- Taking on a paint project this summer? We’ve got six things to remember before you pick up the paintbrush.
- Concrete is one of the most durable building products ever invented but even concrete needs repair to fix cracks or worn surfaces. We share easy fixes to make without replacing the original concrete.
- Is your outdoor furniture looking like it’s at the end of its days? Painting can bring it back to life. We’ll share tips on the easiest way to get that done.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Barbara from South Dakota has loose tile flooring in her recently renovated bathroom.
- Howard in Texas wants to know how to fix a retaining wall that is starting to lean.
- Judy from Minnesota want help getting rid of moisture in her below grade space.
- Michael in Tennessee wants to know if he can use a foam spray to support a fiberglass showers stall.
- Alison from New York needs a humane way to get rid of squirrels in her yard.
- Craig in Rhode Island wants to replace a shut off valve but can’t easily access it without ripping apart his bathroom.
- Alicia from North Carolina has a cracked patio slab that keeps getting bigger and doesn’t know what to do about it.
- Jim in Delaware is wondering what part of his dryer vent he needs to replace.
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 take on the projects you want to get done around your house. Whether it is a home improvement, a décor project, a remodel, a new build, if you’ve got a problem you need to solve, if you’ve got a decorating dilemma, if you’re trying to decide whether you should do the job yourself or get a guy to help – or a gal to help – well, we can help you make those decisions because we’ve been at this a long time. We’ve seen it go well and we’ve seen it go not so well and we want to make sure your projects go smoothly.
So, you can reach a couple of ways. You can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions on MoneyPit.com. Just click the blue microphone button. It’s on every single page.
Coming up on today’s show, besides choosing a color, what are the most important things to do when getting ready to paint? We’ve got six things to remember before you pick up that brush.
LESLIE: And they’re all pick another color, try another color, look at this color. So many choices with the color.
Also ahead, concrete is one of the most durable building products that’s ever been invented. But sometimes, even concrete needs repair to fix those cracks or the worn surfaces. Well, the good news is that these types of fixes are easier than ever to make without replacing the original concrete. We’ll explain.
TOM: And outdoor living spaces have never been more popular. But if your outdoor furniture looks like it’s at the end of its days, painting can bring it back to life. We’re going to share tips on the easiest way to get that done.
LESLIE: Whatever your project is, give us a call so we can lend you a hand and perhaps we can lend you – I mean give you – some tools to get those summer projects done. We’ve got a great prize pack this hour from Arrow. It’s a stapler and a hot-glue gun going to one lucky caller.
TOM: So, make that you. Give us a call with your home improvement question. You might just win yourself that prize pack from Arrow. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Barbara in South Dakota is on the line and having a problem with a renovated bathroom at her money pit.
What’s going on?
BARBARA: We had our bathroom remodeled about 3 years ago. And maybe 6 months after, we noticed that the tiles were kind of shifting a little bit when we walk in the most prominent places. And then, pretty soon, the grout started coming out. And I was wondering, do we have to replace all of our tiles or is there something we can put in there that would move with the grout or with the tiles? It’s a [heated bore] (ph).
TOM: How is it heated, Barbara? Hydronic heat? Is it hot-water heat under the floor or is it electric heat? What kind of heat is it?
BARBARA: It’s electric heat.
TOM: I’m really sorry to hear that. You know, this was a mistake that was made in the installation. Where that mistake was made, it’s hard for us to tell. But there’s no way that those tiles should be loosening up. And unfortunately, there’s no really easy fix for this. The reason the grout is breaking up is because the tiles are loose. And as the tile loosens, the grout doesn’t really have any structural integrity.
LESLIE: Right. But isn’t that the result of an uneven subfloor?
TOM: Not always. And even if it was an uneven subfloor, Leslie, if these were installed right, they would be – there would be enough adhesive or base under them to stop them from wiggling.
BARBARA: Think it’s the base underneath that’s not right.
TOM: Yeah. So I guess you have two options, Barbara, one of which is for you to go ahead and do what you may already be doing, which is repairing them as you go. If you find that you have a loose tile, if it’s loose enough to come up, you’re just simply going to add some additional floor adhesive and press it back down again. Or you have to remove the whole floor and replace them. But of course, that’s a big job because you’d have to also – you can’t really save the heating coils that are underneath. You’ll probably end up having to replace those, as well.
