In this episode…
When it’s time to pull out your outdoor furniture, it’s also time to give it a good cleaning! Tom & Leslie have tips on how best to clean and prepare the furniture so it’s ready for a fresh start this Spring, plus….
- There’s nothing that wears out a floor faster than the dirt and grime that everyone drags in on their feet. But cleaning wood floors is a challenge because wood absorbs moisture and can warp or twist or grow mold if it gets too wet. We’ll have tips on how do keep those hardwood floors clean without damaging them.
- And if you have been getting just a bit tired of staring at your walls while we’re all stuck at home with this quarantine, painting a room is really the easiest way to spruce things up. There’s a new high-tech paint that makes interior painting easier than ever. We’ll share that tip.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, fix a creaking roof, eliminating carpenter bees, installing yard drainage, insulating a garage, painting vinyl siding, avoid peeling deck paint.
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 sheltering in place, stuck at home just like the rest of America. And we are not letting that deter us from taking on projects around our homes, nor should you. If you’ve got a project you want to get done, we’ll have some tips and ideas to help you do it once, do it right and not have to do it again, hopefully without even leaving the confines of your present home.
There are so many opportunities now to buy stuff online, have a product delivered and so many projects that we’re more motivated than ever, because we’re sick and tired of looking at the four walls as they stand now. If you’ve got a job like that you’d like to get done, let us help. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to us at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, when it’s time to pull out your outdoor furniture, it’s also time to give it a good scrub. We’re going to have tips on how to best clean and prepare the furniture so it’s ready for your fresh start this spring.
LESLIE: And there’s nothing that wears out a floor faster than the dirt and grime that everybody’s dragging in on their feet. But cleaning wood floors is a challenge because the wood absorbs moisture and then it can warp or twist or grow mold if you get it too wet. We’re going to have some tips on how to keep those hardwood floors clean without damaging them.
TOM: And if you’ve been getting a little tired of staring at your white walls or dirty walls or gross walls while you’re home, it might be time for a paint job. You know, paint’s the fastest and easiest way to spruce things up. And the good news is is that there’s a new high-tech paint on the market that makes interior painting actually easier than ever. It absolutely primes and paints in one coat. And I used some of this on a project at my house and I was amazed at the coverage we got with just a single coat. So we’ll tell you all about that, in just a bit.
LESLIE: But first, the show is all about helping you with your home improvement questions, your décor questions. So give us a call, let us know what you are working on or what you plan to tackle and we’ll help you get that done.
Plus, today, you’ll also get a chance at winning some tools to help you get those projects done. We’re featuring the Jorgensen E-Z Hold Expandable Bar Clamp Package worth 80 dollars.
TOM: So give us a call, right now, with your home décor, your home improvement, your home remodeling questions. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Keith in Illinois is on the line. How can we help you today?
KEITH: I have a one-and-a-half-story house that has a – on the second floor is the – well, the rooms are basically half height. They’ve got the – in the middle, they’re full height but on the edges, they’re not. That’s where the closets are at.
During certain times of the year, the trusses tend to expand and it lifts the drywall in the edges and causes it to curl along the seams. And the builder wanted to put crown molding up there to prevent that. And what I had wanted to do, obviously, was prevent the action completely. It had been recommended before to add ventilation above the attic to get good airflow through there. The builder has said that by adding additional venting, which would be – I would consider the side vents. He said that would actually ruin the venting system that’s already in place, which is in the eaves.
Do you have any additional recommendations for that?
TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, truss lifts happen when the trusses shrink and they pull up in the middle of the room and that’s why you get the ceiling cracks, correct?
TOM: And the ventilation you have right now, do you have continuous soffit venting?
TOM: And do you have ridge venting down the peak of the roof?
TOM: Well, you’ve already got the best ventilation system out there. So as long as it’s working properly, it’s not blocked, there’s no point in putting additional ventilation in there.
TOM: Now, is it possible for you to get above the trusses, down like right above the ceiling?
KEITH: Well, I can’t get above that area. It’s boxed off and of course, they have it insulated but they do have the Styrofoam blocks that prevent the insulation from blocking the truss vent. No, unless I cut through the top of the roof, I cannot get above the ceiling there.
