In this episode…
If you’d like to take on one home décor project that you can really spruce up a room, new blinds are the ticket. Not only do they make your place look better, they can save you energy in both winter and summer. Tom & Leslie share how you can get this entire project done, without ever leaving home! Also ahead…
- While most of us have been hunkered down inside for weeks, the wear and tear on your house may be more evident than ever. New floors can help give you a fresh start and installing most is a DIY project. We’ll highlight the most popular spring flooring trends to inspire your creative spirit.
- Spring is officially here…which means bugs are on their way. But you don’t need to fill your home with unhealthy chemicals just to get rid of them. Coming up, natural pest control solutions that are effective, and more importantly, safe.
- If you have ever shopped for replacement windows in the last few years, you knowhow all the competing claims of “my window is better than the other guys” can make shopping very frustrating! And on top of all that, there are a lot of ratings and certifications designed to make shopping easier but often just add to the confusion. We help clear things up.
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 what are you working on? We bet there are at least one or two projects that you are taking on in your house because you’ve got the time. And you’re probably motivated because all those little projects that you wanted to get done, because they were little annoyances – you know, whether it was organization or was decorating, you wanted to clean the tile, the kind of thing that – “Eh, I wish I would – I’d like to clean that up but I don’t have the time,” or “I’d like to fix that but I don’t have the time.” Well, you’ve got the time and so do we.
So we’re here to help you with those projects. If you are still stuck at home, we’d love to give you a hand. But help yourself first: call us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are here for you. You can also post your questions to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit – we’ll get to a few of those later – or you can post them to MoneyPit.com. However you’d love to communicate, we’d love to hear from you and we’d love to help you with your projects.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’d like to take on one home décor project that can really spruce up a room, new blinds can do just that. Not only do they make your place look better, they can save you money and energy and throughout the winter and the summer. But here’s the thing: we’re going to show you how to get that entire project done without ever leaving home. It’s entirely possible and we’ll walk you through it.
LESLIE: And while most of us have been hunkered down inside for weeks, the wear and tear on your house may be more evident than ever before, because you keep staring at it and now you’re noticing things that you want to change. Well, new floors can certainly help give you a fresh start. And installing most is definitely a DIY project. We’re going to highlight the most popular spring flooring trends, to inspire your creative spirit.
TOM: And spring is officially here, which means that bugs are on their way. But you don’t need to fill up your home with unhealthy chemicals just to get rid of them. We’re going to have some natural pest-control solutions that are effective and most importantly, safe.
LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you want to know. What are you working on? What are you starting to think about working on? What if you’re wondering, “How long is this going to take, because I feel like I have time”? Well, whatever it is, we are here to lend a hand. So give us a call.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Post your questions at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
LESLIE: Lloyd in Washington is on the line and needs some help insulating a ceiling. What is going on at your money pit?
LLOYD: This is going to be a great puzzle for you today.
LLOYD: This is not your normal house. It’s a 12-sided house with a cathedral ceiling.
TOM: Oh, that’s interesting.
LLOYD: And I would have to say that there are two questions here. One is how to insulate that ceiling and the second is how to ventilate it or put a non-ventilated in. The roof’s a 10- and 12-pitch with 2×12 rafter bays. And the rafters are spaced 24 inches apart.
TOM: OK. We will only answer this question if you can tell us what a 12-sided shape is called.
LLOYD: A dodecagon.
TOM: Oh, man, you got it.
LESLIE: It’s his house.
TOM: It’s a dodecagon. I admit , I had to look it up. I was curious.
Alright. Look, this is actually going to be a lot easier than you think. You’re thinking in the traditional sense, alright? You’ve got some tough roof spaces here. You’ve got cathedral spaces, you’ve got a lot of small spaces. You have a depth of a rafter that may be only 6 or 8 or 10 inches deep. You don’t have a lot of room. How are you going to vent this?
My answer is this: forget about venting, forget about traditional insulation. This is a perfect application for spray-foam insulation. Here’s why. First of all, you’re going to get much more insulation ability out of the spray foam. It’s much denser, you get a higher R-value per inch. When you use spray foam, you do not have to ventilate the roof. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t require air to go through it to dry it out. So, the spray-foam installers will spray it underside of all of that roof space, trim it flat.
