If you’ve been thinking about investing in a home but don’t have the funds to go it alone, buying a home with a partner can be an option. Tom and Leslie walk you through the steps you should consider before making that big purchase.
- If you are tightening your belt, you may be thinking about slashing your home maintenance budget. That could be a BIG mistake, we’ll explain why.
- Do you ever feel like you’re always having trouble finding the tool you’re looking for? If your workshop or craft space is cluttered, disorganized, maybe even overflowing, a standard toolbox might not be cutting it for you. We’ll have helpful tips for tool organization coming up.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, options for insulating your attic, installing a marble countertop, how to add speckles to garage epoxy floor, repairing a flat roof, eliminating roaches
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: Hey, what are you guys working on? What are you doing? Are you getting ready for the big holiday celebration? Well, I think we’re all going to have a ramped-down holiday celebration this year. But if you’re fixing up your house, if you’re thinking about what you want to do maybe when we can throw open the windows and doors again when we’re out of the winter, the pandemic has passed, or if you’ve got a project you want to do right now because you’re going to be sticking around and spending a lot more time inside like the rest of us for the next few months, hey, give us a call because we can help.
You can reach out to us online at MoneyPit.com, through Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or you can always pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we love to help. Think of us as your coach, your helper, your home improvement therapist. Whatever it takes to get those projects done, we would love to give you a hand.
Hey, coming up on today’s show, if you’ve been thinking about investing in a home but you don’t have the funds to go it alone, buying a house with a partner can be a great option. We’re going to have some steps you should consider, though, before making that big purchase.
LESLIE: And if you’re tightening your belt, you might be thinking about slashing your home maintenance budget. Now, that can be a huge mistake. We’re going to explain why.
TOM: And do you ever feel like you’re always having trouble finding the tool you’re looking for? Well, if your workshop or your craft space is cluttered, disorganized, maybe even overflowing, a standard tool box may just not be cutting it. We’re going to have some tips and ideas for how you can reorganize that tool collection to make it accessible when you need it.
LESLIE: But first, what’s on your to-do list? Are you thinking about a project that you’d like to get done before the real cold weather of winter sets in? Maybe you’d like to let us know what that project is so we can give you a hand. And heck, if you’re looking for some last-minute holiday home improvements, we are happy to help you get those done before your very limited number of guests comes knocking. But I promise we can help you get your house in tip-top shape for this holiday season.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading over to Ohio. We’ve got Amy on the line who wants to talk about some insulation. How can we help you?
AMY: My house is 202 years old. (inaudible)
TOM: Wow. And we thought we had old houses, Leslie.
LESLIE: It’s an old house.
AMY: Yeah. Let me tell you, your show, Money Pit, basically describes our house.
We have a third-floor attic, which is not your traditional attic. I mean it’s huge; it covers the whole second floor. It’s about 30×40. All you can see are the original, hand-hewn trees/beams.
AMY: There is floor up there but I want to insulate. I don’t want to cover up the beams but I do want to put some insulation in between them and then some sort of something that goes with it but not the entire depth of the beam, if that makes sense.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So, is – let me ask you this: are we talking about an improvement here, solely for energy efficiency, or is this third-floor attic a finished space or a space that you want to finish?
AMY: Both. Yes, I want it more energy-efficient. Our electric bills, at the moment, are about $1,000 to $1,200 a month.
AMY: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Energy efficiency wasn’t so important 200 years ago.
AMY: No. There’s no insulation. It’s entirely brick. It’s 18-inches-thick of brick all the way around, so there’s no insulation anywhere.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK. Alright. So, look, I would first tell you that insulating a space like this is challenging. And the reason it’s challenging is because the depth of those rafters, which is where you’re talking about putting the insulation, is limited. And that means you have a limited amount of space that you can use for insulation. It also presents challenges for ventilation.
Because let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that you have a beam that is – I’m going to be optimistic here. It’s probably less than this but let’s say it’s a 10-inch-deep beam, right? Well, you can only put 8 inches of insulation in there. It would have to be flush with the inside edge of the beam. And then you have to leave the 2 inches behind it – that gap – for ventilation. And then you have to add vents to make sure you have airflow back there. It’s a challenge. Plus, in an attic, normally you would want to have – if we’re talking about fiberglass, you would want to have 15 or 20 inches to really keep the heat in. So, that’s what makes it really difficult.
