In this episode…
If you’ve got an active household, your furniture is likely to take a few hits from time to time – especially if you have kids! We’ve got tips to make water rings, dings, dents and scratches disappear, plus…
- We all know power tools can hurt you in an instant, but are yours causing slow, serious harm over time? We’ll highlight a health risk among DIYers that’s got medical experts talking.
- Bathtubs can last a lifetime, but their finishes won’t! The good news is you don’t have to get rid of the whole tub just because of a worn finish. We’ll have tub refinishing tips.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, window replacement options, eliminating trash odors, installing a proper tile floor, paint peeling off walls after a few months, installing chain link fence post , modular home installation.
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: Are you ready to take on some home improvement projects? It could be a project for your house, your apartment, your condo, your yurt. We don’t care but we are here to help you get them done and get them done right the first time. But the way you help yourself is by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve got an active household, your furniture is likely to take a few hits from time to time, especially if you’ve got kids. So we’ve got tips to make water rings and dings and dents and scratches disappear.
LESLIE: And we all know that power tools can hurt you in an instant but are yours causing slow, serious harm over time? We’re going to highlight a health risk among do-it-yourselfers that’s got medical experts talking, coming up.
TOM: And bathtubs are a fixture that can last a lifetime but their finishes, not so much. Now, the good news is that you don’t have to get rid of the entire tub just because of a worn finish. So we’re going to have some tips on your options, just ahead.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear from you. What are you guys working on on this winter weekend? Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your answer to your question, plus a chance to win an amazing springtime product that you’ll be using in no time. I promise spring is coming.
We’ve got, up for grabs, a Greenworks 60-Volt Cordless Mower. No gas or oil to deal with and no cords to pull.
TOM: Check out the excellent Greenworks products and tips on your favorite social-media site, @GreenworksTools.
That mower is worth 400 bucks. It’s going out to one listener drawn at random, so make that you. Call us, right now, with your question at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tim in New Mexico is on the line with a question about windows. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
TIM: Well, I am considering – my wife and I are considering putting in some energy-efficient windows and so we’ve been shopping that a little bit. And it seems that there’s quite a myriad of available products in that market.
And one thing that I was looking at was the – just the air void-type windows versus the gas-filled windows. And one salesperson told us that he recommended that just get the air void because the gas-filled – that gas, after a year or two, will dissipate out of the window, which I had never heard that before. But in essence, you’re just left with an air void.
So, anyway, I’m just looking for some guidance in that subject.
TOM: Alright. So, when you say air void, what exactly do you mean? Because I’m not at all familiar with that term.
TIM: Well, basically, the double-paned window with just dead space in it and there’s – it’s not gas-filled, per …
TOM: So instead of argon, it’s just got air?
TOM: That’s not going to insulate. The reason to use those gases is because the gases are insulating gases. And I don’t buy at all the fact that the gases leak out; that’s just not true.
LESLIE: The only way the gas will leak out is if you have a seal that fails.
TOM: Yeah. These good-quality windows, these seals will last a long time. Twenty years is not unusual for these glass seals to last that long. So this sounds to me like you’re getting advice from a salesman that wants to move his product over another one. It’s not a given that this gas leaks out in a year. That’s ridiculous.
I would buy a good-quality window from a name manufacturer, you know? Buy a Marvin, buy an Andersen, buy a Pella. Stick with a good name brand and you’re going to get a good-quality glass panel there that’s going to last a long, long time.
TIM: OK. OK. I believe these were – Henredon, I think, was the brand of these?
TOM: Yeah. There’s a lot of really small brands out there that are basically made for the remodeling industry and for the replacement-window industry.
LESLIE: And they’re just manufacturing a replacement window in their own brand. They’re just putting the whole thing together but there’s not a super manufacturer behind it that, should you have a problem down the road, would have your back.
TOM: Yeah, I would look at the name brand and I would look at, also, at ENERGY STAR-certified windows.
TIM: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: Tim, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Learning something new every day, Leslie.
