- If you are planning to make the switch from carpet to one of the many beautiful solid surface floors, removing the old carpet can be a hassle. Worse, it can reveal problems that need to be fixed before the new floor can be installed. We’ll share how prep for your new floor like a pro.
- Painting is a project that’s among the most basic of DIY projects. But it’s also a project that can go terribly wrong if you don’t take just three steps before your start. Learn how to avoid the most common painting mistakes.
- Ever had a bath or shower drain get clogged due to long hair getting stuck in it? we’ll share an inexpensive drain cleaning tool that’s so handy, you’ll want to start using it on all your sinks and showers.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Jennifer in Maryland needs a solution how to fill in a gap in siding.
- Kenny from Mississippi wants to know the best insulation for a tin roof.
- Penny in Illinois wants to know how to stop frost coming in through where her gas meter connects into her home.
- Trent’s wants to know how to remove a popcorn ceiling that is falling apart.
- Peter in Florida lost power in his bathroom and wants to know what’s causing his circuit to trip.
- Joyce from Alabama has a bathroom sink odor and needs a solution.
- Margie in Delaware found some stained wood under her carpet and wants to know how to repair them.
- James from Texas has a sudden issue with a water odor after getting a new water heater.
- Bela in Delaware wants to put architectural shingles on his aluminum roof to reduce the drainage noise.
- Jeff from Missouri failed to put a sealer on his patio and wants to know how he can retroactively fix this.
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: What are you guys working on today? Are you working on your house? Are you thinking about planning some improvements? Are you just hanging out and enjoying your space? Maybe you’re dreaming about something you’d like to tackle when it gets a bit warmer. I mean I think it’s within striking distance now, right? Got about 2 months and then we’ll be starting to see some more of that green come out.
LESLIE: Stop taking away my ski season.
TOM: Ah, well. You know, you can ski up until then. And if you want to go out west, you can ski then, too, right?
LESLIE: OK, fine.
TOM: You can do the March skiing if you like.
But hey, if you’re thinking about some improvements you’d like to make to your house, well, we’re thinking about that, too. So we’d love to help. You can find us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
So, coming up on today’s show, if you are planning to make the switch from carpet to one of the many beautiful, solid-surface flooring products out there, getting rid of that old carpet can definitely be a hassle. And sometimes, it even reveals problems that have to be fixed before that new floor can be installed. So we’re going to share how to handle the most common discoveries that are under carpet and prep for your new floor like a pro.
LESLIE: And when it comes to maintaining your home, painting is a project that’s among the most basic of DIY projects out there and one which most homeowners are pretty happy to tackle themselves. But it’s also a project that can go terribly wrong if you don’t take just three steps before you start. So we’re going to share those, just ahead, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
TOM: And hey, have you guys ever had a bath or shower drain or a sink drain get clogged due to long hair getting stuck in it?
LESLIE: Oh, that never happens at my house.
TOM: Not in your house, right?
LESLIE: Oh, no.
TOM: Well, we’re going to share a $5 solution that is so handy you’re going to want to start using it on all your sinks and showers.
LESLIE: And from bathrooms to basements and demolition to décor, we are here to help you tackle all of your to-dos with confidence. So, what are you guys working on? What are your plans for this ski season/leading-into-spring season? Alright, I’m not going to brush past my winter but I’ll allow dreaming of spring projects. So what are you thinking about doing? Let us lend a hand.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement questions, your home décor questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading over to Maryland, we’ve got Jennifer on the line.
What is happening at your money pit?
JENNIFER: I have a house. I live in the city. Probably built in the 1950s.
JENNIFER: And the question that I have is that the plywood that is near the roof – I’m sorry, the plywood that is near the brick, it has a gap. My question to you is: can you fill that gap with foam attic insulation?
TOM: When you say the plywood that’s near the roof, are you talking about the soffit, the overhang?
JENNIFER: No. OK, you know what? Not the soffit. I’m sorry, the plywood. It’s like the siding. The siding. It’s a flat roof house, OK?
