A little bit on paint goes a long way, especially when you apply the new 2021 Color of the Year! If you are looking to refresh your space, this year’s color can open up a ton of possibilities. We’ll share what it is and décor ideas on where to use it.
With a little work, a garage can be a great place to find space for storage, organization, crafts and projects – if it’s warm and heated. We’ll share tips to help you seal up and save.
Treating slippery sidewalks with sidewalk salt will cause ice to melt, but the wrong kind of salt can also cause sidewalk surfaces to disintegrate. Listen for a recipe for safe sidewalk salt that won’t damage concrete.
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: We are here to help you take on the new year with projects that you’d like to get done in your home. If it’s a big project, a small project, a décor project, a repair project, a fix-it project – whatever kind of project it is and you need some help, you have a question, you want to solve a problem, you want a solution to a décor dilemma, I promise not to help with that. Leslie will, though. She gives much better décor advice. But if it’s a repair, I probably could step in. Whatever it is, give us a call because this is about helping you have your best home ever. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, you know, a little bit of paint goes a long way, especially when you apply the new Color of the Year. Yes, it has been selected. And if you’re looking to refresh your space this year, this year’s color can definitely open up a ton of possibilities. We’ll tell you what that is, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And with a little work, a garage can be a great place to find space for storing things, organizing stuff, your crafts, your projects, whatever it is if it’s warm and heated, that is. You can enjoy that space all year round. So we’re going to share some tips to help you seal up and save, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
TOM: And treating slippery sidewalks with sidewalk salt will cause the ice to melt. But the wrong kind of salt can also guarantee that you will be calling us in a couple of months to say, “How do I fix my sidewalks? Because they’re all disintegrated and have little holes in them and they’re broken up.” Yes, the wrong salt can absolutely destroy a sidewalk. We’ll make sure to give you the right advice to get those sidewalks safe without destroying them in the process.
LESLIE: But first, we’re ready to grab our tools and get to work on your house. What projects are you guys working on? What do you want to start? What do you need help with? Whatever it is, we are here to lend a hand.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Heading out to New Jersey where John has some issues going on in the attic. Tell us about it.
JOHN: I have the breather up on top of my roof. It’s leaks, comes down into the attic. And I have a little container up there. And sometimes, I don’t get up there in time and it’s kind of messing up my ceiling.
TOM: Well, that’s not good.
JOHN: Well, I’ve gone up there and I’ve had that can of – I forget what you call it. You spray it and it’s like a rubber whatever. I’ve sprayed all around the metal flashing and it’s still leaking. I don’t see any holes anywhere else. There’s no missing shingles. I don’t know what else it could be.
TOM: OK. So let me just – clarify for me: when you call this an “attic breather” or “vent,” what are we talking about? Is it a square hole in your roof with a vent over it? Is it a ridge vent that goes down the peak of the roof? Or are you talking about the plumbing vent that comes up through the roof?
JOHN: No. It’s almost up in the – about midway. There’s one on one side of the roof and one on the other.
TOM: OK. So it’s like a square vent?
JOHN: Right. And there’s no – the opening – it’s on an angle but I don’t know if it’s enough of an angle when the wind drives the rain in a certain direction.
TOM: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking. You may have some wind-driven rain in here. And what my advice would be to you is – you have a ridge that goes down sort of the – like a peak of the roof that goes down the middle of the house?
JOHN: No. It goes across. It runs horizontally.
TOM: What kind of roof style do you have? Is this a standard Colonial house or – what is it? A ranch?
JOHN: Small ranch.
TOM: OK. So here’s what I would do. You may very well be getting wind-driven rain inside that. What I might suggest is – that’s actually not the best kind of vent. And there’s an opportunity for you to improve your ventilation here in your attic space, which’ll actually make it cooler in the summertime and drier in the wintertime, which makes your insulation more effective.
And to do that, what I would do is I would remove those square vents, patch the hole and re-shingle over that. And I would replace that with a ridge vent that goes down most of the peak of the roof. The ridge vent’s not likely to leak if it’s properly installed. And that will open up that space to more ventilation, which will have the benefits that we talked about.
