In this episode…
Now is a good time to plan end of season projects to set you up for the cooler months ahead. We’ve got 4 projects that will save you time, money and help avoid costly repairs when colder weather prevails.
- Plus, garages get a workout in the Fall and Winter, which is why now is a great time to fix up the garage floor. We’ll have tips on the best way to get this done using epoxy paint.
- Painting the exterior is a job that needs to get done every 5 to 10 years and if your house is ready for that project, we’ll share a few pro house painting tips help.
- Can you imagine a breezy summer evening in your backyard, fireflies dancing around, and you’re watching your favorite movie? You can, by building your own backyard movie screen! We’ll tell you how!
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 here to help you with your home improvement and décor projects. Our mission is to educate, to inspire, to help you build some confidence on the projects you guys would like to get done and to kind of pretty much simply guide you on how to get it done, get it done once, get it done right so you don’t have to get it done again. But your job is to first help yourself by picking up the phone, because this is a participation show. We welcome your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s program, as summer heat starts to fade, now is a very good time to plan for end-of-summer projects, kind of set you up for the cooler months ahead. We’re going to walk you through five projects that’ll save you time, money and help you avoid some potentially very expensive repairs when the cold weather arrives.
LESLIE: Plus, your garage sure gets a workout in the fall and the winter, which is why now is a great time to fix up that garage floor. We’re going to have some tips on the best way that you can get this done using epoxy paint.
TOM: And speaking of painting, you know, painting the exterior job – Leslie, that’s a job that you’ve got to do every, say, 5 to 10 years. But man, it is not one you look forward to. I mean it’s a lot of work.
But more and more people are taking on the job themselves, so we figure why not help with a few pro house-painting tips to speed that project along?
LESLIE: And can you imagine a breezy summer evening in your backyard, with fireflies dancing around and you and your family watching your favorite movie? This has definitely been a big trend in this pandemic summer. Everybody’s screening outdoor movies, so we’re going to help you build your own backyard movie screen.
Plus, we’re going to help one listener get started with the right tools, because we’re giving away the Arrow T25X Wire Stapler to help.
TOM: Plus, we’ve got an Arrow T50 to go in that package. They’re going out to one caller drawn at random. To qualify, pick up the phone and call us or post your question at MoneyPit.com. That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading over to Florida, we’ve got Beverly on the line who’s got a question about siding. What’s going on? Are you installing it yourself?
BEVERLY: It’s just a shed. And it’s 10×10 and I had some siding that I got – some vinyl siding – and I wanted to put it on a shed. And I figured the shed’s only 8 feet high so I’d be able to put it on myself.
BEVERLY: But I heard conflicting opinions about whether I should use screws or nails.
TOM: Oh, OK.
BEVERLY: So, one hardware-store guy goes, “Use screws.” Another one says, “Use nails.” And it’s going on oriented strand board. And then I put tar paper.
TOM: OK. Yeah. So it’s not a tough question; it’s not even a close question. You’re going to use nails. And not only are you going to use nails, you’re going to use nails and you’re not going to drive them home. You’re not going to drive them to where they’re solidly banging that siding into the oriented strand board.
Vinyl siding has some peculiarities to its installation method. So you know, of course, you start low, right, and the pieces interlock. Now, if you’ll notice, vinyl siding doesn’t have nail holes; it has nail slots. And that’s for a really important reason. The vinyl has a really big expansion ratio. So if you put the vinyl siding on too tight, where it can’t slide, it’s going to buckle and looks terrible. You can always see a bad siding job, in the south side of the house, when the sun hits it and it buckles. And that’s because the siding was nailed on too solidly.
So you’re going to use a flathead nail. A roofing nail would be fine or something like that. And you want to just put it in the center of the slot and you don’t want to make it tight. You want to leave enough space. When you’re done, you should be able to grab that piece of siding and slide it back and forth in the slot, you know what I mean?
TOM: And if it slides back and forth, that’s perfect. That’s exactly what you want. It’s not going to fall off. It’s not going to blow away. But because you’ve put it on loosely that way, it’ll be able to expand and contract and not buckle. OK?
