- If your outdoor concrete patio is old, worn, or cracked, there’s an easy way to give it a new look with pavers that can be installed right over the existing surface. We’ll give you the info you need for this DIY project.
- Cleaning bathroom mold and mildew is a chore you can avoid with a few easy preventive steps. Find out how to keep mold away with these smart bathroom ventilation tips.
- Leftover paint can be great for touchups and new projects, but how can you tell if it’s still good to use? We’ve got tips on how to properly store leftover paint so it will last.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Painting Vinyl Siding: Is there a good way to paint vinyl siding? David learns what kind of exterior paint to use and how to apply it so he can change the color of his home.
- Foggy Glass Doors: Condensation between the panes of an insulated glass door can ruin the view. We’ve got advice for Pam on how to clear things up.
- Site-Built vs. Modular Home Construction: Michael wants to know which is the better home building option. We share the pros and cons of both traditional site-built construction and modular homes.
- Silencing a Squeaky Door: Squeaky doors can be annoying, especially when oil and new hinges don’t do the trick. Sandy finds out another way to silence a persistent problem with upgraded hinges.
- Solar Panel Installation: Rick is looking for advice on installing solar panels on his property instead of on his roof. Tom shares some concerns about the true savings of solar panels and what to be aware of when researching different companies.
- Basement Foundation Cracks: Significant cracks in basement walls have Dixie concerned and for good reason. Tom offers info on when a structural engineer is needed and what to do next.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this beautiful summer weekend? If it’s your house, you’re in the right place because that’s what we’re doing, too. At least that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days. I’ve been building a laundry room in a house that didn’t have one. And trying to connect with the old plumbing in an old house? Oh, man. You know the analogy about pulling a string out of an old jacket? It either comes out clean or just keeps unraveling? We had a lot of both in this project. You take one pipe apart and something else breaks down the line. But anyway, we got it done because you’ve got to just kind of stick to it with these old houses.
And we’re going to stick to taking on your home improvement questions, helping you with projects you want to get done around your money pit. Help yourself first by reaching out to us. Just go to MoneyPit.com, click on the blue microphone button and record your question. Or you can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve got a concrete patio that’s pretty beat up, there actually is no need to replace it. We’re going to share a new way to give years of life to worn patios that’s really easy to do.
LESLIE: And no one likes cleaning mold and mildew in a bathroom. But that job can be made a bit easier if the moisture from a shower or bathtub is vented. We’re going to share some tips for a mold-free bath.
TOM: And have you ever tried to use paint leftover from an earlier project, only to find it looking kind of chucky, chunky and disgusting maybe when you try to pry open the lid? Well, we’re going to share tips on the best ways to save paint after a project and when it’s actually time to go ahead and can those paint cans.
LESLIE: But first, we’re here to help you tackle your to-dos with confidence. And we may even give you some tools to help get that job done.
TOM: That’s right. We’ve got the Summer Project Pack from Arrow going out to one lucky listener. It’s the GT300 High-Temp Glue Gun and the TacMate Staple Gun worth 65 bucks. If you want to win it, you’ve got to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement questions or post them at MoneyPit.com. Again, that number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get started. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got David in Arkansas on the line who needs some help with a painting question, specifically about vinyl siding.
What’s going on, David?
DAVID: Yeah, I’m purchasing a new home in – it’s North Little Rock, Arkansas. And the upper part of the house is vinyl siding and the lower part is brick.
DAVID: I don’t like the color of the vinyl siding. So I was wondering if I could paint that.
TOM: Yeah. There are paints that are available for vinyl siding. It’s a very specialized kind of paint. You want to make sure that you’re buying the right one.
The key with painting a siding – vinyl siding – is it’s got to adhere, it’s got to stick. You need to use what’s called a “high-bond primer.” By bonding, we mean sticking. So you use a high-bond primer first and then you use a topcoat on top of that.
Now, that said, you’re not going to get 20 years out of this. It’s going to probably be a typical 7, 8 years of life out of the paint job. But you definitely can paint it. I would recommend that you spray-paint this. You can either – you can do this yourself. You can buy your own spray painter. Wagner makes one for 300, 400 bucks. You can buy a good-quality one and spray the house yourself. Or you can hire a pro, because it is very difficult to get paint where it has to be when you’re dealing with vinyl siding and all those nooks and crannies, if you know what I mean. So, I think it’s best applied by a spray.
