- Everyone wants a perfect remodel but home improvement and perfect are two words that you don’t often hear in the same sentence! We share tips on how to avoid the hidden surprises that come with the territory.
- Home prices are up and that means successful home buyers may not have much money left for unexpected repairs once they close on the house. Service contracts can help handle a lot of those surprise costs. We explain the options.
- Terrazzo has been proven as a floor that is both durable and beautiful. But while traditional terrazzo is costly and expensive to install, stone-based terrazzo coating systems are not – and they’re super easy to install.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Susan from Montana wants to know how to fix the pitch on her driveway so it will drain properly.
- Ron in Florida wants to diagnosis the cause of his water heater overheating and tripping his circuit breaker.
- Jeanette from Colorado wants to know if radiant flooring is a good option in a cold climate.
- Richard from Illinois wants to stop his retaining wall from leaking.
- Pam in Colorado wants to fix a squeaky floor underneath her carpet.
- Rebecca from Kansas wants to know how to cover her wood paneling with drywall.
- Tom from New Jersey wants to know if fixing the seal on his double pane window is a DIY project?
- Donna from Arkansas wants to know how to soundproof a duplex wall.
- Mac in Missouri wants to know if he should leave his pool cleaning system on all year.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this weekend? You’ve got a project you’d like to get done? Well, you are in exactly the right place to do just, because we’d love to help you.
We’ve got a lot coming up in today’s show. If you’re getting ready for your first major remodel, we’re sure you want everything to go perfectly. But unfortunately, home improvement and perfect are two words that you don’t often hear in the same sentence. We’re going to share tips on how to avoid the hidden surprises that come with the territory.
LESLIE: And across the country, the home prices are up and that means successful home buyers might not have much money left for unexpected repairs once they close on that house. Service contracts can help handle a lot of those surprise costs. We’re going to share tips on those options, just ahead.
TOM: Plus, terrazzo has proven to be a floor that’s both durable and beautiful. But while traditional terrazzo is costly and pretty expensive to install, as well, stone-based terrazzo coating systems are not and they’re super easy to add to your home. We’ll share tips.
LESLIE: But first, The Money Pit is about helping you create your best home ever. So whether you live in a house or you’re renting an apartment, dealing with a repair or even dreaming about a renovation, we’re going to help you tackle your to-dos with confidence and have a little fun along the way.
TOM: So, get in touch with us, right now, with those questions. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You can also post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Susan in Montana is having some drainage issues with the driveway. Tell us what’s going on.
SUSAN: I had my office driveway resurfaced with asphalt. And I thought that the people did a really excellent job until we got a monsoon (ph) rain and all the water was collecting. And I had to leave to go down to Colorado and I got a frantic phone call from my husband telling me that the water was backing up into the house and it was like a big pool. And I called the asphalt people and they’re not responding to me.
TOM: Well, listen, if they just resurfaced the driveway, they’re not going to do anything to change the pitch.
SUSAN: That’s true. They did do it but they deliberately – supposedly, they had the pitch so that it would drain off into the lawn.
TOM: And they didn’t quite get that right. So how do you fix that?
TOM: If the water is draining down the driveway back towards the building – so in other words, it’s never really draining off to the lawn anywhere – then what you have to do is you have to put a curtain drain in the driveway itself.
And in a driveway, basically, it’s a job where the driveway is essentially sliced in half. They slice out a chunk of driveway that’s maybe 6 inches wide. And you drop this trough into it so that as the water falls down the driveway, it drops into the trough – there’s a grade on top – and then it runs out the bottom of the trough. And of course, that requires some additional plumbing, so to speak, because you have to hook it up to a drainpipe to take it to the lowest place on the property to get rid of the water. But that’s how you drain a driveway that’s not pitched properly.
And typically, that’s put right near the house or right near the garage lip or something like that so that it catches the water at the lowest possible spot.
SUSAN: So who would I call for something like that? A plumber?
TOM: You’re going to need a general contractor that can install that for you. I mean a driveway-sealing company is not going to do it. A general contractor that could do that – it’s kind of a handyman project. It’s not a difficult project, it’s not a really time-consuming project but you essentially have to cut into that driveway and install a drain. You’ve got to catch that water and you’ve got to manage it. And that’s the only way to do it, Susan.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in Florida is on the line with a leaky water heater. What’s going on? Tell us how old it is.
