- If you’d love to add more light to your kitchen, we share a new window trend that aims to do just that, in a very unusual way.
- Have you ever been surprised by a big electric bill? Find out the most common places energy is wasted.
- If your bathtub has a worn-out finish, replacing the tub could require a major renovation of your entire bath. We highlight far less costly options to consider.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Rich from West Virginia wants to know if he can spackle over the tape on his drywall.
- Britt in California needs tips on installing a skylight.
- Mark from South Carolina wants to know how to determine if he has hard water in his house.
- Cecily in Iowa needs to know how to paint over water stains on wallpaper.
- Hugh from North Carolina has a beach house that he wants to soundproof.
- Anne wants to know who to call to install a tin ceiling.
- Michael in North Carolina has a noisy water heater.
- Debby from Texas needs to know the best prep for painting a carpeted cement floor.
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 are here to help you take on projects around your house. Are you planning a project for today, tomorrow, this weekend or this spring? Well, look, hey, March has arrived. And I say that makes it almost springtime in my mind. I know it’s technically not but really, once March gets here, April’s right behind it. Then we’re into May and now we’re really rocking with the projects. So, really, it’s time to get going, get inspired, get out and plan those projects, pick up the materials, pick up the tools. And if you have questions, you can pick up the answers right here.
Get in touch with us by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s program, if you love to add more light to your kitchen, a new window trend is emerging that aims to do just that in a very unusual way. We’ll share that tip in just a bit.
LESLIE: And have you ever been surprised by a big electric bill? Well, we’re going to share the most common places that you’re wasting energy.
TOM: And if your bathtub has a worn-out finish, replacing the tub could require a major renovation of your entire bath. But before you do that, there are far less costly options to consider. We’ll show you what to do.
LESLIE: Yeah. Give us a call, let us know what you are working on. Whether it’s a big project or a small project or an organizing project, we love to tackle all of them. And we’re going to give you a hand, so give us a call.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Rich in West Virginia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICH: Hi. I’ve got a drywall question. My house is only about 9 years old but a lot of the seams between the sheets of drywall have – where the tape was – the tape is cracked and it’s curled up a little at the edges.
RICH: It’s especially bad out in my garage – the unheated garage – on the ceiling pieces but even some in the house. I don’t know if – I’ve heard different things: that they could have put it in when it was cold and it froze before it set or …
TOM: Let me tell you what’s going on, Rich. Nine years ago, as they do today, the builders will drywall the garage for one reason and one reason only: because they’re required to to maintain the fire separation between the garage and the rest of the house.
But being builders, they only do what they absolutely have to do to get past code. I always tell these guys, “It’s like you guys are proud of being – of getting a D, not an F. You want to get a D. Nobody really strives for an A.” It’s like how would you feel if your kid came home from school and said, “Guess what, Dad? I got a D. Ain’t you proud?” The builders just do the absolute minimum.
So, in the drywall situation in the garage, that means this: they put on the tape and one coat of spackle. Only one. Where in the house, they put on three because that’s the normal thing you do. So they save a few pennies by only putting on one coat of spackle and you’re faced with tape that – what a surprise – falls off over the years.
RICH: OK. Yeah.
TOM: So, in this case, Rich, if it’s loose and separating, you really can’t put spackle on top of that because it’s not going to get between the paper tape and the drywall underneath. I would cut off any loose tape and then I would put another layer of tape on top of that or in lieu of that. And I would use perforated drywall tape, which is very forgiving, especially for somebody who’s an amateur spackler, because you don’t have to worry about getting the paste underneath the tape. It actually goes through the tape; it’s more like a netting.
TOM: And then you do that with three coats and sand it out in between. Take your time; it’ll take you a little while to kind of get used to it. But that’ll do the trick there. Then prime and paint.
And as for the areas inside the house, it’s not at all unusual for a 9-year-old house to get some cracks in the seams or where corners come together or above windows or doors. And you pretty much handle those the same way. If the tape is absolutely loose, you have to take it off and replace it. But if it’s just cracking, you can actually put that same type of drywall tape on top of that, three coats of spackle, prime and paint and you’re done, OK?
