- Skylights let in lots of light but some let in leaks leak more than others. We’ll tell which ones leak the most and share a tip the easiest way to add a skylight to your home in just 2-hours or less.
- If you’ve got any furry family members, it’s smart to think about which flooring types might hold up best in the face of scratchy paws, accidents and excessive shedding! We review the best options.
- They say good fences make good neighbors but how exactly do you build a good fence? We’ve got the solution for fences that stand the test of time.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Holly from Kansas has a banging noise coming from her new washing machine.
- Bill in Florida needs some tips on removing cigarette smell from a house.
- Nancy from Michigan needs the recipe for deck cleaning soap.
- Michael in Florida has a pool deck that is starting to crack.
- Daniel form California is concerned about using the proper sealer on his new travertine flooring.
- Pat in Hawaii is curious about prepping her roof for fibrous aluminum paint.
- Rob from Iowa need help getting rid bed bugs they picked up on vacation.
- Michelle in California spilled glue on her floor and needs help getting it up.
- Brian from Ohio is dealing with a settling house and wants to know if he should re-square it.
- Erica in Illinois has peeling walls and ceiling paint that is starting to wreck havoc in her home.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful summer day in your home, wherever you are in this beautiful country of ours. And if you’ve got a home improvement project, a remodeling project, a décor project to make your home more beautiful, well, you’re in the right place because we’re here to do just that. We are your helper, we are your coach, we are your counselor. We can be your therapist if something goes wrong when it comes to those projects.
But you’ve got to help yourself first. If you’d like to get some tips, some advice on where to start or how to get out of a jam you’re already in, you can reach out to us a couple of ways. You can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or if you want a really quick response, you can go to MoneyPit.com, click on the microphone button – the blue microphone button – and leave us a message. We’ll get back to you and may feature your question on the next show.
Coming up on today’s show, skylights are a great way to enjoy more of the sun all year long. But some leak a lot more than others. We’re going to tell you the ones that leak the most and share a tip about the easiest way to add a skylight to your home in just 2 hours or less.
LESLIE: Ooh, that’s a fast project.
Also coming up, if you’ve got any furry family members, it’s smart to think about which flooring types hold up best in the face of scratchy paws, accidents, even excessive shedding. So we’re going to share some tips.
TOM: And they say good fences make good neighbors but how exactly do you build a good fence? You know, like the kind you won’t have to build over and over again because it gets destroyed by rot, termites and carpenter ants? Well, we’re going to have some solutions, just ahead.
LESLIE: But first, give us a call, let us know what you are working on. We are standing by to help you out with all of your home improvement projects. So pick up the phone, post your question – whatever it is – but reach out.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or head on over to MoneyPit.com, click on the blue microphone button and leave your question right there. You can record your question and it’ll send it right to our studio and we’ll get you into the very next show we’re working on.
But for now, let’s get started. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright, we’re going to help Holly in Kansas out. Seems like there’s a very noisy washing machine involved.
What’s going on?
HOLLY: So I replaced my old washing machine with a fancy, new Whirlpool. And now, whenever I do a load of wash, there’s a banging noise that I did not have before and I don’t know what’s going on. We thought maybe some pipes were banging, so we put up some padding. And it was still banging. So it kind of sounds like a big thud, bang type like something’s shutting off with great force when I’m doing laundry. So, I have no idea what to do about that and why it’s doing it. It never did that before until I got my fancy, nice washing machine.
TOM: I’m going to be willing to guess here that this is a high-speed washing machine – a high-efficiency washing machine – which basically spins at much higher speeds. So I’m going to give you a couple of things to try here.
First of all, if the machine is not perfectly level, it’s going to be noisy. And it’s not uncommon for folks to complain about vibration sounds associated with this. Now, that is not what you’re describing but I’m going to cover it anyway just in case. Because there’s a simple solution here and that is, number one, level the machine and number two, you can pick up these anti-vibration blocks. They’re specifically designed for washing machines and they’re usually about an inch thick and they’re a stiff rubber. And you can think of them as shock absorbers for the washing machine. They go under the four corners and they really do a good job stabilizing this.
Now, I think most likely, by your description, that what we’re talking about here is something we call “water hammer.” And that’s because the machine is different than what you had before. It’s opening and closing these valves very quickly. And as the water is filling towards the machine – heading towards the machine – the valve closes. The force, the inertia of the water in the pipe, keeps pushing the pipe forward and then results in a very loud banging sound. And if you have copper pipes, well, it tends to echo, making it sound even worse.
