In this episode…
Do you love the look of a classic parkway floor with an intricate Chevron pattern. We’ll share a new way affordable to add that hand-crafted look to your home.
- For the last few months we’ve all been cleaning our homes a lot more than we had before the pandemic. But with all those cleaning products, did you ever wonder if you were exposing yourself to toxic chemicals in the process? We’ll share a better cleaning option
- If you are thinking of updating your bedroom with a new mattress or furniture, we’ll have tips to make sure your purchase results in a better night’s sleep.
- If you’d like to enjoy the warm glow of fireplace this winter, you’d better make sure the screens are clean to start. Leslie has the details.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you take on your home improvement projects. Does your home ever feel like a money pit? Well, we get it but it’s all about perspective because for us, a money pit is not a disaster. It’s a home you love. So whether you’re dealing with a repair, you’re dreaming about a reno, consider us your coach, your helper. We can be your home improvement therapist if that’s necessary. Whatever it takes to help you guys get your place where you want to be, to create your best home ever.
You can reach out to us with your questions. You can email us to [email protected] You can post your question on our website. You can also pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT-MONEY-PIT and we’ll call you back the next time we are in the studio.
Coming up on today’s show, do you love the classic look of an intricate chevron pattern on a floor? We’re going to share a new way to get that look, that’s affordable and totally handcrafted, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And for the last few months, we’ve all been cleaning out our houses a lot more than we did before the pandemic. But with all those cleaning products, did you ever wonder if you were exposing yourself to toxic chemicals in the process? We’re going to share a better option.
TOM: And if you’re thinking about updating your bedroom with a new mattress, we’re going to have some tips to make sure your purchase results in a better night’s sleep.
LESLIE: And hey, if you want to win some tools to help you with your holiday décor and all of your crafting, we have launched the perfect event for you. It’s the Holiday Home Décor Giveaway. Now, it’s presented by Arrow Fastener and they have hooked us up with a dozen sets of tools, worth over $125 each, to give away to a lucky dozen Money Pit listeners.
You can check it out at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
TOM: But first, we want to know what you want to know. How can we help you create your best home ever? Give us a call with those questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post them to our website at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get going. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Mike in Michigan is on the line with a question about installing a whole-house fan. What’s going on there, Mike? What’s your situation?
MIKE: I’ve got a brand picked out. It’s the Tamarack I think that you guys – I’ve seen on This Old House videos. And my question is the location. Does it need to be installed at a central location and at the highest point for that? For us, that’s a great room. It gets warmest. It includes the kitchen. It’s got vaulted ceilings. But that portion is at an angle on the roof. And I’m wondering if that – if it’s not recommended. I don’t have the unit but I’m wondering if it can be installed on an angle or if installing something like that on a kitchen – in a kitchen – is a poor idea.
Another variable is that next year, we’ll be doing a kitchen remodel. We don’t have a range hood. We just have the microwave version of that. And if I should instead get a proper range hood that exhausts out of the house and then find a different location for the whole-house fan. What is it that you guys suggest?
TOM: Alright. Let’s break this up into pieces here. So, first of all, your question is: where does the whole-house fan go? It can’t go on a cathedral ceiling, which is what you’re describing to us. It has to go on a flat ceiling where there’s an attic space above. Because in that attic space, you have to have exhaust venting. Basically, it pulls the air from your house up into the attic space. Usually goes out through some very large gable vents down at the end of the building, because you can’t too terribly pressurize that attic space.
So it’s not going to work in the great room that you’ve described. I thought maybe you were going to tell me that you had a little bit of an attic above that but it sounds like you have no attic. So it’s really not designed for that particular type of installation. Because you have to get plenty of exhaust ventilation in that space or it’s not going to work.
Now, you do bring up a good point with what’s the effect of this whole-house fan on a kitchen and other ventilation systems. If you’re not careful, you can depressurize the whole house and that can certainly take not only the kitchen smoke and stuff – take it out through the fans but I’ve seen it depressurize a house so much that it reverses the draft on the heating system which is, of course, really bad because now you’re pulling your combustion gases into the house.
