TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, what are you working on this beautiful weekend? If it’s in your house, you are in the right place because we’re here, too. And I know you’re looking around going, “I don’t see you in my house.” Well, no, actually we’re here and we’re keeping an eye on you. We’re here to help you get those jobs done.
So if you’re stuck in the middle of a project that you don’t know which way to go, can’t figure out what’s up, what’s down with a job you’ve got to get done, maybe you need some advice on some décor you’d like to do – you’ve got a cleaning question? It is the spring-cleaning season. You planning an outdoor-living project? Maybe a patio, a deck, a pergola, a pool? Give us a call. Let’s talk about it. We’ll help you get it done the right way. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up, we are going to deal squarely with one of life’s little annoyances but pretty big annoyance in terms of how much hassle it is when you hear it. I’m talking about squeaking floors, right? I mean squeaking floors are great if you’re a parent and you want to make sure your kids are coming home on time. When they don’t and there’s that squeak right in front of the back door, you know you got them.
But seriously, squeaking floors can drive you nuts and a lot of people are afraid that it means there’s a big structural problem underneath. But the truth is it might not be. We’re going to tell you how to determine what’s going on with the squeak and most importantly, how to silence those floors for good.
LESLIE: And here’s a big issue that people run into, especially in the spring season, something that involves the thing that’s always over your head. You kind of take it for granted a lot until it starts to leak. Well, with the spring rainy season just upon us, we’ll tell you how to find your roof’s weak spots before you need to find a bucket to catch those drips.
TOM: Plus, when it comes to floors, there’s nothing that emits a more warm and natural feeling than wood. But there’s one thing that wood is just not good for and that’s the damp or downright wet locations. We’re going to tell you about wood-look products that are beautiful and work well in those spaces, just ahead.
But first, we want to talk to you about what’s going on in your money pit. So give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Calling in from Michigan, we’ve got Sharon on the line. How can we help you today?
SHARON: We had a new fireplace – gas fireplace – put in last July. And almost constantly, since we’ve had it put in, we hear a whistling/howling noise behind the glass, behind the fireplace. We’ve called the installers and they had a wind guard made and came out, just a few months ago, and put it up by the new cap and the noise is still there.
TOM: Ugh. Hmm. (inaudible)
SHARON: And we – I hear it almost every single day.
TOM: Yeah. Hey, is this gas fireplace – this is completely brand-new or this was a masonry fireplace that was converted to gas?
SHARON: No, it – the fireplace and all the venting is brand-new. When we had the house built 12 years ago, that fireplace went out about a year or so ago. And we couldn’t find replacement parts; everything was discontinued and obsolete. So that’s why we had to put in a brand-new fireplace.
TOM: What brand fireplace did you put in?
SHARON: It’s a Travis 864 TRV.
TOM: The venting on this, is it up through the roof or is it out the back of the fireplace?
SHARON: No, it goes up through the roof. The fireplace is almost in the middle of the house.
SHARON: We kind of almost have a square house. And I did call and ask the guys that put in the venting – the new venting – the angles and the length. And they told me that they went up and – the two angles are going to be at 45 degrees. Initially, from the fireplace, it goes up 12, then turns and goes 10 feet and then up 10 feet to the roof. And the two angles are 45 degrees.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Where it goes through the roof, there’s a rule called the “2-10 rule of chimney construction,” which means that it has to be at least 2 feet above any part of the roof that’s within a 10-foot radius. So if you were to kind of have a 10-foot string swing around that chimney, it has to be 2 feet above the roof at the closest part. Do you have the sense that the vent is tall enough where it comes through the roof?
SHARON: Honestly don’t know.
TOM: So here’s what I would do. I think that you’ve already, you know, talked enough to the installers and the folks that you bought this from. I would talk to the manufacturer. I would talk directly to the folks at Travis Industries. Their website is simply TravisIndustries.com but they have a separate website for this particular fireplace brand. It’s simply called FireplaceX.com. I see the information on the 864. It looks like a beautiful unit but I suspect this is in the venting.
