- This is a great time of year to give wood decks, trim or fencing a spruce up. We’ll give you tips on how to pick the perfect stain or brightener to have it fixed up for the season ahead.
- When kids hit the playground, safety is the last thing on their minds – but it really needs to be the first thing on our minds when we are creating these spaces. We’ve got guidelines to help.
- Do you have areas around your house that are just ridiculously difficult to clean? We share tips for cleaning some of the most difficult spaces.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Luke from Illinois wants to know if he can put a metal roof on top of shingles.
- Sabrina in Washington has newly poured grout that is already cracking.
- Mark from South Carolina wants to know the pros and cons of close cell vs. open cell insulation.
- Clyde from Missouri wants to know if an electric tankless water heater exist?
- Elvis in Texas needs help replacing Kitec plumbing.
- Donna from North Carolina needs to fix squeaky floors.
- Frank in Massachusetts has paint coming off his cedar siding.
- Carol from Texas wants to know if you can put a stain on pressure treated wood?
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you get projects done around your house. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer or if you’d like to call a pro to get a project done, it doesn’t matter. We can give you some tips, some advice, some direction, some ideas to help you avoid the hassles when it comes to taking care of your house. We’re like your owner’s manual. We’re the virtual owner’s manual. You know, when you buy a toaster, you get a book, right? Well, when you buy a house, you get us. And we’re here to help you with projects that you’d like to get done.
Coming up on today’s show, it’s a great time of year to give your wood decks or your trim or your fencing a spruce-up. So we’re going to share some quick tips on how to pick the perfect stain or brightener to have it spruced up for the season ahead.
LESLIE: And when kids hit the playground, safety is usually the last thing on their minds, but it really needs to be the first thing on our minds when we’re creating these spaces. So we’ll have some ideas to have them stay safe.
TOM: And do you have areas around your house that are just ridiculously difficult to clean? Well, make your list because we’ve got the solutions.
LESLIE: You guys, it’s June. What are you working on? How can we help you create the most amazing money pit that you could ever dream of? We want you to have a fantastic summer, so let us help you get all of those projects in order, tell you what you should be working on and tell you how to get it done.
TOM: Plus, today we’re giving away the Arrow Corded 5-in-1 Professional Electric Staple and Nail Gun, worth 60 bucks. That’ll come in handy for lots of projects around the house. So, give us a call with your home improvement question. The best way to reach us is through our website. Just click the Leave a Message button and record your question. We’ll answer it on the next show. Or you can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Luke in Illinois is on the line with a roofing question.
What can we do for you?
LUKE: So I have gotten a few people to – estimates. I want to put steel roofing on my house. And one guy will tell me that I need to sheet it and the next guy will say that I can put it over the shingles. And I didn’t know what the standard process for that is. And now, I was also told by the same contractor, “Well, every few years, you have to replace the screws.” And that – I had never heard that before.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s something we’ve never heard.
Now, when it comes to whether or not to remove the existing roof or shingles, I should say, before you go ahead and put on a metal roof – I mean in this instance, a metal roof is expensive. They’re very long-lasting, up to 50 years, and they’re beautiful. And I think the situation would be that you would want to remove the existing shingles, just to give yourself nice, smooth sheathing to go on top of – less weight on the roof, less heat being trapped and best usage of your money and use of the metal roof.
TOM: Luke, what kind of a roof do you have now? Under the asphalt shingles, do you have solid sheathing?
LUKE: Only on part. I have a house that’s over, probably, 200 years old. And it has – what they did – I’d say a shifty contractor put tar paper over the – where the slats were for the shake.
TOM: Did you have original, wood cedar shakes underneath that?
LUKE: No, it’s just – they just tore all the shake off and just put tar paper over it.
TOM: OK, look, the best thing for you to do here, as Leslie said, is to strip down to those rafters, re-sheathe the roof, then put the metal roof on top of that. Yeah, it’ll be less expensive to put the metal roof over the asphalt but you’re not going to get as clean or neat of a job.
And there’s really no point in adding to the way it’s been assembled right now, in kind of the inappropriate way it’s been assembled now, by sandwiching those shingles forever underneath that metal roof. I would take it completely down. And the guy that’s telling you to do that is, I think, giving you the best advice.
LUKE: Alright. Well, thank you very much for answering my questions.
