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: And we are here to help you take on your home improvement projects, solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas, your décor desires. Whatever is going on in your home, we can make the job easier, quicker, smarter, more energy-efficient. But you have to do your job first: pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s program, does the kitchen of your dreams seem out of reach? Well, it doesn’t have to. We’ll have tips on how you can turn the cabinets you already have into the ones you’ve always wanted, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And weeds aren’t the only things standing between you and a picture-perfect lawn. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is here to help you get to the bottom of those problem patches and common yard killers.
TOM: And why spend the whole weekend cleaning your boat, your car or your ATV when you could just be out riding it? Keep listening for a hot, new product that cuts down on cleaning time and makes the job much easier, too.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a Leviton Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlet. It doesn’t just detect electrical fires, it actually prevents them by cutting off power when there’s trouble.
TOM: And it’s easy to install; any DIYer can do it. It’s a prize worth 50 bucks. Going to go out to one caller drawn at random from those we talk to on today’s show, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Stan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STAN: Oh, well, I had just bought a house that was built in 1995. It’s a 4,000-square-foot underground home.
TOM: Wow. That sounds neat.
LESLIE: And it’s not a transformed missile? I’ve been to Oklahoma and I’ve seen these missile-launching areas that have been sort of retaken over and turned into homes.
STAN: No, this is actually an underground concrete structure that was specifically built to be a house.
TOM: Do you get to mow your roof?
STAN: Yes, I do.
TOM: Very cool. So, what can we help you with?
STAN: Well, I knew when I bought this that it had a few leaks. And being that the house is getting close to being 20 years old, I feel that it’s time to probably remove the dirt and expose and probably replace the roof. And especially since I have some leaks. And I’m having trouble finding somebody that deals with any kind of underground structure/home and especially in a roof/ceiling of that nature.
And I was curious if – I’m sure this is probably going to be an expensive undertaking. But furthermore, after I go back and get it all done, when I find the contractor to do it, what may be – is there some care/preventative maintenance that – how I care for that underground roof system, so I’m not coming back at a later date and time and going back through the same process.
TOM: There’s no way we could give you the answer to that question but we can give you some advice on how to approach it.
What I would do is I would find an architect to spec out this roof project, because it’s a big project, 4,000-square-foot roof. And I would have an architect or an engineer spec out the project. Let them do the research on what is the most viable materials out there right now, available, to replace this roof with. And have them provide – prepare a specification for that.
It’s worth the investment because then with that spec, you can bring it to qualified contractors. And I would guess probably the best contractors would be those that do commercial roofing, not residential roofing. And have them follow this specification exactly. I would not try to find a roofing contractor that has their own personal idea of how to do this. Because you’re not going to find somebody that’s experienced in these homes; it’s too unique. But if you find a building professional that could spec this out for you, do the research on the best way to replace that roof, that spec will be very valuable to you.
STAN: Perfect. That’s a great idea. Never even thought of that.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck, Stan.
STAN: Hey, guys, I appreciate it.
TOM: Got to work – we’ve got to work smarter, not harder, right?
STAN: That’s right.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
STAN: Appreciate it. Thanks.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Rosemary on the line who’s got some sort of mystery smell going on at her money pit. What’s going on?
ROSEMARY: Well, about a little over a year now, we’ve been noticing a smell that just wafts in through to nowhere, I don’t know. Might come up from the basement; we don’t know. It’s out in our family room and kind of stays that way, which is attached – I mean it’s directly over the – next to the kitchen, et cetera.
It smells a little bit like burning rubber but it’s a very short-lived scent. And it comes and it goes quite rapidly. And we can just, all of a sudden – “Whoop, there it is.”
TOM: What kind of a heating system do you have, Rosemary?
ROSEMARY: We have natural gas, forced air.
TOM: How old is the furnace?
ROSEMARY: Oh, boy. I’d say 12 to 15 years.
TOM: Twelve to fifteen? That’s not terribly old. And you have a natural-gas dryer, as well?
ROSEMARY: No, I have an electric dryer.
TOM: Electric dryer? OK. Is the dryer anywhere near where the smells are originating?
ROSEMARY: No. Uh-uh. When we added on the family room, we added on a laundry room, which is on the other side from when we’re – where we’re smelling it.
