Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips #0320171
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 welcome to the very first weekend of spring. We are so psyched that the spring season has officially arrived, because it’s when we love to kick off lots of fun home improvement projects. If you’re planning an outdoor project, an indoor project – whether it’s insulation, installing a new mechanical system, building a deck, building a patio, painting your house, fixing your roof – whatever is going on, we’d love to help you get that project done or plan it for the immediate future.
Help yourself, first, though by picking up the phone and calling us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. It does not matter when you are hearing this program; we will get that call. And if we’re not in the studio, we will call you back. So participate, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s program, now that it’s neither hot nor cold, it’s a good time to look for ways to cut energy costs that plague us throughout the year. We’re going to have tips on how to reduce the costs of heating, cooling and lighting, just ahead.
LESLIE: And one of the best ways to keep your garden green this spring and through the hotter months ahead is to install a micro-irrigation system to deliver water right to the roots. We’ve got the step-by-step for that project, coming up.
TOM: And today, it’s easier than ever to be eco-friendly. But when it comes to choosing eco-friendly floors for your home, understanding how the product is produced is key. We’ll tell you what you need to know.
LESLIE: Plus, we’ve got a great, new product to give away. It’s the new Carrier Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat.
TOM: You know, most Americans spend more money on the energy it takes to heat and cool our homes than anything else, which is why it pays to take advantage of the latest in thermostat technology. That new Côr Thermostat is worth 250 bucks. It’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random, so make that you. Pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get started.
Leslie, who’s first?[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Jeff in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JEFF: So I’ve got a home that I bought recently. It was built in 2006, however. It has a – both bathrooms have a fiberglass or – well, I guess it’s a fiberglass-insert tub. On one of the tubs, if you – while you’re taking a shower, if you move around – say there’s a loud squeak and a pop that you kind of hear, almost as if it’s binding in the way that it’s mounted or the way that it’s inserted.
I don’t know of a way to get under there to secure anything or I don’t have a way to relieve some of that stress. What can we do?
TOM: What it means to me, Jeff, is that the tub was not put in correctly by the builder. With those fiberglass tubs, the best technique – because you’re right: they are very flexible. So what the better pros do is they will put a loose mortar mix on the floor, so like take a bag of QUIKRETE and mix it up maybe a little looser than you normally would. And they’ll spread it out on the floor where the tub’s going to be set. And then they’ll push the tub kind of into it.
If you think about it, as that dries, it gives you support across the underside of the entire surface of that tub. And that stops the flex that you’re now experiencing. Because as you use it over the years – now your house is about 10 years old, so lots of showers have happened between now and then and it’s starting to loosen up a bit. I will say that I’ve rarely heard it actually cracking and breaking through, so I would tend to think it’s more of an annoyance.
It is rather difficult, if not impossible, to do anything about that now. If you could get access to that area under the tub, you could inject some foam in there or something of that nature. But even doing that, I would proceed very carefully. Because if you didn’t get it in in just the right way, sometimes those foams can expand and push up.
TOM: So, I think I would just kind of live with it and not really try to fix it. But I think that’s exactly what’s happening.
JEFF: Well, I think what you’ve done is you’ve moved one of our projects to the top of our list. So if we were – replacing the tub insert and/or the flooring and everything in that bathroom was something we had really thought about doing.
TOM: Right. OK.
JEFF: Now, we thought we had a little more time.
TOM: And I wouldn’t disagree with that. I don’t think this is an emergency. I think it sounds like it’s kind of an emotional emergency because it’s bugging the heck out of you, which we sympathize with, but I don’t think this is an urgent matter. But certainly it’s another reason, if you’re planning on remodeling your bathroom, to get it done.
JEFF: I think that definitely moved it up a little higher on our list, that’s for sure.
TOM: Alright. Good.
JEFF: Well, listen, I appreciate it. I love you guys. You guys have definitely helped me out a million times.
TOM: So happy to do that. Good luck with that project. And let us know how it comes out, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Christine in Rhode Island needs some help with a wall that seems to be separating from the rest of the bathroom. How can we help you?[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]CHRISTINE: In a bathroom – it’s on the second floor. And the – I guess it’s from settling but this building is 12 years old and I patched that area with Durabond and it has separated again. So I don’t know what to do. Cover it up with crown molding maybe?
