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: Give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you take on your home improvement project. What are you working on? What do you want to work on? Is there something you want to get done this weekend? Maybe set yourself up for the holidays ahead? Maybe plan some interior improvements so that you’re not staring at those plain, old walls for another few months of chilly weather? Whatever is on your to-do list, slide it over to ours by calling us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, as daylight saving time rolls to a close, it’s a good time to go beyond resetting the clocks and get ready for winter. We’re going to explain what else you ought to be changing, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, it’s one of the biggest fears a homeowner faces: the telltale ceiling stains that let you know that you’ve got a leak somewhere. But the trick is determining where that leak is coming from so that you can actually deal with it. We’re going to explain the most common causes and the easiest way to stop those leaks.
TOM: And building a fence is a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal, home value and keep out the wildlife. You know, in my part of the country, it is deer-mating season and they are going nuts. They are running into fences, running through fences, running over fences, so …
LESLIE: Did you hear about the deer that ran into the hair salon here in New York, in Long Island?
TOM: Oh, no. Is that right?
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness.
TOM: But I am not surprised in the least. Yep.
LESLIE: They’re everywhere.
TOM: Well, it’s a big project doing a fence but it is one you can do yourself, so we’re going to have the tips that you need to get started.
LESLIE: Maybe put a fence around that hair salon.
LESLIE: Plus, guys, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement or your décor questions and a chance at winning a fantastic set of products to help keep your home clean and green.
TOM: That’s right. We’ve got the JAWS Ultimate Cleaning Kit going out to one caller drawn at random. It includes a full range of cleaning products for every hard surface in your home. It’s worth 44 bucks. It’s going to go out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We’d love to hear what you’re working on. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tommy in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
TOMMY: My question concerns my dryer. I moved into a house that had the washer and dryer already here in my laundry room. And when I was cleaning back behind the dryer – the dryer hose is aluminum type and it’s attached with tape. Obviously, not done correctly. And what I want to know is what would you recommend? Is there a better dryer-vent hose or a tube of some kind? It’s a fairly short distance from the wall to the dryer.
TOM: If it’s the flexible aluminum hose, then that – I would probably go ahead and put that back in. If it’s vinyl, I would not. But you’re sure it’s aluminum, right?
TOMMY: It is. It’s like shiny aluminum foil.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that’s the one that you want there, because that’s heat-resistant.
TOMMY: Oh, you do. OK.
TOMMY: Rather than the white vinyl? It’s better than the white vinyl.
LESLIE: Right. Because the white vinyl could overheat and potentially cause a fire hazard. So the aluminum one is great because it won’t hold onto all of that heat.
Now, the question is, where does your dryer hose vent to? Does it go to the outside? Has it been cleaned in a while? These are all maintenance things that you need to be doing for your dryer.
TOMMY: Right, Leslie. And that’s what I wanted to do, because I am so afraid of fire hazards. OK, so I need to detach it? And it is vented to an outside vent.
TOM: So what you should do is get a dryer-vent cleaning brush. There is one that’s available online called the Gardus LintEater. Leslie and I both have one of these brushes. They’re really cool. They’re like brushes on the end of fiberglass rods. And you stick them into a drill and just spin them into the vent and go back and forth and pull them out.
TOMMY: Oh, my goodness.
TOM: And you’d be amazed how much dust comes out of those things. So that’s one – I’m sure you could probably find it at a home center or at a hardware store, as well. But a dryer-duct cleaning brush is what you really need for that.
TOMMY: OK. And then when I reattach that hose to the vent and then to the dryer, obviously I don’t want to use tape, which is what they’ve used.
TOM: There’s a big bracket that is sort of like a clamp that fits around that. And it goes over the hose and the hose goes over the vent and then it all sort of screws together. And I’m sure you could also find those at a home center or a hardware store. No, you should definitely not tape it together.
TOMMY: I will do that. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Brian in Texas who has an air-conditioning question. And in Texas, you probably need that. What’s going on, Brian?
