In this episode…
Building codes exist to keep your family safe, but only if you or your contractor follow them! Tom & Leslie have tips on how to avoid the THREE most commonly violated codes.
- Plus, if you’ve noticed that your walks, porches or patios look a bit worn – we’ll tell you how to resurface concrete at a fraction of the cost of replacement.
- Do you have a small backyard and looking to make the most of your minimal outdoor living space? A spool pool can make a huge difference.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, cutting down a tree, installing a handicapped ramp, repairing a shower pan, whether or not to get a home inspection before purchasing a home.
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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement project. We’d love to hear what you’re working on on this beautiful day. You can reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 or post your question online at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Coming up on today’s show, with summer thunderstorms, blackouts are becoming more common, which is why now is a good time to think about adding a whole-house generator. The costs have come way down on these guys and the convenience can’t be beat. So we’re going to share some options on how to find the right-size unit for your home, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And if you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to transform the look of your kitchen, applying a decorative stone surface to your countertop can do just that. We’re going to talk with a unique company that has spent decades developing these DIY finishes for countertops, floors and even pool decks, just ahead.
TOM: And childproof or tamper-resistant outlets have come a long way. And they can not only help protect kids but even adults from a dangerous accident. We’ll explain the updates.
LESLIE: And this is the last week for our DIY Dad Giveaway. We’ve got 10 sets of tools from Arrow to give away to 10 lucky winners. You can find the details at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: But first, we want to know what you want to know. What are you working on? What are you planning? What would you like to get done? Are you still thinking about adding a summer improvement to your outside space so that you can really enjoy it? You want to convert a yard into a room? An outdoor room, that is. Do you want to take on a repair or decorating project inside? Kitchens? Baths? Soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles, call us, right now, and we will walk you through the project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Beverly in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
BEVERLY: Well, I have a house that’s just been built a year-and-a-half ago but I have a covered patio. And my builder put cedar posts out there. The rest of my trim is all white. So I wanted to cover or paint the cedar but he’s telling me I can’t do it because I’ll rot them out. And I – that doesn’t sound right to me but I’m not sure.
TOM: So, what would you – in a perfect world, Beverly, what would you like to see on those cedar posts? Would you like them to be white and match the rest of the house?
BEVERLY: Yeah. All of my trim is white and so I would rather them be white. They’re a year-and-a-half old now, so they’re starting to turn the cedar look and get all dark.
TOM: Right. Are they kind of decorative?
TOM: OK. See, here’s what I would do. The first thing I would – I’m going to recommend a staining process. So, the first thing you’re going to do is prime them with an oil-based primer or a solvent-based primer. And then you’re going to stain them and I would use a solid-color stain. And a solid-color stain is not going to look like paint, so it won’t tend to peel; it’ll fade over time. But it’ll soak in really nicely. And you can get a white stain – a solid-white stain – and it’ll look quite attractive.
Painting wood does not cause it to rot; it prevents it from rotting.
LESLIE: It just requires a lot of repainting.
BEVERLY: Yeah. He said if I covered it or painted them, that it causes the moisture to pull to the base and then they rot.
TOM: I would disagree with that. I think if you stain them, you’ll find that they’re quite attractive and that the moisture will wick in and out just fine.
BEVERLY: Good. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this.
TOM: Good luck with that project. You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Heading out to Minnesota where Gordon has a question about garage moisture.
What’s going on, Gordon?
GORDON: I’m in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I’ve got a two-stall garage. It’s divided. It’s a tuck-under garage. The house is a walk-out, so the back side of the garage is below-grade and it kind – it ramps up from the front to the back.
In the springtime, for a couple – first couple of months in the spring, the garage floor is wet and it’s – I believe that it’s wicking up or coming up from under the floor. I don’t believe it’s just condensation forming on the top.
My question is: is there any kind of a sealer or anything that I can do, short of knocking out the whole floor? I know that now you should have a moisture barrier, some kind of poly under the floor before you pour it, if you wanted to put an epoxy coat or something on there.
TOM: There’s two ways to address a moisture problem in a concrete structure like that. One is to try to make it float, which is not going to happen. And by that, I mean when you put all sorts of sealers and caulks and so on on these floors or on the walls, yeah, you’re never going to block out 100 percent of that moisture.