RON: Well, the breaker had thrown a couple times and I turned it back on. And (inaudible) stayed when I turned it on. And then I’d gone in, took a nap, came back out. When I did, the entire garage was full of water. I guess the pressure-relief valve that’s up top was just – it was just spewing out water extremely, extremely hot. Hotter than we’ve ever experienced having our – what I thought it was. It just continued to heat.
And so, at any rate, I turned the breaker off. I looked in the panel where the thermostats were and the elements and they were just fried; they were burnt. They were burned up. I got a good scare because the insulation was blackened and could have been worse than it was, I guess, it catching fire. But I just wondered what would have made the hot-water heater do that.
TOM: OK. Well, let’s see. The “pressure/temperature relief valve,” which is what that’s called on the side of the water heater, is set to go off at about 150 pounds of pressure. And theoretically, the way it works is if the water heater doesn’t shut off, because there’s something wrong with the control circuit, it will continue to heat and heat and heat and build up pressure to the point where to prevent the tank from rupturing, the pressure/temperature valve will open up.
Now, I will say this: very often, those valves fail and they will open up way before they’re designed to open up. And if that’s the case, you just replace the valve. But it sounds to me like this thing got so wet that the water got on the elements and that’s what caused a short, which caused the breaker to trip.
LESLIE: Yeah. But is this associated with an age of a water heater or is this just a random, fluke problem?
TOM: Not really. I’ve seen new pressure/temperature valves that can pop open, as well. And sometimes, you get a little bit of debris that’s stuck under them, too, when you try to close them and that makes it even worse.
Now, where are we at right now with the water heater? You’re still there with it or have you replaced it? What’s your – where are you at with the project?
RON: Just the – what I was looking at didn’t look like it was even worth fixing with all the – like I said, with all the burned …
TOM: Well, it may not. If it’s more than a few years old and you’ve got that much going on with it, I’d probably replace the water heater myself.
But what I was going to say, the one thing that you can try – and assuming that the coils were still OK. You mentioned they were burned out. Burned out is – with a coil, it’s kind of hard to do. If they just got wet and shorted, that’s a different situation. You can clean out the contacts and it’ll work. But if the coils were OK, otherwise, what you could do is you open and close the pressure-and-temperature valve several times.
And by the way, there’s supposed to be a discharge pipe on that that stops within 6 inches of the floor. And sometimes, the plumbers don’t put that on. But if you open and close that a bunch of times to try to sort of clean out that valve, sometimes it’ll reseat itself. And this is assuming that it didn’t open because there is something electrically wrong with it. But I would do that.
There’s things that I would check but there’s – these are things you probably couldn’t check. For example, I’d check the amperage on the coils to see if they were drawing normally and things like that that tells me sort of – the circuit is working correctly. So, I guess what we’re coming to here is if you’ve got this much going on with – you’re probably going to have to replace it and you’re going to need a plumber for that, anyway.
But that’s probably what happened. It probably started with the pressure/temperature valve leaking, that water getting in there and causing a big mess electrically. Because water and electricity do not mix, as you have learned, my friend.
RON: Right, right. OK. OK, guys. Well, listen, I really appreciate you taking my call and appreciate the help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Are you ready to freshen up your home for fall but maybe you need a little cash and some advice to get it done? Well, we’ve got both. Now through October 15th, we’re partnering with BobVila.com to launch the $2,500 Freshen Up For Fall Giveaway.
TOM: Enter now at BobVila.com for a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards for your next fall fix-up project.
LESLIE: Jeanette needs some help with a radiant-heating question. What can we do for you?
JEANETTE: I would like to know if it would be good to do the radiant floor ourselves or to have someone else do it. Is it going to increase my electric bill quite a bit? And if it is something I could do, what materials would be best to do?
TOM: Wow. Lots of questions.
LESLIE: Yeah. We only said one question, lady.
TOM: Alright. So, the bathroom is the only room in the house that you want to have a warm floor?
JEANETTE: Well, for starters. We would like to do it in the kitchen, also. But we thought we’d start with the small project as the bathroom.
