Hazardous Hideaways for Germs #0410171
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 what are you working on on this beautiful spring weekend? If there’s something on your to-do list that has to do with your house, you want to fix-up your money pit, give us a call because we would love to help you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We exist to help you get those projects done around your house. And hey, if it’s not a project you’re going to do yourself, we can talk about what you need to know to hire a pro to get done, as well.
Coming up on today’s show, spring cleaning leaves your house feeling great but just how clean is it really? We’re going to kind of gross you out a bit and tell you where you can find germs that are hiding in plain sight, coming up.
LESLIE: You know they’re everywhere, Tom. That’s horrible.
Alright. Also ahead, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House is stopping by with some ideas for saving money when it comes to maintaining your home.
TOM: And we’re all about that. And one area of your home that usually needs a lot of maintenance work is your siding. We’re going to get some insight on a new product that looks amazingly like wood but needs virtually no maintenance. I mean zero maintenance. And when you see this stuff, you cannot tell that it’s a composite; it is just that good.
LESLIE: I always say I love things with zero maintenance, which I think makes people think I’m lazy. But come on, guys. We’re all busy.
TOM: You’re a practical girl.
LESLIE: It’s very true.
You guys, are you planning a flooring project? Well, if you are, we’re giving away a fantastic prize going out to one lucky caller this hour. And that’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. And there’s so much to choose from. You can really find some beautiful flooring at a really great price.
TOM: And you can use it in any of their 375 stores nationwide or online, of course, at LumberLiquidators.com. That’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. So, make that you. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to the phones. They’re lighting up.
Leslie, who’s first?
DEBORAH: My husband and I are renovating a Lincoln log house.
DEBORAH: I have – there is – in between the logs, there is chinking.
DEBORAH: And in between our chinking, it is filled with stone. And I just – I want to keep the stone there and rechink it because it deteriorated over the years.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
DEBORAH: I found a recipe online of clay, salt and hydrated lime.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
DEBORAH: We did a couple test spots and when it dried, it cracked. So I don’t know if the recipe is a good recipe or maybe we made it too liquid-y and it cracked. And I do know that in the old houses, they also put straw or horsehair in the clay.
TOM: It’s the same reason they put rebar in concrete: it reinforces it. I don’t know about the recipe with hydrated lime but I know that there’s a recipe that’s similar to that that uses wood ash. Of course, where you’re going to find enough wood ash to do an entire house, I can’t tell you. So, I couldn’t determine if whether – if that is what caused this issue or not. Do you have an inversion to using one of the commercially available, very reliable products for this? Because you can buy chinking.
And by the way, if you’re driving down the road thinking, “What the heck are they talking about?” Chinking – c-h-i-n-k-i-n-g – chinking is – think of it as sort of the caulk between the logs of a log house. You know, when you see logs stocked together and it looks like almost masonry or has been – or mortar has been pressed in between like it would for – be for bricks, that’s called “chinking.” And so, that’s what we’re trying to restore here and it’s unique to log homes.
DEBORAH: Does the horsehair – does that act as a binding to hold the plaster together so it won’t crack?
TOM: I think it would because that’s what a reinforcement material would do. But you know what? I’ve got to say good luck finding ash and horsehair today.
LESLIE: You can buy a horsehair mattress.
TOM: There’s going to be a lot of horses out there that are getting a haircut to chink this house.
DEBORAH: Yeah. I have the horses.
LESLIE: Oh, you have the horses? So that’s good.
DEBORAH: I have the (inaudible at 0:04:55).
TOM: You’ve got the horses, so you’ve got the horsehair covered? We wish you a lot of luck with this but I would say that you ought to just experiment with a couple of different versions of this. And you find one that works, go for it because you are in a very unique position there. A very unusual project.
DEBORAH: Yep. OK.
TOM: Alright. Good luck.
LESLIE: She’s got to be different.
