In this episode…
If you’re sitting on a stash of leftover latex paint, you have a gold mine when it comes to home decorating. With a little imagination and creative flair, you can use paint leftovers to give your home extra appeal and have lots of fun in the process. Get the tips.
- Would you believe that nearly a QUARTER of all residential break-ins happen through a first-floor window? Learn how to keep your home safe from burglaries.
- Stone countertops are both popular AND expensive. But we’ve got a trick of the trade to share on how to get a granite counter makeover WITHOUT spending a lot.
- One laundry hazard is responsible for 32,000 calls to poison control. We’ll share how to keep kids safe.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about Plus, answers to your home improvement questions, about hiring a public insurance adjuster, installing spray foam insulation, choosing a kitchen sink, repairing a stove that doesn’t heat quickly.
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 DIY projects or projects that maybe you’d like to get done and are going to hire a pro to get done with. The first thing to do is to call us and we will help you get started on the right foot. Whatever you need to do to make your house the best it can possibly be, to make your home the best house ever, we are here to help you, to guide you, to coach you, to inspire you and help you save some hassles along the way. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Now, if you’re a DIYer, here is a common problem: you find yourself sitting on a stash of leftover latex paint, right? I mean from all the projects that you tackled? Well, if that’s you, you may have a gold mine when it comes to home decorating. We’ve got some tips on how you can put all that leftover paint to good use, to give your house some extra appeal and have a bit of fun in the process.
LESLIE: And also ahead, would you believe that nearly a quarter of all residential break-ins happen through a first-floor window? We’re going to tell you how you can keep your home safe from burglaries.
TOM: And stone countertops are very popular and very expensive but we’re going to share a trick of the trade about how you can have a granite-counter makeover without spending a lot of money.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear what you are working on. What are your reno plans for the rest of the summer? Or maybe you’ve got some big ideas for the fall or you’re looking to just update some things so that you’re ready to stay home in the winter season. Whatever it is, give us a call. We can help. Call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Laura in South Carolina is just not enjoying the taste of a popcorn ceiling. Tell us what’s going on over there.
LAURA: Well, a tree fell on the roof of our house, which caused the ceiling to crack in the bedroom.
TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.
LAURA: And we’ve gotten the roof fixed and all those things fixed and everything. And so we redid the drywall and the plaster up in the ceiling. But we can’t match the popcorn so that you can tell or not tell that there’s been damage. And we don’t know what to do.
TOM: How have you tried to patch it?
LAURA: Well, we took – we patched it first. We removed the section that had actually come through the ceiling and put new – the new ceiling up.
TOM: Yep. Yeah.
LAURA: And then we plastered over the crack, because there were two cracks where the edge of the – the width of the tree was, all the way to the middle of the ceiling
LAURA: And so we plastered that and then we tried to use that popcorn texture that you get at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
LESLIE: In the spray can?
LAURA: And you – yeah, in the little – no, we tried the spray but that was so, so messy. And then we got the can of it – the little container of it – where you use the putty knife or the paintbrush?
LAURA: And tried to put that up but it does not – it looks horrible; it looks like water is dripping or big drip marks.
LAURA: And it just does not match at all and we don’t know what to do.
TOM: So, did you file an insurance claim for this act of God?
LAURA: Oh, yeah.
TOM: You did?
LAURA: It wasn’t actually an act of God; it was a dead tree from the neighbor’s house that fell.
TOM: Oh, OK. But it’s covered by insurance, right?
LAURA: Yeah, the insurance took care of it.
TOM: So why didn’t they go all the way and just restore the ceiling? If this was something that is covered by insurance and you had a popcorn ceiling and you deserve to have that ceiling restored, why didn’t they just pay for a painter to come in with the popcorn-ceiling machine and just respray the whole thing?
LAURA: Well, it was kind of a mistake on our part, because there was a gentleman that lives in the neighborhood who’s a contractor that we got. And then he finished the outside and most of the inside but didn’t finish that part.
TOM: Alright. Well, live and learn. You probably can go back to them but look, are you really in love with the popcorn ceiling? Because most people are not; most of the calls we get about popcorn ceiling is how to get rid of it.
LESLIE: How to get rid of it.
