- With fall approaching, and you might be wondering if replacing old or drafty windows is a wise move. We walk you through 7 key questions to ask yourself to determine if this project is right for you.
- Painting seems like a simple DIY project but that’s exactly why it is even more frustrating than ever when your painting project comes out badly. We’ll share pro painting tips to help.
- As we head into pandemic season two, many Americans will continue to work from home fueling the need for more home office space. If you are ready to set up a new more organized space for your work life, we’ll share tips on furniture and organizers you can build yourself.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Beverly wants to add vinyl siding to a shed and needs to know the best way to attach it. Tom shares a key trick of the trade to make sure the vinyl is secure but won’t expand and cause the vinyl siding to warp when the sun hits it.
- Abe needs help solving a plumbing mystery that causes the water in one toilet to gurgle and drain when another toilet is flushed!
- Anna took down a tree that was full of carpenter ants and wants to know if needs to be worried about the carpenter ants destroying her home!
- Stuart needs to know how to select the right LED bulb to match the wattage of an old incandescent bulb he’s replacing.
- Nancy needs to know the easiest way to remove a popcorn celling.
- Bob is dealing with the aftermath of a really bad laminate floor installation.
- Brian is building a new house and wants to know if using spray foam insulation will cause his roof shingles to buckle.
- Laura is remodeling her kitchen in an old house wants to know how to reinforce the floor to support heavy new appliances.
- Eric’s home is smoke damaged and he needs help getting rid of the smoke odor.
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: Happy Labor Day Weekend. It is about Labor Day. I say about because the show airs different times in different markets. But for us, we’re smack dab in the middle of our Labor Day weekend and just enjoying a work-free day around The Money Pit. Because there’s always a project to do at our money pit, just like there is to do, we’re sure, at yours, as well. But if you are doing a project, maybe not taking the day off or maybe planning a project and maybe you’re stuck, don’t know where to begin, don’t know if you can do it yourself, don’t know if you could do it with the help of a YouTube video – like so many of us do today – or maybe you are ready to hire a pro and you need some assistance, reach out to us.
Couple of ways to do that. You can call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Well, fall is approaching and you might be wondering if replacing old or drafty windows is a smart move. In today’s Smart Spending Tip, we’re going to walk you through seven key questions to ask yourself to determine if this project is right for you right now.
LESLIE: And painting is one DIY project that probably seems the most simple to do. But that’s exactly why it’s even more frustrating than ever when a seemingly simple project, like painting, comes out badly. We’re going to share pro painting tips to help you out, in just a bit.
TOM: And as we head into the pandemic season two, it looks like many Americans will continue to work from home, which will continue to fuel a resurgence in the need for home office space. And if you are ready to set up a new, more organized space in your work life, we’re going to share tips on furniture and organizers that you can build yourself, in today’s DIY Project Highlight presented by Kreg Tool.
LESLIE: But first, whether you’re doing or dreaming, we can help you make your home everything that you want it to be. So give us a call so we can help you get started or help you get finished.
TOM: Take a look around your house. We are ready to help you get those projects done. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Heading over to Florida, we’ve got Beverly on the line who’s got a question about siding. What’s going on? Are you installing it yourself?
BEVERLY: It’s just a shed. And it’s 10×10 and I had some siding that I got – some vinyl siding – and I wanted to put it on a shed. And I figured the shed’s only 8 feet high so I’d be able, you know, to put it on myself.
BEVERLY: But I heard conflicting opinions about whether I should use screws or nails.
TOM: Oh, OK.
BEVERLY: So, one hardware-store guy goes, “Use screws.” Another one says, “Use nails.” And it’s going on oriented strand board. And then I put tar paper.
TOM: OK. Yeah. So it’s not a tough question; it’s not even a close question. You’re going to use nails. And not only are you going to use nails, you’re going to use nails and you’re not going to drive them home. You’re not going to drive them to where they’re solidly banging that siding into the oriented strand board.
Vinyl siding has some peculiarities to its installation method. So you know, of course, you start low, right, and the pieces interlock. Now, if you’ll notice, vinyl siding doesn’t have nail holes; it has nail slots. And that’s for a really important reason. The vinyl has a really big expansion ratio. So if you put the vinyl siding on too tight, where it can’t slide, it’s going to buckle and looks terrible. You can always see a bad siding job, in the south side of the house, when the sun hits it and it buckles. And that’s because the siding was nailed on too solidly.
