- Outdoor kitchens have never been more popular — but cooking and dining outside require special recipes of their own. We’ll have tips for easiest way to build an amazing outdoor kitchen.
- Spring storms can turn everyday objects into projectiles that can-do serious damage to your home. Learn how a DIY inspection that can help you spot small repairs before they grow into big problems.
- Did you know that slips and falls cause more than 1 million visits to the emergency room each year? We’ll share a super durable new anti-slip products that can make both indoor and outdoor surfaces safer and more attractive.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Kelly from Texas wants to know how to properly vent his attic.
- Dawn in Florida is curious how to retexture her ceiling.
- Charles from Ohio needs durable landscaping that can handle his dogs.
- Cynthia in New York wants to know what the correct price should be for waterproofing.
- Olen from North Carolina is wondering if PEX or ONIX piping is better for his radiant flooring.
- Judy in Florida has wants to restore her laminate countertop.
- David from Texas has rotting wood siding towards the bottom of his house and needs a replacement.
- Gayla in Washington is looking for cooling solutions for her home.
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 doing? What are you working on? Are you outside working on your house, your yard, your deck, your patio? You sprucing it up? We’re spending more and more time outside as the weather gets warmer and if you’ve got a project you need to get done, you’re in the right place because we are here to help. We’ve got our sleeves rolled up. We’re ready to pitch in and lend a hand. If you’ve got questions on how to take on a job around your house, inside or out, reach out to us.
Couple of ways to do that. You can post your question on The Money Pit app for the fastest reply. That is at MoneyPit.com/Ask. MoneyPit.com/Ask. Or you could call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, outdoor-living spaces have never been more popular and that includes outdoor kitchens. But cooking and dining do require some sort of special recipes of their own. We’re going to have some tips for designing an amazing outdoor-kitchen space.
LESLIE: And spring storms can turn everyday objects into projectiles that can do serious damage to your home. So we’ve got some tips on a DIY inspection that can help you spot small repairs before they grow into big problems.
TOM: And hey, guys, did you know that slips and falls cause more than a million visits to emergency rooms every year? So we’re going to share a super durable, new anti-slip product that can make both indoor and outdoor surfaces safer and more attractive.
LESLIE: But first, we’re here to help you create your best home ever. So help yourself first by reaching out with your home improvement questions. Whatever you are working on this almost-summer season – I know we’re still a little bit away but I just want to get to the warm, warm weather. You know me. I like it either hot or cold, not the in between. So, whatever you are working on to make your summer fantastic at your money pit, let us give you a hand.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The quickest way to get your question answered is by posting it to MoneyPit.com/Ask.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Kelly in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KELLY: Yeah, I have a Craftsman-style home and it has ridge vents. But I had an energy audit just this spring and the energy audit said, “Kelly, you don’t have any soffit vents in your – around your eaves.”
TOM: Yeah. Hmm.
KELLY: Well, I don’t really have eaves. All of my roof ends in these exposed rafters. It does have gables and so he said, “You need to vent this house. Your house – your attic is not properly ventilated because you don’t have any way for the air to get in the bottom.”
TOM: OK. So you have no soffit. Is that correct? Basically, it terminates?
KELLY: That’s correct.
TOM: So here’s the solution, OK? There’s a type of vent called a “drip-edge vent.” And what a drip-edge vent does is it essentially extends the roof line by all of about 2 inches. And that 2 inch becomes an overhang at the edge that provides the intake ventilation for the soffit.
So, if you go the website for AirVent.com – it’s the Air Vent Corporation – take a look at the product selection there. Look at the Drip-Edge Vent and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Now, to do this, you’re going to end up taking off the bottom course of shingles and maybe even putting two shingles in its place, because you’re going to have to actually physically extend the roof by a couple of inches. But done right, you will install that soffit that you don’t have and you won’t notice it from the outside. So you’re not going to physically notice a difference in terms of the architectural style of your house but you will provide that all-important space for intake ventilation.
KELLY: OK. Appreciate it.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Dawn in Florida who appears to be a texture junkie looking to retexture a ceiling.
