- Small kitchens can be tough places to work in. But a few modest updates can make small kitchens feel bigger and work better. Tom & Leslie share tips in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
- If you’re thinking about getting your outdoor furniture out for the warm months ahead, chances are after an entire winter in storage — it’ll be looking a lot worse for wear! We’ll have tips to get your outdoor furniture clean and spruced up for the season.
- Today, it’s easier than ever to be eco-friendly. But when it comes to choosing eco-friendly floors for your home, understanding how the product is produced is key. We’ll tell you what to look for.
- Are you planning to create a relaxing paver brick patio space to enjoy the sunshine as the warm weather approaches? We walk you through how to create an amazing paver patio from scratch – OR by paving over an existing patio.
EPISODE #2085: Small Kitchen Solutions | Restoring Outdoor Furniture | Eco-Friendly Flooring | Paver Patios
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 planning this weekend? This day? Next weekend? Next week? If it’s a project that you’d like to get done around your house, a project that you would like to do to create your best home ever or at least your best home for the next week or two, we would like to help. Give us a call and we will answer your questions, we will make suggestions, we will come up with ideas that perhaps you hadn’t thought of to help you improve the space you call “home.” The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or you can post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to talk first about small kitchens. You know, they can be very tough places to work in but a few modest updates can make it feel bigger and work better. We’ll have tips to do just that, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
LESLIE: And if you’re thinking about getting your outdoor furniture out for the warm months ahead, chances are after an entire winter in storage, it’s going to be looking worse for the wear. So we’re going to have some tips on how you can get it spruced up for the season.
TOM: And today, it’s easier than ever to be eco-friendly. But when it comes to choosing eco-friendly floors for your home, you need to understand how the product is produced. We’ll tell you what to look for.
LESLIE: And if you’ve got some projects in mind where a staple gun can help, we’re giving away one today, so lucky you. It’s the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun, along with a supply of staples. And it’s worth 50 bucks.
TOM: Going out to one listener drawn at random, so make that you. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ellie in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ELLIE: Yes. I just recently moved to Florida and the house I bought, the water softener is broken because – I believe it’s because they had it outside the home. Every other house in my community has them in the garage. And mine, they – for some reason, the water line is on the opposite side of the house, in the garage. So, it would be a – I believe it would be a major thing to have the water line brought from one side of the house to the other so I could have it inside.
And Sears tells me that I can have it put outside but you have to have some kind of protective covering. Lowe’s tells me that they don’t sell any that go outdoors. And a private plumbing company is telling me that they have one that – to put outside, specifically. And other people are saying you don’t even need one, to go – don’t even bother the expense. So, I don’t know what to do.
TOM: So, first of all, the question is: do you need a water softener or not?
ELLIE: Right. I’ve looked online and I see the pros and cons.
TOM: Right. Well, if you – if you’re accustomed to a water softener and you eliminate it, you may find that you don’t like that experience. You certainly could bypass the water softener just to see if you like the water.
Is the water city water?
ELLIE: Well, it’s not well water. So does that mean it is city water? I don’t know.
TOM: Yeah, it’s city water. If it’s city water, you probably do not need a water softener.
ELLIE: Well, I was – I think no. I don’t think it is city water because people in Ocala, I think they told me that they don’t need it; they have city water. I could be wrong; I’m not sure. But everybody in this development says you need it.
TOM: Ellie, the first thing you want to do is figure out if you’ve got city water. If you do, it’s going to be treated. If you’ve got well water, then you do need, probably, a water conditioner, as well as to have the water tested to make sure that it’s safe. And that’s something that should be done on an occasional basis.
Now, in terms of the enclosures, given the fact that you’re in Florida and we’re not concerned about freezing pipes, I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting it outside. I would want to have it enclosed. Now, how do you do that? Well, you either use one that’s rated to be outside – and perhaps your – the water-treatment company – the plumbing company has one that has such a certification, that’s designed for interior or exterior use and that’s fine. And if not, you’re going to have to construct something or have something constructed or perhaps pick up a small shed or something of that nature where the equipment could be protected from the weather.
