In this episode…
This time of year, limits on outdoor water use and lead to lawns that look like a dry wasteland! Tom & Leslie tell you what you need to know to conserve water and still have a beautiful lawn during a drought, including the one thing to never do if you want That lawn to come back quickly. Plus…
- If you are lucky enough to have a built-in pool, you may not feel quite as lucky when you have the pay to pay the bills to heat that pool. We’ll tell you how you can use a FREE energy source to heat your pool and extend the swimming season.
- If you’re thinking about taking on a tile project this, choosing the right look is only a part of the project. We’ll have tips on how to choose the best TYPE of tile for your project.
- And we settle a bet on which way ceiling fans should be spinning in summer (they’re reversible!)
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 this blistery summer day? If it’s your house, you’re in the right place because that’s what we’re doing. In fact, we just put down the tools to turn on the microphones and talk to you guys, so we were just – we’re taking a little break here from the heat in the A/C of the studio. But if you’ve got a question, we’d love for you to hop inside and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or if you’re in the middle of a project and you’re, hey, listening to us on the roof, as long as you’re careful you could dial up 888-MONEY-PIT right from your cellphone and get through to us. And maybe we’ll help you get off that roof.
Whatever project you’re working on, give us a call, right now, 1-888-666-3974. We are here to help you, to advise you, to guide you, to be your cheerleaders and help you get going on this project and mark it done. Help yourself first, though, by getting in touch with us either by calling 888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question at MoneyPit.com.
- Coming up on today’s show which, by the way, is Episode 2018 – 2,018th episode that we’ve done.
LESLIE: It’s a much better year. It’s a better year.
TOM: Yeah, it was a better year back then it is. Back then. Before the pandemic.
This time of year, though, there’s a lot of towns, now that we’re in summer, either imposing limits on outdoor water use, right? And when that happens, you kind of wonder if your lawn is destined for failure. Is it going to become this dead, dry wasteland of a yard? Well, it won’t as long as you avoid one thing. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to conserve water and still have a beautiful yard throughout a possible drought.
LESLIE: And if you’re lucky enough to have a built-in pool, you might not feel quite as lucky when you have to pay the bills to heat that pool. We’re going to tell you how you can use a free energy source to heat your pool and extend that swimming season.
TOM: And if you’re thinking about taking on a tile project this summer, well, choosing the right look is only part of the project. We’re going to give you some tips on how to choose the best type of tile for your project, just ahead.
LESLIE: And we’re giving away one of my favorite tools this hour, because I use these a lot – a lot – on a lot of projects. And I’m talking about the Arrow GT300 Glue Gun and it was named the Best Glue Gun in Popular Mechanics’ 2020 Tool Awards. And we’ve got one to give away, this hour, so you can get started on pretty much a ton of craft/home improvement projects immediately when it arrives at your door.
TOM: Yeah. So, basically, we’re saying stick around if you want a glue gun. Get it? Make that you. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Lots of folks want to talk to us, Leslie. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Carol in California is on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you today?
CAROL: I have an old house. It sits high off the ground and it’s one of the houses that when they dismantled the camps, they took houses out and people bought them and set them up. And it’s all open underneath and it is freezing cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Is there something that I can do underneath the house?
TOM: So there’s no insulation?
CAROL: I don’t think so. Very little, if any.
TOM: Yeah. Are there – is it like a sort of open floor joist? Do you see the floor joists when you look under and up?
CAROL: You know what? I haven’t been under the house.
TOM: Yeah. Well, look, you’ve got to get somebody under there, Carol, to see what the structure is. But we have the technology, OK?
TOM: You know, if it’s a standard floor-joist construction, you can add insulation in between the floor joists and then under that, you could use 2-inch insulating foam board and then nail that to the bottom of the floor. And that would seal up the floor from the cold air that’s getting up in there.
And I would also take a look at the attic to make sure that that’s insulated. And you just may have a house that needs a few very basic, energy-saving improvements to it.
CAROL: Alright. Well, I appreciate that information. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading down to Florida where Will is dealing with some unexpected visitors: Daddy longlegs spiders. How can we help you?
