In this episode…
New kitchens consistently deliver the best return on your remodeling investment. But how do actually you get started on planning such a major makeover? Tom & Leslie share tips to help you cook up a perfect plan! Plus…
- Have you ever tried to fix a crack in a concrete step, or porch or sidewalk only to have it open right back up again? We’ll share some easy ways to make these repairs and make them last.
- Your stove’s exhaust vent hood is there for every cooking adventure, but it rarely gets any attention (except during a smoky kitchen incident!). Learn how simple it is to keep your vent hood in tip-top shape.
- Have you ever tried to clean a stain on your vinyl floor that seem impossible to get out? It may not be a stain at all! Tom & Leslie share why these mysterious and permanent discolorations occur and what options you have for dealing with them.
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 for you. What do we do on this show? We help you with your home improvement projects. If you’re new to the show, welcome. If you’re a steady listener, welcome as well, because you will know the kinds of stuff that we can tackle. And maybe we’ve helped you in the past; we’d love to help you again. So let’s think about that as we look around the house, as we look around the yard. It is now officially fall, right? I mean we’ve hit fall. This weekend, I think, is fall. Twenty-second?
LESLIE: Twenty-first or twenty-second, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Well, we’re pretty much there. And that means it’s the beginning of the second biggest home improvement season of the year. Spring was kind of like, well – and it’s funny. Spring was really busy but for different reasons. Spring is always busy but when COVID hit, people started doing even more home improvements. And we’re continuing to see those trends go on now through the fall. So if there’s a project that you’re thinking about tackling around your house, give us a call. Let’s talk about it. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Chances are we’ve heard your question before and we have an answer. And if we don’t, we will make one up that is so good that you will think we’ve always known about it.
LESLIE: That’s very true, Tom.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Am I giving away our secrets? 888-666-3974. Look, after 20 years as a professional home inspector – 6-, 7-, 8,000 inspections or whatever the heck number it was that I hit – you, a lifetime of experience decorating for homes and decorating for television programs and presently handling the art-design requirements for Good Morning America, I think we’ve got a couple of things to share with this audience.
So, it’s up to you. Take a risk. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
So, coming up on today’s program, we’re going to talk about one home improvement that constantly delivers the best return on investment and that is a new kitchen. And you know what? This is the kitchen-makeover season. More folks take on kitchens in the fall than any time before, so give us a call if you’d like to talk about that. We’re going to have tips on how you can plan a major makeover, get the kitchen that you want – your best kitchen ever – and save money in the process.
LESLIE: And have you ever tried to fix a crack in a concrete step or even a porch or sidewalk only to have it open right back up again? We’re going to share some easy ways that you can make those repairs and make them last.
TOM: And we’re going to talk about a kitchen appliance that gets very little attention and that’s your exhaust hood over the stove, that vent hood. It’s there for every cooking adventure but it doesn’t get much attention, except when you get a smoky-kitchen situation. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to keep that vent hood in tip-top shape.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear what fall projects you are tackling and give you a hand or make up an answer.
TOM: Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Anna in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ANNA: Well, I hope you can without involving me in too much work. I have …
TOM: A tall order but we’re up for the challenge.
ANNA: I have two long slats from a bunk-bed set. Now, to use it as a bunk bed, you can’t get rid of these and I was thinking about throwing them out. And then when I looked at them, I thought, “Down the road, if somebody else would ever want these and use them as a bunk bed, I can’t throw them out.”
ANNA: But they’ve been outside and they’ve been kind of sheltered. But they’ve been outside for a couple years and they’re rusted; they’re metal. And so, I wondered how I could clean the metal off, (inaudible) the rust off them so that – and treat them however – so that they could be used again.
TOM: Right. So, very simple. What you’re going to want to do is either wire-brush and/or sand the metal to get rid of all of that rust. Then wipe it down so it’s nice and clean and dry. And then you’re going to paint it with a rust-proofing primer, like Rust-Oleum. If it’s fairly flat, you can brush it on. If it’s got any kind of detail to it, you can buy it in a spray can and just spray it on.
It takes a couple of hours to dry the Rust-Oleum product but it’s worth it, because it really does seal it in and protect it. Then after it dries, you can put a topcoat on of the same color that the slat was before, just so it doesn’t look like – it doesn’t have that primer color to it.
