- Summer vacations can be fun and relaxing experience, but they can also be fun for burglars who love hitting vacant houses! We share a few tips to keep intruders away and make sure the home you come back to is exactly like you left it.
- Do you consider energy efficiency when buying appliances, like refrigerators or televisions? You might be surprised to learn that your homes biggest energy waster may live in the laundry room. It’s your dryer! We explain why and how to get the most out of this mission critical machine.
- Need to set a post for a fence or flagpole, but don’t want to go through the trouble of mixing and pour concrete to keep it in place? We share a trick of the trade to do that in minutes!
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Smoke Odor: Reno’ing a home occupied by smokers? Yuck! We share how to get rid of smoke smells and help you breathe easy once again.
- Leaking Shower: Max has a leaking Carrara marble shower. Tom shares two options for repairing a shower leak, one super simple and another that’s not!
- Building a Porch: Is adding a brand-new porch possible for a DIY’r? We help Darlene avoid a potential DIY disaster.
- Fixing a Foundation Leak: Leaking foundation walls are easier to fix than you can imagine. We walk Jeffrey through the solution.
- Getting Rid of Moles: Leslie explains how to get rid of a mole problem, by eliminating their food source.
- Restoring a Concrete Patio: We help Carrie with the best paver product to recover a concrete patio that looks worn.
- Fixing Rotted Wood: Joe wants to know why his newly painted wood is rotting after only two years.
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’re here to help you take on the projects that you want to get done around your house. This is Episode – Leslie, you ready for this? – it’s Episode 2222.
LESLIE: Oh, I love it. That’s lucky.
TOM: Two thousand, two hundred and twenty-two episodes. I think so, in the year 2022.
So, we’re so glad to have you be part of this episode. If you’ve got questions, have projects you want to get done, please reach out to us.
Couple of ways that you can do that. You can go to MoneyPit.com and click on the blue microphone button. Or you can also call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and leave your questions. We’ll call you back the next time we are in the studio.
Coming up on today’s show, summer vacations can definitely be a fun and relaxing experience. But they can also be fun for burglars who love hitting vacant houses. So to help make sure the home that you come back to is exactly like the one you left, we’re going to share a few tips to keep those intruders away.
LESLIE: And these days, we’re conditioned to think about energy efficiency when you’re buying a new appliance, like a refrigerator or a television. But you might be surprised to learn that your home’s biggest energy waster could live in your laundry room. And we’re talking about your dryer. We’re going to explain why and how to get the most out of this mission-critical machine, just ahead.
TOM: And if one of your summer projects is, say, putting up a new fence or setting a flagpole, you need to set the posts in concrete. Well, we’re going to share a trick of the trade that makes it really, really easy to do that. In fact, you don’t even have to mix it.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, that sounds like a perfect summer project.
What are you guys working on this summer weekend? I can’t believe we are flying through July and before you know it, we’ll be talking about fall fix-ups. So let us know what you want to tackle this summer season. Give us a call.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
So let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading over to Delaware where Eve is trying to get rid of a smoke smell.
What’s going on?
EVE: Right. We recently purchased a row home in Philadelphia and it has a third-floor studio apartment where the previous occupant was a heavy smoker. And we’re trying to get rid of the smell from the cigarettes. We’ve tried removing the floor tiles, replacing the drop-grid ceiling tiles and painting. But the odor is still pretty strong. So I’m wondering if you have any suggestions.
TOM: Hmm. So above the drop ceiling, did you paint that surface, as well?
EVE: No. We didn’t.
TOM: What did you paint with? Did you use any kind of a primer?
EVE: Going over paint, so we didn’t. We just used a regular latex paint.
TOM: Right. So the best thing to do in a situation like this is to use a very good-quality primer – either an alkyd primer or a solvent-based primer – because it tends to seal in all of those wall and ceiling surfaces, including the odors that are underneath.
The other issue, of course, is the floors. Now, you mentioned that there’s a tile floor there. So it was a hard-surface floor?
EVE: Yeah. Right now, we pulled up everything. We’re down to the plywood. And we were just going to put in a new flooring. So is there anything we should do before we do that?
TOM: Yeah. I would also prime the plywood.
TOM: I’d seal everything and I would use a good-quality, oil-based primer like a KILZ, for example. And I would prime the heck out of everything because that does a good job of sealing out those odors. That and some just normal ventilation ought to do it. But I think if you don’t prime those surfaces, you won’t be able to completely get rid of that odor.
