TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we’re here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. What are you working on on this beautiful, end-of-summer/early-fall weekend? Are you thinking about a project that’s going to make your home more livable for the chilly months ahead? Whatever is on your to-do list, slide it right over to ours by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question online to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, whether you’re creating a kid’s room for a brand-new arrival – congrats – or updating space for kids who insist they’re not little anymore, working on a child’s room can definitely be a fun, creative adventure. So we’re going to have some tips that can help make that a smooth process, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, you know, as a designer, one of my favorite things about the fall season is seeing all the new styles and colors that come out, especially in flooring. We’re going to share some great tips to help you mix and match styles to create a space that’s truly your own.
TOM: And also ahead, to make sure your sprinkler system keeps working properly, now and for the season ahead, it does need some regular maintenance. The most common task you’ll need to complete is winterization and activating them again before spring. So we’ll have tips on how to get that project done, in today’s Pro Project, just ahead.
LESLIE: And if you’re planning a flooring project, we’ve got a fantastic giveaway going out to one lucky caller this hour. And it’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: If you’d like to win, give us a call right now. We need you to call in with your home improvement question or post it online to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com. That number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s up first?
LESLIE: Beth in Texas is on the line with a painting question. How can we help you today?
BETH: I had four columns on the front of my house and I live downtown in an old neighborhood. It has beautiful, 150-year-old oak trees. I have these four columns and I have – the wood rots out from the – it has – those columns sit on concrete.
And last time I had them fixed, which was about 10 years ago, they put a plastic or some kind of a block that’s the same size as the column. It’s a barrier kind of – a moisture barrier, maybe, between the concrete and the pole.
So, then time passes and here comes the rot again. And so I said, “Oh, my gosh.” So I dug out the rot again, I went to Home Depot and I got some of that product that you can fill in with (inaudible).
LESLIE: Like a Bondo.
BETH: Right, right. It’s some kind of a – it has wood in it but it’s plastic. It’s some – I don’t know what it is. Anyway, I did that. And of course, my wounds were so deep, I could only put – layer about a ¼-inch in and it took me forever to fill up the little holes.
And so I finally got it to the edge and I sanded it. It looked pretty darn good. And so I painted it. And then, I put the first coat on and I said, “Oh, this paint’s kind of thin,” so I put another coat on. So in the meantime, here comes all this pollen from these giant oak trees. And all this stuff, it falls from the trees on my freshly painted wood. I started crying.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Oh, no.
BETH: I literally started crying because I didn’t know what in the world to do. My paint – I mean that stuff just sucked it up like a sponge. And so I didn’t know what to do.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, where are you now with the columns? Are you at a point where you need to replace them again? Are you trying to just figure out a fix?
BETH: Well, actually, what I did is I went back and I lightly sanded – I waited for a while and then I sanded it lightly and then I put another topcoat on it. And I don’t know. I still have little – I don’t know what it is. It’s not yellow pollen but it’s something that’s kind of – my paint is bumpy; it’s not nice like it should be after all that work.
LESLIE: Well, here’s a couple of solutions. You do need to sand it if you want to get the surface nice and smooth again. That’s truly the only thing that’s going to get rid of the pollen that’s sort of embedded itself into that wet paint.
Then, once you get a nice, smooth surface on that column again, what you want to try to do is – and I know it would be a pain in the butt but it’s going to be super-duper-duper helpful if you can get some paint tarps: plastic, canvas, whatever. If there is a way to sort of build a tent in these tarps around the area, to keep the pollen from sort of wafting in there while the paint is drying and while you’re painting – it’ll be unsightly while the process is happening, just because your beautiful front of your home will be draped in tarp. But it will actually help to keep the air circulating behind it to actually dry the column paint but it will keep things from landing on it.
So I would look into a way to do that. They make all sorts of little prop poles and different things that work for tarps but also a couple of good clips. Maybe you’ve got an overhang there or something that you can clip onto without damaging a gutter. So, that really could do the trick.
Now, fast forward to a couple of years down the road when you end up with such an amount of rot again, you might want to consider replacing the columns with an architectural composite column.
Now, in a lot of cases, because – your wood column is actually a support, correct?
BETH: Yes, ma’am.