It’s really hard when you have a bad tile job, especially one that’s over heating coils like that, to do anything short of replacing. It does not lend itself well to repair.
BARBARA: Alright. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright? Sorry. I wish we had better news, Barbara. But thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And that’s why we call the show The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Howard in Texas is on the line with a brick wall that’s heading for Humpty Dumpty to have a great fall.
What’s going on? It’s leaning forward?
HOWARD: The house is old – about 30 years old – and I assume the retaining wall is probably similar in length. It’s a – there are two walls. There’s one about 6 bricks high and then a 3-foot-deep flower bed and then another brick wall about – landscaping brick wall about 4 bricks high with another 3 feet behind that of shrubbery, no flowers. And it’s – yeah, it’s been leaning. I noticed it last year. And I thought it might go away and it’s not.
TOM: See, the thing is what happens here is over time, that soil is going to fill up with water, it’s going to be moist and damp and it’s going to expand and push on the wall. And that sort of ratcheting action from the frost heave, wall won’t come back from that. So every season, season after season, it pushes a little more, a little more, a little more. So, it’s not a structural issue, because it’s landscaping brick, but it’s eventually going to have to be replaced.
HOWARD: OK. So you mean tear it down and rebuild it.
TOM: Now, there are other types of retaining walls that can be constructed that are designed not to lean. For example, there are different types of block wall – fancy block wall, like precast concrete-block walls – that go together like puzzle pieces, one on top of another, that sort of lean back as you go. You stack one up and the next one doesn’t stick out quite as far and the next one on top of that, not quite as far as the one below. And those are rather permanent when they’re installed. But just a basic brick wall like that, yeah, that’s eventually going to lean and fall over.
HOWARD: Well, when I say brick, it’s probably 4 to 5 inches thick and deep.
TOM: Yeah. No, I hear you.
HOWARD: Well, that makes sense.
TOM: Same thing.
HOWARD: Yep. OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Judy in Minnesota is on the line with a moisture issue.
What’s going on?
JUDY: Our house is about 40 years old. And it has – in the room that we’re talking about, we’re painting it. We painted it once before without a primer. And it turned out really – I thought it looked really nice. But now we repainted it a different color. And on the inside, then, is that rough paneling. And it’s separated by – it’s got the insulation in there with a plastic on it. And we noticed now – and we’re going to paint it – that there’s moisture halfway down on the paneling. We think that’s caused by condensation.
TOM: It may very well be if it’s a damp space.
Now, there are some things that you can do to reduce condensation in below-grade spaces. It’s kind of the same steps that you would take if you were having an actual flood. You want to make sure that your exterior drainage is set up so that no moisture is being trapped against the outside foundation wall. And that means making sure the gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended and the soil slopes away from the walls.
If you’ve done all those things, then the next thing I would do is I would install a dehumidifier in that space. And try to find one that has a built-in condensate pump so that it collects water and pumps it out. Otherwise, you’ll be emptying buckets upon buckets of water.
And then, finally, it’s also possible to install a whole-home dehumidifier, which is an appliance that is attached to your HVAC system. These are highly effective at pulling moisture out. In fact, most of them will take 99 or 100 pints of water out a day. So, those are three different ways that you can reduce moisture in that space.
Judy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, guys, do you love posting pics of your four-legged furry friends? Well, right now, you can post a picture of your floof to enter LL Flooring’s Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes for your chance to win a $1,000 gift card and more from LL Flooring.
TOM: Just post a picture of your floof with the #LLFloofProof on Instagram. That’s LLFloofProof. Or enter direct at MoneyPit.com. You can enter once a day and even earn bonus entries by sharing the sweeps with friends.
Well, if you’re ready to tackle a home improvement project, we just might be ready to send you out some tools to get started with. Because we’ve got, from Arrow, the Summer Fun Pack which includes the GT300 Professional High-Temp Glue Gun and the TacMate Staple Gun, set to go out to one listener drawn at random. If you’d like that to be you, all you need to do is reach out to us with your calls, your questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or post those questions at MoneyPit.com.
That set is worth 65 bucks and going to go out to one listener drawn at random.
LESLIE: Michael in Tennessee is on the line with a shower question.
What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: You just had a previous broadcast and there’s a gentleman that called in and had a fiberglass shower stall that was giving away under his feet. And I think the determination was that it hadn’t been installed properly.
