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 what are you working on this beautiful summer day? If it’s your house, your home, your castle, well, you’re in exactly the right place because we’re here to help. We’re standing by with our t-shirts on, our flip-flops on. We’ve got paintbrushes, we’ve got power tools. Just tell us where to go.
LESLIE: Totally inappropriate work outfits, by the way, for power tools, Tom.
TOM: Yeah, well, we’re kind of hanging out and helping at the same time. We’re more directing, I would say, than helping but we do have those things.
Anyway, if you’ve got a question about a project going on in your house, we’d love to chat about it. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And you can also post that question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Here’s something we’re going to help you with this hour. Is your midsummer night’s dream becoming a nightmare because of annoying mosquitoes? We’ve got tips on the most effective way to stop mosquitoes from taking the bite out of your backyard fun, coming up.
LESLIE: And also ahead, fire pits, grill surrounds or even entire outdoor kitchens are super-popular backyard projects. But do they sound way too complicated for a DIYer? We’re going to have some tips to help build your own that are super easy and really as simple as stacking blocks.
TOM: Plus, replacing your front door is a project that can increase both your home’s value and its curb appeal. We’re going to share tips on how to get that project done.
LESLIE: But first, we’re here to help you with your décor and home improvement projects. Anything you are working on, we are here to lend a hand. But you’ve got to give us a call or post your question online at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Betty in California needs some help with a toilet question. What can we do for you today?
BETTY: I’m interested in the high-rise toilet and I’d like the pros and con and possibly a brand. Because our plumber is thinking of using KOHLER – the quick flush – and we’re on well water and that’s it.
TOM: Well, there’s really no cons of using – a “comfort-height toilet” is what’s that called. Not a high-rise but comfort-height. They’re a bit higher than a standard toilet. And in terms of brands, one that I can recommend is called American Champion 4. I’ve got American Champion comfort-height toilets in our house. And it really doesn’t matter what age you are, they are just easier to use. And the other benefit is that they use very little water and they don’t clog.
So I would take a look at the American Standard Champion 4 toilets and just get the accessible size and you’ll be good to go.
Alright, Betty? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rick in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICK: When our house was built, in place of the usual wooden boards that are used to trim around the edges of the roofs and around the bottom of the house, they used a plastic composite-type material.
RICK: And it’s used in place of wood and it’s maintenance-free, lasts forever, that kind of stuff. With the exception that any place this wood is – this composite material is cut, it becomes kind of a haven for mold and mildew. And you get green growth there and it’s – you spend a lot of time and effort continually pressure-washing to clean it out. So, what I’m looking for is some means of sealing – is there some way of sealing this to prevent this mold growth on what is otherwise a maintenance-free material?
TOM: Well, if it’s composite, it may be a product called AZEK – A-Z-E-K. And that’s paintable. And so you could paint those areas and that might tend to seal it in a bit more. Because I think what you’re saying is that the cut areas are probably more absorbent than the surface areas and so you’re getting a little more moisture. Maybe it’s a trap. There’s a little rougher surface there that might be a trap for dirt that feeds mildew or algae and that sort of thing.
So, what comes to mind right away is that you simply could paint it. But of course, you know what comes after paint: repaint.
RICK: Exactly. It takes away the maintenance-free aspect of it.
RICK: But is there a type of paint that would be more conducive or last longer, like an epoxy-type paint or something like that?
TOM: Not for a surface like that. No, you would just use an exterior paint and you would probably prime it first.
RICK: So it wouldn’t be latex. It would be an enamel?
TOM: No, you would use a 100-percent acrylic latex paint. That’s what AZEK recommends be used. And you also might want to take a look at Sherwin-Williams for the paint manufacturer, because I know that they have paints that are specifically made for vinyl or PVC products, which is what that product is. AZEK is simply an extruded cellular PVC.
LESLIE: Not everybody does this but some contractors tend to skip the step of filling holes when it comes to a composite trimming. You know, they’re like, “Eh, you can’t see it. It’s OK.” But this could give you the opportunity – if you’re going to paint the trim, as well – to go ahead and fill any nail holes. And that’ll really give it almost a more natural wood look, the brushstrokes. It could be a good thing.