TOM: So, when you say sort of a burnt-rubber smell, I think of what appliances in the house might cause that, one of which is the dryer because – or the washer, frankly. Because those are somewhat belt-driven and if the bearings go bad, the belts can disintegrate and it can cause that smell to waft through the house.
Also, the blower unit on the heating system, if that’s potentially going bad that could cause a burnt-rubber smell, which would be circulated through the house via the heating-and-air-conditioning duct systems.
So those would be the first two things that I might think about.
ROSEMARY: We’ve got – the washer and dryer are only two years old and they’re in the other …
TOM: Yeah, I had a washer bearing go on a drum where it was about four-and-a-half years old and I was not happy about it. But unfortunately, it is possible and it’s not obvious until it completely fails. You know, by the time I took that washer apart when it completely failed, it was obvious it was going on for a long time. There were all sorts of shredded pieces of rubber belts, not only in the cabinet itself but the smoke had sort of come out of the cabinet and stained the wall.
ROSEMARY: Oh, my.
TOM: So, that possibly can happen. I’m not saying that’s what’s going on here but I would take a look at that plus your blower for your furnace. Have you had the system serviced yet for the summer, for the air conditioning?
ROSEMARY: No, we haven’t.
TOM: Next time you have a serviceman come in the house, have him check the blower unit very carefully to see if it’s possible that any of this odor is coming from there.
TOM: OK. He can manually operate it and check the bearings to see if they’re in good condition or not.
ROSEMARY: Yeah, OK.
TOM: Alright? Good luck with that project. 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.
We are entering the summer season. That is right. What are you doing? Are you swimming in your pool? Are you cleaning your yard? Are you doing something around the house? Let us help you make the money pit the house of your dreams. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, we’ll tell you how to give your existing cabinets a new lease on life for much less than it costs to replace them, when The Money Pit continues after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.
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: Well, some things you just can’t control and electrical fires have always been one of them, until now.
LESLIE: That’s right. This hour, we’re giving away the Leviton Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlet. Just replace one standard receptacle with it to easily and affordably prevent electrical fires in your home.
TOM: It’s a prize worth $50 but it’s going home free with one caller this hour, so let us hear your home improvement headaches. Pick up the phone and call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Randy in Louisiana is on the line and needs some help with a flooring project. What’s going on?
RANDY: Flooring in my manufactured house is ¾ waferboard, which is plywood. Similar to it. I want to go back with ¾ plywood and I want something that’s waterproof. In case I had a water leak again, it wouldn’t happen like that again.
TOM: So you want to replace the waferboard subfloor in your home with ¾ plywood.
TOM: So, plywood – all plywood today has exterior glue in it, so that’s not an issue. If you were to paint the plywood properly, which basically means that you would prime it and you would paint it, it can be somewhat water-resistant. You’re talking about just the occasional spill that could happen. As long as you clean the water up relatively quickly, like within a day or so, you’re not going to get any long-term damage as a result of that.
RANDY: Field mouse gnawed a plastic pipe into – on a hot-water line. He gnawed a hole in it and it was spraying straight up on the flooring.
TOM: Yeah. And if it’s going to be an ongoing thing like that that goes on for days, you’re going to have an issue. But the good news is it’s covered by insurance.
RANDY: Well, I’ve got an insurance claim but I’m going to fix it myself.
TOM: So, yeah, so you can cut that waferboard out and install plywood in its place.
RANDY: They don’t make a plywood that’s totally waterproof?
TOM: Well, you could buy marine plywood. It’s really expensive but it’s even more waterproof. But I think it’s overkill.
RANDY: OK. I might consider that.
TOM: But heck, what’s the chances of that breaking again like that, you know?
RANDY: Well, it was six years but that one mouse got in there and did the damage.
TOM: And did the damage, huh? Yeah, well, it’s good you got it covered by insurance.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, kitchens are one place in the house where most of us spend a lot of time. But if you ever feel like your kitchen cabinets are dated, drab or dull, it might not always be your favorite room.
Now, the good news is that there are many options for getting a new look without breaking the bank. And those options include replacing, refacing or just refinishing the cabinets. We’ve got advice on all three, with this week’s Pro Tip presented by Grayne Shingle Siding from Tapco.
LESLIE: Yeah. First, let’s just review the differences here. Replacing, of course, is just that: you tear out and you start again. Replace when you want to reconfigure your layout or when the existing boxes are just junky.