RICH: OK. Sounds good.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Rich. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Britt in California is on the line and needs some help with a skylight.
What can we do for you?
BRITT: My husband and I are considering putting in the skylights in our home.
BRITT: OK. Are we better off to put a round skylight? A square skylight? Are we better off to put it toward the middle of the roof line or at where it opens up on the deck?
TOM: OK. So you have a couple of options with skylights.
First of all, you can use a physical skylight, which is a hole in your roof with a glass skylight inserted into it. There’s another type of skylight kind of thing; it’s called a “sun tunnel.” It’s a lot easier to install. And basically, you put in this tube that goes into the roof and opens up the roof. And then you connect a flex duct from it down to the ceiling of the room that you want to light. And that actually brings a lot of natural light into the room. It’s called a “sun tunnel.” So you have skylight or sun tunnel.
A sun tunnel is going to be a lot less expensive than a skylight. If you’re going to go with the skylight, you probably want to – you have to position it in the room where it’s going to look the best, so that would probably be in the middle. But the expense is creating the light shaft; that’s what you create, you construct, from the point of the roof down to the ceiling level. And that’s kind of the more expensive, complicated part about putting the skylight in. Cutting it through the roof is really pretty easy.
What I would recommend is that you use a good-quality skylight. I like Andersen skylights, Pella skylights, VELUX – V-E-L-U-X. All good-quality skylights because they’re curbed: they sit up off the roof and they have flashing that makes the seal between the skylight and the roof itself.
And I’ve had, for example, a VELUX – a V-E-L-U-X – skylight that’s been in my house for 20-plus years. Never had a problem with leaking through many a storm. So it’s definitely worth putting in a good-quality skylight but those are your options. I hope that helps you out.
And thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mark in South Carolina is on the line with a showerhead question.
What can we do for you?
MARK: Yes. My wife has been after me for several years. She said that the pressure coming out of our shower nozzle just can’t get the shampoo out of her hair. And I changed – I put four different shower nozzles on there. I had a plumber that actually went out to the line out at the street, where we tapped into the line, and they’re all saying there’s nothing I can do. Do you have any suggestions for me?
TOM: Mark, do you have hard water?
MARK: I don’t know. How do you know if you have hard water?
TOM: Because if you have hard water, that’s exactly what it would feel like: it would feel like you can’t get your …
LESLIE: It makes it feel like you can’t get the shampoo or the soap off.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Do you have well water or do you have city water?
MARK: City water.
TOM: Are there any other showers in the house that she uses and seems to work fine?
MARK: No. She went to the other shower and said that didn’t work either. So I kept changing out the shower nozzles. Nothing seems to work.
TOM: Yeah, you might want to get a water test done, because that’s exactly the symptom of a hard-water problem that you described.
MARK: Hard water. OK.
TOM: Yeah. And then you could – there’s a number of ways that you could put water softeners in and that will make that go away.
Now, in terms of the showerhead itself, yeah, the newer, water-efficient showerheads, there are some folks that complain about not having enough water in there.
TOM: But I will say that the better ones seem to have engineered that out.
For example, I know Moen has a couple of different ones that are available, that have multiple settings. And they’ve engineered these so that you get a good spread of water across the showerhead but you still have the water savings.
MARK: OK. Moen. Got that.
TOM: Yeah. Check the hardware out. Then take a look at the better showerheads, like the ones by Moen. Those are really terrific. And I’ve got one, actually, in a shower upstairs that’s like a rain shower, kind of wide head. And it works great.
MARK: Well, that’s a good suggestion. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Cecily in Iowa is on the line with a wallpaper conundrum.
What’s going on at your money pit?
CECILY: Well, I have a probably 24-year-old townhome that I think the paper has been on the wall since – for that long.
TOM: It was popular back then.
CECILY: Yeah, yeah. Back then.