TOM: Yep. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Lloyd in Washington is on the line and needs some help insulating a ceiling. What is going on at your money pit?
LLOYD: This is going to be a great puzzle for you today.
LLOYD: This is not your normal house. It’s a 12-sided house with a cathedral ceiling.
TOM: Oh, that’s interesting.
LLOYD: And I would have to say that there’s two questions here. One is how to insulate that ceiling and the second is how to ventilate it or put a (inaudible at 0:05:53) in. The roof’s a 10- and 12-pitch with 2×12 rafter bays. And the rafters are spaced 24 inches apart.
TOM: OK. We will only answer this question if you can tell us what a 12-sided shape is called.
LLOYD: A dodecagon.
TOM: Oh, man, you got it.
LESLIE: It’s his house.
TOM: It’s a dodecagon. I admit it, I had to look it up. I was curious.
Alright. Look, this is actually going to be a lot easier than you think. You’re thinking in the traditional sense, alright? You’ve got some tough roof spaces here. You’ve got cathedral spaces, you’ve got a lot of small spaces. You have a depth of a rafter that may be only 6 or 8 or 10 inches deep. You don’t have a lot of room. How are you going to vent this?
My answer is this: forget about venting, forget about traditional insulation. This is a perfect application for spray-foam insulation. Here’s why. First of all, you’re going to get much more insulation ability out of the spray foam. It’s much denser, you get a higher R-value per inch. When you use spray foam, you do not have to ventilate the roof. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t require air to go through it to dry it out. So, the spray-foam installers will spray it underside of all of that roof space, trim it flat.
If you want to put a sheathing on, you could do it on top of the spray foam. You’ll never have to worry about ventilation. The nice thing about spray foam is not only does it insulate, it also air-seals so you don’t get drafts. Because if you have all those sides of the house, I imagine you’ve got all that many more places that air can leak in. So, spray foam eliminates that, as well.
So I would definitely recommend spray foam for this house. Now, I used Icynene spray-foam insulation in my house. I was thrilled with how well it came out. So you can talk with them. We wrote a guide to insulation that’s on our website at MoneyPit.com. That might be some help to you but this is a perfect application for spray foam.
LLOYD: To open all that roof up at one time, to me, would seem like it’d be very difficult. Might even be a little bit dicey as far as structure goes, I’m thinking.
TOM: Well, are you talking about opening up from the outside or from the inside?
TOM: Why would you do it that way? I would do it from the inside.
LLOYD: If you’ve seen the house, the walls are over 10 feet high in the main floor and then it goes up to a cathedral ceiling. That’s another …
TOM: Well, what do you have on the underside of the ceiling?
TOM: You have sheetrock. OK. So here’s your choice. You can either tear off your roof, tear off your roof sheathing, spray it, put the whole roof back together. And frankly, if your roof was bad and it was ready for replacement …
LLOYD: It is.
TOM: It is?
TOM: It’s really bad? Alright. Well, maybe that’s the way to go then. But you’re going to have to go through the extra work of tearing off what’s probably perfectly good sheathing and putting it back, you know. Or you could remove the ceiling from inside the house.
The fact that it’s 10 feet, yes, makes it more difficult but drywallers that do this every day work in that height and much higher. You’d be amazed. A trained crew of drywallers can move through a house very efficiently. And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they couldn’t tear all of those ceilings out in just a few hours and put them back in a day or so and then another couple of days for spackle if you have the right company working.
So it’s going to be expensive either way but if you want to get this space insulated, you’ve got to go in from the bottom or the top. There’s just no other way to do this. I wouldn’t even consider blown-in because, again, you have to ventilate it and there’s no way to do that.
LLOYD: Mm-hmm. Right. Because the cupola sits on top of it, which is 9 feet across. What it does, it goes – it’s six-sided. So you go from 12 to 6.
LLOYD: But what you end up with is six trapezoids and six triangles.
TOM: Now, are you a mathematician for your job or something? Do you teach math at a school?