DAVID: OK. Sounds good. I appreciate the advice.
LESLIE: Pam in Maryland, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAM: Off of my master bedroom, it has a small deck out there. Apparently, the seal has broken. It’s two pieces of glass that had some sort of, I don’t know, some sort of thing inside of it. And it’s now looking really milky. I’m wondering if I can replace it by getting another glass door or can I replace the glass alone?
TOM: OK. So what’s happening is you have insulated glass and that seal between the panes of glass is called “swiggle.” And when the swiggle fails, then moisture gets in there between the panes of glass and then you get condensation, which is that white, milky, yucky appearance to the glass.
Now, it impacts the energy efficiency in some way but other than that, it’s pretty much just cosmetic. And I say that because it’s not an easy fix. You have to replace the sliding-glass door or replace the glass. And it’s probably less expensive to simply replace the door itself. You get a good-quality Pella or Andersen sliding-glass door there and you’re not going to have to worry about glass that fails for a very, very, very long time. And I think that that is probably the best way to attack that problem. Either live with it and accept the fact that it’s going to be yucky-looking or replace it with a new, good-quality slider.
PAM: OK. Sounds good. Well, thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Pam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, no matter what you’re working on, we’ve got a great reason for you to reach out to us with questions, because we’d love to help. We’d also love to give you a Summer Fun Pack from Arrow. It includes two tools: the GT300 Professional High-Temp Glue Gun and the TacMate Staple Gun.
Now, that glue gun is a high-temp glue gun. It’s heavy duty, it’s durable. It’s great for pro and DIY home repair applications. It heats up fast and it’s got a drip-resistant nozzle. Going out to one caller, along with the TacMate Staple Gun.
The package is worth 65 bucks. If you’d like to win it, give us a call with your home improvement questions. We’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and we might just be sending you that Summer Fun Project Pack from Arrow Fastener. The number, again: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions by clicking the blue microphone button on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Michael in South Carolina is on the line and has some questions about how homes should be built.
Tell us about it.
MICHAEL: What is better: to have a stick-built house or a modular home built house – a modular built house?
TOM: Yeah. So that’s a great question and I think they can both be just fine ways to build a home. Let’s explain stick-built for those that are under – that don’t understand what we’re talking about here.
So, a stick-built is the way a home is normally built. Basically, it’s built one stick at a time. So, one beam at a time, one stud at a time. It’s built on the ground.
A modular home, on the other hand, is usually factory-built. And when it’s factory-built, you have some advantages in terms of buying power and quality of lumber and accuracy of cuts. It’s usually shipped to the lot in – there’s different types of modular. It could be one building, it could be in sections. Typically, the truck that brings it also has a crane attached to it and drops these pieces in one at a time.
But basically, it’s pre-built as much as is possible. Typically, you may have to frame the floor on top of the foundation, which is site-built, and then the modular construction kind of drops in place on top of that. You know, one of the advantages is also that it goes together pretty quickly in terms of the frame.
But I think that both ways of building a home, the outside always goes together quick and you kind of, as a consumer, think, “Ah, look, it looks like a house. I must be close.” Well, that’s just the very beginning because it’s all the work inside that really takes the time.
So I think they’re both good ways to build a house. I don’t think one is instantly better than another but I think they’re both very viable options.
Are you leaning one way or the other?
MICHAEL: Well, I was leaning – I was sort of leaning towards modular because of the – they are very sturdy because of the way they’re built. They’re a heavier build than a stick build. So, being down here on Hilton Head Island, I was thinking about building – because we’re going to build on the marsh, I was thinking about building – having the modular home built because of – just because of the strength of it. Because they say that these have to take a hurricane force just to drive over the road with those modulars, so …
TOM: Yeah, OK. But you can build a stick-built house to withstand hurricanes, as well. And if you’re building on a marsh, whether you have stick-built or modular, what’s really going to be important is that foundation. It’s probably going to be a piling foundation, if it’s on a marsh. Either one is an option.