LESLIE: So what you might end up doing is they might replace that wood column – since you’ve done that before, they might replace the wood column with some sort of post that would be metal, that would be structural.
And then there is an actual decorative wrap, that looks exactly like the same type of fluted column or whatever type of column you might have, that wraps around that support pole. And then it’s a composite, so once it’s painted and finished, you won’t have to paint it again for a long, long, long, long time. Because it’s not made of an organic material, it’s not going to take that moisture up that you’re getting from the concrete. And it’s going to simply clean up with soap and water.
So, keep that in mind for down the road. And they would do that a column at a time and make them structural. So, there are ways to get around it but you’re going to have to sand again.
BETH: I know. It doesn’t look too bad but it doesn’t look too good, either. But thank you so much. I’ll try those tips, alright?
TOM: Beth, it sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you on that job. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Michigan is on the line and is dealing with a ceiling leak. What’s going on?
MIKE: We were sitting at the table in the kitchen and all of a sudden, we see water dripping in my dog’s dog dish – water dish. And trying to figure out – look up in the ceiling and it’s coming from the ceiling.
TOM: Oh, no.
MIKE: Well, we traced it to the – yeah, we traced it to the roof and there were some nail pops and the stack vents were leaking around the flashing.
MIKE: So we got that taken care of but now – this house was built in ‘41 – we got all this wet plaster with the lath and wire mesh. And we got all – some of this wet plaster is starting to break loose. A lot of it is onion-peeling but some of it is the plaster itself. How do I save that without ripping all that off and replastering the ceiling?
TOM: So, is the ceiling deformed or is it still flat?
MIKE: It’s flat but with the cracks, the way that the water has seeped through – because it must have been going on for a while before it finally broke through.
TOM: Well, your dog was happy.
MIKE: Oh, yeah, he was getting extra water with a little bit of plaster.
TOM: Alright. Well, what happens with wood lath – and to the same extent with wire mesh but perhaps it’s not as much of an issue – is when the plaster is applied, it squeezes through the wood lath and forms a bit of a handle on the back that sticks to the back of the stick.
Now, when that gets wet, those little pieces that are securing that plaster in place loosen up. And the plaster can separate from the lath and that’s how you get chunks of plaster that fall. So, it’s going to really depend on how loose this plaster is. If we’re just talking about cracks, I’m not as concerned. You can spackle those cracks using standard spackle on top of a mesh spackling tape – a mesh drywall tape. You don’t want to use the paper because it’s just hard – too hard to work with. But if you use the mesh, you ought to put the mesh on first and then spackle right over the top of that.
If the plaster is loose and falling down as if it’s going to become dangerous, then you’ve got a bigger problem. Your options, at that stage, are to tear out that loose plaster and try to replaster it. Or the easier way to do this, when you have deteriorated plaster walls, is to simply put a second layer of drywall on top of that. Use drywall screws and screw it right through the old plaster, into the ceiling joist above.
So, it really comes down to how deteriorated that ceiling is. If the plaster is loose and in danger of falling, then you have to tear it out or you have to cover it over with drywall. If it’s still relatively secure – I mean if you can push up on it and it doesn’t seem to have a lot of give, then I might just spackle it and call it a day.
MIKE: Some of it is a little spongy but I was wondering about actually using the good, old plaster that you mix up from the old days, where I think Gold Bond makes one or something where you can actually replaster it with wet plaster. And that’s what I was thinking about doing if I had to.
TOM: You can do that but here’s the thing: if you – even if you plaster over that crack, that crack is going to reform. Because now that it’s showed itself and as the ceiling expands and contracts, it’ll open and close unless you use drywall tape across it, OK? You have to reinforce it.
MIKE: Because I’m wondering if I’m going to have to take a hammer and tap on it. And if it starts falling down, I’m probably going to have to rip it out like you’re talking about. And I’d rather do it with wet plaster and keep it original than adding drywall to it.
TOM: Yeah, I hear you. It’s just a lot of work.
MIKE: Yeah. Well, I thought maybe you had some magic tricks there, listening to your show.
TOM: It’s a miracle cure?
MIKE: Yeah. A little success in a can there.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Well, listen, all I can say is that there’s probably better ways to keep that dog’s bowl filled with water than a roof leak.