LLOYD: How did you know?
TOM: I could tell, I could tell.
LLOYD: Yeah. Well, I used to teach shop and I was a machinist.
TOM: Oh, yeah? Me too. That’s cool. I used to teach it, too.
LESLIE: You guys have that in common.
TOM: Yeah. Alright. Well, that’s very cool. It sounds like a really neat house and we wish you a lot of luck with it. But look into the spray foam. I think that’s the only way to go. How you get there, you know what you’re up against. But give it a shot, OK, Lloyd?
LLOYD: OK. Sounds good. Thank you.
TOM: 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.
You guys, we’re already a month into spring. What are you working on? What’s going on at your house? Or what have you started to notice is going really wrong outside? Well, whatever it is, we’re here to lend a hand. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, no more excuses. It is time for spring cleaning. But could all that scrubbing be getting you nowhere? We’ll tell you about the germs you’re most likely to miss, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. We’d love for you to join us in the Money Pit Community at MoneyPit.com and post your home improvement question. We will get back to you with an answer and we may share it on this national show, as well. That’s online at MoneyPit.com.
And if you give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, you might just win a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. Going to go out to one of our callers today. You’ll get to choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring. I mean they’ve got prefinished hardwood, they’ve got bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank, wood-look tile. Gorgeous stuff. And hey, if you’re not a DIYer, you can even use it for installation and redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or one of their 375 stores nationwide.
So here’s how it works: give us a call, right now, we toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat. We might be sending that card out to you.
LESLIE: Robert, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ROBERT: Well, I’ve got an old Astro pole barn. It’s about 30 years old. Has original windows in it, which appear to be just sort of slid in from the outside. Got a flange around them.
ROBERT: And then they were bedded in with white RTV.
TOM: Hmm. OK.
ROBERT: Now, I want to replace those windows and I can’t figure out how I’m going to get rid of that RTV to let loose of the frames so I can pull them out of there.
TOM: Yeah. If you’ve got windows that have a flange all the way around – and these are 30-year-old windows?
TOM: So, one option for you is – if you want to just leave the outside frame of the window in place – is to go with replacement windows. And the way that works is you basically would remove the sashes, the part that slides up and down. You would be removing any trim on the sides and on the header. And then when you buy a replacement window, every single replacement window is designed to essentially be custom-built. So you would buy them to fit inside that opening.
So you would have an energy-efficient, easy-to-operate window but you would be retaining that – just the wood frame around the outside of the one you have now and the trim on the outside. But typically, what happens with that is the replacement-window installers will also wrap that trim with aluminum, you know, to make it look great and be kind of maintenance-free.
So, in your case, if you don’t want to mess with that siding, what you could do is just go with replacement windows and it’ll actually be easier to install. They go in pretty quick.
ROBERT: I see. Well, I was kind of planning on removing the whole thing because it’s a standard size, 24×36. And I’d picked up some windows – replacement windows – from …
TOM: When you say you picked up some replacement windows, what you mean is you just picked up some more – we call them “new-construction windows” that have the flange on the outside.
ROBERT: No, they have no flanges on them.
TOM: They don’t. So then did you find replacement windows that will fit inside the existing old window opening?
TOM: What’s your question? I mean you’ve got what you need to do this project.
ROBERT: Well, I need to get rid of that RTV so I can get the old frame out of there.
TOM: Well, if it’s a replacement window, then you don’t remove the old frame. That’s the point. The old frame stays in place and the replacement window fits inside of that. That’s the way a replacement – that’s the way the whole industry works.
ROBERT: I understand that but without getting rid of the frame, I don’t have the exact dimension that I need.
TOM: OK. So your replacement window, yeah, doesn’t fit inside of the existing window. It fits in the existing rough opening but it doesn’t fit in the existing window.
ROBERT: Exactly. No.
