- A pizza garden is a fun way to get the whole family involved in gardening. Kids get a kick out of growing their own food and then being able to eat it. This is also a great way for parents to sneak in some veggies. We’ll walk you through exactly what you’ll need to grow your own pizza – right in your backyard.
- When you pop out of bed in the morning and head for that first shower of the day, there’s nothing nicer than stepping on a heated, warmed tile floor to “soften the blow” of the start of your day! Well, if you are a DIYr or pro, for as little as $525 bucks you can purchase all the components needed to create a warm tile floor.
- If you’d like to add hardwood floors to your home, there’s a new style of prefinished hardwood flooring collection out where the boards have been shaped using wire brushing, scraping, and cross-hatching surfacing techniques that gives them a classic seaside look to the floors from the moment they’ve been installed.
- Move over, tomatoes! Growing fruits and herbs for drinks is a fun new approach to backyard gardens…and spring is the perfect time to get it going
- Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about stopping leaks in flat roofs, best insulation, leveling sagging floors, dealing with carpenter bees, fix for doors that swell, adding 2nd layers of siding, tearing out a deck and how to stop gurgling toilets.
TRANSCRIPT FOR MAY 3, 2021, HOUR 2
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: Here to help you take on the projects that you’d like to get done around your house. What are you working on this spring? What are you planning for the summer? We’ll help you get it done. Call us with your questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com or reach out to us at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or on Instagram.
Coming up this hour, a pizza garden is a fun way to get the whole family involved in gardening. You know, the kids get a kick out of growing their own food and then they’ll be able to eat it. It’s also a great way for parents to sneak in some veggies. Always important. So we’re going to walk you through exactly what you’ll need to grow your very own pizza garden in your backyard.
LESLIE: I was going to say, I’m very curious how you’re going to grow the dough, Tom, but I’m going to stick around.
TOM: Yeah. That’s the best part. We’re going to use the rest of the yard to grow wheat. It’s a very big project.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. That is a long-time project in the making.
Alright. Also coming up, when you pop out of bed in the morning and you head for that first shower of the day, there’s nothing nicer than stepping out onto a heated, warm tile floor to kind of soften that blow of the start of your day. Well, if you’re a DIYer or a pro, for as little as 525 bucks, you can purchase all of the components that you need to create a warm floor.
TOM: And if you’d like to add hardwood floors to your home, there’s a new style of prefinished hardwood that’s out right now. It’s a collection where the boards have been shaped using wire brushing and scraping and cross-hatching techniques that give them a very classic, seasoned look from the moment they’re installed. We’ll explain more, in just a bit.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear about your projects. What are you guys working on? I mean we are getting into the almost-summer season. The official kickoff: Memorial Day Weekend. And now that we’re all getting vaccinated and we can get together, I bet you want to make sure that your yard looks amazing to show off. So let us give you a hand.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rick in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICK: Well, yes, I have a question about a bedroom wall. I’ll tell you real quick what I have. It’s a cinder-block wall and on the outside of it is a stone facing. And then on the inside, they just had furring strips and then plaster. So, no insulation and very cold in the winter.
So what we’re doing – we’re tearing down the plaster. We’re going to frame it out. We’re going to put – I guess it’s R-19, I think, it is in there and then drywall it. But my question is – we were talking about putting a thermal barrier onto the block itself. And I guess I have a couple of questions or concerns: A) is it going to be worth it? Is it going to raise the R-value any? And B) there’s not really going to be an air cavity. It’s just going to be the thermal barrier on the wall and then the insulation is going to be touching that, so I’m kind of afraid it’s going to act more of a conductor.
TOM: Well, what you might want to think about using there is Tyvek.
RICK: Oh, on the inside.
TOM: Yeah, on the inside. It’s vapor-permeable, so I think it’ll allow everything to breathe but it’ll keep some separation between the block and the frame.
And by the way, you’d be wise to leave at least an inch there in between and not have it up against the block, because you really don’t want to have an organic material like wood – and certainly not drywall – that close to a very damp source, which would be the concrete block. Because concrete blocks are very hydroscopic. They suck up a lot of water and – especially in periods of bad weather. So you do want to have a bit of a space there. But I think that I would cover the block first with Tyvek, then I’d frame up against that.