TOM: Mm-hmm. So the wall between the wall and the ceiling is what’s cracking?
TOM: And you say Durabond. Is that a plaster – a spackle?
CHRISTINE: It dries very hard.
TOM: Well, look, so if you just put that on the wall, it’s got no stretch to it. What’s going to happen is it’s essentially going to crack again. It’s only filling the gap that’s there. It’s not stopping the crack from happening.
If you want to stop the crack from happening, what you have to do is you have to sand the wall and the ceiling in that area. You have to apply a drywall tape. We recommend fiberglass tape because it’s easy for DIYers. It’s like a netting. You put it across that crack and then you spackle on top of that. That gives it the strength to kind of bridge those two surfaces, which now want to move and expand and contract in different directions. Does that make sense?
CHRISTINE: Yeah, it makes sense. It sounds like a whole lot of work.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s what’s going to stop it. Or of course, like you say, you could just cover it with molding and call it a day, alright? Either way is fine but if you just put spackle on it or this product you’re calling Durabond, it’s not going to stop the crack. It will just come back again and again and again.
CHRISTINE: OK. Well, I thank you very much. I love your show.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome, Christine. Good luck with that project. Thanks, again, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call with your spring home improvement question. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, winter is gone, spring is here and summer’s just ahead. We’ve got some energy-saving tips for all the seasons, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We are here to help you with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might also just win a great product we’re giving away this hour. It’s the Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat from Carrier worth 250 bucks.
It’s got a wide range of Wi-Fi controls, which gives homeowners more ways to reduce energy. And it delivers the comfort and convenience of a remote control. So you can control this system whether you’re at home, at work, anywhere. It works well. It’s backed by Carrier, who actually invented modern air conditioning over 100 years ago, and available at your local Carrier dealer. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you, 888-666-3974.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: We’ve got Randy in Florida on the line who’s got a dehumidification question. What can we do for you?
RANDY: Our house is off-grade and the crawlspace area has ventilation all around the house. And we wanted to see about encapsulating it, you know, with the vapor-barrier plastic. And with being in Florida, I was just a little worried about humidity and possibly wanting to insulate it and see what you all’s opinion was.
TOM: Well, I do think it’s a good idea for you to add a vapor barrier. That will help reduce the amount of humidity that gets into the space above the floor. And that can make the home more efficient and certainly more comfortable.
What you might also want to think about doing is adding an exhaust fan. They have fans that are basically the size of a concrete block or a foundation vent. And you could put fans on one side of the foundation and have vents open out in the other side. Then have those fans operate on a humidistat so that whenever the humidity gets really damp in that crawlspace, the fan can kick on and pull some drier air from outside across that – essentially that crawlspace floor, pulling the moisture out with it. So those two things can help you manage moisture.
On the outside of the house, you also want to make sure that if you’ve got gutters – you should have gutters on the home and that there’s downspouts that extend away from that foundation. Because when you dump the additional water that collects on your roof right against the foundation, that definitely improves – increases the humidity that’s in that space.
So all of those things working together can keep it a lot drier.
RANDY: OK. So, would you be extending that vapor barrier up the walls of the crawlspace or would that interfere with that ventilation unit that you’re sticking up?
TOM: Well, you don’t want to block off the vents but yeah, I would extend it up the wall, if you could extend to 12 inches or so, just to make sure it’s sealed well.
RANDY: OK. And then would you add a dehumidifier down there or would that, essentially, be what the ventilation unit you’re talking about would do?
TOM: That’s kind of what the ventilation would do. I would not add a dehumidifier into that space. It’s not really designed for an unconditioned space like that. Dehumidifiers are not really designed for that.
RANDY: OK. And then so that would keep the humidity low enough that we could then put the batted insulation between the floor joists?
TOM: Yeah, it will keep it – it will make it lower. It’ll make it reasonably lower. It’s never going to be 100-percent dry; it’s always going to be damp. But I do think, yes, that will keep the moisture down, which is what you want to do and allow you to get more efficiency out of the insulation.
RANDY: OK. Alright. Great. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Randy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Zelda in North Carolina is looking for some help with a renovation. What can we do for you?
