In this episode…
With the weather finally getting nicer, are you thinking of family-friendly outdoor activities for you and your little ones? Creating a kid-friendly garden is a great way to get the whole family involved in a fun project. Tom & Leslie tell you how to get things growing! Plus,
- Of all the cleaning questions we get, how to clean a hardwood floor takes the lead. It’s a tough spot to keep clean with all the dirt that gets tracked in, and it’s also one where you can’t use a lot of water without potentially ruining the wood floor itself. We’ll have tips to get those floors squeaky clean.
- And if you’re taking on a painting project while stuck at home, don’t toss that used paintbrush. We’ll share easy tips to get it clean and save yourself the hassles on buying new one.
- Bathtub vs Shower Stall: If you’re thinking about bath remodeling, we look into which one gives you the best ROI.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about clearing clogged pipes, painting over water stains, filing in log cabin cracks, applying a deck stain that doesn’t fade, skylight options, fixing low water pressure, repairing an asphalt driveway and more!
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: We hope that you are doing well and enjoying the time that you have to spend in your home. If you’re getting tired of staring at those four walls, we can help you spruce those walls up. If you’d like to reorganize, redecorate or plan a project for now or in the future, now would be a great time to reach out to us. You can do that by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT, because that’s what we do.
We’re here to give you home improvement guidance, advice. We’re your coaches, we’re your cheerleaders. If you can do it yourself, we will tell you. If you can’t, well, we’ll tell you that, too, because that could be even more important than trying something that doesn’t work out all that well. Whatever is on that to-do list, slide it over to ours. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, with the weather finally getting nicer, are you thinking of family-friendly outdoor activities for you and your little ones? Well, we’ve got a great suggestion. Why not create a kid-friendly garden? It’s a good way to get the whole family involved in a fun project. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to know to get started, just ahead.
LESLIE: And we get a lot of cleaning questions here. And one of them, I’ve got to say, takes the lead – is how to clean a hardwood floor. It’s really a tough spot to keep clean with all of the dirt that gets tracked in. And it’s also one where you can’t use a lot of water, because you could potentially ruin that floor itself. We’re going to have some tips to help you get those floors squeaky clean, just ahead.
TOM: And if you’re taking on a painting project while stuck at home, don’t toss that used paintbrush. We’re going to share an easy hack to help you get it clean and save yourself the hassles of buying a new one.
LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you want to know. What are you working on? What have you been staring at for so many weeks that you just can’t take it anymore? Well, let us help you fix that. I’m sure Tom will tell you all about how I ran out of wallpaper for my powder room. But it looks half-good. We can help you make sure you have enough of whatever it is that you are working on, so give us a call.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Deborah in Pennsylvania needs some help with a log home. Tell us what you’re working on.
DEBORAH: My husband and I are renovating a Lincoln log house.
DEBORAH: I have – there is – in between the logs, there is chinking.
DEBORAH: And in between our chinking, it is filled with stone. And I just – I want to keep the stone there and rechink it because it deteriorated over the years.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
DEBORAH: I found a recipe online of clay, salt and hydrated lime.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
DEBORAH: We did a couple test spots and when it dried, it cracked. So I don’t know if the recipe is a good recipe or maybe we made it too liquid-y and it cracked. And I do know that in the old houses, they also put straw or horsehair in the clay.
TOM: It’s the same reason they put rebar in concrete: it reinforces it. I don’t know about the recipe with hydrated lime but I know that there’s a recipe that’s similar to that that uses wood ash. Of course, where you’re going to find enough wood ash to do an entire house, I can’t tell you. So, I couldn’t determine if whether – if that is what caused this issue or not. Do you have an aversion to using one of the commercially available, very reliable products for this? Because you can buy chinking.
And by the way, if you’re driving down the road thinking, “What the heck are they talking about?” Chinking – c-h-i-n-k-i-n-g – chinking is – think of it as sort of the caulk between the logs of a log house. You know, when you see logs stocked together and it looks like almost masonry or has been – or mortar has been pressed in between like it would for – be for bricks, that’s called “chinking.” And so, that’s what we’re trying to restore here and it’s unique to log homes.
DEBORAH: Does the horsehair – does that act as a binding to hold the plaster together so it won’t crack?
TOM: I think it would because that’s what a reinforcement material would do. But you know what? I’ve got to say good luck finding ash and horsehair today.
LESLIE: You can buy a horsehair mattress.
