Backyard decks can bring added value to your home but costly mistakes can quickly take that away. Get tips on building the best deck for your yard.
Bathrooms renos are one where you need to get the design decisions done right, the first time to stay on schedule and on budget! We’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Do you experience tripped circuits a little more often than you’d like? We’ll share FIVE signs you might need an electric panel upgrade to stay safe and keep the lights on!
Garden gnomes are making their way from punchlines to potted plants. And they’re not the only surprise trend in the latest enchanted yards and gardens! We share a few ideas to get you started.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- What are some good basement flooring options?
- How and when to use the services of your town’s professional engineers to diagnose a flooding problem under your house.
- How to fix unwanted odors from your sump pump?
- How effective are low-e (Low-Emittance) Windows?
- Can you reglaze ceramic tile?
- Best way to stain a new deck?
- How to fix walls in a log home?
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And I think we’re just a week away now from the official start of summer. And so, why not take this weekend to finish up any outdoor projects that you’d like to get done, to make sure you can enjoy every day of the warm weather ahead? If you’ve got questions on how to get those jobs done, you can reach out to us. We are here to help. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
You can call, 24/7. If we’re not in the studio, you’ll be able to leave your question and we will call you back the next time we get there. And you can always post your questions to MoneyPit.com, because we love to help you with your questions, your problems, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. We’d love to give you inspiration and ideas to help you get those jobs done, so help yourself first and reach out to us.
Hey, coming up on today’s show, we’re going to start outside by talking about backyard decks. They are a surefire way to increase your home’s living space. But if you are not careful, it is easy to make very expensive mistakes when you’re building one. So we’re going to tell you what you need to know to avoid doing that.
LESLIE: And also ahead, bathroom renovations are more popular than ever. But this is one project where you need to get those design details done right the first time. Now, these small rooms are complicated to renovate and changing course mid-project can throw this project way off schedule. We’re going to walk you through what you need to know.
TOM: And also, summer puts a lot of stress on your electrical systems. If yours is not up to snuff, you could get a shock of another kind. So we’re going to share five signs it’s time to upgrade your service panels so it stays safe and stays on.
LESLIE: But first, let us help you create your best home ever. What are you working on? Are you planning a big, awesome backyard? You’re thinking about how you can enjoy your own home this summer season, better than you did last year? Well, whatever it is, let us give you a hand.
TOM: Plus, we’ve got tools to give away to one lucky listener. We’ve got an Arrow T50 – it is an awesome staple gun, perfect for lots of projects – going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Call us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post them to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Mary in Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
MARY: I’m redoing my basement and I’m wondering about flooring. It has had a rubber-backed carpet, which has been taken up so we’re down to the concrete. And I’m just wondering, what would be a good thing to put back down on the floor there?
TOM: So, rubber-backed carpet was kind of popular at one point in time. But generally speaking, we don’t recommend carpet for basements because they’re so damp. You can build up a lot of debris down there that can cause allergic reactions. You get dust mites and all that sort of thing that will nest in the carpet.
So I would look to a smooth-surface material. So your options might be laminate floor, which is beautiful. It could look like hardwood floor or tile. It’s made of different composite materials. It’s a very, very tough surface. And it floats. It doesn’t – it’s not glued down; it floats on top of the floor. Or you could choose a special type of hardwood floor called “engineered hardwood.”
Now, solid hardwood would not be recommended for a basement because it’s too moist. But engineered is made up of different layers of hardwood. It kind of looks – the guts of it kind of look like plywood but the surface, it looks like a regular hardwood floor. You can’t really tell the difference once it’s down. And I think that would be a good option, as well.
MARY: I really like the carpet down there.
LESLIE: Use area rugs. You’re just going to be sad. It’s just going to cause a lot of problems. It’s going to make you feel yucky. It’s going to feel damp down there.
TOM: And it’s a very dated look today, too. Things have changed in terms of décor. And I think the solid surface of a laminate floor or an engineered-hardwood floor would be much more common today.
MARY: Is there something feasible in a price range, though?