MIKE: Alright. Thank you, dude. You have a blessed week. I’m really glad that you called back.
TOM: Alright, Mike. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And we did call Mike back. We’ll call you, too, if you pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT and we’re not in the studio. That’s the way it works because we are here to help you with your home improvement project.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Find top-rated home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: Just ahead, whether you’re creating a kid’s room for a new arrival or updating a space for kids who insist they’re not little anymore, working on a child’s room, well, that can be a very fun and creative adventure. We’ll have tips to help you get that project done, after this.
Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, right now, and give us a call. We’d love to talk with you about your next home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
And speaking of remodeling, if you’ve got a flooring project in mind, we’ve got a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators going out to one listener who calls in their home improvement question to us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can also post it online to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And that gift certificate gives you a lot of choices, guys. There’s over 400 varieties of top-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, wood-look waterproof flooring. So many choices, all at incredibly low prices. And you can also use your gift card for those finishing touches, like moldings and trim. Or if you are just not a DIYer, you don’t even want to think about attempting it, you can use it for installation. It’s really a fantastically useful gift card.
You can redeem it at Lumber Liquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide. Give them a call at 1-800-HARDWOOD.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is our phone number. Call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win that $200 gift certificate from Lumber Liquidators.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got – calling in from Money Pit territory, we’ve got Diane from New Jersey who’s got a question for heating up a home.
Diane, how can we help you?
DIANE: Yes and thank you. I love your show. And I think I realized most people, when they call their house a “money pit” – even though that’s a bad word.
TOM: Well, for us, Diane, it’s a term of endearment, you know? We love our homes, even though they can be money pits. And we’re here to kind of help take the pain away.
So, how can we help with your house? What’s going on?
DIANE: Well, my mom is 89 years old. And every year, she’s cold and she doesn’t want to put on the heater because – higher because it’ll take too much money. So, I got determined. And last winter, I insulated – it’s a split-level home. So I insulated the basement and I painted the walls – the cement walls. And yet she’s still cold. So I’m wondering, what is it?
TOM: Well, how much insulation do you have in the attic of Mom’s house?
DIANE: There is a plank where you walk. And on either side of the plank, it is insulated. It was done by a modular-home company, so maybe it’s not the best.
TOM: Because here’s the thing: if you’re going to pick one space in a house to insulate, you need to pick the attic. Because heat rises and that’s where you get most of your heat loss.
TOM: So, I would take a look at that attic. And in New Jersey, you need to have 15 to 20 inches, easy, of insulation – of fiberglass insulation. So I – most homes need additional insulation. And you can add that by adding unfaced fiberglass batts. Not with the paper or the foil type of face but just plain, old, raw fiberglass batts. And you lay them perpendicular to the insulation you have right now.
And that’s the single, most effective way to reduce your heating costs and improve your comfort.
TOM: OK? Good luck, Diane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, whether you’re creating a kid’s room for a new arrival or updating a space for kids who insist that they’re just not little anymore, working on a child’s room can be a fun, creative adventure. Now, there are three things that can help make sure your project is a success.
Now, first of all, guys, the trick is go into this project knowing exactly what you want to spend, what type of materials you want to look at and how to make that space safe, healthy and adaptable as your child grows and grows and grows. Because believe it or not, it’s possible to combine coolness and practicality, safety and organization for a room that, believe it or not, you and your kid are going to love.
TOM: Right. Now, the next thing you need to think through is how many kids are going to use the space now and how many will be in the near future or the next, say – I don’t know – two to five years. What are the kids’ ages and what are some age landmarks they’re going to be hitting in the next few years? So think about baby to preschooler, grade-schooler to tween, tween to teen and so on.
LESLIE: And finally, think about what activities you need to accommodate. Sleeping and homework? Obviously, we’re going to try to figure out how to incorporate those into the room. At least sleeping. Homework you might have a separate place for.
But think about other stuff, like play, arts and crafts, sporting-goods storage. All of that needs to come into consideration, as well as what you feel comfortable allowing in the kid zone versus the family zone. Just because my son, Henry, has a piggy bank full of cash and says, “I’m going to put a TV in my room,” doesn’t mean I’m going to let him, right?
