- Outdoor kitchens are more popular than ever. We’ll share a system you can use to construct it yourself that’s as easy as stacking blocks.
- If a new floor is in your project plans for this Spring, LL Flooring has developed digital tools for both DIY’rs and Pros. We talk with CEO Charles Tyson to learn how these new tools and services will help make sure the job comes up exactly as planned
- Stripping paint off a surface can be a difficult and very messy project. We’ll share a new low-odor, environmentally safe paint and varnish remover designed to remove multiple layers in just one application.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions like, how to deal with skylight leaks, address seller disclosure issues, how to get rid of pesky carpenter bees, how to install chimney liners, offer up some cheap kitchen remodels, and how to clean and seal grout.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you make your best home ever. If you love décor, if you love home improvement, if you love to do your own fixing, this is the place to be. And if you want to hire a pro and don’t know where to start or what needs to get done or need our help to compare one estimate against another, we can also help you do just that. Bottom line: whatever you’re doing to take care and improve your home, we would love to lend a hand. Help yourself first by reaching out to us by posting your questions at MoneyPit.com or calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to talk about outdoor kitchens. They are more popular than ever. But guess what? You don’t need a big budget or even a pro to build one on your own. We’re going to share a system that you can use to construct it yourself, that is easy as stacking blocks, just like you did when you were a kid except they’re bigger and a little heavier.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. A lot heavier and bigger. Much, much, much, much bigger. And I bet they would still hurt when you step on them, like those tiny building blocks.
TOM: Well, they certainly hurt more if you drop them.
LESLIE: Either way, protect those feet.
Well, coming up, if a new floor is in your project plans for this spring, LL Flooring has developed digital tools for both DIYers and pros out there. We’re going to be joined by CEO Charles Tyson to learn how these new tools and services are going to help make sure that the job comes up exactly as you plan.
TOM: And if you’ve ever tried to strip paint off a surface, you know it can be a very difficult, a very smelly and a very messy project. We’re going to share a new, low-odor, environmentally-safe paint-and-varnish remover that is designed to remove multiple layers in just one single application.
LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you want to know. What are you guys working on this week? Is there a project that you want to get going? Is there a project that you’re sort of stuck on? Or maybe you’re just procrastinating because you don’t really know where to start. Well, whatever it is, we are here for you.
TOM: Plus, we’ve got a great product to help you enjoy your outdoor dining this summer going out to one listener drawn at random. It’s the Lucca 12-Piece Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware Set from our friends at Riverbend Home. It’s worth 79.99.
So, give us a call right now. That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Joanne in Illinois is on the line with The Money Pit and has a question about a skylight. What’s going on? You’ve got some leaking happening?
JOANNE: Well, yes. I would say about a month-and-a-half ago, I had a leak in the skylight. It’s an older skylight, fairly large. It’s almost 3 feet by 2½. And my neighbor got on the roof and he said, “Oh, we found the place. It was a little break in the seal.” And he asked me for some alcohol. He cleaned it up and he must have put some kind of a caulk or something. And it doesn’t leak anymore.
JOANNE: But it’s old and I don’t know what to do, whether – is there a spray or something I could put over the seal?
JOANNE: I think it’s …
TOM: So, this is kind of how skylights will wear. You know, look, they’re just a – they’re a window, just like the windows that you move up and down the sides of your house, except this one happens to cover the roof. And it’s usually stationary, unless it’s operable. And with all that exposure to UV radiation over the years and all that wear and tear from the weather, they’re going to break down. What he did was the right thing to do. And if he used a good-quality – like a silicone-seal – product, it can give you many years of performance.
If it ends up being a problem on an ongoing basis, I would just tell you to replace the skylight, because they do have a life expectancy. And the other good thing about replacing those old skylights is the newer ones are much more energy-efficient, so they don’t let in as much heat in the summer. And that can make it a lot more comfortable for you.
JOANNE: I don’t really have anybody that would put it in that I know of.
TOM: Well, you’d have to hire a pro to do that and there’s plenty of companies out there that do that sort of work.
JOANNE: OK. Is there any kind of a type of skylight that’s better than the other?