But the more effective thing to do is to reduce the volume of moisture that’s getting there to begin with. And I think I can explain why you’re seeing that moisture on the floor in the spring. Because concrete is very hydroscopic; it’s like a sponge. Imagine if you stuck the end of a sponge in some water, how quickly that entire sponge fills up with moisture. That’s what happens with concrete.
So the first thing I want you to address is the sources of moisture. And they’re very likely to be the spring rains and the drainage control at the foundation perimeter. It happens to almost everybody. So, the walls that surround that below-grade space, we want to make sure that there’s gutters on that covering that side of the roof that are not only there, they’re sized properly, which means you have at least 1 downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface and that the downspouts are extended well away from the foundation. We’re talking 4 to 6 feet.
The second thing to do is to make sure that the soil slopes away and there’s nothing trapping moisture against the house, like landscaping. If you do those two things, you will dramatically reduce the amount of moisture that’s getting up against that concrete. And that will stop the moisture that’s – from pulling up onto the floor and perhaps even through the walls.
Now, as for a sealant, what I would recommend you do, because this is a garage floor, is to simply paint it with an epoxy paint.
These epoxy finishes now are terrific. They’re pretty easy to use. They’re a two-part mix. Usually, when you buy the epoxy kit, you’ll have a gallon that’s about three-quarters filled with product and then a quart can that’s the hardener. You mix the two together and you basically paint the floor. And sometimes, there’s color chips that you can drop in the paint that help hide dirt. And when it dries, it’s a chemical reaction that’s really hard and it really adheres well to the floor. And I think that will stop some of the residual moisture that’s left.
But try to control as much moisture as you can before you take that step. And between the two, I think you’ll be good to go.
GORDON: OK, yeah. That’s kind of what I was thinking.
As far as that epoxy, everything that I’ve seen says to not apply it to a floor that gets damp. There’s a plastic test and you tape a piece of plastic down and if moisture forms …
TOM: Yeah. Personally, I think that’s a really silly test but people seem to like it.
Look, all concrete floors are going to contain some level of moisture. As long as it’s not excessively wet, then I think you’ll be OK. Now, there usually is an etching material, like an etching wash, that you use first. So I would do that, just to make sure the floor is ready to accept it. But if you pick a nice, dry day, I think you’ll be fine.
GORDON: OK. Well, I thank you for the insight. Appreciate your time.
TOM: Alright, Gordon. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, with Father’s Day this weekend coming up, you guys, we have a great sweepstakes that ends soon. It’s meant to help you win tools to celebrate Dad and it’s called the DIY Dad Giveaway.
We’ve got 10 sets of tools from Arrow to give away to 10 lucky winners.
TOM: Yep. And each set is worth 120 bucks. And it’s got some of the most popular tools that Arrow makes: the T50 – which is literally a historic staple-gun product; it’s been around so long and it’s so effective and fun to use – and the PT50, which is a pneumatic version of that, as well as the Arrow GT300 High-Temp Glue Gun.
These tools are perfect for taking on dozens of projects around the house and they’re going to give your dad years of trouble-free use.
LESLIE: That’s right. You can enter once a day at MoneyPit.com. But make sure that you take advantage of the other ways that you can earn extra entries: you know, subscribe to our podcast, visit us on social media, all of it. Get lots of entries. This is the last week to enter.
TOM: My favorite tool is the GT300 Glue Gun. Literally, when I got this glue gun I went around and I threw out all the old glue guns we had in the house. Because it’s big, it holds plenty of glue sticks, it’s high temp, it was so easy to control and I just loved it, so …
LESLIE: It’s the best glue gun ever.
TOM: It really is.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Allison in New York on the line who has an unwanted visitor at their money pit. What’s going on?
ALLISON: My husband – I wish he was on with me – but our mission is to humanely trap we believe to be a squirrel that’s running between the drop ceiling in our basement. And my husband said, “Two-by-eight joint rafters.” There’s like a 2-inch space only and …
TOM: What I want you to do is to go out and pick up a trap called a Havahart trap. Now, these Havahart traps are live traps in that they’re going to catch this squirrel. And then you’re going to pull this trap out and you can take them out to the woods somewhere and release them.