I’m just wondering – person I had in here tried to, where the wallpaper butts up against the ceiling, there’s – it looks like a bad job and there’s some marks. And he thought he could wipe it down. And everywhere he wiped it down, there’s like a watermark all along where he – looks like icicles: an uneven line of watermark.
And I don’t know if it can – I’ve been told you can paint over it. I mean we have vaulted ceilings; it’s a lot of paper. And I don’t know how you would – if what – they took it off. There’s actually some posts papered with it and I don’t know what’s underneath.
TOM: I think the answer is you can remove it. It’s a lot of work, like any type of wallpaper.
TOM: If you want to paint over it, it’s going to look like the wallpaper underneath.
LESLIE: Textured paint.
TOM: It’s going to look textured underneath. So, if you want to do like a really inexpensive, short-term fix, you could paint over it. I would recommend that you use a very thick roller on that because otherwise, it’s going to be very hard to get the paint in where it has to go. And maybe you might even need to use a slitted roller: the kind of roller that we use on textured ceilings where it has actually sort of slots in it. Because it really gets in and around and thick and will sort of fill out that whole surface with paint.
CECILY: Mm-hmm. Is it terribly difficult to remove?
LESLIE: It depends on how long it’s been there, what the prep process was to the wall below the paper. All of those can add up to an easy job or a tremendously difficult job. And it’s one of those things that you don’t know until you try. And there are ways to do it.
Now, with a textured wall covering like this, whether it’s grass cloth or the string cloth, you can try to use a store-bought wallpaper remover. You can use a steamer. You can do homemade concoctions. One is white vinegar and hot water; another is fabric softener and hot water. Both situations, you super-saturate the walls and just sort of let it sit there for a few minutes. I’ve even heard of clothing starch with hot water and making a paste onto the wallpaper.
And I’ve used the fabric softener and that does work. That was a traditional vinyl, which I had to score first. But I’ve also heard with grass cloths, that you can take a paint scraper and scrape the actual string cloth or the grass cloth off of the backing, so that might make it easier to remove. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of work and you never know what’s behind it. You could get everything off and the wall could be so textured and dinged up that you end up having to put a layer of drywall over it anyway.
CECILY: Ah, OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much. That’s very helpful and I’m glad I called.
TOM: Well, there’s a new trend, that window manufacturers are telling us about, that’s pretty interesting. They’re seeing a big uptick in the purchase of privacy windows and in particular, transom windows.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, if you’re wondering what the heck is a transom window, you probably have only seen them in older movies, because they were common in the days before air conditioning. Now, we’re talking about the tilt-in windows that were typically above your interior doors. And they were there to help circulate air from room to room with the door closed before air conditioning was a thing.
TOM: Now, the transom-size windows are extremely popular in baths and showers to provide light and privacy. But builders are coming up with other very creative applications, such as door sidelights, as a way to provide light into the kitchen, by installing them on top of the wall cabinets, where they can add a ton of light to that space.
So, a cool trend and something to definitely watch out for: transom windows in the kitchens above the cabinets.
LESLIE: Hugh in North Carolina needs some help with a beach home.
What can we do for you?
HUGH: Hi, Leslie and Tom. Thank you for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome.
HUGH: A little, quick summary. We bought a beach house last year that we live in full-time. It was new but hadn’t been lived in for 4 years. Basically, it’s a reverse floor plan, which means your living quarters are on the top floor and you’re sleeping – bedrooms are on the second floor (inaudible).
HUGH: And when you’re laying in bed at night, if the dogs are walking around or if anybody’s upstairs, you can hear through the ceiling. And the floor is just – I’m trying to figure out a way to dampen that noise or maybe soundproof. But the walls are intact, so I don’t really want to tear anything out. I didn’t know if you had any ideas how to retro some kind of dampening – sound dampener.
LESLIE: In the ceiling of the bedrooms, are you dealing with a lot of high hats or hard-wired light fixtures? Like would it be a huge pain in the butt to put a second layer of drywall up there?
HUGH: Really, the only thing that’s on the ceiling is a fan and a light.