The problem is in the venting and it may have to do with the type of vent that you use or the installation of the vent or the height of the vent above the roof perhaps being not tall enough. Because it sounds to me like what’s happening is as the wind blows over that vent, you’re getting this whistling noise and it should be something that they could figure out and design around.
SHARON: So, the 2 foot above the roofline. What was that again? It has to …
TOM: Think of the chimney coming through the roof, right? If you were to go to the top of the chimney and go 10 feet in any direction, like a circle, that top of the chimney has to be at least 2 feet above any piece of the roof.
TOM: Alright? But I would – I think you should probably work with the manufacturer on this, at least to try to figure out what the possible issues are.
TOM: Because you certainly shouldn’t be putting up with this, OK?
SHARON: Alright. Alright. Thanks so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Brian in Alaska is on the line and is having some issues with some discoloration on the walls. What’s going on?
BRIAN: I have a couple of questions about – springtime, everybody’s getting that fever here in about two months.
BRIAN: But anyhow, long story short, inside my house it’s – I have a lot of cedar walls, cedar planking. And I’ve had pictures on the walls in the past. And so what happens if you take the picture down and all that sunlight has faded that cedar, so it’s darker where the pictures are at.
BRIAN: And so, what I’m trying to do is without having to – I’m hoping without having to sand the entire wall down and reseal it or refinish it, is there anything I can do to help with that, to get the color closer back to what it was?
TOM: Well, only if you were to stain it, you know.
TOM: Because you’re basically talking about oxidation here. As it’s exposed to the ultraviolet light from the sun, you’re going to get different coloration than where you have the wall covered. It’s going to be different than where it’s not covered.
TOM: And so, yeah, you can sand it down or – you probably don’t even have to sand it much if you were to stain it, because the stain would basically color the light and the dark places and probably blend it in nicely. And it would give it some protection against future oxidation. But short of that, I don’t really have any other suggestions for you.
BRIAN: OK. Yeah, well, I was just thinking the sanding kind of idea is what I was going to wind up doing. It’s just there – it’s a big project and so, well, I can do it but it’s just a question …
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
LESLIE: Don’t move the pictures.
TOM: I used to say that. You could just – don’t move the picture or get bigger ones.
LESLIE: Just don’t ever move the pictures.
TOM: Yeah. Or if you have to, get a bigger one.
BRIAN: Yes, exactly true. Or put it back in the same size. And that is also an option I may have to – well, that’s what I’m doing right now. So I do appreciate you taking the time to take my call. So, it looks like I’m going to sand.
Do they have a – I mean is there any kind of sander you recommend with that that’s really dustless?
TOM: Yeah, I would just tell you – because you’re talking about cedar, Brian – that can be really annoying to your lungs, OK?
BRIAN: Correct, yeah.
TOM: It can cause a respiratory reaction. So you want to make sure you’re really careful with ventilation. So the best way to vent that space is to depressurize the room you’re working in. So let’s say you’ve got a window or door at one end and another one at the other end. Put a regular room fan in one of those windows or doors and point it out so that you depressurize the room, in other words. Dust that gets into the air gets sucked out and fresh air gets sucked in. That plus make sure you wear a good-quality dust mask when you’re doing the work so that you stop – so you don’t have to breathe in that cedar dust.
BRIAN: Right. Safety first. I appreciate you a lot and thank you very much for taking the call.
TOM: You bet. Alright. Take care.
BRIAN: Thank you. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Call in your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
TOM: Just ahead, squeaking floors are one of life’s little annoyances but do they signal a structural problem below? We’re going to have the answer, plus step-by-squeaky-step tips to make them go away for good, in today’s Building with Confidence Tip presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, next.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust. Plus, it’s 100-percent free to use.
[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Ann in Florida needs some help with a flooring project. What can we do for you today?