What you do with the Havahart trap is once you get it set up, in the back of the trap where you want this squirrel to kind of end up, put an apple back there. And don’t just put it back there but wire it to the back wall of the trap. Take a piece of picture wire, thread it through the apple and kind of tie it off. Because I’ll tell you what, even though these traps are good, those squirrels and other small rascals can sometimes grab that without tripping the door. But if you wire it to the back of the trap, they don’t have a chance. And set it near the opening, wherever you can get access to it.
And I’ll tell you, sooner or later, that squirrel is going to wander in that trap and bam, you’ll hear the door slap and they will not be happy. They’ll kind of be running in circles trying to figure out a way to get out. But you can cover them with a blanket, throw them in the back of your car, in the trunk, and take it out somewhere. And then as you open that up, believe me, they’re not going to stand around to kind of talk about it with you; they’ll just bolt. As soon as you lift that door, they will bolt into the woods.
TOM: I hope that helps you out, Allison. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, when the forecast calls for a bad summer storm, a whole-house generator can make sure that you are ready for that storm. And you need to think about how they are designed to work.
LESLIE: That’s right. Now, a whole-house generator is going to run on either natural or propane gas. And they’re installed directly to your home. So, if you lose power, that generator is going to automatically start up and restore the power to your house.
Now, it’s available in a ton of different sizes. So, depending on the size of the generator you get, you can choose what you want to power from, say, just a few critical items or the entire house. And that can include your lights, the HVAC system, a refrigerator, a sump pump, security system, electronics. I mean more, depending on the size of that generator. You really could do every single circuit in your entire home.
And a lot of the generators also have remote-monitoring capabilities so that a homeowner can manage their automatic-standby generator from a phone when you’re not at home, which is huge because you could be away or out of town and something could be going on at your house that you need to check out. And this is going to let you do so.
TOM: I’ve had two generators over the last decade-plus. The first one I had was a smaller one that was designed just as what’s called a “standby,” so it only protected the critical circuits in the house. It didn’t protect the air-conditioning system or some of the bigger appliances that we had.
And then when it came time to upgrade it, I went with a whole-house system because the prices have come down so much. And now it’s awesome. Everything in the house basically comes right back on within 15 seconds of losing power. I always hear this big sound of the breaker tripping in the basement, because it sounds like that big Frankenstein breaker. It goes ka-chunk (ph) and it slams to the new position when the generator kicks on. And it just keeps everything going.
So, great time to think about that. There’s a lot of tools on manufacturers’ websites, too, that will enable you to figure out what size you need, because the prices vary based on the size. But I got a 20k unit and I was super happy. With a medium- to large-size house, it did really, really well.
LESLIE: Yeah. I have a 20kW, also, and I feel kind of piggy when the power goes out and literally, every light in my house is on, the air conditioning is on, I’m running the laundry.
TOM: Yep. Yep.
LESLIE: I’m like, “Should I turn lights off in solidarity?”
TOM: Well, we always get the calls from our neighbors about their refrigerables (ph) and things that are kind of going bad.
LESLIE: “Can you hold my things?”
TOM: Yeah. It’s a good thing I have a spare freezer.
LESLIE: Michael in Virginia is on the line and is working on a decking project. Tell us about it.
MICHAEL: Hey. So I’ve got a 12×12 deck that came with the house. And it’s about 20 years old. Some boards are starting to peel up. And I know I’ll be able to get a screw to stick in the sublayment (ph). Am I able to sister the underlying boards with 2x4s or something to build up the base? Or am I better off replacing all of the substructure along with the deck?
TOM: So, if it’s 20 years old – and it sounds like it’s not pressure-treated – and if the existing floor joists have decayed to the point where they won’t even hold a screw or a nail, I think it’s time to replace that deck, structure and all. Because your – the clock is ticking now and it’s going to be potentially very unsafe in a very short period of time.
So what I would tell you to do is to remove it, replace it and consider using composite for the decking surface. You can use pressure-treated for the frame but use composite for the decking surface. Between the composite and the pressure-treated, you’ll get more than another 20 years out of it.
Now, I’ve looked at composites and price-wise, they’re pretty pricey. Am I going to be able to save a few bucks by going to a heavier-duty, like a 2×6 kiln-dried board and sealing all that when it goes in?
TOM: Well, the thing is you don’t – well, I wouldn’t use 2×6. What I would use it 5/4×6 if you want to go with the wood decking. But you’re going to have to seal and stain that every couple of years. The thing with composites is all you’ve got to do is clean it. If you look at a big-box store, like a Home Depot, those composites are not terribly expensive and they look really good.
