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: Happy Holidays, everybody. It is the ho-ho-home improvement time of the year, so you might be thinking about some projects that you still need to get done or ones that you want to plan for the year ahead. Not too early to start thinking about those home improvement New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve got one that we can help with, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to The Money Pit’s Facebook community at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Coming up this hour, holiday entertaining is just getting started, so we’ve got some tips to help you turn a ho-hum space into a home theater for fantastic viewing on a budget.
LESLIE: And are you having a real live Christmas tree this season? Well, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a really good chance that the first horde of holiday guests you have might actually be the Christmas-tree bugs that came with it.
Is this a real thing, Tom? This is horrible.
TOM: It is a totally real thing. There’s over a half-dozen different types of Christmas-tree insects that love to stay on that tree, right through the front door of your house. They’ll still be here.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. I feel like I’ve heard really horrible versions of this story before where thousands of spiders come crawling out of the tree. And now, when we’re done with our session today of The Money Pit, I’m going to go throw my live tree outside of the house.
But we’ll tell you how to avoid all of those holiday hitchhikers.
TOM: That’s right. And also ahead, decorators and home improvers have re-embraced wallpaper in a new and more modern way, often using it now as an accent or a faux finish to quickly and inexpensively transform a room. So we’re going to have some tips for choosing modern wallpapers and hiring the right pro to help you get it done.
LESLIE: And now that it’s cold, are you thinking ahead to when that warm weather returns? We’ve got a great product from QUIKRETE to give away that can help. It’s a set of their very popular Walkmaker Forms. And it’s an easy way to build a beautiful cobblestone walkway.
TOM: So, give us a call right now. We are here to help you with your home improvement projects now or ones you have planned for the year ahead. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Betsy in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
BETSY: In my basement, I have my clean-out thing. And over the years, I’ve noticed that my plumber is around more than anybody else.
TOM: You’ve got him on retainer, huh?
BETSY: Yeah. So, I had a new heating-and-air-conditioning system put in. I asked the guy if he had a plumber. So, he had this guy come over and he said, “You know, that shouldn’t be happening and they – you need somebody with a camera.” So he said, “I don’t do that stuff anymore. I’m old, too.” So, he sent somebody over and they put a camera down. And you could see several big chunks of root balls in there and they said, “The clay pipe’s in bad shape.”
BETSY: The house is 42 years old. I got an estimate on what it’d be to – they were going to bring the clay pipe up to the ground level. And to get to the pipes, it was going to be – it’s 10 feet down. So, he gave me his estimate. But then, when they came out to do it, they had an excavator who’s from another state, just right over the line, and he had the sonar thing. And he marked out the pipe and it was right next to a beautiful maple tree I have. I mean 2 inches – that we planted the same time the house was built.
TOM: Ah, OK. Yeah. OK.
BETSY: So I thought, “OK.” One of my neighbors had told me there’s this stuff they spray through. Oh, they also put the camera all the way through and they were like, “I counted five big knobs of wood – of root.”
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yep.
BETSY: So, I understand that when they do the spray – you know what I’m talking about with the spray and the special stuff (inaudible)?
TOM: I do. Yep, yep. We’re going to talk about that. OK. Just tell me the rest of the story. Go ahead.
BETSY: So, I understand that they would have to saw those things out somehow and then do it. So I’m thinking I’d like to keep the tree but I’m not so sure that – how long that stuff’s been around, if they really can do that with getting rid of those knobs and then do it. So I want your opinion, because I love your show.
TOM: OK. Yep. OK. So here’s the thing. First of all, just to put your mind at ease, any sewer cleaner that’s worth his or her salt can run a snake down those clay pipes and clean out all of those roots balls. So you do not have to do this whole excavation thing or even pipe-lining just to clear your pipe.
Now, will you have to do it again? Sure. But maybe in a year or two or three. And so, the inexpensive way to fix this is just to have a sewer-cleaning done. I don’t care how deep the pipe is. Their clean-out tools can go 50 feet, 100 feet and you’ll be done.
The system that they’re talking to you about doing is called “pipe lining” or “pipe relining.” And basically, what it is is it’s like – think of it as a long fiberglass sock that’s run through this pipe. And they have a couple of ways of doing it. They pull it through and then it basically is – it expands and then lines the inside surface of that old clay pipe. So, basically, you’re relining the pipe with this new fiberglass material.