RICK: OK. Thank you very much. That’s a great idea.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pam in Maryland, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAM: Off of my master bedroom, it has a small deck out there. Apparently, the seal has broken. It’s two pieces of glass that had some sort of, I don’t know, some sort of thing inside of it. And it’s now looking really milky. I’m wondering if I can replace it by getting another glass door or can I replace the glass alone?
TOM: OK. So what’s happening is you have insulated glass and that seal between the panes of glass is called “swiggle.” And when the swiggle fails, then moisture gets in there between the panes of glass and then you get condensation, which is that white, milky, yucky appearance to the glass.
Now, it impacts the energy efficiency in some way but other than that, it’s pretty much just cosmetic. And I say that because it’s not an easy fix. You have to replace the sliding glass door or replace the glass. And it’s probably less expensive to simply replace the door itself. You get a good-quality Pella or Andersen sliding-glass door there and you’re not going to have to worry about glass that fails for a very, very, very long time. And I think that that is probably the best way to attack that problem. Either live with it and accept the fact that it’s going to be yucky-looking or replace it with a new, good-quality slider.
PAM: OK. Sounds good. Well, thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Pam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire that pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free.
TOM: Up next, they are bloodthirsty and relentless. No, we’re not talking about your family; we’re talking about mosquitoes. We’re going to share the most effective ways to curb the mosquito population around your house, right after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, about your how-to project or DIY dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
LESLIE: Jason in Iowa is dealing with some asbestos removal, a topic I’m very familiar with these days.
Jason, what’s going on at your money pit?
JASON: Well, we bought a house. And in the basement, the ductwork has crumbling asbestos tape around all the seams. And I didn’t know it was asbestos at first. A gentleman – a friend of mine – kind of told me that it was, which was good to know because I would have just started tearing it off there.
But I know that it can be dangerous. And I’ve been told to put on a good HEPA-filter mask and wet the filters and such and you can take it off and wear gloves and be careful. But is that really the case? Do I have to legally hire a professional to come in and remove something like that?
TOM: It’s definitely the smart thing to do, Jason. Because the problem with asbestos is it’s very, very fine. It’s finer than smoke. If you were to release asbestos particles and assuming there was no wind, it would take eight hours for them to hit the floor; that’s how fine they are.
So what you are seeing is only part of the problem. What you’re physically seeing, those chunks, is only part of it. This is a situation where you really can’t do it yourself.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the other part of the equation is the disposal. It’s like you can’t just take it and put it in a trash bag and stick it outside.
LESLIE: I’m in the process of having asbestos shingles removed from my home, on the exterior. And they have to be not only properly taken down and packed up in a certain manner but they have to be completely driven off to another state and certified that they’ve been disposed of in a proper manner. Now, I’m sure with just the tape wrapping the piping, that’s not going to be the extreme case there but you do have to make sure that it’s disposed of properly. You don’t want to get in any trouble.
TOM: And by the way, Jason, you can’t visually identify asbestos. So the very first thing you should do is to have some – a sample of the material tested to confirm that it is, in fact, asbestos.
JASON: And who would do that?
TOM: An asbestos lab.
Leslie, you just had asbestos testing done. Who did you use for that? Was it a local lab?
LESLIE: It was a local company that also does the removal. But there are several companies. I would just look locally at asbestos removal. And it was fairly simple and the test took about two days. And it gives you a percentage of asbestos found in the item and it’s interesting.
JASON: Well, thanks so much for your time and hopefully, it won’t be too costly that I have to call it a “money pit.”
TOM: OK, Jason. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’ve got Dorothy in Wisconsin on the line who has a Wizard of Oz-themed garden and needs some help with her characters.
How exciting. Have they blown away many times? Is the house on the witch? What’s going on?
DOROTHY: Dorothy and my scarecrow have costumes on them and they’re made of cotton, I believe. And I’m looking for a product that is water-repellent and sun-resistant.
LESLIE: I’m not sure about the UV-rating but there are many products that are made for camping equipment, like tents and sleeping bags, that you would spray on that make the fabric water-resistant. There’s one called KIWI Camp Dry and it’s a heavy-duty waterproofing spray. It’s good for tents and boots. I just don’t know if they’re UV-rated but they definitely do keep things – clothing – water-resistant.
