is it the faucet? Is it the valve? Where exactly is it being restricted or is it before it gets to that fixture or faucet? Because you do have the water pressure. You’ve proven that. Okay.
|CALLER: Yeah. Okay. Thanks.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Do you love learning about home improvement on our podcast? Well, we love bringing you all the latest tips and tricks.
|TOM: And if you want to make us smile, leave us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Just go to moneypit.com/review. Hey, you guys are tackling a kitchen or bath project and you want to freshen up a countertop. We’ve got a kit for you from our friends at Daich Coatings. That is awesome. It’s called the Marble Dream Resurfacing Kit. It’s a roll on marble resurfacing kit for countertops or vanities or tabletops, and it creates a tough, resilient marble surface with distinct, defined veins. Or you can create one with soft and swirling veins. It’s going out to one listener drawn and random so that you reach out to us right now with your questions. Just go to moneypit.com/ask.
|LESLIE: Reece in Oregon. You’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: Well, I need someone to recommend a really good gutter guard so that I don’t have to keep cleaning my gutters all the time because everything we’re up there, it gets more dangerous because we’re getting older and they keep getting clogged because we have big trees around our house. We have maple ash and big firs. And so consequently you’ve got tiny little needles, pointy little seeds and big, flat wide ones.
|TOM: Okay, well, there is a number of different types of gutter guards. And on moneypit.com, we have a very popular article that kind of walks you through the different types and tells you whether or not they’re worth it or not. The type of gutter guard that I seem to like the best are the ones that are mesh are really thin, mesh that has tiny holes in it that are firmly attached to the gutters themselves, and then the water basically runs through it and the leaves kind of wash off it. So I’ve had good success with that type of cutter guard personally. So that’s something that you might want to look into. They also have different types of nylon gutter guards or one called like we call it the bottle brush, where like the brush through lays in the gutter, but the kind that are mesh I think seemed to work the best. There’s a number of manufacturers out there that do that. And then the second type I would look at is called the reverse curve. That’s a piece of metal that goes up under the roof shingle and over the top of the gutter. And basically because water will sort of hug that, that gutter guard, it will run into the gutter and the leaves will wash over the top. But if you go to go to money Pets.com and search for cost of gutter guards, are they worth it? You’ll find that story and walk you through all the options.
|CALLER: Well, I can try. But the biggest problem, my bad is the big fat maple leaves, because they just stick to just about every gutter thing I’ve tried. I’ve been the one to. Yeah.
|TOM: Right. Well, I’m telling you, I think a lot of the gutter guards that are out there who find home centers just don’t work very well. But I found that the reverse curve and the mesh gutter guards seem to be the best. They will cost you, though. One sort of problem I have with the gutter guard industry is they tend to try to hard sell you on these systems. So I would just make sure I find a very reputable company to deal with on that. I remember having a very bad experience some years ago where I was just strolling down the boardwalk in New Jersey and there was a home show going on and there was a gentleman there that was just kind of pulled me out of the crowd, wanted to sell me and gutter guards. And so I just kind of let him talk and man, I could not get him to tell me how much his product cost. He kept trying to get my wife and I home in the house at the same time so that he could try to close the deal. And I’m saying, Look, what if I had a 60 foot ranch, you know, with one story house with four leaders and a lot of the front back? I was trying to think of like the simplest gutter job I could think of. Even then, he could not or probably more accurately would not quote me what his prices were. So that’s a problem. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure this out. So just be careful making sure you find a good guy head on over to HomeAdvisor.com and read your views on the roofing contractors there. I’m sure you could find one to that site.
|CALLER: I will. I’ll check yours first and go to the next one.
|TOM: All right. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-Money-Pit.
|CALLER: Thank you.
|LESLIE: Well, if you’re getting ready to paint, there are a few things you need to think about besides deciding on the color. Here’s six things to think about before you start that paint job. First, you want to measure the room to figure out how much paint you need. You can use an online paint calculator and simply enter the height and length of each wall and the number of doors and windows. And the calculator will tell you how many gallons you need to buy. As a general rule, one gallon will cover 400 square feet.
