Consumer Reports is out with the Top Toilets for 2021! We will flush out the details – including the very unusual way they test toilets using plastic balls, screws and sponges to simulate the real thing!
If you’re buying a new home, you’ll have lots of options to choose from. But many of these don’t really have to be done when the house is being built. We’ll tell you which upgrades make sense to buy from the builder, and which you can get done on your own – and often save a lot of expense in the process.
Bathtubs can last a lifetime, but their finishes won’t! The good news is you don’t have to get rid of the whole tub just because of a worn finish. We’ll layout DIY and pro-options to restore the finish and brighten up your bathroom space.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
Amanda is asking how to stop floor squeaks in her 100-year-old home.
James wants to know how to set an above ground pool into his deck?
Terri from Pennsylvania is asking why are her gutters always overflow, even though they are clean?
Case from Oklahoma wants to know how to prioritize projects in new home as well as why there is a surge in lumber prices?
Rosie wants to know her options for a fogged replacement window with a bad seal.
Terry from Tennessee wants to know the best preservative to put on raw wood for a porch?
Carol from California asks how to insulate the house from underneath her floor.
Dale from Wisconsin needs help figuring out what is causing his metal roof to leak and how to fix it.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are so happy to be here with you on this beautiful summer day in the beginning of August. We hope you guys are enjoying the great outdoors. We hope that you are enjoying being outside of the house after all the months we spent inside. Maybe you’re enjoying thinking about taking on some projects, because after all that time inside your house you’re thinking, “Hmm, I could use some guest spaces. I could use a better kitchen. I could use a better bathroom. I would love to have a deck, a patio.” You name it.
That’s why we exist. We’re here to help you with those projects. We’ve been doing this for well over 20 years. We have helped thousands and thousands of people make smart decisions when it comes to doing stuff around their house. And we are here waiting for your calls and ready to help you.
You can reach us by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio, leave a message. We’ll call you back the next time we are. Or you can send us your questions through MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, here is a story that will really move you. Consumer Reports is out with the top toilets for 2021. We’re going to flush out the details, including the very unusual way they test toilets using – ready for this? – plastic balls, screws and sponges to simulate the real thing. It’s all coming up, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Very interesting.
Coming up, if you’re buying a new home, you’re going to have lots of options to choose from. But many of these don’t really have to be done when the house is being built. We’re going to look at which upgrades make sense to buy from the builder and which you can get done on your own and often save a lot of expenses in the process.
TOM: And bathtubs can last a lifetime but unfortunately, their finishes, they won’t. The good news is you don’t have to get rid of the entire tub just because of a worn finish. We’re going to lay out some do-it-yourself and pro options that you can do to restore the finish and brighten up your entire bathroom space.
LESLIE: And if you’re ready to take on your next home project, we are ready to help. What is it? Is it big? Is it small? Is it something you’ve been dreaming of for ages and ages or sadly, is it something that’s just popped up that you need to take care of rather sooner than later? Whatever it is, we are here to give a hand.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT – that’s 888-666-3974 – or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, lots of folks wanting to talk with us today. Who’s up first?
LESLIE: Heading to Pennsylvania where Amanda is on the line and dealing with some floor squeaks. What’s going on?
AMANDA: We just got a house. It’s about a hundred years old but it’s in great condition. It has the original hardwood floors – which are in great condition, as well – but some of them creak, especially the stairs. So what can we do to fix some of the soft spots and some of the creaky areas – they have about the 1-inch pieces of board that run across – without ruining the original hardwood?
TOM: So, when you have a beautiful, old home and you’ve got wood floors that squeak, that’s like the charm bonus right there. Some people pay more for that. So trying to find the source of those squeaks is challenging.
I can tell you why they happen. They happen because the boards move and they rub against each other and that’s what makes that squeaky sound. You can try to lessen them by tightening those loose boards where you find them but it’s the kind of thing that I think, Leslie, you chase them and you figure out one spot that’s squeaking. And you fix that and it’s quiet and then you take two steps and it’s opened up somewhere else, right?
LESLIE: Yeah, for sure. It’s like you’re constantly moving to the next squeaky sound – creaky sound.
