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: Give us a call with your home improvement question, your home décor dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are hoping that you are enjoying a great holiday week and spending time with family and friends and just relaxing. And maybe you are noodling about a project that you want to take on in the year ahead. If that’s the case, give us a call. We’d love to walk you through the how-tos at 1-888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, with winter temperatures at record lows across the country, a heated garage might sound pretty darn good to you, especially if you use that space for something other than a place to park your car, like most of us. So we’re going to talk some garage-heating options, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, we’re going to have a solution for doors that stick. Now, that’s really an annoying problem but it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to tell you how to make it go away once and for all.
TOM: And are you in the market for new furniture but don’t have the big budget to buy new? Well, if so, upcycling might be for you. We’ll have tips to help you get started.
LESLIE: Plus, every January we promise ourselves to start following some good habits. But those intentions often fizzle in just a few weeks into the new year. But what if there was a link between self-empowerment and home improvement? Now, whether it’s losing weight, getting organized or making more money, your house can help you keep these New Year’s resolutions for your home. We’re going to tell you how, in a bit.
TOM: So, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Lots of folks planning for the year ahead. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Brian in Kentucky is on the line and working on a Tudor, which is my favorite kind of home. What can we help you with?
BRIAN: I have bought an old, 1979 English Tudor home. It’s about 2,700 square feet. And it’s down in Seymour, Tennessee. And it has got brick on the first floor and the upper floor has the English Tudor style but it’s been made out of plywood. And it looks like it’s textured plywood with raised 1×2-inch strips on it.
The house has never been touched and it’s a good money pit. I’m going to be taking the stripping off of it and I’m going to be probably caulking between the joints of the plywood and replacing whatever existing plywood is rotted with OVC marine board and then siliconing everything.
I’m going to – I want to put stucco or Dryvit over top of that existing plywood. And I’m leaning towards the Dryvit because of the Styrofoam, which will be an insulation factor. But I don’t know the pros and cons of original stucco or the Dryvit and the cost factor.
TOM: Alright. First of all, I’m very familiar with the design house you have and yes, it’s attractive. Unfortunately, it’s really bad in terms of weather-resistance because, usually, they use – well, what they’ll use for the what you’re calling the “plywood siding” is a composite type of material that looks a little bit like – supposed to look a little bit like concrete or look like stucco but it’s not.
TOM: And it’s a composite siding that really does not stand up very well. And if it’s not been touched since 1979, then it probably all needs to be replaced.
TOM: If you’re trying to decide between using real stucco – or it’s actually called Dryvit and it’s a brand name for EIFS, which is exterior insulated foam siding – E-I-F-S. I would tell you that you should stay away – stay away – from the foam siding. All you need to do is Google-search that stuff and you’re going to find huge problems. There’s been a lot of complaints over the years and as a friend of mine once said to me, who’s a structural engineer – he said, “That product was leaking on the drawing board and it hasn’t stopped since.”
TOM: Now, they made a lot of changes to it and some people said they’re happy with it. If you live in a wet climate, I wouldn’t use it. If you live – I think it’s good on commercial buildings and masonry buildings because they don’t have the decay factors. But I would absolutely stay away from the exterior insulated foam siding for a residential home.
I think you’re going to end up, Brian, taking all of that plywood off and then you’re going to have to decide what you want to replace it with. If you’re going to go with real masonry siding – real masonry stucco – I think that’s a wise choice. I think that’s a choice that will last a lifetime and give your house a proper English Tudor.
English Tudors last forever because they’re built to last forever. But when we make the fake English Tudors with the composite siding and the furring strips, you’re lucky that it lasted the 30-plus years that it has.
BRIAN: Yeah. Would you go with the marine board, like I was talking about and then put the Tyvek around that or the tar paper or …?
TOM: Well, what you’re going to end up doing is you’re going to have a plywood sheathing. So you’re going to take everything off, examine the interior, make sure there’s no rot in the studs. You’re going to add a plywood sheathing, you’re going to add building paper, you’re going to add metal – woven metal wire – and you’re going to put the stucco right on top of that.
Of course, I mean really, your mason is going to do this but that’s, essentially, the process.
BRIAN: OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brian. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Cynthia from South Dakota on the line who’s got a question about a firewall. Tell us what you’re working on.
