- Home Ventilation: Is your energy-efficient so airtight, it’s unhealthy? Proper ventilation will keep the fresh air flowing so you can breathe easier.
- Concrete Repair: Trying to repair old concrete by covering it with a new layer doesn’t work. We’ll let you know the best way to resurface worn-out concrete.
- Painting Your Shed: Does your backyard shed need sprucing up? Painting your shed is an easy DIY project you can do before storing summer stuff away.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Home Insulation: Carol’s raised house is hot in summer and cold in winter, but adding insulation may be all that’s needed. Tom explains how to keep things comfortable.
- Pest Control: When a surplus of spiders sets up camp around the yard, things can get creepy. Tom advises Ben on how to eliminate the nests and control the pests.
- Universal Bath Design: Having a bathroom that’s accessible for everyone is important for homeowners of all ages and abilities. We share info with Tracy on designing a bathroom to assist with special needs and where to find recommendations and resources.
- Linoleum Flooring: Chad wants to know if it’s worth trying to patch an old and damaged linoleum floor. Find out why flooring replacement may be a better option.
- Patio Cover: Annette is ready to finally get the patio cover she’s always wanted, but it may require some modifications to her low-pitch roof. We suggest who to speak with to get the architectural specs she needs.
- Pool Decking: Cool deck coating is easier on your bare feet when walking around the pool on a hot day, but Gloria says it can be hard to clean. We let her know what product to look for.
- Electrical Upgrade: Is it really necessary to install a new electrical panel to power up appliances in an older home? Jason gets good news about adding the new circuits that he needs.
- Water Conditioner: Do you need a water softener or a water conditioner for your home? Howard learns about the right product to treat the lime and scale in his water.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you take on the projects you want to get done around your house. You’ve got a décor dilemma you need some help solving? A how-to problem? You’ve got a project you’d like to get done? Maybe you’ve got a project that you got started with but didn’t go exactly in the direction you planned.
I had one of those projects, Leslie. I was building a deck. I was going to do a re-cover of my deck. But once I took off the old deck, I found out I had some rotted beams. So I had to switch gears and get some new wood.
So that kind of thing happens to everybody, including us so-called “experts.” If that’s happened to you and it’s spurred on some questions, we would love to hear from you. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can post your question on MoneyPit.com. Just click on the blue microphone button.
Coming up on today’s show, an energy-efficient home can definitely help you save big on energy and cash. But did you know that if the home is too airtight, it can actually make you sick? It can. So we’re going to explain how to keep the fresh air flowing when airtight becomes too tight.
LESLIE: And have you ever tried to repair old, worn-out concrete by covering it with new concrete, only to find out that it didn’t last? Well, we’re going to share a solution that’s actually stronger than the concrete it covers.
TOM: And summer is awesome. But when fall gets here, have you thought about where you’re going to store all that patio furniture and kiddie pools and lawn equipment? Well, for many of us, the answer is a backyard shed. So we’re going to show you how to spruce up your shed so it’s really ready for seasonal storage.
LESLIE: Alright. But first, give us a call, let us know what you are working on. Because as we’re wrapping up the summer season, it kind of switches gears from one set of projects to a totally different set of projects. So let us help you either finish out the summer with a big shindig or a fun project that you want to get done before the cooler weather comes in. Or let us help you plan something for that amazing, Goldilocks season of home improvement where the weather is just right to get a lot of stuff done.
TOM: Or you can let us send you some tools. Because on today’s show, we’ve got the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Light-Duty Staple Gun, with a year’s supply of staples, going out to one listener drawn at random. So make that you. You’ve got to call us with your question at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Carol in California is on the line with an insulation question.
How can we help you today?
CAROL: I have an old house. It sits high off the ground and it’s all open underneath. And it is freezing cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Is there something that I can do underneath the house?
TOM: So there’s no insulation?
CAROL: I don’t think so. Very little, if any.
TOM: Yeah. Are there – is it like a sort of open floor joist? Do you see the floor joists when you look under and up?
CAROL: You know what? I haven’t been under the house.
TOM: Yeah. Well, look, you’ve got to get somebody under there, Carol, to see what the structure is. But we have the technology, OK?