TOM: Yeah, so you can try to tighten up those boards and I’ll tell you what types of hardware to use. Essentially, what you want to do is you want to screw those floors down to the floor joist below. And there’s a type of screw – it’s a very specialized type of screw. Not hard to hard to find but it’s called a “trim screw.”
And the reason you’re using screws is because when you put them in, they don’t pull out. And because it’s hardwood, you’re going to have to do a pilot hole first and then you drive in the trim screw, which is a very, very narrow screw with a narrow head. You typically would use a screwdriver with a bit on the end that basically fits into the top of the trim screw. And you can drive it down right below the surface of the wood. They are almost impossible to see when they’re done.
And if you tighten up those areas – you can also do it on stair treads, which you mentioned were making some noise – that will help to quiet it down. But don’t expect it to be completely silent. That ship has sailed. It’s not going to happen, right? But you could probably get it a lot better than it is right now.
LESLIE: James in Mississippi is on the line and has a question about cutting a hole in a deck and putting a pool in which, oddly, is something that we did on an episode of While You Were Out and did not go so well. So, what’s going on?
JAMES: My wife wants me to cut a hole out of our deck and put one of these inflated pools in there. It’s an 8-foot pool and stands about, I don’t know, 2, 3 feet tall. And the land’s on a slope. I’m just trying to figure out how to brace it to get it to where it’ll sit and not get damaged. Or can I do this?
TOM: What could possibly go wrong, you know?
LESLIE: A lot.
TOM: I mean if he wants to cut the hole in the deck – alright, so first, let’s take this in pieces, right?
LESLIE: Literally. Take it in pieces.
TOM: Decks are designed to carry the floor. Yeah. Well, we’re going to end up in pieces.
Designed to carry the floor. So you’re going to have to pull the decking off. You’re going to have to reframe this square opening to fit this pool. And you said inflatable pool. So just remember, you’re going to be committing a lot to this inflatable pool and if it turns out that it gets a hole in it and you can’t find another one that exact same size, you’ve got a big mess to deal with there.
But let’s say you can do that, OK? So you frame out the decking. Now you have the square hole. You mentioned it was on a slope. Well, that’s not going to cut it, because this inflatable pool is going to slide right down under the deck as soon as you fill it with water if there’s a ground slope below. So you’re probably going to have to build up a platform under that to support this inflatable pool. So, it’s quite a big investment in time and energy to have this pool sit inside this deck.
You might want to think of some other options. If you want a pool in a deck, get a hot tub. But make sure the deck is framed properly no matter what you do. If you’re cutting it apart to stick in this inflatable pool or if you’re putting it on top, water is very, very heavy. It’s 8 pounds a gallon. It adds up really quick, so you’ve got to make your deck is framed properly and strong enough to support it.
But good luck with that project. We give you points for creativity.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re a pet lover – and c’mon, I think all of us are pet lovers here – whether they’re big or small, we’ve got a fun, new contest live, right now, at MoneyPit.com. It’s called the Post a Picture of Your Pet Photo Contest. We couldn’t come up with anything better, so we just went right for it, right for what exactly the title is. And it’s pawsented (ph) by LL Flooring.
TOM: I get it. Pawsented (ph). Very good.
Hey, all you need to do to enter is post a picture of your pet with a short description and then share your entry and invite your friends to vote. The top three vote-getters will receive a $1,000 gift card from LL Flooring, as well as a $50 gift card from Chewy. Well, that’s for your pooch.
LESLIE: Well, you can get a lot done at both places with those gift cards. A thousand bucks at LL Flooring? You can choose a lot from, say, LL Flooring’s beautiful styles that are scratch-resistant floors, as well as water-resistant laminate, waterproof tile, waterproof vinyl, basically everything that’s perfect for a pet owner.
TOM: Enter today at MoneyPit.com/Contest. That’s the Post a Picture of Your Pet Photo Contest at MoneyPit.com/Contest.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Terry in Pennsylvania on the line who’s got a gutter issue. Tell us what’s going on.
