In this episode…
If your family is like most, you probably use the garage as much as your front door for access and security. But if your door is old and worn, it could not only be unsafe, it could also be providing easy access for intruders when you are away. Learn tips to update your garage door, plus…
- Would you do anything to avoid shoveling snow again? We’ve got a serious driveway solution for anyone who’s had enough shoveling for one lifetime.
- Here’s an idea we can get behind: Better toilet seats. From comfier to cleaner, there are plenty of affordable upgrades out there for your throne. We’ll highlight some of the latest innovations
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, repairing cracks in a concrete driveway, installing baseboard trim, removing wallpaper, how to test a house for radon gas , changing over from oil to gas heat, how to fix a sticking front door.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here for one reason and one reason only and that is to help you with your home improvement, décor and remodeling projects. We love home improvement. We love to pick up the hammer, pick up the saw, pick up the paintbrush, pick up the pencil and design something around our homes. And we’d love to help share some of the tips and tricks that we’ve learned over 20 years, behind these microphones, helping folks just like you get those projects done. You can help yourself first by joining the conversation and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up in this episode, if your family is like most, you probably use the garage as much as your front door for access and security. But if your garage door is old, if it’s worn, it might not only be unsafe, it might also be providing easy access for intruders when you’re not home. So we’re going to have some tips on how you can step up your garage-door security, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And would you do anything to avoid shoveling snow again? Well, we’ve got a serious solution for anyone who’s just had enough shoveling for this lifetime.
TOM: And hey, here’s an idea we can all get behind: better toilet seats. Get it?
LESLIE: Ha ha.
TOM: From comfier to cleaner, there are plenty of affordable upgrades out there now for your throne. We’re going to highlight some of the latest innovations.
LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you want to know. Give us a call, let us know what you are working on this winter season. Your money pit never stops needing help, so give us a call. We’re here to lend a hand.
TOM: Post your questions at MoneyPit.com or call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Nadine in Iowa has an interesting question. Your countertop has gotten noisy? Tell us what’s going on.
NADINE: Yes, it does. We had it installed, I would say, between three and five years ago. And right after we had this Corian counter installed, we started getting very sharp, loud bangs occasionally. And I mean like somebody-just-shot-up-the-house bangs. And it has been going on since we had it installed, to varying degrees. Louder sometimes than others.
But they’ve been out to check and can’t figure it out and I don’t – the only unusual thing that happened when they put it in was that one corner didn’t want to go down, so the guy had to put his full weight on it to push it down and finally make it go down. And my feeling is – or something must be bound in there that every once in a while builds up enough energy to really snap.
TOM: Well, that’s certainly an unusual situation, because countertops aren’t known for their noise.
TOM: We get squeaky-floor questions, we get banging-pipe questions.
I don’t think we’ve ever gotten any loud-countertop questions, huh, Leslie?
NADINE: Well, I doubt that it’s the countertop. My feeling is something might be bound in there, having been caused by having the countertop put on.
TOM: Well, you might be correct and what could be happening is that you could have expansion and contraction going on, either with the walls or even with the plumbing. Especially with the water being right there, when a pipe heats up it tends to expand. And if it’s attached to the framing very, very tightly, it will rub across that framing and it can make a creaking sound or a banging sound.
TOM: And I’ve heard that before in bathrooms and also in kitchens.
TOM: The other thought is that if the countertop is bound, as you say, against part of the frame of the house and you’re getting expansion and contraction, that could be the source of the sound. Although, I tend to think that, even though it’s annoying, it probably isn’t really very damaging if it’s one of the other of those things.
NADINE: No, I don’t think it is damaging at all. It’s just that when you have guests and their eyes get wide and they start to go for the floor, you think maybe – I mean it is quite loud when it does it. So you think it could possibly be plumbing?
TOM: It could very well be, because plumbing really carries the sound. And especially if you’re running a dishwasher and the hot water comes on, that could cause a noise.