Now, I will tell you another option, which I – you may or may not like, because I’m going to tell you you’re going to cover these beams. But if you want to insulate this space, there’s one thing that will work brilliantly and that is spray-foam insulation. The reason you can use spray-foam insulation is because it’s incredibly efficient per inch. It gives you more R – more resistance to heat loss – for every insulation than fiberglass does.
In my house, for example, which is a youngster at 130 years old, I did spray-foam insulation in my attic. And albeit, it’s not a living space but we insulated between the rafters and slightly over the rafters as we wanted even another inch or two of insulation. And the temperature in that attic, Amy, does not change year-round. It is perfectly – and there’s no heating or cooling up there. It just stays at ambient temperature and it’s very, very comfortable. It’s just an incredibly powerful product because it not only insulates but it seals. So it seals all the gaps that are just common to older homes. So if you really want to, you know, cut back on that heating bill, that’s kind of what you’re looking at.
I guess the other thing that you could think about doing is adding insulation to that floor. And this would help make the lower …
AMY: That’s what I’m currently doing, yes.
TOM: Yeah, the lower sections of your house would become more efficient as a result of that.
The attic – how is the attic heated now? You said you have a high electric bill. Is it electric heat or is it some other heating system?
AMY: No, there isn’t any heat or air cooling or air conditioning up there now.
TOM: OK. Well, then what are you going to put up there if you want to make it a living space? How are you going to make it comfy?
AMY: I will have to add something. I was hoping maybe it would be tolerable year-round. I don’t know.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you could put a split-ductless unit in, that’s like a mini-heat pump, that would provide heating and cooling. Do you have hot-water heat throughout the rest of the house? What’s the rest of the heating system?
AMY: It’s gas. Central gas.
TOM: But what is it? Radiators or forced hot air?
AMY: Oh, forced hot air.
TOM: OK. Well, you probably would not be able to extend that. It’s probably pretty tapped out now. So you really would have to have a separate zone up there. And given that, probably using a split-ductless heat pump, which is still going to be expensive – but look, if you – these older homes, we love them. They’re beautiful. But they are challenging, in some respects, when you want to finish areas like this. And if you love the look of those beams and you want to keep them, then insulation does not play well with that décor.
AMY: Would it be …?
TOM: Leslie, I don’t think we’ve ever seen an attractive insulation product from a décor perspective.
LESLIE: No. I mean it’s really not something that you’re meant to look at. It does a great job and you feel comfortable but I wouldn’t want to look at it all the time.
AMY: Would it be beneficial, in any way, to put even a couple inches of the spray foam on the part of the roof that you can see – the plywood – but still see the beams? Not go that far up?
TOM: Yeah, you may be able to pick up some on that. I might just have a conversation with some spray-foam providers and find those that are very experienced and have a good track record, not the person that does other types of insulation and subs out to a spray-foam company. You want somebody who is a real pro, because there’s definitely points for technique and neatness when you use this product.
When we did our house, we not only did the attic space but we did the crawlspaces and the box beams. And I had a section of my basement that had a computer network in it and these guys were neat as a pin. And man, what a difference it made by using that.
So, you would pick up some insulation and you would definitely pick up a reduction in the drafts that are up there. So, that’s an option.
TOM: It’s just kind of a shame to have somebody there. The expense is the mobilization of having a spray-foam contractor come out and then just say, “But only put a couple inches in, not filling it up.” It’s because you’re so close to having a really, really well-insulated home and you’re just pulling back because of the décor concerns. But that’s your right to do. It’s a balancing act against the expense of the – of those electric bills, as you’ve learned.
AMY: Right. Oh, yeah, yeah.
AMY: Alright. Wonderful. Thank you for your suggestions.
LESLIE: Alright. Looking to cozy up, we’ve got Paul in Massachusetts on the line who wants to add some sort of fireplace or wood-burning stove. What’s going on?
PAUL: The chimney goes up in the center of the house. Now, this could either be the wood- or a gas-burning stove.
PAUL: It has nothing to do with heating the house. It’s more of the – an added feature, kind of a visual feature.
TOM: The ambiance factor. Got it. Yeah.
Alright. So the chimney that you have going up through the center of the house now, that is serving only the heating system? Is there anything else?
TOM: So there’s one flue inside of it?
PAUL: No. Just one flue, yes. It’s just a chimney. There’s no (inaudible).
