- Ready for new kitchen cabinets? We’ll tell you how to choose new cabinets that’ll step up the space and not blow the budget.
- If you’ve ever stepped into a shower hoping for a strong flow – only to find a less than inspiring trickle, you know poor water pressure can be frustrating. But the power of a good shower may not be out of reach. We’ll share how to restore the flow
- We could all use a little more sunshine this time of year…spotless windows can help! We’ve got tips on how to clean your windows like a pro, and you won’t even need any paper towels.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Jan in California wants to know if she can put texture over backer paper.
- Bill from Tennessee needs advice for cleaning a pressure treated deck that is starting to turn black.
- Beth in Minnesota has a partially clogged toilet that she can’t fix.
- Darwin from Texas wants to know how to remove a rotted facia board without taking apart his gutter.
- Kathy in Delaware wants to know what is the best gutter option.
- Ed from Delaware has moisture in his basement that is producing an odor he can’t get rid of.
- Jerry in Massachusetts has a bang coming through her house and can’t seem to identify the source.
- Dave from West Virginia has questions about what type of water heater is best for him.
- Laura in Connecticut has a washing machine that is moving around too much.
- Brad from Pennsylvania wants to know if he should remove the insolation in a knee wall.
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 welcome to Episode 2174. If you’ve got a home improvement project, you’re in exactly the right place because we’ve got tips, advice, ideas and experience to share with you to help you get that job done right the first time out.
Coming up on today’s show, are you wondering if it’s time for new kitchen cabinets? Well, if your kitchen cabinets are a bit tired and worn, we’re going to tell you how to choose brand-new ones that’ll step up the space but not blow the budget.
LESLIE: And if you’ve ever stepped into a shower hoping for a good awakening but you find a less-than-inspiring trickle, you know how frustrating poor water pressure can be. But the power of a good shower may not be out of reach. We’re going to share how to restore the flow.
TOM: And we could all use a little more sunshine this time of year and spotless windows can help. We’re going to have tips on how to clean your windows like a pro and you won’t even need a single paper towel.
LESLIE: So, pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ve got this last week of February. Hopefully, it’s the last cold week. Spring is a-coming, so let’s get ready with home improvement. Give us a call, drop us a line, send us an email. Whatever it is, we’re standing by.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Hey, let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Jan in California is having a wallpaper-removal situation.
Tell us what’s going on.
JAN: Hi. Been removing wallpaper and repapering for 50 years and never come across where you take the wallpaper off and it looks like there’s a paper lining behind it. I’ve had some people tell me that this is a filler for the texturing so the wallpaper looks smooth. And others tell me that it’s a liner and it fills the whole wall with pencil lines where the wallpaper goes. I don’t want to damage the sheetrock that’s underneath, so I’m a little leery about taking that off or leaving it on or what I should do with it.
TOM: So your end game is to get down to the drywall?
JAN: Well, it doesn’t have to be if I can texture over what’s there. But it’s almost like a paper and I don’t know if we can put the mud and everything on that.
TOM: If it’s adhered well, then I don’t see why you couldn’t texture over it. Do you want to use a textured paint?
JAN: No, I want to use the texture that I’ve had on the other walls.
TOM: The key here is whether or not the surface that you’ve exposed is well-adhered to the drywall underneath. If it’s well-adhered, then you can go ahead and put your texture over that. If it’s not, then your texture could be on there for a couple of months and it could start falling off in chunks when that backer paper pulls off. As long as it’s well-adhered, then I don’t see any reason you can’t go on top of it, Jan.
JAN: OK. I appreciate you and enjoy your program all the time.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bill in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BILL: I’m trying to clean some pressure-treated deck. This is on the second floor of my house and also on the ground is stone. What we have here in Tennessee is Crab Orchard stone; it’s a soft stone. And it’s turned black. The stone has turned black over time and it’s about 15 years old. And the pressure-treated wood has turned black, also, and I wanted to see what the best thing to clean both of them – I’ve tried cleaner on the end of a garden hose and it don’t – and I followed the instructions but it didn’t do much at all.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean it sounds like a combination of the wood aging and also mold or algae.