ANNA: OK. So I can get it in a color as a shade.
TOM: Oh, sure. Yeah, any color you want. But the rust-proofing primer is kind of like a rust color. And so after that dries, then you can paint whatever you want.
ANNA: Thank you for the advice and I like your show an awful lot.
TOM: Thanks very much, Anne Marie. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Larry in Wisconsin on the line who’s dealing with some siding issues. Tell us what’s going on.
LARRY: What I did is I was watching This Old House a couple years ago – and my house was just built four years ago, so I just had a brand-new driveway and everything. And they were showing you how – that you could stain your driveway. And I live in Wisconsin, so I decided to stain my driveway and stuff.
LARRY: And then during that time, I got some of that stain on my siding, on my – or yeah, my vinyl siding. And I can’t figure out how to get that stuff off.
TOM: It’s on the vinyl siding, huh?
TOM: Yeah, that’s going to be a challenge. Well, since vinyl is a solid material, have you tried to sand it with a very, very fine sandpaper, like an emery cloth that may be a 220-grit or finer? Or you could try to use rubbing compound, like you use for a car.
TOM: And that’s kind of abrasive, too. You’re going to have to abrade through that surface to see if you can possibly get down to the raw vinyl.
LARRY: Right. I’ve tried Comet and I even – a little bit of gasoline or some mineral oil and all kinds of – you know what, though? I would never, ever put that stuff back on my driveway again, because the first time we had an ice storm and I went to shovel – and all that stuff just peeled right on up.
TOM: Oh, really?
LARRY: Oh, yeah, it was terrible. And then I had to get a pressure washer and rent that and then blow the stuff, you know. It’s just a mess.
TOM: Maybe you need to go back and look at that This Old House segment again.
LARRY: Well, here’s what happened, though. I was in sales for 25 years myself; I sold cars. And if I sold somebody a car, I would sell you an extended warranty, rustproofing, fabric, whatever.
LARRY: So all that contractor had to do was just tell me, “Hey, what color driveway would you want?” And I would have said, “What do you mean by that?” Because they can put that dye in there, that powder and then they could have mixed it right up with the cement and boom, it would have been perfect.
TOM: Exactly, yeah. Yeah.
LARRY: But that didn’t happen.
TOM: You know who was one of the first architects to ever use that technique?
LARRY: Frank Lloyd Wright?
TOM: Frank Lloyd Wright. That’s exactly right. You are correct, sir.
LARRY: Well, he built a lot of beautiful houses right here in my town.
TOM: He did.
LARRY: I live in Boyd, Wisconsin and – oh yeah, he was really gifted, that’s for sure.
TOM: Yeah. Yep. He was way ahead of his time.
LARRY: Yes, he was.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. I think if you try to abrade that with some sandpaper or some rubbing compound, then that’ll do it.
LARRY: Alrighty. I’ll try that. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Alice in Michigan on the line who’s dealing with mold in the shower. Tell us where you’re seeing it.
ALICE: Hi. I am having issues to where my caulk keeps having black mold come through. I strip it, I redo it and the mold just keeps returning. What can I do to stop that?
TOM: A couple of things. You’re talking about the – just the shower or the shower/tub kind of a thing?
ALICE: The walls are separate from the actual tub, so I’ve got the caulk that attaches on.
ALICE: And I will strip it, I put bleach on it and then I put new caulk down but it just keeps coming through.
TOM: Have you tried DAP caulk? And the reason I bring that up is they have a kitchen-and-bath caulk that’s treated with an additive called Microban. And Microban absolutely, positively will not grow mold or algae in it.
ALICE: I don’t think I’ve tried that.
TOM: You might want to give that a try. And the other thing that I would do is – and I know you’ve been through this all before but remember to pull out all the old caulk. You can use a caulk softener, which is kind of like a paint stripper for caulk, to pull that out. You want to wipe that down and spray, with a bleach-and-water solution in a spray bottle, up into that gap so that we make sure we get up in there and kill any algae spores or mold spores that are left behind.
Now, this is on a tub?
