- Spaces under outdoor decks can be dark, dirty wastelands! But with a deck ceiling, you can drain the rain and clean up the look below. We walk you through build-from-scratch and manufactured options to create a dry hangout space below an overhead decks.
- Finding a foundation crack can be quite disturbing, but not all cracks spell disaster! We’ll share how to sort out the minor from the major, and what to do if you find yourself unsure of what you’ve got.
- You may think of Ivy as a way to make your home look distinguished – but did you know it can also wreak serious havoc on your siding and cause major carpenter ant problems? We’ll have tips on the best way to get rid of ivy and manage those creepy vines.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Courtney wants to know how to get rid of tree roots so she can build a new patio.
- Larry needs to know how to replace his concrete driveway.
- Lucille is trying to seal a hole to repair a cracked fiberglass tub.
- John asks if cleaning solar panels improves their efficiency.
- Peg wants to know how to repair, restore or replace the spacers between patio sections.
- Marge is looking for the best way to repair a broken kitchen cabinet shelf.
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 we’re here to help you take on your home improvement projects. Whether you’re doing or dreaming, whether you’ve got a project that is underway or one that you’re planning for the future, we would love to help you get it done. Help yourself first, though, by reaching out to us. Couple of ways to get in contact: you can call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your message to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, the spaces under decks can be dark and dirty wastelands. But if your deck is a second-story deck, there are lots of ways to add an under-deck ceiling and it can actually drain rainwater that passes through all those boards and clean up that look below. We’re going to explain how, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
LESLIE: And finding a crack in your foundation can be quite disturbing but not all cracks spell disaster. We’re going to share how to sort out the minor from the major and what to do if you find yourself unsure of what you’ve got.
TOM: And you may think of ivy as a way to make your home look more, say, distinguished. But did you also know it can wreak serious havoc on your siding and cause major carpenter-ant problems and even rat infestations? We’re going to have tips on the best way to manage those creepy vines.
LESLIE: But first, from bathrooms to basements and demolition to décor, we want to help you tackle your to-dos with confidence. So let us know what you are working on so we can help you get that all sorted out. Whether you’re dreaming of a project or in the middle of one, we’re here to lend a hand.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading out to West Chester, Pennsylvania where we’ve got Courtney who’s doing some work in the yard with a patio but a tree’s got other plans. What’s going on?
COURTNEY: So we want to build a brick patio – we have extra free bricks – and we want to do it in an area in our lawn where there’s not a lot of grass growing. You know, it’s hard to grow the grass because of these pines. There’s five pines. They’re large.
COURTNEY: How can I best build this patio without disturbing the roots and having it level?
TOM: The answer is you can’t. Because if you can’t get rid of these roots or at least the major big ones that are where this patio has to be, you’re going to continue to have to deal with them. And no matter how good a job you do at laying in the base of that patio, you’ll find that the roots will just start to lift it up especially with brick, because it happens really quick. Concrete might take a little longer but even if it is concrete, it would lift the slab up and crack it.
One of the things you could think about doing is maybe doing – and I hardly ever recommend this, expect in this unusual circumstance – would be to do a deck right above grade. So, it’s kind of like a wood platform that is right above the grade. You’d only have to secure it at the corners, the same way you would any deck. But then, if the roots start to come up with that, then at least you’ve got some room to go before they start to interrupt the thing. And you could always pull the deck boards out, cut the roots back a little bit if you can.
But roots are pretty durable. You may be able to cut back some big ones and not impact those trees at all.
COURTNEY: Yeah, we weren’t sure, because we only see a little bit. So when we dig down, we’re like, “Oh, we don’t know what we’re going to find,” you know what I mean?
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Do a little exploratory surgery with a shovel there and see what you find.
COURTNEY: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Better to know. Good luck with that project, Courtney. Thanks so much for calling us at The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Time to talk driveways. We’ve got Larry on the line. Tell us about your project.
LARRY: OK. We have a driveway that’s probably 25 or 30 years old and we’re going to replace 30 feet of it that has sunk down and cut – there’s been some water issues and so forth. So, we’re going to take all of that up, of course.