JOHN: Wow. OK, OK. That’s my next project.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Judy in Arkansas is on the line with a floor that’s coming apart. Tell us what’s happening.
JUDY: Well, it’s been down about 13 years. It’s like a $5,000 floor is what it cost us. A thousand-square-foot room. It’s Pergo. We have some seams that have kind of bubbled up a little bit. Is there any way to fix this? I don’t intend to replace it, OK?
TOM: So, you say the seams have bubbled up on laminate floor? So, they’re pressing together and sort of pushing up?
JUDY: Yeah, just a little bit. I have some extra boxes out there but not enough to fix all of this.
TOM: Yeah. If that’s happening, though – if that’s happening on a wide-scale basis, then I suspect something was done incorrectly in the installation.
A couple of things to remember about laminate floor. First of all, the floor that it goes down on top of has to be pretty flat. It’s got a very low tolerance to floors that are even the least bit out of level, that have any kind of bumps or rolls in it. Secondly, if it’s put on too tight so that it doesn’t have enough room to expand and contract, then you can see that floors will buckle up. They’ll press in because they’re expanding and they’ll push up and have those seams come apart. So those are the things that you really need to look into with this.
I would get your contractor back and have them address this, because that definitely should not have happened once that floor was put down.
JUDY: Even 13 or 14 years out?
TOM: It definitely shouldn’t have happened.
JUDY: Do you think it could be moisture?
TOM: It could be. It could be moisture-related. Have you had an excessive amount of moisture recently when this started to happen?
JUDY: No. Uh-uh. Not at all.
LESLIE: Yeah. But it could just be consistent moisture from the hydroscopic nature of the concrete over time.
TOM: Yeah. It could be.
JUDY: And the house is about 30 years old.
TOM: How long ago did it start to come up?
JUDY: It’s been going on. We’ve been noticing spots off and on for a while.
TOM: Well, Leslie’s correct. It could very well be moisture-related if it’s going to – if it’s that frequent and it laid down flat for all the other years up to that.
JUDY: OK. There’s nothing else I can do?
TOM: No. You can’t fix something like that, Judy. Unfortunately, you have to replace it. Well, what I would do if I replaced it, I would be very careful about measuring the moisture in the concrete to make sure it’s not wetter than what the manufacturers allow. And secondly, I’ll give you a trick of the trade, which is that even though the laminate floors today are lock-together-type pieces, you can add glue to those seams, as well. And that gives you a more permanent protection against this happening again.
JUDY: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Judy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pete in Wisconsin is on the line with a garage-door problem. What’s going on at your money pit?
PETE: Well, I’m a mostly do-it-yourselfer but I do call the professionals and have them come in when needed. I installed a steel, insulated garage door about 3 years ago, maybe 4 now. And worked just fine until just recently. It sounds like it’s binding when I – when it’s still going in the up position. And I ran it like 50 times trying to find where it’s binding. I’m not seeing any place where it’s rubbing on the track or anything else but it sure is making a noise like it is. And as I watch it, it appears as if one side may be going up slightly higher than the other. Any ideas, guys?
TOM: Pete, can you disconnect the garage-door opener from the door itself?
PETE: I can and I have.
TOM: OK. And once the garage-door opener is disconnected, can you open and close the garage door smoothly and evenly with no binding whatsoever?
PETE: There is less binding but there is still some. You can tell that there’s still a load on one side, it kind of feels like.
TOM: So it sounds to me like maybe the roller bearings are shot on some part of the door. Because there’s those roller bearings that fit inside the track and they help move the door up and down. And if something is stuck, if one of those bearings is not turning, it’s going to jam on that one side and they’ll sort of fight itself and it’ll try to come up crooked. And that might be what’s causing this.
I would disconnect the garage-door opener from the scenario and work on getting the door to operate nice and smoothly.
TOM: If it’s binding – if you feel like it’s binding or uneven without the garage-door opener attached to it, then that’s the heart of the problem right there.
PETE: OK. Do you think that would solve the appearance that one side is being raised? I imagine it would.
TOM: You mean raised more than the other side? One side comes up first?