TOM: You’re welcome, Luke. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Washington State where Sabrina is dealing with some grout that’s cracking up. And it’s not laughing; it’s falling apart.
Tell us what’s going on.
SABRINA: So I had some grout installed quite some time ago. And they’re about 18-inch tile pieces. And what I’m noticing now is there are several places – it’s kind of happening all over – where the grout is actually cracking. And I’m not sure what to do.
TOM: So, is it a fine crack or is it a big crack?
SABRINA: The grout is cracking and now some of the tile pieces are cracking.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem. It sounds to me like the tile was not put down on a base that was solid enough. When you use a big tile like that, you need to have a really strong base. So you have to have a mud base or you have to have a tile base. And you may even have to have an expansion material underneath that so that you don’t get this kind of cracking. If you don’t get good support across an 18-inch tile and you get a little bit of movement in the floor, it cracks very quickly.
So, I think this – at this point, it’s going to be something you’re going to have to manage. And if it gets really bad, you’re going to end up taking those tiles out and replacing them. It’s very hard to recover from this when the tile job was potentially not done right to begin with.
SABRINA: Yeah. And I was wondering if it has anything to do with – I’ve heard a couple of people tell me that the underlayment – and maybe you said that – the underlayment wasn’t secured down properly or whatnot.
TOM: It wasn’t strong enough, right. It wasn’t strong enough. You see, if there’s more – if there’s flex in the floor, the tile is not going to bend, it’s going to crack. And so that’s why the tile – what’s under that tile has to be really solid. With a – bigger the tile, the wider the tile, the less forgiving it is. If you put mosaic down, it can move all day long and you’re never going to see those cracks. But when you put a big, 18-inch square tile down, it’s got nowhere to go.
SABRINA: It’s got nowhere to go.
SABRINA: And what is your recommendation for my – for correcting it?
TOM: Unfortunately, there’s no easy recommendation. If the tile project was done wrong to begin with, there’s nothing I can tell you to do that’s going to fix it at this point in time. It’s really going to be something that you’re going to have to tolerate and eventually, you’re going to end up replacing them. And this time, you’re going to do the proper job with putting the floor down.
How long have these tiles been down?
SABRINA: About 5 years.
TOM: I was going to say, whoever put them down didn’t really do the job right. You’re going to end up having to tear it out and do it again.
SABRINA: That’s OK. Well, thank you, guys. I just wanted to talk to some professionals. And I heard your show and I really appreciate you guys giving me the advice.
LESLIE: Mark in South Carolina is on the line and needs some help defining different types of insulation.
Tell us what’s going on.
MARK: I put some Icynene in my house and then I heard someone say that closed-cell was better. And then I’ve heard that open-cell was better. Can you explain to me the advantages and disadvantages of, for my home now, choosing either closed-cell or open-cell insulation?
TOM: What type of Icynene did you put in? Is it open-cell insulation?
MARK: Yes, it was open-cell.
TOM: You know, there’s a lot of debate as to which one is better and I think that both have good qualities. Open-cell has a good insulating value. It’s more susceptible to moisture than closed-cell but it still gives you the benefit of being not only an insulator but an air barrier. So it protects you against drafts that are going to try to get into the house. The other advantage of open-cell is it has better sound-absorption qualities. So it’s a little bit of a quieter house and it tends to be more economical to apply.
So, I don’t think you made a bad choice and Icynene is a good product.
MARK: OK. What would be a reason I would choose closed-cell?
TOM: That’s a good question. I would say that if you were in a very high-moisture area, like seaside, then you may want to consider closed-cell.
MARK: Alright. Well, you guys have a great show and thank you for your time and your help.
LESLIE: Give us a call, post your question, leave us a message. Whatever it is, we are standing by because we want to help you out. I know this is the crazy, busy time of year around your money pit. So we want to help you out.
We’ve got a great prize to give away this show. We’ve got the Arrow Corded 5-in-1 Professional Electric Staple and Nail Gun. It’s the ET501F and it is perfect for a variety of projects, like upholstery, framing, insulation, crafting, fencing, putting up cable, I mean all the things that seem to be perfect projects for the summer season. You can fire up to 60 shots per minute and it has a compact design to help reduce fatigue. It’s a 5-in-1 tool which fires 5 different types of Arrow fasteners, including heavy-duty staples.