CYNTHIA: I have an old house and I’ve been ripping out the plaster walls. And I found, along this one wall – see, the whole entire house is this pretty durable and tough plaster-board stuff. And I was wondering if that is a firewall, because that seems to be where all the cold-air returns and stuff are and if I should or should not rip it out. And if I do rip it out, is there a certain kind of drywall that I should use there?
TOM: Where is this wall located exactly?
CYNTHIA: It could have been on the outside of the house at one point but it’s under the furnace.
TOM: Well, first of all, the only place that you typically would have a firewall – in other words, a fire-rated wall with a certain rating – is between the garage and the house. All the other walls and ceilings inside the homes are – usually have traditional, ½-inch drywall. If it’s an exterior – an interior/exterior wall – an inside surface of an exterior wall, like a garage wall, then you would use a 5/8-inch-thick, fire-rated drywall. But all of the other places in the house, you’d have regular plaster board – I’m sorry, regular drywall.
CYNTHIA: OK. Have you ever seen this plaster board before?
TOM: Well, sure. Now, how old is the house?
CYNTHIA: I believe it was built in 1896?
TOM: See, there’s different stages of wall construction. In 1896, you would have had something called “wood lath,” so there would be wood strips on the wall and then plaster put on top of that.
CYNTHIA: Yep. That’s on most of the walls. But this one particular wall – which could have been an outside wall at one point; I’m not sure exactly – it’s like in 2-foot strips.
TOM: Yeah, OK. So that’s a later addition. And what they did with that is when they stopped using wood lath, they started using rock lath or – you would think of sheetrock in those 2-foot-wide strips? They put that on and then covered that with wet plaster. So that’s just a more modern version of the way walls were constructed. So it went from wood lath to rock lath to sheetrock. That’s, essentially, the progression of wall construction over, roughly, the last hundred years.
CYNTHIA: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: A little lesson on building history. Hope that clears it up for you.
CYNTHIA: Yeah. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call anytime with your home repair or home improvement question. Someone’s standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Just ahead, a door that sticks can be pretty annoying to fix. However, it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to tell you how, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jack in Delaware on the line who’s dealing with a whistling noise coming from his HVAC system and he thinks it’s the furnace.
Hey, Jack. What can we do for you?
JACK: My problem is this. I’m 67 years old. I’ve never had this as – or all the houses I’ve ever owned. But when the heat is on, it sounds like a jet plane taking off through the air ducts. Mostly up in the loft but you can hear it everywhere. So if you’re laying in a bed in the bedroom, in the loft site, and the heat comes on, it can wake you up because it’ll make like a whistling sound.
So I called – because it is guaranteed for a year so, naturally, I called them to come take a look at this. I wasn’t home; my wife was. And then when I got home, she said, “They said everything’s fine.” Well, it’s not. So I want to call them back and I’m going to be here when they come back. But I don’t want to sound stupid and I want to make sure I can ask the right question.
TOM: Well, the reason it’s doing that is – it has to do with the installation of the duct system. It’s a design issue. And with some systems, if the ducts, perhaps, are too small, they have too many turns in them, they’re not smooth in terms of their transition from room to room to room, you’re going to get a buildup of pressure that makes this worse.
So, this is a problem of installation.
TOM: It might be that this is a higher-efficiency furnace that has a higher flow than, perhaps, other ones. You might want to talk to them about whether or not the fan speed can be adjusted. I don’t know if that will impact it. But it’s really the duct system, not the furnace, that’s causing the problem. The furnace would probably be quite silent if it wasn’t hooked up to the ducts.
JACK: Yeah. And of course, if they didn’t fix – any ductwork would be just like – they wouldn’t do that.
TOM: I would bring it up with them. But the thing is, you’re not going to be able to rely on any kind of warranty on this. Are you talking about the new homeowner’s warranty – a new homebuyer’s warranty?
JACK: Yes, yes.
TOM: Yeah. In a lot of cases, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. I know a lot about those programs and I’ve got to tell you, they cover builders only if builders get an F. They don’t cover A, B, C and D, you know what I mean? Unless it’s really bad, that’s when maybe something kicks in and even so, the coverage is just not good and the programs are just not solid. I used to arbitrate for some of those years ago and I remember horrific defects that weren’t covered. So, I have no faith in those programs.
