TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you with your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And the website is MoneyPit.com, where you can also post your home improvement question.
This is a busy time of year for home improvement because it’s fall or at least it is around here. Starting to cool off. And that makes it the perfect time to tackle just about any project you have in mind, inside or outside your house. And we are here to help you get it done quickly, easily, efficiently if you’re going to do it yourself. Or we’ll give you some tips to find the right pro to help you with that.
We’ve got a great show planned for you. First up, we’re going to talk about bathroom lighting. You know, the right lighting fixture can add a little glamour to a boring bath and surprisingly, make you look much more attractive in the morning. Something I’m particularly interested in. So we’re going to tell you how to step up that lighting style for your bath, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, basements can make terrific living areas but only if you finish them properly. We’re going to have tips for beautiful basement makeovers, including the how-to on adding a below-grade bath.
TOM: And wood floors are gorgeous but they’re not always the best choice for damp locations, like bathrooms or laundry rooms or even basements. There are floors that do work and we’ll tell you what they are, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And if you are planning a flooring project, we have a fantastic giveaway this hour going out to one lucky caller. And that’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: You can use it at any of their nationwide stores or online at LumberLiquidators.com. It’s going out to one caller drawn at random or someone who has posted on our website over the past week. Yes, whether you call us now live, as you hear us, or whether you post a question beginning with Monday of this past week through to the end of today’s program, you get your name tossed in that Money Pit hard hat. You could win that $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators, as well.
So let’s get to it, Leslie. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Who is first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Linda in Connecticut on the line who’s got mice in the insulation, which is never a good thing. How can we help you?
LINDA: For about two years, I’ve been battling a mouse situation in my basement.
LINDA: I’m in the woods and it just goes that way.
LINDA: So I – over the weekend, I took – with my neighbor, I took every bit of the pink fiberglass insulation off my ceiling in the basement. Every bit of it.
LINDA: Twenty bags.
LINDA: So, yes, every bit of insulation had droppings and nests.
TOM: Ugh. OK.
LINDA: We bagged it up, took it to the transfer station, came back, vacuumed and I washed my floor twice with bleach.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right. OK.
LINDA: Now, my neighbor said, “Don’t put up any more of this type of insulation.” He recommended some spray foam.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.
LINDA: Now, I had him go in the crawlspace and the perimeter of the basement with a flashlight and we sprayed the can foam in all the holes.
TOM: Yep. Yep. Uh-huh. Right. OK.
LINDA: But he said there’s something more that contractors use that cover the whole ceiling.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right. It’s called “spray-foam insulation.” And I did it to my house. I used Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – and it’s fantastic. And it does solve this mouse problem, as well, in addition to being a great insulator. And it seals out the drafts that can come through that fiberglass insulation. And you are the second person this week that has talked to me about using it for this exact same problem. So, I think it is a good solution.
LINDA: From Connecticut?
TOM: Not from Connecticut, no, but close.
TOM: Close. New York. Just kind of across the border.
TOM: Had the same situation. A friend of mine had a ski home there and she had terrible mice in her crawlspace. And so they took out the fiberglass insulation and they sprayed it with Icynene and they’ve not had a mouse since.
So I think that that’s a good option and of course, since you do have so many rodents, you might want to have a professional come in there and do some rodent-control work, as well, with the proper types of bait and traps in there so that you can kind of cut back on that population.
LINDA: What I did, I put copper mesh all around the orifices on the outside of my house. I put down 35 glue traps and I sprayed every single daylight hole coming in. And he said, “That’s what I would have done.” And boric acid all around the house.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Did you put any bait stations in?
TOM: Probably the one thing you ought to be doing. Put in bait stations. They’re inexpensive and they do a pretty good job. Yep. So I think you’ve got the right idea here, Linda. I mean between those two approaches, I think you’ll get rid of them.
And what I would do is I was – if I was going to have the spray-foam company come in – is I would also consider whether or not I want to do this to my attic or other spaces in the house. Because the – part of the cost is just the mobilization, because they have to come out with the truck and mix the material up before they spray it. So I might look at the other spaces.