BRIAN: I’m actually looking at purchasing a home. It was built in 1914. It’s on the historical list and I’ve already gotten permission to do pretty much whatever I need to to it. But I was trying to find out what would be more efficient: either air-conditioning units in the walls or would it be better to just open up the walls and put in central air?
TOM: Well, from an efficiency perspective, certainly central air conditioning is going to be a lot more efficient than a bunch of window units.
Now, when you have a historical home, though, it becomes a little more tricky about how you run the ducts. There is a type of system, though, that’s called a “high-velocity system” – low-volume, high-velocity system – and this uses ducts that are about the same diameter as a dryer vent, around 3 inches or so. And they can run inside wall cavities without necessitating the destruction of tearing the wall apart.
So if you hook up with a good HVAC contractor and go through your options, you should be able to figure out a way to get a central air-conditioning system in this home with the least amount of disturbance and destruction possible.
BRIAN: Actually, it’s got the original plaster walls and I really would hate to lose those.
LESLIE: Now, I don’t think you have to. If it’s done correctly and if it’s done creatively, there are ways to work with what you have.
BRIAN: OK. Well, I really do appreciate it. I just – I really didn’t know what would be the best way to go with it. This is my first time dealing with anything historical. I’ve had other small projects but this I’ve been real hesitant on. I’ve listened to you guys’ show for a while and I really, really do appreciate your advice. And I just – I want to say, “Thank you.”
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Brian. So I think you can do this project. Keep in mind that if it becomes more complicated to run the ducts, that could run the costs up. So get some estimates so you know what you’re getting involved with. And whatever you do, make sure you get a professional home inspection of this house done before you buy it. A good home inspector will be able to screen out any major problems before you sign on the dotted line, OK?
BRIAN: Very well. I do appreciate it. Thank you.
LESLIE: Tracy in New York is on the line with a gutter question. How can we help you with this project?
TRACY: I’m thinking about getting gutters put on my house but I’m not sure what I need to know and what I should ask when I have the contractors come over to do the quote.
TOM: Alright. So you have no gutters right now?
TRACY: That’s correct.
TOM: OK. So, here’s a couple things to think about. First of all, what you want are seamless gutters. So the way they’re made is the contractors come out and the gutter material is actually in a sheet stock and it’s on a roll of metal. And they run it through a forming machine that actually creates the shape of the gutter. And this way, they can make the gutters the exact length that you need for the different sections of your house.
Now, the number of spouts that you put into the gutter is important, because you don’t have – you want to have less than 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface per spout or the gutters will back up and get overwhelmed. So pay attention to that.
Also, think about where the downspouts come down. You don’t want them dumping water right at the corner of the foundation, because that will collect there and it can soak in. It can weaken the foundation; it can flood a basement or a crawlspace. Just generally a bad idea. So you want the downspout to extend at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. If you had a water problem, I’d tell you to take it out further but if you don’t have a problem, at least 3 to 4 feet out.
So, if you have one downspout and you have a – if you have one section of gutter and you have a choice as to whether the downspout is on the left than the right, use our head about thinking about that. Yeah, don’t bring it out near a walkway or something like that; bring it out in the opposite side of the house.
Now, the other thing to think about is gutter guards: whether or not you want to put them in or not. Because when you get gutters, you’re going to get the need to clean those gutters. And there are such a wide variety of gutter guards that are available today.
The kind that seem, in my experience, to work the best are those that work on surface tension. So these have sort of a complete cover to them and the leaves will wash over them and the water hangs this cover or maybe goes through some louvered slots and falls into the gutter. So, think about that. Check out with the company whether or not they offer a gutter-guard option at the time of the installation. And this way, you can get it sort of all done at the same time.
And then one other trick of the trade is that before you attach these to the house, do you know if the fascia is wood, right now, or is it aluminum? What are you going to be attaching it to?
TRACY: Wood, I believe.