And because you are going to be in a hurricane area – by the way, that sort of brings up another point of conversation. And that is, there’s a building code called Miami Dade Code. It’s well regarded as the most durable building code in the nation for building homes that can stand up to weather. So, you don’t have to be in Miami to use it. But there’s some very specific elements to that that talk about the type of roof shingle, that has to be a high-wind roof shingle, and the most appropriate siding materials and whether or not you want to have windows that are impact-resistant.
So there’s a lot to hurricane-resistant construction and you might want to dig into – look up some articles on Miami Dade Code and some of the features and benefits. Because I think that’s something you should educate yourself on if you’re going to build in that area.
MICHAEL: OK. That sounds great. Thank you for giving me that information.
LESLIE: Sandy in Florida is dealing with a squeaky door. Tell us what’s going on.
SANDY: Well, we’ve had this squeaky door now for 3 years. We’ve tried putting oil on it, we tried using WD-40. And then we went out and bought three new hinges and put on it. And it still is a squeaky door.
TOM: Are these hinges sort of standard hinges?
SANDY: Yes. It’s just three standard hinges.
TOM: So what you might want to do is go out and buy some ball-bearing hinges. There are some upgraded hinges. They’re often used on heavier doors but they rely on ball bearings to open and close instead of just the metal sitting on top of the metal. There’s actually bearings there that the different sides of the door will ride on. And those will be absolutely quiet and they’ll last forever.
SANDY: Wow. Where would they carry those?
TOM: Well, I would expect that you would find them – you may need to go to a home center and order them. Go to the millworks section of a home center, bring an old hinge along and try to order a ball-bearing hinge to match it. Or your hardware store. Or you can probably find them online, as well.
SANDY: Yeah, that’s what we’ll try. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, for most homes, a backyard patio is home base for all of your outdoor-living activities. But if your patio is old, worn, cracked, you kind of don’t have that many options to spruce it up. Painting or staining, that usually doesn’t make it look all that much better. And tearing out the old concrete and pouring a new one is often messy and can be expensive.
TOM: Well, there is another way, another option – a better way, in fact – to do a patio makeover. You can renew an old patio, a sidewalk or another concrete surface with no demolition by using Milano pavers from Pavestone.
Now, these pavers are unusual. They’re just 3 centimeters thick, which is about an inch-and-a-quarter. And from the surface, they look just like the full-thickness, concrete brick pavers. But since they’re installed on top of the old patio, they just don’t need to be that thick.
LESLIE: Now, the three-piece system is installed in basic patterns, directly over the concrete, that requires very little surface preparation. And that makes this project really budget-friendly. And it’s an easy project for a do-it-yourselfer to get done and it really makes you feel so accomplished, because it looks fantastic.
TOM: Yeah. It’s really pretty simple. You basically set the border, right, whether that’s a single-brick or a double-brick or a triple-brick pattern. And you use construction adhesive, essentially, under that border. And then all the rest of the pavers can just lay right on top of the concrete; they don’t need to be glued in. And then, when you’re done, you fill them with stone dust like you would a regular paver project. And there you have it: a beautiful, new paver patio that you knocked out in a weekend that’s really simple to do.
If you want to learn more about Milano pavers, visit Pavestone.com. That’s Pavestone.com.
Well, many, many, many of you entered the Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes that was presented by LL Flooring. And we picked our winners. We have three fantastic winners for the Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes. And Sandy from Lake Forest, Illinois is actually our grand-prize winner.
But Leslie, she doesn’t know that yet.
LESLIE: I love it. It’s a big secret. She has no idea.
TOM: So we’re going to give her a call. We’re going to tell her all about it. She is going to get a $1,000 gift card from LL Flooring. She’s going to get a new vacuum cleaner to clean up off the pets and all kinds of fun stuff.
So, let’s give her a ring, Les, and see what happens.
Hey, Sandy. It’s Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete from The Money Pit Home Improvement Show.
SANDY: I’m glad to hear you.
TOM: Well, Sandy, thanks for entering the LL Flooring Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes. I’ve got some great news for you. You are one of our winners. You have won a $1,000 gift card from LL Flooring. So, how about that?
SANDY: Oh, yes.
LESLIE: So how are you going to use that flooring gift card, Sandy?
