- Have you made energy saving improvements that upped your home’s “green” factor? Those improvements can help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar. Tom & Leslie explain why and share tips to create your own green home improvement inventory.
- Kitchen backsplashes are a great way to keep the walls behind your counters clean – but they can also be a fun and affordable project to do yourself! We walk you through how to create your own kitchen backsplash with tile.
- And you may know what good case of sun burn can do to your skin, but have you ever thought about what those harsh rays can do to your home? Sunlight can fade furniture and floors, raise energy costs. We’ll tell you about a way you can block out just the damaging rays while still enjoying the sunshine.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Is it better to use stain or paint on an outdoor deck?
- How do you know if it’s worth the cost to upgrade your homes air conditioning and heating system?
- What are the benefits of a metal roof and is installing one a DIY project?
- Best way to tile a shower floor so that it is totally leak-proof
- How to repair loose concrete on a porch
- Restoring water pressure in a home with a well pump
- Repairing cracked ceramic tiles that are on top of a concrete floor.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And what are you guys working on on this summer day? Are you just lounging around the pool, around the lake, around the beach? Or are you taking on a how-to project? Maybe you’re stepping up your outdoor space?
We’re just approaching mid-summer here. Actually, I think it’s crested, hasn’t it? Summer’s half over. No way. Oh, my gosh, we waited so long for it and now it’s half done. But the projects, if they’re half done, well, we can help you definitely finish those. So, whatever you’d like to work on, we are here to help. That’s what we do. We answer your questions about your home improvement projects. Your DIY dilemmas, your decorating/décor questions are all great places for us to lend a hand. You’ve got to help yourself first, though, by picking up the phone and either calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
So, coming up on today’s show, have you guys made any energy-saving or other improvements to your home that upped its green factor? Maybe made it a little more environmentally-friendly? Helped you save some energy? If you did, those improvements could help sell your home quickly and for more money than you thought. We’ll tell you why, just ahead, in today’s Smart Spending Tip.
LESLIE: And kitchen backsplashes are super important to keep your walls behind those counters clean. But they can also be a fun and affordable project that you can do yourself if you go with tile. We’re going to walk you through this, in a bit.
TOM: And you probably know what a good case of sunburn can do for your skin or, I should say, to your skin. Which we saw a lot the first half of the summer, by the way: people walking around all over the place looking like lobsters.
LESLIE: Everybody’s happy to be outside.
TOM: Oh, yeah. But there is too much of a good thing.
But here’s the deal: that sun can also do a lot of damage to your house in terms of your furnishings. If it’s getting in the windows, it’s getting on the carpets, on the rugs, on the furniture – and it can really fade it out.
But there is a way to deal with that. There is a UV film coating that is so thin. This stuff amazes me. It’s made by 3M. And I actually used it some years back in my car. And you know how hot a car gets on a summer day?
It’s incredible because when I went to the 3M plant, they gave me a tour once. And I learned that there are hundreds of layers of different films or filters that are in this very thin film which is – you know, it feels like Saran wrap; it’s so thin when it goes on. But actually, it’s comprised of hundreds of layers and it filters out the exact waves of light that do the damage.
So, this stuff is available for your home and we’re going to talk to you about it and it might be something you might want to consider.
LESLIE: But first, we want to help you tackle all of your to-dos with confidence and create your best home ever. So what are you working on? Maybe has the grass dried out because it’s been too warm? Maybe you’re finally redoing that backyard sort of hangout zone because you’re realizing it doesn’t work for how you’ve been using it this summer? Whatever it is, we’re here to lend a hand. We’re working on our houses, too, so give us a call.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Darrell is on the line and needs some help with a home improvement project. What’s going on? How can we help?
DARRELL: Last year, we put a deck – well, it’s sort of a walkway but it’s essentially a deck. We used treated lumber and – but my wife wanted it painted instead of just stained wood color.
DARRELL: So I painted it white and I was listening to your show last week or whenever I was listening to it and you all were talking about how it’s not good to paint a deck. Just leave it the regular wood color and stain it. So should I try to get the paint off of it or just kind of let it weather like it’s going to do and then when it’s time to do something, try to strip the paint off? Or what’s my best course of action?