TOM: Yeah. Laminate floor is really affordable. You can get that for as little as maybe four bucks a square foot.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? Go online. I’ve seen laminate flooring just south of $2 a square foot. So there’s really some great options that are very affordable out there.
MARY: OK, thank you.
TOM: Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Stan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STAN: Oh, well, I had just bought a house that was built in 1995. It’s a 4,000-square-foot underground home.
TOM: Wow. That sounds neat.
LESLIE: And it’s not a transformed missile? I’ve been to Oklahoma and I’ve seen these missile-launching areas that have been sort of retaken over and turned into homes.
STAN: No, this is actually an underground concrete structure that was specifically built to be a house.
TOM: Do you get to mow your roof?
STAN: Yes, I do.
TOM: Very cool. So, what can we help you with?
STAN: Well, I knew when I bought this that it had a few leaks. And being that the house is getting close to being 20 years old, I feel that it’s time to probably remove the dirt and expose and probably replace the roof and especially since I have some leaks. And I’m having trouble finding somebody that deals with any kind of underground structure/home and especially in a roof/ceiling of that nature.
And I was curious if – I’m sure this is probably going to be an expensive undertaking. But furthermore, after I go back and get it all done, when I find the contractor to do it, what may be – is there some care/preventative maintenance that – how I care for that underground roof system, so I’m not coming back at a later date and time and going back through the same process.
TOM: There’s no way we could give you the answer to that question but we can give you some advice on how to approach it.
What I would do is I would find an architect to spec out this roof project, because it’s a big project, 4,000-square-foot roof. And I would have an architect or an engineer spec out the project. Let them do the research on what are the most viable materials out there right now, available, to replace this roof with. And have them provide – prepare a specification for that.
It’s worth the investment because then with that spec, you can bring it to qualified contractors. And I would guess, probably, the best contractors would be those that do commercial roofing, not residential roofing. And have them follow this specification exactly. I would not try to find a roofing contractor that has their own personal idea of how to do this, because you’re not going to find somebody that’s experienced in these homes; it’s too unique. But if you find a building professional that could spec this out for you, do the research on the best way to replace that roof, that spec will be very valuable to you.
STAN: Perfect. That’s a great idea. Never even thought of that.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck, Stan.
STAN: Hey, guys, I appreciate it.
TOM: Got to work – we’ve got to work smarter, not harder, right?
STAN: That’s right.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
STAN: Appreciate it. Thanks.
LESLIE: Alright. Give us a call or go online because, right now, at MoneyPit.com, you can enter the Safe at Home Sweepstakes and you can win a state-of-the-art, three-camera security system from Deep Sentinel. Now, these guys are truly unique because they have real live security guards watching your cameras, 24/7.
Now, Deep Sentinel prevents crime before it occurs and Deep Sentinel prevents home break-ins, package thefts, auto break-ins, even tampering, loitering and anything that’s suspicious.
TOM: Now, you can win a 3-camera system worth nearly $1,900 or one of five 1-camera systems, plus a full year of live security-guard surveillance. Enter once a day at MoneyPit.com and share the sweeps with friends to earn bonus entries. That’s the Safe at Home Sweepstakes presented by Deep Sentinel, on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Sharon in Ohio is on the line with a sump-pump question. How can we help you?
SHARON: We have an issue with our furnace. It seems to be pulling sewer gas from our sump pump, because that’s where it drains into. And we can’t figure out how to solve the issue. Temporary solution is to pour water in the sump pump. But then about 3 or 4 days later, we turn the furnace on and it draws the sewage-gas/air again.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about this. So, first of all, what water from the furnace is being drained into the sump pump? Are you talking about the condensate line from the air-conditioning system?
SHARON: Yes, sir.
TOM: Is there a return duct in the basement area where this is or in the room where this is? Or do you think it’s coming in through the drainpipe?
SHARON: We think it’s coming in from the sump pump. And it’s a wintertime issue, because it happens when we turn the furnace on.
