In this episode…
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the sale of your house. But using right colors can actually help sell your home faster! Tom & Leslie share the most profitable colors for Kitchen and Bath. Plus…
- Plus, a pressure washer can make short work of that last round of outdoor cleaning. We’ve got advice to consider when buying one.
- If you’re planning a home improvement project, discovering hidden costs mid-project can really ramp up the stress! We’ll share some of those money-drains and tell you how to prepare.
- The right lighting can really make a big difference in your bathroom. We share the best bathroom lighting choices for LED bulbs that make you look your best – even first thing in the morning!
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 welcome to your next home improvement project. We know it’s on your to-do list. We’re here to offer you a personalized welcome to get it done. Because if it’s sitting on the list and you haven’t started yet, it’s probably because you don’t know where to start and because you don’t have the materials to start and because maybe you’re just not so sure how it’s going to turn out. We can make all that go away if you reach out and ask for our help. That’s what we do here: we stand by and we wait for your calls, because we know that you have questions that need to be answered. And we take them at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We are your coaches, your advisors, your cheerleading squad. We know you can get that job done and we’re going to help you do just that. So pick up the phone, call us. That number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Now, if we’re not in the studio, we’ll call you back the next time we are. Or you could always post your question to The Money Pit Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Coming up on today’s show, a fresh coat of paint, well, that could do wonders for the sale of your house. But using the right colors can actually help sell your home for more money, in pretty much any real-estate market. We’re going to highlight the most valuable colors for kitchens and baths, the paint colors that actually drive up the value of your home and put more money in your pocket.
LESLIE: And coming up, this is the time of year you’ll take on that last round of outdoor cleaning. And a pressure washer can make short work of that project. We’ve got some advice to consider when you’re buying one.
TOM: And if you’re planning a home improvement project, you know you’ve got to budget for materials, right, and you’ve got to budget for the labor. But did you know you also need to budget for the hidden cost of home improvements? We’re going to share some of those money drains and tell you how to prepare.
LESLIE: But most importantly, we want to talk to you. What are you guys working on this fall season? Tell us what projects you’re dreaming of or may be in the midst of. Whatever is going on at your money pit, we are here to lend a hand.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And if you call us with your question, we’ll also add your name to The Money Pit hard hat for a chance at winning a very cool set of four heavy-duty trigger clamps from our friends at Pony Jorgensen.
So call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Those clamps are worth 120 bucks. Going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us at 888-666-3974.
And look at that, Leslie: the phones are ringing. They are calling us. Let’s get to it. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to head to Massachusetts. And we’ve got John on the line. Tell us what is going on at your money pit.
JOHN: The four support beams in the basement, near the top of the beams – it’s from 2 to 5 inches from the top – there’s wet moisture spots. I tried with the Rust-Oleum. I put a few coats. I put a couple clear coats and then the oil-based primer and also the paint.
JOHN: And I tried the rusty coat with another coat of paint. But it’s still – it’s as if they’re bleeding.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I know what’s causing that. So, a couple of things are happening here.
First of all, you have a damp basement; it’s unusually humid in that space. So you just need to take some steps to reduce the amount of humidity in that basement. And usually, it starts because there’s something askew with your drainage conditions outside, like your gutters are clogged or the downspouts are not discharging away from the walls or the soil around the house is too flat. You’re keeping too much water close to the foundation. You’ve got to make sure you move it out 5, 6 feet at a minimum. So that’s one thing that’s going to reduce humidity.
Now, the reason it looks like there’s water leaking out of the steel beams is because of condensation. The steel beams, when they get cold, especially overnight and that humidity starts to pick up, the moisture in the air strikes the cold steel. And then because it cools it, it releases water. This is like when you go outside on a hot summer day and water forms on the outside of an iced-tea glass. You don’t say, “Oh, my glass is leaking.” No, it’s condensation. Well, that’s what’s happening.
Now, the reason that it’s forming the rust is because you’ve got water and steel. And I understand that you put primer on there. It may be that the best type of primer for this situation is not just a basic primer. There’s a type of primer called a “high-bond primer.” High b-o-n-d. It’s basically extra sticky, to use a technical term.
TOM: And it sticks really, really well to smooth surfaces. And then once that’s on there and once it dries real well, then you could put the color coat on top of that.