TOM: You know, if it’s a standard floor-joist construction, you can add insulation in between the floor joists and then under that, you could use 2-inch insulating foam board and then nail that to the bottom of the floor. And that would seal up the floor from the cold air that’s getting up in there.
And I would also take a look at the attic to make sure that that’s insulated. And you just may have a house that needs a few very basic, energy-saving improvements to it.
CAROL: Alright. Well, I appreciate that information.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ben in Arizona who’s dealing with a situation of arachnophobia.
What’s going on with those spiders?
BEN: Oh, not a whole lot. They seem like they’re overtaking our yard. I can mow and they just scatter everywhere. I kill anywhere from 30 to 50 of them every time I mow.
TOM: Do you have any idea what kind of spider it is?
BEN: No. They call it – from what I’ve heard, they call them “wood spiders.” And I don’t know if that’s what they’re – really what they’re called or not. But they’re brown and they’ve kind of got black streaks across their backs. And some of them are smaller than – some of them look like they can get to 2-inch diameter or so, something like that.
TOM: There’s actually a couple things that you can do to try to control these – the population of these wolf spiders. First of all, things that you can do on your own are to try to eliminate their nesting sites. And that are areas where you have bushes, ivy, grasses or any plant that is right up against the house. Wood piles, lumber piles, rock piles are all places where these spiders can nest.
But the most effective way to get rid of them is to use a pesticide. Now, you can either do this yourself or you can hire a pro. If you want to do it yourself, there is a pesticide dust that you can buy in a lot of places; I know it’s available on Amazon. It’s called EcoEXEMPT D Dust. The letter D – EcoEXEMPT D Dust. And it’s an organic, plant-based insecticide that’s ready to use. And it’s pet-safe, as well, which is important.
I’ve got to tell you, if I had kids and I had that much of a problem, I’d probably have it done first by a professional and then I’d follow up with my own do-it-yourself pest control after. Because the products that the pros use are just far more effective. And they are absolutely safe if they’re applied by a trained professional according to label directions. Does that make sense?
TOM: We’re so happy you’re spending a bit of your day with us. And we’re going to reward one lucky listener with a giveaway. We’ve got the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Light-Duty Staple Gun and a year’s supply of staples.
Now, this is a great tool. It’s really a must-have for any projects with upholstery or paper or cardboard or thin plastics. It’s an electric gun, right? So you’re not going to wear out your hand. And the battery life, well, it last up to 3 hours.
And the package is worth 75 bucks. Going out to one listener drawn at random that calls us or emails us or posts us with their questions. This is a participation sport, people. You’ve got to make an effort. So if you’ve got a question, that would be a great reason to get it over to us. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tracy in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a universal-design project.
Tell us what you’re working on.
TRACY: I have a daughter who’s 21 years old and we need some help when it comes to bathing her. We’re looking at doing a bathroom addition onto her room but we don’t even know, really, how to get started. Do we need to consult with an architect on the design advice? She’s homebound, medically fragile, 100-percent disabled and we just are looking at some advice on how to even get started to meet her needs so that we only have to do this one time.
LESLIE: Is a tub situation easier for you or is a shower?
TRACY: Probably a shower.
LESLIE: OK. Because there are the tubs with the doors that open. It depends on how difficult it would be to sort of move her from chair to seated tub position. It just depends on how comfortable you are with the bathing situation, if you want to get in there and get wet.
But Tom and I have actually done a lot of work with universal design and are quite familiar with some of the processes.
TOM: Well, that’s right. And I do think it’s a good idea to use a certified kitchen-and-bath designer and that’s somebody who is going to be specializing in universal design. You’re going to ask specifically for someone that has that talent, because they’re going to be up to speed on the best products that are out there for your particular situation, be able to recommend appropriately and you’re going to get a bathroom that actually looks nice and functions well for you.
I would not – would not – call a standard remodeling contractor. Because a remodeling contractor will say, “Yeah, I understand. I know what to do.” And you know what? They just don’t, because it’s very specialized.
In fact, some years ago, Leslie, didn’t the AARP have a special certification program for contractors and architects that were working with universal-design situations?