MICHAEL: Alright. I’ll have to check them out.
TOM: Because remember, you’re not replacing the floor joists with it. You’re only doing the deck surface. So if it’s 12×12, it’s 144 square feet, it’s 288 lineal feet. It’s probably worth it.
MICHAEL: I see. Now, we are thinking about expanding it another few feet, too.
TOM: Yeah. Well, that will be the time to do it, you know?
LESLIE: So you’re doing – the substructure is still all of the pressure-treated lumber, because you need that for the support and then all of the decking itself and the fascia boards – and you can even do the railings. All of that can be the composite. And it’s really gorgeous. I have one that’s sort of mid-range but it has an interesting grain to it and almost looks like an ipe. You can get ones that are super simple and you can get ones that really look exotic. And I think that’s where your price point is going to swing a lot.
MICHAEL: Now, how do you deal with the railings and the fencing it in?
LESLIE: So the posts would come up and that would be the basis for your supports and that would be your pressure-treated lumber. And that would be built up through from the substructure. And then there are sleeves that go over it in the composite. Now, you can get ones that match your decking or you can go with white.
MICHAEL: And then for the substructure – now, I am talking about staining this out. There are these concrete – I don’t know, they’re about a foot by a foot – blocks that you can buy that you can lay your 4×6 across for – they say it’s for decking in the yard. Am I better off doing that or poured concrete?
TOM: There are prefabricated footings for decks. They look sort of like pyramids but they’re not like 1×1. They’re like 1×1 by about 3 feet tall and they have a place for a bracket on top. I’d use those. They work really well. They’re a little harder to install because you’ve got to be more accurate with where the hole is. But frankly, I think the easiest thing to do is just to dig it yourself – a 1-foot by 1-foot square that’s a couple of feet deep – and mix up 3 or 4 bags of QUIKRETE and make that the footing. And then you can drop the pressure-treated right into that. And then if you use the right level of pressure-treated, it can actually be in-ground.
MICHAEL: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks a lot, Tom.
TOM: You’ve got it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Susan in California is on the line and needs some help with a driveway makeover. What’s going on at your money pit?
SUSAN: I’m so glad you said the money pit, because that’s exactly what it is. And now it’s the driveway, about 1,200 square feet. And it’s been – it’s about 38 years old and it needs something else done. And I really don’t want to resurface it with blacktop. What are my options?
TOM: So it’s an asphalt driveway now? That’s what you’re starting with?
SUSAN: Yes, yes.
TOM: Yeah. Listen, I’ve got news for you, Susan: a 38-year-old roadway needs to be replaced. And that’s exactly what you have. Whether it’s a road that goes down the street or a road that’s a highway, nothing lasts 38 years. And if you’ve gotten 38 years out of that driveway, it’s time for a new one. And sure, you can keep slapping sealer on it and patching the cracks and all of that but at that age, it’s got to go.
SUSAN: What’s the best way? Do they just remove the whole thing and then start from scratch? Or what’s the best way to go?
TOM: I think that’s the best way. In most cases, that’s the best way. You can resurface it. But if you want to make sure that the base is really solid, you would take off the old. They would put a new base down, they would compact it with machines so it’s really, really solid and then they would apply new asphalt on top of that.
I would make sure I got a specification as to exactly how many inches of this material they’re going to put down so that you can compare apples to apples when you’re looking at different contractors. But I think that’s going to be your best solution.
LESLIE: Well, with more and more of us staying home these last few months, there’s been a huge increase in the number of DIY home improvement projects that consumers are taking on to improve the look, the function and even the safety of their homes.
TOM: Yes. And if the projects you’d like to get done include applying a beautiful, decorative stone surface to your kitchen countertop or perhaps adding a slip-resistant real-stone surface to a pool deck or even applying an epoxy coating to your garage floor, these are all projects you can accomplish with the help of the products made by Daich Coatings. With us to talk about these projects and more is the company’s president, Peter Daich.
PETER: Hello. Good day to you both.
TOM: Well, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. And Peter, as – I have to say that I’ve followed your work for many years. And you guys have really focused on developing products that work well and are very affordable and easy for DIYers to use and always results in a beautiful transformation.