TOM: That’s right. Now, thinking through these ideas with your kids and maybe even including them in the decisions can help make sure the room works well for the entire family.
Hey, for more tips, check out our post, “Create a Kids Room That Will Grow with Your Child.” It’s right now, online, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Andrew in Texas has had something very unfortunate happen to a pool: the steps broke? What happened?
ANDREW: Well, we were just chilling out in the pool one night and it’s got a brand-new liner in it. In East Texas, they use salt-water pools, so you have to line them. And my buddy was getting out of the pool. He stepped on the fiberglass steps, which were not brand-new. And unfortunately, his foot went through the steps.
LESLIE: Now, the fiberglass steps are underneath your liner or these sort of sit on top as like an attachment?
ANDREW: It’s an attachment to the liner. They’re two separate entities that are underwater.
TOM: OK. Can the fiberglass steps be removed from the pool for repair purposes?
ANDREW: I believe so. I have not tried it. In all honesty, looking at the degradation of the steps, the shape that they’re in, I think it’d be easier to just do a quick patch right now, if that’s possible, or just entirely remove the steps. But can I do that without sacrificing the liner?
TOM: Yeah, if you can get the steps out of the pool, like disconnecting them out of the pool, the easy way to do that patch is with more fiberglass. You can go to an auto-repair store – like a Pep Boys or a place like that that sells, perhaps, auto-body supplies – and you can buy fiberglass.
You could buy the fiberglass resin and you can buy fiberglass material itself. And you apply the resin to the step, you press the material in place, you let it dry and then you would add more resin on top of that and then more – and then gelcoat to finish it off.
Now, it’s not going to match, color-wise but it could be very strong and perhaps, next time, your friend won’t step right through them.
ANDREW: An easy fix is an easy fix, right?
TOM: Yeah. But the easiest thing is to get it out of the water so that you don’t have to drain the water. And you could do that repair on your – maybe in your garage, on a workbench or something like that, and then just put the whole assembly back in after it’s nice and dry and strong again.
Andrew, does that help you out?
ANDREW: Very much so. I sure do appreciate the help. You all have a wonderful evening and God bless, alright?
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
When we come back, we’ve got a guest stopping by who’s going to share all the tricks of the trade when it comes to mixing and matching designs, styles and patterns in flooring. Yes, that’s right: you can have a beautiful fall-fashion floor in your home in no time. So stick around.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
You know, as a designer, one of my favorite things about the fall season is seeing all the new styles and colors that come out in flooring. And this year, it’s become even easier than ever to mix floor styles and create a space that is truly personal to you.
TOM: Well, that’s right. And Lumber Liquidators has been at the forefront of those flooring trends for years now. And Katie Allen, the director of marketing operations, joins us to talk about what’s trending in flooring for this season.
KATIE: Thanks for having me, Tom and Leslie. I’m very excited to be here.
TOM: Now, let’s start by talking about the idea of using mixed floors. Now, it used to be that you made one choice for the entire room. Or heck, a lot of us grew up in homes where it was one choice for the entire house, right? But now it seems there’s no limit to the options.
KATIE: Yes. So, what we’ve been paying attention to, as we’ve been watching the consumer trends over the last couple months, is consumers are getting braver and braver in their choices and not just accessories or wall colors but also floors. Your same floors really take off in floor patterns. And people are playing with herringbone patterns and chevron patterns a lot.
KATIE: What we are starting to see is where people are starting to mix two floors together to create a really unique design.
LESLIE: So, Katie, it’s totally OK to mix colors and styles, even patterns if you wanted to do a straight plank with a herringbone or a chevron, right?
KATIE: Yes, you can, if you wanted to get really unique with your installation. We’ve seen – we have customers send in photos where they’ll have a herringbone entryway that leads into a chevron pattern maybe in their living room or their kitchen or something like that.
TOM: That sounds very cool.
KATIE: Yeah, it’s really interesting.
Also, what we’re seeing is customers are actually coming in and asking for floors that are complementary to each other, that they can mix themselves to create their own unique pattern.
TOM: That’s neat. So it’s kind of like a painting chart you might see in a home center or a painting store, where they have all the complementary colors next to each other to make it easy to put them all together. That really gives a design assist to the average homeowner who maybe doesn’t do this every day, like we do.