Now, a pressure washer set to an aggressive but gentle setting, if that makes any sense, will probably do the best to kind of attack this growth on it. If you could use some bleach and water or Wet & Forget – a product like that that will do a good job of – I’m not going to say attacking but you know what I mean: really aggressively going at this growth. That will probably do a good job of getting to the base of it and removing it from it.
If you can get more sunlight on the area to sort of beat this shady mold growth that’s happening, that will help tremendously. You know, there’s some things that you can do there.
BILL: OK. That’s good. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Heading to Minnesota where Beth is doing some work in the bathroom.
And you want some toilet help. What’s going on?
BETH: Toilet kept running. The water kept running into it, so I decided to install a new fill valve and flapper. And I measured everything and I followed the instructions and I did solve the original problem. But now I developed a new one. When I flush it, the water goes into the bowl OK, except now anything in the bowl goes to the top of the bowl, almost to the rim. And then when the tank itself is filled, then the bowl goes down slowly and it flushes but then it only leaves a little water in the bowl.
So I called the manufacturer and talked to them. He said, “Well, try plunging it because it might be a clog.” So I did that. I tried hot water and bleach to see if I could get that if it is a clog. And nothing has worked. And I don’t know what to do. I give up.
LESLIE: That’s what happens, typically, in a clog is it’ll fill to the top and then the tank will fill and then it’ll – the suction force will just bring everything down.
TOM: Yeah. And the ones that are the trickiest to diagnose is when you have a partial clog where you have some water that’s getting past but not a lot. So I wonder if something is lodged in either the trap of the toilet or the line beyond that. And really, the next step is to have a plumber come out and do a drain-cleaning on that.
I’ll tell you a funny story about how this happened when my kids were younger. We had a toilet that was clogged in a downstairs bathroom and I – outside this bathroom, we had a willow tree. And I knew that the willow-tree roots used to get into the plumbing line, so I immediately assumed that that was what it was. And I went outside and dug up my yard and found the pipe cleanout, which was a couple of feet below the surface. And I snaked one way and snaked the other way and I couldn’t find any clog.
So, I thought, “Well, maybe it’s between the pipe break and the toilet.” So I decided to pull the toilet off. And don’t you know that when I did that, I turned it over and noticed something blue in the bottom of the toilet. And of course, you’re not supposed to have anything blue in a ceramic toilet. It turned out to be a little toy telephone that one of my kids had dropped down there that was letting just enough water through to trick us.
And so you never know what’s going to be in there. And if you have a partial obstruction like that, that could explain for what’s happening.
BETH: OK. Well, the only thing I can do then is to get a plumber?
TOM: Yep. You don’t want a carpenter, that’s for sure.
Beth, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Derwin in Texas who’s dealing with a fascia-board situation. Tell us what’s going on.
DERWIN: I have a fascia board that is rotten. The way it’s put on there is I have a 1×4 fascia board that’s nailed up on there and then a 1×2 is nailed on the top portion of the fascia board.
DERWIN: Which kind of – and the gutter is nailed to the 1×2, so I guess the 1×2 keeps the gutter from resting up against the fascia board, to keep it from rotting.
TOM: Got it. Mm-hmm.
DERWIN: But the drip edge – there’s a drip edge that’s nailed to the top, so like a 2×2 drip edge. And the top part of the drip edge is nailed to the roof deck and then it lays – the other half is – lays into the gutter.
TOM: So what you want to know is how can you get the rotted fascia board out without taking apart your gutter and your drip edge and your spacer and all that stuff, right?
TOM: There’s no way to surgically remove the fascia; it’s like one part of the assembly.
TOM: So you’d have to take the whole thing apart. Now, it’s not a – it sounds like a lot of work. It’s not a tremendous project to get a gutter off. It’s not something you can do yourself because you don’t want to bend it, so you have to do it with some help to take the gutter off in one piece.