You might be better off dealing directly with the builder than trying to go through the warranty company. Because the warranty company is going to have a very specific set of standards that says what is and what isn’t covered. And you’re not required to necessarily, in most cases, go through the warranty company. You can go direct to the builder. And if you’re loud enough and persistent enough, you might get it fixed.
JACK: That’s what – I am going to do that; I definitely want to go to the builder first. I just wanted to go to the builder armed with some kind of knowledge. See, right off the bat, you helped me because I thought it was the furnace.
TOM: No, it’s the duct system that’s causing this.
JACK: Alright. One more thing about the furnace. I won’t hold you. When the air conditioning was on last summer, I had to have a little bucket under this one pipe because it kept dripping. And I called them back about that and they said, “Oh, the insulation around this copper pipe wasn’t tight enough.” And so he did something – and again, I wasn’t home – and left and now it doesn’t drip as bad but it still has a lot of moisture where I keep a rag underneath the thing, just so it doesn’t puddle on the floor. Of course, that’s not right, right? I mean you’re not supposed to have any moisture, correct?
TOM: No, of course it’s not. That’s an active leak even though it hasn’t gone to – become a drip. And it’s going to get worse in the summer when it’s really humid out. So it might just come back as bad as it was before.
Is this a development where there’s a lot of homes that are built?
JACK: Yes, yes. A brand-new development. It’s a 55-and-older development.
TOM: I’ve got some suggestions for you. There’s power in numbers when it comes to that. It’s easy to ignore one homeowner but if you get a few of them together that are having the same issue, it becomes a lot more difficult for the builder to ignore.
JACK: Funny you should say that. We had – one of the owners down the street wants to form a committee to have all our grievances listed and go to the builder.
TOM: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea. And also involve the building inspectors locally in the municipality. Because if the building inspectors know that there’s issues with these properties, they’re going to be a lot more careful about inspecting them. And that’s something that a builder is not going to be happy about and you might just twist his arm enough to address it.
It stinks to have to complain to get something done but sometimes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
JACK: Yeah, well, I’m about to become the wheel. I’m going to squeak then.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Jack. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a door that sticks, it can go one of two ways: you can either put up with it, letting that little annoyance build up over time until you totally burst; or you can resolve to fix it once and for all. Now, we’re advocates of that second approach, so here’s what you need to know.
TOM: Now, first off, it helps to understand why doors stick. Now, most doors are made of wood, so the best way to understand the sticking-door problem is to think of a sponge. When the sponge is dry, it’s small, compact and hard. But when it gets moist, the sponge swells up to its full size but becomes slightly softer. And that is exactly what happens to your door. As it swells and then dries out, either extreme can cause it to stick.
In fact, I know people that have doors where one spot sticks in the winter and another one in the summer.
LESLIE: Now, to fix that door that’s sticking, your first task it to find exactly where that stick begins. Now, you can discover this by slowly opening and closing that door. And you’ve got to make note of where the door is in relation to the frame when it starts to stick.
Now, if you want a visual guide, you can use a piece of chalk to color the door where it seems to be sticking. This way, by opening and closing that door a couple of times, that chalk mark is going to transfer to the exact point where that sticky door is touching its jamb. And then you could, of course, wipe away that chalk without a trace. But at least now you know exactly where the problem is.
TOM: Good trick. Now, there are two methods to actually get that fix done, which we’ll call the “easy method” and the “harder method.” So, first, let’s talk about the easy method: tighten those hinges. Because if the door opens on the right side and sticks towards the top, the most likely culprit is that the opposite hinge on the left is loose. So you can tighten that hinge or better yet, replace just one or two of its screws with ones that are long enough to go through the jamb and into the framing. Because that can sort of pull the door over just enough to free up that sticking area.
Now, the other option is harder and that’s to sand down the door where it’s sticking. Take a rough piece of sandpaper and rub it along that section of the door that’s been sticking. Then just keep repeating that process until the door no longer sticks in the frame. But try not to overdo it. And remember that if you’re going to sand down the door, you’re going to also have to prime and repaint that edge. Otherwise, you’re inviting additional swelling to bring it right back into that jamb where it’ll stick all over again.
