- Does your laundry room feel dark, cluttered and disorganized and maybe even a bit dangerous? We’ve got tips for safe laundry room renos that will brighten your space and put everything in its place!
- If you’d like to enjoy fresh water from every faucet in your house, a whole house water filter can do that just as it comes into the house – bringing you crisp, clean water from every tap in your home. We’ll share the best options for a fresh water supply.
- If you live in a home with a fireplace, you’re probably using it a lot during these cold months. But did you know your fireplace your fireplace can drive up your insurance costs? We explain why and how to lower that expense.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about ,applying epoxy to a garage floor, installing your own central air conditioning, cleaning mold off a roof, best way to lay a tile floor, installing a ceiling fan.
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: What are you working on? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place because we are here to help you with the projects you’d like to get done. Are you needing some help solving a problem? You’ve got a décor dilemma? You’ve got a project you want to plan for now or the near future? All great questions. We’d love to help. You can help yourself first, though, by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, does your laundry room feel a bit dark, maybe cluttered, perhaps disorganized and maybe even a bit dangerous? Well, we’re going to share some – rather dramatic, don’t you think?
LESLIE: Very much so.
TOM: Thank you very much.
We’ve got tips for safe laundry-room renos. That’s what we’re going to talk about. These renos are going to brighten your space and put everything back in its place, so you’ll be one happy camper when it’s done.
LESLIE: Alright. And also ahead, if you’d like to enjoy fresh water from every faucet in your house, a whole-house water filter can do that, just as it comes into your house. And that’s going to bring you crisp, clean water from every single tap in the home. We’re going to share more about that, in just a bit.
TOM: And here’s a thought. If you’ve got a home with a fireplace, you’re probably using it a lot during these cold months, enjoying those warm fires. But did you know that your fireplace can drive up your homeowners insurance cost? It can. We’re going to explain why and how to lower that expense, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And what projects are you guys all working on in this new year? Well, it’s our job, it’s our mission to educate, inspire and help you build confidence in projects that you’d like to get done and to simply guide you on how to get those done once, get it done right so you don’t have to do all those things again.
TOM: And your job is to help yourself first by posting your question at MoneyPit.com or calling us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Lots of folks standing by, Leslie. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading south to Florida where Nancy has got a question for The Money Pit. What’s going on?
NANCY: I’m trying to replace some ceiling fans for my son, who lives in Palm Harbor, Florida.
TOM: Boy, aren’t you a good mom doing that job for him? It’s supposed to be the other way around.
NANCY: Yeah. But he currently has three ceiling fans.
NANCY: And they’re – the cord for them is not behind the wall; it’s just strung across the ceiling and down. He’s in a condominium, on the ground floor. And from what I understand, there’s just a cement ceiling.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK. So there’s no electrical box in the ceiling? It had to be – this electrical wire had to be run on top of the ceiling, essentially, or attached to the ceiling? When you say cord, you mean …
NANCY: That’s correct.
TOM: You’re not talking about a – like an extension cord. It sounds like you’re just talking about the non-metallic wiring – the vinyl wire – that basically will carry the three conductors to the ceiling fan. Is that correct?
NANCY: Right, right.
NANCY: Just like you plug in a light. The cord for the light.
TOM: OK. And is there a box that it goes into? Is there a box in the ceiling that this cord goes to? There must be some way of attaching this ceiling fan to that ceiling. I’m just wondering how they’re doing that.
NANCY: I think they attached it. I don’t know about a box but against it …
TOM: So, what’s your question? Can he replace it? Is that what your question is?
NANCY: Without that unattractive cord going across the ceiling and down the side of the wall.
TOM: No. Not unless you can figure out a way to wire it properly. I mean you can speak with an electrician about this and see if there’s a way to run that wire behind the ceiling surface or behind the wall surface. Because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to do this without seeing it.
Typically, you would have an electrical box. In fact, for a ceiling fan, there’s a special type of electrical box that has a brace built into it that goes between – typically, if it’s a wood ceiling joist, wood trusses or wood rafters or wood ceiling joists, it would go between them. In this case, you’re saying it’s concrete, so that doesn’t apply.