So you’re going to use a flathead nail. A roofing nail would be fine or something like that. And you want to just put it in the center of the slot and you don’t want to make it tight. You want to leave enough space. When you’re done, you should be able to grab that piece of siding and slide it back and forth in the slot, you know what I mean?
TOM: And if it slides back and forth, that’s perfect. That’s exactly what you want. It’s not going to fall off. It’s not going to blow away. But because you’ve put it on loosely that way, it’ll be able to expand and contract and not buckle. OK?
BEVERLY: Well, I’m glad you told me. Because the first – I put the screw in and I put it in tight.
TOM: Yeah. That’s natural. That’s what we are sort of destined to do – is to really always make stuff really strong and tight. But when it comes to siding and that vinyl siding, it’s just not done that way and that’s why.
BEVERLY: OK. Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a call from Abe in New Hampshire who’s dealing with some sort of septic smell in the house. What’s going on?
ABE: How are you doing? I listen to your program all the time, by the way. In fact, it’s very interesting.
TOM: Glad to hear that.
ABE: We put in a brand-new, engineered septic system about 10 years ago. And I noticed, from the very beginning, the downstairs toilets flushed very well. And upstairs, where I am, flushes well but it burps.
ABE: And when I push the handle, it starts going down and it’s kind of like a small burp at the throat. And it pushes up a little bubble or something like that and then it goes down, every single time.
TOM: So, what’s going on is you don’t have enough venting for that particular toilet. And so, when you flush it and the water’s drawn down, there’s no make-up air replacing it.
LESLIE: It’s gasping for air.
TOM: And so it’s, essentially, gasping, right. You know the vents of those pipes that come up through the roofs of homes?
ABE: Correct. Yep.
TOM: For some reason, this particular toilet is not vented correctly. It’s not getting the air or the vent is obstructed. I’ve seen these vents capped off when they’re put in, because the plumbers like to test the systems and never pull the caps off again. So there could be a whole host of reasons why you’re not getting air but it’s really a simple fix. You need to figure out where the vent’s obstructed or if the vent doesn’t exist or it doesn’t properly – it wasn’t properly installed. That’s really the issue. If you can get more air into that vent, you’ll be good to go.
ABE: OK. Yeah, so we can – yeah, so I mean it’s really accessible. It’s an easy private roof. I was hoping it wouldn’t be something like that or plugged up or whatever.
And also, by the way, occasionally you get a slight – very slight – septic odor coming up when it does that, too.
TOM: I guess that’s possible because you’re – because it’s not vented, it’s just holding more of that water in the pipes than it really should.
ABE: Right. Yeah.
TOM: And the vents are designed to let that septic odor go. So that makes sense, actually.
ABE: Alright. Well, I appreciate it very much. Thank you.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks, again, for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Anna in South Dakota on the line with a question about ants. What is going on?
ANNA: Took down a huge, huge tree. And the contractor that took it down said, “Good thing you took it down because in two years, it probably would have fell.”
ANNA: Because it’s all hollow and he said it had a huge carpenter-ant nest in it.
ANNA: So, my house is 10 feet away. Do I need to worry about that?
TOM: No. Carpenter ants are Mother Nature’s way of getting rid of dead wood. Sure, they could infest your house but they’re not necessarily going to be motivated to go there over anything else that’s lying about. You’ll find ant nests like that once in a while. And they’ll usually just go down on the ground, walk to another location. But they’re not like, “Hey, let’s go over to Anna’s house, because I think I heard it’s tasty.” No, they’re not usually going to go in your house. That said, you ought to keep your eye out for all sorts of pests – carpenter ants and termites, in particular – but you’re not at any increased risk of finding ants.
I’ll tell you, I had a surprise myself with ants a couple of weeks back. I have a bay window. It’s filled with plants. And I was doing some cleaning and I didn’t notice we were getting some persistent ants in this area. And I figured they were coming in from the outside, being the knowledgeable home improvement expert that I am.
