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: What are you working on this beautiful fall weekend? Is it outside your house? Is it inside your house? Wherever it is, we want to help you get that job done, whether it’s a painting project, a décor project, a repair project, a project that perhaps is going to make your home more comfortable for the chilly months ahead. Give us a call, right now, and let’s talk it through at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your question to The Money Pit’s website at MoneyPit.com, right there in our Community page.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’re planning on selling your house, open houses are not worth all the hassle if they’re not done right. We’re going to have tips to make sure your open house isn’t closing the door on potential offers, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, every year, ice dams can form and cause roof leaks that may cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Now, insulation combined with properly-installed roofing systems is the solution. We’re going to have expert tips to make sure ice dams can’t happen at your house.
TOM: And now that it’s fall, it is the start of the busy season for plumbers, with all that holiday cooking and cleanup. Your pipes can suffer the consequences. We’re going to have some tips on how you can avoid a costly emergency call, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a set of Lutron’s Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switches to add lighting automation to your home.
TOM: Yep. These are super convenient because they give you a way to turn lights on and off hands-free. Going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Julie in Colorado is on the line and has a heating question.
JULIE: My question is regarding heat pumps and how energy-efficient they might be, because we’re an all-electric house. Our electric bill is very high.
TOM: And how is your house heated right now, Julie?
JULIE: It’s heated with baseboard. And actually, we don’t even really heat our house. We’ll heat one room because it’s so expensive.
TOM: Right now, you’re heating with electric-resistance heat which, as you accurately stated, is the most expensive type of heat. Now, a heat-pump system would be far less expensive but it would require a duct system to be installed throughout the house. So, you would have that upfront cost of running the heating ducts.
If you had that system installed – the way a heat pump works is it’s kind of like an air-conditioning system that runs all winter except that in the wintertime, the refrigeration system is reversed. Now, if you’ve ever walked, say, by a window air conditioner in the summer, you know it blows hot air out the back of it, out to the outside. If you sort of took that window air conditioner out and flipped it around and stuck it inside, you’d have a heat pump; it’d be blowing the hot air in the house. That’s essentially what happens: it reverses the refrigeration cycle in the wintertime.
Now, generally speaking, heat pumps are not always recommended for very, very cold climates, because heat pumps only maintain the heat when there’s a 2-degree differentiation between what the temperature is set at – what the temperature is and what the temperature is set at, I should say. So if you set your temperature at 70, it falls to 69, the heat goes on. If it falls inside to 68, the heat pump stays on. If it falls to 67, the heat pump says to its electric-resistance backup system, which is always part of a heat pump, “Hey, I can’t keep up with this. I need some help. Turn on the heating coils.” And then you’re not saving any money.
So, will it save – will it be less expensive than baseboard electric? Yes. But it has a significant upfront cost in terms of the installation because you’d need a duct system, as well as the heat-pump equipment. Does that make sense?
JULIE: OK. Sounds good. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Daniel in Illinois is on the line dealing with a dipping bathroom floor. What’s going on?
DANIEL: I’ve got an older house that I’m doing some work on. And the bathroom floor seems to dip from the bathtub on one side, down and from the sink and the toilet on the other side, down towards the middle.
DANIEL: And I’m wondering what would be the easiest way to – for a homeowner to be able to fix something like that.
TOM: Bathroom floors typically get weak in two places. One is at the edge of the bathtub. And that happens from just years and years of water splashing over the side of the tub or as you get in and out of the tub, just water dripping down there getting the floor wet and it started to decay. And the other area is right around the base of the toilet.
Based on that, do you think that any of this could be decay or do you sense it’s more of a structural defect?
DANIEL: I’m thinking it probably is more of the decay, because it’s more prominent towards the toilet side of the floor.
TOM: OK. So what you’re going to need to do in that situation is basically replace the floor. So you’d have to take out the toilet and you would have to tear up the floor and get to the – whatever is below the tile. I presume you have tile. There’s probably going to be plywood there.
And you want to get down to something that’s reasonably flat. It doesn’t have to be completely rot-free because if it has some structural integrity, you can put a new layer of plywood on top of that. And that will transfer the support to that upper layer and it will work quite well.
