TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are so thrilled to be with you on this beautiful weekend to help you take on the home improvement projects around your money pit. Whatever you’re working on, give us a call right now. Put down the tools, just for a second, because we’d love to chat with you about that project. If you need some tips, some advice, if you’re stuck in the middle of a project or you don’t know how to get going, call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s program, what does building a fence, installing a mailbox or setting up a basketball hoop all have in common? Well, they all start with a post that needs to be set solid in a hole. We’re going to tell you a trick of the trade to make those kinds of projects super easy.
LESLIE: And also ahead, if painting is on your to-do list this spring, it’s important to choose paints that are both durable and safe to work with. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House is stopping by with the latest on low-VOC paints.
TOM: Plus, there may be more starting to grow around your house than spring flowers. With all the rain and warming weather, mold, moss, mildew and algae may also be taking root. We’re going to have the step-by-step to stop that from happening.
LESLIE: Plus, if you love gardening, we’re going to hook you up this hour, thanks to The Home Depot. We’ve got a Fiskars Garden and Lawn Tools package worth 144 bucks going out to one lucky caller whose name is drawn at random.
TOM: And after you’re done with your gardening, you can relax under a beautiful Hampton LED Patio Umbrella. It’s out now at The Home Depot for 299 and we’ve got one to give away, as well. So, give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Bill in Texas is on the line and has a painting question. How can we help with your project?
BILL: I’m remodeling my bathroom and it had popcorn on the ceiling. I scraped that off. My question now is: is there a special sealer I need to put on there, other than a KILZ primer, before I paint it?
LESLIE: Well, yeah. A primer is exactly what you’re going to need. You’re going to want a primer. A KILZ primer is fantastic, especially if you have any uneven surfaces or uneven finishes, I should say, or areas of mold or areas of discoloration. That’s the type of primer that you’re going to use to really seal everything in. And once that’s dry, you can go ahead and top it with any latex topcoat, a good-quality ceiling paint. Some people go with white. Some people will tint a ceiling paint slightly just to give a softer space. Totally up to you.
BILL: I’ve got all that texture off – the popcorn off. Do they make a paint with a texture – a lot light texture in it now?
TOM: Well, I mean I think they do have textured surfaces, kind of like stippled surfaces. But I don’t know if you want to go back there. The thing is if you did a good job of scraping all that old popcorn off – and can I just say what a dumb idea that was for somebody to put popcorn on a bathroom ceiling? Oh, my goodness.
LESLIE: Steam is going to make it all fall down on your head.
BILL: Right. Yeah. Yes.
TOM: Yeah. Let’s not only put it in a damp location, let’s give it lots of nooks and crannies where it can grow mold, right, and make it impossible to clean. So well done scraping that away. But I would say that if you’ve got it all scraped away and if you applied a good-quality primer, like Leslie suggested, followed by an equally good-quality flat – very important it’s flat, Bill. Because if you use anything with a sheen, it’s going to look terrible.
BILL: Yeah. OK.
TOM: But flat latex paint – I think you’re going to be good to go. I dare say that people are not going to be going into your bathroom looking up and go, “You know, Bill, love your house but that ceiling’s a bit rough.”
BILL: Yeah, OK.
TOM: I think you’re good on that.
BILL: Alright. Very good. Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck. Alright, Bill. Take care. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Man, popcorn on a bathroom ceiling. What a bad idea that was.[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Robin in Wisconsin has a question about flooring. How can we help you?
ROBIN: Hi. We’re refinishing our finished basement. And the former owners glued down the carpet on the concrete and we’re scraping off what we can. Do we need to – I want to put in vinyl-plank flooring. Do we need to sand that down or should we put a leveler or is there an underlayment that we can put under? Or is it going to matter if there’s some glue on there?
LESLIE: How much glue are we talking about? Are we talking about inches of it or just some areas of slight unevenness?
ROBIN: No, no. Just little areas of unevenness. And we’ve been sanding it [the best way of] (ph) procedure.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. And sanding it is only going to find – gunk up all your sandpaper and gunk up your hand sanders. It only sort of reactivates the glue. It’s kind of strange.
ROBIN: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. OK.
