TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Happy Memorial Day Weekend. If you are using this weekend to rest and relax, we officially give you a day off of home improvement. But if you’re like the rest of us and still are getting a few things done around the house and you need a bit of help, that’s where we come in. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement or your décor question at 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, if you want to step up your outdoor space for the season, we’ve got tips on the deck designs, as well as deck architecture and accessories, that can help.
LESLIE: Yeah. We’re also going to share some ideas on the whole redecorating of your outdoor-living area. We’re going to talk about tips and trends that are going to take that living area outside, complete with couches and chairs and fireplaces. All of the things that you think belong inside, you can put them outside.
TOM: And with the warm weather comes mosquito season. We’re going to have a review of a new chemical-free trap that’s working so well. It can reduce mosquito populations enough to create a 1-acre bite-free zone in your own backyard.
LESLIE: And we’ve got a perfect summer prize this hour. We’re giving away a Greenworks Pro 60-Volt Power Mower worth 402 bucks.
TOM: And we’ve got a $50 Amazon gift card to give away, as well, to one lucky caller. And that is provided courtesy of Speed Queen Washers and Dryers. So, you’ve got to be in it to win it. If you’d love to win that brand-new beautiful mower from Greenworks or the Speed Queen gift card from Amazon, you’ve got to give us a call, right now, at 888-666-3974. Ask your home improvement question and we will toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat. And maybe you will be mowing your lawn with a very quiet, beautiful, battery-powered electric mower or doing a little laundry, courtesy of Speed Queen.
Leslie, who’s first?[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Ruth in New York is on the line and needs some help with a leaky roof. What’s going on?
RUTH: I have a three-family house that was built in 1974. It’s a flat roof and the pitch is forward. It has two scupper boxes and there seems to be – the water seems to come all the way down to the basement. And I don’t know how to find a roofer or what roofing materials I should be looking for.
TOM: So it’s very simple. What I would do is I would go to HomeAdvisor.com. That’s a great source to find qualified roofers in your area. And I like it because you can read reviews on all of the roofers that are servicing that area and find those that have been rated highest by your neighbors. And this will give you a good place to start. And then you can have them come in and get some estimates.
In terms of that water control, yeah, you’re going to want to get that under control and you’re going to want to have a good set of gutter systems that collects that water and gets it away from the house. You can’t let it drain down because that’s what’s causing those flooding and those leaky issues.
But I would just go to HomeAdvisor if you don’t know anybody. They always say gets references or ask a friend. Well, that’s like a really big friend that you can ask because there’s just thousands and thousands of people that use that website. And this way, you’ll know which roofers are really doing the best work. Because they can’t hide from that, you know? If they’re doing a good job, you’re going to see it there. And if they’re doing a lousy job, you’re going to see that, as well, OK?
RUTH: Do you think I should get the large gutters and leaders that – the commercial size?
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you what, on my house I’ve had both. I had the standard 4-inch – it’s called the “K-style gutter.” And now I have – when I did my roof last time, I went with the 6-inch. And I’m very, very happy with the 6-inch gutters, for a couple of reasons. First of all, they don’t clog nearly as much because they’re just bigger. And the downspouts are bigger, so they don’t get obstructed up there at the downspout. I don’t have any gutter guards on there and I’ve never had a clogged gutter and I think it’s been almost three years now. So pretty happy with that.
They’re also sturdier. They’re thicker and they’re heavier and I found that they weren’t all that much more expensive than the smaller gutters.
RUTH: Do you have any suggestions for the scupper boxes that – the house pitches forward and then there’s two scupper boxes that lead to the gutter.
TOM: Yeah. So the roofers need to line that. And that’s sort of a special technique. And I actually had some of those on the flat section of my roof. And they line it and they use the right material, you don’t have to worry about it leaking, OK?
RUTH: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Alright. Let’s welcome Brad from Illinois to The Money Pit with a window question. What’s going on?
BRAD: Well, we have a 1948 bungalow with the original windows. And the windows – we like the look of the windows but the windows need a lot of work and of course, they’re only single-pane glass.