Then, of course, it goes without saying that you’ve disposed of furniture and curtains and things like that?
EVE: Yes. The only other question is: what about kitchen cabinets?
TOM: You can’t do much with them. But what you can do is you can clean them with TSP – trisodium phosphate. It’s like a powdery soap mix that you buy in the paint aisle and you can mix up a solution and clean those.
Are these wooden cabinets or laminate cabinets?
TOM: If it’s wooden, you may not want to use the TSP on it. You could use Murphy’s Oil Soap instead.
TOM: But you’re going to have to clean them.
EVE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Eve. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Thankfully, fewer and fewer people are smoking today, so we’re getting fewer and fewer of those calls. But I tell you what, when you get a house that’s like that, what a mess.
LESLIE: Heading to New York where we’ve got Max on the line who’s dealing with a leaky shower.
Max, what’s happening?
MAX: It has marble – Carrara marble – on the floor. And I experienced a leaking problem in my basement when I turned the shower on. And I don’t want to tear up my marble floor and I’m asking the best way to deal with it.
TOM: So, the first thing you need to do is figure out why it is leaking. There’s two ways that this could be happening.
First of all, depending on how your shower walls are put together, if you’re taking a shower and you have gaps in those walls because the grout fell out, the water can go through those seams and result in a leak to the floor below. Also, of course, the seam between the shower pan and the walls itself. Any of those areas, if they are missing their grout, you can get a leak there. And that’s an easy fix. The part that’s not as easy to fix is the actual shower pan, which is underneath that marble floor.
Now, the way to prove that that may or may not be the case is this. What I want you to do is to take a washcloth or a small piece of rubber or – let’s think about this. What else could we use? Something – maybe even some Saran Wrap or something like that. You’ve got to cover that drain in the shower and then you fill up that pan with 4 or 5 inches of water. Put as much water in the pan as you can without overflowing it. And then go look in the basement and see what’s happening. Because see, by doing this, we basically have eliminated the possibility that the water could be going through the walls; it’s only going to get there if there’s a problem with that pan itself.
And if you still see leaks, the next thing you’ve got to do is call a plumber because we’re going to want to open up that bathroom – that basement ceiling is the next step and see if it’s just the drain or it’s the pan itself. If it’s the drain, that’s a much easier fix. If it’s the pan, sorry to tell you that that pan’s got to get torn out. So it’s bye-bye, Carrara marble, and it’ll have to be rebuilt from scratch.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Darlene from Maryland on the line who’s got a question about putting a porch on the house, which is awesome. And she’s got some questions about how to get started.
What’s going on?
DARLENE: Hi. My plan is to put a porch on the side of my house. I have two windows that sit about 7 feet from the ground. And one of them, the windowsill has rotted off. So I figured I would convert that window into a door. But I know I need to put up a ledger board. And I just wanted your opinion on how difficult that would be for me to do.
TOM: So Darlene, first off, that’s a big project, right? I mean adding a porch where none existed is a big project. It involves some pretty heavy work. So you’ve got to know what you’re doing. It’s something you might want to hire a pro to do.
And in regards to your specific question about adding a ledger, so what I believe you’re referring to is the first part of the porch will be the porch-flooring system. Yes, that has to be attached to the exterior and it’s got to be properly flashed, much like the same that you would do when you attach a deck, because that’s a key structural connection to the house. And if you don’t get it right, it can rot, it can become weak. And in the worst-case scenario – especially if you have a party with 25 of your closest friends on that porch – it could actually collapse. So you want to make sure you get that right.
In terms of the window with the rotted sill, you say you want to add a door there. Look, the fact that you have a rotted sill doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to rip the whole thing out and create a door, unless the door really makes sense.
You would also have to make sure that – I’m going to presume the window has a header over it, which is the structural member that supports the fact that there’s some space wider than the stud width apart there. Your studs are usually 16 inches on center and in order to have a window, you put what’s called a header beam across that. It kind of spreads the load and allows you to open up that space in the wall. You would have to make sure that the door, or whatever you were going to put in, fits inside of that. And when it comes to exterior doors, usually the smallest one is about 2 foot, 8 inches wide.