LESLIE: So, generally, with a vinyl-plank flooring, certain manufacturers might have an underlayment on the backside. Some might recommend something. Most of the times I’d say just follow the manufacturers’ recommendations, because they know what’s best for their product. But for the most part, with a vinyl plank, you’re not going to need any sort of underlayment. Those will either usually overlap and adhere to one another with a double-sided tape or they’ll click and lock. It really depends on which product you’re working with.
But I would say if it’s a thinner vinyl plank and you just get a lot of flex to it, you might see areas of more thickness of the adhesive. But if it’s a bit more rigid vinyl plank, I think you’re going to be able to go right over that and not worry about it.
ROBIN: Oh, perfect. Great. Thank you for your help.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doug in Virginia on the line with a siding question. How can we help you?
DOUG: Yes. I had – my son’s house has some vinyl siding on it. And the folks that owned it before he did were patching something with some of the spray-foam insulation – the crack-filler stuff – and it oozed out all over the siding. So I know I can go back and cut it loose, cut what’s extra stuff. But when I get down close to the vinyl, what can I clean the residue off with to make it clean without damaging the vinyl?
TOM: It’s very difficult because you get – those foams are usually polyurethane and they have real adhesive qualities to it. Real adhesive. So, what you can do is try to gently scrape it off with a putty knife. But make sure you use – an older one is better because it won’t be quite so sharp. And very carefully do that.
And then, I’ve stripped off some foam – errant foam – with WD-40 as the solvent. So you might want to try that with a ScotchPad because ScotchPad is not abrasive. But you could spray the siding with the WD-40 and then work the ScotchPad back and forth. You may find that you pull off some of that residue. It really depends on what kind of foam it is. But you’re right, once it’s dry, to cut as much of it off and then try to abrade the rest of it off. But do so with a mind not to damage the siding.
DOUG: OK. Well, I’ll give it a try. WD-40.
TOM: Yep. Try it. It’s one of the thousand uses for that stuff. You know, they say you only need two things in your tool kit: WD-40 and duct tape. They’re pretty close.
DOUG: Then I can go over the whole back of the house with WD-40 to revitalize the vinyl, right?
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t – if it’s the whole back of the house, if you’re talking about spot-cleaning, OK. But if it’s the whole back of the house, then I think you’ve got a bigger problem. I think you’re looking at new siding.
DOUG: But would I get an oily spot when I use the WD-40 that will look different than the rest of it?
TOM: You will, you will. But soap and water will take it away.
DOUG: I guess that’ll fade, yeah.
LESLIE: That’s why it’s good for only like a little spot.
DOUG: Alright. Well, thanks a lot.
TOM: Alright, Doug. 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 Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we are a few short weeks away from the kickoff to summer: Memorial Day weekend. So let us know what you are working on. We’d love to lend a hand. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
TOM: And you especially want to call us if you love gardening, because we’re giving away a Fiskars Garden and Lawn Tools package worth 144 bucks. It’s going to go out to one lucky caller drawn at random, courtesy of The Home Depot. We’ll be back with your calls and more, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. If you are ready to get that deck you’ve always been dreaming of, HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: That’s right. Give us a call. We’re going to help you out with whatever it is you are working on right here at The Money Pit. But we’re also giving away a very perfect prize for the spring season. We’ve got up for grabs the Fiskars Garden and Lawn Tools package.
Now, that includes a Fiskars 16-Foot Tree Pruner, a Fiskars Hori-Hori Knife – and that is the actual name of this, right, Tom?
TOM: And it is the actual name. It’s called Hori-Hori – H-o-r-i-H-o-r-i – knife. Now, you’ve seen this before, Leslie, but you may not recognize in the name. This is the tool that looks like a very narrow shovel, right? Like a spade?
TOM: Shovel? Like a hand shovel that you would use for potting your plants?
TOM: But it’s got a serrated blade on one side of it so that you can rip open the packages that you’re working with, whether it’s mulch …
LESLIE: Or cut through a root.
TOM: Exactly. And it also has a measuring tape, so to speak, kind of ground into it or engraved into the face of the shovel.
LESLIE: Face of the shovel.
TOM: Right. So you can figure out what your root depth might be for a plant that you’re transferring. So, yeah, it’s a very essential tool but it’s got kind of a cool name: the Hori-Hori knife.
LESLIE: I had no idea that that’s what it was called.