BRAD: We’d like your recommendations on should we just replace the windows with more efficient windows, maybe repair or kind of – what should we do?
TOM: So the type of window in this bungalow, is it a double-hung window?
BRAD: Yes, it is.
TOM: So the standard double-hung windows, if you really, really like the look of them, there’s no reason you couldn’t restore them, you couldn’t scrape, prime and paint them, add some new weather-stripping and then add a storm window. You’re definitely going to need a storm window. And some might say that by putting the storm window on, you kind of ruin the look of them at the same time, which could be true. So then, of course, the option is to replace them.
Now, if you did replace them, I would, in fact, use what’s called a “replacement window.” And a replacement window is different, Brad, than a new-construction window because it’s designed to fit inside the wood frame of the old window. And by that I mean you would take out the sashes – those are the parts that slide up and down – and the molding that is in those sides of the window opening. And then the replacement window fits inside all of that.
Now, when it’s done, it’s trimmed on the inside, so you cover up that old wood. It’s trimmed on the outside, so you cover up the old wood there. And it looks like a brand-new window. It’s just that you’re using that existing opening, which is a heck of a lot easier than you having to tear the window out completely and take your siding out around it and kind of rebuild it from scratch.
And they’re not that expensive when you go that route. You can buy different qualities of windows everywhere, anywhere from 200 bucks to 1,000 bucks a window depending on the brand and all of that. But if you just go to a home center, like Home Depot, there’s lots of options in the lower-cost area and you could have them ordered and installed pretty quickly.
I would tell you to make sure that you have the window retailer or the window installer measure – do the measuring for you before the order is placed, because every window manufacturer is a little bit different in the way they want them measured. And you absolutely want them to fit properly when they get to your house. So I wouldn’t do your own measurements. I would have them come out, even if there was an additional fee, because then they’re responsible to make sure it fits, OK?
BRAD: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brad. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any home improvement project. Just head over to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: And just ahead, as the grass gets longer and longer, wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy and powerful and quiet mower that can cut it? Well, we’ve got one. We’ve got the Greenworks Pro 60-Volt Power Mower worth 402 bucks going out to you. Well, maybe if you pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement or décor question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You might just be that one lucky caller that gets that beautiful new mower shipped to their home.
888-666-3974. We’ll be back with more of your calls, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor.
TOM: You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a terrific product. It’s the Greenworks Pro 60-Volt Power Mower worth 402 bucks.
I love this thing because it’s got a push-button start. There’s no cords to pull. It’s got a brushless motor that’s very powerful, so it can cut through the toughest areas of grass. Plus, it’s got a vertical-storage capability, so you’ll save a whole bunch of space. You’ll find it at Lowe’s and Lowes.com but we’ve got one going out to one caller drawn at random. Would you like to win that $400 mower? Well, you’ve got to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question at 888-666-3974.
Let’s get back to it. Leslie, who’s next?[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Charlotte in Louisiana is on the line. Is dealing with a water issue on the patio. What’s going on?
CHARLOTTE: We have a small patio on the back of our house and we want to extend it out to help divert the water. The water needs to – the rainwater needs to flow through our yard and we want to – I wanted to know what might be decorative that wouldn’t just look like a slab of concrete and that would also help slope down to allow the water to flow through our yard.
TOM: Why don’t you build the new section out of paver bricks and pick a color that compliments the existing concrete patio? You can almost surround it. I mean you can have brick color, you can have a gray-stone color. There’s lot of different colors associated with that. And you could make it look like it was designed to be that way, almost like two sections.
What do you think, Leslie?
LESLIE: Mixed materials are such a huge trend right now for outdoor spaces, so that really is a good way to cleverly give yourself that height difference that you need to move that water away.
CHARLOTTE: So the paver bricks could – because I was wanting – instead of just having it squared off, I was wanting to kind of angle it maybe to look maybe like a path that had some character to it. Could I do that with the paver brick?
LESLIE: You can. You can do anything with the paver bricks. And they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and thicknesses, as well. So if you wanted to use something to look like a pathway, you could very easily do that.