TOM: So this is the perfect time for you to paint it. This is your one and only golden opportunity to put a couple of good coats of exterior paint on that. Because once that gutter is attached, you are never ever going to take them off or at least not for a heck of a long time. So, get a couple of good coats of paint on that fascia now, before you put the gutter on, so that it’s protected.
TRACY: OK. That’s great. Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Well, just ahead, this weekend we get to set our clocks back one hour. But it’s also a good time for some key home safety checks. We’ll have those, after this.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call right here at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home service pros and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: Hey, if you pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, we’ll give you the answer to your home improvement question and also, a chance at winning a great prize. We’ve got the JAWS Ultimate Cleaning Kit.
Now, JAWS is a cool product. It stands for the Just Add Water System. And they have a concentrated, streak-free, eco-friendly cleaning product for every job, every room, every nook and every cranny in your house. Now, all the cleaning products are concentrated, so you just insert a refill pod into the very sturdy JAWS reusable bottles and sprayers and you are good to go in seconds.
I love the fact that all the products are non-toxic. The kit includes two refill pods for each JAWS product. You get the Glass Cleaner, the Daily Shower Cleaner, the Kitchen Degreaser, the Floor Cleaner, the Granite and Natural Stone Cleaner and the JAWS Disinfectant Cleaner. And if you’d like to pick one up for yourself, you can go to JAWSCleans.com and use the promo code MONEYPIT for a 25-percent discount at every purchase. That’s promo code MONEYPIT. Rethink the way you clean with JAWS, the Just Add Water System.
LESLIE: Charles in Pennsylvania is dealing with a mysterious leak. Tell us about it.
CHARLES: Well, I have a – it’s the section of the house that – in front of the one wall is the garage and behind it is the wall to the house. It’s a family room. And one side, going towards the garage, was having seeping water coming in. I thought it was the roof but I had the roofer who just put the roof on about 18 months ago come check it. He can’t find anything wrong with it. It stopped; it hasn’t done it for a while.
But I noticed that as I went into the garage the other day, I saw that some of the drywall has started to turn black so, obviously, the inside of the drywall, there’s mold. And I’m trying to figure out where it’s coming from, number one, so I can fix it and number two, of course I’ve got to fix the issue with the mold. Any ideas about where that might be coming from? It’s over the garage for the – the garage roof.
TOM: And is it near where the garage roof intersects with anything else? Is it intersecting with the house?
CHARLES: Well, it – the garage roof covers this whole section that – I’m actually sitting in that room right now. And then it goes out and connects with a sun-porch area in the back. But it wasn’t coming from that side; it was coming from the inside wall, which seemed weird.
TOM: Well, here’s the thing: you may be getting a leak that’s caused just by rain that blows in with some wind pressure behind it, sort of a directional leak. A roofer looking at this – and of course, you’re asking him to figure out what’s wrong with your roof and of course, he knows darn well that he put the roof on and he’s not going to be willing to admit very readily that there’s anything wrong. But the truth is you may have a leak that’s caused by driving rain and that’s why it may not happen all the time.
It’s pretty common, actually. It usually happens at an intersection point, not in the middle of the shingle. Usually at a point where it intersects with something else.
LESLIE: When you’ve got wind-driven rain and your wind is lifting up a shingle and the rain is falling horizontally because of the wind and getting up and under.
CHARLES: Yeah. We had never had this problem – like I said, the roof is new and – it’s relatively new. About 18 months old. And until about 3 months ago, about 15 months of it, there had never been even a sniff of a leak.
TOM: But roofs are always expanding and contracting and they can develop these types of leaks. One way to try to diagnose it, if you don’t see anything that’s visually wrong, is to go up there with a hose and start low and run the water down the roof, again, towards the low side and then bring it up higher.
CHARLES: The hose? Mm-hmm.
TOM: And see if you can actually physically make it leak.
