In this episode…
If you love the look of greenery around the outside your house but seem to have only a black thumb when it comes to getting greenery to flourish inside your home, we have a solution.
- And, it may not be a homeowner’s favorite thing to do, but if you have a septic tank — taking care of it is crucial to avoid a very big mess. We’ll have tips on how to keep your septic system happy
- If you are lucky enough to have a sprinkler system for your lawn, now is the time when that system needs to be winterized. You don’t want to see what happens when it’s NOT — trust me – it happened to me once and it’s a real mess! We’ll explain what needs to happen to avoid a frozen mess just ahead.
- Your entryway serves as a perfect place to show off your love of the season, even if you are not going to be hosting big gatherings this year. We’ve got a few ideas to hopefully inspire you.
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: Do you have a décor dilemma and you need help solving a home improvement problem? You’ve got a project in mind you’d like to get done? We’re here to help you get those projects done once, done right and not have to do it again and again and again. That’s like the Groundhog Day scenario, you know, where you keep fixing things, like a crack that keeps opening up again? We’d love to help you take on those projects and help create the space we know you want your home to be.
There’s a couple of ways to participate in this program, because it is a participation sport. You can reach out to us through our website at MoneyPit.com, post your questions there. Always helpful when you post a photo or a video to assist, as well. If you check the box, we’ll call you back the next time we are in the studio or you could just call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Talk to one of the talented Money Pit Team screeners. They’ll take your name, your number and your topic and we’ll contact you when we produce a program.
Or you can reach out to us through any of our social-media channels, because we really want to hear what’s important for you, especially this time of year. It’s the fall. It’s a season of change. Temperatures are dropping. It’s getting colder outside. The heating bills are going to start to come on strong here. We’re also in the midst of fire season, that time of year when we get a lot of house fires. So, whatever projects you’d like to get done, we would love to help.
Hey, coming up on today’s show, if you love the look of greenery around the outside of your house but maybe you’ve got a black thumb when it comes to getting greenery to flourish inside, we’re going to have a solution for just that.
LESLIE: And it might not be a homeowner’s favorite thing to do but if you’ve got a septic tank, taking care of it is crucial to avoid a very big mess. We’re going to have tips on how to keep your septic system happy.
TOM: And if you’re lucky enough to have a sprinkler system for your lawn, now is the time when that system needs to be winterized. You don’t want to see what happens when it’s not. Trust me, it’s not pretty. It happened to me once, by accident, and it’s a real mess. So we’re going to explain what needs to happen to avoid broken sprinkler pipes, just ahead.
LESLIE: And as we head into the end of the year, now is a great time to take on some bath renos that you’d like to get done before the holidays. And one way to do just that is to enter the RiverbendHome.com Beautiful Bath Sweepstakes. We’re giving away $3,500 in beautiful fixtures, faucets and more to three winners, from American Standard and Grohe. It’s all available at RiverbendHome.com. To enter, just go to MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
TOM: But first, we want to know what you want to know. Your questions are next.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Well, this is a perfect question for this time of year. We’ve got Bill in Kentucky on the line with a question about clogged gutters. What’s going on?
BILL: I have a gutter on the back side of my house that I’ve got gutter guard on it. And so I’ve noticed that it was spilling or overflowing during big rainstorms. And I pulled the gutter guard off and it looks like there’s sitting water in this section of gutter.
BILL: And I’m wondering what I can do about that or if that’s something that’s outside of a homeowner’s ability.
TOM: So, first of all, does the gutter itself appear to be clogged? In other words, are the downspouts free-flowing? If you were to wash them down – run a hose down the downspout, does all the water come out? Is there anything obstructed? Because I’m thinking that maybe you might have a sagging gutter.
Because the gutters have to have a pitch to them. They start – in the middle of the gutter, if you have, say, a leader at both ends, the middle section of the gutter has to be up higher. And then they sort of pitch down, ever so slightly, to where those downspouts are. And if they fall out of adjustment, that’s why you could have water sitting in the middle of it. That’s one reason. The other reason – if it’s simply clogged. So, do you know if it’s clogged or not?
