Easy Tricks for Picking Paint Colors

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    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 it’s a beautiful fall weekend. It’s a perfect time to pick up the tools and get to work. We’re here to help you do just that. If you’ve got a project that you’d like to get done around your house, your home, your condo, your apartment, your yurt, your tent, we don’t care. We’re here to help, 888-666-3974. Help yourself first: give us a call or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.

    Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve ever taken on a painting project but got stuck in the middle of a home center aisle trying to look at the paint chips that they give you in those little, tiny cards – little, tiny swatches – and imagining what it might look to have your entire kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, whatever that same color, we feel your pain. I mean it’s pretty stressful to pick a paint color and they don’t make it very easy. But we’re going to give you some step-by-step tips today on how to go about making the decision and so you can’t possibly get it wrong.

    Plus, we’re going to share the 2019 Color of the Year. Yes, it’s amazing. It’s October. It’s out already. We’re all trying to beat each other but there’s a new Color of the Year out. It’s a pretty cool color. We’ll share that, just ahead.

    LESLIE: And it’s not gray, because you know I love gray.

    TOM: It’s not gray. Yep, gray’s out. Sorry, Leslie. Gray’s out.

    LESLIE: And there’s so many choices of gray.

    TOM: We’re done with gray. Enough with the gray.

    LESLIE: It’s still in. Gray’s in. It’s always in. Everything is gray.

    I looked at a house and I remember showing pictures to my cousin. And I was like, “Mary, once I make everything gray it’s going to be awesome.”

    TOM: It’ll be OK, right?

    LESLIE: Also today, guys, do you know it’s easier than ever to be eco-friendly? But with the many claims of greenness that you find when you’re out shopping, how do you really know when that building material is actually eco-friendly? Well, understanding how that product is produced is key. And we’re going to have some tips to help you do just that, in a bit.

    TOM: And also ahead, we’re about to spend a lot more time indoors this fall. And guess who else is coming in with us? The mice and the rodents. They’d like nothing more than to head inside with you to that warm space. So, just ahead, we’re going to have some easy tips for keeping those critters outside where they belong.

    LESLIE: Ugh. Please keep them outside.

    And if you are planning a flooring project this autumn season, we’ve got a fantastic giveaway going out to one lucky caller this hour. It’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: So give us a call right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the listener line. 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com, 888-666-3974.

    Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Linda is on the line and wants to add onto a farmhouse. How can we help you with that?

    LINDA: Well, I have about a 100-year-old farmhouse and I – the only bathroom is upstairs. It’s a two-story farmhouse. And I want to age in place, so I want to add another bathroom downstairs. And also, I inherited a doll collection from my mother and it’s stored in all the storage in all the rooms, so I kind of want to bring it into one room and add another room for that and hobbies.

    People have been suggesting that I just – oh, just add a – break up one of the rooms in the house and just put a bathroom any old place. But the rooms are really well proportioned; it’s good cross-ventilation. I don’t want to have a mess. I want to have some style to the additions, so people have suggested that I go to either an architect or a drafter or interior designer. I don’t know – I’m not sure what that process involves and how many I should go to or …

    TOM: Well, I think that you hit the nail on the head and that is to hire an architect. Because, essentially, you want to make sure that whatever you do to this house flows and maintains its structural integrity, as well as its design integrity. So an architect can help you do just that.

    Selecting where to put that bathroom will be a balance of compromises trying to decide where it fits best in the design, where the plumbing is now, what it would take to get the plumbing where it needs to be for this particular bathroom and then how best to design those rooms for your collections and that sort of thing. The architect can handle with the structure and the mechanical systems. Once that’s done, then you could consider bringing in an interior designer to help lay it out and choose colors, choose furniture and make it work for you visually.

    LESLIE: And I think the other good thing about bringing in the architect is they may have an interior designer that they work with. You can bring in your own. They’ll be able to sort of work together to help you specify the right materials for the right areas. So it really is a strong partnership.

    LINDA: I see. Now, do I bring – do I talk or consult with two architects and get their ideas? Or do I just go with one and get the designs?

    TOM: What I would do is I would bring in one or two or maybe three architects to see the property, tell them what you want to accomplish, find out how they work. You get a feel for them, yeah, they get a feel for you and then you make a decision based on that.

