If you’re hoping to sell your home, one of the most nerve-racking parts of that process for sellers is the home inspection. Tom & Leslie share tips to set you up for success in that part of the transaction.
- Hardwood floors are one of the most desirable floors around for both durability and the value they add to a home. But the finishes do wear and hardwood floors then need to be sanded and refinished. We’ll have tips on how to get that project done.
- And we’re all about helping you find ways to save money, and that includes your homeowner’s insurance. Well, it turns out some small improvements can help cut insurance costs down to size. We’ll share those tips just ahead.
- Step-by-step tips for refinishing bedroom using lacquer for a high gloss style.
- Tips on how to find replacement parts for old doorknobs and locks.
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: On a very, very warm summer day. Well, I guess we should expect it; these are the dog days of summer. If you’re warm and you’re spending time inside your house looking about, thinking, “I’ve got some stuff to change here,” or you’re outside thinking, “I could use some more shade. How can I make that happen?” – whatever is on your to-do list for projects now or in the future, we would love to help you get those done. The first thing you need to do, though, the first item on your to-do list is to call us, 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
We’ll do our best to coach you through it, to give you some tips, some advice, some ideas, maybe suggest some products that you didn’t think about or some ways to approach your project that might be a bit easier than what you thought it was going to be. Whatever is on that to-do list, slide it over to ours by reaching out at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And coming up on today’s show, if you’re hoping to sell your home this summer or fall, one of the most nerve-racking parts of the process is the home inspection. And I know this because, as a longtime home inspector, I was one of the people causing all of that stress. But it also means I know how to set you up for success in that part of the transaction, so we’re going to talk about that just ahead.
LESLIE: And hardwood floors are one of the most desirable floors around for both durability and the value that they do add to your home. But the finishes wear and then the floors need to be sanded and refinished. And I can tell you, as much of a DIY-er that I am, this is really one project that it truly is best left to a pro. So we’re going to have some tips on how you can get that project done.
TOM: And we are all about helping you find ways to save money and that includes on your homeowners insurance. And it turns out some pretty small home improvements can help cut those insurance costs down to size. We’ll share those tips, as well.
LESLIE: But first, give us a call. We’d love to hear what you are working on. We’re running out of time for the summer season, so you’ve got to get those outdoor spaces in tip-top shape. And we’re getting ready to be holed up inside again come the fall, so let us help you get your projects done.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Alright. Pat in Michigan, tell us what’s going on with the leak.
PAT: Yes. We had some shingles that blew up and the water got underneath and it leaked and then onto my ceiling. And we had high winds with – like we call “side,” you know.
And so I’ve had the roof repaired but I still have some leak – water stains on my ceiling. And I’m trying to figure out how to cover them up without having to paint all of the ceiling. And my ceilings have never been painted; it’s just raw drywall but it’s been textured.
TOM: Now, since this was storm damage, did you think to call your homeowners insurance company?
PAT: No. Because it’s – there’s only three little – like one is a dime size, one is a quarter size and the other one’s a dollar-bill size.
TOM: Well, just for future reference, whenever you have shingles that blow off and leaks occur, that is why you pay for homeowners insurance. So, small or big, that’s the kind of thing that’s covered.
If it was a worn-out roof, that’s one thing. But if you have storm damage where shingles blow off and water gets in, then you could have had that whole ceiling repainted at the expense of your insurance company.
But OK, we’re past that now. So the question is: how do you deal with those stains? Whenever you have a water stain on a ceiling, you have to prime that spot. Since they’re small spots like that, you can spot-prime it, which basically means just to prime over those little spots themselves. And then you’ll paint over that.
You’ll have to – if you don’t have some of the original paint, you’re going to have to pick up something that matches.
PAT: There is no paint. This is just drywall – textured drywall – and they did not paint the drywall.
TOM: They never painted the drywall?
PAT: No. Ceilings here are not painted unless you ask for it.
