We’re all cleaning and disinfecting more than ever before now and with the holidays coming up, that’s only going to get more intense. Well share tips on a really handy Disinfectant that cleans, disinfects and deodorizes in one step and is also effective against the COVID 19 virus on hard non-porous surfaces.
If you’re finding you need more storage room in your house, your attic may be an option – but only if it has a solid floor. We’ll share tips on the best way to add floor space without impacting your home structure, or insulation.
If your home feels small and your planning to move — staging the home before potential buyers show up can help to create a positive first impression. But this almost always involves getting rid of a lot of what made your home crowded in the first place. Staging is the key. We explain how Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, installing a railing, finding your roof leak, maintaining a new home.
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 the winter. It’s almost here. My gosh, December already. Are you rushing to get a few projects done in time for some holiday visitations from others in your bubble? Are you planning some projects ahead?
You imagine if I said that line a year ago, Leslie? People would be like, “What the heck is wrong with him?”
LESLIE: I mean the whole thing is still so crazy.
LESLIE: You know, I bought for a – this is totally off-topic but I brought, for a girlfriend and her husband for their anniversary – tickets to a show.
LESLIE: And it got rescheduled to September of 2020. Then it got rescheduled to April of 2021. And then I recently got an email saying that it’s rescheduled to April or May of 2022.
TOM: Oh, my gosh. And there are those folks out there that just don’t get it. There is an organization that I love, near and dear to my heart, that asked me to help with a fundraiser. And the fundraiser was tickets to a cruise. I’m like, “You’re kidding, right?”
LESLIE: I bid a penny.
TOM: Really? Tickets to a cruise.
LESLIE: No thank you. Does it also come with a hazmat suit for the crew?
TOM: No thanks. Exactly. Oh, well.
LESLIE: It’s so nutty but it all makes sense: masks, bubbles. We’ve got to all do it and we’ve got to do our part.
TOM: Yeah. And listen, we’re going to do our part to try to help you keep up your home, make it comfortable, make it safe, make it a place that you enjoy hanging out. Because let’s face it: you don’t have many other choices these days. So if we can help you with a project, let us know.
You can get in touch with us a number of ways. You can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you could post your question at MoneyPit.com or use our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
So, coming up on today’s episode, fall is the flooring season. And with dozens of products in an infinite number of designs, we’re going to share some tips and new digital tools to help you find the perfect floor choice for your space.
LESLIE: And we’re all cleaning and disinfecting more than ever now. And with the holidays coming up, that’s only going to get more intense. We’re going to share some tips on a really handy disinfectant that cleans, disinfects and deodorizes in one step. And it’s also effective against the COVID-19 virus on hard, non-porous surfaces. So, definitely something you want to keep around.
TOM: And if you’re finding you need more storage room in your house, your attic may be a great option but only if it has a solid floor, something that’s tough to do in that space. So we’re going to share some tips on the best way to add floor space without impacting your home’s structure or your insulation.
LESLIE: And if you guys are in the holiday spirit and ready to take on some decorating or holiday crafts, we’ve got a chance for you to win the very tools that you’re going to need. Just enter the Holiday Home Décor Giveaway today at MoneyPit.com.
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. And it includes the P21 new Plier Stapler, which is really great for closing up holiday gift bags or those little displays of cookies that you’re going to bring to your neighbors safely and slide to the front door. But you can staple everything greatly with this P21 Plier Stapler. It’s awesome.
Enter now at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
TOM: But first, we want to know what you want to know. How can we help you make your home its best ever self? Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Paul in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAUL: I have eight pillars that I’m wanting to attach a beam – I guess a railing to. Pillars are 20 foot apart and I am looking to attach some type of railing that goes between them or on the side of them is what I’m envisioning. And it needs to be able to withstand direct impact from possibly 300-something pounds being bumped up against it continuously – well, not continuously but on a regular basis, I should say. And it’s a concrete floor. I have a few ideas but I wanted to talk to some experts to hear your thoughts.
TOM: This railing, is it going to – is it protecting the edge of a porch or a loading dock or something like that where people could fall off? Is that why we have it?
PAUL: It’s going to be more of a corral. I’m kind of building a corral. Yes.