TOM: Well, there are a couple of ways to quiet the transference of sound between rooms. Unfortunately, most of them require taking apart your existing ceiling or walls. There are specialty types of wallboard that can go up that will deaden the sound. These are laminated wallboards that are designed to have sort of a sound baffling inside them.
I know Lowe’s sells one called QuietRock but replacing the wallboard is only part of it. You also have to get into the frame of the ceiling and seal up any gaps – like where wires go through, plumbing vents go through, things like that – because it really is a comprehensive solution. And that’s the right way and sort of the long way to do that.
Short of that, I guess you could try to do this from the top side by replacing the floor, pulling the carpet up if that’s what’s down there, putting some sound deadening underneath that and then re-laying it down. But it’s kind of hard to chase it after the fact. The best sound deadening is done when the walls are open and not drywalled.
HUGH: Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah, I was trying to think of a way without doing a big remodel. We’ve only been in here not quite a year.
TOM: Well, you could put a second layer of drywall on. Maybe it wouldn’t be as good as if you tore the whole thing out but you could do something really inexpensively and use a product called Green Glue, which basically creates sort of an insulation space between different layers of it. The Green Glue is still pretty expensive but it is designed to stop some sound transfer.
HUGH: Well, have you ever heard of anything – I’ve been trying to work this through my mind and I just don’t know enough about it – if there’s any type of that – maybe doing holes and using some type of expanding foam or something that would be designed to do that maybe.
TOM: You know, there’s a rumor that insulating spaces like that will quiet the sound and it does a little bit but it doesn’t make a big difference. So, no, I don’t think you can do anything like that.
HUGH: OK. Well, I do appreciate your help.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ann on the line who’s got a ceiling issue.
Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
ANN: Well, what happened is I have a large living room. At one time, it had been two rooms and they combined it into one.
ANN: On one of the sections, it has a metal or a tin ceiling. And what I want to do is install a ceiling to match in the other section. I located the manufacturer of the ceiling tile. However, I don’t know who to call to do the installation, because they could not provide me with any ideas. So, should I be looking for a sheet-metal person? Should I look for a tinsmith or a …?
TOM: So you can’t find a tin-ceiling installer in the phone book? Is that what you’re trying to tell us?
ANN: Right. There’s no one listed.
TOM: Listen, it’s not a hard project, Linda. It’s really a job for a carpenter. It’s not a difficult project. A carpenter with a little bit of metalworking experience can handle this. And I’m very impressed that you actually found the product, because it’s a little tough to find.
LESLIE: Yeah, exactly what you’re looking for.
TOM: So I would handle – a good carpenter or a good handyman. Really easy job to install that. And so that’s the way I would take it.
ANN: Oh, thank you ever so much. I really appreciate all your help.
LESLIE: Michael in North Carolina is on the line with a water heater that’s making some curious sounds.
Tell us what’s going on.
MICHAEL: Recently, the last 4 to 6 weeks, I’ve been noticing – it sounds like a bubbling and a popping noise inside of the water heater. I’ve read several things on the internet but I can’t quite put my finger on it and I’m worried that either the vessel is getting ready to go or – I’m not sure, at this point.
TOM: How old is the water heater?
MICHAEL: It looks to be of considerable age. I’m guessing between 6 and 8 years.
TOM: Well, I mean water heaters generally go about 10 to 12 years, so that’s not – that’s kind of middle-aged; it’s not too terrible. By the way, if you look at the data plate on that water heater, usually there’s a date stamp sort of buried into the serial number. Sometimes, it’ll actually say what the date of the manufacture is or at the least, it’s going to have a gas standard in terms of which code it was built to and it’ll give you a year there. So you can get an actual sense of what the age of the water heater is.
The noise is usually caused by a sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank. So, if you drain the tank occasionally, that will usually stop that. Have you ever drained your tank?
MICHAEL: In the 8 months I’ve been there, no. But I’d read something somewhere along the lines that you have to be very careful with – it’s got a plastic drain valve on it. And when you have a water heater that’s a little bit older, I guess they get – become brittle. And I’m worried about breaking that and making things much worse immediately.