SANDY: Interestingly enough, we have a room in the house that is – we call it our “pet room.” And we’ve been complaining about the floor for a long time. And it sounds like it’s going to go towards a new floor.
LESLIE: Well, that’s fantastic. I imagine with a name like the pet room, you’ve probably had some pet incidents in there and you’re maybe looking for something more durable?
SANDY: They’re slate, so they’re all cracking and everything. And then the dogs themselves aren’t doing the damage to it. It’s just that they’re old and we need a new floor. But this is the room that we keep all the pets in because we foster dogs.
TOM: So you have your own dogs, then you have dogs that you foster? Tell me about your own dogs.
SANDY: Our dog is a pit bull. She’s 11 years old, which is getting old for pit bulls. We always have anywhere from one to even a litter of puppies that she helps takes care of. And she is the best surrogate mother in that respect.
TOM: That’s fantastic. So she’s like the mom, the grandma, all in one. What’s your dog’s name?
SANDY: Her name is Bitsy.
LESLIE: Ah, Bitsy. That’s so cute. So Bitsy is your dog and you guys help to take care of these wonderful foster dogs. I kind of feel like they really got so lucky when they step into your home.
SANDY: They don’t even know how good they have it. Actually, they find out soon enough how good they have it.
TOM: So what do you think would make a good floor product for Bitsy and the foster dogs?
SANDY: Well, something that can get wet, because we have to wash them a lot, and still look good and rich. I’d like it to match the rest of the house, which is a hardwood. I’ve just got to look around and see what we can find.
TOM: Well, there’s a lot of terrific options at LL Flooring. You might want to take a look at the engineered-vinyl plank products or the new Duravana Hybrid Resilient flooring. That’s gorgeous, as well. Super tough stuff. I just put that in our laundry room because I wanted something that was really durable and could hold up to the water.
So, you entered the Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes. Do you like to enter sweepstakes in general or was this something you picked out because of the needs for a new floor with your pets?
SANDY: Well, a friend told me about the sweepstakes. And I entered it. I think it was online. And then I saw, by reading the rules, that I could get extra entries by posting a picture on my Instagram page every day. So, it gave me a chance to go through all of my pictures and I posted one a day for I think about 30 days.
TOM: We’re glad you did. We had over 10,000 entries. And I’ve got some news for you, Sandy. I told you that you were a winner. But what I didn’t tell you is you are actually our grand-prize winner of the Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes. And that means you’re going to get the $1,000 gift card, plus another $50 gift card from Chewy.com.
TOM: And you get to choose a Bissell vacuum cleaner worth up to 400 bucks, that will help keep all of that pet hair in check.
SANDY: Oh, wow. Mm-hmm.
TOM: And you get a matching set of pet and human pajamas valued at 50 bucks. So, you are going to be decked out. Your floor is going to be great. You’re going to be able to keep up after Bitsy and those foster dogs with a brand-new vacuum, all for entering the sweepstakes.
So, congratulations. We are so thrilled for you. And what a great winner, doing great things for pets out there, taking care of all those foster dogs.
How long have you been doing that?
SANDY: Bitsy was our foster dog and we ended up keeping her. And she’s 11, so at least 11 years, maybe 12 years total.
LESLIE: Sandy, this is awesome. We’re so happy that you won. Good luck with everything that you do with all those pups in your house. And please, please, please be in touch after you get your project done with LL Flooring, so we can see how amazing this new space looks and hear all about the project.
SANDY: Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Take care now.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re talking about Mother Nature here with some solar power. We’ve got Rick from Illinois on the line.
How can we help you?
RICK: Well, I was just wondering if you folks had a good, reputable company that can install solar panels on the ground. Now, I don’t want them on my roof.
TOM: You want them on the ground so you have enough space to have a mini-solar farm here in your yard? Is that the idea?
RICK: Yes. Now, on the north side, there’s no neighbor trees that are going to create shade. I have enough room there. But my lot is, oh, almost 240 feet long.
TOM: Well, I think it’s a neat idea conceptually. I’ve got some concerns about solar companies in general.
Now, what I have found – and I’ve talked to a number of them as a consumer. And one of the benefits of being primarily in media on the radio is they don’t know who I am when I sit down with them.