Now, another option, to kind of kill two birds with one stone, is consider spray-foam insulation. If you did spray-foam insulation, you could frame the wall and then you could spray into the framing, right up against the block wall. And then it would be cut flush with the wall and you would put your drywall right on top of that.
Now, spray foam has the advantage of being able to not only insulate but seal and draft-proof at the same time. We recently added spray-foam insulation to our entire home. Now, we have an existing home, much like you. And of course, it makes it difficult to get into the walls. But what we did was we put it in the box beams, which were all the way around this sort of perimeter of the basement and crawlspace, and we added it to the attics. And just those areas – without even doing the walls, because we weren’t opening the walls at this time – made a huge difference in the energy efficiency of the house. So, I’m a big fan of Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – as a result of that experience.
RICK: OK. Yeah, I didn’t even think about anything like that. I have to check into that.
Do you know – well, I guess I’d have to look that up online or whatever – if there’s somebody around my area?
TOM: I’m sure that there will be. Icynene is a Canadian company but they have dealers all across the country.
RICK: Now, if I didn’t do that and I just – I put the frame, the stud up to the block wall – you said to leave an inch. Like what would you recommend? How would you do that?
TOM: I would just simply frame the wall out away from the block.
TOM: And don’t attach the frame wall to the block wall. Because I’ll tell you, some of the worst cases of mold infestation we’ve seen is when you have wood framing attached to block walls and drywall which is, essentially, mold food.
In fact, one other thing you might want to consider is to not use drywall on that wall but use something called DensArmor, which is a fiberglass-faced drywall product. So without the paper face, you don’t have food to feed the mold. Make sense?
RICK: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Rick, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Pam in Illinois on the line dealing with a flat roof. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
PAM: We are having a problem finding a leak on – our roof is – we have a roof that’s flat but it has a slope to it. We have our air-conditioning units that sit up there, along with the roofing vents. We’ve used that white vinyl to seal it; it’s a rolled roofing, you know. We’ve sealed it with a white vinyl.
Around the air-conditioning units and the vents, we’ve used the black mastic tape but we can’t seem to get – to seal them. So do you have any suggestions? Something that would work?
TOM: So, do you know where the leak is?
PAM: Well, we’re thinking around the vent or the air-conditioning unit.
TOM: Have you tried to take a garden hose up there and strategically sort of flood that suspected area to see if you can cause the leak to happen?
PAM: No, we haven’t.
TOM: So that might be a good next step. Start low on the roof, because it’s sloped, and flood that area with the garden hose for 15 or 20 minutes. And then if nothing happens, move it up a few feet and a few feet and a few feet to see if you can narrow down the exact area where the leak is happening.
You’ve got a difficult situation, Pam, because first of all, rolled roofing is the weakest roofing material out there when it comes to low-sloped roofs. Secondly, you’ve got an air-conditioning compressor on the roof, probably sitting on 4x4s or something of that nature. So when the – where the air conditioner sits, as it goes on it vibrates. And so that vibration breaks down that roofing material, makes it really difficult for you to get something that’s leak-free.
If the roof was built in a different way – and by that, I mean if the rolled roofing was stripped off right down to the sheathing and the roof was built with maybe a rubberized roof or something of that nature; and there are special types of support mechanisms for air conditioners that have flashing built into them – then you wouldn’t be having this issue.
So there’s no sort – there’s no easy way to kind of make this go away. All I can really suggest is that you strategically try to find out where this leak is and then focus your tarring-application efforts right around those spaces. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy to find it but once you do, hopefully you can identify the weak link. And then, as a matter of preventative maintenance, you can get up there and then reseal it every once in a while.
PAM: OK. Well, you’ve certainly helped us and given us a lot of food for thought.
TOM: Alright. Happy to do so. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Erin in Louisiana is on the line. How can we help you today?
ERIN: Hi. I have a slab house that’s about 35 years old and it’s showing signs of needing to be leveled. But I thought I heard on a previous show of yours that you do not recommend leveling a house; just fix the issues that come up as it needs it. And I didn’t know if I heard correctly or not, so I thought I would call and ask about that.