So, in the process – we’re building a house now and have a couple of those fiberglass shower stalls. And I know that they haven’t been put on any kind of mortar bed or anything. So I was curious if it’s – if you can use an expanding foam spray to sort of help support that bottom or is that sort of not a good thing? Or is there another product that can be used if it wasn’t installed on a bed already?
TOM: Yeah. I’ve heard of that being done that way. People use products like GREAT STUFF to go in from the bottom and drill holes in the floor and fill that space up. The thing is you’ve got to really do it really carefully, because you want it to be able to expand back into the area you don’t care about. Because if it expands upward, it’s going to crack the shower pan. So it’s got to be done really carefully.
Let’s say you’re working on a second floor and you can get underneath it or if, let’s say, there’s a crawlspace and you get underneath it and you apply it from there and just kind of watch the expansion and let it drip down towards that unfinished side. I think you could get some decent support in there by doing it that way.
MICHAEL: OK. Great. Appreciate the help.
TOM: Make sure you let it dry, though, before you use that tub, alright? Because we don’t want to squish it out.
MICHAEL: Yeah. Very good. I enjoy listening to you guys. Thanks a bunch.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Allison in New York on the line who has an unwanted visitor at their money pit.
What’s going on?
ALLISON: My husband – I wish he was on with me – but our mission is to humanely trap we believe to be a squirrel that’s running between the drop ceiling in our basement. And my husband said, “Two-by-eight joint rafters.” There’s like a 2-inch space only and …
TOM: What I want you to do is to go out and pick up a trap called a Havahart trap. Now, these Havahart traps are live traps in that they’re going to catch this squirrel. And then you’re going to pull this trap out and you can take them out to the woods somewhere and release them.
What you do with the Havahart trap is once you get it set up, in the back of the trap where you want this squirrel to kind of end up, put an apple back there. And don’t just put it back there but wire it to the back wall of the trap. Take a piece of picture wire, thread it through the apple and kind of tie it off. Because I’ll tell you what, even though these traps are good, those squirrels and other small rascals can sometimes grab that without tripping the door. But if you wire it to the back of the trap, they don’t have a chance. And set it near the opening, wherever you can get access to it.
And I’ll tell you, sooner or later, that squirrel is going to wander in that trap and bam, you’ll hear the door slap and they will not be happy. They’ll kind of be running in circles trying to figure out a way to get out. But you can cover them with a blanket, throw them in the back of your car, in the trunk and take it out somewhere. And then as you open that up, believe me, they’re not going to stand around to kind of talk about it with you; they’ll just bolt. As soon as you lift that door, they will bolt into the woods.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re getting ready to paint, there are a few things you need to think about besides deciding on that color, including how the color is going to look in different lighting and different times of the day, how much paint you’re going to need and what supplies you need to use. Well, here are six things to consider before you start that painting project.
First of all, measure the room, figure out how much paint you’re going to 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 that calculator will tell you how many gallons you need to buy.
TOM: And if you’ve found a color you like, bring home a paint chip, as well as a small jar of sample paint. Because colors look different throughout the day as the lighting changes and at night when you turn on the lamps. It’s smart to paint a small area and see how you like it under those various conditions.
Now, the texture of a wall can also impact the paint’s color. So, if you’re painting over plaster, for example, or other textured surfaces or wood paneling or detailed molding, be sure to paint a sample directly onto those surfaces to see how they reflect the light.
LESLIE: Now, after you’ve settled on the color, you need to decide what paint finish that you’re going to use. Now, eggshell or satin finish works well on most interior walls and semigloss is most often used on the baseboards and trimming. Now, glossy finishes, they’re more durable, they’re easier to clean but they show more dirt.
Now, if you’re painting a light color over a darker one, it’s a good idea to use a primer as your first coat to cover that original color. And primer is also helpful if you’re painting cabinets or furniture because what primer does is it just helps adhere that paint to the surface. So it’s sort of like a prep step. So you’ve got to make sure that you put something on there so that your topcoat paint, whatever that color and finish is, will stick really well.
TOM: And finally, remember that high-quality tools are just as important as high-quality paint. Cheap brushes and rollers are going to lose bristles or fuzz and leave obvious brushstrokes, so invest in good-quality painting tools before you start painting. Clean them properly after you’re done so you can use them again for future projects.
And of course, the best part about painting something is that if you mess up or change your mind, you can always repaint if you have to. But it’s always better to do it right the first time.
LESLIE: Craig in Rhode Island is on the line and he needs some help with a bathroom makeover.