TERRI: I have white aluminum gutters and on the gutters that face the southern exposure, the part of the gutter that faces out is turning black and there’s – where the water runs off it, it’s like a dark gray and just water drips all along the face of the gutter.
TOM: Right. So, does it seem like the gutters are overflowing and the water is coming over the top and getting these sort of drip marks? Is that what’s going on?
TERRI: Well, yeah. I have what’s called a “gutter insert” to keep the leaves out. And I know that – well, I’m pretty sure that that’s not causing it, because I had the same problem when I lived on Long Island. And it was only the gutters that faced south. And on Long Island, we had a white aluminum top to the gutter to keep the leaves out?
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.
TERRI: And then the water would roll off of that and then go into the – it would be caught into the gutter. So, it’s a different type of leaf system but I’m still having the same black drip.
TOM: Right. OK. So, first of all, I would make sure that the gutters are not blocked and that water isn’t backing up and overflowing that particular gutter, so that – because that water rolling over the top of it, it can get behind it, it can rot out your fascia.
The dark stains are probably from the water and tree sap and everything else that gets into those gutters. The gutters also fade quite easily; the paint wears off and fades quite easily. So I don’t think it’s a stain that you’re going to actually have to be able to clean. I think what you’re going to end up having to do here, Terri, is repaint those gutters.
So what I would do is I would wash them down with a trisodium phosphate, get as much of that gunk off. Then I would prime them and I would paint them again. But just – but do make sure that they’re not clogged, because that could be leading to the problem.
TERRI: But yeah – no, they’re definitely not clogged. And I tried scrubbing it – the ones that aren’t on the second story, where it’s worse. But the ones that are on the first story, I tried cleaning it with a Fantastik and it bleeds into the stain a little bit. But I didn’t realize that the aluminum gutters – was it a hydrostatic or electrostatic painting process?
TOM: What happens is – and you’ll see this: if you take the gutter and you wipe your hand over it, you’ll probably get some white paint that will come off. It oxidizes because it’s exposed to UV. And so then the paint doesn’t tend to last more than maybe 10 years or so on aluminum gutters.
So I think, though, if you clean off as much of this thing as you can, prime it and paint it, it’ll look great.
TERRI: Alright. Great. I’ll give it a try.
LESLIE: Well, Consumer Reports is out with their list of the top toilets for 2021. And if you haven’t purchased a new toilet recently, you may be surprised to find that today’s toilets feature many improvement to make them flush better and use less water.
Now, one interesting thing that they found is that the amount of water used doesn’t always relate to how well a toilet flushes. Now, that’s because toilets are more water-efficient than ever and there have been many improvements in the shape of the toilet bowls, as well as the internal plumbing that contribute to their ability to do the job. So much goes into toilet design. This is amazing.
TOM: And just as much goes into toilet testing. You might be wondering, “How exactly did they do that?” Well, they have what I’m sure is a very scientific method and it involves placing 160 solid-polyethylene balls, 7 sponges with number 10 screws pressed into each sponge for realistic weight and non-lubricated latex condoms filled with water into each bowl. They found the best toilets can get it all down in just one flush.
Now, six models from American Standard and Kohler were named to the list of top flushers. These include the Kohler Cimarron, the Kohler Kelston, two models of the American Standard Champion – that’s our toilet, hooray – as well as two models of the American Standard VorMax toilets. You can see – you can read the entire report at ConsumerReports.org. So, well done Consumer Reports.
I’ve got to say that we’ve been pretty happy with our American Standard Champion, which is not the one they tested because we’ve had it for a number of years. But the thing very, very rarely clogs and I think it’s because of the design that they use now, where all of the sort of internal trapways are all wider and they’re finished, so there’s no friction or resistance. And it does a really good job. So I think the toilets have come a long way and it’s probably a good time to think about replacing yours, especially if you look at the new ones that they recommend in Consumer Reports.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. And we have the American Standard VorMax, which is really fantastic at helping to keep that toilet clean. And when you have two boys, as I do, you know that keeping a toilet clean is a challenge that you are faced with daily. So I thank American Standard for helping me sort of start the project there.
TOM: That’s important.