And this is very helpful in cases where you have sewer pipes that are going into beautiful maple-tree roots or under patios or around pools or places that you don’t want to excavate. It’s not an inexpensive process. So just keep that in mind. It’s going to be more expensive or at least as expensive as tearing everything up and replacing it. But again, I don’t think you have to do this unless it’s really something you want to do to improve your house, OK?
BETSY: My concern – and this is where I thought you could help me out, too. I know it’s not expensive. It’s two different plumbers I talked to, because the first guy doesn’t do that lining system. But he did tell me about it.
The tree is higher than my two-story house, so that’s going to be a big expense. But with this fiberglass thing, does the – as the roots grow again and again and again, because they always do, is that going to penetrate that fiberglass?
TOM: No, absolutely not. It gets through the clay pipe because it’s pretty easy to get through a clay pipe. It basically goes right through the joints of the pipe, because clay pipes are put in in sections. And they easily get right through those sections and then they have a fertile space in which to grow.
So, no, if you reline the pipe with fiberglass, it’s not going to – you will no longer get any roots that get in there.
BETSY: Well, that’s good to know. And then, the last question – and you guys are great. Thank you for being patient.
TOM: No worries.
BETSY: The clay pipe is old. It’s like – my house is 42 years old. And so, I didn’t know if that’s deteriorating or – how long they really last, because …
TOM: Not at all, not at all. Clay pipes can last 100 years easy.
BETSY: Alright. Awesome.
TOM: OK? So, here’s what we’ve learned. We’ve learned that you don’t have to tear out the pipes. We’ve learned that they’ve got lots of life left in them. You can just snake them. But if you want to preserve that tree and you do want to replace them, I think lining is probably a better option, OK?
BETSY: OK. Great. Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. You can get instantly matched with top-rated pros for any home project and book appointments online for free.
TOM: And still to come, no need to spend big bucks on your entertainment space. We’re going to tell you how to create your very own home theater on a budget, after this.
Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we want you to pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call anytime. Let us know what you are working on. And we know that the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful. No, no, no. We know the winter weather is not so great. And maybe a lot of you have already got your mind on springtime and when it starts to get warmer. Well, we like the way you guys think. So give us a call with your home improvement question.
And we’ve got a great giveaway for those warmer days that we promise are ahead. It’s the QUIKRETE Walkmaker Form. And it really is an easy and affordable way that you can add a beautiful, durable concrete walkway or patio to the house. And it’s a do-it-yourself project because it’s a form that you fill. And there’s a whole bunch of different patterns available. And you just make them over and over and over again until you’ve got the amount that you want to create that walkway or that pathway. So it’s a super-simple do-it-yourself project and it’s a great prize pack that we’ve got up for grabs this hour.
Check them out at QUIKRETE.com.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question. That QUIKRETE Walkmaker is going out to one listener drawn at random. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You can also post your question to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. Everyone who posts on our social pages, in the prior week to the show, has an equal chance at winning this weekend’s prize.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dan in Louisiana on the line who’s got a question for The Money Pit. What can we help you with?
DAN: On one side of the house, I’m up about a foot-and-a-half. The water pipes had busted. Actually, some raccoons and cats had fallen underneath there, busted the pipeline.
TOM: Oh, no.
DAN: And on that – yeah. And on that side of the house, it had sunk down level with the ground.
Now, I have been gone about four or five days. When I came back, it was like this. What I’m trying to find out is how I can level the home. And I have knowledge of …
TOM: You mean get it level again, yeah. I have a question for you, Dan. Did you consider filing a claim with your homeowners insurance company?
DAN: I haven’t yet. And that’s where I’m – I’ve done construction for a while. I’m 69 now. I’m semi-retired I guess you’d say, so …
TOM: Well, listen, man, I think you have a really good claim because this is a plumbing burst. It was caused by animal infestation like this. This is not like a maintenance issue; this is a single event like this. This kind of single event where you have a burst and it causes damage – in your case, potentially severe structural damage – is why you have homeowners insurance. This is nothing that you should have to fix yourself or pay for yourself. So I’m telling you that I think you should contact your homeowners insurance company and/or contact a public adjuster.
Now, a public adjuster is basically somebody who represents you to your homeowners insurance company. And they work for you to make sure that the claim is properly filed and includes everything. We’re talking about everything from the concrete block to the layers of paint that have to be restored to make this repair.