Now, refacing is when you resurface the cabinets, as well as add new doors, drawer fronts and hardware. That can be less expensive and can actually make a dramatic difference without breaking the bank.
TOM: So, how do you determine if a kitchen is a candidate for refacing? Well, you have to be happy with the existing configuration because refacing doesn’t add any new cabinets. The cabinets need to be good-quality, structurally speaking. And there’s no sense refacing a cabinet that won’t stand up for a while.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, refinishing a cabinet is probably your most cost-effective move here, since repainting or restaining is really a great do-it-yourself project that delivers good results. And with the trend in cabinet colors like gray and white, painting really is an inexpensive option that can update your kitchen very easily.
TOM: And that’s today’s Pro Tip presented by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. The uncompromising beauty of Grayne’s 5-inch shingle siding offers the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today. That’s Grayne.com – G-r-a-y-n-e.com.
LESLIE: Arlene in Rhode Island is on the line and wants to stay cool this summer with some air conditioning. How can we help you with the project?
ARLENE: I live an in 1,850-square-foot ranch that’s 38 years old and we installed the central air before the walls were sealed. The access to the handler, which is in the attic, is 21 inches by 21 inches square. And they always told us if it ever broke, it would be a difficult problem to replace the handler in the attic.
But lo and behold, last week the air conditioning went on for about an hour and then it stopped. I called my service-contract people. They came. They said – they went up into the attic and they said the handler is dripping grease. It’s old. It has a fan belt, which is no longer used, and it’s time to get rid of my air-conditioning system and get a new one or replace – or they could fix it for $800 but it might not be good forever.
So, I’ve been interviewing companies; they told me to do that. I’m a little bit educated on it now. And I know that I want a 5-ton handler in the attic and a 13-SEER compressor on the outside. My compressor is almost 10 years old but I think it wouldn’t be compatible.
TOM: How big is your house?
ARLENE: Eighteen-hundred-fifty square feet.
TOM: Five tons is a lot of air conditioning for that size house. Usually, you would use 3 to 4 zone – 3 to 4 tons. If you oversize the air conditioning, what’s going to happen is it’s going to cycle on or off very quickly. You could actually overdo it and it’ll be really inefficient.
But OK. I’m guessing that your question is how do you get the air handler back up in the attic.
ARLENE: Well, everyone said they can make a new opening and put a new vent in and it’ll give it more circulation and it’s a good thing to do.
ARLENE: The last person I interviewed said he can get it up – a 5-ton up into the attic. Because the one he’s going to supply – an Amana – comes in two pieces.
ARLENE: He said and that will be better because if it ever needs a repair, you just click open the two pieces. I’ve never heard of a 2-piece 5-ton and I’m wondering what your opinion is, because he gave met the best price. He was $3,000 cheaper than everyone else.
TOM: Yeah, well, it’s hard to tell, because a lot of these guys bid you and not the project. But Amana is a good brand.
TOM: So I have no issues with that. I would just do some research on the contractor.
But by the way, you know, making a bigger opening is not that big of a deal. It might seem like a big of a deal but it’s really a pretty simple carpentry project. It’s just an additional project that you probably didn’t want to face.
Is there any storage space up there if you were to make it bigger? Could you take advantage of that?
ARLENE: A crawlspace attic.
TOM: It’s all a crawlspace? Yeah. Yeah, I mean listen, a carpenter that knows what he’s doing can open – can double the size of that hole in about an hour. It’s really not hard.
Listen, I just – before you make the commitment to the 5-ton, I’m just telling you, for an 1,800-square-foot house that’s over – that’s probably overkill. And I don’t want you to get in a situation where there’s – you know what I mean? When I say “cycling,” do you know what that means? It means the air conditioning comes on and it goes off, comes on again and it goes off, goes on/off, on/off. So what’ll happen is it will never run long enough to dehumidify your house. And as a result, you’ll feel cold and clammy. It’s really not good.
So, you want to put the right-size unit in, OK? You want to put the right-size unit in. And generally, it’s about 600 square feet per ton. So that’s only 3 tons for your house. So, I’m thinking three to four, not – I’m thinking five might be too big. OK?
ARLENE: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And well done doing all the research on this.
LESLIE: Alright. Going to North Carolina where Michael wants to work on a bathtub project.
Why not just get in the tub and relax, Mike? What’s going on?