NADINE: However, we’ve kind of checked that out – what’s on, what’s running and all of that – and that doesn’t seem to come into play. What would your suggestion be as to sleuthing this problem out?
TOM: Well, I guess I would have to be sitting there staring at it, thinking about it for a long time. But reinstalling the countertop would probably be the best solution, although it’s a boatload of work and you can potentially damage the countertop in the process. If they had to really squeeze it in, I suspect that something is a little bit too tight in its intention and it’s really not designed to be pulled out.
NADINE: Yeah. Alright. Thanks so much.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Tim on the line who’s dealing with a big crack in a driveway, causing some unevenness. Tell us what’s going on.
TIM: Well, I have a concrete driveway. It’s 3 inches thick; I found that out after I saw the crack in the driveway. And they poured this driveway in one – as far as width. And they put it – it’s probably 16-foot wide and they poured it in 16×12-foot sections with – it looks like fracture pieces in it instead of the actual expansion joints? And where it goes over my drop – the ditch over my cupboard – it has a spot about a – 1 foot in a triangle – 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot – where it has dropped.
And I’m trying to find some way to bring that piece back up level with the rest. That way, I can see – I’ve already had it sealed but I put a silicone in there along the joints to keep any further erosion from happening.
TOM: How big is the piece that’s dropped? You said – is it cracked 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot?
TIM: Yes. It’s a 1-foot triangle piece.
TOM: So can you dig that piece out?
TIM: No, I can’t, because it did not break on a smooth line. It fractured and it dropped down.
TOM: Yeah. Because you know – I tell you what, I’ve broken sidewalks in half before, because I had to run pipes underneath them and then put them back in place kind of right where they were and just sort of filled them up and made it level. So, it would be sweet if you could extract that piece of concrete but I guess you can’t. And so now you’re going to have to pour a new piece.
How thick is the – how far down has it dropped?
TIM: The front – on the back edge of it, it’s still level. On the front, it’s probably dropped about 3 inches.
TOM: OK. Well, not so bad. What you’re going to do is you’re going to mix up an epoxy-based, concrete-repair product that has good adhesion.
TOM: And then you’re going to put a second layer on that. And QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E …
TOM: Yeah, you want to use the type of concrete mix that’s made to be a patch. And the difference is that it sticks to the old stuff. If you use regular concrete mix, it won’t stick. But if you use the patch mix, then it will stick. And they also have good step-by-step videos on their website to kind of show you how to do this.
TIM: OK. Would I be better off by just knocking that one piece – that piece – out and refilling it, since it’s not that big of a piece?
TOM: Yeah, you might be, because I want to make sure it’s stable underneath. But they – there’s a vinyl, concrete patcher product that can be used on top of this. And it’s designed to adhere to what was there before and not crack again. OK?
TIM: I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Greg in Iowa is on the line and he’s dealing with a radon situation. Tell us what’s going on.
GREG: Well, my wife and I are in the process of buying a home and we’re in the process of closing on this home. And when we – gone through the whole process of buying it and everything, we had to have an initial – we decided to have an inspection done. And then at the end of this inspection, where they go over everything mechanical and about the house and everything, they then offered a radon test to be done. And I had heard about the test and read about the test and figured it was a good idea to have it done; it was $100, which was pretty cheap compared to what we found out.
And I guess what I’m trying to find out from you all is – in Iowa, they say that there’s 70 to 71 percent of the homes in Iowa have a radon problem.
TOM: OK. Now, you had a radon test done. What did the level come back at?
GREG: It came back at 18.
TOM: OK. So 18 picocuries?
TOM: So 4.0 picocuries is the action guideline. Remember, I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector; I got this, OK?
GREG: Yes, sir.
TOM: So 4.0 is the action guideline. So you have a radon problem. It’s not unusual. It depends on the area. And certainly not the worst that I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen homes that had levels of upwards of 100 picocuries.
TOM: That said, you do need to put in – or more accurately, the seller – is a sub-slab mitigation system where you have pipes that go into the slab and they pull the radon gas out. Now, has that process been started?