The other thing to keep in mind is the toilet flange may have to be adjusted by your plumber up a bit so that it ends up being flush with whatever the new floor level is going to be. But when the floor decays like that, there’s no way it can be patched. It really is a structural issue and it has to be properly repaired. It’s kind of a pain-in-the-neck job because you’ve got to work in such a small place and you’ve got to take the toilet out to do it. But it really is the best way to do it.
DANIEL: OK. Alright. Sounds great. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. For help with your next home improvement project, call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT, presented by HomeAdvisor. You can get matched with background-checked home service pros in your area, compare prices, read verifies reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire a pro you can trust.
Just ahead, are you opening your door to prospective home buyers this fall? Well, if you are, we’re going to help make sure that your open house isn’t keeping them from closing the deal. We’ve got tips on the pitfalls to avoid, after this.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Taking your calls, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. And if you do reach out to us at MoneyPit.com through the Community page, by posting your question there, or calling it in to 888-MONEY-PIT, you will have an opportunity to win a set of Lutron Maestro Occupancy Switches.
I love this product because they’re convenient, they’re hands-free, they enable you to have your lights automatically come on and go off when you enter or leave the room, they’re easy to install, they deliver a very big impact. And heck, if you don’t want to do any decorating, just put dimmers in your house and drop the lights a bit. Nobody will notice.
LESLIE: True. Very true. And it’s a great way to make sure that your kids don’t leave the lights on in any room in your home.
TOM: Absolutely. We’ve got a set of two sensors going out to one caller, one listener drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Sandy in South Dakota is on the line with a funny smell coming from the basement. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
SANDY: Our basement is – got a real bad, musty smell to it. And we’ve had fans going down there all summer long, we’ve had a dehumidifier going year-round. And I can’t get rid of the musty smell. I don’t know what to do with it.
TOM: Alright. Well, there’s a couple of things that you can do.
First of all, the musty smell is because you have an excessive amount of moisture and humidity down there. So we want to do some things to try to reduce that amount of moisture. You’re going to start outside your house and examine your gutter system. You want to make sure that you have gutters, that the gutters are clean and free-flowing and that the downspouts are discharging 4 to 6 feet, minimum, away from the foundation.
SANDY: They do.
TOM: They do. Alright. And then after that water discharges, does it run away from the wall?
SANDY: It runs away from the house, yes.
TOM: So, I’d like you to take a look at those gutters in a heavier rainfall, just to make sure they’re not becoming overwhelmed. Because that usually is a source of many moisture problems.
If the gutters are working well, then we need to look at the grading around the house. The soil should slope away and drop 6 inches on 4 feet. And that soil grade should be made up of clean fill dirt, not topsoil, not mulch or grass. You could have a little bit of topsoil and grass on top of it but you have to establish the slope first with fill dirt. And the reason you’re doing this is because you want rainfall that hits to run away from the house and not sit up against the house. That slope is really, really important.
If that’s done, then going down to the basement area, we could make sure that the walls are properly sealed with a damp-proofing paint and then a dehumidifier on top of that. But the dehumidifier has to be properly sized for the basement space and it has to be drained – set up with a condensate pump so that it drains outside.
And those steps together are usually going to take out as much moisture as you possibly can.
SANDY: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Sandy. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Frank in Texas on the line with a structural question. What’s going on at your money pit?
FRANK: Yes, I’ve got an older home, post-and-beam construction. I have about a 4×8 beam that’s cracked diagonally. And I’ve already poured a footer – a 2-foot by 2-foot by 6-inch footer – and I plan on bracing that. But what I’m wondering, once I jack it back into position, number one, is there an adhesive that might help hold it together? And on the sides, I want to marry in a support. Should I use OSB, plywood or 2×8?
TOM: What you would do is you would put another beam next to it that has to go the same width. It has to go bearing point to bearing point as the split beam. And then you would glue it with a construction adhesive from the new beam to the split beam. And I would bolt them together. And if you do that on a beam-by-beam basis, then it should be an acceptable repair.