BILL: Yeah, I did check the downspout there. It is not clogged. And actually, there is a little dent in the gutter, where it looks like a tree branch must have hit it during a storm sometime this past summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is out of alignment there.
TOM: So that’s really the only other thing that’s going on here and I don’t think it’s a big problem unless it’s really, really filled in the middle. But if you have a little bit of water sitting in it, it’s not going to cause any problem because it’s out of alignment. If you want to rehang the gutter, what you would have to do is you would have to pull out the gutter spikes that are holding it in place. Towards that center section, you may have to pull out four or five of them. And the gutter will tend to get a little floppy at that moment but it won’t fall down.
And then when you lift it up higher and you put in the new spikes, you may have to move them to a different position, because the holes can’t be too close to each other. They might like even – when you try to put a new hole in, it might sort of fall into the old hole, if you know what I mean.
But I’ll tell you this, the way to make sure that this doesn’t happen nearly as often is when you replace those gutter spikes with a long nail. They’re about 7 inches long. There’s a type of screw. It’s like a gutter lag bolt. Usually, you have to put it in with an Allen key in your drill. And these are long lag bolts. And once you put them in, they absolutely, positively can’t come out, they can’t get loose. And they hold the gutters a lot more securely.
And they’re really cheap. They come in brown and white. You find them at the home centers. And every time I’ve ever fixed a gutter on my house or my family’s house, I’ve always used these lag screws instead.
BILL: OK. Is that something that I’d be able to do from the roof? Or do I need to have a ladder and whatnot?
TOM: You can do it from the ladder. It’d be a lot safer to do it with a gutter in front of you, from a ladder. You can probably rig this up. But some ladders also have a section that sort of pushes it off away from the house, so you’re not kind of crushing the gutter. Guys that do this all the time, they have this extra sort of U-bracket that is in the bottom of the ladder and it holds it against the house, even though there’s a little bit of space between that and the gutter.
But frankly, I’ve done it leaning against the gutter and just sort of pulled the gutter up between the ladder. And it seems to work. You know, you’ve just got to be careful. It depends on if you’re comfortable on a ladder or not.
BILL: Yeah. The main reason I worry about the sitting water is just because of mosquitoes. And because they’re a real pest around here.
TOM: Yeah, if you live in an area that’s got mosquitoes, I recommend a product called DynaTrap – D-y-n-a-T-r-a-p. I’ve had them now for going on, what, 4, maybe 5 years. And this thing is amazing because you plug it in in the spring and you don’t turn it off until the weather gets really cold, like in November. And it kind of manages the mosquito population.
Because I live pretty close to a wetland that’s fairly mosquito-infused. And what this DynaTrap does is it attracts the mosquitoes and then it sucks them into a basket where they dry out. And it does so in a way that it reduces their populations and stops them from reproducing. And it takes about 3 weeks to take effect but then after the first 3 weeks, you’ll definitely see a dramatic reduction in the number of mosquitoes around your house.
We used to have candles and Cutter Insect Repellent in baskets all around our patio. And I tell you what, I don’t think I got a single bug bite eating dinner outside in the evenings once I started putting these things in. So, just take a look at it. You can find them on Amazon and places like that. DynaTrap it’s called.
BILL: OK. I’ll check it out. Thank you very much.
TOM: Hey, you’re very welcome, Bill. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for reaching out to us on The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Wendy in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
WENDY: I have two drafty doors and we opted to use the peel-and-stick foam insulator.
WENDY: And it didn’t work that well. And it just created more of a gap, it seems like. It just didn’t work at all and I’m just wondering what kind of solution can we use instead of the peel-and-stick, fill-in stuff.
TOM: So, when you say the peel-and-stick foam, do you mean when the doors close, you get drafts that come through them and you use the peel-and-stick weather-stripping?
TOM: Do you want to operate these doors in the wintertime?
WENDY: Mm-hmm. Definitely.
TOM: And what kind of doors are they? What are they made of? Are they metal doors or are they …?
WENDY: It’s a metal door.
TOM: So it’s an old, metal, sliding-glass door.
WENDY: No, it’s a regular door. It’s just – and it goes out to our patio but it’s not a wood door. It’s made of metal.