Dawn, I think this a first. How can we help you?
DAWN: My house is about a year-and-a-half old and when they textured the ceiling, it’s a light orange peel, same thing they did on the walls. And they said it would be easier and more economical to do that than to try to do a slick coat on my ceiling. I don’t think that’s true. Instead now, a year-and-a-half later into it, then I noticed that you can still see the mud marks.
Well, I’ve been doing a lot of research on painting and they have all this Venetian plaster and all these different techniques. And I also got to wondering if I could do that on a ceiling – the same wall technique on a ceiling.
TOM: What does the ceiling look like right now? Like how deep is the texture that you have?
DAWN: Very light. It is a very light orange peel but you can still see the tape and the mudding. Late at night, I look up there and I’m like, “I can still see the lines where the drywall goes together.” So, you can definitely see it raised.
TOM: I’m concerned that even if you do put the Venetian plaster kind of paint on that, that it might not be thick enough. Because if you can see the tape and the mud, it means that the ceiling was never properly spackled. And if it wasn’t properly spackled, you’re likely to see that through no matter what you do.
DAWN: Well, what do you think I should do? You think I should hire somebody to come in and just redo my ceilings? It’s not a very big house. It’s actually an ICF-construction house. It’s got solid concrete walls with rebar. And so it’s very solidly built and I went through a lot of trouble to have it done so a hurricane couldn’t blow me away. But I want it to look good on the inside, as well.
TOM: ICF stands for insulated concrete forms, for those in our audience that have never heard that term used. And it’s a tremendous way to build a house because it is hurricane-proof. Literally, all the things that get thrown around in a hurricane will not pierce the outside of the house. You’d be surprised how quick a 2×4 could be jammed right through a building that’s made with wood siding or even vinyl siding. Could be even worse.
And the ceiling itself, if it wasn’t completely spackled, I’m concerned that if you put anything on top of that, it’s going to show through. So I would suggest then – what you might want to do is to sand – have somebody come in and sand those areas that are not properly spackled. Do a good job spackling them and then lightly sand the whole thing, put a good coat of primer over it and then – because this is a repair, it’s not going to be as smooth as if it wasn’t a repair. So then you could use a plaster paint – a Venetian plaster or a textured paint – as a final step. Does that make sense?
DAWN: OK. Well, I think we’re on the same page and I appreciate it.
LESLIE: Charles in Ohio is on the line and is dealing with some dogs that like to just eat away at the yard. What’s going on?
CHARLES: I was wondering if there’s an economical way to fix my problem I’m having in my backyard. I have a fence that’s square-shaped in the back of my yard, if you count the back of the house. I have two dogs and they like to run from one side of the house to the other, leaving a mud path – hardened, baked path – from one side of the house to the other. And I’m looking for a way to fix that that would be easy on my pocketbook.
TOM: OK. So, can we control the dogs so that they won’t wear it out again if we restore the lawn?
CHARLES: No. The dogs, they – any time they see anything come across in front of our house, they like to run from one side to the other. So without chaining them up, which defeats the purpose of our fence, we like to let them run free.
TOM: You know what? A couple of things come to mind, one of which is that the kind of grass that you have there – I was thinking, Leslie, that something like a zoysia grass might be a little bit tougher.
LESLIE: I mean it is very, very durable.
Now, the other thing I was thinking – is this directly in the front of your house or is it on the side of your house?
CHARLES: The fence is in the back of the house, so basically it’s a big smiley face from the left side of the house to the right side because they run around the – my deck.
LESLIE: I was going to say if there’s a way to make a slate pathway or some sort of stone that obviously would change the look of the yard itself but would give you an area that’s not going to be constantly scratched away at.
CHARLES: That sounds very feasible.
LESLIE: And that’s not difficult to do. You can completely create a pathway using some edger or you can get remnants of slate at any sort of stone yard. You can think about a ton of different ways to do it. Pavers. You can pick a price point and stick to it.
CHARLES: That sounds great. Will the dogs, because I put stone back there, stay off of that and create a new path or will that not affect the dogs at all?