It’s just a little tricky because you’ve got to get that new beam next to the old beam and it’s going to not be straight. And you’re going to have to work around wires and plumbing and such to get it in there and nice and tight.
But take your time fitting that beam. If you get the new beam in right, then it could be quite strong.
FRANK: Alright. I appreciate the advice. Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re planning to sell your house anytime soon, one of the best opportunities to get a qualified buyer happens during the open house. You know, it’s that time when you invite hordes of strangers to poke around every single nook and cranny of your personal space. It’s kind of awkward, a little unsettling. Well, today we’re going to have tips on how you can get your home ready for an open house.
TOM: True, holding an open house is worth it but you have to make sure your house is really ready to be seen. First off, keep in mind that buyers need to be able to envision how they’ll live in a space. So, clearing clutter is a must and it’s a great place to start. You can also open up rooms by maybe taking out some larger surplus furnishings. It might be worth renting a storage area for a few months so that you can kind of make your place seem as spacious as it possibly can.
LESLIE: Yeah. Another thing is buyers aren’t going to notice if your house is spotlessly clean but they will notice if it’s not. So it does make sense to hire a cleaning service to make it sparkle. Also, odors are really important. Nobody wants to buy a house that smells like your pets or one that was owned by someone who smokes. So neutralize those odor by scrubbing the walls, shampooing carpets, keeping your litter boxes clean. Get those pets out of the house. I mean really think about it. You don’t want a stinky home.
TOM: And then add some nice touches, like new towels in the bathroom or a beautifully set dining table. They will also make a very good impression. Outside, you want to trim your lawn, weed the landscaping, prune those shrubs. And once the day of the open house arrives, the most important tip we have for you is this: leave. Get out. Do not hang out. Buyers will be much more comfortable. They’re going to ask more questions and they will take more interest if you’re not around.
You are not the best person to sell your house. Leave it to the pros. Everybody knows you love your house. You’re never going to say anything to the negative about it. You’re going to have a positive spin on everything and buyers don’t want to hear that. They want to hear it from the realtor. So, get out and don’t stand by and you will have a much more likely chance of selling that house for the highest possible price.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Joyce in Illinois who’s having a flooring issue. Tell us what’s going on.
JOYCE: Well, a few years ago, I put down a new kitchen floor – Congoleum DuraCeramic kitchen floor. And it has all these marks and things on it that I had a guy come out and look at it and he said it was a problem from the factory. And I thought they were going to replace it and they never did replace it for me. And I was just wondering, what do I put down? I have home day care and I was wondering what I could put down to stand up to my home day care and still look nice?
TOM: Laminate works really well and it’s gotten less expensive. It’s easier to install.
Laminate floor is – can look like vinyl, it can look like stone, it can look like wood. It can look like anything. And it’s basically made of a medium-density fiberboard and then a color layer which has the pattern of the stone or whatever it is on it. And then the laminate is on top of that. So, basically, it’s a sandwich.
And while people are comparing – would compare laminates to, say, a laminate countertop, like a Formica, a laminate floor is actually about 100 times more durable because they put more protection on it. Yeah, I’ve had a laminate floor down in my house, which is a very old house, for about 10 years. And it looks as good as the day we put it down, so I know it stands up well.
JOYCE: Well, I know I have day care and the kids are throwing toys around and everything else.
TOM: Sure. Absolutely.
TOM: Kids, dogs, toys, furniture. Yeah, I would take a look at laminates. Tough stuff and easy to clean.
JOYCE: OK. OK.
TOM: Alright, Joyce? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to Georgia where Robin is dealing with a porch issue. What’s going on with the cement?
ROBIN: The back of the cement porch, where it meets the house, has sunk down from the brick about an inch and maybe as much as 2 inches in some places. And then, up the wall, the brick has also got lines in it, in some places, that have dropped down, as well. And you can see where the brick has dropped down under the windows.
TOM: OK. So what’s happening here is settlement and it’s happened slowly, probably over a number of years. And typically, what happens in porches is – you know, you frame the outside sort of foundation wall of the porch and then you pour the concrete last. And sometimes, when they backfill the porch, it doesn’t compress properly or sometimes you get organic debris in there, like tree stumps and that sort of thing. And then they, of course, rot away, you get voids and then the porch drops.