GREG: Yes, sir.
TOM: Alright. So then you’re on your way. But when you’re done, it’s very important that they test out of this and get a successful number. I will caution you, though, because this is a real estate transaction, remember that you are not in control of that house.
And one of the biggest concerns that I had as a home inspector doing radon tests was I couldn’t necessarily trust the sellers to leave my test alone. And if they opened the windows or doors during the test, they’re going to vent that house and get that number to be down. So, it’s really important that when you’re doing a mitigation system, you would probably step away from doing charcoal absorption canisters and you would do other types of radon testing.
There’s one called a “working level monitor” where it basically takes samples on an hour-by-hour basis. And you can look at the results that come off of this and what you look for, as a tester, is a normal pattern. And you’re going to see a pattern that sort of climbs throughout the day and is really high at night when the house is completely still, starts to drop during the day. A good tester can tell if the test has been compromised.
So just proceed cautiously. Not an unusual situation. Sub-slab ventilation is the way to go and when they’re done, this test should be down to near zero.
GREG: Thank you very much.
TOM: Well, hey, if your family is like ours, you depend on the garage as sort of your real front door for reliable access, as well as protection. But if your door is old, if it’s worn, it might be unsafe and it might be providing easy access for intruders when you’re away. We’ve got tips on how to change all that, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Well, first, the garage-door designs today are amazing. It used to be that you had to choose from heavy wood doors that needed a lot of upkeep, to metal doors that were cold and prone to rust. Well, today there’s a wide variety of composite and fiberglass doors available that look amazingly like wood but need virtually no care at all. Plus, the doors are better insulated and keep drafts out of the garage. Especially nice if you like to use that space to work in.
TOM: Yes. But in addition to better doors, we also now have much better door openers. You know, the openers today are fully integrated with the smart-home technology. In fact, one manufacturer has just come out with a garage door that’s got an integrated camera and it’s connected to the Amazon Key program, where basically delivery people can get a one-time code to enter your garage and leave the package safely inside.
LESLIE: 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.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Mary in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARY: My husband and I are trying to install central air in our home. It’s a ranch-style and we bought the central-air unit and the ductwork from a building that had been torn down. And I wondered if we could simply attach the ductwork – and when we’ve cut the holes in the wall – in the ceilings – for the vents, I wondered if we could just go ahead and attach the ductwork that was there from the previous building or if we had to redo all the ductwork – I mean all the vent piping.
TOM: I guess the answer is: maybe. And the reason is because the duct design is going to be dependent on the building. And it depends on the size of the building and the distance that the air has to travel. And if it’s not done right, what will happen is you’ll either create a situation where you have either too much or too little heating or cooling. And most likely, you’ll have too little. And if that happens, you end up wasting, actually, a lot of energy, because the system has to run a lot more to try to make the building comfortable.
So, I would suggest to you that insofar as the duct design is concerned, you really need to have somebody that is experienced in designing these systems lay it out for you. It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself project; it’s not the kind of thing that you can tackle, even if you’re very industrious first time out, because you might get it wrong.
It depends a lot on the size of your building, how many windows are in your building, where the building faces. There’s a heat-loss calculation that’s done and then based on that, you determine how much warm or cold air you have to get to each room. So you can’t necessarily sort of just completely copy what was done in an older house unless it happens to be an identical house.
So this is a point where it’s good that you got the equipment inexpensively, you got the ductwork inexpensively. You do need to spend a little bit of money on getting it laid out properly, Mary, or you just won’t be comfortable. Does that make sense?
MARY: Yeah, that was what I wanted to check, because we’re pretty self-sufficient but I had a feeling this might be more than we could tackle.
TOM: I think that’s a good idea. Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kyle in Iowa needs some help installing some trim. Tell us what you’re working on.
KYLE: We just put in some new Willamette wood floors a couple weeks ago and we decided to rip out all the old – the construction trim that comes with the newer homes and …
TOM: Baseboard molding?