TOM: Well, I mean if the trusses were installed correctly – which, of course, isn’t going to help you – there are some L-shaped truss clips that they would have installed that could have prevented this problem, that help as the roof expands and contracts. The reason I asked you if you could get to them is because they may be able – you may be able to install them after the fact.
But if you can’t get to them, then I’m afraid there’s really not an easy solution to this. If you were to add a second layer of drywall over what you have and you were very careful to make sure that the seams didn’t line up with the seams you have now, you may create a roof that’s strong enough – or a ceiling that’s strong enough – to not show cracks like it is. I would also glue the new layer to the old layer. But again, I would overlap those seams, so to speak. Does that make sense to you?
KEITH: Yes. So they don’t line up.
TOM: And that might make it strong enough. Because right now, there’s no strength in the seams. It’s just the paper.
TOM: So that’s going to be the weakest part of the ceiling structure. If you were to put a second layer of drywall and glue across that, then I think you would have a really, really sturdy ceiling and it would be unlikely that it would continue to crack.
KEITH: If I could sand on the – because I can get in the attic and get up to where the 2x4s come together in the truss. Would I be able to screw in a bracket there? That’s what you’re suggesting to basically strengthen that joint?
TOM: Keith, if you can get on top of the drywall, so to speak, those trusses are going to be attached to interior walls in some places, correct?
TOM: So what you would do is you would have to detach them from the interior walls and you would put an L-clip in place of the nails. The clip is attached to one side; there’s a slot on the other. And that allows the truss to move up and down and it will relieve some of that uplift and cracking.
Now, when you do that, you might see – over the next year, if the truss starts to try to move again, you may see some nail pops that occur. And if that’s the case, you want to punch them up and through to kind of relieve the pressure and then patch the drywall.
But I do think by the time you go through all that work, that it might be an easier solution just to put a second layer of drywall on. Because your problem is primarily with the seams and that’s going to be the easiest way to fix that.
KEITH: Yeah, it does sound like it. Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Keith. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Louise in Delaware is on the line with some carpenter bees visiting her home. Tell us what’s going on.
LOUISE: Yes, ma’am. I have a deck in my – at my back door and I have a roof. It doesn’t extend all the way out to the end of the deck. Just about halfway. And I’ve been having, for several years, a major problem with carpenter bees. They actually make perfectly round holes in the roof of the deck.
And I had an exterminator a couple of years ago and he said he would spray it but no guarantees. And he sprayed it and maybe for about five days I didn’t see them but they came right back. But someone told me – it was actually another exterminator, a really older lady. She said to get steel wool and put steel wool in the holes because they can’t get out through the steel wool. Because my cousin put cotton balls soaked in bleach in the holes she had on her deck and they actually ate through the cotton balls and they ate through the caulking.
TOM: There’s the do-it-yourself methods and there’s the professional methods. I’m troubled by the fact that you hired an exterminator – it sounds like it was some time ago – and he wouldn’t guarantee a result. That’s not acceptable. Most professional exterminators have the tools, the knowledge and the pesticides to effectively eliminate carpenter bees with a reasonable guarantee of success.
So, if you have such a serious problem as this, I would definitely suggest that you go find yourself a new exterminator, maybe from a national-brand company like Orkin. You’d have better success with that.
Now, if you want to do this yourself, the reason that the bees form those holes is because they’re nesting. And so the way they’re treated is you spray a pesticide inside those holes. You can also spray something that’s petroleum-based inside the holes, because they don’t like that. You can fill them with steel wool.
There’s lots of ways that you could try this yourself. But given the severity of the problem, I would suggest you find a good exterminator that can treat it with the right type of pesticide and you not have to worry about it. And I don’t think you had a pro last time. You get a pro to address this problem and just get it done, once and for all, alright?
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Wally in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
WALLY: I’ve got a little problem with a drainage tile. I have a 3-foot drainage concrete over tile that was running through a property. And it’s right on the property line and it goes into and marries up to a 3-foot steel tile – 3-foot steel drainage tile. The concrete tile has corroded and broke and is collapsing, which is causing water to come up through the ground. I’m not really sure how to get these two tiles back together, what the solution is for this, whether it needs to be an excavator or – I don’t know.