KATIE: Yes, exactly. We’re really excited and we’re going to feature it on the cover of our fall flooring-season catalog that’ll be dropping here soon. We mix two of our very popular floors – Seaport Maple and Rattan Maple – by Virginia Mill Works for a custom look that our customers can do at home themselves.
LESLIE: Now, I always find that it’s so important to bring in a personal element: pieces that you love, something that’s important to your family, whether it’s a photo or a collectible. Do you find that your clients are using their personal items when they get inspiration for their flooring?
KATIE: Oh, absolutely. What we’re starting to see with global travel and people having a lot more access to things that are going on in the world, they’re starting to incorporate those styles and designs in their homes. And we’re seeing it grow every day with the pattern play, for example, as a really big, global, inspired trend.
TOM: We’re talking to flooring expert Katie Allen. She’s the director of marketing operations for Lumber Liquidators.
And Katie, you’re also starting to see touches of gold luxury in the home, as well. Now, you’ve got some flooring products that have the gold in it in sort of the wire-brushed effect, as well, that makes that gold shimmer. That sounds really beautiful.
KATIE: Yes. We’re super excited. We just launched our new Bellawood Gilded Reserve. It’s actually a nice, even tone, the warm brown. And the wire-brushing, you can actually see the metallic-gold shimmer come through. It’s really a play on light. And for those people who really want to do something trendy but aren’t really sure, this would be a great choice. It’s a nice balance between a color that works with your palette and adds a little bit of that gold shimmer.
LESLIE: I think one of the bad things about the fall season is that we’re sort of limiting our time outside as it gets cooler. So, is there a way – I mean I know I always like to incorporate this but with flooring – to sort of bring those natural feelings that you get from the outdoors inside and continue that feeling into the season?
KATIE: Oh, yeah. We’re seeing a huge opportunity for bringing the outdoors in, as well as taking the indoors out. So our open-concept spaces and that seamless living are allowing our customers to kind of keep your flooring palette, from your deck all the way into your house. So the extra-long or the extra-wide planks for the open concept offers fewer seams. So customers really have an opportunity to work that pattern all the way from, say, your kitchen or your dining room that may lead into a sunroom or something like that, for just a seamless, open-space concept living.
TOM: Katie, I want to ask you about your fall flooring catalog. It’s kind of the lookbook for those that are considering a new floor. It’s almost like a coffee-table book for me.
KATIE: So that will be dropping right in the first week of September in all of our local stores, so make sure you go in and grab one. And it will reflect all of these new trends, how to create a personal space and really get that at-home feeling for the fall.
TOM: Katie Allen, the flooring expert with Lumber Liquidators. She’s the director of marketing operations.
Thanks so much, Katie, for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on the new trends in flooring.
And you can see those beautiful, new floors at your local Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide or online at LumberLiquidators.com.
KATIE: Thank you so much, Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Hey, if you want your sprinklers to work next spring, fall is the right time for a pro to perform system maintenance and the winterization. We’re going to tell you how to get that project done, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really do have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. That website is HomeAdvisor.com.
Standing by to answer your home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT. And hey, do you have a flooring project in mind? If so, you definitely want to call us about that project, because we’ve got a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators going out to one listener who calls in their question to us at 888-MONEY-PIT or posts it online to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com. You can use that $200 gift certificate to choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring at incredibly low prices. You’ll redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or one of the Lumber Liquidators 375 stores nationwide.
But you’ve got to be in it to win it and that means picking up the phone and calling us with your question, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Laura in Connecticut is on the line and wants to rearrange the kitchen. How can we help you?
LAURA: It’s an old house. The house is 100-plus. And right underneath the kitchen floor, there is a portion of the floor that doesn’t have a beam under it. But we would like to put an appliance there. We would like to place an appliance there. So, we just need something that would just support it gently, just in case too much weight.
TOM: So, I mean generally speaking, floor structures are designed to hold a refrigerator. They’re not that heavy. If you wanted to beef up the structure of that area, your kitchen already has existing floor joists. So the girder will go perpendicular to those. It’s not a true girder in the sense that it wouldn’t be supported with its own foundation.