JENNIFER: And then we have siding. And siding that actually is there, it probably looks like it had some type of roofing caulk or something there to close up those gaps.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
JENNIFER: Can you use foam? Because you just don’t want birds or something to slip in there or – and then they can get behind your walls.
TOM: Right, right. So what’s throwing me is that, generally, you don’t have plywood siding on a 1950s house. Generally, you have clapboard or another type of wood siding.
JENNIFER: Yeah, it is a wood siding. Yes. It is some time of wood siding.
TOM: OK. Alright. So, basically, we’re talking about how we fill a gap in wood siding. And you want to do this in a way that you don’t have any rodents or birds or whatever can get in and out of that space.
Probably the best thing to do is to fill it with steel wool because that will stop anything else from going into it. Now, is this under the soffit or is it going to be fully exposed to the weather? Because then we have to talk about how to kind of make sure it’s somewhat watertight, too.
JENNIFER: Well, we have a rubber roof on the house. The house has a rubber roof on it.
TOM: OK. Right.
JENNIFER: It’s just that the siding – and it’s a plain house. It’s a plain house that’s flat. And you have – I guess it’s some type of wood.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
JENNIFER: And we just want to make sure – it looked like before – because it looked like it was white.
JENNIFER: So it looked like it was either some type of roofing caulk or some type of foam that was there to fill it.
TOM: Right. Yeah. How big is this gap? Are we talking about a ¼-inch or an inch?
JENNIFER: Probably ¼-inch to a ½-inch.
TOM: Oh, oh, that’s really tiny. Yeah. You can just caulk that. You may have to put it in in two layers but you could caulk that. That shouldn’t be a big deal. And you want to caulk it and then paint right over it.
JENNIFER: Can you use foam attic also?
TOM: What does that mean to you? What does foam attic – you mean spray-foam insulation?
JENNIFER: Yeah. The spray-foam insulation.
TOM: You mean the kind that’s in a can?
TOM: Alright. So you’re talking about Great Stuff and that’s an expandable polyurethane insulation. Could you use that? Well, yes – but. Alright? So you could use that and you would let it expand and then you’d let it harden. And then after it’s hardened, then you can go back with a utility knife and cut if flush with the siding. But at that point, you would have to prime it and paint it because you can’t leave it exposed to the weather, because the sun will basically deteriorate that foam really quickly. It’s not designed to be weatherproof. So you could use it but you would have to also prime it and paint it to protect it.
JENNIFER: So you can use it and maybe you can taper – once you cut it – you could taper it off with some type of roofing caulk, like you were mentioning. And that way, that would be almost like a double sealant.
TOM: If there’s a big gap behind it, yeah. If you just want to use it to fill a space.
Use it gently, OK? You’re better off putting a couple of smaller applications of that stuff. Because I’ll tell you about Great Stuff: if you just shoot a bunch of stuff into a hole like that, it expands. I’ve seen it push siding boards off the house or swell the side framing of a window where the window won’t open or close anymore. So, use it carefully, alright?
JENNIFER: Thank you all very much for answering my question. I enjoy your show, as always. It’s always a learning experience for all those DIY folks out there.
TOM: Thank you very much, Jennifer. Happy to help you out. Good luck.
LESLIE: Time to talk tin roofs with Kenny in Mississippi.
What’s going on?
KENNY: I’ve got a tin roof on my house but there’s no insulation up under the tin roof. And I’m wondering what would be the best kind of insulation to use: spray-on or something that – you know, with some sticky sides or whatever.
TOM: So, Kenny, the answer depends on basically how your roof is put together. Now, if you have the kind of roof, kind of attic structure where you have a ceiling and then you have an attic and then you have the underside of the roof, in that situation you’re going to want to make sure that your ceiling, which is below your ceiling and above your head, is well-insulated. And that type of home, you ought to have probably about 15 to 18 inches of insulation there. So the first layer would lay in between the ceiling joists and then the second layer would be on top of that perpendicular. And it would be unfaced fiberglass insulation, most likely.
