TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you with your home improvement or décor project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. What’s going on in your house? Floor squeaks, toilet leaks, maybe you’re planning a décor makeover as the weather turns chilly. Do you need to update your insulation? All great topics for us to chat about. But help yourself first by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, DIY or get a guy. If you want to tackle a project yourself, we will be the very first ones to cheer you on. But how do you know if hiring a pro is really the best way to go? We’re going to tell you how to think it all through before you pick up that hammer.
LESLIE: Plus, fall is coming soon and it’s a time when we all admire those beautiful trees. Well, if you wish you had one in your yard to enjoy, you don’t have to wait a generation for it to grow because you can transplant a tree instead. We’ll give you the dirt, in just a bit.
TOM: And fall is also a great time to update your floors. If that’s a project on your to-do list, laminate floors or engineered hardwood are both great choices. But what’s the difference? The answer is coming up.
LESLIE: Plus, we’ve also got a great reason for you to call or write in with your question. We’ve got up for grabs a $50 Amazon gift card, courtesy of Speed Queen Washer and Dryers.
TOM: That’s going out to one listener drawn at random from those that have posted a question to us anytime this week or called us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So let’s get to it, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Judith in Arkansas is on the line and needs some help with some brickwork. What’s going on?
JUDITH: Well, we’ve got a little crack and it’s going up the wall. And we don’t know exactly what’s going on. We’d like to just repair it and not re-brick the whole side of the house. Does it seem to be a foundation issue? And I say that because there’s not any stress cracks on the inside, anywhere.
LESLIE: So the crack that you’re seeing is on the brick itself? Within the brick or in the mortar?
JUDITH: It starts in the mortar but then it crosses the brick.
TOM: Is it surrounding a window?
JUDITH: Let me look, because I’m walking out here to look at it.
JUDITH: No, there is no window on this side of the house.
TOM: And you’ve never seen a crack – is this brand new? Like how new are we talking here?
JUDITH: We bought this house in 2008, right before they gave the tax credit that you didn’t have to pay back. We got the one that you had to pay back.
TOM: OK. OK. So it’s new since 2008?
TOM: Look, there could be a lot of reasons that that’s happening. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem with your foundation. It could be a poor drainage condition around the house that’s making it cause more movement.
What I would do is unless it’s absolutely active – means it’s continuing to grow – I would simply seal it. I would choose a silicone sealant that would closely mimic the color of the brick and the mortar and I would seal it. Because the more water you let get in there, the faster it’s going to freeze and break and expand and get worse. Almost all, you know, brick homes and masonry foundations have some kind of crack in them, so it’s not unusual. But I would seal it and then I would monitor it. And if you think it’s continuing to grow, at that point I would have either a professional home inspector or a structural engineer look at it, OK?
JUDITH: OK. Alright. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Martin in North Carolina has got a door that’s not doing its job of staying closed. What’s going on?
MARTIN: I live in a townhouse – two-story townhouse. And it was built in 1979. I’ve been here about 18 years. And since I’ve been here, the entry door – the front-entry door, all wood – swings all the way open anytime I open it unless I go and close it right away. It’s a real nuisance.
I don’t know what to do. I’ve had some rookie look at it and he seems to think we should put a shimmy behind the hinge, at the bottom. Do you have any comments on that?
TOM: There’s a real easy way to fix this. And you just take the hinge pin out of the door itself – just the hinge pin – lay it down on some concrete and give it a couple of raps.
MARTIN: Oh, yeah, OK. I (inaudible).
TOM: You will slightly bend that hinge pin and then when you put it back in the hinge, it’ll be so stiff the door won’t fly open anymore.
MARTIN: Oh, really? That easy?
TOM: That easy, yep. Yeah. Or you could shim out the hinge and level out the door like your pro suggested – and that’s fine, too – but if you just want to try something real fast, try to bend that hinge pin a little bit and it might just work. But don’t follow up with WD-40; you’ll be back where you started.
MARTIN: Oh, really?
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck.
MARTIN: You’ve helped me a great deal. I appreciate that.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading out to Alaska with Barb on the line who’s got a situation with woodpeckers. And I imagine living in a log home, woodpeckers probably like your house very much.