So the question is: can you patch something that has dropped 2 inches? And my answer is no. It’s too much to patch. So, you really have two choices. You can temporarily seal those gaps. The only purpose in doing this is to stop some of the water that might collect from rainfall of running in there and making the matter worse. But it really is a very temporary fix.
The proper thing to do would be to have that concrete floor torn out. Once it’s torn out, you’ll be able to work on the brick wall that’s sagging underneath. The bricks would probably be sitting on top of a ledge of a foundation. I don’t know why they’re dropping but you need to investigate that, rebuild the bricks up under the window and then pour a new concrete floor on properly tamped, properly compacted base.
That’s really all you can do at this point because you can’t patch something – you can’t put a layer on it of additional concrete to kind of fill that in. It just won’t stay. It won’t look right.
LESLIE: Ed in Colorado is on the line with a basement-plumbing question. What can we help you with today?
ED: Oh, I live in the area of Colorado that suffered from the floods. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of the persons that had a flood but some of my friends that did have had sewerage backup in their basements. And somebody mentioned that there was such a thing as a check valve that can be installed that still lets it act as a drain but will stop any backups. And I was wondering if you have a recommendation, if there’s any problem with them that you know of.
TOM: Yeah, Ed, that’s called a “backflow-preventer valve” and it’s a type of valve that is installed in the main waste line. And it does just what you explained. If the sewage flow reverses and there’s pressure onto the sewage pipe to kind of pump that sewage back into your house – which can get terrible, because it can come up through every drain in the house – the backflow-preventer valve will stop that from happening.
But just keep in mind that it’s not to be confused with the sewer trap, which stops sewage gas from backing up. You actually need the sewer trap but you also need the backflow-preventer valve, especially if you have an area that apparently is susceptible to this.
So I think it would be a good thing to do. You’re going to need a plumber to install it. It’s a bit of a project because you’ve got to get access to the line to do it but it is a good idea to have it done.
ED: Do I have access through the drain and the little screen that’s over the top of it?
TOM: Well, the line has to be actually – this is a valve that has to be plumbed into it, so it depends on whether or not there’s enough room to kind of move the pipes around to get this backflow-preventer valve in there.
ED: Oh, we’d have to bust up some concrete in that case.
TOM: Well, perhaps. Or certainly, you’d have to extend the line that’s there, OK?
ED: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your time.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, winter’s ahead and so are ice dams. We’re going to have tips on how to avoid ice dams and the thousands of dollars in damage that they can cause, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, ice dams are a condition that forms when snow melts and the water runs off the roof but then it can’t get past the ice that’s built up at the roof’s edge. The result is that water could leak back under the roof shingles, potentially causing thousands of dollars of damage to your home.
LESLIE: Well, insulation combined with properly installed roofing systems can stop ice dams from putting a freeze on your household repair budget. With us to talk about that is Paul Duffy, the VP of engineering for Icynene.
PAUL: Hi, Tom and Leslie. How are you?
LESLIE: We’re good. Thanks so much for joining us.
Paul, these ice dams, they really don’t happen that often but when they do, they truly can cause a lot of damage. So, can you explain to us, really, what causes the ice dams to form and what can we do to reduce the risk of them forming altogether?
PAUL: Well, there are about three things that figure into it. Basically what happens in a lot of conditions is the insulation in the attic space is inadequate, so there’s not enough R-value and there’s excessive heat loss over the heated portion of the house. That combines with air leakage through the insulation, which degrades its value, as well.
Now, picture a major snowfall on the top side of the roof and believe it or not, snow has an R-value, a thermal resistance, that actually helps to insulate the roof deck. And so, as a consequence of that, the temperature at the interface between the snow and the roof itself becomes warm enough to actually start melting the snow. The snow melts at the bottom of the roof and runs out to the eaves, where you’re into unheated space where it can refreeze.
So, typically, there are three things that figure into this. The amount of snow – so you don’t always get a lot of snow in every year but when you get a major snowfall, it points out some of the problems with insulation and poor air-leakage control in the roof assembly.