What are you working on?
CRAIG: Well, actually, my second bathroom in my master, it’s kind of old. It has a Symmons water mixer – a shut-off valve. And actually, I’m looking to replace it. It’s cracked, it has some issues. But I can’t get behind the shower to open the wall up to replace it because it’s actually adjacent to my first bathroom shower. It’s a fiberglass, one-piece pop-in.
My first thought is take the insert out, tile it. But then I have to put a shower pan in. I’d have to do a lot more extra work and money. And then I heard possibly cutting the hole bigger and they have bigger back plates. But I mean I don’t want it to look awkward, as well, you know?
TOM: So what exactly is wrong with the valve you have there now?
CRAIG: Well, see, I don’t think the mixing valve – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But the plate on the shut-off valve, it’s cracked. I also have well water. I know it’s been taking a toll on the pipes. The home is 20 years old. I’m pretty sure it’s original to the home, as well. I’ve only owned it for about coming up on 2 years now and …
TOM: So you basically are telling me that it’s a cosmetic piece?
CRAIG: It is, it is. But I’m redoing the bathroom and I want to update the fixtures. And like I said, it’s kind of your typical apartment, Symmons, very like a chrome – the kind of cheap, chrome finish.
TOM: Well, look, you have the most impossible scenario because you have back-to-back plumbing walls. And typically, you design bathrooms so that one side of the wall’s a closet where you can go and tear out the back wall and then you can get to the valves. But in your case, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, because you either have to take apart the fiberglass shower or you’ve got to take apart the shower that’s basically getting you started here.
And I don’t really have a good solution for you. I was asking you about the existing valves because I was wondering if maybe – sometimes, plumbers can rebuild all the working parts of that from the action side, from the inside, and maybe pick up some additional faucets that will look like they’ll work in there. I wouldn’t go to the tear-out without at least exploring that.
I, for example, recently had a new shower valve that had to really be replaced. And it turned out that the valves were plastic – inside, some of the valve components were plastic. The seats? And we tore them out and we replaced them with brass. And we were able to find those at a plumbing-supply store. And so I didn’t have to actually replace the faucet.
CRAIG: My next step is going to – I’m going to go to a plumbing supply and see if they just have an updated kind of – updated Symmons where I could keep that valve in and everything is kind of pieced together, as well.
TOM: Right. I think that’s a smart thing. What you want to do is take some pictures of that and go talk to a knowledgeable guy behind the counter and figure out what your options are.
CRAIG: Yeah, yeah. That’s my next step and it’s not a – I guess I’ll be tiling a new shower.
TOM: Yeah. If you can figure out a way to make it passable, I think you should do that because you know what?
TOM: Nobody’s going to see that space and I’d hate to see you spend a few thousand bucks redoing it if all you’re trying to get is new valves.
CRAIG: That’s what I’m trying to stay away from. Well, thank you, guys, very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, concrete is one of the most durable building products ever invented. But sometimes, even concrete needs repair to fix cracks or worn surfaces that’s caused by winter weather, tree roots or even settlement.
TOM: Well, the good news is that these types of fixes are easier than ever to make without replacing the original concrete. With us to talk about that is Allison Hunt. Allison is the social media director for QUIKRETE.
ALLISON: Thanks so much, Tom. I’m happy to be here.
TOM: Hey, so I think the key to making most concrete repairs is just choosing the right product. Too many times, folks think that when you have to fix concrete, you just put more concrete on top of it. But that just doesn’t stick, right?
ALLISON: Exactly. The right solution can actually prevent additional damage.
We actually had a customer come up a couple of weeks ago and they said, “Hey, I live by that airport. And my driveway is cracking.” And they were like, “What’s the most appropriate product to fix it?” And I said, “Have you run it – run your finger over that product or over that crack? Is it still moving?” And they said, “Yeah, it is.” And I was like, “Well, you live by an airport, so it’s going to continue to do that. You’re going to want something flexible.” If they had put something rigid in it, it would’ve caused additional damage to that space. Luckily, we had a product that was able to suit, something that looked good that matched the color of their driveway, that was going to kind of blend in seamlessly.
But that’s the whole point of our repair line: is to be easy on the budget and suitable for DIYers to fix their needs.
LESLIE: Now, Allison, you mentioned that here, you had this person check for movement. What are some of the other things that you should be checking for with your crack or your damage so that you know what product is correct?