TOM: So, how deep are we talking about here?
WALLY: The top of the tile is only about 10 inches below the ground. It used to be – what it is – it’s a runoff off the road, which goes through, actually, three properties. And then it goes back into an open (inaudible). All this tile that was …
TOM: But Wally, if it’s only 10 inches off the surface, then the easiest thing to do is to dig it up from the surface and repair it.
There are ways to repair pipes that are in place underground. There are ways to line pipes. There are systems out where, essentially, a fiberglass sleeve can be put inside of an existing pipe that has failed and cracked. But they’re pretty expensive and you usually reserve those for places where you can’t dig. But if you can access this thing within a foot of the surface or 2 feet at the surface, then it’s definitely worth it.
WALLY: Definitely worth it. Yeah, it’s making a big mess. We had such a hard winter up north up here that I think some just gave and broke and got a big mess, actually.
TOM: Yeah. Well, if it’s that high up in the soil line, it’s above the frost line so, obviously, when it gets wet, it freezes and it cracks. It expands and cracks. So, that’s something that’s going to keep repeating itself because of its position.
WALLY: So, that’s the solution is some kind of fiberglass liner, so break the – break that tile or the concrete pipe back further, then try to slide a bigger tile into it? And then into the steel?
TOM: No, no. No, no, no. No, no. You misunderstand.
TOM: What I’m saying is that you want to dig down and replace the sections of broken pipe.
Now, if you don’t want to do that, you can line the pipe. It’s not a do-it-yourself project. You need to find a company that can do it. And the way that’s done is they push from – they access the pipe at one point and they push what kind of looks like a fiberglass sock into the line. And then they fill the pipe with hot water that cures it and forms sort of a tube or a pipe within a pipe.
But that’s the kind of thing that you do if you’re going under driveways or around pools and stuff where you really don’t want to cause any …
WALLY: Nope. This is just through a yard.
TOM: Yeah, if it’s just through a yard, just dig it up, replace it and call it a day.
WALLY: OK. Thank you very kindly.
TOM: Wally, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, here’s a great reason to reach out. We’ve got, up for grabs, a great prize this hour: the Jorgensen E-Z Hold Expandable Bar Clamp Package. It’s a handy clamping system that you’ll be able to clamp tight with just one hand. And you can join them together to even tackle a larger project. You’re going to get two Jorgensen E-Z Hold 24-Inch Medium-Duty Expandable Bar Clamps worth 80 bucks.
TOM: That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now. You could win that great Jorgensen package at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pat in South Dakota is on the line with a painting project. How can we help you?
PAT: Can you repaint vinyl siding?
TOM: Yes. You can repaint vinyl – well, you’d be painting it, initially, not even repainting it. But I will tell you this: once you paint, you do have to repaint. So, you’re not going to have the maintenance-free service that you had once before. You will have to repaint it.
Now, that said, if you’re going to do the repainting or you’re going to paint it, you want to make sure that you use a product that’s designed specifically for vinyl siding. And I would only use a product from a top brand like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams. They both have their own line of vinyl-siding paint. So choose your paint carefully, make sure it’s good-quality paint and keep in mind that eventually you’re going to have to repaint it.
PAT: OK. That was what I wondering. Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, now that the pollen is falling, the time has come for your outdoor furniture to come out and catch some, right? But it’s a good idea to clean it up and eliminate any mold or moss or mildew or yuck that may have formed in the fall or formed in storage or is just starting to kind of crust over again. So we thought we’d put together some tips on how to do just that.
Now, at our house we like to start by running any cushions that are machine-washable through the washer and then letting them dry outside in the sun really, really well. And if you can’t wash them, at the least you can vacuum any that can’t be run through a washer.
And here’s a tip: vacuum them outside. Because if you’re pulling any pollen off, you don’t want it to slip through the filter and shoot right back into your house, right? So take the vacuum outside and do all the work there.
LESLIE: Now, for plastic furnishings, they can get stained and pretty nasty-looking. What you need to do here is you can make a really great cleaning solution yourself. And you might have all of the stuff in your house right now. So, you want to mix dish soap, Borax and a ½-cup of peroxide into 1 gallon of water. And then, using a nylon brush, you can scrub down those furnishings and rinse well.