TOM: I don’t think so. I think the dogs want to run against that fence, so they’ll probably try to get as close to it as possible.
CHARLES: That sounds great. I sure do appreciate it. I’ll look into some stone work then that – where I can make a smiley face going – back of my house.
TOM: Alright, Charles. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cynthia calling in from Brooklyn, New York is dealing with some wet-basement issues. Tell us what’s going on.
CYNTHIA: I have a question I want to ask you about the waterproofing for the basement. Because I live here in a flood zone and then we had Hurricane Irene and was greatly affected by that.
CYNTHIA: So I had one company come in and they were asking like 21,000 – a little over 21,000 – to do that waterproofing. Does that sound reasonable or whatever going down there with that company?
TOM: Absolutely, completely not reasonable.
Now, the water problem that you had was associated with the hurricane?
CYNTHIA: Yes, yes.
TOM: The reason the water came in was because it was sourced on the outside of your house. In other words, when you have heavy rain like that, your gutters become overwhelmed. They dump a lot of water right at the foundation and then pretty soon the soil can’t handle the water and it drains into the house. And so I’m sure this is what happened.
And if you’re only getting water when you have really heavy rain conditions like that, then you absolutely, positively do not need to spend $20,000-plus on a system to pump water out of your basement. What you do need to do, on a regular basis, is to make sure, first of all, that your gutters are – that they exist, that you have them, that they’re clean, that the downspouts dump the water at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house and even more than that or run them through underground pipes and take them out. And then your grading around the house, the angle of the soil slopes away. Those two things will go a long way towards preventing any further wet-basement problems.
The problem with the waterproofers is this: they don’t make money by selling you gutter-cleaning services and extending downspouts; they only make money when they come in with their jackhammers and tear up basement floors and put in drain tile and sump pumps. And they do it whether you need it or not. And in this case, you don’t need it because you told me that this only happened when you had an extraordinary weather event like that. And that means you absolutely don’t need that service. What you do need is to make sure your drainage conditions are set up on the outside of your house. Does that make sense?
CYNTHIA: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Saved another one from the perils of the waterproofing contractor.
If you look at our website, Leslie, and you look at all the articles I’ve written about this and look at all the comments …
LESLIE: They’re all from waterproofing contractors.
TOM: Oh, they hate me. Oh, they totally hate me because I take business away from them, because I tell people the truth. They don’t – you don’t need sump pumps, you don’t need drain tile. All you need is clean gutters. It’s very, very simple.
LESLIE: Well, outdoor-living spaces have never been more popular and that includes outdoor kitchens. But designing an outdoor kitchen is different than designing an indoor-cooking and even an indoor-prep space. So we’ve got some tips to help, in today’s Home Solution Tip presented by Angi.
TOM: Now, first up, there are definitely key differences between indoor and outdoor kitchens.
For example, adding power to an outdoor kitchen requires special outlets to be protected from the elements and to prevent shocks. And plumbing has to be set up so it can be easily drained in the off-season. And even the appliances you choose, like a refrigerator, that has to be rated for outdoor use. It’s a different refrigeration system when it’s running in temperatures that are going to have that kind of a range, compared to the ones that you use inside your house.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the first step though, guys, is to figure out the location. If you’ve got an existing patio, that’s a great foundation for an outdoor kitchen. You can add some heavy stone counters and a grill without making any structural modifications. Decks, on the other hand, are going to require added support, because everything in this outdoor kitchen is going to weigh a lot.
Now, you want to choose a location that’s not too far from your home, to keep back-and-forth runs minimal. And outdoor kitchens are almost always social spaces, so you want to make sure to plan space for all of those extra helpers.
TOM: Next, think about the electricity and the plumbing work, even if it’s just for task lighting or appliances. The electricity is definitely nice to have but you’re going to need an experienced electrician. And all the circuits need to be ground-fault protected because with GFCIs, you’ll have the option to protect the circuit at the electrical panel or at the outlet. And in this case, I say it’s best to do it at the panel because this way, you don’t have to hunt around for an outlet to hit that Reset button. And it covers the entire circuit.
