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: Look around your home, look around your yard. What home improvement project do you want to get done? Then pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT because we are here to help you do just that.
Hey, coming up this hour, staying cool in the summer is not always easy. But whether your home has a complete central air-conditioning system or maybe just a window fan, we’re going to give you some no-cost to low-cost tips to help you stay cool and comfortable.
LESLIE: Plus, if you’re enjoying this beautiful weather, dressing up your outdoor patio or deck space can really help you enjoy it even more. We’re going to have some tips and trends to help you step up that outdoor space, complete with couches, chairs, fireplaces. I mean why not make it as beautiful as the inside?
TOM: Plus, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, did you know that there’s one simple mistake you might be making that could make your house a target for break-ins? We’ll have that answer, plus tips to make your home more secure.
LESLIE: Plus, thanks to The Home Depot, we’ve got a great power tool to give away today. It’s the DeWALT 20-Volt Cordless Combo Kit with Tough Case worth 299 bucks.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Mary in Illinois is on the line with a painting question. How can we help you today?
MARY: I want to paint a fireplace that’s brick and just want to know if there’s – if you can do that, first of all, and if there’s a certain kind of paint you need to use.
LESLIE: Has it been painted before or is it natural brick?
MARY: No. It’s natural brick – original brick.
TOM: Well, you certainly can paint it but I would think very carefully before you do this. Because once you paint, you have to repaint eventually. And fireplaces tend to get very dirty and very smoky and they’re hard to keep clean. If it’s just the color that you don’t like, there may be some ways to sort of decorate around that color. But I would really hesitate to tell you to paint it.
We get a lot of calls from folks that are not happy with a painted fireplace and they want to know how – do the exact opposite, which is get the paint off. And once you paint it, it’s just really hard to do that.
MARY: OK. I was kind of worried about whether it would peel or – when you say just to – you just have to keep repainting because of …
LESLIE: Well, paint, over time, is going to crack and dry out. And it will get so dirty, just from the exhaust and the use of the fireplace, that you’ll get sort of that haze around the upper portion of it regardless of what type of screen you have.
Now, the other thing to keep in mind is that since this will be its first time being painted, the brick is so porous that you’re going to put a lot of time into priming, because it’s just going to absorb all of that primer. And you want to get a good-quality primer, you want to make sure that you brush in the grout lines, roll on the surfaces of the brick, brush again. So it’s a lot of steps. It can be done.
But as Tom said, if you want to take that paint off, it’s now a chemical stripper. And because that brick is so porous, it’s going to have sucked in all of that color and so it’ll never get back to that original brick look again. It’ll have that sort of hue of whatever color it was.
MARY: Uh-huh. OK. OK. Great. Well, thank you for your help. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading to North Carolina where Fred is on the line with a humidity problem. How can we help you?
FRED: I’ve got two daughters who, I think, live in our bathroom. Constantly taking showers which is, I guess, a good problem to have. But I’m starting to smell mold and stuff in the house. I think it’s tied to that. And before I even get into it, I figured I’d do the smart thing and call you guys.
TOM: Well, bathrooms are sources of enormous humidity during those showers – the extended showers. Do you have a bathroom fan? Do you have a ceiling fan?
FRED: I do but it’s ancient.
TOM: OK. Well, it should still work even if it’s ancient. So, here’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, make sure it’s working, make sure it’s vented outside. That’s important.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to run it for a good 10 or 15 minutes after the shower is completed and after you leave the room. There’s actually a switch that can do that for you. It’s made by Leviton and it’s a humidity sensor and fan control. And essentially, the way it works is it does just that: it senses the humidity level inside the room and will automatically turn it off when the humidity goes down. Because if you can reduce the amount of moisture that’s staying in that bathroom, you’ll dramatically reduce the amount of mold growth that you’re getting on tile and other places.
So, I would suggest that you check the fan to make sure it’s functional and operational, that you replace the light switch or the fan switch with the humidity sensor and fan control from Leviton. And then give your bathroom a good cleaning to get rid of all the debris and mold that might be there now. And I think you’ll see a dramatic difference because without that moisture sitting around for those long periods of time, you’re just not going to have the same issues.
LESLIE: And you know what, Fred? If this is a project you want to tackle yourself but you’re a little unsure, if you head on over to Leviton’s website, right on the page with the humidity sensor and fan control you’ll find an installation video that’ll talk you right through it.
