In this episode…
Do you have kids that are old enough to stay home alone? Just because kids may be at an age to stay home alone, that might not prepare them to handle a home-related emergency. We’ll have a checklist on what they need to know to do, just ahead. Plus
- In the OLDEN DAYS when you needed to hire a contractor, you use to ask friends or flip through though the phonebook. Today it’s a lot easier to find home service pros. We’ll pry open the digital toolbox and share some tips and tricks.
- Summer is a season when we put a lot of stress on our electrical systems. We’ll share three projects that can help make sure your wiring is safe and up for the job.
- Are you thinking about updating a room but don’t know where to begin? Interior designers help to facilitate your ideas, making your dream home a reality. We share tips on how to find and hire an interior designer that can really understand what you’re looking for and bring great ideas to the table.
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 are here to help you with your home improvement, décor, remodeling and reno projects. Whatever you’d like to do to make your home be the best it possibly can be, we are here to help. Help yourself first by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s episode, which is Episode 2019 – 2-0-19. In other words, Leslie, we’ve done over 2,000 episodes of The Money Pit.
LESLIE: It’s amazing.
TOM: I think about that and just shake my head every time I see those numbers.
But coming up on today’s 2,019th episode, do you have kids that are old enough to stay home alone? I was thinking about this because just because kids are at the age to stay home alone, that doesn’t mean that they are ready to handle a home related emergency. So we’re going to have a little checklist we put together on what they need to know to stay safe, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, in the olden days when you needed to hire a contractor, you would ask friends or flip through something that we all remember: the phone book.
TOM: That’s right.
LESLIE: Most of the young people are like, “What is phone book? I don’t understand.” But we really had to do a lot of legwork to find somebody. And today, it’s super easy to find a home service pro. So we’re going to pry open that digital toolbox and share some tips and tricks.
TOM: Plus, summer is a season when we put a lot of stress on our electrical systems. So we’re going to share three projects that can help make sure your wiring is safe and up for the job.
LESLIE: And we’re giving away one of my favorite tools that I use a lot on a lot of different projects. I’m talking about the Arrow GT300 Glue Gun and I’m not the only one who likes it. In fact, Popular Mechanics named it the Best Glue Gun in their 2020 Tool Awards. And we’ve got one to give away, this hour, to a very lucky DIY-er.
TOM: Make that you. Pick up the phone, give us a call and join the conversation. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Bruno in Canada wants to talk paint. How can we help you today?
BRUNO: I’m looking for some suggestions on what I can do with a wall that I have. It’s a staircase that leads from the – pardon me – from the garage to the basement. And the wall that the – is part of the garage that it’s backfilled against, every time I try to do anything with it – any kind of paint, any kind of finish – it always bubbles.
TOM: It’s got to be moist. That’s what’s going on there.
BRUNO: Yes, yes. However, it’s a cement-block wall and I drilled holes at the – right across the bottom, at every core, to see if there is any water and it’s dry. But I agree that it’s got to be moisture but it’s maybe just damp, not actual water.
TOM: Yeah. I don’t think it’s water. What happens is a concrete block is really absorbent and it’ll draw moisture up into it, kind of like a sponge. And if it’s going to be damp like that, it’s not going to hold paint. Are you using the paints that are designed for block walls?
BRUNO: I’ve tried this paint that was supposed to be waterproof.
TOM: Well, the other issue is that once you put the first coat of paint on, you’re kind of cursed. Because if that’s separating from the block, anything you put above it is going to separate, too.
BRUNO: So it’s separating from the first coat of paint.
TOM: Correct, exactly. If that is not adhering well, then the paint is just going to peel off. So what you really need to do is to strip it down.
BRUNO: OK. And is there a special product that would seal it much better than any paint? Is there anything else I could use?
TOM: Yeah. Is this wall going to be finished in any way, shape or form?
BRUNO: Well, it’s – what it is is a cement-block wall and then a plaster parched over it.
TOM: When you say plaster, you mean you physically plastered over the cement block?
BRUNO: To get a texture – a finished texture – rather than just painting the block.