DOROTHY: Right. I’m trying to find a product that is also UV-protectant.
LESLIE: You know what? If you head on over to the Trek website – and it’s actually Trek7.com – T-r-e-k-7.com. I just quickly popped over there and I looked at their Aqua Armor product. And it says it’s UV-activated.
DOROTHY: Oh, I thank you very much.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, you’re likely to have some unwanted visitors at your barbecues, pool parties and other backyard gatherings this summer: you know, the kind that likes to take bites out of you and your guests. But mosquitoes are not only a major hassle, they’re also among the world’s most dangerous insects due to their ability to transmit viruses to humans.
TOM: That’s right. Now, the best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is to not give mosquitoes a chance to make themselves at home near your home. The first step is to eliminate all sources of standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. A female mosquito can lay over 100 eggs at a time, which can grow to full-size, ready-to-bite adults in as little as 8 to 10 days.
LESLIE: Zoiks. All of that sounds terrible.
Now, we’re not talking about looking for leaks around your property, guys. We’re going about looking for things like standing water in areas that are so much smaller, like an empty flowerpot, a bucket, a jar, a wheelbarrow. Any other container that can hold water after rain – even just a tiny, little amount – is going to be perfect for the mosquitoes to breed in.
So go ahead and drill holes in the bottom of trash cans and recycling buckets. That’s going to allow them to drain out. And check your kids’ toys, like their wading pools and sandboxes and buckets. Turn them over if you have to. Just put them away. Whatever you have to do, avoid that standing water.
TOM: And don’t be fooled by some of the mosquito remedies that are out there, like bug zappers. They don’t work. They make a very satisfying sound, they look really cool but less than 1 percent of the bugs killed in the zappers are biting insects. So, be careful with some of those gadgets. Just cut back on the water around your property and you will have far less exposure to mosquitoes this summer.
LESLIE: Dixie in Illinois has a question regarding a crack in the basement and the possibility of it caving in.
Dixie, are you calling us from a pile of rubble or are you just concerned?
DIXIE: I am actually concerned because it started out with just hairline cracks following along the concrete blocks. And there’s cracks in each corner of the foundation above ground, as well as these cracks in the walls below, in the basement. But the cracks are getting bigger and bigger. I mean there are some of them that are gaping, I want to even say, an inch-and-a-half, 2 inches of …
TOM: You have an inch-and-a-half crack? You mean width? It’s open an inch-and-a-half?
DIXIE: Well, they are – well, you can’t see through the crack but the walls are bending in. We’ve even put reinforcements.
TOM: Alright. So, horizontally – like the cracks are horizontal and they’re bending in, Dixie?
DIXIE: Most of the ones that are bending in are horizontal, yes. But the cracks do go up and down, as well.
TOM: Alright. So you need to immediately contact a structural engineer and have the foundation inspected. This sounds serious. I can tell you that, typically, horizontal cracks are caused by frost heave, where the drainage conditions are poor at the outside of the house, water collects there, soil freezes and pushes in.
But you have that many cracks and those cracks are that significant, you need – not a contractor. I want you to find a structural engineer. You’re just hiring this guy to inspect the home and prepare a report discussing the condition of the foundation. And if repairs are needed, the engineer should specify those repairs. Then you can bring a contractor in to follow the engineer’s specification and make the repairs.
And then finally, make sure you bring the structural engineer back to inspect and certify that they were done correctly. Because at this point, unless you follow those steps just like that, you’re going to have a serious deficit to the home value. So that’s why if you have it inspected by a structural engineer, repaired by a contractor per the engineer’s specs and certified by the engineer as OK, you have kind of a pedigree for that repair you can pass on to future home buyers, OK? Does that make sense?
DIXIE: OK. But how do you find a structural engineer?
TOM: So, there’ll be local engineering companies. You could also check the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. Now, those guys will not necessarily be a structural engineer but there may be an engineer among them that’s also a home inspector.
Alright? Thank you very much, Dixie. I hope that helps you out.
LESLIE: Leslie in Tennessee – I feel like I’m talking to myself – welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?
LESLIE IN TENNESSEE: Yes. I’m an avid listener of your show. We really love it.