And then when we see what we’ve got, we’re probably going to have to – this is just me talking about bringing in some sort of river sand or something and then make sure that that’s good, then bring in – I was thinking maybe 4 inches of, maybe, SB2 or – unless you all think some other kind of gravel would be better to have us a nice base and then pour the slab on top of all of that. So, that’s my question. Am I going the right way or I need some help?
TOM: Yeah. So are we talking about a concrete driveway or an asphalt driveway, Larry?
TOM: You’re definitely on the right track here. And typically, you do get a lot of movement, especially in your part of the country down in Louisiana. You’ve got a lot of water and such down there that – and the sand, as you mentioned, kind of settles things a lot.
You’re definitely going to have to get that up and then you’re going to have to bring in some of that crushed gravel and – the thing is and where people usually go wrong is they don’t put enough crushed gravel and then they don’t pack the gravel. So you have got to have mechanical tampers compact that gravel. And when it’s done well it’s, frankly, just as hard as the concrete itself when it’s really, solidly packed in there.
You do all your work with the gravel and getting that crown just right for drainage and then you can add your concrete on top of that. But if you don’t do the prep properly and you don’t fill it in, you don’t compact it, you’re going to be right back where you are right now in the not-too-distant future. So, you’re definitely on the right approach here, sir.
LARRY: OK. So, now, when you say the gravel, is the SB2 good or is there some other size gravel that I should use there? You know, maybe 4 inches on top of the sand or dirt. What’s your thinking on that?
TOM: Up here, we use the gravel that’s about an inch, inch-and-a-half in diameter and then we’ll put crushed gravel on top of that. So we kind of build it up with a thicker base, then put the crushed gravel over that and then tamp it down. But that tamping step, we’re not just talking about a hand tamper here. You’re going to have to rent yourself a mechanical tamper that sits on top of a big metal plate and it’s got a heavy engine on it. Put some ear protection on and just go to town with that thing. Get it nice and tight.
LARRY: OK. Well, we were – I did talk to one guy that sells the gravel and he suggested 4 inches but put 2 inches down, pack it, then come back with 2 more inches and pack that.
TOM: Yep. Yep, you can’t go wrong doing that. If you feel like it’s still moving even though you’re tamping it, you don’t have enough in. You’ve got to tamp it well.
When you do that driveway section, make sure you’re reinforcing that concrete, because that will also prevent you from having cracking.
LARRY: Thank you very much for your help. I love your show. I travel a lot on the road. I catch you all quite a bit.
TOM: Alright. Thank you very much, Larry. Good luck with the project. Send us pictures when you’re done.
LARRY: OK. Sure will. Thank you.
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LESLIE: Time to chat with Lucille who’s having some bathtub issues. What’s going on?
LUCILLE: It’s rental property and unfortunately, they’ve just moved out and I’ve discovered in the tub – it’s a fiberglass tub.
LUCILLE: And there’s a nice, little hole.
TOM: Oh, boy.
LUCILLE: I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me as to how we could repair that tiny little hole.
TOM: You can use a product called Bondo – B-o-n-d-o. They have a fiberglass repair kit. It’s typically used in auto-body repair. But if you go to an auto-parts store, like a Pep Boys or whatever you have around there, and you buy the smallest volume of Bondo you can.
You’re going to have a two-part fiberglass mix. You’ll have the fiberglass material itself. And basically, you put on the fiberglass resin and you press this little piece of fiberglass material into it, let that cure and then you put a couple of coats on top of that and that’s it. So, the good news is it’s really an easy and inexpensive way to fix that hole so you don’t have any leaks. The bad news is it’s not designed for beauty; it’s designed for function. So you’re going to see that it looks like exactly what it is, which is a fiberglass patch.
LUCILLE: Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck, Lucille.
It’s tough being a landlord these days. You never know what you’re going to find when your tenants move out. I’m sure there’s a story behind how a hole gets in a bathtub, too.
LESLIE: Yeah. But you’re never going to hear it.
