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 so psyched that you are here with us today because it’s almost spring, which means it’s almost time to get out the tools, get out the paintbrush, get planning for that home improvement project we know you want to get done. And we are here to help you every step of the way. Help yourself, first, though by calling in your question, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’d like to step up the look of your home exterior this spring, an exterior lighting design can help. So we’re going to have some tips to improve your home’s exterior, presented by Tando Exterior Cladding, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And speaking of lighting, the quality of your lighting inside the home also makes a big impact on not only how your home looks but how you feel inside. We’re going to have tips on how to choose the right type of lighting to make your home look and feel your very best.
TOM: And also ahead, we use more energy to heat and cool our home than just about anything else. So we’ve got some tips on new technology in thermostats that can cut back on your energy use while increasing comfort.
LESLIE: And if you’re planning a flooring project, we’ve got a fantastic giveaway going out to one lucky caller this hour. And that’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: You can use it at any of their 375 stores nationwide or online at LumberLiquidators.com. That’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: John in Florida is on the line with a tiling question. What can we do for you?
JOHN: Well, I was thinking of tiling my bathroom. And I was going to put some cement board down on the floor before I tile the floor but the greenboard that’s on the walls – I was questioning whether I should just finish setting tile on the greenboard or do I have to remove that and put cement board on the walls?
TOM: So, it depends on how long you want the tile to last. You know, the greenboard is a water-resistant drywall and it’s designed to put tile over it. So, it’s something that people do. It’s something that builders do a lot, I’ll tell you that. And I never really liked it because typically I’ve seen, five to eight years later, that all has to be torn out because it’s just not as durable as putting cement board up. So, if this is a long-term house for you, I’d tell you that you’re probably better off taking that out, putting up a cement board and then putting tile up. This way, it’s going to last you pretty much indefinitely.
JOHN: OK, even go on completely around the tub surround that I’ve got in there now?
TOM: Absolutely. Because that’s where all the water is going to sit.
JOHN: That’s what I had suspected and that was just certification to my question. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, John. Good luck.
A lot of times, folks really do have a gut feeling about the right way to do something. Using us as a sounding board is a great reason to call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. So glad we could help John out.
LESLIE: Laura in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LAURA: We have a deck on the back of our house that we, about two years ago, put a product on it that makes it like an anti-slip texture? And the coating is starting to chip off in big chunks, so we were thinking about using that DECKOVER or OVERDECK, I think it’s called?
And when we were at Home Depot, we noticed that they have something else that was an option. They’re actually foot-squared tiles. They’re like a thick rubber that you actually use a glue to adhere onto the deck and then you cover your deck that way. My concern is if you apply that onto the deck, will that rot the wood?
TOM: Well, Laura, I’m not familiar with rubber tiles but there are polypropylene tiles or plastic tiles or composite tiles that are on the market that are designed to cover old decks. And the way these work is they sit on top of the deck boards and they usually lock together. And some of them are quite attractive. There’s a product called Coverdeck that comes in dozens of different colors and shapes and designs that could look really neat. And it’s not going to be slippery and it’s going to look great.
I am concerned if you’re gluing something down to the wood deck, I agree that something like rubber glued to wood is bound to let some water underneath and it’s certainly not going to evaporate. These composite tiles or the plastic tiles usually have a bit of space under them which allows the wood to breathe and dry out. And then really, that’s the issue: if you hold water against it, you will get decay.
So I would take a look at some of the tile products that allow you to cover these decks and probably avoid anything that’s rubbery that you’re going to glue down.
LAURA: OK. So the glue is OK as long as there’s a gap or some sort of gap between the wood?
TOM: It’s OK to cover it as long as there’s air space so it dries out.
LAURA: OK, perfect. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Chris from Tennessee on the line who just put in a new septic tank and needs some help with the yard work. What can we do for you?
CHRIS: Yes. We had some people to come and put our septic tank in about five years ago. And the yard looked great when they got done with it. Now we’ve got a bunch of sinkholes and a bunch of hills in the backyard and I just want to know the best way to fix that without messing up the septic tank and messing up the water lines and stuff.
TOM: So, is the distribution field in the area where all these sinkholes are in this depression?
CHRIS: Yes, sir.
TOM: So you’ve got to be really careful because you don’t want to put any heavy equipment over that, because you can crush those pipes. So you can add topsoil on top of that but I wouldn’t go over it with anything heavier than a wheelbarrow full of dirt.
