- In 2020 millions of us took on projects to INVEST in the NEST! Now that well we’re into the new year, there’s no sign that trend is slowing down. We’ll highlight the next big décor trends for 2021 including the best choices for indoor greenery, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
- If you think maintaining YOUR money pit is a hassle… just consider what it takes to keep the PEOPLE’S house running! For starters, just painting the exterior takes 570 gallons of paint. We share a few fun facts about what it takes to maintain the White House and the team of trade pros that get it done.
- Winter birds can brighten up adreary outdoor view. We walk you through the best kinds of bird feeders and food, to bring some life and color to your backyard by attracting a variety of winter birds.
- If there’s one thing that can bring an end to warm fuzzies and fireworks, it’s when a couple tries to agree on home design!Designing for him and her doesn’t have to involve so much sacrifice. We share a few design ideas for marriage harmony,
- Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about repairing a cracked foundation, removing stains from a corian countertop, installing ice & water shield on your roof, rehang a front door to align, preventing shingles from changing colors.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you take on your money pit projects. We know. Maybe sometimes your house feels like a money pit because you’re always throwing some money at it to fix it up. But you know what? It’s a term of endearment around here. We love our homes. We love the fact that they are our personal money pits. And we love to fix them up and help you do the same for your home.
So, if you want to get started, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Post your question at MoneyPit.com or at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Coming up on today’s show, well, 2020 was definitely a year where millions of us took on projects to invest in the nest. And now that we are well into the new year, there’s actually no sign that the trend is slowing down. So we’re going to highlight the next big décor trends for 2021, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
LESLIE: And if you think maintaining your money pit is a hassle, just consider what it takes to keep the People’s House running. We’re going to share a few fun facts about what it takes to maintain the White House.
TOM: And you don’t need to settle for dreary outdoor views all winter long. With the right kind of birdfeeder and food, you could bring some life and color to your backyard by attracting a variety of winter birds. We’ll tell you what you need to know.
LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you want to know. It’s our job, our mission to educate, inspire and help you build confidence on projects that you’d like to get done. But your job is to help yourself first by reaching out to us with your projects and your questions.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Randy in York, Pennsylvania is on the line trying to help out a friend with a cracked basement wall. Tell us what’s going on.
RANDY: Well, this friend, they have a basement wall, which is cracked in the front. It has a hairline crack along the entire front of the wall. We had an – they had an engineer come out and take a look at it. And the engineer recommended putting in rebar from the outside and pouring in a mortar mix. So they’d have to excavate out in front of their house.
And he also mentioned about these carbon-fiber straps that can be put in. And we had a company come out and give an estimate on both. And the rebar is very expensive. The carbon-fiber straps are less expensive. And I just wanted to get your opinion on how well the carbon-fiber straps would work out.
The engineer wasn’t real fond of them. He said that they were not certified unless they’re done with an engineer there kind of monitoring the process. And I just wanted to get your thoughts on that.
TOM: So, you’re dealing with two different sources of information. One source sounds to me like this is a licensed professional engineer. Is that correct?
RANDY: Yes. Yeah.
TOM: And the other source is a contractor that is in the foundation-repair business. Is that the only business this contractor does or do they also happen to do waterproofing?
RANDY: I think they also do waterproofing. They do – I think foundations are their main area of business.
TOM: My advice would be to follow the instructions of the licensed structural engineer, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, they’re the only ones that are really qualified. Your engineer is absolutely correct that any other – any repair method, really, should be done in the supervision of an engineer. And here’s why: if this crack is so obvious that it needs this kind of level of repair, it’s going to impact the value of the house. And if it’s sold in the future, there’s going to be questions about how this repair was made. And the best answer is that – “We recognize we had a problem. We hired a licensed structural engineer to tell us what to do. He said to do X. We did all this. We had him reinspect it and certify that it was done correctly and now there’s no longer a problem.” That’s the best answer.