But I suspect that if you take steps to reduce the amount of moisture in that space, you will find that you don’t have the water and don’t have the rust and might not even have to do any further work on it.
We have a story – a post, I’m sorry – on our website. Just search “basement waterproofing” on MoneyPit.com and you’ll find a post that we have there with tips and advice on how to actually reduce humidity and moisture and water in the basement. It’s also in the footer of the website, too, in One of the Most Frequently-Read Posts section. So, I would check that out and follow the step-by-step advice there. And I think you’ll find that your problem will magically go away, just as magically as the steel beams leaking with that water. The problem will magically go away. OK, John?
JOHN: Yeah, I do run a dehumidifier. I run it 2 hours on, 2 hours off. So I’m going to be getting an electric heat-pump water heater. Will that really help to solve it, also, with …?
TOM: No. What’s going to help is if you stop working on the inside of the house and start working on the outside of the house.
TOM: You’ve got too much water forming around the foundation perimeter. I don’t know why that’s happening but I’ve listed for you the most common causes. And the number-one most common cause is there’s something with your gutter.
TOM: So, your downspouts need to be extended away. They need to be clean. They can’t get overloaded. They can’t – because if they’re undersized – you know, sometimes people have not enough downspouts. But if it’s working properly, your basement’s going to stay a heck of a lot drier, OK?
JOHN: OK, OK. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, sir. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Kim who’s dealing with a shower-floor issue. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
KIM: My shower floor is basically coming up. All the tile is coming up and it’s been doing that for a few months. And we’re debating with – should we repair it or should we just replace the whole shower? It’s kind of an old house anyway and we were thinking – we were getting ready to sell it. So, should we put the money in to replace it or should we just try to repair it? I don’t want to patch it up for anybody but if it’s repaired, I really want to do a good job to where they can use it.
TOM: So this is sort of a walk-in shower stall? Is that what this is and it’s made of tile?
KIM: It’s made of tile, yes. Walk-in.
TOM: Listen, the restoration on this is to replace the shower pan. It’s a pretty big job, because you have to tear out the tile that’s there and put in a new pan, which is typically fiberglass today, and then retile over all of that. So that’s a big project.
Is it leaking now?
KIM: No, it’s not leaking.
TOM: OK. Well, if it’s not – it’s just appearance that you’re concerned about?
KIM: Appearance, right. I mean it’s – the tile’s basically coming up. We have a rubber – what do you call those little rubber things that you put in a – just to stand in the shower?
TOM: Right, right. Yeah, the anti-slip mats and that sort of thing.
KIM: Right, right. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Yeah. Listen, I don’t know that I would do that repair. If it’s not leaking, then you don’t really have a responsibility to repair it. Of course, if you want to do a bath restoration – a bath renovation – you could. Whether that’s going to make your house any more or less likely to sell, I don’t know. You really need to know what’s going on in your neighborhood.
But that’s a really big repair to do – when it’s not necessary, it’s not leaking – for the sole purpose of trying to sell your house. If it was a cracked shower pan and it was leaking, I’d be telling you something different. But if it’s not leaking, I’d leave it alone and put my money elsewhere in terms of fixing up the house.
KIM: Great. That’s what I needed to hear.
TOM: Alright. There you go. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Give us a call. Let us know what you are working on. And if you get on the air with us this hour, one of you is going to have a great prize coming your way this fall season.
We’ve got a set of two 12-inch and two 36-inch Heavy-Duty Jorgensen Trigger Clamps worth $120. Now, it’s really fantastic because it really gives you that extra hand when you’re trying to hold something together. Maybe you’re putting something back together or adhering something and you just can’t hold it. These clamps will do the job. And the E-Z Hold Bar Clamps truly allow for rapid and easy clamping. And you can put them together and convert them to spreader clamps, so it’s really fantastic.
It’s a great prize. Check them all out at PonyJorgensen.com. It’s a prize worth $120.
TOM: I was working on a project this weekend. I took a very old children’s wagon, like a Radio Flyer-style wagon, and I was rebuilding the wheels because it had been badly damaged. It was actually kind of a piece of junk that I found, that a friend of mine had thrown away. I said, “Let me take that. I think I can have some fun with that.” And I rebuilt it.