TOM: Yeah. Because if the side that’s staying down is binding, then there’s a drag on that, so it’s going to try to pull the door up crookedly.
PETE: Wonderful. Well, I think you may have fixed my problem. I’m going to go check those rollers and make certain that those are all good. And if I need to replace any of those, those are relatively inexpensive. So the money pit isn’t so bad tonight, it looks like.
TOM: Alright, Pete. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year selection is not just one color but it’s two colors: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow. I actually love these two colors together.
Now, the colors, they seem totally opposite but these were intentionally chosen to create a balance of strength and optimism, two characteristics that are needed as we enter this brave, new year. I mean you guys, 2020, put it behind us; 2021 is going to be awesome.
Now, gray, which is already a popular neutral in so many apartments and homes – and it really does speak to that color’s resilient qualities. Now, the Ultimate Gray is a way to extend that feeling of strength into something that’s enduring, rock-solid, resilient and thoughtful. And Illuminating Yellow was the unexpected pop of color that brought in a different element. Yellow is associated with optimism, sunshine that brings cheer, positivity, gratitude. All of this during a time that innovation is taking place.
So, a lot of exciting and inspiring sort of bits here to these two great colors. So, thanks, Pantone.
TOM: So, they pretty much combined the practical and rock-solid with warm and optimistic, which is just like us.
LESLIE: I’ll give you that.
Alright. Now, we’ve got Diane in Massachusetts on the line with a noise question. What’s going on at your money pit?
DIANE: Sided the house 12 years ago and I had blown-in insulation put in 3 years. And the house is noisy. I can hear a humming. It’s annoying. It’s a buzzing. I don’t know why, after doing all of this surrounding the house and trying to keep it warm, I would hear a humming, a resonance in the house.
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you what: there’s got to be a reason for this and it’s going to take some real detective work to figure it out. I’ll give you an example from my own home. You know, we recently had mentioned earlier on this show – put in spray-foam insulation and sealed up the attic. It’s never been warmer in the house as a result of it. But in one part of the house, it still was technically a conditioned attic. So by code, we were required to leave some vents in that attic. Now, it ended up that it was so tight in that attic space, even with the vent, that whenever the wind blew, we’d get this really weird, almost like haunting sound.
You know when you were a kid and you would – took an old bottle and you blew across the top of it and it made a big, deep sound with it?
TOM: Like a big jug? Well, that’s what it sounds like when the air blows across this vent. And it makes a really weird sort of vibrating sound in that part of the house. Until I figured it out, I was really scratching my head.
So there’s always a reason for this. In our case, it was a vent. In your case, it could be plumbing. Very often, we get noises in homes that are sourced from plumbing. Sometimes when you run hot or cold water, pipes will expand or contract and cause sort of like a creaking sound that will vibrate through the entire length of the pipe and amplify itself as a result. It could be electrical. If there’s outlets or panel boxes in those parts of the house, they definitely should be inspected to make sure that nothing is disintegrating inside that electrical area.
There’s nothing about adding blown-in insulation that will cause a noise, so the source must be somewhere else that you’re going to have to dig into a bit more, Diane, before you’ll know what to do about it. But I would trust your instincts. If you’re hearing it, it definitely exists. Sometimes, people think they’re going nuts. But I’ve got to tell you, there’s a reason for that but it’s definitely going to take some detective work to get to the bottom of it.
DIANE: OK. You coming over?
TOM: Alright. Well, you put on the coffee and next time I’m up in Massachusetts, we’ll stop by. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Victor in Massachusetts, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
VICTOR: I’m considering making the walk-in shower a shower steam room.
VICTOR: I had the house – our house built in 2007 and at that time, I called your show for advice on bathroom tiles and tankless hot-water system. That worked out perfect for your advice.
TOM: Oh, good. So we got that right.
VICTOR: Yeah, you did. Got it all perfectly right. OK.
TOM: How big is this shower that you want to turn into a steam bath?
VICTOR: Eight by five.
TOM: Alright. Perfect, perfect. So, it’s definitely a good project. It’s going to add some value to your house and make a nice, beautiful room for you to enjoy. And you can do that by adding a steam-shower generator.
