In this episode…
If you’ve been sprucing up your landscaping, avoiding high-maintenance plants that require constant pruning or suffer from pest problems is key. We’ve got tips on how to select a reliable, trouble free shrubs to spruce up your outdoor living spaces and your outlook!
- Plus, going green in your kitchen isn’t limited to veggies — earth-friendly countertops can lend plenty of green as well. We’ll share which materials are Mother Nature’s favorites, coming up.
- Painting is one of the most popular projects right now, but painting outside places like walls, garage doors, decks and fences can be particularly challenging. We tested a new line of a new paint sprayers that make those projects easier and will let you know what we found.
- Have you ever had a cracked wall that needs fixing over and over again? This can be even worse when the cracked wall is made of plaster. We’ll share a neat piece of hardware that cost pennies and can stop those cracks once and for all.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, repairing a cracked foundation wall, insulating a garage ceiling, cleaning cement off a garage floor, replacing a patio door, options for ventilating an attic, restoring a quartz countertop.
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’re so glad to spend this part of the spring day with you. If you’ve been sprucing up your home, looking to take on a project, indoor or out, you are in exactly the right place because we’re here to help. Help yourself first by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question online at MoneyPit.com.
Well, speaking of sprucing up, if you want to spruce up your landscaping, it’s no fun if you’re dealing with high-maintenance plants that require a ton of pruning or suffer from pest problems. That’s why we put together some tips on how to select a reliable, trouble-free shrub to spruce up your outdoor-living spaces and your outlook.
LESLIE: Plus, going green in your kitchen isn’t limited to veggies. Earth-friendly countertops can lend plenty of green, as well. We’ll share which materials are Mother Nature’s favorites, coming up.
TOM: And painting is one of the most popular projects right now, both because so many of us are inspired to update the look of our home after spending so much time staring at the walls lately and because, well, it’s cheap and easy.
LESLIE: Yes. And speaking of which, we recently had the chance to try out a paint sprayer from Wagner that’s inexpensive and does an amazing job on paint projects like exteriors, decks and fences. We’ll let you know what we found.
TOM: But first, this show is about helping you with your own home décor and improvement questions. We always say at the end of this program, “You can do it yourself but you don’t have to do it alone.” And we mean it now more than ever. So what are you working on?
LESLIE: Call in your home improvement question now and you’ll get the answer. Plus, today, you’ll also get a chance at winning the QUIKRETE Walkmaker. It’s an easy and affordable way to add a beautiful, durable concrete walkway or patio to your home.
TOM: So let’s get to it. That number, again: 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ron in Missouri is on the line and is having a foundation issue. What’s going on?
RON: Yeah. Right at the corner, the concrete started chipping right in the corner, about 8 or 10 inches across. And just at the corner, about 12 inches tall and 4 inches deep, it chipped – it just – that piece broke off. And I’m all brick. And it’s about 20 years old. And so I’m trying to figure out who to call to fix it.
TOM: Well, the good news: you don’t have to call anybody, Ron, because there is a do-it-yourself product that this will work for.
Patching concrete is something that people often get wrong and here’s why. When concrete starts to chip and crack – and it sounds like, in your case, it’s what I call a “spall,” because moisture probably got in there. It probably froze at some point, over time, and just loosened up. Then it finally dropped away.
So, yes, you’ve got to get that back. But where the mistake is, that most people make, is they just try to patch it with more mortar mix. Just plain, old mortar mix. And the problem with that is it doesn’t stick to the old stuff.
So you need a product that is designed specifically to stick to that. Now, QUIKRETE makes a product called Re-Cap – R-e-C-a-p – and it’s for just that: it’s to recap or recoat concrete surfaces. And the cool thing about Re-Cap is it has this amazing adhesive quality to it, so that when you use this to repair the hole in your foundation, the bond that it forms is actually stronger than the original concrete itself.
I’ve seen this stuff where they’ve tested it by gluing pieces of concrete together and they try to pull it apart. And I’m always amazed. The first time I saw this test actually happen, the remains of the original concrete were still stuck to the Re-Cap. That’s so it – basically, with the test – the tensile test, when they pull things apart, that basically pulled out the old concrete with it. It was so strong.
So this is a very simple project. You can pick up this bag in a home center, wherever QUIKRETE products are sold. You mix it up according to the instructions – the directions. You might want to buy yourself a little trowel so you can make it nice and smooth. And you go ahead and just repair that yourself.