It’s a prize worth $60 but it could be yours for free. Who’s that lucky Money Pit listener out there? Is it you?
TOM: Give us a call, right now, and it could very well be. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions on MoneyPit.com. Just click Leave a Message.
LESLIE: Martha in Ohio is on the line with a leaky door and a leaky window.
What is going on?
MARTHA: We had some sliding-glass doors in our family room that’s paneled. And we had them taken out and we wanted just a picture window in there. So, when they came to do the picture window, they took the door out – the sliding doors out – and the foundation was like, oh, maybe a block or two up and the door had been left empty down lower.
So, what they did was they took 2x4s – I think it was wood – and built up to the block level and then proceeded to put in the supports for the window. So, now, when it’s – I made a flower bed out there and now, when the ground gets real saturated and water tends to puddle there, collect, it runs under the wood, through the wood.
TOM: Right. Not surprised and – well, so it sounds like instead of building the foundation up with concrete block, which is what they should have done, they sort of filled it in with wood framing. Is that correct?
MARTHA: Yes, yes.
TOM: Yeah. Probably wasn’t the best choice.
MARTHA: Can we seal that or do we need to start over?
TOM: Well, you know, it’s kind of hard to advise that you seal something that was never done right to begin with. It really should have been a concrete block. But having said that, if you are going to trap that much water against the foundation, whether it’s a wood patch or a concrete block, it’s still going to leak. You just can’t hold that kind of water against the foundation.
We advise against this all the time, Martha, because those sorts of planters and anything else that holds water against a house is just not a good idea, especially in an area like Ohio where you’ve got a pretty significant freeze/thaw cycle.
TOM: Because if that water that saturates the soil – that soil freezes, it’s going to push inward on that wall and weaken the basement wall. So, I would recommend, if you are going to have a planter, that you’ve got to have some drainage in there so that the water does not puddle up. Because if you do trap it against the wall, regardless of how that wall is built – even though it wasn’t repaired correctly – it’s going to leak and it’s going to cause damage. So I think the issue, really, is what you did after the fact more so than what they did to install the picture window. OK?
MARTHA: Oh, OK, OK.
TOM: Good luck.
MARTHA: Well, thank you so much and have a nice day.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Clyde in Missouri is on the line and needs some help with a water heater.
What can we do for you?
CLYDE: I’m adding a room on in my house and the water heater I’ve got, it’s electric, 30-gallon. And it’s taking up too much room I don’t have to spare. And my question is: is one of those in-line water heaters – would that be advisable for a resident?
TOM: You mean an on-demand, tankless water heater?
TOM: The problem is that you have electric. Do you have gas there – natural gas – or propane?
CLYDE: No. I can get propane alright. I don’t have a tank.
TOM: If you want to have an on-demand tankless water heater, you need to have that be fossil-fueled with either natural gas or propane. There are electric, on-demand systems but they’re very expensive to use and I don’t think there’s any efficiency in going with that. So, if you want to have propane added to the house, you can consider a tankless water heater.
Now, if you want to go back with what you do have now, of course, you are going to need the room. But you could save some costs if you put a timer on that water heater so that it only heats water when you need it. I mean technically, you only need it a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. All day long, it’ll stay warm for hand-washing and that sort of thing and it can be off in the middle of the night. And that actually cuts the energy costs associated with heating the water.
CLYDE: Uh-huh. Well, I’ve got a timer on it now but I haven’t been using it because I really couldn’t figure out the right time to be doing it.
TOM: Well …
CLYDE: It seemed like it was always cold when I needed hot and hot when I didn’t need it, so one of those kinds of deals.
TOM: Yeah, I hear you. I hear you.
CLYDE: So I thought, “Well, I’ll just leave it.” Is there anything …?
TOM: They only work – the timers only work well if your family is on a regular schedule where you can really rely on it for certain hours of the day. But if your schedule varies a bit, then maybe not so much.
So, those are your options, though, alright? Good luck with that project.
CLYDE: Alright, man. Thank you.