Now, for plumbing, stainless-steel sinks work best outdoors because they don’t corrode. Now, unless you plan on washing dishes or vegetables outside, you’re only going to need a cold-water supply line. And be sure to install a shutoff valve inside the house so you can drain the line in the winter. If you do add hot water, also be sure to insulate the entire line.
LESLIE: Now, lastly, you’ve got to think about the cooking. Now, most of your outdoor kitchens include a gas or a charcoal grill. If your home already runs on gas, maybe you can plan to run a gas line to that grill designed to run on natural gas. For propane, you want to plan on incorporating a space wide enough so that a 20-pound propane tank and room for a spare is right there with that grill. This way, you’ll always have that spare tank to switch if you’re running out in the middle of a meal, which happens far more often than you think. So I love to have a spare tank around.
TOM: All the time.
Alright. Outdoor kitchens can definitely have a positive effect on your home’s value, as well. So, for more tips on how to design a kitchen that works for you, visit the Solution Center at Angi.com.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Home Solution Tip presented by Angi. When it comes to home projects, they know you want to nail it every time. Angi does the heavy lifting for you with top pros who get the job done right. Download the Angi app today.
Now we’ve got Olen in North Carolina on the line who needs some help with a radiant floor-system project. Tell us what you’re working on. Are you doing this yourself?
OLEN: Yeah, I am a do-it-yourselfer kind of guy and I’m going to just do the rough end of the tubing myself. I’m going to leave the pumps and whatnot to the professionals. But it’s sort of smart to let the – to have somebody to do the hard stuff for you. But I figure I can do the tubing myself.
And my question regards the choice between PEX and Onix tubing and about cost-effectiveness.
OLEN: And which one is more appropriate for my region? I’m in North Carolina.
LESLIE: Well, what type of subfloor are you working with?
OLEN: I’m going to be working on my existing, open floor joists and 16-inch centers, so I’ve got plenty of space under there to staple up either the aluminum plates or to put up the rubberized Onix material.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And what’s going to be your flooring?
OLEN: Above it, I will have a hardwood floor and in some areas, I’m going to be putting down the cement board and tile on top.
LESLIE: OK. Now, when you’re dealing with radiant flooring with hardwood, you have to make sure that the certain type of hardwood you buy is appropriate for radiant. And it depends on the way the graining is cut. And I forget exactly what it’s called but you have to make sure you buy the correct type of grain, the way the piece of flooring for the wood itself is cut. Otherwise, you’re going to get a lot of shifting and movement just due to the nature of the heating.
OLEN: Right. I hear that the PEX tends to cause a little bit more expansion and contraction in the tubing itself. And my floor is actually existing pine floor; it’s only a certain area where I’ll be putting in the cement board and the tile.
TOM: Well, look, I think that either product, as long as it’s installed consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions, is going to be fine. PEX is really the more common, known product for this and we’ve seen it in many, many houses. PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene. Onix is cross-linked EPDM, so it’s another formulation for a radiant-tubing product.
Personally, I would use PEX only because it seems to have the history. I know that Onix was used a lot on outdoor applications for snow melting and that sort of thing. But because it’s inside the house and because it’s got such a great reputation, I would use PEX. And I have seen PEX become very, very indestructible when it comes to its ability to work with all sorts of conditions inside the house.
In fact, I saw a demonstration once. One thing that’s cool about PEX is the memory that it has. You can heat this stuff and stretch it to twice its length and let it go and it goes back to its original shape. So it retains its original shape.
So it’s a pretty impressive product and I think it’s got the history. And that’s what I think I would trust if I was going to go radiant in my house.
OLEN: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Judy in Florida is on the line with a countertop situation. What happened? You scraped it? You cut it? What’d you do?
JUDY: The previous owners had painted it and I took a razor blade and went up under it and I was able to get all of that paint off. But evidently, they sanded the tops and I would like to bring some life back into the top.