The only thing is it’s – color-wise, it’s obviously going to look like a patch. So you can make the decision as to whether or not you can live with that or you want to try to paint it. Of course, remember what comes after paint: it’s repaint some number of years later. So, I think you might just want to patch it and live with it. If it’s on the front of your house, it’s a great place for a bush, you know?
TOM: Maybe you just obscure it that way.
RON: Yeah, it’s a corner. It’s in a corner, so it’s – the point of the corner is broke off.
TOM: You can basically re-trowel a new corner, essentially, with the Re-Cap product.
RON: Yeah, I’ll just form that back.
TOM: Right. So I would tell you that when you mix it up – the instructions will probably say this, as well. But just be cautious of how much water you’re putting in it. You don’t want it to be too loose, because then it might sag as you put it on. But if you get the right consistency …
LESLIE: Yeah, you’ll have a hard time getting that corner to stand out the way you want.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
RON: I thought I might develop something that I would put on it, just build a little thing to force it in to be a smooth corner. Because it’s got to go right and – it’s a 90-degree.
TOM: Yeah. No, you can do that with a trowel. Give yourself a little credit. Did you play with mud as a kid?
RON: Oh, I’ve done everything. I live on a farm.
LESLIE: Same thing.
TOM: Same thing, right? Same thing.
RON: OK. Hey, this is very helpful. I’m glad. I didn’t know who to call or what to do but you have – I listen to you all every time I can and I love your show.
TOM: Thank you so much, Ron. We appreciate that. Good luck with the project. Send us some pictures when you’re done. Before and after will be great, OK?
Alright. Take care.
RON: OK. Hey, thank you.
TOM: Yep. Bye-bye.
RON: OK. Bye.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Loretta from Delaware on the line who’s got a question about hot water. What’s going on? I hope you have some.
LORETTA: But it’s not that bad. It’s just I’m not used to waiting so long for the water to get hot.
TOM: Is this a new situation or have you always had to wait a long time for the water to get hot, Loretta?
LORETTA: It’s a brand-new house and we have a new hot-water system.
TOM: Ah, OK.
LORETTA: I don’t want to mention any names.
TOM: Yeah. Well, the thing is, it’s not really the fault of the hot-water system. Because what this is is a function of the distance between the water heater itself and your bathroom. The farther apart they are, the longer the water, which has cooled – and the pipes have to run to basically dump itself out and become hot.
So the solution here is, really, two-fold. One’s really expensive and the other one is not expensive. So I’m going to guess we’re going to go with the non-expensive solution. The expensive solution is you can put in another water heater closer to the bathroom – a tankless unit – but I don’t think that’s necessary.
There is a – basically a plumbing part called a “hot-water recirculating system.” And what a hot-water recirculation system does is it recirculates some of that cold water back to the water heater, through the existing piping system, to be reheated at key periods during the day. So, think of it in terms of a timer.
So you might set this to go on – well, let’s presume we’re in a normal economy where you’re maybe waking up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning to get ready to go to work. So you would have it come on then and then go off when you left for work and so on. So you could set this for the morning hours or the evening hours, whenever you want to make sure you don’t have to wait for hot water. And it will automatically circulate some of that cold water back to be heated. In that case, you’ll have rather instant hot water.
Now, it’s not something that you want on 24/7, because there’s no point in keeping the water in that pipe hot all the time when you’re not using it, like when you’re sleeping or you’re doing something else during the way. But in key periods, where you don’t want to have to wait for the water to make that long trip from the water heater to your bathroom, you can use this recirculating system, with timers, to basically do it for you.
A brand name that we have a lot of respect for is Watts – W-a-t-t-s. I actually worked with Watts a long time ago, when these products were first being developed, and helped tell their story. But I think it’s a good product. It’s solidly built. You can find it online at HomeDepot.com. Not expensive. About 200 bucks. And relatively simple plumbing project to install if you’re a DIYer or if not, a fairly short trip for a plumber to do.
So, I would take a look at the Watts Hot-Water Recirculating System with Built-In Timer. And as I said, you can look that up on HomeDepot.com or probably on Amazon, as well.
LORETTA: Well, that sounds a lot better than my husband’s idea, which is don’t use the hot water.
LESLIE: That’s a terrible idea.