TOM: Yeah. I’ve used that Bondo trick on a shower pan, because shower pans are made of fiberglass sometimes. And if they get flex into them when stepping on them and stepping out of them and so on …
LESLIE: As you do.
TOM: As I do, right? Because it’s a shower pan. You’ve got to step on it. Those cracks will open up and I’ve used Bondo to kind of completely repair that. And it’s lasted as long as I needed it to last, which was years. I didn’t really care about the look. It was a basement extra bathroom kind of thing but it worked great.
Well, if you have a second-floor deck, that’s a really cool thing because you get up there and you can have a good view of your yard. But the area underneath it, it gets pretty nasty. It’s kind of like a dark, moldy, algae-infested wasteland and you seldom can use it. But if you were to install an under-deck ceiling – one that was made from lightweight fiberglass panels – it’s a really inexpensive solution that you could do yourself in a weekend. And it will totally transform that space. We’ll tell you how, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
LESLIE: Yeah, with all the rainwater that leaks through second-story decks, the area underneath that deck can get pretty nasty. And very often, these spaces are going to be damp and wet, they’re going to have a lot of green-algae growth and a host of moisture-loving bugs. So it’s really not a place you want to hang out. But the solution is that you can build or you can buy an under-deck ceiling.
Now if you’re handy, you can actually build your ceiling out of corrugated fiberglass panels. And we’ve got a video, materials list and step-by-step instructions on our website, that gets downloaded over 20,000 times a month, that can walk you through the project.
TOM: Now, the other option is to purchase a prefabricated under-deck ceiling system. This is going to cost you a little bit more but the ceiling will be actually a lot easier to install. It tends also to look a lot more finished when you’re done.
There are lots of great manufacturers that make prefabricated systems. You can make look for one by UnderDeck or TimberTech. There’s the Trex RainEscape system or deck drain. Now, everyone has their own sort of unique design, the way they get installed. But all in all, they’re a lot easier to install than starting from scratch.
And once that ceiling is done, you can give that under-deck space a good cleaning and start enjoying all the shade it will deliver on those warm summer days ahead.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip, presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
TOM: Apply for yours at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
LESLIE: John in Rhode Island has a question about solar panels. How can we help you today?
JOHN: Solar panels installed the latter half of March. And I have been noticing a steady increase in production up until about 2 weeks ago. And I have noticed the production falling off. And of course, the pollen has increased. And I’m wondering if there’s anything on the market that I could treat the panels with.
The panels are located kind of high on the roof. It’s difficult to get to. And just like I said, I’m just wondering if there’s something that I could add to it to have the pollen wash off quicker.
TOM: So it’s pollen and tree droppings, huh?
JOHN: Yeah. Well, actually, the tree’s on the good shade with – but it’s really, basically, the pollen. I live in a wooded area. And like I said, I’ve watched the production with these inverters. You can really carefully monitor what the system is doing. So, although the day is getting longer and the sun is getting higher in the sky, production is off. And the only thing I can relate it to is the pollen.
TOM: John, that’s actually a surprisingly common problem. And the solution is simply to clean those panels.
Now, in your case, that may be easier said than done because you’re telling me they’re difficult to reach. It might also be possible to install sort of a cleaning system that consists of manifolds that are installed right above those solar panels, where you basically can turn on the water and run water over them, occasionally, to clean them out. But of course, that’s a lot of work.
Is it possible for you to get a ladder up against the side of that house there and use a hose or with something – maybe a high-pressure hose to be able to kind of wash the pollen off those panels? Because it’s pretty well documented that solar production goes down, as you’ve discovered, when those pollen – when those panels get covered with dirt or pollen.
JOHN: Right, right. Well, I guess the thing – I’m sure there’s something I could invest in. Certainly a better ladder, a taller ladder. And also, there’s got to be something where I can actually get the hose on a pole – I have a pruning pole – and maybe point it at an angle where it could wash the panels. But again, I thought maybe the solution would be, well, in the spring, get up on the roof, treat the panels and then I should be all set. But maybe it’s just a simple as a hose.