If you’ve got metal furniture, it’s really just going to be soapy water and some elbow grease. It’s going to take a lot of your personal strength there to help clean that furnishing. You can also remove any rust and stains with sandpaper or a wire brush and then go ahead and prime and repaint those spots. This’ll help you avoid any further rusting that could occur.
TOM: And for wood furniture, you want to wash it down with oil soap, like Murphy’s Oil Soap, then let it dry really well. And it’s also a good time to think about anything that needs to be refinishing. Best to do it now at the start of the season and it will look good right through to the fall.
LESLIE: Todd in Utah is on the line and is looking for some help in insulating the garage. Tell us about it.
TODD: Well, what I’ve got is I’ve got a garage that I work out of. And I like to do woodworking and just all around playing around with whatever project I have. But it gets cold here in Utah and I like using my rafters to put boards and extra equipment, (inaudible), a little bit of everything out there.
But I want to be able to insulate it to save a little bit of the heat so it’s bearable in the winter. And I was hoping that there would be a way to maybe spray the upper inside of that with a spray foam or a spray insulation. Or what do you suggest would be the best, without having to sheetrock and lose all that space?
TOM: Well, you certainly could use spray-foam insulation. In fact, I personally used Icynene insulation in my attic and we did just that: we sprayed in between the rafters with the insulation, then we coated it with a thermal barrier. And with 8 inches of Icynene insulation, we were able to pick up R-30, which is a substantial amount of insulation.
So, you could hire a local dealer to add spray-foam insulation to the underside of those rafters and seal that in nice and warm. And it also will seal drafts, which is the other benefit of spray-foam insulation.
But remember, you’re also going to have to add some heat. Once you keep that area insulated, you’re going to have to add some heat. Just insulating itself is not going to make it warm enough.
TOM: And then I would expect the weakest link in the house would be around the garage.
TOM: So, you’re going to have – at least have to do some significant weather-stripping to try to keep those drafts down.
TODD: That’s exactly what I want to do. I just – I like to use my time and being retired, I don’t want to look out the window during the winter.
TODD: I’d rather be doing something.
TOM: Alright. Well, that sounds like that’s your man cave.
TODD: Yeah, it is for right now.
TODD: Hey, well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, we get more questions about floors than just about any other topic on the show. And cleaning a hardwood floor is an area that’s always a challenge. To pick up some tricks and tips on how to get it done right, we welcome Bruce Yacko from JAWS.
BRUCE: Hey, Tom.
TOM: Hey, you know, there is nothing that wears out a floor faster than the dirt and grime that everybody drags in on their feet and grinds into the floors. But cleaning those wood floors is a challenge because the wood absorbs moisture and it can warp or twist or grow mold if it gets too wet. So how do we keep those floors clean without damaging them in the process?
BRUCE: Well, the beauty of it is – number one, you never want to saturate wood. But secondly, that there’s very few hardwoods out there that aren’t – that you have a coating on top. And so that sealer that they’re putting or the finish that they put over the top – urethane – is to protect the wood and keep it looking good for years to come.
But if you’re using products that are too aggressive, too harsh, aren’t neutral in pH, that you’re going to start to strip that finish off the floor. And when you do that, now you’re down into the wood and you have those issues.
LESLIE: Now, let’s talk about how the JAWS system works. It stands for Just Add Water, Bruce. So, what we’ve got here is you’ve got a bottle that you’re sending around with a pod refill cartridge. And you’re basically adding that pod to the bottle, adding water, closing the top and it suddenly becomes that cleaner, which is fantastic because you’re cutting down on plastic usage. You’re keeping shipping costs down, which is good for the consumer. It’s good for everybody and good for the environment.
Now, when it comes to the floor cleaner, we have to be really careful about the balance, because we don’t want to oversaturate the floor and damage the floor. You’ve really got to make sure that you’re balancing the need to clean that floor without damaging the floor.
BRUCE: Well, the beauty of JAWS is you get exact solution every time. So when you fill up that bottle to the water line, you insert that cartridge and tighten down the sprayer, your dilution comes up exactly every time. And so, the beauty of it is that no matter what kind of soil you’re getting on that floor – and people track in. I guess if people didn’t wear shoes into the house you wouldn’t have dirty floors.