And I had to heat up the axles and straighten them out, which was not terribly difficult. But when it came time to put it back together, there were some parts of the brackets that just weren’t right. And I grabbed a Jorgensen spreader clamp and I clamped it across the bracket and I squeezed it in with one hand, because it’s all I had to work with. And it pulled right together and I was able to bolt everything back up the way it should be. And then when I released the clamp, it stayed just where I wanted it to be.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s fantastic.
TOM: So, there’s all sorts of stuff you can use these with, because they’re just so darn handy.
If you’d like to win it, call us, right now, with your question. Post it to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dave on the line. What’s going on at your money pit?
DAVE: I’m considering putting a vinyl floor in my below-grade basement.
DAVE: And I’m trying to figure out if I need to A) put down a vapor barrier and B) if I need to make it glue-down or a floating floor.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, there are a lot of great options for basement floors these days beyond just vinyl tile. You know, you have a lot in the engineered vinyl plank area. You have laminate floors that can work down there and even engineered hardwood. So you have a lot of options.
What I would recommend is a product called DRICORE – D-R-I-C-O-R-E. So DRICORE is a subfloor that goes down in the basement. And the DRICORE panels are about 2 feet square. They’re tongue-and-groove and they lock together. And in the bottom of the DRICORE panel, it looks like OSB – oriented strand board – from the top but the bottom of it is a rubber base that’s sort of diamond-plated. And it almost has little feet that create an air barrier between the concrete surface and the underside of the DRICORE. This helps avoid moisture buildup, because anything that comes up off of the floor is going to wick away. And then you can basically put the vinyl down right on top of the DRICORE or you could put engineered plank or whatever else you want to use.
But take a look at DRICORE. It’s available at home centers across the country. We did some work with them not too long ago and I tell you, I was really impressed with the product. I was really glad to learn about it. And I don’t think I would do a basement floor any other way moving forward.
DAVE: OK. Well, thank you then. I’ll take a look into that.
TOM: Well, according to a Zillow analysis of 32,000 property sales, where they compared the sales prices according to room colors, creating the right atmosphere with paint color can actually lead to home buyers to compete for your property and drive up the selling price.
LESLIE: That’s right. However, painting with the wrong colors can have the opposite effect. So let’s take a look at two of the most important rooms in your house for home value. And that’s the kitchen and the bath.
Now, kitchen renovations can result in the highest return on investment. And Zillow found that the blue gray is the best color for a kitchen for several reasons. First of all, the surfaces are easier to clean, unlike white kitchens that become messy when you’re living in them. And researchers also found that bluish grays evoke feelings of trustworthiness, which can immediately help home buyers connect with your home. Plus, cool colors literally create a cooling sensation for buyers. People perceive those rooms in these colors as physically cooler, which is nice in an area that tends to get super hot when you’re cooking.
Now, the result on average, they found that homes with bluish-gray kitchens sold for $1,809 more on average.
TOM: That’s crazy. So let’s look at the best bath paint colors next.
The bathroom is one of the more important features of a property being sold. Buyers are specifically interested in how many baths you have, how big they are and so on. And buyers want to see a bathroom that’s well-designed and well-constructed. But color is just as important when they’re considering your property.
So, you might think that white is the ideal paint color but Zillow found that the bathroom paint colors of periwinkle blue or pale blue can push up a property’s price by a whopping 5,000 bucks. They found that a bathroom with blue walls is soothing and relaxing. And people also associate the color of water with being clean and healthy: two things so important today in our time of COVID crisis.
The number here is 1-888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement questions, whether you’re living in a house, buying a house, selling a house, living in an apartment, living in a yurt. Wherever you call home, we’d love to help, 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in Florida is on the line with a leaky water heater. What’s going on? Tell us how old it is.
RON: Well, the breaker had thrown a couple times and I turned it back on. And (inaudible) stayed when I turned it on. And then I’d gone in, took a nap, came back out. When I did, the entire garage was full of water. I guess the pressure-relief valve that’s up top was just – it was just spewing out water extremely, extremely hot. Hotter than we’ve ever experienced having our – what I thought it was. It just continued to heat.