|TOM: Now, if you found a color that you like, bring home a paint chip as well as a small jar of sample paint if it’s available, because colors look different throughout the day as the lighting changes and at night when you turn on lamps. So it’s a great idea to paint a small area just to see how you like it under these various conditions. Now, the texture of a wall can also impact the paint’s color. So if you’re painting over plaster or textured surfaces or you’re painting over wood paneling or maybe even molding, be sure to paint a sample directly onto those services as well to see how they reflect the light.
|LESLIE: Now, after you’ve settled on a color, you’ve got to decide what paint finish to get. Eggshell or satin finishes are going to work well on most interior walls and semi glass is most often used on baseboards and trim. Now glossy finishes, they are more durable and they’re easier to clean, but they do show dirt more. And if you’re painting a light color over a darker color, it’s usually a good idea to use Primer as your first coat to cover the original color primers. Also really helpful if you’re painting things like cabinets or furniture, because it’s going to help you to hear the paint to the surface, which generally, if you don’t use primer and you’re going over a piece of furniture or a cabinet door, it’s all just going to slide around.
|TOM: Absolutely. And also, remember that high quality tools are really just as important as the paint. If you keep out and buy lousy brushes and rollers, they’re going to lose bristles. They’re only fuzz. They’re only brush strokes. It’s just not worth it. I mean, it’s really the levers, the hard part of painting. So you want to make sure using good tools for that. So invest in those tools so you can start painting and clean them properly after you’re done and you do that, you can use them again and again and again for future projects.
|LESLIE: John in Missouri is on the line and is needing some help purchasing a new money pit. How can we help you?
|CALLER: Me and my wife are planning on building a guest house on our property. We’re were wondering who would be better to build from the ground up or to have a prefabricated house.
|TOM: Built? Well, either is a really good option. You know, the advantage of pre-fab homes is they go together much more quickly and there’s various levels of prefabrication. You know, you can get the home built in sections or you can get a penalized homes where the walls are assembled. And, you know, I’ve seen many of these homes go together and they’re extremely well built. You know, building a lot of these things in a factory gives you the ability to control other things. It’s hard to control on the site, you know, accuracy of all the cutting in the measurements and the humidity of the wood and that sort of thing. I think either way, you really can’t go wrong and building it prefab would bring it together quicker if that’s something that you’re interested in.
|CALLER: Nice. Thank you.
|TOM: All right. Good luck. Thanks so much. Calls, John at one 888-Money-Pit. And let us know how that bill goes.
|CALLER: Thank you.
|LESLIE: Katie in Minnesota is on the line with a question about a door. What is going on?
|CALLER: I’m having some issues with the front door. My husband bought a storm door. Okay. And it’s a cellphone or it’s energy efficient. Okay. And we have a door behind there, our front door. And there’s getting to be so much heat between the two doors. Yeah. That it’s melting the trim. Yep. That’s on the other door.
|TOM: Yep. Very common. So here’s the thing. You don’t really need a storm door any more with today’s modern doors are usually if they’re installed properly and they have the right kind of weather stripping and the cells are adjusted so that they see. Well, you generally don’t need a storm door. Now, of course, all of us enjoy screen door so that we can leave our entire door open in the warmer weather. But when you put a storm door on top of the door like that, you do get sort of a greenhouse effect where the light comes through that storm door and the heat just builds up between that metal door and the glass, and it will melt as you saw the plastic trim around the window pane. So that is very, very common. Katie, you are in you’re in good company with that. So I would tell you that in the summer you don’t want to have a storm panel on that. You got to get that storm panel off and just put the screen panel in. Otherwise, this will continue to happen.
|CALLER: Yeah, that’s what we do in the summer. But during the winter. So then I had called the company and they said that there’s a plate on the bottom where you can raise it. So we raised it, but then it’s the whole door is like has frost really thick frost. Is that bad for the door?
|TOM: Well, it shouldn’t be happening in the wintertime. It’s only really is a summertime condition because it doesn’t get hot enough in the in the cold months to cause that melting.
|CALLER: But we have it now and it’s winter.
|TOM: It’s not possible. I think it’s probably melted in the summer because it doesn’t get hot enough now, not with this kind of temperature to melt that trim, the trim melts in the warmer weather.