LESLIE: Well, tell me, how much of a slope are you noticing, throughout the property, on the interior of the home?
ERIN: No, we’re seeing cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceiling, cracks in the floors.
LESLIE: OK. Now, if you’re seeing cracks in the walls and in the ceiling, are they sort of near a doorway or a window or are they just square in the middle of stuff?
ERIN: Well, there’s a crack in the floor that’s square in the middle of the floor and it extends out into a – we have a sliding-glass door and the brick above the sliding-glass door is separated.
And then, we also see it – I also see it in rooms next to the wall, where it’s like – the house is shaped like a T. And where one part of the top of the T goes into the long part of the T, I can see it separating there against the – in the ceiling.
LESLIE: Generally, if you see cracks and they’re by a doorframe or a window, that’s just general movement because of the opening in the envelope of the home, being in a window opening or a doorway in an interior wall. Now, if you’re seeing it like in the middle of the floor and above a doorframe in brick, you might be concerned that there could be some structural issues going on. However, you might want to bring in a structural engineer.
You bring in an engineer or even a home inspector and for a couple of hundred bucks, they’ll come in and look at these areas and diagnose, specifically, what’s going on there. Because it could be something structural that could need to be fixed in a way that you can’t just do by repairing the crack. Or it could just simply be natural settlement of the home over the duration of the home’s lifespan and that’s easily fixable.
But because you have a crack forming in the middle of a floor and that continues to a doorway, I would definitely bring in somebody who’s a structural engineer and they can write up a report on it. And the benefit of doing that is that when you do fix this, whatever the problem may be, you are going to have a full, written pedigree of what you’ve done to the problem in the home, how you’ve fixed it and what everything was done correctly. This way, if you go to sell the home and somebody says, “Oh, I saw a crack,” or whatever the situation might be, you can say, “Actually, this happened. We did this repair and it’s all square.”
TOM: Erin, some cracks are really typical wear and tear, so to speak. But this one definitely sounds like you need a pro to check it out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if your kids love pizza, creating a pizza garden is a really great way to get your kids involved in an outdoor project that you can plant, right now, and then really start enjoying it by mid-summer.
Now, kids really do get a kick out of growing their own food and then being able to eat it. And this is also a great way for parents to sneak some veggies into those dinners. I know how hard it can be to get them to eat the vegetables. But if you make it a fun pizza, I bet you they will eat it. And if they grow it themselves right in their own backyard, heck, they’re going to eat the whole pie.
TOM: That’s right. Now, to get started, you don’t need a lot of space for a pizza garden. If you only have a 4-foot by 4-foot area, that’s just about perfect. And if you want to make it extra fun, you could even make it in a circle shape and then mark off the areas in wedges that resemble those pizza slices, for a little more fun.
Now, first off, you want to choose your tomatoes. This is really important because Roma tomatoes are the choice when you’re making sauces. And if you want to go for the small, compact garden inside that 4-foot area, you only need one plant.
Another option, though, is to use cherry tomatoes. They’re really fun because kids can pick them easily and then you can just cut them in half and put them on top of your pizza.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And peppers. You’ve got to grow peppers because they grow very easily and quickly. And you can choose a bunch of different varieties. Bell peppers are great. Come in a bunch of different colors. But if your family likes a little spice, you can even go with a banana pepper. Anything that your local nursery sells is going to be a good fit for your yard, because it’s really meant for your area.
TOM: You know what pepper I want?
LESLIE: Which kind?
TOM: The sausage and pepper.
LESLIE: We cannot grow the sausage in the backyard, either. What are you doing?
But we can grow basil. Basil is a great plant to grow. You can plant one or two. You can use it fresh or dry it for use later. I love growing basil plants because you can just snip off what you need. That plant is going to keep growing. It’s sort of like the gift that keeps on giving.
TOM: Now, when you’re deciding where to put the plants in your pizza garden, make sure you check the labels for the right spacing, because some plants need a lot of space and some need a little bit of space. And you want to make sure you stake those plants that are going to need support, like tomatoes and peppers, to keep them up off the ground. And with the proper amount of space, it will also make them easier to harvest.