TOM: Oh, it’s a metal door. It’s a regular metal door.
TOM: Are the drafts coming in around the sides and top of the door or are they coming under the door?
WENDY: Under the door and on the side, right where the door locks.
TOM: If the door is out of alignment – in other words, if you close the door and it doesn’t evenly strike the jamb all the way around – it’s going to be almost impossible to get a seal from that type of weather-stripping. It’s got to strike the weather-stripping and then compress it a little bit to give you the seal.
Now, I would take a look, very carefully closing that door – open and close it from the outside – bringing it to where it just starts to touch the jamb and see if it strikes evenly all the way around. If it doesn’t strike evenly, then you need to adjust the door. And that’s usually done by moving the door jamb one way or the other to get it to basically hang better so that it will strike evenly.
In terms of the door at the bottom, the door saddle might be replaceable. Or in the alternative, you could do something that’s probably even easier and less expensive – is you could put a door sweep on the bottom of the door.
Now, a sweep attaches to the face of the door and it basically goes right down to the floor. It looks kind of broom-like; it has bristles that are really tight together. And that actually will help a lot of the breeze that’s coming through and under the door.
TOM: And then, of course, you could always go with a storm door and that’s another way to approach the whole thing, OK?
WENDY: That sounds perfect.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jay in West Virginia on the line. Something’s going on with that garage door: too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. What’s going on?
JAY: It was a carport and I enclosed it. Only had to build one wall and then frame out where the carport – frame out where the garage door was going to go.
JAY: And I insulated all that and I insulated – and it’s an insulated door, too, of course.
JAY: And I insulated my wall.
JAY: But it’s still just super hot out there. Now, I can – I have a door that I can open to it but I can open inside the garage and it opens up to the rest of the house. Now, if I leave that open, it will get relatively cool in there and even warm, too, in the winter if I leave these doors open.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
JAY: I just wondered how I could maybe regulate that, other than having my doors open to the garage.
TOM: Of course. So, Jay, you have to understand and keep in mind that the purpose of insulation is to keep a temperature separation between two sides of a building. Now, because you have no heating or cooling in the garage, per se, all it’s really – it’s not really going to function the way I think that you expect it to. The reason it gets so hot is because the entire section – the entire garage – is heating up and that heat is going to eventually get into the garage area – the living space, so to speak – or the working space itself.
Now, it’s good that you insulated it and it definitely makes it a more comfortable space. But you’ve got to come up with some sort of heating or cooling to bring that space to the temperature that you’d like it to be.
So, I’ll give you an example. I have a two-car garage. It’s separated from my house. I insulated the walls but I had never insulated the ceiling. It actually – the way the building is designed, it’s got a mansard roof, so I have a pretty big storage area above and a staircase.
Now, when COVID hit, I decided, “You know what? This is a great project for me to take on, like everyone else in America is taking on projects.” So what I did is I built a hatch that covered the stairway door, so to speak, that hole in the floor. And then I just put insulated foam up in between what would be the ceiling joists and up against the flooring of the second floor.
And OK, so now I’ve got it insulated but I still didn’t have any source of heat. I got a small kerosene heater and it was just perfect for a relatively big space. In the cold Northeast, where I live, it worked perfectly. And the working space was always the right temperature and it never spilled up to the upstairs, because I blocked that off. Now, in the summer I just use a big fan and keep the door open. I have a really big pedestal fan and that works for me for there.
But unless you add some heating or cooling source, I don’t think it’s ever going to be exactly what you want it to be. And by opening the door to the house, you’ve turned your house into that heating-and-cooling source, because you’re sharing that conditioned air, whether it’s hot or cold, from the house and getting into the garage.
Does that sound like it makes sense to you?
JAY: It makes perfect sense, yes.
TOM: Yeah, I would take it from there. I’d think about how you can add – do you have a window in it?
JAY: No. But there’s – I mean I’ve not finished out the wall, so I could put a window.
TOM: Well, I was thinking maybe you could just put a window in one side of it and make it so that you can open it up for ventilation. Or better yet, in the summer, you could put a small, 4,000-BTU air conditioner in there. You need just something – wouldn’t need something very big. And you could run it whenever you wanted to, whenever you guys wanted to work in that space.