TOM: There’s going to be a lot of horses out there that are getting a haircut to chink this house.
DEBORAH: Yeah. I have the horses.
LESLIE: Oh, you have the horses? So that’s good.
DEBORAH: I have the (inaudible).
TOM: You’ve got the horses, so you’ve got the horsehair covered? We wish you a lot of luck with this but I would say that you ought to just experiment with a couple of different versions of this. And you find one that works, go for it because you are in a very unique position there. A very unusual project.
DEBORAH: Yep. OK.
TOM: Alright. Good luck.
LESLIE: She’s got to be different.
TOM: Yep. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tony in North Carolina is up with a decking question. What can we do for you?
TONY: Great show. Appreciate your great advice. I just had a deck built and the – my builder used a Minwax Wood Finish stain.
TONY: And his instruction is that I would need to restain it every year because it was oil-based. And I just wanted to know – I don’t have a whole lot of time like that but when is – is there another – is there something on top of this product I could use where it won’t fade and wash away with the weather?
TOM: Well, I mean it would be unusual for you to have to stain a deck every single year, especially a brand-new deck. But first of all, Tony, what I generally advise folks is to not stain their deck the first year because – is this made of pressure-treated lumber?
TONY: No, it’s not. He used a different type lumber and I couldn’t tell you right off hand.
TOM: Is it going to be cedar or redwood? It’s not composite, is it? It is wood and not …
TONY: No, not composite. It may have been redwood.
TOM: And you want to keep it clear? So you want to keep it with that red tone to it?
TOM: You typically need to restain or reseal on a regular basis but not on an annual basis. And when it comes to choosing that product, you’re going to use an exterior stain. There’s different porosities to them. If you use semi-transparent, you have sort of a little bit of colorant in there and sort of bring everything to the same tone. But it’s not going to completely cover it. Or if you have solid color, there’s more pigment in there and then it’s all very consistently the same tone. You don’t see the grain as much but it still looks like wood.
But a very good-quality deck stain like that, applied probably every three to five years, is what I would expect for maintenance but certainly not one that you would do every single year.
TONY: Right. That’s been my experience, as well: three to five years. And so I just wasn’t sure if I was actually being told completely the correct thing or if there was something else going on with that.
TOM: That has been my experience, Tony, so – listen, at this point it’s brand new. You’ve got a coat of stain on there. I’d just live with it for a year or two and see how it looks.
TONY: That sounds great. Great advice.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ginny in Missouri has a question about a skylight. How can we help you today, Ginny?
GINNY: We have turned our garage into a living room and consequently, we have windows only on the south side where the door was. We have a nice, large living room but it’s been very dark on the north side. So, I found a wonderful deal on a tubular skylight and I bought it. But because it’s our living room and we have our television in there and such, now I’m concerned about putting it in because is it going to interfere with being able to watch the television in the daytime? And no one seems to have information about this.
TOM: Are you saying because of the fact that it’ll be so bright over the TV, possibly, that it would sort of wash it out? Is that what your concern is?
GINNY: Right. It won’t be directly over the television. It’ll be in the middle of the north part. But we’re just concerned because of reflections and things like that.
LESLIE: Yeah. But Tom, the sun tunnels generally, depending on the way they’re installed, direct the light straight down, correct?
TOM: They have diffusers. So the lens part of it that’s at the end, it’s kind of more like having a ceiling-light fixture when you’re done. So, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I’ve never heard of that as a complaint, Ginny.
GINNY: Oh, OK.
TOM: So I would tell you to do it. I think those are great products.
And by the way, for those folks that are not familiar with this, so what a sun tunnel is, like Ginny said, it’s a tubular skylight. So imagine, instead of having to cut a hole in your roof and then build a light shaft, you can cut a round hole in your roof, you can drop this tube down through it. And basically, it snakes down between the roof and the ceiling, kind of like – think of it as a dryer-exhaust duct. It’s flexible like that but it’s wide. It’s 12 to 14 inches wide.
And the inside of the tube is polished like a mirror, so it’s takes a lot of light and directs it down that tube to that light diffuser, which is at the ceiling level. So, I think it’s a great option and I think it’s a good use in this particular space.
GINNY: Well, I really thank you because it was very difficult to find information.
TOM: Good luck, Ginny. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Heading up north to Canada where Dave in Ontario needs help with a garage door. What can we do for you?