In my house, I did all of my crawlspaces and I did my attic. And I did the underside of the roof sheathing, where the roof rafters are, even though it was an unfinished attic. By doing that, because it’s spray foam, you don’t have to worry about ventilation anymore. It’s not necessary with spray foam. And so we were able to completely reinsulate the entire house. And I’ve got to tell you, if I had the opportunity to take my walls apart, I would have put it there, too. That’s the only place that fiberglass is left in my house, is in the walls.
LINDA: I have one question. I’m concerned about the little, fine wires that are all in the beams, through the holes.
TOM: Not an issue.
LINDA: The electrical is fine.
TOM: It’s fine. Totally fine, yep. Not an issue.
LINDA: Well, I am so glad that you’ve told me all of this. I’m even going to take the stuffing out of the crawlspaces, then.
TOM: I think that’s really smart to do because, again, they will nest in there. And you’re going to find that your home will be much more comfortable after you do spray foam.
Take a look at Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – .com. You can read all about how it works there, OK?
LINDA: Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
TOM: Coming up, the right lighting fixture will add a little glamour to that boring bath and make us all that much more attractive in the morning, so you can’t go wrong either way. We’ll tell you how to step up that lighting style, next.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call now at The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project.
TOM: And if you’re a service pro looking to grow your business and connect with project-ready homeowners, you can also do that at HomeAdvisor.com.
Plus, there’s another great reason to reach out to us by phone or through the community at 888-MONEY-PIT. Because we have got a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators to give away. You can choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, like prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile. And you can also use your gift card for those finishing touches, like moldings and grills or even for installation.
It’s redeemable at LumberLiquidators.com or at any one of the Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide. That $200 gift card going out to one lucky listener. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Bob in North Dakota needs some help with a landscaping project. What can we do for you today?
BOB: Ah, well, OK, I live in extreme Northeast North Dakota, about 35 miles south of the border. And what I’ve got is my house kind of faces – the sun tracks more behind my house. And the front of the house, I have the hardest time getting any plants to live. And I’ve gone to some of the home improvement stores around here and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, sure, that’ll grow, that’ll grow.” I’ve got a detached garage with a walking path that goes between my house. And I’ve put so many different types of plants in there and nothing seems to survive.
So, I’m just curious, where can I really go that can really pinpoint the area that I live in to where I can find out what actual plants can I use to landscape?
TOM: That’s a great question. The first thing that comes to mind, though, is have you tested your soil?
BOB: No, I haven’t. I’m about to do that because I’ve got a garden that I’m going to test, too.
TOM: OK. Yeah. I would definitely start there, just to make sure your soil is the right composition to support the growth. There are lots of plants that are designed to work in shady areas, so I’m surprised that you’ve not had a – you’ve had so much difficulty finding plants that work. Up here, we use …
BOB: I’ve even tried Hostas.
TOM: Yeah, we …
LESLIE: And Hostas are pretty good.
TOM: Hostas and Pachysandras and plants like that.
BOB: Yeah. And I cannot get them to flourish at all. They won’t get any bigger – I’ve got two that survived this year and they’re no bigger than a softball. And they never bloom.
TOM: I tell you, I really – you’re having such a hard time, I really think there might be something with the soil. I would definitely test that and go from there.
BOB: But there, again, can you also give me an idea of where I can look up – that can really just pinpoint – I mean I’ve done the zone thing. But it’s just – we’re in the Red River Valley. We’ve got some of the most fertile soil in the world, you know? And I’m a farmer, too, so we grow crops all the time.
BOB: But man, I just cannot get anything to grow around my house.
TOM: I tell you what. There’s a lot of content online for Red River Valley, North Dakota for planting. A lot. I don’t know if you’ve been searching through this.
TOM: Yeah. There’s a government package I saw.
BOB: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: There’s an association for temperate agroforestry that has a detailed report on deforestation along the Red River of the North in North Dakota. A lot of (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah. So I think if you search online – I just did plant zones for Red River Valley and your zip code and just found a boatload of info.
BOB: Yeah. So, I guess soil testing is the place to go but hey, thanks for letting me know about the Red River Valley information. Because I’ll definitely look that up.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Linda in Rhode Island needs some help removing a pop rivet.
LINDA: I have a [door cot] (ph) that is riveted. The cover is riveted on there and I’m trying to find a tool to remove the rivet.