TOM: And so I would fill them in by hand and I would rake that out and I would reseed it. The good news is that it will probably grow quite nicely being over the septic field. But I would be careful not to put anything heavy, equipment-wise, into that area because you can crush the pipes and then you’re going to have a bigger problem.
CHRIS: Alright. Well, thank you all for your question and I listen to you all every day. And you all were great.
TOM: Alright. Thanks, Chris. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cheryl in Wisconsin has a question about heating. How can we help you stay toasty?
CHERYL: I have a large area downstairs. It’s about one-third – it’s 11×36 feet and about one-third of that we use for a dining and kitchen area, mainly when we have company.
TOM: OK. Mm-hmm.
CHERYL: And I’m not looking to heat that whole area, just the area where we eat. And I was wondering if one of those oscillating space heaters would be a good idea. One of the taller ones?
TOM: Well, look, here’s the thing. I think your question is about efficiency and most space heaters are not very efficient. They’re only efficient if you’re going to do what you’re doing, which is – that is to isolate the heat to just one very narrow space of the house. But this is a big area. If it’s 30-something feet long, it might be hard to do that. It’s different if it’s like one individual bedroom or something of that nature.
But I will say that, generally speaking, they’re more expensive to run than your heating system on a BTU basis: in other words, comparing the cost to create a BTU in your main heating system versus the space heater.
What kind of heat do you have? What kind of fuel do you use?
CHERYL: Natural gas.
TOM: Yeah. Natural gas is always going to be less expensive than electric space heaters. But if you’ve got an area that’s a little bit chilly and you want to just supplement it on a limited basis, like just when you’re using that room for company or dining, I think it’s OK. But there’s just not very much that – there’s not very much that’s efficient about the use of a space heater.
CHERYL: Yeah. I was just thinking right close to the table in the area where we eat.
TOM: Yeah. But only in those limited circumstances, when you’re using that area, do you want to use the space heater. Then you’ll keep the heat down the rest of the time?
CHERYL: Actually, our basement is so cold. When we have company, we really crank up the heat and the basement is still really cold. You know, we live in Wisconsin.
TOM: Yeah. So even when the heat’s up, it’s chilly.
TOM: So, if you’re just using it on a temporary basis to supplement it only when you’re down there eating, then I think it’s probably OK. But I think your original question: is it efficient? No, it’s just not.
CHERYL: OK. That’s what I wanted to know.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, safety, security and style. A good outside-lighting design can deliver all three. We’ll have tips to improve your home’s exterior, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, your décor dilemma. Whatever is going on in your house, if you want to plan a project for the future, we’d love to chat about it at 888-666-3974. We’d also like to give, to one lucky caller, a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
You can choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring. They’ve got prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank, wood-look tile. You name it, they’ve got it. You can use it for any of those finishing touches, like the moldings and the grills.
You can redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of the 400 stores nationwide. So give us a call right now. Let’s get to that project at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Mark in Missouri is on the line with a roofing question. What can we do for you today?
MARK: I’ve got a house that’s probably about 50 years old and it’s had the roof replaced on it one time. It’s got a tar and a gravel – a lava rock, roof tar. And I know I’m going to have to replace that here one of these days. Now, the decking on the roof is actually my ceiling. It’s 2×6 tongue and groove. And I’m sure they’ve got tar paper on top of that and then some insulation and then the tar and lava rock. And I’m wondering how I’m going to have to replace that and what type of insulation I could use on that. It doesn’t have a lot of pitch.
TOM: And when you say decking, we’re talking about the structural decking. You don’t use this as a recreational deck, is that correct?
MARK: No, uh-uh. No, that’s the – the 2×6 is the actual decking for the roof. Like I said, it’s the ceiling on the inside of my house.
TOM: So you’re looking for options in low-slope roofing. Is that correct?
MARK: Right, yes, uh-huh. I’d like to go back with metal roof but what do I do on top of the decking that I’ve got?
TOM: Right. Well, if you were going to go with metal roof, you are going to probably go down to the original decking and then you’re going to put a new insulating board on top of that. And then you’re going to put the metal roof over that. And you’re pretty much going to do that same assembly regardless of the type of roof you use. If you were to use a traditional flat roof – like a modified bitumen, which is sort of like a rubberized asphalt kind of product – you would do it in the same sort of fashion.