So that’s all there is to it. If you plant now, in a couple of months you will start harvesting and enjoying your fresh pizza fixings.
LESLIE: Steve in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STEVE: Looked outside this year and we’ve got a building that was built in 1929. It’s got a porch above the patio down below. And on the exposed joists, those carpenter bees have put some holes in there. And it – we’re looking for a way to eliminate the carpenter bees and not necessarily poison everything in the neighborhood.
LESLIE: Well, part of what they’re doing is – you know, they really enjoy eating this natural wood. So they’re coming there because you’ve got something tasty to offer up. And it turns out that they love to bore these holes that are perfectly 3/8-inches round.
So, you can do a couple of things. You can have it treated by a pest professional and then seal up those holes and that should do the trick. But you’re right: chemicals are used and that might not be what you have in mind.
The other thing is you can cover that or replace that joist completely – or whatever the support is – with a synthetic wood or a composite that looks like wood but it’s not actually wood. It could be extruded PVC, it could be recycled plastics. This way, it looks like wood; it’s doing the same job that the wood piece was. However, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, termites, whatever pests like to eat a natural source as wood, they’re going to try it, they’re not going to get into it and they’re going to be really confused and fly away and find somewhere else to eat.
STEVE: Yeah, that sounds like an option. Yeah, I was wondering if there was something that – I assume that painting it would not make a difference. I didn’t know if there was something that could be topically applied to it that would be environmentally friendly and keep the bees out.
LESLIE: Unh-unh. I’ve had them eat through the painted wood that makes up my entire screened-in porch. And then what happens is they bore a hole but they won’t bore all the way through. They’ll bore into the wood, even if it’s just a 1×6 or whatever. They find a way to bore into it and then bore through the wood itself and lay their eggs in there.
STEVE: OK. And it – yeah, it’s amazing. It looks like somebody got out with a drill and drilled the hole in there.
LESLIE: It’s just bizarre. It’s perfect how they do it.
STEVE: So, essentially, the options, basically, are having someone come out and treat it or either covering or changing the material that’s there.
LESLIE: Yeah, changing material is usually the best bet because they won’t eat it. And then, as an added benefit, it doesn’t require any maintenance except the occasional cleaning. You’re not going to be painting it all the time. It really is a win-win situation.
TOM: Steve, I hope that takes care of those carpenter bees once and for all. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Marie calling in to The Money Pit with a cabinet question. How can we help you today?
MARIE: I’m in a dilemma over kitchen cabinets. I really like this fairly contemporary look but it’s a slab. We’re at – we’re on the salt water and I’ve been told to maybe stay away from a slab cabinet door because of the way it expands and shrinks. What’s your opinion on that or your advice?
LESLIE: When you say slab, are you talking about a full overlay?
MARIE: No, it’s an actual slab. I don’t think it’s an overlay or veneer at all.
TOM: I think you mean a solid-wood door, one-piece wood door as opposed to one that’s made up of panels, like a raised-panel door?
MARIE: Yes, it’s not a raised panel but you can actually see the pieces of wood – well, I guess they’re glued together. But there’s no raised panels or anything on it.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a solid piece of wood. It’s a laminated door, basically. Solid pieces of wood glued together.
I don’t know. If the door is made right and the wood is dried when it was built and it’s sealed properly, I don’t think it’s more or less likely to swell than a raised-panel door would be.
MARIE: That makes total sense the way you put it that way. Why wouldn’t they dry it out first and then seal it properly?
MARIE: Huh. I never even thought about it in that context.
LESLIE: The boxes themselves that the cabinets are – the cabinet box is going to be constructed out of a wood-laminated ply so – or something that’s more structurally stable. And I don’t think you have to be concerned about the door.
MARIE: Hmm, I think, looking at it from that point of view, maybe I won’t be. I’ve had people tell me that they’re just going to get all warped and – but why would they? If they’re – if it is, like you said, a reliable cabinet maker – I guess that would be the question.
TOM: Right. Exactly. A good-quality cabinet should be dimensionally stable.
MARIE: I agree with you. Ah, I found a beautiful door and I think I might go for it then. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to add a little luxury to your tile or stone flooring, there’s a really well-designed electric heating system available from Schluter and it’s called the Ditra Heat. And it lets you very easily add the comfort of an electric floor-warming system to any room of the home.