BEVERLY: Well, I’m glad you told me. Because the first – I put the screw in and I put it in tight.
TOM: Yeah. That’s natural. That’s what we are sort of destined to do, is to really always make stuff really strong and tight. But when it comes to siding and that vinyl siding, it’s just not done that way and that’s why.
BEVERLY: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bev. Good luck with the project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Darryl in Louisiana. What’s going on at your money pit?
DARRYL: I have an older house, probably in ‘70 – early 70s. And it has the old-time windows, just single glass pane. And I have a couple of good-size picture windows, like 9 feet across or something like that. And they’re big. And I lose a lot of energy there. One of them is on the west side, so I get that afternoon hot sun.
DARRYL: And I want to know if it would be better using my money to replace the window with a new updated, double-pane, nice, modern window or put some insulation in the attic. Which the attic also needs insulation, because there’s not much up there. I know I can use – definitely use some insulation. What would be the best use of the money?
TOM: Alright. So, a couple of things come to mind.
So, first of all, regardless of what you do with this window situation, I definitely would put more insulation in the attic. That’s kind of a no-brainer. You’re always going to get a good return on investment on that. So if you had 8 inches of fiberglass insulation and you could add 8 or 10 or 12 more, you want to use unfaced fiberglass batts and then just stack them perpendicular to what you have.
You have to trade off storage space – I don’t know if you have a floor in that attic – because you can’t crush the insulation. But putting more insulation in that space is always going to make sense, economic and comfort-wise.
DARRYL: Up there now, it looks like it was blown insulation, just like little pieces of foam or whatever it is. And I can – a lot of – most of the places, I can see the rafters. It’s not above the rafters which would be, I guess, 8 inches. But if I start putting insulation in there, I have all the wiring for the light sockets and all that. All the wiring is on top of that. So would I just put the insulation on top of the wiring?
TOM: Yep. Yeah. You can – yes, you can have the wiring run through the fiberglass batts.
When you say rafters, I think you’re referring to the ceiling joists. The rafters are what’s carrying the roof. What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to go all the way at the overhang, from the ceiling joists, up into those rafters because then you’d be blocking off any ventilation that you had at the overhang. So make sure that you allow for that ventilation. That’s important in that situation.
But no, there’s no reason to worry about covering, as long as you have – when was your house built?
DARRYL: It was probably ‘72.
TOM: OK. So, yeah, so you have traditional, non-metallic wiring. If you had a really old house, I would – we’d have a different discussion about why you can’t cover electrical wiring. But for a house like that, you can certainly put the insulation right on top of that wiring. And I think it’s going to make a big difference.
Now, back to those picture windows. You have really two options there. So, yes, you could replace them. And it is a big project and it’s an expensive project. Or you could maybe buy yourself some time by just picking up some solar shades. They’re reflective on one side and they help to kind of redirect that heat back outside so it doesn’t overwhelm the house and add to the cooling load. It’s going to be a lot less expensive. They’re not nearly as attractive.
Or if you do replace the window, you’re going to use a low-E glass, which basically means it has an emissivity coating that reflects the UV of the sunlight back outside. So, you’ll find a huge difference if you put in insulated panels with a UV coating. And most of the ENERGY STAR-certified glass has that now anyway. But it’s just a huge difference, in terms of cost. So it really depends on what you do.
And you might – if you are going to do that, you could think about breaking it down, you know, doing the – I think you said you had some that were facing west. And I don’t know if it’s something that faces south. But do the western/southern face first because that gets the most solar gain.
DARRYL: Now, back to the insulation real quick, what’s the best kind? The kind that you would just blow in there now or getting some kind that rolls out?
TOM: Can you get around that attic as it is right now? Can you walk around it even …?
DARRYL: I can, I can. But I’m walking on the ceiling joists and …
TOM: Tops. On the tops of the ceiling joists, yeah.
DARRYL: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: I mean if it was me, I would use unfaced fiberglass batts. It’s a lot easier. If you want to go blown-in, you’ve got to rent a machine for that. Just another layer of complication you don’t have to deal with.