And so, at any rate, I turned the breaker off. I looked in the panel where the thermostats were and the elements and they were just fried; they were burnt. They were burned up. I got a good scare because the insulation was blackened and could have been worse than it was, I guess, it catching fire. But I just wondered what would have made the hot-water heater do that.
TOM: OK. Well, let’s see. The pressure/temperature relief valve, which is what that’s called on the side of the water heater, is set to go off at about 150 pounds of pressure. And theoretically, the way it works is if the water heater doesn’t shut off, because there’s something wrong with the control circuit, it will continue to heat and heat and heat and build up pressure to the point where to prevent the tank from rupturing, the pressure/temperature valve will open up.
Now, I will say this: very often, those valves fail and they will open up way before they’re designed to open up. And if that’s the case, you just replace the valve. But it sounds to me like this thing got so wet that the water got on the elements and that’s what caused a short, which caused the breaker to trip.
LESLIE: Yeah. But is this associated with an age of a water heater or is this just a random, fluke problem?
TOM: Not really. I’ve seen new pressure/temperature valves that can pop open, as well. And sometimes, you get a little bit of debris that’s stuck under them, too, when you try to close them and that makes it even worse.
Now, where are we at right now with the water heater? You’re still there with it or have you replaced it? What’s your – where are you at with the project?
RON: Just the – what I was looking at didn’t look like it was even worth fixing with all the – like I said, with all the burned …
TOM: Well, it may not. If it’s more than a few years old and you’ve got that much going on with it, I’d probably replace the water heater myself.
But what I was going to say, the one thing that you can try – and assuming that the coils were still OK. You mentioned they were burned out. Burned out is – with a coil, it’s kind of hard to do. If they just got wet and shorted, that’s a different situation. You can clean out the contacts and it’ll work. But if the coils were OK, otherwise, what you could do is you open and close the pressure-and-temperature valve several times.
And by the way, there’s supposed to be a discharge pipe on that that stops within 6 inches of the floor. And sometimes, the plumbers don’t put that on. But if you open and close that a bunch of times to try to sort of clean out that valve, sometimes it’ll reseat itself. And this is assuming that it didn’t open because there is something electrically wrong with it. But I would do that.
There’s things that I would check but there’s – these are things you probably couldn’t check. For example, I’d check the amperage on the coils to see if they were drawing normally and things like that that tells me sort of – the circuit is working correctly. So, I guess what we’re coming to here is if you’ve got this much going on with – you’re probably going to have to replace it and you’re going to need a plumber for that, anyway.
But that’s probably what happened. It probably started with the pressure/temperature valve leaking, that water getting in there and causing a big mess electrically. Because water and electricity do not mix, as you have learned, my friend.
RON: Right, right. OK. OK, guys. Well, listen, I really appreciate you taking my call and appreciate the help.
LESLIE: Laurel in Pennsylvania is on the line.
And I’m reading, Laurel, that your ceiling fell down? What the heck happened to your apartment?
LAUREL: Well, the lady upstairs had a problem in her kitchen and her bathroom. And I don’t know if there was a fire or what but she flooded the upstairs. And so some of my kitchen ceiling fell in with all the water coming down. It smells like smoke, it smells like rotted wood, wet wood. What do I do?
TOM: Well, by the way, why are you dealing with this as opposed to a landlord or an insurance company?
LAUREL: Well, he swept it up and then put another – put a new tile in the suspended ceiling and that was it. He didn’t repair the whole …
TOM: Well, first of all, you asked about smoke smell and the way to deal with smoke smell is to use TSP and scrub the walls and scrub the ceiling. Trisodium phosphate. That will cut through the tar and the nicotine that sticks to the walls.
Now, if you’re concerned about mold, there’s a product called Concrobium, which is excellent. Specifically designed to kill the mold. It’s far more effective than bleach. And the other quality I like about Concrobium is it leaves a protective coating on the surface when it dries so that the mold can’t grow back.
Their website is CureMyMold.com – C-u-r-e – CureMyMold.com. Check it out. I think that that is the solution to your mold issue, Laurel.
LESLIE: Well, a pressure washer is a great tool to have for outdoor chores. You can clean sidewalks, driveways, decks, even siding just to name a few of the things that you can actually clean with it.