But I think the first thing you need to do is determine whether or not you need it and determine what kind of water supply you have. If it’s well water, get it tested. You can even have the hardness tested. You’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with. And if it’s city water, then I think you can try bypassing the system you have right now and see if you like it.
I hope that helps you out. Ellie, thanks so much for calling us at 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.
Well, if you like to tackle projects around the house, one of the handiest tools to do just that is a staple gun. And we’ve got a great one to give away to one lucky listener.
LESLIE: That’s right. It’s the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun. And it is a must-have tool for any DIYer or woodworker or even pro out there. You’ve got a battery life of up to 3 hours and you can fire as many as 1,000 staples on a single charge. That is a lot of projects.
So, truly, whatever you can get done in 3 hours, you will find that you have got a staple to go along with that. It’s perfect for general repairs, upholstery, decorating, crafts. You name it, we can help you find a project for it.
TOM: That Cordless Electric Staple Gun from Arrow going out to one caller drawn at random. You’ve got to call us, though, with a home improvement question. You just can’t call and say, “I want to win the prize,” because we want you involved in this program and we want to hear about the projects you’re doing. So, for those that call, those that write at MoneyPit.com, we will draw one name and send out that staple-gun package worth 50 bucks to one listener at random.
LESLIE: Linda, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LINDA: We had a new kitchen floor installed about a week-and-a-half ago. It was a middle-of-the-road-grade sheet vinyl. And a couple of hours after the installers left, we were moving stuff back in. And we moved the refrigerator and it gouged it a couple of times. And the flooring has a 15-year warranty, so they said they would honor that and replace it or patch it or whatever. But then, two days after that, my eight-month-old puppy got a hold of the seam and ripped it in several places and also took a couple of chunks out of the middle of the floor.
TOM: Oh, boy.
LINDA: So, I called the gal – the rep – back and she suggested going with an LVT click-it tile – luxury vinyl tile.
LINDA: And I was just wondering what you guys thought as – if that would be a viable option, mainly because of the dog. I just don’t know.
And another thing is she was saying that they would probably install it right over the floor that they just put down, so that would mean we have the subfloor, my old floor, the new floor and then this tile on top of it.
LESLIE: It’s a floor sandwich.
TOM: First of all, whether or not you can put it on top of old layers of floor is really a manufacturer specification. It’s not unusual.
For example, when you put down laminate floor, that always sits on top of whatever is underneath it, because it kind of floats. So it might be that it’s perfectly fine.
TOM: Luxury vinyl tile is probably way more durable than sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl tends to be really soft, so I’m not at all surprised that it got torn up just by moving the refrigerator back and forth. I mean you would think that if you’re in the flooring-design business, that that would be sort of a standard. Like if your kitchen floor can’t handle a refrigerator being rolled back and forth, you probably shouldn’t be in the business.
TOM: But unfortunately, a lot of those sheet products are very, very soft and can easily tear. It’s a darn good thing that you got your claim in, though, before the dog ripped the rest of it up. Because otherwise, they may not have had any interest in helping you.
But I do think a tile is going to be a pretty durable option. I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting it on top of the old floor as long as it’s permitted by the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which you certainly should ask to – for a copy of so that you can review.
LINDA: OK. Alright. Well, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Linda. I hope you love that dog. It’s costing you a lot of money.
LINDA: Yeah, we do. We do. Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, small kitchens can be tough places to work in but a few modest updates can make it feel bigger and work better for you. We’re going to have some tips to do that, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Well, small kitchens, they might be cozy but opening them up might not involve a whole lot of expense. First, you’ve got to look for ways to add natural light by removing window coverings. With kitchens, you really don’t need them there.
TOM: Yeah. And adding a skylight can open up the ceiling to more light and sort of visually expand the space. But you don’t need a major construction project to accomplish that. Just add a type of skylight called a “sun tunnel.” It’s a round skylight. You set it in the roof with a tube that feeds down to the ceiling, where you’ll have a light diffuser. And basically, it’s mirrored on the inside so it can throw a lot of natural light right where you need it.