TOM: Well, there’s nothing like the beauty of real wood for decks and fences, as well as siding and trim. But if you want to keep it looking that way, you need to protect it with a good coat of exterior wood stain. So here’s what you need to know to get that project done.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, if you’re working with new wood, you’ve got to give it time to dry out. Now, that’s going to allow the pores to open and then help that piece of lumber receive the stain. So to test to make sure that it’s ready, you want to pour a cup of water onto the wood. If it’s absorbed in 30 seconds, it’s ready. If the wood is older, it’s really important that that wood is clean and free of dirt, mildew, algae. A pressure washer is going to work well for that, but you have to make sure that you keep that pressure low to avoid damaging the wood.
TOM: Now, keep in mind, there are several levels of transparency with wood stain. You can get transparent stain, which has virtually no color, you can get semi-transparent, which has some color, and you can get solid color, which has a lot of color, a lot of pigment in it and ultimately lasts the longest.
Now, when you’re ready to start, you want to apply the finish top to bottom so you can catch any drips. Be sure to work the length of a board so you don’t avoid lap marks. It’s also important to be mindful of the weather. Don’t start the project if the wood is going to be in sunlight and in temperatures of 80 degrees or higher right after you finish. Otherwise, it’s not going to have time to soak in before it dries.
LESLIE: Elvis from Texas is on the line. He is in the building and he has a question about plumbing.
Elvis, what can we do for you?
ELVIS: My wife and I had a house built. Started back in early 2005 and it’s in Lubbock. Houses are made on concrete slabs.
ELVIS: Before they poured the slab, they put in a – with all the plumbing was installed. And instead of copper plumbing, which was in kind of short supply back in 2005, the going thing then was called Kitec. I think it’s K-i-t-e-c. And it’s a double-walled plastic pipe with aluminum in the center, instead of regular connections that use, if I’m understanding, a bronze connector. And we’ve had a couple of small problems with the plumbing but it seems as though I’ve read that the bronze can cause a delinkification (ph) in the copper.
And I’m wondering if there’s been any studies done, if there’s different fittings that can be replaced. If the plumbing has to be replaced, it’d be very labor-intensive to go underneath the house. And we get down to fairly low winters, maybe to zero, and I don’t think I’d want any plumbing overhead for it to freeze. Or if you have any suggestions or thoughts.
TOM: Yeah, Elvis. The problem with Kitec plumbing is, as you suspect, the fittings will leak.
Now, what’s interesting is that Kitec starts with PEX, which is cross-linked polyethylene which, by itself and as installed today, is actually an excellent plumbing pipe with fittings that don’t leak. But the Kitec system has definitely had a history of leaking. In fact, there are many class-action lawsuits over that product that are active and going on around the country. And you certainly should investigate those that you may qualify to join.
Unfortunately, your solutions only include, really, replacing it. And what I would advise you to do is to only replace it where it’s accessible. I wouldn’t create the emergency if the emergency doesn’t exist, so I’m not going to tell you to tear open your walls and pull all the plumbing out and start from scratch. But I would say that if you do happen to be doing a bathroom renovation or you open a wall and you find Kitec, it should be sort of a matter, of course, where you always replace it. Because it’s not going to get any better; it’s only going to get worse.
ELVIS: Not news I wanted to hear but kind of what I suspected.
TOM: Yep. Unfortunately, that’s the case. Every once in a while, we get a building product like that and I’ve seen it happen many times over the years. And there’s just no way to make it better because at its core, it’s a defective system.
ELVIS: OK. No way to just replace the fittings. It’s going to be the pipe itself, too, that’ll have problems.
TOM: That’s correct. So I would attach it to a plumbing – to copper piping or to traditional PEX piping.
ELVIS: OK. So I can talk to some local plumbers and discuss it from that point.
TOM: Exactly. I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And right now, on MoneyPit.com, we’ve got a great way for you to win a $1,000 gift card to LL Flooring and a lot of other great stuff when you enter the Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes at MoneyPit.com.
Now, you can enter every day and we’ve got lots of ways for you to earn bonus entries for sharing the sweeps online. That’s at MoneyPit.com, presented by LL Flooring. The Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes.
LESLIE: OK. Let’s welcome Donna from North Carolina with some squeaking floors.
What’s going on?
DONNA: We have a 13-year-old home in Raleigh, North Carolina, which was purchased as new construction. We have squeaky floors – wood floors – primarily in the kitchen, in front of the sink. Originally, we – there were shims placed between the joists to even the floor after we moved in. But after a first frost, there were raised areas of flooring, particularly in the kitchen. And some of the shims were removed to even the floors once again.