Now, if you have a cathedral ceiling, where you look up and see the underside of that tin, that’s a whole different situation. In that case, the best insulation to use would be spray-foam insulation because it could be sprayed directly onto that tin roof and then it could be painted.
So those are the two options. But it really depends on what the sort of structure of the house is. If you’ve got an attic, then you could just use standard insulation on that ceiling area, which is essentially the attic floor.
LESLIE: Penny in Illinois is on the line and she’s dealing with some frost on a meter.
Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
PENNY: Well, we have a brand-new home and the outside is where the meter is and stuff like that. Well, cold air gets into that little pipe area and then comes into the basement and puts a patch of frost on the wall in the basement downstairs. And I was wondering if there was anything I can do to put something over that gas meter to protect it from getting so cold.
TOM: You don’t have to worry about the gas meter getting – being protected, because gas meters are meant to be outside in all sorts of weather. That said, though, if you’re getting that kind of cold air in your basement, that’s got to be causing you big energy losses. So I would try to seal those spaces where that cold air is getting in, to try to keep that space as warm as possible. Because that is going to add to your heating cost.
PENNY: OK. But I talked to the builder and he said you really can’t do anything inside because then you’re looking at a fire hazard. If you try to insulate inside, then there could be a fire hazard there.
TOM: What, in the basement? With basement-wall insulation?
PENNY: I was thinking by where the gas meter was. That’s where I kind of …
TOM: But again, you don’t have to worry about the gas meter. That said, you can insulate any – you can add insulation to exterior walls and you certainly can add insulation near a gas meter. It’s not like it’s a source of flame, OK? It’s a piece of equipment where – through which all the plumbing passes. But it’s not like there’s a flame there.
So if your builder is telling you that, it sounds to me like he’s trying to get out of a project.
PENNY: Gotcha. OK. Thank you. I appreciate your help on that.
TOM: Alright, Penny? Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Tell that guy to get to work.
PENNY: I will.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Trent in Florida on the line who’s dealing with a falling-apart popcorn ceiling.
How can we help you?
TRENT: Well, my popcorn ceiling is actually in my bathroom. I guess, on one night or something, my son had gotten it wet and when it dried, it started flaking off the ceiling. And now it’s just continuing to do it.
LESLIE: Well, it’s funny because when you get a popcorn ceiling wet, that’s actually the way to remove it. You would spray it with some sort of garden sprayer and then scrape it off. So if you want it gone, he’s got you on the correct path.
TOM: Now, is the time, right.
But if you don’t want it gone, what I would do is this: I would take maybe a stiff-bristle brush and gently brush away – maybe like a dry paintbrush and just brush away all the loose stuff. And then you’re going to pick up some popcorn-ceiling patching material. There’s a number of different manufacturers of this. I know that Zinsser makes one, Homax makes one. It comes both in a trowel-on finish and also in a spray-on finish.
LESLIE: It looks like cheese in a can when it comes out.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. It looks like Cheez Whiz. And you can spray that on and recreate the popcorn effect that way. And then, lastly, you’re probably going to have to paint that ceiling and paint the entire ceiling to blend it in.
But you’ve got to get rid of the loose stuff, add the patching material and then repaint the ceiling and you’ll be good to go.
TRENT: OK. Well, great. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Now you’ve got options. You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Well, solid-surface flooring is more popular than ever. But for consumers that are interested in making a switch from carpet, removing the old carpet can be challenging and sometimes reveal some problems that must be fixed before you put that new floor in. So, here’s how to handle the three most common discoveries and prep for your new floor like a pro.