FRED: Ah, OK. Well, that’s why I called the experts.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re always here to lend a hand and quite frankly, we love hearing what you guys are working on. So give us a call anytime at 888-MONEY-PIT.
888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Still to come, do you want to be cool and comfortable on a budget? We’re going to have no-cost to low-cost tips to help cut your cooling costs, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. And if you do call us with your question or post it to the Community page, you will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we will toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat because we’re giving away a fantastic set of serious power tools from The Home Depot.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got up for grabs the DeWALT 20-Volt Cordless Combo Kit with Tough Case.
Now, the kit’s going to include both a drill driver and an impact driver. And if you guys have never had an impact driver, they really are fantastic. What a great tool. You are able to drill or drive into pretty much any material, smoothly, with very little effort. And the Tough Case is included for portability, so you’ll be doing all of these projects all around town.
It’s a great prize. It’s from The Home Depot and it’s valued at 299 bucks.
TOM: That’s going to go out to one lucky caller drawn at random or one of you that posts to the Community section at MoneyPit.com. So get to it. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Paul in Connecticut, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAUL: We’re working on a paint job where we were covering rough-cut cedar clapboards with Benjamin Moore ARBORCOAT Solid Stain that’s self-priming. We painted over the same product that was previously sprayed probably about, I’m guessing, seven to eight years ago. And what we’re running into with – just on one side of the house where we’re getting bubbles, like moisture bubbles. It’s morning sun on that side of the house but we’ve never seen a stain – you know, a solid stain – bubble up like that. I’ve seen it with paint but not with the solid stain.
TOM: Well, cedar has to breathe and sometimes when they install cedar siding, they don’t leave enough space under it for it to breathe. And so it tends to get clogged with moisture and I’ve seen that lift stain before.
You mentioned that you’re using a product that both primes and stains. I am not a fan of doing that with a staining product. I just, in fact, repainted my entire cedar-sided house and I did it the same way we did it over a dozen years ago and that was we oil-primed it first. We used an oil-based primer first because we had good adhesion with the oil-based primer. And it really stuck well to the cedar. And then we put the solid stain on top of that.
So, once the paint starts to bubble, any time you have a failure of adhesion, there’s no way to put that back together. If that continues to get worse or if it looks bad enough already, you’re going to have to take that stain off and start again. Because you’re just – it’s never – you can’t stick good paint over bad paint. And if there’s moisture in there, it’s just going to lift that paint right off again.
So, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I wouldn’t have done it that way. I would have used an oil-based primer first and then I would have put a solid-color stain on top of it.
PAUL: Right. We’re getting that just on one side of the house.
TOM: Yeah. Maybe it’ll just end up being on one side of the house, for whatever reason. But at least on that side of the house, you have to pull that stain off and start again. And scrape, prime – scrape it and prime it properly with an oil-based primer and then you can stain on top of that.
PAUL: What would you suggest for an oil-based primer?
TOM: I think if you stay within one family of products, I would use the same oil-based primer that that particular manufacturer makes for solid stain but as long as it’s oil-based and not acrylic or water or latex-based.
PAUL: So, now, to remove that stain that’s on there now, that – you’re going to lose that rough-cut finish.
TOM: Well, if you wire-brush it, perhaps not. You may be able to pull it off with a pressure washer. It depends on how well-adhered it is.
I mean when we did my project, we had an unusual problem with the shutters. We were using a product that the manufacturer said did not need to be primed. And it worked well but it took a long time to cure. And so some of the shutters were sitting around for an extra week before we put them back up. And all the paint peeled off of those. And so we had to actually strip all that paint off and start again. So it even happens to the pros. But once that paint separates, you’ve got to pull it off; there’s just no way to save it.
PAUL: Alright. Thank you for your help.
TOM: Paul, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now, we’ve got Lisa in Tennessee on the line who’s dealing with a home she bought without having an inspection first. Let’s hear what’s going on.
LISA: Hi. Well, first of all, let me just clarify that my husband is the one who bought the home and he bought it before we were married, so I just kind of inherited it TOM: See, now, if you were married, you never would have let him do that without a good home inspection.