TOM: Well, if you’ve already painted it, that ship’s already sailed.
TOM: So, I don’t think it’s going to be worth you trying to get the paint off. If it ever gets to the point where it really looks bad, then you could probably just take off the decking and put up composite, which will be basically timeless.
DARRELL: I see.
TOM: In terms of the paint that you used, was it a solvent-based paint? Was it an oil-based paint? What was it?
DARRELL: I think it was just water-based paint. I usually do all water-based stuff because I don’t like messing with all that oil.
TOM: I don’t blame you. The problem is that water-based paint doesn’t have good durability on a floor, which is essentially what that is. So, look, if it looks OK now, I’d just live with it.
TOM: But if you get to the point where you want to repaint it again, I would probably strip – I wouldn’t strip all the paint off but I would get off, you know, make sure I’m getting the loose paint off. And then I would prime it with a solvent-based primer and then I would paint it. And I would use a solvent-based or oil-based paint, because it is definitely a harder surface and it will stand up a lot better.
TOM: When you clean it – if you used to use a bucket of water and a scrub brush, like a floor brush, to clean it, that’s probably all you’re going to want to do.
TOM: Because I’m afraid if you use a pressure washer, you’re going to start to peel that paint right off if it’s anything stronger than a garden hose, you know what I mean?
DARRELL: Yeah. You’re right. Yep. And that’s kind of what I figured, too. I don’t know what I was thinking when I painted it. But that’s the first deck we really had. We’ve never really had a deck before so, I guess that’s a rookie mistake.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
DARRELL: Thanks for your help, though.
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen, if it turns out that it doesn’t stick very well, then it could be a blessing. Then you just take it all off and start again.
TOM: Yeah, we always recommend stain and solid-color stain because it’s got a lot of pigment in it. And it kind of fades nicely over time. It doesn’t look worn very, very quickly.
DARRELL: I see.
TOM: And when it really fades, then you just put more on top of it.
OK? Good luck with that project. Thanks for reaching out.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Janie on the line who’s calling us from Washington State and she wants some help with a project for her 92-year-old aunt. What are you working on?
JANIE: Well, my aunt lives by herself still. She does very well for herself. And she lives in Eastern Washington State, where it gets pretty cold. She has a house that she’s been in since 1963, when it was built. And she wants to see if she needs to upgrade the heating system because she’s talking about selling her house. She’s got radiant heat in the ceiling in a couple of the rooms.
TOM: Oh, boy.
JANIE: The heat doesn’t work, so she’s talking about maybe getting a heat pump or something like that.
TOM: Yeah. Radiant heat is really expensive, gosh. And Washington – she must be paying an arm and a leg for her electric bill. I would definitely think – and you mentioned she’s on a full basement. I would definitely think that a heat pump is probably going to be a more affordable and efficient way to go. But since she’s selling the house – I know that when you sell a house, sometimes you’re tempted to try to do all the things that you’ve been putting off over the years to make it more attractive. But frankly, right now is a very hot market for homes. She may not have to do this work.
If you do want to get some ideas of what needs to be done, what you could do is you could have your own professional home inspection done. So home inspectors typically work for buyers but smart sellers often get the inspection for themselves so they can see what the home is going to look like in the eyes of a buyer’s inspector. And home inspectors with good experience of doing hundreds to thousands of inspections can give you a good sense as to what you might want to update. And they have no conflict of interest, unlike a realtor or a contractor might. So, that’s one way to kind of figure out sort of where you’re at.
But I don’t know that I would spend a lot of money on it. Because with the market as it is right now, there may be people lining up that are happy to buy it exactly the way it is and then do the work themselves, perhaps as a part of some other work they’re going to get done.
JANIE: Yeah, that’s what we thought because where she lives there’s Washington State University. So my mom always called it a university with a town instead of a town with a university.
JANIE: So there are plenty of people who want to buy a house. And then with a full basement, they rent out the basement to one student and they’ll rent out the house part to somebody else.
