- In a strong home sellers-market, selling your home “as-is” is a popular way to avoid buyer demands for repairs. But that strategy often backfires and hurts your chances of getting the best price for your home. We share a better strategy to get the best price with the least hassles.
- Whether your furniture is heirloom or Ikea, it’s likely to take a few hits from time to time – especially if you have kids! But while the water rings, dings, dents and furniture scratches are inevitable – they are also easy to fix!
- Do you need to hire a contractor, but afraid you’ll get a bad apple? You can weed out the unqualified or reliable GCs by asking the right questions – we share an easy-to-follow checklist that walks you through.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Casey from Oklahoma wants to know how to properly seal a pressure treated deck.
- Nancy in Pennsylvania is wondering, how do you identify asbestos in her ceiling tiles?
- Ed in Iowa wants to know if he has an insulation problem with his cathedral ceiling.
- Janiese from Kansas wants to know if she needs to seal epoxy grout.
- John from Connecticut is asking what the best flooring is to put on top of concrete?
- Wendy in Georgia needs better weather stripping for her metal door.
- Dave in Alaska is having trouble with a floor in a multi-family home.
- Leah from Kansas has concrete porch that keeps cracking to do earthquakes and wants to know which product to use to fill the cracks.
- Mike from North Dakota wants to know if he needs to put in drywall and insulation in his detached garage.
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: On a beautiful fall weekend. It is around here. We hope it is fun and seasonal and maybe not too cold. Maybe it’s just right. Time to get out and take on some projects around your house, pick up the paintbrush, fix a busted board, step up the trim. Maybe you’re thinking about some new windows, maybe you’re getting ready to update your kitchen. Don’t want to spend a lot of money? You can paint it, you can change the floor, you can get a new countertop. There’s a lot of ways to do that and save some money. Whatever is on that big to-do list that we all have and in particular, yours, we would love to help you get it done.
You can get in touch with us a couple of different ways. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, in a strong home seller’s market, offering your home as-is is a really popular way to avoid demands by buyers for repairs or upgrades that could take away from the selling price of the house. But surprisingly, it turns out that the strategy doesn’t always deliver the intended result. And it can even hurt your chances of getting the best price for your home. We will explain why, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also coming up, whether your furniture is heirloom or IKEA, it’s likely to take a few hits from time to time, especially if you’ve got those munchkins running around your house. Those kids love to wreck your furniture. But you’re going to end up with water rings and dings and dents and scratches. It’s bound to happen, you guys. But the best news is they’re easy to fix. We’re going to tell you how, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
TOM: And are you looking to hire a contractor but you’re afraid you’ll get a bad apple? Well, it is possible to weed out the unqualified or unreliable general contractors by asking the right questions. We’ve got a checklist to help you out.
LESLIE: Alright. But first, let us help you create your best home ever. What projects are you guys working on? It’s getting into the wintery, fall cozy time. So let’s help get your inside of your home in tip-top shape and the outside, as well, so you’ll be ready for the winter. Give us a call.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading to Tulsa where Casey is on the line with a decking question. What’s going on at your money pit?
CASEY: Hey, guys. So I’m in the process of tearing out the top boards on my deck. It’s a somewhat new deck but you can tell that it wasn’t treated properly on the top boards, so there’s some rotting going on.
CASEY: The joists underneath looked pretty good. So, I’ve successfully torn them out and replaced them with new top boards. What I want to know is: what does the process look like for sealing that properly to make sure the boards don’t rot out like they did last time?
TOM: So, is the deck made of pressure-treated lumber, Casey?
TOM: The floor joists, are they pressure-treated?
TOM: Alright. So, with pressure treatment, you don’t have to worry about decay. Decay should not happen with pressure-treated lumber for a long, long time. What you do have to be concerned about is just the “cracking” or “checking,” as we call it, when it comes to wood. That happens from exposure to the sun. The UV radiation causes the wood to shrink and crack. So, generally, when you’re finishing a deck, that’s the reason you’re finishing it – is to give it some protection against the sun.