TOM: The best way to remove rivets is to simply drill out the center of them. You have to find a drill bit that is just about the size of the center post of the rivet. And you drill it out from the flat side and then the little button that will release will basically come off of one side, then the rivet comes out. So you have to be careful when you use that, of course, because you don’t want to miss. But drilling out a rivet is the hot ticket. Alright?
I hope that helps. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when you flick on the lights in your bathroom and catch that first glance of yourself right in the morning, do you just want to run back to bed and stick your head under the covers? I know I do. (inaudible)
LESLIE: Well, the right lighting, guys, really does make a difference. And especially in your bathroom, it can make a huge difference between having a great day and having a just so-so day.
Now, ideally, your bathroom lighting, it should feature three kinds of lighting. You want task or general lighting, accent lighting and then decorative lighting. Now, natural light, it really is very important, especially in the bath.
TOM: Absolutely. Now, let’s talk about task or general lighting. For grooming purposes, your task lighting should really light up the sink area. If you’ve got a wide vanity, you might want to think about using one of those floor-lamp fixtures or bar lights on the wall directly above the mirror that will shine down. And it’s also important in the shower. It’s a great place for a flush ceiling light that will illuminate that space so that you can see what you’re doing.
LESLIE: Now, typically, you want to choose a bulb that’s going to deliver about 40 watts of light, because that’s a perfect amount for those direct lights on your face in the bath. And there’s a ton of different styles when it comes to sconces for a bathroom, so you’ve got a lot to choose from.
TOM: Yeah. Now, for decorative lighting, they can showcase sort of the architectural features of the bathroom. If you’ve got tall ceilings or crown molding, you might want to think about a small, antique chandelier to dress up the room. Heck, chandeliers are not just for dining rooms anymore.
LESLIE: Yeah. They really do look great in the bathroom. But I want to say that for the best possible light that you can have in a bathroom space, try to outfit the space with some natural lighting. You can use skylights that’ll flood the bathroom with sunshine or glass blocks instead of a window. Whatever you do, you want to make sure you have privacy but try to let that natural light in.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are here to help you with your home improvement project or your décor project. But help yourself first: call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Kelly in Mississippi is on the line and needs some help restoring an old home. What can we do for you?
KELLY: I have a 100-year-old home. The walls of the house are brick. The eaves are wood. And over the years, the eaves have been painted and it’s just blistered paint, peeling paint and probably three or four layers of paint.
KELLY: I want to know the best way to remove that paint and redo it.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you’ve got to strip the paint and it’s a big job. There are different types of chemical strippers that are available. There are some natural – they’re called “orange-peel” – strippers that are showing promise, where you apply the stripper, you cover it with a plastic and then you leave it for some period of time – a couple of hours – and it seems to speed up the stripping process. But if you’ve got that much paint on it, you’re going to need to strip off what you can.
And then, once you’re done with that, Kelly, you do need to prime it because that’s going to give you a good, solid surface upon which the next coats will stick very well. I would be concerned that if you just stripped off the old paint, tried to put another topcoat on there, you wouldn’t have the adhesion. Because the primer is kind of the glue that makes that paint stick, OK?
KELLY: What’s the product that you would recommend to remove that paint?
TOM: There’s a product at Home Depot called Citristrip that works very well.
TOM: It’s a stripping gel. And it’s safer to use than the traditional paint strippers. And then there’s another one that’s called Klean-Strip that also works very well.
So I would take a look at those two products. And what I would do is maybe buy a gallon of each and give them each a try. You know, sometimes the formulation of the paint, depending on how it was made and how old it is, impacts which stripper works the best.
TOM: So I would buy a small quantity, test it out, see which works best and go from there.
KELLY: OK. Sounds great.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Patrick on the line who’s got a roofing question. How can we help you today?
PATRICK: I had a question about a metal roof versus a shingle roof. Our roof is about 17 years old and it’s ready for – it’s ready to change.
LESLIE: Now, is it ready to change because you don’t like the way it looks or is it failing in some way?
PATRICK: Oh, no. It’s actually fine; the shingles are fine. But I was kind of wondering about the cost benefit of spending twice as much for a metal roof versus a shingle roof for another – you know what? How long will the shingle – how long should that metal roof last? What’s the gauge of the metal? That kind of thing.
TOM: How long do you plan on staying in the house?
TOM: Forever. OK, that’s important information.