LESLIE: Now, another idea is to remove any soffits that you have above the cabinets. This creates the illusion of space by allowing the eye to follow a wider ceiling. Now, you can also consider removing the cabinet doors or replacing them with glass-fronted doors. And that’s going to help give the room some depth.
Another trick here is you can also opt for larger floor tiles. While this might sound counterintuitive, small floor tiles, they do make a room feel smaller. So, bigger, wider, longer, it’s going to make that kitchen feel just as big.
TOM: And by the way, despite their small size, small kitchens do have some advantages, one of which is that the small space makes for a very efficient working triangle. You’re not spending a lot of time walking between the refrigerator and the stove and the kitchen sink, so you kind of save energy. And if you want to splurge for better-quality materials, like cabinets or high-end countertops, the smaller size makes that a much more affordable option.
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 now.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sparky in Georgia on the line with, fittingly, an electrical question. What can we do for you?
SPARKY: Hi. I’m in a prewired home that has RG59 coaxial cable coming into each room. I need to replace that now with RG6, which is a thicker coaxial cable. What is the best way of going through to replace all those?
TOM: Well, generally, whenever you want to rewire anything in a house, it doesn’t always make sense to remove what’s there. What you’ll generally do is cut it back. And you’ll just essentially – you’re going to run the new cable as if you were putting it in for the first time. Of course, because the house is already up, it’s tricky to do this to run it through walls and stuff but you would use wire snakes to do this. And sometimes, if the cable is loose in the wall, you can actually attach the new cable to the old cable and pull it through at the same time.
Sometimes you can get away with that but it basically takes a lot of skill to run new wires in a house that’s already up. And that’s pretty much the way you do it. The answer is: any way you can. So, if your cable is loose and you can pull one end up and tie the other end to it so that you’re kind of pulling it all the way through, you do that. If you can’t do that because it’s nailed in place, then what you might do is to sort of snip off the ends, tuck it away in the wall and run a new cable next to it. But basically, it’s a bit of a tricky job and you try to get it done any way you can.
SPARKY: I gotcha. Very good. You’ve been helpful. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Melanie in California on the line with a decorating question. What can we do for you today?
MELANIE: I have untreated (inaudible) knotty pine throughout the house. I would like to continue into an 8×12 bathroom with the same. Is this the best application for the bathroom or will untreated wood hold up to condensation?
LESLIE: Now, where are you seeing this? On the walls? On the ceiling?
MELANIE: Oh, well, I’d like to do the whole bathroom. Yes, walls and ceiling.
TOM: I would say, Leslie, that knotty – untreated, knotty pine is a really bad idea for a bathroom.
TOM: I actually do have a bathroom that’s got pine wainscoting but it’s completely sealed. And it goes up about halfway up the wall. I would definitely not put unfinished wood in a bathroom because it’s going to soak up the moisture. It’s going to grow mold or mildew and just is not going to look right. You can’t clean it, either. So, a bad idea for the ceiling.
That said, if you like the look of wood, there are many ceiling-tile products that do look quite a lot like wood.
MELANIE: OK. We’re limited. We’re in a small area, so we’re limited as far as hardwares go and paneling. We’ve checked out our local hardware stores. And where’s the best place to find, oh, say, ceiling paneling and …?
LESLIE: Well, now, a clever, creative idea – which, you know, you might be able to source online and perhaps you haven’t looked at some of this in the local places to you – would be a laminate flooring that’s a plank that looks like a knotty pine so that we could utilize that in the same application that you’re talking about. But it’s made to withstand high-moisture situations because it’s a manufactured product and not a natural product.
MELANIE: Sure, sure.
LESLIE: And that, because it’s sold in planks, if you do have to order it online or if somebody has to order it from the vendor directly through your local stores, it ships really easily because of its packaging. And being plank size, you’re not going to have a hard time getting it in, rather than a sheet product.