LESLIE: So, wait, is it wood? Is it butcher block? Is it laminate?
JUDY: It’s laminate, yes. And it’s in good shape. It’s just that it’s dull. It’s got the marble look.
LESLIE: You’ve got a couple of options. You could paint it again. There are several different companies that make a laminate painting kit. Rust-Oleum has a couple of different products: Modern Masters and – oh, Tom, there was that one we saw in Vegas. It’s named after the guy’s daughter; it’s got two marbling kits in it.
JUDY: Yeah, I have seen that and I prefer not to do that. I read an article somewhere – and I cannot find the article – that said that you could use car wax, paste wax and buff it?
JUDY: Would that look – the countertop looks fine; it just needs a gloss. I don’t want a real high gloss; I just want it to look better.
TOM: Well, there’s no reason you couldn’t use the car wax. It’s not all – except that I wouldn’t want my food to be in contact with it. But other than that, I think it – probably OK.
JUDY: That’s a good idea, surely. Well, I thank you for your time, your suggestions.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
JUDY: I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, despite all of the delays, it’s both the baseball season and the spring-storm season, either of which could cause a baseball or a branch to fly through a window in your home. Now, if you’ve lost a window due to a storm or a neighborhood Little Leaguer or my kids, chances are …
TOM: Heck of a swing. Heck of a swing that kid’s got.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. Listen, whatever happened, it is important to know how to clean up that mess safely and then the options for getting that broken window fixed.
First of all, don’t try to knock out that remaining glass in the frame. You want to use safety gloves and remove the loose and fallen pieces of glass. Now, to clean up small particles of glass, you want to take several thicknesses of wet paper towels and then kind of blot up those pieces of glass. And then throw that towel away. Don’t reuse it. Don’t try to refold it and do another area. You’re just going to go through a lot of paper towels.
Now, cloth towels, sponges, mops, anything that’s fibrous or has a lot of nooks and crannies, don’t use those because they can pick up those tiny pieces of glass and then just kind of hold onto them for ages. And then, that’s terrible for any other surface or you. It’s just not good.
TOM: Now, when it comes to replacing broken glass, it really depends on the type of window. If it’s an old, single-pane window, that can definitely be a DIY project. But today, it’s much more likely that the window is made with insulated, multi-pane glass that’s been vacuum-sealed and then filled with an insulating gas like argon, for example.
Now, for those, it is definitely best for you to go to a manufacturer. If you can identify the original manufacturer, that’s a great place. If not, there are replacement-window companies that can make just the insulated glass panel for you and then replace it in whole, because you really can’t fix that yourself. Even if you were able to replace one side of the glass, it just wouldn’t work right. The window would always be fogging and it would just look terrible.
So, that’s definitely a pro project for an install. But watch out for those flying baseballs and also those spring storms, as well, because the wind really whips out.
I mean we had 60-mile-an-hour winds here, just in the middle of the day, a couple of days ago. And I was making sure that the cans – the trash cans and stuff like that – were kind of tied down, because it really can pick stuff up and send it flying. And we want to make sure that your windows, your roof shingle, all the things that tear off and break around your house are not in the way.
LESLIE: David in Texas is dealing with some rotting wood. Tell us what’s going on.
DAVID: I have an area on my house. I removed my siding and there’s a low spot where the porch meets my house. And the water stayed there and it rotted out my siding and I pulled it off. The bottom lower plate is also rotted.
DAVID: And I dug all of it out – all the dry rot out – and I was wondering what would be the best to put in there.
TOM: OK. So, where the siding reached the porch, that all rotted. And because the water was sitting there, it actually went into the frame itself and rotted out the sill plate of the wall?
TOM: OK. So where have you – have you exposed the wall from the porch side? So is the siding torn off there?
DAVID: Right. I pulled off the bottom sheet of siding.
TOM: So, what you have to do here is a little wall surgery. You have to cut out that sill – the rotted area of sill – and you have to slip a new sill underneath the studs. Is that possible from that side?
DAVID: I don’t think so. I was wondering if there was some type of composite I could put in there.