TOM: OK. Well, all I can tell you is if you want to get rid of the stain, you have to prime it. You have to prime on top of it. If you don’t prime on top of it, anything that you put over that is going to leak right through. So it might be time to think about painting the ceiling, Pat.
PAT: Oh, boy. OK. Well, thank you very much. I certainly do appreciate your time.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hugo from Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
HUGO: I’ve got a leaky basement. Is there anything that can be done besides tearing up the whole outside and redoing it?
TOM: Yeah, that’s exactly not what you want to do.
So, the reason basements leak is because of drainage conditions that form at the foundation perimeter. So we’re talking about things like gutters that are overflowing or downspouts that are too close to the foundation perimeter or soil that’s sloping. Do you know – that’s sloping into the house or soil that’s flat.
Do you notice if this leakage gets worse after heavy rainfalls?
HUGO: Yes, that’s the only time it does leak is after a real heavy rainfall.
TOM: So that’s really good news because that means this has nothing to do with a rising water table. This has everything to do with the water that’s basically just forming around the foundation perimeter. And that’s something that’s fairly easy to deal with.
So, I want you to do a couple of things. Look carefully at the gutter system. You want to make sure that gutters exist, that the gutters have downspouts that discharge at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation perimeter. And then you want to take a look and make sure that you have 1 downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface. So just kind of stand back and try to estimate that in your head so we know you have enough downspouts.
TOM: Now, typically, when they put downspouts in, they turn them out a foot or so and dump them into a splash block. And you’ll notice that that water will just sit right there and collect at the foundation perimeter. So you want to make sure they go out at least, like I said, 4 to 6 feet.
Now, the second thing is you also want to make sure that the soil at the foundation perimeter slopes away. If you have to add soil to do that, add clean fill dirt, tamp it down really super-well and make sure it drops about 6 inches over 4 feet. Those two things will stop your basement from leaking.
HUGO: OK. Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Amy from Iowa is on the line with a roofing project gone awry. What’s going on?
AMY: We do. We do have a troublesome roof. About five years ago, we got a new roof installed on our house. We were having a leaking problem, some ice dams in the winter. And we got the whole roof replaced and since then, we continue to have a leak. The problem never got solved and we are stuck with this issue once again. So, we’re kind of stuck, at this point, wondering if we go back to the original contractor and try to get him to replace or fix the problem or if we go elsewhere and have somebody completely replace and redo the entire roof.
TOM: Well, first of all, when it comes to the contractor, has the contractor come back since the roof installation to address this yet?
AMY: Yes. In the past couple of years, we actually have contacted him and told him about the issue and that it never was fixed. He did send out his roofing guy – a subcontractor – and nothing ever got solved. They said, “Oh, it looks fine. We don’t think it’s really going to be an issue.” And then we have water pouring in our living room and buckets on the carpet, so …
TOM: So they never did anything?
TOM: Alright. Now, tell me about the roof configuration over the area where the leak is showing.
AMY: Right. We have been told, after having all of these other professionals come out, that we have a very tricky roof. The design of the house, I guess, is not the greatest. Basically, a lot of dead valleys is what they told us. So we have dead valleys that – holding the water and creating these problems where the water is sitting and coming in, which is causing our leak inside of the house.
TOM: So you say dead valleys. It means the water is being trapped in the valley?
AMY: Yes. So, basically, the roofline is coming to a point where it runs right into the siding.
TOM: Oh, OK. So, basically, the roof drains towards the siding?
AMY: Yes, that’s correct.
TOM: Yeah. That’s a really tough spot. Hmm. OK.
So, if that’s the case and it’s just not fixed, it’s just not working, I think most likely you have to not only take the roof off but probably some of the siding. Because what you have to have there is a special type of flexible flashing that will essentially seal the siding to the roof.