    LESLIE: I think you meet with somebody – you meet with two or three architects, as Tom suggested. Just get a feel for them, because you’re going to know if you want to work with them, you’re going to know how well you communicate back and forth. You’ll sort of spitball ideas there during that meeting and get a really good sense of how much they’re understanding you. And whoever you feel the most comfortable with, I think, is what’s going to lead you to the right decision. And then you’ll start drawings.

    LINDA: OK. I did get a card from someone who used them but – used this person but he was – this card says he’s a drafting consultant.

    TOM: You don’t want a drafter, OK? You want an architect. You just want an architect – a good-quality architect. So focus on that first. You can take – usually, they’ll have books that show some of their past projects. You can see what kind of work they do.

    You know, it’s going to be – you’ll figure out, through a process of elimination, which one you’re most comfortable with and that’s the person that’s going to get the job. But they’re well worth the investment because they’re going to make this process easy and they’re going to be – you’re going to be assured that it comes out exactly as you plan.

    If you bring in some – if you go right to the contractor step, they’re just going to squeeze this bathroom in wherever they think it fits and you’re not going to be happy with it. So get the architect; they’re well worth their investment.

    LINDA: OK. Great.

    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Adam in Rhode Island is on the line with a leaky skylight. What’s going on?

    ADAM: I have a bay window in my bedroom and it’s below a skylight. And for a while, it started to create those brown stains on my ceiling. But for the most part, the biggest problem was there was a leak in the bay window. So, my father and I went up there. We put a new flashing kit on the skylight and it seemed to help the problem but it did not eliminate the problem.

    And I had a contractor friend over who took a look at it, as well, and he noticed that if you go out on the outside, the bay window abuts the gutter where the gutter attaches to the roof above it. And it’s his opinion that there should be, perhaps, some 6- to 8-inch gap there between where the gutter meets the house and where the bay window starts. So it’s his opinion that the bay window might have been improperly installed.

    TOM: So, it sounds like the bay window is up too high? Is that what you’re saying? So it basically goes right up under the gutter?

    ADAM: Right. It certainly – there’s certainly no separation between the soffit but there’s also no separation from where the gutter meets the house, either.

    TOM: Alright. And does the bay window have its own roof on it? Or is the roof sort of built into the soffit structure?

    ADAM: No. It’s under the overhang.

    TOM: Oh, it is under the overhang. OK. Mm-hmm. Is it possible that the gutter is overfilling and perhaps the water is backing up through the gutter, getting into the soffit and running into the bay?

    ADAM: I thought that at one point. And I have gone up and checked and the gutters are clean.

    TOM: OK. And where this is on the roof, is there sort of a long stretch of roof that goes down before this – before it hits the skylight?

    ADAM: Yeah. I guess so. Maybe 10 or 15 feet.

    TOM: So, I’m going to give a trick of the trade and this might solve it. You might be getting so much water against that skylight that it’s just sort of forcing its way in. One thing you might want to do is to try to put a diverter on the roof, right above the skylight. And this – see if this works. It’s really easy to do and so there’s kind of no reason not to try it.

    But you make a – you take a piece of aluminum in the shape of an L and you basically attach it to the roof. And you essentially want to intercept that flow of water down the roof and have it run around the skylight and around the bay window. So you’re slowing the volume of water that’s coming down that roof, running full steam towards that skylight and that bay-window area and running it around that space. And all you’ve got to do is tack that onto the roofing shingles, put some silicone caulk to help seal the edge and see what happens.

    ADAM: So you caulk the edge of the L with silicone. And how do you affix the aluminum to the roof?

    TOM: Yeah, you could simply nail through the shingle and with a roofing nail.

    ADAM: OK.

    TOM: Because you’re – well, the caulk will help seal it. And basically, you’re capturing that water as it’s running down the roof. And it’s sort of running right around that skylight/bay-window roof combination and then off to the gutter.

    ADAM: Alright. Sounds good. I’m willing to try it.

    TOM: Good luck, Adam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to hear what you are working on and lend you a hand.

    TOM: Well, today it’s easier than ever to be eco-friendly. But when it comes to picking eco-friendly floors, knowing how that product is produced is key. We’ll tell you what to look for, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, after this.

    Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We’d love to talk with you about your fall home improvement projects. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 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 if one of your fall projects is in some new flooring, you definitely want to call us at 888-MONEY-PIT because we’ve got a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators going out to one listener who calls in their home improvement question to us or posts it to The Money Pit community at MoneyPit.com. And there’s lots to choose from at that store.

    LESLIE: I mean there are so many choices, Tom. You’re totally right. Flooring is sort of the new light-bulb shopping. There’s so many things to pick from. You just really have to go in there and decide what’s the room, what’s the use. They’ve got 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including some prefinished hardwoods, bamboo, laminate, wood-look waterproof flooring. So many things at incredibly low prices at Lumber Liquidators.

    Plus, you can actually use your gift card for all those finishing touches, like moldings and trim. And if, for some reason, you decide this is not a project you want to tackle yourself, you can even use this gift card for installation.

    TOM: You can redeem that gift card at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide. Call in, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Liz in New Jersey is on the line and she has a kind of thrifty idea. She wants to reuse wall-to-wall carpeting? What’s going on?

    LIZ: Yes. I have carpeting that is 20 years old but it’s in my living room, which hardly anybody – you don’t have to step on it to go through other parts of the house. And it looks fine. And I was wondering if I could have that taken up, because underneath is hardwood and I wanted to refinish it. But my carpeting in my bedroom, which is smaller, is worn. And I was wondering if I could put that carpet in the bedroom.

    TOM: I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t do that. You know, pulling the carpet up is pretty easy to do as long as it was put down correctly to begin with.

    Now, I will caution you, if that space in the living room turns out to be not one piece of carpet but carpet with a seam in the middle of it, that seam could be your weak link. That seam might not be obvious to you, if it was done well to begin with, but when you take the carpet up, you may find that it’s basically two pieces of wall-to-wall carpet seamed together with seam tape. And then if you try to move that piece upstairs, the tape could break apart because now you’re kind of disturbing it. And you may have a bit of a mess on your hands.

    But I see no reason why you couldn’t reuse the carpet. It’s certainly possible. That said, I think the most expensive part of this project is going to be the labor, because you’re going to have to have a professional carpet installer do this work. And considering the fact that the upstairs bedroom is fairly small, the added cost of brand-new carpet might not really add that much to the overall project.

    LIZ: Oh.

    TOM: So think about the economics of this, OK? If you’re going to spend money on an installer, then it’s going to cost you X dollars to have them come in, take the old carpet out, cut a new piece to fit upstairs and move it upstairs. How much more can the carpet possibly cost you, especially if you bought a remnant or something of that nature?

    LIZ: Oh, I see. Yeah. I think it’s one whole, long piece. I really do.

    LESLIE: It depends. Because, usually, the bolts of carpeting are 13 feet. So if you’ve got a run of the room that’s bigger than 13 feet, then you’re probably going to have a seam somewhere in there.

    The other thing to consider is that 20-year-old padding might not be reusable, so you might have to get new padding. Whereas if you got new carpeting, they’re going to throw in padding, for the most part. So, think of all those things.

    TOM: Alright, Liz. Well, good luck with that project. We gave you some stuff to think about, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Well, if you like to save energy or not waste water, you’re probably an environmentally-responsible shopper. But when it comes to shopping for floors, knowing how that floor is made is really key to knowing if it’s an eco-friendly option for your home. We’ve got tips on how to do just that, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: Now, there are two types of floors that are generally considered to be the most eco-friendly. First, there’s cork and it’s a good choice for several reasons. First of all, it’s sustainable, it looks great, it lasts a long time and it’s quiet. Now, the flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is stripped every nine years and then it grows back and it inflicts no damage on the tree whatsoever.

    LESLIE: Now, bamboo is another great option. Bamboo flooring is manufactured from the bamboo plant, which is actually a type of grass which makes them super sustainable. Bamboo is going to grow very, very quickly and it needs little water to thrive. Plus, that bamboo is going to grow back within 5 to 10 years, as opposed to the 30 to 100 years that it takes to grow traditional hardwood. And that makes bamboo one of the most eco-friendly flooring products available.

    TOM: But the other big advantage of bamboo is that it’s really durable. I mean during the manufacturing process, strand bamboo becomes one of the hardest, most durable natural-flooring options in the marketplace. And even though bamboo is a grass, it actually looks and feels and most importantly, it kind of performs just like hardwood.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s gorgeous. It’s really a great choice.