LISA: Exactly. OK. We have some spots – we have carpet in a few of our rooms and each of the rooms, there are some sunken spots. Like you can walk across and it sinks, kind of gives with you. And then the rest of the time, it’s OK. There’s other places that are just fine.
And I’ve had somebody go underneath and check for structural damage, water damage or termites. Can’t find anything; they say it’s OK. So, beyond ripping up the carpet and just seeing what it is, do you have a suggestion on what that could be?
TOM: Well, just define the sunken spot. When you step on it, is it soft or something like that?
LISA: Yes, it’s kind of spongy, almost, like it just sinks; it gives with you.
TOM: And you can get underneath and you can look up and you don’t see any decay or anything of that nature?
LISA: Well, as far as I know. Now, I’ve not been under. My husband – we’re not either one able to get underneath, just due to health conditions. And so we’ve had others go under and look and they’ve all said structurally, it looks sound, didn’t see any termite damage. We don’t have any water damage underneath. So, don’t really know what it is that’s causing it.
TOM: And how many areas across the floor do you see these sunken spots?
LISA: Well, you can’t actually see them. It’s just when you walk across them. But I would say
TOM: You feel them?
LISA: You feel them, exactly.
TOM: Yeah. I wonder if the – I wonder if it’s something as simple as the padding breaking down under the carpet. Maybe it’s not a structural problem.
Well, listen, the only way you’re going to know is – we can’t really guess. You’re going to have to pull that carpet back. It’s not a terrible project to pull that – pull wall-to-wall carpet up and then have it, you know, re-tacked down. If you’re really concerned about it, that’s what I would do.
LISA: Right. I’ve been looking to get new carpet anyway, so that might be a good excuse.
TOM: Well, there you go. Now, you’ve got a great excuse.
TOM: And let me tell you something, when you pull that carpet up, Lisa, if you evaluate that floor – how old is this house?
LISA: Oh, gosh. See, I’m not even sure. Probably back in the 80s?
TOM: OK. So it probably has a plywood floor and it was nailed down, if it was done in the 80s. What you want to do is you want to have the installer – or you could even do this yourself – take some drywall screws – those are those long, black, case-hardened drywall screws. You drive them in with a drill driver, so you do it automatically and you screw that plywood to the floor while the carpet’s up. And that will quiet the floor and prevent any future squeaks that could occur.
LISA: OK. Sounds great.
TOM: Because the nails will loosen up over the last 30-plus years and once you have that carpet up, that’s a golden opportunity to do that.
LISA: Alright. Well, these are some things to definitely look at. Yes, sir. Thank you so much.
TOM: OK. Thank you, Lisa.
Well, whether your home has a complete central air-conditioning system or perhaps just a window fan, staying cool does not have to cost a bunch. We’ve got some no-cost to low-cost tips to help you stay comfortable.
LESLIE: Yes, starting with inefficient windows. Roughly 40 percent of that unwanted heat that builds up in your home is coming through your windows, so you can update those with double-pane windows that have low-E glass. Now, the E is going to stand for emissivity and that’s what stands between you and all of that heat-producing UV radiation that’s driving your cooling bills up and making your house feel warmer.
TOM: Alright. Now, you’ve heard it said a million times, right: it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. But did you know there is something you can do about it? There is a product called a “whole-home dehumidifier.” We’re not talking about the dehumidifier that has a little plastic bucket that fills up with a little bit of water and you have to keep dumping it. No, this is a product that installs into the central system and it basically pulls out moisture all day long.
I know that there are dehumidifiers out there – whole-home models – that can pull out 100 pints of water a day. So definitely worth looking into if you live in an area of the country that’s got high humidity.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. The other thing people should think about is landscaping. You guys, if you carefully position shade trees, that will help you stay cool in the summer and it’s going to save up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption for both cooling and heating. On average, a well-designed landscape provides enough energy savings to return your initial investment in less than eight years. Plus, it looks gorgeous.
TOM: And while you’re talking about landscaping, you also need to think about grading. So if you can keep the grading so that all the drainage conditions around the house are maintained, that’s actually going to help you stay cool, as well. Because poor drainage leads to much higher moisture levels in the home, which leads to much higher humidity in the home, which leads to much more misery in the home.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s really true. I mean you’ve got to really take care of all those conditions around your house. Besides those low-cost tips, there really are other things that you can do to stay cool in the summer while keeping those costs down. And these are free. You want to run appliances at night, especially those heat-generating ones like your clothes dryer or your dishwasher. Or if you’re going to clean the oven, do that at night.