But suffice to say, there’s a special box that goes flush with the ceiling and the wires fed into the back of that box. And it has to be securely attached to the ceiling because fans, you know, given the fact that they’re going to spin will work loose if they’re not properly secured. So, there is – it is possible to do it that way. That’s the right way to do it. Whether you can do it in your situation, as you describe it, if it is solid concrete – which I can imagine, for fire-resistance, it’s possible that it’s that way. If that’s the case, then no, I don’t think you can run the wire any other way. But I would suggest, in this case, you speak with an electrician about the possibility.
Are all the fans the same?
NANCY: Yes, uh-huh. They all are.
TOM: Yeah. Do you think they were put in by the builder originally?
NANCY: I think they were added separately.
NANCY: And I just couldn’t imagine that everybody in the complex either doesn’t have ceiling fans or has this hideous cord going across.
TOM: Right. Yeah, it’s Florida. Isn’t there a law that every house in Florida has to have at least five ceiling fans?
NANCY: Of course. (inaudible)
TOM: Well, the only thing you could do is you could neaten it up a bit by making – by running the wire through a conduit, which is like a pipe that is attached to the ceiling.
LESLIE: But there’s even nice electric-cord covers that are flat. They’re like a channel and they click to the ceiling or the wall and they cover over whatever cabling or cording. It’s for computers but it’s the same thing and it’s thin. And then you can paint it the same color as the ceiling and the wall, wherever it passes through.
NANCY: Yeah, that’s probably what I’ll wind up having to have done. I just didn’t know if they had something new and great with remote-control-type things or whatever.
TOM: They have all of that for operating the fan but you need a power source. And the power source is going to be 120 volts. And that’s – you’ve got to get it to that spot.
So, I think that’s what you’re up against. I can’t imagine how they’ve attached this but I would just say to you, as you start to take the first one apart, however they did it, it better be done securely. Because otherwise, you can have a problem with that fan pulling down – or falling down, I should say. OK?
NANCY: OK. I think I’ll just call somebody that sells ceiling fans. And they’d probably lead me to either an electrician or themselves.
TOM: I don’t think you have to do it in that order. I think you could select any ceiling fan that you like – and there are so many to choose from. You could buy one from a home center, buy one online. But what I do think is you should find an electrician that specializes in hanging ceiling fans, OK?
NANCY: OK. OK. That sounds like a good idea.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And you are a very good mom, Nancy, for taking care of that for your son.
NANCY: Thank you.
LESLIE: Mary in North Carolina is on the line with a mossy roof. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
MARY: Well, we have a 10-year-old roof – asphalt shingles, I believe they are – and the sections between shingles are beginning to be filled up with moss.
LESLIE: It’s like a mossy grout line.
MARY: Yeah, that’s right. I’d like to know how to get it safely clean and keep it from growing back again. It isn’t the entire roof. We are in an A-frame house, so it’s very sharp, very steep roof. And it’s just about the 8 or 10 feet closest to the edge.
LESLIE: OK. Do you see it all the way around or do you just see it on, say, the north-facing side or in the area …?
MARY: It’s just on this north-facing part.
LESLIE: OK. So that’s the area that gets the least amount of sunlight.
LESLIE: Do you have a large tree that’s adding more shade to this area?
MARY: We have a lot of trees, yeah.
LESLIE: A lot of trees.
TOM: Yeah, therein lies the problem.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, the best solution here is – can you trim out or thin out those trees in any way to get more sunlight onto that portion of the roof? Because if you can do that, sunlight really is your best weapon in getting rid of this moss and keeping it away. Now, you’ll have to do some work to get it to be gone in the first place but if you can add more sunlight, you’re going to help it stay away.
MARY: Alright. Very good.
LESLIE: Well, if you have a cluttered, dark laundry room, here are some tips that will help you see the light.