PETER: Yeah. We’re real fans of stone. And really, it’s one of the most timeless things that you can apply but it is also usually a very costly thing to apply, as well.
So, our way of looking at it is if you can put down a new surface right over what you have, have the beauty and the durability of stone but use your existing foundational base – be it a countertop that’s made out of laminate or an old, very worn, very ugly-looking concrete patio – this is an easy solution that you can do in a weekend. And that’s really what we love to do is offer easy, decorative performance fixes.
LESLIE: And I think that’s so important for homeowners, especially when they know they want to make a change, they don’t have the budget to do a huge transformation. But they’re able to create a huge transformation with, you know, a much smaller budget, something they can do themselves. It’s really just a fantastic line of products.
PETER: Well, thank you very much. And I must say I agree with you.
And I mean really, if you have a pool deck and a patio and it’s been there for many years and it’s just looking really, really worn, very old, outdated, you want to pick up the color and change it, the nice thing here is when you put this down, depending on what finish, you can really make that surface look like the real deal. And we’ve taken all of the creative and everything out of it and we’ve made it a very formula approach.
So you just do the steps. For instance, if you’re using our SpreadStone Concrete Resurfacing Kit, you can make it look like you’ve got slate tile on your pool deck. And it will absolutely look stunning and you can do it in a weekend with all kinds of patterns.
Now, if you jump over to the indoor side of things and you have an existing countertop, be it made out of laminate or even concrete or even just (audio gap) and made it, you can actually put down a real stone surface that everyone will believe is the real thing. And what did you do? You got something that looks like you put the slab in but for just a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost. And you can do it yourself.
TOM: Let’s talk about those countertops just a little bit more. So, the material, is it real, actual real stone in the fluid material? Is it embedded stone that you’re applying to it?
PETER: It’s real stone. And really, it’s a pickup off of what we’ve done for years.
PETER: We’ve manufactured stone-based coatings for surfaces for many years. And there was a point, maybe 10 years ago, where we said, “Look, there are a lot of worn, ugly-looking countertops out there.”
And what are your options? Your options are remove everything and now you’re really talking construction, you’re talking a mess.
TOM: Yep. Yeah.
PETER: Or you can use that surface. And at the end of the day, if you roll on this stone finish – and the video shows it in great detail. You just roll this on and you technically have a stone countertop, because that’s what you’ve applied over top. And you never had to tear anything out. You might pop your sink up a couple inches, pop everything back down. And literally, in a weekend, you have a totally complete transformation to your kitchen. Also, your bathroom vanity. Just any surface. And it’s quick and easy and we tend to have very many happy customers with that.
LESLIE: So, Peter, you talked about being able to apply this to a variety of surfaces, from an existing laminate top to a plywood top that maybe you’ve just made. Now, those are sort of different surfaces to start with. What is the prep process? Is it similar for both or is it completely unique to what you have already?
PETER: If you have an existing laminate surface – laminate countertop, for instance – there is sandpaper in the kit, as well as all other required tools and accessories. And you would scratch your surface with the sandpaper. You have to also make sure the surface is clean. And you may not even notice that there’s a lot of deep scratching going on. But the whole idea there is to make even a little bit of a micro-scratch effect that will just give the product a little bit more bonding power. So, frankly, it bonds excellently to a lot of things anyway.
But basically, you clean it, scuff it and then you apply the coatings. The base-coat primer is made to bond very, very tenaciously to laminate but also if you have a plywood countertop, which we get asked all the time, be it indoor or outdoor. You would just roll on the primer. You don’t have to scuff anything. And the material will actually seep into the pores of that wood surface. And you just follow the steps and in a weekend, if you have an outdoor countertop for your barbecue area, you can do that outdoors. Or if you’re building something in your home, in the kitchen, you can do that, too. You don’t even have to get to the stage of having an existing surface. Just use what you have.
TOM: Wow, what a great extension to your existing options for outdoor countertops. Because, typically, you either use stone or you’d make a concrete top, which are beautiful but let’s face it: they’re costly, they’re a lot of work. But with this product, you can basically create the look of stone and with some of the durability aspects, as well.
How is it in terms of cleaning? Because that’s an issue that sometimes folks complain about when it comes to real stone countertops. They don’t recognize how absorbative they can be and sometimes stains get left behind.