LESLIE: They did. It was through the Home Builders Association. And they had a special course that you could take to become certified as a universal-design specialist. So you might want to start with the AARP’s website, just to find some recommendations of folks in your area who are certified. I believe it was called the CAPS – Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist – Program.
And even though that’s not necessarily your need, it has similar associations. So you might want to start there, as far as just trying to find somebody who can help you find the right products. Because you want something that looks good; you don’t want it to feel like a hospital. You want it to function and you want it to be done right the first time.
TOM: They have a lot of resources for universal design. Probably the best collection anywhere online is on the AARP website. You just simply click on the Home & Family section and then Home Improvement and you’ll find a lot there.
They also have a section on livable communities, because the universal design just makes sense for folks of any age, whether you are a senior citizen, whether you are disabled or whether you are just a mom that comes home with her arms full of grocery bags and needs to pop open a door with her elbow because she can’t really turn a doorknob. There’s tips like that that really make it so much easier for you to live comfortably in your house, regardless of age or physical condition. So I would start there, as well.
But make sure you work with people that are experienced in universal design. There are lots and lots of people out there. You’ve just got to find them, OK?
TRACY: Great. Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, an energy-efficient home can save homeowners big on energy and cash. But since they’re so airtight, they also often require extra ventilation to maintain a safe indoor-air environment.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s where mechanical ventilation steps in. It actually lets air into your house. And it seems kind of counterintuitive to think that we put forth all this effort to seal up our homes but if it’s too tight, that can actually make us sick.
When you had an older house, an old house was naturally leaky. And that was good in that the air was always fresh. But of course, if there was too much air getting in, it was pretty expensive.
But when it becomes really tight and it becomes really energy-efficient, you have to think of a more strategic way to let that fresh air in so that you sort of trap some of the heat or the air conditioning in the exchange. And that’s what mechanical ventilation does.
LESLIE: Yeah. But how do we go about doing that without wasting energy at the same time? I mean it seems like they kind of go hand in hand.
TOM: Yeah, they do. There’s two ways to do it. The devices are called an HRV or an ERV. It stands for Heat Recovery Ventilation or Energy Recovery Ventilation. They both work very similarly.
The HRVs, they pull in fresh air while they exhaust the stale air. And then they use the heat that’s found within that stale air to sort of preheat that fresh, incoming air. So, as an added bonus, you basically use less energy bringing outdoor air up to room temperature. And it does require a fan and that runs continuously, sort of 24/7.
The difference between that and an ERV is that the ERV is better in capturing humidity. So that would be probably better for a warmer climate. But they essentially do the same, making a very controlled way for you to pull in that fresh air without losing the energy in the process.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, that sounds good. It’s super important to have an energy-efficient home but we also have to remember to keep our home’s air healthy, as well.
Chad in Illinois is on the line with a flooring question.
What can we do for you today?
CHAD: My question is concerning my linoleum floor I have in my kitchen. It was damaged probably during installation. And before we moved in, they cut out little squares and they patched it up. Well, over time, those squares have come up and gotten brittle and rolled over and it looks horrible.
And I want to know, is there a way that I can repair that, kind of like the way they did: just cutting out a square or two from a closet or underneath a stove? What kind of adhesive to use – or am I just fighting a losing battle and should I just save the money and replace the whole floor sometime?
TOM: Well, if it’s an older floor like that, it might not make sense to keep fixing it. Especially when you consider that remnant vinyl is available, laminate is available. The prices on this have gone way down. You can buy laminate floor now for probably as little as about $3 a square foot.
So not expensive, pretty easy to install, all lock together. And actually will last a long, long time. And I’ve had laminate floor in my kitchen for 20 years and it’s really not showing any wear whatsoever.
So I think, given what you’ve been through with this, it’s probably time to move on.
CHAD: Alright. My wife would totally agree with you.
TOM: Alright. OK. Well, we’ve now given you our blessing. Go ahead and buy some new flooring, OK, Chad? Make your wife happy.
CHAD: Thank you.
TOM: Alright, take care. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Annette in Arizona is on the line and needs some help with a patio project.
Tell us about it.