    And that’s today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find Morning Star Bamboo Flooring. Morning Star is a naturally beautiful and ecologically-friendly product that evokes a feeling of luxury. It’s available in smooth or distressed textures and in a variety of stains and extra-wide widths, like new Monticello Bamboo, making Morning Star Bamboo Flooring a perfect complement to any room’s design.

    TOM: Morning Star Bamboo Flooring is available at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.

    LESLIE: Ed in Iowa is on the line with a heating-and-cooling question. What can we help you with today?

    ED: I’ve got a home that’s a – it’s a ranch style on the basement, about 3,000 square feet. And probably half of the upstairs, the living room and the kitchen and dining room is cathedral ceiling. That part of the house seems to stay about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. I’ve had the A/C checked and they say the size is adequate, so I was wondering if there – is it insulation problem and is there a way to correct that?

    TOM: Well, it’s basically heat loss and yes, whenever you have a cathedral ceiling, you can’t get as much insulation in that ceiling structure. And because heat rises and you’ve got that ceiling up there, you’re going to have a warmer second floor.

    So how do you combat that? Well, there’s a couple of things. One of which is – do you have ceiling fans up there?

    ED: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. And the ceiling fans are not helping? Are they pushing that warm air down so that it can be cooled in the summer?

    ED: It helps but it’s not enough.

    TOM: One of the things you might want to do is considering supplementing that second floor with a split-ductless system or a mini split-ductless. It’s usually easier to do that than to overrun the main air conditioner to get the second floor cooler. In the long run, you’ll use less energy that way. Sometimes in a – depending on the home design, you’re going to get a warm area of the house that just can’t get enough air delivered to it because of its design.

    In my home, I’ve got an office on the west side of the house and it just happens to be pretty far from where the air handler is and so it always stays a bit warmer. And I put a split-ductless system in there just to kind of supplement the central air. We still have central air in the same space but the split-ductless supplements it quite nicely and does a really good job of keeping it very cool and comfortable in those warm summer days. So, I would suggest you consider that as an option here.

    ED: OK. Now, would it help to put like a power vent in the roof?

    TOM: No, because you don’t have an attic. You have a cathedral, so there’s no attic space there. Plus, those exhaust – those attic exhaust fans typically take as much air-conditioned air out of the house as they do hot air, because they depressurize the attic so much that they tend to draw it down into the house and steal some air-conditioned air at the same time.

    ED: OK. Alright. That makes sense.

    TOM: Alright, Ed?

    ED: Alright. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Just ahead, do you feel paralyzed by the process of picking out a paint color? Well, we feel your pain, guys. We’re going to share some tips on how you can make the right choice, plus announce the 2019 Color of the Year. Yeah, that’s right. It’s out already and it’s October. All of this and more, when The Money Pit returns.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, if you’ve ever taken on a painting project but got stuck in the middle of the home center aisle trying to pick the perfect paint color from a really teeny swatch, you know what a challenge that step can be.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s not only picking the main color. Once you get that, you’ve got to select all the accent colors that are going to help bring your space to the vision that you’ve imagined it to be.

    LESLIE: Well, the solution is not far off. Erika Woelfel is vice president of color and creative services for Behr and is joining us now with tips.

    Welcome, Erika.

    ERIKA: Hello. Thanks for having me online today.

    LESLIE: Oh, we are so happy to have you. You know, I think when most people plan for a painting project, they’re really thinking that – moving furniture and buying the drop cloths and brushes and rollers. That’s all the hard part. But color selection is really a topic that tends to paralyze a lot of earnest DIYers. Why do you think that is?

    ERIKA: It’s a big choice and there is a lot of selection. And there’s just a lot of different elements that really impact that color that you’re going to put in your space, in your home. And we know that the number-one reason that people are looking to change a paint color in their room is to change the mood and the feeling, the overall look and feel of what that room is going to be. Imagining and visualizing how that change is going to happen can sometimes be tough for people. But we try to provide as much inspiration as possible.

    TOM: So, if you’re feeling kind of stuck, you guys tend to put different colors together. You assemble palettes of color and you’ve done that quite well, especially with your latest announcement of the new Color of the Year. Let’s talk about that.