It’s real important, though, that when you choose your roofer, you want to make sure, Mark, that you find one that’s really experienced with flat roofs. Because what I’ve found is that very often you have groups of roofers that are just terrific with pitched roofs but when it comes to the flat roof, it’s only sort of the occasional job. And they don’t always have the skill set to do that.
The guys that do flat roofs a lot are more of the commercial roofers. And you could pretty much go with any technique that they recommend, based on your particular situation, and it’s going to get done well. But I would just say that make sure that – the devil is in the detail with these flat roofs because they’re – if you have any defects in the assembly of the roofing material itself or more commonly, the flashing points where pipes come through the roof and that sort of thing, that’s where the leaks actually show up.
So it’s not an impossible situation. It’s just unusual for residential.
MARK: The original builders here, they put a thin insulation up there and it got so hot in the summer. They took it out and put more insulation in and I don’t know what they’ve done.
TOM: Yeah, there are insulation boards for that. And by the way, about the heat in the summer, if that’s an issue, that’s something that the metal roof can actually help you a lot with. Because the new metal roofs today, they actually have a low-E coating. And they reflect the heat back off of the roof so it doesn’t become this huge heat sink that’s throwing a lot of radiant energy down into your room.
MARK: OK, great. Yeah, I’m hoping to go metal and then forget it.
TOM: I got it. Got it, Mark. Alright, man. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to step up the look of your home’s exterior, a good lighting design can help. Lighting not only adds safety and security but style if it’s done well. We’ve got ideas in today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider. Now, a budget. That’s a big one. Exterior lighting costs can range from a little to a lot. Now, adding a lightscape to a home where you plan to be for only a few years will merit a different level of exterior lighting investment than a longer term abode. But even for bigger lighting plans, this is one improvement you can easily spread over a number of years. Do one side or type of lighting at a time.
TOM: Now, the other issue to consider is durability. If you’re working with a pro or you’re shopping for DIY lighting systems, I always think it’s a good idea to go for quality fixtures and components. Low voltage is the way to go but you really need to work with good materials, like copper and brass. There are a ton of cheap landscape lights out there and I’ve seen many that rarely last more than a season or two.
So you’re better off buying quality fixtures and kind of breaking your project up into smaller chunks to spread out that cost, than going for one of those cheapo systems that’s just going to last you a year or two and then just be time to throw it out and start again.
LESLIE: Now, another thing to consider is creating the mood and the focus. So, a range of outdoor-lighting fixtures really do make it possible to illuminate your home’s exterior as well as any Hollywood lighting designer out there. The key, though, is good focus. For your front and backyards, carefully choose focal points to receive the brightest and most dramatic spotlight. And then build the rest of the outdoor-lighting scheme around that. Overall, you want to shoot for a natural look that replicates moonlight streaming very softly and beautifully from above, as opposed to those heavy doses of uplighting.
TOM: Good advice. And that’s today Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando Exterior Cladding. With Tando, you can replace wood and stone with beauty, longevity, low maintenance and moisture-resistance. TandoShake Signature Stain features six stain colors and a true, semi-transparent wood stain for rich color. And TandoStone has the rich look of stone without the weight, messy mortar or maintenance. Ask your contractor to use Tando to accent any other type of siding or visually interesting mixed-materials look.
Look more at TandoBP.com. That’s Tando – T-a-n-d-o – BP.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Brad in Massachusetts is on the line and wants some help with insulation. What’s going on at your obviously chilly home?
BRAD: Well, we’ve got a stucco house, three story. It’s a Japanese-style Arts and Crafts.
LESLIE: Ooh, that sounds gorgeous.
BRAD: Yeah, it’s different. It was designed by a fellow by the name of Ralph Adams Cram, who was a noted architect back in the day.
There’s no insulation. We have a cold basement and it’s stucco, as I said. There may be firestopping – I’m not sure – in the walls. And it – that’s unclear. But I’m worried about moisture, so – I’m also worried about a fuel bill. So, what I’m looking to do is – how do I go about insulating this house and – so that we can be warm all winter in this cold part of the United States and at the same time, make certain we don’t introduce moisture problems from trapped water?
TOM: Well, first of all, this is a wood-frame wall?
