- Built-in, backyard firepits are really hot right now. With just a bit of planningyou can build a firepit yourself. We tell you how.
- And with spring rainstorms in full swing, now is a good time to evaluate, repair or replace your gutters. If yours are in bad shape, serious structural problems can result. We’ll tell you what to look for when choosing a gutter company.
- If you’re painting project a fence, deck or the outside of your home, you won’t need to hire a pro. New technology in High Efficiency Airless (HEA) paint sprayers makes this an easy DIY project. We explain how the sprayers work, and why using one is 3 times faster than even using a paint roller.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about best material to build new ventilated soffits around your house, evaluating and repairing cracks in your foundation, best options for painting concrete floors, fast fix for squeaky floors, best way to run a dryer vent, repairing a leaking foundation, how to eliminate termites and repairing leaking underground pool pipes.
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: What are you working on this weekend? If you’ve got a project you’d like to get done – maybe it’s a project you already started and didn’t get done because you ran into some trouble – you’ve got a problem, you’ve got a decorating dilemma, you’ve got a DIY dilemma, you don’t know where to go, what to do, what to buy, whether it’s something you can do yourself or not, all of those types of questions we can help you with on this program. We are your home improvement coaches. We’re your home improvement therapists. So whatever job you’d like to get done, we’d love to help.
You can get in touch with us a couple of ways. First up, you could call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will take your message and call you back the next time we’re in the studio. And you can also post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, built-in backyard fire pits. Now, they are really hot now and in more than one way. I mean where else can you chill out and warm up at the same time? You know, with a little bit of planning, this is a project you could definitely build yourself. It’s like stacking the blocks, just like you did when you were a kid, except they’re a little heavier and you’ve got to stick a little glue in between. We’re going to tell you all about that project and how you can get it done yourself.
LESLIE: It’s so funny. When you’re a kid they say, “Don’t glue them together.” And now we’re adults, glue them together.
TOM: It’s OK. I give you permission.
LESLIE: Alright. Perfect. That’s a great project.
You know what, guys? With all the spring rain that we’ve had, now is a good time to take a very close look at your gutters. They’re key to more than just keeping water from overflowing. And if yours are in bad shape, serious structural problems can result. So we’re going to tell you what you should be looking for.
TOM: Yeah, people tend to not think about their gutters except when it’s fall, right? But now is when you get all the rain. Getting a lot of calls about foundations getting washed out and walls that start to crack, so we’ll walk you through that.
LESLIE: It’s a rising water table, Tom.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Never, never is. You know how to push my buttons.
And also ahead, if you’re planning a painting project – like painting a fence, a deck or the outside of your house – you don’t necessarily need to hire a pro. There’s new technology now in high-efficiency, airless paint sprayers that makes this a totally DIY project. We’re going to explain how these new sprayers work and why using one is actually three times faster than even using a paint roller.
LESLIE: Alright. And guys, if you enjoy eating outside on your patio, your porch or your deck, we’ve got a fun set of outdoor dinnerware from RiverbendHome.com to give away. The Lucca 12-Piece Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware Set is worth 79.99 and it’s going out to one listener drawn at random.
TOM: So, make that you. Give us a call, right now, or post your questions. That number, again: 888-MONEY-PIT. Or post them at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading out to Texas. We’ve got Mike on the line with a siding question. What is going on at your place?
MIKE: I have an older garage that’s in my backyard. And it has vinyl siding on it. And the siding that’s on the underskirt or under the side panels of the roof and everything is starting to deteriorate, fall apart. And I have found out I can’t get a replacement in that color or anything else like that that’s going to match up.
And so my question was – I was going to go and use HardiePlank and HardiePlank plywood to put underneath there so it would be something that’s not going to rust or rot or anything else over time. And is that something you all would say would be OK? I’ve seen houses with it on there but my sides are 26 inches out. My back is 30 inches out and then I have 4 feet off the front, as part of the roof. It’s 4 feet over of the eave there. And is that – do you think that’s too much of an area to cover or would I be better going in a different direction?
TOM: OK. So, first of all, you’re calling the siding – but I think what you’re talking about is the soffits, right? The underside of the roof overhang. Is that correct?
MIKE: Yes, sir.