TOM: They’re also throwing in a 24-inch Clearing Machete. So if you’ve got a lot of weeds to get through, that will come in super handy. Now, the Fiskars products are available at The Home Depot. The value of this prize package is 144 bucks.
Now, if you’d like to win it, you’ve got to pick up the phone, right now, and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. You’ve got to have a home improvement question. And hey, if you love gardening, it doesn’t hurt, 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Mary in Florida is looking to make her kitchen bigger by taking away from her deck. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
MARY: Well, I have a fairly small kitchen/dining-room area and I was wanting to expand it. We have a patio deck that’s probably about 30×10 feet that’s directly attached to it. There’s glass sliding doors that’s attached to it. We were wanting to find some way that we could enclose that and make that more of an off-season-type area, as opposed to a couple weeks out of the year. We didn’t know if you had any suggestions, ideas?
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, Mary, you can’t take your deck and then sort of put four walls on it and a roof and call it an addition, because decks are not designed for that. They’re not really part of the foundation of the home. And I’ve seen a lot of folks do exactly that and ultimately, it catches up with you. Usually, if you try to sell the house or something of that nature, it doesn’t meet the code requirements. It’s just generally a bad idea.
What you could do for that space, to make it more of a year-round use, might be to consider adding some heating or something of that nature. But it’s always going to be an outdoor space. You can’t take an outdoor deck and turn it into an indoor space. That’s an addition and you can’t just put a door and some walls and a roof and some screening or whatever you’re planning and call that now like an extension of your kitchen. Because it just doesn’t count, OK?
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is on the line with a question about a plumbing product called the SharkBite. Tell us what you’re working on, Doug.
DOUG: Yeah, I’m in the processes where I’m planning to change my two outside faucets to the type that – where the actual shutoff is a foot within the house, inside the house, to avoid having to shut down everything in the winter, because it’ll drain from a foot inside the house. I’m not sure what they call that mechanism but I’m thinking rather than have to deal with soldering any pipes in tight quarters, I’m thinking of using the SharkBite product that eliminates any soldering. And so I basically want your opinion on that.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a push-to-connect fastener and basically, you press it onto one end of the pipe and you press the pipe into the other end and it makes a permanent, watertight seal. It’s a very popular product for that reason because you don’t have to solder. And if you think about it, a lot of times when you do install hose-bib valves – that’s basically what you’re talking about here: you want a hose disconnect inside, say, the floor structure of your basement, for example, or a crawlspace – that’s a tough spot to have to crawl into or reach up into and solder. You’re right near the wood floor joists. It’s potentially unsafe. So I think the SharkBite is a perfect tool for that – a perfect product for that.
And by the way, if you mess up, you can take them apart. There’s a special tool that you need. It’s called a “tong” and it’s shaped so that it slips into the SharkBite connection and releases the mechanism that holds the pipe. And then you can take it apart. And it’s only a few dollars. And I’m sure that if you did enough of this, you’d want to pick one up because nobody’s perfect every day.
DOUG: Does it just work forever or does it wear out somehow?
TOM: Not that I’ve heard of. It’s kind of like the Chinese finger puzzle but it’s stronger.
DOUG: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
TOM: Once you press the pipes together, you can’t really get them apart.
DOUG: Yeah, yeah. I just think it’s a – I know they were maybe a little more pricey than using solder and fittings but it seems like a more practical application. And as you mentioned, being in a tight spot.
TOM: Yeah. And a lot less expensive than a house fire.
DOUG: Yeah. Right. OK. I appreciate your time.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever done a project, like setting a fence post or maybe building a basketball hoop where you need to dig a hole, drop the post in it and then mix up some concrete and then you hope that that post or pole is going to stay straight until it dries, we’ve got a trick of the trade that makes that job a whole lot easier.
TOM: Well, that’s right. And here’s how it works. Now, first, before you start digging, you need to call 811, right? We’ve talked about this. It’s a free mark-out service which will help make sure you’re not going to hit any underground utilities when you start that digging.
Next, after you dig the hole and drop the post inside, the trick is that you want to add a bag or two of QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete. Now, that’s the one in the red bag. Now, at this point, you don’t even have to mix it first. Just fill the area around the post with the dry QUIKRETE post and level it as you go.