The other answer is: “We had this company come in and put this stuff on the walls and they said it was going to work. And we really don’t know if it does or doesn’t, because it wasn’t done under the supervision of the professionals that are licensed and tasked and experts in that space.”
I am a little surprised that he did recommend that level of repair, though, if it truly is just a hairline crack. We very often see these hairline cracks in the mortar joints of block walls, right about at the frost line, which is a couple of feet below the dirt. The reason we see them is because the soil gets wet, usually from poor drainage, and then it expands and freezes and pushes in the wall in that section. And then, you know – and then in the summer, everything melts, obviously; in the winter, it starts again. Then over subsequent years, it’ll push and push and push and you can usually reduce that pressure by fixing your drainage problem that caused it in the first place.
But if he felt it was serious enough to require that kind of a structural repair, then that’s what should be done.
RANDY: Right. It has probably about a ¼- to ½-inch deviation there where the wall’s bowing in a little bit.
TOM: On what, an 8-foot-tall ceiling into the wall?
RANDY: Yeah, an 8-foot-tall basement wall. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Yes. Yeah.
RANDY: And they did fix the water problem. There was a damaged gutter, which was spilling water into the front of the house.
TOM: Yeah, every time we hear this it has to do with something really simple like a gutter. Every time.
TOM: Yep. So, I think your initial instincts were correct. Go with the advice and the guidance of the structural engineer.
RANDY: OK. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Gayla in California is having an issue with a countertop. Tell us what’s going on.
GAYLA: I am. About four-and-a-half years ago, I remodeled my kitchen and installed Corian countertops. And I used the pattern called Savannah; it’s one of the light ones. So I’m getting ready now to sell my home and looking at the countertops, they’re really – there’s tons, like thousands of hairline scratches. And I’m wondering, how can I bring back their luster? They never were shiny but they were lustrous.
LESLIE: Yeah, they do have a satin finish that looks very rich and nice but obviously, over time, just from normal wear and tear, they are going to dull and not look so great.
There’s a good website that generally specializes in granite and marble care – it’s called StoneCare.com – but they do have some products for Corian. And there’s actually a spray. It’s made to reduce a residue on the surface. I’m not sure it’s going to help you with the scratches but it could be a good starting point. It’s called their Deep Cleaner for Corian. And that might be a good place to start, at least.
GAYLA: OK. Yeah, I don’t know that they’re that dirty. I do keep them quite clean but it’s just a question – it’s just those hairline scratches. And when the sun comes through the window, you really see them.
TOM: What that product does is it will also pull out any residue from all the cleaning that you have been doing so religiously, which is a good thing. The other nice thing, though, about Corian is the scratches can be repaired. And if you – the Corian can be repolished, basically lightly sanded, so to speak and …
GAYLA: Oh, I was wondering about that.
TOM: Right. To actually pull those scratches right out. So that’s not something that I would recommend that you do the first time out.
GAYLA: No, I don’t think so.
TOM: But if you contact a kitchen-cabinet company, for example, they might have an installer and for a reasonably small fee, they might come out and repolish those tops for you. They’re going to have all the tools and the equipment, as well. And probably they can pull many of those scratches right out.
GAYLA: Well, thank you. That sounds like the way to go for me.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project and good luck selling your house.
GAYLA: Well, thank you and best to you both.
LESLIE: Bela in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BELA: Well, we have a sunroom. And the roof of the sunroom is 4 inches of Styrofoam and on top of that is aluminum. Now, when it rains, it’s very, very noisy. It’s like living in a double-wide. So, what I would like to do is put architectural shingles on it.
Now, I talked to one roofer. He said, “Oh, we can just nail it on.” But I don’t think so. I thought maybe we need some plywood – ¾-inch plywood – and even maybe some spacers.
TOM: This aluminum roof, is it fairly flat or is it shaped?
BELA: It is flat. Yes, sir.
TOM: Well, first of all, keep in mind that metal roofs are far more durable than asphalt-shingle roofs. But if you can’t really deal with the sound and you want to soften it, I agree with you: I do think you should attach a plywood decking to that metal roof first.