MICHAEL: I wish I could, young lady. Thank you all ever so much for taking my call.
This house was built in 1934 and the bathtub has always been white porcelain. But I think the last time around my mom and dad remodeled the bathroom, they had it sprayed. It’s like a tan color, like a sandstone color. And I would love to remove it and bring it back to its normal gloss.
TOM: Well, if they’ve painted it, the – probably the normal gloss wasn’t so attractive. It might have worn. And to refinish a bathtub is usually a big challenge.
Now, you can strip it and you could refinish it again and you may get some number of years out of it. But I generally find that those refinishing projects are – they’re kind of like paint jobs: they last maybe five, six, seven years and then you’re doing it again and again. Or you can consider relining the tub. There’s a process by which the tub – a tub liner could be built and it sits, actually, inside that original tub and gives it a completely new surface.
So those are really the two options that I’d pursue, Michael.
MICHAEL: So, on the relining operation, what would you consider?
TOM: Well, I mean it’s – there’s different – there are manufacturers out there that do bathtub relining. And exactly, it’s a composite material that’s essentially made to fit your tub. They take some measurements and then – it doesn’t take up too much room and it looks really nice when it’s done. But it’s not inexpensive.
LESLIE: It’s probably on par with having the tub refinished.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, from fungal diseases to Fido, your lawn is up against a lot. Coming up, landscaping contractor Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is going to help you overcome it all for the lawn of your dreams, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: And today’s This Old House segment is brought to you by the new Stanley FatMax Tape Rule, the efficient tape rule with a versatile, interchangeable hook and 13 feet of standout.
JOE: Hi, this is Joe Namath. And if you want to move the ball on your home improvement projects, listen to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the smart solution for all your electrical needs. Learn how to help improve your home’s electrical safety at GetSafeToday.com. And be sure to enter their June Safety Products Giveaway. That’s GetSafeToday.com.
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: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win a great prize. Plus, there’s a little more money pit going on now in Tyler, Texas. You can still hear us on KTBB-AM but now Money Pit airs on FM, too. Just head to 95.7 or 97.7 FM on Sundays from 3 to 5. They say everything’s bigger in Texas and we can’t want to hear KTBB’s big home improvement questions.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jackie in Colorado on the line who’s dealing with some issues from a sink drain. What’s going on? Stuff is only supposed to go down, right?
JACKIE: Yeah, it’s supposed to. The only time I have trouble with it is when I use my washing machine. It’s connected to the same line as my sink. And the old-timers put it out in an open well. And so, the only time I have trouble with is when the washing machine drains, then it bubbles back into my sink. And then when the water finally goes out, I get this gray-water smell.
TOM: So, you have a gray-water drain when you say it goes to a well. You don’t mean a drinking well; you mean a gray-water well.
JACKIE: It’s just an old well that they dug and they used it to – as a drain. It’s not a septic tank.
TOM: OK. So, yeah, it’s called a “gray-water drain.” And so, you’re getting odor back in. So the reason you’re getting odor is because you need an additional trap in the system. Before that line goes out to the “well,” that you’re calling it, there should be an additional trap.
Now, the trap is a U-shaped pipe, the same that you might see under your sink. And the idea of the trap is it lets the water drain one way but stops the gases – the odor that you’re getting – from coming back in. And so, if they didn’t put a trap in that line, that’s why you’re getting the odor.
The fact that you have the washing machine and the sink on the same line is not exactly legal but it’s also not unusual. And so, I’m not going to tell you to change that but you absolutely do need a trap in there. Otherwise, who knows what kind of gases you’re going to bring back in from the soil? And if you do that, that should solve that problem once and for all. OK, Jackie?
JACKIE: OK. Alright. See if I can get that done then.
TOM: Alright, Jackie. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, weeds aren’t the only thing standing between you and the lush lawn of your dreams.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Once your turf is established, you’ve got to watch out for pests, fungal disease and even Fido. If you’ve got a mysterious brown spot or a dry patch plaguing your grass, here to tell us how to get to the bottom of it is Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House.
ROGER: Thanks for having me.
TOM: So, let’s start by talking about one of the most common causes of lawn problems: the four-legged kind. How do we address the dog damage?
ROGER: Well, unless you’re going to chase your dog around the yard with a hose, there’s really not much you can do except try to train them to go in one area. It’s hard. The dog’s going to go where he’s going to go.