TOM: And when you have as big a structural …
DAN: Where do I find that public adjuster?
TOM: They’re going to be licensed and they’re going to be – you’re going to have to find them the way we find other professionals. If you have an attorney or somebody that’s in the legal business, they may be able to have – give you a recommendation for one or two. You could interview them. But basically, the way they work is on a percentage of the claim. So they might get a few percent of what they collect. But the nice thing about a public adjuster – and one that does a good job – is they’re going to find every single thing that has to be restored because of this animal damage.
DAN: Right. OK.
TOM: So I would not at all try to take this on yourself. I definitely think you should do it through an adjuster or through your insurance company. You’re going to need their – I mean part of what they’re going to pay for is a structural engineer to review that property and figure out how this can be fixed and how this can be leveled so there’s no guesswork here. And it’s also important because someday, you might want to sell this house. And you want to make sure that anything that failed was properly repaired. You may end up with a repair that’s in better shape than the house was originally but that’s OK.
DAN: That’s right. Yeah. No, that’s great. Yeah, I just – I’m just wondering how I would get in touch with a public adjuster. Would that be under government or under …?
TOM: No, no. No, it’s called a “public adjuster” but they’re basically people that work for the public, not as in – it’s not like a government authority.
TOM: It’s like a private consultant. Yeah, it’s just like hiring an accountant or a lawyer or anybody else. It’s called a “public adjuster.” So, you search online for public adjusters in your zip code. You could start there. But I would – you know, I would make sure that I take my time and find out what their experience is in your area and try to find a good one. That’s why it’s kind of helpful if maybe you might know an accountant or an attorney or perhaps someone at the – at your insurance agent’s – not the insurance company but the insurance agent that you bought this from may have some knowledge of that.
TOM: I would spend a little time trying to find the right professionals.
DAN: OK. Well, that really helps. Yeah.
DAN: That really helps big time.
TOM: Yeah. Don’t let too much time go by, because you want to make sure it’s really clear what happened here, OK? Get right on it.
OK, Dan. Good luck. Let us know what happens.
LESLIE: Well, now that we are in the entertainment season, we thought it might be a good time to talk about the ways that you could be able to spruce up your entertaining space. And one project that comes to mind is building a home theater system. Now, that’s one you might think is best left to those with big budgets but not so. All you need is some basic equipment and a sensible design that works to create a theater environment.
TOM: Right. So, the first step, though, is to kind of assess the space that you have to work with. You need to plan the distances. You need a comfortable distance between your screen, your speakers and your seating. But remember that a great home theater doesn’t require a giant screen and a gazillion speakers. In fact, the ideal viewing distance from the TV is usually about two-and-a-half times the width of the screen. So, not a great distance.
Now, as far as the gear goes, the switch to digital TV signals a few years ago basically has made flat screens, high-def TVs very affordable. So, watch for the sales. Lots going on right now. Pick up one that works for your space. And keep in mind that the built-in speakers on many flat screens today, they may be less satisfying than the TV you came from. And here’s why: something had to give when they went to those really thin TVs and part of what gave was the speakers. And so that’s why – not to worry but you’re going to have to buy what’s called a “sound bar,” which is kind of like the speaker bar.
And so on our flat-screen TV, we have a Sony and we have a Sony sound bar. And it just sits right underneath it. It can even – depending on how you can hang it, you can attach it to the bottom of the TV. But that’s where the sound comes out of, not really the TV speakers itself. Because it definitely sounds very thin when it comes out of the speakers, even though it’s a nice TV. So, you’re going to have to go for some sort of sound system. And I just feel like getting the one that comes from the same manufacturer just means everything works together nicely and without any hassles.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that’s always what you want. You want no hassles when you’re sort of setting up your home theater system, because it can be kind of confusing if you’re not an expert at sort of putting that stuff together. So keep it simple and everything should just sort of work together.
Now, when it comes to furniture, you don’t have to spend a lot on all of those home theater furnishings or even the room design, because you’ve probably got most of what you already need to be comfortable and you’ve got some good acoustics. So, think about upholstered couches and upholstery on chairs. That’s kind of ideal because those elements are sound-absorbing, so you’re not going to bounce around a lot of that sound if you have super-smooth floor with no area rugs or leather furnishings. That really doesn’t help you; that just throws that sound all around. So you want to add in draperies, area rugs, comfy furnishings.