TOM: Yeah. I think you might want to speak with a good, experienced real estate agent in the area and ask them the opinion, as well, as long as you get somebody you can trust. Because I don’t see it being probably worth your aunt’s while, given the market that it is today, to go ahead and replace the entire heating system just because she thinks it needs to be done. If she was going to live there, I’d say, “Yeah, go for it.” But if she wants to sell the house, she wants to get as much money as she can, let’s save her some money on a heating system she may not need.
JANIE: Yes, I agree. That sounds like a good idea.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Jamie. Thanks so much for reaching out to us.
JANIE: You’re welcome. Thank you.
TOM: So, Leslie, I discovered a really good trick with Simple Green this weekend. I was doing some painting. I was using an oil-based or solvent-based stain, like a urethane.
TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, no matter how many times I soaked the brush in mineral spirits and then I washed it out with soap and water, I followed the directions – whenever the brush dries out, it’s kind of crackly and a little bit stiff. And then when you loosen it up and you start painting again, you end up breaking off bristles. So I was like, “There’s got to be a better solution.”
I remembered that Simple Green can be used, actually, to get grease off of engine parts if you use it 100 percent. So, I grabbed a little can, like a – it was like a little pea can, where you have some canned peas that had been finished.
LESLIE: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: And I washed it out, dried it out and then I filled it with Simple Green. I stuck the brush in it. And a few hours later, I took it out, rinsed it again. It was soft as the day it came out of the package. It worked brilliantly. It was so easy compared to all the work I used to put in to keeping those brushes clean.
So, a really good idea. Just kind of tried it by putting sort of a couple of the things I knew about the product together. But you guys can try it and let me know what you think.
LESLIE: That’s so great that you were able to save that.
Joey from Illinois is on the line and has a question about a roof. How can we help you?
JOEY: Yeah, I need to replace my roof because it’s 22 years old.
JOEY: I kind of want to do it myself because I’ve done other home improvement projects but I just don’t know the proper way to do it and all that.
TOM: OK. So, what kind of roof are you thinking about doing? Asphalt shingles or something else?
JOEY: No, I want to do a metal roof so I don’t have to do it again.
TOM: OK. Do you plan on spending many, many years in this home, Joey? I mean 30, 40, 50 years?
JOEY: Yeah, I think so.
TOM: OK. Because metal roofs are much more expensive than asphalt roofs and they’re what the industry calls an “investment grade.” In other words, it’s going to be around a really long time. So if it’s done well, you won’t have to do it again.
Does this roof have a good pitch on it? Do you know what the slope of the roof is?
JOEY: It’s a bungalow house, so it’s not really a steep pitch on there, no.
TOM: What’s involved in this project is – and regardless of whether you put asphalt shingles back on or not, I would recommend you take the asphalt shingles that are there off and get down to the sheathing. Make sure the sheathing is in good condition. And then, you’re going to put an underlayment on top of that. Now, Grace makes a lot of good products that are designed for this: better than tar paper kinds of stuff that you would put down first.
And given the fact that you’re in an area where there could be a significant snow, you’re also going to want to use a product called “ice-and-water shield,” which goes along the bottom 3-foot edge of the roof. And what that does is if you get ice dams that form in the gutters and start to melt and push water back up under the roof, it stops the leaks from coming in. All that work is important and it would be done regardless of the type of roofing material that you use.
If you want to install metal roof, it’s generally not a DIY project because it requires a lot of sort of special skills and practice. If you’re super handy, you probably could do it yourself. You may even need some tools: for example, a brake, which is a big tool for folding metal that people that do this all the time would have on the back of the truck. It might be something that you can rent.
But if you decide that the metal roof is too much work and too expensive, you could put asphalt shingles back on. And what I would do is I would use a good 25-year shingle. You can use one that has a nice pattern to it. It could look like cedar shakes or slate.