TOM: So, HardiePlank is a great material, so I have no issues with that assuming you can find the pieces that you need to make this work. What I’m concerned about is that – especially being in Texas, do you have ventilation in that soffit area now?
MIKE: Yeah, all the vinyl siding that’s there has little holes.
TOM: Right. So, you can’t cover that. You need to have that ventilation. And so, to do that with HardiePlank, it’s kind of like doing this the hard way, frankly, because you would have to cut vents in that HardiePlank. And it’s not the easiest thing to cut even though it lasts forever.
I mean if it was me, I would definitely use HardiePlank as siding but for the soffits, I would simply replace that with new soffit material. That would be the easiest, because you probably already have the fascia and the J-channel in place. And you can probably buy vinyl panels and cut them to fit and get them in there. And you say you can’t find the exact color. Well, you could use a complementary color. Certainly, white goes with everything.
MIKE: Yes, sir.
TOM: Or you could – if you really wanted to paint them, you could buy those panels. They come – they’re about – usually about 10 feet long. Then you could spray-paint them any color you want and then cut them to fit and put them in where the old panels are sort of falling apart.
MIKE: Oh, OK.
TOM: So, I don’t think I would do this with HardiePlank, only because it’s really not meant for that particular application and it’s really critical you have that ventilation. Because if you don’t, your roof and your attic space are not going to be properly vented and they’re going to overheat. And that’s going to drive up your cooling costs and it could also shorten your roof life.
MIKE: I appreciate that. Thank you all very much.
LESLIE: Brenda in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
BRENDA: Hi. So far, it’s going to fall in.
LESLIE: Oh, no. What’s happening?
BRENDA: Well, we have a – the house was built in about 1908. And the basement walls were poured concrete and they’re starting to crumble significantly, like 2 to 4 inches in some spots.
The problem is we can’t lift the house because it’s made of Haydite blocks that were – with decorative front on them. So, the whole thing’s block and we can’t – it’s just way too heavy to lift. So, I’m trying to figure out how to repair the walls or replace them or add structural something to them. I don’t know.
TOM: OK. So this is not something that you can figure out. You do not have the experience, nor do 90 percent of the contractors that you call to ask those questions. If you’ve got walls that are in that bad a shape, you need to go to a structural engineer. That is really critical, for a bunch of reasons.
First of all, a structural engineer is going to know exactly what kind of repair to prescribe and in his or her report will detail, with words and drawings, what that repair has to look like. Once you get that specification, then you can talk to contractors who will execute that design. But most importantly, when you’re dealing with a major structural issue like this, you also need the structural engineer to come back after the repair is done and say, “Yes, it was done correctly and there’s no further cause for concern.” Because at some point, you’re going to want to sell this house and that engineering report and the inspections that follow are going to be sort of a pedigree that’s going to stay with the house.
So, I’ve seen these repairs done badly more than they’ve been done well and it’s usually because people try to skip that step. It’s really important you have a design professional when you have walls that are sagging a couple inches, like you describe it, because it’s beyond the scope of what any contractor should be trusted to design themselves.
BRENDA: OK. Well, that makes me feel better. Because one person said, well, they would come in and spray concrete on but they would need to drill through to put some supports. And I’m like …
TOM: Yeah. No, your antennas should go up with that kind of advice.
TOM: Because a guy hasn’t even seen your house yet so, you know …
BRENDA: No. Right.
TOM: So, yeah, you need to get a design professional. Get these – don’t let these contractors in the door, because they’ll try to take advantage of you and prescribe all sorts of crazy ideas.
TOM: And they just don’t have the training to do that, OK?
BRENDA: Alright. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
TOM: Well, if you’re looking forward to some quality outdoor time dining on your deck or patio this spring or summer, we’ve got a great giveaway from our friends at RiverbendHome.com to help you do just that.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got, up for grabs, the Lucca 12-Piece Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware Set from Certified International.
Now, the Lucca Set was inspired by the colorful dishes that are crafted in Italy. And they have beautiful, ornate flower and scroll patterns in them, lots of blues and greens and white and yellow. And the best part: the melamine is durable, it’s heat-resistant and it’s virtually unbreakable.
Now, you’re going to get a service for four, so that’s four dinner plates, four salad plates and four bowls. And it’s dishwasher-safe. So, you win and you win.