You want to close your storm windows even in the summer months. If you’ve got central A/C or in rooms where you’re running window units, that’s an extra layer of insulation that’s going to help keep everything cool.
TOM: Yep. And if you’ve got ceiling fans, take advantage of their one energy-efficient feature, which is reversible motors. If you control the direction of the blades, you can use the fan to actually pull cold air up in the summer and then push that warm air down in the winter. So there you have it.
If you want more tips on how to keep cool and comfortable on a dime, visit MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Hi, Fred. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FRED: I have a standard toilet. House was built in ‘29, so it’s, what, 80 years old? It’s the type where the tank hangs on the wall and then you have an L and then you have, I guess – what do you call that? The bowl?
And it started to leak and so the old metal was pretty corroded and everything. So we took everything out. We took the tank off the wall, we – I say we, that I, the plumber who I’ve been using for many years – cleaned everything up. Went to the hardware store that handles these kind of fittings and we just cannot get this thing to work. It leaks …
TOM: Where does it leak? Does it leak at the – where at – the base of the tank where the pipe connects?
FRED: In both, yeah. Well, one time we did it, it leaked at the bottom of the tank. The other time, it leaked when it went into the bowl.
TOM: What kind of a washer are you using? What kind of a gasket or seal are you using in those two places?
FRED: Well, I don’t know the technical names of it. The guy at the – they look like the same stuff we took off. I’m a musician; I don’t know all these things.
TOM: Well, this shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish and it sounds like whatever they’re using in that gasket space right there is not working. And look, if all else fails, you can simply use silicone here. You could apply the silicone in – as you put this together, you could – you seal all of those joints with silicone. Let it dry. Try not to touch it until it dries. And then you can take a razor blade and cut off the excess, nice and neat, and essentially make your own gasket.
FRED: Yeah, the plumber mentioned something. He said the only thing is if that thing fails and I’m not home, I’m going to have a house full of water.
TOM: That’s true. But the thing is, if it – once it works, it usually works, you know, continuously. It’s not – it doesn’t usually fail. If you get it right, it’s not going to fail, OK?
FRED: Yes. So, in other words, unless I can see some chips or damage on the porcelain or something like that, which I don’t see, it should work.
TOM: But I would take it apart and I would seal, with silicone, each connection as it goes together so that you end up with a good compression of silicone around that. That’s the solution, OK? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next, are you thinking about designing an outdoor living space? Well, why not create one in ways that you never could before? We’re going to have the tips, trends and products to do just that, next.
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, expanding your outdoor living space to make it really feel like a true extension of your home’s décor has never been easier, with dozens of new and very inviting products that are available now to help bring that space to life.
LESLIE: Hila Roberts is the outdoor patio expert at the Home Depot and is here with the trends and tips to make sure your space is looking good this weekend and throughout the rest of the year.
HILA: Thank you so much for having me.
TOM: So, we call it “outdoor living” but I guess what we’re really talking about here is taking the living room outside, complete with couches, chairs and a fireplace. My buddy has an outdoor TV, so electronics can be included, as well, right?
HILA: You’re exactly right. What we found is that when our customers and anyone who’s decided to put a patio set out in their backyard, they basically said, “I’m going to create an outdoor room and I’m going to decorate it just like I would my living room.” So when you put a sofa and a love seat in your living room, you’re not just sticking a sofa and a love seat there. You’ve got rugs, you’ve got lamps, you’ve got TVs.
Well, they’re doing the same thing outdoors. And Home Depot is your one-stop shop for everything you need, whether it’s a seating set, a dining set, umbrellas, lights. We have everything you could possibly need to really create that outdoor room and make it an extension, not only of your home but of yourself.
TOM: Well, I can vouch for that because I’ve been to your spring preview and you do have an amazing assortment of products that can make that space look fantastic.
But before we go there, when we talk about couches and chairs, of course, people think, “Well, how can I put that stuff outside? Isn’t it going to get wet?” Can you talk a little bit about the durability of those products and how it changes from what you might see inside your house?