TOM: And what kind of a house do you have? Is it a ranch? Colonial? What are we talking about?
JEANETTE: No, it’s more of a ranch. It has a – the bottom is not sitting completely on the ground because it’s lots of rocks and stuff in the mountains there. So it does have crawlspaces underneath.
TOM: It does.
JEANETTE: Yes, it does have crawlspaces where you – we have sump pumps in there to help anything that might cause that. So you can crawl under the house but it’s not very much room.
TOM: OK. And how is it heated? Is it hot water or a hot-air system?
JEANETTE: Hot air but we mostly use pellet stoves.
TOM: So, it sounds to me like you’re going to be limited to an electric radiant-heating system. There are different types of heating underlayments, so to speak, that you would put on a bathroom floor and you would tile on top of.
Now, is it expensive? Yes. It’s electric heat. It’s expensive to purchase and install, it’s expensive to run. It’s not a way to save money on your heating bill. There’s nothing cost-effective about electric heat. It’s very pleasant and nice to have that warm floor but it is an expensive project and it’s expensive to run. That said, if you put it on its own timer so it’s only on, say, in the morning or in the evenings for a limited period of time, you could manage that expense.
Is it a do-it-yourself project? Yes, if you’re pretty experienced. Because the tile mats usually have to be ordered custom-made. And you have to make sure that they’re installed properly because if you get that floor down and it doesn’t work, you’ve got a big problem. You’d end up having to tear it up.
Frankly, my advice would be to not do it yourself, because I would rather have a contractor do it that’s worked with it time and time again. I’d hate to see the whole thing get together and you’ve got a problem with it and you’ve got to tear it all up and start again. So, the amount of additional expense for labor, I think, would have sort of an insurance quality to it to make sure it comes out right.
JEANETTE: Well, thank you all for your advice and I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re getting ready for your first major remodel, I’m sure you want everything to go perfectly. Unfortunately, hidden surprises are par for the course. But while you can’t control everything, good planning definitely gets you as close to perfect as possible. We’ve got tips on how to avoid some of the most common remodeling mistakes.
TOM: Now, top of the list is hiring the wrong general contractor. Having a pro handle the details and provide the expertise will definitely help your project go smoothly, because a good pro can often spot potential problems before the walls are opened up and prepare you for their impact.
So, choose carefully, people. Get references from recent – as well as customers the pro has worked with a year or more ago so you can really get a sense as to how the work has stood up over time.
LESLIE: Now, another no-no is getting estimates without having specs on the project. So when you get your bid, it helps to have specifics nailed down – you know, like product names, model numbers, paint colors, drawings, et cetera. Plus, there’s absolutely no way that you can do an apples-to-apples comparison between the contractors.
TOM: Now, lastly, don’t change the plan. When you reconfigure plans during the remodel, that definitely taps your budget and also tests the patience of your relationship with the general contractor. So, take time before the job starts to get every detail nailed down because, as the saying goes, you’ve got to plan your work and then you’ve got to work the plan.
And if you do need to make a change, make sure that your contractor issues what’s called a “change order,” which is basically a statement of what the change is and whether it will add or detract from the contract price and by how much. This way, there’ll be no surprises when the job is done.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Richard in Illinois on the line who’s getting some water through the foundation. Tell us what’s going on.
RICHARD: What it is is over time – I’ve got a ranch house with a walkout basement. And on the walkout, when you come out, there is a retaining wall that is about 8 foot tall where it meets the house. It hasn’t really separated from the house but there is water that gets in between the retaining wall and the foundation and then it gathers right at the bottom, on a heavy rain, and then seeps back into the basement.
So, I’m trying to figure out – the previous owner that had this house is – put something in there, like a caulking of some type, that has gotten hard over time and it’s not slowing it down too much.
TOM: So this is a gravity situation, so let’s give you a gravity solution. Let’s have the drainage work with you and not against you. And by the way, you can seal this until the cows come home and it’s still going to find its way in. What you have to do is stop the water from accumulating.
So, on the opposite side of this retaining wall, I’m guessing that there’s some runoff that goes towards the wall?
RICHARD: Yes, there is.