TOM: Because if you wanted to really finish it, like in the sense as if it was an interior wall, what you could do is – Georgia-Pacific makes a product that is like drywall but it’s fiberglass-faced. It’s called DensArmor. And it’s specifically designed for damp locations. And because it’s fiberglass-faced drywall, it can’t grow mold.
So if you really want to do something and make it look completely finished and just get out of this sort of painting nightmare, what you might want to do is attach furring strips to that wall and then attach DensArmor drywall to it. Then you can finish it like a real wall.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pat in Arkansas is dealing with a humid house. What’s going on there?
PAT: Well, I have a new heat pump and it’s not taking out the humidity. Of course, I live in a humid area but I just wondered. It’s supposed to take out the humidity, as I understood.
TOM: Well, not really. I mean air conditioners, in general – central air conditioners, which is essentially what a heat pump is, are not designed to be dehumidifiers. They do dehumidify by virtue of the fact that they’re cooling the air but they’re not as effective as other forms of dehumidifiers.
There’s a couple of other ones that you could consider, one of which is called a “whole-home dehumidifier.” And that’s built into the HVAC system. It would be built into the duct system. And that can take out about 90 pints of water a day.
There’s another type of stand-alone dehumidifier. In fact, I just put one of these in my own house and I thought it was absolutely terrific. It’s by Santa Fe and it’s a small dehumidifier that installs – in my case, I put it in my basement. And it actually is suspended from the ceiling, in an unfinished part of the basement. And it’s only 12x12x22.
And it takes out 70 pints of water a day. And it’s really neat. Once I had it up for an hour or so, I went down there and you can just see this pretty strong stream of water dripping out of it. And all that water used to be in the air and now it’s no longer there.
So, you need to do some dehumidification and I think that you’ll find that that will do the trick, Pat.
PAT: OK. What is the average humidity supposed to be in a house?
LESLIE: Thirty to fifty percent?
TOM: Well, yeah, I was going to say around 40. So we’re in the same neighbor.
TOM: And if you put a good dehumidifier in, that will be set up to a humidistat so that you’ll always know what the humidity is.
LESLIE: And it’ll come on as it’s needed.
TOM: Right, exactly.
PAT: OK. Alrighty. Well, I thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck, Pat. 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 some fun giveaways. And this hour, we’re giving away the Arrow GT300 Glue Gun. This is a high-temp Glue Gun. It’s heavy-duty, it’s durable for DIY and pro projects.
Both Leslie and I have one and we love it because it heats up fast. It’s got a drip-resistant nozzle. It fits in your hand so it doesn’t make your hand ache when you’re trying to squeeze out the glue. And the nose is really designed to help you to get into hard-to-reach corners, so you’re not going to waste a lot of glue or spill it all over you trying to get these projects done. You can use them for school programs, craft projects, home repairs, carpentry.
It’s worth 49 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. If you’d like to win it, you’ve got to be in it. Pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Laura in Connecticut is on the line and wants to rearrange the kitchen. How can we help you?
LAURA: It’s an old house. The house is 100-plus. And right underneath – right underneath – the kitchen floor, there is a portion of the floor that doesn’t have a beam under it. But we would like to put an appliance there. We would like to place an appliance there. So, we just need something that would just support it gently, just in case too much weight.
TOM: So, generally speaking, floor structures are designed to hold a refrigerator. They’re not that heavy. If you wanted to beef up the structure of that area, your kitchen already has existing floor joists. So the girder will go perpendicular to those. It’s not a true girder in the sense that it wouldn’t be supported with its own foundation.
But what sometimes many folks will do is they’ll put a girder-like beam underneath those floor joists, on some Lally columns, maybe supported by a very small foundation that might be a 1-foot-by-1-foot-square pour of concrete, so that you can kind of take the bounce out of the middle of those beams.
Sometimes, if you have long beams in a house or long floor joists in a house, you’ll get kind of a bounce when you walk across the floor. And that can make it feel weak, even though maybe it’s not but it just has more flex than you’re accustomed to. So putting in the additional beam perpendicular to the floor joists can eliminate that. It’s not going to hold up more than that beam, so it doesn’t need to be substantially supported. But I think, still, you could do – a carpenter could do a good, clean job and give you that additional support that’s going to make you feel comfortable. Does that make sense?