But what sometimes many folks will do is they’ll put a girder-like beam underneath those floor joists, on some Lally columns, maybe support it by a very small foundation that might be a 1-foot-by-1-foot-square pour of concrete, so that you can kind of take the bounce out of the middle of those beams.
Sometimes, if you have long beams in a house or long floor joists in a house, you’ll get kind of a bounce when you walk across the floor. And that can make it feel weak, even though maybe it’s not, but it just has more flex than you’re accustomed to. So putting in the additional beam perpendicular to the floor joists can eliminate that. It’s not going to hold up more than that beam, so it doesn’t need to be substantially supported. But I think, still, you could do – a carpenter could do a good, clean job and give you that additional support that’s going to make you feel comfortable. Does that make sense?
LAURA: Oh, yes, it does. OK. Now, if there is a dirt floor, would it be wise to put down a cement foundation?
TOM: So you wouldn’t – you would support it by columns and the bottom of the column would be supported by concrete, not necessarily a complete floor. But what, generally, you’ll do is dig out maybe a 1-foot-by-1-foot-square hole, fill that up with concrete and have the column sit right on top of that.
Again, it’s not the same kind of foundation that you would use to put a beam up that was holding up the entire house. But what you’re really doing here is just sort of taking the bounce out of that floor and giving it a little bit of additional support.
Laura, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, sprinkler winterizing is a must for systems in areas where cold, winter weather is likely. Because water expands when it freezes and any water that’s trapped in the sprinkler system is going to put stress on that plumbing and cause cracking and breakage. And if those pipes break, you’re going to have a much more costly problem on your hands next spring when it comes time to turn it back on again.
LESLIE: Now, many people choose to do this project on their own. But if you don’t have a great degree of slope to your land, you’ll need to buy or rent an air compressor to blow out all of the water.
Now, in the long run, you’ll get your money’s worth though it might be easier to just schedule a pro to get this job done right.
TOM: Now, when spring comes around, it’s time to activate your sprinkler system. And that process entails a lot more than just turning on the water main and kind of hoping for the best. Your professional is going to follow several steps in making sure that system is turned on properly. He needs to make sure that it’s got the correct pressure and that there are no leaks in the system. They’re also going to clean and check the filters on those systems that are performing poorly and adjust any sprinkler heads to make sure, well, that you’re not watering the sidewalks or your driveway, right?
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Abraham in New Jersey is on the line looking to vent an attic. What’s going on there?
ABRAHAM: OK. I basically have a regular home; it’s a Colonial. And the attic is a rough attic with the spray-foam insulation. There is zero ventilation in that attic and the second floor has central air.
So I would like to know two questions: would I be saving on air-conditioning if I would vent the attic – there’s no ceiling fan, nothing – if I put in either an attic fan or a window exhaust fan? And also, currently the attic has an entrance door – a heavy door – leading to attic. Would it take away the air-conditioning to leave that entrance door open, thereby allowing the hot air to enter the attic and leave with an exhaust fan? Or is that something I should not be doing?
TOM: So, Abraham, that’s a great question. And if you told me that your attic was insulated with fiberglass insulation, as most are typically, we would talk about what kind of ventilation you’ll need. But you said your attic was insulated with spray foam. So, is the spray foam up on the underside of the roof rafters, as well as across the floor? Describe it to me.
ABRAHAM: Not on the floor. The floor just has regular boards between the second floor and the attic. But there’s all – all the walls and the roof all have spray foam.
TOM: So what you have, Abraham – and it’s actually the same kind of insulation setup that I have. It’s called a “conditioned attic.” In other words, the attic itself is conditioned and it does not need ventilation. So, no, you do not need to vent that. It’s actually pretty efficient right the way it is.
Now, you mentioned that there was a door between those two spaces. If that door tends to get a little warm or the wall or the ceiling tends to get a little warm, you could add some additional insulation there. In my case, I actually had an older house. So my attic floor/second-floor ceiling already had fiberglass in it. We left that there. But then we spray-foamed the underside of the roof rafters and the gable walls. And it’s amazing. When we go up in our attic, it’s practically the same temperature as the rest of the house. It’s just done so well. So you do not need to ventilate an attic that was sprayed with foam, because it’s not the type of attic that needs to be vented.