MELANIE: Oh, OK. Very good. And I think that would look far better than a sheet product. We just – I think that’s why I don’t care – the wainscoting or coating, how do you pronounce that?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely.
MELANIE: Is that …?
LESLIE: I say wainscoting but I think everybody says it every way they feel like. Tomato, tomato.
MELANIE: OK. It’s just very attractive. But we need to do this complete, up the walls.
TOM: You don’t have to. You could go partially up the walls and then trim off the top edge of it.
MELANIE: Hmm. And then would – OK.
TOM: It depends on what look you’re going for. For example, Leslie, you’ve often given the suggestion that you can take an old door, turn it on its side and that could be a wainscoting.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That works out beautifully, especially because it gives you the paneling sort of built right into the door. The only issue there is that anywhere you’ve got an electrical outlet or something that might protrude from the wall, you’re going to have to bump that out to accommodate the extra thickness of the door. Not a big deal but it’s an extra step.
MELANIE: Boy, it sure is. Oh, boy. OK. Well, thank you so much. That’s a lot to think about and I really like that plank-flooring idea. That was a thought that never even crossed my mind, so – nor my husband’s.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project.
MELANIE: Thank you so much. And thank you for taking my call.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Head to Pennsylvania where Mike has a question about a bathtub. What can we help you with?
MIKE: I have an old, steel tub that’s actually rusting out. And had a few quotes on having it refinished versus – you know, there’s companies out there that’ll put vinyl inserts and all. Or is it better just to have it ripped out and put a brand-new tub in?
TOM: I would vote for having it ripped out and putting in a brand-new tub, because I don’t think that you’re going to be able to refinish it and be happy with that. Most of the refinishing – if it’s done professionally, it can be OK. But man, I’ll tell you what, it’s an awfully big project, it’s a very messy project. They have to use some pretty coarse chemicals to prep that tub and get it ready for the new finish. And then the new finishes are certainly not going to last as long as the original finish.
So I think it’s probably a good option for either a new tub or you could do sort of a tub insert. There are companies out there that make inserts that fit inside the existing tub. Priced, not so coincidentally, just slightly less than tearing out the tub and starting from scratch.
LESLIE: Right. But it’s done in a day.
MIKE: Alright. I just – I appreciate that. Thanks for your time.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, your outdoor furniture, it can last year after year if you give it a good cleaning each season. So here’s what you’ll need to do to get it into shape for the summer days ahead.
TOM: Now, if you’ve got plastic outdoor furniture, you want to mix up a little dish soap, some borax, and a ½-cup of peroxide into a gallon of water. Let that mixture sit for about 10 to 15 minutes and then use it to scrub all that outdoor plastic furniture with a nylon brush before you rinse it super well.
LESLIE: Now, if you have wood furniture, you want to start by giving it a good once-over for repair needs. You want to make sure that all pieces are securely fastened to the frame. And then you want to check to see that all connection points are sturdy, the legs are strong and the finish isn’t flaking off. Once you’ve got a good assessment, thoroughly clean that furniture. Get those surfaces clean with a soap-and-water mixture. But you’ve got to let it dry thoroughly.
TOM: Now, if the finish on your wood needs a little rejuvenation, it’s a good time to refinish it. And the way to do that is to sand off the existing paint or stain to the point where you start to see a little bit of raw wood. Then you can apply a new stain that would use a solid-color stain or an exterior paint. And that will give you a really, super-saturated color that’s going to instantly update your outdoor décor.
LESLIE: Carol in Mississippi, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
CAROL: I have a floor that’s sinking in the hallway and the kitchen and I was just trying to find out what’s the best way to repair that and what type of wood should it be repaired with.
TOM: So do you have any idea, Carol, as to what’s causing the floor to sink?