In fact, a guy that I work with, Sal, he just showed us a picture today that was, I guesstimated, 17 feet of 5 theater reclining chairs.
TOM: Oh, my gosh.
LESLIE: Tom, when I tell you, the room – the chairs went from end to end.
TOM: Wow. Oh, man.
LESLIE: And I was like, “Sal, where did you get this?” And he said he bought it somewhere locally in New Jersey.
LESLIE: But he only spent 2,300 on it. It’s not the real leather.
LESLIE: But my goodness, I was like, “This is a place where you take a nap, you watch a movie.”
TOM: Yeah, looks like it.
LESLIE: So you don’t have to spend a lot, even if you’re in the market for something new.
TOM: Now, the last thing you want to think about is lighting or more importantly, the lack of lighting. It’s important for good home theater viewing.
So, two things. First of all, make sure you have dimmable lamps or lighting. Easy to do. If you have overhead lighting, make sure the dimmers are built into the switches. Or if you have just lamp lighting, you can use extension cords that have dimmers built into them or you could just replace the light switch with a dimmer. Some of these are even controllable from your smartphone.
And then, make sure you choose drapes or shades that block sunlight. Because when you buy shades today, you can buy the ones that are translucent or light-blocking. In a room like that, where you want to have a nice viewing experience, you want to make sure you have some that have light-blocking because, heck, you might want to watch a movie in the middle of the day. And you don’t want that sun streaming in and ruining the whole experience.
So, there you go: a few good ways for you to set up your home theater, just in time for the holidays and perhaps all the big games that are remaining until we get up to the big day of the Super Bowl.
LESLIE: And it has to be big.
TOM: A lot of people buy these TVs right before the Super Bowl. There’s the pre-Super Bowl parties and – but then, they get frustrated because they can’t figure out how to set them up and then everybody’s getting mad at them. So, start early.
LESLIE: You can reach us anytime with your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, it’s the holiday season. Are you enjoying having a real, live Christmas tree? Well, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a really good chance that your first horde of holiday guests could be some Christmas-tree bugs that came with the tree, right into your house.
Oh, gosh. I’m going to go and check out my tree immediately when I get home from work today, Tom.
We’re going to tell you guys how to spot and evict those holiday hitchhikers, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Hey, are you looking for some new flooring, maybe in your kitchen or your bath? Well, HomeAdvisor can instantly match you with the right pro for the job for free.
TOM: Call us, right now, at 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Laurie in Nevada is on the line with The Money Pit. Has got a question about a cement sink. What can we do for you?
LAURIE: Yeah, hi there. Yeah, we – you know, I’m helping my parents out with their very old home. Unfortunately, we’re really low on funds, et cetera, et cetera. We have a sink in our old home; it’s in the basement. And the sink is part of the washer/dryer setup there. And it’s an old cement sink that has a crack in it. I was hoping that we could do something to repair it just until they’re ready to move on, because we’re trying to do the downsizing and stuff.
TOM: OK. Is the crack really severe where it’s in two pieces or is it just like one crack that – where water gets through?
LAURIE: Well, it’s kind of like a little forked crack that’s in part of the sink, on the base of it, so …
TOM: So, what I would recommend is you use an epoxy on this. There’s a product called PC-7. It’s sort of like a putty and it comes in a container that has the A part and the B part and you mix it together. And so it ends up being, when it’s mixed together, kind of like Play-Doh. And you can press it into place and get it troweled out and pressed into this crack. And leave it alone for about 24 hours and it will never, ever leak again.
So good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re one of the millions of households, like myself, who enjoy having a real, live Christmas tree to gather around, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a really good chance that your first bunch of holiday guests have already arrived with that tree.
TOM: That’s right. There are over a half-dozen species of Christmas-tree bugs – that’s right, bugs – that may have attached themselves to your live Christmas tree.
LESLIE: Ugh, horrible.
TOM: We’re talking about aphids and adelgids and pine-needle scale and bark beetles and even spiders that bite. That’s right. The spiders can stay on the trees and then get into your house. And some of them can bite.
LESLIE: Oh, my God. This is a horrible thing, Tom. You always hear about – “Oh, the tree’s used to the cold. And there’s eggs on it. And it comes inside and your house is nice and warm.”
TOM: Yeah. And it hatches.