CHARLES: Yeah, yeah. I see what …
TOM: And that will kind of show you the general area. But if you find it, then what you have to do is take the shingles apart there and reroof that particular spot.
TOM: Now, in terms of the area of the wall where you’re seeing these black stains, that may or may not be mold. I mean when drywall gets wet, it does tend to turn dark and it may not be dark with mold. But what I would do is I would prime it with an oil-based primer. And so I would prime the surface and then put a top coat of paint on it. If you just paint it, the stain will come back through; you must prime it first.
CHARLES: Well, I’ll give that a shot. I’ll give that a shot. Alright. I thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, this is the weekend when we all gain that extra hour by setting our clocks back. But before you settle in for that long winter’s nap, make a few other updates around your house.
TOM: Well, that’s right. It’s also the perfect time for smoke-detector maintenance: change the batteries and test for operation.
Now, if you’d like to replace your smoke detector, if it’s more than five years old, that’s a great idea. Pick up the type that are called “dual sensors.” These work for the slow, smoldering fires, as well as the flashing, flaming types of fires. And this way, you’re covered in any event.
LESLIE: You also want to check your carbon-monoxide detectors. And if you don’t already have them, make sure you add at least one near the bedrooms.
Now, some heat sources and faulty appliances can generate this silent killer and threaten your family’s safety.
TOM: And what’s more, if a carbon-monoxide detector sounds an alarm, don’t ignore it and don’t disable it. Detectors go off for a reason and you need to immediately open the windows, evacuate your family and call a pro to find the source of the problem. It’s amazing how many times we hear of folks that are sickened by carbon monoxide because they didn’t smell it. Well, it has no smell. It’s not like a smoke detector. It’s got no smell. So if it goes off, trust it and get out.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Karen in Tennessee who’s got a problem with a bathroom door. Tell us what’s going on.
KAREN: The door fell down when we were putting the washer and dryer and it fell on the knob. It fell off. The hole is way oversized. I put a dowel in there, glued it, drilled a new hole but that didn’t last very long, either. How can I get by or how can I put a knob on that door without buying a new bi-fold?
TOM: OK. So the hole through which you attached the knob for the bi-fold door is oversized, correct?
KAREN: Right. Both screws are oversized.
TOM: Alright. So, in other words, it’s bigger than the screw itself, correct?
KAREN: Yeah. Yes.
TOM: So, here’s what I would do. I would turn a negative into a positive. Why not – now, is it – it’s not bigger than the handle, right?
KAREN: No, no, no, no, no.
TOM: Alright. So, why not just put a washer on the back of it? On the back of the screw. You’re not going to see the back of the door, so just put a washer through the screw and then put the screw in the hole and attach it to the handle. You’re done.
LESLIE: This way, it’ll pull it flush.
KAREN: OK. In other words, put an oversized screw in it that goes all the way through the door.
TOM: Yeah, not an oversized – well, it would go all the way – yes, it would go all the way through the door but …
KAREN: Well, it’d be longer.
TOM: Well, you don’t need it to be that much longer. A washer is 1/16-inch thick or less.
KAREN: No. The screw would have to be longer to go through – and drill a hole on the other side, because it’s a hollow door.
TOM: OK. But does the screw go through now? Normally, when you attach a handle, it goes all the way through. Is that not the case?
KAREN: It’s just one of those – it doesn’t even turn. It’s just a right handle/left handle type knob that you pull on it to open up the bi-fold.
TOM: OK. So it’s just basically screwed right into the door – the face of the door – and it’s pulling out, correct?
KAREN: Yes, yes.
TOM: So, yeah. So then why – instead of using a wood screw to attach it, why don’t you use a machine screw and then put a small nut and washer on the back of it and drill all the way through the door? So measure the thickness of the door, head over to your local hardware store and have them look for a screw that’s long enough, with a nut and the washer on the back of it. You won’t see the nut and the washer, because it’s on the inside of the door. Just don’t make it any longer than it has to be.