I would put unfaced fiberglass batts. I would lay them perpendicular to the joists and I would probably pick up – I don’t know – 10, 12, 14-inch-thick batts and just lay them edge to edge right on top of the joists. You’ll have a whole new layer of insulation there and it’ll make a big difference for you year-round.
DARRYL: OK. Great. I really appreciate it.
TOM: Yep. Good luck with that project, Darryl. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you enjoy hanging out in your backyard on these lovely summer evenings, then building a movie screen might be a very fun project for you to take on. It’s actually pretty easy. You basically build a frame out of 2-by lumber, then attach a white bedsheet to that frame and mount it on a wall or against a fence, wherever you’ve got space for your family and your friends to gather around.
Now, if you want a step-by-step, head on over to ArrowFastener.com and click on Projects. You’ve got all the details there, including a complete materials list and photos of each step.
TOM: And one tool that makes getting this project done super easy is the T25X WireMate Wire Stapler. It’s a handy, ergonomic cable tacker. You can use it for all your wiring projects. We’ve got one to give away today to one lucky listener, along with a T50 Stapler and a supply of staples.
So give us a call. That winner is going to be drawn at random from those that reach us on today’s show. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lynn in Delaware on the line who’s got a leak in the basement that’s as if somebody’s turned a faucet on. What’s going on?
LYNN: Well, last Thursday we had a torrential rain in Delaware.
LYNN: And I was so afraid of trees falling in the rain, I ran down to my basement immediately. And about maybe 2 minutes being down there, I hear some sound like somebody turned on a faucet.
LYNN: So, I looked behind the – where the faucet is. It comes from the inside. The water pipe comes from the outside unto the inside. Water was just gushing. It was just gushing in, just like a faucet.
TOM: So, it was coming around the pipe, where the pipe comes through the wall?
LYNN: Yes, yes.
TOM: OK. Yep. Alright. So that makes sense. What happens is when you get a torrential rain like that, it’s going to find the path of – the easiest path in: the path of least resistance. And the holes that are drilled through foundation walls for things like plumbing, like the hose bibb in your case, are going to provide an easy entry.
So, what I would tell you is a couple of things. Now, it probably only happens when you get maybe a severe downpour like this, maybe even one that’s fueled by rain. But I would – number one is I would take silicone – and you can buy a tube of silicone in a little – in a can, squeeze tube or you can buy one just to put into a caulking gun. And I would seal the gap around where the pipe comes through the foundation wall. So, next, I want you to do the same thing on the inside. This is going to stop what happened to you most recently.
But the other thing I want you to do is to take a look, if you can, at the drainage conditions outside that wall, because you might find that maybe you have an overflowing gutter there or that you have soil that is sort of settling down and maybe it’s moving too much water towards that area of the – I don’t know how high up this hose bibb is. But generally, the roof and surface drainage conditions are what starts this all. And it’s an easy fix. You’ve just got to figure out what it is.
Downspouts are also really important to check. Most of the time when the gutter companies put them in, they drop them pretty close to the foundation. We always like to see them extended out 4 or 5 feet so you’re moving all that water out away from that wall. And if you can kind of move it out and keep it away, you’re going to find that the whole space is a lot drier.
And in your particular case, with this little gusher that happened, sealing the area around the pipe should stop that from happening the next time.
LYNN: Oh, OK.
Now, another thing that I’m wondering, now that you said about the ground settling and everything, this particular step where I’ve had – not gophers. What are those things, groundhogs that used to dig under there?
TOM: Groundhogs, yeah.
LYNN: And I’m wondering if they could have messed – moved the dirt and made a path or something to this particular …
TOM: Yeah, they may have. They may have. Generally, that first 4 to 6 feet you want to do what you can to keep the soil sloping away from the walls those first few feet. So if it does settle in, you just add clean fill dirt. Not topsoil but just fill dirt. They’re inexpensive. And you pack it in there and you slope it away. Then you could put some mulch or you can put some topsoil and grass over that. But you want to have that soil sloping away. And it is going to settle every once in a while and especially if you get any overflowing gutters. It’ll just erode and wash away.