WILL: It’s hot in the garage and there’s a lot of Daddy longlegs. I’ve tried spraying a couple of different things inside the garage and they seem to keep coming back. And I don’t know how to get rid of them.
TOM: OK. Well, I mean I can give you a recipe for a sort of a natural way to deter them. And that is if you take a cup of white vinegar and a 1/3-cup of vanilla extract – if put them in a spray bottle and you shake it and spray the areas where the Daddy longlegs have been spotted indoors and out, that smell, that combination of the vinegar and vanilla is really offensive to them. And it will repel the insects without you having to add any additional toxins to your environment.
The other thing to do is sort of basic cleaning in the sense that when you see the spiders and the nest, make sure you’re vacuuming them up. That’s the easiest way to get rid of them and to keep that space as dry as you can.
And then, finally, you could use sticky traps, as well. Sticky traps, if you lay them where you start to see them collect, they will get stuck to them and they won’t go any further.
So there are a few ways for you to deal with it. Does that help?
WILL: Oh, yeah. That sounds great.
TOM: Alright, excellent. Well, good luck with the project.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Janet in Georgia on the line who wants help with a decking project. What’s going on at your money pit?
JANET: I just had a deck built last month and already, some of the boards are kind of shrinking because it’s been raining on and off a little bit.
JANET: And I was wondering when it would be the best time to stain the wood. Is it that I’m staining it against the water or I’m just staining it in general?
LESLIE: OK. Do you know what material your deck was made out of?
JANET: We bought the wood at Home Depot. It was supposed to be a pretreated wood?
LESLIE: So just a pressure-treated lumber.
JANET: Pressure-treated. That’s correct.
LESLIE: OK. So, really, what I always do with a pressure-treated lumber, just because of the fact that they inject a different type of chemical into the wood itself to make it weather-resistant – so it can be a little wet. And since you’re dealing with a high-moisture situation in your weather anyway, you might just want to give it the summer season to sort of dry out as best it can. And then in the autumn – when you’re dealing with some drier, low-humidity weather – it could be a great time to put a finish on it.
Now, you do want to let it dry out. So if you’re dealing with some wet weather as you’re getting into a weekend that you want to work on the project, wait until you’ve had a good few days of dryness and you know it’s going to be dry the day you’re working, so that that wood does get a chance to dry out. And then, depending on how it looks and the look that you want, I definitely wouldn’t paint it, because paint is just going to sit right on top of that lumber and then just peel off throughout the winter season. And you’ll have to do something again in the spring.
JANET: Right. I really didn’t want painting, because I just like the look of the wood. And I know that there’s something that I have to do every so often. They tell me every year I’d have to stain it or something.
LESLIE: It really depends on what manufacturer’s stain that you buy. And keep in mind there’s solid-color stains and there’s semi-transparent stains. So if you want to see the grain in the wood, you’ll want to go with something more semi-transparent so that you’ll actually get some color or just some natural tone. And you’ll be able to see that grain through it.
And you want to apply it just in the way that the manufacturer says. And you’re probably going to get about three years on horizontal surfaces, maybe five on vertical before you’ve got to tackle it again. Depends on how dry that lumber is on that decking when you do put the stain on.
JANET: OK. That sounds good.
TOM: Alright? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, no matter when you listen to The Money Pit, you can always get in on our fun giveaways. And this one is sure to make you want to stick around, because we are giving away the Arrow GT300 Glue Gun.
This is a high-temp glue gun that’s heavy-duty and it’s durable. It’s good for pros and DIY-ers. We like that it heats up fast, it’s got a drip-resistant nozzle. Oh, my gosh, I so appreciate that because I’m always dripping hot glue on something, usually part of my body, too, like my leg or my hand or something.
LESLIE: It’s true.
TOM: You get kind of used to sucking up the pain while the glue heals, right?
LESLIE: No, that’s why you keep a dish of ice water right next to you.
TOM: Oh, that’s smart. Well, see, I’m not that smart, so I just suck up the pain until it cures.
But it’s cool. It’s ergonomically designed, it’s also comfortable to use. You know, my hand always cramps up because I’m trying to keep pressure on the glue stick. This is designed so that doesn’t happen. And it’s got a really tight nose design. So if you’re trying to get in a hard-to-reach corner or you need a little extra reach in a tight work area, you got it.