Now, these generators are very small: about the size of a briefcase. Take a look at the generators from Mr. Steam – MrSteam.com. These guys are the leaders in this space.
TOM: And they give you all the information there, on the website, on how to do this. But you can basically locate this steam generator. You don’t even have to put it in the bathroom. It can be up to 60 feet away. And then when you call – they have all the controls. And when you call for steam, it comes on, it generates the steam and comes right through the ports that you will install into that shower space. It really sounds like a perfect setup for something like this.
VICTOR: Is that M-i-s-t-e-r or Mr. – M-r?
TOM: Mr. – M-r-S-t-e-a-m.com. MrSteam.com. Check it out. They’ve got all the information right there. It’s a great product.
VICTOR: So, overall, the concept is OK to do?
VICTOR: OK, great.
TOM: That’s exactly the space you want to have to do something like this. Fantastic opportunity. I would go for it.
VICTOR: Thank you so much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Barbara from Massachusetts is on the line and has a sink situation. What’s going on with your house?
BARBARA: Well, on a previous program, you mentioned a product that really works on clogged drains. I have a set tub in the basement. The water doesn’t go down. And I didn’t get the name of the product that you mentioned really works.
TOM: Well, Barbara, there’s a number of ways to do that. I’m going to presume you’ve tried a plunger?
BARBARA: Yes. But you mentioned that the product really works. And of course, when I went to the box store, they said, “Well, they all say they work. Try to find out the name.”
TOM: Well, I’m not quite sure exactly what product you’re referring to but I will tell you this: probably the most effective way to clear those clogs is with something called a “hand auger,” which is basically kind of a snake-like device that gets inserted into the drain and will clear whatever is blocking it.
Now, if this is a sink that’s backed up, the other thing that you can do is to simply disassemble the trap. That’s the U-shape pipe that’s underneath. Because a lot of times, that trap itself gets blocked and that’s very easy to clean out by hand. If that doesn’t work, then you insert the auger into the rest of the pipe and just sort of feed it down as far as it will go.
And the hand augers usually come with a crank-like mechanism so you can sort of spin it as you go and try to find the source of that clog. If you put the entire auger in, though, and you don’t find the source of it, then it might be time to call a plumber. I know in my own house, for example, the last time I had a clog I put an auger down it that was 25 feet long and it just wasn’t long enough. And so I ended up calling a friend of mine, who’s in the plumbing business, that had a 100-foot auger and we were able to find it and clear it and move on from there.
But an auger is the right tool to clear that drain, OK?
BARBARA: Oh, very good. Thank you.
LESLIE: Joe in Ohio is on the line with a blower-motor question. What’s going on at your money pit?
JOE: I was listening to another home improvement show locally and they had an electrical – residential electrical contractor on there. And he said that you could let your furnace blower run constantly. He said that because the capacitor sucks up a lot of electricity in order to start the motor, that it – I guess if it’s cycling on and off frequently, that you would save on electricity by letting it run constantly.
TOM: I would disagree with that and here’s why: those blower motors, that uses most of the electricity it takes to run the furnace. Now, if the blower is cycling on or off, that’s a whole different problem. That means that the thermostat is not operating properly, the system’s not sized right. There’s other things that cause that. We call that “short-cycling.”
You’re not going to hurt the blower motor by running it but I think you’ll find that you’re going to drive up your electrical cost by doing that. We know people that, for example, love to heat their homes with a wood stove. But because it’s hard to distribute the wood stove’s warmth throughout the house, they’ll turn on the wood stove and then also turn on the blower on the on position – not the auto position; turn it to the on position – and use that blower’s system and the ducts to basically move the heat around the house.
So, you’re not hurting the blower, because it’s got bearings and it’s not designed to run indefinitely. But you might be driving up your electrical costs. Does that make sense?
JOE: I wondered about it because – like you say about the short-cycling, I’ve had someone check the furnace and it cycles like about every five minutes and when it’s really cold outside. But they said – they came out and checked it and said that that was normal or that was the way it was meant to operate.
TOM: Yeah. Five minutes sounds too quick. I would find that to be odd for that to be normal.