PETER: No, this is excellent as far as resistance to staining. It’s also excellent as far as hot pans. And there’s nothing you want less than to go through all this work and then you put a hot pan down and you’ve marred it.
So, we’ve done all the testing. And again, because it’s a stone coating, it has an excellent thermal insulation resistance factor there. So, it’s going to stand up better than, say, a paint or something like that.
So, basically, you’ve got a stone shell on that surface (audio gap) serve you very well. And the nice thing is you did it yourself. You didn’t have to get into a lot of planning and headaches and costs and construction. You just went right down over what you had and in a couple of days, you’ve got a complete transformation.
TOM: Well, that’s fantastic. This sounds like a really advantageous line of products for DIYers.
Aside from the decorative stone for Formica, we talked a little bit about the pool deck. You also have a DIY epoxy garage-floor kit that’s industrial-strength. Now, we love to spend time in our garages. A lot of us have been busy with home workshops and we’re working on cars, whatever we’re doing. Those garage floors, unless you have something on them, they’re really hard to clean. And epoxy makes a big difference. So talk to us about this epoxy kit that you offer.
PETER: It’s called the DaiHard 100 Industrial-Strength Epoxy Floor Coating. And basically, what it is is it’s a 100-percent solid formula, meaning that whatever you put down on that surface will dry exactly that way. Unlike a water-based retail product that when it dries, half of the actual material that you rolled on – more than half – is gone because the carrier was water. I know I’m getting a little bit – chemistry talk on here …
TOM: Right. I understand. Yep. Mm-hmm. You’re a chemist. We get it.
PETER: Yeah. So, basically, you put this on and it’s very, very hard. And you can either roll it onto your existing concrete or you can even use a squeegee if you want to do it in that professional way. You will get lower coverage if you do it that way.
But in either case, you can drive forklifts on this. It’s meant for that kind of environment. And someone would ask, “Well, is that overkill? Does it really need to be that durable?” Well, I say, “Why not?” If this is available at a cost …
LESLIE: I’m like, “Better to be more durable.”
PETER: I think so. I completely agree with you, you know?
TOM: Yeah, we like to say here – we say, “Do it once, do it right and don’t do it again.” So if it’s going to stand up – the company is called Daich Coatings. The website is Daich – that’s spelled D-a-i-c-h – Coatings.com. Take a look at this site. You will be impressed with the number of products that this team makes and the quality of them, as we’ve been talking about.
Peter Daich, the president, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
PETER: Hey, thank you. And it’s been a great pleasure speaking with you. And hope we can speak again soon.
TOM: Well, to help celebrate Dad, we have launched a sweepstakes that’s now in its last week. It ends Sunday at midnight. It’s called the DIY Dad Giveaway and we’ve got 10 sets of tools from Arrow to give away to 10 lucky winners.
LESLIE: Yeah. Each set is worth $120 and includes both a T50 and a PT50 Arrow Stapler, as well as an Arrow GT300 High-Temp Glue Gun.
Now, these tools are perfect for taking on dozens of projects around the house. And these tools are going to give your dad years and years of use.
TOM: You can enter once a day at MoneyPit.com. And while you’re there, be sure to take advantage of the many ways you can earn extra entries, by subscribing to our podcast or visiting us on social media. It ends Sunday at midnight, so enter today at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Well, one of the first things that new parents do is childproof their homes. And they’re doing that to make sure that those curious little guys aren’t getting into cleaning supplies or injuring themselves by accident at home. And one of the most important areas that you have to childproof are the electrical outlets.
TOM: Yep. But the old way of plugging in a piece of plastic – one of those plastic plugs – is not only …
LESLIE: That you can never get out again.
TOM: Well, yeah. Or you get – that’s right. You get it – the kids kind of seem to get it out. You may have a hard time. But I don’t like them because they can be a choking hazard. And then if a parent brings it out, they usually leave it out, which kind of defeats the whole purpose.
There are a lot better options today that are just better to have. They’re tamper-resistant outlets. They’re safer, they’re more convenient and they can definitely be a permanent part of your home’s safety.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? These childproof or these tamper-resistant outlets have truly come a long way. And they can help protect not only the kids but even adults from a dangerous accident. And a better type are the spring-loaded receptacle cover plates. And those are going to block access to the electrical contacts totally.