LESLIE: Now, once it’s installed and level, then you can add a bucket or two of water around it. Once QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete gets wet, it immediately starts to harden and it will be completely cured in 20 to 40 minutes, because it’s a special blend of fast-setting cements, sand and gravel.
TOM: Now, you can also use the same product for a concrete slab or really any other job where a fast-setting product is important. Just look for it in the 60-pound red bag. And right now, there’s also a bonus package that gives you 20 percent more. You can learn more and get the step-by-step project tips for this type of project and many more at QUIKRETE.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Bill in Michigan is on the line. How can we help you today?
BILL: My wife and I built a house about 10 years ago and we have a 2-car attached garage. And the problem is is that the floor of our garage is not level. And so, when water drops off the car from rain or more particularly, ice and snow, it drops off onto the garage floor and starts to go in different low spots on the floor.
BILL: And a lot of it goes directly towards the wall of our house.
BILL: So I’m wondering if there’s anything we can do to correct that problem without having to remove the floor and replace it.
LESLIE: Can you use something like Abatron or Abocast – I forget which one is the leveling compound – but to build up more on one side? Or will that just automatically try to go flat?
TOM: You know, I’m thinking, Leslie, it’s so much work to be able to deal with a surface this big, to try to get it level again.
I actually think, Bill, it’s frankly going to be easier to tear out the old floor. That might seem extreme but you may be surprised that with the right tool, like a jackhammer, you can have your entire floor torn out in a couple of hours. It breaks up really easily. And then you can properly level it, properly reinforce it and then repour it and be done.
BILL: I was afraid you were going to suggest that. Because the problem is is the floor is sitting on precast concrete beams, because we have a spare storage space underneath the garage. And so the water drips down there.
TOM: Ah. Oh, man.
BILL: So, I could do that, I guess, but I don’t know the likelihood of being able to take concrete off of those precast …
TOM: Yeah, that does – no, that dramatically – I was thinking it’d be over fill dirt like every other one.
TOM: But no, that does make it a lot harder. So I guess you are going to have to look into a floor-leveling compound for this. And there’s a variety of products out there that this can work with. But the key is is it’s not just more concrete; it’s a product that’s designed specifically to stick to the existing concrete floor.
TOM: Because you have the full temperature swing there in Michigan and if you don’t have good adhesion, you’re obviously going to have that second layer chip off. So, it can be done. It’s a bit of a pain in the neck but it definitely can be done.
BILL: Would you suggest a concrete contractor? Do you think they would be familiar with the options there?
TOM: You may be better off having a pro do it, because you really have to set some forms to get this leveled just right. And then you remove them as you go so that it drains (inaudible at 0:18:13).
BILL: Oh, how much could you put on top of a floor that I described?
TOM: Oh, you could put 2 or 3 inches, easily.
BILL: OK. OK. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bill. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, have you ever tackled a painting project but felt ill from the smell? Well, the solution is to choose durable, low-VOC paints. We’ll tell you what to look for, next.
NORM: Hi. I’m Norm Abram from This Old House. And when we’re working on our projects, we listen to The Money Pit.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call now on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT, presented by HomeAdvisor. And just ahead, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House is going to stop by with tips on choosing paint that’s both durable and low odor. And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is presented by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy.
But first, let’s get back to your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Don in Pennsylvania is on the line with a roofing-and-ventilation question. Tell us what’s going on.
DON: We live in a house. It’s about 60 years old now. It has gable vents in the attic, regular style roof. And anyway, the roofer suggested that when the house was reroofed, that we put a full-length ridge vent in the house. The house is an L-shape with (inaudible at 0:20:13) that actually makes the back a T.
So, anyway, the first year after the roof was changed, went through winter, wound up – we noticed discoloration in the ceiling – in the Armstrong ceiling in our office. And so I went upstairs and found out there was 2 inches of snow in the attic.
DON: So I wondered, did we go to the point of having too much ventilation? Because we never had trouble before.
TOM: Yeah, it’s really not possible to have too much venting done.
Now, the type of vent – ridge vent – that the roofer put in, what he should have put in is something called a “filter vent.” And a filter vent basically has a filtering material, right inside the ridge vent, that’s designed to be a weather filter. So it stops the snow from blowing in. If that filter part is missing, that might be the reason you’re getting a lot of snow. But as I said, if a little bit of snow is blowing in, I wouldn’t worry about it. If a lot of snow is blowing in and it’s happening a lot, then you might want to consider replacing that ridge vent with the right type.