ZELDA: Yes. I’ve done a lot with my floors but I put some laminate in everywhere, because I have a little Chihuahua dog and didn’t want to get scratches on real wood. But there is a bathroom upstairs and a small hallway in front and I didn’t want laminate there, because you don’t want it in a bathroom. So, what else would be good? Because I didn’t want the grout issues of tile or – and I didn’t know what else to go to. I thought about bamboo or is there some tile that doesn’t have the grout-y stuff or …?
TOM: Well, there’s a wide variety of choices. Now, you mentioned that you didn’t want to put laminate there. Do you want something that gives you a wood look?
ZELDA: Not necessarily.
TOM: Alright. Well, one of the options that I was thinking would be a bamboo floor. Bamboo is very, very durable and it’s also very good in moist, damp areas. It doesn’t swell. And you can pick up bamboo as an engineered product, which means it’s made in multiple layers, which gives it dimensional stability. But of course, that is going to give you sort of that wood look.
There are also luxury vinyl products that are out today that are very, very thick and heavy vinyl tile that are not very expensive.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like a rubberized vinyl, even. They’re fairly thick. They’re available in a plank style, so it actually looks like wood. Some of those will – some will snap together as the rubberized vinyl. Some will sort of overlap and stick to one another. It depends on the quality of the product, to be honest with you but they’re both – however much money you do spend on a rubberized vinyl, it goes together very easily and it looks fantastic. And it’s a little bit softer, so it’s more forgiving on your legs, knees, back when you’re standing in the room for a long time.
ZELDA: Well, yeah, because my first choice, when I went to look, was the bamboo. But I wasn’t sure if that could go in a bathroom. So that really is what I kind of liked the best. Yeah, great.
Thank you so much. That’s very helpful.
TOM: Well, now that we’ve moved into spring, winter heating bills are a distant memory. But with summer ahead, now is the right time to take on a few projects to save energy all year round. We’ve got tips, presented by Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation.
First, let’s start with lighting. Dimmers and sensors, they can actually help make sure you’re not using more electricity than you need to. The dimmers, every time you dim your lights, you reduce the amount of lighting you’re using. And of course, that’s the amount of electricity you’re paying for.
And sensors. Oh, my God, I love sensors. I have them in every room of my house because they turn my lights off automatically, so we don’t have to remember to do that. And most importantly, your kids don’t have to remember to do that. If they leave their bedrooms with the lights on and there’s no motion in the room, instantly the lights go off. So lots of savings right there.
LESLIE: Because your kids never turn the lights off.
Now, here’s another area where you can save: turn down your water heater’s temperature setting to 120 degrees. If you have an electric water heater, cut the cost of running it in half by installing a timer that will allow the water to be heated only when necessary, like during your morning shower.
Now, it’s also important to keep your HVAC system maintained. So if you don’t have one, sign up for one of those annual service plans you always hear all about from those reliable HVAC contractors or even your local utility company.
Now, we don’t usually recommend purchasing those service contracts but HVAC really is one of those few exceptions. This one is going to help you stay on top of all of the critical maintenance checks and it’s going to cover you for any surprise service calls.
TOM: Yeah, like on a hot July day when you’re having a party with 25 of your closest friends and your A/C kicks out and you don’t want to have to pay that bill on top of that hassle. So, get that done.
And of course, let’s talk about insulation. You can reduce your monthly heating and cooling bills by investing in the right type of insulation for your home. There’s lots of choices available but for my home, I think spray foam is best. I was on fiberglass but converted to spray foam because I’ve got an old house. And it both seals and insulates. It keeps the warm air in and the cold air out and does the exact opposite in the summer, which makes us more comfortable year round.
And that’s today’s Energy-Saving Tip, presented by Icynene Classic Max Spray-Foam Insulation. Icynene Classic Max is a high-performance, ultra-low-VOC, open-cell, spray-foam insulation product that both provides an insulating R-value, as well as air-sealing to maximize energy efficiency and the comfort of your home. It’s also GREENGUARD Gold certified. That allows you to reoccupy your home just two hours after application.
Icynene is the leading brand of insulation and has insulated over 600,000 homes since 1986. Learn more at Icynene.com – I-c-y-n-e-n-e.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Going up north to Rhode Island where Doug has got a question about heat sources. What can we do for you, Doug?
DOUG: Yeah, hi. Good evening. I appreciate your show and I thank you for all your hard work in providing such wonderful answers.