If you want to put a sheathing on, you could do it on top of the spray foam. You’ll never have to worry about ventilation. The nice thing about spray foam is not only does it insulate, it also air-seals so you don’t get drafts. Because if you have all those sides of the house, I imagine you’ve got all that many more places that air can leak in. So, spray foam eliminates that, as well.
So I would definitely recommend spray foam for this house. Now, I used Icynene spray-foam insulation in my house. I was thrilled with how well it came out. So you can talk with them. We wrote a guide to insulation that’s on our website at MoneyPit.com. That might be some help to you but this is a perfect application for spray foam.
LLOYD: To open all that roof up at one time, to me, would seem like it’d be very difficult. Might even be a little bit dicey as far as structure goes, I’m thinking.
TOM: Well, are you talking about opening up from the outside or from the inside?
TOM: Why would you do it that way? I would do it from the inside.
LLOYD: If you’ve seen the house, the walls are over 10 feet high in the main floor and then it goes up to a cathedral ceiling. That’s another …
TOM: Well, what do you have on the underside of the ceiling?
TOM: You have sheetrock. OK. So here’s your choice. You can either tear off your roof, tear off your roof sheathing, spray it, put the whole roof back together. And frankly, if your roof was bad and it was ready for replacement …
LLOYD: It is.
TOM: It is?
TOM: It’s really bad? Alright. Well, maybe that’s the way to go then. But you’re going to have to go through the extra work of tearing off what’s probably perfectly good sheathing and putting it back, you know. Or you could remove the ceiling from inside the house.
The fact that it’s 10 feet, yes, makes it more difficult but drywallers that do this every day work in that height and much higher. You’d be amazed. A trained crew of drywallers can move through a house very efficiently. And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they couldn’t tear all of those ceilings out in just a few hours and put them back in a day or so and then another couple of days for spackle if you have the right company working.
So it’s going to be expensive either way but if you want to get this space insulated, you’ve got to go in from the bottom or the top. There’s just no other way to do this. I wouldn’t even consider blown-in because, again, you have to ventilate it and there’s no way to do that.
LLOYD: Mm-hmm. Right. Because the cupola sits on top of it, which is 9 feet across. What it does, it goes – it’s six-sided. So you go from 12 to 6.
LLOYD: But what you end up with is six trapezoids and six triangles.
TOM: Now, are you a mathematician for your job or something? Do you teach math at a school or …?
LLOYD: How did you know?
TOM: I could tell, I could tell.
LLOYD: Yeah. Well, I used to teach shop and I was a machinist.
TOM: Oh, yeah? Me too. That’s cool. I used to teach it, too.
LESLIE: You guys have that in common.
TOM: Yeah. Alright. Well, that’s very cool. It sounds like a really neat house and we wish you a lot of luck with it. But look into the spray foam. I think that’s the only way to go. How you get there, you know what you’re up against. But give it a shot, OK, Lloyd?
LLOYD: OK. Sounds good. Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Iris in Florida is on the line and has a question about a new countertop. Tell us about it.
IRIS: Oh, hi. First and foremost, Leslie, let me tell you I’ve loved listening to you and Tom for so many years. You’re just – both of you are just so wonderful.
TOM: Thank you, Iris. We appreciate that.
LESLIE: Thanks, Iris.
IRIS: You’re most welcome. Well, my husband and I built our current home about four years ago. We did not upgrade the granite counters in the kitchen. We are now putting in a wonderful click-in, waterproof, vinyl planking throughout the entire house. And of course, the counters are looking like they need to be upgraded, as well. So we’re …
TOM: What kind of counters do you have right now?
IRIS: We currently have granite but we’re very strongly favoring a quartz.
TOM: OK. OK.
IRIS: So, what do you think?
TOM: I mean the cost is about the same. It’s kind of a toss-up between those two products. The granite is probably a bit harder to take care of because it’s more absorbent. It’s a difference between solid stone and really engineered stone. The solid stone is what you have now and engineered stone is what you would be getting.
IRIS: We want to stay in this house fairly permanently, so – and we’re pretty contemporary. And there’s so many beautiful quartz patterns.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. Yep.
IRIS: What are your thoughts about Silestone?
TOM: Silestone. Yeah, it’s beautiful stuff.