TOM: So, that – maintaining that sort of slope and that space to keep the walls as dry as possible is important. And it really does help solve a lot of problems with water in the basement and even dampness in the basement.
LYNN: I appreciate that. That’s what I will do then. Thank you so much for taking my call.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, as summer heat starts to fade away, now is a good time to plan some of those end-of-season projects. We put together a short list of four projects that will save you some time, some money and help avoid costly repairs down the road. Here are a few of those that should take place before that weather begins to change.
LESLIE: Alright. First up, now is a great time to fix a swimming-pool leak. Now, here’s why. A small leak that appears during the summer months can become major repairs during the winter if a freeze/thaw cycle opens up that crack to be an even bigger leak. So you want to make sure you find and fix any of those small leaks now before you put that cover on for winter.
TOM: Next – and this is one that’s really hard to think about right now, Leslie. That’s clean the furnace. When it’s 90 degrees out …
LESLIE: Yeah. I’m not putting the heat on.
TOM: Yeah. Hard to think about that but here’s why. You know, once it starts to get a little colder, the HVAC companies get really, really busy servicing those machines. Anytime you have a – especially if you have a gas or an oil or a propane system, it’s got to be cleaned. Because just like your car, if you don’t clean it once in a while, if you don’t get a tune-up once in a while, it starts to run rough and it can be dangerous. So, get in line now when demand is low. Get those technicians out to fix your furnace, do the service on it, change out the filters and you’ll be good to go on the first chilly day when you turn it on.
LESLIE: Alright. And you’ve also got to look for leaks, in general, around your money pit. Now, summer is a major time for water damage to occur in and around the home. Those summer storms popped off maybe some roof shingles, perhaps you’ve got a leaking A/C unit. And there’s some other common sources where water can lead to mold, mildew and then wood rot if it’s not repaired quickly. So, now really is the time to get those jobs done.
TOM: And while you’re putting away your summer belongings, be sure to check out the condition of your driveway. This is a project I did last year and I’m really glad I did, because the driveway was looking a bit worn. If your driveway has cracks or potholes, the end of the summer is a great time to make those repairs. Patching is something you can do yourself. There are products available at home centers or you could have a pro come in and do it for you.
Now is a great time before that freeze/thaw cycle kicks in because – and we mentioned that earlier. When it gets wet and the moisture that gets in that driveway or in the wall or in the wherever freezes, it expands. And that really tears up those surfaces. So do it now and you’ll be good to go for the season.
LESLIE: John in Pennsylvania is on the line and has a question about flooring. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: We’re about to become homeowners and we need to rip up some carpet. And we want to install hardwood flooring. We were curious how far you have to leave it away from your new floor – away from the wall.
TOM: Is it prefinished hardwood, John?
JOHN: Yeah, it’s all finished. Yep.
TOM: OK, well, that’s great. Now, I would recommend probably around ½-inch.
TOM: You want to make it so that a piece of baseboard molding plus shoe molding will cover it. So, between baseboard and shoe molding, you’ve probably got about an inch to an inch-and-a-quarter of overlap, so to speak. So generally about a ½-inch will work.
Most of the flooring manufacturers will give you specific advice on what the gap should be but I’d say generally about a ½-inch is fine. And remember, that’s a ½-inch away from the drywall. Because even – you have space under the drywall, as well as another ½-inch. That should give you plenty of room for expansion and contraction.
JOHN: OK. And then the other question was: when we get the new floors delivered, they said you have to leave it a certain amount of time before we install it to get, I guess, acclimated to our weather?
TOM: Yeah, you want to acclimate it to the space that it’s going to be in. Because if it comes really cold, for example, it’s going to kind of shrink and then if it expands, it could buckle up. So you want to just put it in the room that you’re going to install it in and leave it there for a good couple of days to acclimate.
JOHN: OK, great.
TOM: Good luck with that project. It’s very exciting. This is your first house?
JOHN: Yeah, yeah. First house, yep.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck.