You probably also would want to cover that entire area of the roof with ice-and-water shield, which is sort of a bit tacky and will give you that waterproof capability and also stop ice dams from coming up under the shingles. But Grace makes both ice-and-water-shield and some very flexible flashings. Grace is a terrific building-products manufacturer, so you could look up some of those.
But I do think you’re probably going to have to redo that, especially if you have an area where water is running into it. That’s a really common place for a leak and frankly, this roofer that came out and looked it and said everything’s fine, he doesn’t know because he didn’t take anything apart. And if you’ve gotten leaks underneath that, it’s not so fine. So you certainly could take another run at the contractor but I suspect it’s going to have to be taken apart and rebuilt properly. That didn’t happen the first time.
AMY: Right. So do you suggest going back to the original contractor?
TOM: At least once.
AMY: Yeah. If he’s willing to do any repairs, I mean honestly, I am hesitant to have any of his crew come out. He did tell us that the people that worked on our roof no longer work for him. But I still am very hesitant to have the same contractor come out and try to make repairs when we’ve had other reputable roofing companies come out and say it’s the worst installation job they’ve ever seen. So that makes me really nervous as a homeowner.
TOM: Well, maybe in that situation, if you’re just not – if you’ve just completely lost confidence in the contractor, then maybe you should just accept the inevitable and have a more professional roofer come out and fix it right.
AMY: OK. OK. Yeah, it’s – that’s a tough one.
TOM: The problem is when you have that kind of a hidden leak like that, it’s really hard to do any kind of repair from the surface of the roof. It really is a matter where you have to take things apart and reassemble them, because making that roof waterproof starts underneath the shingles.
AMY: Sure, sure. OK. Well, that makes sense. Yeah, it just wasn’t done right the first time. So, we’re stuck in the same spot, unfortunately.
TOM: Alright, Amy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
There’s a wide range of skills that roofers have, and the majority of the roofs that are replaced today don’t need a really, really skilled roofer to do. It’s kind of hard to screw it up, you know, your standard sort of two-story Colonial or a Cape. And those are pretty easy roofs to install.
When you get an older house that’s got a lot of angles to a roof, that requires somebody who is a real good technician, a real master roofer that can configure the flashing underneath the roof shingles and use the latest products to keep that leak-free. And when you get your average-quality roofer that looks at a place like that, they think they can do it and clearly they cannot do it. That’s like trying to install a flat roof. You’ve got to make sure it can hold water against gravity.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re a home seller, the buyer’s home inspection can feel like a scene from a really bad reality show. But if you survive the experience without blowing a fuse, a big payoff awaits. Now, the home inspection is critical to the sale of your home. It’s included in every home purchase contract and it happens right after the contract is signed.
Now, with the buyers in tow, the home inspector is going to perform a 2- to 3-hour review of your home’s structural and mechanical condition. They’re going to look in every nook and cranny while evaluating everything, from the roof to the basement. Now, the inspector might also test for radon gas or check for wood-destroying insects. And when it’s all over, the inspector is going to issue a very detailed report to that home buyer.
Now, unexpected results can lead to more negotiation, which is why more smart home sellers are getting their own home inspection done well before a buyer is involved. It really is a good investment that you might want to consider making because it really gives you an advantage.
TOM: Yeah, you do not want to be in the position of getting that news that your furnace has cracked and needs to be replaced when you’re in the middle of a transaction, because you’ve already negotiated down as far as you want to go. The buyer has offered as much as they want to pay and it’s just a very stressful time of the transaction.
Now, speaking of stress, here is a tip from my 20 years of experience doing home inspections for buyers. Don’t be home when the inspection is going on. Yes, I am talking to you, Mr. and Mrs. Seller. I know it’s nerve-racking but trust me when I say nothing good is going to come out of you being there. If you stalk the inspector, it makes it really difficult for him or her to freely discuss his findings, what he’s seeing, to ask and answer buyer questions. Plus, the buyers see you as having something to hide. It may be the farthest thing from your mind but they see you kind of sticking close to the inspection, they think you’re hiding something. And I have often heard home sellers justify staying around because they thought we might have questions. We don’t and you’ll be only in the way.