My question has to do with – I’m looking – considering an alternative source for heat in the event of power loss. And I’m trying to weigh my options and I’m looking at pellet stoves and wood stoves. And I’m wondering what your opinions are and if there are – if there’s anything else that I should be considering.
TOM: Yeah, you should be considering a whole-home generator if you’re concerned about power failure. I mean look, it’s not just the heat that you need in a power failure. Have you thought about installing a generator?
DOUG: You know, if I did install one, it would have to be one that just kicks on: one of those whatever-they-call-it, the automatic style?
TOM: Yeah. It’s called – let me explain this to you, Doug. It’s called a “whole-home generator.” It’s a permanently installed appliance. It would be installed outside your house. You can buy one that can cover every single circuit in the house or you could buy a smaller one that would just cover select circuits like, for example, your furnace or your boiler. And when the power fails on the grid, the whole-home generator automatically kicks on and then repowers your entire house.
Now, these don’t run on gasoline. They can run on natural gas or propane, which means you never have to worry about fueling them or finding gasoline to fill a tank, for example. Because that’s what you’d have to do if you had a portable generator. So I would protect my power first.
Now, as to the question about installing some alternative heat source, like a pellet stove or a wood stove, sure, one of the other of those is fine. I think you’ll find maximum efficiency with the pellet stoves. And the most efficient stoves also have their own combustion air supply. That’s where most folks go wrong. Because if you don’t have an outside combustion air supply, where do you think all that air comes to fuel that fire? It comes from inside your house and that’s the air that you’ve already paid to heat through your heating system. So, you want to have an external combustion air supply to help improve the efficiency.
Does that make sense, Doug?
DOUG: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I do have natural gas.
TOM: Well, then, you’re all set up. I would take a look at the KOHLER generators or the Generac generators. Both great brands.
DOUG: Yeah, I’ll look into it.
TOM: Good luck, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Just ahead, one of the best ways to make sure that your garden thrives is with micro-irrigation. Now, that’s a system of drip tubing and tiny sprayers that will deliver the water right where you need it.
TOM: Roger Cook, landscaping expert at This Old House, will be here to tell us more, brought to you by Lumber Liquidators with over 400 varieties of bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less.
MARILU: Hi. This is Marilu Henner from The Marilu Henner Show. And I’m obsessed with these guys. You’re listening to The Money Pit, my buddies Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, before it gets super hot, it’s a good time to think about how you might irrigate your garden. Because we’ve really come a long way from just using a garden hose.
TOM: Roger Cook, the landscape contractor from TV’s This Old House will be stopping by shortly with tips on a system called “micro-irrigation” that delivers water exactly where you need it.
And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is presented by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy. But first, let’s get back to your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bela in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BELA: Well, we have a sunroom. And the roof of the sunroom is 4 inches of Styrofoam and on top of that is aluminum. Now, when it rains, it’s very, very noisy. It’s like living in a double-wide, you know. So, what I would like to do is put architectural shingles on it.
Now, I talked to one roofer. He said, “Oh, we can just nail it on.” But I don’t think so. I thought maybe we need some plywood – ¾-inch plywood – and even maybe some spacers.
TOM: This aluminum roof, is it fairly flat or is it shaped?
BELA: It is flat. Yes, sir.
TOM: Well, first of all, keep in mind that metal roofs are far more durable than asphalt-shingle roofs. But if you can’t really deal with the sound and you want to soften it, I agree with you: I do think you should attach a plywood decking to that metal roof first.
And I would do that with screws. So I would drive screws through the decking, into that metal roof. And then, on top of that, I would put ice-and-water shield, which is going to give you protection from any ice damming. And I would probably, since it’s a fairly flat roof or a low-sloped roof, I would probably cover the entire surface with ice-and-water shield. And then over that, I would put the asphalt shingles.
BELA: OK, sir. Well, thank you so very much for your help. That is the kind of a thing I’ve been thinking about.
TOM: I think you’re on the right track, Bela. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, in most parts of the country, trying to keep yards watered throughout the summer is no small feat, especially if you live in a conservation-conscious area that restricts your water usage.
TOM: Well, if the best defense is a good offense, one of the best ways to beat the heat and make sure your plants thrive is with micro-irrigation. Now, this is a system of drip tubing and tiny sprayers and it’s a great way for you to get water right where you need it. Here to tell us more is Roger Cook, the landscaping expert at This Old House.