And I would do that with screws. So I would drive screws through the decking, into that metal roof. And then, on top of that, I would put ice-and-water shield, which is going to give you protection from any ice damming. And I would probably, since it’s a fairly flat roof or a low-sloped roof, I would probably cover the entire surface with ice-and-water shield. And then over that, I would put the asphalt shingles.
BELA: OK, sir. Thank you so very much for your help. That is the kind of a thing I’ve been thinking about.
TOM: I think you’re on the right track, Bela. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dot, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DOT: A couple of years ago, we had a driveway put in. We have a house with an attached garage. And they had, oh, graded the driveway, they said, properly so the water would drain away from the house and into the lawn. And we get standing water in our driveway still. And I was just wondering the steps to – the proper steps to put a trench in our driveway and possibly a drain.
TOM: OK. So, it would seem to me that if – you’re talking about water that’s collecting on the driveway itself or on the side of the driveway? There’s a distinction.
DOT: In the driveway and also close to the house and where the driveway meets. And then there’s an attached garage there, also.
TOM: If we were to stop the water from collecting on the side of the driveway, would the top of the driveway still be flooded?
DOT: I think so. Apparently, they graded it …
TOM: Alright. Because it’s easier to put in a curtain drain along the side of the driveway than it is to slice the driveway and insert a drain. Because if you want to try to drain what’s on the driveway, essentially you have to cut a slice into the driveway. It’s not something that you could do; it requires specialized tools. And then a drain is inserted and it’s kind of like a very narrow grate, almost like a box, that’s dropped into the driveway. The driveway is graded to the top of it so that the water can sort of roll in and then fill up the drain and then run out.
If, in fact, that this water is collecting along the side of the driveway, it would be easier, kind of from a do-it-yourself perspective, to add in a curtain drain. The way that works is you would dig a trench that was maybe a foot wide, maybe a foot deep. You’d put some stone in the bottom of that and then you’d put a perforated PVC pipe. You continue to fill that up with stone all around it. You’d add some filter cloth over that and then you would regrade and you would be – it would be completely invisible when it’s done. And of course, it has to be pitched properly and discharged properly, as well.
So, the curtain drain on the side of the driveway is easier than sort of the trench drain where you have to cut the driveway. I would tend to say do the curtain drain first and see how it goes.
Dot, I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, 2020 was a year where millions of us took on projects to invest in the nest. And now that we’re into the new year, there’s no sign that this trend is slowing down. So, what’s the next big décor trend for 2021? Well, we’re going to highlight improvements worthy of your investment, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card.
So, first of all, let’s just chill. Now, if there’s one standout trend, it’s that. These days, people are looking for their homes to be calm, nurturing, sort of a retreat from the chaos of everything that’s going on in the world. So, if you want to avoid all of that overstimulation, it really starts with what you surround yourself with at home. So, think about the materials, the colors, even the types of furniture that you have at home.
Now, here’s an example. If you’re looking to make some updates in the new year, you want to consider comfortable colors and surfaces. And this is going to mean nature-inspired colors like dark green, terracotta. Think about adding in a variety of rich and warm, sort of cozy textures. Or if you’re thinking about some new furniture, you can go for an ergonomic office chair for working at home or a plush sectional for when your family’s chilling at home, having a movie night. I mean it’s all about getting cozy in your nest.
TOM: Now, another easy and affordable way to instantly add some serenity to a space is with greenery. You know, the interior-design world has had a houseplant obsession in 2020 and that’s not slowing down in the new year. So, popular options for 2021 might include, for example, the tropical Monstera deliciosa, which I know you’ve seen before. It’s a pretty low-maintenance plant but it’s big and beautiful. It’s known for its very large, sort of sculptural-like leaves.
Or for even less work, why not go with fake greenery? Today, these fake plants have become so lifelike they really give the illusion of being the natural thing. And they provide some of the same visual benefits that plants bring to a home. But of course, the best part is that the only care they need is an occasional dusting.