TOM: So, the other option here is just to get rid of what’s there and match it all.
TOM: And you can do that. It’s not really that hard to do. You dampen the ceiling with – you can use a pump-up sprayer to put a little bit of a water spray on it. Not terrible, not a lot but just enough to dampen it. Then you can scrape away the popcorn with a putty knife or with a drywall knife, like a spackling blade?
TOM: And you get that off the whole ceiling that way. And then you prime the whole thing and then you paint it with a flat paint, because it won’t reflect light when it strikes across the flat paint. And that usually blends in quite nicely.
So, if you’re not satisfied with the patching – because it sounds like you’re using the right products. And if it’s not looking right to you and you can’t have the entire ceiling restored, then why not get rid of the popcorn that remains and just go with a popcorn-free ceiling?
LAURA: Yeah, that might be the best – but I didn’t know how hard it would be to remove that ceiling, so we didn’t want to start something we didn’t know if we could finish, like …
TOM: Yeah, it’s not easy but it’s not terrible, either. So, that’s – I think that’s your best approach.
LAURA: Yeah, it sounds like it’s going to be our only option at this point. Alright. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
You know, I don’t know if Laura did this but if you do have something that you can file with your insurance company for protection on – for coverage on, I should say – you really want to get a public adjuster in at the get-go. Because public adjusters work for you, not the insurance company. They work on a percentage of the claim. They’re always going to find more than the insurance-company adjuster does.
And this is a perfect example of the kind of thing they would not miss. They wouldn’t put in for the popcorn ceiling to be patched; they would include a big budget number for the entire thing to be restored, completely replaced. And if you do that at the get-go of a project like this, it’s going to come out better.
And the other lesson, I guess, Laura learned is never hire the nice man that lives around the corner to do your project when – get enough money for it and have a professional do it. It’s not a part-time job.
LESLIE: No. And it can never end well when utilizing a neighbor’s help.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading out to Kansas where David has got a question. How can we help you today?
DAVID: I had a remodel done and we installed a vent fan over the range.
DAVID: And when we get a high north wind in the wintertime, it seems like we get a lot of backfeeding cold air coming in that vent. I didn’t know – is there any way to stop that?
TOM: So, the vent fan has an exhaust port on the outside wall, correct?
DAVID: And the door seems to be working fine, so …
TOM: Mm-hmm. And is there a gasket around that door?
DAVID: Yes, I think there is.
TOM: When you look at that door, do you happen to note whether or not it’s evenly striking all the way around? In other words, if it’s a little twisted because it’s metal – sheet metal. And sometimes, when they’re trying to get that all in there, sometimes if it gets cocked a little bit and it’s twisted, it may not be closing completely all the way around. Have you taken a look at that level of detail?
DAVID: It looks pretty good that way. It’s just when you get the high wind, it seems to sit there and chatter back and forth a little bit. That seems to be what (audible).
TOM: OK. Yeah, so it’s depressurizing, basically. Interesting.
The other thing is, around the outside of that where it comes through the wall, do you know if they’ve sealed that when it was put in? It usually comes through the wall and there’s usually some sort of frame around it and flashing. And you may be able to take off that outside housing and then seal it better than it was originally. And that could help a little bit.
But if the door is chattering, then it seems like the spring may not be tight enough. And I’m not sure that anything that we could suggest is going to change that. I can’t imagine a way to kind of correct that if that’s what’s going on.
DAVID: Yeah. Well, we’ve had the similar problem on the dryer vent and the bathroom exhaust. And we put a dampener in but this doesn’t have a long enough room to put a dampener in the liner, so …
TOM: Ah, yeah. And of course, if you put a damper in, you’re restricting its efficiency, as well.
TOM: So that’s another issue.
Another thing that you could do is if you put another – I want to call it a “cage” but it’s kind of like a metal box that’s made out of perforated steel. And it’s very perforated; it’s not enclosed at all, right? But if you were to surround that exhaust port with a second sort of frame around it and had that sort of fenced-in area, then that might be enough to interrupt the flow of the air that’s depressurizing that spot and stop it from sort of chattering and coming up as much. And you certainly could attach it temporarily and see if it works.