So, it’s the kind of thing that you really need to approach carefully, maybe get some expert help to make sure you’re not overdoing it in finding the right place for that. But typically, you’re going to put that in a second-floor hallway. Or if it’s in a ranch, somewhere near the bedrooms. And the way you use that, of course, is you’ve got to have some windows or doors open in different parts of the house when that fan kicks on so that you’re pulling a breeze through. Otherwise, you’ll just depressurize the house and that could lead to all sorts of issues.
MIKE: Yeah, that’s fantastically helpful. So you would not recommend putting it in that area, even if I was to open a window? You say don’t put it in the cathedral-ceiling portion of the home?
TOM: Depends on how big that attic is. If I had a really small attic that was just barely big enough to fit that fan, I probably wouldn’t do it.
MIKE: Excellent. Alright. Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. Thanks so much, sir.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sandy in Texas on the line who’s got a question about texturing drywall. Tell us about your project.
SANDY: I stripped the wallpaper in our kitchen and so it’s down to sheetrock. And we’d like to put texture in it but I’d like to do it as simply as possible. So I’ve heard that you can put texture into paint and I’d like some more information about that or what you recommend.
TOM: It is possible, right, Leslie, to use an additive in paint? But frankly, we usually get the opposite question. Most people call us wanting to take the texture away.
So I would say, Sandy, are you really sure you want to do this? Because once it gets on there, it’s hard to make it go away.
SANDY: Right. Yes. Our other walls have some texture. And it’s not a heavy texture. It’s just a little bit to make it just not the flat sheetrock.
LESLIE: And it’s a texture in the paint or it’s an actual texture within the drywall itself, almost like a stippling?
SANDY: Well, I’d rather not go that route: the stippling or spackling. I’d like to add some texture to the paint just to give the walls something other than the smooth drywall.
LESLIE: Well, there’s a couple of different techniques that you can use. First, there’s something called a “linen technique.” That’s done with almost like a wallpaper brush: sort of a very short, stiff bristle that’s, you know, maybe 12 inches to 18 inches wide. And you put the paint on and then you sort of drag that brush through. And that gives you a linear texture to it. And that can kind of look like wallpaper and you can do it with one color or do a base color and then let that dry and then put a thinner coat on top and then drag that line through.
You could do something that’s almost called a – I guess it is actually called a “Venetian plaster.” But that involves sort of marbling the texture on and burnishing it and rubbing it and it really is a heavier coat of paint and plaster. But that gives a really interesting sort of cloudy, textural look that sometimes has a high shine to it. There’s a sueded texture. I think Ralph Lauren is one of the paints that makes that. And that has – it really does look like suede. It has that sort of rubbed, softer, matte-looking texture to it. There’s a sanded finish where there’s actual sand in the paint. Sometimes that can feel a little rough, almost like a sandpaper. But that gives a nice texture, too.
They all have different application techniques. So if I were looking at a paint that has a specific texture in a home center, I’d make sure that I really read those directions and looked at what that manufacturer was recommending for the application process and get those correct tools and do the proper prep work for it. Because some of those textures are kind of labor intensive for a DIYer and you want to make sure you get it right.
SANDY: Absolutely. OK. Well, I will look into the things you’ve suggested here and make a decision then.
TOM: I hope that helps you out.
SANDY: It does. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Hezekiah in Maryland, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
HEZEKIAH: I have a crawlspace. It’s about 4 foot high. And I had – always have this moisture problem inside the house. I mean the house fogs up, the windows fog up really bad. And after doing some research, I don’t know – I was assuming that it was my crawlspace was doing that. So I went out and bought those vapor barriers to put underneath there but I came up with this problem where I don’t know how to secure it to the wall or how far up the wall I should put it. Because I don’t really want to punch any more holes in that wall.