TOM: Now, the system consists of three components. You have a membrane that’s installed on top of the subfloor. Then you have heating cables that are actually snapped into the top of that membrane and then the thermostat, which controls the temperature of the floor.
Now, the membrane is key here. It makes it easy to add those heating cables and it helps prevent cracking of the tile or grout in that finished floor itself.
LESLIE: Yeah. In fact, Ditra Heat is the only electric floor-warming system that directly incorporates the uncoupling technology, which uses a membrane to make sure the floors aren’t susceptible to cracks in tiles or even in the grout.
And another advantage of the Schluter system is that it’s a thinner system, so it’s much easier to match floor heights with adjoining rooms, even the hallways. Plus, there’s a better heat transfer because those heating cables are right underneath your tiles.
TOM: Yeah. And those cables can be customized, because you could basically place them wherever you want to heat. And there’s also no leveling compounds required, which makes it for a very quick and easy installation.
The Ditra Heat system is available for as little as 525 bucks. To learn more about the Schluter Ditra Heat, go to Schluter.com or call 800-472-4588.
LESLIE: Dennis in California is on the line with The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DENNIS: Yes. I have a house that was built in 1979 and it has T1-11 siding on it and I’m wanting to change the siding on it. I want like a cement-board lap siding but my question is: is it practical or feasible to just Tyvek-wrap over my T1-11 and then go ahead and put my new siding on top of that? Or will I be sandwiching in some problems?
TOM: Well, T1-11, for those that are unfamiliar, is essentially plywood siding and it serves two purposes: it’s the siding and it’s the sheathing. So you do not have to remove that. Now, the downside is that you’re going to have pack out, so to speak, around the windows. The trim will – the windows will be a bit deeper than perhaps you’ve seen in the past. But that siding can stay just like that.
You can put Tyvek over the siding and then – over the existing T1-11 siding and then add your HardiePlank over that. Just follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. But there’s no reason for you to pull that plywood off because frankly, if you did, I’m afraid that you would have to replace it with just regular plywood and there’s really no point to that. The T1-11 serves a structural purpose, as well as keeping the water out of your house.
DENNIS: Oh. That makes sense. I didn’t think that it actually takes care of the shear, doesn’t it?
TOM: It does. That’s right. Mm-hmm. It protects it against the shear and the racking forces.
DENNIS: That makes sense. OK. Great. Now I have a direction to go. My concern was that if I put the solid – if I sandwich something in, was I sandwiching in some moisture or anything like that? And I didn’t want to create problems down the road.
TOM: Yeah. Well, let’s hope not. If you use good siding on top of Tyvek, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.
DENNIS: OK. Great. Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Laurie in Ohio is on the line and needs some help in the yard. What’s going on at your money pit?
LAURIE: Hi. This is Laurie. And I actually have my grandson, Garrett, with me and …
LESLIE: Hi, Garrett.
TOM: Oh. Well, Garrett, welcome to The Money Pit.
LAURIE: Can you say hi to him?
LESLIE: Oh, hi, sweetie.
LAURIE: I actually have two grandsons. He’s almost seven and one who’s almost two. And we’re excited for summer and want to do a lot of things outside. And we want to do a sandbox sort of thing to play in but we’re kind of leery about using sand because we’ve heard about, you know, a lot of spiders, bugs, cats getting into it. And I just wondered if there’s any kind of alternative out there, that you know of, that we could use instead of sand.
TOM: I mean what’s a sandbox without sand?
LESLIE: And the kids do love it so very much.
LAURIE: That’s true.
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen, we had sandboxes when our kids were small and we never had concerns about that. Now, I did have one that had a cover that went over it, so that kept the cats out and that kind of thing.
TOM: But I can’t recall that we ever had any issues with insects or anything like that. The worst thing was if you forgot to put the cover on and you got a rainstorm and it flooded. Then that would take a lot to get it dried out again. But I don’t know that it’s ever been, really, an issue. Maybe things are different down in Ohio but I’ve never had an issue with it.
Leslie, what about you?