TOM: Yeah. Yes. I would look at the skylights by Andersen. And the reason I say that is because – either Andersen or VELUX – V-E-L-U-X. I’m actually not sure if Andersen is still making them – they may have stopped – but I know VELUX is. And the reason I like those, both of those skylights have an integral flashing design where basically the box gets mounted on top of the roof, then the flashing gets wound in between the shingles. And then there’s a counterflashing piece that seals it from the top down. So the way it’s designed, you’re not going to be affected by expansion and contraction over the years. It basically – that flashing system, that seal system, sort of rides with the roof as it moves.
JOANNE: Uh-huh. Do you have any idea what prices they are – they might be?
TOM: Yeah. The skylight itself is probably going to be a few hundred to a thousand. Plus, it depends on how complicated the installation is.
TOM: If you’re fortunate enough to get one that’s pretty close in size – and a lot of times, you can find them; they’re very similar. Then, to me, there’s not so much work to do to the light shaft, which is that part of the ceiling from the flat ceiling in your room, up to where the skylight is. If it’s significantly different, then you’ve got some carpentry work on top of that.
JOANNE: OK. Well, I appreciate that and your information. Thank you so much. I enjoy your show so much.
LESLIE: Patrick in Iowa is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help you today?
PATRICK: OK. I bought a home; it was a for-sale-by-owner. The roof was put on about 4 or 5 years ago. And in the disclosure, he mentioned there was nothing wrong with the roof. But since moving in – now, being in Iowa, we get severe weather and I understand a couple shingles might rip off during a windstorm or something like that. But it’s literally – it’s daily, shingles are coming off.
So I patched some of the shingles but it is – it’s every time we get a wind, shingles are just blowing off. And so I ask him, “Can I have the name of the company that did the roof?” And so, I got the name and phone number and I talked to the workers that did it and they said, “We’ve been out there every single year, year after year. We told him it’s no longer covered. He has to pay for it himself.” And he – and they asked, “Didn’t he mention that in the disclosure?” And I looked through the disclosure and of course, there’s nothing in the disclosure that mentions anything about it.
TOM: Right. Of course. Yeah. Wow. Sounds like you have a pretty strong case of fraud.
PATRICK: And of course, I don’t want to go down a road that is going to take months and months and months or years. But it is – it’s just one of those cases that if it’s not in the disclosure – but then I can prove that it is. I mean is there any recourse whatsoever?
TOM: Well, yeah. The recourse is to hold him legally responsible for the cost of replacing the roof. And this is really more of a question for an attorney than for home improvement experts like ourselves.
But I was a professional home inspector for many years. I’ve seen these situations before. And if you have a seller that outright misrepresents the condition of part of the property on the disclosure, then they should be held liable for that and in some cases, can be held liable for multiples of what the actual damage is which, in this case, is essentially going to be the cost of a new roof.
PATRICK: And it’s not just that. If I was told, then I could have just budgeted for …
TOM: Right. You could have headed it off, exactly. But it’s – some people just want to make sure – just want to misrepresent their home and try to hide all the problems. And that’s why you have professional home inspectors out there which – by the way, did you get a home inspection done, Patrick?
PATRICK: Yes. There is a mortgage on it. Of course, the mortgage company did their inspections.
TOM: Well, no, besides the mortgage company, did you have your own, independent, professional home inspection done?
PATRICK: I did not.
TOM: Yeah. So that probably was a mistake. Because home inspectors work for you and not for the mortgage company. And a good-quality home inspector – for example, one that’s a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors – would have spent 2 to 3 hours going over that house and probably would have seen all of the repaired shingles. Because that’s something that’s actually fairly obvious to see.
So, unfortunately, you can’t focus on the past but you should try to hold the seller responsible and maybe you could take him to small-claims court. I don’t know. Again, question for a lawyer but it sounds like you’re going to need a new roof.
PATRICK: Well, I know that it’s a metal roof that’s going to be going on, so …
TOM: OK. Alright. Well, good luck. Sorry that happened to you, Patrick. Good luck with the project, though. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re ready to enjoy some outdoor dining this summer, the good folks at RiverbendHome.com are ready to provide some great dinnerware to help you do just that.
TOM: Yep. We’ve got the Lucca 12-Piece Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware Set from Certified International.