TOM: Here’s the thing. There’s a lot of reasons that you may have high humidity in the house. What I would suggest you do is to get a very thick Visqueen vapor barrier, lay it edge to edge in the crawlspace and let it overlap about 4 feet. I wouldn’t worry so much about sealing it against the wall. Yeah, it’ll make it a little bit better but I think we can – it’ll probably do an amazing job just by itself.
But you don’t want to stop there. You want to address the reason that the crawlspace is so damp and that’s outside. Typically, what happens is if the grade around the yard – especially right near the house, the first 4 to 6 feet – is flat, you’ll have a lot of water that will soak into that soil and work its way into the crawlspace.
The other thing is if your gutters are clogged or if your downspouts are not extended away from the walls – typically, downspouts will dump about a foot or two away from a foundation wall and that’s kind of silly because the water just does a U-turn and runs right back under the house. But if you were to extend those downspouts, make sure the gutters are nice and clean and regrade the soil at the perimeter so that it slopes away, all of those things will reduce the amount of moisture that gets into the crawlspace and heads up into the house. Because the vapor will move up through the floor structure and get in the rest of the house.
And then in the house, you could address ventilation in the attic by adding a ridge vent and a soffit vent. And that will kind of help flush it out. And essentially, you’ll have a system that will move that moisture right through.
But I wouldn’t get too hung up on how to attach that plastic to the walls. I would just lay it down as best you can, with as few seams as possible, and then improve the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter. And I think you’ll see a big difference just with those couple of things.
HEZEKIAH: Oh, that sounds like a better idea than I had. And I was just trying to rack my brain figuring out how to secure it to the wall and how far up the wall I should go. But I think I’d try what you said now and see if that works.
TOM: I’ll give you one other trick and that is that if it turns out you still have a lot of humidity in the crawlspace, there is a type of vent fan that’s designed to work in a crawlspace. It actually fits in the space of a typical crawlspace vent. And you can get these fans and have them hooked up to a humidistat, which is a humidity-sensing switch. And then when the humidity gets high in the crawlspace, the fan comes on and helps to pull in some dry air from the outside.
HEZEKIAH: Oh, wow.
TOM: I would do that after you do everything else we’re talking about. But that’s just one other tip that you might be able to use, OK?
HEZEKIAH: Is there any specific place you can get the humidistat and that vent fan from?
TOM: Well, the vent fans, you could find them online and they come with humidistats or you can order it, OK? It’s kind of like the same kind of switch you might have for an attic fan – which I don’t recommend, by the way – but it’s humidity-based instead of temperature-based.
HEZEKIAH: Oh, OK. Alright. Thank you, thank you.
TOM: Good luck.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to Massachusetts where Eleanor has a problem with a sump pump. What’s going on?
ELEANOR: I have a water problem but it was corrected with the – I think we used one of the systems and they put a lower pump, an upper pump and an on-the-floor pump. But the water is coming in through the – where the floor joins the walls.
The pump is going every – probably every – not a minute. More than a minute.
TOM: OK. Now, does this water problem that you’re describing – does it seem to get worse when you have heavy rainfall, for example?
ELEANOR: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
TOM: OK. So, that means that you have a poor drainage condition outside that absolutely needs to be addressed. All you’re doing right now is evacuating water that’s already getting down there. But you need to concentrate on why that water is getting down there. And the fact that it happens worse when you have hard rainfall is because the water is collecting at the foundation perimeter. The most likely source of that is a gutter system that’s undersized, clogged or the downspouts are just not extended out away from the house enough.
I see this time and time and time again. And it’s a shockingly simple fix if you can get them all cleaned up and extended out at least 4 to 6 feet. Once you’re confident that the gutter system is properly installed and working, then you can improve the grading at the perimeter. Sometimes, over the years, the soil will settle. And if you add more soil to it, you want to use clean fill dirt, slope it away from the walls. Then you can plant some grass over that or use some mulch or whatever you prefer.