TOM: So what you’re going to want to do is intercept that runoff so we don’t get as much water that collects in that area. What we want to try to do is limit the amount of water that gets in that area to just direct rainfall with no runoff. That means no gutter discharge, no runoff from higher elevations. So, the way we do that is, first of all, examine the gutter situation and make sure there’s no water dropping at the high side of this where it could work its way down. If there is, you’ve got to run a pipe underground to get it to a place where it’s not going to interfere with leakage into the basement.
Secondly, in terms of intercepting the runoff, what you could do is install something called a “curtain drain,” Richard. It’s a really – it’s a rather simple drain that you might construct yourself. You dig a trench that’s about 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide, you put some stone in that trench. Then you put a perforated pipe on top of the stone, surround it with more stone, lay a piece of filter cloth across the top and cover it with soil. So when it’s all done, it’s invisible.
And the end of that drain that you just installed should exit to daylight somewhere, so you need to figure out the best way to do that based on the configuration of your yard. What that will do is it’ll intercept the water that’s coming down from higher elevations. It’ll fall into that trench, come up into the pipe and then run around the house as opposed to collecting in that particular corner. If we can keep the water from collecting in that area, you will probably be just fine, because it’s rare that just direct rainfall accumulates enough water to actually leak in the house. It’s almost always the runoff from gutters and from drainage.
RICHARD: Right. And needless to say, I’ll probably have to do some – get rid of some landscaping, because it’s got some little, green bushes there along that wall, as well, so …
TOM: Yeah. And that’s a good point, because sometimes you can make the problem worse by having landscaping that traps water. So just think in terms of water control here, not in terms of trying to seal that water out, and I think you’ll be in good shape.
LESLIE: Pam in Colorado is on the line. How can we help you today?
PAM: We have floors throughout our house. Most of them are carpeted that squeaks – like bedrooms, hallway, living room, stairs, things like that – and then a bathroom that has the vinyl flooring – the laminate flooring. And we’ve tried – there was a little kit that you could buy at Ace Hardware where you find the floor joists and then you put screws every so often down into the joists, I guess, and that didn’t work. It only made it worse.
TOM: So you’re trying to fix a squeaky floor that’s under what kind of flooring material? Carpet?
PAM: Yes, carpet. I’m sorry, yes, carpet.
TOM: Alright. And it’s wall-to-wall carpet?
PAM: Yes, it is.
TOM: Alright. So, here’s the trick of the trade, Pam. You ready?
PAM: I am ready. I am so ready.
TOM: What you want to do – the first thing you need is a good stud finder. You’re going to get a Stanley stud sensor so that you can use a device – electronic device. It’ll allow you to sort of peek through the carpet and identify exactly where the floor joists are below.
And once you identify the floor joists, what you’re going to do is take a Number 10 or Number 12 galvanized finish nail. And we say galvanized because it’s a little rougher than a regular, plated finish nail; it tends to hold better. And then you’re going to drive that at a slight angle, like about a 15-degree angle, right through the carpet and right through the subfloor and right into the floor joist.
Now, when you do that, you’ll notice that the carpet sort of sags down and gets dimpled where the nailhead goes through. The trick is to grab the nap of the carpet right around the nailhead and pull it through the nailhead. It’ll pop through and then you sort of brush the carpet and you’ll – that nail will disappear below it and you won’t see it again. So you can get away with actually fixing a squeak through carpet with this trick of the trade.
PAM: Oh, wow. That would be awesome. And again, could you tell me the type of nail one more time?
TOM: Yeah, a Number 10 or a Number 12 galvanized finish nail.
PAM: OK. Number 10 or Number 12, floor joist at a 15-degree angle.
TOM: Yeah. But you’ve got to find that joist or you’re – you can’t be nailing into air, you know? You want to make sure you’re nailing into the floor joist, OK?
PAM: OK. Thanks so much. You have an awesome show.
TOM: Hey, guys, if you’re a pro contractor, if you’re a remodeler or a custom builder, we have launched a brand-new podcast, presented by LL Flooring. It’s called the PRO Files Podcast and in it, we profile successful professionals, who are setting examples and overcoming challenges and sharing what it takes to build great businesses and a great life, so that we can all benefit from their experience.