First of all, you have to make sure that your supplies are always within easy reach. You want to store them in low shelves or wire baskets. Now, I did this to my laundry room and it was fantastic. It made life so easy. It made the chore of doing laundry super easy. And then the pandemic happened and the laundry room has now become the place for toilet paper, wipes, paper towels, all the things that you might need in the event of lockdown again. So my laundry room has become a different type of a cluttered mess.
Now, guys, if you’ve got the space in your laundry room and it hasn’t become your COVID warehouse, if you’ve got the room for it, use a rolling cart. That’s fantastic to help you sort your clothes. And if you do find that you have some limited space, you can attach a fold-down shelf to the wall and that’ll help you with sorting and folding, even ironing.
And you want to make sure that any detergents you’ve got you keep out of reach of the kiddies and put them on top shelves or even in the cabinet. You just don’t want it out looking – some of them really look appetizing. You don’t want the kids to get their hands on them.
TOM: Next, why not put up an ironing-board hanger on the wall or even behind your door? This will keep the board and the iron out of the way when you’re not using it. And you might find it even more convenient to attach a pull-down ironing board to the wall. Really fun project. Used to see it in a lot of old houses. Not so much now but I don’t know why we don’t just bring it right back. This way, you won’t have to fold and unfold the board, which can be a bit of a strain on your back.
So, bottom line, a few simple changes like this is going to make doing the laundry much less of a chore. And you will be a very happy camper as a result.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dan from Pennsylvania on the line who’s got a really big roof and really not quite sure what to do with it.
Dan, welcome to The Money Pit.
DAN: Yeah. So I have a roof that’s about 22 years old. And we’ll be keeping this house (inaudible) probably 4,600 square feet, 5,000 square feet. So it’s a lot of roof and gables and so forth. But the roof actually doesn’t look like I have a problem. It doesn’t leak but it’s aging.
DAN: And my point – my thought was, as I was looking at – on a separate home – my beach house. I had to replace a roof. It got very expensive. I’m wondering, is there anything I can do to maintain the life of the roof? We live outside of Philadelphia, so we have the four seasons. Somebody mentioned to me – and I did a little research on a product called Roof Maxx.
TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
DAN: And I was just curious if that makes sense, if that would give me a number of years to maintain it and prolong the life a little bit more. We’re probably going to consider moving in about 2 years, so I’d hate to throw on a new roof. But I’d also hate to be stuck in the sales process and have that come up as an issue, right?
TOM: I understand completely. I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector, so let me tell you, if it was me, how I would handle that.
You mentioned that the existing roof is in good condition. There’s no deterioration, there’s no cracks, there’s no leaks. Is that the case?
TOM: Yeah. There’s nothing wrong with that roof except that it’s old. So, if – when you put the house on the market, I would disclose that up front and I would just tell your agent to convey in the listing or convey to potential buyers, “We know the roof is old. We are not replacing it. There are no leaks. It is completely functional.”
LESLIE: Do you have to worry how you come across looking as a seller if you are saying that? Does it look like you’re disclosing something or you’re hiding something or you’re not negotiating?
TOM: When you buy a house, some stuff’s new, some stuff’s old, you know. But if it’s not leaking and it’s not defective, it’s not cracked, I don’t consider age to be a defect. It’s just another point of evaluating the condition of the property as a prospective buyer.
And by you saying – “I’m not going to negotiate with you for a new roof. I know it’s old. I’m telling you it’s old. I’m also telling you it’s not leaking. So it’s up to you. You can use it as it is or you can decide to change the roof but that’s on you. It’s not on me.” So, I think it shows that you’re being very forward with them and very honest with them. It’s not a surprise, because I do agree that if, once it goes through a home inspection – if it was my inspection, I would say, “Look, the roof is beyond a normal, useful life. It’s not leaking but just expect it to have to replace it in the near future.” And I’d leave it at that. I wouldn’t say you have to replace it for the sale.