DON: I see. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if painting is on your to-do list, it’s a good idea to make sure that the project is healthy for you and your family.
TOM: And fortunately, that has become a lot easier these days, thanks to a wide range of paints that feature low or even zero VOCs. With us to talk about that is a guy who has clocked quite a few hours, I’m sure, with a paintbrush in his hand: Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.
KEVIN: It’s great to be here. It may be too many hours sniffing those VOCs, as well. I don’t know.
TOM: Well, let’s start with the basics for those that are not familiar. What is a VOC?
KEVIN: Well, VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. And that sounds kind of nefarious but basically, they’re the solvents in paint that allow you to brush it onto the wall and then have the paint dry. Paint starts as a solid and you have to add these solvents to make it a liquid.
And they really can cause some problems. People have been around paint cans that might have had the experience where they’ve gotten a headache because they’ve been exposed to the fumes too long or felt dizzy. They are suspected carcinogens and generally speaking, you don’t want to be exposed to these things for too long.
TOM: Now, for many years, paints actually needed these solvents to kind of do their job but the technology’s changing, isn’t it?
KEVIN: Well, the technology’s changing for sure. There are a lot of major manufacturers out there right now that will offer you a low-VOC paint. And some of them are even providing a no-VOC paint. So that’s good news in and of itself but it’s also good news that these paints actually perform as well as their predecessors that did have VOCs.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I know there’s been a ton of testing as far as scrubbability, durability, wearability across the board with manufacturers, that show that these products are performing well.
KEVIN: Yeah. And I think we’ve had good experience with them. On many projects, we’ve gone to low-VOC. Almost all of our projects now, low VOC-paints. And they go up well and they’re durable.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well and I think that’s the direction that the EPA is sort of mandating, when it comes to paint manufacturing now and going forward, that the maximum amount of VOCs is getting lower and lower and lower as the years go on.
KEVIN: Yeah. I mean my experience is is that these things typically start in places like California or New York and then they sort of come into the country.
TOM: Work their way east. In California, for sure.
KEVIN: Yeah. No, absolutely. Right. And so, California has really pushed the envelope in terms of low-VOCs and no-VOCs. But I think it’s the future; I think the rest of the country is going to adopt it wholesale and probably the best part is I think that customers are going to demand it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, with the product having a low-VOC, does that change what we have to do as far as prep is concerned, when it comes to a painting project?
KEVIN: Well, it’s interesting because for many years, people – professionals, I think – sort of pooh-poohed low-VOC paints. And it was the sort of the same arguments that you heard when we went from oil-based paints to water-based paints. “Ah, the oil is nasty but it’s great stuff. It can’t be beat.” Well, latex paints perform really well. And then we heard that – “Well, without the VOCs, without these solvents, you can’t have a great paint.” I think that’s been pretty much dismissed; these paints can perform well.
It does not, however, change the prep process. A good paint job really depends on really good prep work and you still need to do that before you paint with any can of paint.
TOM: Now, Kevin, the labeling is really an important thing here because, as you said, some are no-VOCs, some are low-VOCs, some have odor, some don’t have odor. You know, if you’re trying to sort it out and kind of make an intelligent decision as to which product that you want to go with, can you rely on what’s on the can in the store or is there a better way to figure it out?
KEVIN: There’s some good information on the can. I don’t think it’s completely comprehensive and for that, you probably have to go to the internet. The manufacturers actually publish something called an MSDS and that stands for the Material Safety Data Sheet. And that will tell you exactly what’s inside that can of paint and all of its technical specifications.
And as I say, you can get it from the manufacturer’s website and it’ll have some good information. Maybe more than you need but it’ll have some good information.
TOM: Good advice. Kevin O’Connor, host of TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for dropping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: It’s great to be here, guys.
TOM: For more tips, look for the Interior Paint Buying Guide at ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And of course, you can always watch Kevin and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, we would love to talk to you about your home improvement project, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And we’d also like to toss your name into The Money Pit hard hat, because we are giving away a very nice product from The Home Depot. It’s the beautiful Hampton Bay LED Patio Umbrella and it’s worth 300 bucks.