TOM: A corral. OK. So it’s basically for livestock; it’s not to keep somebody from falling over. I need to know because if this is for people, then we need to make sure we follow the building codes on this. Or if you’re just saying that you want to just have this railing to stop, what, 300-pound animals from bumping into it or what? Give me more information.
PAUL: No, it’s for people. Yes. I’m building, I guess, a play area, an arena, per se. And they play bubble soccer inside this area and they will bounce into it repeatedly. So I need to build something between the pillars to make the area that they can play in.
TOM: So you need this also to be so that the balls won’t go out. You need to have some mast to it. It’s not just a railing. It’s really a railing and spindles?
PAUL: I was thinking railing and some 4x4s. I just don’t know what span or how far apart I needed to put them or …
TOM: Alright. Well, look, let me just give you the advice as if you’re building a standard railing, because it sounds like you’ve got a really unusual situation here. If you’ve got these pilings as you’re describing them, these vertical beams that are 20 feet apart, you’re not going to be able to have a complete 20-foot span without having too much wobble and flex. You’re going to have to have something mid-span.
If you want to put, say, 4x4s in and have them bolted to the concrete, you have to use an anchor plate, which is basically a piece of steel that’s maybe 6 or 7 inches square, where the screws would fit into the wood. And then the overhang, you’d have more screws that would go into the concrete itself. And then what you could do is have a solid railing that connects both the piling and the intermediate posts all the way across with as few seams as possible.
Now, if I was building a railing like this, I’d have one up high, one down low. So let’s say it was a 3-foot railing. I’d have maybe a 6x6x6 – sorry, a 2×6 railing at the top, maybe another piece of 2×6 towards the bottom. And then I’d have balusters in between that might be 2x2s sort of screwed to the outside of the 6×6 so you had a complete, almost fence-like structure when you were done. This will give you the rigidity that you need to keep people from being able to kind of lean over the railing or push against it. And in your case, it’ll also kind of retain whatever’s going on with the activity inside that space. Does that make sense?
PAUL: It does. Yes.
TOM: So, I mean that’s the kind of thing you need to do. And typically, railings are designed – residential railings, if I remember my building code, are designed for 200 pounds in any direction. So, you’re going to beef it up a little bit further than that. But the thing is since those pilings are so far apart, you are going to need some sort of intermediate support.
PAUL: But what if I did steel pipe the whole length and just attached it on the 20-inch pillars and then set another one on the pillar and ran it to the next one and …
TOM: You could build the whole thing out of steel pipe but again, it really depends on whether or not you need any masts below the railing itself. If you can have air under the railing, then you probably could build it with steel pipe.
PAUL: Yeah. The railing’s just to keep the balls in. And the balls are 5 feet around. So they’re big orbs, basically.
TOM: Oh, OK. Oh, OK. I’m thinking soccer ball; you were talking about something completely different.
PAUL: Yeah, yeah. And you fit inside it and you run around and you knock people over and that’s the whole fun of it, of …
TOM: Steel pipe is somewhat modular and I guess you could do it with steel pipe. You would just have uprights that would be screwed to the concrete floor and then also into the sides of these pilings. So I think that’s probably an option given your revised description of the need.
PAUL: What do you mean upright?
TOM: So you would have maybe one piece of steel pipe that would go like a post in the middle of that run.
TOM: And you could use pipe fittings to connect to it. Because again, even if it’s steel pipe, I don’t think you can go 20 feet without it having too much flex.
PAUL: Alright. Awesome. No, I appreciate it. Thank you, guys.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. What an unusual project that …
LESLIE: It’s a very specific project he’s working on over there.
TOM: It really is. Yeah. It needs a railing to contain balls that are 5 feet in diameter. I wonder what game that is.
LESLIE: I don’t know. I know they play something at my son’s school called ga-ga ball and they’re in a ga-ga pit. No one can ever explain it but it’s like any time there’s a block party, people are like, “Uh, how do we build a ga-ga pit?” And I’m like, “I think everybody’s making this up.” I’m fairly convinced.
TOM: Maybe as they go. Well, it sounds like fun. Good luck.
LESLIE: Cindy in Louisiana, you’ve got The Money Pit. Tell us all about your roofing problems.