TOM: And then in the winter, like I say, you can use – you could use a kerosene heater or something of that nature, whatever you like. They’ve got some pretty nice wall-mounted heaters, too, for garages although I think most of them are electric and pretty expensive to run.
JAY: OK. I gotcha.
TOM: Alright? I hope that gives you some good ideas on where to go with this.
JAY: Gotcha. Yeah, you’ve been a big help. I appreciate it.
TOM: Hey, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at The Money Pit.
JAY: Alright, thanks. Bye.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to choose the best plants for inside your home this winter, the first step is really knowing your house – which rooms get west, north, south, east sun; which ones are sunny in the morning versus the afternoon – and then pick those plants accordingly.
TOM: Yeah. So, what types of houseplants are popular and which work best in those varying light levels, from low to bright light? Here’s a couple of sort of top-line tips.
One is the ficus. Now, this is probably the number-one plant that’s most requested from nurseries. But it’s not a real practical plant for the home. They are difficult to maintain and they are grown in full sunlight. And they will drop a lot of leaves, a lot of dense foliage. You’ll end up cleaning them up all the time.
We had one that was very tall. It was about 6 feet tall. We had a pretty bright spot for it right in front of a 9-foot sliding-glass door. But it did drop all those leaves and it got kind of sappy and disgusting after a while. We got tired of it.
Now, a good alternative to ficus is a type called the “Kentia palm.” It’s been popular in the olden days. You used to see it in old movies where the Victorian homes had these inside the foyers. Every leaf is gradually smaller on every palm. It’s got a very, very deep-green color. It’s very elegant.
So, the lady palm is also a good choice. The Kentia palm is a good choice. With the lady palm, every leaf is kind of like a lady’s hand with a paper-like kind of texture. So, these are very attractive and they don’t need near the maintenance that those ficus plants do.
And then, finally, orchids are a good option, especially the moth orchid because the flowers last for months, it’s really easy to maintain and it does not need a ton of sun.
LESLIE: Now, another thing you’ve got to keep in mind is when exactly you need to repot a plant. So, if your plant is not absorbing water – it’s either full of roots and then not absorbing the water properly or it’s so full of roots that there’s nowhere for that water to go – and it might be time to repot that plant.
So, in general, you want to go up about 2 inches in pot size. You want to use potting soil, which shouldn’t be confused with topsoil, because that’s only used outside. Then use rocks or even pieces of broken clay pots that you might have to line the pot and the bottom with the holes. This way, the dirt doesn’t clog those holes and the plant’s not able to drain. Because it has to be able to drain but it also has to be able to take the water that it needs.
Then go ahead and add soil. You want to go almost to the rim and add your plant. Fill it with dirt to cover and water thoroughly. You can also – if the plant has just gotten so large at this point and so root-bound, you can cut it in half very carefully to make two smaller plants. So there’s lots of different things that you can do with it.
TOM: Now, for more tips on how to keep your plants kicking all winter long, check out our post “13 Hard-to-Kill Houseplants” on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Ben in Wyoming is on the line with a roofing question. Tell us what the project is. What are you doing?
BEN: OK. It’s a T-lock roof. And I’ve got one set of shingles under it and I want to shingle over the top of that. Is that feasible or is two layers too many?
TOM: Let me ask you this: how long do you expect to live in this house?
BEN: The Lord being good to me, hopefully a few more years.
TOM: Well, here’s why I ask that question. Because I don’t like putting two layers of roofing shingles on, because what happens is the first layer retains a lot of heat. And that makes the second layer wear out a lot faster. Probably you lose a third of the life of that roof when you have it be the second layer, because it’s just so warm. And in your part of the country, maybe it’s not going to be super, super hot but you do have some warm days in the summer. And I still think you’re going to have a shortened roof life if you put a second layer on.
Now, the option – the other option, of course, is to remove the original layer. And you have a – when you say T-lock, it’s like a shingle that sort of weaves together is what it looks like on the roof. You can remove those and then put one layer down but you have the added expense.