TOM: But as the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. So call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll be back with that and more, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away the Hampton Bay LED Patio Umbrella. It’s an 11-foot solar offset umbrella and it features a solar cell that charges throughout the day and then powers 40 solar-powered lights at night. It’s a really gorgeous umbrella and it adds a really soft, romantic glow to your patio or porch without any of those messy cords, which really can get tricky.
TOM: And I love the fact that there’s no umbrella pole in the middle. Because invariably, it’s between you and the person you’re talking to and you kind of have to look around it.
LESLIE: Right. And you’re like looking around the pole.
TOM: Yeah, it’s really nice. It’s generously sized. It’s very, very large. It’s going to give you protection from the sun and the weather. And you’ll find it at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com. You can check it out online at HomeDepot.com. I mean this product, I was checking it out. It’s got over 300 reviews and it’s scoring a solid 4-plus out of 5, so people really love it.
It’s worth 299. It’s going out to one caller drawn at random. Wouldn’t you love to win that? Well, you’ve got to work. Pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT and we want to hear your home improvement question.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Ann in North Dakota, you’re on The Money Pit. How can we help you?
ANN: I am looking at a house that is over 100 years old and it has an open staircase. The problem is is that there is a bedroom that is above the staircase and adjoins it at the top. And part of that bedroom is cantilevered harshly and then totally over the open staircase. And I have a big crack that’s developing on an open area. And that area is cantilevered out about 6 feet from a load-supporting wall.
And I don’t know if I can just patch it or if I need to put a support beam or jack or something underneath it, because this area is getting pretty worrisome. I’ve got two cracks that are about 3/8-inch and pretty long.
TOM: So, Ann, are these new cracks or has it always been cracked?
ANN: It’s always been cracked but it’s been a hairline for many years.
TOM: Oh, boy.
ANN: And then we had a massive flood.
TOM: How long ago was the flood?
ANN: That was in ‘97. And then the ground has been shifting ever since. Since that flood, the cracks have gotten bigger. That was in ‘97.
TOM: When we have cracks in walls and foundations and things like that, we always like to determine if they’re active or inactive. Because, frankly, all homes have cracks. If you tell me that over the last 20 or so years that this crack has opened from a hairline to 3/8-inch, it might be active. I’m not actually convinced of that yet but I am concerned enough to tell you that you probably should have it looked at by an expert.
What I’d like you to do is go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors; that’s ASHI – A-S-H-I – .com. And find a home inspector in your area – there’s a zip-code sorting tool there – that’s a member of ASHI. And talk to two or three of them and find one that specializes in structural issues like this and have them look at it. And see if we can determine, based on that inspection, whether or not this is an active, ongoing situation or just a crack in an old, plaster wall that needs to be fixed.
It’s not unusual for old homes to have lots of cracks in them and especially around a staircase, because just the way homes were framed back then is different than they would be today. And so, that’s not an uncommon area for cracks to develop. But I think we need to determine – for your own sort of sanity, if nothing else – whether or not this is active and ongoing or something that’s really just historical. Does that make sense?
ANN: It sure does.
TOM: Hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
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LESLIE: Kevin in Maryland, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KEVIN: Hi. I’ve got a washer and a dryer on the second floor of my house. And it seems, in the last year, I’m getting a lot more vibration, a lot more sound out of those units. And I can feel it a lot more in the second floor. So I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to kind of reinforce something in order to limit that vibration. Because I’ve got three small children now and my amount of washing and drying is not going to go down at all.
TOM: Well, two things. First of all, you want to double-check that the appliance is absolutely level. Because if it’s slightly out of level, you’ll get more vibration. Then the second thing that you could do is pick up some anti-vibration pads for the feet of the washing machine. These are like rubber blocks that are indented where the washing machine legs sort of sit inside of it. Then they sit on the floor and they help absorb some of the vibration.
I have the washer and the dryer actually stacked – full-size units – stacked on the second floor of my house. And I put the anti-vibration pads in it and whenever the machine is spinning, I can literally look at those pads and see them working, because the vibration is really being absorbed by them. And in fact, I have – also have the washer sitting inside of an overflow pan that’s made out of fiberglass. So to get that to work, I had to sort of carve the bottom of the vibration pads to fit sort of the angle of the pan that they’re sitting in. So even with that modification, they work and they work well.