TOM: Well, you could very carefully try to drain the water heater. You simply hook up a garden hose to that spout; it’s designed to be drained. And let some of the water out of it and try to spill off some sediment with that. You get sediment on the bottom of the tank and that does tend to make it pretty noisy sometimes.
MICHAEL: OK. Is there any chance that I have the temperature turned up too high and it’s causing – well, I guess not at 125 degrees. It wouldn’t cause a boiling, would it?
TOM: No, it wouldn’t. And 125 degrees, though, is pretty hot. You really want it to be more like 110.
TOM: Just for safety’s sake, if nothing else.
LESLIE: Yeah, because you could easily get scalded.
MICHAEL: OK. Alright. I’ll give that a shot.
TOM: Well, does your electric bill give you a sticker shock every time you open it? Well, figuring out how to reverse that trend really starts with an understanding of where all that power is going, especially because a good portion of that juice might be going to places you’re not even aware of. We’re going to share where you need to look to find these energy-wasters, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
LESLIE: Yep. To help, here are three areas where we see a lot of wasted energy.
So, first, we’re going to talk about vampire appliances. And I’m not talking about scary vampires you see in a movie. I’m talking about appliances that are always plugged in and are always drawing energy, whether you’ve got them on or not. Now, the solution here is to use a power strip that you can switch off when appliances are not being charged.
TOM: Now, next, there are the energy hogs. These are the big appliances, like dishwashers and clothes washers and clothes dryers that have this insatiable appetite for electricity and can drive your electricity bills way up. So, possible solutions: run the dish and clothes washers at full capacity only and select low heat for the dryer. And replace older appliances; they don’t use energy as efficiently as the newer counterparts. Look for ENERGY STAR appliances when you do the replacement and you’ll be amazed at the transformation that your energy bill will reveal.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to talk about lights and ceiling fans. Now, when it comes to lighting, many people make the mistake of using lights to brighten an entire room. But efficient lighting really only provides light to specific areas, such as the spot by the couch or the chair or your kitchen table or your workspaces. So, the solution here is to only light in the rooms that you’re in and for those specific purposes. “Task lighting” is what we call it.
Also, swap out your incandescent bulbs for LEDs. The costs have come way down once you purchase those bulbs and they’re going to last a long, long time and use very minimal energy.
And when it comes to the lights – I mean my kids leave the lights everywhere they go. And of course, they are the brightest. That one’s on, that one’s on, this one. Well, think about an occupancy sensor. I’m going to put this one in my older son’s room because he goes in there, turns it off, leaves, doesn’t turn them off. But the sensor will know when people leave the space and turn those lights off for you.
TOM: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card. Earn three-percent cash back on online shopping. Apply at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
LESLIE: Debbie in Texas is on the line and is dealing with a basement project.
Tell us what you’re working on.
DEBBIE: Well, I have a cement floor that, right now, has indoor/outdoor carpet that’s glued down. And I’d like to peel the carpet up and then paint the floor. So my question is: what type of prep – once I get the carpet up, what type of prep do I need to do and then what type of paint should I use?
LESLIE: Now, have you started to try and remove this outdoor carpeting?
DEBBIE: Yes, we have and it is glued and so there’s a glue, I guess, base that’s on the floor. So we’d need to somehow scrape that off?
LESLIE: Yes. And that – and did you say this was a screened-in porch or a covered porch?
DEBBIE: No, it’s an indoor – it’s indoors.
LESLIE: Oh, it’s completely indoors. OK. That’s going to make it a bit of a chore. The reason I was a little excited that you had a lot of fresh air while you were working is because you’re going to need to use an adhesive remover if your plan is to paint this floor. Because you’re going to end up with so much residue from that glue, that’s going to be all over, and there’s a good chance that it’s going to be uneven and raised and spotty in some areas. You’re going to have pieces of carpeting on it and it’s going to be a mess.
So you’re going to have to find exactly what type of adhesive that is and what is the best remover for it. Because depending on what the base is of that adhesive will depend on what type of adhesive remover you use. So it’s really going to be an experimentation to sort of see what works well.