So, you’re paying your realtor a lot of money to represent you. Let them represent you at the home inspection. And it’s better to find something else to do for a few hours.
LESLIE: Bob in South Dakota is dealing with a drywall issue. What’s going on at your house?
BOB: We have a 1990s home and we had sheetrock nails that were put in that began popping, mainly toward the ceiling area and corners – inside corners – especially. And we had a contractor do – redo some. We redid some ourselves. One of the things they did and we did is we just drove the nails in and covered them and put a screw maybe 2 to 3 inches from it. But the nails reappeared after we did it. What’s the answer?
TOM: Well, it would if you just drove it back in and didn’t put a second nail that overlaps it.
LESLIE: And then it’s in the same hole, so it’s given the same movement area.
Now, what Tom mentioned with the second nail is you’re right putting a screw in; a screw is a great way to do that. But if you’re putting a screw in, I would have taken out the nail instead of giving it the space to come back out.
But what you can do, if you see the nail to start backing its way out, you can take a second nail and overlap it so that the two heads would overlap. So when you drive in the second nail, it pushes that first nail back down with it and will keep it in its place. Because the new nail is in fresh wood, so it’ll stay there. And then you go ahead and cover over it and sand it and spackle it, everything. Make it nice and smooth to prime and paint.
But a screw really is the best way, because those won’t back themselves out.
BOB: What do you think, in your professional opinion – I’ve listened to your show a lot and just as a plug for you guys, thanks a lot for all of the helpful hints. But what do you think has caused those screws to pop like that – or nails, I should say?
TOM: Normal expansion and contraction. You know, the nails that are used to attach drywall have a glue coating on them. They’re like a rosin coating. And when you drive the nail in, it’s supposed to kind of stick in the wall but it doesn’t. And as the walls expand and contract, they very often will back out. It’s really typical. It would be unusual for it, frankly, to not happen.
But the key is that when it does happen, if you just drive it back in it’s going to happen all over again. But if you were to overlap the old nailhead with a new nailhead so that you’re now creating sort of a second nail and a second nail hole that’s holding it in place, that’s effective. Or you pull out the drywall nail altogether and replace it with a drywall screw and it will never pull out.
The fact that you put the screw 2 or 3 inches from the old one will help keep that board tight but it’s not going to stop the drywall nail from expanding and contracting and pushing itself back out, as you’ve learned. You just – you really need to sort of reinforce it by overlapping the heads with a new nail.
BOB: OK. Yeah, that sounds good. And I think, from what I’ve seen, if we pull the old nail and put a screw in a ways away, I think that’s the best solution. Because then we don’t have any possibility of anything happening there again and doing away with the situation completely.
TOM: Trial and error is the best, right?
BOB: Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. Thank you for the great show.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to Mel in Arkansas who’s got a question about a shower. What can we do for you today?
MEL: Well, we need to change a tub into a shower. And it is for a handicapped person that uses a shower chair. And everything that we are finding so far is a fiberglass-type stuff that is not rated for the person’s weight that’s going to have to be using it. And they use a shower chair. Any suggestions on how to stabilize it so that it’s not going to break through when the shower chair goes in it?
TOM: You’re looking at zero-threshold showers that basically are flush with the floor?
MEL: Not necessarily. It doesn’t have to be the zero-threshold but it needs to be a shower, not a tub.
TOM: Right. OK. So, when you put in a fiberglass shower pan, you’re right: sometimes there’s flex underneath of it. But there’s an easy trick of the trade to deal with that. And that is that you can mix up a concrete mix or a cement mix or mortar mix and basically, you put it underneath the pan while it’s wet and then you press the pan down into it. And what that does is that takes out all of the space between the pan itself and the floor. It provides a rock-solid base to that fiberglass shower stall. Does that make sense?