But you’ve got to get that drainage condition straightened out outside of your house. Putting all these pumps in is just evacuating the water but you’re still going to have water – a lot of water – in the soil that’s going to freeze in the winter and put pressure on the walls. Doesn’t change any of that. So you just need to reduce the amount of water that’s getting there in the first place, OK?
ELEANOR: OK. Now, somebody suggested it might be a spring under the ground. Could it be?
TOM: No, that’s what everybody says, you know. “It’s got be a high water table. It’s got to be a spring.” No, you already told me that it’s absolutely not happening, because you said it gets worse when it rains. Water tables move seasonally and that’s not what’s happening here.
TOM: You’re getting heavy rain, you’re getting leaks. It’s an easy fix, OK?
ELEANOR: OK. Mm-hmm. I’ll give it a try.
LESLIE: Well, if you love the look of a chevron-patterned hardwood floor but maybe you’re like, “Ugh, it’s hard to install. It’s going to be expensive. How can I achieve that?” Think no further, guys, because LL Flooring has a beautiful, new product. It’s called Bellawood Artisan Manhattan Chevron Engineered Hardwood and it is going to make this project super easy and very gorgeous.
It allows you to have this really detailed pattern in your space, because each plank itself – the whole plank – is arranged with the wood in that custom pattern. So one plank is going to have all your boards cut in that one angle, all going across that plank. Then the next one is going to have all those boards cut in the opposing angle. So when you lay them next to one another when they’re installed, they make that arrow-chevron pattern.
Now, it really takes this beautiful pattern and makes the installation so much more simple so that you are able to achieve this confidently and have a gorgeous floor. The boards also have a really beautiful, handcrafted, distressed pattern on it that really shows that natural graining. And it helps you to have ease of installation.
And I mean I love the look of a chevron floor because it kind of gives you a more traditional or even a deco spin to the floor. But it also allows you to have a more modern décor in the space. It’s sort of these opposing styles that makes it work so well. And now, everybody can have it, which is awesome.
TOM: Now, to help you picture how it can look in your home, LL Flooring has an online visualizer called Picture It. You can take a picture of a room you’re designing and upload it to LLFlooring.com. And they will show you how this beautiful Bellawood Artisan Manhattan Chevron Engineered Hardwood or any of their 400 other styles will look in your home.
Check it out today at LLFlooring.com.
LESLIE: Randall in Texas is on the line and has a question for us. How can we help you today?
RANDALL: Yes, I had a question about a bathroom vent that’s on a second floor.
RANDALL: And the duct to it is vented up into the attic but it’s not going out through the roof. It’s just kind of up there in the attic. And of course, the roof has ridge vents and everything. And one of the questions that I had – would that pass an inspection if I’m going to sell the house?
TOM: Right. So, basically, your bathroom vent – your plumbing vent – is terminating in the attic. It does not go through the roof to the exterior. Is that correct?
RANDALL: Not the plumbing vent. The exhaust vent.
TOM: Oh, the exhaust vent for the bathroom. OK. Alright.
TOM: So, the answer to your question is no. It is not done correctly. And the reason for that is because when you take all that warm, moist air that accumulates in the bathroom from bathing and you vent it up into the attic, the first thing it’s going to do is condense on the underside of the coldest part, which is the roof sheathing.
Now, a couple of things can happen when that occurs. In the wintertime, that condensation will be drippy and it will get down in the insulation. And when the insulation gets damp, it doesn’t insulate nearly as well. Secondly, most of the year, it’ll keep that lumber and that sheathing wet and damp. And if that wood stays over about 25-percent wet, it starts to delaminate and very often, you’ll see mold and plywood deterioration because a bath was not properly ventilated.
The solution is pretty easy, though. You’re going to want to add a duct from that vent fan to the exterior in the shortest way possible. But I would definitely do that to avoid dumping all that moist air into the attic. That’s the right way to fix that, OK?