So now that you have taken off the damaged boards, you’ve gotten new decking on there, you might, at this point since we’re in fall, want to wait a little bit of time. I would say this would be a great spring/early-summer project because you don’t really have to do anything to that for a good part of the first year. But since we’re going into the fall now, I’d make this maybe a spring/summer project to do. You want to make sure you find a period of time when the deck is really dry. And a couple of days of sun would be great.
And then you’re going to use a good-quality stain on that – an exterior stain. You have some options on how dense that stain is. It comes transparent, semi-transparent and then solid color. Now, we always recommend solid color and the reason is because it gives the deck the most protection, yet you can still see the grain through it. Most popular is semi-transparent but it won’t last nearly as long.
When you apply it, you can apply it with a roller or you can apply it with a spray. It’s a little bit tricky to get it into the nooks and crannies when it comes with a deck, so I kind of like a spray application. And you could rent a sprayer, you could buy a sprayer. They’re not very expensive. They’re made by a lot of great companies. Wagner makes one just for homeowners.
And I’ll tell you, my buddy did his deck and a gazebo with a sprayer. And he was using paint, not even stain, because he’s wanted to paint it. And the whole project took him a day because it’s just so efficient to apply the product that way.
So that’s what you’re up against. Just wait to spring/early summer and stain it and you should get maybe 4 or 5, 6 years out of it that way.
CASEY: Great. Thank you so much. I love the show and I appreciate the help.
TOM: You’ve got it. Good luck with that project, Casey.
LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line with a question about asbestos. How can we help you today?
NANCY: I live in a home that was built in the mid-1950s. And on the ceiling, there are 1×1 square ceiling tiles. And I would like to take those off and just have a smooth ceiling put up. But I see on all these home improvement shows where they get into pulling things out of older houses and some of the things have asbestos in them. And I’m wondering how you tell that.
TOM: Asbestos can’t be visually identified; it has to be tested. And what you could potentially do is take a sample of one of those ceiling tiles and send it to an asbestos testing lab and have it identified.
NANCY: How do you find an asbestos testing lab?
LESLIE: You can buy kits at any sort of major home center. I know Home Depot carries one. I think that one of the main brands that you can find in stores is PRO-LAB. And then you send a piece of whatever you’re concerned about to this company and they run a test and get it back to you with whatever their findings are.
Now, the issue with asbestos is that it’s so lightweight that if it becomes particulate, if it breaks up and gets into the air, it takes almost a full day for it ever to reach to the ground. So that’s why there is such a concern when there is asbestos present. But most likely, your ceiling tiles are hopefully fine.
TOM: Yeah, they’re probably just a fiber tile, which we saw millions of these used in the 50s. But if you’re concerned, that would be the way to do it: to send a sample to an asbestos-testing lab. You can use one that’s available in retail or if you just Google “asbestos testing lab,” you’ll find these all over the country. Find a good one, slip a piece in a plastic bag, send it off and they’ll read it for you.
NANCY: OK, great. I didn’t know they existed.
TOM: Alright, Nancy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ed in Iowa is on the line with a heating-and-cooling question. What can we help you with today?
ED: I’ve got a home that’s a – it’s a ranch style on the basement, about 3,000 square feet. And probably half of the upstairs, the living room and the kitchen and dining room is cathedral ceiling. That part of the house seems to stay about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. I’ve had the A/C checked and they say the size is adequate, so I was wondering if there – is it insulation problem and is there a way to correct that?
TOM: Well, it’s basically heat loss and yes, whenever you have a cathedral ceiling, you can’t get as much insulation in that ceiling structure. And because heat rises and you’ve got that ceiling up there, you’re going to have a warmer second floor.
So how do you combat that? Well, there’s a couple of things. One of which is – do you have ceiling fans up there?
TOM: Alright. And the ceiling fans are not helping? Are they pushing that warm air down so that it can be cooled in the summer?
ED: It helps but it’s not enough.
TOM: One of the things you might want to do is considering supplementing that second floor with a split-ductless system or a mini split-ductless. It’s usually easier to do that than to overrun the main air conditioner to get the second floor cooler. In the long run, you’ll use less energy that way. Sometimes in a – depending on the home design, you’re going to get a warm area of the house that just can’t get enough air delivered to it because of its design.