LESLIE: So, Paul, basically what you’re saying is your home is heated and all that heat rises to the top just like it would with your body. So the heat’s rising to the top and then if your attic isn’t properly insulated, you’re getting all this warm air into the attic. And then you’ve got a layer of snow on the roof and the heat on the underside of the roofing system in your attic starts to melt that little layer underneath all that snow on the roof.
And then that runs down, sort of creates this little channel underneath that layer of snow. And once it hits that gutter edge, which is an overhang – and it’s not getting any heat at all – it starts to freeze and that all can build up.
And generally, a sign is when you see icicles. And they really are pretty but we know that that could potentially be a disastrous leak, right?
PAUL: Absolutely, absolutely. And I think you’ve just described it very, very well. It gives a good visual. Picture houses with big icicles that are forming at the roof edge and draping down, sort of the quintessential winter look for a house. Actually, it’s – exactly. It looks just like a holiday card of – in the days-of-yore kind of thing. But what it actually points out is a thermal flaw in the building envelope that’s going to potentially cause big problems.
TOM: Alright. Now, I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector and I saw a lot of batt insulation very poorly installed. And I see more ice damming with that, in those conditions, than any other type of insulation. Now, I am no longer a batt-insulation costumer. I do have Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation. Of course, that’s your company. Tell me how Icynene changes that equation and prevents the formation of ice dams.
PAUL: Well, it happens in a number of ways. Number one, Icynene Spray Foam is an air-impermeable insulation. So, the beauty of air-impermeable insulation is that air leakage won’t leak through it and degrade its thermal performance. The second thing is it adheres to the surfaces to which it’s sprayed, so it can actually insulate the roof deck directly. You can spray to the underside of the roof deck and you can actually deliver the needed R-value to the surfaces where it’s needed. The third thing is it bonds to the adjacent framing so that it becomes one continuous, impervious layer for heat loss.
And so, the combination of those three things actually helps deliver a consistent level of thermal performance across the entire roof assembly. Once you do that, then you’re minimizing the amount of melt water that’ll occur on the top side. You’re keeping it consistent so in the winter, when you have the snow melting, basically it melts consistently across the entire field of the roof and doesn’t cause problems because there isn’t a differential across the surface of the roof, in terms of the overall melting temperatures.
TOM: So that’s just one of the many benefits of Icynene Spray Foam Insulation. I’ve got to tell you, when we applied it to our house built in 1886, we used to have a difference in temperature of 10 or 15 degrees between the single-story portion of the home and the two-story portion of the home. That one-story section was sort of jutting out from the house. It had a lot of exposure on all sides, so it was warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. And literally, the day after the application, it was the first time it was ever the same temperature with the rest of the house. So, the product is very, very effective for all the reasons that you mentioned.
Icynene, though, now has a low-VOC or an ultra low-VOC application. What does that mean to a consumer that’s interested in the product?
PAUL: Well, typically, VOCs are the reason that we advise people to stay out of the house while the product is being sprayed. It’s sort of like you see in a new car: the new-car smell. Basically, that’s something that occurs as the foam is curing. So what we have now are products that are so low in VOCs, basically, trades can reoccupy the building within an hour and consumers can actually reoccupy the building within two hours. So, a major, major breakthrough. It allows us to target, specifically, applications where folks need a renovation of their attic or crawlspace or something like that and don’t want to be out of the house for 24 hours while the foam is curing.
TOM: It’s a great product, Icynene Spray Foam Insulation, now Green Gold-certified because of the ultra low-VOC combination. It minimizes energy loss, it stops air leakage. It really is a great way to go. And it definitely stops ice dams.
Paul Duffy, the VP of engineering for Icynene, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
PAUL: Thank, Tom and Leslie, and have a great day.
TOM: And if you’d like to learn more about Icynene Spray Foam Insulation, visit their website at Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – .com or call 800-758-7325.
LESLIE: Alright, Paul, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Well, this is the busiest time of year for one kind of contractor, due to a simple problem. You want to guess who and why? We’ll tell you, 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: Post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page, right now, at MoneyPit.com or call in your question to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
Hey, do you love taking on a home improvement project or two around the weekend? Well, that makes you a weekend warrior and we have got a great sweepstakes to help you out. We’ve partnered with The Home Depot on a sweepstakes that’s going to make your tool hounds out there kind of drool, because we’ve got 4,500 bucks worth of tools, straight from the aisles of The Home Depot, going out to some very lucky winners.