LESLIE: And you know what, guys? If you want a great video that’s going to help you pinpoint exactly where to troubleshoot a sticky door – and in this case, we did a great video with Yale about an exterior door that sticks. It’s a great video, so make sure you check it out. Just search “smart-lock installation” and it’ll really help you find a way to get that door unstuck.
TOM: And my favorite tip is – Leslie, you showed a really cool way to use lipstick to actually figure out where the door is sticking.
TOM: So, well done.
LESLIE: Yeah, I don’t wear it. So I find good uses for it around the house.
If you’re stuck on a home improvement project, give us a call right now.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Joyce in Illinois who’s having a flooring issue. Tell us what’s going on.
JOYCE: Well, a few years ago, I put down a new kitchen floor – Congoleum DuraCeramic kitchen floor. And it has all these marks and things on it that I had a guy come out and look at it and he said it was a problem from the factory. And I thought they were going to replace it and they never did replace it for me. And I was just wondering, what do I put down? I have home day care and I was wondering what I could put down to stand up to my home day care and still look nice?
TOM: Laminate works really well and it’s gotten less expensive. It’s easier to install.
Laminate floor is – can look like vinyl, it can look like stone, it can look like wood. It can look like anything. And it’s basically made of a medium-density fiberboard and then a color layer, which has the pattern of the stone or whatever it is on it. And then the laminate is on top of that. So, basically, it’s a sandwich.
And while people are comparing – would compare laminates to, say, a laminate countertop, like a Formica, a laminate floor is actually about 100 times more durable because they put more protection on it. Yeah, I’ve had a laminate floor down in my house, which is a very old house, for about 10 years. And it looks as good as the day we put it down, so I know it stands up well.
JOYCE: Well, I know I have day care and the kids are throwing toys around and everything else.
TOM: Sure. Absolutely.
TOM: Kids, dogs, toys, furniture. Yeah, I would take a look at laminate. It’s tough stuff and easy to clean.
JOYCE: OK. OK.
TOM: Alright, Joyce? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Just go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Hey, are you looking for a warm place to work on a big project? Well, why not add heat to your garage? We’re going to have some tips, coming up.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: How was your Christmas? Did you have an awesome time with the kiddies?
LESLIE: Oh, goodness. We really had such a lovely holiday. I found that this year, the holiday has been extra merry, the kids have been in a good mood, the tree was just perfectly fantastic this year. So that all adds up to a wonderful holiday.
How about you?
TOM: Oh, the same. It’s so nice to have all the kids home. They’re grown up now, so they are dispersed around the country. But they all come back to home for Christmas, because that’s where everybody wants to be.
We hope that you guys are having a great holiday, as well. If you are thinking about a project for the year ahead, why don’t you give us a call right now? We’ll talk about it at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Going out to California where Marlene has got a question about a rotten-egg smell in the bath. What’s going on?
MARLENE: In our master-bathroom shower, when you turn on the hot-water faucet, it smells like rotten eggs. It’s really awful. And this lasts for several minutes and then it’ll go away. We have, oh, six other hot-water faucets in the house, including a shower, and none of these faucets do this. And so we were wondering, should we call a plumber? Would a plumber know what to do to change this?
TOM: Marlene, that odor usually stems from your water heater. Even though you’re only smelling it in those couple of bathrooms, I suspect it could be forming in your water heater. That sort of rotten-egg or sulfur smell is actually caused by a bacteria in the water. And it’s reacting to the deterioration of the sacrificial anode, which is inside a water heater. It’s usually made of magnesium or aluminum and it will react with that and cause that odor.
So, one of the solutions is to replace that anode. And if you look at the top of the water heater, it looks like there’s a bolt sort of stuck into the top of the water heater? That’s the anode there. And if you pull that anode out and replace it, even with one – a better bet is one that’s made of zinc. There’s a type of anode called “zinc alloy.” That will stop that odor from happening.
MARLENE: Oh, OK.
TOM: It’s probably best to have a plumber do that, yeah. But if you call a plumber about this rotten-egg odor and tell him to look at your anode, I think you might find the solution right there.