BARB: Well, I don’t know if there’s a product that he can help me with, other than just shooting them with a good bullet. But I’m afraid it might ricochet off the building.
TOM: That’d be bad, yeah.
BARB: Yeah. So, what have you got in your repertoire that might help me?
TOM: Well, there’s a couple of things that you can do, Barb.
First of all, if you were to take – you basically want to scare them away, OK? So if you were to take some strips – long strips – of plastic that could kind of flutter in the breeze – take a Hefty bag or a black garbage bag and cut it into 4-inch strips.
BARB: OK. Yes.
TOM: And tack some of those strips around where the woodpeckers are loving to peck-peck-peck at your house.
TOM: That will have a detrimental effect and hopefully break the habit of them coming back to the same spot.
And the other thing that you could do is you could take some tin pie plates, do the same thing. Try to tie them in that area, let them blow around a little bit and that will kind of freak them out, too. What we’ve found over the years is that if you can scare them not to come back to the place that they’re eating away at your house out, then they may be happy to go back into the woods and chew on the trees that are there, as opposed to chew on the trees that were used to build your home with. Does that make sense?
BARB: Oh, that’s a great idea. And sometimes, I tie fishing lures on fishing string to keep the birds from hitting the windows. So, maybe that would be a little bit of a wind activity or maybe some windmills or something.
TOM: Yeah, anything that moves around like that will deter them from coming back to a busy – anything that’s shiny is particularly helpful.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: And speaking of hiring a pro, how do you know if your project is DIY or get a guy? We’ll sort out the options, just ahead.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, we’d love to talk with you about the projects that you’d like to take on this fall. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
And we are presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home pros you can trust at HomeAdvisor.com. And for local pros who want to grow their business, HomeAdvisor is the easy way to get connected with project-ready homeowners.
There’s also another great reason for you to call us because thanks to our friends at Speed Queen, we’ve got today a $50 Amazon gift card to give away. And those Speed Queen machines, they are fantastic. They’re actually built to last 25 years. They come with the industry’s best warranty and there’s over 100 years of commercial reliability behind each and every machine.
You can pick one up at 2,800 dealers nationwide or learn more at SpeedQueen.com. And we want to thank our friends at Speed Queen for hooking us up with a $50 Amazon gift card to give away to you. To qualify, you’ve got to call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it online, anytime this week, to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Clayton from North Carolina on the line with a question about squeaky floors. What can we do for you today?
CLAYTON: I’m fixing to put some new carpet. It’s been about 10 years we’ve lived in a townhome. But there’s a lot of squeaking in our master bedroom, the floor. Is that going to be a major repair? One place on my wife’s side, kind of the floor gives away more than just squeaking.
And then there’s an issue in the master bedroom with a bright orange spot, about the size of a nail, that’s been there about eight years. And you can’t wipe it off. And someone said it’s not a nail underneath. What could cause that? We’ve got to replace that vinyl, as well.
TOM: Where do you have vinyl? Because you said you have a carpeted floor but where is the vinyl?
CLAYTON: Vinyl is in the bathroom.
TOM: OK. So, first of all, let me just deal with the vinyl issue. What happens is, depending on what’s underneath that floor, if it’s an orange spot – I don’t know. It might be a nail or something. But what happens is you get a reaction between the vinyl and whatever is underneath it.
Sometimes you get it because of what you put on top of the vinyl, especially if you have like a rubber-backed throw rug; sometimes you see that in kitchens, right up against the cabinet where everybody is standing. The rubber and the vinyl will react and it will discolor the vinyl. That’s usually not a stain in as much as the vinyl has actually just changed colors. And it’s not repairable. So, get a rug to cover it up.
But in terms of the squeaks, you actually have a golden opportunity now to deal with this. So what we want you to do is take the old carpet out and then go ahead and screw the subfloor down to the floor joist using case-hardened drywall screws. Those are those black screws that are really hard. You drive them in with a drill driver or with a drill with a screwdriver tip in it. And you want to put one about every 12 inches.