DAVID: Hmm. OK. Just something to break the wind. [Clasp on] (ph).
TOM: Yeah, some way to break the wind up, exactly. Yep. Exactly.
Thanks for calling us, David. I hope that helps you out. And let us know how you make out.
DAVID: Alright then. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, sir. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Well, if you happen to be sitting on a stash of leftover latex paint from projects gone by, you may have a gold mine when it comes to home decorating.
Now, with a little imagination, you can put all that leftover paint to good use. So we’ve got five ideas here to help you get going.
First of all, look at your kitchen. I mean you probably have a lot of canisters, things that hold spices or maybe large things for cereal or things to put utensils in. And maybe they’re kind of plain. Why not paint those with some of that leftover paint? Of if you’ve got an old pot or pan that’s kind of like a cute shape or has some interesting character to it that you’re not using anymore, you can paint that, too, and use it for wall décor. And this kind of gives you a great way to bring the colors from the rest of the house into that kitchen space.
Now, you can also do the same with planters and flowerpots. They really do look so much more cheerful with a coating of color. And you can paint them one solid hue or you can make patterns on them. You can even go ahead and put a glossy topcoat on them if the paint is an eggshell or something that’s not so shiny. And that’ll really look great on a planter.
TOM: Now, the next thing that you might want to think about is if you are looking at some old dressers or old furniture that are a bit tired-looking, you can spice those up with paint. If you want, you could even use different colors for different parts and add some visual interest. An old stool or a table or a cabinet could also use a makeover, too. If you’ve got some of that old stuff and you want to do some green redecorating, you want to reuse, you want to update, you want to restore some of those old pieces that you’re not using anymore, see if you can combine them with the old paint you’re not using anymore and you will have a whole new piece of furniture.
And speaking of adding some décor, you can add some pizzazz to painted walls with a patterned border. This is a pretty straightforward thing to do. You can find a nice-looking, pretty stamp or an old sponge, cut it into the shape of your choosing and then do a nice custom, hand-crafted design by stamping that paint around the border of your home.
And then, finally, accentuate the positive. You can express your home’s individuality by adding an accent color. You can do this to a door, to a doorway or to an entire wall. Don’t have enough paint for the whole room? Just paint one wall. It could be a real standout piece. The unexpected color will make your interior something very, very special.
LESLIE: Charlene in Louisiana is on the line with a roofing question. What are you working on?
CHARLENE: I have a shallow roof on my house. They call it a 2:3 pitch. It’s not flat but it’s very shallow, OK? Almost no attic, about maybe 2 feet in there. I was interested in an aluminum roof, like a lifetime roof? And I wanted to know which would be better: that or a regular shingle roof, like an architectural roof.
TOM: You don’t have the pitch for an asphalt-shingle roof. You need to have at least a 3:12 or a 4:12 roof to put in shingles.
CHARLENE: Well, I have shingles on it now and they’ve been there for 20 years.
TOM: I’m telling you, you may but it’s not right. You can only put shingles on a roof that’s got a minimum pitch of 3:12 or 4:12. And if you’ve got them on there right now, count your blessings but it shouldn’t have been put on there. And any roofing manufacturer will tell you that.
If you – your options, therefore, are either to do, say, a rolled roofing or a rubber roofing or a metal roof, as long as it’s rated for that low pitch. And I think a metal roof is a great investment if you’re going to be there for the long haul. But that’s what I would invest in because with that low of a pitch, you probably don’t see it very much and you want to make sure that it’s really going to be watertight. And with a low pitch, you just can’t use an architectural shingle; it just won’t work.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Linda in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
LINDA: I have a cement guy and he’s going to do the stamped cement, OK? My question was – I was wondering what the conditions have to be outside, because this has been since May that he tore my old deck out that was made of wood, OK?
LINDA: And he cleaned that all up but he hasn’t been back since.
LINDA: So, that, I know is COVID and maybe his workers. I think a lot of them went on unemployment, so he’s having a hard time getting them off of unemployment to come back to work.
TOM: Yeah. Yep, yep.