KYLE: Yeah, the baseboard molding. And we’ve decided to upgrade to – I think it’s about a 5¼-inch tall, almost ½-inch-thick baseboard, to kind of upgrade the look around the house.
And I’m just having a hard time. I’m using my buddy’s miter saw and it’s not tall enough to do a vertical cut for my outside corners. And every time I lay it horizontally and try to tilt the miter saw to cut it, there’s no real clamping mechanism on it to hold the boards in place. And every time I push the miter saw into it, it moves it just slight enough to where my angles for when I try to do a scarfing or an outside corner – it just kind of pushes my angles off on it just a little bit and it’s making the process harder.
TOM: Well, let me ask you this: when you’re making your baseboard cuts for an inside corner, are you mitering it?
KYLE: For the inside corner, I’m doing a cope.
TOM: Oh, good. OK. That’s what I was concerned about.
KYLE: And the coping turns out to be easier than the outside corners for me, so …
TOM: Now, actually, when you do the outside corner, the only part of the miter that’s got to be perfect is the top edge of that board. As long as you have a straight line, if you end up taking up a little bit too much wood on the inside of that cut, nobody is ever going to see that. In fact, many times, when I’m doing that type of a corner, I’ll sometimes cope out the back of the miter cut, take a little bit extra meat out of that so that it kind of gets out of the way and I can pull it together really nicely, tightly at the corner. As long as I have a crisp line that pulls together on the corner, then I’m happy with that.
I understand you’ve got challenges with your tools. I’m not going to be able to give you a solution, because you don’t have the right tools. What you really need is a compound miter saw that’s sort of half miter saw, half radial-arm saw. And that will give you the exact capabilities that you’re looking for. But to do this by hand with a regular hand-miter box is just going to be a challenge.
KYLE: So, it’d be easier maybe to try to find someone to borrow a compound one from?
TOM: I think so. Yep. Yeah, you’ll be very happy. Because it sounds like you’ve got the skills. If you know how to cope a joint, then you’ve got the skills.
And for those that have no idea what we’re talking about, when you put up baseboard molding or any kind of molding or even crown molding in a house, you don’t cut a 45-degree angle much like you would for a picture frame. You actually put one piece in whole and square it to the wall and the other piece, you cut that 45 as if it was going to be a miter but you take a coping saw and cut out the back of all of that wood, except for that crisp line that’s on the front of the angle of the miter. When you push that together, you get what appears to be a perfect, mitered cut but it’s actually not; it’s actually a butt joint but it looks like a miter.
And it’s the best way to work with trim because it allows you to work with a house that’s not quite straight, because none of them are. And the other trick is I like to cut those boards just a little bit longer than what you need, because then it puts additional pressure on the joint and brings it together nice and tightly.
So I think you’re on the right road. You just need to get some better tools to help you get there, OK?
KYLE: OK. Thank you.
LESLIE: Kelly in South Dakota is on the line and wants some help removing wallpaper. What can we do for you?
KELLY: I have a – some wallpaper that I want to remove. And I believe we primed the walls. This has been about 10 years ago. And when I pulled back on the edges of the wallpaper, it seems as though it’s taking a bit of the drywall with it.
TOM: So, what you want to do is you want to get a tool called a “paper tiger,” which puts small holes in the surface of the paper. And it helps the wallpaper remover get behind it and loosen up the adhesive.
Now, in terms of wallpaper remover, you can use fabric softener, which works well or you could use a commercially available product, like DIF – D-I-F. But putting those holes in there is important because, otherwise, it doesn’t saturate the paper.
Now, if you do that and it still doesn’t loosen up and pull off, then what you need to do is go out and rent a wallpaper steamer. And that will use warm, moist air to separate the paper from the wall.
No matter how you do it, it is a lot of work. And once that wallpaper is off, you’re going to need to reprime that wall with a good-quality primer so you have a nice surface upon which to put your final color of wall paint.