TOM: See, what I’m trying to explain to you is that typical replacement windows are basically made to order and they fit inside the opening of the old window and that’s why it’s such an easy way to do a replacement. So, I’m afraid I can’t give you an easy way to do this. You know what your options are. You’re either going to have to open it all up from the outside to use the windows you bought or you’re going to have to go with a true replacement-window design.
Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
ROBERT: Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, spring cleaning makes your house feel great and can give your mood a lift, too. But could your house still be dirtier than you think?
TOM: Well, there are actually lots of places most homeowners don’t think to clean. And if you overlook them for too long, they can actually become health hazards.
LESLIE: Yeah, like your ceiling fan. The top not only gets dirty but then it sends dust and dirt and germs flying every single time you flip it on. So you want to clean the top of those blades with each seasonal cleaning.
TOM: Now, here’s another germ magnet: stair banisters and doorknobs. If you want to keep your home healthy, you’ve got to give them a quick wipe every week or two with a cleaning spray or hot, soapy water. Because those places are just germ magnets.
LESLIE: Oh, please. My kids, I feel like, are always sick. So I’m constantly walking down the staircase with bleach wipes, one in each hand, cleaning the banisters. And don’t forget, you guys, about the top of your fridge. Yeah, you’ve got to clean up there, too. Kitchen grease, dirt, grime, it all gathers up there. And that really leads to germs and even fungus. So you’ve got to keep the top of your fridge clean. It really is especially important especially, guys, if you’re storing food up there.
TOM: And here’s one I bet you never thought about: reusable cloth groceries bags, right? They’re great for the environment but they could be bad for your health if you don’t keep them clean. Think about it: they’re going to touch everything, from shopping carts to raw fruit and meat. And if you get some drippage of that meat juice in there and then it passes on to whatever else you put next to it, like the vegetables, yuck.
So, what you ought to do with them is toss them in the wash after every use. Unless that bag says otherwise, you can just wash them in hot water and you will be good to go.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Deborah in Georgia is on the line with a laminate question. What can we do for you?
DEBORAH: I have some laminate floor covering that, unfortunately, some nail polish was spilled onto. It’s dried. It’s clear. But how can I get it up? Because you can see it at an angle but I’d really like for it to be gone.
TOM: Was there a story behind that accident?
DEBORAH: Yeah, my grandson picked up a bag and dropped it.
TOM: Bless his heart. Have you tried nail-polish remover?
DEBORAH: I was afraid to try it.
TOM: You know what? I have enough confidence in your laminate that I think that’s probably OK. But here’s what I would do. I would not soak it. I would put a little bit on a cotton ball or a little bit on a paper towel and then just work at it a little bit at a time.
TOM: But I bet you that’s probably the quickest way. That’s acetone. And that’s the quickest way, probably, to get that off of the floor.
DEBORAH: OK. Well, I didn’t know if the non-acetone nail polish might work even better. I don’t – I was afraid to try anything.
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen, if you’ve got a concern about it, what you could do is go to an area of the floor that’s not so visible, like maybe in a closet or underneath the kickboard or a piece of furniture and just try a little bit right there. I suspect it won’t have any effect on it, because that stuff is pretty tough.
DEBORAH: Well, great. That’s wonderful. That’s the best news I’ve had.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, it’s never a good idea to slack off on taking care of your biggest investment but taking care of your home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Just ahead, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House will be stopping by with smart ideas to save money while maintaining your home.
TOM: And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators where you’ll find bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less. That plus more of your calls to 1-888-MONEY-PIT, after this.
JONATHAN: Hey this is Jonathan Scott, host of HGTV’s Property Brothers. And you’re listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
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: Hey, DIYers, last weekend was your day. It was National Do-It-Yourself Day and we had an awesome time manning the video-chat line for our friends at the DIYZ app. You know, this is an app that lets you video-chat with a pro advisor that has years – I mean years – of experience in their field. And these guys can answer questions about home repairs or remodeling or craft projects or even offer tips to help you plan your next big home improvement. And that’s all through that DIYZ app. You’ve got to download this thing.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? The best part of that service is right now it’s free. While you’re on the app, you can browse a huge library of how-to projects with step-by-step videos. So you can stop and pause them at every step. Plus, you’re going to find lists for the tools and materials that are recommended by that project. And you can even shop for them right through the app.