We have a question. After several years of having an outdoor pool and enjoying it but not being able to use it because of the full four seasons here in East Tennessee, we were wanting to add an addition on the house. And we’d love to put a small indoor pool, just like a little lap pool, only about probably half the size of our outdoor pool. And we were wondering what would be the best type of construction.
Our house is a frame house with brick but you have moisture problems, I know, with an indoor pool. So, for an addition, I want to see if you all had any recommendations for certain materials or a certain type of system to reduce the moisture in the home or how – what would you do?
TOM: Well, there are dehumidifiers that are designed for pool rooms. I mean they’re similar to whole-house dehumidifiers, where they take out a lot of water from the air. I would definitely isolate the area where the pool is, from the rest of the house, so that the moisture is contained into one space. And that makes it easier for you to manage that level of moisture. You know, it could maybe just be a sliding glass door or something like that that separates it.
But in terms of the material, you have to be very careful with the venting. For example, in the roof above, you have to choose materials that are mold-resistant in terms of the surface. For example, instead of using paper-faced drywall, you might use fiberglass-faced drywall. That doesn’t grow mold because it’s not organic. So with a few things like that and the right mechanical system – and the pool manufacturers that you’re talking to, the installers, they’ll be very familiar with this because these pools are being put into inside spaces. You’ve got to deal with the evaporation.
LESLIE IN TENNESSEE: Alright. Well, that’s helpful there. And so, just – so more or less probably a pool manufacturer or a pool place around here would have that recommendation then.
TOM: Well, they would. And generally going to probably talk about mechanical dehumidification. And then in terms of the construction of the space, just be mindful to choose materials that are not easily going to grow mold and certainly one that’s – materials that are cleanable, OK?
LESLIE IN TENNESSEE: That’s great. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate you all being on our radio here in Northeast Tennessee.
TOM: Alright, Leslie. Thank you so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Just ahead, fire pits, grill surrounds or entire outdoor kitchens. These are fantastic backyard projects for the summer but do they sound way too complicated for a DIYer? We’re going to have tips to help you build your own that are as easy as stacking blocks, when The Money Pit returns.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, some popular projects this time of year are fire pits, grill surrounds, even entire outdoor kitchens. But are these popular projects that you’d love to tackle but maybe you think are way too complicated?
TOM: Well, you certainly would think so but in fact, they’re not. There’s a system called the RumbleStone System that makes building projects like that as easy as stacking blocks. They’re made by the Pavestone Company and with us to talk about just that is Jeff McKee.
JEFF: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
TOM: We all grew up loving to play with building blocks. I’m sure that’s how Leslie and I got our start, right?
LESLIE: I’m sure.
TOM: One block on top of the next and now look what happened. But seriously, if you could stack blocks as a kid, you now can stack the RumbleStone System blocks and make a lot of different features for your outdoor living. We’re talking about fire pits and grill surrounds and benches and more, right?
JEFF: Absolutely. There’s six modulating sizes to the RumbleStone System and allows you to build any of the projects that you mentioned, plus anything else that your imagination allows you to choose. Just whatever you feel, design it and stack them together.
LESLIE: Now, I know it seems like your imagination would be sort of the catalyst to what you build with the paving stones in your yard. But tell me, say my imagination is limited and I can’t quite figure out how to use the RumbleStone. Are there instructions or dedicated kits to help me make the project?
JEFF: Absolutely. We already have some pre-projected kits manufactured, so you can just purchase them independently. Or you can go online, find the design you’d like and we have layer-by-layer instructions on how to install each project.
TOM: Now, most of the time when you’re using a type of brick, you have to use mortar to hold in place. But am I correct in assuming that that’s not the case with the RumbleStone System, that they pretty much gravity-stack?
JEFF: Absolutely. They just stack on top of each other. No mortar, as you said, is required. But just in case – so you might have a loose piece here or there – you could use QUIKRETE Construction Adhesive to hold it in place.
LESLIE: I mean it really seems like a fire pit should go on top of a patio. So, say I don’t have a patio, can I use the rustic pavers to act as my patio base and then build the fire pit upon it?
JEFF: Yes. We have three – the pieces of the system are pavers. So you can lay them out in whatever pattern you feel like and then have an accompanying project to sit on top of it.