ANN: I’m going to rip up my carpet. I have concrete underneath and I want to put down the ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. And are you familiar with the product?
LESLIE: I am, very much so. I’ve actually used it on several projects.
ANN: Oh. And my question was, also: should I wait and not do it right away? That they’re going to even have better-looking – the wood look? I was told that it’s supposed to get even better.
LESLIE: I imagine that with all things, when you wait things get better. But wood-grain tile has actually been quite popular for probably four or five years now, so I’ve seen it greatly improve. Depending on how much you want to spend on it – and I’m not sure what manufacturers you’ve looked at but a good price point is a manufacturer called Daltile: D-a-l – tile. And they’re sold through tile stores, so it’s – you can call Daltile and take a look.
And they have one line called Yacht Club, which is fairly new for them. And it’s like a 6-inch by 24-inch wood plank but it’s a ceramic tile. It comes in a couple of different colors. I think it lays really nicely. It has a good texture of wood and it comes in some color palettes that I think are very realistic. And the way it fits together, it looks as if it were a real wood …
TOM: A lot like wood, yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, like a wood floor. It doesn’t have a big grout line. They have another one in their line called Timber Glen and that’s a really big plank. But the way it pieces together, you see a lot of a grout line, so that kind of looks weird. Not as realistic wood, as you might expect.
So if you do go with a wood-look tile that does have a predominant grout line, I would choose a grout that’s similar in color to the tile.
ANN: Uh-huh. I’ve seen the tile where the tile is like wood planks.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s exactly what this looks like; it looks like wood planks. And I will caution you, though, that you’re talking about – any tile that’s 24 inches long in one direction like this is going to need an extraordinary amount of support underneath it.
So you have to be very careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to prepping the floor before the tile is laid. If there’s any flex or bend or unevenness in that floor, eventually this tile is going to crack. You don’t want that to happen, so you want to make sure that the floor is properly supported to take a bigger – big tile.
When we used to have mosaics years ago, it didn’t really matter if the floors were flexible, so to speak, or not because there was a joint every 1 inch in a mosaic tile. But a 24-inch-long tile, that’s not going to bend; it’s going to break. So you want to make sure the floor is really strong before you do that installation, OK?
ANN: Yes. OK. Great.
TOM: Alright, Ann. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, squeaking floors are one of life’s little annoyances but they rarely signal a structural problem is happening below. Now, the actual sound stems from one or maybe a combination of two sources: you can either have loose floorboards that are rubbing together or the nail that holds down that floor is squeaking as it moves in and out of the hole that the nail is in. You know, it’s the noise.
TOM: That’s right. Now, fortunately, squeaks can be about as easy to fix as they are to find if you know what to do. The solutions in both of these cases is resecuring the floor to the floor joist below. Now, how you do this depends on the floor covering.
LESLIE: That’s right. So, if you’ve got a floor that’s squeaking underneath carpet, truly the best solution is always to remove that carpeting and then use hardened drywall screws to hold the floor in place by driving one next to every nail in the floor. Now, screws are never going to pull out, so they’re much better than the nails at stopping the squeaks, because it’s stopping the movement. It’s also really smart to do this if you’re replacing that carpet. This way you can stop the squeaks even before they happen.
TOM: Now, fixing squeaking floors under hardwood is a little trickier than fixing it under carpet but the principles remain the same. You’ve got to locate the area of the squeak. You can use a stud finder, which will sort of penetrate the floor and tell you where those joists are below. Once you’ve got that laid out, you just screw down this area. But now, you want to use a type of screw called a “trim screw.” It’s a hardened screw, just like those drywall screws, except it has a really small head, kind of like a finish nail, so it’s easy to fill in the hole with wood putty once you’re done.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, guys? I know squeaky floors can be just simply annoying but they’re really easy to keep under control. If you want a complete guide on how to fix floor squeaks under carpet, hardwood, tile or vinyl, check out our blog on MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And that’s today’s Building with Confidence Tip brought to you by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. It’s completely online, reduces annoying and time-consuming paperwork and gives you a real, accurate and personalized mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation, with no hidden fees or hassles. Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Apply simply, understand fully and mortgage confidently.