So, great tool. It’s good for school and craft projects, home repairs, carpentry, you name it. It’s worth 49 bucks. Going to go out to you if you pick up the phone and we draw your name out of the Money Pit hard hat. So call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Ben in Nebraska on the line who’s dealing with a hot attic. Tell us what’s going on.
BEN: My attic temperature has been peaking at about, oh, 45 to 48 above ambient temperature. And I could describe what kind of roof. It’s a hip roof and it’s probably about 42 feet long. And I’ve got 13 feet of ridge (audio gap) up above and I was just wondering what would be the way to go: a ridge vent or wind turbine or maybe electric roof fan?
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, a hip roof is among the most difficult types of roofs to vent because you have such a small ridge. That said, what I would do is make sure that you have a continuous ridge vent on that ridge. That’s the first part. The second part is you need to make sure you have continuous soffit vents all around the overhang at the edge of the roof. Because the air, theoretically, will enter the soffit, go up under the roof sheathing and exit at the ridge. Does that make sense?
BEN: Well, it was a place built in ‘76 and it had vinyl soffing (ph) put over it and darn few vents. And I just recently got done putting some extra soffit space in there but that didn’t really seem to make any difference.
TOM: Well, are the soffits fully vented right now, Ben?
BEN: No. Just over the old holes. They put in a couple panels of vented.
TOM: Oh, so they covered the old wood soffits with ventilated panels? Is that what you’re saying?
BEN: Yeah, the old wood soffits were about 14×6 and there were three in the long end and two in the short.
TOM: Yeah, you have – I know exactly what you’re talking about; I’ve seen this many times. In fact, when I was a home inspector, I used to check for this by sort of pressing up on that soft, vinyl soffit – it looks all pretty and vented – to find solid plywood underneath.
It’s a problem. You really have to take the vinyl soffit material down and remove all of the old wood soffit material so that now it’s fully open. Then you can put the vinyl, perforated soffit material back up and you’ll have a fully vented soffit.
TOM: You can’t just put vented vinyl on top of wood soffit that has even vents sort of cut into it, because you’re just not getting enough airflow in. With a hip roof, the best place to get airflow is at the soffits. And if they’re choked off, it’s never going to be cool up there.
So I would start by opening up those soffits and adding a good-quality ridge vent. Take a look at the vents that are made by CertainTeed – the Air Vent Corporation. And I say that because those vents have sort of a baffle design that improves the negative pressure at the ridge, which helps draw more air out of it. I don’t like the ridge vents that look kind of like corrugated cardboard; they don’t have enough cross-ventilation, enough way to get air out. I like to see vents that are big and fully open so that the air can really pull out of that. But I think a good-quality ridge vent and soffit vents that are properly open all around are really going to solve this issue for you, Ben, OK?
BEN: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, with all the water shortages across the nation, many towns are imposing limits on outdoor water use in the summer. And homeowners are wondering how to avoid having their yards turn into a dead, dry wasteland. Well, you can conserve water and still have a beautiful yard and it all starts with your soil.
TOM: That’s right. So, the first step may be to amend your soil so that the plants don’t need as much water.
Now, soil amendment is pretty much just a fancy word for something you mix into the soil to improve it. And if you’ve got sandy, gravelly or decomposed granite-y kind of soil, you can help it hold water and nutrients better by adding a well-decomposed material, like compost or aged manure or peat. And if you’ve got soil that’s more clay-like, you can improve its aeration and filtration by adding something that’s fibrous, like composted wood chips and peat and straw.
You also want to pay attention to the soil pH; it really controls how available nutrients are for a plant to use. And for about 20 bucks you can get a soil test online that covers pH and a bunch of other categories, so you’ll know exactly where you’re starting and what you might need to do to improve it.
LESLIE: Alright. So now that you have good soil, now you’ve got to choose plants that are one, native to your region and two, able to thrive in your area’s heat zone. Now, native plants are more likely to withstand drought conditions with limited damage.