JOHN: Appreciate it. Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, a garage is for housing your cars but these days, seriously, who puts their car in a garage? I certainly don’t. I mean you definitely put everything else in there. But so many families do use the garage as the main entrance to their home. And then the rest of the area could be a workshop, a hobby space, maybe even a socially-distant home gym.
Well, with the garage getting so much wear and tear, it makes sense to give the floors a protective coating that’s going to do double-duty. It’s going to work well but also beautify the space.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Garage floors need to look good but they also need to be able to handle some pretty severe conditions. We’re talking about road salt dropping off the car that’s very corrosive. And it’s got to be able to do that all winter long.
So, probably one of the best options is an epoxy floor coating. It goes on like paint and it’s a good project to do in a weekend. It’s not terribly difficult, which makes it perfect for DIYers.
LESLIE: OK. So, now, walk us through the process. How do we start this project so that we don’t, you know, mess it up? Because I know it’s kind of like a chemical reaction, right?
TOM: Yeah, it’s a bit of a chemistry project.
And just like most painting projects, it starts with prep. Except when it comes to the epoxy floor systems, there is an acid-wash step. It kind of etches the surface and it makes sure that the paint can properly stick. Because adhesion, of course, that’s really, really important.
And next comes the epoxy. Now, the difference about working with epoxy compared to regular paint is that it is a two-part process. When you buy the epoxy garage-floor paints, one part is the paint and one part is the hardener. You need to mix them together as directed so a chemical reaction does occur and allows the paint to dry to a really hard, durable finish.
Now, you can’t mix it together and go, “You know what? This is a really good time for me to take a lunch.” Because once it’s mixed, the epoxy has about 2 hours to 2½ hours of sort of can life. So, you don’t want to mix up any more than you can use at that one time. And whenever you’re painting a floor, it’s a good idea to work in what I call a “2-foot-deep kind of a circle,” like 2 foot by 6 foot kind of area. I kind of like to work in arcs and then I walk backwards. And then you apply the finish in a perpendicular direction. So you’re getting good coverage that way and you’re making some progress and you’re moving it along.
LESLIE: Now, with this product or this type of product, is it multiple coats? Is it one coat? How do you know when you’ve kind of got enough?
TOM: Well, I will say that the pros usually do at least two coats. They let the first one dry overnight and then apply a second. And there is something that can be done to dress up the floor even further and kind of hide inconsistencies or imperfections and that is you can add color flakes to the epoxy. There’s different colors of these flakes and they give it a little bit of a texture. And some folks go a step further than that and they’ll add a clear coat on top of that. But I would say at least two coats if you’re a DIYer.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, if you don’t want to deal with epoxy – maybe the thought of sort of having a time limit or mixing these things together – is there another product that we can be using that’ll give us the same durability but maybe not be such a process?
TOM: Well, I mean if you don’t want to paint the floor – and if you are going to paint it at all, I would use epoxy. But if you don’t want to do that, there are other options. You could use a sheet product, which basically rolls down. It’s very thick. Usually has sort of a texture or almost a diamond-plate kind of surface to it. And it’s typically rubber, so you can use a sheet-flooring product like that designed for that exterior space that the garage is.
Or you can use floor tiles. There are garage-floor tiles. And I did this, by the way. These look like a puzzle piece. They have interconnecting edges and they’re pretty big.
LESLIE: Is it almost like a gym floor?
TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t say a gym floor. You mean the kind where it’s like the foam is locked together?
TOM: Not really. It’s a hard tile
LESLIE: No. So these are hard.
TOM: It’s a hard tile, right.
TOM: And it has a puzzle edge to it. And the tiles were about 20 inches square, from what I remember. And we basically just locked them together and stacked them together. And we were able to order tiles in different colors and make kind of an attractive pattern.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s fun.
TOM: And that’s what we did in my sort of shop/garage, which is a space I spend a fair amount of time in. So I want it to be nice. And that’s a little bit more expensive than the epoxy products but you certainly have the option. And I think now is a really good time to think about that. If you’ve never done this before, you’re going to really enjoy seeing how clean and organized and finished a beautiful floor – and there’s one more benefit to doing this project, Leslie. It forces you – forces you – to empty the entire garage. So you have to clean it at the same time.
