In this episode…
Fall is the season to work on getting your lawn ready for next year but can doing so expose you to toxic chemicals? Tom & Leslie share a better path toward a healthy and green using non-toxic, easy to apply lawn care products. Plus…
- Fall is also a good time to get your driveway ready for winter. Get DIY tips to fix driveway cracks, patch holes and seal the surface for a fraction of the cost of hiring a pro.
- Is dust, pollen and other allergens making your life a sneezing, sniffling mess? Does it get worse when you start to seal your home up for the cold weather? Learn the ONE thing you can do to help reduce allergens.
- Are ready for some healthy home décor? We’ve got all-natural decorating ideas to bring the colors and smells of autumn into your home.
- Options for homes without gutters to stop erosion and flooding.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, installing windows in a garden shed, best siding options, removing tile grout, eliminating spiders, how to solve the problem of hot water taking so long to heat up.
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 hope you are enjoying this early fall weekend. If you’ve got questions or a fall home improvement project, a project on your to-do list, a project on your I’ve-got-to-get-it-done list, give us a call because we are here to help you. We’re here to coach you, give you some tips, some ideas, some advice, some inspiration to avoid the perspiration it takes to get jobs done around your house. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, fall is the season to work on getting your lawn ready for next year. It is the best time to plant new grass, to fertilize it, to prevent weeds. And there’s a new DIY product on the market that can help make sure your lawn is good to go. And it’s totally non-toxic and easy to apply. We’re going to share those tips, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, fall is a great time to fix up your driveway. You can fill those cracks, seal the surface. And while this is a project that a lot of homeowners do tend to leave to the pros, many of the products that you need have come such a long way, in terms of being easy to use, that you can do this project yourself and save a ton of money. So we’re going to share some tips to help you get that done.
TOM: And are dust, pollen and other allergens making your life kind of a sneezing, sniffly mess? If that describes you, I’ve got news for you: it does tend to get worse when you seal up your home for the cold weather. But there is one thing that you can do to reduce those allergens. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and we’ll share that tip, just ahead.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear from you. What are your fall projects? What are you working on? Are you thinking of tackling something big? Maybe something small? Whatever it is, we are here for that home improvement journey, so give us a call.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And if you do pick up the phone and give us a call, we’ve got a set of Pony Jorgensen Handscrew Clamps to give away. It’s worth 75 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. So make that you and call us at 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Esther in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ESTHER: Well, you can tell me how I can put little windows into a metal garden shed.
TOM: Oh, OK. So, it’s just a single-wall metal shed?
ESTHER: It is. It’s like overlapping metal sheets.
TOM: Yeah. Hmm. Why do you want to put the windows in there? Just for light?
ESTHER: For light and also because if we put shutters on the outside of them, they’re dressed up and it’ll look kind of cute from the outside.
TOM: And it looks pretty, right? Yeah.
If you purchase very inexpensive, new-construction style windows – new-construction style windows have sort of a fin – a nailing fin – on the outside of it, like a strip that surrounds it. If you were to do that and you cut the hole in the wall to just fit around the outside of the window and install the window backwards – in other words, instead of putting it in from the front and covering it with siding, you’re going to start on the inside and mount it there and then stick it sort of through the hole that you cut, that fits around the window. And then you could bolt them in place and then cover the bolts with the shutters. That would be the way to create the illusion that the windows were built into the shed.
So, just to review, you would purchase a very inexpensive window, because we’re not in the least bit concerned about energy efficiency; this is just for show. Make sure it has a nailing flange around the outside of it: sort of this fin that sticks out. Cut the hole in the metal wall that’s the exact size of the window, insert the window from the back and then the nailing flange that’s on the back you can bolt in to the metal that’s all the way around. And then you would cover those bolts with the shutters. And you’ll have to caulk it to make sure it’s watertight.
ESTHER: Oh, sure. Great. OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kip in Louisiana is on the line and needs some help with a brick problem. Tell us what you’re working on.