CINDY: We have a camp and it’s got a – it’s a metal building with a – the pitch on the roof – there’s several different layers of the pitch. It goes down and so let’s be like three different pitches on it. We had it put in, oh, probably in ‘07 or ‘08. And then, around 2011, we decided to pull off that plastic-wrap insulation off the inside of the roof and spray on the spray insulation on it. And once we did that, that’s when we started noticing the leaks.
So, we tried different things. We even had another company come out, pull out all the screws and put it new ones that were a little fatter and so – with the washers and all that mess with them, to seal it. That has not worked.
We’ve been up there on that roof I don’t know how many different times, trying to put silicone on top of the screws after we clean it down along the seams. Sometimes, we’ve even had to get up there and he’s had to pull out the screw, put silicone in and put the screw back in. It’s just been an absolute nightmare to try.
TOM: You said these are metal roof panels? Is it like corrugated roof? What kind of metal roof is it?
CINDY: Right. It is. It’s like a corrugated roof.
TOM: So they’re big metal panels, right?
TOM: When you try to replace these screws, I guess you’re essentially taking the panels almost off the roof, right, because you’re removing all the fasteners?
CINDY: Yeah. Well, we can’t – with the spray and everything else, we had even thought about could we take the roof off and start over. And now, with the spray down on it, we can’t even do that.
TOM: Oh, so this spray is actually up on the underside of the metal roof itself?
CINDY: Right. So it’s glued down now.
TOM: Oh, boy. So there was basically no sheathing or anything underneath this?
CINDY: No. When we started this project, we started it with someone who we thought – we didn’t know anything and we thought the person knew everything. And now we know better but we messed up and now we’re kind of caught in a bad position.
TOM: So, yeah, it’s not a good situation. Because it’s kind of hard to try to repair something that probably wasn’t put in well to begin with. So I have one idea for you and that is to put another layer of roofing over the roofing that you have now but put ice-and-water shield in between the layers.
So, ice-and-water shield is very effective at sealing these kinds of leaks. It’s specifically designed to seal around fasteners. And if you were to – if it was possible for you to put another layer of metal roofing over this but put ice-and-water shield in between, that would definitely stop the leaks from happening.
Short of that, I think this is a situation where the roof has to come off and you really have to do it right from the get-go, because I don’t think – the roof was just put on, I guess, over some sort of furring strips or something like that. There was never any ice-and-water shield underneath that. And so I’m not surprised that it does leak, especially from driving rain. I don’t think you can rely just on the fasteners or even fasteners that have rubber gaskets on them to keep that kind of a roof completely leak-free.
CINDY: Alright. Well, I tried. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
I wish we could give everybody a quick fix. But sometimes we just can’t, especially when you have a roof that’s been going so wrong on so many levels for so long. You just can’t bring it back.
LESLIE: Well, it’s never been more important than it is today to make sure that the products you use to clean and disinfect your homes does the job you need it to do. And it’s a good time to talk about that, which is why we want to talk to you about the JAWS Disinfectant Cleaner.
TOM: Yeah. You know, this is a product I have personally used for a number of years now. It’s actually a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. And it’s even effective against the SARS-CoV-2 – that’s the COVID-19 virus – when it’s applied to hard, non-porous surfaces. So, we’re talking about cabinets, sealed countertops, appliances, doorknobs, toilets.
And it also works well on floors and it doesn’t even dull the high-gloss finish that a floor has. A lot of cleaners do that. So, it’s kind of our go-to disinfectant cleaner because it handles grease, dirt, grime, fingerprints, food stains. Pretty much removes everything that our family can dish out.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the product comes as an ultra-concentrated disinfectant cleaner. And it’s formulated for use with the JAWS Refillable Spray Bottle.
Now, the system is simple to use. You just head to JAWSCleans.com and you order a starter kit. Now, that’s going to come with an empty JAWS Bottle Sprayer and two refill pods. And you simply fill the bottle with water and then insert the Disinfectant Cleaner pod. And you’re going to get a full bottle of cleaner that’s going to clean and disinfectant in one easy step. So there’s really no need to clean first and then disinfect.
TOM: Yep. And when you’re all done, it leaves behind a fresh, lemon scent and a beautiful shine. Now is a great time to stock up on the ultra-concentrated refill pods, too, because you’ll be set for the entire winter season.