LESLIE: And the egg – oh, my gosh. Stop saying this. Alright. I’m going to stop talking about it, so let’s talk about ways to fix it and make sure that your tree is creepy-crawly free.
First of all, check it out before you buy it. When you head out for the Christmas tree, be sure to bring a flashlight with you. Yes, it’s daytime but bring a flashlight so that you can look at the trunk. You can look for any bugs, any eggs. Then scan a few sections of needles for the bugs and eggs, as well. They’re going to think you’re crazy but look at everything because, believe me, you don’t want these bugs in your house.
TOM: Now, next, shake it out. Even if you’ve inspected your tree for any hitchhikers, it’s a good idea to give your tree a good shake. If you shake the tree, you will encourage any bugs to jump off or fall off so you don’t bring them home with you.
Christmas-tree bugs are so common that some shops or stands actually have a mechanical Christmas-tree shaker that you can make sure to use before you tie up the tree to your car for the ride home.
And by the way, you might be thinking, “Why not just spray the whole thing down with pesticides?” Really bad idea. Here’s why: because many insecticides are flammable and when combined with hot holiday lights and dried-out needles, it could lead to a disastrous fire. So do not use pesticides on that tree.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness.
And lastly, guys, you’ve got to vacuum. The longer you keep your tree indoors, the more likely you are to find dead bugs under the tree. And many of the bugs that live on the trees are going to run out of food once you bring that tree inside or they’re not going to be able to cope with the change in humidity.
Now, the best solution is to vacuum up any dead bugs, along with the dried-out needles that are ultimately going to collect on a daily basis under the tree.
TOM: And by the way, if you’re vacuuming early in the season, here’s a little tip: you want to remove and replace the vacuum bag, basically, as soon as you’re done. It’s fine if it’s not filled. Get rid of it. Here’s why: because it may very well be filled with a few live bugs who are still clinging to your holiday spirit. So you don’t want to have those live bugs. You don’t want to give them any chance to crawl out of that vacuum and get into another space in your house.
So, toss the vacuum bag as soon as you are done. It’s worth changing it out to a new one.
LESLIE: Oh, gosh.
TOM: And that completes the Scrooge portion of the show. How about that? We’re going to turn to some more positive topics now than Christmas-tree bugs, which are the things that are bugging you about your home improvement project. So call us right now. We’d love to chat at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions to The Money Pit community at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
LESLIE: John in Oakhurst, New Jersey – maybe Tom’s neighbor – has a question about a water heater. How can we help you today?
JOHN: Yeah, we just literally had a water – a new water heater installed today. We started to have some leaking coming out of the top where – I guess where the input and the output lines go in.
So we had a new one put in; we knew that was failing. But the installer suggested and recommended to us that we flush it once a year. And although that sounds like it makes sense to me – I know there’s a lot of people who don’t do it – I just want to get you guys’ opinion on whether that’s really important to do that annually. And if you don’t, what’s the downside of that?
TOM: Well, the reason that you flush a water heater is because you get sediment in the bottom of it and the sediment acts as an insulator. It doesn’t really cause any harm to the water heater and I think in a situation where you have city water, it’s not as important as when you have well water. It’s sort of an old wives’ tale; it’s kind of something that people always started doing and not really ever stopped doing or understand why they do it.
There’s nothing really wrong with flushing it. The only downside is that you may find that the valve that you open up at the bottom of the water heater once a year, one of these years it’s not going to want to shut again and you end up with an expensive repair. So I don’t think it’s critical but I don’t think it will hurt you unless the valve gets kind of gummed up at some point and starts to leak.
JOHN: That’s a good suggestion, Tom. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You can reach us anytime with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, wallpaper has been an element of home décor since the 1930s. And while popularity has been up and down over the years, it’s now picking up steam as a way to transform a room or more. We’re going to have some tips to help you choose the best wallpaper for your home and help you find a pro to get it installed, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you with your home improvement project. So help yourself first: call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Hey, if the weather says winter but your mind says spring, we like the way you think. And if you call now with your home improvement question, you might just be the one winner of a great prize. We’ve got the QUIKRETE Walkmaker Forms to give away, an easy and affordable way to add a beautiful, durable concrete walkway or patio to your home.