TOM: So, this is a good reason to use a blown-in insulation. And so, blown-in cellulose, maybe blown-in fiberglass, coupled – it has to be installed by somebody who really knows what they’re doing, because they’re going to use an infrared scanner to determine those cold spaces. Because you mentioned it may have firestopping. If it turns out you have firestopping for every bay – every section of open 2×4 – you may end up with two holes instead of one. Once they figure out sort of the lay of the land, then I would blow in insulation into those cavities. And that’s going to warm up those walls quite a bit.
If you use cellulose or fiberglass, I wouldn’t be too terribly concerned about moisture because I think those walls are going to breathe, based on the age of that house. And it’s really not practical to do any kind of vapor barrier at this point.
BRAD: Yeah, yeah, OK. So, he has to do the due diligence to make certain he fills all these bays up and everything.
LESLIE: Yeah. But you’d be surprised. I mean I did this in my home at the beginning of – well, it ended up happening at the beginning of the fall. And I did notice a big change in it but I was really surprised that the contractor who did the insulation, which was blown-in from the exterior – and I saw the holes and I saw the pink stuff flying out of it. But nobody would come in and do a thermal scan to show me that the bay – because it’s like a mystery. You’re like, “Is it really in there? Did you really do it?” And I would love to see that to know that, truly, those areas are all filled.
BRAD: Right. OK. So, is that normally done from outside rather than coming in and tearing up my wallpaper and everything?
TOM: Well, you have the option of doing it from outside or inside. Now, if it’s stucco and you’re going to repaint the house, repairing stucco is pretty easy and it’s supposed to be rough, so that might be the way to go. Or a combination. If you’ve got some rooms with nice wallpaper, maybe you leave those rooms alone. But if you’ve got some rooms that are just plain, old drywall, then you go ahead and go at it from the inside.
BRAD: Any choice between fiberglass or cellulose?
TOM: I personally prefer cellulose. I think that it packs better and it’s got fire-resistance built into it, so you don’t have to worry about that.
BRAD: Alright, good. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Well, screwing in a light bulb has always been thought of as about the easiest home improvement project imaginable. Well, that’s still true but with the arrival of so many new light bulbs and new technologies, finding that right light bulb seems to make that task even harder.
TOM: We’ll get tips on a new line of LED bulbs that makes this project simpler than ever and can make your home look better as a result, after this.
TOM: Well, if you’re hesitant to pick up a paintbrush, let alone swing a hammer, there are improvements that you can make to your home that are as easy as changing a light bulb. Because the quality of lighting makes a big impact on not only how your home looks but how you feel inside the home.
Now, GE has introduced its first high-definition LED light with three distinct lighting options to enhance your home, which they call RELAX, REFRESH and REVEAL. Kathy Sterio, General Manager for Consumer Product Management joins us now with more.
KATHY: Hi. Thank you.
TOM: So, before we had LEDs, it seems that the connection between the quality of light and how that light makes us look and feel wasn’t really well known, at least not so by consumers. Perhaps in expert circles. But consumers, I don’t think, were that aware of it. Is this sort of a relatively new awakening for the consumer market?
KATHY: Yeah, it is a new awakening. I think, from the point you made, the consumers really looked at light as kind of something that was just utilitarian, right? They flip a switch and it came on or unfortunately, it would burn out. And then they would just go and replace it with kind of something that was on the shelf and really just provided light output. But it really wasn’t something that consumers were able to understand the impact that the light can have on their environment. And the LED technology allows us to make that change.
TOM: Now, with LEDs coming down in price and they’re basically available pretty much anywhere, it seems like LEDs have totally gone mainstream. They have clearly surpassed incandescent bulbs and thankfully, the compact fluorescents, which never seemed to be very bright. So are we really going mainstream with LEDs now? And do you think this is going to be the choice for the foreseeable future?
KATHY: Yes. Absolutely. And I think the time for LEDs has come, you know, for the foreseeable future. We expect about half the sockets in the country to be LED by 2020. And you’re right, it’s because the cost has come down considerably. From a few years ago where it was $15 to $20 a bulb, now they’re at $5 or less a bulb. And the LED technology really can be found in any shape bulb that’ll fit whatever application you have in your home.
TOM: I’ve been doing this for a while. I remember when they very first came out and they were trying – there were guys trying to sell these for about 50 bucks a bulb.