So the reason I said, “Well, how long are you going to be there?” – because if you’re hoping that roof is going to go sort of through the full 20-year warranty period – which is another topic, because they only warranty the shingle and not the labor, so it doesn’t give you very much.
TOM: But if you want it to last the 20 years it’s designed to last, I would take off the first layer. But if you’re telling me now a short-term living situation, maybe 5 years max, you’re not going to get any benefit out of the longer roof life. Then maybe you save the money and put the second layer on.
BEN: Alright. Well, thank you, sir.
TOM: Yeah, you’re very welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at The Money Pit.
BEN: Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, a septic system is one part of your home’s plumbing that truly most of us would rather leave out of sight and out of mind. But if you don’t take care of it, that system really could become top of mind very quickly. And it’s something you’re going to notice immediately.
TOM: Absolutely. So, what you need to know is this: the Environmental Protection Agency says you or a pro need to inspect your tank at least every 3 years and then pump the tank as necessary. It usually has to happen about every 3 to 5 years.
And the other part of the septic system, too, you care for is your drain field. That’s where all the effluent goes to drain back into the soil. So you want to make sure that you don’t do any kind of construction on top of that. Also not a good place to put the kids’ soccer field or the kids’ playset or swing set. Just try to leave that area alone. Don’t drive on it, don’t park vehicles on it. Plant only grass over it and near your drain field. And this is going to prevent it from getting damaged by roots, as well.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, here are some other ways that that tank could fail you. You want to make sure that household toxins – things like oil-based paints, solvents – don’t go in that septic tank. You want to also avoid getting kitty litter, coffee grounds and grease into that septic system, as well.
Take a look at your household cleaners. You want to make sure that you’re not using hazardous ones. And you want to avoid ones that say danger or poison on the label. And caution means it’s only moderately dangerous.
Now, if you’ve got a hot tub or maybe another chlorine source that’s draining into a septic system, that’s going to kill the good bacteria, which you need to have in there to do the job of actually making that septic system work.
TOM: Now, if you need step-by-step advice on how to maintain your septic system, we’ve got a great post that walks you through it, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Phyllis in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PHYLLIS: I have a trellis. It’s on – I just have a small porch. And in the wintertime, especially, the wind comes ferociously from the Northwest. And the trellis is put up on – screwed up on 2x4s. And I was wondering – I was going to get a good grade of plastic. Should it be put on the outside or the inside of the trellis?
LESLIE: Plastic to protect from the wind or plastic to protect the lumber?
PHYLLIS: No. Plastic so the wind doesn’t blow into my front door. And I had the trellis put up so I could – in the spring, I want to put flowers that vine up there. But for now, I want plastic to keep the wind away from my front door.
TOM: Do you have a storm door on your front door?
PHYLLIS: Yes. But it still comes through.
TOM: Now this trellis, as you describe it, I mean there’s a lot of different types of trellises. Is this a trellis that’s flat on the wall or is this sort of a portico where it kind of goes out and surrounds the door?
PHYLLIS: No. It’s on the porch. I imagine my porch is probably maybe 4 or 5 feet wide. But it’s on the porch, on the outside of the porch, on 2x4s.
TOM: I see. So basically – and the porch has a roof, right? So it’s not just a deck?
PHYLLIS: Right. It’s got the – it’s got a roof, uh-huh.
TOM: So you kind of want to enclose your porch, so to speak, with this plastic sheeting, is what you’re suggesting.
PHYLLIS: On that one spot, yes, where the – it’s right there as I go in and out the door.
TOM: Alright. Well, it – probably not going to be that attractive but I guess what I would do is put it on the outside. Because this way, as the wind blows against it, it’ll press against the trellis and it will be less likely to tear. If you put it on the inside, the wind’s going to go through it and it will constantly pull itself off the trellis.
TOM: So I think it’ll be securer if you put it on the outside. And as the wind blows against it, that trellis will help support it.
PHYLLIS: OK. Fine. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Phyllis. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Stephanie in Colorado on the line who’s installing some French doors. How can we help you?
STEPHANIE: My husband and I have sliding doors in our bedroom that go outside. And we have French doors that we have – they’re all ready to put in; they’re framed. And I was just calling to see if you had any advice about putting them in.