CHARLOTTE: OK. And that wears pretty well, huh?
TOM: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
CHARLOTTE: Yeah. OK.
TOM: Do a good job on the install. A lot of times, people don’t install them properly and they don’t put the right base down. And then they start to heave and wave and get saggy and weird and weeds grow up through them. But if you have it dug out properly and you have a good, solid base and you lay the bricks in right, it gives you many, many years of life.
CHARLOTTE: OK. So we could have a concrete base and then put the paver bricks on.
TOM: Not a concrete base. It would be a crushed-stone base that would be tamped down very, very well.
LESLIE: So you dig down, first, however many inches. It depends on the thickness of your paver stone. So you dig down, usually, two or three times that thickness. You put down a stone, tamp that down. It’s like a contractor mixed material of stone. What do they call that? A number …
TOM: It’s like a crushed gravel.
LESLIE: It’s like an aggregate.
CHARLOTTE: OK. Gotcha.
TOM: I think, actually, they call it “stone base.”
LESLIE: So you put that down, tamp it down, then you put sand over that, tamp that down. This way, you’re just compressing it and compressing, compressing into a structurally stable base. And once the sand is down and tamped and everything is level and stable, then you put your pavers on top of it.
CHARLOTTE: OK. Good deal. OK. Well, that’s great. Alright. Thank you so much. I appreciate the info.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about sprucing up your backyard-deck space, we’re seeing more and more trends emerge that can deliver style without a big expense. For decks, we’re seeing a return to a throwback style, including spindles and balusters, latticework, railings and even overhead coverings, which are serving both practical and decorative purposes. Now, railings improve safety for everyone, lattice can add privacy and overhead coverings provide shade.
TOM: Now, lighting is also really important and serves the purpose of setting a cozy or lively or even a spooky mood on a deck. The right lighting also makes using your outdoor space safer. And there are dozens of built-in and standalone options that you can add now, all made simpler and more effective and far more durable because of advances in LED technology.
LESLIE: Yeah. Another trend is specialized tables that feature fire, ice or plants as a centerpiece. Each table type adds its own functionality and special ambience. Fire tables include a fire pit that’s surrounded by a tabletop large enough to hold glasses or even full place settings so that you can enjoy a meal.
TOM: And then there’s the complete polar opposite: ice tables. These include built-in coolers, which can give sort of a fun vibe to the area while keeping beverages nice and cold and within easy reach. Lots of very cool, affordable stuff out there. Really no limit to the possibilities for function and beauty in your own outdoor-living area.
LESLIE: Peter in Virginia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PETER: I have a house built 13 years ago and one of the rooms on the first floor extends past the basement, so there’s a crawlspace. I noticed, just after they built that, that there’s some moisture and mold in the adjacent closet in the basement to the crawlspace. What they did was they put some thick plastic sheeting in the crawlspace and they put a dehumidifier – and just a standard one that you can get in The Home Depot or Lowe’s – with a drainage hose that goes into, I guess, a pipe or a drain. And that’s been running continuously for 13 years. And I haven’t had any moisture problems since. I was just kind of wondering, is that the safest solution? And I guess I just have nightmares that the dehumidifier catches on fire, I guess, because it just runs continuously.
LESLIE: Hmm. Well, let’s think about the reasons why that humidifier is running consistently. I mean you’re probably needing to control the moisture that’s coming into the space, so let’s look at the exterior of the home. Anywhere around the foundation, look at how the soil is. Is it sitting all the way up against the foundation? Is it sloping towards the house? Look at that and think about where that water is moving to, anything that’s hitting out there. So you want that soil to slope away from the house. And you want it to angle, not drastically, but get things moving away.
Look at your gutters and your downspouts. Make sure that they’re clear and free-flowing and that the downspouts don’t deposit right next to the home’s foundation, that they go out a couple of feet away from the house. And then look at those downspouts because a lot of times, you might not even realize that you have a clog in the downspout and that could be depositing a ton of water maybe underground or right next to the foundation. And that water can move quite a good distance and really cause a lot of havoc. So if you can control that and where that’s all coming from, that’ll really be helpful.