LESLIE: Case in Oklahoma is on the line. Just got their first house, so congratulations. And now, where to start? Lots of projects. Lumber’s expensive. What’s going on? How can we help?
CASE: I am a first-time homeowner. More than a [side DIYer] (ph). I don’t have a lot of strength but I have a lot of desire. And I’m looking at the projects that I want to get started. And because lumber prices are so high, I’m trying to prioritize what makes the most sense to put off and what makes the most sense to start now. So if you guys could maybe give a little insight on why are lumber prices so high and bring it back to – say those go down a little bit, so things like redoing a back deck or privacy fence become more reasonable.
TOM: Well, Case, congratulations on that new home and we are so proud of you for wanting to take on those projects. That’s great. And you’re asking the right questions.
Let me just address the lumber-price issue first. There’s been, obviously, a huge imbalance in supply and demand for so many different products that surrounded the pandemic. And lumber certainly has been one of them. I know that builders have really struggled with this. In some places, builders can’t even quote what the price of a house will be because they don’t know what the lumber’s going to be. But I do know that those markets are stabilizing now. Prices are coming down, they’re getting more predictable, so I don’t think it’s going to be a terribly long time before we see the kind of economy that we had, in terms in lumber pricing, before the pandemic hit.
In terms of picking your projects, it’s a balancing point between the things that you really want to get done and the things that are going to give you the best return on investment. You mentioned an outdoor deck. Everybody loves an outdoor space these days – today more than ever – so I think a deck’s a great place to start. And fencing, certainly, is also a good way to define the exterior of your property and also improve the value of your home. So I think those projects – right now, if you want to aim for those to tackle next spring, I think that’s a really good place to start.
And beyond that, generally, kitchens and bath types of improvements have great return on investment. And if there’s others that are just sort of décor-related, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tackle them but just understand that that’s kind of an investment in yourself and your happiness, as opposed to one that’s going to deliver a good return when it comes time to sell.
So good luck with that project. I know you’re going to have lots of questions as the years go on. So, reach out to us anytime. We are here to help.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rosie in Iowa who’s got a window question.
Hey, Rosie. What’s going on? How can we help you?
ROSIE: We have Andersen Windows, which we just love the low-E glass on the first level. We want to put some – keep the hot sun and the cold out in the – we want to put new windows on the third level, in the bedroom, the guest rooms.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Yep.
ROSIE: Can you suggest what type of window? We’d have to do a replacement window.
TOM: Yeah. Andersen has a replacement window called the 400 Series. It’s a tilt-wash window, so like a double-hung that tilts down for cleaning. And it’s specifically a replacement window.
So, you order the window to fit the size of your existing windows there that you’re going to replace. And you can order it at The Home Depot. And I think the average cost is about $300 across the country, more or less, depending on size and features. But that’s a good window. It’s got high-performance glass in it; it’s got low-E4 glass in it.
ROSIE: Oh, we just love the ones we put in the basement. You can leave it – the window – open. You know, I’ve got plants down there and it doesn’t even feel warm, the sun.
TOM: Yeah. Take a look at the Andersen 400 Series Window at The Home Depot, OK?
ROSIE: Well, we were thinking about a cheaper one, like Window World or somewhere like that.
TOM: Why do that? You’ve had great experience with Andersen and the price is pretty fair. The average price is about 300 bucks.
ROSIE: Thank you so much. And that was Series 400?
TOM: Series 400. 400 Series. That’s correct.
ROSIE: Four hundred. Well, now you want to come and put them in for me? You’re so good at it and I know you love extra money.
TOM: I can’t do that, Della, but I’m sure the pros at The Home Depot could help. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
So I’ve been skirting the storms this past week, Leslie, as I help my daughter with a project, which is to refinish some chairs. We found a really old table that actually had been in the family for a long time but it was a mess. It was a disaster. It was a drop-leaf table. So we had to take off multiple layers of paint. Got it down to the original maple, finished it, looks great and we’re like, “Hey, we need chairs for this.”