ABRAHAM: Yeah. Because when I go up to my attic, it is extremely hot. I know I never measure with a thermometer how much warmer it is. So that’s why I was wondering if that’s going to warm up the second floor, requiring me more air-conditioning to the second floor. So I was thinking of ventilating the attic to cool off the attic.
TOM: I think that if it was done right, you don’t need to vent it. How long ago was the spray foam done? And who did it?
ABRAHAM: It was done locally and it was within the past year; it’s a new home.
TOM: Oh, really? Oh, it’s brand-new, within the past year.
TOM: Yeah. I wonder if they put enough insulation in there. Because the insulation should be keeping that heat on the outside and the air-conditioning or the internal sort of ambient temperature of the house should be keeping it pretty comfortable on the inside. I wonder if you have enough insulation in there.
And I have a suggestion for you that you speak with another spray-foam contractor, aside from the one that did it, and kind of have an opinion as to whether or not there’s enough insulation in there for your part of the country. I think that will actually make a lot of sense.
ABRAHAM: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you thinking about updating your kitchen cabinets? We’re going to have some tips on the best places to find design inspiration without the perspiration, next.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this beautiful almost-fall weekend? If it’s your house, you are in exactly the right place. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free. That’s all online at HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: And always head on over to MoneyPit.com where we’ve got tons of great information on projects that you can tackle this weekend and inspiration, as well. And always post your questions in the Community section, just like Todd writes. Now, he says, “What are your thoughts on insulating paint additives? I hear it can improve the heating and cooling of your home if you paint it onto your walls and ceiling in your attic, because the paint additive contains ceramic microspheres that have reflective properties. It’s a NASA spinoff, according to what I’ve read. Any truth to this?”
TOM: I’ve got to say that the concept of insulating paint is one that’s been kicking around for at least a decade, to my knowledge. However, I have personally not seen any convincing data that it works as promised. I mean sure, ceramics are a great insulator for rockets but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work well for walls and ceilings.
If you’re thinking about this sort of thing, I would tell you to go back to the basics and make sure every other easier-to-correct insulation area in your house is updated before you think about something like that. Most people don’t have enough insulation in their attic, for example. Before you think about painting anything, make sure the insulation is good.
And by the way, there’s a great article in Scientific American, also, on the benefits of insulating paint, which kind of says the same thing. No real data to support the fact that they’re going to add any insulating value to your home whatsoever. So, I think it’s fine that these products come out but they tend to have a little bit of spin to them. And when they mention something like “developed by NASA,” that’s sort of a tip-off, to me, that maybe, just maybe it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be, right?
LESLIE: They’re trying to get Mars. Do you think they have time to keep your house warmer and cooler?
TOM: Well, if you’re planning to update your kitchen, it’s easy to stick with the same old, current design and have difficulty thinking outside the box. But where do you turn for inspiration on a brand-new kitchen layout? Leslie has tips on the best places to look, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Well, you can look for inspiration in several places. First, have you ever gone over to a friend or a family member’s house and thought, “Wow, this is kind of like the kitchen of my dreams”? Well, then it’s time to revisit and take stock of exactly what brought out those feelings. Is it the functionality of the counter space, the location of the sink? Are the cabinets and drawers filled with unique organizational features? Make a note of what you love in these spaces.
Next, design magazines are a great source of inspiration. You know, photos inside might bring your attention to adding a desk, an island, a peninsula or a built-in eating area that you didn’t think of before. Also, check out Pinterest and of course, Houzz.com and Zillow. I find myself spending hours looking at houses that I potentially can’t afford. But I love to see what other people are doing in their kitchen and bathroom spaces. For inspiration from the past, you can check out vintage design books and old magazines.
A retro look can really bring a new feeling to your old space. You can hunt down inspiration. It can seem intimidating but you can avoid the pitfall of repeating the same kitchen design, when remodeling, if you’re inspired. So look around and look everywhere.
TOM: Good advice.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show where we try to give you good advice every single week. Coming up next time on the program, you can’t see it or smell it but it can be fatal. We’re talking about carbon monoxide. We’ll have tips to make sure that does not exist in your house, 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.
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