Because the reason the floors squeak is because either the nails are pulling in and out as the floors move or some of those subfloors are tongue-and-groove. And as the tongue-and-groove plywood moves side to side, it will squeak. So if you pull the old carpet out and then you screw the subfloor down, you’ll find that that floor will get a lot quieter. You may even eliminate it 100 percent.
CLAYTON: Right. OK. Thank you so much for the tip.
TOM: Clayton, good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, doing home projects and improvements yourself may seem more cost-effective than ever. But how do you know when to tackle home improvement projects yourself and when hiring a pro contractor is the best?
First of all, guys, step one: keep your eyes on the prize. Now, before you start stocking up on tools and choosing paint colors, your first do-it-yourself project really is to think about the exact end results that you’re after. And then you can work your way back through all of the knowledge, techniques and elbow grease that are involved and do whatever research is required to fill in those blanks.
TOM: Now, the next one’s the hardest one: you’ve got to assess your abilities honestly to decide whether or not you’re really the best person for that job. You know, you’ve got to think about the fact that every project requires a certain amount of prep. And it’s kind of on a sliding scale when it comes to time to get it done, neither of which is obvious, I might add, in the many home improvement TV shows that can edit days, weeks and months of hard work down to just a few minutes of home improvement bliss.
Now, ask yourself how much time do you really have to make available to get this project done. And remember, if you make a mistake, that adds hours and expense that can easily wipe out any DIY savings. So, be realistic.
LESLIE: I’m not taking any responsibility for those home improvement makeover shows that maybe make things go a little quicker.
TOM: None whatsoever.
LESLIE: There’s a reason why we wear the same outfits for the three days of shooting, so that they can edit it in the way that they want. That’s just how it goes.
TOM: Right. So you get 23 minutes of home improvement bliss out of 60 hours of work.
LESLIE: Exactly. There’s no way you can tackle those things in that time.
Next up, guys – and this one’s a hard one, too. It’s figuring out the budget. So before you begin the hiring search for a contractor, you need to compile the best possible estimates of potential costs. And then you can figure out your financial limitations before those bids start rolling in. Now, you want to remember to include a reserve of about 20 percent. That’s just to cover inevitable project surprises and additions. And then go ahead and line up your financing.
TOM: And lastly, get the help when you need it. Now, whether you’re looking for a handyman or remodeling contractor to hire, personal recommendations from family members and friends are critical to finding the right match. You’ve also got services, like HomeAdvisor, that can help you find pros for all or just part of the job that you feel least prepared to go it alone on.
For example, you might be fine building the deck but when it comes to running new wiring and lighting to brighten it up, that part might be best left up to a pro. So think it through, be realistic and enjoy your new project.
888-666-3974. Hey, you can also give us a call, right now, if you want to talk about a specific project that you have in mind, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Georgia in Georgia is on the line with a question about windows. What can we do for you?
GEORGIA: Well, I have a problem with windows that are leaking every time it rains.
GEORGIA: I have water intrusion and bug intrusion coming in in the corners, at the window sill. And I was wondering what you might be able to suggest.
TOM: So you have water and bugs coming into the corner of the window sills?
TOM: Talk to me about – what kind of siding do you have on your house? Is it vinyl or aluminum or is it wood? What have you got?
GEORGIA: I have vinyl siding and I was originally told that I’d have to buy new siding after it was taken down and the windows could be repaired. But then, I found somebody who could remove the vinyl siding but – and put it back. But he didn’t know how to fix the windows.
TOM: Well, if the windows are leaking, they have to be sealed from the outside. And that would probably best be done underneath the siding. There’s a couple of different types of flashing that they use that would make this transition. One is the head flashing, which basically goes under the siding and over the top of the window. And the second is the flashing that basically seals the sides of the window. And it’s particularly important, in your case, because it sounds like you may be getting driving rain in.
Now, this presumes that the water is coming in around the window. You can prove that by taking a garden hose and just strategically sort of holding it alongside the window and see if you can make it leak.