In my home, I’ve got an office on the west side of the house and it just happens to be pretty far from where the air handler is and so it always stays a bit warmer. And I put a split-ductless system in there just to kind of supplement the central air. We still have central air in the same space but the split-ductless supplements it quite nicely and does a really good job of keeping it very cool and comfortable in those warm summer days. So, I would suggest you consider that as an option here.
ED: OK. Now, would it help to put like a power vent in the roof?
TOM: No, because you don’t have an attic. You have a cathedral, so there’s no attic space there. Plus, those exhaust – those attic exhaust fans typically take as much air-conditioned air out of the house as they do hot air, because they depressurize the attic so much that they tend to draw it down into the house and steal some air-conditioned air at the same time.
ED: OK. Alright. That makes sense.
TOM: Alright, Ed?
ED: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jenise (sp) in Kansas on the line who’s got a question about grout. What can we do for you today?
JENISE (sp): I had installed a porcelain tile. It’s a heavy-duty tile. So I used epoxy grout on the floor and all throughout the shower, the floors, the ceiling, the walls. And what I’m wondering is, do I need to seal it? If I need to seal it, what kind of sealer should I use on an epoxy grout?
TOM: I don’t think you need to seal epoxy grout, because the epoxy is going to prevent things from soaking into it. It’s really the sand grouts that we want to seal.
JENISE (sp): Well, I’ve already noticed some discoloration. It was white grout and it’s already sort of a brownish tint.
TOM: Oh, is that right? That’s probably water stains.
JENISE (sp): Oh, OK.
TOM: Yeah, that – usually, that’s mineral salts that dry out. So, try to wipe it down with a white-vinegar solution – white vinegar and water. That might clear it up.
JENISE (sp): Was that a good choice to use epoxy, do you think, or …?
TOM: I think so, yeah. Absolutely. For a bathroom? Perfect location for that.
JENISE (sp): Thank you so much. I appreciate it. You have a good day now.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, selling a home as-is, it means what the buyer sees, the buyer gets. Now, the seller is not going to make any repairs or updates to the property in order to close that deal. So, while on the surface this option appears cheaper, those who take this route usually lose some money in long run. And here’s why.
TOM: Yeah. The sales price, first of all, will generally be lower. If you’re looking to make a significant or even just a little return on investment from your sale, then you’re not doing yourself any favors when you try to sell as-is, because both minor and major home improvements are going to hold the potential to generate more than 100-percent return on investment on the cost of those upgrades. But outdated homes usually sell for less than the market value.
LESLIE: Now, if your home is in extreme disrepair, buyers are going to have a harder time getting approved by their lender for a traditional mortgage. And that’s going to limit your pool of eligible buyers and it could cause the sale’s process to take a lot longer. Plus, last year, nearly 40 percent of buyers who purchased a new home were looking to avoid renovations and structural repairs. So, basically, buyers are looking for a property that’s move-in ready. And you’re going to have a harder time attracting prospects if your property needs some work.
TOM: And also, you’ll actually get fewer offers. The current seller’s market has sparked bidding wars on houses nationwide. But by not making those necessary repairs and updates, the seller is likely to receive fewer offers on the listing. I mean why should a buyer purchase an outdated property when they can purchase a newer one for a few thousand dollars more?
And I think one of the worst signals this sends is mistrust. Buyers are going to think you are hiding something. If you put your house on the market as-is, buyers think you are up to no good. I can tell you, I was a home inspector for over 20 years and I heard that over and over again from my client. “It’s as-is. I wonder what they’re hiding.”
So, just think about this because you may not be doing the right thing by trying to sell your home as-is. You might be better off fixing up the things that need to be fixed up and putting it on the market and then take it from there.
LESLIE: John in Connecticut is on the line and has a question about flooring. What are you working on?
JOHN: Well, I have a house that has a concrete floor and it has no basement. And it sits on, you know, on a concrete floor. And I’m wondering what type of flooring I should put on it.
TOM: So you have a lot of options. One thing that I would try to avoid would be carpet, because carpet on concrete tends to potentially cause an unsafe situation. Because you can get a lot of dust that can grow mold in a space like that, you can get a lot of allergens that will trap in a space like that. So I would look at hard-surface flooring and use throw rugs if you wanted to have something soft underfoot.