CAROL: I don’t know if it’s the foundation. I don’t know if it’s the foundation, because it’s in Mississippi and there’s lots of moisture there. And for some reason, the homes there really look rundown and stuff. And I always – and I did researching just because it’s so moist there. But the house is really, really old, so I have no idea what’s causing it.
TOM: Is the floor a wood floor?
CAROL: Yes, it is.
TOM: And is it over a crawlspace?
CAROL: No, it’s not over a crawlspace.
TOM: Is it over a basement?
CAROL: No, it’s not over a basement. It’s on the foundation part of it.
TOM: Yeah. OK. Look, there’s only really three types of floor structures. You’re either going to have – your house is going to be built on a slab, which means it’s on concrete or it’s going to be on a wood-framed floor, which is either going to be over a crawlspace or over a basement. I’m trying to figure out what kind of floor structure you have.
CAROL: OK. It’s up off the ground a little bit.
TOM: That’s a crawlspace. So what has to happen, Carol, is somebody has to go into the crawl and get under that area and look up and see what’s going on. If you have a lot of moisture, you could have some rotted beams there. And if that’s the case, they have to be repaired. That can’t – well, it’s very difficult to do that from the top side; you would do that from the bottom side. And then once you know what the cause of the sagging is, then you’ll know how to approach it.
But let’s say that you’ve found there was a beam that was decayed. Well, what would happen in that case is you would put a new beam next to it. So if one bad floor joist, you’d put another one next to it, maybe even one next to that so you’d kind of sandwich the bad beam in between the two good beams. And that would straighten that out.
Once the structure is repaired, then you can go in from the top side and repair any remaining decay, like if it was the wood – plywood – subfloor or something of that nature. But you’ve got to start with the structure, which is what’s underneath there, to figure out why this sag has occurred and why this area has sunken in. And once that’s re-supported, then you can move to the top side.
Does that make sense?
CAROL: Makes a lot of sense. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Carol. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’ve got a question about your home, we’ll do our best to give you the answer, plus maybe some tools to help get the job done.
LESLIE: That’s right. This hour, we have up for grabs the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun. The E21 really is a fantastic tool. The battery is going to last up to 3 hours. You can fire as many as 1,000 staples on a single charge. It’s great if you’ve got some general repairs, some upholstery projects. Whether you’re decorating, crafts, whatever it is you will find a use for this staple gun, I promise.
TOM: That Arrow E21 Electric Staple Gun, with a supply of staples, is worth 50 bucks and going out to one listener drawn at random. If you want to win it, you’ve got to be in it by calling us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Jacob in Arkansas is on the line with a crack in the garage. Tell us what’s going on.
JACOB: My wife and I have recently bought a new house and there’s a crack above the garage. It’s more cosmetic where it gets no – none of the support. But it goes through the brick and the mortar and so I was wondering if there’s a certain kind of putty or way I can fill this in so the water doesn’t get inside of it.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s exactly what you want to do. Now, mind you, the brick is also going to be porous, so it will still get wet. But if you want to stop water from getting in there, most importantly freezing and making the crack worse, what I would recommend you do is to seal that crack with a clear silicone caulk.
Now, when you buy the silicone, Jacob, you can buy it in a large tube or a small tube. If it’s just that one crack, I would just buy a small tube. But here’s the trick: when you cut the tip of that tube, you want to cut it so you have a very small hole there that the caulk won’t kind of come out in a big glob. You can always make it larger. But of course, once you cut it, you can’t make it any smaller. So then get up on a ladder, get real close to that.
And sometimes, with silicone, it’s pretty thick, especially if it’s cold. You may have to really squeeze it to get it to come out. But it doesn’t clean up with soap and water, so just try to kind of lay it on there nice and even. That’ll stop the water from falling into the crack and you should be good to go.
JACOB: Awesome. Thank you, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jacob. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you like to save money and you don’t like to waste water, you’re probably an environmentally-responsible shopper. But when it comes to shopping for floors, knowing how the floor is made is key to knowing if it’s actually an eco-friendly choice.
Here’s what you need to look for.