DAVE: I’ve got the old, wooden garage door and over top of it is the wooden framework. And the paint was all bulging, so we kind of tapped on it and it looks like the whole thing’s dry-rotted. So, I’m not sure if I’m opening a whole Pandora’s box and I’m not going to be able – I have to tear the whole garage down. But it looks like I’ve got to replace the header in it. Now, it’s a cement-block garage, so I don’t know how involved this is going to be.
TOM: So it’s just a header over the garage door? Was there a leak above it?
DAVE: The roof was done a year-and-a-half ago, so and – again, it’s not an – it’s a detached garage. So, if it was leaking, I’m not really – I’m not real sure whether it was long-term.
TOM: But you’re not – it’s definitely not leaking now?
DAVE: No, no, the – everything is dry in there now.
TOM: And are the roof rafters resting on that header?
DAVE: Yes. Yeah, it’s a four-sided, so I guess they’d call it a “cottage.”
TOM: What you’re probably going to have to do is you’re probably going to have to build a temporary wall to hold up the roof rafters while you disassemble the header.
TOM: And you do that right inside the garage door. You basically build kind of a fake wall, right up to the underside of those rafters, to support them between the garage floor and the underside of the rafters while you do the disassembly and replacement of the header.
TOM: Then once it’s all put back together, then you can disassemble that temporary wall and then the weight will be transferred back onto the new header. So that’s the process.
DAVE: Would I be jacking that up, taking a little bit of pressure off of it?
TOM: I wouldn’t jack it up but just make it snug. It probably won’t move at all.
DAVE: OK. So this is something I could probably handle myself or should I be getting a contractor in for it?
TOM: Well, if you’re pretty experienced, yes. But it’s also the kind of thing that you might need to have a pro help you with if you’ve not done it every day, because you don’t want to mess this up. If you get something wrong, then you could cause some structural problems that are going to be, you know, pretty concerning.
DAVE: Yep. Very good. That gets me pointed in the right direction.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, now that the weather is getting warm, why not think about starting some family-friendly outdoor activities for you and the kids in the name of a kid-friendly garden? It is a great way to get the whole family involved in a very fun project. So, here is how to get things growing.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, you’ve got to create a kids’ space. Now, if you already have a garden, try to give your kids their own little plot to work within. A 3×3-foot plot or a raised bed really is the perfect size and it’s a great place to start.
Now, you can even use a string to place the grid so that you can actually plot this little area into 1-foot squares. And that’s going to help your kids organize the different types of plants. And they can place the tallest ones in the back and the shortest ones in the front.
TOM: Now, just like you, they’ve got to have the right tools to get the job done. But when it comes to kids, there are child-sized tools that are great for gardening. They have kid-friendly gardening tools. You can find them online. They’ll look just like Mom and Dad’s and they’ll be very helpful and very inspirational. Because this way, kids will get used to handling those tools and they’ll be an even bigger helper when they get bigger themselves.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, you’ve got to make this fun and you want to make them feel really successful, so you have to pick the best seeds for kids.
Now, depending on their age, kids typically need larger seeds because they’ve got smaller hands. Now, these are easy to hold and plant. Also, you want to be sure that you research the right types of flowers or crops, whatever it is you’re planting, for your area, your climate, the amount of sunlight, shade, all of those conditions because you want this to work, guys. If it works and the kids see how successful they are with whatever it is that you’ve planted, they’re going to want to keep doing it.
TOM: Absolutely. And you also want to think about choosing the best flowers or crops for your kids. Kids do love instant gratification. So seeds that germinate or harvest very quickly are ideal. So, think about plants like sunflowers which are, by the way, going to grow taller than your four-year-old very quickly, which is super fun. Snap peas, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and carrots are all great additions to any kid-friendly garden.
LESLIE: And you also – now, think about creating a schedule. Let’s set things up so that it’s easy to follow and that you’re able to stick to. So make something that’s an easy schedule to work with.
Now, this is going to allow your child to participate by not only keeping track of their chores with the garden but give them information that they need to remind you of your own chores. A dry-erase board on your fridge, a chalkboard, a simple calendar. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate but something that really looks like it’s – “Hey, this is a formal schedule.” That’s going to work.
TOM: Now, there are a lot of great ways to take advantage of a child’s active imagination and make gardening fun. So, make sure you involve them in the decisions, like which color plants should go next to which and so on. And let the kids name every plant and allow them to add their own special touches to it, as well.