Currently, we’re selling our house and my concern is that when the purchaser employs a home inspector, that the squeaky floors would be so obvious that we would need to resolve the problem. And I wondered what you would suggest we do.
TOM: I was a home inspector for 20 years and I’ve never, ever, in those 20 years, reported squeaky floors as a structural problem.
TOM: So, on that point, I don’t think you have a lot to worry about unless you have somebody that really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes, if you get an inspector that is really under-skilled, they will take the minute, normal occurrences of a home and turn it into a major issue. But that’s it.
It is kind of annoying. And trying to figure out why it squeaks requires you understanding which part of that floor assembly is moving, because it’s evidence of movement. So, if there’s movement between the subfloor and the floor joist underneath, that could be one source. Or if there’s movement between the finished hardwood floor and the subfloor and the floor joist, that’s another type of movement.
You can deal with all of this if you were to be able to identify where – from the top side, from the kitchen side – the floor joists are underneath that area that’s loose. And then you can drive what’s called a “trim screw,” which is about as wide as a finish nail, with the proper prep, which means you have to predrill the floor. But you can drive a couple of those into the hardwood floor to kind of tie it all together. And once you do that, you’ll find that you’ll quiet it down quite a bit. And the size hole that you’ll have to fill is no more than the width of a finish nail.
DONNA: OK. So the key is finding the joist, I would guess.
TOM: Floor joist. And there’s a way to do that, too. And you can do that by measuring it out or you could simply get a stud finder – a stud sensor. They have them today where they’re good enough where they can actually see through 2, 3 inches of building material and find the floor joist below with great precision. Stanley makes a number of very good-quality and inexpensive stud sensors that can do that.
But don’t panic. A squeaky floor is pretty much typical and it’s not indicative of a structural issue.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. It’s just more annoying. And I think one of the benefits of you saying – you know, you seem to have so much knowledge of the shims and what’s going on there. It makes me feel like you have access to the thing, so it should be fairly easy for you to get to the bottom of.
DONNA: Alright. Well, thank you so much for that information. It’s encouraging.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, as the weather turns warmer and kids move outside to play, it’s a great time to make sure that the play areas around your house are properly constructed and safe.
Now, every year in the United States, more than 200,000 kids under the age of 14 are hurt in playground accidents. And many of those happen in backyards all across the country that have play equipment. And most of those injuries happen as the result of a fall onto a hard surface. Now, that’s why it’s important to create a safe fall zone around all of the equipment that you’ve got for the kids to play on. And these areas underneath and at least 6 feet around that playground equipment need to be soft enough to cushion a fall.
Now, there are several materials to consider. And I mean it’s really all based on personal preference, aesthetics, your budget. There’s so many options. Now, the materials can include wood chips, mulch, shredded rubber, pea gravel or sand. And it doesn’t matter which material you use. That depth that you have of that material is determined by the height of the equipment that you have it under. So, if the equipment has a height of 7 feet, you need at least 6 inches of uncompressed depth. For 10 feet of height, you’d need 9 inches of uncompressed depth. And for 11 feet, you need 12. So does that kind of make sense to let you know how much you need? Because you want to make sure that you have enough, should somebody fall, that they’re going to land properly and not get so hurt.
Now, you want to make sure you replenish the landing-zone material as often as you need. It’s usually about once at the beginning of each outdoor season, just because things get moved around and it sort of compresses over time. And you want to make sure that you leave some space between the equipment. For example, if you have a swing, don’t let that arc of that swing come near any other equipment. Because even if you’ve got nothing around it, I feel like kids are a magnet for another child on a swing. They’re like, “Oh, a swing. I’m going to walk right in front of it. Or behind it.” So …
TOM: Or they try to swing into each other on purpose.
LESLIE: It’s amazing. It’s like – so do what you can to help keep them safe. And tell them, “Just don’t be dummies out there.”
TOM: Well, on The Money Pit, you get answers to your home improvement question. Plus, you get the opportunity to win some great tools. And today we’ve got the Arrow Corded 5-in-1 Professional Electric Staple Gun and Nail Gun to give away. It’s all included. It’s the ET501F is the model number. It’s great for a variety of projects, like upholstery, framing, insulation, crafts, fencing, cabling, that sort of stuff.