KIP: I just built a patio and we covered the patio with a – basically, it looks like an addition to the house to match the existing roof. And we have brick on the outside but whenever the builder came in and put the patio, he had to cut some of the overhang to make it go straight up, if you kind of imagine what I’m saying here.
And so now I have particle board, or OSB board, at the top and then brick at the bottom. And I’m looking the best option to cover this with to give it some kind of – something nice to look at instead of going it with stone or something like that. My options were stucco, tongue-and-groove board or the Hardie Board or something like that.
TOM: So, right now, you have brick on the bottom of the house? And what other kind of siding do you have on top of that or is it only brick? Is this the only area that’s sticking out?
KIP: Well, the wall is brick and then we have the door, of course. But you have the wall is brick and where he cut the overhang out, above that is OSB.
TOM: OK. Well, OSB obviously is not an exterior-siding material and so you’ve got to put something on there. I think that the composite shingles – the HardiePlank – is probably a good option for you. The thing is, if you do something like stone, it may not look right because it may not match the brick properly and not look natural. But if you use a completely different siding product, then it may have a better, more complimentary appearance. Either that or even something like 1×8 cedar clapboard. It’s a very thick, deep profile and brown cedar siding looks pretty nice against red brick.
KIP: OK. What about the – and I know it’s not pressure-treated but there’s a tongue-and-groove pine. If that being stained with a sealer, would that last the duration or not?
TOM: Not nearly as much as one of the siding products, like HardiePlank or cedar. And by the way, if you take your time and finish that properly, you can probably get 20 years out of it. And by finish it properly, I mean use a good, oil-based primer on the siding and then cover that with a solid-color stain.
KIP: OK. Well, good deal, guys. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Kip. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to Louisiana with Lois who’s dealing with a grout issue in the bath. Tell us what’s going on.
LOIS: After talking to the people that sold me the grout, on the second complaint they finally acknowledged that there was something wrong with the grout, so now I’ve got it turning white. And it’s a mocha-brown kind of color in the bottom of my shower and I guess the only way to resolve it is to clean it out. But how do I do that?
TOM: So how do you remove grout that’s already installed? Is that correct? So this is grout that’s in the wall?
LOIS: Floor of the shower.
TOM: Oh, the floor of the shower. And so the grout’s the wrong color. And it’s a darker color than you want?
LOIS: No, it’s changed color because they didn’t – they sold me – there was a problem, apparently, from the factory with the grout.
LOIS: And of course, I didn’t find out about it until after the fact. Now it’s turning white.
TOM: Right. Alright. So listen. What you might want to think about doing – only because if this doesn’t work, you have to take the grout out anyway – is you might want to think about applying a grout dye. Grout dye is available; it’s kind of like a stain for grout and it changes the color of the grout. It goes from – it can make grout that’s lighter go darker. It doesn’t work the other way around, of course. So I would give that a try first because, really, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Now, if that doesn’t work, you’ve got to take the grout out.
TOM: To take the grout out, there are a number of tools on the market that can help you do that, that come into the category of grout saws. There is a type of saw that fits into the end of a reciprocating saw that enables you to cut through grout. There is a grout saw that works in a Dremel that enables you to take grout out. But you have to grind the old grout out and then regrout the tiles. It’s a big job; don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy but it can be done. That’s why I suggest you try a grout dye first.
You can take a look online at The Home Depot. They sell a product that’s called Grout Renew and it’s made by Polyblend which is, I believe, one of the grout manufacturers. And so they have a product – they have several different colors and they’re designed to stain and seal the grout in one application. So like I said, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying this out.
There’s also a website that just sells grout dye, called GroutDye.com.
LOIS: Alright, sir. Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Plus, remember, guys, you can always call us with your home improvement questions right here, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Let us know how we can help you.
But also, give us a call because we give away great prizes from time to time. And this hour, we’ve got up for grabs a set of 6-inch and 10-inch Jorgensen Adjustable Handscrew Clamps.
Now, Tom has had some for 40 years, correct?