MARLENE: That’d be wonderful.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, today’s garage is much more than a space for storage or even for parking your car. You might be using your garage as your laundry room, a workshop, a playroom or even a haven for your beloved pets.
TOM: Well, that’s right. But while the garage is definitely an extension of our living space, those cold temperatures and drafty structures make it much less comfortable during those winter months, which means you can’t get much done out there.
LESLIE: That’s true. But the problem can be easily fixed with a simple garage heater.
Now, there are several different types out there. You’ve got a forced-air garage heater and that’s going to deliver instant heat, kind of like a conventional furnace. There’s infrared garage heaters, which are going to radiate heat rather than using a conventional blower fan. And then portable electric heaters. And those require very little maintenance. Or you could pick up a kerosene heater. A 23,000-BTU unit can easily handle an average-size garage.
TOM: And finally, if you’re planning on adding heat to your garage, think about insulating the walls, too. Those exterior walls are usually not insulated in garages. And by adding some inexpensive fiberglass batts, you can definitely reduce the amount of heat that you’ll need to work there comfortably.
LESLIE: Olin (sp) is on the line with a wainscoting question. How can we help you today?
OLIN (sp): Yes. I was wanting to do some wainscoting in my living room. And I’d seen some people do it with pallets, actually taking the pieces off and using the slats for the wainscoting. And I know they do treat them with some chemicals and stuff. And as long as I run it through a planer and everything, would that pretty much treat it, as long as its sealed up with polyurethane and all that to keep it from being toxic from – for the children and stuff?
TOM: Well, I can’t really answer that question because I’m not sure how they treat the pallets. And frankly, I’ve torn a lot of pallets apart in my day, as things have been delivered, and I never really had a concern about treatment and never actually can recall smelling an odor from the treatment.
OLIN (sp): Well, I never would have thought about it but I looked at some pallet ideas online and I saw where some people had done wood floors with them and the wainscoting and it just – it looks stunning, really. It was totally different-looking from what you’d think a pallet would usually be, you know. And so that’s what gave me the idea and I thought, “Well, that would be a cheap idea to use.”
TOM: Yeah. And hey, it’s an upcycling, too, Leslie. I mean you’re taking something and reusing it in a new and creative way. Better than sending it to ground to a dump.
OLIN (sp): Yes.
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t be, personally, too concerned about treatment, because I’m not sure that they are treated. But I would say that if you detect any odors and you think that they’re treated, then by virtue of the fact that you’re going to seal them will probably minimize that.
So I – for me, I don’t think it would be a concern.
OLIN (sp): OK. Well, that sounds good then. I appreciate it, guys.
TOM: Alright, Olin (sp). Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: The Money Pit is presented by HomeAdvisor.com. Never worry about overpaying for a job. You can use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others have paid for similar projects. It’s all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.
Hey, what are you working on in this new year that’s about to happen? Big things? Big changes? Maybe you’re redecorating the house and perhaps you’re in the market for some new furniture but you don’t really have a big budget after the holidays to buy new. Well, if that’s the case, upcycling might be a good tip for you. We’re going to share some tricks to help you get started, in today’s Better Get a Truck Tip presented by Hertz, 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: Give us a call with your home improvement project at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Hey, do you happen to be in the market for some new furnishings but maybe you don’t have a big budget after the holidays to buy something new? Well, if that’s the case, upcycling might be for you. We’ve got some tips to help you get started, in today’s Better Get a Truck Tip presented by Hertz.
First of all, guys, some basics. Now, upcycling is essentially a term that is the opposite of downcycling, which is what happens when you just throw something away. Now, in between upcycling and downcycling is recycling, which still puts waste back into the environment but in a way more responsible way.
Now, we super-duper love upcycling because it provides an opportunity to find useful furniture and even other household items. And with a little bit of creativity and a small budget for some supplies, it can give that item a second life in your home or apartment.
TOM: Now, the idea of upcycling is really super popular right now. In fact, there’s a very fun and useful Instagram page called Stooping in NYC where people that spot items that are being thrown out with the trash take pictures and upload it to the site with its location. Those pictures are seen by thousands of people and if someone thinks it looks good, they can head on over to the location to hopefully be the first one to score a great upcycled find.