RANDALL: OK. So I need a roofer so he can cut the roof and …
TOM: No, you don’t necessarily need a roofer. A carpenter could do this. Go to HomeAdvisor.com and look for a carpenter or a handyman or a roofer. And read the reviews, because they’re – all of the guys on that site are thoroughly reviewed. And this is exactly what I would do if I was going to find – need to find somebody in my area. In fact, I have done it this way. And you’ll find a roofer or a carpenter or a handyman that can do this job.
It’s a very small project. It’s very easy, very straightforward. And that would be the best way to get it accomplished, OK?
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us, Randall, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, for the last few months, we’ve all been cleaning our houses a lot more than we had before the pandemic. But with all these cleaning products, did you ever wonder if you were exposing yourself to toxic chemicals in the process or what impact all of these cleaning products are having on the environment?
TOM: Well, a better option is JAWS, a unique system of non-toxic cleaning products that are not only effective but also designed specifically to save on costs, reduce plastic waste and the environmental impact of shipping products to the store or your home.
And the guy behind that JAWS organization is Bruce Yacko. He joins us now and he is a very, very busy man.
BRUCE: Oh, we’ve been busy. We’ve really been busy. You know, we were horribly busy coming into it but we’re running three shifts.
BRUCE: We’ve added additional lines, we’ve added another hundred people to our workforce and done a great job of training, keeping everybody safe and healthy. And so it’s been a crazy period but feel like we’re doing great things for the country.
And it’s been pretty cool, Tom, to tell you the truth. So you’re getting all the letters and things, people who are – couldn’t find things on the store shelves, that could get the JAWS disinfectant and other products and how much more comfortable they were in their own environments because they found them.
BRUCE: We will get them to them in a couple days and things like that. So it’s been real rewarding. It’s been a lot of work.
TOM: I bet. Yeah.
BRUCE: We’ve all been working pretty hard since the beginning of time. But I think we’ve done a really exceptional job at taking care of the needs of the nation. So, it’s been great.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about JAWS, for those that are listening that are not familiar with the product. Of course, Leslie and I have been fans for many, many years. This is a great system, great system. It’s called JAWS because JAWS stands for the Just Add Water System.
So, Bruce, why don’t we talk about – just to kind of set the stage here – how this line works, how it came to be and why it’s so much different than all the other cleaning products that are out there.
BRUCE: Well, we’ve sold concentrated cleaners to the commercial marketplace for the last 40 years. And to upgrade those formulas, to make them more consistent with what the surface is and the people that you have in the homes, was really important as part of the process.
But we knew, as we would deliver products into the commercial workspace, having concentrates delivered in cartridges that were exactly measured every time and provide the same results each time and put that into a child-resistant cartridge – which we don’t have in the commercial side of our business (inaudible) necessary. Whereby that cartridge, which is about the size of a roll of nickels, when inserted into a bottle that is filled with water to the fill line – the sprayer is attached and as you attach it, you’re releasing the concentrate into the water – that you’re really making a consistent level of product that’s designed, really, for the home, doing it in a very economical way.
Reusing bottles, not throwing away that bottle after a single use to a landfill or recycling it really made a whole lot of sense. And so, in order to achieve all that, Tom, we needed to build a bottle that was to withstand 26 refills. So a heavier-duty bottle, having a commercial-grade sprayer, it’s a tool in the commercial industry. They don’t throw them away after one use. And the sprayers are designed for long-term use.
And so, really, to develop that system of high-performance cleaners in child-resistant cartridges – that is with an elegant bottle that you’re going to want to keep out rather than hide under your cabinet, that’s going to live the life of the cycle of the reuse in cartridges – is really what we worked hard to create and do. And I think we’ve done an exceptional job in creating that.
LESLIE: And I think it keeps costs down all across the line, Bruce. Because, generally, when you’re shipping products or the premixed formula of a cleaning product, you’re paying a lot for shipping all of that liquid. And here, you’re able to just send the concentrate to all of the consumers and the people who really just need to clean their homes to keep safe. And that keeps a tremendous cost down.