TOM: So we’re talking about fire pits, grill surrounds, outdoor kitchens. What’s some of the biggest, most amazing projects that folks are building right now with the RumbleStone System by Pavestone?
JEFF: We actually have a design for a fireplace – for an outdoor fireplace. These have become very popular. It stands, roughly, 7 feet tall, 8 feet wide and just stacks right on top of each other. Has an insert inside and a flue cap. And it’s a great outdoor project and enhances your backyard experience.
TOM: And is it s’more-approved? Has it been tested?
TOM: Well, it’s a great system. It’s a beautiful project.
Check out Pavestone.com for the RumbleStone System. You can make a wide variety of outdoor projects just by yourself. Most can be done in a weekend or two. Then they’ve got all the instructions online. That’s at Pavestone.com.
Jeff McKee, a Pavestone expert. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Jeff.
JEFF: Thank you.
LESLIE: Hey, if you’d like to take on one remodeling project this summer that can increase the value of your home and improve curb appeal for years to come, installing a new front entry can do both. We’re going to have tips in today’s Pro Project, presented by HomeAdvisor.com, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we make good homes better. And we’re going to try to make your home better if you have a project in mind. Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: You can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Priscilla in Massachusetts is on the line and while we all love birdhouses, guess who else likes them? Squirrels. Let’s help her keep them out. What can we do for you today?
PRISCILLA: They’ve chewed away at the holes of it so that they actually have made it – the holes bigger. And because of that, the birds are not going in there because the squirrel can go in there. So, I’ve already tried PVC piping, because I figured that’s something I can put in there – insert it just in the hole – and it’s not too big, kind of narrow. But I can’t find one that fits.
TOM: OK. Most of the solutions for bird feeders or birdhouses are really in two categories. One, they make it rather unpleasant for the squirrel to be able to get up that high, with things like cones or plastic bottles or slippery pipes or ducts or Slinkies or things like that that slide around and make a lot of noise.
PRISCILLA: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Or simply move it completely away from where squirrels can get to it. So, for example, if you were to string a wire between two trees and not have overhanging branches above, the squirrels would never be able to get to that birdhouse.
PRISCILLA: Could I have – do you know of something I can insert in the hole, though?
TOM: Right. But if you insert it in the hole, the squirrels are still going to hang out in that birdhouse and they might try to chew their way in via another area.
TOM: So that’s why I’m saying that I would not focus on reinforcing the birdhouse as much as I would focus on moving it to an area that’s less likely to be attacked by squirrels.
Priscilla, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Going to the Great North. We’ve got Gunner in Alaska on the line who needs some help with a window problem. What’s going on over there?
GUNNER: I had double-pane windows that fogged. I understand that they fogged because the seal breaks. But I had a contractor come up. They advertised on the radio that rather than buy new windows, they had a way of removing that condensation.
What they did is they – on the outside panes they drill a small hole on the bottom and a small hole at the top. And they did a cleaning. I think they even squirted water in there and evacuated it. I didn’t see it done but I’ve seen it on YouTube. And then they put these little plastic plugs there where the holes used to be.
Didn’t really clear up. It almost looked like it got worse, so I called and complained and the contractor said, “Well, in 3 to 12 weeks, it should go away. It should clear up.” And by golly, it did. Which kind of shocked me, because I’m an engineer and all my training says that if you have something open to the outside air, it’s going to have moisture in it. And that’s one reason why it fogged in the first place. And I don’t think they created a vacuum, so I didn’t know how that worked.
TOM: Well, this is the first I’ve heard of that system, Gunner. I’m not familiar with it at all. I would have the same reaction that you would. I would think it’s not the kind of thing that would be my first choice.
I would generally tell people that when you get fogged windows, yeah, the window is slightly less efficient but it doesn’t necessarily mean the window has to be replaced. If you’re concerned about appearance, you want to make sure you want to see clearly through it, I could see where perhaps, on a limited basis, that you might want to experiment with something like that.
But what they’ve done is essentially just cleaned the window: washed the window from the inside out it sounds like. And I would expect that that condensation may come back, giving it a season or two. So this may not be the end of it. But if it’s giving you some temporary relief, then OK.