The way it works is you just pour the QUIKRETE Crack-Resistant Concrete into the form, you smooth it with a trowel, you take off the form when it’s almost dry. We call it “thumbprint-hard.” Then you repeat the process until the walkway or the patio is done.
It’s available in four styles. We’ve got one to give away today, though. So pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. That QUIKRETE Walkmaker going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ames from Colorado on the line who’s got a question about repairing stucco. How can we help you?
AMES: We have a home that’s eight or nine years old. It has a stucco exterior and it has cracks – horizontal cracks.
TOM: Is it a masonry-stucco house or is it a synthetic-stucco house?
AMES: I don’t know.
TOM: So, is it like a concrete kind of a finish to it? Does it feel like concrete or does it feel soft? Like could you put your finger and push it and it would be spongy?
AMES: It’s hard.
TOM: It’s hard, OK. And so you’ve got cracks in horizontal stucco, eight-year-old house. You’re going to want to get those cracks sealed because what happens with stucco, if the water gets behind it, especially in a cold environment, it will tend to do two things: number one, it will freeze and as it does, it will push and loosen the stucco; and number two, there’s probably a metal mesh that was applied to the home first, that holds that stucco in place, and the moisture will rust that away.
So, the best thing to do is to use an exterior caulk. You can get one that matches the color of the stucco or you could use a clear, silicone-like caulk and seal those cracks to try to minimize the chance for moisture to get through. And that’s going to be pretty much normal maintenance with a stucco surface.
Does it appear like any chunks are coming off or is it just the crack that is forming?
AMES: Yeah, it’s just a crack.
TOM: Yeah, so stay on top of it, Ames, and you’ll really minimize it. And it’ll last for a long time.
AMES: Alright. And then it also has rust stains, probably from that metal lath.
TOM: Yeah. And so, after you get all of the cracks sealed, if you’re getting – next time you repaint the house, I want you to prime it first. That will seal in the rust stains and prevent them from coming through quite so quickly.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, wallpaper has been a popular element for home décor since the 1930s. And back then, it was pretty much a requirement for any interior-decorating plan. But while it became less popular in the back half of the last century, for the last 20 years decorators and homeowners have sort of re-embraced wallpaper because it’s a very nice way to quickly …
LESLIE: Because it’s awesome.
TOM: It’s awesome. See, now you’re one of the decorators, right?
LESLIE: I love it. (inaudible)
TOM: It’s awesome. It’s a nice way to transform a room without spending a lot of money. So, we’ve got tips on how to do just that, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
Count the ways you love your wallpaper, Leslie.
LESLIE: It’s pretty, it makes a big difference. It doesn’t have to be very expensive. You can do it yourself. I find a lot of Zen moments in hanging wallpaper.
It really is fantastic, guys. I know there are a lot of naysayers out there who just hate wallpaper. But I will tell you – and I think it’s due to the popularity of a lot of British programs that are on a lot of these streaming services – there’s so much wallpaper used in set design. And I think as a set designer, I’ve just fallen in love with it my whole life.
So, I want to use it, I want to put it up everywhere. But you’ve got to find the right paper for the part of your house that you’re going to use it in. And there’s really four types. There’s vinyl-coated, there’s coated fabric, there’s paper or solid sheet-backed vinyl and fabric-backed vinyl. And each one is going to have its own benefits and disadvantages. And each type is better than others for specific rooms.
Now, for example, a vinyl-coated wallpaper, that’s suitable for almost any room but it’s particularly fantastic for a kitchen or bath due to the fact that it just has better water-resistance.
Now, a coated-fabric wallpaper is made by printing patterns directly onto a vinyl or acrylic-coated fabric. It’s more breathable. It’s better quality than vinyl-coated but it tends to absorb moisture, so it’s really not a good choice for a kitchen or a bath.
TOM: Now, there’s also solid sheet-vinyl wallpaper and this is a very durable and very easy-to-clean product. It’s made when a paper substrate is laminated into an acrylic to create a very single, solid, decorated surface. And they’re also often embossed, which gives that sort of texture to a wall surface, which is pretty nice.
And then, finally, there’s fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper. This is very strong. It’s moisture-resistant on the surface. It has a surface of acrylic or vinyl and it’s very durable and very tear-resistant, as well as impervious to moisture and humidity. So if you live in an area – like Florida, for example – or you want to put this in your bathroom, that’s the paper to use.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? I think like any home improvement project, estimating the cost of wallpaper in one or more rooms of your house really depends on a combination of everything, from the size of the room, the quality of the paper. But according to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to hire a paper hanger is about $507. So it’s really a pretty affordable way to completely transform the space.