Now, this dinnerware was inspired by the colorful dishes that you see in Italy: those that are patterned with ornate floral and scroll designs. They are gorgeous. And because it’s melamine, they’re durable, they’re heat-resistant and virtually unbreakable.
That service for four includes four dinner plates, four salad plates, four bowls. It’s dishwasher-safe. It’s worth almost 80 bucks but going out to one caller drawn at random.
LESLIE: For some 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 can save 15 percent on your order of $150 or more by using the promo code MONEYPIT15 at checkout. That’s MONEYPIT15.
Louise in Delaware is on the line with some carpenter bees visiting her home. Tell us what’s going on.
LOUISE: I have a deck in my – at my back door and I have a roof. It doesn’t extend all the way out to the end of the deck. Just about halfway. And I’ve been having, for several years, a major problem with carpenter bees. They actually make perfectly round holes in the roof of the deck.
And I had an exterminator a couple of years ago and he said he would spray it but no guarantees. And he sprayed it and maybe for about 5 days I didn’t see them but they came right back. But someone told me, “Get steel wool and put steel wool in the holes because they can’t get out.”
TOM: There’s the do-it-yourself methods and there’s the professional methods. I’m troubled by the fact that you hired an exterminator – it sounds like it was some time ago – and he wouldn’t guarantee a result. That’s not acceptable. Most professional exterminators have the tools, the knowledge and the pesticides to effectively eliminate carpenter bees with a reasonable guarantee of success.
So, if you have such a serious problem as this, I would definitely suggest that you go find yourself a new exterminator, maybe from a national-brand company like Orkin. You’d have better success with that.
Now, if you want to do this yourself, the reason that the bees form those holes is because they’re nesting. And so the way they’re treated is you spray a pesticide inside those holes. You can also spray something that’s petroleum-based inside the holes, because they don’t like that.
There’s lots of ways that you could try this yourself. But given the severity of the problem, I would suggest you find a good exterminator that can treat it with the right type of pesticide and you not have to worry about it.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to improve your outdoor space by adding an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, a grill enclosure, planters or even a bench, there is a really easy way that you can do that with a product called RumbleStone.
Now, these are made by Pavestone and they’re rustic-looking stones that come in project kits. And you simply stack them together like Legos in a predetermined pattern. And you can build all sorts of amazing and popular outdoor features. And because they are modular, it’s super easy, it’s fast, it’s affordable. It’s a great way to upgrade your backyard with amenities like an outdoor kitchen, like a fire pit, like a place to relax, a bench.
Now, the RumbleStone kits start at $250 and they can also be used for traditional paver projects like patios, walls, even a landscape border.
TOM: And if you want to strengthen that finished project, you can even use QUIKRETE’s Advanced Polymer Construction Adhesive between the stones. So there’s no mortar required.
Plus, right now, there’s even a step-by-step video of a beautiful outdoor kitchen topped with a QUIKRETE countertop. And it’s available online.
I was watching it before the show and Leslie, there was almost 400,000 views of this video. And step-by-step, everything you needed to know on how to build this yourself.
RumbleStone can be a beautiful addition to your outdoor-living space. Learn more at Pavestone.com.
LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Jim in Massachusetts with a question about a chimney. What’s going on?
JIM: I don’t have a liner in my chimney but I only burned oil. Do I need a liner in my chimney?
TOM: So you’re only burning oil. Now, so you have an oil boiler or an oil furnace?
TOM: How old is the furnace itself?
JIM: Oh, the unit’s about 30 years old.
TOM: Hmm. Well, technically, you really should. It’s best practice to have it. You don’t know what the condition of the inside of that chimney is and especially if you’re going to replace that heating system. Because at 30 years old, it’s getting well past the end of a normal life cycle. And the newer HVAC systems are much more efficient, which means they have much more moisture. And the moisture’s very acidic that goes up the chimney and that could be a problem, as well. So I think, eventually, you’re going to have to line that.