PETER: I think they have the dehumidifier set to ruin continuously. I think that’s an option on the machine. You know, when they built the house, they put in French drains around the outside. I don’t have any trees next to the house that was shedding its leaves, so I’m thinking the gutters are probably clear. And I’m thinking they just have the dehumidifier set just to run continuously. I was just wondering, is that safe? It’s been doing this for 13 years.
TOM: The type of dehumidifier that you’re talking about is not the kind that I would leave in a crawlspace for over a decade. There are better dehumidifiers for that exact use and they usually hang from the ceiling of the crawlspace and they can cover a much wider area and they could do a much better job of taking the moisture out. Take a look at ThermaStor.com – T-h-e-r-m-a-S-t-o-r. That’s one of the manufacturers.
I actually have one of their units in my basement. Even though I’ve got all the grading and the drainage and all that kind of stuff is fixed up and looking good, I’ve got this Therma-Stor Ultra-Aire unit there installed. And it does a really good job of just sort of taking care of the natural soil moisture that forms.
I think you mentioned this but I just want to double-check. Do you have plastic sheeting on the floor of the crawlspace?
TOM: OK. And then it goes all the way to the wall – wall-to-wall?
PETER: It does. And the entire height of the crawlspace is maybe 3½-feet tall. It’s not a really tall crawlspace.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
PETER: And I haven’t noticed any issues in the closet next to it.
PETER: There’s no mold on the door like I saw before, so …
TOM: Well, I think just to kind of head off the problems, I would replace that dehumidifier with a better-quality one. Look at Therma-Stor, look at Santa Fe. That’s another one of their brands. A little less expensive. Have an outlet installed where you’re going to plug it in, that’s ground-fault protected, and I think you have nothing to worry about. You can have a condensate pump added to it so that it will basically take all that water and pump it wherever you need. Just make sure it’s going out of the house.
PETER: Yeah. OK. Great. Thank you very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Shana in Massachusetts is on the line with a roofing question. What’s going on at your money pit?
SHANA: I recently had a roof replaced in the fall and I’m wondering about a leak that was there before they did it. And it’s where the chimney is. The house isn’t 100 years old but it’s in pretty good shape.
SHANA: And in that same spot, I still see a darkness.
TOM: So, Shana, here’s what I think: if you had a leak that was significant, you would actually be seeing water, you’d be seeing swollen drywall. Slight differences in the color of the drywall are not really going to signify whether or not you have a leak or not. Hey, I had a leak in my chimney flashing in my 100-year-old house just 2 weeks ago and I figured out that a piece of my flashing had gotten loose. But when it leaked, it really leaked. We had water coming down the chimney inside the attic space.
So here’s what I would do. When you get that kind of a stain, what you have to do is you have to prime over it. You can’t just paint it with ceiling paint. You have to use a primer because that’s what really seals in that discoloration. If you prime it and paint it and then you start to see it form a stain again, then I might worry. But from what you’re describing, I don’t see any evidence that you have an active leak.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You guys, this is the official kickoff to summer, so we’re going to have some expert advice giving you tips and trends to help you take your living area outside, complete with those couches, chairs and fireplaces. So stick around.
TOM: Making good homes better. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, with Memorial Day almost here it’s a great time to update or redesign your outdoor living area.
LESLIE: That’s right. Hila Roberts is the outdoor patio expert at the Home Depot and she’s here with the trends and tips to make sure your space is looking good this weekend and throughout the rest of the year. Welcome Hila.
HILA: Thank you so much for having me.
TOM: We call it outdoor living, but I guess what we’re really talking about here is taking the living room outside, complete with couches, chairs and a fireplace. My buddy has a outdoor TV, so electronics can be included as well, right?
HILA: You’re exactly right. What we found is that when our customers and anyone who’s decided to put a patio set out in their backyard, they basically said, “I’m going to create an outdoor room and I’m going to decorate it just like I would my living room.” When you put a sofa and a love seat in your living room, you’re not just sticking a sofa and love seat there, you’ve got rugs, you got lamps, you’ve got TV’s. Well, they’re doing with the same thing outdoors and Home Depot is your one-stop-shop for everything you need, whether it’s a seating set, a dining set, umbrellas, lights. We have everything you could possibly need to really create that outdoor room and make it an extension, not only of your home, but of yourself.