And in terms of those treatment products, I would not – I don’t believe in a single one of them. I don’t think there’s anything you can put on that roof that’s going to give you any more time with it. The only thing you asked me – “Is there anything I can do to extend the life?” I mean as long as you have proper roof and ridge and soffit ventilation – and that means it stays reasonably cool in the summertime and it doesn’t build up a lot of heat. That shortens the life of the roof. But look, you don’t know, also, what the expected life expectancy was on those shingles. There’s been shingles out for more than 20 years that have life expectancies of 25 or 30 years.
So, I don’t think you should worry. It’s good that you’re asking the question now but I think that’s how I would handle it. I would just disclose that and anything else you know about with the house that needs a repair. I’ve seen people sell houses that have real defects. “I know my windows are rotted. I’m not replacing them.” Well, that’s not the same as a roof that doesn’t leak but OK, at least they’re showing you what their opening position is. And if it’s a decent market for sellers, it shouldn’t impact your sale.
DAN: Right. Great. Yeah. And that’s what I was hoping for. Again, there’s a lot of products that are touted. Unless they’ve been experienced and they really have benefit, I have no desire to go down that path. And again, it may be 2 years, it may be 4 years. We’re not in a huge rush.
TOM: Yeah. You decide then.
And listen, when it comes time to replace that roof, what I would do is I would decide what shingles I want and essentially sort of create a specification for the job. Because, man, I’ve seen roofers tout prices – you just have one house and once price will be 10,000 and one price will be 30,000 for the same roof job. So they really bid you and not the project.
You can use a service like HomeAdvisor.com. Try to find somebody that’s got some good reviews and just shop it, because it’s not that complicated a project. When these teams do this every day, they’re like – when I’ve seen them work, they’re like SWAT teams. They come in, they work well together, they rip off that – all those old shingles in a flash and they’re right on it with the new installation, so …
LESLIE: It’s really so fast.
DAN: My beach house, that’s what they did. It was so fast that I went down to inspect it while they were doing it and they were already done.
DAN: But to your point, I had four estimates and they were all over the place, from 7 to 20,000.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Yep.
DAN: And it was very clear they were playing me. They were more interested in where I live.
TOM: Yep. “Oh, beach house? Did you say beach house? OK.”
LESLIE: “Oh, a second home?” Good stuff.
TOM: “OK. Now we know how to price you.”
DAN: Yeah, exactly. I knew that was coming.
DAN: It’s obvious where it’s located. So, very helpful. Thank you very much.
DAN: Love your show and listen to it religiously.
TOM: Thanks, Dan. OK. Well, good luck with the project. Take care now.
DAN: Take care, both of you. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Mary in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARY: My husband and I are trying to install central air in our home. It’s a ranch-style and we bought the central-air unit and the ductwork from a building that had been torn down. And I wondered if we could simply attach the ductwork – and when we’ve cut the holes in the wall – in the ceilings – for the vents, I wondered if we could just go ahead and attach the ductwork that was there from the previous building or if we had to redo all the ductwork – I mean all the vent piping.
TOM: I guess the answer is: maybe. And the reason is because the duct design is going to be dependent on the building. And it depends on the size of the building and the distance that the air has to travel. And if it’s not done right, what will happen is you’ll either create a situation where you have either too much or too little heating or cooling. And most likely, you’ll have too little. And if that happens, you end up wasting, actually, a lot of energy because the system has to run a lot more to try to make the building comfortable.
So, I would suggest to you that insofar as the duct design is concerned, you really need to have somebody that is experienced in designing these systems lay it out for you. It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself project. It’s not the kind of thing that you can tackle, even if you’re very industrious first time out, because you might get it wrong.
It depends a lot on the size of your building, how many windows are in your building, where the building faces. There’s a heat-loss calculation that’s done and then based on that, you determine how much warm or cold air you have to get to each room. So you can’t necessarily sort of just completely copy what was done in an older house unless it happens to be an identical house.
So this is a point where it’s good that you got the equipment inexpensively, you got the ductwork inexpensively. You do need to spend a little bit of money on getting it laid out properly, Mary, or you just won’t be comfortable. Does that make sense?
MARY: Yeah, that was what I wanted to check, because we’re pretty self-sufficient but I had a feeling this might be more than we could tackle.