Now, Episode Three just dropped and in it, I interview Gina and Vincent Centauro. They are a fun and hardworking husband-and-wife team, who run a successful construction business, and discovered people in their own backyard who were struggling with serious disabilities and financial hardship and difficulty completing everyday tasks that most of us take for granted. So, they did something about it.
They started Rescuing Families, a nonprofit organization that is literally transforming people’s homes into happy, safe and comfortable spaces. They are an awesome couple. It’s a really fun interview and we’re going to find out how it all happened and the impact it’s had on their own business.
LESLIE: You can listen and follow the PRO Files Podcast at LLFlooring.com/Pro. That’s LLFlooring.com/Pro or wherever you get your pods.
We’ve got Rebecca from Kansas on the line. What can we do for you today?
REBECCA: We have a room that has the old wood paneling in it, with the grooves and such, but we’d really like to not remove it. But is there some way we can get the drywall look without putting up drywall, with putting on mud by hand or splattering it and kind of doing a knockdown? Or would it stick or – what do we need to do?
LESLIE: Well, I feel like whatever you put on top of it, whether you fill it with mud or you use something to make the grooves go away and then try to smooth out the surface, you’re going to get so much movement from the walls, just in general. Not that your house is moving but it does. And it gets a lot of movement just from people walking by that none of that’s going to stick in there. And it’s going to end up falling off and looking weird and you’re going to have to do it again.
So, my suggestion is either embrace the paneling look, as far as the grooves, and paint it to give it a different effect or put a ½-inch drywall over it.
REBECCA: If you painted it, would you have to put some kind of a primer so it’ll stick or would you need to do a light sand on it or …?
LESLIE: Yes and yes. You want to make sure that the surface is clean, obviously.
LESLIE: So if there’s anything sticky or gross on it, you want to give it a good cleaning. You could use something like TSP, which is trisodium phosphate. And that’s a good wall-prep product. Or you can give it a light sanding. But if you give it a nice – if there’s a sheen to it, you may want to give it a light sanding but not necessarily.
And then I would use a really good, heavy-duty primer: something perhaps like a B-I-N or a Zinsser; something that’s hard-core that’s going to stick to anything. And then let that dry and once that’s done, you can go ahead and put a latex topcoat on it.
REBECCA: OK. If we elected to do the ½-inch drywall, we’d just treat it like a normal drywall: tape it, put the mud on and sand it and paint it.
LESLIE: Absolutely. The only thing to consider is that any electrical outlets – your boxes, things like that – are going to have to be pulled out a little bit.
REBECCA: Oh, we’re going to have to bring them out.
LESLIE: Yeah. Trim, as well.
REBECCA: OK. Very good. Thank you.
TOM: Well, across the country, the home buying market has been unusually hot. Prices are up and bidding wars are happening. And that means successful home buyers may not have much money left for those unexpected repairs once they close on the house.
LESLIE: Well, according to the Service Contract Industry Council, one way to make sure that you don’t get hit with hidden repair costs is to purchase a service contract that covers defects in major structural or system components in the house.
Now, some of these contracts can actually cover quite a bit. Now, they’ll usually cover plumbing, electrical, heating or air-conditioning systems. But some can include kitchen appliances, like your oven, the dishwasher, the refrigerator and others. So if you’re a home buyer, you can actually get a new service contract when you buy a home or even at a later point. And if the home’s seller has already purchased one, most of those home service contracts can be transferred so that new owners can get the same protection from any unexpected repairs that pop up.
TOM: Service contracts are available for newly-purchased homes and older homes. They’re sold by realtors, builders and independent providers. For a list of Service Contract Industry Council members who sell home service contracts, visit Go-SCIC.com. That’s G-o – -SCIC.com.
LESLIE: Tom in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you?
TOM IN NEW JERSEY: We have a problem here. We have double-pane windows and the seal broke in one of them. And I was wondering if I could repair it myself by using clear caulk around the entire perimeter when the window becomes clear, as it sometimes does. If that does not work, would I make it difficult for a professional to replace the window – the entire window – by doing what – you know, the caulking job?