LESLIE: But don’t forget to do that. Otherwise, they totally look fake, you guys.
And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. We’re all shopping for the 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. Dale in Georgia is on the line with a question about a shifty front door.
What’s going on, Dale?
DALE: Our house was built in 1937 and it’s still settling back and forth, spring and winter and summer. And the front door, I’ve had problems getting it to catch the striker plate, so I’ve had to move it back and forth. And we’re at a point now where the house has settled again and I can’t even latch the front door.
TOM: How convinced are you that the house is actually moving, as opposed to the front door just kind of getting out of whack?
DALE: Just about positive. I can see – there’s a different gap at different times of the year. It’ll be like at the top in the summertime and at the bottom in the wintertime and …
TOM: And what kind of door is this? Is this a metal door? A wood door?
DALE: No, it’s a solid-wood door.
TOM: A solid-wood door. And you really like this wood door?
DALE: Yeah, it’s – I think it’s the original door. It’s got the handmade glass in it and the ornate decoration around the edges and …
TOM: Right. So you have no interest in replacing the door?
DALE: No. I put a new door on the back but I really don’t want to lose this door, if I can …
TOM: What I would probably do is, essentially, rehang the door. So what that’s going to require is you removing the trim from around the door, inside and out, so you can see just the jambs. Because I suspect that the jambs are not securely attached to the framing or they may have loosened up over the years. I would basically want to rehang this as if it was a new door but maybe with not doing all the work that would be responsible for that.
So if you pull the trim out, then you’re going to look at the attachment points for the jambs. You’re going to do one final adjustment to getting the door exactly where you want it and then you’re going to re-secure the door jambs to the door frame.
You need to make sure that the space between the door jamb and the door frame is completely shimmed with a wood shim. So you would use wood blocks followed by, usually, cedar shingles: one from one side, one for the other. If you push them together, they get wider and they get thicker and they get nice and tight.
And then, what I would do is – I wouldn’t nail it in. I would actually use a drywall-styled screw – so a long, case-hardened screw – that you can set just below the surface of the door jamb and then putty over it. Because if you attach them with screws and you shim it properly, that door really shouldn’t move.
The expansion and the contraction of the door is about all you really should be – have left. And if it gets tight at one point in the year, I would take the door off and I would trim it a little bit, just to make enough room for it to close when it’s fully expanded.
DALE: OK. That’s something I didn’t think of. Alright. Well, I do appreciate it.
LESLIE: Well, as the country is celebrating a new First Family moving into the White House, have you ever wondered what it takes to take care of that house? A lot. Oh, my gosh.
Now, when a new president is elected, he or she takes ownership of the White House at 12 noon on Inauguration Day. And while everybody is at the inauguration, the service staff has 6 hours to transform the White House for its new occupants. And that is a massive endeavor, requiring the participation of every single member of that staff.
For example, all of the outgoing family’s belongings are packed and all of the incoming family’s belongings are unpacked. And by the time the new president arrives, that mansion is totally redecorated. Rugs, headboards, mattresses, everything changed. New flowers are arriving. Paintings are replaced. Clothing is hung. All the family photos from the other president are gone, packed, replaced. The new president, their family photos are in. I mean this is a major, you know, huge episode of While You Were Out, basically, in a very condensed amount of time.
Now, there are 96 people that work full-time in the residence and there are another 250 part-time employees. And among the jobs that they do are butler, maid, chef, plumber, carpenter, doorman, even a florist. And all of them have jobs to do during that transition period of a few hours.
TOM: Now, even when we don’t have an inauguration, the White House requires a pretty massive maintenance budget of about $1.6 million. So, let’s look at one area of that and that’s painting.
To just paint the White House exterior requires 570 gallons of paint. So the paint alone would run you probably about $20,000. And the building is massive by any measure. It has 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators. And even though the White House looks like a three-story building, it’s actually not. There are six floors, plus two hidden mezzanine levels.