ALLISON: Honestly, it really depends. It really depends on the fix that you’re going to be making. Are you meeting between two substrates? Do they have different (inaudible) – not to get technical but do they have different coefficients for thermal expansion? If it gets hot outside or if it gets colder, they’re going to contract at different rates. Do you need something that moves? Or are you really looking for something to stay firm in where it’s placed?
And again, no matter the challenge you’re solving for, with a little proper prep time most repairs – and all repairs from QUIKRETE – can last with success.
TOM: Now, what are the most common types of repairs that folks are making on concrete surfaces? I think about in the spring, after all the snow melts off and you look down at your once-beautiful concrete sidewalk. And you find all these little sort of pock marks in it because maybe you used the wrong kind of rock salt and it ate away at the concrete. You’ve got that and you’ve also got places where water collects and then the concrete is not supported properly, so it cracks. I mean what are the most common types of issues that your customers are turning to you for?
ALLISON: Oh, absolutely. You’ll see spalling, so exactly what you were talking about with those pitting pieces. We have patching materials that’ll solve for that. We’ve even got our Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer that you can go over it once you’ve made that patch and make it look brand new.
And it really depends on the area that they’re located in. Especially in the Northeast, you’re running into the [ice fault] (ph), which is pretty caustic. In areas more like Texas or Arizona, you might see issues with water, whether that’s in a basement underground sub-base or it’s on the ground, so causing cracking, causing leaks in masonry walls in the basement. No matter what you’ve got, we’ve probably got a fix for that. And the best part is it’s all pretty much DIY-friendly and economical.
LESLIE: And if you’re feeling like maybe you don’t really understand how to make that repair or how to do that repair once you have the product in hand, QUIKRETE has a ton of videos to help out, right?
ALLISON: Oh, exactly. Exactly. And we’re also available on live chat on our website that’s directly connected to our tech center. If you run into a problem, they’re open from 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST. They’re happy and ready and willing to answer those questions as they pop up. So even if it’s not during those hours, if goes straight to email. So, whether you want to connect with us in live chat, whether you want to watch a video and do it yourself or whether you want to connect with us on social, we’re happy to meet you where you are and answer those questions for you. We want people to have positive and successful projects.
TOM: And I’m sure they will. Allison Hunt, the social media director for QUIKRETE, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice.
ALLISON: Thanks for having me, Tom and Leslie. I appreciate it.
LESLIE: Post your question, email, give us a call whatever it is. Because not only do we help you out with the projects that you are working on at your money pit, we sometimes give away amazing prize packages. And today, we’ve got the Summer Fun Pack from Arrow, which includes two tools. It’s the GT300 Professional High-Temp Glue Gun, which is a fave of ours, and the TacMate Staple Gun. Both are super durable and powerful. They’re easy to use. You will get a ton of projects done.
And this is a prize pack that’s worth $65 but it’s going out for free to one lucky listener who calls in with their question to The Money Pit.
TOM: Make that you. Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement questions.
LESLIE: Alicia in North Carolina is on the line with The Money Pit. Has a question about a patio and deck.
What’s going on?
ALICIA: We have a patio cement slab in the back of our house. It runs the length of our house. On half of that slab sits our deck.
ALICIA: We live in a split-level, so the deck goes up rather high and has posts that sit on this cement-slab patio. And there’s a crack going down the middle of it. We bought the house about 3 years ago. We didn’t notice the crack. It was there but we really didn’t notice it. And then I’d say about last year, we were sitting down and noticed that the crack is now splitting open.
You know, our backyard slopes down. It’s North Carolina with lots of that red clay. It’s most of what our ground is made up of. And it’s like the ground is pulling away from that cement slab because of rain and flooding in our backyard which, unfortunately, floods, as well. So it’s making it worse. I don’t know whether the footings are what they really should be.
We’ve had a couple people come out and estimate the situation. I just don’t know what to do.
TOM: First of all, are you convinced, Alicia, that this crack is active, that it’s opening up? Or is it just that you’re paying attention to it now every time you walk out in the backyard? So maybe you’re imagining it’s getting bigger.
ALICIA: No, it’s different looking than it was when we first bought it.
TOM: How big is the crack?
ALICIA: It’s not huge. It’s not like it’s – yeah. No, it’s not like it’s 3 inches big now. It’s small. Still, it’s opening up. The caulking isn’t covering the crack anymore.