TOM: OK. So you can’t mix the – if it’s wood-burning, you can’t use that chimney anyway, OK?
TOM: That’s not possible. What you would have to do – and probably in both cases – is you would put in a metal – a triple-walled metal – vent pipe. Whether it was wood-burning or natural gas, you would put a vent pipe in. You may choose to run that parallel with the chimney, only because you already have sort of the space knocked out for it or a chase there, even if you have to extend the box, and probably run it up parallel to that structure, all the way up and out the roof.
The other option is if you wanted to mount it on an exterior wall, it’s possible to direct-vent in some circumstances, as well.
PAUL: I’d imagine the second option is less invasive. It’s probably just punching up and then punching a hole in the wall, putting up a heat pipe and then running it a certain height. That would be a lot less …
TOM: That’s correct, yeah. That’s correct. And it has to clear the roof. There’s a rule for how far above a roof a vent has to be. And we call it the “2-10 rule,” which basically means if you go from the top of the vent pipe down 2 feet, it has to be more than 10 feet from any portion of the roof. So if you were to sort of tie a string around it there and circle it around, you couldn’t touch your roof.
TOM: Those are your options. I hesitate to tell you this but there is a type of gas fireplace that’s not vented but I don’t recommend it. There is – you know, there are gas fireplaces that are high efficiency and vent into the house but I really don’t like it, because I feel like it puts in a lot of moisture into the house. And I feel like it’s a potential carbon-monoxide risk unless it’s operating perfectly. So, I would not do that.
But if you had the space, I think the nicest thing, just for the charm of it in my mind, is a wood-burning, zero-clearance fireplace. It’s called “zero-clearance” because it can go against a combustible surface with no space. So it takes the least amount of space. You still need to have a hearth in front of it and so on but you could basically insert it into the exterior wall. So, a wood-burning fireplace but the term is zero-clearance. Zero-clearance.
TOM: So, if you go to a supplier or you Google that – “zero-clearance wood-burning fireplace” – you will see a wide, wide, wide variety of models and installation methods, from some that are sort of circular, designed to go as an art piece right in the middle of your house, all the way to the ones that are mounted in other various spaces throughout. Even corner-mount versions.
PAUL: Perfect. I really appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Paul. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
PAUL: And I look forward to Sunday morning and listen [to you again] (ph).
TOM: Alright. Thank you so much, sir.
Well, if you’ve been thinking about investing in a home but you don’t have the funds to go it alone, buying a home with a partner might be a good idea. Whether it be a common-law partnership, a friend or a business associate, it is another way to get the project done. But if you do it that way, it definitely is more complicated. So you need to plan well ahead of time and make sure you’re dotting your I’s and T’s on a contract between you and the folks that you’re buying it from and between you and your potential partners.
So, here are some things you ought to think about it.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, you have to have a discussion about who’s paying for what. That’s first and foremost.
So, for example, if you’ve got a rental property, you need to agree on how much each person is going to contribute to the down payment and how much equity percentage each person is going to have in the property. Also, what will be each of your contribution to the mortgage, the taxes, the utilities, maintenance? Anything like that. Even repairs that might come up.
TOM: Now, it’s also a good idea to set up a joint bank account as an easier way to pay all those necessary costs. With the capabilities of online banking and automatic withdrawal, you can easily set up payments to come directly out of that account to the vendor that needs to get it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you should also get familiar with the types of ownership titles that are out there and get legal advice to help you decide what is the best option for your particular situation, because it’s all complicated.
Now, there are three different types of title. First of all, it’s sole ownership. This is where one person’s name and only one person’s name is on the title or deed. And that means that that person is the only legal owner.
Now, there’s also joint tenants. And this is an option that’s available for where owners have an equal share in the property.
And then the last one is tenants in common. Now, this is an option that allows multiple owners of a home property and for those owners to possess unequal shares. And the interesting thing about this type of title is that it’s possible for any one of the owners to sell his or her share of the property at any time, so that’s an interesting factor to keep in mind.
TOM: That’s right. And that, of course, can disrupt the relationship and a whole bunch of things.
LESLIE: A whole bunch of things.
TOM: So, yeah, you really need to think through this, because it does get complicated. If you buy a home with a partner, it can be a smart way to invest in property and maybe make some money and get something that you possibly couldn’t afford on your own. But it’s definitely more complicated for both parties, so get good legal advice before you even begin to shop. This is one of those situations where best of friends can become best of not-so-friendly pretty quickly.