TOM: Right. But that’s kind of a special type of damage, right? The acidity from dogs and that sort of thing?
ROGER: Right. And it’s going to leave a dead circle in the ground. Sometimes, it’s real lush on the edges where it wasn’t as strong but it’ll actually fertilize the lawn. But what you have to do is stay on top of it. I usually put a little compost down, rake it in and reseed the area. Because after one rainstorm, the salts have leached out and you can reseed again.
There’s other problems that are going to pop up that’ll cause bad spots in your lawn and one of the biggest ones are the white grubs.
TOM: Grubs, OK.
LESLIE: Yeah. How do you know you’ve got them?
ROGER: You’ll know. There’ll be a patch that a grass – it’ll just die. Sometimes, you’ll get birds down picking at it, like crows, or you’ll get a raccoon that’ll come in there, a skunk and peel it back and eat the grubs.
TOM: And don’t you have more mold problems when you have grubs?
ROGER: You do. They eat them, too. But the biggest giveaway is if you take that grass and pull on it, it’s going to peel up like a rug because the …
ROGER: Yep. The grubs eat the roots off the bottom of the grass.
TOM: So what’s the solution?
ROGER: The solution is to treat the grubs when they’re most vulnerable. Usually, that’s late summer or into the fall when they’re small. If you try to treat them early in the season, they’re pretty big and pretty strong and they won’t be controlled easily.
TOM: OK. Now, what about chinch bugs? We see a lot of those in some parts of the country.
ROGER: It all depends, you know? The great thing about this country is we all have our own pests.
TOM: We’ve all got our own bugs.
ROGER: So that’s a pest of St. Augustine lawns, where it actually pierces the blade and sucks on it and makes it turn brown. There’s a lot of treatments. I like to do extra soil prep, extra watering before you turn and look at an insecticide. But in some cases, you do have to use an insecticide.
LESLIE: How would you tell if your lawn, say, had a fungus? I imagine you’re dealing with a very moist situation, on the most part, for your lawn that generally would lead to a fungus.
ROGER: Right. In some of them, it’s very easy to look at the stem and it turns brown. In some cases, there’s a fungus called “red thread disease” where the blade actually turns red and you can notice it.
And again, it’s from too much water and not drying out or fertilizing less. And those are all physical things you can do before you take and turn to spraying for the fungicide.
TOM: I think it’s interesting that every single one of these conditions is telling us something about our lawn. Something is happening that’s in excess, like excess water, we’re not getting enough water, we’re getting too much shade, we’re not getting enough shade. I mean there’s always some result of these – well, I guess the disease is the result but it’s actually leading back to a solution that has to do with lawn health.
ROGER: Right. And that’s why I’m always talking about when you put a lawn in, do the proper preparation ahead of time. Because it’ll pay off in the lawn run.
LESLIE: Now, it’s interesting. I’ve seen – because I have a dog, so I end up walking around the block quite often. I’ve seen almost a striped look on a lawn that’s usually sort of at the beginning of the season.
LESLIE: What the heck is that about?
ROGER: We call it “amateur damage.” That’s when someone goes out, particularly with a drop spreader, and fertilizes the lawn.
ROGER: And they don’t quite overlap enough, so you get those nice 4- to 6-inch strips of yellow, bright green, yellow, bright green all the way through the lawn. If you’re going to use a drop spreader, what I tell people to do is set it at half of what the normal rate is, go one direction and then turn and go exactly 90 degrees to it. You use the same amount but you’re going to eliminate 99 percent of those stripes.
TOM: We’re talking to Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House.
So, Roger, what if we don’t have enough grass? What if instead of grass we’re getting, say, moss?
ROGER: Moss is telling you that it’s probably too shady there for grass to grow. And what we do is – then we switch to groundcovers.
You can’t fight Mother Nature. Shade is going to get worse every year as trees and shrubs get bigger and bigger, so you’re better off transitioning into a natural groundcover that will tolerate those conditions.
TOM: And what would be a good groundcover that’s kind of similar to grass, in terms of its appearance?
ROGER: Some of the sedges will work really well for you. I like things like Vinca.
LESLIE: Hmm. Vinca minor is really pretty.
ROGER: Yeah. And some of the ferns will fill in and just give you garden – work with Mother Nature. You keep seeding and putting fertilizer down and the grass doesn’t grow, she’s trying to tell you something.