TOM: Well, the thing is the sill is a member of the structure, OK? So the studs would sit on top of the sill and the sill sits on top of the foundation. So you can’t really fill the sill or – like you would, say, a rotted piece of wood that you fill with wood putty, because it’s not going to be structurally sound. If the area underneath the stud itself is not compressed and rotted out, then maybe you could just walk away from it and leave it alone now that you fixed the leak issue. But if it’s structurally damaged, the only thing you can do is dig that out.
We see damaged sills all the time with termite infestation, for example. Now, usually, it’s easiest to do this from the inside of the house.
Is the house on a basement?
DAVID: No, it doesn’t have a basement.
TOM: So it’s on a crawlspace or a slab?
DAVID: It’s on a slab.
TOM: OK. Yeah, really, what you have to do is remove the siding. You can use a tool called a Sawzall. You know what that is? A reciprocating saw? And you can reach into the wall with that, cut out the old sill, slip in a new sill and put it all back together. That’s the way – the right way to do that repair.
DAVID: Alright. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, floor surfaces contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year. And most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation.
TOM: Now, to help make sure these surfaces are safer, you can apply an anti-slip coating. And there’s a new one out from our coatings partner, Daich Coatings, that makes your surfaces safer and they look better at the same time.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. It’s called TracSafe Anti-Slip Color Coat. And it’s the newest addition to Daich Coatings’ TracSafe Anti-Slip product line.
Now, TracSafe is a great choice for all kinds of potentially slippery surfaces around your house. You can use the TracSafe on stairs, porches, walkways, pool decks or even your garage and your workshop floors.
TOM: Yep. And once it’s applied, TracSafe forms a tough, attractive and slip-resistant barrier that totally stands up but also gives surfaces that are worn a refreshed look. And it’s going to protect them from weather and foot traffic going forward.
LESLIE: Plus, it comes in five colors and it’s really as easy to apply as paint. Just roll on two quick coats of Color Coat, followed by a coat of Daich TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer. And your surfaces will look great and be safer than ever.
TOM: TracSafe Anti-Slip Color Coat from Daich Coatings is available at Home Depot, Lowe’s and DaichCoatings.com. That’s D-a-i-c-h-Coatings.com.
LESLIE: Gayla (sp) in Washington is on the line looking for some cooling solutions. How can we help you today?
GAYLA (sp): So we’re looking at installing air conditioning into our home. And we’re in the Seattle area, so it doesn’t get hot here too much – maybe like 1 to 1½ months out of the year – but we really need it during that time. And so, we’re not sure if we really want to go the central-air route to get a full system or if – like if we could – we have a gas furnace. If we could get a gas one – or they also talked about heating pumps. We just don’t really know what the options are and what’s going to be the best investment in our money but also going to be effective during those hot months.
TOM: OK. How big is your house, Gayla (sp)?
GAYLA (sp): It’s about 2,700 square feet.
TOM: Oh. And you want the entire house cool and comfortable and done evenly?
GAYLA (sp): Yeah, pretty much. The downstairs is already relatively cool but not the upstairs at all.
TOM: And you have a forced-air system right now?
GAYLA (sp): Yes.
TOM: Look, there’s no easy way to do this. You’re going to either get a central air-conditioning system or you’re not. If you had a smaller house or you had maybe just some limited, uncomfortable areas in the house, then what we might recommend is called a “mini-split ductless,” which can be used for zones in the house and big zones, like a two-room combination kind of a thing. But I don’t think – you’re not – certainly not going to be able to evenly cool the entire first floor or the entire second floor of the house with a mini-split ductless. And frankly, you’d end up needing so many of them that it would be more expensive than putting in a central A/C system.
So, what we would tell you to do is to go ahead and install a traditional central air-conditioning system, to make sure that the home is sized properly. And so the HVAC contractor can do a heat-loss calculation and figure out exactly how many BTUs you need, in terms of cooling power, to deliver cool temperatures on the hottest days of the summer.