    ERIKA: This week, we actually released our new 2019 Color of the Year, Blueprint, in our Trend Palette. And we’re very, very excited about that. We believe that this is a color that symbolizes our desire for positive energy, stability. It represents confidence. We believe it’s a color that will really stand the test of time.

    LESLIE: It really is a gorgeous, gorgeous color. Was there something specific? You say Blueprint and it’s obviously sort of the basis of every major home project. What was it that sparked it for you guys with that?

    ERIKA: Our team of color experts, we look everywhere for inspiration for our color palettes. And we look at different industries, like fashion, hospitality, colors that we’re finding as we’re traveling around the world.

    And throughout this whole journey, as we were looking, we just saw blue everywhere. We saw dark blues, we saw light blues, we saw bold, saturated blues. But when we landed on Blueprint, we just felt it was a real sweet spot. It’s a refined blue with just the amount – the right amount of depth and brightness. We feel it’s a warm – it’s warmer than denim but it’s softer than navy. It’s very, very livable and very approachable and useable in any room in your home.

    TOM: You know, the word that comes to mind when I look at this color, Erika, is comfort. I mean it just feels comfortable. You’ve got – you’re displaying it on your website, at Behr.com/2019Trends, as having four different palettes that you could use it with. And each one is special but they all feel comfortable; they all feel like they could be in my house.

    ERIKA: Well, it’s – again, it’s easy to use. And blue, we know, is one of those colors that’s really universally accepted. It’s a favorite color around the world. And we just feel like it’s authentic, it’s positive, it’s true. It just speaks to our desire to be the best version of ourselves, both in our – at home and out there in the world.

    LESLIE: And you know what? I love it because it’s blue but it feels gray. I’m still so much in a gray moment.

    ERIKA: Right.

    TOM: Now, if you’re thinking about taking on a paint project and you don’t know kind of how to get started in making that color decision, what tips do you have to get folks moving?

    ERIKA: Well, I think that the first place to start is you look at your room and you decide how you want – you’re thinking about how you want that room to feel. And color, of course, helps with that transformation and that reimagination. And very often, people are looking to coordinate a new wall color with something that they already have in the room: a piece of furniture, a piece of artwork, a floor rug or something else in that room that really might help inspire the change. And they’re trying to coordinate with that, so that’s usually the first place that we look.

    And again, we have many, many tools online on Behr.com that help with that journey. We have Color Discovery Tool, we have a Pins to Palette tool. We also have Paint Your Place and ColorSmart that, again, help curate and narrow down the color selections for people.

    LESLIE: Are there any specific tips you give folks when they’re in the aisle, looking at all of the paint-color swatches out there? Is it look for an accessory that you really like, bring a pattern, pick something from there? What do you think is really a good starting point for the people who are just terrified?

    ERIKA: It’s all of those things. Because right, everybody kind of enters from a different place and a different point. Some people start with a blank canvas and just really have a mood in mind. So, let’s say they’re trying to create a calming mood. They might look for blues and greens or they just really want kind of a neutral background where everything coordinates with that. You might look for browns and grays. Whites, of course, are an easy option because they kind of create this light, open, expansive feel. And we have, again, color collateral in the aisles that help people do that.

    But the number-one thing that we tell people or remind them to do is sample the color at home, in as big a swatch as you can. And so those little tester jars, the 8-ounce samples that we sell at the paint desk, those are really, really key in helping people visualize what that color is going to look like on their wall.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s so important because it’s not only just applying it to the wall, it’s watching that color throughout the day as the sunlight sort of passes through the room. And every few hours, it kind of takes on a completely different hue.

    ERIKA: Yes. Yes. The color will change throughout the day. From morning to evening, the color is going to be – is going to look totally different depending on the lighting, whether it’s natural lighting or incandescent or some other type of lighting. It will definitely change.

    TOM: We’re talking to Erika Woelfel – she’s the vice president of color and creative services for Behr Paint – learning all about the new 2019 Color of the Year, Blueprint, a beautiful, medium-blue color.

    And Erika, you guys have taken it farther on your website at Behr.com/2019Trends. You’ve got a trends palette here, which is really interesting. You selected four different palettes that the Blueprint color can work with. And you’re actually showing folks the colors that you can accompany that palette with, for trim or furniture or just different wall shades. How do you come up with those sorts of mixes?