LESLIE: So, I think, Iris, the reason why – I really do like quartz as a product. We put it in – my mom has a vacation home out on the East End of Long Island. My whole family shares it. And we had a big flood due to a pipe bursting a few years back. And we renovated everything in the house and we had Formica countertops, laminate countertops that – from a gajillion years ago.
And we – all of us loved the look of marble but none of us wanted the maintenance of marble, so we ended up going with a quartz that looks just like a beautiful white marble. And it’s gorgeous, it’s durable, it’s stain-resistant. You can put a hot pan on it and not worry about it. We try not to but it – you can.
So we all love it. And we ended up also doing one that has a concrete look for a surround to a fireplace. And we’ve all been happy. This was trying to please three siblings and a mom. So, we all struggled on picking the right thing but I really do enjoy the quartz product. Truly, I love marble, I love granite but there is such a level of maintenance that goes along with it. And if you’re not willing to take on that maintenance, it’s just not going to stand up.
IRIS: Well, it sounds like you made an excellent decision based on so many people to please. And since we were leaning so favorably toward it, I think I’m convinced. So, thank you both so very much.
TOM AND LESLIE: Alright.
TOM: Yeah. Good luck with it. I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful when it’s done.
IRIS: Thanks so much, Tom. Take care.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to take on one home décor project that you can really use to spruce up a room, new blinds are totally the ticket. Not only do they make your place look better but they can save you energy in both winter and summer.
TOM: Yeah. Adding blinds is a great project but Leslie, there are so many choices in blinds. I’ve been looking at the site, SelectBlinds.com, which I like. But there’s so many choices. How do you kind of narrow down what is the best kind of blind or shade, on a room-by-room basis?
LESLIE: Well, I think the first thing is people get really sort of sidetracked with the fabric choice – what color, what pattern, all of that – when that’s really kind of secondary. First, you have to really think about the functionality of the blind itself. So, if you’re using the blind for a sleeping space, like your bedrooms, you want to make sure that you use a blackout fabric.
Now, those are fantastic because it truly does create a room-darkening situation while you’ll get the best sleep and really cut out any sort of distraction. So, that’s really the first thing you should consider if it’s a bedroom space.
If you’re looking at a bathroom space, you want to look at a shade itself that has the top part of the shade that comes down and not the bottom part of the shade that goes up. Or you can get one that’s sort of called a top-down/bottom-up shade. But mostly in bathrooms, you’re not going to open the bottom of the window, because it could be right next to the toilet or something and you don’t want to have privacy issues. So if you can open the top part of your window, you can have the top part of your shade come down, also. And that helps you get air circulation through a bathroom space. So you’ve got to look at those different functionalities.
And then you can think about the fabric. So you can go with something that goes along with your design décor, something that has a pattern that sort of coordinates with the rest of the stuff. But I would first look at how that shade functions and where you’re putting it and then look at the decorative part of it.
TOM: Now, that makes a lot of sense.
The one thing that’s great about SelectBlinds.com is they’ll even ship you a kit with 15 free samples. And I have received this kit. And it’s not like a paint chip; I mean it’s like a 4×6 or 4×8 piece of the blind itself. So I really got a chance to see what that fabric was. You know, the color on the website is close but there’s nothing like holding it right up against your wall and your windows and saying, “Yeah, it really works with the furniture or the colors,” or “It doesn’t.” And that’s kind of a cool feature of SelectBlinds.com.
And then, when you’re ready to order, they have step-by-step videos that walk you through how to measure the windows. And then you can sort of just click through. They walk you through several steps to customize the order and get the window coverings done. And they have exactly the features that you need when you’re all done with the ordering process.
LESLIE: Yeah. From there, the installation part, that’s really an easy do-it-yourself project. If you can hang a picture, you can really put up your own blinds quickly and easily. And the blinds are delivered right to your doorstep, so you never even have to leave your house.
TOM: So, pretty much, you can basically plan your entire blind project, including having them shipped to your door for free, right from the comfort of your couch. You never have to go store to store, like the old days, and look at these things. It can all happen right inside, which is just a really cool innovation.
And the other thing is they always seem to get you about 40-percent off the regular price with daily deals and discounts. And the shipping is free, delivery is free. You never have to wait for a sale. So, take a look at SelectBlinds.com. They really do make it easy and convenient to order new blinds or shades for your home. And they will save you time, money and hassles.