ANNETTE: The problem that I’m having is I’ve been wanting a patio cover put on my house for the last 20 years.
ANNETTE: Well, now that my kids have grown up, I’m able to do that now. So, the problem is everyone is telling me that I have a very low roof and my ceilings in my house are only 7½-feet ceilings.
ANNETTE: So, I don’t have much of a clearance. So, of course, everything else seems to be lower in the backyard.
I’ve called probably eight or nine different builders now to see how much it would cost, this patio cover. And it’s straight across, so it’s 56 feet long, the whole length of the house.
ANNETTE: And I think probably six of them never called me back.
TOM: That’s pretty typical.
ANNETTE: And so the two that have, one of them is a very good friend of mine and I really do trust him in building this top patio cover. But he says I need to cut 6 feet into my roof in order to get the pitch that I need for at the very end. So I really wanted a 56-feet-wide by 10-feet-out patio cover.
TOM: Right. So what he’s saying is that if he adds a roof that starts at the edge of your roof and then kind of comes out from that, you’re not going to have much pitch, is that correct? Because you’re starting so low.
TOM: So I think your builder friend is probably correct, from your description. That said, the problem that you have with different builders giving you different advice can be completely avoided if you get a design professional to go in there first.
So if you’re able to find, for example, an architect in your area that wanted to take on a small project, have them design this patio cover for you and then you’ll have a set of specifications. You can work through all the angles with the architect or the designer. Then you’ll have a set of specifications. You can call those contractors back and say, “This is exactly what I want. Now, just give me a price to build it.”
Otherwise, you have no way of comparing apples to apples, because every builder is going to have their own solution. And you’re going to get different prices and you’re really not going to know how to compare them, because who knows what one guy is doing versus another? Does that make sense to you?
ANNETTE: Yeah, I understand. And the problem is I wouldn’t mind him doing it but I am so afraid that wherever he cuts into it to build out – I’m so worried that I’m going to start having problems leaking.
TOM: I really wouldn’t worry about it, OK? Because builders know how to build roofs and they know how to build roofs that don’t leak. And somebody built that roof that’s over your house right now and there’s no reason to think that your builder can’t attach another roof to it and then reroof that area properly so that you don’t get leaks. I think he’s giving you the right advice, because you can’t – if you start low and then go out, you’re going to end up with almost a flat roof and that’s going to leak like a sieve.
So if you have a good pitch, that’s going to be the surest way to avoid leaks. I would not worry at all about a contractor that has to dig into an existing roof; that’s done all the time. It’s not a big deal. If somebody knows what they’re doing, they can roof it properly, flash it properly and you will have no leaking issues – new leaking issues – as a result.
ANNETTE: Alright. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate your answer because my worry was it’s going to start leaking. And then I’m going to have major problems because it’s going to be leaking over the family room, the dining room, the kitchen and the bedroom and the – I said that’s another problem that I don’t want to get into.
TOM: Yeah, well, now that the kids are gone, I think it’s time for you to get that project done and enjoy it, right?
ANNETTE: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Annette. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Gloria in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
GLORIA: Oh, hi. I’m calling about the product SUNDEK. It’s also called Kool Deck. And I really just find – it’s that product that keeps your feet very cool? I had a pool put in and so when you get out of the water, it’s nice and cool on the feet; you don’t have the hot cement.
But I find it very hard to keep clean. It looks kind of unsightly and when it rains, it just seems to attract dirt. Prior to the SUNDEK, I had cement and I found that it dried very quickly. I could take the hose and it was all very fresh. And this product just tends to hold water. I believe it’s an acrylic base. I just wondered, you know – I don’t know if I could even have it removed somehow, kind of with some solution or if there’s some suggestion about how to take care of it.
TOM: Gloria, I don’t think you have to remove or strip the Kool Deck paint to get it to clean it. Kool Deck is actually made by a company called Mortex – M-o-r-t-e-x. Their website is Mortex.com. And they make not only the Kool Deck but they make a cleaner that can be used on top of that; it’s a commercial-quality cleaner.