And we’ve got a promo code that’s good for a 20-percent discount. All you need to do is to go to JAWSCleans.com, enter promo code MONEYPIT and you’ll get a 20-percent discount now through December 7th. That’s JAWSCleans.com, promo code MONEYPIT for 20-percent off.
LESLIE: Greg from Iowa is on the line – is looking for some home maintenance tips. How can we help you?
GREG: I bought my new house, new construction, eight years ago and – I’ll be honest, kind of embarrassing but I’ve really done zero home maintenance since. Other than changing the air filters every once in a while, I’ve done zero home maintenance thing.
TOM: Well, that’s why you bought a new house.
GREG: Yeah, exactly.
TOM: But alas, it’s time to take on a few projects, huh? What’s going on in the house now?
GREG: No, there’s nothing wrong. It was just more of general maintenance that needs to happen and I just don’t know what to do.
TOM: So, general maintenance – so, first of all, when it gets chilly like it is now, it’s time for you to do some heating-system maintenance. Now, what kind of fuel do you have? Do you have gas – natural gas?
TOM: So it’s important to have your heating system serviced. You apparently have not done that for eight years; you’re well overdue. The reason for that is even though when you turn the heat on, it comes on and provides heat to your house, it could be doing so inefficiently or at worst, it could be doing so dangerously. So, every fall, you need to have your heating system cleaned and serviced to make sure it’s running properly. And then in the summer, you’ll have your air-conditioning system serviced for the same reasons: not so much the danger but more importantly the efficiency. So, those are two things you should be doing right now.
And when your HVAC technician comes, he’ll probably also take a look at the water heater because sometimes, the burners can get coated with rust. Because natural gas is very corrosive when it burns. So that’s the kind of thing that you probably need to do right away.
The other maintenance tasks are really going to depend on kind of what’s going in the house. If you’ve got a toilet that leaks or runs all the time, then you could need fill or flush valves. If you’ve got paint that’s cracking or peeling, you could need paint. But the mechanical maintenance, I think, is most important because that’s potentially dangerous. Does that make sense?
GREG: It does.
TOM: Now, are you seeing anything that you think needs attention?
GREG: No, nothing much. It’s just then – I think we’ve had a pretty lucky eight years and there’s been no crises at all, so …
LESLIE: You’d better be knocking on a piece of wood right now.
GREG: Right. It’s about time to get it maintained, I suppose. Get some maintenance done to the HVAC, yes?
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what’s something you probably don’t consider is your dryer vent. You know the exhaust duct behind your dryer that exits to the outside of your house? A lot of people don’t think to clean that because lint does go out there and then gets to the outside. And it can get stuck and it can get caught and you should be cleaning that at least once a year, probably twice a year.
GREG: Do I have to pull out the dryer to do that?
LESLIE: Yes. So you pull the dryer away from the wall. There is a product called – it’s a – Gardus LintEater is one of the ones that we’ve used, Tom and I. And you actually put it through the exit vent on the exterior of the house and you sort of twist it through with a drill-driver motor. But you have to be very careful and there’s a certain direction you have to put it in. But it goes through and the amount of stuff that comes out – I mean it’s – you’ve never seen so much junk.
GREG: Well, indeed. Well, thanks a lot for the tips. Anything else that comes up? Anything else you can think of, that is, or are those the biggies?
TOM: Ah, there’s so much to be done. I think you just need to be aware. But take care of those mechanical things because that’s where you can get yourself in trouble, OK?
GREG: Alright. Thanks a lot.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, some of the hardest working and most beautiful surfaces in any home are the floors. And there’s no better source for durable and stylish flooring than Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: Well, now, Lumber Liquidators is going forward as LL Flooring. And what’s more, the company has added a suite of digital tools and services designed to make the shopping experience better than ever before. That’s why we’re pleased to welcome the president and CEO, Charles Tyson, to join us now.
CHARLES: Hey, Tom and Leslie. Thanks very much for inviting me on and letting me spend some time with you and hopefully answering some questions. I hope your listeners think about how to make their homes absolutely fantastic.
TOM: So, talk to us about how Lumber Liquidators is now LL Flooring and how the company has been working to further improve how people can shop for flooring.