And I would make sure that I have very good roof ventilation because, typically, older homes that are of that age don’t have enough attic ventilation. And so the attic tends to overheat and that shortens the roof life. So what you would want to do is install a ridge vent down the peak of the roof, from end to end, to open that up. And then couple that with soffit vents at the overhang so that, 24/7, 365, you would have a wash of air in the soffit vents, under the roof sheathing and out at that peak, at that ridge, which will keep it very even temperature – keep it at that ambient temperature, which makes the shingles last as long as possible. If it’s done well, you could get a roof that lasts you 25, 30 years easy.
JOEY: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, in the years you’ve owned your home, have you made energy-saving or maybe other improvements that have upped your home’s green factor? Well, those kinds of improvements are popular and they could also help you sell your home more quickly than the competition. We’re going to explain how, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
TOM: Now, if you’ve lived in your home for a number of years, you’ve probably made improvements to make it more energy-efficient or taken on projects that reduce maintenance. Or maybe you selected materials that were produced in a way that limits any negative impact in the environment. Improvements like these all add to your home’s greenness and they’re a valuable consideration for a potential home buyer but only if they know about them.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s why it’s smart to create a green inventory of those elements. You know, you want to list every improvement that have reduced your home’s impact on Mother Earth. Now, these could be new appliances, faucets that use less water or even LED light bulbs that use less energy. And don’t forget about building materials that last longer and need less maintenance, like fiber-cement siding instead of wood.
TOM: Definitely. What you want to do is list each element in a green inventory, like a separate attachment, and have it available for review by potential home buyers. You can bet the neighboring homes you’ll be competing against will not do this. Buyers will be impressed and you just might get the sale over competing homes in your neighborhood.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
TOM: Apply for yours at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dawn in Nebraska on The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DAWN: Well, we’d like to redo a bathroom that has an old tub and a shower that’s got the kind of a plastic sheeting – it’s not plastic but the – oh, some kind of that gross stuff you glue on the wall. We’d like to take all of that out, including the bathtub, and then tile the shower and the shower floor.
My question is: if we tile the shower floor, do we have to put a lip to keep the water from coming out? Or is there some way – if we tile the entire bathroom floor and shower the same, would you recommend some kind of elevation drop, just a little bit into the shower, so the water does not run out? Or is that just a no-no if we’ve got to have a lip at the edge of the shower?
TOM: OK. You’re missing one critical component of the bathroom makeover you described and that’s a shower pan.
TOM: And so, I would recommend you purchase a shower pan and use that to install the bottom of the shower and the drain of the shower. There are shower pans that you can tile over if you don’t want to see the shower pan. But frankly, it’s so small. And when you tile a shower pan, it’s just such a maintenance hassle because all the water sits in there and ends up making the grout look nasty. I would just use a standard shower pan and then tile right down to the pan.
TOM: You can connect the drains to the shower pan. The shower drains will all be integrated there. Then you’d tile right down over the lip of the shower pan and this way, you have a nice, waterproof seal.
DAWN: OK. That sounds good. If you do the soap dish or – I’m not sure what else to call it – in the wall and you want to recess it in so you’ve got an 18×18 area to put your shampoos and such, can that be on an outside wall? Will you not smush your insulation to where it doesn’t work or does it have to be at the inside wall?
TOM: Yeah, that’s a good question. I would tend to avoid that, I think, because, yeah, you would have no insulation in that space. It would end up being very, very cold and I think I would tend to put that on an interior wall.
DAWN: Mm-hmm. OK. Very good. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, kitchen backsplashes are the panels that are above your sink and stove and they protect your walls from splashes of food: you know, water, food, oil, cooking, all that stuff. It basically makes sure that your kitchen walls stay clean. And they’ve been around as long as kitchens. But in the last decade, they’ve seen a leap in unique patterns and designs, with the most popular being tile backsplashes which totally can be a do-it-yourself project. It’s easy to install and it’s super affordable and it’s a great way to step up the style in your kitchen.
TOM: Now, step one is to select your tile. But not the design. That’ll come later. What we’re talking about is the material the tile is made of.
Now, generally speaking, you have ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles. They’re easy to clean. You have natural-stone tiles, which are OK but remember, they’re very porous. You’ve got to seal them. They’re prone to chipping, they’re hard to clean and they’ve got to be sealed every year. So, I don’t think it’s the best choice.