TOM: Available for 79.99 but we’ve got one set to give away to one caller. Reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
For more unique finds for the inspired home and everything you need to create your outdoor oasis, visit RiverbendHome.com. And now through May 31st, you could save 15 percent on your order of $150 or more by using the code MONEYPIT15 at checkout. That’s MONEYPIT15.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to head over to Yuma, Arizona where Garland is on the line. How can we help you?
GARLAND: Well, I was filling the batteries on my golf cart, on my concrete. And it overfilled and there’s some battery acid on my concrete. And I sprayed some water but it looked like it stained a little. Is there any way I can remove that stain?
TOM: Do you have any finish on the concrete now? Is it painted or anything of that nature?
GARLAND: No, it’s not painted, no.
TOM: Well, now would be a great time to do that.
GARLAND: Oh, OK.
TOM: I don’t think, structurally, it has any effect on it. But when you do an epoxy paint for concrete slabs for garages, typically what you would do is you would use an acid wash first. It usually comes in the kit.
LESLIE: So you’ve already started.
TOM: Yeah, so you started, right. You’re partway there.
GARLAND: OK. OK.
TOM: So I wouldn’t worry too much about that. And also, you will find that a painted garage floor with epoxy paint is beautiful and easy to clean.
GARLAND: It’s outside, under my carport.
TOM: Yeah, that’s totally fine, as well. But you will find that that painted concrete, if you use an epoxy paint – there are also terrazzo finishes now for concrete that are gorgeous. It just looks great and it’s a lot easier to clean.
So, what I would do is I would take a look at the products that are made by Daich Coatings. That’s D-a-i-c-h, DaichCoatings.com. They are a leader in this space. Their products are very well made. It’s a family business and we love them.
TOM: And you’ll find them, also, at Lowe’s and Home Depot. But go to DaichCoatings.com. Take a look at the website and you’ll be able to see the variety of coatings that you can choose from.
GARLAND: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck, Garland. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, backyard fire pits are really hot right now, literally. On cool nights, who wouldn’t want to melt marshmallows and have that great smell of a campfire right in your backyard? Well, with just a bit of planning and a trip to your local building-supply store, you can build a fire pit yourself.
TOM: That’s right.
Now, the first step is to pick your spot. It’s got to be far enough away from overhanging trees or other flammable structures. And by the way, in all the years I was a professional home inspector, I cannot tell you how many times I found people that built fire pits or placed them or placed grills too close to one type of siding, which is very sensitive: vinyl.
LESLIE: Ooh, vinyl.
TOM: And it’s funny because when you see it, there’s this very distinctive, sort of arched halo burn. Not as a burn but sort of a melt where it all twists and sort of arcs up and down again. So, don’t make that mistake. Make sure you keep it away. That radiant heat really does reach quite a distance, which is one of the reasons we like it. But get it in the far end of your backyard.
Now, the pit itself has to be low to the ground, rising no more than about a foot high for stability. And you want to bury the base below the ground line and then line it with gravel for drainage.
Now, when it comes to materials, if you don’t want to haul heavy real stones, you can use RumbleStone blocks. They’re made from cast concrete and they’re molded to look like real stone. You’ll find them at any home center.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, you’re also going to need to line that fire pit with a thick, steel ring like the ones that you use for park campfires. And these are going to protect the concrete in the blocks from the heat. It can just cause them to dry out prematurely and then they’re going to break down. So, the better you can protect it, the longer this is going to last.
And the construction is actually really easy. You begin with a trench wide enough to support your blocks. Then you’re going to fill that trench with stone and tamp it down, because that’s going to create a very firm base and that’s what you want.
TOM: And then all you need to do is to set the blocks on the stone. You want to use kind of a zigzag bead of masonry adhesive across two adjacent blocks and that will hold the new layers. And make sure any interlocking parts on the blocks fit together well. Continue until that second course is finished and you’re done. You’re ready to roast those marshmallows. It’s really as simple as that.
LESLIE: Nancy in Georgia is dealing with some flooring squeaks. What is going on at your money pit?
NANCY: I’m hoping you can tell me.
LESLIE: Well, tell us where you’re hearing them. What kind of floor? When does it happen?