KAREN: Exactly. Fantastic. Why didn’t I think of that?
TOM: And that’ll solve it. Alright?
KAREN: OK. I went to all that trouble to put a dowel – oversized the hole, put a dowel in there, glue, redrill.
TOM: Well, you know what? You get an A for effort.
KAREN: And it came out again.
TOM: Yeah. Alright. Well, this will solve it. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement, design, décor, holiday festivity, whatever it is that you are working on at your money pit. We’re here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, the only thing tougher than cleaning up after a leak is figuring out where it made its way in in the first place. We’re going to explain the most common causes that you haven’t thought of yet, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here, standing by, to help you with all of your home improvement questions. And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.
TOM: That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re taking a call from Alberta in Arkansas working on a window project. How can we help you with that?
ALBERTA: Yeah, I’ve got vinyl windows that are the drop-downs so you can clean them and they’re real stiff; they’re hard to open and close. I was wondering if there’s anything I can do to make them easier.
TOM: Have you tried to use any lithium grease on them?
ALBERTA: I haven’t used anything, no.
TOM: So what you might want to do is – there are different types of lubricants that are available. You know, WD-40 probably is one of the most famous ones.
TOM: But you can also buy, in a spray can, lithium and it has a tube that comes out of the top of the spray nozzle. You can get it right into the area along the jambs, between the operating sash and the jamb of the window, and kind of spray it up and down. If you overspray a little bit, you can go wipe it down. And that will lubricate that jamb and reduce the friction.
ALBERTA: Is the lithium better than the WD-40?
TOM: It tends to stick around a little bit longer. It’s a little thicker.
TOM: In a pinch, you can use WD but you may have to do it again.
ALBERTA: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s one of the biggest fears a homeowner faces: the telltale ceiling stains that let you know you’ve got a leak somewhere. It’s very common when you’ve got vinyl siding. Now, the trick is determining where exactly that leak is coming from.
First of all, let’s talk about why vinyl siding is so leaky. It’s actually not a watertight covering. The material is going to expand and contract and wind-driven water can be forced into these gaps around the unsealed windows and the door trim, as well as into the overlapping ends of those siding pieces. So you’ve got a lot of places that water could get in.
TOM: Yeah. But before we blame the siding, though, we need to rule out the other probable sources.
First of all, let’s talk about plumbing leaks. If there’s a plumbing source above the leak, like a bathroom or a laundry room, you’ve got to consider it. You’re going to want to check the flooring in that room, as well as any fixtures, to see if there’s an active leak.
Also, think about windows. You want to check any windows on the floor above. Take a look at the wood that’s around that window sill, in particular. Because a lot of times, water will get in there sometimes. The weep holes are clogged in the storm windows and then that will leak down through the wall and end up, say, on the ceiling of the floor below.
And finally, of course, roof leaks. That would be the most common if the water marks are on the ceiling on a second floor. And they often happen where things come through the roofs – like pipes over bathrooms, for example – or where roofs intersect, like a valley where two angles of a roof come together. So you’ve got to pretty much check those first.
LESLIE: Now, once you’ve ruled out all of those possibilities, there really is only one remaining culprit and that’s a leak in your home’s vinyl siding.
Now, most of the time, you’re going to be finding these leaks around windows and doors. So, you want to use a caulking gun to apply a continuous bead of silicone sealant along those vertical seams between the vinyl J-channels and those exterior window casings.
Now, a tripolymer silicone sealant is probably going to be your best choice. It’s flexible and it will adhere very well. So what you do is you take that tube and you cut the tip to a 45-degree angle and you use a caulking gun. You want to fill any gaps. Force that silicone sealant behind the J-channel but don’t caulk along the bottom of the window, where those weep holes are there. They’re meant to be there for drainage, so don’t seal those in.