LESLIE: Yeah. “I don’t want the grass here.”
ROGER: It’s not going to work. But you put down ferns and Vinca and stuff like that, she’ll love it. And they’ll grow in and fill in and you won’t have to cut them, either.
LESLIE: Roger, what if the lawn is just really in such bad shape that you want to call it quits and start over? Can you do that?
ROGER: You can, absolutely. And we use the 45-percent rule: once it gets bad to 45 percent, you’re not going to spend any more money overseeding or anything like that.
So, usually, what we do is we come in and instead of spraying with an herbicide, we like to use a sod cutter. And we take and cut off the top 2 inches so that removes all the grass, all the roots and all the weeds at one time. Then we rototill, we add compost, we rototill again and we determine whether the sand needs – whether the soil needs some sand mixed in or some more compost. And then once we get a good 4- to 6-inch and even 8-inch layer of good soil, then you can either sod or seed. So those are like the icing on the cake. If you don’t spend the money on the cake, it doesn’t matter how good the icing is on top.
TOM: Good advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: My pleasure.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.
Looking for a faster, more efficient way to clean your boat, your car, your trailer or your ATV? We’ll tell you about an easy way to get all of those sparkling clean, when The Money Pit continues after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.
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: Well, some things you leave to chance but electrical fires shouldn’t be one of them.
LESLIE: That’s right. One lucky caller won’t ever have to worry about it again. This hour, we’re giving away the Leviton Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlet.
TOM: It installs easily to prevent electrical fires before they start. And it’s a prize worth $50 that can save your life.
Hey, you can learn more at GetSafeToday.com. That’s GetSafeToday.com. And if you go there and enter your e-mail address, you might just receive one of those arc-fault circuit interrupters for free. Not saying definitely but let’s just say a pretty good chance, if you enter at GetSafeToday.com.
LESLIE: But maybe.
TOM: That’s GetSafeTodaycom.
LESLIE: Well, if there’s one thing that’s true about summer, it’s that it definitely flies by, making those precious weekends and the days you do have off from work a hot commodity.
TOM: So, you don’t want to spend those summer days cleaning when you could be out having fun. And there’s a hot, new product that can let you get rid of the grime in record time and more effectively than ever before. The Hyde PivotPro Boat & Auto Water Wand attaches directly to your garden hose, giving you a fast, easy and a better way to clean your car, your trailer, your truck or your ATV, all with a soft-bristle brush and microfiber pad that won’t harm the finish.
LESLIE: Now, the PivotPro’s 46-inch-long wand, it means that you’re not just wetting and then rinsing in one easy move. You’re actually scrubbing, too, for that clean that you’ve always wanted, without the hassle of a scrub brush and a bucket and bending down.
TOM: And the PivotPro’s soap dispenser adds liquid soap to the job, too, so you’re not just relying on water to get the clean you want. Its soap-to-water ratio adjustment lets you choose just how much soap is needed to get the job done right.
LESLIE: The PivotPro really is as close as you’ll ever get to a car or a boat or a truck or even an ATV that cleans itself. Check it out at TheHydeWay.com.
TOM: That’s TheHydeWay – H-y-d-e-Way.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lynn in Colorado who’s got a tricky, leaky shower. Let’s see if we can help her find it.
LYNN: I had a plumber come out once and he said that the pipe and the bottom where it comes out of the shower doesn’t always hook up right. So he siliconed it and it didn’t leak but now, once in a while, it’s leaking again. Of course, it’s upstairs so I see it on the ceiling. And I’m wondering, is there some kind of a liner you can put down the pipe, like they do for sewage lines that go out?
TOM: You talking about the supply pipes or are you talking about the shower stall?
LYNN: I’m talking about the stall – the drain pipe.
TOM: Do you have – is it a tile shower pan or is it like a plastic shower?
LYNN: Yeah, it’s one of the insert ones.
TOM: Those pans can develop cracks in them and you have to figure out where that crack is. One way to try to figure out at least how high on the pan the crack is is if you block the drain of the pan and fill it up with water and see if it leaks. If it doesn’t leak, then the pan’s fine. Then the next thing you have to do is move up with your sort of analysis and now you’re going to get into the seams of it.