TOM: Nice guy.
LORETTA: I know.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. He must be a lot of fun to hang out with.
LORETTA: Right. But I appreciate all your help.
TOM: Alright. Yeah. Good luck, Loretta.
LESLIE: With the weather warming up, are you working on an outdoor project? If you are, here’s one that we can help with.
We’ve got a great prize up for grabs. It’s the Walkmaker. It’s an easy and affordable way that you can add a beautiful, durable concrete walkway, even a patio, to your house. It’s a do-it-yourself project that really anybody can handle. Simply pour the mixed QUIKRETE Crack-Resistant Concrete into the Walkmaker form. You smooth it with a trowel and then remove the form when the concrete is thumbprint-hard. And you’re going to repeat that process until you’ve completed your walkway or your patio.
It’s gorgeous. You can create such fun patterns and great layouts. Check it out at QUIKRETE.com.
TOM: The QUIKRETE Walkmaker is going out to one listener drawn at random. To make that you, pick up the phone, call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Tim in Arizona, you’ve got The Money Pit. What are you working on?
TIM: Hey. Well, I have a garage – a two-car garage. It doesn’t not have insulation on the ceiling. So, on two sides, it’s touching the improved, lived-in side of the house. Two walls. And two walls are touching the exterior. I’ve got insulation over everything but the garage and I was just wondering, would it benefit me to put insulation above the ceiling, above the garage?
TOM: What’s above that ceiling space? Is any of the house above it or is it just the roof?
TIM: Just the roof.
TOM: Yeah. Not really, I mean unless you are planning to work in that garage in cold weather and you want it to be warmer in there. But there’s no reason to insulate the garage ceiling because there’s no – the garage is not heated and we’re also not worried about a cold floor above it. Sometimes, folks have garages where there’s bedrooms above it and they get kind of cold floors because of that.
But no, unless you, again, are going to work in it, there’s no reason for you to insulate that. You want to insulate the wall or ceiling between the garage and the living space of the house. But since you just have a roof over it, there’s really no reason to insulate that space.
TIM: Well, I guess part of what I’m asking is: could the heat somehow come down from the attic into the garage?
TOM: Yeah, it certainly can and it certainly will. Will the insulation help? I suppose it would, in that case, but you’re going to super-heat that attic space and so you’re definitely going to need to want to vent it probably more so than it is now. Because when you add insulation, you also have to add ventilation. And since you’re in Arizona, where heat’s more of an issue than colder nights, it’s something you might want to think about.
Does that help you out?
TIM: Yeah. Maybe I’ll save some money on insulation.
TOM: Listen, we could think of more projects for you to spend money on. Just give us a chance.
Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dennis in Michigan is on the line with a roofing issue or something along those lines. What’s going on?
DENNIS: Well, a while ago I dropped a container of roofing cement off a shelf in my garage.
TOM: Ugh. Yuck.
LESLIE: Oh. OK.
DENNIS: It was a powder form and apparently, it got a little wet at one point.
DENNIS: And it then dried onto the floor. Now, the floor is a concrete/cement floor, which I had stained years ago. I put a cement stain on it to protect it. So, I’m wondering, what is going to be the best way to get that off? Am I going to have to use some muriatic acid to loosen it up and then scrape it off or …?
TOM: So I guess it’s all dried and crusty now?
DENNIS: Yeah, it’s kind of dry and crusty, powdery-like, you know.
TOM: Yeah, the first thing you should do is start to try to physically scrape off as much as you can. I don’t think you’re going to be able to save that stained finish underneath. You’re going to end up having to stain it when you’re all done. But you need to physically get off as much as you can. The fact that it’s so …
DENNIS: With a putty knife or …?
TOM: Right, exactly. Yep. The fact that it’s so old is going to make it very, very difficult. You may be able to use a solvent after you get as much of it physically off as you can, like mineral spirits, for example.
TOM: And you could also work it in with a wire brush so that you’re really getting into the concrete. And see if that starts to break it down.
DENNIS: Mineral spirits. Or would something like an acetone work?
TOM: Acetone would work, as well. I know that the roofers of the world would tell you to put gasoline on it. It probably would work but it’s dangerous and we don’t want you to do that. But I think mineral spirits and acetone is flammable enough as it is.