KATHY: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: I was like, “You’re kidding. Really?”
KATHY: It was pretty early, early, early (inaudible at 0:21:55).
TOM: Early, early days. Exactly. So, thankfully, that is no longer the case. We can get a good-quality LED bulb for, as you say, around 5 bucks.
Speaking of quality, let’s talk a little bit about the quality of light that you can get. Are all LEDs sort of created equal? How does a consumer compare one LED bulb to another?
KATHY: So I think there’s a few things. All LEDs are really not created equal. I mean I think when you’re looking at a light bulb that – when you’re going to put it in your socket, it’s going to last 10 years or so. So when you’re thinking about what you’re signing up for, for that decade, you just want to make sure that you’ve got a brand that’s going to be around, that’s been around that long that stands behind it. So I think quality and the integrity of the brand matters.
But just like any other lighting technology, there really are different color temperatures, different wattages, shapes and then the quality of light, which is what we need to pay attention to and what we’re encouraging our customers to pay attention to with our new HD line of products.
TOM: Now we have HD video. We have HD audio. We now have HD lighting. So, expanding that high-definition line, what exactly is a high-definition LED?
KATHY: Yeah. A high-definition LED is an LED that’s engineered with a higher color-rendering index. And really, what that does is it provides bolder colors and enhanced contrast for the lighting. And so it really makes your colors pops and really provides that color – exceptional clarity of color.
And when we talked to consumers about this product and we did our homework with our research partner, really, consumers related to this like they did their television and those other things that really said, “Oh, this looks like the reds on my TV. This really pops, like what I’m used to seeing in kind of the consumer-electronics space.” And so that’s kind of how we brought that thread of HD through to the naming.
TOM: So with all these capabilities, I think there is mass confusion, sometimes, in the aisle of the home center or the hardware store. I’ve seen folks walk up the aisle and down the aisle and up the aisle and down the aisle trying to find the light bulb that they need to replace the one that burned out. Is that getting easier now? Is the labeling getting clearer? You mentioned wattage before because that’s how we equated brightness. But that doesn’t really so much apply because that’s a measure of power and not really a measure of how much light we’re going to get.
KATHY: Yeah, no, I agree with you. Consumers spend about five minutes or so in the lighting aisle just searching for the replacement. Sometimes, when we kind of stalk the aisles at our local retailer, we see consumers with a bulb in their hand and they’re trying to find it and match the shape.
And really, one of the insights we learned in doing our homework on this product line is when consumers saw the different quality of light options, they said, “I really liked this route – I like this option for my family room, right? I want to feel cozy in my bedroom. And I like this one to be invigorating and that would be really good in my laundry room,” for example.
And so the insight that we took from that – and we put through our packaging and our merchandising, at the point of sale – is really for our RELAX product. That one is really engineered for the comfortable, cozy spaces. We put icons on the front of the box that tell you, hey, if you don’t know about lumens and CRI and color temperature and those kinds of things, it’s OK. Just look at the front of the package. It’ll tell you where to place the product and what the best light is for that room that you’re trying to get that effect in.
TOM: We’re talking to Kathy Sterio. She’s the general manager for consumer product management for GE Lighting.
So, Kathy, where can we find the high-definition LED bulbs from GE?
KATHY: Yes. So right now, the HD series is available at Home Depot and HomeDepot.com, as well as Target.com and select Target stores. And we’re excited to say that you will see it rolling out across multiple retailers as they update their shelves throughout this year.
TOM: And the cost?
KATHY: The cost is, for a two-pack of a 60-watt equivalent light bulb for our RELAX – which is our soft white for cozy, comfortable spaces – $7.77 a two-pack. Stepping up to REFRESH, which is that invigorating energizing for the spaces where you want a little bit more of a daylight feel, 8.77. And then our best light is REVEAL, with the highest color contrast – is at 9.97 for a two-pack.
TOM: So all of them are under five bucks a bulb. That’s just terrific.
KATHY: Isn’t that amazing? It’s great.
TOM: Kathy Sterio from GE Lighting. We’re talking about high-definition LED lights. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KATHY: Oh, no problem. Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
TOM: If you’d like to learn more, head on over to GELighting.com/HDLight.