LESLIE: Oh, that is a project. Alright. Good tips.
Chad in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CHAD: I attended an energy show where they were showing an energy shield or a wrap made out of aluminum. What it was designed to do was to basically block the radiant heat from penetrating your house in the summer. Thus, you’re using less energy, I guess, to stay cooler.
And then, in the wintertime, what it does – it prevents your heat from escaping, very much like the astronauts use from the extreme temperature in space. Since I’m building a new house, could you put this wrap between your ceiling drywall and the bottom of your trusses? Or is there a better way of keeping the radiant heat from penetrating your house in the summer?
TOM: What you’re talking about here is a product called “reflective barrier.” And I have to say that I’m not convinced that it works really well and would not necessarily recommend it. And usually, it’s put in a home that’s already constructed. It’s a little bit easier to put in a home that, obviously, is being built.
But there are far better alternatives if you really want to make your home energy-efficient. I would tell you to look into spray-foam insulation, specifically Icynene. Because when you use a spray-foam insulation in new construction, it does two things: not only does it insulate but it seals every possible little gap that is going to be throughout that building. And when the walls are open like that, you can have it sprayed and it’s going to do that. It’s also quieter in terms of preventing sound transmission. It just has so many wonderful benefits. I would tell you to focus on something like that to give yourself a real benefit and stay away from the radiant-barrier products.
CHAD: Oh, OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Chad. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, painting your house is a job that’s got to be done every couple of years, at the end of summer/early fall. That’s kind of the best timeframe for that project. So we’ve got a few tips for a great-looking exterior paint job that will last for years.
TOM: Now, first up, preparation is obviously key. An inexperienced painter cannot wait to begin applying the paint but the pros know …
LESLIE: Oh, that’s their first step: paint.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Got to get paint on it, right?
LESLIE: Put the paint on.
TOM: If you’re a pro – and you know that you want this paint job to last so you don’t get callbacks from very unhappy customers – it’s really, really important you get the prep right. Otherwise, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. You’re going to get peeling paint and it’ll be a mess.
So, before you start to paint, make sure that surface is clean, free of dirt, free of chalk, which is when the paint surface starts to disintegrate. Scrub it, rinse it. Remove any loose, flaking or peeling paint by scraping, wire-brushing, sanding.
On the wood siding, you want to make sure you sand areas that didn’t have any kind of a sheen on it, any kind of a glossy paint surface. Otherwise, that new paint is not going to stick. And if you see any bare wood, you have to do something called “spot-priming.” That just means that you buy primer and you prime the spot that’s bare. You don’t have to prime the whole thing, although it’s not really a bad thing to do that. But you have to definitely prime that spot that is there, because that is going to give you good adhesion. If you skip the step, you are going to be very sad, we predict, anywhere from 3 to 6 months down the road.
LESLIE: It’s true. You really have to do this work.
Now, here’s another thing that I think people just kind of ignore or don’t think is important but it is. You’ve got to buy good paint. Even though the highest-quality exterior paint does cost a little bit more, this is not a spot to think, “Oh, I should cut corners and buy the one that’s less expensive.” Most of painting is labor. You’re going to put in a lot of work here and your exterior paint job needs to last far longer and be less expensive in the long run. So use the best possible paint so you’re not doing this project again sooner than you have to.
Now, another place to not cut corners is in the brushes and the rollers that you are using. You want to use the best-quality brush and roller that’s going to give you the best finish. Just make sure you buy the right nap or bristle for the type of paint and the type of surface. So that way you know it’s good.
TOM: I can’t tell you how many times, over the years, people have called and said, “I must have got some bad paint, because this happened or that happened.” And I’m like, “It’s not – no bad paint, people. It’s just bad painters.” The chances of anybody having bad paint are infinitesimal. So somewhere, you missed a prep step, I can guarantee it.
Finally, watch out for the weather. It’s not a foul-weather sport. You’ve got to make sure that you have the right temperatures. If you try to paint your home when the exterior is too warm, it’s going to dry too quickly and it’s not going to flow right. And that’s going to make it look kind of weird. You might see some brushstrokes. And of course, if you wait too long, it gets too cold. You can’t do that either. So pay attention to the weather.