TOM: OK. So next thing you do is fill the tub with water all the way up. And while the tub is full, caulk the seam between the walls and the tub. And then after the caulk dries, let the water out. That lets the tub sort of come back up and compress the caulk and helps seal it better so that moisture won’t get behind it and it won’t sort of tear out again.
ALICE: Oh, OK.
TOM: And then, finally, make sure you use the caulk that I suggested with the mildicide. And there are others but I just happen to have good experience with that particular one. It’s DAP Kitchen and Bath Caulk with Microban; that’s the additive.
ALICE: Oh, perfect. OK. Well, I really appreciate that. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Alice. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now, Hugh is on the line from Texas and needs some help with brick repairs. How can we help you with the project?
HUGH: Got a house down in Houston and every – I’ve forgotten how many bricks but every so often, it’s got a vertical slot between the ends of the brick, as if it’s – I guess it’s a slot for air to be able to ventilate going up. And then up in the attic, it’s – the air can come up there. And I was wanting to find out, would we be better off to seal that up to keep the scorpions and such out? Or do you – does the house need that?
TOM: The answer is no, because you do need that air for ventilation. I’m going to presume that this is a brick façade, so it’s probably over a wood-framed wall. And those weep holes in the brick help the brick to breathe; otherwise, you can trap moisture behind the brick and that could cause the exterior wood surfaces in the structure beneath them to rot.
So it’s there for a reason, Hugh. You really should use it and find some other way to keep those scorpions away.
HUGH: OK. Now, what about insulation? Now, I don’t know that this house had any insulation in the walls. It was built back in the early 70s or something and we bought it secondhand. But would that be where you’d normally put insulation? In between the brick …?
TOM: No, it would not be, so – and here’s why: because you don’t want to, again, insulate that space because that’s there for ventilation. If you were to insulate it, it would be in the wall frame itself. And even though 1970s sounds like a very old house, I can assure you they were definitely using fiberglass insulation – insulated batts – in walls that were constructed at that time. So you may very well have it.
And in addition to that, if you’re going to add insulation to a house anywhere, the best place to add it is to the attic because that’s where you have the most heat loss, not the walls, not the floors. So the order of priority, in my mind, would be attic first, followed by floors, followed by walls.
HUGH: OK. Well, we’ll leave them open then. I sure do appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Hugh. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, fall is actually the most popular time of year for kitchen renos, because everybody is in a rush to get them done for the holidays. And if you’ve been thinking of updating your kitchen, the hardest part can be just figuring out where you start. We’ve got some tips to help, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Now, first up, it’s easy to stick with the same old current design. But if you think outside those old boxes, you can maybe bring on some inspiration for a brand-new and even more efficient kitchen layout. Changes to the location of the sink, the functionality of the countertop, adding or maybe even removing an island to free up some space, getting some strategic lighting to make sure you can actually see what you’re doing, these are all things that a professional designer can help you achieve.
LESLIE: Now, to help you find an experienced design pro, the National Kitchen and Bath Association, or NKBA, offers a certification program to become an NKBA-certified kitchen-and-bath designer. These pros must have at least 5 years of design experience and must complete at least 60 hours of continuing education. So these guys are smart and up to date.
TOM: Absolutely. Now, the really nice thing about working with a pro designer is that you can pretty much wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. So, sky’s the limit. You know, seeing beautiful kitchen designs in showrooms or websites can be fun but also feel overwhelming. And the skills of the design pro can make the difference. They’ll help you achieve all that is possible in your space and while potentially saving you money, time and hassle of figuring it out all by yourself.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. Find top local pros, book and even pay for over 100 everyday projects with clear, up-front pricing on the HomeAdvisor app.
TOM: To get started, download the HomeAdvisor app today.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ann in North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a wet crawlspace. Tell us what’s going on there.
ANN: Hey. I have a question about my house. It was built a long time ago and of course, back then they didn’t put a house off the ground. And it’s very low. And I’m just wondering how I can protect it from dampness and rot. I don’t have a lot of money to work with and I’ve heard a few things but I’m really not sure of what I can do.
TOM: OK. So right now, you’re on a crawlspace and the crawlspace, is it accessible? Can you get in there?
ANN: Through one small door.
TOM: OK, fine. It’s not a pleasant project but it is a project that you can do yourself, Ann.