LINDA: I just didn’t know recourses for people that have put money down, are waiting.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
LINDA: And then, also, what are the conditions – is he feeding me a line that he can’t get there because if it’s too hot, if it’s too wet – I don’t know about …
TOM: No, no. No, no, no. I think that – I don’t think there’s any reason you can’t do any kind of concrete project or finishing project in the spring or summer. There’s ways to do it. Do it early in the morning if he’s worried about that.
In terms of, you know, the COVID risk, it’s outside so they’re not even going to be in your house. So I don’t think that’s an issue.
LINDA: That’s true.
TOM: I think this is a labor issue. And he’s got a responsibility to kind of put up or shut up. He’s either got to do the job or he’s got to give you your money back and you’d have to take it from there.
LINDA: OK. So, my next step, should that be calling the Better Business Bureau? They might (inaudible)?
TOM: They have no power to force him to do anything.
TOM: If he took money for you – from you – how much of the job did you pay for?
TOM: How much …?
LINDA: I put half down: 4,300.
TOM: Oh, boy. And all he did was tear it out?
LINDA: All he did was tear out the wood deck.
LINDA: It was some work with that but still …
TOM: OK. I’ll give you a little trick of the trade. And I’m not giving you legal advice and you probably should talk to a lawyer before doing this. But I know it works and I’ve done it myself. You can file a theft complaint with the local police department. And if – they’ll notify him of the theft complain. He’ll have to go to court to defend himself as a thief. And you’ll find that once this goes from civil to criminal, that these guys become a lot more cooperative about giving you your money back.
LINDA: OK. And is that what I want or will that scare him to get there to actually do the job? What do you think that would happen afterward?
TOM: I think you’ve got to give him the ultimatum that he either has to do this or he has to give you your money back. And if he doesn’t respond, then I think you’re within your rights, I would think, to go to the next step.
LINDA: Perfect. OK. Appreciate it.
TOM: Yeah. I’m sorry that happened to you but I hope that gives you some direction.
LINDA: OK. Appreciate your callback. Thanks.
LESLIE: Glenn in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
GLENN: I’ve got a Jenn-Air natural-gas range and when it – when you turn the temperature to 350 to preheat it, it takes between 25 and 30 minutes to come up to temperature. The manual with the stove said that, yeah, it should only take about 10 minutes, so I was wondering if you had any ideas.
LESLIE: Yeah. I wonder if there’s an obstruction in the line.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I was thinking about the valve. It sounds like it’s a problem with the control system.
TOM: So that could be electronics or it could be the valve or it could be a maintenance issue. I think it’s definitely something you need to get addressed because it could potentially be unsafe. There’s no way it should be taking 30 minutes for that to happen.
Is this a self-cleaning range?
GLENN: Yes. It’s not the type that’s got the lock, though. You just – and we don’t use that feature; we just clean it by hand. But it does have that feature but we don’t use it.
TOM: I’m hesitating on this. I mean one way to look at this is you could run the self-cleaning cycle and see if it cleared it. But then again, if there’s something wrong with the valve, I wouldn’t want you to run the self-cleaning cycle. So I think the best thing to do is to have it serviced by a professional that is familiar with that brand and can access those parts. Because it’s clearly not right.
GLENN: Yeah, I agree.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Anna in South Dakota on the line with a question about ants. What is going on?
ANNA: Took down a huge, huge tree. And the contractor that took it down said, “Good thing you took it down because in two years, it probably would have fell.”
ANNA: Because it’s all hollow and he said it had a huge carpenter-ant nest in it.
ANNA: So, my house is 10 feet away. Do I need to worry about that?
TOM: No. Carpenter ants are Mother Nature’s way of getting rid of dead wood. Sure, they could infest your house but they’re not necessarily going to be motivated to go there over anything else that’s lying about. You’ll find ant nests like that once in a while. And they’ll usually just go down on the ground, walk to another location. But they’re not like, “Hey, let’s go over to Anna’s house, because I think I heard it’s tasty.” No, they’re not usually going to go in your house. That said, you ought to keep your eye out for all sorts of pests – carpenter ants and termites, in particular – but you’re not at any increased risk of finding ants.
I’ll tell you, I had a surprise myself with ants a couple of weeks back. I have a bay window. It’s filled with plants. And I was doing some cleaning and I didn’t notice we were getting some persistent ants in this area. And I figured they were coming in from the outside, being the knowledgeable home improvement expert that I am.