So, she turned to Facebook group. She found four beautiful kitchen chairs with oak seats and high-back caning for – I think it was 20 bucks. And so far, I think I’ve spent 30 bucks on painting. On paint and materials. Well, we stripped those down and in between these storms, I’ve just been getting them done. So, just taking on those projects whenever we can. And I’m just happy that my daughter finds these projects, starts them and then I get to finish them.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. It’s always amazing how you think you’re like, “I’m going to save so much money doing it this way.” And then you’re like, “I’m going to spend so much money on supplies.”
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Terry on the line who’s got a question about a porch. What’s going on?
TERRY: Hi. I just installed a new top-lying best wood porch. It’s about 10 foot wide and about 60 feet long.
TERRY: This is the third one I’ve put in. Others have only lasted a year, year and a half and they would completely rot out – even after I treated them with preservative. I used a – oh, it’s called DeckOver paint. I guess it’s a paint. I thought that would be pretty good. It lasted the longest but it captured the water under the paint, wherever it would crack eventually, and it rotted the wood. And I’ve just replaced it again for $6,000.
TOM: Oh, my gosh.
TERRY: What is the best preservative to put on raw wood?
TOM: OK. So, couple of questions. First of all, this porch, it’s an open porch and the wood boards we’re talking about, are they tongue-and-groove wood flooring that you would see on a typical – on an old porch?
TERRY: Negative. They’re board slats, board 2x4s.
TOM: They’re board slats. So it’s more – oh, more like a deck.
TERRY: A deck. Yeah.
TOM: OK. Alright. And is there space between these boards so that water can drain through them?
TERRY: Oh, yeah. Yeah, they’re about maybe ¼-inch or so.
TOM: OK. Alright. And did you use pressure-treated lumber?
TERRY: Not on the deck part. On the stanchions I did. He went and – the contractor bought the best lumber he could at the time, which is what they graded A or triple A or whatever.
TOM: You used that for the structure but you didn’t use it for the decking itself? The decking is just a typical, solid 2×4?
TOM: What I would do is I would recommend not a paint in this case but a stain but a particular type of stain, which is called a “solid-color stain.” Solid-color stains – and I would buy a Sherwin-Williams or a Benjamin Moore.
I would buy a top brand. I would not buy anything less than that. And a Sherwin-Williams or a Benjamin Moore solid-color exterior stain – sometimes it’s called “fence and deck stain” – for two reasons. Number one, the exterior stain has UV protectors and preservatives built into it. And number two, because it has solid color, it doesn’t form a skin like paint does. Over time, it’ll wear but you can always apply more stain on top of it and it has very good adhesion.
So I would recommend that and I would try to spray it on if I can, if you have a paint sprayer, and get it in between the nooks and crannies of those boards.
Terry, I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us and good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re buying a new home, most builders are going to offer you a wide range of options that you can add when that home is being built. Now, these can include upgraded flooring, decks, patios, fireplaces and more but it’s kind of tempting to order everything you want right when that house is being built. It actually could be more cost-effective to determine what you can do later and maybe even at a lower cost at that time.
TOM: Yeah, right. So, the best place to start, I think, is to think about the improvements that would be difficult or complicated to add later.
So, for example, in the first home we bought, it was a condominium and we bought it right from the builder. And he offered options that included a fireplace, upgraded floors, upgraded interior trim. We went with the fireplace because we knew that would’ve been really difficult, if not impossible, to add after the fact. But we passed on the hardwood flooring, we passed on the upgraded trim, the six-panel pine doors, that sort of thing. And I added those a few months after we moved in.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that definitely is helpful, in that process, to help you save money. Plus, Tom, you’re super skilled and you can do a lot of that stuff yourself.
So you’ve got to consider all of that. But you also need to consider your return on investment. Now, upgrading insulation or spending on, say, an upgraded kitchen or bath is also going to add long-term value and deliver a better return on that investment. But for projects like decks, landscaping, low-voltage lighting, there’s no reason to have that builder do those at that time.
TOM: Yeah. You’d be better off settling into the new home and then coming up with a plan. And then you can bid those jobs out and find the best pro at the best price and get it done then.
LESLIE: Carol in California is on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you today?