But having the ability to clean those different kinds of surfaces – there’s nothing that drives you crazier than you mop the whole floor, you turn around, the sun comes in through the window and you see that haze on the floor. Well, that haze is either the product has attacked the finish on the floor, which is a problem, or it’s left residue on that floor.
Now, the residue is soap. And so that that soap – when your feet get wet and you come back in, you’re tracking – you’re basically cleaning the bottoms of your shoes onto your floor, so your floor is going to get dirtier faster.
But the other piece is that it really is very unsightly and soap with water becomes slippery. And so, what we talk about is that when we clean with our neutral JAWS cleaner is that we’re cleaning. We’re not leaving residues behind, we’re not leaving any soap behind, we’re not taking any of the finish off the floor and we’re not putting anything on that floor that doesn’t make – we call it “snubbing action,” Tom, where your feet – they don’t slip on that floor but they bond a little bit better to that floor.
TOM: Right. They sort of catch shoes.
BRUCE: There you go.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep. Understood.
Now, the technique here is to spray and wipe and spray and wipe? What kind of a floor product do you suggest for that? Is it by mop or what? A sponge mop or what do you suggest?
BRUCE: Well, really, you can use a microfiber on the bottom of a normal floor mop. You can use a normal floor-mopping item. Most of the people, what they’ll do is they’ll spray the floor or the bottom of the – I’ll say Swiffer – a Swiffer-type unit and then go ahead and just mop that floor.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Yeah.
BRUCE: And the beauty of it, it doesn’t require a rinse. So, once you get done with that mopping, it’s a one quick, easy – spray the floor, mop the floor and then walk away. And when it dries, it dries bright and clear and residue-free.
LESLIE: And let’s not ignore the other floor surfaces here. While this is a great cleaner for a wood-surface floor, it’s also fantastic for tile, for laminate.
BRUCE: Sure, absolutely. Think about how many different surfaces you might have in your home. And that’s like with all the JAWS products, whether it be the glass cleaner for TV screens, computer screens, iPads and iPhones. You know, having the ability to take one product, not 50 different products, and use them across the spectrum as you say, whether they be bamboo, terrazzo, tile and grout or marble and granite. Having the ability to clean the hardwood floors, as well as any other surface in your home and do it safely, effectively, efficiently and inexpensively is really what we’re after.
TOM: The product is the JAWS Hardwood Cleaner and that is available – one of the six products available from JAWS. You can go to their website at JAWSCleans.com. Check out the Glass Cleaner, the Daily Shower Cleaner, the Kitchen Degreaser, the Granite and Natural Stone Cleaner and the JAWS Disinfectant Cleaner, in addition to the Floor Cleaner at JAWSCleans.com.
And by the way, Bruce’s team has offered – is offering our listeners a discount, a significant one: 25 percent off. So if you enter the promo code MONEYPIT at checkout, you will get 25 percent off of your order.
Bruce, thanks for doing that. And thanks for the great work you guys are doing with these products, because we really enjoy them here at our house. And it just makes so much sense for us and for our health and for the environment.
BRUCE: Well, thank you very much, Tom. I do appreciate your support and it’s time we move forward. And with Earth Day and all of the other things, certainly time to move forward here and stop throwing away single-use bottles.
LESLIE: Here’s a great reason to reach out. We’ve got a great prize available this hour. It’s the Jorgensen E-Z Hold Expandable Bar Clamp Package.
Now, it’s a handy clamp that you will be able to make tight and to hold everything together with just one of your hands, so it frees up all your hands for all these wonderful projects that you are tackling. You’re going to get two Jorgensen E-Z Hold 24-Inch Medium-Duty Expandable Bar Clamps. It’s a prize worth 80 bucks, so give us a call for your chance to win.
TOM: That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re going to talk with Dot in Wisconsin who’s got a decking question. How can we help you with your project?
DOT: Yes. My deck is located on the south side of my house and every year, we’ve been putting a paint on it. And it’s where we get a lot of sun. And I’m wondering if there’s a special kind of paint I should use, because it peels a lot.