TOM: And they treat me like any other consumer. And I will say that, boy, there’s an awful lot of kind of like stretching and bending of the truth when it comes to the real savings. Because very often, there’s different ways to pay for it. You know, can buy it outright but almost no one does that. You can lease them but then you’re always going to have this payment that’s due. You can lease them against what you’re – what they’re earning but you still have the responsibility for the lease.
Then comes the issue of how do they – what kind of maintenance do they need? Even more of a concern when it’s on a roof. Because if you’re going to put it on the roof, you want to make sure you’re putting it on a new roof. And that was the last time I looked at it. When we looked at a new roof here, I thought, “OK, this would be a good time to think about whether or not it makes sense to have solar on the roof or not.”
And the bottom line was I decided it was not a good idea. There was just – I was too uncomfortable with the sort of false claims of savings. And when it all came down to it, I wasn’t really going to be saving that much money for all the expense and the risk of having the equipment.
Now, I’m not saying that that’s going to be the same for everybody but I am saying this, Rick: be careful when you talk to folks that are in that business. Be aware of what incentives are out there that are offered by the state, the local and the federal government. I don’t have specific answers for you on this but I can tell you how to go about doing it and that’s one of the things. Make sure that you do the research on the incentives. And see if they apply to solar panels that are installed on land on property, in addition to those that may be on the roof of a home. And kind of take it from there.
But I wouldn’t rush into that. I would really think about it very carefully and very deliberately, because that’s a big project. Just the infrastructure there, the wiring of everything that has to go together, there’s a lot to be done. You should definitely go slowly.
RICK: Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Well, no one likes cleaning mold and mildew in a bathroom. But that job can be made a lot easier if the moisture from that shower or bathtub is properly vented out. And too often, though, that isn’t the case.
Now, building codes don’t even require a bath-vent fan if a bathroom has a window, which is really just silly. Because how often is that window actually circulating the air in and out of that bathroom efficiently? I mean it’s crazy. And then who wants to open the window in the middle of January when you’re trying to take a shower and then it’s freezing? So, it’s not ideal. But window or not, a properly sized and installed bathroom fan really is the best way that you can make sure that that moisture doesn’t build up. And then that’s going to prevent the mold.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s the problem because a lot of fans are just too small. So, how do you make sure the fan’s the right size? Well, there’s a simple rule of thumb. Bath fans are rated by CFM or cubic foot per minute, based on how much air they move. And the rule of thumb for sizing a bath fan is really easy. You need 1 CFM for every square foot of floor space. So, if your bath is 80 square feet, you need an 80 CFM fan. Now, that will change if the bath has high ceilings. But for the most part, you can rely on that estimate of 1 CFM per square foot.
Now, it’s also important that the fan be vented outside. And I can tell you, through my many years as a home inspector, that’s not always the case. I see a lot of folks that will vent fans into an attic, which is also silly because that way, you’re dumping all that moisture into the attic. It’s going to condense. You can get mold up in the attic. You can get your insulation damp and it doesn’t work very well. Or they’ll try to drop it into the soffit, thinking the soffit’s already vented. No, no, no, you need to run it through a standard exterior vent with a little damper on it that opens up when the blower comes on. And that way, you’ll know that it’s done right.
And lastly, it helps if you’ve got the bath on a timer so that you can set it to run for at least 10 minutes after you leave the bathroom. This way, any residual moisture is exhausted out before it has a chance to sort of fuel the next round of mold and mildew. It’s all about managing that moisture. And if you have the right size fan and you run it the amount of time you need to, you’re good to go.
You can also look for fans that are on humidistats. And they’ll just come on automatically when the moisture levels are high and they’ll stay on until it drops.
LESLIE: Dixie in Illinois has a question regarding a crack in the basement and the possibility of it caving in.
Dixie, are you calling us from a pile of rubble or are you just concerned?
DIXIE: I am actually concerned because it started out with just hairline cracks following along the concrete blocks. And there’s cracks in each corner of the foundation above ground, as well as these cracks in the walls below, in the basement.
But the cracks are getting bigger and bigger. There are some of them that are gaping, I want to even say, an inch-and-a-half, 2 inches of …
TOM: You have an inch-and-a-half crack? You mean width? It’s open an inch-and-a-half?