Keep it fun and they’ll be engaged. They’ll enjoy watching these flowers and plants and gardens grow. And who knows? At some point, they’re going to be ready to help you with the bigger garden, for everyone’s benefit.
LESLIE: Gary in Michigan, you have got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
GARY: We have a short circuit. Somewhere in our house, we have a wire that blows our fuse all the time.
TOM: OK. Does it happen because you’re doing anything, like running an appliance or something of that nature?
GARY: No, we just hit the circuit breaker and it goes off.
TOM: What do you mean you hit the circuit breaker and it goes off? You mean you turn the circuit breaker on and it pops right off?
GARY: Well, we pop – yes. Yeah, exactly.
GARY: We bought the house. We didn’t know about it and it’s there now.
TOM: Oh, OK. Well, you’ve got to call an electrician because the circuit breaker is doing its job. If the circuit breaker is not letting you turn that circuit back on, then that circuit is either wired dangerously or it has a bad breaker or there is something wrong with the way it’s all pulling together. So, I think that this is not something you can track down on your own, because you can’t even get the power on. The electrician is going to have to do this with the power off and see if we can trace out that circuit, see what it’s serving.
Do you know – have any idea where it’s going to?
GARY: Yeah, kind of. Yep. There’s …
TOM: Well, is there something not working? Is there lighting not working? Are there outlets not working? Where do you think it’s going? It’s not on, so …
GARY: Yeah, a whole room. Yeah, whole room, yeah.
TOM: So there’s one room. OK.
So, then, what he’ll probably do is – and they’re going to have to open up the outlets and the switches and the lighting fixtures in that room and check out every connection point and see if there’s any evidence. There could be something burning in there. You don’t know. So, you definitely need to have an electrician check it out. I would go to HomeAdvisor.com and find an electrician through there. You can pick one that’s got great ratings and schedule an appointment and see what happens.
But it’s definitely not something you should do yourself. If it was, I’d tell you but this is beyond the average homeowner’s skill set. It’s potentially dangerous and it’s important for your safety and to make sure your house doesn’t burn down. OK?
GARY: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Been staring at my four walls now for, what, about a month or so? And I’m getting a little tired of them. I need a new project. So, this week, I washed the windows in the garage. That’s kind of far out there but you know what? I had washed the windows of everything else inside, so I really had to sort of extend the perimeter of my spring cleaning. So I took these door panels, that have the fake grids, off the overhead doors and I washed them.
TOM: And now it looks good once again. And I feel better about it. You’ve got to dig deep for those projects.
LESLIE: Tom, I keep organizing everything within an inch of its life. I’m like, “Kids, we’re doing the basement again.” And they’re like, “Do we have to?”
TOM: Oh, no.
LESLIE: And so my rule is if you don’t participate, you cannot be mad at the toys or things I get rid of, because I’m assuming you don’t play with them anymore. And literally, they will be like, “Hey, where’s that thing that I haven’t thought of?” And I’m like, “Oh, you knew the game. You took your chance.”
TOM: That’s right. Yeah. Or you can tell them, you know, “Look, your choice is either to help Mom clean the basement or do schoolwork. Those are your only two choices for the next hour. So, think quickly. What are you going to do?”
LESLIE: You’re sending me into a tizzy, because those both are terrible, Tom.
TOM: I know. Well, I mean if you want to get some help.
LESLIE: I’ll tell you, though, I’ve had a lot more success without them helping. I’ve never seen our play areas look so – more tidy.
Krista in Vermont is on the line and is dealing with some very low water pressure. Tell us what’s going on.
KRISTA: I bought my house about a year ago and I’m on a shared well with my two other neighbors. And they both have great water pressure but we have really awful water pressure. It takes three hours for the washing machine to run. We cannot use our garden hose. And we’ve had some plumbers come take a look and they said that there must be some kind of restriction in the water pipes, since the other neighbors both have really great water pressure.
TOM: This is not well water. You’re on street water?
KRISTA: We’re on well water.
TOM: You’re on well water. And the well serves all the neighbors?
KRISTA: Yeah, it serves the two neighbors that live north of us.
TOM: OK. Well, they’re right that there could be a restriction. The restriction could be a valve that’s partially closed. It may look open but maybe it’s really closed. It could be, if you have old pipes – do you have old pipes there? How old is the house?
KRISTA: Yeah, it’s from ‘54. Yeah, it is copper.
TOM: Old for plumbing is like 20s, 30s, 40s when they had steel pipes.
TOM: So, ‘54 is going to be copper and decent-quality copper.