LESLIE: An air void. I’ve never heard that term.
TOM: That’s a new one. They turned un-insulated glass into something that sounds good.
LESLIE: Right. It’s an air void.
TOM: Oh, no. That’s an air void.
LESLIE: You’re going to end up with an air void, anyway, at some point.
TOM: Yes. And this window is insulation-free. So you’re not going to have to worry about any of that pesky insulation getting in the way of your view.
Alright. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Linda on the line from Florida. What is going on at your money pit?
LINDA: Well, we were away and when we came home, I – our house always smells brand new because it’s only a few years old.
LINDA: And when I came into the kitchen – we have a drawer that we put the trash cans in. And I smelled an odor there. And when I opened it – we always have it empty when we go away.
LINDA: Unfortunately, we had clippings and I think there were flowers or something in there and [and it really does matter] (ph).
LINDA: But the odor was awful.
LINDA: And there were little bugs flying around. Well, anyway, we got rid of it but the odor has not gone away. We called our exterminator, who came. He couldn’t – there were no droppings. My husband – we pulled the drawer out, we pulled everything apart and the odor is still there. And he – the exterminator gave us a bag that we have hanging in there.
LINDA: And we have everything empty right now. And I guess my question is – I’m so concerned than when this decomposing mass or whatever the heck it is – we do live on the water here in Florida. And maybe a bug or an animal got in but we can’t imagine how the house is – well, it’s only a few years old. It’s sealed tight. We’ve never had bugs. The place is immaculate. When we leave it, it still smells new when we come in. But anyway …
TOM: OK. So, is this in a cabinet where you had this trash?
LINDA: Yes, it’s in our – in the counter where the sink and the dishwasher are, although it’s not – yeah.
TOM: Alright. So, well, a couple of things come to mind.
First of all, this might be an odor that’s caused by bacteria either – and it could even be bacteria that’s in the drains, by the way. And sometimes, in the fittings of the drains, you’ll get bacteria that will settle in there.
But have you thought of – has anyone suggested that you spray the surfaces with a bleach solution? Because this would kill any bacteria that’s causing odor, that may have gotten onto the wood cabinetry or soaked into the wood a little bit.
What I would do is I would mix up a spray bottle with about a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. Just be careful where you’re spraying it. You don’t want to spray it on anything that’s, you know – that could leak color, like fabric.
TOM: But if you spray that on there and let it sit for 10, 15 minutes and then kind of wipe it away, that will kill any bacteria and take the odor with it. Have you tried something like that?
LINDA: No. But I did read something like that. I’ve been looking online and I saw something about bleach and was thinking of doing.
The wood, it’s all new. It’s a beautiful, new kitchen and it’s very concentrated only in the drawer the – where the trash can is. How there’s two trash cans that fit in this pull-out thing.
TOM: Trash cans usually sit on a platform. Can you take that drawer physically out, like you would any other drawer?
LINDA: Yes. My husband – we’ve had the whole thing apart. The wood is beautiful and new-looking.
TOM: So I would take it all apart. I would turn it upside-down and I would spray as much of that as you can with the bleach-and-water solution. Let it soak into the seams a bit and then wipe it down and dry it off. I don’t think you’re going to harm the wood by doing that. But I think that that might help at least get rid of a good chunk of this.
LINDA: OK. Because we didn’t want to drill in …
TOM: No, no. You’re not going to drill in anything. We’re just – I mean look, the odor didn’t drill itself in. It’s just that I think some of it probably just liquefied and seeped in and that’s what you’re smelling. It’s not that uncommon.
LINDA: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate your advice and I love your show.
TOM: Thanks so much, Linda. Good luck with that project.
Hey, if you’re looking around your house and you’re thinking about projects you’d like to get done, now would be a great time to call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question at MoneyPit.com. Because on today’s show, we’ve got a great prize to give away.
It’s from our friends at Greenworks and it’s a 60-volt cordless mower. It has a push-button start. There are no cords to pull. It’s got a very powerful brushless mower that cuts through the toughest grass. And it stores vertically, which is great. And that’s going to save you up to 70 percent on the storage.