DIXIE: Well, they are – well, you can’t see through the crack but the walls are bending in. We’ve even put reinforcements.
TOM: Alright. So, horizontally – like the cracks are horizontal and they’re bending in, Dixie?
DIXIE: Most of the ones that are bending in are horizontal, yes. But the cracks do go up and down, as well.
TOM: Alright. So you need to immediately contact a structural engineer and have the foundation inspected. This sounds serious. I can tell you that, typically, horizontal cracks are caused by frost heave, where the drainage conditions are poor at the outside of the house, water collects there, soil freezes and pushes in.
But you have that many cracks and those cracks are that significant, you need – not a contractor. I want you to find a structural engineer. You’re just hiring this guy to inspect the home and prepare a report discussing the condition of the foundation. And if repairs are needed, the engineer should specify those repairs. Then you can bring a contractor in to follow the engineer’s specification and make the repairs.
And then finally, make sure you bring the structural engineer back to inspect and certify that they were done correctly. Because at this point, unless you follow those steps just like that, you’re going to have a serious deficit to the home value. So that’s why if you have it inspected by a structural engineer, repaired by a contractor per the engineer’s specs and certified by the engineer as OK, you have kind of a pedigree for that repair you can pass on to future home buyers, OK? Does that make sense?
DIXIE: OK. But how do you find a structural engineer?
TOM: So, there’ll be local engineering companies. You could also check the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. Now, those guys will not necessarily be a structural engineer but there may be an engineer among them that’s also a home inspector.
Alright? Thank you very much, Dixie. I hope that helps you out.
LESLIE: We’ve got a great reason to reach out to us here at The Money Pit. Of course, we’re going to help you with your projects. But here is the kick-butt prize option we’ve got up for grabs this hour: it’s the Summer Fun Pack from Arrow. Now, that includes two tools. It’s got a Professional High-Temp Glue Gun and a TacMate Staple Gun.
Now, I was actually using my glue gun today for a project over at Good Morning America. And I still have to remind myself that it’s hot and ready because it’s not dripping. I’m so used to other glue guns dripping, dripping when it’s hot.
TOM: Right. Right.
LESLIE: But I’m like, “Oh, this one is just ready to go.” So you’ve got to pay attention to that. Because these things heat up fast and are the best glue gun ever. And the TacMate Staple Gun, you are going to find so many projects to use this around the house for. So I promise you, this is a great prize pack.
Give us a call, let us know what you are working on and you’ll get your chance to win this tool set from Arrow Fastener worth 65 bucks.
TOM: Going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Reach out to us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or click the blue microphone button at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re taking on painting around the house, it can be hard to tell exactly how much paint you’re going to need. And we end up with that extra paint all of the time. Now, that’s not usually a bad thing, since you can use that extra paint: you know, touch-ups, small projects here and there. But here’s the trick: you have to keep that paint from drying out and going bad, which isn’t as easy as you think it is.
TOM: Yeah. There’s actually two things that cause paint to go bad. Exposure to air is going to affect the consistency of the paint and of course, eventually let it dry up. But secondly, you can get microorganisms in the paint and that causes a bacterial growth and a really nasty kind of rancid smell.
And here’s a clue: if the paint can is bulging, it means it has probably gone bad. And if you take a whiff after you open it and there’s a sour or a rotten-egg smell, the paint may have mold. If it seems OK, then just look for a thick film on the surface of the paint or make sure the paint mixes properly. If you see any little chunks of dried-out paint in there, then it’s just no good and you should move on and get some new paint
LESLIE: Yeah. So now, you’ve painted your project at home. What do you do with that leftover paint? You, first of all, should be storing it in an airtight container: either the original can or a clear jar or container, anything that has a secure lid. Then you carefully want to clean the rim and firmly close that lid to seal that paint can or vessel, whatever you’re using, jar, as really well sealed as possible.
Now, another trick that can help – since closing up that paint can is never as good as that seal you get when that can is new, get in the habit of storing that paint can upside-down on the shelf. It’s not going to leak and any tiny openings letting in air is going to be sealed off because that paint can is upside down. So it’s sort of sealing itself and making itself more durable.