TOM: If you apply it and brush it in carefully with a wire brush so it gets into that material that’s into the pores of the concrete, then you may have a shot at getting it up. Now …
DENNIS: And then just re-cement stain those areas?
TOM: Well, see – and that’s the other thing. Once that’s all in there and it’s filled up all the pores of the concrete surface, even if you cement-stain over it, you may find that it’s still a different color. You may actually have to do an epoxy finish on that floor, when you’re all done, so that it covers.
DENNIS: OK. Yeah, yeah.
TOM: You can try the stain, especially if you’ve got a little bit left. But yeah, I’m not confident it’s going to look great.
LESLIE: Well, when you think of shrubs, you might not think of them as the most glamorous plants around. But the fact is that shrubs are the backbone of your landscape design.
TOM: Well, I would agree. But there are hundreds of shrubs available, so you need to make the right choice so that they’re going to actually thrive in your local environment and not become sort of a hassle, in terms of being high-maintenance or having a lot of pest problems. So, the question is: how do you select a reliable, trouble-free shrub?
And Leslie, I know you’ve been down this road and have got some great tips.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean you’re right. When I redid the backyard last summer, I wanted to make sure I could find something that looked good but would also really do well in the yard. Because we’ve had some issues where they just don’t work. So you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to think about your climate and then you’ve got to find the right shrub to match that.
And to figure out what’s going to do well, you really need to consider its tolerance. Now, you can use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. It’s easy to find online and it’s going to tell you whether a shrub is capable of growing in your location. And the hardiness zone, it’s really a good guideline to start with. But you also have to consider other things: sun, wind, snow cover. All of these things for your area are extremely important.
For example, if you live in an area where you get consistent snow that covers the shrubs, that can actually act as an insulator during the winter. And that might allow you to plant types of shrubs that otherwise can’t be exposed to freezing winds.
Now, soil type is another major thing you’ve got to think about. Some shrubs can thrive in sandy soils and others less so.
TOM: OK. So once you’ve chosen the perfect shrub – it’s in your yard, it’s planted in the garden – how do you keep it in good shape? What’s the key?
LESLIE: Yeah. I think a lot of people don’t realize the importance of pruning. Even if it were a relatively low-maintenance plant, you’ve got to prune. So, if a plant looks to be in perfect health, it even also then can benefit from pruning. But you shouldn’t start cutting into your shrub unless you’ve got a plan.
TOM: Good point. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Do you need a plan for your next project? Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Carolyn in Iowa is on the line and has a question about a quartz countertop. Tell us what’s going on.
CAROLYN: Yes. What I notice are some dull spots that are showing up on the quartz countertop. We built this home two-and-a-half years ago. And I always had understood, with quartz, you didn’t have to polish or seal or anything. And we’re trying to be really careful.
TOM: Oh, no. Oh, no. Surely, you jest. Quartz is indestructible because you can put hot stuff on it but it’s also really absorbent. And you can – you definitely need to polish it.
CAROLYN: OK. So, all that report that I’ve heard that you never have to do anything to quartz, it isn’t true? You do need to …?
LESLIE: You have to do stuff to granite, to marble, to quartz over time because there’s a sealant that they put on it. And depending on where you got it and who the yard is, if it’s a granite or a marble, it wears away with use.
And so, the lighter the color, the more often you have to do it. And it should be – they say with quartz and marble and granite, every two to three years. I have a granite countertop. I’ve probably done it three times in the 15 years I’ve been in my house. And it’s mostly because the areas where you see what they pour that fills into the spaces, it’s kind of popped out, especially on the edge. But other than that, I haven’t really needed to do much to it.
TOM: There’s a polish online at Amazon.com called Supreme Surface that’s really well-recommended. It’s four out of five stars. I would give that a start if you’ve never tried it before. Order it online. But as Leslie said, you definitely do need to polish natural stone. Otherwise, it is going to get dull over the years. And it sounds like it’s about time to do that with your house.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nancy in Arizona is on the line with a broken patio door.
Nancy, what’s going on?
NANCY: It’s very, very hard to open it and it’s getting worse.
NANCY: I have to – when I go to open it, I have to lift up on the handle a little bit to even get it to open.
NANCY: Now, my question is – I had a friend come by and he said, “Oh, there’s a kit. You can fix that.” And so that’s fine. But my question is: should I replace this door or should – what do you – or get one of those French doors that have wood and glass on them?