TOM: So, that’s all I can tell you. It sounds too quick to me. It sounds like a short-cycle situation. That’s probably the more important thing for you to address.
JOE: Alright. Well, maybe I’ll check with another one then.
TOM: Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, with a little work, a garage can be a great place to find some space for storage and organization and crafts and projects if it’s warm and heated, that is. Plus, if you add some better insulation and weather-stripping, it might even drive down the cost of heating your entire home. We’ve got tips to do just that, in today’s Smart Spending Tip, presented by Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card.
LESLIE: Well, your garage wasn’t meant to be a living space, so it doesn’t have nearly as much insulation as the rest of your house does. In fact, the wall shared by the garage and your home’s interior is pretty much it. So you’ve got to do a little garage winterizing to keep your home warm and your time in the garage bearable.
TOM: Now, for starters, you can stop those big drafts getting in around the garage door by checking the weather-stripping at the sides and the top of the door and add a new gasket along the bottom to help seal out the drafts, as well. As a rule of thumb, if you can see light getting in around or under the door, then the drafts are streaming straight in with it.
LESLIE: Now, the door leading from the garage to your home should also get some attention. You have to make sure that it’s sealed and weather-stripped to prevent air from coming in. You know, you want to stop all those air leaks.
And next, you’ve got to think about adding insulation to your garage’s ceiling. It’s going to make that space warmer to work in if a cold-weather project is in store.
TOM: Now, builders are usually not required to insulate any drywall and walls that are not covered between the house and the garage. So, if you’ve got some open walls like this, think about adding insulation and the drywall, which will also make it easier to finish them in the future.
Now, once that’s done, you have a lot of choices when it comes to heat. I use a space heater in a garage that’s 20×30. It works perfectly. There are a lot of options in electric, natural gas or kerosene. And you will find that new space a very comfortable place to take on projects all winter long.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. We’re all shopping for essentials online these days. Get rewarded for it with the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. You can choose to earn three-percent cash back on your online shopping.
TOM: Visit BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding to apply.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Monica on the line with a roofing question. Tell us what’s going on.
MONICA: Yes. My daughter had just purchased a home and originally, apparently the house had a flat roof. And then they put a peak roof over the top of it. I was just wondering if on that flat roof – if you should go into that space and insulate over that flat roof.
TOM: It’s a good question. So, first of all, the idea of covering a flat roof with a pitched roof is not unusual. Folks do that for a number of reasons, both architecturally because they like the appearance of the pitched roof and because they’re just sick and tired of dealing with flat roofs and the leaks that can happen more frequently as a result of them.
Now, typically, you would have insulated inside that ceiling under the flat roof. So, therefore, there’s no reason you cannot add additional insulation over that. You could do something as easy as laying fiberglass batts right on top of that roof: side-by-side unfaced fiberglass. It would add additional insulation to that space.
MONICA: Oh, that was what I was wondering. That would help keep some of the heat from getting on the tarring of the flat roof and help cool the lower level, right?
TOM: Well, yeah. I mean it would – more importantly, it’s going to keep the heat or the coolness inside the house. So, yeah, it will help separate some of that heat. And there should also be ventilation in that new pitched roof. That will be necessary for the insulation to work well.
MONICA: I think that – the house is actually a three-layer house. Both roofs, apparently, were flat and they peaked both of them.
TOM: What you can do in that situation is you can add a ridge vent to the peak and you can add some roof vents lower on the roof and that will improve the ventilation dramatically.
Monica, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dan in Rhode Island is on the line with some sort of leaky-window issue. What’s going on?
DAN: I had an issue with the – there was water leaking inside the top of my window. It was a real rainy day.
DAN: But I did notice that on the outside of the house, where the gutters were mounted to was rotting away. So there was pretty much a hole there and it seemed like the water might have been getting in and then seeping into the house.
TOM: So that’s entirely possible. Just because you happened to see it come in the top of the window doesn’t meant that’s the source of it. It’s most likely the flashing.
Now, from your description, it sounds like you may have had an obstructed gutter that backed up and splashed water kind of behind it, rotted out the fascia that it would have been attached to. That possibly could have been a source for water infiltration. Or that could just be coincidental and there could be an issue with the flashing around the window.