And finally, we’ve got to talk about watering. You know, it’s important to make sure that the water you give your plants is going to be as effective as possible. So, you can use drip irrigation rather than overhead watering. Your plants are going to take in water more efficiently when you apply it directly to the root rather than to the leaves. And watering directly at the root also conserves water that could be lost to evaporation or runoff during overhead watering.
Now, if you water early in the day, preferably before 6:00 a.m., that’s also going to prevent evaporation. Watering towards the evening really isn’t good, because if a plant goes to bed while the roots are still wet, it could develop a fungal disease and then that’s not going to be great for anything.
TOM: The key here is to water deeply but infrequently. A good soaking once a week should be plenty.
And finally, here’s the one thing you never want to do to a lawn when you have a drought. You know what that is? Walk on it. Even though it looks dead and dry and brown, it will turn green quickly when you start watering it again. But if you walk on that dead, brown, dry grass, you truly will kill it and it will not come back until the following season.
So if we get into a drought situation, try to limit the areas of your lawn that you’re walking on. Stick to the paths, if you can, to keep the kids and the pets off the lawn and yourself. It’s going to come back real quick as soon as you can water it again.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Terri in Pennsylvania on the line who’s got a gutter issue. Tell us what’s going on.
TERRI: I have white aluminum gutters and on the gutters that face the southern exposure, the part of the gutter that faces out is turning black and there’s like – where the water runs off it, it’s like a dark gray and just water drips all along the face of the gutter.
TOM: Right. So, does it seem like the gutters are overflowing and the water is coming over the top and getting these sort of drip marks? Is that what’s going on?
TERRI: Well, yeah. I have what’s called a “gutter insert” to keep the leaves out. And I know that – well, I’m pretty sure that that’s not causing it, because I had the same problem when I lived on Long Island. And it was only the gutters that faced south. And on Long Island, we had a white aluminum top to the gutter to keep the leaves out?
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.
TERRI: And then the water would roll off of that and then go into the – it would be caught into the gutter. So, it’s a different type of leaf system but I’m still having the same black drip.
TOM: Right. OK. So, first of all, I would make sure that the gutters are not blocked and that water isn’t backing up and overflowing that particular gutter, so that – because that water rolling over the top of it, it can get behind it, it can rot out your fascia.
The dark stains are probably from the water and tree sap and everything else that gets into those gutters. The gutters also fade quite easily; the paint wears off and fades quite easily. So I don’t think it’s a stain that you’re going to actually have to be able to clean. I think what you’re going to end up having to do here, Terri, is repaint those gutters.
So what I would do is I would wash them down with a trisodium phosphate, get as much of that gunk off. Then I would prime them and I would paint them again. But just – but do make sure that they’re not clogged, because that could be leading to the problem.
TERRI: But yeah – no, they’re definitely not clogged. And I tried scrubbing it – the ones that aren’t on the second story, where it’s worse. But the ones that are on the first story, I tried cleaning it with a Fantastik and it bleeds into the stain a little bit but I didn’t realize that the aluminum gutters – was it like a hydrostatic or electrostatic painting process?
TOM: What happens is – and you’ll see this: if you take the gutter and you wipe your hand over it, you’ll probably get some white paint that will come off. It oxidizes because it’s exposed to UV. And so then the paint doesn’t tend to last more than maybe 10 years or so on aluminum gutters.
So I think, though, if you clean off as much of this thing as you can, prime it and paint it, it’ll look great.
TERRI: Alright. Great. I’ll give it a try.
TOM: Terri, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Harold in Illinois needs some help with drywall repair. What can we do for you?
HAROLD: What I’m really wanting to know is – I hear different stories about fiber mesh and paper for drywall? And my experience has been maybe fiber mesh isn’t for corners and butt joints and things of that nature. Maybe that’s just for paper. But which one’s stronger?
LESLIE: Now, Harold, I’m going to say this in a way that I hope doesn’t offend anybody but I feel like both are really great for a seaming application or a repair in drywall. It depends on the skill level of the person doing the seaming, repairing, application of either the paper or the fiberglass. Both are going to do a great job. It’s just that with paper tape, there’s a little bit more finesse as to how it needs to be applied, how it needs to be sanded, reapplied, feathered out to make sure that that tape really stands up and does a good job.