LESLIE: Karen is on the line now, dealing with some unwanted visitors. You’ve got flies? What’s going on?
KAREN: I have I think what is called “cluster flies.” I’ve never heard of them before in my life. I thought they were coming out of the register at the bottom. I have the heat register and the air-conditioning register at the bottom of the floor. And they seem to be accumulating in my master bedroom.
KAREN: Now, I called an exterminator and he says, “Well, it sounds like you have cluster flies. Are they lethargic?” I said, “Yeah.”
And they look like a regular housefly. Last fall, I must have killed – I can’t even tell you how many of them.
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
KAREN: I was freaking out.
TOM: Well, yeah, there’s a big population of them and you’re chasing after them one at a time here. They’re called “cluster flies” or sometimes you call them “attic flies.” They’re …
KAREN: Yes, I looked it up.
TOM: Yeah, they’re pretty common. It’s the kind of thing that if you’ve tried just sucking it up with a vacuum and that sort of thing, that there’s just too many of them. You’ve got to put the right pesticide down. It’s just – it’s usually a pyrethrin type of a pesticide. And in some states, you can buy it over the counter but frankly, I don’t recommend it. I think you’re probably better off, at this point, hiring a pro. They know exactly what to put down, in exactly the right amounts to make this problem go away. And I think you’re just going to frustrate yourself by chasing after it one fly at a time.
There’s too many of them. They’ve got you outnumbered and I think you need to get the right product down to fix it up.
KAREN: Terminator, he wanted like $700.
TOM: Seven-hundred dollars? That’s a lot of money. This is a …
KAREN: That’s what I thought.
TOM: Listen to me, this is a service call, OK? This is not a “we’re going to pay for our kids’ college in one visit” kind of a call. This is a service call and it should be charged at a service-call rate. Now, there are pest-control companies out there.
And actually, I have one in my local town that I actually contracted with where I could have paid, I don’t know, maybe a couple hundred bucks for the one service call or I could have paid $500 and had them do two treatments a year and be kind of on-call for everything else. And that was the option that I took because I knew I lived in a very old house, on a dirt basement with five separate crawlspaces that insects love to infest, and we don’t like to see them upstairs. So, I did take advantage of that and it worked out quite well for us. I mean that would be a reason to maybe pay a little bit more if you’re going to get a service contract out of it with some built-in service calls.
TOM: But just – this is just one – this is a one-time thing. It shouldn’t be a $700 – why don’t you do this? Why don’t you go to HomeAdvisor.com, look at the reviews for pest-control firms in your area and find one that’s highly reviewed. I guarantee you anybody that charges $700 for a service call is not going to be highly reviewed and you’ll find the best ones for this particular project.
KAREN: Well, he – I asked him if he had – if it was a contract. Because he initially told me 245 for the initial visit and then $45 a month whether he comes here or not. I’m like, “Get out of here. I’m not letting you charge – hit my charge card for $45 a month even – whether I see you or not.”
LESLIE: That’s a lot.
TOM: I don’t blame you.
LESLIE: No, that’s a lot.
TOM: No, I don’t think you have the right guy. So like I said, go to HomeAdvisor.com, look at the guys that have the best reviews, call one or two of them and take it from there, OK?
KAREN: Alrighty. Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, while many have been hunkered down inside for weeks, the wear and tear on the house is probably more evident than ever before right now. And so, you may be feeling the need for a fresh start. If that’s the case, we’ve got a great distraction project for you.
LESLIE: That’s right. Katie Allen from Lumber Liquidators is joining us today to talk about some creative ways to reenergize your home.
KATIE: Thank you, guys. I’m so excited to be here.
TOM: So, we’re all sheltering in place. We’re here in our nest. We’re nurturing. We’re just taking our time. We’re keeping everybody safe but we’re staring at the walls and the floors and thinking, “Man, this is getting a little bit old.” Plus, a lot of people out there are like, “Hey, I’ve got a lot of time now on my hands and my house. I’m not commuting. Saving all that time during the week. What kinds of projects can I tackle?”
And I think you can’t go wrong with floors, because it’s actually the number-one question people call us about: something to do with floors. And I know that you guys are on top of the industry with Lumber Liquidators. What are you seeing? Are people still staying busy with those floor projects?