TOM: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area and book appointments online, all for free. No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: You’re tuned to The Money Pit, which is presented by HomeAdvisor.com. Never worry, guys, about overpaying for a job. You can use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide and see what others have paid for similar projects. It’s all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.
When we come back, we’re going to help out a caller who’s thinking about some big changes for the new year, like putting her house on the market. We’re going to help her sort out when and if you should bring in a home inspector. And we’ll help her out with that when we come back.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. You can post those questions to The Money Pit’s Community page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or to MoneyPit.com. And that is exactly what Carla in Michigan did.
It sounds like Carla has got big plans for the new year, Leslie.
LESLIE: Yeah, this is exciting. Carla writes: “I’m putting my house on the market in a few months. Is it worth it to have a home inspection done before I list it or should I just wait and see what comes out of an interested buyer’s presale home inspection?”
TOM: That is a really good question, Carla. So, here’s my two cents on this and remember, I was a home inspector for almost 20 years. I do think it’s a good idea for you to have an inspection before you put it on the market. Because having done thousands of inspections, I can tell you that very often what will happen after the home inspection is the sellers will not be real happy,s because the home inspector found some issue of significance that now requires them to pay for an expensive repair or to renegotiate the purchase price.
And it’s just sloppy when you have to do that when you’re deep into the transaction like that because, you know, the buyers think you’re just going to take whatever cheap way out you can. And you’re already convinced that you sold the house for too little money; they think they’re way overpaying for it. There’s all this angst going on. So it’s very helpful when you know what kinds of issues may be there.
And it could work to your benefit if the buyer’s inspector thinks that something’s a problem and your inspector didn’t pick it up. Well, now you’ve got somebody to really talk with about that and try to get to the bottom of it. And if you do find a problem, it’s better that you fix it before you put the house on the market. Because this way, the buyers are not involved, you can do it at your own leisure and then you can add to the listing as a new whatever: new furnace, new roof.
I can tell you, Leslie, I’ve done inspections where I walked into the house at noon and by 2:00 p.m., there was an HVAC contractor carrying out a dangerous furnace and putting in a new one. I mean it happens that fast.
LESLIE: It really makes sense.
TOM: So, knowledge is power. I definitely think it’s a great idea for you to get an inspection done before you put your house on the market.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s a good tip.
Alright. Next up, Robin in Delaware has written: “Does it ever make sense to make a two-story house into a one-story? We like our location but we don’t need the room anymore. And also, we need a new roof.”
“Hey, we need a new roof. Let’s lose the second floor.”
TOM: I cannot think of any circumstance where that would make sense.
TOM: None. None whatsoever.
LESLIE: It just seems so strange.
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen, Robin may not be paying attention to the real-estate market. But the more space you have, the more valuable your house is. So why would you cut it down to a one-story house and lose, easily, a third of its value if not more? So, yeah, a really bad idea. I would definitely not do that.
If you like where you are, find another house there or just think about – even though you’re not using those extra rooms upstairs, the carrying cost of that empty space is going to be a lot cheaper than the money you’re going to lose by chopping it off. If you’re paying to heat them and cool them and all that, do not do that, Robin. It’ll be a really bad idea.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness, Robin. Instead, think of some ways that you can cut costs on your spending up there. Really look at what you can do to enhance the design of the house through the color and sort of selection of roof shingles that you pick out. I would definitely not lose that second floor because where are you going to go and hide when you want to be by yourself?
TOM: Hey, why not turn it into an Airbnb? My daughter has been away at college. She’s working on her medical residencies and she’s been renting long-term Airbnbs. So it’s not just overnight. She’s living in a – with a very nice lady now in Seattle for four months, who’s renting her a room.
LESLIE: That’s really smart. Yeah, go do that. Come on, Robin.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. This time of year, though, it’s the ho-ho-home improvement show. We’re all in the holiday spirit. We hope that you are in the holiday spirit enjoying this wonderful pre-holiday weekend. If you’ve been thinking about some improvements you’d like to make to your home for the new year, we are so glad you’ve been listening to us and welcome you to contact us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with those questions. Or you can always post them to The Money Pit’s community at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2019 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.)