Now, if you don’t own one, it really is a pretty good investment because it’s something that you’re going to use regularly.
TOM: Now, there are a few things to consider when you’re looking to buy a pressure washer. First is the water pressure itself. A light-duty pressure washer with, say, 1,300 to 2,000 PSI, or pounds per square inch, is going to give you about 30 times more pressure than what comes out of a garden hose, just for a guide. So that’s good for things like cars and siding and boats.
If you need something a bit stronger, you can choose a medium-duty pressure washer. They go up to around 2,600 PSI. And they’re good for cleaning grease and grime. And heavy-duty pressure washers are best used for stripping surfaces.
LESLIE: Now, you also want to look at the gallons per minute or the GPM. And the larger the GPM, the more surface area a washer can actually clean.
And then look at the price tag. Now, the price is going to be a major factor. You can expect to pay anywhere from about $100 to a couple of thousand dollars.
And we’ve got a great checklist to help you choose the right pressure washer for you, at MoneyPit.com.
Cal in Colorado, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CAL: Well, I have an interesting question here. I’ve got a house with an insulated concrete foam basement wall. That’s where you put concrete in between foam. And I have taken the outside wall – the foam – and have scored it with 30-grit sandpaper to give it a rough edge. And I screwed on the 2-foot-wide by 8-foot-long extruded aluminum – or steel screen to give me grip. But I’m putting on fake stone or “faux stone,” as some call it.
And my question is – after I’ve screwed on the screening and I’m putting on – I’ve been told to take a Type S mix, which is a limestone/cement mix, and use that as my scratch coat. And the question is: how soon – what is the longest I can wait before I put on the stone? If I try to do all the scratch coat first, which could be a day or two because it’s over 1,000 square feet, am I going too long or should I be putting – buttering up the stone and putting that against the scratch coat right away?
TOM: I think that as soon as the scratch coat dries, you can go forward with the stone. But typically, most masons will do the scratch coat first and then do the stone thereafter.
TOM: I don’t see any reason that you can’t have it exposed for a short period of time.
CAL: OK. So, we’re not worried about a day or two.
TOM: No, certainly not. You kidding? The way construction projects go, a day or two is like nothing.
CAL: OK. Well, thanks for the info on that.
TOM: Alright, Cal. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Don’t forget. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement questions anytime. And one caller who gets on the air this hour is going to win a set of two 12-inch and two 36-inch Heavy-Duty Jorgensen Trigger Clamps worth $120.
These really come in handy when you need an extra hand to hold a project together while you’re doing the work. They’re going to deliver 600 pounds of clamping power. And these clamps are serious workhorses, guys. So if you’ve got a big project, whether you’re a home improver, a crafter, a maker or even repairing a toy wagon like Tom was, this is definitely the clamp for you.
Check them out at PonyJorgensen.com.
TOM: And check us out by calling us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Margaret on the line who needs some help cleaning her bathroom grout. What’s going on?
MARGARET: You told people there was some kind of chemical they could buy that they could use in their grout – in any kind of grout – and it would work.
TOM: Tell us what your tile floor looks like now.
MARGARET: It’s a shower – walk-in shower – and it kind of turns yellow.
TOM: OK. You’d like to clean that grout and get it back to white?
MARGARET: Yeah, I want it to go back white.
TOM: There’s products on the market that are called “grout cleaners” and “grout strippers.” Grout strippers are a little bit more thorough; they’re a little more heavy-duty. And you apply those and you have to make sure that you’re wearing safety glasses and gloves for this, because you can get spritzes of this stuff up in your face.
But once you apply it to the grout lines, you let it sit for a while. And then I like to scrub it with a brush. Typically, I’ll use a small, stiff-bristle brush and that tends to get in there really good and gets out as much dirt as possible.
And then, once you rinse it and let it dry really thoroughly, the way you prevent it from getting dirty quite as quickly next time is you add a grout sealer to it, which is silicone-based. And it soaks in and that stops a lot of the future grime from sticking to those grout joints and keeps it brighter a lot longer, OK?
MARGARET: OK. But do you remember what particular – you mentioned some kind of brand, that it was really good.