TOM: I think that’s a good idea. Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re tired of the plastic water bottle going out with your recycling or worse, in the trash every week – it takes no extra effort, guys. Recycle the plastics that you’re using.
If you’re tired of this whole process, though, a whole-house water filter really could be a better option for you.
TOM: Yeah. Here’s how it works. A whole-house unit filters the water at the main water line, just as it comes into your house. And it basically brings you that crisp, clean water that you enjoy from every tap in the home, because it’s basically filtering all the water that’s going into the home.
And a lot of folks have an aversion to tap water. They don’t like the taste. But filtering can give you that better water and it’s a lot less expensive than buying water bottles and having to store them, chill them, et cetera. And it’s not that hard to install, as well, especially if you’re putting it after the main water valve, which I highly recommend. Because this way, you turn the water off to the house, install the water filter and then you can hook it back up.
So, a pretty basic plumbing project. If you’re not comfortable, you can hire a pro but it shouldn’t be very expensive to do, either.
LESLIE: Now, when it comes to actually filtering the water, you’ve got to choose a filter depending on what you want to filter out. So, you can get one that filters out just dirt and rust or you can get another one that filters out dirt, rust and chlorine. So, I think a lot of that depends on what you’re looking to remove from the water that’s coming into your house.
Now, when it does come time to install, what’s the best place to install this whole-house water filter? So, to do that, you’ve got to locate the water main in your house. And this is going to be the best spot for you to install your filter. And the filters are going to last about 2 to 3 months but you’ve got to remember to change them. Because if the filter is dirty, it’s just not going to be doing anything for you.
TOM: Exactly. If the filter gets dirty, then the water’s dirty and it kind of defeats the purpose.
LESLIE: And wait until you see how gross those filters are. Oh, my goodness.
Chris in Arkansas is on the line with a painting question. How can we help you today?
CHRIS: Well, I bought a house and it has two bathrooms. And the tile – sink and tubs are baby pink and baby blue.
TOM: What’s wrong with that?
CHRIS: Well, it’s not exactly what I had in mind. But I was wondering if you can successfully – until I get to redo the bathrooms, if you can successively paint over them without it looking terrible.
LESLIE: Yes and no. I mean you can. There’s quite an extensive process to it to make sure that you get proper adhesion and it sticks very well. However, whenever you’re dealing with a painted surface and water is involved and areas that you have to clean, as well, you’re going to get some wear and tear. So I don’t think it’s the best idea.
There are kits that you can buy online. Basically, if you want to do it without a kit – and of course, then you don’t want to paint the grout. But a lot of people do paint the grout and then that looks weird, also. So you’ve got to think about all these things. But you’re going to want to use a very, very durable oil-based primer. And of course, you’ve got to clean those tiles very, very well before you even think about putting a drop of primer on them.
TOM: And I think Sherwin-Williams actually makes a primer that is super, super adhesive. And the reason I know about this is because the way they demo’d it was by painting it on tile and then putting a second layer of paint on it. But even though it’s a really adhesive paint, I agree with you completely that eventually – in a very short period of time, especially if you’re cleaning the surface – you’re going to start wearing through it.
CHRIS: OK. And like I said, not knowing if I could or not, I just was thinking if I could buy myself some time and just paint it until I can redo – or maybe it’s sounding like I should just wait until I can redo.
TOM: Well, you know, the bad news about those old tile bathrooms is that they have these very traditional, 1960s-like colors. The good news is that the tile quality is usually really good and the way it’s installed is really solid. And that’s why, if at all possible, maybe you could think about decorating around this tile.
So you said that you had – is it pink and blue?
LESLIE: With the pink, I think we’re seeing such a big trend in pink really making a comeback in bathroom spaces. You could go overload on the pink, you can add in florals, you can add in different tones of pink. So you can sort of tone in down with neutral beiges and grays and hints of gold and sort of make it glamorous and more girly. There are ways you can do that.
Blue tile, I feel like, is just a poor choice. Blue tile is blue tile.
CHRIS: I totally agree with you.