If you’ve got existing caulk, what I would recommend, as a first step, is to remove that caulk using caulk softener. And that’ll allow you to strip out everything that’s there and start clean with some new, good-quality bathroom caulk that’s got a mildicide built into it. And I would just caulk very carefully every single seam and also around all the pipes and the faucets and the fixtures, where they come through. Because, sometimes, you get direct leaks where water fills up in the pan and leaks. And a lot of times, though, with showers, you’ll get leaks when the water bounces off your body, hits one of those seams, works its way in behind the wall and down.
So, I would take out the existing caulk, recaulk it and check the shower pan for leaks. And somewhere in that analysis, you’ll probably figure out what’s going on.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up, adding a basement bathroom can actually cut down on those arguments over showers and sinks. But it can bring a whole new set of problems. We’re going to share some advice for one we hear a lot, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And what’s the only thing tougher than a perfect beach body? Well, I mean come on, you’ve got to work hard for that. But what’s tougher than that? Cooling your house without sending utility bills through the roof. That’s a hard one. I think I could lose 5 pounds easier than getting more energy-efficient stuff going on.
Well, we have got some really wallet-friendly cooling ideas that you haven’t even thought of yet. Head on over to MoneyPit.com and search “cooling tips for summer” for your coolest summer yet.
TOM: And you can post your questions to The Money Pit Community section or our Facebook page while you’re there. And Caroline did just that.
LESLIE: That’s right. Caroline writes: “We installed a one-piece tub shower in our basement only a year ago, as well as linoleum flooring. Already, the linoleum is rolling up where it meets the tub. What’s the best product to use to hold it down? We really don’t want to use quarter-round due to the moisture but worry that caulking is not going to do the job.”
TOM: You know, bathrooms are great in the basement but they’re apt to have more moisture than bathrooms at the higher levels of the house, Caroline. So that’s a pretty common problem. I’d steer away from trying to accomplish this repair with adhesive. It’s just not going to stay. Quarter-round molding or shoe molding is the best.
But here’s how you avoid the whole issue of rot and decay. Just use composite molding instead of wood. Now, composite molding is made of extruded PVC. It’s not going to rot when exposed to moisture and you can paint it just like wood. So, once it’s down, it’s down for good.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a question from Dave in Florida who writes: “I live in a neighborhood of Mediterranean-style homes. According to our homeowners association, all buildings on lots must be of this style. I have a new storage shed that I need to alter to meet these homeowners association standards. I plan to use WonderBoard to frame it out and stucco as the finish with paint to match the house. It will be on a concrete base against a 6-foot rock wall on the backside. I’m looking for suggestions as to how to attach the WonderBoard to the shed and problems I should be anticipating.”
TOM: Well, the foremost thing to keep in mind with this, Dave, is you want to make sure that the shed is dimensionally stable. If you’re going to cover the shed with stucco, it needs to be secure. You can’t have movement in the walls because the stucco will crack and it’ll fall off.
So, preventing this really starts at that foundation. You need a good stone base and concrete footings so that when the job is complete, the shed is really rock-solid. And the simplest and most effective way to do this, in terms of attaching that WonderBoard, is to use screws. There are special screws that are designed to attach WonderBoard. They’ve got a very flat pan head so that they grab the board very securely and hold it to the studs.
You don’t want to use drywall screws because the boards will be loose. And if those walls are not solid, the stucco is going to crack, which will make your homeowners association and your neighbors extremely unhappy. So, remember, stability is really the key here. Also, I would suggest that you use pressure-treated lumber because, again, that moisture is going to have a potential impact on the lumber. It could cause decay, especially on the lower framing portions of the wall, the portions that are against that concrete slab that you talked about.
LESLIE: And Dave, it’s really important, once you build your shed, not to overlook the details. So you want to paint it beautifully and carefully to match your home. You want it to look like it’s meant to be there, so landscape around it. Really add some beautiful flowers, make a beautiful garden bed.
You want it to look almost like a little cottage in the back of your house, like it’s supposed to be there, not like it just sort of got dropped off and is holding whatever you’ve got back there and becoming an eyesore for everybody. Make it work with the property. This way, it will only enhance the value of your home and actually become a useful space for you.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope you’ve gotten some tips and advice on how to enjoy the projects you’re tackling around your money pit. Remember, if you’ve got questions, you can reach 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.
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(Copyright 2015 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.)