Check this out: it fires up to 60 shots per minute. I can’t imagine why that would be necessary but I guess it’s a fun statistic to know about. Sixty shots per minute out of a nail gun. And it’s got a compact design to reduce fatigue.
It’s going to go out to one listener drawn at random. If you would like that to be you, you’ve got to reach out to us with your question. Do that by going to MoneyPit.com, click on Leave a Message or call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Frank on the line who’s having an issue with paint on his siding.
What’s going on, Frank?
FRANK: It’s all – and first of all, it’s all coming off. It’s like no one ever primed it before or anything and I don’t know if they used paint or stain. And I’m not really sure what to go back with, if you have to prime it. I’m really – I don’t know. I’m lost.
TOM: So we’re talking about siding shingles here, not roofing shingles, correct?
FRANK: Right. Cedar shingles – white cedar shingles.
TOM: So the paint’s coming off after you’re power-washed them, so you probably didn’t have good adhesion to begin with.
LESLIE: Yeah. But paint is going to come off when you pressure-wash. That’s just how it goes.
TOM: Well, that’s true and – well, depending on the ferocity of the pressure washer. But also, if paint wasn’t applied well, if it wasn’t primed properly, then it will come off even that much more quicker. So what I would recommend you do is to get rid of any loose paint that’s left behind. You’re probably going to have to abrade those shingles, probably brush them with a wire brush. Make sure you really get anything that’s loose off of that.
Then you’re going to need to prime the entire shingle surface with an oil-based primer, because that’s going to give you maximum adhesion. The primer – one of the qualities of the primer is that it really sticks to the substrate. And then after it’s primed, then you can put a topcoat of paint over that. But that’s the process and there’s just no shortcutting it, especially if you’ve got adhesion problems with the paint that you’ve taken off. You can’t put good paint over bad paint. You’ve got to get rid of all the bad paint, prime it properly and then repaint it and you’ll be good to go, Frank.
FRANK: OK. Because I’ve had some people telling me that you could use stain.
TOM: Well, you could use stain, as well, but only if all of the old paint is off. Otherwise, it’s going to look pretty bad.
Now, if you use stain, you still have to prime it. I’ve got cedar shingles on my home and I primed it first and then used a solid-color stain over that. And between the two of them – the last time I did it this way, it lasted about 15 or 17 years. But you’ve got to prime it. No matter what you do, you’ve got to prime it.
FRANK: OK. And an oil-based primer. OK. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’ve got it, Frank. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, do you guys have stuff around the house that just gets dirtier and dirtier because it’s just so darn hard to clean it? Well, here’s a few simple solutions for some of these tough cleaning tasks.
LESLIE: Yeah. Here is one: trying to clean the glass of your oven door. I feel like it just gets dirtier and dirtier, no matter what you do. So, if you get things that are stuck and drippy and yucky in that door, you might think it’s a lost cause. But actually, if you remove the drawer from under your oven and look under that oven door, you’re going to see some spaces that will allow you to reach between the glass. Now, you can get a wire hanger or a slim cleaning brush, a cleaning solution and you are good to go. I mean who knew? That’s a very sneaky spot to get into.
TOM: Now, here’s an interesting topic: what about kids’ toys? Those things – they’ve got to be a germ factory, right?
LESLIE: Oh, indeed.
TOM: So, here’s a solution: get a mesh laundry bag and run the toys through a warm-water cycle with some bleach and they are instantly sanitized.
LESLIE: Yeah. I always did that with the kids’ bath toys.
TOM: I guess that doesn’t include a Game Boy, though, huh?
LESLIE: No, no, no. No, no, no, no.
But let me tell you: iPads? Oh, my goodness. They are disgusting. My son, Charlie – and I’m ratting him out on this totally – I don’t think he understands what a napkin is. He’ll eat and use his shirt and use his sleeve, use the iPad screen. And I’m constantly wiping that down. So there are so many yucky surfaces when it comes to the kids that you have to keep clean.
Now, let’s talk about your shower. Say you get in there and it just doesn’t have the gusto that it used to have. You could have some mineral deposits that are clogging that showerhead, so here is the trick: pour some vinegar – white vinegar – into a plastic bag, then use a rubber band to secure it around that showerhead and let it sit overnight so the showerhead is sitting in that vinegar in the bag. And by morning, all of those deposits that are clogging up that showerhead will be dissolved. This showerhead trick is a great trick and it really doesn’t take any effort at all.