TOM: Well, let’s presume that the French doors and the sliding doors are going to fit in the same opening, to start with. Is that correct?
STEPHANIE: The French doors are a little taller.
TOM: Ah, that’s a problem.
STEPHANIE: Just about an inch.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a tough inch to pick up when it’s in the height like that. The thing is, you’re going to have to figure out if you have enough room to get those French doors in, Stephanie, without having to cut or modify the header that’s going to be above the sliding door. Because the distance from the floor to the bottom of the header, that’s called the “rough opening.” That’s the rough, vertical opening. And that rough, vertical opening has got to be taller than the distance from the bottom of the French door to the top of the jamb of the French door. Because if it doesn’t, you’re not going to get that French door in that opening. It’s absolutely critical that the rough opening be sized properly.
So, you could probably figure that out by just pulling the molding off from the side of the slider. And you’ll see enough of the framing there where you could get a pretty good measurement as to how much room. Sometimes, there is a fair amount of room above the sliding doors until you get to the header and maybe you’ll have that room.
Now, if you’ve got the room, putting that French door in is – it’s not a basic, do-it-yourself project. I’m just going to tell you that right off. But the way I would approach it is – the first thing I would do, if it was me, is I would take the slider out one panel at a time. You want to try to make this as light and manageable as possible. So you remove one panel, then the other. Then you pull out the slider frame.
And you put the French doors in the same way. You take the doors off of the hinges. And what you actually “hang” inside the opening is just the frame of the French doors without the physical doors in place. Just the outside jambs. Because that’s very easy and lightweight to handle and if that’s installed properly and square, then the doors will pop in right after that with minor adjustment. But that’s the way you approach it.
Again, not a basic, do-it-yourself project. Putting a door in is one of the more tricky projects. So if that’s above your skill set, I would definitely hire a carpenter or a handyman to help.
Alright, Stephanie? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, sprinkler systems are a luxury that affords you a green lawn and garden all through spring and summertime. But if you live in a climate where they do need to be winterized, it’s a job that you have to get done right or you could be faced with a big repair bill come springtime.
Now, there’s really three ways to winterize a sprinkler system. There’s manual, automatic and blowout. And the first step in all cases, though, is turning off that water supply.
TOM: Correct. Now, for the – there’s three ways to do it, right? First is called the “manual method.” You just open the drain valves and you allow the water to drain. Now, the problem with this is that sometimes, the water is still under a lot of pressure and it comes out really quickly. But then some of it gets stuck in the pipes. It doesn’t drain fully and that leaves those parts of the sprinkler system full of water and very susceptible to freezing and breaking.
The next method is called “automatic draining.” And as the name applies, it’s automatic. They have valves that automatically open and drain the water when you shut off the supply to it and the water pressure is less than 10 PSI. Now, to activate these, you just shut off the valve and it does the rest.
And then, finally, there’s what we call the “blowout method.” It’s done by a pro only because you need a really, really big air compressor. And it uses forced air to make sure all the water has been pushed out of the sprinkler system. That, I think, is the best way to go. If it’s part of your regular sprinkler-system service, great. If it’s not, it’s something you might want to consider, especially if you had to replace a pipe that broke over the winter and the spring. It could be a real mess and add some unexpected expense.
But it’s important that however you do it, you get it done now so the water doesn’t sit in those pipes and freeze and break them, at which point you will only find it when you turn it back on. You’re going to have a bunch of little unexpected geysers around the house or worse yet, you get a flood in your basement or your crawlspace or on your driveway. It could be a real mess. So take care of it now before we get that first batch of really freezing weather.
LESLIE: Doug in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DOUG: I’ve got a 30-year-old home here in Northeast Texas. Wanting to know the best way to upgrade my insulation in the attic. It has what I would call – it looked like a recycled newspaper, maybe, blown in there. Probably about 2½, 3 inches thick. And wondering if I could just blow a new type of insulation on top of it. Or do I need to do preparation first?