If you want an inexpensive option, you could use laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is very durable, very attractive today. It can look like hardwood flooring, it can look like stone, it can look like tile. They’ve got the technology down to the point where they can sort of print, into the laminate pieces itself, the impressions of the stone and the impressions of the grain. So I think it’s a very attractive option for concrete slabs.
Another one is engineered lumber, right, Leslie?
LESLIE: Now, a great option is an engineered hardwood. Now, what’s so great about that is the top layer is actually the hardwood. So if you’ve got that real, natural look in mind, this is the way to get it. But what’s underneath that top layer is sort of a compressed structure, almost like a plywood. And those are done at varying grains across from each other. That makes it structurally stable. So if you’re in a moister or high-moisture environment, that’s really going to be the best choice if you’re looking for an actual hardwood.
JOHN: Oh, wow, OK. That sounds good. I’ll look into that and I appreciate the information.
LESLIE: Wendy in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
WENDY: I have two drafty doors and we opted to use the peel-and-stick foam insulator.
WENDY: And it didn’t work that well. And it just created more of a gap, it seems like. It just didn’t work at all and I’m just wondering what kind of solution can we use instead of the peel-and-stick, fill-in stuff.
TOM: So, when you say the peel-and-stick foam, do you mean when the doors close, you get drafts that come through them and you use the peel-and-stick weather-stripping?
TOM: Do you want to operate these doors in the wintertime?
WENDY: Mm-hmm. Definitely.
TOM: And what kind of doors are they? What are they made of? Are they metal doors or are they …?
WENDY: It’s a metal door.
TOM: So it’s an old, metal, sliding-glass door.
WENDY: No, it’s a regular door. It’s just – and it goes out to our patio but it’s not a wood door. It’s made of metal.
TOM: Oh, it’s a metal door. It’s a regular metal door.
TOM: Are the drafts coming in around the sides and top of the door or are they coming under the door?
WENDY: Under the door and on the side, right where the door locks.
TOM: If the door is out of alignment – in other words, if you close the door and it doesn’t evenly strike the jamb all the way around – it’s going to be almost impossible to get a seal from that type of weather-stripping. It’s got to strike the weather-stripping and then compress it a little bit to give you the seal.
Now, I would take a look, very carefully closing that door – open and close it from the outside – bringing it to where it just starts to touch the jamb and see if it strikes evenly all the way around. If it doesn’t strike evenly, then you need to adjust the door. And that’s usually done by moving the door jamb one way or the other to get it to basically hang better so that it will strike evenly.
In terms of the door at the bottom, the door saddle might be replaceable. Or in the alternative, you could do something that’s probably even easier and less expensive – is you could put a door sweep on the bottom of the door.
Now, a sweep attaches to the face of the door and it basically goes right down to the floor. It looks kind of broom-like; it has bristles that are really tight together. And that actually will help a lot of the breeze that’s coming through and under the door.
TOM: And then, of course, you could always go with a storm door and that’s another way to approach the whole thing, OK?
WENDY: That sounds perfect.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, so you know I’m taking on a project, Leslie, with my basement and I had ordered some QUIKRETE, because I intend to pour a basement floor and sort of hand-mix this with a small mixer – you know, a portable mixer.
And so it got delivered this week, so I was very excited. And I had hoped that the delivery truck was going to include a pallet jack. Now, for those of you that don’t know what that is, that’s that little cart that they stick under the pallets and sort of drag them along and sometimes they’re motorized. Not so much. So it turns out that when you order 3½ skids or 3½ pallets of QUIKRETE – a total of 200 bags – they need a forklift to be move those around.
LESLIE: Yes, they do.
TOM: They don’t have pallet jacks for that.
So they took the forklift which is, of course, too tall to get in my garage and they dropped them in my driveway.
LESLIE: Oh, no.
TOM: So, me and Producer Josh got a good workout. We moved 200 60-lb bags which – do the math – 12,000 pounds of concrete mix from the driveway into the garage. I told Josh that his producer title was – job description was sort of loosely arranged. And it kind of includes a little bit of manual labor from time to time.
But yeah, what a job, 12,000 pounds of concrete.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. That’s a lot.