|CALLER: Right. Well, the thing is, is we cut the tree down, the door is black. Okay? We just put it in.
|TOM: Yeah, that not helping either. That’s not helping either. Yeah. Is it a steel door?
|TOM: Yeah. Yeah. You might want to rethink that door color, but I’m just telling you that you don’t. You don’t need you don’t need to have that storm door on it whenever it starts to get warm. And if you if you do, if you are going to have it, you’re going to get this problem.
|CALLER: My husband said maybe we should just paint it. Wait and see what it does. If it’s still.
|TOM: Well, it will be better. But I’m just telling you this is really common and it happens consistently in warmer weather and it will only get worse.
|CALLER: Great. Okay.
|TOM: All right. Well, listen, listen, emotionally, you’re not alone. And it’s you know, when people see this, they think, oh, my gosh, this is never happened before. No, it happens all the time, believe me. All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Brian in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
|CALLER: I got insulation troubles because it’s just drafty in the house and I’ve got some canned lights in the upstairs that has the attic above, right? And they are non-insulation contact. Okay. And I bought some sort of a conversion kit to convert it to convert it to an LED. But what it does, it screws into the socket and then there’s two wires coming off of that and it plugs into an LED delay. Once I do that, my question is, can I go ahead and insulate that can or do I really got to replace that can?
|TOM: That’s a great question. I’ve got some of those myself and I in my situation, they weren’t going up in the attic and I’m not really sure I’m going to say that you probably can insulate over. But what I would do is I would get those lights, I would look up the manufacturer and I would ask that question of the LED manufacturer. Now, even you can’t you probably know that with insulation, contact or types of light fixture non insulation conduct fixtures, you can still insulate that space, but you have to box out around where those high has come through the ceiling. The other thing that you might want to think about doing is going up from the attic and sealing the seam between the outside of that light fixture and the drywall below because that might actually stop some of that draft that you’re probably dealing with. And I know you know how that goes. It’s pretty annoying, but I think I would definitely contact the LED manufacturer and ask them if you have a non-insulation contact high hat light and you switch to the LED, you’re obviously not generating as much heat, you would think, although some of the LEDs do get do get pretty warm. I found that, you know, some of them don’t, but some of them do. So I would ask the question because their engineers are definitely going to have calculated that before they put that product on the market. Okay.
|CALLER: Okay. I appreciate it. Thank you.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’ve got Stephanie on the line from Tennessee. You need some help around the money pit. What’s going on?
|CALLER: We have a somewhat it’s not a shower ramp to walls is of a acrylic type material marble looking. And it has a glass door with a look through glass side. I was in the shower, and it sounds like little pop, but pops, now I notice I have little teeny spider cracks just real thin on the side wall. So I let the shower dry. Put gorilla tape, waterproof gorilla tape on it. So. Okay. Any more?
|TOM: Wait, wait. No Duct tape was available.
|CALLER: Duct tape and gorilla tape is everybody’s best friend.
|TOM: There you go.
|CALLER: There to prevent more moisture in there. But it just made these little spider marks. I haven’t had any more. You could barely see them, but I really don’t want to tear out a shower.
|TOM: So the sides are acrylic?
|CALLER: Yes, It’s like acrylic marble, the head wall where the faucet and the showerhead is and the sun or the soap dishes in the shower stall.
|TOM: Okay, so it’s kind of like I’m like a liner almost. It sounds like that’s over the wall structure. That’s acrylic. That sound about right? Are these cracks all the way through or are they just on the surface because it might be the glazing on top of the acrylic?
|CALLER: Okay. Actually, I believe they’re on the surface and they seem to originate from the embedded. I don’t know if that’s the right word soap dish, but they’re just spider and, you know, but there’s you can’t feel them.
|TOM: You probably stressed that part of the liner. Maybe you grab on the soap dish. I don’t know. Plus, it’s, you know, it’s area where you’re going to have an expansion, the contraction pattern that’s different than the rest of it. If they’re not going through there, just the surface, I would not worry about that. I’ll give you one trick of the trade to kind of maybe make them less obvious, and that is if you were to apply car wax to the walls of the shower, not the floor. All right. Because you’re going to slip and break. Yes. But to the walls, you will find that that will buff in really nicely. And the water will of course, you know, run right off it. And I think it might help to hide some of those spider vein kinds of cracks the same way it does that on the finish of a car.