TOM: So, what’s happening here is you have a thermal-pane window and the seal, which is called “swiggle,” deteriorated and let moisture in and that’s why you have the fogging. And the reason that sometimes it fogs and sometimes it’s clear is because it really depends on what the temperature is inside and outside and whether it’s got condensation there or not. It can’t be repaired, as you’ve described.
Could you try to seal that when it happens to be clear? Would that have maybe some minor effect? It could but I just don’t think you’re going to stop it and I wouldn’t even bother trying with it. Your choices are to either live with it – because the good news is that while it’s unattractive, it doesn’t significantly impact its energy efficiency – or you could replace the window or just the glass itself.
But I think if you were to order new glass for that window, you may find it to be almost as expensive as doing the window itself. So, I would probably tell you just to live with it or replace the window. But to try to – to caulk it, I don’t think it’s going to have any impact whatsoever.
Actually, that’s a great idea, though. No one’s ever asked me that question, so kudos for the effort. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Donna in Arkansas is on the line and has a noise issue. How noisy is that place?
DONNA: Well, I don’t know. My son and his roommate live in a duplex. And the common wall between their living rooms, they can hear the neighbors and so I’m sure the neighbors can hear them. They were just wondering what they could do on that wall to block some of the noise.
TOM: What they would need to do requires a pretty significant addition to the existing wall. What they would do is they would have to put a second layer of drywall over the existing layer.
And there’s two options here. You can use a noise-resistant drywall; there’s a couple of different brands of this out there. And basically, it has some sound-deadening built into it. Or you can use a product called Green Glue, which is sort of like a gelatin-like adhesive. And you would apply that to the old wall and then you would put new drywall over that. And that creates a noise barrier.
And you also have to be very careful around the outlets and any openings in the wall. And they have to be sealed properly. And even after you do all of that, you will still probably get some sound through that wall.
Unfortunately, soundproofing is not – is harder to do after the fact than it is to do when you’re building it from scratch. So, not always the answer, exactly, that you want to hear but that’s really what it takes to try to soundproof the rooms in this situation.
DONNA: Alright. Well, we sure appreciate you taking our call and thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, for hundreds of years, terrazzo has been proven as a floor that’s both durable and beautiful. But while traditional terrazzo is costly and expensive to install, Daich Coatings’ new Terrazzo Flooring System is not. It’s a stone-based liquid flooring system that works indoors and out and it provides a very realistic and attractive appearance.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the application is easy. You simply mix the product, you pour it on the floor and then roll it out to spread the product evenly across that surface.
Now, 1 gallon is going to cover 60 square feet, so it’s perfect for a small patio or a porch. But if you’re going to do something more like a pool deck or a basement or a garage floor, then you’re definitely going to need more.
Now, once the Terrazzo dries, you apply a sealer over it and you’re good to go. It completely resurfaces the existing floor with a flexible, watertight and easy-to-clean finish.
TOM: You’ve essentially got the beauty of real granite but you just roll it on.
And it’s tough stuff, too. It’s been tested for water and salt and chemical, as well as impact- and abrasion-resistance. And it also resists hot-tire pickup, plus mold and mildew. And the product even covers and hides hairline cracks and minor flaws in existing surfaces.
LESLIE: Terrazzo comes in six premixed colors, it dries quickly and it cleans up easily with water. You’ll find Terrazzo, along with other Daich Coating primers and decorative concrete products, online at Lowe’s or at DaichCoatings.com.
TOM: And I want to add congratulations is due to Daich Coatings on winning the 2021 Pro Tool Innovation Award. Now, that’s a program that recognizes products which provide excellent value, advanced features and the newest innovations. So, well done, Peter Daich and team, on winning the 2021 Pro Tool Innovation Award.
LESLIE: Mack in Missouri is on the line and has a question about a pool. What can we do for you?
MACK: Well, every year I seem to open my pool up in the spring and it’s always green. I would have to drain it and clean it out and all that stuff. So, I had this brilliant idea to just leave it going all winter long: just put the cover over it, put it on timer and just keep it open and have it come on every day for – you know, every 15 minutes, every couple hours or something, so it doesn’t freeze. What do you think about that crazy idea?