[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Bill in Texas has a question about rusty grout in a bathroom project. What’s going on?
BILL: Yes, ma’am. A couple of years ago, I put in a tile shower. I’d removed a fiberglass shower and I put in a tile shower. And the problem is – you know how you put the rubber barrier up like 42 or 48 inches? I put that up but I’m guessing that I should have used stainless-steel screws. Because in two spots, you can kind of detect a rust color kind of seeping through the grout? And I’m wondering if I should remove the grout and maybe try – they have that epoxy-based grout, if I should do that or if there’s – when I remove the grout, if there’s a product I should apply to kind of neutralize the rust.
Basically, that’s what’s going on. I’ve just – I’m decently handy, so I know I can remove the grout and everything but I’m just wondering what steps I should take to prevent the rust from coming back.
TOM: Well, the sand-based grout certainly is going to allow any rust stains to kind of permeate right through. Epoxy grout probably would not. That might be the simplest solution if it’s just minor surface rust. It’s a little bit late now to pull tile off and start changing fasteners, so I think that probably makes the most sense, Bill – would be just to remove the old grout with a grout saw and then regrout it with epoxy-based grout which, by the way, is a little harder to work with. So make sure you take your time, maybe practice off those bathroom walls before you apply it to it. But I think that’s probably the best solution in the short term.
BILL: Now, the – for automotive, they have POR-15 and different products to neutralize the rust. Is there anything like that that you – would it be worthwhile to even try to attempt that or is it not worth my time?
TOM: I’m not familiar with those products but my concern would be that if you got one, it’ll probably open up somewhere else along the way, so it’s kind of like you’re chasing a ghost after a while.
BILL: OK. So maybe try the epoxy grout and cross my fingers?
TOM: I would say so. I think there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to work out, Bill, OK?
BILL: OK. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Virginia where Margaret has a question about a bathtub. Tell us what’s going on.
MARGARET: We have an old, cast-iron tub and it’s real rusty in spots. And I’m wondering what we could do to restore it.
LESLIE: Now, when you say real rusty in spots, are we talking about big spots or are we talking about small, little ones from a chip here and there?
MARGARET: No. We’re talking about big spots because the water – it was not good water when we first moved here. And so it had a lot of wear and tear on it about 40 years before we moved here. And we’ve been living here, probably, about 45 years, so …
TOM: So your tub is almost 100 years old, huh?
TOM: Yeah. Well, look, it served the house well. It’s not going to last forever. It needs to be reglazed at this point. And I’ve had some experience with folks that have tried to reglaze these tubs inside the house. And it can be done but it’s an awfully messy and intensive job. And unless it’s done professionally, it doesn’t seem to last very long. There are home reglazing kits. Rust-Oleum makes one that’s for tub and tile but I wouldn’t expect it to last all that long.
The best way to do this is to have the tub taken out and reglazed. But if you’re going to do all that, you might as well replace it and not just have that – not just not have that reglazed unless it’s particularly beautiful. I think those are your options. It’s not easy to do a touch-up to something like this when it’s just got so – it’s got almost 100 years of wear and tear on it.
MARGARET: Oh. Yes, yes. OK. That was my question. I appreciate that.
TOM: Unfortunately, Margaret, there’s no easy way to remove 100 years of wear and tear on that tub and so you’re probably better off just replacing it.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Coming up, your roof is your home’s first line of defense from the elements. And with all those spring rains ahead, we’re going to tell you how to find and fix your roof’s weak spots before you need to find a bucket to stop those drips, coming up next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on? We’d love to help you out if it’s a project around your house. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Ann in North Dakota, you’re on The Money Pit. How can we help you?