It’s part of a full suite of Greenworks Pro 60-Volt Lithium-Powered Outdoor Equipment, which includes a string trimmer, a hedge trimmer, chainsaw, handheld leaf blower and more. All available exclusively at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
LESLIE: Yeah. And if you’re looking for some great tips, ideas and solutions to your lawn-and-garden projects, you’ll find them when you follow @GreenworksTools on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and even YouTube.
TOM: That 60-Volt Cordless Mower from Greenworks is worth 400 bucks and it’s going out to one listener drawn at random. That number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your question at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Matthew from Massachusetts is on the line with a tiling question. How can we help you today?
MATTHEW: I recently got a tile floor installed at my parents’ house. It was a gift from my brother and I. And when they came and put it in, I don’t think they used the right underlay for the tile. And so, within a couple days after installing the tile, it was shifting a little bit and the grout was cracking. And we asked them to come back and do it but they said they were going to redo it using the same materials. And I just wanted to make sure that floor – a pier-and-beam house with a wooden, plywood floor – what type of material they need to put down before they put the tile on. Because they put down some sort of felt material.
TOM: Yeah, that was probably just tar paper before they put the tile down.
What did they do to prepare the surface of the floor, Matt, besides this felt-like material you’re describing? Did they put any kind of a wire mesh down, like a concrete coating, on top of that?
MATTHEW: They sanded the floor and then I think they put thinset concrete. And then they put this – whatever this flexible fabric stuff was on top of that. Then they put the mortar on and then they put the tile.
TOM: Now, when you say it’s starting to shift, are we getting movement of the tiles themselves or is this cracking just in the joints?
MATTHEW: I think the tiles themselves were – a couple of them were cracking. Well, they – you’d step on it and another tile next to it would move.
TOM: Yeah, this is not good. This is not good at all.
So, what are they offering to do? When you say they’re going to redo it, are they going to take up all the tile and start again from the top?
MATTHEW: Well, it’s been kind of struggle because we’ve been going back and forth with them. And they said they were going to come back, bring the same crew, use the same materials and redo it with a manager there to supervise. And we were kind of insisting that they have – that they use the concrete board or whatever – the backer board – and actually kind of go through all the proper steps that we’d researched. And they were a little reluctant to do that.
I think we finally got them to agree to that and then they were saying they were going to do a 10-percent discount, maybe a 20-percent discount. But it’s really uncertain what they’re going to do to actually ensure the quality when they come back and do it again.
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, they blew the installation. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. The only reason these tiles move is because the base under them is not solid enough. And a lot of this has to do with what size tile it is.
How big is this tile? What’s the diameter?
MATTHEW: Twelve by twenty-four.
TOM: Oh, yeah, that’s a big tile. And the bigger the tile, the stronger the base, because tiles don’t bend. So, if I was doing a 12×24 tile, I would do this on a mud floor, which basically means I would start with a plywood floor, I’d put down tar paper, then I’d put down wire mesh, then I’d put down anywhere from an inch to 2 inches of a sort of a cement/sand mix. And that’s what’s called the “mud.” And that gets – that dries rock-solid with no movement. And then on top of that, you would glue the tile and then you would grout it.
It sounds to me like they didn’t put down a proper base. And if they had a problem with the base that was there, it was their responsibility to identify that for you and say, “Listen, your – this tile is not going to work on this floor, for the following reasons.”
So, is this something you bought through a tile store for – is that why you’re getting this level of cooperation?
MATTHEW: Well, no. We went through one of the national flooring chains.
TOM: OK. So you’ve got somebody you can kind of go back to and have a conversation. Because if this was your average tile guy, I’m sure they would be gone by now and not answering your calls. So, it’s good that you’re working with a national chain but I do think it’s pretty clear that they completely blew this installation and it needs to be redone.