Well, imagine my surprise when I lifted up a big, clay pot that had a flowering plant in it and found that the ant infestation was, in fact, in the plant. So, we were helping this ant infestation survive by dutifully watering our plant. And once I got the plant outside, those ants had to find a new place to live and we haven’t seen a single one since.
So, they’re not necessarily looking to go to your house. I think that you’re going to be fine.
ANNA: OK. That was my only concern. The house is from – was built in 1908 and it’s like it’s, you know …
TOM: Yep. And it’s going to be fine for another hundred years. You don’t worry about that, OK?
ANNA: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck.
LESLIE: Stuart in Louisiana is on the line and has a question about light bulbs. What can we do for you?
STUART: I was curious about choosing the correct kind of light bulb – fluorescent versus LED – and what wattage if I – whichever one I choose.
TOM: So, compact-fluorescent technology is pretty much fading now – pardon the pun – and I think what you really want to look at is some of the many choices in LEDs. In terms of wattage, it’s not really measured in wattage anymore; it’s measured in lumens. But generally speaking, if you do see a wattage indicator on the bulb, it’s going to be about 25 percent of what you’re used to getting in terms of light output.
So, for example, a bulb that would deliver the equivalent of around 100 watts of light, that you might be used to in an incandescent bulb, is only going to use about 25 watts or less of electricity, only because it’s that much more efficient. A lot of folks don’t recognize that wattage is a measure of power; it’s not a measure of light. Light’s measured by lumens. But we’re just so accustomed, over the years, to choosing the wattage when it comes to bulb and understanding how much light that delivers.
But if you’re trying to figure out about what the conversion rate is, it’s about 25 percent. It uses about 25 percent of the power to deliver the same light that you would’ve gotten out of, say, the 100-watt incandescent bulb in my example. Does that make sense?
STUART: It does indeed. So what lumen range would I be basically looking for if I wanted to have the same amount of wattage – I’m sorry – same amount of light as a 100-watt light bulb?
TOM: Good question. A 100-watt incandescent bulb is going to deliver about 1,600 lumens. So, not that easy to do the math. It’s not really convenient. But that’s what it is. A 100-watt bulb delivers about 1,600 lumens; 75-watt bulb would deliver around, say, 1,000 to 1,100 lumens. So that’s the range that you’re looking for.
STUART: Fantastic. Thank you very much for your assistance.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, fall is approaching and you might be wondering if replacing older, drafty windows is a wise move. Taking advantage of advances in window technology can potentially reduce your heating and cooling bills, as well as increase your home’s comfort.
TOM: To help, we put together seven key questions that can help you decide if it’s time to take on this project at your house, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Now, first, ask yourself this: are your heating and cooling bills getting bigger every year? You know, windows and doors are one of the largest sources of energy leaks. And one way you can test this is with a blower-door test. It’s done by an energy auditor and it can pinpoint exactly how leaky your windows actually are You should first ask your utility company if they offer the service, because many of them do.
Next, let’s talk about how old those windows are, because every product in your home has a lifespan. And for windows, it’s around the 15 year mark. Because at around 20, it is really time to seriously determine if your windows are still doing what they’re supposed to do, because things wear out.
LESLIE: Now, you also have to think about – are your old, wooden frames so swollen that the windows just won’t open? Now, windows that stick or those that are so loose that they don’t stay up, those really are a big detraction from home value and of course, a source of drafts.
Another thing to look at is how many panes of glass do your windows have? Now, single-paned windows are the least energy-efficient and they can actually cause your energy bills to soar. So you want to replace those inefficient windows with double or even highly-efficient, triple-paned ENERGY STAR-qualified windows. And that’s going to enhance your energy savings and make your home a lot more comfortable during all seasons.
TOM: Now, speaking of the panes of glass, do you see condensation that appears either inside the window or in between the double- or triple-pane windows? Because if you’re seeing that, you have failed seals. And if that’s the case, you might need to replace the glass or the entire window. But frankly, replacing the glass in an older window is simply not worth it. It’s almost as expensive as doing the entire window.
Next, let’s talk about how easily the windows open and close. If they’re hard to open or close or they’re not going to stay open or stay locked – so many times, the windows, you open them and they fall right down – definitely a sign that the windows are ready for replacement.