But there is an opportunity here and that is that when you replace the fascia, I would not put wood fascia back. What I would do is I would use a product called AZEK – A-Z-E-K. This looks like wood, so it could look like that old 1×4 that you had, except it’s made of cellular PVC. So, it cuts like wood and it looks like wood but it never rots. So I would definitely suggest that this is an opportunity to improve the material that you’re using there.
TOM: Now, whether or not you put back the spacer and the gutter the way it was before is up to you. You really don’t need to have a spacer. You could put the gutter right up against the AZEK and then have the roof just lay into the top of the gutter. That would be the most normal assembly for that kind of thing.
But if you want the spacer and it just works out better because that’s the way it was before, then what you could do is buy 1×6 AZEK, cut a 1½-inch strip off of it, use that as a spacer and use the rest as – you’ll have a 1×4 left and you use that for the fascia and you’ll have the strip just in one piece.
DERWIN: So it cuts just like wood.
TOM: Looks like wood, cuts like wood, doesn’t rot like wood. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kathy in Delaware is on the line and wants to talk about gutter options.
Tell us about your house.
KATHY: I’d like to know what type of gutters would be best for a two-story Colonial house.
TOM: Well, the same kind of gutters that would be best for a one-story ranch house: the ones that are properly installed, properly sized and cart that water well away from the foundation. So, here’s a couple of things to know about gutter selection and installation.
First of all, what’s very, very important with gutters is the number of downspouts. Because one downspout can typically only handle 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface. So, no matter what type of installation, you need to really focus on making sure that there’s enough downspouts.
And where this can get tricky is if you have, especially with a Colonial, let’s say you have an upper roof. And sometimes that drains to a lower roof, like over a garage. And now you’ve got all of the upper roof, plus part of the lower roof, going down to one downspout that’s at the end of the lower roof. In that scenario, those spouts can get easily overwhelmed and that means the water overflows. It can cause decay damage into the framing. It can also drain right at the foundation perimeter and that can lead to issues with flooding and disruption of your foundation. So, I would tell you to make sure you have enough downspouts.
Secondly, in terms of the gutters themselves, 4-inch, K-style gutters are the standard. If you would like to do something that’s a little bit better than that and one that is less likely to clog, consider the 6-inch, K-style gutters.
KATHY: How about the covered gutters?
TOM: In terms of the covered gutters, they’re a good option but you have to choose them carefully. There are many types of gutter covers that are out there. The ones that I like the best are the ones that work on the principle of surface tension. So what happens is the rain runs off the roof shingles onto the top of the gutter cover. And then it falls through a groove in the front of the gutter cover into the downspout, yet the leaves wash off the front.
KATHY: They able to get more clogged than the open ones?
TOM: No. They’re going to get less clogged than the open ones. If you use something like a screen on your gutters, which is the way we used to always protect gutters, those can get clogged quite readily.
KATHY: Right. I’ve had them and taken them off.
TOM: Yeah. Exactly.
Alright? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re planning a kitchen remodel, new cabinets may be one of the costliest components but they’re also the most important part when it comes to getting the kitchen design that you want. We’re going to lay out the options, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
TOM: Now, first up, if you’re planning to replace the cabinets, there are really three levels of cabinet customization that you ought to consider. The first and the least expensive is stock cabinetry.
Now, stock cabinetry is mass-produced and they’re not easily modified. But that said, manufacturers do offer a wide variety of stock cabinetry that can be a perfect solution and save you considerable cost at the same time.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, your option is semi-custom cabinets. Now, this is kind of the middle ground between stock and custom. The variety allows you for slight modifications and I mean things like height, width, depth at the time of production. Now, there’s also a wider array of matching moldings, trims and finishes that are available but you’re going to find that the price does go up accordingly.
And then, of course, this is the big spender here. We’re talking about custom cabinets. Now, these are going to be created especially for you and for your kitchen. And that pricing is determined by the complexity of the design and the materials that you choose. So, if you’re in demand of fine craftsmanship – that’s what you want or you need some significant customization – custom cabinets are the way to go. But be prepared: there is a price tag that comes along with that.
TOM: Yeah. But I’ll tell you, when you walk into a kitchen that’s done with custom cabinetry, oh my gosh. It is so beautiful.