HILA: Oh, great question. So, there’s – you definitely want to use different fabrics when you move from, obviously, the inside of your home to the outside of your home. And then it really depends on what – how much you want to maintain it.
So, for example, you can use an olefin fabric, which is a great outdoor fabric. Won’t fade for up to two years. You’ll probably want to store it when it rains, as it will get wet. But then what I always recommend to folks – I think this gives you the most bang for your buck – would be to use a Sunbrella fabric.
Sunbrella is an acrylic. It actually has a five-year warranty against fade resistance. And so, over time, you can leave it outside in the hot sun or in the elements and really, you won’t see any fade for at least five years. And it’s just a great upgrade from a regular olefin, which is a great performer outside but Sunbrella is just the top performance fabric.
LESLIE: Hila, you have so many choices these days when it comes to outdoor design and designing exterior rooms. So what really are the trends that you’re seeing, as far as color palettes and design styles? Where are people going with these designs?
HILA: Folks just always love color outside. But then, also, neutrals are starting to make a comeback. We’ve seen a lot of popularity outdoors in our reds, so both a deeper traditional chili, as well as a really bright ruby, which appeals not only to your more traditional customer but even to our millennials. And we’ve brought that in, in a couple of ways, both in our cushions, as well as in our mix-and-match program. And then, when it comes to neutrals, we’ve seen a lot of popularity in whether it’s a saddle color, which is more of a brown or an oatmeal, which is just a lighter natural. And then customers have bought accent pillows to offset those, to add those pops of colors against the neutrals.
So, again, it’s really about personalizing and what you’d like to see outdoors. But it’s a fun way, whether it’s just through the cushion itself or through an accent pillow to kind of bring that color to the outdoors.
TOM: We’re talking to Hila Roberts. She is the outdoor patio expert for the Home Depot.
And I guess it really just comes down to mixing and matching from these different lines, because it sounds like you really can’t go wrong.
HILA: That’s exactly right. So we have a couple programs that allow customers to really personalize their patio. You never want to look like the guy or gal next door. So we’ve got a program we call, actually, Mix and Match in store. There are 15 chairs and 14 tables that make over 100 combinations of seating and dining. There is something for everyone, to match your space, your style and your budget.
And what we’ve done here is we’ve taken the frames of all these chairs and tables and made a match. So, you don’t have to be a designer to create a set for yourself. All you do is say, “What chair do I like and what table do I like? What fits my space?” And we’ve got it for you. It ranges from as low as $79, to a seven-piece set that can be as high as 398. And that has taken off because of that personalization.
LESLIE: Now, as we move into the evening hours, I think lighting plays such a huge part in exterior design. And there’s been so many advancements, as far as the light quality and the design with LED-lighting options. So can you talk about some of that?
HILA: Lights are a great way to extend the use of your patio set. If you’re going to spend the money, you want to use it not just during the day but even at night. And I know a lot of folks, myself included, who like to have dinner outside or enjoy and relax outside after the kids have gone to bed.
So you can use some of our – some regular non LED lights that work great just because you’re using them seasonally. We have some great heavy-duty string lights, as well as some round cafe lights that have been very popular this year. And then yes, the same upgrades you might see in Christmas lights or indoor lights, we have then brought into the LED world. We have a solar-offset umbrella that absorbs the sun’s rays during the day and then at night lights up, so that you can enjoy an evening outdoors with some ambient light.
TOM: And one final question. If you were in the living room, you might have a fireplace. Fire pits are incredibly popular today. They’re not very expensive and they really create a focal point in that space, correct?
HILA: Oh, completely agree. Yes. Outdoor fire, whether you read the magazines or if you sit in my chair and you see how customers are reacting, has just been very popular over the past 18 months. And this is, again, another way to extend the use of your patio, whether it’s in the evening when it cools down, depending on where you live, or to enjoy it earlier in the spring or later into the fall.
A couple of items I like – we have our Crossfire Fire Pit, which you can actually grill steaks on during the day and make s’mores on at night. It has kind of a grill plate on it, which is really cool.
And then Tipton, which is a large-bowl fire pit. It is 34 inches and very deep. And we see that customers like kind of having that big area of fire to really kind of enjoy the heat, have it last longer. And then the last one I’m very excited about is the Cross Ridge. This is a gas fire pit with a table top for 199, which is an incredible value. It’s basically – you take the same tank you’d put onto your grill and there’s a door underneath this fire pit that you can screw that same propane tank. And it’ll give you hours of enjoyment outside, both heat, right, and light.