Now, whether you have the same crew do it or not, that really depends on them. But I say that it would be in their best interest to put not only – not necessarily the same crew but their best crew on this and to make sure they take the added steps of putting in the proper base for this. Because unless you do that, it’s not going to stick.
MATTHEW: Alright. Well, that’s what I expected. Thanks a lot.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got an active household, your furniture might suffer the occasional water rings, ding, dent and even scratch. Luckily, there are many ways to bring furniture back to pristine or even near-pristine shape. And here’s how to handle the most common types.
Now, white rings. You see them on coffee tables, side tables around the living room. Hopefully, you don’t because you’re using a coaster. But if you’ve got those white rings, what happens is that water vapor penetrates into a finish. And that can be removed by wiping them gently with a cloth that’s barely dampened with denatured alcohol. That sort of just dries out all that extra water.
Now, if you’ve got a shallow chip, you know, where a clear finish is kind of chipped but the underlying color is still intact, you can fill in that ding with a few drops of clear nail polish. After that polish dries, you want to sand flush with 600-grit sandpaper.
Now, to restore the sheen on satin finishes, you want to rub with – get this – four aught. That means four zeros. So it’s super-duper-duper fine steel wool and paste wax. And for gloss finishes, you can use auto polish and compound and a rag.
TOM: Now, for big, deep scratches or worn edges, I’m going to give you a couple of tricks for that.
First, felt touch-up markers work really well for worn edges, especially for darker wood. Because when you kind of color in that lighter scratch, it sort of disappears. Now, these come in a variety of tones, though, that can match the most common furniture finishes. Use them to color large scratches or edges where the stain has worn away. You want to apply it only to the damaged areas and wipe it off immediately. Because if any gets on the neighboring finish, it could really show and make it look not so nice.
And lastly, just apply a coat of paste wax over that repair and the entire adjacent surface at the same time. And that will give you a very even sheen and your big scratches will be no more.
LESLIE: Heading to New Jersey where Vicky has a painting question. How can we help you?
VICKY: I have dining room and part of my living room. I had – the ceiling was peeling – painting and peeling.
VICKY: As the pieces were running wide, opening, coming down, I had a painter come and he scraped all the peeled paint off. And there were parts that were not peeled, so he didn’t touch that. He just peeled the pieces coming down.
Now, he painted. I have no idea if he put a sealant or not. But after that, about a year or so later, I had the same problem. Now, this is all coming down, so I have another painter, another $4,000 I put into this and it’s peeling again.
TOM: Let’s talk about what’s probably happening with your paint. When you have paint that starts to peel like that, it’s essentially sort of delaminating. The paint between the layers of paint, it loses its ability to remain sort of stuck together or loses its bond. And it’s very common for this to happen when you have a lot of coats of paint. Because at some point, you’re really at the point of no return where the paint – you can’t just keep adding more paint, because it will peel. You have to strip off the paint that’s there.
So if you’ve got this problem of paint that repeatedly peels, the next time you work on this project, you have to apply a paint stripper and pull off the old paint. Then you need to prime that space. And I would use an oil-based primer for maximum adhesion. And then you can add the final, finishing touch of a latex ceiling paint over that. But if you keep adding good paint over bad paint, you’re continually going to have this problem where you get peeling and delamination and the process will have to be repeated.
LESLIE: Ron in New Jersey is on the line with a fireplace question. What’s going on?
RON: I live in a condo or townhouse. It’s about 25 years old and it has one of those fireplaces that’s the metal type they just set in there and they build those studs around it – sheetrock. And it’s gas logs. Well, it doesn’t really work too well. And a couple years ago when we had no electricity, I tried to use it for heating but it really didn’t blow any heat in. It just pretty much went up the chimney.
I’m thinking about replacing it but I’m not sure – I have really no idea if there’s one type better than the other that would also serve as an emergency heating system in the house.
TOM: So, the reason you’re not getting enough heat out of it is because it’s a gas fireplace and they rarely put out a lot of heat. In your case, to replace it you would have to replace the entire unit. This unit is called a “zero-clearance fireplace” because basically, it’s an insulated box that can go against a combustible wall and not have any problems being used.