TOM: Now, first, carpet makes a pretty darn good filter. And because of that, it traps a wide range of dirt and dust and allergens. And if you’re not prepared, when you start tearing up that carpet, you’re going to be sent into a sneezing fit that makes life absolutely miserable. So instead, hey, we all have these N95 masks. Why don’t you use a couple for this project? Put on the mask, protect your lungs, protect your nose, your sinuses and switch them out frequently. It’s also super smart to ventilate the space while you’re working, to create a continuous flow of fresh, dust mite-free air.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, here’s the next thing. You pull up that carpet, now you’re going to find a whole series of medieval-looking strips of wood along the perimeter of the room. And they’ve got hundreds of very, very sharps nails pointing straight up at you. And they’ve got a great name. They’re called a “tack strip” because it’s pretty much exactly what it is: a strip full of tacks.
They really are great because what happens is the installer can just hook the carpet onto it and it kind of really keeps it stretched in the space. But you’ve got to remove it with a hammer. You’re going to need a flat pry bar. You definitely need a good set of leather gloves to protect your hands.
And once you pull up those tack strips, sometimes there’s a rogue staple in the floor. And you’ve got to be careful because I swear to you, when they are sticking straight up, they are invisible. And you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to put my hand down here.” Oh, I just put my hand right onto a super-sharp staple.
So, be careful. Wear the gloves. Trust me, you’ll be very happy.
TOM: Now, once the carpet is removed, we come to that portion of the project where you start to get surprises, right? Just like when you start any kind of remodeling project, you always run into surprises.
Well, the surprise you may have run into, especially important if you’re putting down a hard-surface floor, you might find that the floor is soft or uneven in spots. Depending on the type of flooring you use, you have to fix that. Because there are a lot of products that you can’t put over a floor that’s got the slightest bit of being out of level or buckled, because it affects the joints between the boards.
So, for example, if you’re using one of the vinyl-flooring products and they lock together, well, if you’ve got an uneven wood floor or an uneven concrete floor, that can impact that locking joint. And if it pulls out, you’re going to have a problem because it’s almost impossible to get it back together.
So, lots of good products out there that can help with this. Probably with the one you know the least about and that is called a “floor-leveling compound.” Think of this as sort of a liquid, thick, almost pancake-like batter slurry. And when it’s applied to the floor, it’s sort of poured on it, finds its own level and it can fix a lot of those uneven areas. The stuff that’s out today – Bostik has got one that dries in, I don’t know, 30, 40 minutes. And then you can get right to the rest of that floor project. But you’ve really got to be on the lookout for uneven floors.
LESLIE: Now, if any of this sounds like more than you want to tackle, companies like LL Flooring do offer professional installation services. And they can handle the carpet removal and the floor prep portion for you.
Now we’ve got Joyce in Alabama on the line who’s got a question about a sink odor.
What’s going on?
JOYCE: Well, this is in a bathroom sink. It’s about 25 years old. It’s a type that has three air-vent holes in it or overflow holes in it. And the odor seems to be emanating primarily from there. It’s a very musty odor and came down to that conclusion because I finally took some paper and stuffed up those holes. And things smelled much better in the bathroom that way.
TOM: Well, sometimes what happens is you’ll get some bacteria that will grow in that overflow trap. So, what I would suggest you do is this: that is to fill the sink up with hot water and add some bleach to it and let the bleach very slowly trickle over that overflow. And so it saturates it and hopefully, that will kill that mold or that bacteria.
Now, the other thing that you can do is you could take the bathroom-sink trap apart and clean it out with a bottle brush. Now, some of the traps today are just plastic. They’re easy to unscrew and put back together. Under the sink, sometimes you can clean that. And again, you get that biogas that forms in there. If you clean it with a bleach solution, that usually makes things smell a lot better in the bathroom. OK, Joyce?
JOYCE: Alright. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Heading over to Florida, where Peter has lost power in the bathroom.
Peter, what’s going on and can you see what you’re doing?
PETER: Yeah, I had a GFI go bad. And when I went to change it over, for some reason I couldn’t get any juice to the receptacle underneath the sink. So, I got juice to where I put the new one in but – so I went down to Home Depot – I listen to you folks all the time – and I got a new one. And the gentleman over there told me to find the hot wires go and put them on the receptacle where it says line. And then the other two hook up on the bottom of it.