BRUCE: Well, Leslie, you’re absolutely right about that. I can put a million cartridges on a container and ship them to Pluto for nothing. And by having that versus 16,000 quarts – and 16,000 quarts of product, which you typically find on your shelves, the container weighs out. And with the million cartridges, it doesn’t even weigh out; it cubes out. If it can find a bigger container to put them in, to ship them in, certainly could put more in there and even make it a more economical experience.
But whether it be on a store shelf – which we don’t do on store shelves; we’re selling directly to a consumer online through JAWSCleans.com – you know, you’re not going to have six bottles of glass cleaner under your cupboard. But people do have six cartridges with that single bottle that is reused. So when it goes empty, they have a cartridge of concentrate to refill that vessel and continue to work in their home.
But people do buy multiple. We sell a lot of to both homes and businesses, 24 cartridges in a box. I can’t tell you how many we sell in that way. And the box is – weighs a pound-and-a-half and is probably 4 inches long by 3 inches tall. And so it really doesn’t take up a whole lot of space in your cabinet. But whether it be shipping it across the country or across the world, which we do do, or it’s in your home, it’s a real economical way to handle cleaning chemicals.
TOM: Yeah. And you mentioned your website, JAWSCleans.com. I see that you’ve given our listeners a 20-percent discount with the promo code MONEYPIT. So, definitely want to take advantage of that.
Now, you guys have seven different formulas. I’m sure that ever since COVID started, you’ve been selling the heck out of the Disinfectant Cleaner. But you’ve also got glass cleaner and countertop cleaners. Give us sort of the highlights of the most popular lines.
BRUCE: Absolutely. So, every one of the products is streak-free, which drives you crazy when you’re trying to clean a black piece of marble with your kitchen degreaser and it leaves streaks behind. So I just want to throw that out there up front.
But we have a glass cleaner that Good Housekeeping – of 17 they tested. Well-known, huge brands. It was the only one that didn’t streak. It doesn’t have any butyl ammonia or alcohol in it, so it doesn’t leave – attack screens, such as your iPhones and iPads and TV screens and all that kind of stuff. So you really have a more universal use because of how safely we’ve designed the product.
But we – so we have the Glass Cleaner, the Kitchen Degreaser. Marble, granite, stainless-steel, cooktops, microwaves. All those modern things that you have in your home that are not that easy to clean, especially as we go to darker surfaces, like in marbles and granites and things like that. Stainless steel, of course, would show residues and things like that. So we have the Kitchen Degreaser.
We have a floor cleaner, neutral pH. No matter what kind of floor you have – granite, marble, tile and grout, wood floors, hardwood floors, bamboo – really designed for universal use there. And nothing worse than getting that worked on, looking back, having the sun come through the window and seeing all the streaks behind that are being seen with other type cleaners that are floor cleaners, that aren’t neutral in pH.
Certainly have a wonderful shower cleaner. You spray it, you don’t run for your life. You don’t choke. To me, something – if you spray something and you choke, it’s not a good thing, it’s not a healthy thing.
TOM: Yeah, it’s not good, right. Yeah.
BRUCE: And so we’re using organic salts and plant-based surfactants and things to remove the organics and the (inaudible) calcium, lime-type stains that you have in your shower areas. Works beautifully on the shower door. Again, not leaving streaks behind once you clean with it.
We have those things and we have a wonderful granite polish. Your granite is up to 25-percent brighter after you get done with it. You use the Daily Kitchen Cleaner or Degreaser. You probably use that 100 times a day, depending on how many kids and things you have in the home. But the Granite Cleaner, about once a week, would be great to restore kind of some of the luster to your granite and marble and stone areas in your kitchen and bath areas. So, we really have a whole series of products.
And then you said the disinfectant. It’s neutral in pH. Most of the other disinfectants are high in pH, therefore they kind of leave residues behind and they’re much less safe to work with. The U.S. Government buys it for all the nuclear subs. You have 500 people in a sub that’s under the water for 6 months at a time. They can’t have things that are going to cause environmental difficulties, going to attack that multi-billion dollar piece of equipment. And so, they’re safe for the subs and the White House and the Pentagon. And they’re also safe in your homes and that’s how hard we work to create those things.