LESLIE: Now, do you also notice that maybe your house is especially noisy? Well, if you live near an airport or even a busy street, you might want to consider replacing your windows with laminated glass or double-paned windows. And that’s going to help reduce noise transmission into your home.
TOM: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card. Apply for yours at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
LESLIE: Now I’ve got Nancy in Arkansas on the line with a painting question. How can we help you?
NANCY: Calling on behalf of my mom and she has an older home. And there – she has a lot of – she has a popcorn ceiling. And she has a lot of cobwebs and stuff. And I’m just wondering, what would be the best way of removing those to eliminate as much debris falling in the carpet and that sort of thing and to give it a fresh look?
LESLIE: Well, I think with a popcorn ceiling, number one, you’re fighting the texture. So everything kind of wants to get stuck up there.
So, first off is I would start with one of those Swiffers that look like a feather duster, just to get all of that dust and that – the cobwebs down so that you’ve got a clean surface. And if that looks OK, then you might want to stop there.
You can’t really clean a popcorn ceiling, because the way you remove a popcorn ceiling is to spray it with water and then you scrape it off. So if you try to clean it with any sort of cleanser or moisture, you’re going to start to disintegrate the popcorn and make that come off, if it’s truly a popcorn ceiling and not a textured stucco or something like that. So I think once you get the spiderwebs and things off of it, you might be better off just painting it and giving it a fresh coat to just sort of freshen up the ceiling space a little bit.
But if you do decide to paint the popcorn ceiling, you have to get a very specialized roller. It looks like a – it’s a foam roller that has a spiral cut to it. And that will open up to sort of accommodate the popcorn-ceiling texture. If you use a regular roller, it’s going to paint it and then pull the texture off. So you have to be careful in your application. But that’ll do a great job of freshening it up.
NANCY: OK. Well, great. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bob with a flooring problem. What’s going on at your house?
BOB: I was out of town overnight and our house flooded inside from a broken pipe. So, the company came in and tore out all my flooring and subflooring. And when they came back in, the contractor is about – stick-together tiles that are like Pergo. Anyway, when they put them together or put them in, did not lock them together. They laid them on the floor and knocked them together and broke all my locks. Now they’re coming apart.
TOM: Oh, we see – a lot of those laminate floor tiles, they’re not designed to be glued together. They’re sort of a locking joint.
Now, if they did not install them correctly, if they tried to bang them together instead of – so you have to sort of like rotate them to click together. Then there’s going to be nothing you can do about that. They have essentially damaged the floor.
BOB: OK. My question is – they’re going to replace it but should I have them tear out this old flooring and put the new one in or just put this over that?
TOM: Yeah, definitely get rid of the old stuff because it’s not going to be secure. There could be movement under that. No, I would go back to the way it was. Get rid of that old flooring and start again from scratch.
Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to tackle a question about roofing shingles.
Brian, how can we help you?
BRIAN: Well, we’re building a new house and we have the spray-foam insulation, where the house is encapsulated.
BRIAN: And I had a friend that told me in their house, on the north side in the wintertime, that the shingles will buckle. So, I didn’t know anything about that and didn’t know how to find out whether or not that was true.
TOM: So, are you – why are you asking? Are you – if you have an existing house with a roof, are you thinking about changing the roof?
BRIAN: Well, we’re not thinking about changing it but we’re in the middle of building. We’re not in the house yet.
TOM: Oh, you’re in the middle of building. Oh, OK. Good.
BRIAN: And if there’s a problem with it, then we’d want the builder to correct it, yeah.
TOM: I see, yeah. Yeah. No, I don’t think there’s any problem with it whatsoever. I think you made the best choice. I personally have a spray-foam underside of my roof sheathing and I’ve got to tell you, it’s definitely the most efficient way to go. We’ve seen dramatic decreases in our energy cost since we went that way. So I think you’re making a really good choice. I’ve never heard of it having any kind of negative effect on the roofing shingles whatsoever.
BRIAN: Well, I appreciate it. Because my friends tell me the shingles had to be rated for that but I couldn’t find any information on that.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think so. No, I really – I don’t think that’s right.