TOM: You can download the DIYZ mobile app today, for free, at the Apple App Store for iPhone and the Google Play for Android. You can also learn more at DIYZ.com and that’s spelled D-I-Y-Z.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Doug in Illinois is dealing with some water under a deck. Tell us what you’re working on.
DOUG: Well, I’m interested in a roof or a water-drainage system up underneath my deck. I have a 16×40 deck and I saw somewhere on TV that they have some sort of a system that goes up in between the joists. I was wondering if you knew anything about that.
TOM: Yeah. Is this like a second-floor deck and you guys sit under it or something?
DOUG: Yeah. There’s this – there’s a full lower level under the deck, yes.
TOM: Well, those are called “deck drainage systems” and there’s lots and lots and lots of different manufacturers of it. There’s DEK Drain, there’s DrySnap.
LESLIE: Yeah, there’s something called UnderDeck that seems to be a Depot product.
TOM: Trex has one that’s called RainEscape.
So, these are all deck-drainage systems. I don’t know enough about them to give you a recommendation of one over the other but that’s what you want is a deck-drainage system. They basically – as you say, they fit in between the joists, so they fit under the deck. They’re designed to collect the water and then run it to some sort of a traditional gutter and get it away from the house, so that you could have some living space underneath that deck and not have the rain falling on your head.
DOUG: Absolutely. That’s what I’m looking for. Did you say something about Home Depot?
LESLIE: Yeah, Depot has a product called UnderDeck, which is basically like – I guess you could call it an “under-joist gutter system.” And it sort of pieces together; it’s modular.
DOUG: Oh, OK. Wonderful. Well, I sure will check there.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re tightening your belt, you may be thinking about slashing your home maintenance budget and that could be a huge mistake.
TOM: That’s right. It’s never a good idea to slack off on taking care of your biggest investment. And don’t be chintzy with it, either. Here to explain why is This Old House host Kevin O’Connor, who’s a guy that’s never been known to be chintzy.
KEVIN: Hi, guys.
TOM: So, Kevin, when it comes to just about any project that you know you have to do, even though you may not feel like it, the hardest part is just getting started. Any tips to help us just get going and make it a bit easier?
KEVIN: Well, I think you’re 100-percent accurate. Most people want to spend their weekends out on the golf course or biking around with the kids. And the thought of getting back into the house and fixing leaky faucets or scraping paint is not all that exciting for folks. But that being said, you do have to understand that your house is one of the biggest assets you’re going to own, so it makes sense to take care of it. And it’s also where you spend so much of your time. So you owe it to yourself to make it a comfortable place.
And there are a lot of home improvement projects out there, ranging in all different sizes. But as far as I’m concerned, every single one of those is really just a group of smaller projects. And if you break it down into little pieces, it’s a lot easier to get started knowing that you just have to start with a little, tiny project and then move on from there.
LESLIE: And is it best to sort of prioritize the importance of the project itself, like make a list that’s “I have to do this. This can wait a couple of weeks”? Should you tackle it in that sense?
KEVIN: Yeah, sure. A list of must-dos and should-dos and then the kind of I’d-like-to-dos is a great way to go about it. And there are things in your house that if you don’t address, they’re just going to get worse. You know, if you’ve got plumbing that is leaking, it may not seem like that drip is that big of a deal but it’s dripping somewhere. And next thing you know, a leaky pipe is going to turn into a rotted wall that’s going to turn into damaged sheetrock.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Look, your toilet is a perfect example of that. If you’ve got a very slow drip-drip-drip under that wax seal, pretty soon you’re going to be looking at the need to rip out your bathroom floor.