TOM: That’s right. That’s because they were handed down to me when I was a youngster. And I tell you what, I use these things all the time. They have a prominent spot in my shop.
They are so well built. The jaws are solid maple. They’re also called “parallel clamps.” And they are solid maple. They’re straight-grain maple hardwood and they have steel spindles and hardwood handles. So there’s really nothing to break down and wear out.
And I use them a lot because they don’t mess up the surface. You know, sometimes if you use something like a C-clamp or other types of clamps, you get a dent in your project? Well, that doesn’t happen with this, because you’re using the strength of wood to support wood. And if you’re a woodworker, this would be a dream giveaway to add to your shop.
So, make it happen. Call us with your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, fall is the perfect time to get your lawn reenergized – after this long, hot summer we’ve all had – so that it’s healthy and green for the months ahead. But figuring out exactly what you need to add to get your lawn just right, that’s always been a hassle.
TOM: Absolutely. So, a while back, we had a guest on named Coulter Lewis. Now, Coulter started a company called Sunday. And what Sunday does is they provide non-toxic DIY lawn-care products. So he made the point that trying to figure out what your lawn needs and when it needs it and then usually over-applying toxic pesticides and other lawn chemicals is just not that smart. It’s difficult and you usually end up sort of wasting a lot of product and then, of course, exposing your family.
In fact, they figured out that we are actually crop-dusting our own yards at a rate of 10 times more than an industrial farm, because we don’t know what we’re doing, right? Look into the home center aisles where people are trying to choose a fertilizer, for example. It’s really hard because you don’t know how many square feet your property is, you don’t know what it is less the buildings and such. So it kind of caught our attention and we both became customers of Sunday.
And I’ve got to say that I’ve been pretty impressed with the results. So, let’s talk about how it works, Leslie, because I think it’s pretty interesting.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s really very cool. So it all starts right at their website. You head on over to GetSunday.com, put in your address and then the site brings back a satellite image of your home. Yep. Totally. It’s your house and all the yard areas are mapped out. And it gives you sort of an estimated measurement of how much lawn surface that you have.
And then based on that info, they then create a smart lawn plan, which is based on your soil, your climate history, your current weather conditions and that satellite imagery of your home. And it creates a custom plan, which will then be delivered directly to your door. And it even includes a soil test to zero in on any soil deficiencies, which obviously they can’t get that info from the satellite image. So that’s going to come in your first kit.
TOM: Actually, then can in a way. They know about soil type from the satellites. Because I learned later, Leslie, that there’s actually not one – it’s not just a Google Earth shot. There’s a half-dozen satellite services that all combine together to give them this data. And that all results …
LESLIE: Oh, really?
TOM: Yeah. That all results in them knowing exactly what to send you and when it should be applied.
Now, the products themselves, when I got mine they came in a very well-packed box. And I got an application for late summer: a product called Lawn Strength. And that was designed to help it recover from the crazy, extreme heat we had. And then I just applied my fall application, which is called Lawn Strong, and that gets it ready for the fall.
Now, the application is super easy because each product is shipped in a pouch. It’s like a liquid-filled pouch. And then you insert a hose applicator. So once you insert the applicator and screw it on, then you can attach a hose and you are totally good to go. It’s as easy as that.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? That’s pretty much it. If you can use a hose, guys, then you can have a Sunday lawn. They ship to you exactly what you need, right when you need it, and then you just hose it on. And best of all, it’s a lot less expensive than buying lawn-care products locally and it’s completely non-toxic. So, kids and pets can play right on the lawn, even after you apply those products.
TOM: So, look, I think the bottom line is this: if you want a beautiful, green lawn, if you enjoy that, if that’s a point of pride for you, you definitely owe it to yourself to check out Sunday. Just go to GetSunday.com. Enter your address and literally watch the magic happen. It’s so impressive the way they can spec out exactly what you need to bring your lawn to a really healthy and green condition, using totally non-toxic products. We think that you’ll be just as impressed as we were.
And hey, if you use the promo code MONEYPIT, you can save 20 bucks. So go to GetSunday.com and insert the promo code MONEYPIT to save $20 on your plan.