TOM: Now, if you really want to try to nail this down further, one other thing that you could do to try to find out exactly, say, what side of the window or seam that the leak is happening, you can use a hose. But you’ve got to be careful what area of the house you’re getting wet. So I would take the spray head off the hose, because you want to be pretty gentle where it comes out. And then, basically, run water down the siding and watch and see if you can kind of make it leak.
Sooner or later, it’s going to become really obvious and now you’ve got a few options as to what to check and how to fix it when you do, ultimately, find it.
LESLIE: James in Ohio is on the line with a heating question. What can we do for you today?
JAMES: Yeah, hi. I was calling in – I have an older home. It’s built in 1968. And I was wondering if it’d be easier to install an electric furnace, instead of having the baseboard heat, or possibly getting a – one of the outdoor units that mount high on your wall.
TOM: Do you have natural gas or propane or oil in your area?
JAMES: Maybe natural gas?
TOM: Yeah, that would be the way to go. If you’re going through the trouble of putting a furnace in, I would definitely not put in an electric furnace because that is the most expensive way to provide heat to your house. I would suggest a high-efficiency, natural-gas furnace. The installation expense is going to be similar if you’re putting a new furnace in but the ongoing cost to run it will be a lot lower.
JAMES: Will I incur more cost because – for the ductwork? Because I have plaster walls instead of drywall.
TOM: Well, if you’re going to put an electric furnace in, you’re going to have to do the ductwork anyway. So, the ductwork is there whether or not you use an electric furnace or a gas furnace. And it depends on how creative your HVAC contractor is but that’s a fixed cost. If you’re going through the trouble of ducting out your house, which is going to add to its value, I definitely would recommend gas.
And typically, the gas companies don’t charge to bring gas up to your house, so they’ll bring the line up and put a meter in because now you’re going to be their customer forever and they’re very happy about that.
JAMES: OK. Well, I thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, building a fence is a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal, your home value, even keep out the wildlife. It’s a big project but it’s definitely one that you can do yourself. We’re going to have tips to help you get started, in today’s Better Get a Truck Tip presented by Hertz.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.
TOM: And if you pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat because we’re giving away the JAWS Ultimate Cleaning Kit.
JAWS, the Just Add Water System, has a concentrated, streak-free, eco-friendly cleaning product for every job, every room, every nook and every cranny in your house.
LESLIE: Yeah. The best part here, guys, is that all of the cleaning products come concentrated. You just insert a refill pod into the sturdy JAWS reusable bottles and sprayers and you’re ready to go in seconds. You cannot mess up this mix, guys. Plus, think of all the storage space you’re going to save. Plus, think of all the plastics you’re going to keep from getting out into the Earth’s ecosystem. Everybody has got to do their part and this really is a great way to do so.
Now, the kit includes two refill pods for each of the JAWS product line, including the Glass Cleaner, Daily Shower Cleaner, Kitchen Degreaser, Floor Cleaner, Granite and Natural Stone Cleaner. There’s a lot of different products, so you’re really going to have the right one for the right job.
The Ultimate Cleaning Kit retails for 44.99 but right now, Money Pit listeners can save 25 percent on every purchase at JAWSCleans.com. Just use the promo code MONEYPIT at checkout. That’s JAWSCleans.com.
TOM: Rethink the way you clean with JAWS, the Just Add Water System.
LESLIE: Pam in Florida has a porch question. How can we help you today?
PAM: We live on the water and in Florida, there’s a lot of wind on the water. We’re close to the Gulf of Mexico. And we have a screened porch with aluminum railings and the wind keeps blowing the screen sections out. We’ve tried all different types of screens and double-screening them and all different types of splines. And I wondered if you had any better ideas for us.
TOM: Are we talking about on doors or windows?
PAM: We’re talking about screen sections on a screened porch.
TOM: Screened porch. OK. And so, how big are these sections?
PAM: Probably 4×6.
TOM: Pretty big. Are you using vinyl screening or are you using metal screening?