So if you put in a wood-burning, zero-clearance fireplace, you’ll find that you’ll get a lot of heat out of it. And if you want to step up the amount of heat that you could potentially get out of it, opt for the version that has a blower built in. And the blower will basically take air from the base of the fireplace, run it behind the firebox and out the top. And that will supply, actually, quite a bit of heat.
RON: So it would be a wood-burning though? Not the gas log?
TOM: Yeah, it would be wood-burning. You’re never going to get – well, you can put a gas fireplace in. But I just don’t think you’re going to get the same amount of heat out of it and frankly, I’m a little uncomfortable with gas-burning fireplaces. I think there’s a real carbon-monoxide risk with them.
RON: And it is vented? It’s got the pipe that goes up out through the roof and all?
TOM: But you’re still not going to get the same. It’s basically decorative. You’re not going to get enough heat out of it, as you discovered.
RON: OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck, Ron. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you work with power tools, we are sure that you’re doing everything you can to make sure you’re working safely. But here’s a scary fact: only half of DIYers do anything to protect their ears, which can have some pretty serious consequences.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, ongoing exposure to noise that’s 85 decibels or higher can damage your hearing. And 85 decibels is not hard to come by. Now, circ saws and chainsaws, they clock in at over 100 decibels. And even electric drills, gas-powered lawn mowers, they’re sitting in that unsafe zone.
TOM: And the damage can kind of creep up on you because hearing loss from loud noise happens over a long period of time, so you might not even realize it’s happening. But if you do use these tools on a regular basis, you are probably speeding up that process.
LESLIE: Now, to protect yourself, you want to make sure that you use hearing protection for loud jobs. Ear plugs, noise-reducing earmuffs, these guys can do the trick. But there’s also electronic ear protection that lets you listen to music or podcasts, like The Money Pit, instead of just the muffled sounds of your power tools.
TOM: So you don’t have to miss any episodes. I like that.
LESLIE: That’s true.
TOM: And protect your ears all at the same time. Well, we want you to be safe, so make sure you extend that safety to hearing protection, as well.
888-666-3974 is the way to get in touch with us. So give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Margie in Delaware on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
MARGIE: Well, we had carpeting down here from the 70s, in this home that we moved into. So, we pulled up the carpeting and there’s beautiful hardwood floors underneath. Except wherever those wood strips with the nails were that were holding the carpet down, there’s a bunch of black holes where the nails were. So how can we clean that up?
TOM: Yeah. The strips are called “tackless” and what’s happened is the nails have oxidized, so you get some rust and other types of corrosion that form on the metal and react with the wood. And it leaves that sort of black stain. So what you have to do is sand the wood floors.
You sand the wood floors, you’ll get rid of most of that black stain that’s showing around the top of the hole. And then you can fill in the holes with a wood putty that matches the floor. Sand it again and you’ll just about cover them. You’re still going to see a little bit of them but they will not be obvious.
Right now, they’re painfully obvious, I know. But if you sand the floors and then fill them in and sand it again and finish it, it will blend in.
MARGIE: That’s great. It’s got to be better than what it looks like now.
TOM: No, it’s nice. Think of that carpet as a beautiful drop cloth that protected those floors for all those years.
TOM: And now you get a chance to enjoy them again.
MARGIE: OK. Thank you so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome Margie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got spring on your mind – and who doesn’t with all this winter weather? – have we got a great prize for you. Up for grabs, this hour, is the Greenworks 60-Volt Mower.
It’s got a push-button start. No cords to pull. Powerless, brushless motor. It’s going to cut through the toughest of grasses. And you can store it vertically which, if your garage is jam-packed with kids’ stuff, sporting equipment, other lawn-and-yard equipment, this is the mower for you. The handle folds down so you can store it vertically. And that’s going to save up to 70 percent of your storage space.
And it’s part of a full suite of Greenworks Pro 60-Volt Lithium-Powered Outdoor Equipment, including a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, chainsaw and handheld leaf blower. And all of the tools include a battery and a charger.