LAURA: Oh, yes, it does. OK. Now, if there is a dirt floor, would it be wise to put down a cement foundation?
TOM: So you wouldn’t – you would support it by columns and the bottom of the column would be supported by concrete, not necessarily a complete floor. But what, generally, you’ll do is dig out maybe a 1-foot-by-1-foot-square hole, fill that up with concrete and have the column sit right on top of that.
Again, it’s not the same kind of foundation that you would use to put a beam up that was holding up the entire house. But what you’re really doing here is just sort of taking the bounce out of that floor and giving it a little bit of additional support.
Laura, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, at some point every parent faces the decision of deciding whether or not a child is able to stay home alone, right? And as a parent of three, I can tell you every kid is different, so it’s really important to make sure they’re not going to get hurt. But it’s also important to make sure they can handle basic things that could go wrong with your house when you’re not home.
LESLIE: Yeah, definitely. So here are a few basic tasks that you might want to make sure they know how to do. For example, does your child know how to find and shut off the water main, just in case there’s a major leak?
TOM: Hey, I can tell you there’s a lot of adults that don’t know how to find and shut off the main water valve in case of a leak.
LESLIE: No, that is true. I mean it’s crazy. That’s why it’s so smart to find that all-important valve and tag it. This way, you know exactly where it is. But make sure it’s good to go and it’s easy to turn off, because it’s the fastest way to stop all that water from coming through your ceiling.
TOM: Definitely. So now, next up, you also want to think about whether or not your child can operate a fire extinguisher. It is a pretty basic task but the key thing to help you remember is the word PASS. You pull the pin, aim the nozzle low and toward the base of the fire, then squeeze the lever and sweep it from side to side. Just think about that as PASS. Pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the lever and sweep from side to side.
LESLIE: Next up, does your child know what to do if, say, the smoke detector goes off? Well, the first thing they need to know is get out. Frankly, it’s as simple as that. Get out, call 911. And if you want to update your smoke detectors, make sure you use ones that are interconnected to each other so if one goes off, they all go off.
TOM: And lastly, make sure your kids know what to do if the power goes out. If that is happening more and more frequently in your area as it is in ours, especially in the summer, kids can become pretty nervous and totally freaked out. So, some people will be lucky enough to have automatic generators in their home. But if you are not one of those, make sure you talk about the kids about where the flashlights are, make sure the batteries are fresh. Make sure if you are using the old, junky flashlights that you inherited from your parents, throw them out and get the new LED ones because they’re cheap and they are super, super bright. And the batteries last a super-long time.
And never ever, ever let kids light candles when you are not home. There are much better ways and much safer ways to illuminate your space.
LESLIE: Alright. Abram in Arizona is on the line looking to run a gas line for a dryer. How can we help you?
ABRAM: I have a home that has an electric outlet for the dryer.
ABRAM: But I want to run a gas line to it because I have a gas dryer. I’m in Goodyear, Arizona, so it’s not like I desperately need a dryer. I could just set it out (inaudible) and it would dry.
TOM: Yeah, right. Exactly.
ABRAM: But I would like to run a gas line for the heat versus using the electric.
TOM: Now, does the house already have gas hooked up to it?
ABRAM: Yes. The hot-water heater and the kitchen both have gas.
TOM: OK. So, running a gas pipe, you know, is generally a job for a plumber because if you get it wrong, you could cause a serious issue. But essentially, what you’re going to need to do is to tap into that existing gas line at the place that it makes the most sense to do that, depending on the layout of the line. You’re going to need to obviously have a valve before that so you can do this work or you can turn the gas off at the meter to do the work. And then you’re going to have a valve at the end of it. And then you’re going to have a flex gas line that goes from that valve into the dryer itself.
So, it’s not a terribly complicated project to do but if you’ve not worked with gas piping before, it’s not the kind of job that I would generally recommend be your first do-it-yourself project because of the danger of it, getting it wrong.