With the fiberglass, that mesh tape, the – it sort of has – the openings in the mesh itself allow for the compound to get in and behind it and really stick around. You still have to do sanding and layers and have some finesse there, as well, but it almost requires an artisan to do the paper work. That’s why, I think, when it comes to an average do-it-yourselfer, we tend to lean towards the mesh.
HAROLD: Oh, OK. That works.
TOM: Alright, Harold. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, swimming pools can sometimes need a little heat boost to be comfortable but that heat can be costly. The good news is that you can heat your pool on the cheap by taking advantage of the free energy provided by the sun.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, you’ve got to put that pool cover to work. You want to use it every night. That’s going to help hold in solar heat that’s absorbed by the pool water during the day. And that’s going to increase the pool’s average temperature by 4 to 5 degrees. Now, to soak up maximum heat during the day, pools should be uncovered and in full sun between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If nearby trees are interfering with that amount of sun exposure, try to trim them back when you can to allow for that much sun.
TOM: You can also tap into even more free energy by adding a solar pool-heating system. But even if you just adjust your routine with the pool covers, you could harness enough heat to actually extend that swimming season by up to six weeks.
LESLIE: Dixie in Illinois has a question regarding a crack in the basement and the possibility of it caving in.
Dixie, are you calling us from a pile of rubble or are you just concerned?
DIXIE: I am actually concerned because it started out with just hairline cracks following along the concrete blocks. And there’s cracks in each corner of the foundation above ground, as well as these cracks in the walls below, in the basement.
But the cracks are getting bigger and bigger. I mean there are some of them that are gaping, I want to even say, an inch-and-a-half, 2 inches of …
TOM: You have an inch-and-a-half crack? You mean width? It’s open an inch-and-a-half?
DIXIE: Well, they are – well, you can’t see through the crack but the walls are bending in. We’ve even put reinforcements.
TOM: Alright. So, horizontally – like the cracks are horizontal and they’re bending in, Dixie?
DIXIE: Most of the ones that are bending in are horizontal, yes. But the cracks do go up and down, as well.
TOM: Alright. So you need to immediately contact a structural engineer and have the foundation inspected. This sounds serious. I can tell you that, typically, horizontal cracks are caused by frost heave, where the drainage conditions are poor at the outside of the house, water collects there, soil freezes and pushes in.
But you have that many cracks and those cracks are that significant, you need – not a contractor. I want you to find a structural engineer. You’re just hiring this guy to inspect the home and prepare a report discussing the condition of the foundation. And if repairs are needed, the engineer should specify those repairs. Then you can bring a contractor in to follow the engineer’s specification and make the repairs.
And then finally, make sure you bring the structural engineer back to inspect and certify that they were done correctly. Because at this point, unless you follow those steps just like that, you’re going to have a serious deficit to the home value. So that’s why if you have it inspected by a structural engineer, repaired by a contractor per the engineer’s specs and certified by the engineer as OK, you have kind of a pedigree for that repair you can pass on to future home buyers, OK? Does that make sense?
DIXIE: OK. But how do you find a structural engineer?
TOM: So, there’ll be local engineering companies. You could also check the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. Now, those guys will not necessarily be a structural engineer but there may be an engineer among them that’s also a home inspector.
Alright? Thank you very much, Dixie. I hope that helps you out.
Well, no matter when you listen to The Money Pit, you can always get in on our fun giveaways. And this one is sure to make you want to stick around, because we’ve got Leslie’s favorite tool in the world: the Arrow GT300 Glue Gun.
Leslie, why do you like this glue gun so much?
LESLIE: I mean it’s really a fantastic glue gun. First of all, it’s going to heat your glue gun quickly, it’s super heavy-duty and it’s durable. So you’re not constantly replacing those craft-store glue guns that you get and tend to just go through. It’s going to heat up fast. Plus, it has a drip-resistant nozzle and a glue-control adjustable knob so you can really get the right amount of glue without wasting glue, without unnecessarily burning something, burning yourself. It’s a great design so you don’t have to squeeze the handle so hard to get a constant, even flow of glue.