Now, lining it does not have to be such a big deal. Because if that chimney’s only serving the heating system, there is a stainless-steel liner that can be dropped down that’s kind of like – you know the old dryer-exhaust ducts that were plastic and they sort of unfolded like an accordion? Well, they’re kind of like that but they’re made of stainless steel. And the pros drop them right from the top of the chimney – so all the way down – and hook them right up. And instantly, literally, within an hour or two of work you’ve got a fully-lined chimney.
So I would say, for your safety and future efficiency, it would be best if you did put a liner in that chimney. And that’s how you would do it.
JIM: OK. Well, that sounds good.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Give it a shot. I’m sure it’ll work out well for you.
LESLIE: Renee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RENEE: My question is concerning my sump pump. Obviously, a sump pump in the basement. And for a long time – for several months, I had not heard the sump pump going on. A few weeks – a few months ago, when it was raining very hard, I went down to the basement to see why the sump pump wasn’t kicking on and it was the well was filled with water. So, I went ahead and I drained the water out by bucketing – taking buckets of this, pouring buckets of water out until I got down to see where the ball was. And it still wouldn’t come on. So I tapped the ball and eventually, when the water rose, it did kick on again.
But then now I’m hearing this gurgling sound in my kitchen-sink piping. And I want to know why.
TOM: Where is the sump pump discharging? Is it discharging into this basement sink?
RENEE: The sump pump discharges – it’s connected to the outside sewer line. And that’s – I guess that sewer – the line is connected to the basement – the kitchen sink.
TOM: OK. So first of all, it has to go through a trap. If it doesn’t go through a trap, you may get sewage gas that comes back into the basement. So that’s the first thing.
Secondly, the gurgling might just – because it doesn’t have enough water in the sump itself. You’re probably pulling a lot of air in there.
And thirdly, because your sump pump was filling up when you had heavy rain, the source of that water is easily within your ability to repair and stop. Generally, when your sump pump fills up after a heavy rain, it’s because your gutters are clogged or overflowing or your downspouts are not discharging away from the foundation. Or the soil around the house is not sloping away from the outside walls. That’s what causes problems with water filling up in basements and floods in a sort – because that outside surface drainage is just not set up right.
So I would focus on improving your exterior drainage. There’s a great article on MoneyPit.com about how to solve wet basements. A lot of that advice applies to this. And then you’ll find that the sump pump will have to run that much less.
RENEE: OK. That’s great news.
LESLIE: Well, LL Flooring is a national name in flooring with over 400 locations and a team of flooring experts and digital tools, all designed to help both pros and consumers make the best choices in hard-surface flooring.
TOM: And whether you’re a homeowner, DIYer or a professional contractor, LL Flooring’s tools, tips and resources will help make sure your project comes out exactly as you imagined.
And now, a new set of services designed especially for pros makes this even easier. Leading that effort is Charles Tyson, the CEO for LL Flooring.
Charles, welcome back to the program.
CHARLES: Hey, Tom, Leslie. Great to be back with you. So, exciting time for us in the flooring business. And thanks for inviting me to spend a few minutes with your listeners.
TOM: Well, you know, most of our listeners know that you guys are great at supporting homeowners. But I don’t think they know a lot about how you make life easier and more successful for the pros and their businesses. So, can you talk a bit about that?
CHARLES: Yeah. The fact that we’ve got over 420 stores makes us pretty convenient for pros who want to be able to get in and pick product and then also be able to pick the product up. We carry a lot of inventory at the local level. And time is just so important for pros when they’re trying to run their business.
We’ve got dedicated people in our stores that will stay open late or open early for our pros. We have some pros who are very confident in our sales teams and so they will send and refer their customers into our stores. And we’ll help those customers pick out a floor and that can give back a pro maybe 2 or 3 hours. Instead of them having to spend time in the store, we can help them be more productive.
LESLIE: I mean it’s really amazing because LL Flooring just becomes a partner to both the homeowner and the pro. And I think in doing so, your digital tools are just super valuable. So many people have a hard time envisioning what something is going to look like in their home. And what you have done is just inspiring people to make smart choices that they’ll know they’ll feel confident about.
CHARLES: Yeah. So, in the past, a customer would have to come to a store and pick up a sample and so it became quite a long, tedious transaction, right? They might have to come back three or four times until they found a floor that they really liked. So we developed an app that allows them to use our Picture It tool, which allows them to scan any room in the house. And they can then upload any one of our floors into that tool and they can see exactly what a floor is going to look like in their home.