So, I don’t think the fact that you have a rotted sill means it’s a great opportunity to put a door in because, frankly, you can repair a rotted sill in its entirety. You could replace the entire sill. If it still had some of its structural member left, you could use a product called WoodEpox, which is a neat product because it’s really lightweight. It’s two parts. You mix it up. It’s like a putty. And then you fill in all those cavities, get them as close to sort of flat as you can. And then once it dries, you can sand it, you can file it, you can scrape it, you can saw it just like you would real wood and then prime and paint and you’ll be good to go.
So, I hope that kind of covers all the bases with this project. Porches are lovely, they’re popular. More popular now than certainly ever before. But it is a big job. So, proceed accordingly, Darlene.
DARLENE: Thank you and I love your show.
TOM: Well, vacations can be fun and relaxing but they can also be fun for burglars who just love hitting those vacant homes. So, to help make sure the home you come back to is exactly like the one you left, we’re going to share a few tips to keep those intruders away.
LESLIE: Now, the first thing is having bright lights. Now, crime experts agree that a well-lit home is much less likely to be broken into. So you want to keep the exterior of your home illuminated on all the sides. And one of the best ways to burglar-proof your home is to install motion-detector spotlights.
TOM: Now, next, if you’ve got landscaping that is covering entrances to your house, you want to kind of cut it back or lower it. Because dark houses that are surrounded by high bushes are going to give burglars plenty of cover to do their dirty work. So, you want to burglar-proof your landscape, so to speak, by keeping trees cut away from the house and make sure the bushes are trimmed low.
LESLIE: Alright. Next, think about installing an alarm system. Now, the cost of installing a good-quality alarm system really has come down recently, due to increased competition and technology that does make the installing process simpler and quicker.
And one of the most common complaints, though, about home security systems is the excessive false alarms that are caused by malfunctions. And that’s why we like the Deep Sentinel system. These cameras, they’re monitored, 24/7, by security pros who then alert the police only when it’s necessary. So it kind of eliminates those false alarms.
And last, let’s talk about the quality of your doors. They’ve got to be durable. And if you make your doors as strong as possible, you can deter break-ins that are going to be pretty violent.
First, install a very good-quality deadbolt. Doors with handle locks can be easily bypassed but deadbolts are really important. They need serious force to break through. And then reinforce the installation by removing the short-hinge screws.
Now, when you have a door, typically the screws that go through that door are only designed to hold the door. But if you replace those with really long screws, like ones that are about 2½ or 3 inches long, they will go through the hinge, through the jam of the door and all the way into the way into the wall where they’ll attach to the studs of the wall framing. And that makes the door incredibly strong and virtually impossible to break through. And it’s a really easy update to do.
So, all these are easy updates, right? And if you do, your house is going to be a lot less likely to attract uninvited guests while you are away.
LESLIE: Jeffrey in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JEFFREY: In brief, I’m calling regarding foundation issues in my basement. We’ve had braces installed on one basement wall, that’s connected to our main water line, that had seepage issues and bowing in the concrete. On the other side, we have slight bowing but I recently discovered some of the cinderblock is crumbling. It is becoming dust. So it seems like there is erosion issues within the foundation, as well.
On the other side of that newly found wall is a driveway that is eroding and sometime traps water. As a sidenote, I have very clay-heavy soil.
TOM: Yeah, Jeff. What you’re describing here is a pretty serious water problem. The good news is that I don’t think it’s a rising water table, based on this description. I think you’ve got some drainage issues. And the fact that you may have some clay soil, as well, that contributes to this – when clay gets wet, it expands more than it does, as well, when it just freezes. So that might be the cause of some of the bowing and the cracking.
But what I would do is this. I would start outside, I would make sure that I have continuous gutters around the house and that they are completely empty and completely clog-free. And then secondly, that the downspouts don’t just dump water near the house like most do but I would extend them out. You can do that by adding another piece of leader material. Or you can do it more permanently by running a solid PVC pipe under the soil and then discharge it to daylight somewhere downhill from that house.
And secondly, I would look at the grade, the slope of soil but just the first 4 to 6 feet away from the house. We don’t want water collecting against the house. So if you have a landscape border or anything of that nature, you want to eliminate that so that water is shed from that foundation perimeter.