A friend of ours actually was throwing away a beautiful kitchen set that she no longer needed, so she took some pictures of it, put it outside on the stoop and uploaded the photo to Stooping in NYC. And within two hours, it was gone. It had a new, happy home, which is awesome.
LESLIE: I can imagine.
TOM: It’s out of the waste stream. It’s not being taken to the dump and somebody’s put it to good use.
Now, outside of those urban areas, there are a lot of towns and cities that have a bulk collection trash day, which is kind of code for free stuff. You know, if you know when that is, you can check it out and take an early drive around with a truck. And maybe you’re going to find a great bed frame or a cabinet, a dresser, a table or chair. With a little TLC, this can be modified and updated and fixed up to become a very welcome addition to your home.
LESLIE: Now, when you’re shopping for a piece to upcycle, here are a few things that you really want to keep in mind.
First of all, you want to think about good bones. You want to make sure that this piece is structurally sound, it doesn’t need any major repairs so that you’re able to use it. Only cosmetic updates, guys, like cleaning, painting, easy DIY projects. But if you see that it needs a bigger repair, it might actually not be worth it to use that piece.
Secondly, you’ve got to get a truck. Now, with big stuff, a challenge can really be finding a way to get it home. We’ve all seen things people have tried to strap to the top of their car to move.
TOM: Yeah, I saw a picture where somebody tried to strap down a mattress to a car roof with painter’s tape. Not a really good idea. It would have been much smarter to get a truck and move it safely.
Hertz does rent trucks and vans. They’ve got a great selection that can help you get those materials home quickly and easily. And you won’t need any painter’s tape to do it.
LESLIE: Here’s another good tip, guys. You want to think about avoiding upholstery and especially bedding. Now, there’s no telling where that upholstered furniture, bedding, easy chair or those even big, squishy cushions have been and really, more importantly, what is living inside of those cushions, like bed bugs. Ugh. It’s so horrible to even think about.
Now, the exception might be a wood chair that has an upholstered seat, which you could easily remove and then completely replace. Otherwise, it’s really just not worth it. Imagine finding a super-cute chair and bringing it into your house and all of a sudden, everybody’s got fleas. You don’t know why somebody threw that out. Ugh.
LESLIE: So just think twice before you grab something upholstered.
You guys, upcycling, it really is such a fun and meaningful way to take an item on its way to the trash heap and with just a little bit of sweat equity and creativity, you can truly make it your own.
TOM: And that’s today’s Better Get a Truck Tip presented by Hertz. For any home project, store pickup or move that needs more than your car can handle, remember HDTV: Hertz Does Trucks and Vans. Book now at Hertz.com.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to South Carolina where Caroline is on the phone with a question about oak flooring. What can we do for you today?
CAROLINE: I have an old house built in 1940. Hardwood floors. And I’ve got two almost holes near the living-room door. And on into the hallway here, where each room meets – the hallway is the center – I have this iron grate. It’s about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long and that’s where the return is for the heating and air-conditioning. And the wood seems to be caving a little bit around that. And I was wondering, can he fix that back as good as it – I mean is it possible to fix that back as good as it was the way they built it in 1940? Or will there be a problem around the return?
TOM: Are you still using that return? Is that still an active part of your heating-and-cooling system?
CAROLINE: It is.
TOM: So, yeah. Certainly, when you have worn-out oak floorboards, sometimes they’ll wear through or they’ll become insect-damaged. They absolutely can be rebuilt the same way they were when they were originally installed. It’s a bit of a tricky carpentry job but it’s not too terribly difficult.
What the contractor has to do is he’ll cut out the old board. Usually, he’ll use a circular saw, he’ll plunge-cut down the middle and then use a chisel to kind of break it out. And then putting the new board in is a bit tricky, especially if it’s tongue-and-groove, which most of them are. Because what you have to do is you have to cut the back of the groove piece off so that you can sort of put it in and overlap the older piece with that. Because you can’t use one that’s a full groove because, obviously, you can’t get it in there. It’s like trying to put in a puzzle piece. But you cut the back of the groove side off and then it becomes sort of a lap joint, you drop the new board in.