You can check them all out exclusively at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
TOM: And you can also get great tips, ideas and solutions to your lawn-and-garden projects when you follow @GreenworksTools on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
LESLIE: Vincent in Texas is putting up a fence and needs some help with the project. What can we do for you?
VINCENT: Yeah. I’m putting up a chain-link in front of my house. Where my house is, it’s in the dip of the street. But the street goes up on each end.
VINCENT: And I’m about four blocks from the lake. And we had a lot of rain and that water levels up. And when I’m about 14 inches down, I’m hitting water.
VINCENT: Is there a special cement or how should I do that when setting the post?
TOM: OK. So what you want to do is – because it’s chain-link, you’re going to want to dig down about 3 feet. And try to do that with the post-hole digger even if you hit water. And then the way you deal with this is you mix up concrete, like a QUIKRETE product.
It’s a basic masic (ph) concrete mix. Mix it up in a wheelbarrow to the right consistency and then shovel it into the hole and let it displace the water that’s in the hole. Does that make sense? So as you put the concrete in, the water will kind of work its way right out. And what will be left will be the concrete. It will dry nice and rock-solid and you’ll be good to go.
VINCENT: OK. Thank you. You saved me a lot of worry.
TOM: Alright. Don’t worry about it. That’s the way to handle that. Mix it out of the hole and then drop it in the hole and the water will displace.
Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if your bathtub has a worn-out finish, replacing is a costly proposition. But before you do that, there might be other options to consider. We’ve got tips, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
First of all, let’s talk about tub replacement. Now, most tubs are set in an alcove or a corner and they’re lapped by the flooring and the wall finishes to create a watertight seal and tied down, in at least two places, by plumbing. If you’re ready to do a full-scale bathroom remodel, then replacing that tub makes perfect sense.
TOM: Right. But that is a huge project. So, instead of that, you might want to think about doing a tub liner.
Now, a tub liner is like an insert for your tub. It’s usually made from a very durable acrylic, kind of like a football-helmet type of acrylic. And there – to make these things, the manufacturers actually have to go out and find a wide variety of tub shapes. And believe it or not, they’re basically going through all the recycle centers and they’re finding the most common tub shapes. And they’re using them as forms to make these different types of inserts.
The installation is pretty quick. Usually done in less than a day. A pro basically cleans the old tub really thoroughly and takes out the drains and all the plumbing and then drops this in, seals it in place, puts new plumbing back in. And you’re often good to go that same day.
So, the only thing you have to consider, on the negative side, is that you may lose a little bit of space in that tub because, you know, they’re about a ¼-inch or more thick. Plus, they’re not going to fit perfectly across that entire interior surface. So you may find that the new tub is a little bit smaller than the old tub. But I tell you what, it goes together so quickly, it may be worth that trade-off.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, another option is having the tub refinished. Now, reglazing or refinishing a worn-out tub is a more site-intensive process. It calls for chemicals that can be hazardous enough to require a respirator and special protective clothing for that technician who’s doing the work.
Now, the reglazing requires masking the surfaces around the tub to protect from overspray and properly venting the bathroom to extract the toxic fumes. Now, the refinisher is going to coat the tub in a hydrofluoric acid, which is a highly toxic agent that not only dissolves what’s left of that porcelain glaze but it also etches the surface so that a new finish, when it’s applied, is going to adhere well.
Now, the actual finish is an epoxy primer and several coats of urethane, all applied by a sprayer. That whole process is going to take a single technician about four to six hours. It’s beautiful. Although, even with all that, you’ve got to keep in mind that it’s never going to be as durable as the original porcelain finish. So you’ve got to be really careful when you’re cleaning it.
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: Deb in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DEB: My husband and I are in the process of either building a home or looking into having a modular put up. And I would like to know if you have any pros or cons of a modular, opposed to building a home – a new home.