TOM: Yeah. I’m not aware of any treatment there that’s going to basically make them more slippery. I guess there’s – I was thinking in terms of a wax. But Hyde Tools – H-y-d-e – they have a product called Pivot Pro that attaches to a regular hose and it has an angular nozzle at top. And it’s designed for cleaning gutters and then cleaning boats and getting underneath spaces and things like that. And basically, the head pivots so you can get all sorts of different angles with it. And it also steps up the pressure of water coming out it. Pretty inexpensive tool there. You might want to look that up online and give it a shot.
JOHN: I think I will. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Peggy from Illinois is on the line. What’s going on at your money pit?
PEGGY: Well, I have a patio and supposedly the boards that go between each of the sections – they’re in there for expansion – were supposed to be treated but they have all rotted out.
PEGGY: I mean I can pull hunks of it out. And I want to know what to do. Do I dig the rotten wood out and fill it with something? Or what should I do with this?
TOM: So here’s what you need to do. First of all, go ahead and scrape out all of those spacers that are left behind. And it wasn’t probably wood; it was probably this sort of tar-soaked spacer that’s very common in concrete works. So you get that all out of there. And then what you do is you put in – there’s a foam tube. It looks like – you know what a pool noodle is that the kids play with in pools?
TOM: Like those big foam, noodle-y things? It’s like that but it’s a miniature version and it comes in different widths. So, it’ll come like 1-inch width or inch-and-a-half width. So you figure out which one you need that’s just a little bit bigger than the gap and you press that down into that space between the slabs of the patio, leaving maybe a half-of-an-inch before – between that and the surface.
And then what you do is you add a sealant – a concrete sealant. There’s going to be a flowable, caulk-like product that you can pick up at home centers designed just for concrete. It’s like a flowable urethane and that lays in on top of that filler so that you don’t waste a lot of product. It’s not going to fall down into the crevices; the foam tube keeps it up higher. And it’ll look nice and neat and clean once again.
PEGGY: Is it like a caulk?
TOM: It’s like a caulk but it flows a little bit better than a caulk so that once you put it in there, it sort of settles down and it’s flat. When it’s all done, it’ll be kind of like a concave slot there between the patio and it’ll stop water from getting back past that. Because if you get a lot of water that gets below it, it can make the patio move and crack.
PEGGY: And it’s a caulking thing. Alright. I will do so. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Peggy. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Marge in New Jersey is on the line with a kitchen question. How can we help you today?
MARGE: I have a carousel in the kitchen for the kitchen cabinets. And the shelf – the top one is dropped a lot. And I can’t figure out how to go about to secure it or – how in the world do you repair something like that?
TOM: So is this sort of like what we would call a Lazy Susan? Like sits inside of a cabinet and spins around?
MARGE: Yes. And holds the pots and pans.
TOM: They take a lot of wear and tear don’t they, Marge, over all those years?
MARGE: Sure. And does it have to be replaced or can it be repaired?
TOM: Well, it depends. The first thing you need to do is clean that cabinet out and take the existing carousel apart.
Now, if the mechanism itself – like the ball bearings have fallen apart – there’s a bracket between the carousel and the bottom of the cabinet that has two plates on them and they spin on ball bearings. If that access has broken down – which it could over many years – that has to be replaced. And the thing is that those parts are all available, especially for those old cabinets. You can usually find them online if you research them. And essentially, what has to happen here is you’ve got to take that whole thing apart and then rebuild it.
Now, this might be a job for a carpenter or a cabinet maker or somebody that’s just handy enough to be able to tackle this. But I find – and I look at something like this, that cabinetry will speak to me. It will tell me how it went in and what has to be done to take it apart. If you look at it very carefully, you can usually figure it out, because somebody put it in to begin with and there’s got to be a way to disassemble it. Does that make sense?