So, a couple of things. First of all, you want to take steps to reduce the amount of moisture that collects at the outside of the foundation. You do that by making sure you have gutters, the gutters are clean and free-flowing and dumping water at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation. That’s the most – single most important thing to do is a good gutter system.
Second to that is to make sure the soil around the house slopes away. You don’t want soil that’s settled and is very flat and holds water against the foundation; you want it to slope away. So you could have some clean fill dirt delivered very inexpensive. Basically just carry – pay for the truck to carry it out there. And then grade that to slope away from the walls on all four sides. Over the fill dirt, you could put some topsoil and some seed or stone or whatever you want to do to control erosion.
Then the third thing you do is go in that crawlspace and cover all of the open soil with plastic. Get some large rolls of sheet plastic with as few seams as possible. Cover all of the soil with plastic. That stops a lot of the moisture from evaporating up into the air.
And those three things together will make a big difference.
ANN: Do I need a certain thickness?
TOM: The thicker the plastic the better, because it just – it’s easier to put down. You end up having to crawl on it and you won’t poke through.
ANN: Oh, OK. And does it need to be anchored in any way?
TOM: Nope. You can lay it right over the soil.
ANN: Really? I like that; don’t like the crawl part.
TOM: Yep. OK. Alright.
ANN: It’s just, ugh, scary under there.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a little – like I said, it’s not the most pleasant job but it’s not hard and you can do it yourself. Get a really good friend to keep you company and do it together.
LESLIE: One who likes squishing bugs and giving you support.
ANN: OK. I appreciate it. That answers my question.
LESLIE: Richard in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICHARD: I’m interested – I have an older home I remodeled. It’s built in the 30s and I wanted to put in a whole-house water-filtration system. And I was going to connect right to the service line going in.
And I’ve been shopping around. I found the small canister types and then it just jumps up to a big, 33-gallon, barrel-type filtration, which is too much. And I just wanted to know what a good brand is and what I need – reverse-osmosis and all that.
TOM: Richard, 3M makes the Filtrete line. That’s F-i-l-t-r-e-t-e. And they have single filters for use under maybe your kitchen sink or bathroom but they also have a whole-house system. It’s not terribly expensive; I think it’s under 100 bucks. And installation is pretty straightforward, so perhaps you could even do it yourself. And they also have various levels of filtration.
So I would take a look at the Filtrete Whole-House System Water Filters and I think that’s a good choice to make sure your water is tasting good throughout the entire home.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Ray in Minnesota who’s working on a decking project. How can we help you?
RAY: Yeah, I just bought a house and it was built in 2008. And I have a big wraparound porch and it looks like it’s never been really maintained since they built it. And so, especially with the Minnesota winters up here and the weather, looking to seal it but not really sure what to use and also not really wanting to have to do it every single year, you know? So, just wanted to get some advice about what I could do.
TOM: So, is the porch flooring a finished floor or is it like a deck, like pressure-treated?
RAY: It’s pressure-treated wood; it’s a deck.
LESLIE: And is there anything on it currently?
TOM: So, what you can do is you could apply a solid-color deck stain to that.
TOM: And a solid-color stain is going to last longer than a semi-transparent or certainly a transparent stain. But you use a deck stain because deck stains also have some durability to them.
LESLIE: Yeah, the benefit of the solid-color stain is that because it’s a stain, it’s actually going to penetrate the surface of the wood, so the color will actually get into the lumber itself. And then a solid stain, obviously, has more pigment to it. So, given the fact that your deck has had nothing on it for however many years, it probably looks a little worn in places and maybe worse for the wear. So a solid stain is going to sort of cover all of that up while giving you some color and still act as a stain, since that’s what it is.
And generally, if you apply it correctly, you’re going to get about five years on horizontal surfaces and about seven years on vertical. It really depends on the weather conditions, the application, how you prep it, is the wood totally dried out when you’re putting it on. But a solid stain is probably the best bet.
RAY: OK, OK. I had one question about it. I’ve seen some commercials for some new products that are more kind of concrete-based, almost like a – more of a paint-type thing. What about those? Are those good or would you recommend using something like that or …?