BRIAN: OK. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brian. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, painting is one DIY project that probably seems the simplest to do. I mean how much harder can it be than dipping a brush in a can and then slapping some paint on the wall?
TOM: Yeah and that’s exactly why it’s even more frustrating than ever when a seemingly-simple project, like painting, comes out bad. And that can happen if you start with the wrong brush.
LESLIE: Now, the average home improvement center provides a lot of options for brushes. So how do you know which brush, Tom, is the right brush for you?
TOM: Well, it all comes down to choosing the right bristles. And that depends on the type of paint or the type of stain or finish you’re applying.
So, for example, natural-bristle brushes, or China bristles, are designed for oil-based paints. They give you a very even finish. They’re sturdy enough to clean multiple times using paint thinner or turpentine. But you can’t use natural bristles, though, for latex paints because they tend to soak up the water and then they lose their springiness and don’t perform that well. So for those types of finishes, you need to use synthetic bristles. They’re always the best choice.
LESLIE: Now, what about the quality of the brush? There’s such a wide range. So is a better, more expensive brush – does that really make a big difference?
TOM: Yeah, you see the same size brush and it starts in a foam pad that goes up to a $25 brush. But I’ve got to tell you, when it comes to those brushes, you definitely get what you pay for because the better brushes have more bristles, the bristles are of differing lengths, the bristles have split ends, which lets them hold more paint. And the lower-quality brushes leave ridges in the paint, as well as thin spots. So it doesn’t give you a really even spot.
I went to brush factory once and it was fantastic to see how – I think this was the Purdy brush factory – how they’re made. They actually have people that trim the ends of these to make a perfect tip to the end of those brushes. So, I was so impressed I’ve been using those Purdy brushes ever since.
LESLIE: They really are fantastic. But when it comes to painting, a lot of it’s the work but then a lot of it’s the cleanup. So do you have any tips to help keep those brushes clean after the project, so you can actually use them again?
TOM: Yeah, never my favorite part of the project but definitely worth the time it takes to do it right. So, for both types of brushes, you definitely want to squeeze out as much of the paint or finish out of the brush as possible. I use paper towels for that, try to really soak out all of that extra paint. Because everything you get out with the paper towel, you don’t have to get out with the paint thinner or the water or the turpentine, depending on what kind of paint you’re using.
And then for latex brushes, you want to rinse them out with warm, soapy water and then hang them up to dry so the bristles are pointing down. And this way, the water doesn’t soak back in towards the handle.
And for oil finishes, you need to dip them into paint thinner and leave them in there for a few minutes. Now, personally, I will leave them in there overnight sometimes if they’re really, really gummed up and maybe I’ve been painting for a good number of hours. But once you take them out you, again, wash them with hot, soapy water.
Now, one trick of the trade that I have, which has served me very well, is I will also keep a can of Simple Green – like a little tin can full of Simple Green, 100 percent, not thinned out – in the sink with me. And I’ll soak the brushes in that overnight, even when I’m done cleaning them, because I find that it breaks down and takes out anything that possibly remains. And they’re nice and soft and easy to work with after that. Just rinse them out and dry them and you’re good to go.
LESLIE: Laura in Connecticut is on the line and wants to rearrange the kitchen. How can we help you?
LAURA: It’s an old house. The house is 100-plus. And right underneath – right underneath – the kitchen floor, there is a portion of the floor that doesn’t have a beam under it. But we would like to put an appliance there. We would like to place an appliance there. So, we just need something that would just support it gently, just in case too much weight.
TOM: So, generally speaking, floor structures are designed to hold a refrigerator. They’re not that heavy. If you wanted to beef up the structure of that area, your kitchen already has existing floor joists. So the girder will go perpendicular to those. It’s not a true girder in the sense that it wouldn’t be supported with its own foundation.
But what sometimes many folks will do is they’ll put a girder-like beam underneath those floor joists, on some Lally columns, maybe supported by a very small foundation that might be a 1-foot-by-1-foot-square pour of concrete, so that you can kind of take the bounce out of the middle of those beams.