So I would pick up the anti-vibration pads. They’re about 25 bucks for a set of four and you could find those online or I think I found mine at Home Depot.
KEVIN: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Kevin. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question to 888-MONEY-PIT. And that line is presented by HomeAdvisor. Hey, if you’re ready to get that deck you’ve been dreaming of, HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: And just ahead, there may be more starting to grow around your house than spring flowers in this beautiful weather. Mold, moss, mildew and algae may also be taking root. We’re going to have the step-by-step to stop that from happening, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, with all the rain we get in the springtime and the warm weather that follows, green lawns and beautiful gardens are looking pretty darn good about now.
TOM: Ah, yes. But there’s another type of green that doesn’t look nearly as nice and that’s the green of moss, mold, mildew and algae. And that’s something that Scott Dudjak knows a lot about. He’s the president of Spray & Forget and he’s made a career out of helping homeowners remove all that from your siding, sidewalks, patios, decks and more.
SCOTT: Yeah, hi, Tom and Leslie. Thanks for having me.
TOM: Hey, so my first question is that consumers tend to call anything that grows “mold.” But truthfully, there really are four types of growths that are common to the exterior and those include mold but also mildew, algae and moss. What are the differences between that type of growth? And are some more difficult to clean than others?
SCOTT: There’s probably thousands of different types of mold, mildew, algae, lichen, moss and we kind of throw them all into a category of what we call “biological stains.” And those stains are actually living organisms that are feeding on some type of surface. It’s nature’s way of breaking down that material and putting it back into the earth.
TOM: OK. When people try to attach this, they usually do it with a variety of cleaners but some of those are harmful to plants and pets. And that’s something you have to be especially careful of with that runoff today, right?
SCOTT: Yeah, that’s very true. So there’s a lot of different products out there. Our product was developed to not have any bleach, any lye, any acid. So our product was developed to be a safe cleaner but also a very effective cleaner.
LESLIE: Now, if it’s so safe and effective, do you have to put in a lot of elbow grease to kind of really make things come off? Or is it truly like the name: spray and forget?
SCOTT: No, you do not have to rinse our product. That’s the main difference between our product and a lot of traditional cleaners out there – is you don’t need that elbow grease. It’s a very simple spray and forget, just like the name says.
TOM: Now, the product is activated, pretty much, by weather, right? I mean rain, wind and sun? How does that work? Is it a chemical reaction that occurs?
SCOTT: Yeah, a little bit. In layman’s terms, we kind of smother that mold, mildew, algae, moss or lichen and we interrupt the photosynthesis effect that it actually thrives on.
LESLIE: And do you have to pick a specific version of Spray & Forget, depending on what area of the house you’re working on or just one size fits all here?
SCOTT: No, that’s a very good question. So we have different product families. Our first product family that we introduced to Spray & Forget was our roof-cleaning product family. And that product was specifically designed for all different types of roofing, whether it be composite shingles or tile or slate or even aluminum or metal-type roofing. It was designed to be used on those types of surfaces without any kind of rinsing or pressure-washing.
We since have released another product family – our house-and-deck product family – that is a slightly different formulation. And we have some plans to add to that formulation to further enhance some of the features more needed for those types of applications. And that product is designed for any type of vinyl siding, stucco, brick, really any type of exterior surface on your home and also different decking materials, whether it be wood or even composite decking.
TOM: Now, if you want to eliminate the moss and the mildew and the algae, Scott, once you apply the product, do you have to reapply?
SCOTT: Yes, you do. And it’s a good point to bring up. After you get the nasty green or black stains off of your home, you can simply spray Spray & Forget up there, on average, about every two years, depending on the surface. On roofs, you can get even a little longer. And it’s going to keep those stains from returning. So, you basically will permanently be able to keep those stains off as long as you reapply every two to four years.
TOM: Ah, good advice. Scott Dudjak from Spray & Forget, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. I know that this is the time of year when we’re really going to start to see that mold and moss and mildew and algae start to really take root on all those exterior surfaces on our house. And it’s nice to know that we have a product that we can simply apply and just kind of go on with our day and then Mother Nature will do the rest. Website is SprayAndForget.com.
Scott, thanks again.
SCOTT: Thank you.
TOM: And that wraps up this edition of The Money Pit. Thank you so much for joining us.
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 2017 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.)