It’s really great. It’s good for a school project if you’re supervising the kids. It’s good for home design, décor, repair. I’ve always got one going at the shop in the studio for ABC, I’ve always got one at home. I feel like it’s something that just helps to get all my projects done.
And you can have one, too. It’s worth 49 bucks. It’s the Arrow GT300 Glue Gun and it’s going out to one lucky caller this hour.
TOM: Make that you. Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Eric in Arkansas is on the line and has a problem with smoke damage at his money pit. Tell us what’s going on.
ERIC: Yes, I recently bought a foreclosure that’s got some smoke and fire damage. And I was curious. Is there a product or a special way that the walls need to be treated? Some kind of special primer just to cover up the smoke damage to get rid of the smell? Or do I have to gut the whole thing?
TOM: One of the best primers for this particular purpose is made by Zinsser and it’s called B-I-N – B-I-N. And essentially, it’s a synthetic shellac. And what it does is completely seals in the odor that’s kind of soaked into that wall. So if you do a really good job applying this type of a primer, I think that the odor will go away and you’ll have a terrific base upon which to apply your sort of topcoat of color.
ERIC: OK. Now, Zinsser? Is that what it was called?
TOM: Zinsser is the manufacturer. Their product is called B-I-N – B-I-N.
ERIC: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, are you planning on taking on a new tile project? If so, most of us start by selecting the tile colors and designs. But before you get that far, it’s a good idea to understand the types of tile that are available to you. We’re going to have tips on how to do just that, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, for most tile projects, you’re going to be deciding between two types: ceramic tile and porcelain tile. And it’s important to understand that there’s actually a difference there.
Now, ceramic tile can be naturally colored. Or if you leave them unglazed, like a terracotta tile – or they can feature colored or highly designed surfaces, which you can then put a glaze on top of. Now, most ceramic tiles either have a white or a red body coloration underneath whatever that glazed, colored top layer is. And since ceramic tiles are less dense, they are more susceptible to breaking if heavy objects fall on them, like pots and pans. Which you’re putting these tiles generally in a kitchen.
And I have a ceramic tile. I have that unglazed Saltillo, the terracotta tile, in the kitchen. And they really do take a beating but I find that they kind of still look good even as they get the wear and tear.
TOM: Yeah, it doesn’t show, right. It doesn’t show, yeah.
TOM: Now, the other popular option is porcelain tile. Now, porcelain tiles are made of porcelain clays. And they’re fired at a much higher temperature than ceramic tiles and that makes them really tough. They’re more dense, they’re less porous, they’re a lot harder and they’re less prone to moisture and stain absorption than regular ceramic tiles. All reasons why most porcelain tiles are a good option for indoor and outdoor projects.
Now, for both ceramic and porcelain tile, it is really important you choose the right underlayment. You can use a product like Fiber Fusion, which is a waterproof underlayment that absorbs that subfloor movement. It’s going to add strength to the mortar and prevent tile cracks.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor. Whether it’s a minor repair or a major remodel, HomeAdvisor has local pros for every project. Download the HomeAdvisor app and get started today.
Now we’re going to talk to Blair in Virginia who’s taking on a painting project. Tell us about the ceiling you’re working on.
BLAIR: I pulled out my power washer and decided to clean off the deck and the walls and the ceiling. But now the ceiling needs to be repainted. And it was originally painted with an oil-based paint. I would like to not use oil base; I would like to go over it with a water base. But I don’t know, first off, if I can do that or – and what would be the best brands to look into?
TOM: So, the first question is adhesion. What’s the ceiling made out of? Is this a drywall ceiling? A wood ceiling? What is it?
BLAIR: It’s a wood ceiling.
TOM: What kind of wood?
BLAIR: It’s just a plywood.
TOM: The first thing I would do, now that you’ve got this all cleaned off, is I would prime it. And I would use either an alkyd primer, which is water-based, or I would use an oil primer. Just the primer.
The primer, it’s important that it sticks really, really well. And it’s also important that it adheres to whatever was there initially. And through the life of that ceiling, it may have had different paints, different finishes on it. We want to make sure we get primer on there that’s going to have a real adhesive effect. Because once you get primer that sticks really well, then you could put latex ceiling paint or any type of solid stain or something like that on top of it. But you’ve got to use a good-quality primer. That’s really critical.