So, a lot goes in to taking care of that place.
LESLIE: Belinda in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BELINDA: I’m living in this apartment. It’s a senior complex. It was an old school at one time. It’s three stories. It was completely gutted. Everything’s new on the inside. New double-pane windows. But I’m – it’s in the northeast corner of the building and I’m having an awful lot of problems with drafts and then cold air coming from the walls, underneath the windows. Because it’s brick and stone on the outside and so there’s the air pocket and the inside wall. And so, at night it’s like living inside a refrigerator and try – really, really. And trying to …
TOM: That does not sound very pleasant.
BELINDA: It’s not. It’s not. I lay in bed at night and I don’t sleep. It’s because I’m just listening – it’s the heat pump, too, that they put in these. And so it’s going all night long; it never shuts off. And so I’m just wondering if they would – or they probably could, if they would. Because the National Historic Association is also in on this, being it’s an old building.
TOM: So you’re essentially wondering, Belinda, what you can do because you’re a tenant, right? So you don’t own the building.
BELINDA: Right, right.
TOM: You can’t replace the windows. So what are your options? So you have a couple of options.
So, first of all, if you wanted to spend some money, you could order interior storm windows. But of course, your – it’d have to be custom-made to fit the windows and they may be pricey. If you want an inexpensive option, there’s two ways to go. One thing is you could use shrink film, which is basically a window film that gets, essentially, double face-taped to the inside trim and then you use a hair dryer to shrink it so it’s taut and clear.
And the other thing that you can use is weather-stripping – caulk weather-stripping. Basically, it’s a temporary caulk product and it’s clear, like a silicone, but it’s not silicone. And you essentially caulk your windows shut with this temporary caulk. And then, in the spring, you can peel it right off. It comes off like in a rubbery strip.
Now, the only thing bad about using the temporary caulk is that you will not be able to open or close the window once it’s done, because it’s pretty much sealed shut. So you don’t want to do this to your bedroom window where you may have to use it to get out in the event of an emergency.
BELINDA: Actually, they pretty much tried all that. See, the problem is the National Historic Association won’t let them do a lot of stuff. And they hadn’t caulked around the cracks, where the frame of the windows meet the window sill and along the walls. So they came up, they did that.
TOM: So let me say that again, Belinda. We’re not talking about caulking outside the window; we’re talking about caulking inside the window. So, basically, right around the sash, where the sash meets the sill, where the sash meets the jamb, those are the areas that you typically would not caulk, you would never caulk. But if you use the temporary weather-stripping caulk, you can caulk right over those seams where all of the air gets in. And then, again, in the spring, you grab a little end of it and you peel it and it comes off in one – usually one – solid piece.
It works quite well. You may have to order it if you don’t find it on your store shelves. I know Red Devil makes one called Seal ‘N Peel. So you could look at – look up that brand.
Belinda, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Time to talk to Phillip in Rhode Island about a roofing question. What can we do for you?
PHILLIP: Well, in Rhode Island, in my neighborhood in Jamestown, there’s a lot of beautiful, red cedar-shingled houses. And I just put brand-new, red-cedar shingles on my house, on my roof. I noticed some of the houses age beautifully. Like when I – what I mean in beautifully is they age darker red and sometimes little bits of black or streaks of black and red and deep, deep red. And some of them don’t age that way. It’s like – and I’m just wondering if you guys know anything about how to get them to age the way I want them to. I don’t want them to age light; I want them to age darker red.
TOM: Yeah, we don’t always get to choose how we age, right? And that applies to our shingles, as well.
So when you choose red cedar, that gets darker over time and it will turn to a very dark gray, typically, as it’s exposed to sunlight. I guess it’s possible that you could apply a stain to the cedar shingles, even though they’re roofing shingles, but most people don’t do that.
So, what we typically get calls about, when it comes to cedar, is how to not to have – how to prevent them from getting darker. And one way to do that is to replace the vent across the ridge of the roof. Or if you don’t have a vent there, you can essentially do the same thing with a strip of copper.