ANN: I am living in a house that is over 100 years old and it has an open staircase. The problem is is that there is a bedroom that is above the staircase and adjoins it at the top. And part of that bedroom is cantilevered harshly and then totally over the open staircase. And I have a big crack that’s developing on an open area. And that area is cantilevered out about 6 feet from a load-supporting wall.
And I don’t know if I can just patch it or if I need to put a support beam or jack or something underneath it, because this area is getting pretty worrisome. I’ve got two cracks that are about 3/8-inch and pretty long.
TOM: So, Ann, are these new cracks or has it always been cracked?
ANN: It’s always been cracked but it’s been a hairline for many years.
TOM: Oh, boy.
ANN: And then we had a massive flood.
TOM: How long ago was the flood?
ANN: That was in ‘97. And then the ground has been shifting ever since. Since that flood, the cracks have gotten bigger. That was in ‘97.
TOM: When we have cracks in walls and foundations and things like that, we always like to determine if they’re active or inactive. Because, frankly, all homes have cracks. If you tell me that over the last 20 or so years that this crack has opened from a hairline to 3/8-inch, it might be active. I’m not actually convinced of that yet but I am concerned enough to tell you that you probably should have it looked at by an expert.
What I’d like you to do is go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors; that’s ASHI – A-S-H-I – .com. And find a home inspector in your area – there’s a zip-code sorting tool there – that’s a member of ASHI. And talk to two or three of them and find one that specializes in structural issues like this and have them look at it. And see if we can determine, based on that inspection, whether or not this is an active, ongoing situation or just a crack in an old, plaster wall that needs to be fixed.
It’s not unusual for old homes to have lots of cracks in them and especially around a staircase, because just the way homes were framed back then is different than they would be today. And so, that’s not an uncommon area for cracks to develop. But I think we need to determine – for your own sort of sanity, if nothing else – whether or not this is active and ongoing or something that’s really just historical. Does that make sense?
ANN: It sure does.
TOM: Well, your roof is your home’s first line of defense from the elements and it is constantly under attack all year long. But now that it’s spring and we’re getting pounded with more rain than usual, it’s a really good idea to inspect your roof for areas that can easily leak.
LESLIE: Now, most roof leaks are caused by flashing. Now, that’s the material that’s used where your roof intersects with walls, chimneys, plumbing pipes or even simply other sections of roofing. And that’s why now is a really good time to inspect your roof, especially those areas which you can do safely from the ground. All you need is a good pair of binoculars.
TOM: Yep. Now, here’s what to look for. First of all, scan the roof for any shingles that are loose or missing. If you see the tab of the shingle bent up, broken off or just plain not there, that has to be fixed.
Next, wherever you have a chimney coming through the roof, look at the intersection between the roof and the chimney, because of the material there called “flashing.” And as Leslie said, that makes the seam – that makes the watertight seam – between those two sections. And if it’s loose, that’s going to be a problem.
Also look for flashing where sections of roofs come together, like where they form a V. Because that flashing can also develop cracks right down the middle. And finally, look at the flashing around the plumbing vents. If you have a pipe that’s coming through the roof, there’s a rubber gasket that’s at the base of that. And with all the constant exposure to the sun, that rubber can crack. And 9 out of 10 times, if you’ve got a leak and it’s in your bathroom or under your bathroom, it’s always that piece of flashing – that little piece of rubber – that fails.
So, take a look for that stuff, right now, before the rains get any more serious. Because you very well may be able to stem off a serious problem of water leaking into your house.
And by the way, if you do get a leak from these kinds of issues, you do not need to replace your roof. I’m sure any roofer that you call to your house will try his best to sell you a new roof but you don’t have to do it. Fix the flashing, you’ll be good to go.