TOM: So, there are special paints for decks. And if you’re continuing to put more coats of paint on the old deck, my concern is that you’re never going to get good adhesion. You may have too many coats of paint on that now.
Are you using paint or stain, Dot?
DOT: I believe it’s a paint.
TOM: I’m afraid, at this point, what you really need to do is to remove that paint so you can get down to the original wood. Because you can’t put good paint over bad paint; it’s going to continue to peel. And once you get down to that wood, then you should prime it and then paint it.
But if you’re able to get most of the paint off – and perhaps you can because, apparently, it’s not sticking well, where you really don’t have too much left – then I would recommend not using paint on it. I would use solid-color stain. It’s still going to give you a continuous color but it’s going to absorb better into the wood and it’ll kind of fade rather than peel. And I think that’s what you’re shooting for.
DOT: OK. Is there a certain type of product to remove the stuff that’s on there now?
TOM: Yeah, there’s a wide variety of paint strippers out there. I would look for one of the citrus-based products and try that. You’re going to – you may have to try a couple of them until you find the one that works best with your particular deck.
DOT: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve been getting just a bit tired of staring at your walls while we’re all stuck at home in the quarantine, painting a room is really the easiest way to spruce things up. But if you want to get the job done quickly and with as few coats as possible, there’s a new paint in the market now that can help. It’s at Lowe’s and it’s called Valspar Signature.
Now, Tom, you had a chance to test this out. What did you think?
TOM: Well, first of all, it’s a paint plus primer, which is awesome because that means you don’t have …
LESLIE: A step saver.
TOM: Yeah, a step saver. You don’t have to prime the walls. It also has a high hiding capability, which basically means you need usually one coat. And it has a stain-resistant technology so you can easily paint over existent wall colors and then wash off the stains that form. So, that’s what they said it would do. I was like, “Alright, I’ve got to test this.”
So, I took some wall boards and I scuffed them up really, really badly and then I painted one coat of the paint plus primer on top of it. Totally covered it. Looked at it, you know, like an hour later. Couldn’t see any of the scuff marks. I left some of the scuff on the side so I could see where we came from. I covered all of it. Alright. I’m like, “OK, good. So, what about the stain resistance? What do I got in the house?” I was able to dribble some coffee and also some grape juice, right? Those are two pretty nasty solid stains. I put them on the boards and then I let the boards dry for hours. And when you saw it, you would’ve been like, “Gross.”
And then I just sprayed it with a little kitchen cleaner and literally, it was like magic – one, two three – as I washed across it with a kitchen cloth. It just wiped everything right off, right back to the paint color. So I was pretty darn impressed. I think they did a really good job with the product and it really does cover well and it does clean well, which are two things that are absolutely critical, especially if you’ve got kids.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I’ve got two or three possible painting projects, depending on how long this quarantine goes on for. I’ve got the boys both in the middle of organizing their bedrooms which, in kid time, is taking forever because they’re like, “I’ll just do this one toy drawer now and in the next day or in three days, I’ll do the next toy drawer.” And I’m like, “Just do the whole room. If we do the whole room I’ll paint the room. It’ll be so fun.” But I also want to paint the dining room and I know you’re not for this but I think I want to paint the dining room black.
TOM: Listen, you’re the decorator. So if you say it’s going to work, I’m just – and I understand that sometimes it’s hard to imagine things. But I can’t imagine what an all-black dining room’s going to look like. But I bet you it will be gorgeous.
LESLIE: Well, we’ll find out. Maybe I’ll give this Valspar paint a try. It’s a 100-percent acrylic-latex formula. It’s going to give you a mold- and mildew-resistant finish, which is great. It’s GREENGUARD Gold-Certified for air quality. And since we’re all stuck inside, you’ve got to make sure you’re breathing in fresh air. You can find this in an eggshell, satin, flat and semi-glass finish, so maybe I will put on my gloves and my mask and preorder some paint at Lowe’s.
TOM: Yep. And it’s not expensive. A gallon just starts at about 30 bucks at Lowe’s.