If you were to overlay the peak of the roof with, say, a 12-inch-wide strip of copper – so half goes on one side and half goes on the other – what happens is as rainwater strikes that, it releases some of the copper. And that acts as a mild mildicide and helps to keep the roof shingles clean and prevents algae growth.
PHILLIP: Oh. But it still – then they wouldn’t age dark; they’d stay lighter.
TOM: It would be less likely to get as dark and they certainly wouldn’t grow an algae. Perhaps you may have noticed that sometimes when you look at houses, especially around chimneys that have metal flashing, you’ll see bright streaks at the bottom of the chimney. That’s for the same reason. What happens is that metal flashing releases some of its copper and then cleans that area under the chimney. That’s why it gets streaky there. But if you do it across the whole peak of the roof, then it will sort of clean evenly.
PHILLIP: It’ll clean even. But I’m looking for that aged look: the kind of the darker-shingle aged look, the darker color. And I guess it’s just up to Mother Nature is what you’re saying.
TOM: It really is.
TOM: It really is.
PHILLIP: I appreciate it. Thanks very much, you guys.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to add some life to your backyard during the winter season, you might think about making some simple changes to attract some beautiful winter birds.
Now, all birds don’t catch the red-eye for Mexico at the first sign of cold weather. Even in the northernmost parts of the United States, cardinals are there, woodpeckers, finches and so many more winter-loving birds. And you can attract them to your yard simply by giving them the right food.
TOM: Now, most winter birds eat seeds. They have to because the insects are harder to find in the cold. So, you want to stock up on both sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. And the great thing about safflower is that squirrels don’t like them.
Now, if you like woodpeckers, you can also hang suet for them but hang them high, because most winter mammals like suet, too. In fact, I have had my own personal running battle with squirrels and deer in my own backyard. And I’ll admit I was running behind for a while but I finally got the lead by raising those feeders and making a cone-shaped lid that slips over the top of the suet feeder. It’s hanging from a wire from a tree. And I made this cone-shaped lid. And there, I gleefully watched the squirrels land and then slide off. They don’t get hurt but it is kind of fun to see them fail.
LESLIE: That’s pretty funny.
Also, guys, don’t forget about water. Break up the ice in your birdbath or you can add warm water to melt the ice. And the birds are going to flock from all over, right to your yard, for that beautiful refreshment.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. If you’ve got a question about your home improvement projects, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Randy in Delaware is on the line doing a bathroom project. Tell us how you’re working on it.
RANDY: So, a shower stall – you know, an old shower stall – was removed with an old pan just all cruddy and moldy and just outdated. So, installing a new shower base. It’s not a mud base; it’s preformed epoxy and cement. And then, I was wondering about what type of flashing you might recommend from the framing members, behind the corners and any of these areas. How susceptible are they to these moisture issues where the corners may, with expansion and contraction, may break open or get some kind of moisture penetration? What’s the extent of the flashing system that you put behind cement board?
TOM: OK. So, when you put on tile backer board, you don’t flash like you would if you were putting up shingles and intersection – intersecting – with siding. Essentially, what you do is you put the pan in, you put the backer board on, you overlap the pan and then you put the adhesive on and the tile right on top of that. That’s sort of the normal procedure for doing a tile job. You don’t really flash the board any further than just making sure it overlaps the prefabricated pan.
Is that what I’m hearing? Are you using a prefabricated, say, a fiberglass tile pan?
RANDY: Right. But a lot of – there are a lot of recommendations out there to run a 6-mil plastic sheet behind the backer board so that any penetration that could occur in the future hits this plastic wall. It overlaps the pan and in front of that, the backer board overlaps it. But anything that penetrates the backer board and the tile and all that hits this plastic and eventually makes its way to the pan, never actually getting to the framing members.