LESLIE: Maybe everything else goes super clean. But I just feel like if you attempt to paint the tile, you’re going to be sad in the long run. And it’s going to – it will perhaps motivate you to do the permanent work more quickly.
CHRIS: OK. Well, exactly that and that’s why I called. I just wasn’t sure if there was some miracle cure that I – “Hey, this works great” or not. And I am trying my best at decorating around but the pink, yes, has worked better than the blue.
TOM: At least we solved half the problem, Christine.
CHRIS: I appreciate it. I appreciate it so much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you live in a home with a fireplace, you probably are using it quite a bit in these winter months. But did you know that your fireplace can actually drive up your insurance costs?
Now, generally speaking, any home feature that presents a risk of injury or damage can actually increase the cost of a homeowner’s insurance. A fireplace might not have the same impact on your policy premiums as, say, a pool. But a home with a wood-burning fireplace may cost more to insure than a home that doesn’t have one.
TOM: Yeah. And how much more is really going to depend on the insurance company but it ranges from two percent on up. But if you want to offset that potential bump in your rate, you might be able to provide the insurer with proof that the unit was installed correctly and by a licensed pro and that it meets code requirements.
We have a condominium that we own and was our first house. And we kept it and we rented it now but the condominium association has a rule that every other year, the fireplace has to be cleaned. And I think that’s a great rule. And then we have to submit that certification or receipt from the chimney company back to the office. And they, I’m sure, keep this on file for the insurance company to keep our rates down. So, definitely a good idea to communicate with your insurance company.
And speaking of which, if you plan to put one in, you want to make sure you tell your insurance company. And if you’re purchasing a home that’s already got one, get the history from the homeowner for details so that you can inform the insurance company and avoid those potential expenses.
LESLIE: Well, who wouldn’t want a man cave? Well, Dale, of course. He does want one and needs some help.
What’s going on, Dale in Florida? How can we help you?
DALE: Oh, I just bought this house. It’s 7 years old. The garage floor is in good shape but I want to create my man cave. And I’ve been looking at all the options online and I’ve kind of narrowed it down to epoxy or stain.
TOM: OK. OK.
DALE: So, I guess my questions would be: what do you think about epoxy or stain and is this something I should attempt to do myself or get a professional?
TOM: As you probably know, if you’ve been researching this, when you apply stain, the pattern you get is going to be unique because it depends a lot on the chemistry of the concrete underneath. We also don’t know what’s happened to that concrete over the last 7 years, whether somebody put a sealer on it or something like that. That could impact it.
And then, even if you do get a color that you want, you still would want to have some sort of a smooth finish. Otherwise, it’s going to be really hard to keep it clean and you might end up using an epoxy anyway. So, given that, I would tell you to go epoxy. It’s really tough stuff and really durable and super easy to clean.
Whether you do it yourself or not is going to be a factor of how handy you feel like you are. I will say with the epoxy, there’s some timing involved. Because when you buy the epoxy, it’s a two-part kit. There’s the epoxy and there’s a hardener and you mix that up. And then you roll and/or brush that on. And while it’s wet, you usually add a color flake or a vinyl chip or some sort of a grit to it.
TOM: And then you kind of keep working that across that whole space. Three-car garage is a pretty big project for you to tackle. And if you get it wrong, you know, not only will it be embarrassing, it …
DALE: Yes. That’s what I’m worried about.
TOM: Yeah. Not only will it be embarrassing but it also might kind of set you back in terms of expense and time. And I’m not even sure what it would take to get past that. I guess you would probably have to let it dry where it was messed up and then start again and kind of go on top of it.
So I think if it was me, I’d probably have it done by a pro that does it all the time. And I think you’re also going to find there may be an option for a clear coat on top of the epoxy. I know that – oh, I have family in Florida that’s actually taken that step and likes the idea of the clear coat on top of the epoxy. It makes it a little shinier. Does it add durability to it? Maybe, maybe not.