TOM: Peter, do you know that the ground-fault circuit worked properly and then it stopped working?
PETER: Yes, sir.
TOM: So it worked properly and then stopped working. Have you considered the fact that the ground-fault circuit interrupter could be doing its job and then there could be a problem elsewhere in the circuit?
PETER: Yeah, I didn’t give a thought about that. No, I didn’t.
TOM: So, I think that when ground-fault circuit interrupters start to trip, people say, “Oh, it must be a bad circuit breaker,” and they don’t consider the fact that the circuit breaker is, in fact, doing its job detecting a diversion of current to a ground source and tripping to prevent you from getting a shock.
So, the solution wouldn’t be necessarily first to replace the ground fault. I would investigate further to see what exactly is happening and causing that to trip. I think, based on your description of what you’ve done thus far, that this might be just a little bit above your skill set. And while we can respect the fact that you’re doing this on your own, when it comes to electricity you want to get it right. And if you were to miswire that and in fact, perhaps, you – there are different ways to hook up ground faults. And if you do it one way, you can get it to trip and not protect the rest of the circuit. So, it would appear to be working correctly when, in fact, it wouldn’t.
So this is not the kind of thing I would recommend that you do yourself, Peter, with all due respect. I would definitely have an electrician look at this because I suspect that the ground fault is doing its thing. They rarely go bad. And if it’s tripping, it’s probably tripping because something is going on elsewhere in the circuit.
The ground faults will cover everything that’s on that circuit. So, if you had, for example, a loose wire somewhere down the line and that was causing some sort of an arcing condition, that could trigger the ground fault to go off.
So, contact an electrician. This is the kind of job that you should not do yourself, because I want to make sure that the problem is what you think it is and it gets properly fixed.
Peter, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Margie in Delaware on the line with a flooring question.
What can we do for you today?
MARGIE: Well, we had carpeting down here from the 70s, in this home that we moved into. So, we pulled up the carpeting and there’s beautiful hardwood floors underneath. Except wherever those wood strips with the nails were that were holding the carpet down, there’s a bunch of black holes where the nails were. So how can we clean that up?
TOM: Yeah. The strips are called “tackless” and what’s happened is the nails have oxidized, so you get some rust and other types of corrosion that form on the metal and react with the wood. And it leaves that sort of black stain. So what you have to do is sand the wood floors.
You sand the wood floors, you’ll get rid of most of that black stain that’s showing around the top of the hole. And then you can fill in the holes with a wood putty that matches the floor. Sand it again and you’ll just about cover them. You’re still going to see a little bit of them but they will not be obvious.
Right now, they’re painfully obvious, I know. But if you sand the floors and then fill them in and sand it again and finish it, it will blend in.
MARGIE: That’s great. It’s got to be better than what it looks like now.
TOM: No, it’s nice. Think of that carpet as a beautiful drop cloth that protected those floors for all those years.
TOM: And now you get a chance to enjoy them again.
MARGIE: OK. Thank you so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome Margie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when it comes to maintaining your home, painting is a project that’s among the most basic of DIY projects out there. And a lot of homeowners really do enjoy tackling it themselves.
TOM: Well, that’s right. But it’s also a project that can go wrong pretty quickly if you don’t take just three simple steps before you start. We’ll share those steps, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, when it comes to maintaining your home, painting or even staining wood surfaces really is an important step to keeping your siding and trim in good shape. But while painting is a task that’s among the most basic of DIY projects, it’s also one where simple mistakes can actually lead to big heartache.
TOM: Yeah, definitely. And it really comes down to preparation. If you have weathered surfaces, they need to be cleaned and any loose paint removed before you even think about opening that can of paint. Because if not, the new paint simply won’t stick and your efforts will be wasted. It’ll look good for a week or two, a month, 2 months. And then all of a sudden, it’ll start peeling and you will be crushed because you’re going to have to take all that paint off and start again from scratch.
LESLIE: It’s a big project if you have to do it again.