TOM: Well, if you think it’s because it’s reversing – it’s pulling whatever soil gas is causing this unpleasant odor – if you think it’s coming in because of the drain line, there’s a really simple solution: put a trap in it. So, if the drain line has a P-trap, kind of the same kind of that sort of U-shape pipe that’s underneath a bathroom sink, then that pipe will stay filled with water and will not allow any gases, any air to back up through it and get into the furnace.
SHARON: That’s not built into the furnace already?
TOM: Not always. It depends on the workmanship of the installer. But no, you would see it on the outside. If you don’t see a P-trap, it doesn’t have one.
The other thing that could be causing this – and sometimes this happens – is occasionally – and I don’t want to freak you out but occasionally, you’ll get a rodent that will die inside of a return duct. And if that happens, yeah, the stink can go on for quite a while. But I would take a look at that drain line and if it doesn’t have a trap in it, do that. And make sure it’s filled with water when you start, if it’s the winter, because it won’t be. And I think you won’t find any more air gets through that pipe.
Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, adding a backyard deck is one surefire way to increase your home’s living space. But if you’re not careful, it’s easy to make costly mistakes. Here’s what you need to avoid.
Now, think about traffic flow and convenience. Most people like their decks to be just off of the kitchen, you know, for obvious reasons. But if you’re going to build a wraparound deck, try to have the door to the deck just off of the kitchen, which is going to make summer barbecuing and even wintertime grilling a breeze.
TOM: Now, you also want to make sure that you include room for a dining area with chairs and that it’s not between you and the pathway from the kitchen to the grill. And don’t forget to consider options, like built-in benches and planters and even lighting, which can all make your deck much more accommodating and comfortable.
Now, if you choose to build a wooden deck, keep in mind that the least expensive option – which, of course, is pressure-treated wood – does require upkeep in the form of stain and sealants to keep out the weather.
LESLIE: Now, if you want wood and you really can afford it? Cedar is an excellent choice since it’s naturally weather-and-insect resistant and it weathers to a nice, really gorgeous gray tone.
Now, composite decking, that generally requires little to no upkeep but it’s considerably more expensive than most wood decking. And you’re not likely to recoup any of that cost in terms of value added from a sales point of view. However, if you’re planning on staying in your home for the foreseeable future, it’s a good option that eliminates the worry of splinters on bare feet, lots of maintenance, which you will eventually just sort of succumb to because you will constantly be staining, restaining, cleaning, all the things that go on with this deck.
TOM: For more tips, you can check out how to plan an amazing deck. It’s online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading out to Las Vegas where Bruce is on the line with a question about windows. What can we do for you today?
BRUCE: I wanted to know about your opinion on the effectiveness of E-windows. I have an approximately 3,000-square-foot home. It’s two stories. But I actually don’t put the air conditioning on until it’s about 110 outside and then it’s – then I put it on to about 85. And I have some shutters in the house, so I wondered what you thought of E-windows.
TOM: Well, when you say E-windows, Bruce, are you talking about low-E?
BRUCE: Yes. I think that’s what they’re called, right?
TOM: OK. Yeah. So, yeah. So, low-E – and the E stands for Emittance. And basically, what it is is a reflective coating that is on the glass. And most high-efficiency windows – I would dare to say almost all of them – have a low-E coating. And what it does is it takes the UV from the sun and reflects it back outside. So very, very important to have low-E window glass in Las Vegas, especially, with the heat that you experience. That’s going to make a dramatic difference on how much heat actually gets into the house itself, because the low-E glass will reflect it back out. So it is definitely a measure of efficiency and something you want to look for when you’re shopping for those windows.
BRUCE: Well, with the caveat – like I said, I don’t put the air on until it gets to be about 110 outside.
TOM: I understand. But no matter what comfort level you like to use that air conditioning, you’re going to be using less of it if you have low-E glass.
BRUCE: And any idea of approximate cost of – and the difference of …?
TOM: I wouldn’t consider, for a second, not using low-E glass in a house, no matter where it was in the country that I was building or putting windows in. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what the cost difference is but if it’s a thermal pane – average-quality thermal-pane window – it’s going to have low-E glass.