And then once you find what really is working well at loosening up that adhesive, you’re really just going to have to use a heavy-duty scraper and work on that glue residue until that’s up. And then even then, your painted surface is going to look really not that great after all of that work.
DEBBIE: So, I guess your recommendation would be go back with indoor/outdoor carpet.
LESLIE: Well, in a lower-level space, carpeting really isn’t the best idea – whether there’s padding or not, whether it’s glued or not – only because you’re dealing with a dust trap that’s sitting right on top of a concrete slab that tends to get moist. All of that moisture gets up into that carpeting, whether or not it’s indoor/outdoor.
Now, that moisture sort of sits with that dust and creates all sorts of allergens and mold and it’s really not the best idea. Tile would work fantastically. And if you got that floor fairly even-ish, even with the adhesive, you could go ahead and do something with that with tile.
It depends on what you want the space to look like. If you’re OK with seeing an uneven surface and you want to paint over that, then an epoxy coating is perfect for a floor in that situation. But it depends. I spend a lot of time in my basement, so I wouldn’t want to see such an uneven floor surface, whether it was painted my favorite color or not.
DEBBIE: And what harm would come if I just peeled the carpet and scraped the glue – scraped it smooth – and then painted? Would the paint not stick if there was still all the glue there?
LESLIE: I don’t think so. The systems, like the epoxy-coating systems, are usually sold in kits. There’s several steps. The first one is an etching or a cleaning step. Then there’s your topcoat that you mix in with, I guess, all of the different process that sort of cures it and solidifies it. And some of them have that little decorative speckle and that gets sort of sprinkled in there at the end. And you want to work yourself out of a corner so you don’t get trapped down there. But it should stick fairly well.
It just – is this a utility space that you’re strictly storing things in? Is this your family hangout? You have to think about what that space is and how you want it to look.
DEBBIE: OK. Well, that gives me some ideas. I guess I first need to get the carpet up and see what it looks like underneath and go from there. Alright. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if your bathtub has a worn-out finish, replacing that tub does require a major renovation of the entire bathroom. But before you go and do that, there are other far less costly options that you can consider.
First of all, let’s talk about tub replacement. Now, most of your tubs are set in an alcove or a corner, lapped by the flooring and the wall finishes to create that watertight seal. And then they’re tied down in at least two places by plumbing. So, if you’re ready for a full-scale bathroom remodel, replacing that tub makes perfect sense.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about tub liners. Now, what’s a tub liner? Well, it’s actually an insert for your tub. It’s usually made from a durable acrylic. And they’re made – actually, it’s kind of a cool story. They actually have to find all these old tubs to make the molds from. Because when they’re made, they drop in perfectly and the installation can usually be done in less than a day. A pro basically cleans the old tub, removes the old drain, the overflow. Next, they trim the liner so it fits perfectly against the walls. And then they install a new drain and an overflow and you’re pretty much good to go.
So the good news is you’re often back in your bathroom on the very same day. Some might consider the fact that you lose a little bit of room a drawback because the tub, you know, it’s going to be probably – oh, probably maybe a ¼-inch thick or so. But it’s a very negligible amount. So really, in my mind, not much to worry about for that kind of transformation.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we can talk about tub refinishing. Now, reglazing or refinishing a worn-out tub, it’s a more site-intensive process. All of this work is going to happen in your bathroom. There’s a lot of chemicals. Some of them are hazardous enough to require a respirator and even a special protective suit for that tech that’s doing the work.
Now, the reglazing requires properly venting that bathroom to extract the toxic fumes. And the refiner coats the tub in hydrofluoric acid to dissolve what’s left of your porcelain glaze. And then it’s going to etch that surface, so whatever new finish you’re putting on is going to adhere.
Now, the actual finish is an epoxy primer and several coats of urethane, all applied by a sprayer. The whole process takes a single technician about 4 to 6 hours. And it’s very, very beautiful. Although, even with all of that work – and sure, it’s durable – it’s not going to ever be as durable as the original porcelain finish, so keep that in mind.