ALICIA: So I’d say about ¼-inch.
TOM: Alright. It’s not bad.
So, there’s a couple of things you can do here. First of all, you do need to clean out that old caulk and reseal this one way or the other. QUIKRETE has a product that’s made specifically for concrete slabs that you can use, that will give you a textured finish. And it dries in about an hour, so you do want to reseal it.
Now, in terms of not having to look at it, maybe doing something that would be a little more attractive, maybe slowing it down, I think you’re right. The reason it’s moving – if it is, in fact, moving – is it’s exacerbated by water. Cement slabs don’t have footings, so there’s nothing holding it back from doing this. And I just wonder if this deck was properly built, because it’s sitting on top of half of it. It really just shouldn’t be sitting on the 4-inch concrete slab; it should be sitting on the footing below it.
Be that what it may, another idea that you might want to consider is Pavestone makes a paver brick that is about half the thickness of a full paver brick. And it’s designed for taking a cement slab that maybe doesn’t look so hot and creating a beautiful paver patio with it. The way it works is you lay down the perimeter and then you sort of put your whole pattern in. And then you take up the perimeter and you basically glue in the outside perimeter row. And then that holds all the bricks inside of it and then you add this typical paver stone and it looks fantastic. So, that’s available from Pavestone.
ALICIA: My big concern is 5 years down the line, if we want to put the house on the market kind of thing – and I didn’t want to – I wanted to do something – if it was – if I was already seeing an increase in the crack now, what would it look like 5 years?
TOM: A cement slab is not a structural part of your backyard or your patio, OK? It’s just – it’s basically there as a surface that you can work with.
TOM: And if you put the pavers over it and it goes from ¼-inch to 3/8-inch, no one’s ever going to see that. And pavers are just going to shift.
The product is made by Pavestone. It’s actually called Pavestone Milano. That’s the brand. That’s the particular product that is the thinner version of the full Pavestone paver.
TOM: And again, it can go down right on top of that slab. Goes down really quick and it’ll look fantastic.
ALICIA: Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate it. And I love your show.
LESLIE: Well, outdoor-living spaces have never been more popular. But if your outdoor furniture looks like it’s at the end of its days, painting can bring it back to life. And that’s a project that’s gotten a lot easier, thanks to a new line of high-efficiency airless paint sprayers from Wagner.
Now, these sprayers are perfect for DIYers who are just learning about airless spraying. And they’re a great choice for staining outdoor furniture, which is a perfect project for these long summer weekends.
TOM: Yeah, especially because furniture has so many different surfaces that are hard to reach with a brush. So spraying, it’s just a lot easier.
So, here’s where to begin. The first step, of course, is to prep the surface. Now, if you’ve got wood surfaces, a light sanding will help strip away the old, loose paint and get that surface ready for the new coat. But if you’re painting metal furniture, take it apart. It’s a lot easier to work with if you take it apart first. Wire-brush any surfaces to remove any rust or loose paint and then power-wash it to make sure it’s completely clean and ready for refinishing.
LESLIE: Now, once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start painting. Now, it’s a good idea to paint furniture from the top down so you can catch any drips that form along the way. And generally speaking, it’s also always better to apply the paint in a couple of thinner coats than all at once. That way, you’re going to see fewer drips and avoid uneven drying.
Now, the Control Pro High-Efficiency Airless Sprayers are a great tool to use for painting furniture. You’re going to find that using the airless sprayer is much easier than painting with a brush, especially if there’s a lot of spindles or weird nooks and crannies. Because you’re going to be able to reach all of those tight spots, where sometimes it’s more difficult to get that brush in. You’re also going to get a super smooth, professional finish, which just looks amazing. Just be sure to choose the right tip for the material that you’re spraying.
TOM: Now, there are actually a number of Control Pro models to choose from. I’ve been using the Control Pro 170 because it can pull paint or stain from either a 1-gallon or a 5-gallon bucket. So, for big projects, I don’t have to stop and reload paint again and again.
LESLIE: The Wagner Control Pro Paint Sprayers make it easier to paint like a pro. The Control Pro 170 is available both in-store and online at Lowe’s Home Improvement.
TOM: You can also see the complete line of Wagner products at WagnerSprayTech.com.
LESLIE: Jim in Delaware is on the line and has a question about a dryer vent.
Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
JIM: I have a dryer vent that’s coming through a concrete wall. And the three flaps that – have broken off. I was wanting a good way to replace the vent. Or can I just place the flappers or what?