You also want to make sure that the system that you use is an ENERGY STAR-certified system, because that’s going to make a big difference in how much this is going to actually cost you to operate. The good news is is that the system is probably going to last twice as long as any other system in another part of the country because you’re going to use it half as much.
But there’s no inexpensive way to do this, even though you’re only using it for 2 months of the year. You’re still going to have to put in a central system with all the work that goes with that: buying the compressor, buying the evaporator coil, the condensing coil, the condensing pump, all that sort of thing. It’s a job, you know? So it’s going to be several thousand dollars to do this. But I would encourage you to make sure that you do it right and use the most energy-efficient system possible so it reduces your operating cost.
And also find out from your local utility whether or not there are any rebates available to you for using energy-efficient equipment. There very well may be; there’s an awful lot of them scattered about across the country.
GAYLA (sp): OK. Great. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Gayla (sp)? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Whatever you are working on, we can lend a hand.
Jack wrote in saying, “We own a 1920s-era tract home with floor-structure issues in both the bath and the kitchen. House is in need of a complete and major remodel with new kitchen and bath. What are the best steps to take to ensure we plan for the right work to be done the right way?”
TOM: You know, first of all, that sounds like a really great project, Jack. And you are correct to be concerned about starting and ending this the right way. My best advice would be to suggest that you enlist the help of an architect. Residential architects are a terrific resource to help with laying out the spaces of a project. And this way, when it comes to hiring the contractor, you’re already better positioned because you’re going to know exactly what the project is going to entail. You’ll have a specification that includes the scope of the project, the timeframe, the budget. And you can be sure that all the contractors are bidding sort of apples to apples.
Now, the architect can also help with planning for tricky spaces – as well as very specific rooms, like kitchens and baths – and also give you some good advice on any work that might require any kind of structural consideration, including sometimes you need to have an engineer step in to tackle those parts of it.
So, a good place to start would be with professional organizations like the American Institute of Architects, which offer specific certifications, in many areas, to its member. So, I think that’s the best way for you to get going on this project and make sure it comes out right.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a question here from Kat who has a home with multiple large windows. She says, “They let in a ton of natural light and we love it. However, with that light comes added heat. We’ve heard about the window film and it claims to block the heat while allowing light through. Does it really work to reduce the heat without restricting the amount of light?”
TOM: Yeah. That’s a pretty common problem. And the window film today is just amazing stuff. I mean it can block very specific parts of the UV light that comes through, including the parts that generate heat. But remember, it’s a two-way street. Those windows are going to be blocked from excessive heat in the summer but you’re also not going to have any sunlight warming you in the winter.
I remember one time, Leslie – I don’t know if you remember this – we had a question from a lady who had – was really upset because she had replaced all her windows. And she always was used to sitting in this one chair at her kitchen table and now she’s cold because she no longer felt the heat in the winter, the sun coming through. I’m like, “Well, that’s kind of part of the job or the deal.”
LESLIE: It’s doing its job.
TOM: That’s right, yeah. So, just remember that.
But in terms of blocking the light, no, the window films today, they’re not just the dark ones you used to see on streetcars, for example. These are – come in a wide variety of densities. They can be perfectly clear, have no blocking whatsoever.
I tell you what else they’re good for and that is to protect your furnishings, right, Les?
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. It really does help a lot because if you’ve got a nice piece of upholstered furniture sitting by a window and that sun is beating in all day, you’re going to notice that certain sections of that sofa or furniture or whatever it is that gets subjected to that light all day is going to be a different shade. And there’s really nothing you can do about it. The sun is bleaching out that fabric.
So when you add these films or change the glass in your window when you replace a window, you are definitely doing the service of protecting the furniture, which is a big investment. Your floors, the drapes. So much stuff gets bleached out, so there’s benefits all around.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show coming to you on a beautiful spring weekend. At least we hope it’s beautiful where you are and that you’re inspired to take on projects both inside and outside your house. Because if you get stuck, if you need some help, if you want us to lend a hand, that’s what we do.
You can reach out to us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions at MoneyPit.com/Ask.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2022 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)