TOM: Don’t do it. I think you’re talking about the products that are like liquid siding and things of that nature. If you were going to consider a product like that, I would Google the name of that product and the word “complaints,” because we’ve seen a lot of complaints about those products, that claim to encapsulate the surfaces that they’re applied to, just not working very well. I would stick with the basics. A good-quality solid-color stain from a good manufacturer is going to last a long time and you certainly won’t be doing it every year.
RAY: OK, great. Well, I really appreciate the information and the help. Thank you, again, for taking my call.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever tried to fix a crack in a concrete step or your porch or the sidewalk only to have that crack open right back up again, you’ve probably thinking that there’s a better way to do this. Maybe there’s a right way, maybe there’s a wrong way to get this project done. Well, there is, guys.
So, the first step here is you’ve got to clean the crack to remove any debris. Next, if it’s just a hairline crack, you actually have to widen that up so it can actually hold the sealant. And this can be done with a masonry chisel. Now, if the crack is wide, the next step is to fill it with a backer rod, which is a foam tube that’s going to help keep the sealant up towards the top of the crack where it belongs.
TOM: Now, once you’ve done the prep – and again, that prep is really important – it’s time to choose a sealant. QUIKRETE makes a very comprehensive line of environmentally-friendly, commercial-grade sealants and adhesives. They’re good for any type of concrete or masonry repair need, including one that I just took on.
So, first of all, for the concrete cracks, they have a product called Concrete Crack Sealant. It permanently seals, it waterproofs. It’ll handle that crack and it’s going to expand and contract so it’s not going to fall out.
Now, if you’ve got deep cracks – and this is the project that I did. I had separation between my driveway and the concrete apron of the garage. So between the asphalt and the concrete, there was a piece of spacer in there that had deteriorated over the years. So I pulled that out, I pressed in the backer rod and then I used the QUIKRETE Self-Leveling Sealant, which was great. So it flowed in, sat on top of the backer rod, came up just under the surface of the concrete. And now it doesn’t collect all kinds of dirt and debris all the time. It’s very easy to clean.
Now, if you’re dealing with a crack that’s in a brick wall or a block wall, there’s a mortar-joint sealant product that is going to seal and waterproof. And it also has a textured sort of surface to it so it’s just like the mortar that was there before. And if you’re dealing with something that’s vertical, you want a sealant that’s a little thicker – it’s not going to sag – and there’s a non-sag sealant that does just that.
Now, all of these set in about an hour. And most importantly, if you follow these steps, if you do the prep, if you use the right product, once you fix the crack it will stay fixed. If you’d like to see the wide range of products available for crack repair, just go to QUIKRETE.com.
LESLIE: Now, we’ve got Lisa in Tennessee on the line who’s dealing with a home she bought without having an inspection first. Let’s hear what’s going on.
LISA: Hi. Well, first of all, let me just clarify that my husband is the one who bought the home and he bought it before we were married, so I just kind of inherited it whenever I (inaudible) and married him, so …
TOM: See, now, if you were married, you never would have let him do that without a good home inspection.
LISA: Exactly. OK. We have some spots – we have carpet in a few of our rooms and each of the rooms, there are some sunken spots. Like you can walk across and it sinks, kind of gives with you. And then the rest of the time, it’s OK. There’s other places that are just fine.
And I’ve had somebody go underneath and check for structural damage, water damage or termites. Can’t find anything; they say it’s OK. So, beyond ripping up the carpet and just seeing what it is, do you have a suggestion on what that could be?
TOM: Well, just define the sunken spot. When you step on it, is it soft or something like that?
LISA: Yes, it’s kind of spongy, almost, like it just sinks; it gives with you.
TOM: And you can get underneath and you can look up and you don’t see any decay or anything of that nature?
LISA: Well, as far as I know. Now, I’ve not been under. My husband – we’re not either one able to get underneath, just due to health conditions. And so we’ve had others go under and look and they’ve all said structurally, it looks sound. Didn’t see any termite damage. We don’t have any water damage underneath. So, don’t really know what it is that’s causing it.
TOM: And how many areas across the floor do you see these sunken spots?
LISA: Well, you can’t actually see them. It’s just when you walk across them. But I would say …
TOM: You feel them?
LISA: You feel them, exactly.
TOM: Yeah. I wonder if the – I wonder if it’s something as simple as the padding breaking down under the carpet. Maybe it’s not a structural problem.