TOM: I don’t have a problem with that. But let me put it to you this way: for many years, the way that tile showers were done is they simply put the green board – the water-resistant drywall – right on top of the studs and that was it; there was nothing more than that. So, by putting on a tile board, you’re already making it a lot more durable. And if you want to put a polyethylene sheet behind that, I have no problem with that. Just make sure that the shower pan that you choose goes up enough to create that good overlap at the bottom so you don’t have water that backs up into it.
RANDY: I think that’s it.
LESLIE: Email us or post your question, just like Karen did from Massachusetts. Now, Karen writes: “We have slippery stairs with a 9½-inch tread. Both kids have fallen. My husband and I have almost fallen and it’s just a matter of time before we do. Is a sisal carpet stair the best option for traction? Something low-pile?”
TOM: So, what do you think?
LESLIE: You’re going from a bare, exposed, finished wood step, which could have a glossy finish or just something on that surface that could be extra slippery. Or maybe it’s your socks. Who knows? But putting anything on those steps is going to give you way more traction than just a bare wood floor.
Now, I would do a full runner down the steps rather than just a sticky tread top that goes on.
LESLIE: Sisal is great. It’s a natural fiber. It looks really well. It stands up well. But go with anything you like. It’s going to be way better than the wood.
TOM: Well, if there’s one thing that can bring an end to the warm fuzzies of living with your loved one, it’s when a couple tries to agree on a home décor plan or a home design plan. But designing for him and her does not have to involve so much sacrifice. Leslie has got a few design ideas for marriage harmony, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie, can’t we all just get along?
LESLIE: I mean we can try, for sure.
TOM: Come on.
LESLIE: And one partner’s usually going to dominate the whole design side of things. I’m just saying.
But generally, you guys, you think women have one sense of style and they’re looking for things that are frilly and girly. And you think guys are looking for something that’s super modern or cold. But that’s not true. Neither partner is going to be 100-percent right when it comes to what they want in a space. So, everybody has got to figure out a way that the two of you, whatever it is, that you can get along and create a space that’s beautiful and calm and soothing and really represents who you are as a couple, who you are as people and as a family. So, think about what you can do to sort of calm the situation, if you will.
First of all, think about neutral colors. They can dominate and then you can add in little hints of color that either people in the group like. It kind of brings it in. You can change that out seasonally. You can choose throw pillows, you can think of things that are in both of your favorite hue and then sort of pick the things that go with that. So it doesn’t always have to be one person saying, “But I like blue.” Well, the other partner can be like, “Alright. I’ll bring in a little bit of that blue in the rug or a tiny bit of it in the throw pillow and everything else can be neutral.” And then, suddenly, everybody’s happy.
Men tend to like earth tones, durable fabrics, things like leather and hardwoods. But I know a lot of ladies who like that, as well. So you’ve got to just kind of think about what works well with that. So if you tend to have a love of those harder surfaces, then let your partner pick out something that’s a little bit softer or bring in a pattern. You know, you have to figure out how to balance this out.
A couch is another huge sticky point for families. Definitely, couples have different ideas as to where to place the couch. So if you’ve got one partner who wants to kind of kick around and watch a sport game or lounge on the couch for a sick day, you need something that’s comfortable. But if this is your main living area, you need something that looks nice, too. So if you can agree on both of those things, you’re instantly creating harmony, as well.
Now, when it comes to décor, as far as art and anything that you’re putting on the walls, both of you should sort of bring to the table what it is that you like about it and then figure out a way. If one’s a landscape and one’s a black-and-white photography, whatever it might be, there are ways that you can bring in both, maybe doing a gallery wall or allowing one sort of style of art to dictate the look of one room and then the other style to dictate the look of another room. There are ways that couples, families, whoever is living together can find some harmony and create a design space that looks good to you and feels good for everyone.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about tiles. They are a beautiful and decorative element for floors and walls but finding a replacement when one tile cracks can seem near impossible. We’re going to solve that problem with some tips for repairing or replacing hard-to-find tiles, 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.
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