|CALLER: Oh, great idea. Because actually, we’re going to be selling our house in about six months. And I was like, I’m trying to be ahead of the ball game on things. I know I need to address.
|TOM: What that here’s what you do. You go ahead and say enchilada. Here’s what you do. You polish up that shower, right? And when you sell your house, you take a brand new can of car wax and you put a bow on it and you make that the housewarming gift for the new owner. And you can tell them about your call with the Money Pit and explain to them how to use it.
|CALLER: Okay. I really appreciate that. I really do. I listen to your show. Lot of good information. We appreciate you down here in Tennessee.
|LESLIE: Well, the days are shorter and colder, which for many people brings a case of the blues. Here’s a reason to smile, though. Studies show a few easy changes to your living space can spruce up your home and your spirits.
|TOM: So for starters, let’s talk about the lights. Turn them on, turn them up. It sounds simple, but improve lighting and definitely make you feel a lot better, especially this time of year when darkness sets in. So early. It’s a good time of year also for additional and better quality lighting. You know, with the advent of LED technology and all the different colors of light that’s available, it’s never been easier to add bright white light to a workspace or a softer glow for your living areas.
|LESLIE: Now, you might also consider planting an indoor garden, a colorful flowers or herbs can go a long way toward reminding you of spring. Just make sure you choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight, since most of these veggies need as much as 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow and thrive.
|TOM: And think about adding a pick me up to your front door of your entranceway that can definitely raise your spirits before you even step foot inside. So things like polishing the hardware or swapping out a doormat are really small changes that can go a long way. You also could think about new paint or a new door altogether. It brings even more freshness to your space.
|LESLIE: And finally, don’t forget to please the most powerful of your senses, your sense of smell. Citrus scents are known to energize and rejuvenate, and jasmine and grapefruit can ease depression and sadness. You can use oils, incense or candles to add the aromas to your living space.
|TOM: And if you guys want more great ideas to spruce up for winter, we’ve got them online right now. Just go to MoneyPit.com.
|LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jan, the lines dealing with a chilly basement floor. Tell us about it. Nobody likes it, so let’s give you a hand.
|CALLER: Oh, no. Concrete floors in your basement. You are talking about how to keep them toasty warm. Yep. Once that concrete gets cold. Yeah, it’s like an iceberg.
|TOM: You’re not sure? Yeah, that’s right. Yep. So there’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, there’s a product called dry core. Dry seal free. And it’s a subfloor that put some space between you and that cold concrete floor. It’s a pretty inexpensive product. They come in in panels that are about two foot square, roughly. They interconnect and you lay them down. And then on top of the dry core, you could use that floor of it’s just as an unfinished floor or you could put carpet or. Which we really don’t advise for basements, but you could if you wanted to, or you could put hardwood engineered hardwood or vinyl or any type of product like that. And they have two versions of it. One of them has insulation built into it, so maybe a little bit warmer. And that’s called dry core plus. So take a look at the dry core Web site. It is dry seal and I think you’ll find your solution right there. Jay, hope that tip warms up your floor space. Thank you so much for calling us at the Money Pit. Hey, you guys tackling a kitchen or bath project? Or maybe you’d love to have yourself a marble table where you can get all three of those done with the marble dream resurfacing kit from Daich Coatings. And we’ve got one to give away to one lucky listener this hour. This is a resurfacing kit that works for countertops, vanities and tabletops. Very easy to use. You don’t need special skills. You’re going to get a tough, resilient, beautiful marble surface, complete with these soft, swirling veins. It’s worth $169, but we got one to give away. So reach out to us for your chance to win and the answer to your home improvement question. The number here is 1888-Money-Pit. That’s 88888-666-3974. Or just go to Money Pit e-commerce, ask and click the blue microphone button.
|LESLIE: Now we’re heading to New Hampshire. Sarah is on the line. How can we help you?