NANCY: The house is 48 years old.
NANCY: And I have pulled up the carpet that was in there and I’d like to put hardwood. But there’s a squeak right in the doorway. It’s in the top floor of my two-story home.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
NANCY: And I can’t get to the flooring unless I tear out the ceiling of my dining room.
TOM: Yeah, you’re thinking you have to deal with this from the bottom and that’s not the case.
Now, when you took the carpet up, what are you looking at? Are you looking at plywood? Like old plywood?
NANCY: Subfloor is what – I mean it …
TOM: Yeah, subfloor. Right. So it’s probably old …
LESLIE: It’s like a solid subfloor. It’s not slats where you can see through.
NANCY: No, it’s 8x4s maybe or 8×6. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Right. That’s plywood. OK.
So, what you want to do here – and this is typical. What you need to do is you need to figure out where the floor joists are under that floor. And it’s not that hard to do because if you look at the floor itself, you’re going to see a nailing pattern where the floor joists are running. They’re probably going to be every 16 inches and they’re going to go from the back wall of your house towards the front wall.
And what you want to do is screw – where those nailheads are, you want to drive a drywall screw through the floor and tighten up the flooring. Because what’s happening is the flooring is loose in that area. And as you step on the floor and you get that squeak – squeaks happen for one of two reasons. It’s either because the floorboards themselves – the plywood itself is moving against the adjoining seam and squeaking, right? Or it could be that the plywood is pulling the nail in and out of the floor joist below and that’s squeaking.
But when you screw the floor down as opposed to nailing it down, you tighten everything up. And it’s a really good idea to do that before you carpet. Because even though you found one now, chances are the minute you put that floor down, you’ll find three more. So if you screw that floor down – all that subfloor down – nice and tight using these long drywall screws, which you can drive in with a drill, you’re going to find that that floor is going to be a lot quieter in the long run.
NANCY: OK. I want to put hardwood over it. Can I put those under hardwood?
TOM: Sure. Yeah, they’re going to be flush with the surface when you’re done.
What kind of hardwood are you – you’re going to use solid hardwood or you want to use engineered or what?
NANCY: I want to use solid hardwood. I have hardwood in the hallway that it meets and then I have tile in the bathroom.
NANCY: And so I have the spaces there for me to use the hardwood. And I’m in the South, so it’s not as expensive here.
TOM: Yeah, you could use prefinished hardwood or you could use raw hardwood and finish it yourself. There’s a lot of options in prefinished today, though. It’s beautiful. And the floor finishes are actually tougher than what you can apply on your own.
NANCY: That’s what I’m thinking. And I’m thinking I’ll have to pull the baseboards.
TOM: Yes, absolutely.
NANCY: And leave some space – a little space – between the wall and the flooring.
TOM: Yes, that’s correct.
NANCY: I laid the hall – OK.
TOM: Yep. Yep, that’s correct. Yeah, you’ve got the right idea. Yeah, just make sure you screw that subfloor down with those long drywall screws or wood screws that you put in with a drill. Typically, they’re going to have a Phillips or they’ll have a hex head and you can just drill them right in. OK?
NANCY: Mm-hmm. OK. I’m familiar with those. That’s fantastic.
NANCY: Alright. I appreciate your help so much.
TOM: You’ve got it, Nancy. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Jim in Delaware is on the line and has a question about a dryer vent. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
JIM: I have a dryer vent that’s coming through a concrete wall. And the three flaps that – have broken off. I was wanting a good way to replace the vent. Or can I just place the flappers or what?
TOM: Yeah, I would replace the exterior part of that dryer vent: the exhaust port. If those little blades that flip up and down have broken off, I would just replace that. Yeah, you’re going to pull it out of the existing hole. And depending on how it was put in place, it may be tough to get out.
JIM: It’s concrete.
TOM: OK. Well, but depending on how it was attached to the concrete, it might be difficult. You may actually have to grab a piece – a pair of shears, like Y-snips (ph), and cut it out. It’s just sheet metal. And then you’re going to basically install a new one in its place.
And when you buy the new dryer vent, they usually sell the dryer vent and they sell the metal venting separate. Make sure you get a piece of hard metal dryer-exhaust duct to run through that concrete – through that hole.