KELLY: OK. Do you need to sand that once you get it all done?
TOM: Well, if it’s a little rough, just lightly sand it. You don’t want to sand it too much, especially because you don’t want to cut into the paper that’s part of the drywall. But a little bit of light abrasion is not a bad thing.
But the most important thing is a good-quality priming paint applied to that wall surface, because you’re going to have old sizing material and who-knows-what-else stuck to that. And if you put the primer on, it’ll give you a good surface upon which to apply the paint. The paint will flow nicely and it’ll look better when it dries.
KELLY: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you swore you’d do anything to avoid shoveling out your driveway again, here’s the real test. Are you willing to invest in a heated driveway? They’re not cheap, guys, but they handle the job while you stay warm inside.
TOM: Yeah. And here’s how they work. Basically, a boiler pushes antifreeze through pipes that run beneath the driveway surface. Now, what this does is it keeps it warm enough – just warm enough – so that the snow never even collects in the first place. When you see homes that have these systems installed, it’s amazing because you go up and down the street and everybody’s driveway is either full of snow or it has sort of that last layer you can’t quite shovel off. And then you find the guy that’s got the driveway heated system and it’s actually perfectly clean, as if they never had a drop of snow on it at all.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean that’s amazing. However, you know, this system isn’t something that can be retrofitted and it can’t work with existing pipes either. So, the up-front cost does include a new driveway, since that current one is going to need to be dug up.
TOM: Yeah. And it is an expensive thing to install, so you need to start by comparing the price to the cost of long-term snow removal. Because, really, that is sort of the ROI calculation there. It might be more cost-effective just to hire a plow to haul away the snow every winter. But if you live in a snowy area or if a luxury upgrade is what you’re after, a heated driveway is one that your neighbors will definitely notice and prospective buyers won’t mind, as well.
LESLIE: Doug in Illinois is dealing with some water under a deck. Tell us what you’re working on.
DOUG: Well, I’m interested in a roof or a water-drainage system up underneath my deck. I have a 16×40 deck and I saw somewhere on TV that they have some sort of a system that goes up in between the joists. I was wondering if you knew anything about that.
TOM: Yeah. Is this like a second-floor deck and you guys sit under it or something?
DOUG: Yeah. There’s this – there’s a full lower level under the deck, yes.
TOM: Well, those are called “deck drainage systems” and there’s lots and lots and lots of different manufacturers of it. There’s DEK Drain, there’s DrySnap.
LESLIE: Yeah, there’s something called UnderDeck that seems to be a Depot product.
TOM: Trex has one that’s called RainEscape.
So, these are all deck-drainage systems. I don’t know enough about them to give you a recommendation of one over the other but that’s what you want is a deck-drainage system. They basically – as you say, they fit in between the joists, so they fit under the deck. They’re designed to collect the water and then run it to some sort of a traditional gutter and get it away from the house, so that you could have some living space underneath that deck and not have the rain falling on your head.
DOUG: Absolutely. That’s what I’m looking for. Did you say something about Home Depot?
LESLIE: Yeah, Depot has a product called UnderDeck, which is basically like – I guess you could call it an “under-joist gutter system.” And it sort of pieces together; it’s modular.
DOUG: Oh, OK. Wonderful. Well, I sure will check there.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Loretta in Massachusetts is obviously scarred from such a cold and snowy winter in Massachusetts and needs some help with a heating question.
What can we do for you, Loretta?
LORETTA: Well, I would like to know if it’s going to be cost-effective for me to change a heating system that I have, which is now oil. I do not have heat – gas in my street. And I’d like to make an apartment out of my basement where the boiler and all that – the tank and all of that stuff is.
LORETTA: So I was wondering if – can I – is this something that I can do? I have two floors. The basement would be a third, really. And I don’t know if you can have more than one pellet stove or how this would work. Is it clean?
TOM: So, first of all, you want to add heat to the basement space. Is that what you’re asking us?