I will recommend a brand, though, because there’s a lot of different epoxy products out there. Take a look at Abatron. This is not something you’re going to find at a home center, I’ll tell you that. These guys are professionals and they serve the industry. And their product is not inexpensive but it is a very, very good-quality product. That site is Abatron.com – A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com.
TOM: Look at the garage-floor coatings there and the kits that are available. And even if you do end up ordering the product directly, you might want to find an experienced person, not just a helpful handyman that can swing a paintbrush but somebody who does or has done garage floors, to make sure you get it right.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because it’s a science a little bit.
TOM: It’s a little chemistry.
DALE: OK. You got me off the ledge.
TOM: Happy to help, my friend. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
DALE: Thank you.
LESLIE: Nancy in Minnesota posted a question and she writes: “Every time our furnace shuts down, it causes the ductwork to ping and clang. It’s very annoying. How would you trace and fix the problem?”
TOM: I agree. That is very annoying. I’ve heard it myself and I think that adequately describes it.
It actually has a name. It’s called “oil-canning.” And if you think about the Wizard of Oz and the Tin Man and he had an oil can for a head, that’s the way those cans used to look.
TOM: They were big and they were metal. And when they got dented, they would make a pinging sound. So that’s why it’s called “oil-canning.” For those that are Wizard of Oz fans, now you know.
But the way to fix this is simply to secure the ductwork, because what you’re hearing here is expansion and contraction. And I’m going to give you an easy way to do this because if you call a contractor, they’d be like, “Well, we’ve got to take your ducts apart. You’ve got to reattach them. Blah, blah, blah.” No, you don’t. All you need to do is to find the place in the ducts where it’s happening, which is usually near the return duct near the furnace itself.
And if you start pressing in on those ducts, you can probably actually make it make that sound on its own. And when you find the really place – the place where it’s really loud, where it does make that big oil-can sound – that big ding and the dang and the ping – what you can do is you can take a piece of wood – like a 1×2 piece of furring strip, like a 1x2x3/4-inch piece of wood – and you could make a – basically attach it to the duct. I’ve done this where I’ve taken a drywall screw – one of those black, hardened screws – driven it through the wood, right into the duct in a couple of places. And it has the effect of reinforcing that weak section of the duct.
And with that stick in place – that’s all it really is is a stick. Once that’s in place, it no longer is able to expand and make that pinging sound and the whole system gets a lot quieter.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, I hope that helps you out, Nancy, and it stops that annoying sound for you.
Now, Vicky in Connecticut writes: “Can tile be laid over an old vinyl floor?”
TOM: Yes and no. Here’s the thing. You really need to have a solid base for tile. So I’d say that my preference would be to not put it right on top of it. If you were going to go this route, I would put underlayment on top of it first if it was a really strong and sturdy floor. And by that I mean it’s got no flex in it.
Otherwise, I would take it up completely. I would put down a mud floor. I would use a tile backer or I would double-up the plywood so that it was strong enough to handle that tile. Because we get a lot of calls from folks that have tile floors that have cracked and they are desperate to try and find a solution to stop them from cracking. But the problem is it’s not the tile; it’s the floor underneath. So there really is no good solution, aside from taking it all up and fixing the base and starting again.
And it’s worse when you use bigger tile, because they even bend less. You can get away with it if it’s a small tile, like a mosaic or something like that. But if it’s a big tile, forget about it. It’s going to be big, stinking mess, right?
LESLIE: Really. Because if it’s not level, every bit of movement is going to do the opposing force to that larger piece of tile. And you’re going to get – all of those tiles are going to break, crack. It’s going to be a mess. So unless you really do like that 1-inch square or some sort of basket-weave – anything with a mesh backing you can kind of get away with.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thanks, guys, for spending this part of your day with us. We hope that you’ve picked up a couple of tips that help you become more successful homeowners when it comes time to take care of your house and make it more energy-efficient and take on some projects to make you happy in that space. We will stand by to help you with those steps whenever you need us. You can always reach us at 888-MONEY-PIT or join us on The Money Pit podcast at MoneyPit.com/Podcast.
But until then, 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 2021 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.)