The other place it could be coming in is between the window panes themselves – or not the window panes but the window sashes themselves. And if that’s the case, then the window is defective and probably needs to be replaced. And again, you could do it the same way but now you want to move the house to the inside portions of the window as opposed to the outside, around the trim of the window.
But if you do both of those tests, you ought to be able to narrow this down. But it’s clearly an issue – most likely an issue – with the flashing not being right under that siding and around that window.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
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?
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 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.
LESLIE: Well, fall is right around the corner and it’s a season where we get to enjoy really beautiful trees. If you wish you had a tree with bright fall foliage to look forward to in your yard, you don’t have to wait a generation for it to grow from a sapling, because you can transplant a tree instead. Roger Cook from This Old House is next with tips on that and more.
TOM: And today’s This Old House Tip on The Money Pit is presented by Lumber Liquidators, with over 400 varieties of bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less.
JOE: This is Joe Namath. Now, when I’m not throwing a football around, I’m listening to Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s background-checked pros, for free.
LESLIE: Well, what home improvement projects do you have on your list for this fall season? Why not log on to MoneyPit.com, go to the Community section and tell us all about it. You can get advice from our panel of experts and other community members, as well. There’s no question that’s too simple or too tough. We love to hear it all.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Mindy in Kentucky is on the line and has a flooring question. How can we help you with your project?
MINDY: Yes. We have a really hideous linoleum in our – on our kitchen floor that’s actually been in the house since we bought it. And of course, it’s starting to peel up and there’s actually other linoleum under it. And actually, I’m really afraid to dig any deeper to see how many levels might be on it.
I was just wondering, is it worth the time and effort and possible extra cost to just take everything up?
TOM: Do you have a dishwasher in that kitchen?
MINDY: No, we do not. I’d love to have one but I do not have one, no.
TOM: Well, the reason I ask you is because if you don’t take up the old floor, you’d end up sort of sealing in the dishwasher and it’s hard to remove it after that.
I mean generally speaking, I’m an advocate of taking up the old flooring, because I think it’s kind of sloppy to put new layers over the old. But I can see if it’s difficult to get it out or for budget reasons that you don’t want to go in that direction. But I would recommend you take it up if you can.
MINDY: OK. OK. Alright. Well, I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mindy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, a yard with well-established shade trees is a great way to enjoy outdoor living. But if you’re starting with saplings, it can actually take a generation or more for your trees to reach full bloom.
TOM: Ah, yes. But you can speed up the process by transplanting large trees that might already be growing on your property or elsewhere. But as you can imagine, this kind of job takes very careful planning and some expert advice. Here to tell us exactly how to do that is an expert: Roger Cook, the landscaping expert for TV’s This Old House.
ROGER: Hey, Tom, Leslie. Thanks for having me.
TOM: Our pleasure. Now, walk us through this. When you transplant a mature tree, when would you want to do that, as opposed to a sapling?
ROGER: All depends on variety. You know, certain trees can be transplanted spring; some can be transplanted spring and fall.
TOM: So, Roger, walk us through this. When would you want to transplant a mature tree, as opposed to using a sapling? Is it a matter of timing and how long you have to wait to kind of get the effect that you’re looking for?
ROGER: It’s all about time, Tom. You’re buying years and years and years by moving a mature tree. A sapling you put in, you have to take care of it, invest in it a long time before it gets to be a mature tree.
TOM: Are there some trees that do better moving, when you move them, than others?
ROGER: There are. There are certain species that we call “hazards” when you move and you want to be aware of them: certain trees that don’t have a really good root system that you would shy away from.
ROGER: Most trees, though, for the – will move very well, even as a mature tree.
LESLIE: Is there a height limitation? I imagine – when I hear “mature tree,” I’m thinking a gigantor maple that’s lining a street.
ROGER: Yeah. We’ve moved trees up to 30 or 40 feet tall.
LESLIE: How big is the root ball on something like that?
ROGER: Huge. In most cases, we use a 90-inch tree spade for a big tree like that so that the spade opens up, goes around the tree and its 90-inch root ball. And then those blades go down into the ground, lift up the tree and bring it to the site.
LESLIE: That’s huge.
TOM: Oh, wow. So there’s a big piece of hydraulic equipment that digs that out.