LESLIE: Chris in Louisiana is on the line and needs help with a driveway project. Tell us what’s going on.
CHRIS: Well, I have an old, concrete driveway that’s got a few cracks in it.
CHRIS: I would imagine those could be patched up with something like QUIKRETE. But what I’m basically asking about is extending the driveway from where it sort of slopes down to the ground, which is above the street level. And there’s about maybe a gap of 12 feet, perhaps, between the end of the driveway, which sort of feathers down. And then I’d like to extend it down towards the street so my property is about maybe 2 feet higher – not quite that. Almost 2 feet.
TOM: So what’d they do? Run out of concrete the first time they poured the driveway?
CHRIS: No. We don’t have any sidewalks, so this would go over the area where there would be a sidewalk if they had sidewalks.
CHRIS: So I’m asking if concrete’s a better material to use or asphalt or perhaps something else, even?
TOM: Oh, no. I think you – since you have a concrete driveway right now, I would clearly extend it using more concrete. I would repair those cracks in the surface. There is a QUIKRETE concrete-repair product that comes in a caulk tube for those small cracks.
And you could also consider using one of the resurfacing products that are available so that now you’ll have a brand-new driveway and an old driveway. And if you resurface that driveway, it’s kind of like stucco. And they’re specially designed to stick to the old concrete. Then the whole thing will look brand new and it’ll all kind of match.
CHRIS: OK. And do you have to wet that down first or …?
TOM: Yeah, you just follow the instructions. There’s a …
CHRIS: What’s that product called?
TOM: It’s made by QUIKRETE and I think it’s called Sand/Topping Mix or something like that.
CHRIS: OK. And I can get that at a home center?
TOM: Home centers. You know, take a look at the QUIKRETE website. They’ve got some great videos there on all of these projects.
CHRIS: OK. Now, how about the extension? Do I need to build a form or just lay concrete down and kind of pack it in?
TOM: No. Have you ever poured concrete yourself before?
CHRIS: A little bit but mostly just for small projects, like walks and stuff.
TOM: Well, you know what? This is a pretty big project and since you haven’t done it before, I would recommend that you get a mason to help you. It’s a little bit different to handle this amount of concrete. You’re going to need a fair amount of it.
But basically, the way the project goes is they do build forms that hold the concrete in at the end. And with a 12-foot section, they’re going to probably put an expansion joint in between. So you pour the first section and then you have the expansion joints in there. Then you pour the second section.
You’ve got to shake the concrete and treat the concrete and finish the concrete so that the rocks fall down to the bottom and sort of the smoothest mud comes up to the top. Then you’ve got to put a finish in it so it’s not slippery. And you usually do that with a very coarse broom. So, it’s not the kind of first-time concrete project that I would recommend to somebody.
CHRIS: At least that gives me an idea what to aim for. OK. Well, thanks a lot. I always enjoy your program on the weekends, when I hear it.
TOM: Well, thanks very much, Chris. We appreciate that and good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line and having a hot-water issue. Tell us what’s going on.
NANCY: Well, my hot water takes so long to – or my water takes so long to get hot when I turn on the spigot. And washing the dishes by hand makes that – I waste a lot of water that way.
LESLIE: Nancy, is this a new problem or has this always been the situation?
NANCY: No, it’s an old problem.
TOM: Yeah. And it has to do with the physical distance between the faucet and the water heater. The farther they are apart, the longer you have to wait for the water to heat up.
Now, newer water heaters today, and especially the tankless water heaters, are very small. And so the way a lot of builders are addressing this is they’re putting in multiple water heaters closer to the bathing or the washing areas of the house. So, typically, you’d have one for the kitchen and maybe the laundry area and you’d have another one for bathrooms. Because these water heaters are so small and so efficient, they can literally squeeze into anything that’s smaller than a closet.
In your case, though, it’s just a matter of the distance that the water has to travel. Unfortunately, in a house like this, though, I would say that it’s unlikely you will save enough money in water costs to make the installation of an additional water heater worthwhile, Nancy.