Now, you mentioned what you thought was deterioration in this foundation wall, Mike. The good news is that that is very likely not that. Concrete doesn’t really “deteriorate.” What you’re probably seeing is simply mineral-salt deposits, more evidence that that wall has been wet. That wall is very hydroscopic; it sucks up water. That water evaporates into the basement air and it leaves behind these mineral salts, which are usually like a dark white, light gray kind of an almost cinder block to whitish color. And you can actually prove this to yourself if you have any doubt, because they will melt away when you add some vinegar. If you spray a little vinegar on it, you’ll see the salt just disappear.
Don’t worry too much about that but you definitely have to get this water under control. Because if the bowing gets any worse, you’re going to need to bring in a structural engineer to design a repair for you. I’d like to see you avoid that and I’m sure you would, as well.
LESLIE: Michelle in Michigan is on the line with a question about moles.
That’s a lot of Ms, Michelle. What’s going on?
MICHELLE: Well, I have about an acre-and-a-half of backyard. Well, actually an acre, not quite a half. But I have moles constantly coming from my neighbor’s yard and tearing up. And they’re living under my patio.
LESLIE: Well, you know why they’re coming to your yard is because your yard is serving up a tasty treat that they really like. So, the reason why moles show up is because your property probably has grubs. And you might not see them. They’re living in the dirt underneath the lawn. But that’s what the moles are eating. So the trick to getting rid of the moles is to get rid of the grubs.
MICHELLE: Now, how would I go about by doing that? Because I’ve done everything I could possibly think of – spraying, putting things down, even a few homeopathic things – but nothing seems to be working.
LESLIE: There’s a couple of different products that you can use that will, I guess, treat the grub situation. One of them that you can find at your local home center is GrubEx. And that’s an application that you’ll put on the lawn and that will get rid of the grubs. It won’t happen instantaneously but it’ll start to get rid of the grubs. And then the moles will figure out that you don’t have the tasty treats in the lawn anymore and they’ll start moving elsewhere.
Have you tried anything like that?
MICHELLE: No, I haven’t tried anything like that. My neighbor down the street told me to poke little holes in the ground and put bubblegum in there. And they might be confused thinking it might be a grub or a worm and they might not want to come back. I was trying to do something where I wouldn’t hurt them but they’re really hurting my yard.
TOM: That’s right. It’s really simple. If you eliminate their food source, they’re going to go try to find it somewhere else. So, the grubs are the food. If you eliminate the grubs, you’ll eliminate the moles.
MICHELLE: OK. Well, great. Then I’ll have to give that a try.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Carrie is on the line and she’s got a question about metal roofs.
What’s going on? How can we help?
CARRIE: I was just listening to the show and the roll-on concrete patio. I was just wondering, I have a metal roof and I’m wondering how this will affect and hold up with the runoff from the metal roof. Will it hold up to that in heavy runoff areas?
TOM: Ah, Carrie. Yeah, you’re talking about some of the Daich Coatings’ products. There’s a lot of great products that they make for concrete patios and they have real stone in it, too, which makes them different than anything else that’s out there. You should take a look at the SpreadRock or the RollerRock. The SpreadRock’s a granite stone coating that’s terrific, for example, around pools. They also have anti-slip products.
I wouldn’t worry too much about any erosion from runoff from your metal roofs. Because these are epoxy-based products, which are really tough, really hard, really durable. So I think that if you did this, you would find that the patio is very attractive – much more so than the concrete that you had before – and that you don’t have to worry too much about the runoff from that metal roof.
We hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer day. Perhaps you are out and about or perhaps you are enjoying the outside of your house. I know we’ve been doing a lot of gardening because the Jersey tomatoes are just starting to come in. And man, are they tasty.
LESLIE: Have you tied them to your gutters, yet?
TOM: No. That usually happens in August.
LESLIE: Ah, OK.
TOM: And what Leslie’s talking about is the fact that sometimes, usually at the end of the summer, my tomatoes exceed my ability to keep them off the ground and tackling the other plants that are surrounding them. So I had this extra trellis system that I use; it kind of hangs off the gutter right above them. And literally, I have these vines hanging up there so I don’t miss a single tomato. We went through all the trouble of planting them; I don’t want to lose any, you know? So, yeah.
LESLIE: Don’t worry. He’s going to post them, come August. He’s extra proud of these tomatoes. You’ll see.
LESLIE: Joe in Iowa wants to talk decking.
How can we help you?
JOE: Well, I’ve got a small problem with my decks. They’re pressure-treated lumber, about 18-year-old decks. One faces north and one faces south. And I watched a neighbor – they’re getting – both are getting bad. And I watched a neighbor use one of those products where you paint it on and it’s supposed to renew or restore your deck. I watched them pressure-wash it twice and dry it and buy the special applicators with two coats. Over the winter, one winter, it started peeling off.