Well, listen, the only way you’re going to know is – we can’t really guess. You’re going to have to pull that carpet back. It’s not a terrible project to pull that – pull wall-to-wall carpet up and then have it, you know, re-tacked down. If you’re really concerned about it, that’s what I would do.
LISA: Right. I’ve been looking to get new carpet anyway, so that might be a good excuse.
TOM: Well, there you go. Now, you’ve got a great excuse.
TOM: And let me tell you something, when you pull that carpet up, Lisa, if you evaluate that floor – how old is this house?
LISA: Oh, gosh. See, I’m not even sure. Probably back in the 80s?
TOM: OK. So it probably has a plywood floor and it was nailed down, if it was done in the 80s. What you want to do is you want to have the installer – or you could even do this yourself – take some drywall screws – those are those long, black, case-hardened drywall screws. You drive them in with a drill driver, so you do it automatically and you screw that plywood to the floor while the carpet’s up. And that will quiet the floor and prevent any future squeaks that could occur.
LISA: OK. Sounds great.
TOM: Because the nails will loosen up over the last 30-plus years and once you have that carpet up, that’s a golden opportunity to do that.
LISA: Alright. Well, these are some things to definitely look at. Yes, sir. Thank you so much.
TOM: OK. Thank you, Lisa.
LESLIE: Well, your stove’s exhaust-vent hood is there for every cooking adventure you take but it rarely gets any attention, except during a smoky-kitchen incident which, come on, let’s be honest: it happens to everybody. So, to keep it operating safely, the filter in your stove-vent hood, it needs regular attention.
TOM: Now, cleaning standard filters is easy. You just use a degreasing solution followed by warm, soapy water. Or you can just put it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Now, if your exhaust hood is using the charcoal filters – and sometimes you have the metal filter and the charcoal filter – you need to replace those.
And you ought to be doing it about four times a year. So make sure that you are keeping those clean because if you do, it’s going to work that much better. If that filter gets clogged – and it may not be obvious; you’re not going to see dust. But if it gets clogged internally with grease, it’s just not going to filter the smoke as well and you’re not going to be happy.
So, take care of it. It’s very easy to take care of, it’s very simple and it will perform that much better as a result.
LESLIE: Ryan in Georgia is in hot water, literally. What’s going on at your money pit, Ryan?
RYAN: Something kind of bested me for a little bit. I’ve got an idea of what it might be but I’m not 100-percent sure. I’ve got something that I have, which is very – it’s always very hot in Georgia about 80 percent of the time. And every time, when we turn – during the day, we turn on the cold water. It’s scalding, scalding hot for about 2 to 4 minutes and it depends – that the length on, I guess, what time of day it is. But the – I could even turn on the hot water and the hot water will be a lot colder than the cold water. And eventually, it will get colder. But I checked every other water source in my house.
I’ve checked the shower and the showers are fine; it’s not affected whatsoever. The only thing, assuming – that I think it might be, which you guys probably know more about this than I do is – the reason why it’s not doing it in the showers – because that has the – I don’t know if you want to call it the “thermostat” or a “temperature gauge” that controls the cold water and the hot water that makes sure it’s not too hot. And I think, since we’re in Georgia, a lot of the pipes are in the attic and attics. When it’s most – when it’s 90 to 100 degrees out, they – gets pretty hot in our attics.
TOM: Well, I think you’re right on track with that theory, Ryan, because I’ve seen that in my own home in New Jersey. I know it’s not in every fixture, of course, because it really depends on how the pipes are run. But I know that the way my kitchen is built, it was sort of an – it’s an addition that was done in the early 1900s. And the plumbing on that is sort of the – on the furthermost southern wall.
It gets very, very warm there during the day and sometimes, when we don’t use it all day – and then I turn it on, I do get hot water through the cold faucet. And I know that’s just because the pipes in that area are being exposed to a lot of heat. And the pipes are just warming up and it’s warming the water in turn. But after that warm water that’s in those pipes that are right in that surrounding area runs through the system, it gets cold again.
So I think that’s exactly what you’re seeing here. I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem. It’s more of an annoyance and yes, it does waste a little bit of water. But does this happen in the winter or is it just a summer issue?