KEVIN: Yeah, absolutely.
TOM: Takes a very small project …
LESLIE: And possibly the ceiling below.
TOM: That’s absolutely true.
But you’re right, Kevin. It all starts with the first step and those small projects are the way to get going, because the first one always seems like it’s going to be 100 pounds to lift that weight. But once you do that, you build up a bit of momentum.
KEVIN: No, absolutely. And I think if you break it down – in my mind, the priorities for me are basic maintenance. If something is broken and it’s starting to deteriorate, you go after those first, right? So stop the leak before it gets worse.
After that, the things that have the big effects, as far as I’m concerned, are curb appeal. You can get outside and get around the house. The things that you see and touch every day – how the house looks, cleaning up paint, scraping off some old chips and stuff like that – that’s good. Then move to the bigger projects and then even start thinking about where does your work stop and the work of a professional begin. Because you do have to call those guys in at some point.
LESLIE: So, Kevin, when it comes down to the time that you actually have to hire a pro, is it best to sort of lump a group of projects together before you bring that person in or should you really just tackle the important stuff and let whatever happens down the road happen?
KEVIN: I think it depends on your relationship with the professional. If you’ve got a good relationship with someone who has come to your house time and time again and has served you well, then I don’t think it’s any problem having these things done piecemeal. “Joe, will you fix this for me and just that? We’ll have you back in a couple of weeks or a couple of months to do something else.”
If you’re going out and going to spend your time trying to find just the right person and it’s going to be a pretty big investment, well, then you probably want to have them there and do several things at once. Because as you guys know really well, getting them to come is not always easy and there’s a lot of work and time in the setup and the breakdown of all these things. So, make it efficient for them and save yourself a couple bucks.
TOM: It’s also important to find one that doesn’t charge you more just because you started it first.
KEVIN: That’s true.
TOM: Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: My pleasure, guys.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by Lumber Liquidators. Hardwood floors for less.
Just ahead, your home’s exterior has to be weatherproof and that means keeping out everything that Mother Nature throws at it. And in this season of spring rains, we ask: is your siding up to that challenge? We’ll have tips just ahead, presented by Tando Building Products, 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: So, Leslie, you know how we always say that life events precipitate home improvement?
LESLIE: Oh, don’t they?
TOM: Now, you just got a new doggy and you had to do some fence work as a result, right? Because this dog is apparently pretty frisky and can pretty much get out of any enclosure you build for it, right?
LESLIE: Ugh. Crazy Sherman, I swear to you. This dog is all craziness but super cute, luckily. So, true, I had to get new gates for the backyard: new for the driveway side and then new for the side of the house. Because I had pressure-treated lumber gates and they were starting to wear out and the hardware was wearing out and they were a little flimsy. And Sherman was able to open them or push them open or sort of wiggle them loose.
So I ended up going with a composite and it really looks pretty, it functions super easy, they’re staying square. Everything looks really great. So, had Sherman not come along, I probably would’ve kept up with this dilapidated wood fence and just dealt with it for a while longer. But this is a really great, new gate.
TOM: Well, that Sherman is one very special dog. Got an interesting history, too. This was a rescue dog from Afghanistan, is that correct?
LESLIE: Actually, Kuwait. So we adopted Sherman through an organization called Wings of Love Kuwait, which is based in the Baltimore area. And there’s a wonderful woman named Patricia and she flies back and forth from Kuwait. She’s a flight attendant for United Airlines. And she met some women who were rescuing dogs and apparently there’s an area where the dogs are left and mistreated. And she has brought 220 dogs to the United States in the past 2 years.
LESLIE: And they’ve all been adopted and wonderful. I think we’re going to take a little bit of time getting Sherman used to being a house dog. He’s just so used to running around the desert that he’s taking his time. But he’s adorable and we love that we’ve sort of saved him from a really bad situation. And he’s really sweet.