TOM: Now, first, there are two types of floors that are generally considered to be the most eco-friendly. First, there’s cork. It’s a good choice for a lot of reasons. It’s sustainable, it’s beautiful, it lasts a long time and it’s quiet. And it’s the best for allergy sufferers.
The flooring is made from the bark of the cork-oak tree, which is stripped every 9 years and then grows back and inflicts no damage upon the tree. And pest control or fertilizers are rarely used in the farming of cork trees. And that waste cork can also be frequently recycled, so it’s great all the way around.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, another option is bamboo. Bamboo floors, they’re manufactured from the bamboo plant, which is a type of grass. And that makes them super sustainable.
Bamboo grows at a crazy-fast rate, faster than trees. And it reaches maturity in as little as 5 years, which is why bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly flooring products available.
TOM: But the other advantage of bamboo, Leslie, is that it’s super hard. I mean strand bamboo is actually about twice as hard as red oak, which is why bamboo flooring is not only sustainable but it’s also super durable. So, a great choice all the way around.
So if you want to go eco-friendly, you should be looking at bamboo floors and cork floors. You just can’t go wrong.
LESLIE: Sandy in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a carpet question. What’s going on?
SANDY: Well, I had a Scentsy, one of those little things that uses hot wax. And my granddaughter knocked the Scentsy over onto the carpet and part of it splashed on my Henredon chair, which is upholstered.
SANDY: And I didn’t – haven’t done anything yet because I don’t know really how to go about cleaning that.
LESLIE: Good. Well, the first thing you want to do – and this is – it’s kind of an easy fix. You just have to make sure you haven’t already scratched at it or rubbed it or anything. Take a brown paper bag and an iron. And you want to put the iron on a high setting without steam. And put the paper bag over the wax and then iron. And the wax will melt but then stick to the paper bag and you’ll be able to peel it right off.
SANDY: Well, that’s awesome. OK, brown paper bag with a hot iron not on steam.
LESLIE: No steam.
SANDY: Just hot cotton and hold it on there for a few minutes and it will pull it out.
LESLIE: Yeah, you don’t want to sit it on there too long, because you don’t want to burn it through.
SANDY: OK, yeah. Right.
LESLIE: So you want to kind of just hold the brown paper bag, then put the iron on top and then shift it around, moving to a clean part on the bag as you get more of the wax onto the bag. This way you’re not respreading the wax.
TOM: So the bag kind of acts as the absorbing medium here. That’s like the paper towel, right, Leslie?
TOM: It soaks into it. OK, got it. Great trick.
SANDY: That sounds wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sandy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dennis in Alaska is on the line with some questions about building a new home. What can we help you with?
DENNIS: Hey, that is some jazzy music you’ve got on hold.
TOM: Alright. We’re glad you enjoy it, Dennis. What’s going on?
DENNIS: I just finished building a ranch-style home and I did the regular stick frame, 2×6 fiberglass insulation, T1-11 outside. But my question is – I’m going to put some cedar-log siding on it and I thought I might fur the outside, get a few more Rs out of it. And I’m kind of concerned about possibly trapping moisture between the inside vapor barrier. And if I use blue board or some type of foam insulation on the outside, I didn’t want to trap water inside the wall. And I hope that made sense.
TOM: Well, so you basically used T1-11 as the sheathing but that’s a finished siding type of a product. That’s not designed to be a sheathing. Are you sure you meant T1-11 when you said that? Because it has sort of vertical grooves in it.
DENNIS: Yeah, it was just a temporary sheathing is all.
TOM: Yeah, because for many buildings, that is the siding. But OK. So you want to know how to cover that? Well, I would put tar paper on it or I would put vapor barrier on it, like Tyvek. And then I would put the blue board over that.
DENNIS: Vapor barrier and then Tyvek and then the blue board. OK. Yeah, I was just concerned about trapping moisture inside the wall.
TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t put the foam right against it because that’s going to be like holding sponges against it. No, you want to put the moisture barrier against the wood.