LESLIE: Alright. Spring is almost here. And if you’ve got a spring project planned, now is a great time to talk about it. We’re here to help you get that project done on time and on budget. Back with your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
You can choose from over 400 types of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and even wood-look tile. Now you can use your gift card for all those finishing touches, like moldings and grills. But if you’re not a DIYer, you can actually use it for installation, also. We won’t tell anybody. We’re not going to judge. You use that gift card how you like.
You can redeem your gift certificate at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide.
TOM: Going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Now we’ve got Charlene in Tennessee with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
CHARLENE: Well, we built our house in 2006 and we purchased, from the mill, solid-oak hardwood planks, you know, that we were going to put down for flooring. And it’s 6 inches wide, tongue-and-groove.
Underneath that, we put – my husband thinks it’s called AdvanTech. It was a 50-year warranty and the mill told us between that and the tongue-and-groove solid oak to put 6 mil of plastic.
TOM: Alright. So what’s the problem we’re trying to solve here?
CHARLENE: The problem that we’re solving is in a few areas, one which is mainly the bath and the other is the kitchen, there’s a squeaking noise. It’s like you can’t sneak in that area. It’ll make that noise.
TOM: So when you go on a diet, your husband can hear you when you try to sneak into the kitchen to get to the refrigerator, huh?
CHARLENE: Yeah, something like that.
TOM: Alright. So, look, this has little to do with what is underneath the floor and more to do with just sort of normal wear and tear and expansion and contraction. The reason those floors are – those boards are squeaking is because they’re moving. And so, what you need to do is to tighten them up.
Now, since it’s a finished floor, you can’t just go willy-nilly throwing nails and screws into it; you’ve got to be a little more strategic. So what you want to do is find the place where there’s a floor joist underneath. And you can do that with a stud finder.
And once you identify that spot, you drill small holes through the floor and you use what’s called a “trim screw,” which is only a little bit bigger than a finish nail. You screw through the finished floor, into the floor joist, and that will pull that floor down and make it tighter and reduce the amount of movement that it’s capable of. And that’s what’s going to quiet down your squeak. A little harder to do when it’s a finished floor but that’s the way to do it.
CHARLENE: OK. It sounds like it might be an easy fix.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, we spend more money on the energy to heat and cool our homes than almost anything else, which is why it pays to take advantage of the latest in thermostat technology.
Now, Carrier just announced a new wave of Côr Wi-Fi thermostats designed to combine home comfort with reduced energy use.
TOM: Yeah. And Carrier knows what they’re doing, because you know what they invented? Air conditioning. They actually invented central air conditioning over 100 years ago. And this new Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat does not disappoint. Because it’s Wi-Fi-enabled, they’re available at a bunch of different price points and you get the convenience and comfort of remote-control access.
I love this because you can be on your couch and it’s a little chilly, so you can just pull out your phone and turn up the temperature. Or you could be miles away at work and you can turn up the temperature maybe when you’re on your way home on a winter day or turn the temperature down if you’re on your way home on a summer day. You can do that all from your phone, no matter where you are.
LESLIE: And these Côr thermostats are super smart. They’re going to actually optimize your heating-and-cooling system’s performance based on each home’s thermal characteristics. And that’s going to improve your energy savings and your comfort.
TOM: The Côr thermostats work on a number of system types and brands and they’re available from your local Carrier dealer.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jim on the line from Ohio who’s dealing with a high water table.
JIM: Hi. Our sump pump runs like crazy and we’ve tried to, you know, make sure that the drainage is a little – far away from the foundation. We even went so far as to get the basement sealed and waterproofed, all that stuff, which I think we wasted our money on. But nonetheless, sump pump runs like crazy. All these things have been addressed. It’s just – and everybody says around here it is a hugely high water table, if that makes sense.
TOM: So, does your basement leak more after a hard rain?
TOM: So the rainfall is consistent?
TOM: So this could be the unique situation where you really truly do have a high water table. If you get basement leakage and precipitation that is worse after a snow melt or a rainfall, then it’s almost always gutter problems or problems with drainage, angle of the grade, that sort of thing.
JIM: Right, right. As a matter of fact, we took your advice from past shows and had all that stuff addressed, because it is such a common issue. But this is the oddball. Leave it to us to have the oddball.
TOM: If you truly do have a high water table and you have a subsurface drainage system in below the floor of the basement, then that’s pretty much all that you really can or should be doing right now. Is the water evidencing itself in some way? Is it coming up beyond the floor?