TOM: Yeah, that product is called TileLab. That’s the brand. Tile – T-i-l-e – Lab – L-a-b. You should be able to find it at home centers.
MARGARET: Alright. Well, I thank you very, very much.
TOM: Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re planning a home improvement project, you know you’ve got to budget for materials and the cost of the labor to get it done. But did you know that you also need to budget for the hidden cost of home improvements? We’re going to give you three expenses that you need to consider or be warned about so you don’t end up having to pay them.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, we’re talking about eating out. Now, if your house is down for the count, that means your kitchen is, too. So that means that you and your family are eating out a lot more, from the local pizza place whose number which you probably know by heart by now, to the times that you need to escape the mess and all dine out together. The food budget will go up, not to mention your waistline, guys. So maybe try to walk to the restaurants.
TOM: Now, another thing to consider is to make sure you ask your contractor if any of the improvements planned are going to require you to leave home and for how long. For example, when we insulated our home, we used a spray-foam insulation and we needed to leave the home for 24 hours so that that foam insulation could cure. So, if you’ve got to leave your house for a while, of course you’ve got to plan for that.
LESLIE: Now, also, you’ve got to think about skipping building permits. Now, if you do this, you know, you might think, “Oh, the permits, they’re responsibility of the contractor.” That’s not always the case. And if you skip a permit, it can actually cost you big in construction mistakes that don’t get caught or even problems when it comes time to sell, like maybe having to get rid of that bathroom to sell the house. It causes a whole bunch of problems, so just do it right and get those permits.
TOM: Yeah, that happens a lot when people add onto their homes with things like decks.
TOM: If it wasn’t allowed to be put there, the building inspectors can refuse to issue a certificate of occupancy when it comes time to sell the house, unless it’s torn off.
Now, lastly, you need to make sure that you’re checking their insurance. Because if you don’t check the insurance, you can be looking at some really expensive issues. So make sure that before you start your project you make sure anyone on the property is going to carry workman’s compensation insurance. This is going to cover them if anyone sustains injuries while working in your home.
Doesn’t matter whose fault it is. If they’re in your house, they’re going to go after you and your insurance company. So make sure they are carrying workman’s compensation insurance. Ask for proof of it. You can actually ask that your contractor list you as an additional insured on their workman’s compensation policy. And that’s important because this way, the insurance company knows that you have a stake in that policy, as well. And if the contractor was to cancel the insurance, the insurance company would be required to notify you at the same time. So just make sure you confirm that insurance and get listed as the additional insurer so that doesn’t happen to you.
LESLIE: Pam in Colorado is on the line. How can we help you today?
PAM: We have floors throughout our house. Most of them are carpeted that squeaks – like bedrooms, hallway, living room, stairs, things like that – and then a bathroom that has the vinyl flooring – the laminate flooring. And we’ve tried – there was a little kit that you could buy at Ace Hardware where you find the floor joists and then you put screws every so often down into the joists, I guess, and that didn’t work. It only made it worse.
TOM: So you’re trying to fix a squeaky floor that’s under what kind of flooring material? Carpet?
PAM: Yes, carpet. I’m sorry, yes, carpet.
TOM: Alright. And it’s wall-to-wall carpet?
PAM: Yes, it is.
TOM: Alright. So, here’s the trick of the trade, Pam. You ready?
PAM: I am ready. I am so ready.
TOM: What you want to do – the first thing you need is a good stud finder. You’re going to get a Stanley stud sensor so that you can use a device – electronic device. It’ll allow you to sort of peek through the carpet and identify exactly where the floor joists are below.
And once you identify the floor joists, what you’re going to do is take a Number 10 or Number 12 galvanized finish nail. And we say “galvanized” because it’s a little rougher than a regular, plated finish nail; it tends to hold better. And then you’re going to drive that at a slight angle, like about a 15-degree angle, right through the carpet and right through the subfloor and right into the floor joist.
Now, when you do that, you’ll notice that the carpet sort of sags down and gets dimpled where the nailhead goes through. The trick is to grab the nap of the carpet right around the nailhead and pull it through the nailhead. It’ll pop through and then you sort of brush the carpet and you’ll – that nail will disappear below it and you won’t see it again. So you can get away with actually fixing a squeak through carpet with this trick of the trade.