CHARLES: Yeah, we’ve been working on this for a while now. You know, clearly, as we think about our position in the marketplace as a specialty retailer, we want our brand to be reflective of what we do, which is selling top-quality floors, having a really high-touch experience with our fantastic sales associates. We have a very broad assortment. We have over 450 A-quality floors, whether it’s wood flooring or vinyl flooring. And we’ve really expanded our digital tools to help customers through their purchase journey in flooring.
And so we really felt that we need a name that is reflective of what we do as a great retailer. And we don’t sell lumber and we’re not a liquidator. And so, we’re piloting LL Flooring in around 20 stores this year to help – really help customers better understand what we do in the marketplace.
LESLIE: There’s so much that you guys bring and I really feel like you’re showcasing so much of the latest trends, different colors, different materials. What are you seeing? Because I feel like the flooring industry and the design end of it is just changing so much. What’s popular? What’s trending right now? What are you seeing?
CHARLES: Yeah. That’s a great question, Leslie. I think that the flooring business has really evolved over the last 5 years where – when people were doing a project in the home, they didn’t consider flooring because it was too complex. And the technology is, particularly with click mechanisms, is allowing for a much easier installation, which is allowing flooring to be part of that broader home remodeling project with a good value of being able to do the complete job.
But from a style and trend perspective, there’s a lot of European influences that have been flowing through. You see a lot more of the wide boards. We carry product that’s up to 7 inches wide and 8 feet long, 10 feet long. So, very different than the 2¾ boards that you saw 5 or 6 years ago.
Colors. Color is just so important and it’s moved so far away from just the dark browns or the light oaks. And of course, you see the grays moving through in home décor and it’s really important in terms of how it’s driving trend in flooring.
But then the European looks: the white oaks coming through. So we really look throughout the world for what’s going to be the future of home décor and how do we think about color palettes or how do we think about finishes.
And then the other thing, from a design perspective, is functionality. Young families, they want to use the whole home. And so, their living rooms aren’t these rooms that just are for formal sitting anymore; they’re action rooms. And so, waterproof flooring, water-resistant flooring so that whether you’ve got pets, whether you’ve got young children spilling water, spilling the juice, really easy to clean up. And just – the floor looks just as vibrant tomorrow as it did yesterday.
So, we’re really looking at how do we bring design and look and functionality into the marketplace in a very cost-effective way. And we’ve introduced some new products recently. One is our Bellawood Manhattan Chevron. And it’s just a fabulous-looking product but we designed it in a way that allows people to do really easy installation. If they’re a DIYer or if they need an install, we can arrange to do installation, as well.
TOM: Charles, I think one of the things that sort of hangs folks up when they’re trying to make a decision on a product like flooring is sort of the analysis paralysis with so many choices. You guys have got 400 stores and more across the country. How do you help consumers narrow down what the best flooring application is for their specific use?
CHARLES: Yeah, that’s a great question, Tom. So if you go out onto LL Flooring, we’ve created some tools to try and help folks really visualize what it is we do. We have a product called the Floor Finder that’s just a few quick questions. And it will basically help you narrow down onto the type of floors that are likely to be right for you.
We then have an item called the Picture It tool. And it’s absolutely so much fun. You can take a picture of any room in your home and you can download any product from our website. And you’re actually going to see that floor in the exact room that you want to do. And again, this is new technology. Our average customer downloads multiple floors, so we know that they’re trying to figure out exactly what’s the right style, what’s the right look for them.
We offer free samples online. You can go online. You don’t have to go to a store but you can certainly go to a store and pick up samples so that you can come home and lay those samples out. You can look at the Picture It tool. And what we’re trying to do is make it really easy for you to make a good decision, from a flooring perspective, and really understand up-front, before you make that big investment, that the floor is going to turn out the way that you really expect it to from a look-and-feel perspective.
And then, of course, there are some customers who said this is a daunting project. We’re able to offer installation services, to come in and do the work. In this COVID environment, if you don’t want to go to a store, we can arrange for delivery. And we even have a process now online called Virtual Sales, where you can actually click a box and do live video with a sales-team member in a store. And they’ll walk you through all the samples that we have. We can then send the samples to your home.
And so, particularly for those folks that are at risk in this COVID environment, we’ve come up with a total end-to-end solution without even having to visit a store. And we’re really excited with some of the feedback that we’re getting from customers, of how helpful they’re finding that. And for some in this difficult time, they want to work on the home but they also want to protect themselves.