LESLIE: I’ve got to tell you, we have a pool, Mack, at my family – like my parents own a summer house out on the North Fork of Long Island. Every spring, we take off that cover. That pool is the nastiest, green-looking thing you’ve ever seen. We have never drained the water. You use a whole sort of chemicals, which is sad but you shock that water, you get the system up and running and it goes right back to beautiful, crystal blue and we’re swimming in it in no time.
MACK: Yeah, I know. Takes a lot of chemicals to do that.
LESLIE: I know. But the other option is – I wouldn’t leave things running all winter long. I feel like it’s going to put pressure on the system, it’s going to overload. You’re not probably getting the proper amount of air and things into it that it needs because the pool is covered. But if you’re so frustrated with it and the chemicals, why not think about a salt-water pool?
MACK: Because I’m cheap.
TOM: At least you’re honest about it.
MACK: Well, I know you guys like honesty, so I’ll probably go against all conventional advice and try it.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Let us know how you make out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Blake in New Mexico wrote in and he says, “I’m teaching myself some basic woodworking. I was wondering what the difference is between regular white glue and glue specifically for wood?”
TOM: Well, white glue is polyvinyl glue. It’s kind of like a craft glue. It’s OK but it’s not nearly as strong as yellow glue, which is made with aliphatic resin. Now, both are water-based. The yellow has also the advantage of being able to be sanded and painted and it’s got a much shorter drying time, Blake. What I like to do with the yellow glue is to let it dry until it gets kind of rubbery. And then with a sharp chisel or a scraper, you can lift it off the wood – any excess – so it doesn’t soak in.
Now, the other option is to use polyurethane glue. If you use polyurethane glue, it is really, really strong. That’s probably the strongest. But this is the glue that’s a lot harder to control, because what happens is it starts to expand as it dries and you’ll get sort of bubbles around it. And you’re going to have a lot of work picking off the excess, so you’ve got to be really careful with that so you get it in where it needs to be but not where it doesn’t need to be.
I did a project where I was rebuilding a very old bench and I had a spindle. It was completely split apart. And I was able to use that polyurethane glue, because it had the added ability of sort of structurally reinforcing at the same time. But it is tricky to work with, so you’ve got to be careful.
LESLIE: Alright. Hope that helps. And Blake, good luck with all your learning. This is definitely a great skill to have.
Next up here, we’ve got Carol who writes in. Now she says, “I’ve heard you talk about a kind of wallboard that’s waterproof for the bathroom. I’m looking for something to cover floor-to-ceiling for the complete bathroom.”
I wonder if she’s thinking of just using this. Normally, you’d put a wallboard in and then tile over it.
TOM: Yeah. I’m thinking she may have been thinking about when we talked about the Schluter-KERDI system, which is a pretty cool system if you’re remodeling a bathroom. Because basically, it pretty much starts at when the bathroom is gutted and you – it’s modular in the sense that you can have different components that all sort of lock together and 100-percent virtually assure that no water can get through. And so, because it’s modular, you can have drains that fit in with floor panels and walls that interlock with shower pans, for example. And it’s really a nice system and it’s definitely one way to go.
And if that’s what you’re talking about, that system is called KERDI – K-E-R-D-I. The website is Schluter – S-c-h-l-u-t-e-r.com. These guys are known for doing products for the tile industry that really make it come out great the first time. If you’ve ever working really big tiles and you’re worried about shrinkage and cracking, they have products that stop that. This is all they specialize in and I’m pretty impressed with the capabilities that you now have as a pro by using their products.
It used to be, Leslie, that you had to be really, really super skilled in all of this stuff to get it all together and right. And it’s not like we’re saying they’re not skilled. But they sort of take out that sort of fudge factor – that wiggle factor – and make it a lot easier to do a flawless installation, whether it’s your first one of the day or your last one, whether you’ve got lots of energy or you’re just totally wiped. This system that they have makes it really easy to do.
LESLIE: Yeah, Carol. A bathroom definitely is a good remodel. I mean what a great project that totally adds value to the house. Everybody wants bathrooms and a new one is even better.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this part of this beautiful fall day with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips and ideas and projects you can tackle and do it right, do it once so you don’t have to do it again.
If you’ve got questions and didn’t get a chance to get through to the show today, remember, you can post your questions online at MoneyPit.com or you can always call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2021 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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