So, if you put a metal roof on this house, I think it can last, for all intents and purposes, forever. The metal roofs of yesteryear, when they were properly maintained, would easily last 50 to 100 years. The metal roofs of today will do the same thing and they can even do it more successfully because of some of the modern elements of technology that are added to it.
For example – you are in Florida? Is that correct?
PATRICK: Yes. Port Charlotte.
TOM: The one nice thing is that metal roofs have a reflective paint; it’s like a low-E paint. And they actually reflect some of that radiant heat back off of the roof. So instead of having a roof that’s like a heat collector, you’re going to have a roof that’s a heat reflector. So there’s also an energy-efficiency element to it, as well.
But I think that metal roofs last literally indefinitely, as long as they’re properly maintained. They don’t need a lot of maintenance. Of course, if there’s a storm and that sort of thing, they stand up a lot better; they don’t fly off like shingles do. And even though it’s twice as expensive, it’ll probably be the last roof you’ll ever have to put on that house.
PATRICK: If I do this $11,000 roof, will I report that to my homeowners insurance and will I get a benefit from that or no?
TOM: That’s a good question for your broker. Certainly, a metal roof is more fire-resistant. I also would look into energy – any energy-efficiency rebates. Because since it’s a low-E roof coating, you may actually qualify for an energy rebate. So I would look into that, as well.
PATRICK: And how would I look into that?
TOM: A good source is the Metal Roofing Alliance. That’s a trade association for the metal-roof industry. Go to MetalRoofing.com. And in fact, they have a section on their website about tax incentives, so they are available for metal roofs.
PATRICK: Alright. I appreciate your help.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Are you thinking of installing a bathroom in your basement? Well, just ahead, Richard Trethewey from This Old House is stopping by to help you flush out those details.
TOM: And today’s This Old House Tip on The Money Pit is presented by Lumber Liquidators, with over 400 varieties of bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less.
ADAM: I’m Adam Carolla. I’ve built hundreds of houses and I can tell you how to avoid falling into that money pit: listen to Money Pit Radio with Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we would love to talk with you about your fall fix-up projects. It is the Goldilocks season. We call it that because it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. It is just right for projects inside or outside your home.
Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where you’ll find top-rated home pros you can trust. And for local pros who want to grow their business, HomeAdvisor is also the easy way to get connected with project-ready homeowners.
LESLIE: Caitlin in Iowa is on the line and needs some help restoring an old bath. Tell us what’s going on.
CAITLIN: Hi. My husband and I moved into our 1917 farmhouse about a year ago. And our main bathroom only has a clawfoot tub and we would like a shower in it. So I was wondering if you had any tips on restoring the clawfoot tub and installing a shower kit.
TOM: So, you want to keep the tub, right? You don’t want to put a separate shower. You just want to basically plumb up a showerhead into that, correct?
TOM: Since it’s a clawfoot tub, if you disconnect the plumbing, then you can get that out of the house. Because the best way to refinish that or resurface that is to send it out to a company that does that. Because if you do it in the house itself, they can come in with acids and they can etch the old finish and they can add a new finish and then they can bring in heat lights and bake it on. But I’ve found that it doesn’t work nearly as well as basically sending it out to a place that’s set up to re-enamel a tub. And then you’re going to have one that really lasts for the long haul.
And after that, installing a shower kit to that is pretty much a plumbing project. Lots of places, like Restoration Hardware, have kits or you can find them online. Or you could basically plumb up the pipe that comes up and then arcs over for the showerhead. And you need a circular shower curtain – shower bar above it for a curtain – and all that’s easy. But the hard part is getting the tub re-enameled.
CAITLIN: OK. And how costly is re-enameling a tub?
TOM: It’s probably not as expensive as buying a new tub and it’s going to last indefinitely.
CAITLIN: OK. Well, thank you for your advice.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, today, more and more extended families are coming together under one roof, whether it’s for an economic reason or a health issue. And if that’s the case in your house, you might find yourself looking for more space or even an extra bathroom.
TOM: And one of the best places to expand is actually down under. And no, we’re not talking about moving to Australia; we’re talking about your basement.
Basements make really terrific living areas if they’re properly finished and that includes installing a below-grade bathroom. To find out how to do just that, we turn to a guy who knows exactly how to make a plumbing system defy gravity: our friend, Richard Trethewey, from TV’s This Old House.