TOM: Well, that’s amazing work. Let’s give them a solid plug. Their website for Wings of Love Kuwait is WingsOfLoveKuwait.com. So, we welcome Sherman to America and I’m sure that fence will hold him in just fine.
LESLIE: It’s doing its job.
TOM: If you’d like to step up the look of your home’s exterior and cut back on the amount of time and expense your exterior needs to keep it looking good and watertight, you really need to think about the options in siding materials. We’ve got ideas, in today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando.
LESLIE: Well, when homes were first built, wood siding was the only option available. It worked but it never was truly waterproof. And it needed to be constantly maintained to stop it from falling apart. Eventually, you had to replace it anyway because wood being wood, it’s an organic material and is basically designed to deteriorate.
Now, all we do by painting and staining is keep that reality off as long as possible. You’re just delaying the inevitable. But that really takes a lot of work and a lot of expense.
TOM: So then you can go to the other side of the coin, which is vinyl siding. It’s probably the most popular siding in the country, inexpensive compared to other types of siding, pretty easy to install, reasonably maintenance free. But the big complaint with vinyl is that it doesn’t really look much like wood, first. And then, secondly, it can be wavy. Have you ever driven down the street, especially in the summer, and you see these walls that look like they’re out of focus?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: That happens all the time with vinyl because as they heat up, the panels expand and they look really, really bad.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, fiber cement is one of the more modern and durable products around. Some of the versions look a lot like the asbestos shingles of yesteryear but this product actually has a completely different formulation. And it’s a durable solution that attempts, again, to mimic the look of natural wood. Although fiber-cement siding can be a bit pricey, it really is a great option to consider. You know, we have it on our house and I love it. I love the way it looks and I truly haven’t done a thing in years.
TOM: Now, composite siding is clearly the best of all of these materials brought together. It’s the newest siding on the market and it combines all the benefits of the older siding products but with none of the hassles. First, the composite siding is not only water-resistant, it’s actually completely waterproof. It can even be used below grade with no effect whatsoever.
But what I think the best quality is for composite is that it looks realistic. Finally, you’ve got a composite product that looks so much like wood shakes or shingles that you probably have to touch it to know the difference. And the finishes are also really durable and they can give you that beauty of wood siding without any of the typical upkeep, like painting and staining followed by more painting and staining and so on.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando Exterior Cladding. With Tando, you can replace wood and stone with beauty, longevity, low maintenance and moisture-resistance. TandoShake Signature Stain features six stain colors with a true semi-transparent wood stain for rich color. And TandoStone has the rich look of stone without the weight, messy mortar or maintenance. Ask your contractor to use Tando to accent any other type of siding for a visually interesting mixed-materials look.
TOM: Learn more at TandoBP.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Margaret in Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARGARET: Well, I have a problem with my concrete slab in the back of my house, where I’d like to put a patio set.
MARGARET: And it’s turned dark.
MARGARET: The sun does not get at it that much. It’s not a mold but it just turned dark.
TOM: Yeah. Well, it might be an algae or a mildew, maybe mold. You don’t know. But what I would suggest you do is to pick up a product called Spray & Forget. That’s their website, too: SprayAndForget.com. It’s sold at major retailers, like Home Depot and others. And you simply apply the product and within a couple of days, you’ll see that the patio will start to lighten. And it takes those stains away. It goes to work with the moisture in the air and the sunlight. It activates and then kills mold, moss, mildew and algae.
MARGARET: Oh, great, great. Because it looks terrible.
TOM: Yeah. I think it’ll look a lot better, Margaret, OK?
MARGARET: Well, thank you.
LESLIE: Well, now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to get out on your deck and enjoy the season. But before you do, it’s a good idea to give it a safety check. We’re going to share the DIY steps, next.
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: Hey, so we want to take a minute to welcome a brand-new sponsor to the show that helps us put this program on for you. And it’s a name you know and it’s perhaps one you probably have known for a long time. It’s Speed Queen Washers and Dryers.