LESLIE: Mary in Florida is looking to make her kitchen bigger by taking away from her deck. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
MARY: Well, I have a fairly small kitchen/dining-room area and I was wanting to expand it. We have a patio deck that’s probably about 30×10 feet that’s directly attached to it. There’s glass sliding doors that’s attached to it. We were wanting to find some way that we could enclose that and make that more of an off-season-type area, as opposed to a couple weeks out of the year. We didn’t know if you had any suggestions, ideas?
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, Mary, you can’t take your deck and then sort of put four walls on it and a roof and call it an addition, because decks are not designed for that. They’re not really part of the foundation of the home. And I’ve seen a lot of folks do exactly that and ultimately, it catches up with you. Usually, if you try to sell the house or something of that nature, it doesn’t meet the code requirements. It’s just generally a bad idea.
What you could do for that space, to make it more of a year-round use, might be to consider adding some heating or something of that nature. But it’s always going to be an outdoor space. You can’t take an outdoor deck and turn it into an indoor space. That’s an addition and you can’t just put a door and some walls and a roof and some screening or whatever you’re planning and call that now like an extension of your kitchen. Because it just doesn’t count, OK?
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: With everybody working from home, a lot of you are asking us how to create a better home office. We’ve got a post here from Louis who writes: “I have only two outlets in my home office with all of my computer equipment. I’ve got about a million things plugged into two surge protectors coming out of the outlets. How much can one outlet handle? Should I call an electrician and get more outlets installed?”
This sounds like a really bad recipe here.
TOM: Well, look. The truth is that we may have a lot of things to plug in but they don’t necessarily need a lot of power. I mean in your house today, most of us have laptops. Not a lot of power there. We’ve got cell phones to plug in. Maybe a printer could take the most power but most printers don’t really use that much, so it’s unlikely that you need more outlets.
You may need more outlets in your surge protector or your power strip but that’s not a bad thing, either. Because if you get the power strip and you’re using that primarily, it’s a really smart idea to turn off the switch that’s on the end of it when you’re not using the home office. Because all those transformer blocks that we’re all putting in to charge everything today, they keep running. You get sort of this vampire power that leaks out of it and that costs you money. So, I think you’re probably OK with outlets.
Just make sure that you are not – you’re using those surge protectors properly. And by the way, you cannot daisy-chain surge protectors together. In other words, you cannot extend into two surge protectors by taking one and plugging it into the other because, electronically, they will compete and it can get really bad. So do not put two together like that. You can put them on separate outlets from the wall but don’t plug one into another just to pick up more space or receptacles.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you out and I hope you’re enjoying your working-from-home situation and don’t lose power in front of something important. Make sure you save and back up.
TOM: Well, if you’ve ever completed a fix-up project only to have it break down again a short time later, Leslie has got tips for turning those nagging problems into one-and-done jobs, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, you know, fixing the same problem over and over again is totally a drag and it always seems to happen with some projects more than others. So, to bring an end to those vicious cycles, the solution is to change the way you tackle that project. And that’s going to help you get to the root of the issue.
So, first of all, if peeling paint is your problem, the next time you see some peeling paint, don’t just slop another coat on top of all that peeling paint. Instead, strip away the old stuff with a paint stripper or a chemical. And then here’s the key: apply a primer before you reapply that topcoat. The primer is really what’s going to make it all stick together and help it stick for good.
Now, if your basement seems to spring a leak every time you fix the last one, there’s a good chance that the real issue there is poor drainage. So you want to make sure you grade that soil away from you home’s foundation. And then also make sure that your gutters are releasing the water at least 4 to 6 feet away from the exterior walls. And that’ll help you find a much dryer space below grade at home.
And if you want to put away that caulking gun once and for all, think about better ways to do it. Now, if the caulk between your shower tiles keeps cracking or breaking, fill that bathtub with water before you fill in the caulk one final time. The weight of that water is going to expand the gap that you need to fill which later, once that tub is emptied, will contract and then give you a nice, tight, long-lasting fit.
TOM: Great tips.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’d like to add more lighting outside this summer, is it a project you can do yourself or do you need to hire a pro? Well, you may be surprised to know that thanks to some new technology, exterior lighting can make this a totally DIY project. And we’ll tell you how, 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.
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.)