RICHARD: Hey, guys.
TOM: And most people think that putting in a bathroom below-grade requires a lot of work and expense but that’s not necessarily always true, correct?
RICHARD: Well, it always was, you know? You had – because you didn’t have gravity to work with, you always had to open up the basement floor and put a thing called a sewage ejector: this big pit, like a sump pit, that everything came into. And that was pretty extensive.
And then we saw this product some years ago that allows you to actually put a basement bathroom in without having to dig up the floor and it’s pretty, pretty ingenious.
TOM: OK. And what’s that called?
RICHARD: Well, it’s a product called Saniflo and it has a variety of iterations. One is just a straightforward unit that’s a toilet that sits on the floor and it has a macerator in it so that it’ll grind up and pump out the waste through a relatively small pipe – a little three-quarter pipe – and that will go into the – up and then into the drain system.
And then they also have one that can allow you to have a tub or shower drain off the side of it and also allows you to bring a lavatory, so that it – but it makes most of its work be done above the finish or above the basement grade of the floor.
LESLIE: Now, is there any limitation to – as far as the distance you might need to actually move the waste to get into the main sewage? Like can you only keep it under a certain distance?
RICHARD: No. There’s no practical limit in residential. I mean you could – I don’t think there’s a house that we couldn’t get this thing to pump it out.
TOM: Now, because it’s sitting on the floor, do you have to build a throne to put your throne there?
RICHARD: Well, no. It comes off the back. It’s designed that way, so you do see this little, white tank off the back of the toilet.
RICHARD: And then it has a place – you may have to build up your shower height. So if you have a really low basement, if you’re trying to do a shower stall it might get you into a little bit of trouble.
TOM: So the toilet is different than – the toilet doesn’t drain below it. It drains out the back?
RICHARD: No, it’s expressly made for this device and it’s a matched unit, so it’s not – you’re not putting a conventional toilet there.
TOM: Oh, OK.
RICHARD: But it’s an ingenious – it’s really ingenious because there are so many people that just would love to have a basement bathroom and historically, it was just prohibitive to get this thing done.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, I know. In so many communities, there are a lot of limitations to what you can do as far as a bathroom in a basement area. So, really, I think the first step is going to your town’s building department and find out what the rules are.
LESLIE: Because since I’ve started working as a decorator, I can’t tell you how many families who’ve just bought a house and there’s a bathroom in the basement. And they’re going to go do some decorative work and they go to file the permits and the town’s like, “Whoa. That bathroom’s not legal. You’ve got to get rid of it.”
RICHARD: I always prefer to be up-front with the local establishment and sort of – when I had to do a – build a house, I went right to the town hall and said, “Tell me how to do it the right way.” And it’s amazing how they become – they go from potentially your adversary to your advocate.
TOM: Good advice. Richard Trethewey from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
And to see a great video of how to install a basement toilet, including that Saniflo system that Richard mentioned, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And remember, you can watch Richard and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Just ahead, wood floors are beautiful but they’re not always the best choice in damp locations like bathrooms or basements or laundry rooms. We will have an overview of what works best, after this.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, would you like to add some space and also subtract from clutter in a busy room? Who doesn’t? Stuff builds up so …
TOM: I like that math.
LESLIE: Seriously. Add space, lose clutter. Well, here’s a quick tip, guys: built-in desks, they really are a great way to make use of otherwise dead space in those high-traffic areas, like your kitchen. When you’re designing your desk, you want to make sure you include plenty of shelves and drawers. And don’t forget to make all of the provisions for those PCs, phones, faxes, whatever you’re using to be sort of on top of all the tech stuff. It makes a lot of sense to plan it in and then design a great, usable space.
TOM: Yeah. Then your kids will have no excuse not to do their homework, right?
LESLIE: Nah, they’ll find one.
LESLIE: Vinnie in New Jersey is on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
VINNIE: I want to install laminate flooring in my bedroom. Right now, I have builder’s carpet and rather than removing the carpet, can I put the laminate flooring right over the carpet?