LESLIE: Hey, are you looking for a super-durable floor that brings the beauty of hardwood to those damp or really downright wet locations, like your bathroom or even a kitchen or a basement? Well, there has never been more options in flooring that can do just that. We’re going to have tips on the best floors for wet spaces and tell you how they compare, just ahead.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, post your question, right now, to us at MoneyPit.com. Just add it to the Community page or call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project.
Do you have any home projects planned for this time of year, Leslie?
LESLIE: You know, there’s so many things I want to tackle but the winter this year – and my kids are telling me it’s from the snow.
LESLIE: But the wind lets – whatever it is, the winter has really done a number on all of my outdoor lighting. So all of my lighting fixtures, I would say about half of them seem to be laying on the ground. And I really think I need to get in to work in the garden and figure out what’s going on with those light fixtures, do any repairs that are necessary. Because I think the kids may have gone sledding over them.
TOM: Oh, yeah.
LESLIE: Who’s to know?
TOM: Yeah, who’s to know? Yeah.
LESLIE: Who can be sure?
TOM: I have a fence redo on my list. We have a fence that goes alongside of our property and we’ve got very tall bushes in front of it. So, for the last couple of years, I’m like, “Yeah, it’s behind the bushes. You really can’t see it.” Every winter, I look at it. I can see it and it looks bad. And this year, I decided, yeah, before it falls over on my neighbor, I’d better replace that fence.
TOM: So, you see, we’re just like you folks. We’re doing these projects and we’d love to help you, give you some tips and advice to get those same kinds of projects done around your house. So, help yourself first: call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jesse in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JESSE: I just built a new garage and I – 2x4s with OSB on the outside. I put Tyvek on the outside and vinyl siding. Now, I have unfaced insulation in the walls and I’ve got faced insulation on the ceiling. Now, I live in the Midwest, so it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. And I get mixed reviews about putting up a vapor barrier not on the walls and I don’t know which way to go.
TOM: Yeah. I don’t really think you need a vapor barrier on those walls. I think you could probably go without it. Your vapor barrier is outside with the Tyvek. That’s going to start – stop the wind from coming through and stop the excessive moisture. And it’ll also breathe. If you’re going to use fiberglass on the exterior walls, it’s got to breathe. So, I wouldn’t put a second vapor barrier on the inside.
JESSE: Oh, what about with the cars when they’re wet from the winter and stuff? Wouldn’t that moisture get trapped in the walls?
TOM: Well, certainly, there’s going to be some level of humidity in there but that’s normal. All fiberglass-insulated walls have that level of dampness. I’m just concerned that if you have vapor barriers on both sides, it might trap that moisture inside and make it harder to dry. And they can get some mold and mildew issues, which you really want to avoid.
JESSE: I’m going to put OSB up on the inside, too. Is that going to change anything?
TOM: OK. No, that won’t change anything.
JESSE: I guess that’s why – I didn’t know Tyvek was a moisture barrier or vapor barrier (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah, it is a vapor barrier. Mm-hmm. That’s exactly what it does. Yeah.
JESSE: Alrighty. That’s the only question I had for you.
TOM: Alright, Jesse. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, wood flooring, there’s nothing that emits a warm, more natural feeling than having a wood floor in your house. Frankly, it looks good in any décor and it feels good on your feet. But there’s one thing that wood flooring just isn’t good for and that’s damp or perhaps just downright wet locations in your home.
TOM: Now, fortunately, there are lots of options in flooring that can look and feel like wood but can stand up to that damper, wet environment. We’re going to share those highlights and tell you how they compare, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators.
LESLIE: First of all, there are three good options for flooring that look like hardwood but they’re durable and they’re waterproof. Those include luxury vinyl plank, engineered vinyl plank and wood-look tile.
Now, LVP or luxury vinyl plank, it’s a durable and affordable waterproof flooring. It’s an option that installs easily and it’s scuff- and wear-resistant, which really makes it a great choice for spaces that need a tough floor, like an entryway or a mud room, somewhere like that where you’re coming in with stuff on the bottom of your shoes from the outside. And they just really see a lot more wear and tear.