TOM: It’s all stacked up nice and neat in the garage right now. And when we get to it, I can pull it out but I wanted to get it out of the weather. I didn’t want to tarp it up and stuff, because you know how the tarps let some water through. And boy, when those concrete bags get wet or get damp or humid, they start to solidify and we just didn’t need that.
LESLIE: Well, at least you got your workout in.
Dave in Alaska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DAVE: I’ve got a multi-family unit that I own and I’m having trouble with the floor. The major – the floor is – it’s a three-story building, the bottom floor being ground – or below ground level. Sort of like a garden apartment, the windows are at level.
The second and third floor, the floor is – it’s cement poured over – I think it’s plywood underneath it. But right inside the door, there’s a large area that’s completely shattered. And it dips down in sections, maybe as much as an inch, when you step on it. I’m just wondering how to repair this. Would I need to remove the whole floor?
TOM: What I think you’re describing is the fire retardant that is used in multi-family construction. So to repair this, what you need to do is to remove that surface that looks like concrete. I don’t believe it’s actually concrete; I believe it’s a product called Gyp-Crete – G-y-p-C-r-e-t-e. It basically goes on as a liquid and then it dries. And it looks like concrete but it’s really a fire retardant.
So you would tear out the old material. You’d repair the floor, which is obviously water-damaged being near a door. And then you would restore it with new Gyp-Crete to fill that area in. And if you do it in that order, you won’t disturb the fire retardancy of the floor construction but you’ll get the solidity back that you’re losing because of the rot.
DAVE: And the Gyp-Crete would be the same thickness? Because it’s almost 2 inches thick.
TOM: Yeah, you actually mix it up and you trowel it on.
TOM: So you’d mix it to fit.
DAVE: You say I’d have to repair the subfloor underneath it. So remove the plywood, go back to the joists and lay new plywood. OK.
TOM: Exactly. Yep. That would be a standard carpentry repair there. But you’re adding new Gyp-Crete on top of it to restore the fire protection.
DAVE: OK. Excellent. That’s what I’ll have to do.
LESLIE: Well, unless you live in a museum, your furniture is likely to take a few hits from time to time, especially if you’ve got kids. But while the water rings and the dings and the dents and the scratches are bound to happen, there are a lot of ways to bring that furniture back to pristine or close to pristine condition.
TOM: We’ve got tips to help you do just that, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
So, let’s talk about the most common issues and the fixes for those, starting with those white rings. If you get those on furniture, they’re generally caused when water vapor penetrates into a finish. Now, you can get rid of them by wiping them gently with a cloth that is barely dampened with denatured alcohol. That’s the key. The denatured alcohol does the trick.
Now, what about those chips? Well, if you’ve got a clear finish, it’s chipped but the underlying color is intact, check this trick out. Fill the ding with a few drops of clear nail polish. After the polish dries, just sand it flush with some very fine sandpaper, like 600 grit. Works really, really well. And then you could use a little steel wool and paste wax on top of that to add some sheen if it’s still not exactly where you want it. Or you can even use some auto-polishing compound. That’s got a very fine abrasive in it. And just put that on with a rag, rub it out and you’ll find that it blends in perfectly.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now here’s a trick for things that happen, generally, around my house with two very active boys: you end up with large scratches or worn edges.
And here’s the trick. Those felt-tip touch-up markers that you see around the home improvement stores? Those really do work well for these worn edges and any scratches. They’re going to come in a variety of wood tones to match your furniture. I mean the most common furniture stains. You’re going to use it to color in those large scratches or the edges where that stain has worn away. And you only want to apply it to those damaged areas and then wipe immediately if you do get any on the neighboring finish.
And then finally, you’re going to apply a coat of paste wax over that repair but also over the entire adjacent surface to help you get a nice, even sheen. This is a great trick. We use it far too often here.
TOM: And all those materials can easily be found in the paint aisle of your local hardware store, except for the nail polish. Well, you guys know where to find it.
LESLIE: Well, 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: Lee in Kansas on the line with a concrete question. Tell us what you are working on.