So do the primer first. On top of that, since it’s wood, you could use solid stain or you could use exterior paint. I would stick with a flat, though, if you’re going to use the paint.
BLAIR: Right, right. OK. So as long as I prime it well.
TOM: You’d probably be more tempted to use that than oil-based but honestly, oil-based works better than anything else. I just repainted my entire house and I have a cedar house. And we used solid stain, which I’m always promoting on the radio show, because it has the most pigment in it. But what I don’t mention is that we had to prime this – prime the entire house. And the last time – you know when the last time was I painted my house?
TOM: Fourteen years ago. Fourteen years because I used oil-based primer back then and solid stain. And I did the same thing all over again because I want to get another 14 years out of it. But that’s what you’ll get if you do it right.
BLAIR: OK. I can do that then. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Whatever’s on your to-do list, slide it over to ours by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT or posting it on The Money Pit’s Facebook page, which is what Darcy did in Illinois.
LESLIE: That’s right. Now, Darcy writes: “What direction should the blades turn on a ceiling fan during the warm months and during the cold months? I was always told that the blades should push the air down during the warm months and pull the air up during the cold months.”
TOM: You know, this is kind of one of those settle-a-bet kinds of questions, right?
TOM: I think, first of all, most people don’t know that you can use a ceiling fan in both winter and summer because it has a reversible motor. If you kind of look carefully at your ceiling fan, you’ll see that there’s usually a very subtle, little black switch on the side of it and it’s really just two positions, right: forwards and backwards. And during the winter, you want to set the ceiling fan top turn clockwise to move the rising warm air down into your room so it sort of pushes that heat down. But when the weather heats up, you set the fan to turn counter-clockwise for a cooling breeze that’s going to pull up that cooler air from the floor and move it around the room that way. So it definitely is something that you should do seasonally.
And by the way, when you’re doing that, you can clean those ceiling fan blades because they get pretty disgusting. Using a little trick of the trade, you slip a pillowcase over it. Because if you slip the pillowcase over it and you hold it tight to both sides of the blade and pull it off, all of that crud and dust which you will find – trust us, crud and dust on top of that blade – will stay inside the pillowcase and not get all over everything below it.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that, Darcy. Hope you’re feeling warmer and cooler and not having a dusty fan.
Next up, we’ve got a post here from Jeannie in Connecticut. Now, Jeannie writes: “My sunroom is only 100 square feet but it needs a new floor. It has a concrete floor now and I want to step it up. Should I use hardwood or laminate?”
TOM: Well, you have lots of options, Jeannie, with a now concrete floor, especially a small one like that.
The first thing that comes to mind, Leslie, is aside from a flooring product, with a really small floor in a sunroom like that it would be an awfully fun project to paint a rug down, wouldn’t it?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. I mean it’s a good amount of space for it, too.
TOM: Yeah. You could put down an epoxy base coat and then you could paint a sisal rug on it or something like that. I know did a lot of those projects in the years you were doing home improvement shows.
But let’s talk about your question there: hardwood and laminate. I would definitely not use hardwood, because concrete is going to have a lot of moisture in it and that can cause that hardwood to swell. You could use laminate. You could also use vinyl – engineered vinyl plank – which is great stuff. It’s gorgeous and completely waterproof. Or you could use tile.
Now, if you use any of the flooring products aside from tile, one thing you want to put down first is a subfloor. It will make it much more comfortable. And there’s a product called DRICORE – D-R-I-C-O-R-E – that is perfect for this because it is a wood subfloor. But it sits on top of a rubber base that has space for any moisture to ventilate and get through it without affecting the floor. So not only is the floor more comfortable to walk on, it’s much drier if you put the DRICORE down first.
So, great project, Jeannie. Definitely a weekend-sized project, as well, that’s going to give you a lot of years of good use.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that, Jeannie. It sounds like fun.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending part of your summer day with us. We hope we were able to get to some of the topics that you wanted to talk about. If you’ve got questions, though, and couldn’t get an answer, pick up the phone and call us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we are not in the studio, we promise we will try to call you back the next time we are. But for now, the show will continue online.
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.)