TOM: And then if there’s flex duct, you can attach it on the other side. Try to keep it as regular duct as far as possible, because the flex duct is – has a lot of resistance to it and the clothes don’t dry quite as quickly.
JIM: Great. Thank you for the advice.
TOM: Well, guys, now is a pretty good time to take a good luck at your gutters. With all the spring rains that we’ve had, the gutters need to work properly. They’re key to more than just keeping water from overflowing on your head as you dart in and out of your home. So we’re going to walk you through the best options for new and improved gutters, in today’s Pro Project presented by Angi.
LESLIE: That’s right.
Now, gutters, people. They perform one duty and that’s controlling the water around your home. But if a gutter is missing, disconnected or clogged, you could be facing major and expensive home repairs.
Now, not managing that water around your house can cause flooded basements, cracked foundations, even cracked sidewalks, leaking roofs. And it can lead to wood-destroying insects finding the tastiest meal out of your house.
TOM: Now, when you choose gutters, the most common types are vinyl and aluminum. The vinyl gutters range in price from about $4 to $8 per foot. And the least expensive vinyl gutters can be super thin, so they can sag or become brittle when it gets really cold. Vinyl gutters also tend to leak more frequently than aluminum gutters, so be prepared for frequent repairs.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, there’s also aluminum gutters and they tend to be much more durable. They’re going to range in price from about $6 to $12 per linear foot but they really are that much durable.
Now, aluminum gutters are installed by pros and they’re going to custom-build a single gutter for each roof section. I mean it’s amazing how they sort of have this big roll of the aluminum in the back of a truck and they kind of extrude it down this machine and it bends it. It’s really fun to watch. But the benefit of it is it’s one piece, so it really is very well built. And they’re going to help you plan for adequate downspouts and they’re going to make sure that those gutters do not back up even during the heaviest of rainfalls.
TOM: Yeah. Now, once the gutters are installed, they do need to be kept clean. Now, if you’d like to avoid having to do as much gutter cleaning as perhaps you’ve done in the past and you are putting in new gutters, do what I did: go with the next largest size gutters, because the downspouts are bigger and they don’t clog nearly as much. We’re talking about the difference between 4-inch gutters and 5-inch gutters. It really is not apparent but I’ve done this from the street. But I can tell you, based on the fact that I don’t think I have had to clean my gutters in 2 years, that it works really, really well.
Now, by the way, if it does get to the point where you have to do some gutter-cleaning, it can be dangerous. So that is a project you would be best to use a pro for and not let that be the first time you hop up on a ladder in several months or several years.
LESLIE: Well, that’s today’s Pro Project presented by Angi. When you’re planning a home renovation, you want to find the best pro for the job. You can find expert pros available for hundreds of projects with the Angi app. Download it today.
Now, we’ve got Diane from Rhode Island on the line with a basement issue. What is going on at your money pit?
DIANE: Hi. I have a house; it was built in 1945. And in my basement, the cement walls – and it looks like once upon a time, they were painted white. And the bottom half of the walls, which are below the ground level, it crumbles and it leaves a lot of sediment. And I can see through the big things of pebbles in the wall.
TOM: So the reason that the bottom half of the wall is deteriorating is probably because of moisture. What are these walls made out of? Are they made out of concrete or concrete block or cinder block?
DIANE: Concrete. There’s no block.
TOM: There’s no block; it’s concrete. Alright. So I think what’s happening here is you’re getting water that’s leaking through the lower half of the walls. And you’re probably getting efflorescence. You could be getting some spalling, depending on the temperatures, that could be causing some of the wall to freeze and then basically chip off pieces of the concrete.
So, what I would do, in this case, is I would start by trying to reduce the amount of moisture that’s collecting in that wall by addressing the drainage conditions right outside of it. Generally speaking, this is caused by one of two things or more commonly, a combination of the angle of the soil at the foundation perimeter. If it’s too flat, if it’s sloped into the house, if there’s any kind of landscaping ties or brick edges or too much mulch, any of those conditions that are holding water around the foundation is a bad thing. And more importantly, the gutter system. Make sure you have gutters, that the gutters are extended at least 4 to 6 feet from the house. If you can keep that perimeter of your house drier, this problem will definitely stabilize.