BRUCE: Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Bruce. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sandy in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SANDY: Well, we have ceramic floors and they’re ceramic tile. And they’re probably 20 years old. And they just don’t come clean anymore and they’re real porous. And we’ve scrubbed them with a scrub brush and they will come sort of clean but that’s a whole lot of work. And we’ve tried different cleaners – vinegar-and-water and Soft Scrub and Clorox-and-water and soda-and-water – and they just don’t come clean. And short of turning them up, what could we possibly do for …?
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like the glaze has worn off the ceramic tile and as a result …
SANDY: Well, I don’t even know if it ever had a glaze.
TOM: So, most tile have a glaze unless it’s like a natural Mexican tile or something like that. I would be very surprised to find any tile out there that didn’t have a glaze finish to it.
The surface will wear down after a really long, long time and it depends on the quality of the tile. So I don’t have a really good solution for you. It’s a fairly unusual problem. You can clean the grout, you can replace the grout, you can seal the grout but the tile surface itself, it’s not really possible to add an additional sort of glaze coat to that. So you might want to think about some other floor options.
A really inexpensive one, by the way, would be laminate floor. It works really well in the bathroom because it’s very moisture-resistant. It kind of snaps together and it floats on top of the original floor. So, really, all you have to do is install it, put in a new saddle where the door comes across, maybe some shoe molding between that and the baseboard, cut it around the toilet and you’re good to go. So there are other floor choices.
Or if you want to just maintain that ceramic tile, you could also put a second layer of tile over the top one – over the first one – without removing that original layer. As long as that original layer is solid – there’s no decay or softness or structural deficiency there – you could put a second layer of tile on top of the first tile – top of the first layer of tile – and still be good to go. Alright, Sandy?
SANDY: Yes. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Randy in Ohio is on the line with a decking question. How can we help you today?
RANDY: I just built a deck. And it’s got that new-wood look, you know? What kind of stain can I put on it?
TOM: So you have a number of options. You said you just built it, so you might want to let it dry out. Sometimes we don’t recommend staining until about the second year, because the pressure-treated lumber is going to have a lot of moisture in it. But when you are ready to treat it, what I would recommend that you use is a solid-color deck stain. Deck stains come in solid color and semi-transparent. And if you use solid color, it basically has more pigment in it, so it tends to last a lot longer.
So, go for a good brand – a good-quality brand – of a solid-color deck stain. And I think that’s something that you’ll hope to get maybe two or three seasons out, depending on the use of your deck.
RANDY: Alright. Yes, it does. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, bathrooms have certainly become an oasis within the home. And now, with continued improvements and available products, there are many design decisions that need to be made before a new bathroom project can get started.
LESLIE: Well, to learn more about the many options now available in bath-and-shower design, we’re joined by Andrew Acker, the director of education for Schluter Systems.
ANDREW: Well, thank you for having me on.
TOM: So, Andrew, there are so many options today when it comes to doing a bath design, starting really from the drain on up. The one thing that Schluter brings to this is a system that assures that whatever we want to do inside that space, it’s going to be watertight and vapor-tight, right?
ANDREW: That’s correct. That’s our system.
LESLIE: So, once you get to that point where you know you’re going to have a smart base, everything’s going to be watertight, you truly have basically a gajillion decisions to make. And I think it starts with what kind of look are you going for in the bath? What is the functionality? And I think one of the main jumping-off points is choosing that tile but then sort of determining how that shower is drained, because there are a couple of options there that I think people don’t even realize. And that can help determine a totally different design style.
ANDREW: That’s right, Leslie. We can address a lot of the consumer’s desires, as far as the design elements. Certainly, the shower has to function, it has to manage the moisture – both the liquid and the vapor form, as you mentioned – but then we get to the design ends. What are those design elements that the consumer really likes?