LESLIE: Yeah. The grand prize is pretty darn amazing. It’s a beautiful Milwaukee 16-Drawer Tool Chest and Rolling Cabinet Set. And it’s filled with six tools in the M18 FUEL. That’s the 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit. I mean you’ll be ready to go with this, so hopefully you are the lucky grand-prize winner.
But fear not, we’ve got a lot of other things up for grabs. Two first prizes. And they are the Husky 46-Inch, 9-Drawer Mobile Workbench with a solid-wood top. And it comes filled with a 268-Piece Husky Mechanics Tool Set. Ten second-place prizes are up for grabs. It’s the RYOBI 18-Volt One+ Drill Driver and Impact Driver Kit and 27 third-place prizes, which is our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure.
TOM: And that adds up to 40 prizes. Forty. So you’ve got 40 chances to win. You can get the details now and enter at MoneyPit.com. And you can even increase your chances of winning by entering once a day and sharing the sweeps online with your friends. It’s all open, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Mike in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MIKE: I’m actually calling to find out the best way to remove the trim on an old hardwood floor without tearing it all up.
TOM: So you want to remove just the trim? Is that what you said?
MIKE: The base mold, the quarter round and the existing previous hardwood. I’ve got new hardwood to put down.
TOM: Oh, you’ve got new hardwood to put down. But you said without tearing it up. I mean you’re going to have to tear it up to remove it.
MIKE: Yeah. Without destroying it, to be able to repurpose it.
TOM: Oh, without – oh, oh, OK. Yeah, I see what you mean. You want to try to preserve it. Man, I’ve got to tell you, it’s tough because if it’s traditional ¾-inch hardwood and it’s put in with flooring nails – these are flat, long steel nails that go on an angle and they go in the tongue part of this and it’s very, very difficult to take that floor up. Generally, you have to cut it out and pry it up.
It would be an enormous amount of work for you to get that floor out. Even if you sort of cut out, say, a foot of it so you can get some flat bars in there and started working it, I think you’re going to find that it’s going to be a lot of work to try to work each one of those boards loose to the point where you could back the nails out and preserve it. It’s certainly worth a shot and depending on what kind of materials – what kind of hardwood they used to put that together, Mike, you may have a chance of trying to save some of that.
But it’s very, very difficult because if it was put down properly, it would have been put down with a flooring nailer. And the way that thing works is it’s a hammer that kind of fits right into the tongue side of the board. And then you slam the mallet down and it shoots the nail deep into the wood and then countersinks it. So, it’s a hard fastener to get out. It’s really only designed to go one way.
MIKE: Oh. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, Halloween is the busiest time of year for one trade in particular and you might be surprised to know which one. Well, it’s the plumber. Halloween actually kicks off the season that money starts to roll in for those guys, mainly because of what people are putting in their garbage disposals in the fall and then trying to wash down the drains.
LESLIE: Yeah, you know, with all the celebrating and cooking that goes on and really beginning this time of year, lots of stuff is being shoved down there that can really clog up the works. For example, one of the most common culprits is pumpkin guts. It’s gooey, it’s fibrous, it’s full of seeds. Well it shouldn’t be full of seeds because you should be taking them out and roasting them. But regardless, it does not go down the disposal.
It will really clog it all up faster than you can say, “Boo.” Now, the same goes for your toilet. If you were thinking about flushing those pumpkin guts, don’t even do it. That’s true with any stringy or fibrous vegetable. So things like celery, potato peels, even shrimp shells. All of that can wreak havoc on your disposal.
TOM: And it might seem obvious to you but plumbers also get a lot calls after someone dumps grease, oil or fat down the drain. Now, think about it. Just because it goes down the drain doesn’t mean it gets much farther than that. It kind of hangs right there and clogs up over time to the point where the only way you’re going to get that out of there is with a plumber’s snake.