TOM: Absolutely. And that’s getting a ton of use right now, of course, for all the right reasons. To say my favorite product at the moment is the Window and Glass Cleaner. I keep a bottle in my office, not for my windows but for my computer screens and my iPhone and my eyeglasses. I love using that stuff because it – again, it comes right off and it doesn’t streak.
Again, that website is JAWSCleans.com. Head on over to the JAWS website. You can get a 20-percent discount with the promo code MONEYPIT.
Bruce, you’re doing a great job at keeping America cleaner, friend. So, keep up the good work to you and your whole staff there based in Ohio, where we have a studio, as well. So, you’re kind of in our hometown there. Thanks again, Bruce, and continued good luck with the product and the company.
Well, we love to give away tools here on The Money Pit. And we’ve got a dozen sets of tools to give away from Arrow Fastener in our Holiday Home Décor Giveaway. Twelve winners are going to receive a set of tools from Arrow, worth over 125 bucks each, to help with your home improvement, holiday décor and crafts. There is the Wire Stapler, the Plier Stapler, the Cordless Electric Stapler and my favorite, the Professional High-Temp Glue Gun, which is super cool because – I love this gun because it’s big and made for my hands. Not the tiny one I always get cramps using.
TOM: And I made, with my sister, a bottle-cap table for my nephew. And we were able to use this to glue all the bottle caps down. And we didn’t run out of glue and we didn’t get tired. It just flowed really nicely. It didn’t make a big, stinking mess. I usually end up gluing my fingers together with the other smaller ones, because my hands are bigger than the gun. And the gun’s hot. Not this one. So I love the GT300.
Altogether, those tools are worth 125 bucks. If you’d like to enter, you can do so once a day at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
Well, if you’re thinking about updating your bedroom, a new mattress may be a good place to start. You spend a third of your life in bed, so the right mattress is definitely a must. If you’ve got an old, saggy mattress, you’re not getting the support you need for healthy sleep. And that can leave you achy and sore and generally cranky in the morning, which is not good for the rest of your family. Five to seven years. That is the usual lifespan for a mattress. If you’ve got an older one, it may be time to update it and go ahead and get yourself a new one.
What about those foam mattresses, Leslie? What are you thinking about those? I’m kind of liking mine.
LESLIE: Yeah. Charlie has a foam mattress and he loves it. I find it to be a little too squishy when I sit down to do reading and story time. I’m like, “Oop. I’m getting stuck in here.” But he loves it. So you’ve got to really think about what you like best, because a mattress is a super-personal decision. And I know when shopping for one, I end up bringing my pillow and laying on everything. And who knows if they let you do that now in the COVID times. So it’s really a decision that you’ve got to go into with some knowledge.
So, first of all, let’s talk about the different comfort levels that are available. Now, you can choose from firm, plush and pillow-top mattresses. Now, firm, that’s self-explanatory. And plush is going to offer support but allows more pressure points to sink into that mattress. And a pillow-top is going to be the softest of all of them.
Now, you may also see sales-y labeling, such as ultra-firm or super-plush, but don’t pay attention to that kind of hype. There’s really no regulation for those categories, so it’s kind of tough to determine what they really mean.
TOM: Yeah. Also be aware that the stuff that makes up a mattress can impact your comfort and well-being, too. Those with allergies and sensitivities should shop for mattresses that are constructed from all-natural and hypoallergenic materials, like organic cotton and synthetic-free latex fills and naturally flame-retardant wool casings.
And the other thing – or the final thing, I should say – about those foam mattresses is keep in mind that the newer ones also don’t retain heat like the older ones do. When they first came out, in summer they were kind of miserable because you’d sweat a lot in them. But now, they’ve kind of figured out this technology, so they’re somewhat vented and comfortable year-round.