LESLIE: They’re so beautiful.
TOM: Absolutely beautiful.
Now, in terms of popularity, light-colored cabinets with a mix of open shelves and some glass-fronted doors are going to provide sort of that visual depth that tends to open up a kitchen. They’re very popular right now. But remember, just small changes in hardware, like new door handles or drawer pulls, can also make a huge difference in the overall look of a kitchen.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card. Earn three-percent cash back on online shopping. Apply at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
Ed has got a problem in the basement and some sort of mysterious odor. What’s going on down there?
ED: I purchased a home back in 2015 of August. And about 3 months into it, I lost power in the basement and it turns out I had some moisture in the electrical outlets. So, those outlets have since been closed off and I was told I had to get them rewired. But apparently, there was some moisture coming in somewhere.
But ever since I purchased the home, I’m – there’s this odor that radiates from the basement and it’s just like a chemical odor. And it comes upstairs and literally gets in everything that’s – the clothes and everything. It goes with you to work and it stays in the clothes. I just can’t seem to get rid of it.
TOM: Is the basement unfinished, Ed?
ED: No. Unfortunately, it’s finished. It has paneling against the wall.
TOM: It has paneling?
TOM: And does it have carpets?
ED: Half the basement has carpet, yes. And the carpet seems dry and everything, so I was hoping it was something radiating from the carpet. But that seems to be OK. So my next option is basically to get a waterproofer in here and potentially have the basement gutted and finished, seal the walls.
TOM: You don’t want to do that. So, I do think that most likely source of the odor is simply dampness. And because it’s partially finished, the materials can – when they get wet, they can also hold bacteria and that can cause an odor. The carpet is absolutely terrible. That will hold dust and dust mites and dirt and can really contribute to the smell.
But the solution is never, ever to call a basement waterproofer. Those guys generally install one kind of system and one kind of system only. And that’s a series of drains and pumps that pump water out. But your problem can be easily resolved by doing two things. Number one, improving the drainage condition of the foundation perimeter. So, that means adding soil where it’s flat, sloping it away from the walls and that sort of thing. And secondly and even more importantly, looking at the gutter system, making sure the downspouts are clean, free-flowing and extending from the foundation perimeter at least 4 to 6 feet. So those two things will reduce the amount of moisture that collects at the perimeter. And that will reduce humidity in the basement and certainly reduce any chance of flooding.
Once that’s done, I would probably also opt to install a dehumidifier in the basement. And I would put in a good-quality dehumidifier, such as one from Santa Fe. They have some nice units that hang from the ceiling that really do an effective job at pulling moisture out. And you can set up that drain so it basically drains outside or to a condensate pump, so it’s not like you’re going to have to empty a pan of water now and again.
Then, at some point you’re going to have to decide what you want to do with that basement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen paneling pulled off to find lots and lots of mold behind it. And that may or may not be the case there. But I think if you reduce the moisture in that basement, then I think you’ll find that a lot of the odor will dissipate.
ED: OK. And as far as the electrical outlets in that basement containing a little bit of moisture …
TOM: Condensation. It’s all related; it’s all the same issue. You’ve got a lot of condensation there.
TOM: Take a look at MoneyPit.com. Right on the home page, there’s a good article, one of the most popular ones on the site, about how to solve basement-moisture problems and flooding.
ED: OK. I will do.
LESLIE: Geri in Massachusetts is on the line with a very mysterious noise. What is going on?
GERI: Well, I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or what but I get this loud, loud bang in my house. It’s not a certain time of day. It can be at night, it could be in the morning. And I would say it’s a corner of my house and I can’t figure it out.
TOM: Does it happen when your heating system kicks on?
GERI: No. It’s just random. It can happen at any time of day and I can’t figure it out.
TOM: Do you have a duct system or do you have radiators that give you heat?
TOM: Baseboard radiators. OK. Do you have central air-conditioning?
GERI: I do.
TOM: And does it happen in the summer, as well as the off-season?
GERI: No. I only detect it in the winter.