CAROL: I have an old house. It sits high off the ground and it’s one of the houses that when they dismantled the camps, they took houses out and people bought them and set them up. And it’s all open underneath and it is freezing cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Is there something that I can do underneath the house?
TOM: So there’s no insulation?
CAROL: I don’t think so. Very little, if any.
TOM: Yeah. Are there – is it like a sort of open floor joist? Do you see the floor joists when you look under and up?
CAROL: You know what? I haven’t been under the house.
TOM: Yeah. Well, look, you’ve got to get somebody under there, Carol, to see what the structure is. But we have the technology, OK?
TOM: You know, if it’s a standard floor-joist construction, you can add insulation in between the floor joists and then under that, you could use 2-inch insulating foam board and then nail that to the bottom of the floor. And that would seal up the floor from the cold air that’s getting up in there.
And I would also take a look at the attic to make sure that that’s insulated. And you just may have a house that needs a few very basic, energy-saving improvements to it.
CAROL: Alright. Well, I appreciate that information. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if your bathtub has a worn out finish, replacing the tub requires a major renovation of the bath. But before you do that, there are far other less-costly options that you should be considering. We’re going to explain it, in today’s Pro Project presented by Angi.
Now, first of all, let’s talk about what it actually might take if you really do want to replace that tub. Now, most of the tubs are going to be set into an alcove or a corner. They’re lapped by flooring and 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 your tub makes sense.
TOM: Yeah. And now another option is what’s called a “tub liner.” They’re sort of like an insert from your tub. They’re usually made from a durable acrylic. They actually have to form these inserts. And when the manufacturers construct these, they use old tubs to make the molds. It’s kind of a pretty cool process.
But once it’s done, the installation of that tub can be done – that tub liner can be done in about a day. A pro basically cleans the old tub, removes the drain, removes the overflow and then they trim the liner so it fits nice and tight against the wall. And then they put in a new drain and you’re pretty much good to go. So the benefit is that you’re back in the bathroom that same day. Cost-wise, it’s less than a total remodel but it certainly is more than, say, just refinishing the tub.
LESLIE: Yeah. And speaking of tub refinishing, we’re talking about reglazing, refinishing. That worn out bathtub is a little bit more site-intensive of a process. Now, it calls for a lot of chemicals that are hazardous enough to require a respirator and even special protective suits for those technicians who are doing the work.
Now, reglazing requires masking the surfaces around the tub to protect from any overspray and then properly venting the bathroom to extract all of those toxic fumes. Now, the refinisher is going to coat the tub in hydrofluoric acid, which is a highly toxic agent that not only dissolves what’s left of that porcelain glaze but also etches that surface so that new finish is going to adhere to it.
Now, the actual finish itself is an epoxy primer and several coats of urethane, all applied by a sprayer. The whole process takes one single technician about 4 to 6 hours. I mean it’s beautiful.
Although, even with all of that, you’ve got to keep in mind that it’s not as durable as the original porcelain finish, so you still need to be careful when you’re cleaning it. Make sure you don’t drop things in it. It’s the same tub; it’s just got all those new, beautiful bells and whistles on it. But you still have to be careful.
TOM: I think it’s a great solution if you’ve got a beautiful clawfoot tub or something like that that you’re trying to restore. I think that refinishing process is definitely the way to go.
Well, that’s today’s Pro Project presented by Angi. Angie’s List is now Angi. Angi connects you with top home improvement pros who can help with your project, big or small. Check out Angi.com to start your next home project today.
LESLIE: Dale in Wisconsin is on the line with a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
DALE: Well, we’ve got a metal roof. It’s a Pro-Rib system? Think of it as a pole barn but the basic structure is made out of metal trusses and then roof purlins and side girts.
DALE: And I’m assuming that they’re coming in from around – the leaks are coming right – because it’s not a lot of water. If I put a measuring cup underneath one of the drips, it probably wouldn’t fill up unless it was a really, really torrential rain. And then it also depends on which direction the wind is blowing.
TOM: OK. So what’s your question, Dale?
DALE: I’m looking for a hint on how to repair this, because I was hoping this was going to be my last house.