Now, if there’s one tricky part, it’s really just in the finishing. I had a floor that was much like that where we had an old floor furnace that took up a big space in the middle of the room. And so we were able to frame that out and actually put new hardwood floor in there and sort of feather it, like almost like a finger joint with the original floor. The floors were different colors for a while because they had a natural finish on it. But over the course of about the next year, it sort of faded and darkened and then blended and now you could never tell the difference between the repair and – the new wood that was repaired and the old wood that was there existing.
CAROLINE: OK. I need to have my house checked for termites, I think.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You can reach us here at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
Hey, are you ready for a basement makeover that you can enjoy all winter long? Well, HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for that job for free.
Coming up, if making a New Year’s resolution is something that you dread, instead of making promises to yourself, you might want to consider making resolutions that are a lot easier to keep: those that help improve your home. We’re going to tell you what to resolve to do in the new year that will save you money, help keep your home humming and are a lot easier to keep, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Sarah writes that she had just bought a home and is experiencing a problem with the copper water lines. They are corroding from the inside-out.
I hate to tell you this, Sarah, but that is called “pinhole leaks.” It’s pretty common in certain areas of the country, right where you have high acidity in the water.
LESLIE: That’s super common.
TOM: So you can continue to repair those on an ongoing basis but the best thing is to really think about replacing that copper with PEX – P-E-X. It’s flexible, it’s easy to move through the walls. It’s a lot less expensive, therefore, to install than copper. And that will actually be a permanent solution for you.
You know, it’s not going to get any better; it’s only going to get worse over time. Until that happens, keep this tip in mind: when you go away for more than a day, turn the main water line off. This way, nothing can happen while you are away if one of those pipes decides it is time to leak once again.
Well, every January we promise ourselves to start following good habits. But those intentions often fizzle in just a few weeks into that new year. But it occurred to us that what if there was a link between self-improvement and home improvement? Leslie has made that connection and tells us how, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie, this sounds like a can’t-miss plan.
LESLIE: It really is true because you kind of break promises to yourself very often, I find. But maybe when you make a promise to your home, you’re going to keep it because that’s going to benefit you and your whole family. And it can help you have just a healthier, better living environment. So, even in the process, you’re helping yourself.
So let’s talk about where to begin. First of all, think about saving money. This is a really common New Year’s resolution and it’s often accompanied by vows to cut back on things, maybe like your latte or movie nights, whatever those things are. But you might not realize that making a few changes or smart choices around the house can actually help you save more money without so many sacrifices.
For example, an average deck addition costs $10,950. But you’re going to see a return on that investment of 82 percent. Plus, fixing up a tired bathroom can deliver an impressive return if the house is sold within one year from the time that work is completed. And even smaller projects, like replacing a garage door at an average cost of 3,400 can score a 98-percent ROI. See? You already saved some money there.
Secondly, people love to say, “I’m going to lose weight.” This is the number-one sort of resolution after saving money. And a lot of people will sign up for gym memberships and diets. And all of these things, by the end of January, are truly ignored. So, if your goal is to go on a diet, consider cutting that fat maybe in a different way, like decluttering a room. Crowded spaces are very hard to work in. So, really, give yourself and your family renewed energy by clearing out spaces.
People love to resolve to eat better in the new year, so one way to increase your chances of sticking to a new regiment of healthier eating is give your kitchen a makeover. That’s going to make you want to spend more time in there, shop for better groceries, maybe take a cooking class. All of these things, by making your kitchen better, can help you and your family feel better.
I feel like this other one is obvious. People say, “I’m going to get in shape in the new year.” So, that’s a lot of things to take care of on yourself. But get your house in shape. Because if you’re not maintaining the house, that’s – the number-one cause of deterioration in home’s today is lack of maintenance. Even if you don’t have that much time for home care, small maintenance projects, minor improvements, if you do those now it can save thousands of dollars later.
So, really, a great way to think about getting New Year’s resolutions done for yourself, for your home, break bigger projects down into smaller projects. Don’t get overwhelmed. Make lists, make budgets. You can do this, guys. 2020 is going to be a year of clarity for everybody. It’s the perfect eye prescription. Come on, guys.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this hour with us, this week with us, this year with us. This is the last show of 2019. I cannot believe we’ve gotten to this point in the year. But we are ready and excited about helping you with your projects in the year ahead. Remember, you can reach us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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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.)