TOM: OK. Well, a couple of things here. First of all, if your boiler is not tuned up properly, you can get a condition called “explosive ignition.” Like if too much gas comes out and then the boiler ignites, it can do so with a bang and that’s generally disturbing and very unsafe. So I would make sure that the heating system was serviced.
And the second thing that often causes noise that far exceeds its damage is something called “water hammer.” And this can happen when water is running through the pipes of the house and stops suddenly. The centrifugal force of that water continuing down the pipe will cause it to move or shake and that can result in a bang that goes almost end-to-end on the house. And the solution is both to secure loose plumbing pipes and install something that’s kind of like a shock-absorber for your plumbing system. It’s called a “water hammer arrestor.”
So those are the two most common – in your type of heating system and plumbing system – areas where I think sound can originate.
Alright, Geri. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever stepped into a shower hoping for that good morning awakening but you find that that’s got a less-than-inspiring trickle, you know how frustrating that poor water pressure can be.
TOM: Ah, yes. But the power of a good shower may not be out of reach.
Now, look, the first step is really to kind of figure out if the problem is with the fixture itself, like the showerhead, or the entire plumbing system. If it’s a pressure problem that’s limited to just one fixture, then that fix can be a lot simpler. For example, showerheads often get caked with mineral deposits. If you take them off and soak them in white vinegar and then put them back on, you instantly have a better shower.
But if you find that a number of fixtures in the house have a water-pressure problem, then the solution is an entirely different matter.
LESLIE: Yeah. If you’re finding that this issue is just everywhere, the first kind of thing you want to think about is maybe there’s a leak. It seems kind of obvious but if the pressure problem came on fast, you could definitely have a leak somewhere in the house that’s causing this. So be sure to check those less obvious places, like the crawlspaces, the basement, all the things that you never think to look. But perhaps there’s water going on down there.
Now, another thing is debris and mineral buildup. You know, debris like dirt, sand, pollutants, they can entire your home’s piping system when a water main fractures. And even a small amount of sediment can block your home’s piping and decrease that water pressure substantially.
TOM: Now, if you’ve got an older home and you have steel or galvanized water-piping systems, that is probably the most problematic issue when it comes to water pressure. Because what those pipes do is they actually rust internally and they tend to clog. Think of it like a clogged artery for your house. And then the water can’t get through. So if that’s the case, you have to actually replace those pipes.
Now, a rule of thumb. If you’re doing any plumbing work – well, not just plumbing work. If you’re doing any construction work on the house and you open up walls or ceilings and you find those old steel pipes, replace them at that time. Don’t wait for this to get worse. Replace them if they’re exposed because they will internally rust. And they can actually break, too, and that’s a bigger issue.
And today, you could make that replacement with – by using PEX – cross-linked polyethylene plastic piping – which is super easy to work with, compared to copper. So it definitely makes sense to fix it when you find it.
LESLIE: Now, what about a pressure problem but not so much pressure but more like a spike in a water temperature? Like all of a sudden, you get a crazy amount of hot or a crazy amount of cold. What if that’s going on?
TOM: Yeah. That’s a different situation and that’s a pressure imbalance. And the solution is a valve that’s named just that: it’s called a “pressure-balance valve.” And what it does is it maintains the mix of hot and cold water that you set. Even if you start to lose pressure on one side or the other, it’s not going to change that percentage of mix. So while you might get a less forceful flow, it won’t get crazy hot or crazy cold. And it will come back up when the pressure is there but again, keeping that same mix so you won’t get scalded. So that’s a pressure-balance valve. And if you have that issue with your house, believe me, it is worth the work and the expense to put those valves in, especially in the morning shower.
LESLIE: Dave in West Virginia is on the line and needs help with a water heater. What can we do for you today?
DAVE: Hi. I was wondering if – I know there’s efficiency advantages in the – convenience advantage with the tankless. But I’m wondering if they last longer in hard-water areas versus a tank. Seems like I’m replacing a tank water heater about every 9 or 10 years.