PAM: Oh, wow. That would be awesome. And again, could you tell me the type of nail one more time?
TOM: Yeah, a Number 10 or a Number 12 galvanized finish nail.
PAM: OK. Number 10 or Number 12, floor joist at a 15-degree angle.
TOM: Yeah. But you’ve got to find that joist or you’re – you can’t be nailing into air, you know? You want to make sure you’re nailing into the floor joist, OK?
PAM: OK. Thanks so much. You have an awesome show.
LESLIE: Mark in Pennsylvania posted here at Money Pit. He says, “I’ve got a summer home in the mountains and I was wondering, what is the best way to drain the water out of the pipes? It seems every year when I open the pipes back in the spring, we have a pipe that didn’t drain and then has frozen and broken.”
TOM: Well, the best way to do this is – it’s really twofold and your plumbing system has to be set up for this. You need to shut off the main and then you need to open up the drains to the lowest point in that plumbing system. And then the smart thing would be to use a compressor to blow out any water that’s sitting in maybe a pipe that doesn’t necessarily drain naturally – drain with gravity. An air compressor could push the rest of that water out of it and get it done.
The other thing, though, I find sometimes is that if your main water valve has a really tiny leak to it, it could be letting more water into those pipes. So, that’s something you just want to make sure that the valve shuts 100 percent. Otherwise, it’ll just kind of fill back up, even if it takes a month, and then it can freeze and break.
In terms of the toilet fixtures themselves and those drains, make sure you put a bit of antifreeze in all of those bowls. That will stop any residual water that’s in those spaces from freezing.
LESLIE: So, Tom, if you’re turning off all the water and you’ve really cleared out all the pipes – I mean essentially, if you kept the water on, you’d want to leave your heat at a certain temperature, sort of keep things from freezing over. But now, if you’ve got everything drained out, what’s a safe temperature to leave the house out when it’s unoccupied?
TOM: Well, you still need to leave the heat on. You can’t turn it off, because the walls will swell, they’ll get damp. The wallpaper will fall off. It’ll start to bubble up. So I would leave that heat at no lower than about, say, 62 or 65 degrees in the winter.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, hopefully, that helps you out there, Mark. Good luck with your vacation home and hopefully, you’ll enjoy it leak-free next summer.
TOM: Well, when you flick on the lights in your bathroom and catch that first glimpse of yourself first thing in the morning, do you just want to run back to bed and stick your head under the covers? I know that feeling. Well, the right lighting, though, can make a big difference in your bathroom. Leslie has got the answers to good lighting, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Ideally, bathroom lighting should feature two kinds of lighting. We’re talking about general lighting and task lighting. But since most lighting is LED, you do need to look at the light’s color temperature and choose the right one.
Now, for example, for task lighting, you want to choose LEDs that are rated 3500K, which stands for Kelvin. And it’s the standard by which brightness and color are measured for those LED bulbs.
Now, 3500K is close to daylight lighting and provides the best light for grooming purposes. So if you’ve got a vanity, these are the perfect lights for that. Now, if you’re thinking about general room lighting, you can use 2700K LEDs. And this color is going to provide more of a warm white, which is really good if you’ve got a ceiling fixture in this space.
But regardless of the light bulb, for the best possible light you want to outfit your space for natural light. Now, you could install skylights that’ll flood that bathroom with sunshine or use glass-block windows to let the light in but still provide privacy in your bath.
So if you’re looking to really get that light in, also look at window treatments that – they call them “top-down bottom-up,” I believe, where the top of the shade comes down and the bottom sort of stays down. So if you’ve got a bathroom – I always find it so funny that there’s usually a gigantic window right next to the commode in a bathroom, which you’re like, “Oh, hi, everybody. Here I am.” So you can get a shade like this where you can have the whole window covered, except for the top portion open, for daylight and privacy. And then you can still operate your window there, as well.
You’ve got to think creatively. But definitely get that light in and enjoy your bath a little bit more so you look better for the day.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, do cracks in the walls of your home mean you are headed toward a very expensive repair? Well, not always. Cracks around walls or around doors and windows rarely mean a big fix is ahead. We’re going to share tips on the easiest way to repair those pesky cracks, once and for all, 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.)