|CALLER: I bought a seasonal home in Maine so I can only be there six months out of the year because you need a ferry to get over there. And I want to make sure I’m not getting my store in the year when I’m not there to six months that I’m not there. All right. So what’s the best thing to do?
|TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, don’t store food where the mice can get to it. And that means, of course, not keeping things and ground level, making sure food is in sturdy containers. If it is, if you have any small holes around the foundation perimeter cracks in the foundation or space between the foundation and the siding. Those are good to seal up. And you can do that just by sticking steel wool in the holes, Avoid creating nesting areas. So if you have like piles of firewood against the house or any kind of high brush, stuff like that is another reason for mice to kind of make themselves at home. And finally, I would put down some rodenticide side, you know, some decline or a product like that, especially in the lower levels of the house. I don’t know if you have a basement or a crawl space, but that’s generally where the mice start. And then they will eat that and take it back to the nest. And that will take care of at least some of them. So I think it’s just a process of good maintenance and not giving them an opportunity to have food there that they want to stay around longer for.
|CALLER: Well, unfortunately, the owner before me and all his wood is piled up underneath the porch. So I’m hoping that’s not an attraction for them. And the other thing is he did insulate underneath the home. So I’m hoping that the deterrent I don’t think they like the insulation. Is that correct?
|TOM: No, actually, they love insulation. I’ve seen mice that will pull apart pieces of insulation to make a warm nest. You know, they’re pretty energy efficient creatures. You know, they like they like their insulation. But, you know, listen, I think it’s good that the insulate the floor because it makes it much more comfortable for you. So those are the kinds of things. But I wasn’t I wouldn’t worry about it unless you have a problem. And if it really gets bad, you can call a professional and they can deploy some additional tactics. Okay.
|CALLER: All right. Well, thanks an awful lot. I appreciate your time.
|TOM: All right. Enjoy that vacation home. Thanks for calling us.
|CALLER: I shall. Thank you. Bye bye.
|LESLIE: Well, if you’re interested in making your home more efficient, the first step is a home energy assessment. Now, a home energy assessment or audit, as it’s sometimes called, is a way to measure your home’s energy efficiency and where improvements can be made.
|TOM: Now, to be valuable energy assessments, they’ve got to be thorough and they’ve got to be properly done. Now, most of the time, pros do these inspections in person. But remote energy assessments became more popular in the pandemic and are continuing today. In a remote assessment, you would walk through the house with a tablet or smartphone while the assessor is online with you kind of walking you through it literally every step of the way.
|LESLIE: Now, you can also do your own sort of DIY home energy assessment. The Department of Energy offers a walk through a checklist on energy dot gov to guide you. While it might not be as thorough as the professional home energy assessment. It can pinpoint some of the easier areas that you can address.
|TOM: Now, whether you hire a professional or you do it yourself, start any energy efficiency upgrades with a home assessment. You will be glad you did because you will be determining where the best return on investment is for that energy remodeling dollar.
|LESLIE: Mike in Arizona is on the line. You’ve got a question about siding. What’s going.
|CALLER: On? My house currently has Western Red Cedar siding, but it’s like 20 years old, really in bad shape. And I’m wondering because of my local place, if I can go with a tiny chunk of siding versus a western red cedar website, it would be appropriate for this area.
|TOM: So, Mike, you want to replace the western red cedar with pine, but you’re going to basically have the same situation. The fact that you’re replacing wood with wood, that pine in 20 years look just as bad, if not worse, because, by the way, pine is not as insect resistant and not as decay resistant as cedar is. So if you really want wood siding and the existing wood siding has just deteriorated, I would simply replace it with more western red cedar. Now, that said, if you want to get away from wood siding, I would take a serious look at Hardie plank siding or Hardie shingle siding. The Hardie sidings are really well-made and they’re basically a cement siding and they are preprinted at the factory. I, for example, have wood shingles on my house and I have Hardie shingles on my garage and from the street they look identical. But I can tell you that I will be doing a lot more painting of the house than the will of the garage because those shingles just don’t wear out.
|LESLIE: How long have I had my Hardie shingles? Ten years now. Yeah. All I do is occasionally like power wash a little area. The house looks pristine.