So I would go to their website and look up the Kool Deck product, look up the cleaners. There is a website – there’s a – sorry, a link and a telephone number there where you can call and purchase the product. I don’t think you’ll find it in a home center or a hardware store; you may have to go direct. But we have the technology. No need to repair or replace what you have. You can keep it clean.
GLORIA: Well, thank you so much. That’s going to be wonderful. I really appreciate your help.
TOM: Well, if you’ve ever tried to repair old, worn out concrete by covering it with a layer of new concrete, you may have found out that the new concrete just doesn’t stick. I can’t tell you how many times in my career as a home inspector, I saw people try to do this. And the new concrete – or even the mortar – is just not designed to adhere to an old surface. It’s apples and oranges.
But there’s a new way to do this that makes a lot more sense. And it’s a product that’s out from QUIKRETE. It’s called Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer. Now, with Re-Cap, you can renew the old, worn-out concrete patios and sidewalks and driveways with a permanent, wear-resistant surface at a fraction of the cost to replace it. And this stuff really does stay put.
LESLIE: That’s right. It has a bond to concrete that’s four times stronger than the concrete itself. And that means that your old concrete is going to fracture or crack before its bond with the QUIKRETE Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer separates. So, as a result, your new concrete patio or sidewalk or driveway is going to last a really long time.
It’s also DIY-friendly; it’s a great project. You just mix, pour, and then spread the concrete resurfacer over that surface that’s been cleaned beforehand. And you want to clean it with a 3,500-PSI pressure washer to really get all of the kind of yuck out of it.
TOM: Now, you can apply it with a squeegee, a trowel, or a brush. And one 40-pound bag is going to cover approximately 20 square feet. You’ll find QUIKRETE Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacers at home improvement retailers for about $28 per 40-pound bag.
I used this product when I was redoing my basement floor. And I used it kind of for a different reason, because I had some poorly-finished sections of the basement. And I put it down on top of the old concrete, I smoothed it out. Looks perfect. Really worked well. And it is definitely locked to that old surface.
LESLIE: Jason in Delaware is on the line and needs some help with an electrical update at their money pit.
Tell us what’s going on.
JASON: Hi. Well, let’s see. We bought an older home: probably like 1940, 1950. It’s a great home, no doubt about it. I mean we thought we were going to have a bunch of problems: we thought we were going to have to replace the roof, we thought we were going to have to replace the foundation. But it’s pretty much like somebody built the house and never really lived in it.
TOM: I think we’re getting to a “but.” Everything’s great but what’s happening?
JASON: But the breaker box is outdated. And the total cost of replacing that – hiring a certified and professional contractor and everyone – or the electrician to do it – is going to cost us around $5,000.
TOM: Alright. Why do you say it’s outdated? What’s wrong with it?
JASON: It’s a 100-amp box.
JASON: And you can’t run more than two air conditioners in the house at one time.
TOM: Take a breath. I’ve got great news for you, alright?
JASON: What’s that?
TOM: You don’t have central air, right? You’re running window units?
JASON: Window units.
TOM: You do not need a new panel. A hundred amps is way more than enough power to run that house. What you need …
LESLIE: Unless you’re planning on making those updates.
TOM: Yeah. What you need are some new circuits, which are easier to run.
TOM: You see, the reason you’re tripping those breakers is because whatever circuit those air conditioners are on is pulling more power than that one circuit can handle.
Now, most circuits that go to bedrooms, for example, are 15-amp circuits. You put an air conditioner or two on a 15-amp circuit, it’s going to pop, especially an older air conditioner that’s not as energy-efficient, because it’s going to start pulling more power. And if you happen to have those two air conditioners on the same circuit, there’s not a chance that you’re going to be able to run that when you have to.
What you do is you add more circuits. So you add another circuit that’s just for that air conditioner, from the point where it’s installed to the panel. Put that on its own 15-amp circuit and there you have it; you’re done. No $5,000 for a new panel.
See, this is another example – when electricians come in and they size you up and they give you a price on doing a job that you really don’t need. A hundred amps is a lot of power. I doubt in a house that’s probably gas-fired – is that right? It’s gas-powered?
TOM: So you have a gas-powered house, so you’ve got gas heat, gas stove, gas water heater. You know, if you pulled 30 amps when everything was running in that house, I’d be surprised. So you don’t need a new box; you need more circuits.