LESLIE: Well, while it seems like it would be a good idea, it’s definitely not. Yeah, the issue is because a laminate flooring is a floating floor, it locks together and sort of floats in the perimeter of the space of your room. It needs a solid foundation to sort of keep those joints together and to keep it standing up to the wear and tear of just furniture placement and usage of the space. So you really do want to take up that carpeting, you want to take up whatever underlayment they’ve used and then you want to use the underlayment that the manufacturer of your laminate flooring specifies.
So, some of the laminates come with an underlayment attached already to the back. Some recommend a foam that sort of rolls out. It really varies but it’s super effective and you do need it.
TOM: A lot of the seams with the flooring are locked together. And if the underlayment of carpet in this case is soft, as I’m sure it is, and you press down on that seam, it could pop open or it could break. It’s just not designed to be supported by anything other than the underlayment sold by the manufacturer and specced out to go with that particular product.
VINNIE: So, the underlayment sold by the manufacturer would be more firm.
TOM: Yeah, it’s usually a very thin foam, like maybe an 1/8- to ¼-inch stiff foam that comes in rolls and rolls out or like Leslie said, it could be attached to the back of the laminate piece. And it would go right on the subfloor or on the slab.
VINNIE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Well, if you just love the look of wood floors and you want them in areas that could be prone to a lot or even a little water, hardwood flooring is probably not the best choice. We’ve got some better options to suggest in today’s Flooring Tip, presented by Lumber Liquidators.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, if solid-hardwood flooring gets wet, it can swell, it can buckle. And once that happens, there’s really no going back. Well, there’s a new waterproof-flooring option on the market that can deliver the look of real hardwood without the risk of water damage. And it’s called “engineered vinyl plank” or EVP.
Now, the nice thing about EVP is that it’s totally and completely waterproof. It can stay wet for really an extended period of time. So wet-mopping, bathroom splashes, pet accidents, all of those things will not damage the floor.
TOM: And you know what? It’s called “engineered vinyl plank” but don’t be confused by the name. It’s not your mom’s vinyl. EVP combines sort of the comfort and waterproof features of standard vinyl with the quick and easy installation of laminate. It comes in lots of trendy designs. It really does capture the authentic grain and color and texture of real hardwood.
I’ve seen this stuff. It looks amazingly like the hardwoods that sort of inspire its design. If you saw this installed, you wouldn’t immediately know that it’s vinyl because it looks that good. It’s textured and it’s very, very colorful like wood is.
LESLIE: Yeah. But because it is a truly waterproof construction, you can bring that beauty and warmth of hardwood to every room in your home. I’m talking about full bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements. These are all spaces that have potential to get wet or stay wet or just wet in nature.
Now, by using a PVC layer in its core, it creates a rigid plank. And EVP will install easily. It’s not going to show ripples if there are any imperfections in the subfloor. And what I really like best about the EVP is that it’s extremely durable, which is great if you’ve got a busy home. It’s not going to show dents from heavy furniture or your kids dropping toys on it or all the weird play that goes on when you’ve got small kids. That floor will really just stand up to it.
TOM: Today’s Flooring Tip was presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find the new CoreLuxe Engineered Vinyl Plank Flooring. CoreLuxe EVP is ideal for any room in your home, including bathrooms, kitchens and mud rooms. It’s easy to install and a great option for upgrading your floors with a truly durable and waterproof option.
You’ll find CoreLuxe Engineered Vinyl Plank at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.
LESLIE: Joyce in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOYCE: Have an in-law apartment and someone who was living there for a while was smoking. And we wanted to do whatever we could to get the smell of the smoke out of the apartment.
TOM: Do you have wall-to-wall carpet in there?
JOYCE: There is.
TOM: Yeah, that’s going to be a bit of a problem because I’m sure the odor is into that carpet.
So, a couple things you could do. First of all, if you’re going to paint the apartment, you’re going to want to prime all the walls first. Well, first of all, wash them down, then prime them with a good-quality primer, then paint them. That will help seal in what’s gotten into the walls.
As far as the carpet, a good, thorough, deep steam-cleaning of that. You may have to go over it a number of times to try to get as much dirt and debris and odor out of that carpet as possible. I mean the best thing – if we have situations where this is a real problem, the carpet’s kind of worn, we’ll tell people to take it up and prime the subfloor underneath, believe it or not, to make sure we really seal out any of those odors that have soaked into the wood. But if you prime and paint the walls and if you steam-clean the carpet, that’s probably the best you can do.