TOM: Alright, Mel? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, hardwood floors are a real benefit to any home. They add beauty, durability and value when it comes time to sell. But they do need to be refinished from time to time and that’s a project that you might want to consider hiring a pro to accomplish. We’ve got some tips on how to best get that project done, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Now, first up, how do you know if your floors really need replacement or refinishing? There is actually a simple test that you can do. What you want to do is go to a high-traffic area where the finish takes the most abuse and pour a tablespoon or two of water onto the floor and watch it. If the water forms beads, the floor still has plenty of seal to it. But if the water takes a few minutes to seep in and just darkens the floor slightly, that finish is partially worn and should be redone soon. And if the water soaks in right away, leaves a dark spot, it’s definitely time to refinish. So, just do the water test a little bit and then watch what happens.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, if you do have to refinish that floor, it’s a pretty big job. And while you might be able to do it yourself, it’s probably not one that you’re going to want to.
Now, the process starts with removing all of that old finish. And that’s one area that we see well-meaning DIY-ers get themselves into a real jam. I mean the tools that do this are kind of heavy-duty and if you’re not comfortable with how they work, you can cause some problems. It really does. The pros are so skilled with it and if you mess up, you could be staring at a deep, ugly gouge for pretty much the rest of the days that you are in that house.
TOM: Yeah. Next, let’s talk about refinishing the floor after it’s sanded. That is a big job in and of itself. It’s got to be done right. If you’re restaining the floor, the color you see in the store is rarely the color that you will see when you apply it to your floor.
Now, the age of the floor has to be considered because when you combine that with an old finish, you get different absorption rates. And that’s what’s going to cause the stain to sink in differently and the finish to sink in differently. And to try to keep it looking nice, it even takes some skill. Plus, the finishes the pros apply, they’re often tougher than what you can actually find in a home center or a paint store. And they dry quicker and they get you back to a newly finished room as fast as possible.
And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor. They really do have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top local pros for your projects.
TOM: Plus, now they offer clear, up-front pricing on over 100 everyday projects. To get started, just download the HomeAdvisor app today.
LESLIE: Taylor in North Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
TAYLOR: I have a two-story house. I live in North Dakota. And I have a two-story house that has a forced-air system. And it’s just not getting the cooling up to the second floor and the heating up to the second floor like I feel it should. I had a contractor come in and they recommended a product to me that I was wondering if you guys had any knowledge on it. It’s a product called Aeroseal, where they actually seal the ductwork from the inside. And they claim that it’ll seal up the ductwork and get me more airflow.
TOM: Is this guy an Aeroseal dealer?
TOM: OK. So my only concern here is the reason that you’re not having adequate heating and cooling on the second floor is due to a core error in the sizing of the system. And while duct systems can certainly be leaky, I doubt that that’s your entire problem, Taylor. I think that there’s an issue with the design here that’s at the core of this. And while that’s kind of a nice thing to do and yeah, it’d probably help a little bit, I don’t necessarily think that’s the first thing I would do at all.
I think you ought to talk to some other HVAC contractors and really, what they need to do is look at a heat-loss calculation here and figure out how much air you’re moving up there, making sure you have enough supply air going up there, making sure you have adequate return ducts, that nothing is blocked or disconnected.
TAYLOR: This is the second company that came in. The first company actually recommended for me to talk to this company because he felt the same way, actually.
TOM: Well, why did they think that your duct system is so leaky that it’s causing this problem? I mean certainly, leaking ducts can contribute to it but I don’t think – I really, really don’t think it’s the main cause here. I can’t imagine it’s so inefficient, that your ducts are so poorly put together that simply sealing them is going to solve this problem. You have a very significant issue with inadequate heating and cooling getting to the second floor of the house. So, I think this is an issue of airflow, it’s an issue of design and I would explore ways that that can be improved.