And then you’ve got to decide between individual tiles or mesh-backed sheets of tile. The mesh-backed sheets are great. They’re convenient. And if you’re doing small tiles, they’re going to be easier to handle and so it would be a much easier installation. But it probably will limit your design options.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, next, you’ve got to think about that design and what do you want your design to accomplish. Now, are you thinking about a focal point? That’s key. If you’re using the most expensive tile, you can consider it using it only in one space, maybe over the stove. And then you can use a more standard or affordable tile everywhere else. That’s really going to increase that visual impact but also save you money while you’re doing the project.
Remember, you can mix and match, you can keep the counter color and material in mind or you can go completely in an opposing color to it, sort of contrasting. Anything that you think works can really be great for the design of your space. You also want to visually enlarge the space. If you use the entire tile backsplash, say, around the whole room, it can actually make a smaller space feel larger.
And remember, the way you lay that tile out – is it horizontal? Is it vertical? Is it diagonally? Are you sort of soldiering the joints? Are you staggering? All of that makes a tremendous difference in how that space looks and feels, so play around with it a little bit before you actually set that tile in place.
TOM: Now, once you’ve locked down the design, you want to think about the adhesive options. You’ve got a few. You can use a mastic, which is kind of an adhesive that is either organic or it’s polymer-based. Works great on vertical surfaces where you want the tiles to stick immediately and not slide down.
There’s a couple of types of mortar to use. You can use sand mortar or epoxy mortar. But I think on backsplashes, those are hard to handle because, again, the tile is not going to sit exactly where you put it.
Now, another option are stick-on mats. Basically, a double-sided adhesive mat. It’s really convenient, You cut it, you apply it to the wall and you stick the tiles right to it. And the best part is you can grout immediately.
And here’s one more tip for DIYers: use spacers. You’re not giving up by saying that you have to need spacers. It’s not like you cannot be proud of your project because you’re using spacers. People say, “I don’t need those spacers.” No, you do. The spacers help keep those tiles equal and even. There’s no faster way to pick out an amateur tile-installer than tiles that don’t line up. It just screams amateur, so don’t do that.
LESLIE: It really makes a job look professional and it totally makes your installation process very, very easy.
Now, when it comes to grouting, you have to think about what your tile is. Now, is the grouting sanded or unsanded? And that really depends on how far apart the joints are. Now, narrow joints of about an 1/8-inch or less are going to get unsanded grout. Joints that are 1/8-inch or wider get sanded grout. Now, the sand is going to help sort of bulk up that grout and keep it from shrinking in those wider joints. I mean that’s generally for a floor situation. Backsplashes are going to be those smaller joints, so the unsanded grout is most likely what you’re going to use.
And just like the adhesives we’ve been talking about, the grout also comes in either a cement-based or an epoxy-based. Now, the cement-based grouts, they’re porous, so they’re going to stain, they’re going to look a little dirty. You do have to maintain them to keep them looking brighter. And the epoxy-based grout comes in both the sanded and unsanded versions. It’s great for high-traffic areas because it’s impervious to most stains, which is why in the kitchen that’s a really important choice.
TOM: Absolutely. So, if you choose well, this is totally a DIY project that you could knock out in a single weekend. So, give it a shot. It makes a really big visual impact.
LESLIE: Cheryl in Virginia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CHERYL: I have a cement porch. The house was built 1981 and it has a cement front porch to it. And along the edges of the porch, it’s cracking and crumbling off.
CHERYL: And then on one portion of the porch, it actually has a – water stands there because it’s a dip. I just wondered if there’s an economical way I can fix that to make this porch last a little bit longer.
TOM: Yeah. And there’s a couple of things that you can do. You can either resurface the whole porch surface or you could mix up a recipe of QUIKRETE products that could be used to patch those badly chipped or spalled areas.
Now, the key here is that you just can’t buy a cement mix in the bag and mix it up and be done. Because when you’re trying to adhere new concrete to old concrete, you need to use products that are designed to make that bond possible.