    ERIKA: So, yes, Tom, we know that Blueprint, on its own, works really, really well but can also take on different personalities when we pair it with these other 14 colors that we have in our 2019 Trend Palette. So, making this choice a little bit easier, we’ve broken into four themes, as you mentioned.

    And our first palette is Color Binge. And it’s all about this monochromatic look that layers different shades of blue, teal and gray with Blueprint. Another different look is the Inspired Curation Palette. It’s comprised of earthy jewel tones. Then we have our Down to Earth Palette that gives Blueprint sort of a trend-forward neutral backdrop. And last but not least, we have Soft Focus. This is our pastel-filled set that pairs Blueprint with powdery blues and blush peaches and lilac. And it just creates a really beautiful, relaxed, expansive space.

    LESLIE: It’s interesting because even though there’s so much color, it still feels like neutral at the same time, which is lovely. It’s quite an achievement.

    TOM: Yeah, great work. Erika Woelfel, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Hey, if you’d like to learn more about the new color, Blueprint, that has just been released by the Behr Paint Company, head on over to The Home Depot – you can see it there – and also online at Behr.com/2019Trends. That’s Behr – B-e-h-r –.com/2019Trends.

    Erika, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ERIKA: Thanks, Tom and Leslie.

    LESLIE: Well, with temperatures dropping, now is the best time to think about adding insulation to help you lower heating costs and improve your comfort. We’ve got some tips, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement question on this beautiful fall weekend, whether it’s décor, remodeling, building, contracting. Whatever project you have in mind, we’re here to help you get it done. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews and book appointments online, all for free.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to Tennessee where Jean has a stucco question. What’s going on? How can we help you?

    JEAN: Well, the house was built in 1914. And the outside exterior walls are covered with stucco that has the kind of swirly bumps where they throw the trowels on it. And it looks like it’s in good condition, so I was thinking we could probably just spray it a nice color. It’s still kind of golden like it used to be. But wherever the branches of the shrubs went against it, it’s kind of yucky and gray-looking.

    But I know that when we painted our patio slab, we had to do some treatment to it before we could paint it. Does stucco need some preconditioning besides just hosing it off with soap and water?

    TOM: Well, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that there’s no algae attached to it. And so I would probably do a very light pressure-washing and cleaning of the outside of the house and let it dry for a good couple of days in warm weather. And then I would prime it with an oil-based primer and then I would use a good-quality, exterior topcoat paint over that.

    You can’t cut any corners here; you can’t take any shortcuts. But if you do it once and you do it right, it’s going to last you a long time, because that siding is not organic. You may find very well that paint can last you 10 to 12 years, as opposed to maybe 5 to 8 if it was wood.

    JEAN: Alright. Well, thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, with temperatures dropping, now is really the best time to think about adding some insulation to help lower heating costs and improve your comfort. But if the thought of working in a dusty, cramped space while avoiding stepping right through the ceiling below doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll be glad to know that it’s a good project to hand off to a qualified contractor. And it can be done at a relatively low cost.

    LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got tips, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.

    First off, guys, you need to think about what kind of insulation you really want to invest in. Now, insulation pros can help guide you because some of this is dependent upon how your home is built. But there really are three common types of insulation out there.

    TOM: Yeah. Now, my favorite is spray-foam insulation because I did this in my home. It seals the gaps, it insulates the home and it can really be a very effective way to reduce your energy costs.

    The way it works is an insulation pro shows up. They mix this foam kind of in a special truck in your driveway. And then they bring it in and they spray it. In my attic, I put it on the rafters, which I normally wouldn’t put insulation on because it was an unfinished attic. But because it’s spray foam, it didn’t need to be vented. So it basically sealed all the gaps and cracks in. It cut out all of the possible areas where we were getting cold drafts. And as a result, the attic is always pretty much the same temperature as the floor below. And it’s not heated, right? So, it keeps everything in there a lot nicer. And I know that it significantly lowered our heating bills.

    So, spray foam, good option.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, there’s another choice: it’s blown-in insulation. And it’s been popular for many decades in homes all over the U.S. Now, it’s usually made from cellulose but it can also be made from fiberglass. And it has a higher-than-average R-value, depending on the depth that it’s blown in.

    Now, the way it works is that it’s sort of installed with a mechanical blower. And that’s connected to all the supply of the cellulose. And then the pro who’s in there doing the blown-in insulation will sort of place this filler where they want. And they can really see how it fills up the space and know that they’re giving you the right amount.