Now, the way they work is that a shutter closes off the contact openings or the slots of the receptacles. And when a plug is inserted into the receptacle, both springs are compressed and then the shutter opens. And that’s going to allow for the metal prongs to make contact and create that electrical circuit.
Now, because both springs must be compressed at the same time, the shutters are not going to open when a child attempts to insert an object into only one contact opening. And then there’s no contact with electricity.
My sister, Elyse, when she was little took a bobby pin right into an electrical outlet, at a hair salon while my mom was getting ready for a wedding.
TOM: Wow. Oh, really? Oh, man.
LESLIE: I mean you have to be so careful because these things happen so quickly and could be very dangerous.
Now, if it’s a new installation – a new home or a new renovation – these tamper-resistant outlets are now required by building code. They’re not expensive to purchase, they’re not expensive to install and they’re not inconvenient. Once you get used to sort of sliding the shutter to the right or the left – I forget which way it slides – to insert the plug and then have it snap back when you unplug something, they’re just something you get used to. And they keep the kids safe the whole time.
LESLIE: We’ve got a post from Paul who writes, “We’ve got a lot of yard damage from moles. Then with all of the rain we’ve had in the last few days, a lot of the tunnels washed out, leaving a muddy mess. What can I do to make sure these furry creatures stay away?”
TOM: Well, you kind of have to starve them out, Paul. The reason that they are there in your yard is most likely because you have these tasty, little creatures just under the grass called “grubs.” They’re wormlike creatures and the moles absolutely love to eat them.
So, if you can use a grub-control product, then you will reduce the number of grubs and this will send the moles off your property, off to your neighbors where they can destroy their lawns instead unless you share this tip.
Bonide has a product that’s called DuraTurf, which is an insect-and-grub control that will work well for this. And it will eliminate most of the insects that the moles love to feed. And then, believe me, they will move on once they can’t find the food.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Davy who writes: “We recently had a tree limb fall on the house and puncture the roof, which now has to be replaced. The insurance adjuster recommended changing from gable-end ventilation to a ridge vent. What’s your opinion on ridge vents and is now the best time to consider adding one?”
TOM: Absolutely. And that is a very good insurance adjuster. It’s a much more effective way to ventilate a roof and it will reduce the moisture in the attic space, which makes your insulation that much more effective at the same time.
LESLIE: Alright. And that’s really smart that they brought that up. And truly, when you’re replacing the roof, that’s the time to add the ridge vent, right?
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that, Davy.
TOM: Well, if you want to make the most of your outdoor space, the way to do that is to convert it to an outdoor-living space. Turn it, essentially, into a spare room. Leslie has got some great ideas to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, this is the greatest time of year because you’re using some spaces of your home – the outside – that you don’t get to use all the time. And you can really create these wonderful spaces for relaxing, for dining, however you want. But you really have some opportunities to make a great space.
So, say you want your outside space to be for dining. Well, you can add some really beautiful ambient lighting to help set the mood. Candles are great but make sure you get citronella candles that’ll help keep those bugs away or really great tiki torches around the yard or paper lanterns hanging from the inside of your umbrella. You can think of some fun, different ways to bring in lighting that really changes the dynamic of the space once the sun goes down. And it makes your yard feel so special. It’s just a great way to do it.
Now, if you’re looking to add some shade during the daytime hours and maybe a barrier against bugs at night, you might consider a portable gazebo. And those have netting on them. Now, you can zip the netting closed or bring the netting all down, depending on the type of gazebo, to protect you guys – as you’re eating or relaxing in there, whatever that space is – from the bugs. And then in the daytime, you can tie them back when you’re not using them.
Now, for an outdoor space to feel really cozy and nice and homey, think about adding an outdoor rug. Because that can help anchor your outdoor seating, gives you a focal point. And it helps to give a pop of color and a really great design statement.
And remember, you can even bring your indoor décor outside with accessories that are made for the outdoors. You can find everything from lamps, wall décor, all kinds of decorative items that are made specifically to withstand the elements.
So treat that space as just another room and have fun and make it really lovely. And enjoy that spot.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you love gardening and landscaping, you might not think there’s much new to know about one of the most common landscaping tools: the shovel. Well, it turns out all shovels are not created equal. We’ll explain why, 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.)
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