TOM: Well, I can vouch for that because I’ve been to your spring preview and you do have an amazing assortment of products that can make that space look fantastic, but before we go there, when we talk about couches and chairs, of course people think, “Well, how can I put that stuff outside? Is it gonna get wet?” Can you talk a little bit about the durability of those products and how it changes from what you might see inside your house?
HILA: Oh, great question. You definitely want to use different fabrics when you move from obviously the inside of your home to the outside of your home. Then it really depends on how much you want to maintain it. For example, you can use an olefin fabric, which is a great outdoor fabric, won’t fade for up to two years. You’ll probably want to store it when it rains, as it will get wet. But then what I always recommend to folks, I think this gives you the most bang for your buck, would be to use a Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella is an acrylic. It actually has a five year warranty against fade resistance, and so over time … you can leave it outside in the hot sun or in the elements and really you won’t see any fade for at least five years. It’s just a great upgrade from a regular olefin, which is a great performer outside, but Sunbrella’s just the top performance fabric.
LESLIE: Hela, you have so many choices these days when it comes to outdoor design and designing exterior rooms, so what really are the trends that you’re seeing as far as color palettes and design styles? Where are people going with these designs?
HILA: Folks just always love color outside. But then also neutrals are starting to make a comeback. We’ve seen a lot of popularity outdoors in our reds, so both a deeper traditional chili, as well as a really bright ruby, which appeals not only to your more traditional customer, but even to our millennials. We’ve brought that in, in a couple of ways, both in our cushions, as well as in our mix and match program. Then when it comes to neutrals, we’ve seen a lot of … popularity in, whether it’s a saddle color, which is more of a brown or an oatmeal, which is just a lighter natural. Then customers have bought accent pillows to offset those … to add those pops of colors against the neutrals. Again, it’s really about personalizing and what you’d like to see outdoors, but it’s a fun way, whether it’s just through the cushion itself or through an accent pillow to kind of bring that color to the outdoors.
TOM: We’re talking to HILA. She is the outdoor patio expert for the Home Depot and I guess it really just comes down to mixing and matching from these different lines because it sounds like you really can’t go wrong.
HILA: That’s exactly right. We have a couple programs that allow customers to really personalize their patio. You never want to look like the guy or gal next door. We’ve got a program we’ve call actually mix and match … in store. There are 15 chairs and 14 tables that make over 100 combinations of seating and dining. There is something for everyone, to match your space, your style, and your budget. What we’ve done here is we’ve taken the frames of all these chairs and tables and made a match. You don’t have to be a designer to create a set for yourself. All you do is say, “What chair do I like and what table do I like? What fits my space?” We’ve got it for you. It ranges from as low as $79, to a seven piece set that can be as high as 398. That has taken off because of that personalization.
LESLIE: Now, as we move into the evening hours, I think lighting plays such a huge part in exterior design. There’s been so many advancements as far as the light quality and the design with LED lighting options. Can you talk about some of that?
HILA: Lights are a great way to extend the use of your patio set. If you’re going to spend the money, you want to use it not just during the day, but even at night. I know a lot of folks, myself included who like to have dinner outside or enjoy and relax outside after the kids have gone to bed. You can use some regular non LED lights that work great just because you’re using them seasonally. We have some great heavy duty string lights, as well as some round cafe lights that have been very popular this year. Then yes, the same upgrade you might see in Christmas lights or indoor lights, we have then brought into the LED world. We have a solar offset umbrella that absorbs the sun’s rays during the day and then at night lights up, so that you can enjoy an evening outdoors with some ambient light.
TOM: One final question. If you were in the living room, you might have a fireplace. Fire pits are incredibly popular today. They’re not very expensive and they really create a focal point in that space, correct?