LESLIE: I mean you’re really making it super easy for folks to find the right flooring, the most beautiful flooring, the piece that they’re going to love. So, kudos to you guys for making it easy in this super-weird environment we’re all dealing with this year.
CHARLES: Yeah, you know it. But I don’t want to forget the fact that we’ve got real experts, whether it’s in our call center or in our stores. And so, if you get stuck with a project, we’re going to be there to help you. And you can either call a store, you could go in and visit one of our store-flooring specialists. A lot of people will come in with photographs of their flooring project. And simple things like underlayment. How is the floor prep ready for the new floor? And our teams are there to help you, not just at the – we don’t want to just sell you a floor. We get so excited when our customers come in at the end of a project and they bring photographs in or they send in photographs of their finished floor.
And that’s why we’re different. We’re a retailer. We want to give you tools to make it easy. But if you get stuck, whether it’s a pro who needs that special piece of product to finish a home project or our installers who are highly qualified to help customers through it or our in-store or online service personnel, the team that we have, they’re flooring experts. That’s all we do. We don’t sell furniture. We just sell flooring and we want to make it a great experience for our customers.
TOM: Well, I’ve had been many personal experiences with the folks in my local Lumber Liquidators, now LL Flooring, store. And I’ve got to tell you, they really know their stuff. I’ve thrown some really difficult questions at them. I have a very old house, over 130 years old. I have a very sloping floor that I wanted to put a floor down. And we had a long, detailed, technical discussion about just how to level that floor, how far the floor-leveling compound products that you guys offer will go. And I was very impressed by their knowledge.
And I’ve since done two projects for family members with your products and both of them were just absolutely amazing. The before-and-after transformations came out so, so well.
And I think folks can be daunted by the process of putting down a floor but boy, has it gotten a lot easier with the click-lock technology. Charles, the first laminate floor I put down was a tiled floor. It was 2-foot-square tiles that looked like stone. And it was back in the day when you had to physically glue and clamp every single tile to the next one. And it took me so long, I said to myself, “Oh, my gosh, this laminate-floor stuff, it’s never going to go anywhere like this,” because it just took so long.
And then, all of a sudden, we’ve got the click-lock technology. You’re snapping these boards together and you can do a whole room, certainly, in just a few hours, even if you don’t do it every day. And every one of the products that you guys put out has that kind of quality and expertise that comes behind it. And I think that’s why you’ve been so successful and will continue to be very successful under the new brand name of LL Flooring.
Take a look at their website: LLFlooring.com. Take a look at all of the digital tools that Charles talked about. If you need a floor in your home, if you’d like to refresh your space, there is a solution for you waiting at LLFlooring.com.
Charles Tyson, the CEO and president, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and continued good luck with all of this exciting growth.
CHARLES: Thanks, Tom and Leslie. I appreciate it and we look forward to seeing folks coming in. And hoping that we really make their homes look beautiful with a fantastic selection of floors.
So, again, appreciate having me on.
LESLIE: Charles Tyson, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Well, if you’d like to pick up some more storage space, flooring your attic can be a good option but it needs to be done cautiously. Because doing so the wrong way means that you could weaken the structure, squash the insulation or find yourself with one foot planted firmly through the sheetrock ceiling below and your foot dangling in whatever bedroom is just underneath it.
Now, the key to a successful attic-flooring project is to complete the project without damaging the roof or the floor structure or weakening the attic insulation. So, first, you need to know what kind of roof structure you have. Is it made from trusses or from conventional lumber?
TOM: Yeah, that’s really important because if the roof structure was designed with prefabricated trusses, your attic was definitely not designed for storage. But having said that, there is a possible solution. If you can keep the storage weight to a minimum, you may be able to build a storage platform above the insulation by attaching some supporting beams to the sides of the trusses and then putting flooring in between that. Now, you can also use a prefabricated attic-floor kit that’s designed to work on trusses and also will raise that attic floor above the insulation.