Well, imagine my surprise when I lifted up a big, clay pot that had a flowering plant in it and found that the ant infestation was, in fact, in the plant. So, we were helping this ant infestation survive by dutifully watering our plant. And once I got the plant outside, those ants had to find a new place to live and we haven’t seen a single one since.
So, they’re not necessarily looking to go to your house. I think that you’re going to be fine.
ANNA: OK. That was my only concern. The house is from – was built in 1908 and it’s like it’s, you know …
TOM: Yep. And it’s going to be fine for another hundred years. You don’t worry about that, OK?
ANNA: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck.
Well, about 2 million residential burglaries are reported every year. So we thought we’d share three easy tips to help keep your home safe and secure.
First off, thieves get into houses, about a quarter of the time, by using the first-floor window. You think that, well, people would remember to lock them.
LESLIE: That seems so obvious.
TOM: Apparently, they don’t, in huge numbers. And you can help prevent break-ins by keeping the windows locked and by keeping bushes and shrubs near those windows trimmed back so you avoid hiding spots. Because, remember, burglars are sneaky thieves. If they can’t be sneaky, they’re going to leave your house alone, pretty much.
LESLIE: That’s true.
Now, you also need to make sure that you’re closing and locking the windows, even when you’re out for just a day. I know this one sounds like a no-brainer but you would really be surprised at how easily a thief can find an open window. And a lot of the times, those windows are open or unlocked on the first floor.
TOM: And finally, now is a really good time to have a home security system, because there are many smart-home systems on the market that are very inexpensive, take very little time to install. And some even have options for professional monitoring if you want to go that way, at as little as about 15 bucks a month.
So, remember, keep those bushes trimmed back, keep those windows locked and get a simple security system. And don’t be part of that 25 percent of people that get busted into every year because they don’t do one of those three things.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to tackle a question about roofing shingles.
Brian, how can we help you?
BRIAN: Well, we’re building a new house and we have the spray-foam insulation, where the house is encapsulated.
BRIAN: And I had a friend that told me in their house, on the north side in the wintertime, that the shingles will buckle. So, I didn’t know anything about that and didn’t know how to find out whether or not that was true.
TOM: So, are you – why are you asking? Are you – if you have an existing house with a roof, are you thinking about changing the roof?
BRIAN: Well, we’re not thinking about changing it but we’re in the middle of building. We’re not in the house yet.
TOM: Oh, you’re in the middle of building. Oh, OK. Good.
BRIAN: And if there’s a problem with it, then we’d want the builder to correct it, yeah.
TOM: I see, yeah. Yeah. No, I don’t think there’s any problem with it whatsoever. I think you made the best choice. I personally have a spray-foam underside of my roof sheathing and I’ve got to tell you, it’s definitely the most efficient way to go. We’ve seen dramatic decreases in our energy cost since we went that way. So I think you’re making a really good choice. I’ve never heard of it having any kind of negative effect on the roofing shingles whatsoever.
BRIAN: Well, I appreciate it. Because my friends tell me the shingles had to be rated for that but I couldn’t find any information on that.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think so. No, I really – I don’t think that’s right.
BRIAN: OK. Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Now, we’ve got Darryl on the line who’s got a question about a leak in a crawlspace. Tell us what’s going on.
DARRYL: Yeah. I’ve got a house that has a crawlspace. It’s got a cement floor in it and it gets water in the crawlspace. And been trying to figure out how it’s getting in there. I’ve noticed that the vents around the foundation are not very high off of the ground and I’m wondering if maybe that’s how they’re – it’s getting in there and if I could put some window wells around those windows. I mean they’re only about – these vents are only like 12 inches by, probably, 8 inches. And the window wells I’ve seen are much larger.
TOM: That’s not the issue, Darryl. Let me ask you this: when does the leaking seem to be worse? Is it consistent with heavy rains and snow melt and that sort of thing?
DARRYL: Well, yeah, probably. But I really – it’s hard to say because it’s not that easy to access. And I just know that when I have a long dry spell, it does seem to dry up.