    TOM: Now, lastly, let’s talk about fiberglass batts. They’re among the most inexpensive ways to insulate your home, especially in an already open space like an attic. The important part about installing fiberglass batts, though, is you’ve got to pay close attention to how they’re installed. For attics, it’s important to use unfaced fiberglass batts. You lay them perpendicular to the floor joists, which probably have old insulation already. And you want to be sure that the attic has got enough ventilation. That’s going to help make sure it doesn’t become damp and wet, which can make fiberglass insulation very ineffective.

    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 and read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: No matter what the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.

    LESLIE: Hey, if a cozy house is appealing to you, imagine how it looks to those rodents outside who are feeling chilly and really just want to get in. We’re going to share some tips to keep those critters from joining you indoors this fall, after this.

    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, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

    LESLIE: You can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, 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.

    Well, when temperatures drop, mice, rats and other rodents like to make their way into your homes for relief from the chill. Leslie has got tips, though, on how to keep them from doing just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    You’re going to evict the rats, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Yeah, get out.

    TOM: If only it was that easy.

    LESLIE: I know, seriously. It’s not as easy as maybe hanging a “No Vacancy” sign at your house but you can make some changes that’ll keep those mice and critters moving on and away from your house and perhaps onto the next one that could be the warm haven for them, as long as it’s not you.

    You have to remember, guys, that these mice, they can squeeze through spaces that are smaller than nickel, so you have to seal any potential entrances to your home with sheet metal, steel wool, even cement. Expandable foam insulation, they can still gnaw through that. So if you do go that route, you want to add some steel wool to the mix that makes it incapable for them to chew through.

    Now, if your dog or cat isn’t the only animal that comes running at the smell of their pet food, you have to remember that wet or dry, it’s really enticing to those rodents, as well. So enticing that you will see these little critters just chew through heavy-duty food bags just to get a taste of it.

    So you want to keep that dry pet food in sealed metal canisters. You need to rinse out pet-food bowls before you head to bed every single night. Give kitchen counters and tables a wipe each evening. Your discarded crumbs? I mean that can be a huge treat to a critter of that size, so you have to clean up after yourself every single day.

    And while it doesn’t seem to help their IQ, critters love newspapers and magazines just as much as us. So, stop storing stacks of paper and cardboard because all of those things, the mice and rats just use that to turn into bedding for their nesting sites.

    I hope this is super helpful for you guys, because having a mouse or a rat in the house is just absolutely disgusting. If you want some more ways to keep your house critter-free, you can head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got solutions there for all areas of your house, inside and out.

    TOM: And Jack is writing us for some advice. He posted in The Money Pit’s Community page. He says, “I have bubbled walls and ceilings from a leak in my upstairs bathroom. How do I repair the ceiling?”

    Step one: repair the leak. Right?

    LESLIE: I’m like, “Is that leak fixed?”

    TOM: Let’s assume, Jack, that you’ve done that, right? Now, in terms of the bubbled walls and ceilings, if your drywall is deformed because maybe it was wet for a long time and is really sagged and kind of dried in that shape, there’s nothing you can do except for tearing it out and replace it. You’re never going to put it back.

    But if you’re talking about just paint that’s being bubbled, what you should do is scrape off all that loose paint. You need to prime the entire ceiling and I recommend that you do this with an oil-based primer. It will seal in a lot of the chemicals and a lot of the tannins that come out of the wood. There’s all kinds of stuff that soaks out of the wood, into drywall, when you have a leak. And the thing is, if you don’t prime it, it tends to soak right through or like right through the rest of the paint, with the new paint, so you don’t want to do that. Make sure you prime it and you’ll be good to go.

    LESLIE: And Jack, again, make sure that leak is fixed before you go on making it look nice. Once the leak is fixed, then follow Tom’s advice. But get that water out of there first.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to have some tips on how you can stay on top of your heating system. You know, maintenance right now is important because it’s going to make sure that the system is running safely and efficiently for the entire winter season. So we’ll have some step-by-step advice on how to find the right pro to do just that and tell you exactly what, in that system, needs to be cleaned, adjusted, fixed or replaced.

    But for now, that’s all the time we have. The show does continue, though, online.

    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 2018 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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