DIANE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We have a great giveaway from RiverbendHome.com for one lucky listener this hour. We’ve got, up for grabs, the Lucca 12-Piece Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware Set. It’s from Certified International.
And melamine is fantastic, especially for outdoor eating, especially if you’ve got kids. I mean they are durable. It’s heat-resistant. They’re virtually unbreakable, that melamine.
And these dishes in the Lucca pattern are gorgeous, because they feel like Italian dinnerware. Lots of bright colors, flowers and scroll designs. It’s really beautiful.
And it’s a prize worth 79.99. You’re going to get a dinner set for four.
TOM: It’s going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Reach out to us with your questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Riverbend Home, for more unique finds for the inspired home and everything you need to create your outdoor oasis.
And now through May 31st, save 15 percent on your order of 150 or more by using the code MONEYPIT15 at checkout. That’s MONEYPIT15.
LESLIE: Terry in Mississippi is on the line looking for some help to get rid of termites. Tell us what’s going on.
TERRY: Yes. I’d like to know, what kind of spray should I get for termites?
TOM: Well, termite treatment is not a do-it-yourself project, because termites really need to be professionally treated because of where they live. They live deep in the soil, Terry. And so, to treat them effectively, a termiticide has to be applied to the soil and in a continuous bond all the way around your house.
And what happens with the modern termiticides is they’re undetectable, so the termites don’t know it’s in the soil. They pass through it, they get it on their bodies and then they go back to the nest and pass it to all their termite friends. And that wipes out the entire nest.
So, it’s not really a do-it-yourself project. I would talk to some exterminators and maybe ask specifically about a product called Termidor – T-e-r-m-i-d-o-r. Good product. It’s been around for a long time. I used it in my own house and it’s an undetectable termiticide that’s very effective and lasts for many years.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, there’s a construction ballet going on, right now, between Leslie’s studio and mine. And we work out of our home studios. And outside my window, I have about four or five large pieces of digging equipment and they’re tearing up the road and putting in new water lines. And at the same time, Leslie’s landscapers, they just showed up. So we’ve got, in stereo now, the sounds of construction. It’s a beautiful thing.
LESLIE: It’s amazing. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s definitely the soundtrack of the weekend that we all want to hear. So, you know, pick a project. Maybe you’re planning a painting project, maybe a landscaping project, whatever it is.
But if you are thinking about painting – especially a fence, a deck or anywhere outside of your home – that’s kind of the project that many people are going to hire a painter for, because it’s tedious and time-consuming. But you know what? You get those painters, they come with the big air compressor and paint sprayers. They work super fast.
Now, guys, you can have this new technology in paint-spraying equipment from Wagner. They have made this process so simple and efficient that just about any DIYer can get a job done without the expense of hiring a pro.
TOM: That’s right. We’re talking about the Wagner Control Pro High-Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayers. Now, these sprayers are designed to allow homeowners to take on those kinds of big projects, all by yourself, instead of hiring a contractor. And you’ll save money in the process.
Now, the airless paint sprayers feature high-efficiency airless technology. And what that does is produces up to 55-percent less overspray, so you’re not going to waste paint. And these sprayers, at the same time, apply a very high-quality finish and they do it three times faster than a roller. That’s really fast. So you’re going to get those projects done quickly.
They also work with water or oil-based paints, as well as stains.
LESLIE: Alright. Check out the Wagner Control Pro High-Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayer. You can find them at WagnerSprayTech.com. Now, the Control Pro 130 is available at all major retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, even Amazon.
Cherylyn (sp) in Delaware is on the line with a leaky pipe in a pool. What’s going on?
CHERYLYN (sp): Yes. We have a steel pool built right after World War II. They had a lot of excess steel and they found a lot of pools to build. And we have – it’s somewhere in the pipes we have a leak. And we’re not sure exactly what the material of the pipe is. It’s that we think it might be black.
TOM: This is the pipe that does what? This is the pipe that fills the pool? This is a drain line? What kind of pipe are we talking about?
CHERYLYN (sp): A pipe that either goes to the pool from the pump and returns back to the pool from the pump or use the pump pool to the – go to the pump.