LESLIE: I will say that when the kids were little, especially Charlie when he was at his Pre-K – so he’s three, four – they had a sandbox. And my kid and one other kid were always the only kids in the sandbox and I always felt the judging looks from the other parents like, “Mm. They’re in the sandbox. That’s disgusting.” It’s like, “What? They love it.”
TOM: I don’t get that.
LESLIE: So, maybe I’m missing something on why people are so grossed out by them.
LAURIE: That’s what I’m getting. When my two sons were smaller, yeah, that was OK and no one thought anything twice about it. But now that I’m a grandma and there’s this new generation …
LESLIE: Oh, get ready to be judged, Grandma.
TOM: You’re welcome to the judge generation.
LAURIE: Look online and there’s different stuff but nothing that – I just don’t know about it.
TOM: I would trust your decades of experience as a grandma, your decades of life experience you went through to get there, rather than any of this newfound advice from these new experts, also known as millennials.
LESLIE: Listen, the judge-y looks only last so long. Plus, you can turn around.
LAURIE: That’s true. Yeah, that’s true. OK. Well, I just came upon your program one evening, as I was driving to my grandson’s karate class, and I thought, “This is the perfect” – going through my mind and I thought I’m just going to call in.
LESLIE: Well, thanks.
LAURIE: So, I appreciate your opinion and I – thanks for listening to me and giving me advice to stick to the old sand.
TOM: Well, we think Garrett has an awesome grandma making sandboxes and taking the kids to karate. Very cool. He’s a lucky boy.
Well, thanks so much for calling us.
LAURIE: Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to add beautiful hardwood floors to your home, there’s a new collection out now from LL Flooring called Bellawood Artisan Shoreline Collection.
Now, I love these designs because the boards have been shaped using a very subtle wire brushing, scraping, even a cross-hatched surfacing technique. And it gives them that character of a unique, seaside community from the moment they’ve been installed. They just have that beautiful patina, like they are perfectly worn.
TOM: And these floors are also a wide-plank flooring. And when you have wide planks, you have fewer seams. And that gives you sort of an open feeling that can make your space seem larger.
I also like that they’re made in North America, they’re made from premium North American hardwoods and that they have the Bellawood matte finish. This is a pretty impressive finish for hardwood, because not only does it resist stains and scuffs and scratches, it’s backed up by a 100-year transferable residential warranty and another 5-year warranty if it has a commercial use. So, they really stand behind the product.
LESLIE: I mean that really is an amazing warranty.
Now, you can find the Bellawood Artisan Shoreline collection at all LL Flooring store locations nationwide and online at LLFlooring.com.
Joel in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOEL: I have a new home that’s now 9 years old. From day one, when you flush the toilet, it gurgles in the shower. And then, several months ago, it stopped gurgling. But now, when you take a shower, you smell sewer gas.
TOM: So you have a ventilation problem, clearly.
TOM: Some part of the system is not designed correctly.
Now, when you hear the gurgling sound, that’s because the plumbing system is gasping for air. And when you look at a plumbing system and you have drains that are below the floor and then if you stand outside and you see these vent pipes that come out through the roof, basically they’re supposed to be letting the air in and they’ll vent some sewage gas out. But that stops pressure from building inside the pipes, which is what’s happening. That’s why you have that gurgling sound. And the fact that you get a sewage-gas smell is really bad, so I – you need some pretty serious inspection work here to figure out what’s going on.
Is there any chance you can get to the area below this bathroom to see how the pipes are run?
JOEL: Yes. And I really expected there to be a pipe going up to the ceiling directly from that but there’s not. The plumber came in and put in a – I’m going to call it a longer P-trap or a deeper P-trap.
JOEL: And then he also put in a vent there underneath the floor. It doesn’t go anywhere. It’s just …
TOM: It’s basically designed to let air in, I think.
JOEL: Right. The shower’s at the end of the system and it runs into the toilet. And then the toilet goes on into the sewer. So it’s between the toilet and the end of the – and the sewer is where that vent is. And he’s at a loss, we’re at a loss. We’re going to have to go up through the walls and out through the ceiling?
TOM: Yeah. That’s the best place, because you should be getting plenty of air in there. That first thing, the first clue, is that you’re still getting a gurgling.