NANCY: But is there anything else I can do? Like I have been told, different times, that insulating the pipes wouldn’t help or some people say it would.
TOM: Well, the only thing that insulating the pipes will do is it’ll keep the water that’s in the pipes, once it gets there, warmer longer. But again, it’s a distance thing. You turn the faucet on, the water starts to move from the water heater, where it’s hot, to the faucet. And it has to purge all of that cold water along the way. Once it purges, it’ll stay hot but it just takes a certain amount of time for that amount of water – that amount of volume of water – to move through the pipes.
Does that make sense, Nancy?
NANCY: Yeah, it does. And so there’s basically nothing I can do except different water …
TOM: Well, except moving a water heater closer to the – to you. I mean there are recirculators that sort of take water and recirculate it back all the time. But again, that costs energy, too, and that costs plumbing expense, too. And I just don’t think you’re going to save enough to make it worthwhile.
Nancy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, winter is rough on driveways, which is why the fall is a good time to actually fix up your driveway, fill those cracks, seal the surface, just get it ready for the damage it’s going to see in the winter season.
So, the first step is patching and filling any holes or cracks that you have in the driveway. Now, you’re going to want to tackle this part of your driveway rehab well before you start the sealing process, as the filling material does need plenty of time to cure. So you want to make sure to plan for the curing time that your asphalt-patching product requires and then plan your driveway-repair weekend accordingly.
TOM: Now, here’s a tip to think about when you’re shopping for your patching product. You want to remember that the more solids it contains, the better. So, solids like asphalt and polymers and coal tar, those are better-quality products and they’re going to last a lot longer and be more effective, in terms of the results.
Now, after you’ve patched and filled the cracks in the driveway, you’ve got to allow plenty of time for the repairs to cure. And that’s going to give you time to plan the sealing project. Now, the best time to apply the driveway sealer is when the weather forecast is rain-free and the daily temps are at least about 50 degrees. Not too hot, not too cold is best.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, your next step is to wash the asphalt surface. So you want to use an oil cleaner for any stubborn oil stains and you want to apply a mixture of TSP detergent and water to the entire surface, using a stiff-bristle brush. Now, you can also use a pressure washer for this deep-cleaning step.
Now, once your driveway is completely dry, then it’s time to apply the sealant using a squeegee, a roller, a broom, whatever you’re comfortable with. And work in strokes parallel to your house and allow that sealant to dry. You’ve got to do it according to the manufacturer instructions. And then once it’s dry, you can come back for another lap of applications. But this time, work in passes that run perpendicular to the house. So you’re crisscrossing those two layers so that you really get good coverage.
TOM: And once that finish has totally dried – and you’ve got to stay off it, by the way, for a lot longer, I always think, than the manufacturer says. I like to leave a full weekend for it to settle up. But you’re going to have a good-looking driveway. It’s going to work hard for you and it’s going to stand up to all of that winter road wear and tear and all that road salt. And it’ll be good for a lot of years to come. And you saved a bunch of money because you did it yourself.
LESLIE: Pat in Illinois needs some help with a leak. Tell us what’s going on.
PAT: I got new, enlarged gutters and downspouts on. And they cut a trough out to the – my field, which is OK. We’ve had some torrential downpours and this hasn’t, obviously, been lately but I got flooding in my basement. And I was told that there’s a trough that is next to my block basement that is either inside or outside. I could see, visually, it coming in underneath my stairs as I cut away the drywall and I’m not sure – because, unfortunately, the company that did it is out of business – if my trough is inside or outside.
TOM: Does the rainfall precipitate the flood? In other words, does it always flood after a heavy rain?
PAT: It never flooded. I built the basement on in an addition 12 years after I built the house for, really, a storm shelter. And it never did until I put the new, improved, larger gutters/larger downspouts on.