MARGE: Yes, that does. Now, since there are two levels – one on the bottom and one on the top – the ball bearings would be in the bottom level? So that if I start unscrewing everything, where would I find them? Does it make a difference if it’s a two-shelver? There’s one shelf way on the bottom, then there’s a space and then you have another shelf.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right. I don’t think it makes a difference because I think it’s all part of the same assembly. And the ball bearings are going to be on the bottom, not the top. The top, it may have an access point, like an axle. But the spin is going to be under where all the weight is, OK? So that’s a side of it.
Does this carousel still move or is it too stiff?
MARGE: No, it still moves.
TOM: It still moves. What part of it is broken, Marge?
MARGE: The actual shelf itself. The top shelf appears to have dropped about 8 inches.
TOM: Alright. So here’s what I would do. If it was just the top shelf that dropped, I would look for a way to repair that top shelf. And I can’t tell you exactly how to do it but probably figure out a creative way. If that’s dropped down – if it’s sitting on a center column, then you have to get something up underneath that to support it.
MARGE: OK. Alright. So that’s what I’ll do.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, you might not realize it but your home is always moving. It expands, it contracts, it settles. And sometimes, that movement can result in some cracks to your foundation. But even though the cracks are kind of common, they can be pretty disturbing for most homeowners to find.
So, Tom, how can you tell if a crack is serious or just the result of some normal house movement?
TOM: Yeah, you make a good point because just about every home has its share of cracks and they’re pretty common. And there’s a number of reasons why they happen. For example, if the soil underneath the house wasn’t fully compacted before the foundation was set up, that can cause cracks.
If you get – and this is really common. If you get large pieces of organic material like, for example, a tree trunk or branches or something like that that was underneath – say, we used to see this all the time in garage floors. That would be the last place that the bulldozer would leave, right? And there would always be some chunks of wood left behind and that rots away and it settles and that’s why those floors will crack.
And sometimes, the soil that’s beneath the foundation or beneath columns can shrink due to not having enough moisture. And that’s especially true in Texas, where they have soils that do that. Or in the Northeast, where we are, if you’ve got too much moisture around the house, that can cause them to become unstable, as well. So, lots of ways that foundations can weaken and crack. But not always do you need to have a repair done.
LESLIE: Yeah. So how can you tell if it’s a major crack or something minor and totally fixable? So, Tom, is it true that it’s the direction of the crack? Is it horizontal? Diagonal? Vertical? Do those all signify something more serious?
TOM: Yeah. I mean for – so static cracks – ones that are not moving – those are usually vertical. They’re usually small, they’re hairline, they’re random. Those types of cracks can be repaired pretty simply. Generally, I recommend that you simply seal the crack with a masonry caulk material or a silicone caulk, just to stop moisture from coming through.
The ones that I’m more concerned about are the dynamic cracks that are horizontal. So, for example, if you have a lot of water that collects at the outside of your foundation perimeter, what’ll happen in the wintertime is that water will freeze and it will push on – especially if you have a concrete-block wall. And I’ve seen that sort of frost heave actually knock walls in completely.
So, over time, they freeze, they thaw, they freeze, they thaw. Over successive years and years of winters, they eventually move that wall to a point where it’s unstable. So that’s something you really have to look out for. And if that is something that you spot, if it’s really bad, the wall probably has to be structurally reinforced. If it’s minor, it just means fix your drainage so it stops happening.
And in terms of the repair, one caution I will give you is this: don’t just go to a contractor for the repair to be done. If you’ve got a serious structural crack, hire a structural engineer. Have them examine it and do a report about it and then that report goes to the contractor. It’ll specify exactly how they should fix it. Then you have the engineer check it again when he’s done. Then this way, you’ll get a letter from the engineer basically saying, “I identified the problem. This contractor fixed it and it’s no longer an issue.” And if you try to sell the house, it’s not going to be a concern.
Too many times, contractors put on their structural-engineering cap when they shouldn’t and that doesn’t do you any good. You definitely want to have an engineering professional involved if the wall is seriously damaged.
LESLIE: Well, you may think of ivy as a way to make your home look distinguished. But did you know that it’s actually wreaking some serious structural havoc on the house?