And one, for instance, is the line drain. Instead of having a centralized point drain, you might choose to have a long, linear drain because you want to put a large-format tile, for instance, on the shower floor. You want to maybe carry the same large-format tile that’s on the bathroom floor right into the shower, uninterrupted. And with central drains or point drains, you’re limited to the size tile that you can put on one of those trays or pans, based on the way it’s sloping in two directions. But with the line drains, you have one flat plane sloping down towards a linear drain. So now, the design possibilities are endless for the consumer.
TOM: Now, speaking of design possibilities, so many of us are spending more years in our homes than ever before, maybe not moving out as quickly to those retirement places. We want to think about how we use the bath as we age. And one of the trends in there is to go completely curb-less so that you don’t have to step up and over into a shower pan. You can kind of basically walk right in or if you have a limited mobility, you could even be wheeled right in. What’s the difference between doing a curbed and curb-less, though, when it comes to making sure it’s waterproof?
ANDREW: Well, there is a way to do that. You’re right. That’s become very popular, the aging-in-place movement, to where you do design something that you might not necessarily need right now but you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time. So you are planning for the future. But it doesn’t have to look utilitarian; it can look very pleasing, have all the aesthetics you want.
So, one of the key elements to removing a curb is: are you just removing a curb or are you making it truly barrier-free? So those are really two definitions. But if you’re just removing the curb, that’s what you use to hold the water back. Now what are you supposed to do? Well, you have to place the drain in a place where the water can get to it readily. And you have to carry your waterproofing right out of the shower area, that was traditionally the wet area, out onto the bathroom floor, which was traditionally the dry area. So now we’re treating that area with a waterproof membrane, also.
TOM: You know, I won’t tell you how many years ago this was but when I was in college, I actually lived in Denmark and I went to a school for architecture there. And I was surprised when I moved into the dormitory. The bathrooms in the dormitory – which was one per room – there was no curb, there was no tub. The entire floor was, essentially, the shower pan. We had a curtain and then we had a drain and I thought, “Wow, what a great idea.” Why do we go through all this work to cut this corner out of the bathroom? Just the corner is waterproof. Why not make the entire surface waterproof by moving the drain? That’s kind of what you’re saying here, right?
ANDREW: That’s exactly right, Tom. And that has been the case in Europe for quite some time. You didn’t want to tell what years those were but it’s been that way for decades now, actually.
ANDREW: And I had the same epiphany when I went to Europe for the first time and went into the bathroom and said, “Well, where’s the shower?” And realizing, well, the whole bathroom is actually the shower because of the way they treated the moisture management.
ANDREW: The way they waterproofed the floor, up the walls, yeah, it makes a very convenient. No curb, no door. Yeah. And many times not even a splash shield or maybe a small one. But yeah, that’s all part of the design. And it’s gotten very popular here in the U.S. and Canadian market, also.
LESLIE: Well, that’s great. I mean there are so many choices and I think when it comes to the functionality of the shower – at least how you’re going to use that space when you’re in it – there’s a lot of questions of to – where do I put the soap? Where do I put the shampoo? All of the things that you need on a day-to-day but you want to have it in a stylish, well thought-out manner. So, what’s your opinion on all of those built-in niches and shelf options that are out there?
ANDREW: Well, they’re great additions. And this is what the consumer really envisions when they’re thinking about their bathroom. It’s not just a place to get ready for the day any longer; it’s more of a spa or retreat-like environment. So, in that case, they’re thinking about design elements – as you said, Leslie – like niches, like benches, taking out the curb, making it aesthetically pleasing.
So those things all used to be a challenge to the tile industry, in order to get them to function the way the design intended. So, now, we do have function and design because we can waterproof those systems all very simply with our KERDI Membrane or even with our premade curbs and benches that are already made out of material that cannot be affected by moisture and are waterproof in themselves.
So, introducing those types of building elements, those design elements have never been simpler. And so you get the design you want and the consumer – the homeowner – gets the function that they need, also.
TOM: Your systems essentially eliminate every weak link in the waterproofing design, because every time we have an angle change or an intersection, that’s where leaks happen. And because this is all designed to work together, that’s really no longer an issue.
Andrew Acker, the director of education for Schluter Systems, thanks for educating us on all the opportunities there are for bath-and-shower design today, made possible by the waterproof systems developed by Schluter.