ROGER: Hey, Tom, Leslie. Thanks for having me.
TOM: Well, thanks for being here. And unlike a lawn-irrigation system, it seems that installing drip irrigation is not quite as complicated. So, would you consider this a DIY project? And what kinds of gardens is it best suited for?
ROGER: Oh, it’s definitely a DIY project. The tubing and the plastic fittings and everything are very, very simple to work with.
TOM: OK. So where do we begin?
ROGER: We begin at the connection to the house. You need to make a connection through the tubing and usually what you have is an adapter which regulates the amount of pressure that goes through to the drip irrigation because …
TOM: So that’s where the drip part comes in?
ROGER: Right. But too much pressure going through that drip hose will actually blow it apart and …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because the holes are just so tiny.
ROGER: Right. So you need a certain pressure – a certain PSI – to make it work properly.
LESLIE: Alright. So now we’ve established our connection. How does this really work to deliver the water where we need it?
ROGER: Well, from the connection, there’ll be a solid pipe that’ll bring it out to the area where you want the drip to be. Then we transition either to the drip tubing or the specific emitters, which’ll put that water right down where the roots are.
LESLIE: Now, it seems like we’re going from one end of the yard to the other. Do we need to be concerned about distance and the amount of water that will get to the plants that need it?
ROGER: You will. And you’ll find that there are directions which tell you how many feet of drip or how many emitters you can have on one, what we call, “zone,” one area. And you’ll have to break up your system into either manual zones, where you turn it yourself, or they have electric zones, which will control the different areas so that one area gets the water for a certain period of time, then we switch over to another and another.
TOM: Now, Roger, it seems that with most irrigation systems, there’s a fair amount of inefficiency. I mean either we don’t have it aimed to the right place or we get a lot of evaporation. But with drip irrigation, it seems like we put it exactly where we need it, right where that root needs to drink, correct?
ROGER: Right. That’s the key to it is you don’t have the water running down the driveway and usually you don’t have a geyser shooting straight up when a head gets eaten up by a lawn mower. This you adapt, you wrap it around your shrubs or your perennial beds and you just give the area the water it needs.
LESLIE: Can you use it for groundcover, for watering certain sections of your lawn or better to focus it on a smaller area?
ROGER: Groundcover, perennial beds, individual shrubs. It’ll be awful hard to do in a lawn area because you would have to have a whole series of pipes exactly the same distance apart or your lawn wouldn’t get an even watering.
TOM: Now, I’ve even seen drip irrigation used for things like hanging planters. Are there lots of accessories for these sorts of applications?
ROGER: There are. And that’s one of the biggest things we’ve done in the last few years. People are doing planters and pots and they’re the hardest thing to keep watering because they’re out, exposed to the elements.
TOM: They dry out very quick.
ROGER: Very quickly. So we just put a couple little emitters in there through this microtubing.
TOM: So, when you get started on this, it would seem that you need a bit of a plan, just like any kind of project; sort of sketch out where everything has to go and then you can kind of tally up the parts?
ROGER: Exactly. You want to know how many zones you’re going to have, how many runs, that sort of thing. And you’ll get a lot of great information online and even going to a place that sells this and showing them your plan, they’ll help you design a system that’ll work there.
LESLIE: Now, what happens to the system at the end of the year? Is it like traditional irrigation where you have to blow out the systems to keep things from freezing, I guess?
ROGER: Right, you do in any place that it’s going to freeze because if there’s water left in that tubing and it expands, it’ll crack it. We want to use that for years; we don’t want to have to replace it.
So you’re going to blow it out at a low PSI and just clean the water right out of it.
TOM: This sounds like a really green approach to watering your garden.
ROGER: It is.
TOM: Very, very efficient. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
And for more great tips, including a video about installing micro-irrigation systems, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Make comfort personal.
Up next, going green is all the rage. And when it comes to shopping for home improvement products, the devil is in the details. We’ll tell you what you need to know, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a really great and super-convenient prize. We’ve got up for grabs the Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat from Carrier and it’s worth 250 bucks.
Now, it’s got a huge range of Wi-Fi controls, which really gives you, the homeowner, more ways to control your energy usage and therefore reduce your energy use. It’s super smart. The thermostat itself is going to optimize all of the heating-and-cooling-system performances based on how your home is using all of your energy and then give you a lot more energy savings and comfort. It’s completely Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control it right from your phone. It’s available at your local Carrier dealer and it’s a prize worth 250 bucks.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.