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
NANCY: Which one would be more energy-efficient?
TOM: You have an old, aluminum sliding door right now? Like a heavy, metal door?
NANCY: You’ve got it, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. You know, they’re – that door is never going to be efficient and the rollers are probably worn out, because that’s what happens to those doors. And sure, you can replace those rollers but it is what it is. I will say that the new sliding-glass doors, they’re vinyl-clad, like a vinyl-clad Andersen door. Andersen makes one that’s designed for remodeling and one that’s designed for new construction. And the difference is really important, because the remodeling door is exactly 1 inch shorter in height than the new-construction door, which you don’t notice. But if you’re putting it in, it makes it a lot easier because it fits in the existing opening.
So, if you get the right door, replacing that slider with a new Andersen vinyl-clad slider is not that complicated a job for a carpenter to do. He can do it in a couple of hours. But it’s just a beautiful door that’s going to perform well and be energy-efficient.
Now, the French doors are nice, too; they’re beautiful. And Leslie, you probably recommend that over a slider, because it looks great, but they’re a little harder to keep airtight.
LESLIE: They really are harder to keep airtight because you’re dealing with, now, so many more opening points. And you’ve got – similar with the top and the bottom with the slider but now, with the French doors, you’ve got the opening down the center. And you tend to get air leakage around the top and the sides and all of those functioning points.
However, there are things that you can do as far as weather-stripping, even a weather-stripping on the bottom that the door sort of locks into. But they’re gorgeous and they really do change the look of a room. And there’s just something that really finishes the space with a French door. So I think if you find the right French door and it’s properly fit and it’s properly installed with the right weather-stripping, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of drafts and the amount of air leakage that could occur with it.
I really love them. I have them in my own house.
TOM: Well, good luck.
If you’d like to take on one project that can really transform the look of your kitchen and not spend a whole lot of money in the process, why not think about replacing your countertop? There’s lots of options today, including Earth-friendly technologies that you can use to improve the look of that space without blowing your budget entirely.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because Earth-friendly countertops are also people-friendly countertops. They’re free of VOCs, which are those solvents that get released into the air. And it can cause a whole bunch of things but headaches, dizziness, respiratory issues. So, those are all the things that are caused by VOCs. And Earth-friendly ones won’t have them.
TOM: Yeah. So, if you wonder how your countertops that you have now stack up, think about this. The stone countertops are beautiful and durable but they involve mining. And any kind of mining affects the land and water. Now, if you go with stone, though, you want to pick one that’s been locally mined. The good news is, though, that stone can be recycled at the end of the countertop’s life in your kitchen.
LESLIE: Now, solid surfacing is finally joining in the green movement. And nowadays, you can find solid countertops that are made from recycled plastics, which would have otherwise been in a landfill.
TOM: Yeah. And that really surprised me because that was one product I thought would never really be totally green. But I’m so glad that it’s come around.
And another product that you might think couldn’t be green, that is now Earth-friendly, is a laminate countertop. Many of these are now made with recycled plastic and they require formaldehyde-free substrates and non-toxic glue. So, all of those add to the greenness of a laminate countertop.
LESLIE: And ceramic tiles, guys, I mean that’s always been a pretty green choice. So, why not think of ways to use them a little bit more around your design? Maybe do a whole wall instead of just a small backsplash. There’s really different ways you can incorporate it. Maybe even look for some that have partly recycled post-consumer content so they can be even greener.
TOM: Lots of Earth-friendly options. And if the idea of green remodeling appeals to you, we’ve got an entire guide. It’s free and it’s devoted to just that. Just search “The Money Pit’s Guide to Green Remodeling” on MoneyPit.com.
Well, if you’d like to take on a patio project this spring, maybe this summer, we’ve got an easy and affordable way for you to do just that, because we’re giving away the QUIKRETE Walkmaker forms.
The Walkmakers are basically forms that you can pour into – the QUIKRETE Crack-Resistant Concrete into the form, smooth it with a trowel. And you remove the form and you’ve got a beautiful concrete patio underneath it. So they come in different styles and sizes. They can look like flagstone or rumble stones. Basically, you repeat the process until the patio is complete.
It’s available at QUIKRETE.com but we’re giving away a set of the Walkmakers today to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Richard in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICHARD: I was putting up some cedar lap siding around the house. And I discovered, after the fact, that in my – I had a basket full of tubes of caulking and one of them turned out to be silicone.