So, we see the average customer probably looks at eight or nine different floors. So, we really see it as a productivity tool to drive in creativity while people are thinking about their projects.
TOM: I would imagine that that increases the confidence in the purchase and the happiness in the project. If they’re reviewing eight or nine floors, it’s very difficult to do that when you can only work with pictures on a website or in a catalog or with a small flooring sample. Actually installing that floor visually – when you finally find that floor that just says yes to you, you’ve got a lot of confidence that that’s the right one.
CHARLES: Yeah. The feedback from customers, Tom, is they find it a fantastic enabler. So it’s allowing them to make decisions with a higher degree of confidence. I think, sometimes – I know myself, I might procrastinate for a couple months because I’m really not sure – have I picked the right floor? And we’ve seen that time to conversion when people use the tool to be less. And so I think that that’s a good indication that it’s helping people make good, strong decisions on which floor to pick.
LESLIE: And how impressive is it if your pro comes in and says, “Hey, we can actually check this out in your home, so you know you’re making the right choice”?
CHARLES: Yeah. I think the other thing that it means – the pros don’t have to carry a mass of samples around with them anymore. We can …
TOM: That’s right.
CHARLES: We offer free samples and happy to provide those. But it allows the pro to be a lot more flexible. I think it helps the pro project his own business – his or her own business – too, in terms of the level of professionalism that the customers really appreciate, using these tools.
TOM: We’re talking to Charles Tyson. He is the CEO of LL Flooring.
Charles, I understand that LL Flooring is now launching a new online platform for pros. Can you give us some background on the platform?
CHARLES: Yeah. So it – we recognize that pros really want to spend time running their business. And they can make decisions and have a customized tool in the palm of their hands. They can look at everything that we offer. It’s how do they look at the assortment? How do they look at pricing? How do they look up previous orders that they purchased from us? It really becomes a working tool through their mobile phone, that’s customized for them.
LESLIE: It really seems like a true partnership.
Now, I know we have so many people listening who are either pros themselves or have had experience with installing floors. But how does LL Flooring help those pros and the homeowners who just need a hand installing the product?
CHARLES: Yeah. Look, what we want to be able to do is provide the pro an end-to-end solution that makes it easy for them. So we do simple things like schedule appointments to do pickup. We know exactly when that pro is coming in. We’re going to have that product ready to be loaded onto the truck or we can deliver directly to the job site. So, we really call it that end-to-end solution of – how do we make the pros more productive in what they do every day and get rid of friction points that create downtime or a lack of productivity when they’re servicing their customers?
Generally, what is – what we hear from our customers, it’s the most important thing. Will this pro finish the job when they say they’re going to finish the job? And it’s our responsibility to help and ensure the pro can do that with the way we provide product.
TOM: Charles, over this past year we’ve seen, more than ever before, how important a safe, comfortable, attractive space is to folks given the fact that we’ve all spent a lot more time indoors than we certainly expected to. You guys, with 400 stores across the country, you’ve always had your finger on the pulse when it comes to the trends. Can you share maybe some of the popular trends that we’re seeing here in Spring and Summer 2021?
CHARLES: Yeah. You know, obviously vinyl is sort of the – has become the new emerging category. A lot of that is driven by the waterproof capability, where people have got kids, they’ve got dogs. They want to live in rooms that are actually used, where a kid might drop a cup of water. And so waterproof vinyl is the exploding category.
But it’s not all about resilience. We’ve done a lot of work investing in our Bellawood wood brand. And we’re seeing just great expansion with wider boards – with 6-inch boards, 7-inch boards – new engineered-wood flooring.
So, I think when you look at the overall trend, natural product is coming back and it’s coming back in formats that customers are able to look at, price points that they’ve not seen before, particularly in engineered-wood flooring. It’s beautiful, 7-inch-wide boards, 10-foot-long boards that often only ever showed up in a really premium end of the housing market. And now we’re able to position great-looking floors into everybody’s homes, from a very, very competitive pricing standpoint.
TOM: Charles Tyson, the CEO of LL Flooring.
Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Charles. And continued good luck and congratulations on all the good work you’re doing for both the homeowners and the pros out there, to make their flooring projects everything they dreamed it can be.
CHARLES: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie. I appreciate the time.
LESLIE: Some really cool technology to help people truly visualize and get that order right. We love it.
TOM: Well, are you guys ready to get outside and enjoy some outdoor dining, perhaps on your patio or your deck? Well, if you are, our friends at RiverbendHome.com are ready to give you some great dinnerware to help you do just that. We’ve got the Lucca 12-Piece Melamine Outdoor Dinnerware Set from Certified International to give away to one lucky listener.
LESLIE: Yeah. This Lucca Dinnerware Set is super gorgeous. I mean it’s a colorful dish and it’s made to look like they’re those Italian ceramic dishes that are really brightly colored and have beautiful floral and scrolling patterns on them. You’ve got blues, greens, whites. Super gorgeous and great for any décor outside. They’re durable, they’re heat-resistant. Melamine is virtually unbreakable.
Now, you’re going to get a service for four. That’s four dinner plates, salad plates and bowls. And it’s totally dishwasher-safe.
TOM: It’s available for 79.99 but going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
And 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 can also 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 catch back up with Dot in Arizona who we gave some ideas on her kitchen remodel. And we want to hear how it went.
Dot, what’s going on?
DOT: Our electrician came and he ended up tooling out a hole in the concrete slab and running conduit through it and made our pass-through – what used to be a peninsula, turned it into an island for us. So we got it all solved.
TOM: Oh, that’s great. So, in other words, you were trying to put down laminate floor and you were wondering how to get the wiring from one side of the kitchen over to the island which, by its very nature, is an island. So you had to do that in a way that would be invisible.
DOT: Very good.
TOM: Well, that was probably a lot of work for the electrician but I’m glad it worked out.
DOT: It did. It worked out great. He did a super job. But I listen to your show and I appreciate you guys.
TOM: Alright. Take care. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever tried to strip paint off of a surface, you know that it can be difficult and a really messy project.
Now Clearstrip from Abatron is a great solution. It’s a new, low-odor, environmentally-safe paint-and-varnish remover that’s designed to remove multiple layers in just one application. And that’s really going to save you a ton of time.
TOM: Yeah. And because it’s gel, it clings well to vertical surfaces and absorbs the paint for easy cleanup. Yeah, that’s a problem I’ve had with other paint strippers, because it kind of works its way off of the vertical surfaces and then you’ve got to keep wetting it. This product keeps the paint surface wet for a long time and it continues to loosen the paint long after other strippers have dried out and ceased to be effective.
I also like that it’s easy to use. You just apply it with a brush, a roller or a spreader. You let that gel set for about 30 minutes, then you can remove the paint with a paint scraper.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, Clearstrip isn’t going to raise the wood grain. You can use it inside or outside on most rigid surfaces, including wood, concrete, even brick. And it can remove most paint and varnishes, as well as coatings, like epoxy and polyurethane. This is some durable stuff.
TOM: You’ll find Clearstrip at Abatron.com. That’s A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com.
LESLIE: Joe, you’ve got The Money Pit. Tell us what you need help with.
JOE: Well, I need help with an idea of how to clean the grouting in my kitchen. It’s ceramic tile and the grout has gotten discolored and dark over the years. And I was wondering if there was a product or some kind of solution you could give me to help us clean it?
TOM: So, you have two types of products out there. You have grout cleaners and grout strippers. The grout stripper is usually one that is a lot stronger, in terms of being able to lighten up that grout. The key is that you have to put it on and let it sit for a little bit. So if it’s in your kitchen – is this your kitchen floors or kitchen counters or backsplash? What is it?
JOE: It’s the floor.
TOM: OK. So, yeah, you’ve got to put it on there and let it sit for a bit. And then go ahead and rinse it off. And it does a pretty good job of brightening these things up. There’s a lot of different manufacturers of it. I can’t – I don’t have one that I’m particularly fond of over another but I do encourage you to look for a grout stripper, as opposed to a grout cleaner.
And once you do get it clean, then what you should also do is apply a grout sealer, which is a silicone product that goes over the grout. And that will stop a lot of the dirt from getting back in there. And it’ll keep it brighter for a lot longer.