LESLIE: Well, if you like to save energy or not waste water, you’re probably an environmentally-responsible shopper. But when it comes to shopping for floors, knowing how the floors are made is key to knowing if they’re an eco-friendly option. So here’s what you need to look for, presented by Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: So, there are two types of floors that are generally considered to be the most eco-friendly. The first is cork.
Now, cork’s a good choice for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s sustainable, it’s beautiful, it looks great, it lasts a long time and it’s quiet. And it really is the best for allergy-sufferers.
Now, the flooring is made actually from the bark of the cork-oak tree, which is stripped every nine years and then promptly grows back. So it inflicts no damage upon the tree, which makes it incredibly an eco-friendly way to go. And the other thing that’s cool about cork is that there’s no pest control or fertilizer. They’re rarely used in the farming of those trees. And that waste cork? Well, that can also be recycled. So, good choice.
LESLIE: Yeah. The other option is bamboo. Now, bamboo floors are manufactured from a bamboo plant, which is a type of grass and it makes them really super sustainable. Now, bamboo grows at a rate much faster than trees and it reaches maturity in as little as five years, which is why bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly flooring products available. But the other big advantage of bamboo is that it’s really hard.
Now, strand bamboo is actually about twice as hard as red oak, which is why bamboo flooring is both sustainable and a super-durable flooring choice.
TOM: And today’s Flooring Tip was presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find Morning Star Bamboo Flooring. Morning Star is a naturally beautiful and ecologically-friendly product that evokes a feeling of luxury. It’s available in smooth or distressed textures, in a wide variety of colors.
The Morning Star Bamboo Flooring is a perfect complement to any room design. It’s available at Lumber Liquidator stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Jody in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JODY: I actually have a problem with my foundation. It’s an exposed foundation; about 3 feet high around the whole footprint of the house is exposed. The cement-block foundation that had parging on it originally – and the parging was cracking, so it was recommended by a masonary (ph) contractor to put DRYLOK over it.
So, this is what I did. I put on – it’s a – they add color to the DRYLOK. So I put it over the whole foundation and it started to crack and peel and bubble.
TOM: Yeah, it didn’t adhere properly. First of all, isn’t DRYLOK usually an interior masonry paint, not an exterior masonry paint?
JODY: Well, this particular masonary (ph) guy told me that he’s actually used it on the bottom of swimming pools, so he thought that it would work. And when he saw it later, he said, “Wow. I’ve never seen it do that.”
TOM: Yeah. How about that? He just experimented with your house.
JODY: I did call the DRYLOK people, too, and talked to them.
JODY: And they told me to try to power-wash it, try scraping it. But it’s just become a huge mess, you know? I mean it peels in some places. Some places, it adhered.
TOM: Yeah, the problem is that now that you’ve got that on there, you’ve got to get it off because you can’t put any – you can’t put new stuff over the bad, old stuff. It just will continue to peel.
JODY: Yeah. The problem is is that we are on filled-in marshland – is where the – and so, we’re on clay and sand. And the cement block, it sort of leaches up through there, so it’s always sort of damp coming up from the ground anyway.
TOM: Yeah. That’s what I was going to – that’s what I was kind of thinking. I was thinking that the block wall might have been wet when you applied it. It might not have been visibly wet but see, those block walls are hydroscopic. They absorb water really, really well. And so, if it’s on a moist situation, that water is going to draw up, get behind that paint. And nothing causes paint to peel faster than water.
So, unfortunately, at this stage, you’re going to have to strip that off.
JODY: Oh, my gosh. And we’re right on the water, you know what I mean? We’re on the bay. So I’m always worried about things that are not environmentally friendly.
TOM: The other thing that I think you probably could do – and this is a big job in and of itself, though – is you could have a mason attach a woven-wire mesh to that foundation and re-stucco it. And in that case, it could go right on top of the old, junky paint because you’re not really sticking to the foundation; you’re sticking to the mesh. So that’s another possibility.
JODY: I gotcha, yeah. Yeah. Because, I guess, in some places that was used before, underneath the parging.