And if you can’t easily improve it, then what you might want to think about is adding supplemental heating and cooling to the second floor vis-à-vis, for example, a split-ductless system, which would – could supply both warm air and cool air, depending on the design of the model that you get. But I don’t think this is all about duct defects in terms of leaky ducts. I think this is a design defect that you have to – just haven’t nailed it yet. OK, Taylor? Does that make sense?
TAYLOR: Alright. Sounds good.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bonnie in Pennsylvania is on the line with a dippy driveway. Tell us what’s going on.
BONNIE: Well, our driveway was asphalt originally and it’s probably 30, 40 years ago. And there really isn’t much left to it now. But it – most of it is fine. It stays solid. But there’s one part – two parts, actually, have great, big dips in them so you kind of go down in. And the water collects in there. So I was wondering what we could fill that in with. It’s not left the driveway. It’s kind of non-existent now but it’s not a …
TOM: Well, at least you have a speed bump built into your driveway, you know?
TOM: Probably safer that way.
TOM: If you’ve got a 30- or 40-year-old driveway, that driveway doesn’t really owe you any money. You can patch it. You can have it professionally patched with more asphalt material. But my concern is that whatever’s causing that dip is an underlying problem and it’s just going to reform over and over again. Once you start to get a dip, of course, the water gets in there and it sort of exacerbates it.
But I think your options are to topcoat that driveway, which you could do with more asphalt material. It’s a professional project; it’s not one you can do yourself. Or if you want to go ahead and invest the time and the money right now, you could just tear it out and build it again. When it gets to be that age, it really does have to be replaced. If you think about it, roads have to be replaced far more frequently than that. But if you’ve got a 30- or 40-year-old driveway, it’s probably reached the end of a normal life cycle and it’s time for it to be torn out and completely replaced, not topcoated. But you could buy yourself some time by doing the topcoat application.
BONNIE: Could you just fill it in with stone or something for now or no?
TOM: No, because it’s just going to fall out. It’s not really a do-it-yourself project. You have to put more asphalt mixed with stone, under pressure, rolled over it. But my concern about recoating a driveway that’s that old is it’s just not going to last that long.
BONNIE: Yeah. There’s nothing much left to recoat it.
TOM: Right. Yeah. So it’s not worth it, OK, Bonnie?
BONNIE: OK, thank you.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re looking to take the edge off your monthly bills, you might be able to squeeze some extra savings from a surprising place: your homeowners insurance bill. Now, it does require some up-front spending. But if you invest it in the right place, you could be looking at savings for years to come.
TOM: Yeah. And here’s why. Insurance companies end up paying out a lot for water damage, so they’re going to reward you with lower rates for making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. So, for example, if you were to replace rubber hoses on your washing machine with the kind that are called “no-burst” – they’re braided stainless-steel hoses – you can save up to 10 percent.
LESLIE: Now, if you live in an area that’s prone to high winds, a tougher garage door can actually slash your monthly premiums. And if you install a hurricane-resistant door or buy a retrofit solution that strengthens your existing one, you’ll see savings, as well.
TOM: And if you’d like a complete list of projects that can lower your home insurance costs, we’ve got it. Just go to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Kendall in Arkansas is on the line with a question about carpeting. What can we do for you today?
KENDALL: Taking a porch and screening it in. And I’ve got 2x6s laid down as a floor over about a 3-foot-high crawlspace under my house.
KENDALL: And I’m going to put indoor/outdoor carpet down. And I just want – maybe concerned whether or not I need to put something underneath that, some sort of underlayment for maybe moisture barrier or even critter barrier.
TOM: So what are you constructing this floor of?
KENDALL: It’s a porch. It’s a covered area of my deck.
TOM: Oh, it’s a covered porch. OK. Yeah.
KENDALL: It’s a covered deck and I’m just taking in the covered area and making it a screened porch.
TOM: I see. OK.
KENDALL: But I don’t want water intrusion, nor do I want to lay down carpet that’s going to end up becoming moldy or something underneath it.