JASON: OK. Well, thank you, guys, so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Save the money. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Give us a call, post your questions, whatever it is, because we’ve got a great reason for you to reach out to Team Money Pit. We’re giving away an awesome tool. It’s the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Light-Duty Staple Gun, plus a year’s supply of staples. It really is a must-have for so many projects, especially if you like upholstery, art projects, making things with paper and cardboard or thin plastics. You can do a ton of stuff with this amazing electric staple gun. And it’s got a battery life of up to 3 hours.
Check it out. It’s worth 75 bucks. That Arrow E21 Cordless Staple Gun is going out to one lucky listener.
TOM: Make that you. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post it at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Howard from North Carolina on the line with a water-softening question.
What can we do for you today?
HOWARD: Well, my question, really, has to do with the EasyWater Water Conditioner. And I’m making a distinction here between water softening and conditioning, because I understand that products that don’t use salt really are not softeners but they are conditioners. And I think that’s really what my need is.
I have no problem with the relative softness of the water, if you will, for cleaning purposes. However, it is a lime- and scale-producing water. It’s municipal water but it comes from an artesian-well system.
So my question, really, is: is this the product on the market? Are there other ones that do much the same thing? How proven is it? Is it something that I can reliably install or is it still relatively an unproven item? It seems to be a name that’s in the market but I’m not – I’m just looking for some endorsement of it, I guess.
TOM: Alright. So, several years ago, EasyWater was a sponsor of the show. They haven’t been for many years. And when that happened, they sent me one of their units and we don’t have well water but I had a friend of mine that did have it. And he installed the EasyWater system on his main water line, as directed, and had really miraculous results. And it really got me interested in the technology.
And the way it essentially works is if you can think of a way a magnet works, where positive sides repel each other, that’s kind of the way EasyWater works. It forces the particles that go through – the hard-water particles – to not stick. That leads to less scale and other types of buildups that stick to pipes and stick to faucets and so on. So that’s basically the way it works.
I will say that I do know they have a really good warranty on it and I think it’s like a 90-day, money-back guarantee. It’s pretty long, from what I recall. So I see no reason to tell you not to try it. I’ve had good experiences with it through the test unit – the dummy – that they sent us. They have a pretty good warranty on it. I’d give it a shot.
HOWARD: Alright. Thank you, Tom.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, summer is awesome. But when fall gets here, have you thought about where you’re going to store all of that patio furniture, the kiddie pool, the lawn equipment, all the fun summer stuff that’s been having a lot of action in your yard but now it’s kind of time to put it all away? Well, for a lot of us, that answer is a backyard shed. So we’ve got tips on how to easily makeover your shed using the new line of high-efficiency, airless paint sprayers from Wagner.
TOM: Yeah. These sprayers are really perfect for DIYers who are just learning about airless spraying. And they’re a great choice for painting a shed, which is a cool project for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. It’ll get it done completely within a day or two.
Now, the first step is to remove the loose paint, as well as any dirt and algae, to get that surface ready for the new coat. And if you find any rotted areas, take time now to make those repairs.
LESLIE: Now, once that’s done, you’re ready to start painting. Sheds can stick out like a sore thumb. So if you want to make yours blend more, choose a color that matches the fence – but you can also paint the fence, as well – or something that matches your home’s siding.
Now, it’s a good idea to paint the shed from the top down so that you can catch any drips that form along the way. And generally speaking, it’s also always better to apply the paint in a couple of thinner coats, rather than going crazy and applying all of the paint all at once. That way, you’re going to see fewer drips and then you’ll avoid uneven drying.
TOM: The Wagner Control Pro High-Efficiency Airless Sprayers are a great tool to use for painting a shed. And you’ll find that the airless sprayer is much easier than painting with a brush, because you’ll be able to reach into all those tight places where it’s just hard to get a brush in. And you’ll also get a super-smooth, professional finish.