So here’s what I would do. I would start testing that water pressure at different points. If you can test it close to where it comes into the house, that’d be the first place to check it.
TOM: You may have to put a tap in the pipe to do that, like an extra little valve to do that. But I would start checking it at different points and see if we can kind of narrow down where the restriction is.
TOM: You have to do a little detective work here. You’re going to find, at some point, it’s restricted. It could be the main water valve, if you’ve got one. Sometimes well systems don’t have those.
KRISTA: Right. The valve in our house was just replaced but I don’t know about the valve at our neighbor’s house, where the well head is. And we were also told by one plumber that we could put a water-pressure tank in the house to fix it. And then another plumber told us that wouldn’t work at all.
TOM: That’s not going to work. You need a – you could – there’s a booster that you could put in. But I would start trying to figure out if this is a problem at the point where the water comes into the house, because that’s going to change the discussion. It’s not your plumbing; it’s the well system. And I imagine you have some rights, since you’re sharing a common well here, to get the same pressure as everybody else.
KRISTA: Yeah. OK.
TOM: And that’s going to have to be a discussion you’ll have with the people that are involved, OK?
TOM: But you’ve got to figure out what you’ve got – you don’t know that yet – and that’s the way to do it. Does that make sense?
KRISTA: Alright. Yes. Sounds good. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, of all the cleaning questions that we get, how to clean a hardwood floor takes the lead. Now, it’s a tough spot to keep clean with all the dirt that gets tracked in. And it’s also one where you can’t use a lot of water without potentially ruining that floor itself.
TOM: That’s right. So, there are few things that wear out a hardwood floor faster than the dirt that’s brought in. You know, if you think about it, it’s like sandpaper except that it’s the foot traffic that grinds it into the finish.
So, step one, literally, is to get in the habit of cleaning the floor regularly. For us, that always meant keeping the dust mop very handy.
LESLIE: Yeah. But speaking of mops, it used to be that a dust mop was all that you ever dared use on a hardwood floor, because too much moisture could make it warp or twist. Now, a better solution is the JAWS Hardwood Floor Cleaner. It’s part of the Earth-friendly line of products that you’ll find at JAWSCleans.com. And it does a great job of lifting off dirt and grime from not only hardwood but just about any other hard-surface flooring, including tile, laminate, marble, even bamboo.
TOM: Yeah. And it’s easy to use because you just spray it on and you wipe it clean with a microfiber towel or a mop. It works very quickly and it doesn’t leave a haze. So many of those floor cleaners leave a haze. And it’s also non-toxic, so I like that it’s safe for kids and safe for the pets.
LESLIE: You’re going to like the JAWS system, too. Now, with JAWS, it stands for Just Add Water System. You refill the JAWS spray bottle with water and then reload a concentrated cleaning pod, screw that sprayer in and the solution mixes with the water to create an entirely new bottle of that cleaner.
TOM: Yeah. Check out the entire line of JAWS cleaners at JAWSCleans.com. They’ve got Disinfectant, Glass Cleaner, Kitchen Degreaser. They have a Daily Shower Cleaner, a Granite Cleaner and of course, that Hardwood Floor Cleaner we were talking about.
And if you enter the promo code MONEYPIT at checkout, they’ll knock 25 percent off the cost of your order. That’s JAWSCleans.com, promo code MONEYPIT.
LESLIE: Richard in Wisconsin is on the line with a lighting question. How can we help you today?
RICHARD: Yes. I would like to know where a person could find a floor lamp or a table lamp with a dimmer switch on it instead of the three-way switch. That way you could have one bulb and it wouldn’t – it’d last longer, I know, than a regular three-way switch does.
TOM: Well, certainly, you can find lamps that are capable of having dimmer switches. I think it would be unlikely for the lamp itself to have the dimmer. It’s more likely that the lamp – you want to get one that’s not on three-way and put it – plug it into a dimmer switch. There are, for example, floor switches that I’ve seen that are on a slider. It’s almost a foot switch where it slides from full brightness down to the dimmest setting. And it’s basically just ramping up and down the power that’s going to that lamp.
So I think you want to find a standard floor lamp and then you want to find a second dimmer switch that you can plug it into. So there are portable, so to speak, plug-in dimmer switches as opposed to the kind that are wired into the wall, Richard. And that would be the solution to that problem. They’re very inexpensive and I’m sure you’ll find them online or in an electrical-supply store. So take a look and I think that is the solution.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re taking on a painting project while stuck at home, you may be tempted to toss that used paintbrush. But contrary to the very popular DIY practice of use it and lose it, most paintbrushes are not supposed to be disposable. There is a better way. You can actually clean them.