Now, next, it’s always smart to apply a coat of primer first, because primer definitely is formulated differently than paint. Because the paint is meant to be that top finishing coat but the primer is meant to be that first one that’s really going to stick. So it’s got products in it that will give it more adhesion. It’s going to stick better to older surfaces and then it will prevent that new paint from peeling off.
TOM: Yeah. And finally, for the best finished look, be sure you pick the right type of paintbrush. It’s not just any paintbrush; it depends on what paints you’re applying. If you’re working with oil-based or solvent-based paints, you want to use a natural-bristle brush. But for latex, you need synthetic-bristle brushes because they give you the better result. And a great paint job is definitely going to help you maintain the value of your home.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
TOM: Apply for yours at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
LESLIE: Heading out to Texas where James is on the line with a plumbing question. What’s going on?
JAMES: Well, I have two hot-water heaters that serve two master bathrooms in the house. One of them recently went out. It was replaced through a home warranty company. And since we’ve got that put back in, we’ve been gone several times. And each time we’re gone for a week or two weeks at a time. When we come back, the water will be smelling like rotten eggs. And we called the plumber who installed it and he said that’s a common problem. “It’s part of your community.” But yeah, we’ve been living in that community almost 8 years and never had a problem.
But he said what you need to do is shut the water off, break the hot-water line, drain the tank, put a gallon of bleach in it, hook it back up, let it sit for 12 hours and then run it until you get the bleach smell out and you should be fine. We’ve done that 3 times and each time we’re gone, though, for a week or 10 days or more, we come back and the water smells like rotten eggs. And it’s a lot of problem getting these hot-water heaters in a crawlspace, so it’s really hard to get into them and break those lines and drain the tanks and stuff. And so there’s got to be, I think, some way that this problem can be solved.
TOM: Tell me something. The water heater that was replaced, was it – was the whole water heater replaced? Was this a brand-new unit?
JAMES: There’s one brand-new unit and one existing unit and it’s relatively new.
JAMES: They’re hooked up in series.
TOM: Oh, they’re in series. Huh.
JAMES: One has to empty before you start pulling water out of the other one.
TOM: First of all, the cause of the rotten-egg smell is something called “hydrogen sulfide.” Now, hydrogen sulfide is a gas that is produced in hot water and has that rotten-egg smell. And the way you deal with that is with a new anode rod – a new magnesium or aluminum anode rod – because these will react with the bacteria and basically reduce it. If those anode rods are corroded or deteriorated, then you’re going to have this problem in a big way. So I’m wondering if maybe you don’t have an anode rod in there or maybe it’s the wrong type of anode rod. That is what solves this. The fact that it didn’t exist for all these years and now it does exist is troubling.
JAMES: Yeah. And like I said, we’d never had a problem until we replaced one of the hot-water heaters. And then we’d been gone as much as a month a couple of times before that and never came back to any kind of a problem. But once we put the new hot-water heater in, then we started experiencing the problem. And I don’t know if the two hot-water heaters were hooked up in sequence before or if one served one bathroom and one served the other bathroom. So that’s something I don’t know.
TOM: Yeah. I mean it’s kind of odd that you have two that are side by side like that, that are in sequence. I think it would be more logical that one would serve one bath, one would serve the other bath. Because, typically, you’re going to want to reduce the piping, basically, from one to the next so that you don’t wait as long for hot water.
But what you really need is a zinc anode rod. And so, I might speak with that plumber about making sure you have zinc-alloy anode rods in that because it doesn’t react the same way with the bacteria as magnesium or aluminum by itself. Using that zinc is going to reduce the chances of getting that hydrogen-sulfide smell.
And then the other thing that you can do is you could put in a water-purification system. If your water has a really naturally high level of bacteria, a water-purification system is going to reduce that sulfur-causing bacteria and make the water smell pleasant again or most importantly, maybe not have any smell at all.
But usually, the anode-rod replacement will solve this. So I think that’s the area you want to look at. Certainly, decontaminating the water heater is sort of the step one but that didn’t work, so we need to look at those anode rods. OK?