HILA: Oh, completely agree. Yes. Outdoor fire … whether you read the magazines or if you sit in my chair and you see how customers are reacting, has just been … very popular over the past 18 months. This is again, another way to extend the use of the patio, whether it’s in the evening when it cools down depending on where you live, or to enjoy it earlier in the spring or later into the fall. A couple of items I like, we have our Crossfire fire pit, which you can actually grill steak on during the day and make s’mores on at night. It has kind of a grill plate on it, which is really cool.
Then Tipton, which is a large bowl fire pit. It is 34 inches and very deep. We see that customer’s like kind of having that big area of fire to really kind of enjoy the heat, have it last longer. Then the last one I’m very excited about is the Crossridge. This is a gas fire pit with a table top for 199, which is an incredible value. It’s basically, you take the same tank you’d put on to your grill and there’s a door underneath this fire pit that you can screw that same propane tank. It’ll give you hours of enjoyment outside, both heat and light.
TOM: Fire table sounds very exciting. HILA, the outdoor patio expert from the Home Depot. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tips, great trends, great advice.
HILA: Thank you.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call now at, 888-moneypit.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize. It’s an Amazon gift card sponsored by Speed Queen.
LESLIE: Yes. Speed Queen Washers and Dryers, they are built to last, you guys, 25 years. You can do so much laundry in that amount of time, my goodness, with the same washer and dryer by Speed Queen. They’ve got the industry’s best warranty and over 100 years of commercial reliability. They’ve got 2,800 dealers nationwide, so you can check them out in stores or online at SpeedQueen.com.
And that Amazon gift card worth 50 bucks, which you could even use in Amazon Pantry for laundry detergent and anything else to help you with your Speed Queen washing and drying.
TOM: Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bill in Nevada is on the line with an LED-lighting question. What can we do for you?
BILL: I recently replaced a standard, overhead, incandescent lighting fixture with an LED lighting fixture. The installation went OK; everything works. But when you turn on the light, there’s a delay. There’s about a second-and-a-half, maybe a two-second delay before the lights actually come on. Is that standard? What causes it? And more importantly, is there something I can do about it?
TOM: Yeah, I’ve seen that with some LED fixtures that I have and I never thought it was anything other than normal. LED bulbs themselves are pretty complicated when you look at all the circuitry. And I just presume that’s what it takes to bring the light up and maintain it at that level. So I’ve never thought twice about that being an issue. But I could see how it might surprise you.
BILL: So you’ve seen it before?
TOM: Oh, yeah. I’ve definitely seen it before.
BILL: Alright. Well, that was the question. I appreciate you taking it and giving me a good, quick answer.
TOM: Alright. You’ve got it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, I’m pretty lucky to have grown up along the Jersey Shore but there is one part of summer that I do not look forward to and that’s mosquito season. If we head out, Leslie, in the late afternoon here to maybe early evening, you can be bit – you can bet you will be bitten and probably several times at that. All those years going to Little League games and soccer matches and stuff like that, we would just get eaten alive. But last summer, there was one place I didn’t have to worry about around my house and that was my home dining area, because I picked up a DynaTrap.
Now, a DynaTrap is a technology-driven indoor/outdoor insect trap that is designed to protect against mosquitoes. But I found it also covers biting flies and moths and wasps and things like that. And the reason I was interested in it is because a lot of these traps use chemicals or pesticides or baits that you have to add to them. It needs none of that. It basically just sets up, turn it on and you’re good to go. We love to eat outdoors on the patio and I think I went the entire summer last year without nearly a single bite.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? We’ve got one, too, this year and so far so good. I think what’s so interesting is how it attracts and then traps those mosquitoes. It uses the warm glow of a UV bulb and that just lures in the insects. And then these guys also figured out how to add a special coating to the interior of the trap that reacts with that UV bulb and it produces carbon dioxide, which is pretty much irresistible to mosquitoes.
TOM: That is so smart.
LESLIE: It really is. They’re kind of replicating the human body.
TOM: It’s like the double whammy. They can’t stay away from it.
LESLIE: Right. It’s interesting. And then as those insects get closer, they get vacuumed in by a fan and they go into a retaining cage where they’re going to dehydrate and die off.