ABRAM: OK, OK. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Take care, sir. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Abraham in New Jersey is on the line looking to vent an attic. What’s going on there?
ABRAHAM: OK. I basically have a regular home; it’s a Colonial. And the attic is a rough attic with the spray-foam insulation. There is zero ventilation in that attic and the second floor has central air.
So I would like to know two questions: would I be saving on air-conditioning if I would vent the attic – there’s no ceiling fan, nothing – if I put in either an attic fan or a window exhaust fan? And also, currently the attic has an entrance door – a heavy door – leading to attic. Would it take away the air-conditioning to leave that entrance door open, thereby allowing the hot air to enter the attic and leave with an exhaust fan? Or is that something I should not be doing?
TOM: So, Abraham, that’s a great question. And if you told me that your attic was insulated with fiberglass insulation, as most are typically, we would talk about what kind of ventilation you’ll need. But you said your attic was insulated with spray foam. So, is the spray foam up on the underside of the roof rafters, as well as across the floor? Describe it to me.
ABRAHAM: Not on the floor. The floor just has regular boards between the second floor and the attic. But there’s all – all the walls and the roof all have spray foam.
TOM: So what you have, Abraham – and it’s actually the same kind of insulation setup that I have. It’s called a “conditioned attic.” In other words, the attic itself is conditioned and it does not need ventilation. So, no, you do not need to vent that. It’s actually pretty efficient right the way it is.
Now, you mentioned that there was a door between those two spaces. If that door tends to get a little warm or the wall or the ceiling tends to get a little warm, you could add some additional insulation there. In my case, I actually had an older house. So my attic floor/second-floor ceiling already had fiberglass in it. We left that there. But then we spray-foamed the underside of the roof rafters and the gable walls. And it’s amazing. When we go up in our attic, it’s practically the same temperature as the rest of the house. It’s just done so well. So you do not need to ventilate an attic that was sprayed with foam, because it’s not the type of attic that needs to be vented.
ABRAHAM: Yeah. Because when I go up to my attic, it is extremely hot. I know I never measure with a thermometer how much warmer it is. So that’s why I was wondering if that’s going to warm up the second floor, requiring me more air-conditioning to the second floor. So I was thinking of ventilating the attic to cool off the attic.
TOM: I think that if it was done right, you don’t need to vent it. How long ago was the spray foam done? And who did it?
ABRAHAM: It was done locally and it was within the past year; it’s a new home.
TOM: Oh, really? Oh, it’s brand-new, within the past year.
TOM: Yeah. I wonder if they put enough insulation in there. Because the insulation should be keeping that heat on the outside and the air-conditioning or the internal sort of ambient temperature of the house should be keeping it pretty comfortable on the inside. I wonder if you have enough insulation there.
And I have a suggestion for you that you speak with another spray-foam contractor, aside from the one that did it and kind of have an opinion as to whether or not there’s enough insulation there for your part of the country. I think that will actually make a lot of sense.
ABRAHAM: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when we grew up, if you needed to hire a contractor, your choices were to ask a friend or throw yourselves to the wolves by flipping through that phone book.
TOM: Yeah. And for you young’uns, a phone book was a big, fat book with paper in it and it did not have a search bar. You had to actually look up stuff. And today, though, it is a lot easier to find home service pros thanks to what we call the “digitalization” of the industry. With us to talk about that is a very digital guy. He’s Dan DiClerico, the home expert and smart-home strategist for HomeAdvisor.com.
DAN: Hey, guys. It’s great to be here.
TOM: We’ve come a long way from those phone books, huh?
DAN: I remember sitting on one when I was three.
LESLIE: They had lots of purposes.
DAN: That’s right. It’s a different world. There’s still a lot of word of mouth in this business but more and more, it’s starting to shift as it has with other services, you know? You don’t hail a taxi anymore; you order an Uber, a Lyft. You don’t walk to the bank to take out money to pay your friend back; you hit him up on Venmo. So that’s very much the direction that we see home services moving in, at a pretty steady clip.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that leads to a lot of interesting partnerships and I think HomeAdvisor is really kind of paving the way with the partnerships you’re looking at this year.