ROGER: That’s right.
LESLIE: Well, yeah. I mean we’re not picking that up.
TOM: Really. Now, let’s talk about the tree orientation. I would imagine trees get used to growing in a certain compass direction. Do you mark the tree so that it’s still facing the same way after you transplant it?
ROGER: It depends on the variety of the tree. Some trees, like a cherry, have very thin bark and you want to keep it situated the same way.
ROGER: Sometimes with trees, though, I’ll look at the face of the tree and that’ll determine how I plant it. It may not be the same orientation but I want to put the best side of the tree towards the house, where people are going to see it.
LESLIE: Now, is there a certain timing? Do you take this tree out of the ground and go immediately to the new hole or do you have to sort of let it wait?
ROGER: No, no, no, no. The sooner we get it transplanted in and watered, the better off it is for the tree. Usually, on site is great. If you’re in someone’s yard, you’re moving it 100 feet, 200 feet within an hour, it’s going from one place to another. Otherwise, we dig it in the morning, we drive over the road with it and then we put it in that afternoon.
TOM: We’re talking to Roger Cook, the landscaping expert from TV’s This Old House.
Now, Roger, we were talking about transporting large trees. What about some smaller ones that maybe you just want to shift around your property: take one from the back, put it in the front? Obviously, it can be a do-it-yourself project. The key, though, is the digging of the root ball, as in – how do you do that and how do you avoid damaging what’s there?
ROGER: The formula we use is 10 to 12 inches of root ball per inch caliper of the tree. If you have a tree that’s 3 inches in caliper, then you want to have a 30- to 36-inch root ball.
TOM: Got it.
ROGER: So that means you measure out, make a circle and dig outside that.
Now, when you’re digging, you don’t want to rip the roots with your shovel. You want to take a pair of old hand pruners or loppers and cut them clean, because it’ll heal better that way.
TOM: And go straight down and not in an angle, too, right?
ROGER: No. Usually we dig straight down until we find the area where the roots have stopped growing. Then it’s decision time. You can either ball and burlap a tree, which means wrapping it with burlap and then putting twine on and making a big net to hold all those roots together.
LESLIE: Do you plant that in the ground: all the burlap and the rope?
ROGER: Take it off when you get to the new hole but you need something to hold it together when you get …
TOM: In the meanwhile.
ROGER: Yeah. So, what I do, too, is – we have a Bobcat that has forks on the front. We drive right in under the plant once it’s dug. We lift it up, back up and put it in the new hole without bothering with the burlap.
There’s a new way out. It sort of reverts back to what we did years ago. When I first started in the business, we’d go in the woods and pull red maples out of the woods in the spring and just stick them in the ground and they’d grow like crazy, because you’d get all the roots out with them.
TOM: Now, Roger, are there any tools that make this job easier? I mean it sounds like it’s just an awful lot of work.
ROGER: In the last couple of years, we’ve done some work using what’s called an “air spade.” That’s a gun you connect to a compressor.
ROGER: And you go over to the tree and you start blowing all the dirt off the root system and you keep progressing outside until you get all the roots exposed.
TOM: Wow. So there’s no dirt left.
ROGER: No dirt left but all the roots. You end up taking 99.9 percent of the roots and you lift that tree out of the ground and then you transplant it.
LESLIE: You really have to have a wide-open space that you’re taking it to without disrupting surrounding plantings.
ROGER: Right. Because you need room. That root mass may extend out 8-, 10- or even 12-feet wide. So you really need space to work.
TOM: But it would seem that you’d be giving that tree a really great chance of survival in the future, because you’re essentially going to replace all of that soil you took out with the perfect mix.
ROGER: With the perfect soil and the perfect place and all the roots in place, it’ll just grab and go very quickly.
TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: You’re welcome.
TOM: And for more tips just like that, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And you can watch Roger and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Make comfort personal.
Just ahead, fall is a great time to update your floors. If that’s a project on your to-do list, laminate floors or engineered hardwood are both great choices. But what’s the difference and which one makes the most sense for your home? We’ve got that answer, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to your calls.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading out to Hawaii, the most beautiful place in the world, with Ross. What can we do for you today?