Sometimes, if you have long beams in a house or long floor joists in a house, you’ll get kind of a bounce when you walk across the floor. And that can make it feel weak, even though maybe it’s not but it just has more flex than you’re accustomed to. So putting in the additional beam perpendicular to the floor joists can eliminate that. It’s not going to hold up more than that beam, so it doesn’t need to be substantially supported. But I think, still, you could do – a carpenter could do a good, clean job and give you that additional support that’s going to make you feel comfortable. Does that make sense?
LAURA: Oh, yes, it does. OK. Now, if there is a dirt floor, would it be wise to put down a cement foundation?
TOM: So you wouldn’t – you would support it by columns and the bottom of the column would be supported by concrete, not necessarily a complete floor. But what, generally, you’ll do is dig out maybe a 1-foot-by-1-foot-square hole, fill that up with concrete and have the column sit right on top of that.
Again, it’s not the same kind of foundation that you would use to put a beam up that was holding up the entire house. But what you’re really doing here is just sort of taking the bounce out of that floor and giving it a little bit of additional support.
Laura, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Well, as we head into pandemic season two – at least, it seems that way at this point – it looks like many Americans are going to continue to work from home. And that’s going to continue to fuel a resurgence in the need for home office space.
Now, if you’re ready to set up a new, more organized, super-functional space in your house, we scoped out a few projects you can build yourself that will help, in today’s DIY Project Highlight presented by Kreg Tool.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, here’s a few pointers on choosing the best space. Now, creating a home office design setting that’s both functional and personable will serve to boost your productivity and help save your sanity. You know, because is it work from home or is it “I live at work”? I mean everything has sort of mixed up together. And the pandemic really forced people how to learn how to prioritize. Is it family first? Is it work first? Now, it’s all right in front of you and you’ve got to deal with everything kind of at the same time.
So, with this in mind, you really can create a home office in a space as small as, say, a converted closet or even as large as a spare room if you’ve got one. But regardless, you’ve got to be sure to plan for lighting, good ventilation and now, of course, the ever-important Zoom background.
For example, when you’re on a Zoom call, if you’ve got a bright window right behind you, that’s going to make you look darker and gloomy onscreen. But at the same time, you don’t want a space where your kids or other family members are just going to kind of be wandering around through your calls.
TOM: Yep. Now, let’s talk about getting organized. Due to the supply-chain problems that are driven by the pandemic, it’s been really hard to find new office furniture. But there actually is a lot you can build yourself.
Now, Kreg Tool has been great at creating a wide range of project plans. I really love these plans. They’re so detailed and they walk you through every project, step by step. And they’re also rated for every level of DIYer, from easy to moderate to advanced.
So, here’s a couple of examples from each area. Let’s start with those easy plans, Les.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the easy plans, they’re going to include a folding desk that’s super simple to build and can easily be stored when your office is closed for the day. Now, there’s also a DIY command center, which is basically a wall organizer that can help you keep all of your projects on track.
In the moderate category, there’s a number of desk designs that include storage, including one called a “modern industrial desk.” Now, it blends the best of modern design with elements of industrial style. And it’s going to pack a ton of customizable storage into one very stylish workspace.
TOM: And for you advanced DIYers, there’s a really beautiful design for a plywood-and-concrete writer’s desk. So it’d be great for writing, for holding a computer, for sketching. The structure is actually made entirely of plywood. And the Kreg Pocket-Hole Joinery makes it easy to put together, so it’s definitely solid.
And for bigger office spaces, there’s also a full plan for a rustic, multipurpose worktable that can double as an extra dining table for family gatherings or maybe even homework space. Now, check this out: it features 22 drawers, 4 open shelves – so plenty of storage – and options for lots of use.
So, don’t wait any longer to create the best home office space for your home. Get building now for projects that can set you up for total success.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s DIY Project Highlight presented by the Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig 520PRO. It makes it easy for anyone to join wood using a strong pocket-hole joint for all kinds of projects and a variety of materials.
TOM: Available nationwide at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home centers, woodworking and hardware stores. Learn more at KregTool.com – that’s K-R-E-G – Tool.com.
LESLIE: Eric has a problem with smoke damage at his money pit. Tell us what’s going on.
ERIC: Yes, I recently bought a foreclosure that’s got some smoke and fire damage. And I was curious. Is there a product or a special way that the walls need to be treated? Some kind of special primer just to cover up the smoke damage to get rid of the smell? Or do I have to gut the whole thing?