JOEL: Well, the gurgling has stopped.
TOM: Oh, it has stopped. So that vent stopped that?
TOM: If you’re getting a sewage-gas smell, that might be backing up through the vent.
Look, the best way to do this is to have the vent go up through the wall, through the attic and out the roof. That’s the way it normally would be done. And if that’s not what you have, because of this configuration, that’s probably what I would try. I would be aiming to try to get there the easiest way possible. I know it’s not that easy because running plumbing pipes after the house is built is never good.
How old is this house?
JOEL: It’s 9 years.
TOM: Nine years, OK, yeah.
TOM: Well, I think that’s what you’re going to have to do.
JOEL: OK. Does the vent need to be between the shower and the toilet or on the downhill side of it?
TOM: The vent would actually probably come out about where it is right now, it would seem to me.
TOM: But it would go in the wall and up.
JOEL: Right. OK.
TOM: Alright? Well, listen, I hope that helps you out, at least, a little bit. Good luck with that project and thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Mark wrote and he said he recently had a laminate floating floor installed in his bathrooms but he noticed after the installer left that both toilets are really loose. He says, “I’m not sure if this is normal but it does concern me if they’re eventually going to leak. Is there something I can do to fix this?”
Well, I mean if the installers just left in the last week or two, I would call them back. Well, first of all, understand that toilets may have a tiny bit of movement and that’s OK, right, because there’s a wax seal that’s under them that’s very thick and squishy. And that will seal out any leaking of water that could occur.
Now, if you want to tighten it up yourself, you can tighten the bolts up on either side of the toilet. But be warned: if you make them too tight, the bowls will crack and now you’ll be looking at a very expensive toilet replacement and not just a wobbly toilet. You’ll need a whole new one. So, you can tighten up a little bit but don’t put any stress on that ceramic base. Because if you do, you might just break the toilet.
I think he’s better off, Leslie, just calling these contractors back and letting them do it. They should know how to handle this without any problems.
LESLIE: Yeah. And they should have done it as part of their completed project. So definitely get them back in.
TOM: Yeah, especially if they removed the toilet to install the floor, which they probably did. In fact, I would hope that they did.
TOM: Because otherwise, the seam around the toilet, between the toilet and the laminate, is going to be prone to some deterioration and leaking.
LESLIE: Alright. So, Mark, pick up the phone and get them back there.
TOM: Well, if you grow vegetables in your garden to eat, that’s amazing. But you know what? Some vegetables are better served shaken or stirred. Leslie has tips on the most popular plants for cocktails, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
You know, Leslie, by growing fruits and vegetables and maybe making pizza gardens, like we talked about earlier in the show, that’s great for kids. But if you want to get adults into gardening, you’ve got to make plants for cocktails.
LESLIE: Oh, for sure. This has pandemic project written all over it, you guys.
Seriously, growing fruits and herbs for drinks, it’s a really fun, new approach to your backyard garden. And this time of year – springtime – really is the time that you want to get it going.
Now, you can think about adding some zest to seltzer, beer, even cocktails with some homegrown limes. And they can dress up a plain, old glass of water, too, or even bring out the floral notes in the finest of alcoholic beverages. Now, limes, you can grow them in pots outside during the summer or even inside your house if you’ve got a nice, bright area when the weather cools down.
Another great addition to traditional cocktails is lavender. It really does pair especially well with gin. It helps to bring out the floral elements of gin. And lavender is also incredibly easy to grow. You can grow it in either a garden itself or in a container. And if cocktails are your end goal here with lavender, you want to go with English lavender. That is the sweetest variety.
And if alcoholic drinks simply just aren’t for you, you can add fruits or herbs from your garden to ice-cube trays. It makes the water more flavorful. It gives you eye-catching ice cubes. They really are the perfect touch to any garden party. And it’s going to get you and your guests really in the mood for summer.
So get together, get outside, do some gardening and have a nice time.
TOM: And speaking of getting together, why not get together around your own DIY backyard fire pit? With just a bit of planning and a trip to your local home center, you can build that fire pit yourself. We’re going to tell you how to do just that, 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.
(Copyright 2021 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.)