|TOM: All I had to do was spray a little mill, decide on it to get rid of some of the moss that likes to grow on it. But other than that, it looks perfect. This show nowhere whatsoever. It’s just amazing stuff now.
|LESLIE: And it looks like the real deal, like it looks like real shingles. So, yeah, there’s no you know, there’s no downside.
|TOM: Yeah. So you’re not picking up any benefit by replacing cedar siding with pine siding. But if you want to pick up a benefit, I would switch out, maybe go with a hardy or if you really like the wood, then just go with the cedar again. This time use a solid color stain on it that’s going to give it more protection. You got to do that probably about every five years to keep it from cracking and checking and working out again.
|LESLIE: Sarah from New York wrote in wanting to know what caulk should I be using where the bathtub meets the tile silicone or latex? She says, I heard that the two don’t mix. If I already have one type, should I stay with the same?
|TOM: So first of all, it really doesn’t matter because we would tell you to make sure you get all the old caulk out. And if you’re having trouble doing that, there’s a product called it caulk softener, kind of like paint remover. You apply it to the caulk, you let it sit there for a while and you can scrape away all the old nasty caulk, clean it really good. I like to wipe it with like a bleach water solution before I record. In terms of the choice, if you’re going to use latex, you want to make sure that it is a kitchen or bath caulk because it has a million side in it. If you use silicone, make sure it’s rated for an exterior because it has a middle of the side as well as being UV resistant, which doesn’t really apply in the bathroom. But still, heck, why not? Now, in terms of silicone or latex, the reason people choose latex is because it’s water soluble. And you can also use your favorite trowel, which is your finger to sort of trowel it out, leave a nice seam silicone. You can do the same thing, but you have to dip your finger in dish soap first. If you put some dish soap on the end of your finger, you will be able to use it to kind of smooth out the silicone. But the other thing I’ll tell you is this the trick of the trade for making sure that your caulk stays in is to fill the tub with water first, then caulk it. And then after the caulk dries, let the water out, because this way the tub sort of stretches down and then it comes back up and compresses when the water’s out and the corks more likely stay in there for the long haul that way.
|LESLIE: Yeah, those are all excellent tips and good tricks, Tom.
|TOM: Well, are mice using your home as their winter getaway? Leslie has some advice to keep those furry creatures away from your house in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
|LESLIE: Yeah. You know, the first step is to try and keep a clean house. Mice, rats and all those rodents will love to make their way into your home to keep warm. But if they find a buffet waiting for them, they’re not leaving. They’re going to eat, they’re going to chill, they’re going to stay warm. So sweep up the crumbs and store dry foods like cereal and pet food and sturdy containers that they can’t shoo through. Now, rodents are not picky. I had a pest control pro once told me he found rats in a homeowner’s garbage, were feeding on the grease and droppings among the lava rocks and the gas grill lure.
|TOM: So dusty.
|LESLIE: The trash covered empty those indoor containers often just try to be tidy. You guys also cut down on nesting sites around the house. So think of things like woodpile, stacks of newspaper cardboard boxes. Keep these items off the floor inside and away from the foundation outside. Now, this is a fun fact. Mice can squeeze through places as small as a dime. That’s really tiny, you guys. So see the potential spaces with steel wool? Pay attention to areas around pipes, vents, ducts because they can find their way in and baits designed to eliminate rodent infestations will work well as long as you follow the instructions. And then be sure to keep your kids and pets away from it. The best way to do that is with a bait station. So those are going to let the pests in, but it keeps your pets and kids safely away from it. And they’ll go in there, they’ll get to the bait, they’ll get it on themselves, they’ll bring it back with them wherever they’re going. It’s kind of like an easy way to, you know, get the poison to where it needs to be without getting it where it doesn’t. So just, you know, clean up and get rid of the banks.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about roofs because winter is very rough on them. I mean, with the snow, the ice, the freeze, the thaw cycles, they take a lot of punishment. That’s why now is a good time to plan for any roof work. You might be wanting it done this spring. So we’ll share some tips for a DIY roof check you can do safely from the ground so that you can figure out if your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. That’s all coming up on the next edition of The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
|TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself.
|LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
|(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.)