TOM: I don’t have a good solution for you for repairing an active pipe like that, short of replacing it. Generally speaking, when you have underground lines like that that rupture, it’s not a matter of repairing it, it’s a matter of replacing it. And it may be that you can leave the other pipe in place and just basically disable it and then install a new line to do the same thing that the old line was doing. But repairing it is not an option.
CHERYLYN (sp): Right, right.
TOM: Unless you can get access to it by basically digging down and exposing it. But it’s usually easier to run a new line.
CHERYLYN (sp): Alrighty. Well, thank you. That’s what we thought we’d probably end up having to do, so …
TOM: Alright, Cherylyn (sp). Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Stan heard our podcast and we were talking about, you know, planting veggies in the yard and raised flower beds and he’s got some good questions.
Now, Stan says, “Why do you want to raise the garden above otherwise good soil?” He also asks, “Potting soil can be expensive. Should you mix it 50/50 with sand?” And then, lastly, he says, “If you use pressure-treated wood to frame this raised garden, is there any danger that the chemicals in the lumber will leak into the veggies?”
Those are good questions.
TOM: Wow. Good questions. Yeah, really good questions.
So, I think raised garden beds are just a nice way to set off a garden from the rest of the yard. And some people also like to add sort of a roof or a cage with sort of wire mesh. If you live in an area where you have wildlife that are helping themselves to your salad there in the garden, covering a raised garden with mesh is a way to keep them out.
And yes, potting soil, by itself, would probably be pretty expensive. And that’s why what you should be looking for is garden soil. Or there’s even specific soil that comes in very large, heavy bags that’s designed for raised garden beds. It has a nice mix in it and it’s a lot less expensive for potting than potting mix.
Great question. I know a lot of folks have asked similar questions about that. It’s not as much a concern today as it was, say, a decade or more ago because the treatment processes have been updated. And now, they’re not – that lumber’s not treated with arsenic anymore. There’s a safer treatment.
But if you are concerned, a very simple solution is either to line the planter with plastic sheeting or you could build it with regular lumber. Just understand it’s not going to last that long. Or you could use decay-resistant lumber, like cedar or redwood, which is going to cost you a bit more. But again, it won’t last as long as pressure-treated but it takes the whole issue of any kind of leaching totally out of the equation.
LESLIE: Yeah. And cedar and redwood look really lovely, so I’m just saying they’re good choices.
TOM: For a week. Until they get wet, right?
TOM: And then they start to darken.
LESLIE: Always oil it and then that color comes back.
TOM: Yeah. OK. Yeah, you’re right.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dylan who writes: “I live in Southern Kentucky and during the summer months, we get condensation dripping off the A/C ducts into the crawlspace. I don’t want this to keep happening but I’m wondering, what can I do to stop it?”
TOM: Yeah. Very simple problem there, Dylan. Two things you can do.
First of all, you can reduce the amount of humidity that gets into your crawlspace by first off, cleaning your gutters, extending the downspouts and making sure the soil slopes away. Secondly, make sure you add plastic sheeting – a vapor barrier – across the entire floor of that crawlspace. And if it still continues after you do that, the third thing you should do – and I’m putting this at number three, because it requires the most work – is you can insulate those ducts on the outside. Just wrap them with duct insulation. Because what’s happening is the moist air striking the cold air-conditioning duct, the moisture is condensing and just dripping off.
So, it’s just a condensing issue. Reduce the moisture and insulate the ducts, that will go away.
LESLIE: Alright, Dylan. The other option is just don’t put the air conditioning on in the summer, which I know is a terrible suggestion.
TOM: Terrible idea.
LESLIE: I’ve been to Kentucky in the summer. It gets hot and it gets humid. So, definitely take Tom’s steps and you will be very happy and condensation-free.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, guys, we’re just about out of time but thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. Hope you are having fun tackling some spring fix-ups for your money pit. I know that we certainly have been pretty busy around here. If you follow our social media, you’ll get a good sense as to what’s going on.
But for my part, I have been refinishing furniture. I have been building a new basement floor. It depends on the weather. If it’s raining, I work inside; if it’s nice, I work outside. Maybe you’re …
LESLIE: You’re always doing something.
TOM: It’s fun. It’s therapeutic, you know. And if you ever need help with those projects, you know how to find us.
The show does continue 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 2021 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)