TOM: Yeah, I would replace the exterior part of that dryer vent: the exhaust port. If those little blades that flip up and down have broken off, I would just replace that. Yeah, you’re going to pull it out of the existing hole. And depending on how it was put in place, it may be tough to get out.
JIM: It’s concrete.
TOM: OK. But depending on how it was attached to the concrete, it might be difficult. You may actually have to grab a piece – a pair of shears, like Y-snips (ph) and cut it out. It’s just sheet metal. And then you’re going to basically install a new one in its place.
And when you buy the new dryer vent, they usually sell the dryer vent and they sell the metal venting separate. Make sure you get a piece of hard metal dryer-exhaust duct to run through that concrete – through that hole.
TOM: And then if there’s flex duct, you can attach it on the other side. Try to keep it as regular duct as far as possible, because the flex duct is – you know, it has a lot of resistance to it and the clothes don’t dry quite as quickly.
JIM: Great. Thank you for the advice.
LESLIE: Alright. Shane wrote in saying, “We have lichen growing on the rocks in our backyard, which are part of a retaining wall. We’ve tried several commercial products but to no avail. I’m about to rent a pressure washer but thought I would ask you folks for your recommendation to remove that lichen.”
TOM: Well, first of all, you can remove it with a pressure washer and you can use a commercial product. Usually, the commercial products work slower but sometimes they leave a residual coating behind that slows the additional growth of the lichen. The best thing you can do is to try to get some more sunshine in that area. If you’ve got overhanging trees and you cut things back, sun is the best mildicide out there and it will stop it from growing. If you do power-wash it, it’ll look great in a short period of time but it will, sadly, still grow back. So it’s something you’re going to probably end up having to do at least once a summer, if not more frequently.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Veronica asks, “Is it better to set the A/C thermostat at one temperature and leave it there, even when you’re not home? My husband likes to turn it off but it takes a long time to re-cool the house when we return.”
TOM: That’s an age-old argument there, right? Here’s the thing, Veronica. If you turn the thermostat all the way off – so, if you turn your A/C off – the house heats up, right? Not only does the air heat up but the walls heat up and the rugs heat up and the furniture heats up. And so that when you come home and turn it back on again, it’s got to work twice as hard to re-cool everything.
So I think that for the nine-to-fivers out there, turning it just down a little bit when you go to work and then up when you come home is the smart thing. If you’re going away for a long period of time, that’s another matter; you can afford to turn it off completely. But if it’s just because you’re out of the house for a few hours a day, I would not turn it off completely. I would just turn it down. You have sort of vacation or away settings and then a setting that you use when you’re in the house and enjoying it.
LESLIE: Alright, Veronica. I hope that helps you out and keeps things nice and cool and keeps your relationship nice and lovely and even, as well.
TOM: Well, if you’re an active home improver, one thing that always seems to pile up is leftover paint. Leslie, though, has some great ideas to help put all that leftover paint to good use, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Well, if you do a lot of home improving, you’re likely to have a collection of leftover paint. And with a little imagination and some creative flair, you can use those paint leftovers to give your home extra appeal and have a lot of fun in the process.
So, first of all, stop looking for those perfect accessories that are going to go with your newly-painted room, because you’ve got the key right there. Take that leftover paint, paint some things like a canister, a vase, a planter, something, anything. Those little, fun details that create those little, scenic vignettes, paint those in that color and suddenly you’ve got a tied-together room. You can also go ahead and just do a stripe of that color or a fun pattern. So think about that.
Or maybe you want to tie that freshly-painted room to the rest of the house. Well, you can use that leftover paint to maybe do the baseboard trim, maybe a door in another room to kind of bring those together. Or in the next room, say there’s a dresser or a chair or a stool. Use that paint, have a great time, bring that color into that space.
Or make your own artwork. You can buy some inexpensive canvases and create a piece of art with that paint color. I mean it’s as simple as just dipping a mop in that paint and kind of swirling it on the canvas. It becomes, suddenly, a very creative and personal abstract piece of art.
So don’t give up. If you’ve got that paint and maybe it’s about a year or two old, it’s not going to be used for the walls. So, go ahead and make a project and see where it goes.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, summer can have some cool evenings now and again. And when that happens, a patio heater can certainly take the edge off. But which design works best for your home? We’re going to help you pick out the perfect patio heater for your place, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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