GUNNER: Yeah. And in fact, they had a guarantee. Their guarantee is that they’d be happy to replace the windows at a discount. But they charge you for the – and when I heard that, I kind of laughed to myself. Said, “Oh, geez, what a way to get into your house, you know?”
TOM: Yeah. Exactly.
GUNNER: But so I – OK. So you kind of agree with me. It’s not black magic.
GUNNER: To me, it’s like black magic. What on Earth happened here? It’s not possible. They talked, “Well, around the perimeter, on the inside, there’s a material that absorbs excess moisture and keeps the window clear.”
Well, some of the new ones – we’re putting new windows out on – I’m with the FAA. We’re putting new windows out in a place called Cold Bay. And they’re triple-paned and I looked at the rim in between the panes and it is serrated as if it’s open to some kind of sponge or some kind of material that might …
TOM: Yeah, you know what that material is called, Gunner?
GUNNER: No, I don’t.
TOM: It’s got a funny name. It’s called “swiggle.”
GUNNER: Swiggle. OK. Well, my windows don’t have that. That’s just a solid strip so that there’s no swiggle, as you put it, as far as I can tell. Because it’s an older home; I think the home was built in like ‘85.
TOM: Well, you’re in the part of the country where triple-pane makes sense. The colder it gets, the more that makes economic sense, even though those windows are more expensive.
But back to your original question. I think what they’ve done is essentially cleaned the windows. And depending on the dew point, yeah, it’s either going to appear or reappear, depending on how much condensation you get inside those – inside that glass. But I think that, at this point, just understand what you have and that when you can afford it, when you want to budget for it, go ahead and replace the windows.
And remember, you don’t have to do all your windows at the same time. A lot of times, I tell folks they can do them in stages. You can do the north side first and then move to the east side, the west side and the south side, since the cold is the biggest issue in your part of the country. If you lived down south, you’d do the south and the west windows first. OK, Gunner?
GUNNER: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to take on one remodeling project this summer that can increase the value of your home and improve the curb appeal for years to come, installing a new front entry can do both.
TOM: That’s right. Surveys show that installing a new front entry to your home can deliver a dramatic boost in what home buyers think your home is worth, leading to a lot more interest at the time of sale.
LESLIE: Now, doors are available in wood or steel but new fiberglass entry doors can look so much like real wood, it truly is hard to tell the difference. They’re also far more energy-efficient than both wood or steel doors and often come with multi-point locks that make them almost impossible to break into.
TOM: True. But installing a new door is not for the inexperienced home improver and it’s best left to a pro. Removing the old door is going to open your home to the elements and surprises like rot and insect damage are often found. Plus, home security system or electrical wire all require special care.
Pros know how to install a door that also won’t shift and become hard to operate, no matter how much settlement the home goes through or no matter what the weather, making sure you get many years of hassle-free use.
LESLIE: And today’s Pro Project has been presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Tennessee where Steve wants to talk about water heating. How can we help you?
STEVE: My water heater seems to be going out. It’s about five or six years old. And I’ve been hearing commercials on your show about tankless water heaters and other forms of water-heating solutions. And I was just wondering, is that costly? Or is that a better way to go than putting another tank in?
TOM: OK. So you say the water heater is going out. Is this a gas water heater?
STEVE: It’s electric.
TOM: It’s electric? And it’s going out. So what’s happening to it?
STEVE: It’s leaking.
TOM: Oh, it’s leaking at five or six years? Really? That’s just plain bad luck, Steve.
STEVE: Yeah, I know.
TOM: Sorry. Well, let me ask you this question: how long are you planning on staying in your current house? Is this the house for a while?
STEVE: Oh, yeah, it’s forever house, hopefully.
TOM: Generally, I would say I wouldn’t hesitate to install a tankless water heater, except – and this is a big except – tankless water heaters that are powered by electricity don’t work that well. They don’t save you that much money. If you have the ability to power it with propane, for example, then it’s more realistic. But if you’re planning on powering it with electricity, then it’s not.
So in that case, your options are to replace it with a standard, tanked electric water heater or you can use a real new type of electrical water heater called a “heat-pump water heater.” Heat-pump water heaters are more expensive but they’re much, much, much more efficient than a standard electric water heater.