TOM: Right. So, obviously, it’s – the issue is with the drainage of these spouts. And when you have an area that’s susceptible to flooding, you need to discharge the water at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation, if not further. I mean I – if it’s possible, I like to run the pipes out underground and take them to a dry well or take them to daylight somewhere if the property is set up such where you can get away with that. But you’ve got to manage the drainage.
And it’s great that you got the bigger gutters because they’re not going to clog as easily. But wherever these downspouts are hitting, that water has got to get far away from the house.
PAT: I think that was the case. I think what has happened is the abundance of rain that came over the gutters, based on the mass that it came down – and again, it probably has happened before but it never flooded down there.
TOM: Pat, whenever you get a flood that’s consistent with rainfall, it’s always, always, always drainage, OK? It’s not rising water tables or any of that other kind of stuff. It’s always drainage, always. So, it’s a clogged gutter, it’s a downspout that’s dropping water too close to the house, it’s soil that’s sloped back into the wall. Fix the drainage, you’ll fix the flood, guaranteed.
Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And if you give us a call with your home improvement question during today’s show, we’re going to toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat for a set of classic products from our friends at Jorgensen. This is a set of 6-inch and 10-inch Jorgensen Adjustable Handscrew Clamps. These are well built. They are durable. They are also called “parallel clamps” and they last and last and last.
They feature seasoned, straight-grain, hardwood maple-wood jaws and steel spindles and hardwood handles. They go on and off quickly and they don’t mess up the surface of the finished project.
They’re worth 75 bucks. Going out to one listener drawn at random. Check them out at PonyJorgensen.com. And call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Delaware is dealing with a spider problem. I can’t even talk about it for fear they will jump into my house. What’s going on?
JOHN: I moved to the beach about 10 years ago. I’m not – I’m 12 miles from the water but I don’t know whether that’s part of the problem or not. But we have spiders inside the house all the time. They’re always in the corners of the room. It’s rare to come into any room and not have one. And it seems like as quickly as you get rid of them, a week later you have more in the same areas. And it is very annoying.
TOM: What do you do to get rid of them, John?
JOHN: The only thing I do is I try to kill them and knock down their little web.
TOM: Good luck with that. That’s not working out too well for you, I bet, huh?
JOHN: No, it’s not.
TOM: You’re not going to win the war if that’s your treatment approach. The thing about insects today is the best way to control them is through science. And if you look at a company like Orkin – you know, a company that’s been around forever – these guys know exactly what insecticide to put down, they know how to put it down in the right amounts and the products that they use today are very insect-specific.
It used to be that there was sort of a broad-spectrum pesticide that was put down. Today, the pesticides are very, very specific for the problem. And if I was dealing with this in my house, I wouldn’t be running around with my boot trying to kill them all. I would have the pesticide applied in the right amounts, right place and be done with it.
So, I would recommend that you call Orkin and have that taken care of the right way. It’s safer to do that than to buy over-the-counter pesticides, which you end up over-applying – which are far more dangerous, in my view – and certainly a lot less frustrating than having to stomp them to death, OK?
So, I would use a pesticide to control these spiders and that’s the best solution.
JOHN: OK. And you would not advise trying to do it on your own. You’d advise getting a company that’s – would pay them regularly to have them come back?
TOM: Yeah, you can’t buy the products that a professional can buy. They’re not available to the general public because they have to be applied just right. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn to a pro, like Orkin.
John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, autumn’s colors are something to look forward to every year. But the change of seasons also has its drawbacks, like allergies and energy costs, those things.
TOM: And that’s why it’s important to do what you can to improve the inside air in your house, the indoor-air quality.
So, step one is to change your filters. Now, good-quality HVAC filters are going to capture about 90 percent of the large allergens. And that includes stuff like dust and pollen and mold spores from the air passing through it.
And I’ve got to tell you, in the thousands of inspections that I’ve done, so many times I open up the blower compartment on the furnace and what comes out is a big lump of dust, because the furnace filter was never replaced. So, important that you keep changing that out. And if it’s a disposable kind, we’re talking about every 1 to 2 months.