TOM: So, when you have leaks in a crawlspace or even a basement that’s consistent with precipitation, it’s always caused by drainage issues at the foundation perimeter. So, by drainage issues, we’re talking about the gutters. If the gutters are clogged, if there’s not enough gutters, if there’s not enough downspouts, if the downspouts aren’t discharging well enough away from the foundation – you need to go out about 4 to 6 feet if you’re dealing with a water-infiltration issue.
And aside from the gutters, the grading – the soil around the outside – has to slope away. And so what I would do in your case is I would take a really careful look at the gutters. Because I’ve got to tell you, most of the time, that’s going to solve it. If you get – if you make sure the gutters are collecting water and discharging them far away from the foundation, that’s going to solve it.
The way the water gets in is because when the soil at the foundation perimeter gets saturated, the foundation, being a concrete masonry structure, is very hydroscopic. So, literally, it soaks up moisture like a sponge. And that water can show up coming right through the floor. I’ve seen it come up like a little geyser in the middle of the floor. But it will come through that concrete cover on the floor of your crawlspace. So you need to deal with the drainage issues first. And I think that will solve it for you, Darryl.
And by the way, on our website there is a great article, right on the home page, about how to solve wet-basement and crawlspace-flooding issues. It’s one of the most popular articles on the site. And it will walk you through the step-by-step, tell you exactly what you need to do.
DARRYL: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you love beautiful stone countertops, the granite tops are especially popular. But there is a way, though, to get them in your kitchen for a lot less than just going with a full top. And that tip is this: you can use smaller sections of stone. The same granite that’s used for the tops are sold in square pieces. And if you take them and you stack them up side by side and then fill the joints with grout, you’re going to have a beautiful and very unique countertop that is going to be a lot less expensive and easier to install. And it’s going to provide an equally attractive look at a very small fraction of the price of solid-stone surfaces.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, you know, there are also a couple of other options for a granite look. You can find great designs in a laminate countertop that do look a lot like granite. And today’s laminates come in a ton of colors, like thousands. And many of those options can look exactly like a granite or a marble or any of the other solid-surface options for a countertop. So take a look, because the patterns are much more believable, I promise.
TOM: And for an even less expensive solution, there’s a product now that’s made of stone that you can just roll onto an existing countertop. It’s called SpreadStone and it comes as a countertop kit. And all you do is that: you roll it on. It’s fast and it’s easy. You can get it done in about a weekend and it can be applied to an existing countertop or one that’s made of plywood or particle board or concrete or even tile. You can turn them all into durable, stain-resistant surfaces for a lot less than the cost of a new stone top.
It’s a product that’s made by Daich Coatings. And that is their website: D-a-i-c-h-Coatings.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kathy from West Virginia on the line who’s tackling a kitchen project and has some questions about a sink. What can we do for you?
KATHY: Well, I’m having a hard time deciding on the type of sink. I’ve always had a – I keep on wanting to say double-barrel. I wash on one side and I rinse in the other.
KATHY: So, it’s really hard for me to relate to a single-bowl sink. But they seem to be the rage and I wanted to see, really, what is the attraction?
TOM: Size and space. You can get a lot more in a single-bowl sink that you can in one that is divided into two. And I understand the habit of putting soap in one and rinsing in the other. And listen, if you’re used to that, why not? But I think the reason people get them is because they can get the bigger pots and pans in there and they’re just a whole lot easier to use.
The other option, of course, is if you’re going to have a single-bowl sink, then you just get used to having a small plastic bowl in there – a plastic tub, I should say in there – which is what we always did. So that is where all the soapy water goes and then you have plenty of room on the other side to rinse. And then you can just take it out and put it away when you’re all done. So it’s really personal preference but I think the reason they’re so popular is space.
What do you think, Leslie?
LESLIE: I, personally – I have an extra-deep, single-bowl stainless sink. And I like it because pots and pans fit in there no problem. I can definitely put a lot of stuff in there as I’m trying to get things cleared up quickly. And I don’t have to have it on the countertops. But I did grow up with a double sink and I, too, liked that. I didn’t have to fill up so much water in one sink if I wanted to just wash a couple of things or – you have more options with that.
Now, when you’re remodeling, are you just replacing the existing sink or are you changing out the cabinet?
KATHY: I’m changing everything.