RICHARD: I didn’t discover that until after the fact. And I was wondering, is there any way to make that paintable?
TOM: There’s no real way to make it paintable. I suppose if you used a good-quality primer on top, you might have half-a-chance at it. But how much of it is that obvious? Is it – first of all, is it a different color or is it clear?
RICHARD: Well, yeah. Well, it’s a different color than what I’m going to paint the house.
TOM: I see.
RICHARD: It’s in one corner. I had a hired hand out here helping me and he didn’t realize.
TOM: Well, there’s a way to remove that. If it’s just all in that one section, Richard, why don’t you just spend a little time taking it out? There’s a product called “caulk softener” and it’s basically – it’s kind of like a paint remover for caulk. And you apply it to it and it kind of gets sort of gummy again and you can scrape it out with a putty knife, clean it up as much as you can, especially if you’re going to paint it. You could – I’m sure you can get rid of enough of that to be able to paint and never see it again.
RICHARD: Alright, man. Hey, thank you so much, man. I really love you guys’ show here. You’re real helpful.
TOM: Alright, Rich. Happy we could help you out. Good luck with that project.
Well, painting is one of the more popular projects right now, both because so many of us are inspired to update the look of our homes after spending so much time staring at it lately and because, well, it’s really easy and it’s inexpensive. And it leads to a really big visual change, not to mention preserving the siding or the deck or whatever you’re doing with it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And if you’ve got an outside project to take on, a paint sprayer can make that project go a lot faster and come out a lot better.
Now, Wagner has a line of paint sprayers called Wagner Control Pro that make it easy for homeowners to take on and transform big projects, like home exteriors, garage doors, decks, even fences.
TOM: Ah, fences. A pain point for me, I’ve got to tell you.
LESLIE: It’s a hard project.
TOM: I’ve got to tell you, having tried to paint – I mean when I painted a picket fence a few years ago, I didn’t have the paint sprayer then. And oh, my gosh, it took forever. Because if you think about it, when you’re painting a fence, you have so many surfaces to hit, right? You’ve got every board …
LESLIE: Four sides on every board.
TOM: Well, actually, no. It’s six sides because you’ve got to paint the top, the bottom, the edges and then the ends of the board, right? It’s really six places on every board. And if you’re doing something like a board-on-board fence, which is what my last project was, that’s the one I used the paint sprayer for. And oh, it made it so much easier to do. So I highly recommend it.
I had about 10 sections of board-on-board fence to stain. And doing that by hand would have been painful. There’s so many edges and hard-to-reach places on these designs that spraying just makes it so much easier.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what makes these sprayers work better than others is that they have a High-Efficiency Airless Technology. That means you’re going to get up to 55-percent less overspray compared to traditional airless sprayers, as well as just more control, which makes it a really good sprayer for a DIYer who’s really learning to or just getting back into using a paint sprayer.
TOM: Now, there are several Control Pro Sprayer models to choose from. We tried out the Control Pro 130, which is the basic one. And it’s nice. It’s got a paint hopper, so you can basically pour the paint in and go right away.
The nice thing about this tool is that it lets you take on some of those maybe bigger projects yourselves instead of hiring a pro. It’s really never been easier to paint like a pro with this Control Pro line of sprayers.
You can check them out at WagnerSprayTech.com – that’s WagnerSprayTech.com – where you can see the whole line and find the right sprayer for your project needs.
LESLIE: Conrad in Texas is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help?
CONRAD: And I want to get your advice as to whether or not it would be advisable to put up a solar vent over my garage and leave the ridge vents throughout my – the rest of my house. I am getting ready to re-roof my entire house and garage.
TOM: So, when you say “solar vent,” do you mean solar-powered attic fan?
CONRAD: Yes, yes. Right.
TOM: First of all, my general advice is to never use an attic fan. And the reason I give that advice is because, typically, when the attic is over living space that is air-conditioned, what happens is the fan is so powerful that it will pull air conditioning from that living space through the hundreds of nooks and crannies that you don’t know about, like the space in between the 2x4s and the wall cavity where, say, the outlet is installed. That becomes an intake port where it’ll suck out the air conditioning.