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, you need to figure out where it’s coming from exactly. Is it possible to get on the roof?
DALE: Yeah. But I’m not as young as I used to be and I don’t bounce quite as well.
TOM: Yeah, I hear you.
Because one way to kind of track it down is to wet down different sections of the roof with a garden hose to try to figure out where the breakdown is. And then from there, if you can track it down to just one or two panels, I would silicone-caulk it just to see if it stops it or slows it down.
And if that’s the case and it works, great. If it works for a while but then doesn’t work any further, then probably you’re going to have to have a roofing contractor take apart those sections where the leaks are and then seal them that way.
DALE: OK. Sounds like a good plan. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Dale. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Liz reached out to Team Money Pit and she wants to know, “Is it possible to reseal loose shingles? One side of my roof has weak bond between some shingles. They lift up easily in the wind and I’m worried about leaks.”
TOM: Yeah, definitely. Now, the way shingles are made is they have a strip that’s sort of like an asphalt adhesive. And when you first put them down, they will start to seal – glue, so to speak – from one shingle to the next, usually by the first summer. Especially when it gets really hot, they lay down good. But sometimes, maybe that just doesn’t happen.
So in that case, what you need to do is to have a roofer going up there – or anyone that’s handy and comfortable on a ladder or working on a roof. You can basically use an asphalt cement – it comes in a caulk tube – and just put a dab under each one of those loose shingle sections and press it back down again and let it dry. And that will definitely stop it from lifting up. Because you’re right: if the wind gets that hold of the bottom edge of that, lifts it up, it can break off and it could really expose you to some water damage or ice-dam damage and that sort of stuff.
So, just a pretty simple, straightforward fix, as long as you don’t have too many of them to do. There’s no reason to replace the roof, Liz. Just repair those loose shingles.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Freddy writes in and he says, “I’m getting ready to remodel the basement and I want to know if I need to add insulation.”
TOM: Well, I mean if you’re really going to use that space year-round, it’s smart to do that. You want to make sure that you insulated the box beam; that’s the wood beam at the top of the foundation wall. And for the foundation walls themselves, you can use a foam board for that. So Dow blue board, for example, is a good thing to use on those walls because it’ll give you some level of insulation and comfort.
But also, think about how you’re going to heat that space because if you’re going to heat – if you’re going to insulate it, you should heat it. And probably the best type of heat to use would be a resistance-baseboard heat. It’s expensive to run but in the basement, you’re not going to run it that often. So you might as well save the money on the install and just use it when you need it on those very, very cold months.
LESLIE: There you go, Freddy. Hope that helps.
TOM: Well, if you’ve got a patio that’s beat up, there’s no need to replace it. Leslie shares a better idea, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie, I love this idea.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, in a lot of houses, a backyard patio is the place you hang out. It’s sort of your home base for all of your outdoor-living activities. But maybe your patio is old, it’s worn, it’s cracking. You feel like you don’t have a lot of options left to kind of spruce up that space when it is very worn.
Now, painting, staining, that’s usually not going to make it look all that much better. And tearing out that old concrete and pouring a new patio, that can be messy, that can be expensive. And you could find yourself in the same spot down the road again.
Well, there’s a much better way to do a patio makeover. You can renew an old patio, a sidewalk or any other concrete surface, with no demolition required, by using Milano pavers from Pavestone. Now, these pavers are just 3 centimeters thick, which is about 1¼-inch. And from the surface, they look just like the usual full-thickness brick pavers. But because they’re being installed on top of your old patio, they don’t need to be that full thickness.
Now, the three-piece system is installed in basic patterns, directly over that concrete. It requires very little surface prep, which truly makes this project really budget-friendly and easy for any DIYer to get done.
Check them out. Go learn about these Milano pavers at Pavestone.com. I promise you, you will have a beautiful, new patio in a few hours.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, whether you want to keep the kids in or the road noise out, a fence does a great job of protecting what you hold dear. And it can add a stylish element to your yard. But if you want to build a fence, it’s more than just putting some posts in the ground. There are design considerations that you’ve got to get right. We’ll explain how, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 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.)
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