TOM: One of the best primers for this particular purpose is made by Zinsser and it’s called B-I-N – B-I-N. And essentially, it’s a synthetic shellac. And what it does is completely seals in the odor that’s kind of soaked into that wall. So if you do a really good job applying this type of a primer, I think that the odor will go away and you’ll have a terrific base upon which to apply your sort of topcoat of color.
ERIC: OK. Now, Zinsser? Is that what it was called?
TOM: Zinsser is the manufacturer. Their product is called B-I-N – B-I-N.
ERIC: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s jump into some of those right now, starting with our friend, Jim.
LESLIE: Alright. Jim wants to know: “Does insulation in the attic need to be replaced if it’s been wet?” He says, “We had a leak that was fixed but the insulation got wet or damp throughout.”
TOM: So, Jim, insulation actually gets damp as a matter – as sort of a matter of course. Because that’s why we have ventilated attics, right? You have high humidity that dampens insulation and then the ventilation helps to dry out that humidity.
Now, if the leak got just, say, one area wet and it dried out right away, it’s no big deal. If you had some major issue, like wind and rain tore off roof shingles and the whole thing go soaked, then in that case, obviously, replace it all. But the fact that it got damp or it got wet and then dried out is not in and of itself a reason to replace it.
At the same time, though, keep in mind that most homes in this country don’t have enough insulation. So if you’re going to do that project or if you’re going to add more, let’s try to get enough to keep you comfortable and keep those energy bills down all year long.
So an average amount of insulation, if you’re talking about fiberglass, that might be nice and energy-efficient would probably be in that sort of 15-, 16-, 17-inch range. You know, a good foot-plus is what you’re looking for and that is going to make a big difference to your comfort and to your energy savings.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Suzanne who writes. She says, “My kitchen has a Formica countertop and backsplash but it needs an update. I’m not at all that interested in covering these surfaces with tile but I wondered if it’s possible to paint them. I listen to your program on Sundays on WRKO in Boston and I always appreciate your tips.”
TOM: Well, we appreciate you, Suzanne.
So, painting countertop, not such a great idea. There are some countertop paints out there and they look good when they’re done but I found they’re not too durable.
The single exception is actually not a paint. It’s a stone coating and it’s called SpreadStone. And it comes in a countertop refinishing kit. It’s made by the Daich Corporation – D-a-i-c-h. They make a coating that actually is real stone and takes that laminate and turns it into a solid-stone surface. It’s an amazing technology and is durable as heck.
So I would definitely be comfortable with you doing a countertop-refinishing kit with that Daich product, the SpreadStone, but not painting. Painting is not going to look good at all and it’s going to scratch and peel off and it’ll just look worse.
LESLIE: Alright. Now Deanna says, “I own an older two-story home in the country. Over the years, lots of shingles on the roof have mostly blown off and I’ve had a lot of leaks. My question is: is it worth it to try and repair the roof or should I get an entirely new one?”
TOM: I think it comes down to how many shingles you’re talking about here. If it’s a shingle here and there, it’s very easy to replace those and add some asphalt cement underneath the tab so it doesn’t blow off again. If you’ve had a lot of shingle loss and maybe it’s mostly the tar paper that’s keeping the rain out at this point, in that case then I think I would strip the entire roof and I would reroof the entire thing.
I would not go on top of the old shingles, by the way. It’s not going to be even if you do that and it might shorten the life of the new roof. And the roof is really important. It’s the one thing that keeps your structure intact, so you’ve really got to take care of it.
LESLIE: And you know what? You put a good roof on and you’re going to get 25, 30 years out of it. So you’re not going to have to do this again for a long time.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. We hope it’s a beautiful Labor Day weekend in your part of the country. That’s where we are right now. And if you’re thinking about some projects as it starts to cool off, we invite you to reach out to us during the week, when the mood strikes, and give us some details about those projects. Give us your questions. What are you trying to decide between? Whether it’s the way it gets built, the décor, the colors, the mechanical side of it, we are here to help you, as we move through the end of this year, get those projects done right. Remember, you can reach us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post those questions anytime to MoneyPit.com.
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 2021 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.)