Now, there are a number of Control Pro models to choose from. I have been using my personal favorite, the Control Pro 170, because it can pull paint or stain from either a 1-gallon paint bucket or a 5-gallon bucket. So, I like the big buckets for the big projects because I don’t have to stop and reload paint. Because once I get going, I don’t want to stop. And once your project’s done, your shed’s going to look brand new again. It’ll be ready for many, many more summers of outdoor enjoyment.
LESLIE: Yep. That’s right. The Wagner Control Pro Paint Sprayers make it easier to paint like a pro. The Control Pro 170 is available both in-store and online at Lowe’s Home Improvement. You can see the complete line of Wagner products at WagnerSprayTech.com.
Ben posted on MoneyPit.com. And Ben wants to know: “How can you bring back life to a porcelain bathtub when the finish gloss is gone?” That’s a good question.
TOM: It is a good question because there’s so many beautiful tubs out there – beautiful shapes of tubs, too – that the porcelain wears out on. And the answer is this, Ben. So, first of all, can you restore the porcelain? Well, you can. If you do it professionally, there is a way to restore it. But I will tell you, it’s incredibly caustic and expensive to do this. It takes hours. It’s definitely not a DIY project.
Now, that said, there are products out there that are DIY and are essentially paints designed for bathtubs and for tiles. I’ve been looking into this more so lately because we have an apartment that we’re refurbishing. And it has a real classically-shaped but small, porcelain tub that everything is sort of designed around. And I really don’t want to replace it. It would take a lot of the character away. But man, it looks bad in terms of its finish. It’s just really old. So I’ve been looking into the finish systems.
Now, I had heard that Sherwin-Williams has one. And the guys in the store told me about it and were touting its benefits. But unfortunately, I looked online and peoples were not happy about that. They said it was not working very well. It was not user-friendly. So then I did a little more searching and I found that Rust-Oleum has got one. And I was reading the reviews on Amazon. They had like 14,000 reviews at, I don’t know, 4½ stars. I’m like, “OK, that’s the one I’ll try.” So I’m about to take on this project. I’ll be able to report more back to you after that.
But I think, given the two extremes as to whether or not you actually have to restore the porcelain professionally or use one of these epoxy finishes – because that’s what it is; it’s a two-part epoxy – I’m going for the two-part epoxy. And I know that if it lasts me 5 years, I’ll be happy. If I’ve got to redo it, that’ll be fine with me. I just don’t want it to peel off and that was the problem that some folks that were using the first product I mentioned were seeing.
So, hopefully it’ll work out well. And you should probably give it a try, as well.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Amy who says, “My house is old and the basement is damp. I have a large humidifier and I dump that bucket daily. I did notice when you touch the walls, concrete falls off in pieces. How do you prevent further damage to the foundation? I started on the exterior by putting down stone for draining this weekend and I’m installing new gutters.
TOM: Ah, Amy. You know, it’s not concrete that’s falling off your walls. If your basement is that damp, what you’re seeing is mineral-salt deposits. Basically, when the water gets into those walls, it soaks it up. And then the moisture dries out but the minerals stay behind. So I bet you, if you took some of those pieces of so-called concrete, maybe stuck them in a paper cup and pour a little vinegar on top, you’d see it all disintegrate. And that just doesn’t happen with concrete.
What you have here is clearly a case of moisture management gone awry. So I think you’re on the right idea with the gutter system, because that’s usually where this all starts. So make sure your gutters are clean, free-flowing, downspouts extended at least 4 to 6 feet from the house.
This idea of putting stone down to improve drainage, very bad idea because the water’s just going to fall through the stone. If you want to improve your drainage around the house, get the soil sloping away, you do it with clean fill dirt. Not topsoil, not mulch and certainly not stone. You get the grading going right. Now, if you want to put stone on top to prevent erosion, that’s fine. But the slope has to be done with the soil. Really, really critical.
If you do those two things, I think you’re going to see an amazing transformation in the moisture. And all of a sudden, your concrete walls won’t seem to be falling apart anymore.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thanks, guys, for spending a bit of your weekend with us. We hope that we’ve been able to give you a tip or two of some great information to help you move your projects along.
Remember, you can reach us, 24/7, at the website or by calling 888-MONEY-PIT and leaving us your question. If we miss you, we will call you back the next time we are in the studio. But for now, that is all the time we have.
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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