Now, if your family is prone to allergies, you should look for a filter with a MERV rating – that stands for the minimum efficiency reporting rating – of at least 11, because that means it can do a good job of keeping out the dust and the pollen.
LESLIE: Yeah. And if you do change them out more frequently, like Tom said, it can even reduce the amount of energy that’s needed to heat your home, which is going to lead to lower energy costs and reduced stress on your HVAC system.
TOM: Now, if you really want to step it up and you really want the best protection that you can get, you can get a filter system that will protect against microscopic airborne particles and even bacteria and viruses. And that is an electronic air cleaner. There are some great brands out there. Trane makes the CleanEffects, Aprilaire makes a really good one. So, think about one of those products. They have to be professionally installed but boy, are they really terrific at killing everything that can get into the air in your house.
You can call us, of course, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question, like Helen did. And Helen shot us a question on MoneyPit.com.
She’s dealing with a metal roof, Leslie.
LESLIE: That’s right. She writes: “We put a metal roof on our house and the rain runoff is causing erosion. We love seeing the rain coming off the roof and don’t want gutters. Can I put river rocks on the ground to create a dry creek? And do I need anything under those rocks?”
TOM: Well, yeah. I love the metal roof and the idea that it looks beautiful with the water dripping off it. But if you have a basement or a crawlspace, just be advised that that water coming off the roof can end up right in that space. If that is not the situation with you, I think, yes, go ahead and put the river rocks down or anything else that’s not going to be impacted by erosion. Because water is pretty corrosive, it’s pretty aggressive and it can really beat up that soil area. So you can create a beautiful, dry riverbed of rocks there.
In terms of what to put under it, the only thing I might put under it is filter cloth, because that will help prevent weeds from growing back up. But again, you need to make sure that that water is not causing a foundation problem, because it very well could be if you do not have gutters on your house.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? Even if you don’t have a basement, all of that water can cause a lot of issues to a foundation, as well. So don’t give up on the idea of gutters entirely, OK?
TOM: Well, fall is the most beautiful season of the year and it’s also one of the most beautiful seasons for home decorating if you’ve got the rustic colors and the iconic images from harvest. But how do you pull all those ideas together, from the natural world, to decorate your home for fall? Well, Leslie has ideas on how to do just that, in this edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
So, Leslie, should we go collect the beautiful leaves and pine cones?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. I totally love the fall. I mean it’s such a great season. You’ve got apple-picking, pumpkin-picking and the leaves are changing color and of course, Halloween. And if you plan it right, there are ways that you can have the décor that you put in the home this month take you all the way through Thanksgiving.
So, first of all, you can use all of those late-summer harvests to spruce up your front-entry table or even your kitchen table. I’m talking about pumpkins, squashes. You can have baskets of colorful apples or gourds. All of that is a really natural way to just bring that color inside. And those do tend to last long, so you’re able to keep that color out probably through most of the season and get you right through Thanksgiving.
Also, you want to pull those colors for accents around your home, as well. So think about your tablecloth, linens, towels, even pillows, vases, cookie jars, any sort of accent pieces that you might swap out throughout your home for the different seasons. I don’t know if everybody does that. I kind of swap things out. So it’s a really easy way to bring those colors in.
Now, instead of flowers, you can put a really nice vase or some sort of jug or interesting barrel or container that feels sort of seasonal. And you can fill that with autumn leaves. And you can even do big branches and you can really make an autumn sort of piece there that will work beautifully. And of course, the branches or the foliage or whatever you’re bringing in from outside, you can vary the size depending on the space that you’re going to place it in.
And lastly, think about your other senses. Pine cones, cinnamon sticks. All of those bring in that autumn-y scent and starts getting you thinking of pumpkin-spice lattes and sweaters and all that great stuff that the fall season is. So, really, look at what’s around you and bring that fall into your home without spending a lot. You’re going to be so happy.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, ceramic floors or tile floors, they are durable, they are super easy to care for. But what happens if one breaks and you just can’t find a replacement? We’re going to share some fast fix-ups for tile floors and more, 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.)