TOM: Yeah, I think that’s the issue. The vinyl screening is pretty soft and pretty flexible. Not very sturdy. I think you’re going to need to use a heavier-gauge screening in order to make this more permanent. And you’re also going to need to consider not only the attachment points – I’m not quite sure how you’re doing that – but it’s got to be super-secure. And you might want to add grilles to divide that up into a bit smaller space. It could be a thin grille but it could – but a grille would give it some additional strength.
So I think you’re going to need to use much heavier screening and not vinyl screening, OK? Because I think putting on a double layer of the vinyl is going to really not get you where you need to be. It really should be heavy metal screening when it’s that – when it’s a 4×6-foot area.
PAM: Right. Do you know if metal screening comes in a fine enough mesh to keep no-see-ums out?
TOM: Oh, yeah. It comes in different mesh densities and different gauge metals. You’ve just got to find a good source or supply down there for it.
PAM: Thank you very much. Appreciate the help.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
Well, building a fence is a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal, your home’s value and keep out the wildlife.
I’ve got to tell you, Leslie, it is deer-mating season here. And around our area, these deer are going a little crazy. They are jumping around fences, through fences, over fences and into fences and there’s a lot of fence damage to be fixed. And a lot of folks that don’t have fences want to get fences to try to keep the deer out.
And if it’s a project you want to do yourself, you can. We’re going to give you some tips to help you get started, in today’s Better Get a Truck Tip presented by Hertz.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, guys, you’ve got to plan for your fence project very carefully, because there’s nothing worse than an ongoing neighborhood feud begun by a fence that is built on the wrong side of a property line. So you need to know exactly where your lines are drawn and give your neighbor a heads-up to avoid any hard feelings. You know, nobody wants to be like, “Gosh, why’d they put up the fence? Maybe they don’t like us.” Well, it’s not that they don’t like you. They just want a little bit of privacy. But if you give a heads-up, no hard feelings to anybody.
And you need to make sure that you’re making it legal. Now, not all fencing requires permits but it is worth checking with your local officials, just to be sure. Some towns are going to have stricter guidelines for fence height, material selection, picket spacing, post-hole footings, the whole works. Some might even have a minimum setback distance from the sidewalk or street, so you have to know the rules for where you live. It’s a good place to start. Just pop into the building department in your town and find out exactly what you need to do to do it right.
TOM: Now, next, you want to think about your materials. Fencing comes in, obviously, a wide range of those materials. You can have natural wood, pressure-treated woods, composites, vinyl, metal. And you also need to think about the upkeep that’s required by your fence, because that’s going to determine, also, what materials you choose. If you go with natural wood, that’s got the biggest ongoing demands. It’s going to require repainting or refinishing every few years.
But whatever you choose, you’re also going to need to get it to your home. Fortunately, Hertz has great selections of trucks and vans that can help with that project.
Now, to make sure the fence lasts, it is super important to set those fence posts properly. Now, you can use concrete. That’s a great way to dig a post and have it locked in place for as long as you need it. But if you don’t have concrete, there’s another way to do it. You can basically dig out the hole and fill it with gravel. If you pack it in really well, it will be just as strong as if it was solid concrete.
LESLIE: Yeah. One last tip here, guys: you’ve got to remember the good side of the fence has got to face out.
Now, fencing like board-on-board is designed to look equally great on both sides. But stockade fencing has only one finished side. And if that’s the kind of fence you choose, remember that most building codes require that you have to put the good side of the fence facing out towards your neighbor.
TOM: And that’s today’s Better Get a Truck Tip presented by Hertz. For any home project, store pickup or move that needs more than your car can handle, remember HDTV: Hertz Does Trucks and Vans. Book now at Hertz.com.
LESLIE: Remember, you can reach us anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you ready to hire a pro to get your project done but you’re wondering if the pro is licensed? And what exactly does that mean? What kind of licenses are required for contractors? We’re going to shed some light on that topic, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this fine weekend? If it’s your house, you are in exactly the right place. Pick up the phone, call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone, give us a call. But remember, you can always post your questions on MoneyPit.com in the Community section or even on Money Pit’s Facebook page.