LESLIE: Joan in South Carolina is on the line with a countertop question. How can we help you today?
JOAN: I’ve always gotten granite countertops because of the durability factor. And this time, I was thinking of getting marble. I like the looks of a white marble with a gray vein going through it.
LESLIE: Oh, the Carrara marble that every person loves right now, right?
JOAN: Yeah. I was told that it scratches really easily, though. So I was wondering if that’s true and if it is true, can it be sealed like granite can be?
LESLIE: Well, Joan, you’re right. Carrara marble – I mean generally, when you think of kitchen, even a bathroom, granite seems to be the number-one choice. It’s much more hard, I should say. It’s harder than marble and it’s sealed. Marble can also be sealed. But let’s talk about the differences here.
Carrara marble, first of all, has seen a huge resurgence. It’s very popular in a lot of spaces. It’s gorgeous. You’re right: it’s white with the gray veining. And you can pick your slabs to have more veining or less veining, so it really can be a very, very beautiful piece.
Now, in kitchens, because the marble is softer than granite even though, yes, it’s a hard surface, it has just a more innate softness to it so that it can scratch more easily. But I think more importantly is it can stain more easily. And in a kitchen, you’re prone to a lot more things that could potentially stain the marble surface.
Olive oil. A lot of people don’t think that oils would stain something but because the marble is softer and therefore more porous, even with the sealer it can suck in that oil and then leave a stain or a discoloration within the marble itself. Tomato sauce, lemon. Lemon will also stain the surface.
So I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying you have to be very careful with it. Because I too love Carrara marble in a kitchen and I’m actually considering doing it myself. Well, not putting it in myself but putting it in my own kitchen. But you can seal it. Anytime you go with anything that’s a lighter color, like the Carrara, it has to be sealed more often. Some places are going to recommend once a year. You would want to have it professionally sealed and at the same time, if you did encounter any staining or scratching, they can sort of resurface it a little bit to create a fresher look and then seal it again. So it’s going to take a lot more maintenance.
And I’m going to tell you, Carrara marble is expensive. I just did a Carrara slab for my fireplace and it’s funny. I thought I bought a Carrara tile and a Carrara slab for the fireplace surround and the fireplace for the hearth. And I thought they charged me for both and I ended up paying 400 bucks for all the tile. And I thought it also included the slab and I was like, “Wow! I got such a great deal.” And then I got a phone call that said, “And here is your bill for the slab. We had to wait until they cut your piece. It’s $1,200.” And I was like, “Ugh.”
So, Joan, I know that you’re thinking, “Don’t go with the Carrara.” But if it’s because of the price and it’s because of the maintenance, look at some of the quartz products. There’s Zodiac, Cosentino. There’s a whole bunch of different brands out there and I forget which one but one of them – and if you go to Home Depot, they actually have it – has a quartz product that looks just like Carrara and it’s half the maintenance. It’s actually zero maintenance.
JOAN: Oh, wow. That’s good to know. Well, maybe I’ll look into that again. I think you’ve talked me back into it again.
TOM: Alright, Joan. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
So, Leslie, one of the projects that we’re thinking about taking on here at the Kraeutler Money Pit household is we’re going to replace our current heating system and our water heater.
LESLIE: That’s a big project.
TOM: And we’re going to install, yeah, a combi boiler, you know? So, my wife said, “How big is that?” I said, “About the size of a kitchen cabinet.” They’re super small and really efficient. And I think it’s a smart thing for us to do because we have an original oil boiler that once the oil tank was abandoned or we actually filled it in, we converted that with a gas burner. So same old boiler but new sort of heat source, right? Gas burner. And that’s not really efficient.
And then on top of that, we have what’s called an “inverted water heater,” which uses the boiler to heat water and then sort of maintains that temperature. So, not really efficient. It’s an old house; we just never got around to it. We did all these other things.
So I’m like, “OK, I’m going to go ahead and do this now.” I start looking for prices and I got three different estimates. The first two were 7,000 and 7,500. And this is remove and replacing all the old gear, putting in the new boiler. The next one was $14,000 for the exact same equipment.
And I thought, “This is just typical, right?” Some of these guys just try to get whatever they think they can. And they think that you’re a dummy and you’re not going to price this thing out. But how many people just get one estimate at 14 grand and go, “Oh, OK. I thought it was going to be expensive but alright, here’s a check.” But one for 7,000 – same exact equipment – and the other one for 14,000. Really crazy.