TOM: Yeah, it can. It looks beautiful. It does look distinguished. But the problem is it can totally destroy masonry walls. It can attract carpenter ants. It can even attract rodent infestations. And not to mention, you can lose a few trees in the process, because it wraps around the tree and basically strangles it.
So, it looks great in some respects but it can really do some pretty serious damage.
LESLIE: Now, a little ivy can be really attractive but when it starts to take over a property, it can be very hard to get rid of. So, is there a way that you can actually enjoy the ivy without letting it sort of wrap everybody up in knots?
TOM: Listen, if you want to have some ivy and you maintain it, you keep it to a minimum, I think that’s probably OK. But if you ignore it, it’s going to totally take off.
Now, if you’ve already got too much, what you want to do is gently pull the ivy from the house, because it’s got tendrils that will really get into the brick. It’ll really get between the siding boards.
And so you have to be kind of careful the way you pull it out. You may have to cut some away, you may need a hand pruner. You probably are going to need to scrape siding to remove any of those dead branches or the dried leaves and even sand it – like with an orbital sander – to remove any residue. Because if you leave too much of that behind, it can re-root and start growing all over again.
And along the same lines of that, make sure when you get the stuff off your house, you stuff it into plastic bags and you get it off the property. Because if you leave it hanging about it, again, will re-root. And to be sure it’s not coming back on your siding, make sure you brush a little herbicide onto the leaves of any ivy stem and that will actually kill the plant.
It’s the kind of thing you have to really manage. It looks great, it looks cool, it looks distinguished. It adds some class to your outside. But boy, if you let the stuff go, it will totally take over and you’ll be kicking yourself for not keeping it under control.
I actually had to rescue a couple of trees, Leslie, that had some pretty serious ivy problems in the back of my property. And what we did was – the ivy had gotten so thick around some of them, it was an inch to an inch-and-a-half thick at the bottom of the tree. We actually cut a chunk out of that ivy vine and within 2 years, it dried up and all fell off and the tree survived. So, it’s not quick but it does work.
LESLIE: But it grows like crazy. We have this whole sort of shrub next to the driveway, which is just covered with ivy from – I have no idea what shrub that is but it looks like an ivy wall. And it’s on my neighbor’s property, so I can’t really do anything about it.
LESLIE: But it started to just sort of take over the driveway. I mean it is wild and it grows quickly. So I’ve been doing a little secret work on my side of the structure, seeing how much progress I can make.
TOM: Just remember: shiny leaves, let it be. That’s poison ivy.
LESLIE: Oh, yes. I’ve already been dealing with that in the mix of things, as well.
Patty in Arizona has got something going on with the water.
What’s up, Patty?
PATTY: Well, the water in Arizona is very, very hard. And I heard that you were having a drawing on something – receiving a water system that would soften or help that. And I thought, “Well, maybe I should just call and see, even if I don’t win, what I should be doing.”
TOM: So tell me about your hard water. What are you seeing in your house? How is this affecting you?
PATTY: Oh, well, everything is spotted. The toilets get a ring around the top very quickly. It’s hard to wipe things off. The dishwasher doesn’t rinse completely, it seems like.
TOM: It really affects a lot of things in the house.
Well, there are a couple of different water-purification systems out there that are designed specifically for hard water. There are types that use salt to soften the water. And there are other types that are salt-free.
And Home Depot is a good source for pretty much any water-quality solution but what I would encourage you to do, first, is to have a water test done. And you can have this done professionally. There are free tests that are available at places like Home Depot. But have a water test done so you know exactly what you’re treating for and then you could make the best decision on the system that’s going to work for you.
But it’s not hard. You know, these systems are pretty straightforward to install. Usually, they’re installed at the main. And they’re going to treat that water, 24/7, and it’s going to be to a lot easier for you to clean with that water and wash with that water and you won’t have the spots and your clothes will come out softer. And it just kind of affects you all the way down the line.
So that’s what I would do. I’d start with a water test and then choose the system that’s best for you based on that result.
Patty, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, so we have some small blueberry bushes outside our backyard. It’s along a fence.
TOM: And the deer, of course, were considering them part of their breakfast.