TOM: A fire table sounds very exciting. Hila Roberts, the outdoor patio expert from the Home Depot, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tips, great trends, great advice.
HILA: Thank you.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: And just ahead, summer is the season when most home break-ins take place. And if you’re a DIYer, you might be making a very simple mistake that can make your home an even bigger target. Learn what that is, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
We’d love to help you out with whatever it is you are working on. So give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. And if you give us a call or post your question, you’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a DeWALT 20-Volt Cordless Combo Kit with Tough Case.
TOM: This kit includes both a drill driver and an impact driver, so two of your main go-to tools in one kit. It’s ideal for most drilling and fastening applications. And you get the Tough Case. And I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got a bunch of these Tough Cases and they really are tough. I mean you can throw them around and nothing really happens to them. And I love the fact that I could put everything that’s associated with that tool in that case and close it without trying to force it in, which sometimes they make these cases so tight.
TOM: If you put one little screwdriver bit in there, you can’t close it anymore. So this is really well-designed.
It’s available at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com. It’s worth 299, so you can check it out there. But if you are the very fortunate listener who picks up the phone and calls us at 888-MONEY-PIT or posts their question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com, we may just send that DeWALT 20-Volt Cordless Combo Kit with the Tough Case out to you.
Well, did you know that the top two months for residential break-ins are July and August? We’ve got a tip to help you avoid becoming a victim, in today’s Home Security Tip presented by Iris Smart Home Security.
LESLIE: Yeah. There’s a common mistake that many do-it-yourselfers out there make and it can make your home a lot more likely to be broken into. And it’s this: they leave their tools around. Think about it, leaving tools outside that burglars can use to get in, like hammers, screwdrivers, saws, ladders. Basically, you’re handing the keys to your house to a thief, giving them the tools to break in.
TOM: Absolutely. And after those projects are done for the day, you’ve got to make sure you get those tools back into the shed or the garage or the house. You may be surprised to learn how many break-ins happen because of this very reason. It’s because of an easy opportunity, like a ladder leaning against the house because you just didn’t want to put it away. Well, that ladder is very, very convenient for the burglar if they show up. And they can use it to break into the second floor of your house, which is sometimes a lot easier to get into, if you think about it, than the first floor as long as you’ve got a ladder.
LESLIE: Yeah. I never lock the upstairs windows.
LESLIE: Don’t break into my house. But I never lock them. Think about it, guys. You’ve got to keep yourselves safe.
Today’s Home Security Tip has been presented by Iris Smart Home Security, a DIY system that connects an entire range of compatible smart devices in your home through a single app. And it lets homeowners create a do-it-yourself, tailored system that’s not only convenient but effective, with a 24/7 monitored protection for as little as $15 a month.
TOM: You’ll find Iris at Lowes, Lowes.com and Amazon. The Iris Smart Hub retails for just 69.99 and the security starter pack is 99.99.
LESLIE: Now we’re going over to Alaska where Mary has a question about siding. How can we help you today?
MARY: We recently sided our house with concrete siding. It’s 25 years old and underneath is plywood and then Tyvek. We used 4×8 or 4×12 panels that are prepainted but I can’t remember if they’re 4×8 or 4×12. And they’re attached to the plywood walls and they’re attached vertically. On that, we attached 2-inch batten, which was also prepainted at the factory. And those 2-inch battens run vertical on 8-inch centers.
MARY: My first question is: do I need to caulk where the batten attaches to the panels? And secondly, do I need to caulk the nail holes on the batten?
TOM: Well, you wouldn’t caulk where the batten attaches to the panels. You might use an adhesive in that area if that’s recommended by the siding manufacturer. In terms of the nail holes, generally, you don’t have to caulk nail holes. You know, as long as you’re not smashing the nails and breaking the siding, they’re usually tight enough around them where you do not have to caulk each individual nail head.
MARY: The nail holes have broken through the painted surface.
TOM: So, if they broke through the painted surface, it’s not a bad idea to touch them up with a little bit of caulk. But I wouldn’t be too concerned about it.