There is no doubt that painting the exterior of your house is one very big DIY project. But if you keep a few tips in mind as you’re doing that and make sure you paint properly, use good product and you follow the weather, you’re going to have a job that you’re really proud of for many years to come.
So you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to MoneyPit.com or to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, which is what Julie did in Chicago.
LESLIE: That’s right. Julie writes: “The sliding-glass doors on my tub enclosure were looking disgusting, so I removed them.”
TOM: That’s a technical term, by the way: disgusting.
LESLIE: Disgusting, mm-hmm.
TOM: Just pointing that out.
LESLIE: She says, “Including the frame strips. Can I replace the door myself or do I need to hire someone? And is there anything tricky about this project?”
TOM: Yeah. You know, the tracks that those doors ride in, especially the bottom track, the water sits in there all the time and doesn’t ever drain properly. So it gets really gross and moldy-looking. And eventually, they do need to be replaced.
And today, when you do replace them, I would make sure that you’ve got tracks that are draining properly, because that’s usually what spells the end of these. That plus just cleaning the doors over the years tends to sort of fade the finish or make it a bit rough.
I definitely think it’s a DIY project. I mean it’s not all that difficult to do. You need to basically disassemble the whole thing and reassemble the new stuff, which goes in pretty much the same way. So you start with a track that attaches to the shower pan, right? And usually, you have to put a caulk sealant under that. And then, from there, you have two vertical sort of side-door jambs that go up each side of the shower. And then, from there, you put one sort of headpiece that flips – that just basically stacks over those side jambs. And drop in the doors themselves.
So, as long as you measure everything out properly and keep to those dimensions so that there’s no drag, the doors aren’t too high or too low, I think it’s a pretty straightforward replacement project.
What do you think, Leslie?
LESLIE: I think it’s definitely a project you can do yourself, provided you can hold the weight of the door. It’s like you want to make sure that you’re not going to accidentally drop or damage the piece in the process. So if you’ve got a buddy or you think it’s manageable, then it’s definitely something you can do on your own.
Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Corinne in Pennsylvania. Now, Corinne writes: “The black, flexible spacers between the three big concrete slabs that make up my driveway are brittle and are coming out. How do I replace them? With what? And can I do it myself?”
TOM: Yeah, again, I think it’s a DIY project.
Now, first of all, those spacers are basically expansion strips and they are put in there to basically give some separation between the different sections of the concrete slab. And over time, they do deteriorate. So what you can do is pull those out. Then you’re going to want to insert a foam backer rod into that sort of slot that has formed and have that be maybe a ½-inch or ¾-inch below the surface. The reason you’re doing that is because the last thing you’re going to do is you’re going to apply a self-leveling sealant. And that’s going to sit on top of that backer rod and attach to either side of the concrete. And this way, you won’t have to put excessive amounts of that sealant, because it is $6 or $7 a tube.
QUIKRETE makes a really good one. In fact, I just did it to sections of my driveway. We had self-leveling sealant there at the apron, where it goes between the driveway and the garage, and it worked perfectly.
LESLIE: Yeah, Corinne. That’s one thing. When you buy a house, you never know what improvements or things were kind of temporary fixes and things that should have been permanent. So, hopefully this helps you out.
TOM: It doesn’t last forever. Maybe concrete but it doesn’t last forever.
You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. We are so glad you spent part of your day with us. We hope your summer has gone well. And if you’re thinking about projects for the cooler months ahead, we are not rushing you through the end of summer. We’ve still got a few warm weeks. But if you’re thinking about some projects through the cooler months ahead, get those together. Give us a call with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT anytime it comes to mind. We’re open 24/7. I never let Leslie sleep. She always answers the phone. And so, she’d be happy to take your question. Nah, actually, we have a – yeah, we have a great time that does take …
LESLIE: I do a lot of great voices. “Hello? Hello?”
TOM: Yeah, we have a great team that takes the calls 24/7. So give us a call. We will call you back the next time we are in the studio.
Until then, 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.)