LEE: I’m in an old house that I got in a survivorship and it’s got an old – probably was built in the 60s. I’m in the prairie of Kansas. It has an entryway concrete porch that just keeps cracking and cracking due to earthquakes. We had a pretty good one a week or so ago and now it’s really unlevel. Some of the cracks are small enough that I could fill and aren’t unlevel. And I was just wondering – because I don’t live near a Lowe’s or a Home Depot or anything like that. I think it’s like an hour-and-a-half drive away. There’s a local hardware store about 10 miles.
Can you fill small cracks with QUIKRETE or do you need concrete or Sakrete? I don’t know what the differences are.
TOM: OK. So, first of all, the type of repair material you use is different than the type of material you would use if you were, say, pouring a new concrete slab. And you mentioned QUIKRETE. That’s a great brand and they have a wide variety of repair products. You have the option to repair the cracks. You could also resurface that concrete. There’s a product for that. And in all cases, the difference between that type of a product – a repair product and the original sort of concrete product – is that the repair products are designed to adhere to the original concrete base. If anything is loose, of course, you have to pop that out and restore it.
But short of that, there are plenty of concrete-repair products that are out there and you’re going to obviously have to get yourself to a hardware store or lumberyard to find it. You could do some research online at their website. But you want to make sure you choose a repair product, because it is designed specifically to adhere to those surfaces.
LEE: OK. Thank you so much. Alright.
TOM: Well, sometimes, the toughest part of a home improvement project is the very first part, which is hiring the right contractor. Right, Les?
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, there are plenty of credible, qualified and even reliable contractors out there but we all hear a lot of those horror stories about the not-so-great ones. And that’s why the best way to avoid these rotten apples is to get a detailed interview beforehand, where you ask the right questions.
TOM: Absolutely. Now, it’s important to define, first off, the parameters of your project. So, you need to have a prospective contractor confirm the dates they can start and finish and the hours that they’ll work. There’s nothing more annoying than having them come in for an hour or two and then disappear for days on end, right? But if you really want to weed out the bad guys, go deeper. Find out how long they’ve been in business and who will be assigned as the project supervisor on the job and how you will get in touch with them when you have questions or concerns.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you’ve got to also remember that accidents can happen and they can happen on a job site. So you’ve got to find out whether workers are employees or subcontractors and if that company carries workers’ compensation and liability insurance.
Now, if your state requires that your contractor be licensed, you want to make sure that they also have a license. And if you don’t know if your state falls into that category, you can call the state or local government and they’ll tell you.
TOM: Yeah. One more thing on that insurance I just thought of: make sure you request a copy of the certificate of insurance and ask to be added as an additional insurer. There’s no charge to the contractor for that and their insurance agents do this all the time. This way, you can be absolutely positive that the insurance is good and that you are protected.
And finally, make sure the prospective contractor is the right one for your project by getting answers on how they approach a project like yours. You want to know how many similar projects they’ve completed in the past year and get a list of references for those projects and, just as important, for projects that they completed some years ago. This way, you can see how their quality and their reputation has sort of stood up over time. If you do that, you’re apt to find the best pro for the job.
LESLIE: Mike in North Dakota is on the line and has a drywall question. What can we do for you?
MIKE: We’re putting in drywall. Would you put in ½-inch drywall if you’re going to finish the garage? It’s 2x6s with 16-inch centers.
TOM: Is the garage detached or an attached garage?
MIKE: No. It’s unattached.
TOM: So a couple of things. First of all, since it’s – the reason I asked you if it was connected to the house – because if it was, the wall between the garage and the house has to have a certain fire rating to make it safe. If you want to do a little bit better of a job than you may be required to, I would put 5/8-inch thick, fire-resistant drywall on those walls as opposed to standard ½-inch. It’s a little more expensive but why not have a fireproof or certainly a more fireproof garage assembly?
You also asked – I think it was our producer – whether or not the drywall has to be on the concrete. And the answer is no. You definitely don’t want it to be in contact with the concrete because drywall is covered in paper. And if you have it in contact with concrete, it’s going to get damp and wet and really messy. You want to make sure you keep it up at least an inch off of that floor.