LESLIE: I love the idea of a ceramic-coated, apron-front sink that looks kind of – it can be modern and country, sort of, at the same time and have an interesting feel. And you can do a double-sink. I think they’re even called “country sinks.” The apron front, they’re so beautiful. And it might be just something that’s a little different but still familiar. And they resell very well for the house.
KATHY: Well, I am so attracted to those ceramic, apron-front sinks. And before I make the commitment, I was just wanting to see, am I missing something about this attraction with the single bowl?
TOM: No. I don’t think you are. I think they’re very attractive and I think it’s part of that sort of farmhouse-sink design that’s so popular – the farmhouse décor that’s so popular today.
So, good luck with that project, Kathy.
KATHY: OK. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Remember, you can always post your question at the MoneyPit.com or on The Money Pit’s Facebook page.
Now, Laura writes: “We bought a propane grill last year before selling our home and only used it once. When we moved into our new home, we found a natural-gas line available for the grill. Is there a way to get this propane grill to work with natural gas?”
TOM: Interesting. You can’t use natural gas in a propane grill. The size of the burner is different and the flow of the gas is different. But considering its age and the cost and hassle of converting it, I think you’re probably best to chalk this one up or sell it and go ahead and buy a new natural-gas grill. Because by the time you get done ordering new burners and new valves and stuff, you’ve probably paid for the new one. And it would be a bit of a loss, I think, when you’re all said and done. So I would just sell the old one or the old one that’s not that old. A year old, right? Sell that and go ahead and put that money towards a new natural-gas grill.
And the great thing about that is you don’t have to replace those propane tanks, which is getting harder and harder to do.
LESLIE: Now, Tom, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a natural-gas grill at the home center. Are they special order? Maybe just because I’ve never looked for one.
TOM: You probably won’t find them in the aisle of a home center but I know that the gas companies always sell them. And you probably have to special-order one because they’re not as common as propane grills.
LESLIE: Alright. Good to know.
Enjoy your new grill, Laura.
TOM: Well, I’m sure you know better than to leave medicine in reach of kids but what about basic household cleaners? Some can be just as toxic. So, one of the ones that is a big concern right now are these laundry packets. Leslie is going to explain why, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? Those liquid laundry packets, they really do make life a lot easier. And I actually just started using them at home myself. But they can complicate things, as well, because they’re small and they’re colorful and they look like these squeezy, fun, little packets of goodness. And maybe you think they’re candy. I mean they really do make them look kind of fun and maybe you want to eat them. And in fact, they’ve prompted more than 32,000 calls to Poison Control centers. And that number is so high because they do look fun and they do look edible, which they are not.
Now, it’s not just a matter of keeping these laundry packets out of your kids’ mouths. They shouldn’t even be handled by the little ones, because what they’re made out of – once they get wet or even slightly damp, they start to break down. So they’ll start releasing toxic chemicals. And those, if they get on your kids’ hands, they can linger and then make their way into your child’s mouth or their eyes. And this can happen even hours later.
Now, laundry packets really aren’t the only danger to kids. You should never store toxins in containers for juice or milk unless you have clearly labeled them that it is not juice or milk and it is actually a toxic cleaner of some sort. Because the bottle looks fun and inviting and some of these cleansers actually look like fruit juices. So you have to be careful. You need to keep these cleaners in places no different than you would put medicine. Make sure the kids can’t get to them. Put locks on the cabinets.
And speaking of medicines, if you’ve got older kids in the house, you want to make sure that any of your medications that you have, you lock them up in a medicine chest. And make sure you dispose of those medicines that you no longer need or use or are expired. Do so quickly and don’t just dispose of them in your garbage or down the toilet, because they get into the water-supply system. Make sure you contact your local pharmacy. They’ll tell you where you can deposit these medicines that are no longer needed so they can be disposed of safely.
But you’ve got to keep your kids safe, because so many things are just so easy for these little, curious hands and minds to get around. And you want to make that opportunity not so available.
TOM: Good point.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, whether it’s around your sink or between a tub or tile or surround or covering the joints of your shower wall, that nasty, worn caulk has got to go. We’ve got some DIY tips on how to get this job done the easy way, 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.)