DENNIS: So, do I need to put any type of a – some type of drainage on the bottom of the wall then or …?
TOM: Well, not for blue board, no. What you would do is you put the vapor barrier up and then you put the foam on it and you attach it with long nails that are flat-headed. They look like super-long roofing nails.
TOM: And they have other special fasteners for it, alright? And then you could put your furring strips over that and your siding on top of it.
DENNIS: Oh, OK. So you don’t actually butt it up to the furring strips; you put the furring strips right over it.
TOM: Right. Exactly. That’s the way I would do it. I sided a house that way and that was 30 years ago. Hasn’t leaked yet.
DENNIS: Good enough then. That’s my project for this coming summer.
LESLIE: Tim in New Jersey reached out and here’s his question: “I recently inherited a house that has not been occupied in over 5 years. The electricity is questionable in two of the rooms. I’m not sure about HVAC. And there has been water in the basement. Floors, walls and ceiling, they look good but the roof has three layers on it. Should I try to repair it or get rid of it as-is? I’m not a handy person and I don’t have a big budget.”
TOM: You have a lot going on. I mean the good news is you didn’t have to pay for the house. It’s never a bad thing when you inherit a house, even if it is a true-to-life money pit. But Tim, none of the things that you mentioned are really insurmountable. If the basic foundation and framing and the roof are intact, everything else is fixable.
Now, even though these things can be fixed, it’s also a question of economics, it’s a question of skills and time. And if the project is too much for you, you should consider selling the home as-is but don’t give it away. The problems you mentioned are entirely repairable for a lot less than the value of the home, even that wet basement. I would prioritize. And if you need some help doing that, have a home inspection done. Those guys are experts at determining where the real issues are and give you some good, independent, expert advice on what to do first, second and so on.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that project.
TOM: Well, if building a patio is on your to-do list for spring, we’ve got some tricks of the trade for the project that can help. Leslie shares those details, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
And Leslie, we can’t wait to get outside. A new patio is a great place to spend some of that time.
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh, totally. It’s a great place to relax. It’s a wonderful spot in your yard to get out of your home and safely socialize with your friends. So, you know, your friends outside of your bubble.
So let’s get to work on creating a relaxing paver-brick patio space. Alright. And guess what, guys? This paver-brick patio is definitely a DIY-capable project. So we’ve got some tips here that are going to help you get the project done.
First of all, in the realm of DIY-patio possibilities, brick, natural stone, cement pavers, these are the main paving choices in materials. Now, all three varieties are installed in sand, with irregularly-shaped natural stone being the biggest challenge to work with, as it’s kind of like assembling a huge outdoor jigsaw puzzle but with much heavier pieces. But still doable.
Now, figuring out the layout is the next step. You’re going to need to assess your space that you want to put this in. You want to make sure you’ve got necessary drainage. Now, a good trick of the trade is to use some rope to outline the shape of the patio that you’re going for. And you can even go ahead and set up some of your furniture inside that roped-off area. That’s definitely going to give you a feel for how much space you’re going to have to enjoy that patio once it’s done, rather than getting to that point and being like, “Oh, no. I didn’t leave enough space for X.” So do the prep work so you know you’re ready.
Now, the most common paver-patio mistake comes from not properly prepping the base. So you need to take your time. Properly excavate, level, line the patio area for long-lasting, trip-proof results. Once that’s done, adding the patio bricks, that’s the fun part. There are so many shapes, styles, design patterns to choose from. If you do some searches online, you’re going to find some really beautiful things that you can create with some very basic, shaped pavers that are not challenging. So, definitely do some research because you can really make it beautiful.
Now, if you’ve already got a patio but you want to update the look of the pavers, Pavestone makes a special paver brick called Milano. It’s half the thickness of a regular brick and it installs easily right on top of the old patio. And it looks absolutely amazing once it’s done.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, in even the cleanest of houses mold can find sneaky places to hide. But not from us. We’re going to share tips on how to stop mold from taking hold of your home, 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.)