What kind of siding do you have on the house?
DAN: It’s actually a – it’s a wood siding. I’m not sure the type of it. But it’s not like a cedar shingle. It’s something a lot older. The house was built in 1960s.
TOM: OK. But it’s some sort of a shingle?
TOM: Well, here’s what I would do. I would fix the gutter and the fascia, right? That’s an easy thing to do. And then I would monitor and see if it still continues to happen. If it does continue to happen, then what I would do is I would remove the siding around the top and sides of the window and just reflash the whole thing.
It’s kind of hard to do this sort of in bits or pieces. You’ve got to really do the whole thing or not do it at all. So, that’s the best way to approach it. Let’s do the easy thing first to see if that actually does it, which is that gutter replacement. And then if not, we can start to dig a little deeper into it until we get to the bottom of it.
You know, if you do get that gutter fixed – or even if you don’t, frankly – there’s another thing you could try and that is to go outside with a garden hose and don’t blast it but maybe take – if you have a jet on the end of it, take that off. But just let the water roll over the window from the top. Go up about a foot or two above the window and wet the siding down as if it was just drenched in a big rainstorm. And see if that lets water inside. That might also give you the clue that there could be a problem with the flashing and not the gutter or in addition to the gutter, OK?
DAN: Yeah. Now that you mentioned the flashing, maybe it does make sense. Because they actually have – it looks like a piece of vinyl, possibly, that is – it’s like a U-shape. It catches the top of the replacement window and it goes from the inside, over the top of the window and then to the outside.
TOM: Right. Sounds like what we call a “J-channel.”
DAN: From the inside, it looks like the letter J but then if you kind of go – if you look at it from the outside, the whole piece is probably like a U-shape.
DAN: I would say that sits right on top.
TOM: You might be talking about either the J-channel or a drip edge. But either way, those are all part of the flashing system. And if that window is leaking when you do your hose test, then you’ve got to sort of disassemble that and put it back together with good flashing all around, OK?
DAN: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, have you had to take on any slippery sidewalks this winter? If so, here is a tip that can help you from having to call us for sidewalk-repair advice come springtime.
Now, to treat your slippery sidewalks with sidewalk salt, sure, it’s going to cause the ice to melt. But if you pick the wrong kind of salt, you can actually cause the surface to disintegrate. So, unless you want to spend the first days of spring fixing holes in the sidewalk, it’s smart to use a salt that’s not going to corrode the concrete surface of any sidewalk, driveway, patio, whatever it is.
Now, the best sidewalk salt is made from potassium chloride. And this type of sidewalk salt is going to melt ice but not damage the concrete surface the way that so-called rock salt or things that are known as sodium chloride is definitely going to.
TOM: It’s also better for pets that can pick it up and get it on their paws and it can irritate them, as well.
So, for best results, I always suggest you pick up the potassium chloride early in the season, mix it with playground sand and then keep a supply stored near each entrance to your home. The sand is going to provide immediate traction for the icy surfaces while the potassium chloride gets to work melting that ice without destroying your sidewalk in the process.
LESLIE: Fran in Tennessee is on the line and her French door has developed rot. What is going on?
FRAN: Well, we live in a 150-year-old house. And over the years, as we moved in here, we’ve done repairs and modernized some things. And we had a French door put in the dining room. It’s covered in a metal flashing around the outside. But we didn’t realize, at the outset, that it was a composite door. And over the years, it has developed – rain rot is the only thing I can – you know, it has just fallen away at the bottom, about 6 to 8 inches up. We covered the door with a 4×8 piece of plywood to keep rain off of it but we don’t know what to do. Is it repairable or would it be best just to replace the entire door?
TOM: This is screaming replacement to me.
FRAN: I was afraid you were going to say that.
TOM: Well, listen, you’ve already covered it with a sheet of plywood. So I mean if you called me and you said, “Listen, I’ve got a hole in my door because it’s rotted out and it’s a few inches from the bottom,” I would tell you there’s different materials that you can use to fill those rotted holes back in with that are sort of like packing a cavity. There’s two-part epoxy patching materials, you mix them together, you put it in there, you sand it and then you can prime it and paint it. You can use auto-body putty for stuff like that, too. And you press it in there, let it dry. Again, sand it, paint it and you’re good to go.