Now, if your home was built with standard, conventional lumber, your risk of causing structural damage is less but you still need to be sensible when you install the floor. Now, the beams you’ll be installing the subflooring on are actually ceiling joists. They support the drywall ceiling below and they are not designed to be strong enough to support a floor loaded with, say, your old, rusty barbell collection. You’ve got to be sensible about what you put on top of it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And another thing you’ve got to think about is your home’s energy efficiency, which is almost always going to suffer when you convert that attic space to storage. Now, since most attics are going to need about 16 inches or more of insulation, the insulation is always thicker than those ceiling joists or trusses. And as such, adding a floor can cause that insulation to compress and that’s going to reduce the efficiency of the fiberglass insulation.
So, a good solution here is to add flooring to an area just around that attic-door opening, just sort of immediately around it where you can easily access it. This way, you can pick up some storage space without disturbing that insulation through the rest of the attic, which is so important for your home.
TOM: Yep. And there’s one more tip that would make the project easier. You know, the floor does not have to be made of plywood, because maneuvering big, heavy, 4×8 sheets of plywood up to an unfinished attic is kind of like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. So, to make the job easier, cut the plywood sheet first in half longwise – lengthwise – so you’ll be having two 2×8 strips of plywood, which will be a lot easier to handle.
If you’d like more tips on this project, we’ve got a great article on MoneyPit.com. Just search “Money Pit” and “attic flooring” and we’re sure it will come right up in your Google search window.
Well, if your home feels a bit small and you’re planning to move, staging the home before those potential buyers show up can help create a very positive first impression. But this almost always involves getting rid of a lot of what made your home crowded in the first place. Staging, though, is the key and Leslie explains how to get that done, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, you’ve got to understand that most of these home buyers coming to see your house are leaving their space because it’s become too small for them. Just like you. You run out of spots, so you’ve got to go a little bit bigger.
Now, if your home is cluttered, if it’s got too much furniture or knickknacks just spilling out of every nook and cranny, it’s really not going to be very appealing to those potential buyers who are coming from an equally-crowded space.
Now, another common mistake a seller is going to make is expecting that potential home buyers are going to share their own sense of décor and style. And that’s probably not going to happen. So if you happen to love huge antique armoires from 1920 or anything else that doesn’t feel neutral, get rid of it so that this way, the home buyers can really imagine their own stuff in your space. I mean it’s always amazing to me when I go look at a house with the kids and the boys are like, “(inaudible) So we get the pool table?” “No, you get none of the stuff, guys.” You’ve got to imagine that you get the place empty and then your stuff goes in. So if it seems like people are going to have a hard time because you’ve got too much stuff around, get rid of some of it.
Now, keep in mind a lot of these potential buyers, guys, are nosy by nature and they will – and I mean it – they will open every cupboard, they’ll look in the closets. They really open up stuff that they shouldn’t be opening in the first place when they tour a property. So make sure that your staging efforts include emptying out those cabinets and closets so that they look spacious and inviting to new buyers. They don’t have to be totally empty but maybe about 50-percent full of what you’ve already got in there, so that it seems super organized and very spacious and sort of inspiring to that person, like, “Ooh, I can also have my towels look fantastic in there.”
And for much of the same reasons, guys, you want to limit your wall decorations to fewer and larger pieces of artwork. And include a few strategically-placed mirrors. That’s going to expand the feel of the space and reflect the room’s best assets.
Now, once you’ve cleared out that space, it’s OK to accessorize what you’ve got left but limit this to uncluttered groupings of no more than two or three items. And I always go for odd numbers when I group items together. It just – I don’t know. I always feel like three and then the fourth one’s me. I don’t know why. I have always thought that, so stick to the odd numbers.
TOM: I think it’s interesting that – and I don’t know if everyone in the audience realizes this. But staging is what you do professionally. You don’t stage homes for sale but you stage television sets for the best possible appearance, the best color, the best décor, the best spacing. As the art director for Good Morning America, you’re doing this every single day. And a lot of what you do to actually stage a TV stage is what we’re talking about doing for your own individual house. The same principles apply, right?
LESLIE: It really does. And it’s interesting because when I do the things for television, I have to imagine what it is in that small frame of what the camera sees. So I can stage something beautifully but then if I don’t take a look at what the camera is looking at and really make that piece look tight and beautiful, it’s not going to work. So it’s the same thing: tight and beautiful. And that’s what you want in your home.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’re budgeting for the months ahead, you might be thinking about cutting back on home maintenance. That is never a good idea but we’re going to share with you how much you should be spending to take care of the home that takes care of you, on the very next 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.)