LESLIE: Yeah, definitely. So, here’s what you do need to know.
When painting with latex, clean as you go. When the job’s done, it’s time to get out the paint that’s collected deep into the filaments. So, run your brushes upside-down under a faucet. And when the water runs clear, brush the filaments with a metal brush comb. Or if you’ve got a hair comb that you’re not using anymore, that’ll work, too, in a pinch. And that’s going to straighten out the bristles and then coaxes any of those bits of dried paint out from all in that fur.
TOM: Yeah. I’ve used a pet comb for that or a pet brush, because that’s usually a wire brush, as well.
LESLIE: That’s smart.
TOM: And the pet doesn’t seem to mind, because I clean the brush, too.
LESLIE: They have similar hair.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right.
And then you want, of course, to get rid of all that excess water. Shake it off. Let the brush dry really well. And when you’re done with the project and you’ve cleaned your brush for the last time, store the brushes in a plastic zipper bag. Or better yet, put them back in their original packing sleeve, because it tends to keep all the bristles aligned. And it actually makes a difference. If you get frizzy bristles, they’re going to not paint very accurately and you’re going to be having to mask a lot more and just not getting a good paint job out of it. So try to put it back into that original sleeve that it came with when you’re done.
LESLIE: I’m going to say that 90 percent of the people listening right now are – “Aw, threw it out already.”
LESLIE: Next brushes, save the sleeve for it.
Now, if you’re working with oil paint, the first stop is a dirty jar. Now, that’s where the bristle tips soak in paint thinner without touching the bottom. This way, they don’t become bent. Now, if you do need the brush the next day, soak it overnight, then comb it out and get back to work. If it’s being put away for a while, still soak it overnight, then comb it and then dip it in a jar of clean solvent. You want to shake off the excess and then wipe dry on a newspaper or a rag.
TOM: Now, here’s a trick of the trade that can save you from having to clean brushes between coats, because we know that’s when you’re really tempted to toss out the old brush and get a new one. But while it’s still wet, wrap it. Wrap it with clear plastic wrap, cellophane or wax paper and put it in a Ziploc bag, then toss it in the freezer.
LESLIE: Oh, smart.
TOM: Yeah, I said the freezer. Now, the paint’s not going to dry out and you’ll be able to thaw it quickly and get back to work, right where you left off, when it’s time to start painting again.
LESLIE: I do the same with rollers.
TOM: Yeah. The same thing. The same advice applies to rollers, as well. Yeah.
Now, of course, you don’t want to do that if it’s weeks between the project. But if you’re just trying to do this for the next day or two – or even maybe two or three days. I’d probably be OK with that. But you can put it right in the freezer and this way, you don’t have to clean it.
LESLIE: Geri in North Carolina needs some help with driveway repair. What is going on?
GERI: Well, I lived in the home I’m currently in for 23 years. And it had just a little pebble driveway when I moved in. About 20 years ago, I had an asphalt driveway put in. And over the years, I’ve done some of the maintenance stuff you’re supposed to have done, like slurry-seal things.
GERI: But probably I let too much time elapse between that a couple of times. And now, I’ve been told by a professional that it’s probably not fixable but I’ll get another few years out of it. But I’ll have to replace it with something. So, my question is: what’s the best, most cost-effective but attractive thing to put in place of an asphalt driveway?
TOM: Right. So, the reason that you want to replace the asphalt driveway, is it cracked?
GERI: It’s got lots of tiny cracks but they’re going to get bigger. And it’s probably going to start crumbling apart in the next few years.
TOM: OK. Is it sunken in in any places or is it just the surface wear and tear and the cracking?
GERI: It’s not sunken in, no.
TOM: Alright. Well, look, if it’s not sunken in, that means they must have done a really good job when they put it down in the first place, because you have no displacement of the driveway base itself.
TOM: And if you were to tear that up and start from scratch, it’s going to be a pretty expensive project.
TOM: The least expensive way to do this would be to add another layer of asphalt on top of it. Now, I’m not talking about just sealing the driveway but actually putting a thin layer over what you have right now.