ROSS: Thank you for saying this. And I had a question for you guys about countertops. What can you recommend that does not require treatment every six months or year like granite or – I know Silestone is supposed to be good. But what can you recommend in the natural-stone arena?
TOM: Well, Silestone is quartz. And quartz is not as absorbent as granite and that’s why it needs a little bit less care. Concrete tops are gaining in popularity. But again, all of those stone-based products do need more maintenance and more care than something like a basic, solid-surfacing material that is designed to look like stone.
So, if you want to us the natural products, you’re going to have to buy into some of that maintenance. And I think if you are definitely committed to natural, I would look at quartz over granite.
ROSS: And that would include Silestone?
TOM: Yeah, that’s a type of quartz.
ROSS: Does that require maintenance?
TOM: Yep. They all require maintenance, so you’re not going to get something that’s completely maintenance-free. But I think it requires less maintenance than granite because it’s not quite as absorbent. A little more forgiving to those tomato-sauce and coffee stains.
ROSS: OK, great. Well, I appreciate that very much.
TOM: Alright, Ross. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Heading up north to Ontario where we’ve got Roxanne on the line with a leaky roof. What’s going on at your money pit?
ROXANNE: Well, I’m up in an upper duplex and my ceilings are leaking. And I’m just wondering if he has to replace the roof.
TOM: You say your ceilings are leaking. How many places are you seeing these leaks?
ROXANNE: About three places.
TOM: Three places? Wow. Man, well, obviously something’s going on here. Is one of these over the bathroom, by any chance?
ROXANNE: One’s in the bathroom, one’s in the hallway and one, I think, was in the living room.
TOM: You’re going to have to have a professional take a look at this roof and figure out where it’s leaking. I asked you about the bathroom because, typically, there’s vent pipes that go through the roof there that often get gaps around them as they get exposed to the sun. And that can very frequently cause water to run down that vent pipe and show up on your bathroom ceiling. But your problem is worse than this so – does it mean that you have to necessarily replace the roof? Not necessarily, no. It depends on how bad the roofing condition is and why it’s leaking.
Most of the time, leaks occur because of flashing. In other words, the intersection between the shingles themselves or the shingles go around chimneys or where they go in between the roof and different parts of the upper building, like a second story that’s on top of a one-story, like that kind of thing. That’s generally where the leaks form. You’re just going to have somebody get up there and take a look at it, try to figure out what’s causing it and then get the leak fixed from there. OK?
ROXANNE: OK. Why, thank you. Good show.
LESLIE: Well, fall is a great time to update your floors. And if that’s a project on your to-do list, laminate floors or engineered hardwood are both great choices. But what’s the difference and which one makes the most sense for your home? We’ve got the answer in today’s Flooring Tip, presented by Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: So, first off, let’s start with laminate floors. I’ve been a fan of these since they came out probably over 20 years ago. The surface of the laminate floor is actually a photographed image of finished hardwood. And it can’t be refinished. So, what you see is what you get. But it’s exceptionally durable, it’s very scratch-resistant and it’s perfect for high-traffic areas. We’ve been using laminate floor in our kitchens for all of these years and they hardly look worn at all.
Laminate comes in authentic hardwood designs and textures that make it look and feel like real wood. Plus, it’s easier to install than real wood and it can be floated over a pad with no glue or nails needed.
LESLIE: Now, let’s talk about engineered flooring. Now, depending on the style of the engineered flooring you pick, it can either be floated over a pad, nailed to a subfloor or glued right to cement. It’s made by actually adhering real hardwood to layers of plywood or MDF or even lumber core. And engineered flooring, depending on how thick that upper layer of the actual hardwood is, you have the option to potentially sand it, refinish it truly, again, depending on the thickness of the veneer.
TOM: And that’s today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find the new Dream Home Ultra X2O Laminate. It’s more water-resistant than standard laminate flooring, providing greater protection from common household spills. And it’s extremely durable, with the highest wear layer for abrasion resistance. You’ll find the Dream Home Ultra X2O Laminate priced from 2.79 to 2.99 a square foot. It’s available at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.