Generally speaking, it doesn’t damage anything. But there is a plumbing device called a “water-hammer arrestor,” which is like a shock absorber for your plumbing system, that will dampen that and stop that from happening.
So based on your description, it’s probably one of those two things. It’s either the machine is maybe out of level and/or needs vibration-damper blocks underneath the feet or you simply have a water-hammer issue, which is not difficult to fix but you will have to hire a plumber to take care of it.
LESLIE: Bill in Florida needs some help with a new home.
How can we help you with that?
BILL: My brother-in-law purchased a home lived in by a smoker of 13 years, a heavy smoker. Inundated the home with – considerably with the smoke. And we had mentioned some options to him, which was KILZ, take out the rug and sanitize his ductwork. Well, he’s done two of those three things, except for the sanitation of the ductwork and the vent system. And there’s still a preponderance of smell in there. And I was just wondering, are there any other mitigating things that we haven’t considered that we could provide to him to help him out?
LESLIE: Did you do anything to the subfloor that was underneath the padding?
BILL: He did nothing to the subfloor. I know that for a fact.
TOM: OK. It would be a very good idea to prime that.
BILL: Well, he’s not a man of means, so to pull the rug up and put it back down is probably not going to be an option for him.
LESLIE: Are you sure that filters have been changed in the ductwork and in the cooling system itself?
BILL: OK, I know the filters have been changed because I changed them myself when I showed them to him. He has not had the ductwork cleaned and one of the recommendations we’re making is that he hire someone to get in there and clean it. And when you take out the big intake vent, there’s just yellow corrosion all around that foam as it leads up into the roof of the property. So I’ve recommended that he might want to have that foam pulled out.
But again, depending on the expense, I don’t know if he can do that. Is that something you guys would recommend?
TOM: Well, here’s another step that you could take in the meanwhile and that is that 3M has a filter that just came out on the market that is a carbon-based filter. So it’s designed to not only filter the air, in terms of dust particles, but it’s also designed to remove odors from the air. So you might want to think about replacing the HVAC filters with the 3M Filtrete Odor-Reduction Filters.
The carbon in there is pretty significant; it’s about five or six times more than what the nearest competitor has. It really is quite a lot and I think it might help a little bit in this case.
Cleaning the ducts when they’re that dirty and that gross is going to be probably a good move. But you might just want to replace the filter with one that’s designed to absorb odor in the meantime.
BILL: Well, I appreciate the assistance. We’ll try the filters and we’ll just go from there.
TOM: Try the filter. It’s not very expensive. You know, it’s probably $25, $30 and it’d be worth a shot.
BILL: OK. Hey, thanks for your time, guys. Good show. Appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Nancy in Michigan on the line who’s looking for help cleaning a deck.
What’s going on?
NANCY: I was listening to you for the recipe to use detergent for your deck but I couldn’t write fast enough. So I need to know how much powdered soap I use.
TOM: Yep. Now is a good time of year to be doing some deck cleaning. So here’s the recipe that you missed. The way you do this is you use a 5-gallon bucket and you mix about 3 quarts of water with 1 quart of bleach and a ½-cup of detergent. Make sure the detergent does not contain ammonia because if it does, it mixed with bleach can be dangerous.
Now, mix the solution in the bucket. And then what you want to do is apply to the deck using a stiff floor brush. And this is key: let it sit for a few minutes so it does its work and then rinse thoroughly. You want to also be sure, Nancy, to cover any nearby vegetation before using this method, because the bleach can be detrimental to your plants. And for a little extra cleaning power, it’s OK to use a power washer. But be careful because if you use too much pressure, you might damage the soft wood surface.
LESLIE: And you know what, Nancy? It’s better if you work on this project earlier in the day because as the day gets warmer, it’s a lot harder to clean a hot deck. So this is a good project for early in the day and it’ll be nice and dry for your supper outside.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, skylights were a hot design trend that quickly faded and not because homeowners didn’t enjoy the extra sunlight but because they became notorious with leaking. But those horror stories don’t mean that skylights are off limits. You can still get the vitamin D, without the high risk of water damage, with a curb-mounted skylight.
TOM: Yeah. Curb skylights are easier to make watertight because they actually sit up off the roof by about 4 inches. And then they are sealed to sort of become one with the roof. Now, they’re the best bet for homes being retrofitted with a skylight, because they’re the easiest type to install. Adding a curb skylight to the top of a skylight shaft, it’s kind of like putting a cap on a bottle.