I’ve got one here from Ryan. Now, Ryan writes: “Before I hire him, I want to make sure my prospective contractor carries proper insurance and licenses. Should he have a card that states that he’s licensed and has liability and workman’s compensation? I assume that a license would be obvious with the state’s information on it. But the insurance aspect makes me wonder.”
TOM: Those are some very, very good questions, Ryan. Because I’ve heard a lot where folks say, “Yeah, I’m licensed.” What does that mean? You’ve got a driver’s license? I mean it’s kind of a wonky thing to try to nail down, especially with some of these contractors.
So there are some key questions to ask before letting them and their team onto your property and into your home. Now, remember that the license requirements are going to vary by state and by county and sometimes even by municipality. So you want to start with your local building department and find out which licenses contractors working in your town are required to have and more importantly, which ones they’re required to verify. In many cases, they’re going to carry a card that documents their license, which is similar to a driver’s license. But you need to make sure they prove it.
And one area that’s super important for that is their insurance. Now, contractors should have liability insurance and workman’s comp insurance and both of which should be stated on that declarations page that they’re going to give you.
And you do want to ask for that dec page because here’s the thing: we have heard of contractors that get insurance at the beginning of the year, promptly drop it to save money but keep that declarations page and they’re happy to show it to you every step of the way. If there’s any question, just get an updated dec page, that’s dated recently, to make sure that that contractor is, in fact, insured. Because if he’s not insured and somebody gets hurt on your property, it’s going to be your problem to deal with – more importantly, your homeowners insurance’s problem to deal with – but you just don’t want to go there. So you need to verify that the insurance actually exists, as well as the license.
LESLIE: Alright. That’s a good point.
Next up, we’ve got a post here from Kate. Now, Kate writes: “I was excited to build some bookshelves for my daughter’s room but the step-by-step directions I found say that I need a power tool called a “router.” This sounds serious. I don’t know exactly what that is and why I should be using one. Can you help?”
TOM: Well, you know, Leslie, a router is one of those tools that people don’t use that frequently and certainly, the basic DIYers. It’s kind of like an advanced tool, right? But you’ve seen what a router can do if you’ve ever seen a piece of wood that’s got a rounded edge or a fancy edge on it that looks like it’s molding. That’s what a router does. There’s a wonderful, little blade that spins around very, very quickly and it will carve into those edges that very pattern.
So, if you’re using it for bookshelves, for example, you would – you could round off all of the seams with that, on the edges of the boards, and make them less kind of splintery. There’s also a way to use a router to kind of sort of create grooves in the wood, where the wood might accept two pieces that are sort of joined at a 90-degree angle. That type of a joint makes the bookcase, in your case, much sturdier.
Some of those designs – I think one of them’s called an “ogee,” right? That’s the one …
LESLIE: Oh, the ogee edge is the most fancy edge when you go look at granite.
TOM: Right. Super, super edge.
LESLIE: And it’s the most expensive.
TOM: Of course it is. But I mean with wood and a router, you could do it.
It’s not a very expensive tool, by the way. You can buy one for probably less than 50 bucks.
LESLIE: It does require a bit of practice, because there is some power to it.
LESLIE: Even though it’s small, it’s very mighty. And you have to learn how to control it. So if it’s something that you’re going to pick up, I would say before using it on the pieces of wood that came with the bookshelf, pick up a scrap piece, try all the different edges. Practice with it until you get it just right and then hit the real project.
TOM: I think it makes more sawdust than any other tool in my shop, too.
LESLIE: It really does.
TOM: Chips are flying everywhere.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this final daylight savings weekend with us. We hope we’ve given you some great ideas on projects that you can take on to help you get through the long winter ahead.
But remember, we are here, 24/7, to take those calls. You can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT anytime or post your questions to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
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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(Copyright 2019 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.)