But at this point, it sounds to me like this door has given you all the years of service it has to offer and I would think about getting a new door. And I would tell you specifically, Fran, to look at the new fiberglass entry doors that are out there, because they could look like a painted door or they could look like a beautiful, wood door. There’s lots of qualities of that fiberglass today where it looks pretty darn good. And the nice thing about it is it’s completely impervious to water and it’s five or six times more energy-efficient than wood.
FRAN: It does and thank you for talking with me. I appreciate it.
TOM: I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Vincent posted a question online and he writes: “What rating should indoor-air filters have? Many intake filters don’t list the MERV rating.”
TOM: Ah, yes. So, MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. It’s a standard. It runs from 1 to 20. The higher the rating, the greater the filter’s effectiveness.
Now, it generally doesn’t take more than a few dollars per filter to jump a few grades higher on that MERV spectrum, so I would say, as a rule of thumb, go with a micro-allergen filter. It usually has a MERV score of at least about 11. If you really want to hone in on more than just ratings, there’s a whole line of Filtrete air filters that can weed out other types of particles, depending on your intended result, including stuff like reducing odors or allergens.
So, a lot of choices but make sure you look at that MERV score. It should be at least 11.
LESLIE: And that’ll have you breathing easy just in time for springtime, when all of those allergies start kicking up. So it’ll help you out a lot.
TOM: Well, a messy home can leave you feeling a bit frustrated but most messes have a lot in common. Leslie has got tips to ward off that messiness, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie? Help us clean up our act, will you?
LESLIE: Yeah. You know something? When it comes to messy homes, most of them are dealt with retroactively. That is you clean the house once that clutter appears. But the key to an organized home is to proactively keep messes from forming in the first place.
So, think of that old saying: a place for everything and everything in its place. I know it’s corny but it’s really true, you guys. Now, one reason that things pile up on your counters and tables and floors is that they have no home, so they don’t know where to go to. So, you’ve got to assess what items are always out of place or underfoot and create or alter storage to include those. Maybe you need to make it more visible or easier to reach so that those odds and ends end up where they belong and not just sort of wherever they feel like.
Next, you’ve got to play clutter cop. Dollar bins and freebies? Sure they’re fun but are you really going to use that stuff? And do you need to buy that book when you can borrow it from the library? Do you have magazines piling up? Well, you can download the digital version instead. That’s super helpful. And you want to assess all unneeded items before you bring them through the front door.
Now, a great rule of thumb: for every item that comes into your home, one’s got to go out. That means cleaning out before birthday parties or the holidays. I do this every time. I feel like my kids – I don’t know why they haven’t figured out the magic of the season, because I’m always like, “We’ve got to – this cabinet. We’ve got to get some more room in here.” Nobody seems to understand why. They’re like, “Oh, this looks overflowing. Wait until next week. We’re going to be in a real jam.” So you’ve got to really think about it. Be strategic. Clean out when you know more things are coming in.
And the same thing – if you’re going clothing shopping, do you need it? Do you have room for it? Get rid of a bunch of stuff before you add more stuff in or just don’t get the new stuff.
And finally, beware of nostalgia. Tossing little kids’ artwork, it’s tough. But keeping all of it really becomes a burden. Consider taking a picture of the kid with the thing they’ve created and then gently getting rid of the item itself. And the photos really are a great way to document cherished toys, baby clothes, all of the things that aren’t true family heirlooms.
I’m telling you my son, Henry, is like this with every single thing. He’s like, “This little, tiny stuffed animal. Would you take my picture with it before you make me donate it?” I’m like, “Dude, you’re 27.” He’s not, really, but that’s how is with all his stuff.
TOM: But you’ll probably still be having those conversations with him when he is 27.
LESLIE: When he is 27.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. Coming up next time on the program, hanging heavy pictures or mirrors is a challenge because you don’t want them to come crashing down. But no matter what surface you’re dealing with, we are going to share a tried-and-true way to secure those wall hangings safely, 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 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.)