TOM: It’s pretty easy to use. You just set up the DynaTrap about 20 feet away from your outdoor-living area and then you let it run 24/7. We run ours, literally, from spring through fall. And what I love about it is that if you do it 24/7, it kind of disrupts the mosquito life cycle. You’ve got to remember that those mosquitoes are hatching about every two weeks. Then they’re flying off for an early-evening meal. Those populations get cut way back and that keeps you and your home bug-free.
LESLIE: Now, it comes in two sizes. So you’ve got the ½-acre DynaTrap and that retails for $129. And then there’s the larger 1-acre size, which is 199 at most major retailers and of course, online at DynaTrap.com. Plus, if you enter the promo code MONEYPIT, you’re going to get 15 percent off. That’s at DynaTrap.com. It’s D-y-n-a-Trap.com.
Mary in Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
MARY: I’m redoing my basement and I’m wondering about flooring. It has had a rubber-backed carpet, which has been taken up so we’re down to the concrete. And I’m just wondering, what would be a good thing to put back down on the floor there?
TOM: So, rubber-backed carpet was kind of popular at one point in time. But generally speaking, we don’t recommend carpet for basements because they’re so damp. You can build up a lot of debris down there that can cause allergic reactions. You get dust mites and all that sort of thing that will nest in the carpet.
So I would look to a smooth-surface material. So your options might be laminate floor, which is beautiful. It could look like hardwood floor or tile. It’s made of different composite materials. It’s a very, very tough surface. And it floats. It doesn’t – it’s not glued down; it floats on top of the floor. Or you could choose a special type of hardwood floor called “engineered hardwood.”
Now, solid hardwood would not be recommended for a basement because it’s too moist. But engineered is made up of different layers of hardwood. It kind of looks – the guts of it kind of look like plywood but the surface, it looks like a regular hardwood floor. You can’t really tell the difference once it’s down. And I think that would be a good option, as well.
MARY: I really like the carpet down there.
LESLIE: Use area rugs. You’re just going to be sad. It’s just going to cause a lot of problems. It’s going to make you feel yucky. It’s going to feel damp down there.
TOM: And it’s a very dated look today, too. Things have changed in terms of décor. And I think the solid surface of a laminate floor or an engineered-hardwood floor would be much more common today.
MARY: Is there something feasible in a price range, though?
TOM: Yeah. Laminate floor is really affordable. You can get that for as little as maybe four bucks a square foot.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? Go online. I’ve seen laminate flooring just south of $2 a square foot. So there’s really some great options that are very affordable out there.
MARY: OK, thank you.
TOM: Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Brice in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BRICE: I was considering using a polyethylene sheet to replace or repair the ceiling in my bathroom. And I wanted to know that’s a good substitute for wall board and what material to seal it up with.
TOM: When you say a polyethylene sheet, do you mean sheet plastic?
BRICE: I could use some of the material on the fascia board on the outside. I was told this came in a sheet.
TOM: It’s like a waterproof paneling, in essence. Is that what you’re saying?
BRICE: Yes, a panel. Yes.
TOM: I mean I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use it if you like the look of it. It’s not necessary. You could make the repair with standard greenboard, which is a water-resistant drywall. Did you have to tear open the ceiling for some reason? Why are you replacing it?
BRICE: Well, we had a roof leak and …
TOM: The easiest thing to do would be to put a second layer, even if the drywall below is damaged – the existing drywall is damaged. But as long as it’s not swollen or deformed in any way, I would just put another layer of drywall right over that. That’s the easiest, fastest way to make that repair. And then you would tape, prime and spackle those corners between the two. This way, it looks normal because just putting a piece of plastic paneling up there, you’d have to trim it out. It’s going to look always a bit odd because that’s kind of a weird configuration.
I would just try to get it back to where it was. I would put a piece of water-resistant drywall up there. I would spackle it – three coats – prime it and paint the whole thing and you’ll never know that the leak ever happened.
BRICE: Very good. That helped.