ANDREW: Well, thanks very much for having me on. It’s been a pleasure, Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Well, your home’s electrical panel is made up of circuits that provide electricity to your home. Now you probably never think about it until a circuit trips and then you have to think about it. But if you find that that’s happening more often, it could be a sign that you need to upgrade you electrical service panel. So we’ve got five signs that your service panel might need an upgrade, in today’s Pro Project presented by Angi.
TOM: Now, first off, let’s talk about faulty wiring. This is what happens when a wire short-circuits or it overheats. And it’s a leading cause of residential fires in the U.S. So, what you need to look for are things like dimming or flickering lights, any kind of a burning smell or sparking or discolored power outlets. All of those could indicate a problem.
LESLIE: Now, next up, let’s talk about fuses. Now, I think a lot of people sort of interchange these words: fuses, circuit breakers. Well, they function the same. They prevent short-circuiting or a circuit overload. Now, if the circuit pulls more electricity than your wiring can handle, they’re going to turn that circuit off to prevent it from overheating and potentially causing a fire. But that’s it; that’s where the similarity ends.
TOM: Now, if a fuse trips, it has to be replaced. Circuit breakers just need to be reset and unfortunately, in most cases, fuses are interchangeable. But that’s the problem because very often, the wrong-size fuse gets installed when one trips because they all fit the same hole, so to speak. They have kind of like a light-bulb thread on them so they all fit the same spots. And that’s the issue because if you have a circuit that needs a 15-amp fuse and you put a 20-amp fuse in it, it’s not doing its job because the wire’s going to overheat before the circuit pops. And that’s why a lot of insurance companies won’t insure a home with fuses.
But in either case, if you do blow a fuse or a circuit breaker, it’s important you figure out why that happened before you do anything because, otherwise, it’s going to happen again. So if you were running your air conditioning and somebody was vacuuming and you were ironing clothes at the same time, that’s probably what’s going on. But if it’s not quite so obvious, you may need to get an electrician in.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah, I can’t toast and use the microwave at the same time. Cannot.
TOM: Yeah. I mean we all learn our home’s sort of limitations like that.
LESLIE: I know, totally.
But here’s another sign, guys, that you may have an overworked electrical system – is the excessive use of extension cords and power strips. So if you find yourself plugging nearly everything into one power outlet via power strips and extension cords, it’s a good idea to upgrade your system. Now, you can install new electrical outlets and a circuit where they’re needed and then minimize fire and tripping hazards.
TOM: Now, if you’re upgrading major appliances, that’s the time to upgrade your panel, as well. So this would be things like a pool, a hot tub, a spa, you know, a new central A/C unit or any kind of other appliance that uses a ton of energy. Standard panels provide 100, 150 to 200 amps of power but if you have anything less, it could be a challenge.
LESLIE: I can’t believe there’s anything less than 100. You can barely do anything with 100.
TOM: Oh, my gosh. Well, in the years I spent as a home inspector, I’d find 60-amp panels.
LESLIE: On a real house?
TOM: On a real house, yes. On a real house, not like a doll house. A real house.
LESLIE: You know what I meant. I meant like a small apartment or something.
TOM: I do. Yeah. A real house.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. So, say you’ve got that small apartment or small home and you’re planning a large remodeling project or an addition, it’s a good idea to update that panel. You’re probably going to need to add circuits to support that new addition anyway. And your old panel just isn’t going to have room to expand. You can always add a second subpanel when this happens but it’s probably more cost-effective to just replace the original panel with one that’s big enough to handle everything.
TOM: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by Angi. Find expert pros available for hundreds of projects, up-front pricing, plus the ability to book and pay right from your phone. Download the Angi app today.
LESLIE: Nina in Arizona has got a log home that’s cracking up. What’s going on?
NINA: My husband and I bought a log home. And the exterior walls, on the inside, are cracked. The logs are cracked. What can we do to fill that in and make that look better?