LESLIE: Yeah. So, if you don’t want to pay for your plumber’s kids to go to college – and I mean good Ivy league colleges – start composting all of your leftover veggies. Seriously, how expensive are plumbers’ bills? You guys, truly, do yourself a favor. Start composting all your leftover veggies and dump that grease in the garbage once it’s cool, OK? Don’t forget that part.
TOM: Good advice. 888-666-3974. If you need good advice on your next home improvement project, give us a call right now.
LESLIE: Well, outdoor play structures are all fun and games until rough or rotted surfaces crash that party. We’re going to have tips on the best ways to finish wooden play structures for maximum fun, safety and appearance, 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: Standing by for your calls, your questions about your home improvement project at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Hey, are you ready for a big basement makeover you can enjoy all winter long? HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: Alright. But we’re here to help you out with whatever you are working on. And we’ve got a post here from Vince who writes: “I’ve built a large play structure for my kids and I’m wondering how to finish it before the winter sets in. The surface is made of composite lumber. All of the building structure itself is pressure-treated Douglas fir. I’ve been told that my kids will outgrow the play structure long before the pressure-treated lumber deteriorates. What should I do?”
TOM: Well, that’s true but see, here’s the thing. Usually, with pressure treated lumber, it will crack and check and dry out. But if you don’t have any foot traffic on that because you have all composites, there’s really nothing that you do – that you have to do. The cracking and the checking is not going to affect its strength. If it’s a surface deck board, it’s a pretty miserable surface to walk on and kids can get splintered. But since it’s just a structure, I think you’re good to go.
Well, one of the easiest home improvement projects to do yourself is to install a brand-new floor. But sometimes, those very same pieces of flooring that you’re putting on the floors work equally well on the walls. Leslie has some tips on how to do just that in today’s Flooring Design Tip, presented by Pergo Outlast+.
LESLIE: Yeah, flooring, it really is a beautiful product. There’s so many choices out there that can really satisfy everybody’s design style. But there are some surfaces that you don’t normally think about when it comes to places to install the floor. Now, I really like to do this and it takes a special kind of room and a certain kind of flooring but if you’re the right person for this, it can really make a beautiful space. And I’m talking about doing one focal wall in a room with flooring on the wall.
Now, if you want to do it on the inexpensive side in a really easy do-it-yourself arena, go with a rubber-coated vinyl. They come in planks. You can cut them with a blade and a straight edge and then you just put them up with double-stick tape, so it really is a very simple project. And you can go ahead and mix up different textures, mix up different finishes, so you can really create a look for that wall that is truly unique.
Some vendors are even doing a veneer pretty much of an actual hardwood or a reclaimed type of lumber that you can put up in the same manner. You really don’t have to use fasteners, you don’t have to worry about cutting any crazy angles unless you’re dealing with a tricky roofline. But it makes such a beautiful design feature. It looks great in a master bedroom; it looks great in a family room. Don’t be afraid to try it. It really is a good project.
Another thing you can do with wood planking for your walls is turn it on the vertical and create wainscoting. Do a short run at 3 foot tall and then to finish the top edge, you can go ahead and put a plank of wood – maybe a 1×3, a 1×4 – depending on how much of a leaner ledge you might want there just to cap off the top. You can put little picture frames on it or nothing and just paint it all white. Whatever you want to do, this really make s a beautiful way to create wainscoting that’s an easy do-it-yourself project. So when it comes to flooring, look up. There could be some interesting places to put it.
TOM: And that’s today’s Flooring Design Tip presented by Pergo Outlast+, the only water-resistant laminate that prevents water from seeping into the joints. Pergo’s SpillProtect24 technology creates a watertight surface so spills can be wiped up or will simply evaporate over time. Plus, Pergo’s superior design, with deep textures and high-definition printing, creates an incredibly realistic look.
Outlast+ resists water and ends worries. Available in 19 different colors for 2.79 a square foot at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com.
You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, you know, every water heater or a boiler for homes that heat hot water have one very important valve that can prevent a possible explosion if something goes wrong. It’s called a “pressure-relief valve” and we’re going to share how to know if yours is up for the job, on the next edition of The 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.
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(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.)