Then there’s EVP and that’s engineered vinyl plank. And this is an ideal flooring for any room, including bathrooms, kitchens and those mud rooms. It’s got a protective top layer that offers superior scuff-resistance and a waterproof, rigid core that makes it easy to install and prevents those liquids from damaging the floor. I think that’s where people get concerned is that you get water on the surface, you don’t see what’s going on underneath. And this will really prevent that liquid from damaging the floor.
Then, finally, there’s wood-look porcelain tile. And it can be downright gorgeous, you guys. It combines elegant, authentic hardwood looks with the durability of a tile. It is completely waterproof and it’s great for high-moisture areas like your bathroom, laundry room, kitchens. But it also can work in living rooms, patio areas and even on a wall or as a backsplash. And when you install it correctly, that porcelain tile can last a lifetime.
TOM: Now, if you’re wondering why you might choose one over the other, consider this: while the LVP, the EVP and the tile all do capture that look and feel of hardwood, the LVP – the luxury vinyl plank – is a really – a more affordable waterproof flooring option. Because it’s waterproof, it’s also a better choice than hardwood floor for those damp locations.
And if you’re deciding between the luxury vinyl plank and the engineered vinyl plank, you want to keep in mind that EVP has got a very rigid core. That makes it, actually, easier to install than the LVP. And the best EVP products also are going to prevent denting, which means if you’ve got kids and they’re dropping heavy items or if you’ve got a big, rough family that’s dropping tools or toys, they’re not going to leave a mark.
And if you want to compare EVP to wood-look tile, consider that the EVP is high in performance and high on style but lower on cost. So if you need to save some bucks, you can go for that EVP compared to the wood-look tile.
LESLIE: And today’s Flooring Tip has been presented by Lumber Liquidators. When you want to bring home the beauty and warmth of hardwood to any room of your home, without the worry of water, Lumber Liquidators has you covered with the best selection of wood-look, waterproof flooring.
TOM: And if you need it installed, the flooring experts at Lumber Liquidators can help with that, too. Visit Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide today or online at LumberLiquidators.com.
LESLIE: Sandra, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SANDRA: Oh, hello. My question concerns – would you recommend a radon test for a house? Our home is a two-story house on a hill and the lower level, which is completely finished, is two sides underground and it has two sides ground-level. And if we have a radon problem, can something be done to correct that? We’re in the Pacific Northwest, about 60 miles south of Seattle.
TOM: And do you hear about high radon levels in that area coming up occasionally?
SANDRA: I don’t but I’ve never talked about it with anybody, so – and I saw something in the paper recently that suggested people have this test.
TOM: Well, it’s certainly a good idea. So, order a radon-test kit. You can probably find one online. The type you want is called “charcoal adsorption” – a-d-s-o-r-p – ad, not ab – adsorption. And it’s a type of test that you’ll put in the home for anywhere from about three to seven days. You open up this charcoal canister or this charcoal packet, depending on the type of test, you leave it in the lowest living space. So whatever the lowest area of finished living space is, you leave it there for that period of time. You seal it back up, you send it off to a lab. They’re going to give you a result. If it comes in at 4 picocuries per liter of air or higher, then that’s the action guideline after which point you would want to consider some sort of remediation.
Now, you asked the question: “Well, how do I do that, exactly?” And the answer is it’s harder when the whole space is finished but it’s not impossible. Generally, the way radon is mitigated is by a system called a “sub-slab ventilation system,” where they basically run pipes below the surface of the lowest slab and pull the gas out of the soil and then discharge it outside. So it’s a matter of figuring out where to get that pipe into the slab and where to discharge it out, you know, with the least amount of disturbance. But a good radon mitigator can do this, even in a finished house.
SANDRA: Oh, my gosh. It sounds quite complex.
TOM: Well, it’s pretty straightforward but you’ve got to start with the test, so I would do that first and take it from there.