KATIE: Yeah, definitely. We’re definitely seeing our customers truly become excited about doing a floor project. But we’re also getting a lot of questions from – “Well, what are some of the other things I can do? How else can I freshen up my space?” We’re actually seeing a lot of reach out for – “Help me design my whole space.” And we’ve realized it’s really important that your home is your sanctuary, especially right now. And a lot of us are spending time in spaces that we’ve probably been neglecting with our busy, on-the-go lifestyle.
TOM: Absolutely. So, what kinds of things can homeowners do right now if they want to just pick one or two easy projects to make themselves more comfortable?
KATIE: I would say my favorite one or two easy projects right now are just decluttering your space and rearranging your furniture to make it work for your lifestyle. Then, my other personal favorite right now is adding in some of those comfort items to create that space for yourself: so, candles, pillows, throw blankets. And don’t forget about how are you going to incorporate those wood elements, because that’s a great way to connect with nature, which I know a lot of us are really enjoying right now.
LESLIE: I find that I’ve been looking around at all of the extra leftover building materials and things. I’m like, “Ooh, here’s extra flooring. Let me make an accent wall. Ooh, here’s some rolls of wallpaper. I’m going to do the powder room.” It’s all these things that I’m finding that I haven’t really paid attention to, because we’re all so busy. So it’s nice that we’re at home and we’re able to tackle these projects.
KATIE: Yeah. I love a good small-space project right now, especially when everyone is in the home together and it can feel a little overwhelming. So, my favorite projects right now – obviously, getting that home office up and running, if you’ve been neglecting that one. Refreshing your bathroom is another really good project. We actually launched three new product lines for wall décor. And I think bathroom spaces are perfect for that, one of them being shiplap. And that’s definitely an easy weekend bathroom project. And a friend of mine – which I don’t know why I never thought about this. But he said if you install it vertically, it can actually make your space look bigger.
LESLIE: It’s true. It does because it brings the line up. It depends on the size of the space, though. It depends on how you want to use it.
What is the material that you’re using to make sure that it works really well in a bathroom space, which is usually such high moisture?
KATIE: Right now we have some vinyl planks. So they’re vinyl shiplap planks, so they’re easy to install. You can slap it up there. We have all the details up on our website, on LLFlooring.com.
And then when you check those out, you can see our other options, as well. We have decorative panels, which is a great way to add dimension and warmth and texture, if that’s the feeling that you’re going for. And we have some wood on walls that we’ve just newly got warranties on for wall installation, in both our engineered hardwood and our laminate. So if you’re looking for something newer – like the pattern flooring that’s really popular right now, in chevron and herringbone – we have that, as well.
TOM: We’re talking to Katie Allen. She’s the director of style and trends for Lumber Liquidators.
So, Katie, depending on where you are in the country right now, there’s different levels of restrictions. We can’t always get out to some of the public spaces that we enjoy, including some parks and trails and that sort of thing. There’s never a bad time, though, to bring some of the outside into your house. What are some ideas for bringing that feeling of the outside into your interior spaces?
KATIE: Oh, wow, there’s lots of ways to connect with nature in the home, big and small. The easiest way, definitely, is adding plants and flowers into your home. But if you want to connect directly with nature, of course, adding wood is a key element. So whether it’s one of the new flooring projects that you want to start in one of those spaces that we were just talking about – or again, wood on walls is a great project right now to add more warmth to your space and to your home. And even adding wood to your kitchen island or your bar front is another great way to incorporate wood into your space.
And it’s really about the look and feel of the product. It’s not necessarily just about adding the wood. It’s really about those matte textures and those fresh, new, muted color palettes that really help you create that feeling.
LESLIE: So, Katie, in New York we’ve been sheltering in place for weeks and weeks at this point. To keep people at home but also to help them actualize these projects, how are you helping them to realize what the right product is for their space or how it might look in their home? Are you helping them do that to keep everybody home but still able to get what they need?
KATIE: Yes. We’ve definitely shifted more attention and focus to our virtual-design help. And we have two new tools to help customers envision their floors in their homes.
So we have a floor finder, which is really helping you find your floor. What style do you want? What look are you going for? Where does this floor go into your house? And then once you’ve kind of narrowed that down, we have our new visualizer tool where you can actually take a picture of your home, as it is right now, directly onto our website and see that flooring in your space. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home and you get to see it right there live.