TOM: The problem with tankless water heaters in hard-water areas is that sometimes the internal plumbing of the tankless water heater gets clogged. So you have to have a water softener on that that’s effective so that you don’t deposit those minerals inside the tankless water heater and have it jam up on you.
DAVE: So if you have a – if you do have a water softener, does it – do they last longer than the 10 years usually or less than you get out of a tank type?
TOM: Yeah. I think so. It’s more like purchasing a boiler than it is a water heater. So they’re pretty durable in that respect.
DAVE: OK. Because I was reading online – there just seems to be a lot of different opinions out there whether they’re good or not. And I guess there’s a lot of controls on them than on a regular water heater that can go bad. And I guess they’re recommending an annual service and things like that, where a regular tank type – you don’t really – once you install it, you don’t think too much about them.
TOM: I really don’t think there’s that much service to them. I do know there’s a lot of misinformation about tankless water heaters out there. You know, for many years, plumbers were putting them in wrong and then blaming the appliance. They would use the wrong-size gas lines and things like that. But I think tankless technology has proved out to be very reliable and something that I think I definitely would do if it was time for a new water heater at my house.
DAVE: Yeah. The problem is it’s in the 20s here and it’s failed so I don’t have much time to do much research to make the swap.
Do you have any recommendations on making a tank-type water heater last longer, besides a water softener?
TOM: Well, yeah. That’s really it. Conditioning the water is the hot ticket there.
DAVE: Yeah. OK. Well, thanks.
TOM: Alright, Dave. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Laura in Connecticut is on the line with a question about flooring. What can we do for you today?
LAURA: Putting down laminated flooring in my kitchen. It houses a washer and dryer. The washer and dryer, they shimmy a bit.
LESLIE: You mean they shimmy as in they’re moving across the floor or they just shake a lot?
LAURA: They shake a lot. I mean they shimmy to the point of if I have my coffeepot on the stove, the water will shimmy a little bit in the pot.
LESLIE: Seriously? Now, that could be a balancing thing. It could be, quite frankly, that your washing machine itself isn’t perfectly leveled. That could be a matter of adjusting the legs or something’s up with the flooring underneath it. But that could be one thing. Or if it’s not happening with every single load, it could be how you’re loading the washing machine. You could have too much stuff in it. But I would start, really, by making sure that the washing machine is perfectly leveled and perfectly balanced.
And then there are actually pads that you can get at the home centers, even a Bed Bath & Beyond-type place. It’s an anti-vibration pad that goes underneath. Some of them are large enough to fit underneath the entire washing machine. And some of them are more for the corners under the legs. But they’re meant almost like shock absorbers from the machine to the floor. So, definitely start with making sure it’s fully balanced and level.
LAURA: And I can put these machines directly on my laminate flooring?
TOM: Yeah, you can. Look, if they’re going to shake a lot, you’re going to get maybe some abrasion, especially if you get dirt under the leg. That could wear through the laminate surface.
But I think Leslie is spot-on. Get it leveled and then get the anti-vibration pads or blocks. You can Google this. You’ll find them.
I’ve got four of them, one under each leg of my washing machine. And I had it in there from when it was brand-new and it didn’t really shake at all. But it was on the second floor, so I wanted to make sure it was as quiet as possible. And they work fantastic.
They’re just like rubber spacers that go under the leg of each washing – of each of the four legs of the washer. And they sit on the floor. And because they’re rubber, also, they will protect the laminate floor from any scratching.
LAURA: OK. Thanks for your help.
LESLIE: Well, cleaning windows is something that takes a lot of time to do. But when you’re done, do you feel like those windows don’t look all that much better?
TOM: Well, it’s possible that it’s not your imagination. Rubbing glass with paper towels or cloth towels creates static. So before you know it, the dust and the dirt are kind of stuck to your window again.
Well, professional window washers know what it is: it’s a squeegee. The squeegees are the secret.
LESLIE: That’s right. Now, if you’ve got a larger window, you want to start at a top corner and move the squeegee back and forth while you move it down – sort of like you’re drawing the letter S. And this part is key: after each stroke, you’re going to need to wipe that blade dry but don’t just use any towel. You’ve got to find one that’s lint-free, like a cloth diaper or old table linens. Because you don’t want to get the lint on the squeegee and then make more streaks in the glass.