RYAN: No, no. Not 100 percent if it happens in the winter but it might. But I know even our attics sometimes, in the winter, does get pretty decently warm, too. But the – I know it’s definitely in the spring, fall and summer.
TOM: I mean the only thing that you could do is you could insulate those pipes. If you can get access to them, you could put fiberglass insulating sleeves around your cold-water pipes and that would prevent them from overheating as they are right now.
RYAN: That’ll even make a difference, even though they’re – all the piping is all in the attic? The attic’s pretty hot.
TOM: Well, right, wherever they’re heating up. And that water gets to your faucet from the attic really quick.
RYAN: Alright. So just a fiberglass sleeve? I’ve seen a little – looks like foam – black foam sleeves. Does that work, too?
TOM: Yeah. You could do that, too. I think the fiberglass sleeves are a little bit more expensive but they’ll work better.
RYAN: OK. Yeah, I’ll definitely do that then.
TOM: You can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question, which is exactly what Grant did.
LESLIE: That’s right. Grant writes: “My kitchen countertop is tile and my old, cast-iron sink has begun to rust. Can the sink be replaced without removing the tile around it? Or is there some product that I can use to sand down the sink and recoat it?”
TOM: OK. So, let’s take this in two chunks. First of all, you definitely should be able to get that sink out without taking your countertop apart. You may need to use a tile saw to grind or saw the grout line out, which is right around the sink. But once you disconnect the plumbing, you may find that the sink is loose enough to pop right out.
And frankly, with a cast-iron sink, they’re so heavy there may actually be no physical connection holding that cast-iron sink in place. If there is, when you look up at the underside of the sink you’re going to see some sort of a bracket or screw/clamp arrangement that holds it in place. So I would work – remove the plumbing carefully and work that sink loose.
Now, you might bust up some tile in the process; that is possible. Try to save the pieces or you can reglue them and regrout it. Now, if it turns out that you break up too many and they’re not savable, you could always put another row of complimentary tile right around the sink and make it sort of work into the design. I always say that if you have a situation like that, you want to basically look like it was always designed to be that way in the first place. Somebody will come and say, “Oh, I’ve never seen tile done this way.” “Oh really? Yeah, I thought that was a very good idea.” But they don’t have to know that it was a mistake.
I remember years ago when I was building very custom, very expensive stairs as a young carpenter. And I remember one time I cut a piece of really expensive railing – hundreds of dollars – short. And there’s just no way to fix it if doesn’t fit. You can’t use the wood stretcher, you know?
LESLIE: No. Which does not exist, also.
TOM: So I – right. So I put another – I put an extra angle into the railing and created sort of a gooseneck design. And man, the homeowners just were flipped out with excitement over it. And I thought, “Yeah, I just did – took a little initiative and I thought you might like that, so that’s the way I built it.” And they were like, “Oh, awesome job.”
LESLIE: You’ve got to sell it, Tom.
TOM: They don’t know, unless they’re listening to the show today, that that was actually because I made a boo-boo.
LESLIE: Yeah. And Grant, to talk about refinishing a cast-iron sink, I mean there’s really no at-home product that you can use to do so. If you can get the sink out, you can certainly send it out to be refinished if it’s something that you like and love and it’s worth that expense. But it’s definitely not something you can do on your own.
Alright. Next up, I’ve got post here from Jesse who writes: “The vinyl floor in my kitchen has yellow stains around the perimeter and the floor vents. I suspect the stains are from glue used to install it. I’m installing new laminate soon. How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?”
TOM: Well, I think you’re right, because what happens is it’s not such a stain that’s on top of it. It’s a chemical reaction between the glue and the vinyl. But that doesn’t happen with laminate. With laminate, it’s just going to lay right on top of that; it doesn’t actually need any glue. So I think you’re safe to just go ahead and put that laminate on top of the old vinyl. It’s going to look so much better and it really wears fantastically, so I think you’re good to go.
LESLIE: Alright, Jesse. Good luck with that. And it sounds like you’re having a fun, new project at your kitchen, so enjoy that new look.
TOM: You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show and we are so glad you are. If you’re getting ready to take on some fall home improvement projects, we would love to help you. You can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT or by posting your questions to MoneyPit.com.
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.)