DAN: Yeah, I mean we’re at a point where we’re receiving 25 million service requests a year, just to give a sense of the scale here. So it is driving a lot of interesting partnerships. Nextdoor is one. We know that about 20 percent of posts to that site have to do with recommendations for home services. So this is a good way to really connect our pros with customers right in their backyards, right in their communities. So we’re excited about that partnership.
Another really cool, innovative partnership that we have is in the real estate space with Coldwell Banker. Very innovative program where we’ll actually front the money for repairs to get the house market-ready. And it could be up to $50,000. So we’re talking about some significant work potentially: maybe a cosmetic remodel of the kitchen, painting throughout the house and strategic staging, that sort of thing. Get the house ready for market, sell for more and then that money is paid back at the point of closing, interest-free. No up-front costs to the seller.
So it’s just a great way to provide more value for our pros. We’re giving them a good job while, at the same time, meeting customers where they are, where they need our home services.
TOM: Man, what a great option because so many folks, they’ll ask us, “What do we need to do to sell the house? What rooms should we remodel?” And you go through all the work of doing that and then you move out. But with this option, if you guys are fronting the expense for this and taking it to closing at zero interest, man, you really can’t go wrong with that. That’s really cool.
DAN: Yeah. No, we say there’s a real win-win. It’s in a pilot phase but we’re expecting big things for this type of program.
LESLIE: And I think another thing, when it comes to home ownership, is sometimes your projects really aren’t that large. And not every contractor wants to jump in, because perhaps the money is not worth it for them. So I think what’s going on with what you guys are doing – up-front pricing – is pretty fantastic.
DAN: We’re very excited about this one, as well. It is, really, I think the next big thing. If we go back to that ride-share analogy, knowing exactly how much the trip to the airport is going to cost you, it provides so much peace of mind. So that’s the experience. That’s the peace of mind that we’re able to deliver with an up-front pricing model.
So you can come to HomeAdvisor, you can look through up to – projects in up to 100 different categories: so, install a light fixture, mount a TV, clear a clogged drain, whatever it may be. You’ll see the price for that project, you’ll be able to purchase it and actually schedule the appointment with a professional.
So there’s just a completely seamless experience for the consumer. And for the pro, it’s giving them a job. You know, here is a job rather than the chance at one, which is sort of the model that we’ve always had: lead generation, that sort of thing. Now we’re actually giving them a job, so I think it’s really going to please our pros, as well as homeowners coming to the service.
TOM: Yeah. And we’re talking about projects like, say, installing a new faucet or adding an outlet or cleaning your gutters. You have about 100 different categories. That website – that section of your website is easy to find. It’s HomeAdvisor.com/Go. If you’ve got a few jobs like that to do around your house, you’ve got to check it out. I was really fascinated. They had prices for – just installing an outlet started at around 90 bucks. That’s very fair. And if you had to call two or three electricians to get costs on that, boy, how much work is that? That’s just a lot. If you just know the prices and it feels good, you know it’s going to get done right.
The pro, you can check them out on HomeAdvisor. You review their ratings. You’re happy with that, man, you just get it done and you can move on. So I think that’s really exciting stuff, Dan. Thanks so much for spending some time and bringing us up to speed on all these developments. It just gives us more ways to help take care of our houses and takes a lot of the stress away.
DAN: Hey, thanks, guys. Always good to be here.
TOM: Dan DiClerico is the home expert and smart-home strategist for HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Charlotte in Georgia is on the line with an electrical question. How can we help you today?
CHARLOTTE: I just put a breaker box in my house. The house was built in the late 50s. Two switches in one room do not work and the kitchen sometimes trips a breaker. Do you think it’s – I don’t want to do the – rewire the whole house. I just want to pull the wiring through the wall and I don’t want to take off any of the sheetrock.t
TOM: Well, generally, if there’s switches and outlets that are not working, it’s not the wiring itself in as much as it could be the switch or the outlets. Or it could be a problem where it’s actually connected to the switches or the outlets. And it’s obviously impossible for us to diagnose this for you.