LESLIE: Oh, it’s their summer treats.
TOM: Yeah. So, what we did is we got some of that black netting – which is actually so thin, you can’t even see this when it’s on the plant – and it worked great. It’s totally kept the deer away. They know they can’t kind of pick off the berries now, so they go over to the neighbor’s house.
LESLIE: But are they juicing the berries?
TOM: I don’t think they’re juicing the berries, though, no.
LESLIE: It’s the perfect strainer, you know.
TOM: Oh, yeah, right?
No, this really thin, netty stuff – it’s really cheap. It’s like – you have to kind of pay attention when you unroll it because it’s so thin. It’s like screening material, almost. You lay it over there and because it’s black, it just blends right in. So, one more thing to do to keep this deer away.
LESLIE: Well, whether you’ve got a berry question like Tom or something else going on at your money pit, reach out.
John in Montana did and he says, “I recently purchased a home that needs some TLC and I really don’t know where to begin.” He says, “We want to replace the old furnace and water heater. One of the bathrooms is in bad shape and we also need to rip out carpeting and replace it with hardwood flooring. How would you prioritize these projects?”
TOM: I kind of think I’d prioritize them the same way he did in that email, Leslie. I’d do mechanical systems first, so heating and water heater, definitely. You might have to disturb some of the old structure to do that, depending on how well the old and the new on fits in. But let’s get our mechanical systems working because if your furnace goes out, you can’t do anything when winter comes.
And then I think the bathroom. He said it’s in bad shape. Bathrooms are one of those improvements that give you a lot of return on investment. So if you have the ability to do it next, I think I would probably tackle that next and get it fixed up.
Because carpeting – any kind of flooring project – yeah, it’s a nice-to-have, it’s not a have-to-have. And you can really do that at any time you have the budget and the time to get it done. So I would do mechanical systems …
LESLIE: Oh, but it’s so much easier when the house is empty.
TOM: That is a good point but still, unless you have the budget to do it all at once …
LESLIE: Mechanics first.
TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to make sure.
LESLIE: Flooring second. Agreed.
TOM: Right, yeah. Just imagine how cold it would be without a furnace if we were working on that floor.
LESLIE: But your floors would be so beautiful.
TOM: Furniture or not.
LESLIE: But the floors would be lovely, so six of one, half-dozen of the other.
Alright. Next up, David writes. He’s having a hard time finding a dryer-exhaust vent that fits his house and he says, “My house has a rigid, 3-inch PVC pipe as a vent for the clothing dryer. And I’m having a hard time finding a dryer duct in that size, as most seem to be 4 inches.”
TOM: Yeah, you should not be using a plastic pipe as a dryer-exhaust duct. Really bad idea. That’s why dryer-exhaust ducts are metal these days. Or even the cheap ones are like a flexible foil, kind of stretchy vent. But you can’t use PVC. So I would stop looking for something to connect to it and think about replacing it.
And I think that the metal dryer-exhaust ducts, which you can buy at home centers, they come sort of flat and you have to sort of bend them into the duct’s shape. That’s definitely what you want here. You want to make sure you have as short a travel from the dryer out as possible, because that will make your clothes dry a lot quicker. And with that metal duct, it will be a lot easier to keep clean, which is something else people don’t do nearly enough.
LESLIE: I actually just had my dryer vents cleaned and it was amazing how – I mean I had let it slide a couple of years. Not like 15 years but 5, which is a lot. And my goodness the amount that came out.
TOM: OK. That’s a lot. Yeah.
LESLIE: It was just disturbing, gratifying. And also, now I feel much safer at home.
TOM: Yeah, you should. Don’t wait 5 years next time, though.
LESLIE: No, I will not.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on a beautiful, warm summer day. I think summer is now officially, what, about half over? It’s unfortunate but it is, even though we waited so long for it. But there’s still plenty of time to take on projects. And if it’s too hot, push them off to the fall a little bit.
And remember, if you guys have questions, you have tips, you are starting a project but you don’t know how to start it, you got stuck in the middle of it, you can always reach us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
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.)