TOM: Yeah. So you still need to be super careful when you’re cleaning it. But again, it’s good, it’s beautiful. But it’s also – man, what a process. It’s going to probably stink up the whole house in getting it done. But if you happen to have an old, beautiful clawfoot tub or something like that, it might be worth it.
LESLIE: Jeff reached out with his question. And he says, “We recently bought a 3-year-old home that has dual Wolf ovens. Unfortunately, we failed to open the ovens when we moved in and have since found someone put a plastic container in the oven, which melted to the bottom of the oven. Any idea how we could try to remove that melted plastic?”
First of all, the most expensive oven that you can melt something in. My goodness.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. You melted it with class.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness.
TOM: Well, my experience on this – I will say it’s limited. But I do understand that there are two methods. There’s the cold method and there’s the hot method.
So let’s start with the cold method. The idea of the cold method here is that you try to get that plastic as cold as you possibly can, to make it easier to scrape off the bottom of that oven. But when you do the scraping, obviously you don’t want to use anything that’s going to hurt the finish. So, in my mind, using something like a plastic scraper – like you might use a plastic putty knife, for example, if you were filling holes in your walls. Those are pretty stiff blades.
And I actually, Leslie, have taken those plastic putty knives when I needed to scrape something off and I’ve kind of sharpened them with a file. Only because they get kind of dull very quickly. Or just to even – maybe even an emery board you could use on it so you kind of keep an edge. And then sort of work it. Keep it cold and then work it and see if you can chip it away.
Now, if that doesn’t work, your other option, of course, is to heat it. You want to do this on the lowest temperature possible. And in that case, you don’t want to use a plastic putty knife because you might melt more plastic on it. What you could use …
LESLIE: Could you imagine?
TOM: Yeah. You could use – in that case, you might have to use a metal putty knife. But again, you have to be very careful. Now, those usually have short of a rounded edge so they don’t scrape as easily. But see if you could do this gently. And it’s going to be kind of a trial and error. And see if you can warm it just a bit and if it softens the plastic.
And I think, if all else fails – and probably the last thing I would try would be a self-cleaning cycle. Because I imagine the self-cleaning cycle in that oven is going to be so hot.
LESLIE: It would get so hot.
TOM: It would most likely burn off what’s there but it might also be a stinky mess. So, be prepared with windows that are open and fans that are blowing.
You might also want to give the Wolf people a call. They’re a great manufacturer and they may have some other specific advice for you. But I’m sorry that really happened to you; that’s so unusual. But what a bit of bad luck. And shame on the people that sold that house to you. They knew darn well that was a problem but they didn’t disclose it. So, shame on them. But hopefully, you will get to the bottom of it.
LESLIE: No, you know what probably happened was somebody was doing work or they ran out of storage and just put something in the oven to hold it there as like, “Oh, I’ll hold these extra pans in the oven.” And that’s totally something that could easily happen. But I mean what a terrible situation because those are really beautiful, high-end ovens and they certainly have a high price tag. And that’s really sad to happen in your brand-new house.
TOM: Yeah. And now you’ve got a story. Everybody says, “Oh, those are beautiful ovens.” “Well, let me tell you what happened, you know?”
LESLIE: “We call this one Melty.” “Why do you call it Melty?” “Oh, let me tell you a tale.”
TOM: Ah, we all have those tales that happen because of projects that go wrong and maybe through no fault of our own.
LESLIE: Well, Jeff, good luck with the new house. I hope you’re able to get this oven running, fresh, clean and able to whip up some yummy dinners soon.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. We are online at MoneyPit.com. Catch the podcast at MoneyPit.com/Podcast.
Hey, thanks for spending a part of your day with us. We hope you’ve enjoyed the show and picked up an idea or two that will help improve your space. If you’ve got some questions about your own space, we would love to hear from you. You can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT any time of the day or night. We’ll call you back the next time we’re in the studio. Or you can post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Until then, 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 2022 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.)