So it happens to us, too, folks. That’s why you’ve got to do the shopping and you’ve got to take the time to get those numbers, get those estimates so you make a smart choice.
But I think once this thing is installed, we’re going to see a huge difference in our heating bills.
LESLIE: This is going to be awesome. I can’t wait to actually see the big difference, so keep track of everything for us.
TOM: Already planning what we’re going to do with the extra space.
LESLIE: That’s awesome.
Alan in Georgia is on the line with a roach question. You’ve already given me the creepy-crawlies. What’s going on at your money pit?
ALAN: I’m having to have a forced move as of eight days ago.
ALAN: And so now I’m going to this other house and it is just crawling with both American and German cockroaches.
LESLIE: And you can understand them because of their accent?
ALAN: The bug man came in to spray but I was not here, so I don’t know where he sprayed.
TOM: Well, I think, at this point, you have to trust that he knows what he’s doing and then see if you can get this under control. From the – from an extermination perspective, whatever he’s going to apply is going to kill both of them. The American cockroaches are bigger than the German ones but they’re still pretty nasty. And generally, the advice on dealing with these things is to keep a clean house – I mean a really clean house – and then to use baits and gels and powder insecticides.
And you’re better off having the professional do that because frankly, they can get their hands on the stronger stuff that you can’t. And they know where to put it, they know how much to apply and hopefully it’ll do the job of getting these things under control and completely eliminate them. And then perhaps when you move into this house, that plus improved hygiene – because it sounds like the last occupant was pretty sloppy and may have left food around or had leaks in their plumbing, things that can sustain these insect populations – that that’s not going to happen ago. So I think you did the right thing and it’s just going to take a while for them to go away.
ALAN: OK. Would it do any good to bomb behind it or will that …?
TOM: No, no. No, no. I wouldn’t get involved in that and I can’t tell you how many times we read stories about those bug bombs blowing up houses. Because there’s a lot of people out there that think if one of those bug bombs is good, using eight is better. And it usually ends up with blowing out the front wall of the house or worse. So, yeah, I wouldn’t do that.
No, I would just trust the professional. They’re going to – let’s just assume that the guy put the right material in and then, listen, if you’ve got questions, call the company up. Ask them what they did, what they used. They should be at least leaving you information on what products they put in. And find out if there’s a guarantee. If you see any more roaches, should you call them and how long should you wait to make that call? Because it might take a couple of days for these things to settle down.
ALAN: Alrighty. Well, I appreciate you all.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re tightening your belt, you might be thinking about slashing your home maintenance budget. We’re here to tell you that that could be a big mistake, because it is never a good idea to slack off in taking care of your biggest investment. But the question is: how much should you spend?
LESLIE: Yeah. So let’s talk about what a realistic budget should look like.
Now, for most homes it’s one percent of that home’s value. So if you have a home that’s worth $250,000, you should budget for $2,500 worth of maintenance. Now, the first step is to break it up into the smallest pieces. One idea is to make three lists: a must-do, should-do and the would-like-to-do. That’s going to sort of help you prioritize what and how things need to get done.
TOM: Now, some of the jobs you obviously need a pro to tackle while others you can do yourself. You’re going to need a pro for heating-and-cooling system maintenance. Say, if you have a leak, you might need a plumber or if something goes wacky with your electrical system, you’ll need an electrician to take care of things that don’t work.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s also important to focus on the exterior, not only for the curb appeal but to also protect the structural elements of the house and the energy efficiency, as well. So, you immediately want to address any water-related home maintenance issues, like a leaky window or a door, a clogged gutter or even grading that keeps that water right near the structure and maybe gets the basement wet again.
Now, you can do some of these things yourselves but all in, a one-percent budget should cover it.
TOM: Now, for bigger repairs, like replacing your heating system or your air conditioner, you just keep track of the unit’s age. And the older they get, it’s the more likely you’re going to need to replace it. But if you keep up that one-percent rule for maintenance and you carry over what’s left in that balance to the next year, you will find that you are amassing a fund, if you have reasonable luck. Your system could go the first year when you don’t have enough money in it. But you will find that you will have a good pile of – it’s a rainy-day pile there of money for when some of those bigger projects need to get done, like roofs or heating systems, that you can also tap into.
So, one percent is the rule. Set that aside, you should be good to go.