TOM: That’s really cool.
Now, when it comes to ordering and actually getting the product to your house, do you have shipping options so that folks don’t even have to leave their space? Can they be delivered right to their doorstep?
KATIE: Yes. We have shipping options and new delivery options that are all live, right on our home page on LLFlooring.com. So, again, you don’t have to leave the comforts of your home. We can help you find it, we can help you visualize it and ship it right to your door.
TOM: Excellent. Katie Allen, the director of style and trend for Lumber Liquidators. Great ideas on how we can fix up our house while we are home and sitting out this virus. We’re going to get through this together and making your space look great at the same time is definitely a big benefit to having to spend all of those days inside.
Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KATIE: Thanks for having me.
LESLIE: Harris in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
HARRIS: Hey. I have some tree roots in my yard that are growing close to the surface. And they’re exposed to where when I mow, I have to kind of mow over them or around them.
HARRIS: And just don’t know what to do. What would be the best way to get the yard back where it needs to be? And what do you guys think?
TOM: How much do you like that tree?
HARRIS: I’m not that committed to the tree. I’m not …
TOM: It’s like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube, you know? Once it grows, you can’t really cut them back. They’re there for a purpose. And so you have to figure out a way to live with it or create a bed around it or mulch around it or maybe have it be less lawn and more like a mulched bed or something of that nature. But you – even if you add soil over it, it’s still going to kind of keep continuing to grow up and pop through it.
So, that’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to a big, healthy tree like that. Eventually, depending on the type of tree, it’ll eventually – it’ll come out of the ground like that and start to impact your lawn.
HARRIS: Put a bed around it and …
TOM: Yeah. Maybe a nice circular bench around the tree or something of that nature.
HARRIS: Oh, that’s a good idea.
TOM: Yeah, you can find those. They basically are sold like – so that they split in half. And you can put them around the tree. And depending on the diameter of the tree, you want to try to get one that fits right. But it could be really an attractive feature.
You’ve got to roll with it. Figure out a way to make it look like it was always supposed to be there. You were waiting all these years for those roots to pop up so that you could put a bench around the tree.
HARRIS: Yeah, I wanted it to do that.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right.
TOM: There you go. That’s the spirit.
HARRIS: That sounds great. That’s a good idea. I might like that. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, spring has arrived and one of the springy drawbacks of the warm weather is that’s soon going to be filled with – you guessed it – bugs. And whether they want a bite of your plants, your food or even you, they can make summer somewhat unpleasant.
LESLIE: But there is some good news, guys. Getting rid of bugs doesn’t have to include toxic or expensive chemicals and pesticides. There are a number of natural alternatives that are much safer for you, your pets and our planet and just as effective.
TOM: If mosquitoes are the bane of your warm-weather existence, you can plant some lemongrass and basil. Lemongrass contains citronella and that’s the same chemical that’s found in those bug-repellant candles. And you can even mash up the inner leaves of lemongrass and rub the juice on your skin for the same effects as bug spray.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you can make your home less appealing to ants by planting a barrier of mint around the entire foundation of your home. Ants hate mint. And bay leaves are another spice that a lot of bugs don’t like, as well. You can set whole bay leaves around your kitchen and cabinets or sprinkle crushed bay leaves along your window sills. It works pretty darn well.
TOM: Yep. And if your guests are a little bigger and a little furrier, you can still catch them the natural way and humane way. Make a mousetrap out of a soda bottle. You can set it out on a 20-degree angle, drop a bit of peanut butter inside and then rub vegetable oil around the inside of the tip. The mice will hop in but they will not be able to crawl out. Then you can take your bottle full of mice, go far, far away from your house and let them roam into the woods, where they will have a very pleasant existence without bothering you in your space.
LESLIE: Sandra in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
SANDRA: The drywall seams in my ceiling, in one bedroom and in the corners in two rooms and in my ceiling in my unheated garage.
SANDRA: I live close to Lake Michigan, so there’s a lot of moisture here. It gets really cold. And I’m wondering, how do repair it? Do I have to take all that old tape off or can I repair it as is?
TOM: The tape, sometimes it gets loose when it separates. You definitely need to pull that all off and do a little bit of sanding.