MARY: OK. And then you think that it needed to be caulked or adhered to behind the batten before it was attached?
TOM: Well, no. What I said was I don’t think you need to caulk it, because there’s really no seal between the siding and the batten or the strip of wood. What you might need to do there is – or an option might be to use an adhesive, like a construction adhesive, to help adhere the siding pieces to the batten. But I wouldn’t do that unless it was recommended by the manufacturer of the siding. They’re going to have specifications for how to install the siding. And if it tells you to use an adhesive, use it; if not, you just fasten it with the nails.
MARY: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mary. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, we’ve got easy décor ideas and design trends, plus answers to your questions from The Money Pit community, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call now with your home improvement question to 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. From small repairs to a major remodel, HomeAdvisor is the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project. But remember, you can also post your question to the Community section at The Money Pit.
And I’ve got one here from Mike who writes: “I’m having a hard time installing the dryer-vent tube. The inlet outlet doesn’t line up and I end up squishing the vent tube up against the wall. I know this is restricting airflow. There’s got to be a better way. What products, methods can you recommend?”
TOM: Yeah, you’re right about that, Mike. I mean getting that dryer-vent connection right is far more important than most people know and for a bunch of reasons. It’s important for safety because dirty dryer ducts are a leading cause of house fires. And the longer the dryer duct has to work to vent that moisture, the more energy it burns up in the process, not to mention the increased wear and tear on all your clothes as they tumble around waiting to get dry.
So it sounds like you’ve tried kind of the straightforward approach and it didn’t work so well. So I’m going to give you a couple of things that you can check. First of all, you may not have to vent that out of the back of the dryer. Because very often, dryers can be modified so that it vents out the side.
Now, I know this because I know it but I also know it because I actually did it. When we remodeled our laundry room, we didn’t want to go out the back because it was too far to get outside of the house, so we took it out the side. And you can do that inside the cabinet of the dryer itself. You need a couple of extra pieces to make that additional 90-degree turn and sometimes, there’s a kit the manufacturer will sell you. But getting that duct out as quickly and as short a distance as possible is really, really important.
Also, once you have that ducting set, you need to make sure you keep it clean. So, once it’s installed, pick up a dryer cleaning tool. There’s a bunch of them out there. We use one called a LintEater that you can actually brush that thing out on a regular basis. But if you get that duct modified with some of that prefabricated duct and you keep it clean, your clothes are going to get dry quickly and in a much safer, more efficient manner.
LESLIE: And you’d be surprised, when you clean out those dryer vents, how much lint comes out of them. It’s amazing. You’ll be completely dumbfounded the first time you do it.
TOM: Well, a few outgoing trends have had unusually long shelf lives, which means there’s a good chance that they’ll show up in your home. To discover what those are and how to update them on a budget, Les has got tips to help you discover what they are and how to update them on a budget, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Gallery walls – those walls in your home that are covered with frames and artwork – it’s a design craze that’s been around for a while now. And while we still love them, it’s kind of becoming yesterday’s news. You know what’s taking their place? Super-sized art and photos that cover a wall in one fell swoop.
Now, if you’ve got a hard time parting with some of those smaller prints, fear not. Displaying smaller pieces on desks and bookshelves, even pianos or side furnishings, those are really very much in. Or you can have your favorite small print blown up to fit the entire wall.
And there’s good news for anyone whose kitchen cabinets have seen better days. Open shelving, it’s in for kitchens. You can remove those cabinet doors, organize what’s inside, even lay shelf paper or wallpaper on the interior to sort of hide that and create a beautiful design piece. Get on board with this trend. It’s going to buy you a few more years until you need to decide whether to replace or refinish your cabinets altogether.
And bright interior colors, that’s not going away. They’re just making their way to trim and molding, as well. So you can consider going neutral on the walls and then painting the trim or crown the color of your choice instead.
And if there’s one hot design in architecture trend that’s swept the nation in the early 2000s, it was exposed brick. Well, give yours a modern touch with a few coats of paint. Gray and white are the go-to colors for painting brick but a pop of brightly colored brick can have quite the same effect, too.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’ve ever had to pay a high electric bill, you can understand why turning to the sun might be a great way to cut those costs. Our friend Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on This Old House, is going to join us next week with some expert advice to help you go solar.
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 2017 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.)