TOM: Yeah. Indoor/outdoor carpeting does tend to hold a lot of water and moisture and dampness against the wood. It certainly can contribute towards decay.
Is this porch going to be fully covered?
KENDALL: Yes. It is completely covered. In fact, I’m going to – I’ve set in Plexiglas on the bottom 3-feet of the height of walls for the sake of any potential rain to come in through the sides. I think I’m OK there. My concern, I guess, is just if it’s going to develop a condensation issue or something beneath the carpet that I’m putting down.
TOM: Look, it’s always possible. I’ll give you one suggestion that is a little unorthodox but I think it would work. As long as you cover – you’re covering this with the indoor/outdoor carpet, why not lay down ice-and-water shield across the porch floor? It’s usually used on a roof and it provides complete moisture barrier between – right underneath the roofing shingles. But if you put that down and then covered it with the carpet, that would give you an additional protection for the structure. And you could always scrape it back up if you had to.
KENDALL: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got a post here from Chris who writes: “We’re in the process of remodeling our 1940s house. All of the existing doors have mortise-style locks, antique knobs and backplates that are original to the house. However, all of the keys are missing.”
TOM: Of course.
LESLIE: “I want to keep the locking mechanism and the antique plates because they look great. Is there a way to keep using these and add new locks?”
TOM: A lot of companies and websites, like House of Antique Hardware, have been created to kind of fill that void for situations just like this. Most were going to use reproductions of antiques rather than the original, due to the changes, but you may be better off just replacing the lock by purchasing one that’s an antique design. Because I’ve got to tell you, even if you find those new parts, it’s going to take a lot to get it working well and it’s going to be expensive.
LESLIE: But you know what? You’re going to love the way they look, Chris. And they’ll seem really authentic and historically accurate.
TOM: You’ll especially love them because they cost a lot.
LESLIE: It makes you love it more.
TOM: Well, if you’d like to update the look of dull bedroom furniture, a lacquered dresser or a chest of drawers can do just that. And the sheen does not have to stop there. Leslie has got tips on adding high gloss for high style, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, the lacquer look is popping up again. But wood that’s finished with lacquer does need proper prep and that includes sanding and sealing.
Now, before you apply the lacquer, you’ve got to clean thoroughly that wood with a tack cloth. You want to use only aerosol-spray lacquer and really be sure to protect that work area with drop cloths, newspapers, whatever it is to just sort of protect the surrounding off-spray zone. And make sure that you’re working in a very well-ventilated space.
Now, when it comes to the application, you want to apply the lacquer slowly and evenly and hold that spray can about 18 inches from the surface of the project. Any further than that, you’re going to get that sort of orange-peel look where that lacquer kind of gets a dimpled finish. And if you’re closer, you’re going to notice that the lacquer is going to build up in certain spots or you’ll get runs or sags. So, maybe practice on something and sort of find that sweet spot where you feel comfortable spraying and delivering the right amount of application, because it’s about layers here, guys. So get comfortable and start in.
Now, as you work, you want to overlap the lacquer-spray patterns slightly. Several thin coats. That is what’s going to deliver you the highest-gloss look, as opposed to a couple of really heavy ones. You also need to follow instructions and let them dry – these layers – completely before you put the next coat on.
Now, lastly, while that lacquer can be used on most woods, you cannot use it on mahogany or rosewood because there’s oils in these woods that are going to bleed through the finish. And it also can’t be used over a certain existing finish, maybe if there’s an oil-based stain or if you’ve got a lot of wood filler. Either way, if you’ve got the right material for a lacquer project, it is amazing and it’s gorgeous and it really does make a statement.
I have always done a lacquered handrail on the banister in a great, deep color like oxblood or black. I mean you can do something so cool with lacquer. So, experiment with it, have some fun and get in on this trend.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’re looking for more storage space, adding an attic floor might be the perfect project. But if you don’t get it right, you could ruin your insulation or even damage the home’s structure. We’ll walk you through the options, 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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