In answer to your general question, typically, you do not have to remove drywall except in rare circumstances. Electricians can almost always find a way to run wire through a wall. And they have tools that are specially designed to do that. They’re long fiberglass rods that the wire kind of gets tied onto the end of. And they can use that to kind of snake it through the walls and pull it up where it needs to go.
But I think the bigger question for you is: why is this happening and is it dangerous? Because if you’ve got things that are not working, we want to make sure that didn’t happen because something shorted out, which could lead to a fire.
So, I would not advise you to do this yourself, Charlotte. I would advise you to get a professional to help you with it because I’m concerned that you need to get to the bottom of what caused the defect, whether it’s just broken switches. It would be unusual for all of these things to break at the same time. I have seen an occasional switch go bad but almost never an outlet go bad. So if you’ve got two switches and an outlet not working and you checked the breakers and the fuses, I think it’s time to call a pro.
Charlotte, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, summer is a season when we put a lot of stress on our home’s electrical systems, so we’ve got three projects that could help make sure your wiring is up for the job.
TOM: That’s right. So, first, now is a popular time to install new room air conditioners. But before you do that, you want to make sure the circuit you’re plugging into can take the additional load. A/Cs use a lot of power and it’s not uncommon to need an additional circuit to be able to handle that electricity need. Otherwise, you may find that the circuits are tripping every time you maybe vacuum the room or run a hair dryer or turn on just about any other appliance that also needs a good share of that power.
The good news, though, is that adding a circuit is not really that difficult. And it’s a project an electrician can easily handle inside of just an hour or two.
LESLIE: Next up, guys, in the summer it’s also a time when we need electricity outside a lot more. And if your outlets are not ground-fault protected, you’re really facing a serious risk of electrical shocks.
So, adding GFCI or ground-fault circuit-interrupter outlets really is an important way that you can manage this risk. And they work very differently than a regular outlet does. In fact, if a GFCI outlet senses any diversion of a current to that ground source, which could be you, it will instantly turn off and protect you from getting a shock.
Now, electricians can easily upgrade your outlets by adding GFCIs, as well as AFCI, which is an arc-fault circuit interrupter. That really takes that one step further, protecting your home from electrical fires. So that’s something you want to make sure that you don’t have just outside but anywhere where you might have a chance of electricity and water coming in kind of close contact with each other, like a kitchen or a bathroom. So those are really the important places to put those GFCIs and it can be easily done.
TOM: Now, lastly, summer is a vacation season. So whether you’re having a staycation or a real vacation, it’s also a good time to make sure you have security lighting in place. And make sure that your lighting has motion sensors so it comes on when anything crosses its path.
888-666-3974 is our phone number. If you’ve got a question about a home improvement project, a décor project, whatever’s on that to-do list, give us a call right now. We would love to help.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading out to Kansas where Tom has a question about decking. What can we do for you today?
TOM IN KANSAS: Yes, we bought a place at the lake. And the deck – it’s a wooden deck. And we’re going to seal it. What’s the best way to seal it and prep the wood for that?
TOM: OK. So, is the wood in pretty good structural condition? Is it – are there a lot of checks and cracks in it now? Did it have an old finish on it?
TOM IN KANSAS: I believe it was sealed before but I believe it’s been a while. The flooring of it – at the one end, there’s a – we have a tin roof on the top but it does drip on it, out at the end.
TOM IN KANSAS: And it’s not rotted or nothing but it – you can see there’s a little bit of mold, green stuff from the water.
TOM: OK. Well, you’ve got to clean it thoroughly and you’ve got to remove any loose finish. And if you can wire-brush it or sand it, just to kind of get the dead wood off the surface of it, sometimes you get a lot of – a little degradation at the surface of the wood. That would be helpful, as well. And that’s really all you’ve got to do to prep it.
And at that point, you’re going to have to determine what you want to put on it. Now, you say sealing but I would recommend a stain. Stain, there’s two different levels of that: there’s semi-transparent and solid color. There’s also transparent but I think semi-transparent or solid color are your options. And I would opt for solid color, always, because it has more pigment and it lasts longer. And if you put the solid-color stain on it, that has the effect of sealing and protecting the deck if you use a good-quality stain. And it’s still going to let the grain show through.