LESLIE: Cindy in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CINDY: We bought our house two years ago and one of the options was to have the epoxy floor. And what we got was a plain, gray epoxy.
CINDY: And now we noticed that the other houses that are all being built around us, they have a gray epoxy floor but they have those little speckle confetti on top.
TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yeah.
CINDY: So we want to know – we want to redo our epoxy to have that little confetti sprinkled on.
CINDY: Do we have to strip the old epoxy off completely or can we just put a new epoxy over it?
TOM: No, I think you could put a second layer on it as long as that old epoxy is adhered well. If it looks like it’s a tough finish and it’s sticking well, then I think you could add another coat of epoxy on top of it. Some folks put multiple coats of that base epoxy and some folks put the clear – you can put a clear coat on, on top of what they have.
So, no, you can put another layer on it. I would try to find out what product it was so that you’re using the same product. That would give you a better chance of not having any adhesion issues.
CINDY: Oh, that makes a difference, the same product. OK.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. OK?
CINDY: I didn’t even think of that. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. OK, Cindy. Good luck with that project and thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when your tools are disorganized, it makes it really hard to get those projects done. Fortunately, you’re not alone and there are many ways to store your tools these days as there are tools themselves.
TOM: Now, one of the more popular ways to store tools these days are to use the interlocking tool boxes. Generally, these are containers that are stackable and they work together to make storage as easy and efficient as possible. There’s even a version that DeWALT makes that attaches to a sort of – I guess I would call it a “hand truck,” so you can easily move tools around the house or on the job site.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? I really love using pegboard in work spaces. It’s truly one of the most versatile organization tools out there. So, my list of tool-storage ideas wouldn’t be complete without including it.
Now, I used a multi-purpose package of those pegboard accessories. Because when you go to the section in the home center, there’s a lot of different accessories that you can buy for the pegboard. And once you start seeing how your tools sort of get stored on it, you can figure out like, “Ooh, this one might work best. Or maybe I should try that one.” So many fun things to put together.
Then you can put it up behind your workbench and use all your hand tools on there. Everything. Super easy, really convenient.
TOM: And the nice thing about that kind of visual display is if a tool is missing, you see it. And it’s not sort of forgotten for months and then you’re trying to wonder where you left it.
Now, as for workbenches, Husky has one that I like that solves a problem I often have when shopping for a workbench, which is the reason I usually end up building my own. And that is that they are too short for tall guys. Husky solved this by creating one that not only holds dozens of tools – it’s got a whole drawer cabinet in it – but the top easily adjusts up or down. It’s got a crank that changes the height based on the user, so no more sore backs.
I think you’ll find that if you spend some time updating your storage gear, you’ll get a lot more organized when it comes to those projects.
LESLIE: Steve in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
STEVE: I’ve got a cabin way out in the woods here in North Carolina. And I built a bathroom onto it. And just years ago that I’ve done this. We put a flat roof over the bathroom and the seam leaked during the last storm very, very badly. When I remove the tiles – and I used the pink insulation in the roof – what do I do?
TOM: So all that has to be torn out.
Now, you mentioned it was because of a storm. Is this cabin insured? Do you have a homeowners policy on this?
STEVE: I do, yes.
TOM: That storm damage should have been covered by your policy. Yeah, if you haven’t filed a claim, I would definitely do that because it’s probably covered.
Now, since you had such a bad leak, obviously, all that has to be taken out. So, you’ve removed the ceiling. You have to pull out all that insulation. You need to wear appropriate breathing protection when you’re doing this and try to control that area. Because with all of that mold, you don’t want to get it into the house, right? So, that’s why it’s kind of a job for a pro.
TOM: But if I was doing it, I would depressurize the room I’m working in so that there was good ventilation and everything was blowing out, right? So, I would make sure that I managed that. Pull out all the insulation. You’re going to need to spray down all of the inside surfaces with a mold inhibitor. There’s many good commercial products on the market that do that. And you’re going to have to replace that roof.
Now, you said it was a flat roof. That’s the least favorite type of roof, I would say, because if there’s going to be a leak, it’s going to happen a lot quicker on a flat roof than any other kind of pitched roof. But you’re going to have to replace it.
What kind of material did you use? Did you use roll roof on it?
STEVE: We did. And see, that was my mistake.