STEVE: Are those costly?
TOM: Yeah, they’re more costly than a standard water heater. Yeah, you’re probably looking at maybe around 1,500 bucks for one, plus installation. So they’re much more expensive but they’re far more efficient.
STEVE: That’s what I’ll do then. I thank you for answering my question.
TOM: Sorry to hear about that leak and hopefully, we’ve helped you get back on track. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, tunneling rodents can really tear up a yard. Up next, we’ve got advice to stop moles from digging holes in your backyard, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we would love to hear from you. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: Give us a call or post your question online, just like Paul did. Now, Paul writes: “We have a lot of yard damage from moles. Then with all of the rain we’ve had in the last few days, a lot of tunnels have washed out, leaving a muddy mess. What can I do to make sure these furry creatures stay away?”
TOM: Well, the reason moles love your lawn is because they’re hungry.
LESLIE: Yeah, stop feeding them.
TOM: I mean – yeah, that’s right. Stop feeding them. Well, you may not realize you’re feeding them but I guarantee that in that lawn, there’s probably a pretty healthy population of insects and that’s what the moles love to eat, particularly grubs: those white, wormy-looking types of insects. You need to use a product that will cut back on both insects and grubs.
Now, Bonide has a product that works well called DuraTurf Insect & Grub Control. That can eliminate most of those insects that the moles love to feed on. And when you get this product down, you start to eliminate the grubs, you’re going to see a very surprising thing: the moles are going to leave your property on their own. They may head over to your neighbor. So if your neighbor is standing in the driveway one day and says, “Hey, I’ve got these moles. Have you had them in your property?” And you go, “Well, yes, I did. I sent them over to you.” And then you can tell them about using DuraTurf to get rid of those grubs on that side, too.
But they’re simply looking for food. And if you start applying a grub-control product like that, you will eliminate the mole issue in your yard.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Davy. Now, Davy writes: “We recently had a tree limb fall on the house and puncture the roof, which now must be replaced. The insurance adjuster recommended changing from gable-end ventilation to a ridge vent. What’s your opinion on the ridge vents and is now the best time to consider adding one?”
TOM: Well, I think ridge vents are fantastic and I have to give some credit to your insurance adjuster for making that recommendation, because it’s a really smart one. And here’s why. When you install a ridge vent – now, for those of you that don’t know what a ridge vent is, the ridge is the peak of your roof. And a vent is a type of vent that goes down that entire peak.
And the way the roofers install it is they cut a slot right at the top of that peak and the vent covers that slot, so it lets the air out. But since that peak is always in a sort of depressurized state as wind blows over, it will always pull air out of the ridge and it will push on the side of your house, up into the soffits.
So you take out warm air in the summer, cool, damp air in the winter. It makes the insulation very effective, lowers your cooling costs. It’s just great all the way around. So I think it’s a really smart thing to do and now is definitely the time to do it, especially if the insurance company is paying for it as part of this tree-damage repair.
LESLIE: Yeah, it really makes sense to just go for it now while you’re replacing the roof. Switch that vent up. Do it now while you’ve got everything in the process of construction. You’ll be so thankful in the long run.
TOM: Well, do you have some boring furniture you’d love to bring back to life? It’s easy with a very inexpensive accessory: paint. Leslie has got the lowdown, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, this has got to be one of my most favorite tricks. Now, whether you have an existing piece of furniture or a great salvage-store find, this trick can help you instantly give it new life. So, choose a table, a desk, a sideboard, anything, a cabinet, any little piece of furniture sort of like a casegood or a small side chair.
One you want to look for that has a lot of classical styling, maybe some interesting carved elements to it and then paint it a crazy, unexpected color, like a bright pink, a turquoise, orange, sort of like a chartreuse. Any color that’s sort of speaking to you right now, pick that. Make it super glossy. You’re going to find that the mix of color and shape are really going to play together in a fun and surprising way. And it’s going to be your favorite piece for very little money.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, you might think of ivy as a way to make your home look, well, distinguished. But did you know it can also wreak serious havoc on your walls and cause things like broken bricks and major carpenter-ant problems? We’re going to tell you how to get rid of those creepy vines, on the very 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 2018 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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