LORETTA: Right. I want to get rid of the mess down there: the burner and the oil (inaudible).
TOM: Well, how are you going to heat the rest of the house?
LORETTA: Well, this is what I was – my big question. Can I heat the whole house with pellet stoves?
TOM: Not unless you’ve got a little cabin in the woods. You need your central heating system. It would be foolish to remove that. Your house would lose dramatic amounts of value.
If you want to improve the energy-efficiency of it, you may be able to replace the oil burner or replace the boiler itself and pick up a lot of efficiency.
Now, in terms of this apartment, if it is a boiler, therefore a hot-water heating system, it’s easy to add an additional zone and have that zone only heat the basement. That would be the most cost-effective way to do that and that is one big advantage of having a hot-water heating system. Because with a zone valve and with the plumbing being right there, you could easily add an additional zone and heat the basement on its own zone. So this way, it will only heat when that particular thermostat calls for it. But keep the boiler. You’re going to need it for the rest of the house.
Loretta, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, your furniture is comfortable or at least it’s supposed to be. I mean your desk chair is probably comfortable. But what about that other place that you spend a good amount of time sitting? We are talking about your home’s throne: your toilet seat. They can be cold, they can be uninviting. But that is all about to change with a whole bunch of new upgrades that are now hitting the market and picking up steam. And they’re available for less than a couple hundred bucks each.
LESLIE: Yeah. Hey, do you hate it when the toilet seat slams closed? You know, I jump out of my skin every time it happens, which is a lot with two kids at home. Sometimes, I’m lucky that they close the seat at all. But when they do, it’s slam, bang.
Now, you can stop the insanity with quiet-close toilet seats. All it takes is a gentle touch and that lid is going to drop down slowly, softly. No loud bang. That means less touching and fewer germs, too.
TOM: And you’ll shiver no more with cold toilet seats, because now they have seats that sense activity and actually warm up when you sit down. Some models even have adjustable settings so you can control the temperature. And beyond that, it gets even crazier.
We just got back from the kitchen-and-bath show and man, the number of different seats and features and even the ones that have smart technology so you can operate your toilet seat and your flush from your phone. There’s just so many options out there.
So if you’d like to have a change in your bath, this is one place you can start for as little as, really, just a few bucks.
888-666-3974. Whether you’ve got a few bucks or a lot of bucks and want to take on a project, we’ll help you get it done as efficiently as possible if you give us a call with your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Dale in Georgia is on the line with a question about a shifty front door.
What’s going on, Dale?
DALE: Our house was built in 1937 and it’s still settling back and forth, spring and winter and summer. And the front door, I’ve had problems getting it to catch the striker plate, so I’ve had to move it back and forth. And we’re at a point now where the house has settled again and I can’t even latch the front door.
TOM: How convinced are you that the house is actually moving, as opposed to the front door just kind of getting out of whack?
DALE: Just about positive. I can see – there’s a different gap at different times of the year. It’ll be like at the top in the summertime and at the bottom in the wintertime and …
TOM: And what kind of door is this? Is this a metal door? A wood door?
DALE: No, it’s a solid-wood door.
TOM: A solid-wood door. And you really like this wood door?
DALE: Yeah, it’s – I think it’s the original door. It’s got the handmade glass in it and the ornate decoration around the edges and …
TOM: Right. So you have no interest in replacing the door?
DALE: No. I put a new door on the back but I really don’t want to lose this door, if I can …
TOM: What I would probably do is, essentially, rehang the door. So what that’s going to require is you removing the trim from around the door, inside and out, so you can see just the jambs. Because I suspect that the jambs are not securely attached to the framing or they may have loosened up over the years. I would basically want to rehang this as if it was a new door but maybe with not doing all the work that would be responsible for that.
So if you pull the trim out, then you’re going to look at the attachment points for the jambs. You’re going to do one final adjustment to getting the door exactly where you want it and then you’re going to re-secure the door jambs to the door frame.