TOM: And that’s going to look like a new driveway. And because the base is solid and it’s not moving – you know, sometimes we get these calls and it’s sunken, it’s twisted, it’s broken, it’s – because it all settled out. But if it’s relatively solid and all you’re talking about is just the degradation of the surface, another layer of asphalt on top of that might be the hot ticket. It’ll be the least expensive way to go and you’ll have what looks like a brand-new driveway in an afternoon, essentially.
GERI: Well, that sounds awesome because I was thinking I would have to be the one to tear it apart and get rid of it first and then have somebody else come out.
TOM: Yeah. No, we can think of other projects for you to do that same weekend if you like. But this one you don’t have to do.
GERI: OK. Alright. Well, that’s great. I will look into having that quoted and …
TOM: Alright. Good. And remember, when you talk to these contractors, a lot of them will try to talk you into a bigger project than you need. But if it’s structurally sound, I think that’s really all you do need to do.
GERI: OK. Alright. Well, thanks so much.
LESLIE: Well, whatever it is that you are working on, we’re here to lend a hand. You can always post your question, just like Gus did.
Now, Gus writes: “Recently, the bathtub in my daughter’s bathroom started draining very slowly. I bought a bottle of Drano from the local store, followed the directions on the bottle. The water now drains faster but as soon as the tub starts to drain, I hear loud gurgling sounds from the drain as the water leaves. What is causing this?”
TOM: One of two things. You either have an obstruction in the pipes or you don’t have enough ventilation in the plumbing system itself. I would vote on the obstruction first.
So, a couple of things – easy things – to try. If you happen to have a wet/dry vacuum, rather than trying to sort of snake out the pipes, you could put that wet/dry vacuum right on the drain itself and suck out whatever’s in there. If it’s near the top of the drain, it’ll come up and go into the wet/dry vacuum. Sometimes that works very well.
Another idea is to try to use a snake on it. Now, if you’ve got one of those drains that has the twist, where you have to spin it and then it’s a pop-up/pop-down kind of a drain, they seem to be really good at trapping hair. And if that’s the case, there is a snake that you can order that literally is about – I don’t know – 3 bucks, 4 bucks. It’s plastic. It’s about 2 feet long. It has hooks on the side of it. And I found that really cheap, inexpensive snake to be super easy to use.
And I’ll tell you what, it kept my daughter out of having to call the plumber and her three roommates for all the years she was in college, because I bought one. I said, “Keep it. You’re going to need it.” So, yeah, I think it’s called a “drain weasel.” So you can look that up. And beyond that, though, you’ll have to get a professional drain-cleaning service to, perhaps, come out and scope those pipes and see what’s going on.
And then, finally, if the steps are taken and it’s still a bit of a noisy drain, the issue is more likely that the plumbing system is not vented properly or the vent itself could be blocked. Because if it’s not vented properly, that gurgling is the result of it being starved for air. And that has to be addressed by a plumber.
So, for now, it doesn’t seem like it’s a crisis but those are the things to look into.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, here’s one from Tom S., who asked a question on Facebook, who writes: “What’s the best to install for home value: a bathtub/shower combo or just a walk-in shower?”
TOM: Ah, well, I would say, Leslie, you need to have at least one bathtub because young families need it for the kids.
LESLIE: For sure.
TOM: So, if it’s the only bath in the house, I would definitely go with a tub, because that could negatively impact your ability to sell the house.
But if you’ve got two baths, then I think a walk-in shower is great, especially for the master bathroom. But definitely need at least one while the kids are in those bathtub years.
LESLIE: Listen. And then when you’re an adult, you still want a bathtub, too, sometimes. I’ve got a bathtub in my house that I can either choose to have my lower half in the water or my upper half in the water. So, being that we only have the one bath, we’re stuck with this for now. But bathtub yes.
TOM: Yeah. You alternate weeks.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this part of your day listening to us rattle on about home improvement projects and home décor projects. We hope that we’ve given you some good tips and ideas to help you improve your space.
If you’ve got questions, especially now as we’re spending so much time home, we welcome those questions through our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or directly submitted on MoneyPit.com. We’re doing our best to keep up with the flow of questions. Certainly, there are a lot more that are coming in now that we’re spending all the time we are at home. But we’re happy to see that everyone is taking this time to fix up and maintain their homes and make them more comfortable
So we are here for you. No matter how long it takes, we are going to get through this together. We are going to beat this thing together. And meanwhile, we’re going to help you take care of your spaces so that you are comfortable as we do it.
That’s all the time we have for now. 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.)
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