TOM: Yeah, you can add additional insulation and that makes a lot of sense. But I would not put new insulation on top of that old insulation. Because the old insulation is probably settled down, compressed and it’s not insulating as well as it should. So what I would recommend is that you remove the existing insulation.
Then, if you want to go with blown-in, there’s actually a product out now that allows you to do your own blown-in insulation. It’s from Owens Corning and it’s called AttiCat. And the way AttiCat works is you go to your local Home Depot and you purchase the bags of AttiCat insulation. And if you buy 10 bags, they will give you the blowing machine for free. The rental – there’s no charge for the rental.
And then the blowing machine gets positioned outside your house or in your garage or whatever. The insulation packages slide into it. It’s almost designed as a slot; you put it right in the side. You take the hose up to your attic and it’s remote-controlled, so you can turn the machine on and off and control the flow.
And then, this type of insulation gets into the nooks and crannies, it expands nicely and it’s low dust. So it’s a very easy way to do your own blown-in insulation and get a really good, contiguous, solid application of insulation in that attic.
LESLIE: And a targeted application, as well.
TOM: Yeah. And you could do a whole house in about four hours.
DOUG: OK. Great. Well, I appreciate the advice. I’d like to maybe get a big vacuum cleaner to get the old up.
TOM: Yeah. The new insulation will go in in four hours. Getting the old stuff out, though, that’s going to be a day. Good luck with that project.
DOUG: Alright. Thank you for your help.
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Well, there’s no one who loves decorating for the holidays more than my friend, Leslie. And there’s no better place to decorate for the season than your entryway. And as luck would have it, that is the topic for today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie, we’re not having nearly as many folks visit us this holiday season but you can certainly share the season with your community by having a great-looking front door.
LESLIE: I mean I still want the house to look awesome. I don’t want you in my house but I want you to come see the outside of my house.
TOM: There you go.
LESLIE: And know that the inside is also equally cozy and fun decorated for the season.
So, truly, guys, your entryway does serve as that perfect place to show off your love of the season, even if you’re not going to be having all of those big family gatherings this year. So here’s a couple ideas to hopefully inspire you.
Now, fall wreaths are definitely a beautiful touch. You can pick up some basic Styrofoam or even a grapevine wreath from a local craft store. And gather things from your own yard to pin to it or wrap around it if you want to look for leaves, pine cones, acorns or whatever else says fall to you.
Now, when it comes time for hanging them, you want to avoid putting a hole in the front door. It could damage it or void that warranty. Now, you can get a small easel and prop it up on your porch or you can use fishing line or a suction cup and hook to hang that wreath.
Now, when it comes time to speak of that front door more and it comes Christmastime, garlands. Garlands are definitely Christmas but I have garlands on my front door come October 1 through January, whenever I feel like taking things down. But I’ve got a Halloween garland, I’ve got an autumn garland, I’ve got a Christmas garland with lights on it. So you can definitely find something that’s super simple, even if it’s just rope that you’re attaching fall décor to.
Or you can frame that door by propping tall cornhusks up on either side and then placing some pumpkins. So there’s definitely ways to surround that entire door and entry point to really be gorgeous. And if you’re using an artificial leaf garland, you can add some orange lights. It only takes a few seconds and that will really create a lasting first impression.
Now, when you’re choosing your décor, you want to plan for items that are going to take you all the way through to wintertime decorations if possible, like corn, squash, pumpkins, even planters of purple cabbage. And if you get a head start next year, you could even have Thanksgiving-themed décor up from late September all the way through the end of November. I sort of have layers of my Halloween décor that stays up and sort of, you know, feathers back the spooky to then become more just autumn harvest-y.
TOM: I have those AppLights where they change colors, so I put them up at Thanksgiving and have all the oranges and the purples and the yellows. And then at Christmastime, we switch to the red and the green. And I don’t have to do it twice.
LESLIE: I mean I think that’s fantastic.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thanks so much for spending this part of your day with us.
Coming up in the next edition of The Money Pit, they’re easy to install, affordable and add a sense of security and peace of mind. We’re talking about motion-detector spotlights. We’re going to share some very simple ways to add these to your home without all the wiring hassles. You can add them to your home and your landscape and we’ll tell you how to do just that, 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.)