You need to make sure that the space between the door jamb and the door frame is completely shimmed with a wood shim. So you would use wood blocks followed by, usually, cedar shingles: one from one side, one for the other. If you push them together, they get wider and they get thicker and they get nice and tight.
And then, what I would do is – I wouldn’t nail it in. I would actually use a drywall-styled screw – so a long, case-hardened screw – that you can set just below the surface of the door jamb and then putty over it. Because if you attach them with screws and you shim it properly, that door really shouldn’t move.
The expansion and the contraction of the door is about all you really should be – have left. And if it gets tight at one point in the year, I would take the door off and I would trim it a little bit, just to make enough room for it to close when it’s fully expanded.
DALE: OK. That’s something I didn’t think of. Alright. Well, I do appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got a post here from Frank in California who writes: “I want to replace windows in walls of stucco. What’s the best way to cut and remove the stucco?”
TOM: Hmm. The best way is to not cut and remove the stucco, actually, Frank. Because when you’re dealing with a stucco house – and frankly, it doesn’t matter if it’s stucco or vinyl siding. But when you’re replacing your windows, you don’t have to disassemble the exterior walls if you use replacement windows.
Now, replacement windows are windows that are custom-sized and they fit inside the old jamb. So, basically, the outside frame of that window – you take out the sash, which is the part that goes up and down. Then you leave what’s left and then the replacement window fits right inside that. Particularly handy when it comes to a stucco house, where it’s very destructive to have to sort of dig that window out of the wall.
It’s not special if they’re custom-fit; that is just how they work. All replacement windows are custom-fit for those existing openings. So, what I would suggest you do, though, is work with a manufacturer that supplies replacement windows, because you want them to measure those openings and make sure the windows are going to fit. If you try to do it yourself, chances are you might get it wrong. So make sure they come out and measure those windows and you’ll be amazed. Removing and replacing happens in as little as a half-day.
LESLIE: And listen, not only is it going to look great but you’re going to find such an amazing benefit to your energy efficiency of the home. So it’s definitely a project worth taking on.
TOM: Well, now is a great time to launch a new look for your home. And freshening the main entry is a cost-effective way to do just that and also impact the curb appeal and value. Leslie has got advice on how to use color to do just that, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, we all know that color has a psychological component that communicates our feelings and our mood. And since the front door is an exterior focal point, it’s finish color broadcasts core home values to guests, passersby and the neighborhood at large. So here are some top color choices and what they say about you.
Now, blue. Happens to be my favorite color and it’s certainly a wonderfully popular color. It’s a signal of a place of refuge. It’s calm, it’s serene. It’s a relaxing retreat from a very hectic, demanding world. So if you want to convey, hey, this is a relaxing spot, that’s the color for you.
Green is also a popular front-door color. And green communicates health, tranquility, safety and harmony of the living space inside.
Now, black front doors are gorgeous. And that tells of a very serious home that’s inhabited by a person of substance. It expresses sophistication, power, strength and authority.
Now, if you go red, I see a lot of beautiful, red front doors around the neighborhood I live in. That packs a powerful, passionate punch. And red signals a vibrant home that’s filled with life, energy and excitement.
Now, brown, it’s a super-neutral, organic look of a door. It can be painted or stained brown. And that can send a few different kinds of messages. Now, brown generally conveys warmth, stability and reliability. But certain darker shades can express a desire for privacy or in the extreme, isolation.
So, whether you’re hoping to say something new with your front door or simply define what you’ve been feeling all along, changing the finish is a simple project. You want to be sure to just take your time, properly prep that surface. And choose a top-quality acrylic latex paint in a shade that you love and your new color statement is going to last for years.
TOM: Good tip.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, coming up next time on the program, if you’ve ever tripped going up or down a staircase, chances are that it’s not you. It’s more likely that the stair may not have been built correctly. Next time on The Money Pit, we’re going to give you some tips and tricks to make sure the steps in and around your house are safe for you, your family and your visitors.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2020 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.)