TOM: Sure. Well, I’ve actually built both and I can tell you that the modular homes go up quicker, generally. And they can be more accurate because everything is fabricated inside of a factory. And so you’ll find tighter corners and squarer walls and that sort of thing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either approach; they both work. But if you go modular, it will probably go together a little bit more quickly. And I guess the con of that is that you may not have as much flexibility in design with that. Again, depends on the factory you’re working with and the builder you’re working with.
I will say this: you want to make sure you choose a builder that’s very experienced with modular homes and not one who just thinks he can put together anything. Because there are some peculiarities to them in the way they’re built.
DEB: Alright. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Post your question on The Money Pit page or The Money Pit Facebook page, just like Susan in New Jersey did who writes: “Every spring, carpenter bees come out of my house in full force. They’re making their home under the eaves of my roof. Is there anything I can do about them now while the weather is cold?”
TOM: Yes, you can. Carpenter bees get very active in the spring but that said, now is a good time to find and plug the holes that they make. If not, they will come back and use those same holes next year. And if the wood is really damaged, don’t replace it with wood. Use a PVC product that looks like wood. There are a number of different manufacturers that make this. It looks just like, say, a 1×6 fascia but it’s actually made of PVC. And they cannot eat it.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s a good trick for them.
TOM: They can try but they can’t eat it.
LESLIE: They don’t want it.
TOM: Well, busy schedules mean most of us have to fight hard to put down the smartphone and shut the laptop and get to bed. And once we finally get there, we do need the best sleep we can possibly get. Leslie is going to help now with some tips on how to do that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yes, that’s right. First, wake up at 3:00 a.m. every day.
TOM: Like you do.
LESLIE: And then, when it’s time to go to bed, just pass out. That’s generally what happens.
But no, even I, in my very much lack-of-sleep state of mind, do have a hard time falling asleep. So, you really want to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for a comfortable night of sleep. And believe it or not, that can come down to the type of bedding that you pick.
So, before you go thinking about – “What about thread count? What fabric? What do I need?” And some of those are very expensive. We’re going to tell you exactly what each type offers and what their drawbacks might be.
Now, bamboo sheets. You could be hearing a lot about those. They aren’t just soft. In fact, sometimes people compare them to cashmere. And they do get softer the longer you keep them. But if they’re from China – and most of the bamboo sheets are – there is a chance that they come from an uncertified factory. So, skip bamboo sheets if all of this uncertainty about where they come from is going to keep you more awake at night. Don’t want that.
The other option is organic Egyptian cotton. These are very sought after and with good reason: they’re soft, they’re durable, they’re breathable. They’re good for anybody who gets warm in the middle of the night. But if you love the sight of a crisp bed, you’ve got to pass on Egyptian cotton. It’s going to wrinkle very easily and it’s always going to make your bed look a little bit unkempt. So, if that bothers you and you don’t feel like ironing the upper portion of your fold-down sheet and your pillowcases, skip those even though they are wonderful.
And as luxury sheets go, cultivated-silk sheets are the ultimate in softness. But even if you can afford to splurge on this expensive bedding, the long-term costs might be more than you’ve bargained for. Silk sheets are easily damaged by jagged toenails or fingernails or even just rough skin on your heels or your elbows. And sometimes, if your hands are really dry, you can feel your skin on your fingertips sort of dragging along the silk, which I find super annoying. And don’t forget about your washer and dryer. You can’t use them, guys. You’ve got to hand-wash them or dry-clean them. And then these sheets need to be air-dried.
So, weigh the pros and cons. Find a way to get a good night’s sleep. I promise you it’s disconnecting from your electronic devices. Have a cup of tea and settle in for a good night’s sleep.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. Coming up on the next episode of The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about older homes and specifically the walls, which are usually plaster. If you’ve got an old house and you’ve got plaster walls, you probably have a bunch of cracks in those walls, which is pretty common after decade upon decade of settling. But it turns out there’s really a pretty easy way to repair those cracks and it doesn’t require tearing the wall down in the process. We’re going to cover that, on the very next edition of The 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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