TOM: Well, the parging is simply a stucco coat that goes on top of the block wall and it’s typical for the parging to crack. And usually, it cracks along the lines of the masonry block.
JODY: Yep. That’s what it did.
TOM: And that’s not necessarily a defect. That’s pretty much just the way it goes with that stuff, especially if they don’t put it on thick enough.
So, I would consider, if you really want to have it to look like a traditional masonry foundation, I would consider having mesh put up there and then properly re-stuccoed. If not, you’re just going to have to peel that paint off any way you can. You would – I might take a look at some of the citrus-based paint strippers if you have some that’s really hard to get off.
JODY: Alright. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Sorry I don’t have better news. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, just ahead, termites cause thousands of dollars in damage to homes across America every year. We’re going to tell you how to keep your home off the menu, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. We’ve got a tip for you right now on termites.
They can cause thousands of dollars of damage to homes every single year. And the devil is in the details on how you deal with these little buggers. They nest deep into the surrounding soil. So, they’ll infest your home looking for food and moisture sources, kind of destroy your structure in the process, then head back to the ground to nest.
So if you want to protect your house, there’s a couple of things that you can do straight off, one of which is simply keep wood away from the foundation. And a big culprit is firewood. I used to see time and time again, in the 20 years I’ve spent as a home inspector, firewood piled high against a home’s siding. Really bad idea. It’s like throwing red meat to the lions.
And secondly, you want to get a regular inspection done because I’ve got to tell you, termite damage is not easy to spot. I did it every day, I got pretty good at it and there’s others that have that same skill set. But you’re not likely to find it until you really have a serious problem.
I have a very good friend who was doing some painting and she had a condo where she was painting up high into some – like an archway and noticed the paintbrush was making dents in the wall. I’m like, “That’s impossible.” What was happening – the termites had gone all the way up into the second floor of this house and they had no idea. And they were sort of breaking into those termite trails by just painting the house.
So, it can happen. Get a regular inspection done and keep those – the termite bait – the wood – away from the house whenever possible.
LESLIE: Alright, you guys. Why not post your questions online? We’d love to hear from you and find out what is going on. And we’ve got one here from Nancy in New York who writes: “I have a problem in my basement. Most of the blocks in the bottom two rows of the north foundation wall are crumbling. Do I need to remove all the paint on the wall before using an epoxy patching compound or just scrape away the loose paint?”
TOM: When folks say that those blocks are crumbling, Leslie, it’s probably just the mineral salts, right? Because they get wet and then they dry out and you get this sort of white/grayish crusty stuff that forms all over the blocks. That’s not a crumbling of the block itself; that’s just the salts drying on the outside of it. But regardless, this just means you’ve got a moisture problem and you’ve got too much water that’s collecting along that side of the house.
So fix that first and then you can deal with the repair later, which is simply to scrape, prime and paint that wall all over again. And by the way, if it’s not painted and you’re just seeing that crumbly, white/gray salt stains, if you mix up a little bit of vinegar – white vinegar – with water, it’ll kind of melt it right away.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Jake who writes: “I have a 1942 Cape Cod-style home with forced air. My cold-air return vents all run in the exterior walls of my house and I’m getting a lot of cold drafts from them when my heat is not on. I took the covers off and see the old wood siding on the exterior of my house.”
Oh, wow. So he can see right to the outside. That’s probably not good.
TOM: That’s a clue. That’s a clue, right? Yeah, when you have return air, you certainly don’t want it to be air right from the outside. And that, unfortunately, is very common in an old house, Jake, where you have what is essentially is an unlined return duct. It essentially is the stud bay, right? So, when they build the wall, you’ve got a stud that goes between the siding and the interior wall and that becomes the return duct. So, of course, you’re going to get a lot of drafts there.
Your options here are really to line that. You need to run some real supply ducts that don’t go through those unlined cavities. And only by doing that will you be able to cut down on those drafts.
LESLIE: Yeah, man. You don’t want that cold air coming in. I mean that really is a huge energy waster. Plus, you’re probably super cold all the darn time.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show and we are so happy that you joined us for this very first show of the spring season. Spring officially turned this week and that means it’s time to get the tools out, pick up the paintbrush and get to work. We are here for you every step of the way. When you’ve got a home improvement question that you need answered, you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or please head on over to our brand-spanking-new website at MoneyPit.com and post your question to the Community section.
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 2017 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)