Now, Speed Queen is actually the largest manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment in the world. I remember them growing up. Through the laundromats, they always had Speed Queen machines. I mean if you went to a firehouse or a hotel or a college dorm, you’d see these machines. Well, now they’re making them for the home and they’re very basic, very solid machines that are designed to last for a very, very long time, right?
LESLIE: Really, they are made to last, they’re made to be durable. And best of all, they’re made in the United States, right here in Wisconsin. And the testing they do is crazy. Now, they run 10,400 loads to test the machines. And that represents an average household doing 8 loads of laundry a week for 25 years. Can you imagine any other washer or dryer …?
TOM: Do you do that? Do you do – you have two kids. Do you do that much laundry? Probably close to that, huh?
LESLIE: I do probably three or four loads.
LESLIE: And that’s like saving up until there’s a lot to do. I should probably do far more but who’s got the time?
TOM: So they’ve got a great warranty, too. They’re available at more than 2,800 dealers nationwide. So check them out at SpeedQueen.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Alright, you guys. While you’re online, make sure you head on over to MoneyPit.com. You can post your question, email your question and we love to answer them. And I’m going to start with one here from Sherry and David. And they posted a question to the Money Pit Community on MoneyPit.com about their deck. They write: “We’ve just purchased a home that’s about 22 years old, with a wood deck that the owners added a few years ago. We’d love to entertain but some of the boards are cracked. And we’re wondering what we need to do to make sure it’s safe.”
TOM: You know, I am so glad to hear you guys think that way. Because I live near the shore and there’s lots of resort properties around here and there’s lot of parties that go on in these houses that are rented. And all across the country, every once in a while – Fourth of July, whatever – you’re going to have a big group on that deck. And in every single year – every year in the summer – we hear about one or more very serious deck collapses. People get hurt, people die and the story is always the same, right? “Oh, it was fine. We’re just out there having a good time and then bam, the thing goes down.”
So, after a season of snow and ice and salt and sand, it’s really important to give your deck a safety check. And it’s actually not that hard to do. You can do some of these basic steps yourself.
LESLIE: Yeah. You really want to make sure that everything is just stable and in good form. So first of all, you want to check under your deck for split or rotted beams, as well as any corroded fasteners.
Now, the fasteners are going to be the metal parts that keep sort of the joists or the pieces that support the floorboards together to all of the side framing. So make sure that everything there is intact. You want to look at nails, screws, even the bolts, because they can come loose over time. So pay extra attention to where that deck attaches to your house to see if there’s any signs of weakness.
TOM: Yeah. And I’ll give you a home inspector’s trick of the trade. You know what my favorite structural-inspection tool was, Leslie? A long screwdriver.
LESLIE: Right. Just poking at things?
TOM: I would just poke at things and poke at things and poke at it. I’d make the homeowners nervous because they thought I was destroying their house when I’m like, “Well, if it wasn’t rotted, my screwdriver wouldn’t have gone in.” But I would go under that deck and I would check the floor joists, especially where they get close to the house, because that’s where you get a lot of decay. And just stab that thing. I mean it should be rock solid. You shouldn’t go through it. It shouldn’t be affected by moisture, by decay, by insects. So, stab away and make sure it’s solid.
Check the railings. Check the banisters. Make sure the steps are secure. If you’ve got any cracked deck boards, trick of the trade: you can take those out and flip them over because since there was no sun exposure on the bottom side, that back side, even if it’s a 20-year-old deck, will look just as good as the day it went down.
And then lastly, do a bit of cleanup, right? You want to use a hose, a broom, remove all those leaves, get rid of the moss, the mold, the algae. You can use a commercial solution. You can use a 10-percent bleach solution, you can use laundry detergent. Just clean it up and you’re good to go.
LESLIE: Alright. Good question. Always better to be safe. Thanks for writing in, you guys.
I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: Remember, you can do it yourself …
TOM: 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.)