MIKE: So what do you – when you finish it off, what would you put in there so that – to cover that inch up? Just a …
TOM: If you really wanted to finish it nicely, yeah, you could put sort of a baseboard type of a piece down. In my garage, I have a piece of 1×6 pressure-treated along the floor. And that makes up sort of a band board that’s sort of the baseboard molding all along. Because we’re always sort of pushing stuff up against it and that kind of stuff and I wanted something tough, because I knew if we were pushing a handcart up against the drywall, we’d end up with dents in it and that sort of thing.
MIKE: Yep. You’re right there. That’s what I did with my old one.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Have a post here from Vangie who writes: “I have a faux finish on a bathroom and bedroom wall, which have a glaze on top. I want to repaint it. Do I need to do something special in order to paint over that glaze?”
Vangie, I’m going to say, were you on a While You Were Out at some point many years ago?
TOM: I know, right?
LESLIE: I’m so sorry to all the families we put faux finishes on all those walls, because I know. Especially textural ones. Oh, my goodness, those are hard to cover.
TOM: Yeah. I mean well, it’s kind of like the vertical version of popcorn ceilings, right? It was good at the moment and it was good at the time but man, it’s really hard to get rid of those.
And so I think you have to – I don’t know, Leslie – think about how much punishment you want to put yourself through? If you really want them to be super smooth again, then you’ve got to scrape them really smooth or you’ve got to, frankly, put new drywall over it sometimes if it’s just that bad. But the thing is, even if you get a lot of that off, you’re going to have to prime it and repaint it.
And no matter how good a job you do, it’s just hard not to have sort of dings and uneven spaces underneath. So, if you do do that, make sure you paint it with a flat paint – the best flat paint you can buy. Because otherwise, when the light hits it, it’ll just reflect every imperfection in that wall.
But most importantly is that primer coat, because we don’t what magic mix of materials was used to create that faux finish. We want to make sure you have good adhesion, so I would recommend that you use a type of primer called a “high adhesion” or “high stickiness.” The stickier the primer, the better. And there’s one by KILZ called KILZ 3 that just came out that will work very well. So, make sure you use the high-adhesion primer and then put your topcoat over that and you shouldn’t have any problems with painting over those old faux finishes.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that, Vangie. And again, I apologize to the many families out there.
Alright. Susan wrote in saying, “I just had a new dishwasher installed 2 months ago. When I lean on the kitchen counter, it moves. Recently, I found a screw lying in the bottom of the dishwasher. What do I do with this?”
TOM: You know, I like this question because we recently had a dishwasher fail. It was a GE. I’m not happy about it. It was only a little more than 3 years old. But I replaced it with a Bosch, which was rated tops by Consumer Reports.
Now, when I went to do the installation, I got through everything except for the point where I had to attach the dishwasher to either the counter or the sort of the sides of the cabinet. And I’ll tell you, the instructions were really convoluted and just didn’t do the job in explaining to me how I’m supposed to use these clips. And it turned out there was a little slit in the rubber gasket on the side, where was space for you to basically drive the screw through and then put the screwdriver in it and make the attachment. But if I hadn’t researched it and found a handy YouTube video, I would’ve pondered that question for far longer than I should’ve.
I’m telling you this, Susan, because basically you have two places you can attach this dishwasher. If you have a stone or a solid-surface countertop, you can attach it to the underside of that countertop. And there should be a bracket coming off the dishwasher with a hole to do that. And if you don’t, you can attach it to the cabinet to the left and the cabinet to the right. Again, there is a little tab bracket that comes off the body of the dishwasher, which should take one screw into the sides of the cabinet. And this will stop it from coming out when you open the door, because that’s exactly what happens. You pop that door open, the whole thing tilts forward, so it has to be secured. It must’ve loosened up.
LESLIE: Yeah, Susan. It’s super important, also, if you’ve got kids in the house, because I feel like they’re always pulling on the stove and the dishwasher and you don’t want it to tip out and hurt them. So, definitely put those screws back in and enjoy that new dishwasher. Everybody loves a new dishwasher.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com during our favorite time of the year for home fix-ups. If you are fixing up your house this fall, if you’re getting ready for the holidays, if you are sealing things up, if you are tightening things up for the winter, whatever project is on your to-do list, you can slide it to ours, 24/7, by contacting us with those questions at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or post them at MoneyPit.com.
Until then, 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.)