JAMES: That’s perfect. Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Bela in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BELA: Well, we have a sunroom. And the roof of the sunroom is 4 inches of Styrofoam and on top of that is aluminum. Now, when it rains, it’s very, very noisy. It’s like living in a double-wide. So, what I would like to do is put architectural shingles on it.
Now, I talked to one roofer. He said, “Oh, we can just nail it on.” But I don’t think so. I thought maybe we need some plywood – ¾-inch plywood – and even maybe some spacers.
TOM: This aluminum roof, is it fairly flat or is it shaped?
BELA: It is flat. Yes, sir.
TOM: Well, first of all, keep in mind that metal roofs are far more durable than asphalt-shingle roofs. But if you can’t really deal with the sound and you want to soften it, I agree with you: I do think you should attach a plywood decking to that metal roof first.
And I would do that with screws. So I would drive screws through the decking, into that metal roof. And then, on top of that, I would put ice-and-water shield, which is going to give you protection from any ice damming. And I would probably, since it’s a fairly flat roof or a low-sloped roof, I would probably cover the entire surface with ice-and-water shield. And then over that, I would put the asphalt shingles.
BELA: OK, sir. Thank you so very much for your help. That is the kind of a thing I’ve been thinking about.
TOM: I think you’re on the right track, Bela. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a Rapunzel or two living in your house – you know, the ladies with the super-long hair. Heck, the boys can even have the super-long hair. If you’ve got it, you know that it definitely finds a way of getting stuck in the drains of your sink, your shower, your tub. I feel like my hair is everywhere. And you know that using a caustic drain cleaner really is never a good idea and plumbers are expensive. Well, fortunately, you don’t need either.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Now, there’s a really handy, little tool and there’s a couple of different ones that are similar. The one that I used last time – because as a landlord, I own a place and I’ve had kids in college where – especially my daughter – where they’ve got 4 girls in an apartment and this just happens. You need to get something called a “drain weasel.” It’s like a miniature snake for your drains. And it’s 18 inches long. You insert it into the drain. It’s narrow enough that it could even go through a tub drain that has those circular holes on it that kind of …
LESLIE: Yeah, those little holes in it.
TOM: Right. Which is supposed to block hair but it doesn’t.
And you basically drop it into the pipe and you spin it as you do, as you go, and it has little hooks on the end of it. And it’s perfect for grabbing big clumps of hair; pulls it right out. It is so easy to use. This thing costs under 5 bucks. There’s a couple of different ones. The drain weasel is one that actually turns a little, tiny handle that cranks around.
There’s another one that looks like a double-sided brush, if you can think about that, that’s also really long. And that – you just stick it in the drain hole and pull it back up and down a couple times and all of the hair comes right out. And if you do it once in a while, it doesn’t really build up. It’s so cheap, you can put one in every bathroom and you will be a total convert the first time you use one of these. You’ll never have to deal with drains that are clogged by hair again.
LESLIE: Yeah. And interestingly, everybody loses a tremendous amount of hair every day. I think with girls with long hair, it just kind of gets stuck in the hair itself. So when you shower, lots of it comes out. And it’s just the worst. So this definitely is a game-changer for the bath.
Jeff in Missouri is on the line and needs some help with a patio project. What are you working on?
JEFF: I really already got it done but I failed to put a sealer on my patio. And I was wondering what I can do about that at this late date. It’s been poured about 6 months.
TOM: So, why do you want to put a sealer on it?
JEFF: Because the leaves and the grass stain it.
TOM: You could clean it. You could use a trisodium-phosphate solution to scrub it and clean it and brighten it up again. But then you have to wait until it’s really dry, so doing this in the chilly weather is not a good idea. You want to make sure it’s super dry and then you could add a concrete sealer on top of that.
The concrete sealers that you want to make sure you get are ones that are vapor-permeable and that means that the moisture moves in and out. You don’t want to completely seal the brick, because then what’ll happen is the moisture will still get in it but it’ll freeze and start to break apart or spall, as the technical term goes.