Carol in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CAROL: We have a new porch that we put on the back of our house. And we used on it a treated lumber and we put a transparent stain on it. Now, we have two other porches on two different other buildings and they did not get stained or anything. They were treated wood and now they’re kind of weathered-looking. You know how they turn.
So, now we’re wondering if we pressure-washed them, could we put the transparent stain on them?
TOM: You could but I wouldn’t recommend it. And here’s why: because the transparent stain doesn’t have any pigment in it. And so it doesn’t really do a good job of keeping the UV away from the wood. It’s not – you can’t – the natural color of the wood is, unfortunately, impossible to maintain. What I would recommend is that you do clean those surfaces to make sure they’re ready for a new stain, let them dry thoroughly and then add either a semi-transparent or a solid-color stain to that porch surface. You’ll still be able to see the grain of the wood underneath but it’ll be well protected.
CAROL: Thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carol. Good luck on that farm. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You can post your question. You can post it on MoneyPit.com or on our social pages. And Samantha in Connecticut did just that.
LESLIE: That’s right. Samantha writes: “I have a couple of boxes of hardwood flooring left over from when I redid my sunroom. Are there any cool projects I could do with them, other than give it away or keeping some for repairs?”
You know, Samantha, there’s actually awesome projects that you can do with this.
TOM: With the leftover? Yeah, sure.
LESLIE: It really depends on – yeah. It depends on how much you have and how much you like the look of it. Because you can do a focus-point wall in a bedroom, in a living room, a den. You can do a really cool pattern with it: you can do a herringbone, you can put something on a diagonal. You can do a variety of patterns to kind of make a really cool wall in there. And that’s a great way to utilize that. But of course, it just depends on how much you have. If you’ve got enough to do it, I think that’s great and it always looks beautiful behind a bed in the bedroom.
TOM: Alright. So, Lee now says, “In the summer, it takes hours to cool the back bedrooms at night. I’m thinking the attic heat is causing the problem, even though we have a ridge and vents at each end of the attic. Can you suggest a cure for this problem?”
So, I’m presuming that, Lee, you don’t have air conditioning, which is the reason we’re having this conversation. And the fact that you have attic ventilation is excellent but it’s not going to completely solve the lack of having that air-conditioning system.
One thing that might is what’s called a “whole-house fan.” Now, a whole-house fan is not like an attic fan. It is not designed to cool the attic. It’s designed to cool the house, the living space. The way it works is it fits into the ceiling of the living space and it will exhaust the air through the attic. Using those existing vents that you have there should be enough, it sounds like. And it runs on a timer.
So, I have one in a house that we lived in for years. And the way we use it is when it was warm in the evenings and a little sticky and kind of hard to get to sleep kind of a night, we would fire up that fan on a timer – let it run for 30, 40 minutes – and you open windows up at different places where you want to feel the breeze. And that fan draws the air from outside, through the window and up into the attic. And what was cool about it is that we were asleep by the time the temperature cooled down and the fan automatically went off.
So I think that’s a great alternative to a central air-conditioning system for your house. And it will cool strategically whatever rooms that are between the open windows and that whole-house fan.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you out, Lee. Because those summer nights can be awful if you can’t get comfy into your rooms. So you really want to find ways that you can stay nice and cool every evening and get a good night’s sleep.
TOM: Yeah. Sometimes people confuse them with attic fans but attic fans just cool the attic. And I generally don’t recommend them if you have central air conditioning because they tend to reach down into the living space and kind of steal some of that air conditioning. But a whole-house fan, completely different operation there. It’s designed to really cool that living space and it can do so very accurately and very inexpensively.
LESLIE: Alright. Hope it does the trick.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hope you guys are enjoying the warm weather this time of year. You’re stretching out on those beautiful decks and patios, maybe picking up a paintbrush or fixing up a little project here or there. But whatever is on your to-do list, remember, you can always count on us to help you get those jobs done. You can reach out, 24/7, by going to our website, click on the microphone button – the blue microphone button – that says, “Leave a Message.” We’ll get back to you on the 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 2022 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)