TOM: Now, as for storage, it’s really best to store the paint at room temperature or in a dry place that’s out of direct sunlight or extreme hot or cold. I always keep my paint cans in the basement because that’s just the right temperature. And they actually last quite a long time. Sometimes I do forget, though, to put them upside-down. That really is a good tip. Because no matter how good of a job you do wiping the lid of that paint can, you almost always get some air in it. And that’s what really starts the process towards making it dry out or just go bad.
LESLIE: Emily wrote in saying, “We’re dealing with carpenter bees.” Oh, my gosh, everybody is always so afraid of these bees because they are gigantic and they love to fly right at you, to kind of scare you away from the stuff they’re working on.
TOM: Very aggressive.
LESLIE: They really are.
LESLIE: But I keep being told, “They don’t sting.” So I’ve got to just go with that.
But Emily writes: “We’re dealing with carpenter bees drilling holes in the wood around our porch. On the podcast, you mentioned about a certain type of plastic plank to take the place of wood for eaves that have been damaged by the carpenter bees and ants. What was that name? TVEC or something like that?”
TOM: Yeah. So first of all, you’re talking – you’re not – you’re talking about AZEK – A-Z-E-K. And the reason we talked about that is because carpenter bees will tend to eat a lot of the soft trim that’s around the house. So they’ll eat the fascia, which is the piece of wood that’s usually under the gutter. Sometimes they’ll eat the wood trim, like around windows and doors, the window trim and the window sills. They’ll eat fences, they’ll eat railroad ties.
And what they do is they drill into the wood and they do this to lay – to create a nest. And then they leave. But then come back to the same place year in and year out, so it’s kind of annoying. Even if you treat them once, they’re likely to come back again.
So one of the things that we found that’s particularly effective is if you have the opportunity to replace that wood with a cellular PVC product, like AZEK – so it looks like wood but it’s actually made out of PVC. And because it’s PVC, the bees can’t eat it, they can’t drill through it. Not to say they won’t try. I’ve found, when I’ve done this on my house, they keep coming at it. They can – “Looks like wood. Hmm. Doesn’t taste like wood. Maybe I should move on.” And eventually, they do.
But they are very aggressive, Leslie, you’re right. I always think of them as kind of like – you know when you see a little dog that’s really loud? It’s kind of like they overcompensate because they’re not big physically, so they just yap a lot? That’s kind of like the carpenter bees. You know, they don’t have the stinger but man, they come right at you and make you think that they did.
LESLIE: And they’re so big. And they’re shiny. They have shiny butts. It’s amazing.
TOM: They’re like low-flying attack helicopters.
Alright. Emily, that’s going to help you out there.
Now, Doug wrote in: “Somebody gave me a new 15-inch attic fan. And I’m considering installing it but I also wondered, is it even economical to run an attic fan?”
TOM: Well, I think you’re asking the question about the electricity, which is minimal. But there is an economic consideration here and that is that if you have central air conditioning and you run an attic fan, typically that will depressurize the entire house. It will reach down in – they’re pretty powerful. And it will reach down into the house through all the nooks and crannies in the walls and can steal off some of your air conditioning. So that actually can add up to an expense that you didn’t really consider, because you end up having to pay to replace that cool air to keep the house exactly kind of where you want it to be.
A better option is just to have plain, old passive roof vents at the ridge and at the soffit – going down the peak, going at the overhangs – that let in fresh air all year long. In the summertime, that will cool the attic and in the wintertime, it will take out the damp, moist air, which makes the insulation more effective.
LESLIE: Now, Tom, how do you kind of set up these attic fans? Is it a one-size-fits-all? Is there one setting? How do you know how to operate it efficiently and put it in the right spot?
TOM: Yeah, the attic fan will come based on the size of your attic, basically. So you kind of figure – roughly figure out the size of the attic, how many cubic feet you want to move. But there’s a thermostat on it. You set that thermostat at about 100, 110 degrees. And this way, it only comes on when it’s super hot up there. You don’t want to let it go at any hotter than that or any cooler than that because that’s just going to waste energy.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your beautiful summer day with us. We hope you picked up an idea or two that will help you with a project you’re doing now or one that you’re going to tackle in the future.
If you’ve got questions, you can always reach out to us anytime by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your questions at MoneyPit.com. We are always ready to help.
And until then, 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.)