LESLIE: Right. And that’s only if they find something.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: Hey, do your shower doors look cloudy no matter how often you’re cleaning them? Well, we’re going to have the secret to bringing that shine back, after this.
TOM: 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, on The Money Pit’s Listener Line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: You can get matched with background-checked 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 a home pro you can trust.
LESLIE: Alright. But you’ve got two pros here who are answering questions, right now, from the Community section. Now, Casey in Shreveport, Louisiana has a pretty big question. She says, “My house was built in 1962 and there’s a crack in the foundation that runs the entire length of the house. How much might it cost to have the foundation repaired and what is involved in doing that? Is there anything that the crack can be filled with that would allow you to do the home repair yourself? And how sellable is a house with a crack in the foundation?”
These are a lot of questions for something that you can’t really just diagnose instantly, right?
TOM: Yeah. They’re very good questions, though. And to the first question – how much might it cost to have the foundation fixed? – I want to start there. Because what happens with a lot of folks facing this is they call in contractors that don’t have the structural expertise, frankly, to really deal with this. And what they say is, “How much do you want to spend?” And then they design a repair to use up that entire budget.
The truth of the matter is you need to figure out what’s causing this crack. Now, you didn’t tell us here, Casey, but if you’ve been staring at this crack for 10 years and it hasn’t moved much, then maybe all we need to do is to seal this up. And that’s a DIY project. You could use a silicone sealant. The folks at QUIKRETE have a number of very fine concrete-patching products and sealant products that could be used for that.
But if this is sort of a newer occurrence and you’re watching this develop, you absolutely need to get some professional advice. Because if you don’t, it’s not going to get fixed the right way and it is going to become an issue when it comes time to sell the house.
So what you do is you hire yourself an engineer – a licensed structural engineer, if possible or at the least, a home inspector – and have those professionals design the repair, tell you exactly how that repair has to get done.
Now, once that repair is done, have the engineer come back and then reinspect it and then give you, basically, a letter which is kind of like a health certificate that says, “Yes, you had a crack but it was fixed and I supervised the repair. And it’s done correctly and there’s nothing else to worry about.” Because this way – the answer to your last question – if you sell the house and that comes up, there’s nothing better than showing that report from the engineer. It’s like having a pedigree that it was done the right way.
So those are the steps. You’ve got to evaluate it, you’ve got to get the right advice and then follow that engineer’s advice. You can have the contractor follow the engineer’s advice but don’t get the advice from the contractor, because they’re not skilled, they’re not licensed in that particular space. Only get it from the engineer.
LESLIE: Alright, Casey. That’s a lot of info Tom just shared but it’s all the right info. So, hopefully, it gets you on the right track and gives you peace of mind to fixing your foundation.
TOM: Well, fiberglass shower doors and stalls are less expensive and easier to install than tile. But there is a trick to cleaning them. Leslie has got the info, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. I think what happens is we all end up rubbing our fiberglass shower the wrong way. And it’s really easy to do. You have to keep in mind that fiberglass showers are finished with a layer of a gel coat, which is easily damaged if you’re using abrasive cleansers. And a lot of people think, “Oh, I’m going to clean the bathroom. I’m going to use this abrasive cleanser. It’s going to do the best job.” But you’re doing more damage with it.
So, you need to choose your shower cleaner very carefully. And to keep that shiny luster and prevent that water-spotting, you can try waxing the shower walls – only the walls, guys, here – once a month with a liquid auto wax. And the reason I say only the walls is because if it gets on the floor, you will have the slipperiest shower in all of the town.
So, choose the cleansers wisely, wax the walls and you will have that shower glistening like new.
TOM: Good advice.
This is The Money Pit. Coming up next time on the program, if you’d like to grow a beautiful, thick, green lawn this spring, there’s one thing you’ve got to rid of first and that’s the weeds. We’re going to have a step-by-step guide to help you get rid of those weeds and set your lawn up for total success, 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.)