So if you go to QUIKRETE.com and you look at the listings for projects, there are actually one-sheets there that give you the step-by-step for repairing badly-damaged concrete. There’s also a one-sheet for resurfacing concrete. And I think one of those two applications and the products they recommend there are going to work.
It is a do-it-yourself project and it’s not terribly expensive. The products are very affordable and the instructions are there, too. But make sure you follow them. It’s like mixing a recipe: you can’t leave out one item or it’s just not going to come out right.
CHERYL: OK. And then, now, as far as along those edges that – we have to probably build up a sidewall.
TOM: You could mix it up into a consistency where you could trowel it and reform the edge.
CHERYL: Oh, OK. Cool. So QUIKRETE.com. Thank you so much.
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LESLIE: Now we’ve got David from Illinois on the line who’s got a question about a well system. How can we help you today?
DAVID: It’s my son’s well. He has a well in his house and it – the water system has air pockets in it quite often so that the water will be running and then an air pocket will expel water.
DAVID: And sometimes, it’ll shoot out of the sink or what-have-you. And so, I was wanting to know what you can do to get rid of the air pockets in a well system.
TOM: Does the system have a pressure tank on it, David?
DAVID: It has a pressure tank, I believe.
TOM: That sounds like a problem with the pressure tank. If the pressure tank is missing or if it’s not installed properly or if the bladder has failed, then you’re not getting a chance to build up pressure and then feed off the tank. You might be feeding directly from the well, which could account for the air blast.
So the first thing I would do is look at the pressure tank, see what kind of condition that that’s in. That’s most likely what’s causing the air getting into the lines.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’ve ever spent too much time at the beach or the lake, you know the damage sun can do to your skin. But did you know it can soar right through your windows and doors and do damage to your home, as well? It can because of the UV rays. They can fade fabric and paint, they can drive up cooling costs and they can whitewash wood surfaces. We’ll share a few pro solutions to prevent this, in today’s Pro Project presented by Angi.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, the most obvious way that you can stop that UV light from getting through the windows is with shades. But that also means you need to manage the up, the down. And let’s face it, that’s not always going to be a priority. I mean my kids leave the window shades closed all day. We can pretend it’s for the environment and for the house but they just don’t open them. So, you’ve got to figure out a way to work with it.
So, a better solution is to have a pro install a smart-home solution that incorporates motorized shades. And they can automatically go up and down based on the number of hours of daylight throughout the year. Now, with a system like this, you don’t even have to think about whether they’re up or down. Plus, they can also come down at a preset time in the evening to help ensure your security.
TOM: Yeah. And as the days get shorter, they automatically adjust, so that’s pretty cool.
Now, another option is to have a pro install window film. Now, window films are very thin and they’re designed specifically to block certain UV rays. They can protect furnishings and they can definitely help cut cooling costs in rooms where window coverings are not an attractive option. And unlike the window films you may think of from seeing cars with darkened glass, today’s window-film technology can give you an even better protection from the UV rays. And they can be completely 100-percent clear at the same time.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by Angi. Find expert pros available for hundreds of projects, up-front pricing, plus the ability to book and pay right from your phone.
TOM: Download the app today.
LESLIE: Margaret in Arkansas is on the line with a tiling question. What can we do for you?
MARGARET: I’ve got a big imagination. I was hoping that there was a product out there that would equal it.
MARGARET: I’ve got an old floor that I was hoping that I could maybe fill the cracks and the little places it’s chipped out and then refinish the whole floor to where it looked like new.
TOM: Yeah, that’s – I would not pursue that. Because you know what? First of all, the reason it cracked is probably because the subfloor wasn’t properly installed or has weakened for some reason. Because tiles don’t bend. And if they’re cracking, that means that the floor is weak underneath.
So, except for the occasional odd repair when you’re just fixing like one or two broken tiles, it’s not the kind of thing that you want to invest any time in whatsoever.
MARGARET: So, the best thing is just to take it up or …?