If you were describing this garage as being attached to the house but not attached to the living space – and I would include the attic in that if the attic is complete independent of not being over living space. And considering that it’s a hip roof, which is the type of roof – folks, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s the one that’s like a pyramid, right? It goes up on all four sides. You end up with this really small ridge at the top where you really can’t put an effective vent. In that circumstance and that circumstance only, yes, I think it’s OK to put a solar-powered attic fan.
And I think it makes a lot of sense for you because if you’re – you’ll be pulling air through all those soffit vents all the way around, you’ll be drawing it through that attic space and exhausting it. And that will keep the roof temperature cooler and yes, it can increase the longevity of the roof.
Now, for the other sections of roof and attic that are, again, separated from that garage space, there you should use a continuous ridge vent. Make sure the ridge line is cut open at least an inch to an inch-and-a-half so you have a good, wide gap at the top. And then the vent fits on top of that.
And be careful with the type of vent that you choose. You want to make sure you get one that’s open enough to allow the airflow but not let water drive into it. There’s one by CertainTeed called Air Vent. It’s the – that’s their manufacturer’s name or their trade name: Air Vent. I think it’s AirVent.com or Air Vent Inc., something along that line. And it has a nice baffle built into it, which speeds up depressurization. It’s also got a filter that fits inside of it that stops rain from blowing in. So just get a good-quality vent like that and I think you’ll be good to go, have the best of both worlds in that situation.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Perhaps you’re tackling an outdoor project this spring season, just like Heather is.
Now, Heather writes: “I have a concrete patio. It holds water when it rains and then it turns green right in the middle. My husband seems to think that the builder did not put a barrier of plastic underneath it. How can I fix this or keep it clean? Thanks for your help.”
TOM: Well, your husband may or may not be correct but the thing is, we really don’t want to see plastic underneath it. It’s not like this patio is supposed to hold water. What it’s supposed to do is drain and it sounds like it is – was never set up to drain initially. Perhaps it settled and cracked. I don’t know why you have this sort of area where it’s holding water but it’s basically not sloped right.
So, what are your options? Well, you could tear the whole thing out and replace it or you could apply a product called Re-Cap. This is a product that QUIKRETE makes and it’s specifically designed for, essentially, doing just that: coating or recovering or recapping old concrete surfaces.
And you can apply this to the entire patio but the thing is, you’re going to put more of it in the middle. And you’re going to be very, very careful to make sure it slopes for drainage. If you are able to eliminate this depressed area in the middle, you are no longer going to have to stare at green, mossy, mildew-y patio surfaces. It will just – water will just run right off.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps and then this way, you can enjoy that patio this summer season.
Next, we’ve got a post here from Jake. Now, Jake writes: “I have some cracked plaster walls that I have tried to fix with paper tape and even nylon wall tape but the cracks keep coming back through the mudding. How can I fix them permanently?”
TOM: You know, Jake, you heard us talk about using tape across cracks, so I’m glad you tried that. But just to clarify, cracks in plaster walls require a slightly different approach.
Now, first of all, they are very, very typical. When a plaster is first installed, it’s basically troweled through plaster lath, which are sort of wood sticks. It spreads behind the lath and kind of grabs to it and that’s how it stays on the wall. But over time, those little plaster sort of fingers loosen up and the plaster moves.
So, to fix these cracks, what you need to do is to basically secure this loose chunk of plaster that’s causing it. And there is a product that is designed just for that. It literally costs pennies. It’s called a “plaster washer.” It’s about the size of a quarter and basically, you have a screw that goes through the washer and then it’s driven into the wood lath behind the plaster. So it kind of clamps that loose plaster piece in place.
And once it’s there, it anchors that plaster. It’s not going to move further. Then you could use the nylon drywall tape, put it across the crack and then you can apply the replaster on top of that. That is going to address both the structural and the cosmetic issue.
By just putting the tape on it, you weren’t really addressing the structural issue which, in this case, was the loose plaster. But by securing it in place with a couple of these plaster washers and the screw through, you are going to have a very solid wall and one that is crack-free, which is about the time you will spot another crack to fix.
LESLIE: In a different spot. Or you’ll decide to paint the room a different color. Either way, the work never stops.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this part of what we hope for you is a beautiful spring day with us here on The Money Pit. If you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach us several ways. You can post your questions to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or you can post that question online at MoneyPit.com.
We are answering lots and lots of questions these days. So whatever is on your to-do list, slide it to ours by reaching out.
Until then, 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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