LESLIE: Dennis in Alaska needs some help cleaning up hard-water residue. What can we do for you today?
DENNIS: Yeah, I was wondering if you knew of a product that could take care of that rusty-looking stuff on a porcelain …
TOM: Try CLR. CLR stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust and it works super well at removing those rust stains. It’s readily available at home centers and supermarkets, as well.
DENNIS: I could probably find it down at Home Depot or someplace.
TOM: I’m sure you can, Dennis. It’s been around for years and it does a really good job. Sort of one of those standard things you’ve got to have on your cabinet shelf.
DENNIS: Right, yeah. OK. I’ll look into it.
TOM: Alright, Dennis. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, has mold taken a hold of your home? Toxic substances could be hiding and making you sick. We’ll tell you what to look for and how you can stay safe, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros you can trust for any home project. And if you’re a service pro looking to grow your business and connect with project-ready homeowners, check out HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: And while you’re online, if you’re looking for a quick answer, Tom and I are always here to lend a hand. You can post or email your question right here at MoneyPit.com.
And I’ve got a post from Erin who writes: “What exactly is that dreaded toxic black mold that seems to be in the news a lot?”
TOM: Well, I mean the toxic mold – there’s several types of mold that basically can cause respiratory issues. And the black mold, the formal name for that is Stachybotrys. And if it’s in concentrations and if you happen to be sensitive to it, it can be a problem in your house. And if it’s ignored, it can be a big problem because once it grows, it kind of expands geometrically.
But there are a few things that you can do to try to avoid this. The first one is simply this: mind the moisture. If the humidity in your home is kept under about 50 percent and if you improve the grading and drainage outside so water slopes away, those things are going to keep that moisture down. And that’s going to make the conditions such that mold really can’t grow.
You also want to take a look at how you’re storing things. Make sure you don’t put mold food – which could be cardboard boxes, for example – on a concrete floor or anything of that nature. If you keep things up off of the ground, it prevents the opportunity for those to become steadily saturated and then grow mold.
LESLIE: You know, I think another thing people forget about is if you’ve got a finished basement or partially finished, you should heat that space. Because rooms below grade are even more likely to become infested, so you’ve got to always keep them heated to at least 60 degrees, even if you’re not using it. The warmer the space, the less the chance that condensation is going to form and eventually feed a mold problem.
And I think along those lines, if you are finishing a space – and a basement, especially – think about the materials you’re using and choose mold-resistant building materials. And those are things that mold really isn’t going to like. You want to look for mold-resistant drywall that’s got a fiberglass face instead of a paper face, any sort of synthetic trim work, all of that. Just get those materials out that mold loves.
TOM: Also, pay attention to your ventilation. If you’re missing ventilation fans, if they’re not extended out, that could be one reason that you get so much mold in a bathroom, for example.
And here’s a big one: avoid carpets in lower-level spaces, like basements. Really, really bad idea because those carpets really hold a lot of moisture. They also attract dust mites and give them a perfect home to live there. So, they really can contribute to allergen issues and they really can contribute to mold. So don’t put carpets down in basements.
If you’re going to have an HVAC system going, make sure you use a good-quality filter. If you have the right-size filter, that can cut down on the mold issues, as well. And you also want to insulate the ducts. If you have a duct system, especially in the summer, that can get a lot of condensation on it around the outside. And that can really add to the moisture, too.
LESLIE: Another thing I think people just forget is that buy cleaning products that are mold prohibitors or mold inhibitors, I should say. If you use those in your kitchens and baths, you’re going to see a lot less mold build up there.
Now, portable air-conditioning units that we’ve all been using over the summer months, take them out, take them apart, clean them at the end of every season. And if you do end up with a flood in your basement, fix it fast. The faster you can get the water out, the less likely you are to get mold.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this beautiful September weekend with us. We hope we’ve given you some ideas and inspiration to take on the project you’d like to get done around your home.
We are a resource, 24/7. So if you are working on something or just have a project or a question come to mind, keep in mind that you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio, we will get back to you the next time we are. Plus, you could always post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2017 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)