TOM: Yeah. I heard that time and time again. It looks good in the store but it doesn’t stick. It doesn’t stick. And you get this really thick coat of – I think they call it a “restorer.” It just peels right off. It’s like the worst peeling paint project you’ve ever seen.
So, Joe, have you thought about doing sort of a deck makeover where perhaps you keep the structure but you replace the deck boards with composite or something like that?
JOE: That’s what I was wondering. I’ve seen where they’ve got these thinner composites you just put over the top of your boards, where they don’t stand up or just take all the deck boards off and put all new composite boards on.
TOM: First thing I would do is I would do a thorough inspection of the structure, because we don’t want you to put – do anything to this if it’s not structurally sound. It’s got to be well attached to the house. The floor joists have to be solid without major cracks or shifting, properly reinforced, properly braced. You know, if this thing is rock-solid and the structure is good, then you could proceed. I would remove the decking boards because there’s no structural integrity to the decking boards. I would pull the decking boards off and I would put simply composite right on top of that.
Goes on very easily. And once that’s down, you’ll never have to worry about a split, a crack or picking up a paintbrush again.
JOE: Or getting a splinter in your foot when you go out to check the grill.
TOM: Nope. That’s right. Not at all. Yeah. And they have some composite components for the railing system, as well, if you want to go that far. So, take a look at those and go from there.
JOE: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, closing the refrigerator door and turning off lights can save power and cash. But your home’s real energy suckers live in the laundry room. I’m talking about your standard clothes dryer. Now, that can use more power than your refrigerator.
TOM: Yeah. But there are great solutions. Now, high-efficiency washing machine’s definitely on the rise. And we also have now ENERGY STAR-certified clothes dryers. And they cut energy by about 20 percent. So here’s what you need to know to make smart buys when looking at those machines.
First, keep in mind that the energy-efficient washers and dryers work because they are actually different from standard appliances. For example, the high-efficiency washers, they spin faster, they use less water and they wring out more of that water per load. And that means you’re going to have shorter cycles and less energy use. And it also means you’ll have less drying time because the more water you take out in the spin cycle, the less you’ve got to evaporate out by running that dryer. Now, the front loaders are still the most popular but we’re also getting some increased popularity of the top loaders, as well.
Now, the high-efficiency dryers are going to feature moisture sensors that detect when the clothes are dry. Because in the old days, the clothes would dry but then the dryer would just keep running until the timer ran out, right? Well, now we have sensors in there that tell us when the clothes are dry. And that actually saves a lot of energy because you’re not running it when you don’t really have to.
And if your only opportunity is to have an electric dryer, which is typically expensive to run, you can choose to upgrade to a heat-pump dryer, which cuts costs by at least a third to a half by recycling some of that generated heat.
LESLIE: Alright. So now you’re shopping for your new dryer. So here’s a couple of things you’ve got to look for when you’re buying.
You want to use their EnergyGuide label. It’s that big, yellow sticker and it’s going to show yearly energy usage compared to other models in that same category. And it’s going to give you a lot of helpful information.
Now, as washers go, front loaders are going to spin the fastest. They’re the most efficient and they’re the gentlest on clothing. But they’re going to shake more, so you’ve got to think about using anti-vibration pads that could help with that. Top loaders are going to cost about $200 less but they do save less energy. But one perk is they let you add clothing mid-load. Which how many times are you like, “Ooh, I dropped this,” or “Let me quickly throw in this towel”? With the front loader, once it’s closed and on, you are stuck.
Now, to maximize savings, you want to look for labor-saving settings. So, for example, if there’s a delay-start setting, that’s going to let you preset cycles for when those utility costs are at the lowest. And quick-wash cycles are another feature that work great for lightly-soiled loads which require less washing. And that can save you big in the process. They reduce hour-plus wash times by 10 percent or more. I mean that’s a lot.
TOM: It really is.
Now, if you’re going to shop for a new appliance, it’s really a good idea to always choose one that is ENERGY STAR-rated. Considering the high amount of energy that the traditional models use, you’ll earn back that cost increase a lot sooner than you expect.
LESLIE: Mary in Texas is on the line and has an issue with a tub.
Tell us what’s going on.