JIM: No, no. It stays in the sump pump. I know my pump’s not going to last forever. We go through – we’ve gone through 7 or 8 of them in 12 years.
TOM: Take a look at the pumps that are made by Wayne – the Wayne Pump Company. They make really good pumps that – in fact, they have pumps that are auto-reversing so that if they do get clogged, that they will reverse themselves to kind of spit out the clog and then come back on again.
JIM: Oh, OK. Awesome. Thanks, you guys.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, have you ever had your plumbing pipes just spring a leak? It may be caused by the water running through them. We’ll explain, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT but you can also post your question to the Money Pit’s brand-spanking-new Community section at MoneyPit.com. And that’s what Jackie did, who has a very interesting problem with her plumbing system.
LESLIE: Oh, I know this problem very well. Alright. Jackie writes: “I’ve had two leaks in my copper water that have been very expensive to repair. They both were caused by pinhole leaks in that copper and my plumber is recommending that I replace the pipes rather than repair them further. Why is this happening? And does replacement make the most sense? This is a beautiful 1940 Cape and I want to try to maintain that.”
TOM: Yeah. This is a very annoying problem because you think when you have a house that’s got copper plumbing, that it’s not going to wear out, right? But the problem is that in some situations, depending on your local water, you get a reaction between the water and the copper that actually causes it to erode and causes these pinholes to form inside the pipe.
And there’s no easy solution here, so I hate to tell you that, Jackie. But when this happens, I am definitely in favor of replacing the entire pipe and following the advice of your plumber. Because, unfortunately, this is the same as if you had steel pipes in your house, right? I always say if you have steel pipes, replace everything that’s accessible. But whenever you open up a wall, if you find one inside, replace that.
You want to do the same thing if you’re in an area that’s got acidic water, where it’s reacting with the copper and it’s deteriorating it. Replace that pipe but don’t replace it with copper. You want to replace it with PEX. Now, PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene and it’s a very easy plumbing pipe to use. It can be – it’s pretty flexible. You can sort of wind it through walls if you have to. It’s never going to wear out and you’re not going to have any issues once this is done.
You don’t have to do it all at once but like I say, if you can do everything that’s accessible, perhaps when you’re ready to budget for that, do it then. And then if you find in the future that you’ve torn open a wall to put in a new bathroom or made a repair or something of that nature, do the rest of those pipes when you can get to them. Because there’s no easy solution here. You’re going to eventually end up replacing all of that plumbing. And I definitely wouldn’t tell you to repair it one small hole at a time, because that’s just going to put you in the poorhouse.
LESLIE: No. And you know what? I started having this weird leak right at my desk, in my basement, at home. And it was just this trickle running the wall and there had been a pool of paint. I ended up just replacing that copper line – the whole line – in the ceiling because I didn’t want to just be chasing these leaks in the future. And apparently, it’s very common in my town.
TOM: Yeah. One shower a day is enough.
LESLIE: Yeah. For sure.
TOM: Do you love displaying photos in your home but you find that looking for the frames and getting the photos to look right is always a hassle? Leslie has tips to make it easy, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, one of the greatest ways to make a space your own is to hang pictures that mean something to you and your family. But if you visited a frame shop lately to check on the price, you know it can be super expensive. So, instead, you can buy inexpensive frames from just about anywhere and then customize the matting. It really is much easier than you think. You just need heavy-duty paper in any color that compliments the picture you want to frame.
Go ahead and cut the outside of the paper to match the interior dimensions of the frame you’re going to use. And then with an X-ACTO knife or even an actual mat cutter, you want to cut a square or a rectangle big enough to display as much of the picture that you want showing.
Now, here’s a trick of the trade: you want to get non-acidic tape and tape only one side of the picture to the mat. Taping more than one side could cause it not to lay straight or to wrinkle. And now you have learned all the tricks to mat like a pro.
Go ahead. Create groupings of similar photos for added impact or use black-and-white prints to bring a cohesive look to different photos. Go crazy. Create a gallery. It truly is a unifying and gorgeous creation that you can bring to your home.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, do you want to beat the heat this summer? Well, so does your garden. We’re going to have tips on a system called “micro-irrigation” that actually allows you to get the water right where you need it, without any waste. And it’s perfect when you get those really hot dog days of July and August. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to know, with step-by-step instructions, 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.
(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.)