JOE: OK. That sounds really good. What type of store might I find that? Like a Home Depot, a Lowe’s type store?
TOM: Yes. Yep. A home center, a Home Depot, a Lowe’s, a hardware store.
JOE: OK. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your input and I’m going to definitely get right on that.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jeremy has a dripping faucet and he needs some help. He says, “My outdoor faucet is dripping. I tried to replace the washer but the screw head is too corroded. I think it’s being fed by a copper pipe coming out of the exterior wall. What is the chance of bending that copper pipe if I try to turn the faucet with a wrench?”
TOM: OK. You know, folks think that if you have a drippy faucet, if you turn it tighter and tighter and tighter and maybe take it to extremes and put a wrench on it, it’s somehow going to solve the problem. If it’s dripping, you shouldn’t have to do all that. There is a problem with it right there. Stop right there. Don’t get the wrenches out. Because what are you going to do? Get the wrench out the next time you want to turn it on? No.
You’ve got to replace this faucet. For whatever reason, the valves have failed. You’re talking about corrosion. This is a time to get a new faucet. Now, if you don’t want to do it right now and you want to just leave the faucet alone, there is probably a shutoff valve for that faucet on the other side of that wall. So whether that’s a crawlspace or a basement or even on your first floor – I’ve found these inside bathroom cabinets that were on the exterior wall. Find the shutoff, turn that off and you won’t have to worry about it dripping all summer long.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, Ryan is having trouble getting paint to cover. He says, “My house was built in 1963 and I’m finding that I need to apply one coat of primer and three coats of paint to get that paint to cover. This seems excessive. Should I put on multiple coats of primer? Should I have sanded the trim and doors down first? If so, what grit do I use?”
A lot of questions here.
TOM: Wow. So many questions there and definitely a problem. So, here’s what I think.
First of all, the last question first: what grit. Listen, you’ve got to prep your surfaces before you paint them. So make sure you’re following the instructions on that. Me, I usually use about 150 when I’m trying to rough up some wood for paint.
Now, in terms of the paint, I suspect that whatever paint you’re using is not very good paint. You shouldn’t need three coats of paint to cover it. It’s not the kind of thing that you want to try to sort of bargain-shop. I would use a name-brand paint, like Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore. You’ll find that it’ll get much better coverage with one coat of primer and perhaps one coat of paint. But two at the max. Three? That’s just crazy.
LESLIE: Yeah, I recently painted Charlie’s room green. I mean he picked it but that took several coats, as well. I wonder if it’s the color, the saturation. But a good-quality paint is going to get you good coverage.
TOM: Well, if you’d like to save some energy and same some money this summer, one of the ways you can do that is by updating your landscaping. Leslie explains why and how, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Well, chances are if you’ve got a green thumb, you’re already super busy planting, gardening. You have to remember, though, that a well-designed landscape can actually help you lower your energy bills all year long. Plus, it can help you cut your water use. You’re like, “But a garden. I’m going to use more water.” Now, listen, as a homeowner you can save energy and money by following these simple tips.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the careful placement of shade trees and shrubs can reduce a home or office heating-and-cooling cost by 15 to 50 percent. That is huge. That’s a big difference there. Air-conditioning units that are shaded by trees or shrubs are going to use up to 10-percent less electricity than units that sit in the blazing sun. And neighborhoods that have a lot of shade trees can be up to 6 degrees cooler in the summer.
Now, mulch is also going to help and it isn’t just for keeping the weeds at bay and making your garden look attractive. It actually keeps your plant cool and it minimizes evaporation. So when you do water the plants, it will stay there and do its job.
You also want to be smart about when you water your lawn. You always want to water in the morning, when it’s cooler. Less evaporation is going to occur then, which means you’re going to get less water usage. Plants are going to be happy. Your wallet’s going to be happy. All great tips for the summer season.
TOM: Good advice.
Next time on the program, even the best-built decks can’t escape the elements. The sun, the rain, even bugs can damage your deck’s surfaces. But a good finish, properly applied, can keep Mother Nature at bay. We’ll tell you how to do just that, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(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.)