But what I would do is not put paper tape back. I would use fiberglass tape. It is going to stay a lot better than the old paper. It also takes a lot less skill to put it up and get it done right. And it’s stronger. So, you could put a thin coat of spackle, embed that fiberglass tape. You just kind of lay it right into the spackle and then kind of run the blade over it and then put two or three more coats of spackle. Thin. A thin coat is the key. Don’t put thick. Very thin. And that will tend to bridge that gap.
The fact that you’re seeing cracking in those areas you described is actually not that unusual, because the house is going to expand and contract. Especially, I see your house is about, what, 13, 14 years old. Yeah, it’s going to have a lot of movement over the first 20 years or so. And so, those types of cracks in those particular areas, in seams and such, is pretty normal. But as it happens, you’ve got to pull that old, loose tape out and then respackle it. And it’s the kind of project, you know, maybe you do when you’re getting ready to paint. It’s not structural; it’s really just cosmetic.
TOM: But if you don’t take it apart and put it back together again properly, it’s not going to stay, alright? You can’t just spackle over it, because the cracks will come right through it, OK?
SANDRA: I understand. No shortcuts.
TOM: Good luck, Sandra. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, whatever it is that you are working on, we are standing by to answer. And Judy posted on Facebook: “A bit of paint came off my wall. How do I cover it and match it?”
TOM: Ah. Well, Judy, if you don’t have extra paint, what you could do is to take the paint chips to the paint department of a big home improvement store, hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace. They usually have a tool that can scan the color and then reproduce it pretty closely.
Now, even though if it’s a perfect match, if it’s in a really obvious place, I hate to say this but you’re probably going to be better off repainting that whole wall, at least, if not the room. Because it can be a little bit difficult if it’s the new paint, even if it is the same color, because the new paint always looks cleaner than the paint that’s been up there for a while.
LESLIE: It really does. It can make a big difference.
Alright. Now, Maggie has posted a question. “We’re building a new house. The first floor has a concrete slab, which we stained and sealed. Can we put wooden baseboard, which are primed and painted, directly on that finished concrete?”
TOM: Ah, yes. A good question. There’s no reason you can’t, assuming your new home is properly graded to avoid moisture, because concrete slabs get really, really damp.
What I would generally do is I would put a spacer under that baseboard, because there’s really no point in having it touch the concrete directly. But there is something else you might want to try even before that. If these are going to be finished floors, there’s a product designed specifically to put some distance between you and the moisture. It’s called DRICORE – D-R-I-C-O-R-E. It’s a subfloor panel that when you put it down, it creates an air gap between the concrete floor and the top of the panel, so the floors are softer, warmer and more comfortable. Because there’s nothing more tiring than walking on a concrete floor. If it gets damp, it can be a real mess.
Now, if you put that down, then you put your flooring down, you can drop the baseboard right on top of it.
LESLIE: Alright, Maggie. Good luck with your new house. That sounds like an awesome project and that concrete floor is going to look great.
TOM: Well, if you’ve ever shopped for windows in the last few years, you know that the competing claims of “my window is better than the other guy’s window” can make shopping a very frustrating experience. And on top of all that, there are a lot of ratings and certifications that are supposed to make it easier but they often just add to the confusion.
Well, we’re going to cut through all of that because Leslie has got some tips, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie, tell us what is important to pay attention to and what we can just ignore.
LESLIE: Yeah. Well, first of all, I think it’s important to know what window certifications mean and which are important and really need the most attention paid to them. And we think these three will really warrant everybody’s consideration.
Now, a rating that you want to see is the Gold Label Certification from the AAMA. And that’s the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. It means that a window’s been tested by a third-party pro and meets standards for resistance, durability and forced-entry resistance.
Now, you also want to look for a label from the NFRC. That’s the National Fenestration Rating Council. And that really works more like gallons-per-mile stickers on new cars. They rate the glass, the framing, all of those other pertinent parts. You can head on over to the NFRC’s website to compare ratings among different manufacturers and then assess those windows accordingly.
And finally, you want to take a look at that ENERGY STAR label. Now, that means that a window meets standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy and can make you eligible for tax rebates once you’ve got them installed.
TOM: That makes perfect sense.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, outdoor-living spaces have never been more popular and that includes outdoor kitchens. But cooking and dining require their own special recipes, so we’re going to have some tips for designing an outdoor kitchen, 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.)