TOM: You can either take it up or you could actually put a new floor on top of that if you don’t want it to be tile. You could, for example, install a laminate floor on top of that, which goes down in interlocking pieces. And then that sort of floats on top of the tile; it’s not physically attached. It just sort of stays in place by its own weight. It’s really beautiful and very durable stuff and not too expensive. Certainly a lot less expensive than redoing the tile floor.
MARGARET: OK. “Laminate” is what it’s called.
TOM: Laminate. It’s called “laminate floor.” Lots and lots of different types out there.
MARGARET: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Margaret. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, Mark reached out to us through the website and he says, “I’m seeing a lot of advertisements for solar energy claiming that it adds value to your home. Is this true?”
Well, Mark, that’s a really good question and I love the idea of using the sun to help power the home. But I’m frustrated that it’s really hard to do this, given the barrage of so much misleading information that’s out there by those that are selling the solar energy. And your question really is only one of the very many claims that are being made.
TOM: Yeah. And so, in short, I think the answer is maybe. Because certainly, some home buyers will be interested to know that the home generates some or all of its own electricity. But others, frankly, just won’t care and they’ll see all those panels as another thing they have to maintain.
And worse yet, if the solar panels have been leased instead of purchased – another one of those tricky games the salesmen play, they lease them, make the deal sound really good. Guess what? The buyers may not be willing to take on the added lease payment on top of what they’re paying you for the home. They may want you to negotiate a reimbursement for the total amount left on that lease before they buy it. And I would not blame them one bit. Because when – where else are you going to sell a home that comes with lease payments on some part of it? It just doesn’t happen.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s crazy. Like, “Oh, by the way, you also pay money every month to X, Y and Z. There you go.”
Now, aside from the value question, we also find that solar-energy companies are pitching a wide variety of proposal and payment schemes, from purchase to lease and something kind of in between the two. And always, they are overly-enthusiastic estimates of how much energy that you’re actually going to generate, which might not be true.
TOM: Plus, it’s also very muddy what rebates are available because you’ve got rebates, you’ve got tax credits and you’ve got SRECs or Solar Energy Renewal Credits, where you earn credits based on how much energy you generate. And then you sell those credits, which are market-priced and hard to predict.
So, there’s a lot of reasons that solar has become super complicated and I think it’s really sad. Because I think – the heart of the matter is that it’s a good technology. It’s just too darn hard to buy it right now and so I think that’s definitely hurting adoption.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a post from Kanani (sp) who wrote – she’s asking about metal roofs. They’re common in her area of the Southwest and she’s got one that came with the house that she bought. However, they still get leaks and often you need to send somebody up to the roof to reinstall panel screws and recaulk, which is really hard. Everything is super slippery. So I think she’s just asking, you know, is it worth it? Can they maintain it? Should she keep it?
TOM: Well, I definitely think you should keep it. I think it’s unfortunate that you’ve got one that seems to need a heck of a lot more maintenance than others. Yes, they are very popular in the Southwest. They’re also popular in the northern parts of the country, too, because they’re great for homes that have snow and severe weather.
The fact that you have to resecure these panels, though, kind of troubles me because that’s very unusual and I wonder why that’s happening. I have a feeling that it has to do with the system that they used. And if the screws are backing out of holes and you’re putting them back in the same holes, what is going to stop them from doing that again and again and again? Generally, you have to drive it into a new hole.
I have a feeling, though, the way this was put together is basically causing this problem, because that’s very, very unusual. And I do think it’s a good roof idea because they last forever. I mean they last 50, 75, 100 years. When I first started home inspecting many, many years ago, I was looking at homes that had metal roofs in the Washington D.C. area that were over 100 years old and still were in perfect condition. So, they’re so good they outlast us if they’re installed right.
So, I’m afraid – I’m sorry you’re having that problem but I’m thinking there may be a better solution than having to continually replace loose screws.
LESLIE: Alright, Kanani (sp). I hope that helps you out and good luck with the new house.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on what we hope is a beautiful summer weekend in your part of the country. We love being here and we love helping you with your projects. If you’ve got some in mind that we didn’t talk about today, reach out to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions anytime at MoneyPit.com.
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 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.)