MARY: We have a bathtub that we’ve had plumbers out and they can’t even seem to get it unstopped. They think that it – would slowly – if you took a shower in there, it would slowly go out. Then it was going so slowly.
We called up a big company here – plumbing company – and the guy came out and checked it. And he couldn’t get it unstopped. He thinks it’s in the P-trap. The tub is on the back of the house. About 2 feet from that is the clean-out. And he took a picture in the clean-out, all the way to the alley and told us to get the city to come and …
TOM: So wait a minute. You’re telling me that the plumber was able to clear the drain from the house to the street but he thinks that the restriction is beyond that?
MARY: Yeah. He thinks just about 2 feet from the tub where he worked. And all the other lines are back farther.
TOM: I can tell you right now that he missed something in the tub, because all of those plumbing lines come together in that same general area. And if you’ve got flow from the toilet and the sinks and everything else but not the tub, it’s going to be the tub itself.
When it comes to clearing drains, my experience has been that plumbers are not the best ones to do that. Generally, you’re better off to go with a specialty plumber that does drain cleaning. They have the tools, the equipment and the knowledge to get that done. And sometimes, the day-to-day plumbers – if it’s a simple clog, they can clear it but they don’t necessarily have the tools. For example, drain cleaners have cameras that can go down those pipes and see exactly what the obstruction is.
So, my recommendation would be to call a different kind of professional: not a plumber but someone that specializes in drain cleaning and has a good reputation for being able to make that particular type of repair. I think that’s going to be the easiest way for you to get to the bottom of it. I would not recommend any type of additive to that drain to try to clear it and these liquid products that clear drains, because they can be very, very corrosive.
Mary, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: I have a pressure-treated wood I’ve used. And I put it on – I’ve sealed it with a solid-stain paint. And it seems that within – after 2 years, my wood, it starts to rot. It gets soft. I wanted to know: why is this happening? It’s pressure-treated wood.
TOM: When you stained it, first of all, did you do all sides of the board, including the bottom edge of the slat? Because very often, that’s where moisture gets pulled in.
JOHN: I did the whole board and I assembled it. And it just seems like it holds the – like a moisture within it. And it was in, like I say, 2 years it’s – you can almost push on it. It’s soft or it starts rotting.
TOM: Yeah, I suspect that it’s – there’s different layers of pressure-treatment. But I suspect whatever was done to this was not done very well. You know, I had some landscape ties that were allegedly pressure-treated. And within a couple of years, they were rotted away. I stepped on them one day and went right through it. So, I suspect that the quality of the wood in this fencing wasn’t really what you expected it to do.
I’ve taken just plain fir fence and I’ve treated it with WOODLIFE and made sure that the bottom of the fence was up at least 2 to 3 inches over the grass, because otherwise it gets a lot of moisture that pulls up into it. And I’ve had fences like that, that I treated, and then I used a solid-color stain on, last 15 years.
Just because it’s pressure-treated or not well pressure-treated doesn’t mean it can’t last. But I think it’s a combination of the installation and then the treatment of the stain that was used initially.
JOHN: OK. Because, see, I have a boat dock and it’s over the water. And I just put clear sealer over it and you know what? It lasts longer than me sealing it with solid-stain paint.
TOM: And it comes down to the quality of the wood itself. And whatever this fence is made out of just is not comparable to what your dock’s made out of, John. Sorry to tell you that but I thinks that’s what’s going on. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JOHN: OK. Well, thanks and have yourself a great day.
LESLIE: Well, summer projects, like building a fence or installing a flagpole, that starts with solid concrete. But while that typically means you’ve got to go through the mess of mixing the cement, the experts at QUIKRETE have come up with a way to skip that hassle.
Now, QUIKRETE is a trusted Money Pit sponsor and they make a product called Fast-Setting Concrete that requires no mixing. That’s right. I said no mixing. All you need to do is you dig a hole about three times the width of that post and about one-third to one-half of your post’s length and depth.
So, example here. If you’ve got a 6-foot post, you’re going to have to dig a 2-foot-deep hole.
TOM: Now, here’s the best part. All you need to do to solidify that post is to add about 6 inches of QUIKRETE gravel at the bottom of the hole. You want to kind of compact it and level it out and then put the post in right on top of that. And then use some braces to keep it straight. And once it’s level, you just fill the hole with the QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete. You don’t have to mix it. Right out of the bag, you just dump it in up to maybe 3 or 4 inches from the top. And then, once it’s in there, you just pour a gallon or 2 of water into that hole and walk away for about 4 hours. And that’s it, you’re done.