So if you get a good-quality concrete sealer and get it clean to start with, certainly you can reduce some of that staining going forward.
JEFF: Good. And what do you call it so it breathes in and out?
JEFF: I appreciate that. Thank you, you guys, for what you do.
LESLIE: Post your question, just like Trevor did. Now, Trevor writes: “I was recently up in a crawlspace and noticed a vent for my half-bath was not actually vented to the outside. It just terminated in the crawlspace and the insulation was laying on top of it. How can I fix this?”
TOM: That’s a really good catch, Trevor, because the vent should definitely not be discharging into the crawlspace. Lots of reasons for that. That additional humidity can make the insulation less effective. Plus, the moisture can increase the risk of rot setting into the area, as well, and also adds to the chance of having mold growth.
So, you want to basically duct it to the outside. You want to do that with solid ducting, not flexible ducting. Try to have as few bends in it as possible. Get that moist, damp air out of the crawlspace as quickly as possible.
Well, are you ready to spruce up your child’s room with furniture that adds some style, some organization and some safety? Leslie has tips on how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Because Leslie, your kids’ rooms are in a constant state of redecoration, right? And reorganization.
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. I mean constantly. And no matter how much I reorganize, they are very skilled at making them disorganized very, very quickly. So I feel like I practice this a lot.
So, first of all, when you are redoing their rooms, you want to look for furniture pieces that are going to be durable, that are classically-styled and that will work for a range of ages.
Now, convertible furniture, such as a crib that turns into a starter bed, that’s a smart choice. But even if you just shop for finishes that are going to coordinate well with later additions, like a white wash or maybe a colored stain or a classic wood, that’s really easy to find. And you’ll find things that will work with it down the road. A fairly classic, not so busy, doodad-free design, you’re going to be in great shape there.
Now, going with vintage furniture, that’s also possible. But if you do go vintage, you’ve got to go carefully. Now, you can bring the fun of vintage graphics and styling to a room with some cool furnishings and accessories that you find at maybe an antique show, a tag sale, those online treasure troves. This approach really works well for kids spaces, too, with a few precautions. You want to steer clear of anything that might have a chippy finish or maybe something that could be a lead-based finish.
And furniture is even trickier if you’re going vintage. You want to make sure you avoid cribs and other furnishings that would have an out-of-date, say, latch or hardware or the way they’re built. And you want to make sure that any railings or open trim works don’t allow inquiring hands and heads to get stuck in it.
So, you can also, if you find something, take a look at the Consumer Products Safety Commission website for recalls, just to make sure any of these vintage finds you’ve got in your cart or you’re walking around with is not going to create an unsafe situation at your house.
And finally, look for colors that are timeless. You want to consider the level and frequency of investment you’re willing to put into your room’s backdrop. If you don’t mind repainting over that current color a few years from now – says the lady who let her son pick Jets green for half of his bedroom. I know we’re going to have to cover over that in a little while but it made him so darn happy, so I was like, “OK. We’ll do it.”
So just know that if you’re not willing to put in the work a few years down the road to repaint, pick colors that are going to last, that’ll work well with a variety of bedding and window treatments and different furnishings down the road. Because things change and if you kind of stick to a neutral base, everything will work all together.
If you want some more tips, check out “Create a Kids Room That Will Grow with Your Child” on MoneyPit.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thanks so much for spending this part of your day with us. We hope we’ve been helpful in giving you some advice and some ideas on things that are important to you when it comes to taking care of your house.
Remember, we are always available for questions. If we’re not in the studio, you can leave a message and we’ll call you back the next time we are. That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up next time on the program, if you’ve got a basement space, adding a bathroom, well, that can make that space even more usable and it can add to your home’s value. But gravity being what it is, bathrooms that are below grade need some special plumbing work in order to go with the flow, if you know what I mean. We’re going to share those tips 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 2022 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.)