TOM: Yeah. Roll roof is not designed for flat roofs. Roll roof, you’ve got to have at least about a 2/12 pitch for it to work right. And so, you really need to use a rubberized bitumen or something like that.
But choose a material that’s designed for flat roofs when you replace this. But I think you know what’s ahead of you, Steve. You just needed me to say it. You’ve got to tear it all out. And listen, if you can get coverage because of the storm, maybe it won’t cost you as much as it might have, OK?
STEVE: OK. Listen and before I let you go, I wish you all would let the trailer music play a little longer. I love your trailer music.
TOM: Alright. Well, thanks very much. We appreciate that. I’ve got to put that on the website. A lot of folks love that tune.
LESLIE: Everybody loves it.
TOM: You don’t even know we have additional verses to it.
STEVE: Oh. I want to hear the whole thing.
TOM: Alright. Thanks very much. Have a great day.
TOM: Leslie, you have all of your décor done now? Are you up? You good to go for the holiday?
LESLIE: For Christmas holiday? Are you kidding? When everybody goes to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner, I put up the decorations. And I’m happy because this year, the Turkey Day – Thanksgiving – was late in the month, so buying the tree the next day isn’t too soon. We’ve had it where the Thanksgiving is the week before and the tree hasn’t made it quite to the holiday.
TOM: Right. Yeah.
LESLIE: But I’ve got a tradition.
TOM: You want to make sure, too, that you don’t leave those trees sitting too long after the holiday, because they get dried out quick.
LESLIE: I know. They never last until my birthday. You know that’s my dream. But I don’t – I can’t see a Christmas tree in February.
But give us a call. Maybe you want to keep your tree up, too, and you and I can figure out a way to do just that.
Corinne in Pennsylvania sent us an email and she says, “The black flexible spacers between the three, big concrete slabs that make up my driveway are brittle and coming out. How do I replace them? With what? And can I do this myself?”
Yeah, what is that?
TOM: So, those spacers are expansion spacers that are put in when the concrete is poured. And because of that, they tend to dry out and deteriorate over the years. Now, there are a wide variety of sealants. There are some nice sealants that QUIKRETE makes that are flowable.
I love those because what you want to do is scrape all that old spacer material out. It usually will sort of crumble. Sometimes, you might want to run a wet/dry shop vac over it to pull all the junk out of it. And then what you do is you get a foam spacer, which is like a really small foam tube. They’re long but they’re small diameter. You stick it in that crack sort of right below the surface and you want to basically put it there so you don’t waste a lot of the sealant. And then you flow the sealant on top of the foam. It sticks to the side of the concrete and then it expands and contracts. And it can last for years.
So, definitely a fun project. I did this, actually, with my garage workshop not too long ago because the apron was getting a little bit worn. We had a couple of those spacers in there, so I put some QUIKRETE sealant in there and now it looks good.
LESLIE: Now, do you actually have to have something in there or is it just because that area hasn’t been exposed to the elements and it needs some sort of a treatment?
TOM: I think it’s a good idea to put something in there, because here’s why: if you don’t, you’re going to get a lot of water that will enter that spacing. And then, as you know, it will get under that piece of the slab and it will freeze and expand and it’ll crack. So it’ll either lift part of the driveway or part of the apron, which is that piece right up against the garage edge, and crack it. Or it could erode some of the soil underneath and then that part could crack and sort of fall downward or push downward. So I do think it’s a good idea to keep it watertight.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got something from Julie in Chicago who writes: “The sliding-glass doors on my tub enclosure were looking disgusting, so I removed them, including the frame strips. Can I replace the doors myself or should I just hire somebody? Is there anything that’s super tricky about this project?”
TOM: You know, a friend of mine called about replacing her shower doors and she had gotten prices of $3,000. And you know what? Not necessary. You can buy beautiful shower-door assemblies at big-box stores and even online. Amazon sells them. It’s totally a do-it-yourself project. There’s not much to customize there and I think you’ll be very pleased with the result. So go for it, Julie.
LESLIE: Alright, Julie. Good luck with that. That’s a really sort of empowering project. It’s a big door space. It’s something that seems awesome and challenging and you can totally do it yourself, so give it a go.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show and we are so glad that you are. We hope that we’ve given you some tips and ideas and inspiration to avoid the perspiration when it comes to projects around your house. If there’s a question that comes to mind, any time of the day or night, please do reach out to us by posting your question at MoneyPit.com or calling us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2020 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.)