TOM: Happy we could help you out, Brice. Good luck with that project. Thanks, again, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Coming up, is your dog’s favorite pastime digging holes in the yard? Well, your favorite pastime does not need to be filling them. We’re going to have some tips to stop dogs from digging up your yard, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Let’s jump right into our Community section. Mike from Hawaii writes: “I have asphalt shingles on my home that are 30 years old. No leaks, just some moss or mildew on the current shingles. I’m considering putting solar panels on the roof and my roofer thinks due to the roof’s age, I should reroof before by adding a second layer of shingles. What do you think?”
TOM: Well, I definitely think you should reroof because 30 years old is going to be the end of a normal life cycle but I do not think you should put a second layer on it. Because when you put a second layer of roofing material over an existing layer, what we find is that that first layer holds a lot of heat and it really reduces the life of that newer layer. So you really should take it down to the sheathing, repair any damaged boards and then reroof with just one layer of shingles, Mike. I think that’s going to give you the best long-term roof. And then go ahead and put your solar panels right on top of that and you will be good to go.
LESLIE: And you know what, Mike? If you need Team Money Pit to come and inspect your house in Hawaii, I think the offer is on the table. Just saying.
TOM: Well, most dog owners will tell you they love their pets, even when they’re being pretty naughty. But you don’t have to put up with their antics. The warmer weather means a lot more idle time spent outside, which can bring out your dog’s digging instinct. Leslie has got tips to stop that from happening, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: This is something that we are putting into practice right now with the Sherminator: you know, my rescue that eats …
LESLIE: Ugh. I swear to God, the dog is driving me nuts. You guys, I’m trying to do the right thing rescuing the dog. Want him to be a good pet. But so far, we are not getting along so well. He really is so cute, though, so I want to make it work. So, here’s some things that we are working on with Sherman’s digging.
Now, dogs dig for a lot of reasons. And the thing is they don’t know that the digging is wrong unless you teach them. So, here are some ideas that we’re trying and that you guys can try that should help.
So, if your dog is burying things, like food or bones, you might dig up those items when your dog is not looking so they’re not there the next time he digs. After a while, he might start to realize that his digging provides no reward and then stop.
Now, here’s a technique that dog professionals use and I’m finding it is working because dogs really don’t like to be sprayed with water. And I’m not saying hose them down, although that might seem extremely satisfying. Don’t. You can spray them lightly. You want to use your hose each time the dog begins the digging.
Then offer them praise when they roam around the lawn without digging. Show them love when they’re doing something good. It’s that whole reward something good and ignore them when they’re bad. So you’ve got to really get them to understand that when they’re good, they get good stuff. And the dog’s really going to associate that digging with being sprayed with the hose and the positive attention when they’re not digging.
Now, some experts will say that dogs will simply stop digging if they’re given enough exercise. So take some time to play with your dog. That really could be the easiest solution. Remember, really, your dog’s behavior is best changed when an owner is consistent with training. This is my problem. When you work a lot, you can’t be consistent. You have to find the time. Be consistent. Even the other members that are in the house, encourage them to do the same exact thing that you are doing and that’s going to train the dog, as well.
Hopefully, by the end of the summer, I’m going to have a better story about Sherman. We’re all going to be happy and no one will have dog holes in the yard.
TOM: Yeah. Bribery works well, too. A little treat goes a long way towards teaching the dog good habits.
LESLIE: True. You know, Tom, we did – the dog was taking things, so I was doing, “Drop it, drop it.”
LESLIE: But I would also have a little treat in my pocket and be like, “Ooh, drop it.” And now the dog is like, “Oh, if I take something, I get a treat.” And I’m like, “No, backfired.”
TOM: Right. No, other way. Well, I think you’re right. You’ve got to be consistent. That’s really the trick.
Well, coming up next time on The Money Pit, it’s not that hot yet but just in a few short weeks, you’re going to be reaching for your thermostat and cranking up that A/C. That’s why now is the perfect time to get that A/C system checked out to make sure it’s good to go when the sweltering heat sets in. We’ll have tips to help you do just that, 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.
(Copyright 2017 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.)