And lastly, I like about these foam mattresses is the fact that most of these companies will let you try one out for 60 days. And if you don’t like it, you can send it back. What they actually end up doing is picking them up and donating them, which is also just as fine. But at least you’re not committed until you’re absolutely certain that it works for you.
So, if you’ve had a mattress for 5 years, 10 years, it’s time to update it. Make that your first holiday gift to yourself.
LESLIE: Need some help with some projects at home? Post your questions online at Facebook.com/MoneyPit, just like Audrey did.
Now, Audrey writes: “Hi. I’m getting sudden bursts of very hot water in the middle of a shower. I have a gas water heater. The pilot light is on. Any ideas of why this is happening?”
TOM: Yes, I do. What’s going on, Audrey, is you have an imbalance between the hot-water flow and the cold-water flow. That can be caused because other things are running in the house. If you flush a toilet, that takes some cold water away from the flow, which means the mix now is heavier towards the hot water. And that can result in the difference in temperature you feel while you’re in the middle of that sort of water stream.
The solution is a type of shower valve called a “pressure-balance valve,” which does just that: balances the pressure – the flow – between the hot water and the cold water. It keeps the mix the same. Even if you lose pressure on one side, it doesn’t change the mix of hot and cold. And this way, whatever you set as your perfect shower temperature doesn’t change.
So that’s definitely the solution. It is a plumbing project. It’s a significant plumbing project. You probably have to either open up the wall on the shower side. Or if you’re fortunate enough to have access behind it, you can do that. A lot of times, bathrooms are up against closets and you can cut into it from the back side, so there’s no mess in the bathroom itself. But the actual physical valve has to be changed and that will stop this issue from happening.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Joel who writes: “I want to make my basement more usable space. The problem is the basement floor is poured concrete but it’s got a lot of rise and fall, ranging from 98 inches to 107 inches in ceiling height.”
LESLIE: That’s kind of crazy. That’s a big difference.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. Nine inches? Wow. I’ll tell you what. Leveling a concrete basement floor, by any means, is going to cost you dearly in ceiling height, especially since we’re talking about a floor with a height range of basically a difference of 9 inches. So, I’m not sure why your floor is in the condition it’s in. But the best solution, in my view, would probably be to tear it out and pour a new floor.
Basement floors are not usually that difficult to remove. If they’re poured concrete, they can be broken up pretty simply by a jackhammer. A crew of two or three guys could do this in half a day – pull all that concrete out – and then just pour a new one. Have it nice and level and clean and it’ll just be a lot easier on you.
LESLIE: And you know what, Joel? Once you get that done, you can head on down to that basement, pick up some really cute area rugs or maybe put down a laminate floor down there and then some area rugs and make that space a perfect, family-friendly room. Enjoy it.
TOM: Well, if you’d like to enjoy the warm glow of a fireplace this winter, you’d better make sure the screens are clean to start. Leslie has some tips on how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, I really do enjoy sitting by the fire and the fireplace. And I want to make sure that it looks good, that it smells good and it feels nice. But if you really want to enjoy it, guys, you’ve got to make sure that you’re cleaning your fireplace screen once, twice, as many times as you need during the season.
So to get that job done right, you’ve got to use a cleaning solution of 1/8-cup liquid dishwashing detergent per quart of water. And that’s going to do wonders for any caked-on dirt. So, go ahead, gently scrub that screen with a soft-bristle brush and then follow up by wiping it with a lint-free cloth. And that’s going to help you avoid rusting.
If there’s any brass sections on it, you can go ahead and polish that part of the screen with a brass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. And then everything about that screen is going to glow just like your fire. I mean it’s instant ambiance and total cozy comfort and just really makes for a great holiday season. So get on that now so you can enjoy it for the rest of this year.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, one appliance that you might own and you’ll never want to be without, once you do, is your garbage disposer. But when it gets jammed and stops working, it pretty much shuts down the whole kitchen. The good news is that there is a super-easy way to get it back in action. We’re going to share that tip 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.)