TOM: Yeah. And if you don’t wipe it off, you kind of put that water back on the pane you took it off of.
So, now, if your window has panes – speaking of panes, you want to use a utility knife to cut the squeegee so it fits the length of the pane. Because obviously, you can’t use a squeegee that’s too big. And then just be sure to pull it down in one single stroke.
LESLIE: Yeah. And be sure to stick with a homemade cleaning solution: one that you make of liquid detergent and warm water. And when it drips, you want to use a shammy cloth to soak up that extra water.
TOM: Yeah. And you’ll find those at your local home center. They also absorb without leaving any streaks, so that is also an important tip.
LESLIE: Courtney has got a question and she says, “I’m looking to install vinyl-plank flooring directly over old parquet floors, to avoid the extra work of tearing it up. However, the old floor isn’t flat and it isn’t level. How can we install that new flooring while preserving the parquet floors? Or should we tear up the floor and replace the subfloor?”
TOM: Well, I mean you’re not exactly preserving the parquet floors. Although, if they were in good condition, you kind of are doing that. Not quite sure why you would want to do that.
But listen, the floor doesn’t have to be level but it does have to be flat. Because vinyl-plank flooring – and we’re talking about engineered vinyl-plank flooring – is beautiful stuff. It’s incredibly durable, it’s very attractive and it all locks together when you put it in place.
But here’s the deal: you can’t have any gaps under this flooring. So if you’ve got a sag in that old parquet floor, you’re going to have to fill it in. It’s got to be flat. Now, you could do that – if it’s a real big problem, you would use something called “floor-leveling compound,” which is something you mix up like a – it’s like a slurry mix that levels it up. But you’re not preserving your parquet floor by doing that. It’s just going to be a big mess, I think, by the time you’re done. I would – if that was the situation, I would definitely dig up the parquet floor.
But if it’s just a few sort of limited areas, you could actually fill those sags in mechanically, so to speak. You can use thin pieces of wood. You can use cedar shakes, for example, as shims. You can use built-up pieces of tar paper. That works, as well. Just make sure it’s flat because if you have any gaps under those boards, the problem is that when you step on them, that seam can sort of pull apart. And it’s impossible to get it back together. So, having that surface be flat is really critical.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you out, Courtney.
Now we’ve got George who reached out to The Money Pit. And he says he’s got a textured concrete garage floor. Basically, it’s concrete that’s been brushed to form a grooved surface so that water will run towards the door and outside. What type of flooring options for the garage would be best?
TOM: You know, I don’t think you’re limited on flooring options just because that concrete was grooved, as you describe it, unless it’s really big grooves but I’ve never seen that. It’s probably fairly thin grooves and it probably does work to run the water away. But I think that you could use a floor tile – a garage-floor tile – on that. That’s what I did in my sort of garage/shop space. Looks great, it’s easy to sweep, easy to keep clean. And I was able to do a pattern with multiple colors, which looks pretty darn cool.
LESLIE: I know it can be fun to do that in the garage.
TOM: You can use an epoxy garage-floor kit. You mix up a Part A and a Part B. You apply the epoxy, you put in some sprinkles that actually help hide the dirt and a clear coat on top and you’re good to go.
Check out the products by Daich Coatings. That is actually the product I’m using in my basement right now. So, similar to a garage floor. It’ll be a super-durable surface when I’m done.
LESLIE: Alright. Good project.
And Tom, good project for you, too.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey guys, thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. We hope that you found some useful advice and ideas to help improve your home.
And if you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach out to us not just when you hear the show but literally, 24/7. We get calls that come in all hours of the day or night. I’m always most impressed by the very well-thought of and well-written calls that come in around 3:00 a.m. Some people literally can’t sleep because they’re thinking about home improvement. So, whether that’s you or whether you stick to the normal hours, please reach out to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com, because we look forward to answering them.
Until then, 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.)