So, prep it properly, follow the label directions and then apply a solid-color stain. Now, it’s not paint; it is stain but it’s called “solid-color stain.” If you have any questions about what it’s going to look like, then just start in, perhaps, on a step or somewhere that’s a small area where it’s not very visible, so you can get confidence in it. But I think you’ll like the way it’ll come out.
TOM IN KANSAS: OK, OK. Well, that was my question. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Give us a call, post your question, send us an email. Whatever it is, we want to help you get all of your projects done and done right at your money pit. Whether you’re tackling a project indoors or out, take advantage of these few weeks left of summer and let us help you get those projects done now.
TOM: Well, if you’re thinking about updating a room but don’t know where to begin, interior designers can help facilitate your ideas, making your dream home a reality. But how do you find one that can really understand what you’re looking for and bring great ideas to the table? Leslie helps you sort through this process, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
And Leslie, I always think that when you’re working with a designer or a decorator or even when you’re trying to do this on your own, you really don’t know what you want but you know it when you see it. So you can’t really describe it but sometimes when you see it or you – it’s suggested to you and you affirm it, then you know that’s it. You know what you like but it’s hard to describe it and that’s what makes it even more difficult to find the right pro to work with, right?
LESLIE: Well, I mean it’s always very challenging. You know, first of all, if you’re thinking about changing a room, updating it and you’re kind of stuck and you don’t know where to begin, you should consider hiring an interior designer. Because they’re going to give you that fresh perspective, they’re going to show you sources, things that you didn’t know about or things that you couldn’t find on your own. And they’re going to help you keep costs and keep that project on track and on time. But you have to be prepared, as well, so it’s sort of a two-way relationship here.
You have to define the goals. You need to know exactly what your project is going to entail. You need to know, does it have anything outside of an interior-design service? Does it also need an architect? Something like that. If you’re just changing the color of the living room, that could be great for a decorator. You’ve got to know exactly what you’re doing and then you’ll know the right pro for that project, whether it’s a decorator, an interior designer or an architect.
Now, you have to be inspired in some way, shape or form. You’ve got to have a little bit of an understanding of what style you love and what styles you hate. Now, you can easily do this by cutting out pictures from magazines or going off pictures from the internet. You’ve got to start pulling things. Now, it could be ripping out a page because you liked the color of something or ripping out a page because you liked the way that space felt or the texture of that rug. There has to be no rhyme or reason. Just rip them out and circle the thing that you liked.
And then, as you start to go through all of those pages or tear sheets that you’ve pulled out, you’re going to notice a pattern. And maybe it’s something you’re not going to notice but an interior designer or a decorator is definitely going to recognize what that pattern is and then help you create the space with those elements in mind.
Next, you’ve got to know your budget and you have to let your designer know your spending limit. And you both have to agree to stick to that, because once you know where that number lies, everybody can work towards that peacefully, cohesively and know where to spend and where to save.
And you’ve also got to learn to stay in charge. Now, designers, they’re trained professionals. They have keen eyes for details but you’re the only person that knows what you love. You’ve got to communicate well with each other. If a designer is coming up with suggestions that don’t seem to match your taste, you’ve got to say something. Don’t sort of feel that you’re forced to agree to something like, “Oh, OK. If you like it then I like it.” You’re not going to like it in five months, when that decorator is gone, if you didn’t like it in that first instance. So you have to make sure that you make sure you’re on the same page with what you like. Express any strong opinions that you might have like, “I want only things that are made in America,” or, “No, only organic materials,” or, “No organic skins,” or, “I need child-safety features.”
Whatever it is, if you’ve got some things that are very important, outline those, as well. And this should really get everybody off on a good foot to create that great space, because it’s got to be a working relationship for everybody to be happy.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, decorative window shutters can be a very attractive addition but they don’t do a darn thing to help protect your windows. For that job, you need storm shutters. We’ll share tips on these and more, on the very next addition 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.
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