TOM: You can fill them in with – there’s various types of wood filler out there that can be colored and stained to match that. But I think you’re going to be chasing it over and over and over again. So, you might want to proceed cautiously.
NINA: Oh, wow, OK. So there’s really no solution for it?
TOM: I think you’re better off kind of accepting that that’s what that’s supposed to do. It’s not like finished hardwood furniture or something. It’s a log, so it’s supposed to have that rustic look to it.
NINA: OK. That’s what – that’s kind of what my husband said, so …
TOM: Oh, you see? You should have listened to him, Nina. You just thought he was trying to get out of work, didn’t you?
NINA: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: So glad we could solve that spat.
LESLIE: Joe wrote in and he writes: “My concrete driveway, installed in 1995, is showing wear, pitting and flaking. Can it be repaired? The contractors are recommending tear-out and replace but I don’t think it’s that bad.”
TOM: I’m shocked. The contractors have no way to fix that so they say, “Oh, my gosh, you need a whole new driveway, Joe. And we’re just the guys to do it for you. Aren’t you lucky we’re here? In fact, we probably have extra concrete left over from the last job that we didn’t need to do.”
So, listen, Joe, you can fix this. As long as the deterioration, as you describe it, is surface deterioration: pitting and flaking. Because there are products today that you can resurface that driveway with. The best one is called Re-Cap. It’s made by QUIKRETE. And what these guys have done is they’ve specialized in developing a product that can bond to the old concrete.
So it’s a process. You pressure-wash the driveway, you apply the Re-Cap and you sort of – you just squeegee to kind of spread it out. You can put a broom finish on it, if you want to have a stiff finish like that so you’re not going to have any slippage in the wintertime.
And the nice thing about this stuff is it just doesn’t chip off again. Pretty much most other products I’ve seen will eventually chip away from the original surface. This becomes one with it. In fact, I’ve seen tests where they try to pull it off after the fact. Can’t be done. They end up taking out half of the original driveway by trying it.
So, check out the Re-Cap product from QUIKRETE. I think you can save this driveway and in fact, you could do it yourself. And you don’t need to have your contractors tear it out.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what, Joe? That Re-Cap product – you can use it really well on porches, steps, patios, whatever’s starting to look a little bit worn. It definitely does the job of sort of refacing, recapping, making it look beautiful and that’s exactly what you need.
TOM: Well, you’re looking for more fun in yards and gardens? Leslie has got the latest surprise trend, in today’s addition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie, what’s going on out there?
LESLIE: Yeah, this falls under the topic of what’s old is new again. And in that spirit, garden gnomes are for real making a big comeback. In fact, folks are setting up entire fairy gardens. They’re beautiful, they can be fun, whimsical, enchanting and I mean just downright delightful. I have a friend Debbie who does a fairy garden in her little sort of container garden outside of her apartment, all summer long. And it’s so fantastic and just lovely. Every enchanted garden is just a little bit different and I think that’s really where the fun begins. So, here’s a few ideas that can help you get started, along with tips to keep your fairies happy.
So, before you start putting anything in place, you need to choose a theme. The containers, the location – you know, maybe it’s a flowerpot, maybe it’s under the tree, maybe it’s in a little special, secret area of the flower bed. Whatever it is, pick that spot and stick to it.
Now, as you start to collect items for the fairy garden, it’s smart to lay them out in a place to sort of get a feel for how the garden will take shape before you start adding those small details or gluing things on.
Now, as for plants, many types are going to work well in an enchanted garden. But those that are particularly well-suited include ferns, succulents, banzai trees, primroses. They all just seem kind of magical.
And if you’re wondering where to find the very magical, fairy-garden gnome, we’re going to have a complete guide to the most popular collections. Just search “fairy gardens” on MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And coming up next week on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about water features, like ponds or waterfalls. They can really help turn your landscape into something that’s very cool and special. It could be something as small as a trickling waterfall or a tiny pond. It gives you kind of a focal point for your outdoor space and attracts some wildlife. We’re going to dive in on how to build those out yourself, on the very next addition of The Money Pit.
But for now, that’s all the time we have. 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.)