What about furniture? Is this place furnished? Do you still have the old furniture in there that the smoker lived with?
JOYCE: The only furniture that’s really in there is a leather living-room set.
TOM: Leslie, what do you think about that? Will the smoke odor get into the – go through the leather and get into the cushions?
LESLIE: You know, leather is such a natural surface that it is porous in its own right and it depends on what the cushioning is on the inside. You really have to be careful and of course, you can’t really thoroughly clean leather because of its inherent natural qualities. You don’t want it to stain. You might want to see what those cushions are like on the inside. Take out the inserts. If you can replace those, that could be a huge help.
JOYCE: OK, great. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
LESLIE: Hey, if you’re planning to build new or add an addition, is prefab the way to go or should you just build it from scratch? We’re going to tackle that question, direct from The Money Pit Community, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line for the answer to your question at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: You can get matched with background-checked home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire a pro you can trust.
LESLIE: Alright. But speaking of pros you can trust, Tom and I are here to help you out with whatever it is you are working on right now. And we’re going to answer an email here from Steve who writes: “I’m looking to add a second floor to our ranch home. I want to get your opinion on using modular home companies as opposed to a builder or contractor.”
Now, that’s interesting. Can you sort of piecemeal the two together, Tom? Could you use a modular part?
TOM: I think if this was an addition, right, that expanded the footprint of the house, I don’t see any reason that couldn’t be factory-built, because that’s basically what modular construction is. It’s factory-built. And there’s actually a lot of advantages to factory-built homes. The accuracy is far better than site-built homes because everything is built in controlled conditions, in weather-stable conditions in these factories and warehouses that they build them in. There’s no issues of the strength of the home or the structural integrity, nothing like that. They go up very, very quickly and they’re generally well built, so I have no issue with modular construction.
Now, it could go wrong if the home is not really set up for that. And by that, I mean let’s say you want to put a second floor on the house. I don’t think that could be modular. But if you wanted to add space to the house – say, a back addition or a rear addition or something like that – that possibly could be modular.
I don’t really hear much about modular construction for additions. They’re mostly for new construction but people naturally have a concern as to whether or not it’s as good as stick-built homes. And I think it is. I have no issue with that.
LESLIE: Good. That’s good to know.
Alright. Next up, we’re going to jump into an email from Sandra in Princeton, New Jersey who writes: “I’d like to freshen up my brick fireplace. It’s all brick and it appears that the previous owner tried to paint the brick, then changed their minds. So now I have blotchy brick that’s also worn and chipped in spots. How can I fix it without breaking the bank?”
Now, I bet it was painted and then somebody tried to sandblast it or take the paint off. That’s what this sounds more like.
TOM: Sounds that way, yeah. You know what comes after paint? Repaint. And brick’s a one-way street. Right, Leslie? Once you paint it, there is no going back to the natural brick because it’s got too many nooks and crannies. It’s just too darn porous.
LESLIE: Yeah. It just sucks up all the paint. That’s why if you’ve ever tried to paint brick, you know that it takes a gazillion coats, because it just keeps sucking up all that paint.
Now, really, it’s tremendously difficult to remove the paint. You would have to use a chemical stripping agent, sometimes sandblasting. All of those things are going to just damage that brick even more. So, unfortunately, I’m going to say you can either paint it and live with it and like it or you can cover it with a stone type of product, almost like a stone facing that would give it more of a river rock or a ledgestone. And some of those are super lightweight and almost just a veneer so that you can actually apply that in front of the brick.
But you’re not going to get back to that beautiful brick without either applying a new product or just new paint.
TOM: Yeah. And if you are going to paint it, you want to make sure it’s really clean and then put an oil-based primer on there first. Let it dry really, really well and then put a couple of topcoats. Because if you don’t do it in that order, whatever they had on initially is going to perhaps force the next coat to not stick. So a primer is really, really important.
LESLIE: Yeah. And then, again, just don’t paint brick. I always say it. Just don’t do it, guys.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this beautiful day with us. We hope we’ve given you some ideas and tips to inspire your fall fix-up and décor projects around your house. Remember, you can reach us, 24/7, on MoneyPit.com. Just post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page.
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.
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(Copyright 2017 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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