So no mixing. It actually solidifies yourself. You can build that fence or raise your flag in that much less time because you’re not premixing concrete. You don’t have to mess with all the cleanup and all that sort of thing. You just dump the dry mix in the hole, water it and you’re done.
LESLIE: Now, you can find that QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete in the red bag at home improvement retailers nationwide. If you want some more information on projects just like that, including instructional videos, head on over to QUIKRETE.com.
TOM: That’s Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E.com.
Carolyn is dealing with a shower incident here, Leslie.
LESLIE: Carolyn says, “We installed a one-piece tub/shower in our basement only about a year ago, as well as a linoleum flooring. Already, the lino’s rolling up where it meets the tub. What is the best product to use to hold it down? We really don’t want to use quarter round due to the moisture but we’re worrying that caulking isn’t going to do the job.”
TOM: Yeah. I think that’s kind of where you’re at. You kind of nailed it there.
So, typically, if you had floor that was lifting like that – sheet flooring on the first floor – you would definitely have to nail it down into the floor and that would sort of pinch the edge closed. Now, I’m pretty sure you can find a PVC molding that would do this, as well, so you wouldn’t have to worry about the rot.
But the hassle here is that you’re in the basement, so you’ve got a concrete floor. So you’ve got really nothing to nail it to, which is a problem. I mean sure, I guess you could use some concrete screws there but still, it’s a tough situation.
I think, Leslie, if it was me, given the fact that bathrooms are really small and you had a bad lesson as to what happens with the lino, what I would do is I would just take the linoleum out. I would rip it right out. I would cut it clean around the bottom of the toiler. There’s no reason to pull the toilet. And then I would replace it with one of the 100-percent waterproof flooring products that are out there, of which there are many. And they are also easy to install.
So, something like engineered vinyl plank. It comes in a plank width that’s usually around 6 inches to 8 inches wide. The boards lock together. It’s a floating installation, so it sits on top of the floor. It doesn’t have to be glued to the floor.
Or you could use the stone-hybrid products, which are even tougher. These products, you could soak them in a pool and nothing would happen to them. You’re not going to get any kind of curling or anything like that. Once they’re in there and they just lay flat, they just stay there. They’re really terrific. I put one in – I put the LL Flooring stone-hybrid product – it’s called Duravana – in my laundry room a few months ago. And it’s been just awesome.
So, I think that’s probably a better option than trying to either glue this down again – because you’re right, gluing and caulking, it just doesn’t stick. It’s just going to come up again. It’s just kind of the way things are. So I would take that out and replace it with a waterproof floor.
LESLIE: Alright. Hope that helps you out, Carolyn. And enjoy that new bath in the basement.
Now, Jason wrote in saying, “I’m having trouble finding the commercial cleaner for Kool Deck. Can you point me in the right direction?”
TOM: So, yeah. So, Kool Deck is a popular product for concrete surfaces around pools, because it’s designed specifically to reduce the heat of it. It kind of reflects some of that heat outside, back out. It has sort of a UV-reflected product inside that makes it cooler. So a lot of folks like it for that. It’s made by a company called Mortex – M-o-r-t-e-x. And they also happen to make a commercial cleaner that’s designed specifically for Kool Deck, because you want to have the right combination of products there. Or actually, I think you might start wearing some of that stuff away.
So, if you go to Mortex.com – M-o-r-t-e-x-t – and just search for the Kool Deck cleaning product, you will find it. There’s also a good cleaning guide for Kool Deck on their website.
And if you’re tired of the maintenance associated with that product, you might want to take a look at the RollerRock products by Daich Coatings. They’re stone-based and they are incredibly tough and beautiful. And they also work well around a pool.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you guys out.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thanks, guys, for spending this part of your day with us as we wrap up Episode 2222. I guess we’re going to have to go buy lottery numbers or something with all of those 2s in it, since that seems to be our lucky number for today.
Hey, we hope that you guys are having a fortunate day taking on projects around your house. But remember, if something goes wrong, it can happen. It happens to the best of us. Oh, my gosh, you wouldn’t believe some of the stories. Maybe we’ll get those into another episode because, for now, we are just all out of time.
Thanks for listening. 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 2022 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.)