LESLIE: Also, go with a low-E, high-performance glass that’s going to reflect the heat of the sun back outside so that added sunlight won’t do a number to your cooling bills. And for the easiest, fastest way to add sunlight – like, in under 2 hours – add a sun tunnel.
TOM: Yeah, I love sun tunnels. For those that are not familiar with them – so a sun tunnel is like a flex duct, right, that’s about 12 inches in diameter, where the inside has sort of a mirror finish on it. And it connects up to the skylight part of it which sits, basically, right on the roof. And then it connects and flashes under the roof shingles. It connects to the sun tunnel. And then you can sort of move that tube wherever you want in the ceiling below and then you put kind of like a diffuser – would look like a regular light fixture – under that.
So, essentially, whenever the sun’s out, you get all of this natural sunlight coming right through your ceiling, even though you don’t really have a traditional skylight there. So they’re a lot easier and less expensive to install than a big skylight because you don’t have to build that light shaft – that sort of modification of the roof structure – to bring the light down. It all happens inside that sun tunnel itself. Now, you can’t look up the sun tunnel and see the sky but you still get plenty of natural sunlight, so it’s a great option if it works for your house.
LESLIE: Heading down south to Florida where Michael needs some help with a pool deck that’s cracking up.
What’s going on?
MICHAEL: We just bought this house last fall. And around the pool, it has 4 or 5 cracks. I mean it’s not terrible but they do show through the existing, topical coat that they have on that concrete. Now, I want to grind this off but what can I put in those cracks that will not show when I resurface it?
TOM: So, QUIKRETE makes a product just for that and it’s simply called Crack Seal. And it’s a blended sort of latex emulsion. It’s designed to flow in and then solidify into those cracks. And you’re allowed then after that to finish on top of it with whatever your choice is. So, that’s a pretty common problem around pool decks but I would just encourage you to fill those cracks with the right material.
A lot of times, people will try to fill those cracks with mortar but then it just cracks again and falls out. So you want to use a product that’s specifically designed for this and I would look into the QUIKRETE Concrete Crack Seal, because that’s exactly what it does.
MICHAEL: That’s perfect. I do appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Daniel in California on the line who needs some help with a travertine floor.
When did you put it down, Daniel?
DANIEL: Oh, I guess it’s been about a week now.
LESLIE: OK. And there’s nothing on it?
DANIEL: Well, no.
LESLIE: Are you sure?
DANIEL: Well, OK. There was nothing on it but yeah, actually, I put a sealer on it just like Sunday, after it’d been installed 4 days.
TOM: OK. And did your installer give you a sealer to use or suggest a sealer to use?
DANIEL: No, my installer didn’t.
TOM: He didn’t. So where did you – what sealer did you select? How did you find it?
DANIEL: I got it at the home improvement store.
TOM: OK. And so it sounds like you did the right things. It’s a beautiful floor. It’s a little bit absorbent, so you are going to need to seal it from time to time. But what’s your question?
DANIEL: Well, my question is, well, one, after I put the sealer on, then I did some reading and I found out that there’s some that are better. This one’s probably the third and I’d like the best.
DANIEL: Is there a problem with buying the better one and putting it on top of it or …?
TOM: Potentially. I would save that for the next trip. See, this has already soaked into your floor and so …
LESLIE: And travertine is so porous.
LESLIE: With the first thing you put on it, that’s in there.
TOM: Just drinks it right up. So I would wait until the next time it’s – until it’s time to apply this again and choose a different product that time. But I would definitely not put a second coat on top of this with a different product because you’re – you don’t know what kind of chemical reaction you’re going to create there.
LESLIE: How are they going to react to one another?
LESLIE: It could be bad news.
TOM: Not worth it. I’d just enjoy the floor.
DANIEL: OK, great. Could I ask you a little follow-up question?
TOM: Sure. Go ahead.
DANIEL: Yeah. Also, I was reading – they were saying that mats with rubber bottoms are bad for it. Is that true?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. For travertine …
TOM: Well, it’s not bad for marble; it’s bad for vinyl.
LESLIE: Yeah, if you have a vinyl floor and you put down a kitchen mat or a bath mat and it doesn’t move and it stays in its spot, the backing on the mat has some sort of weird chemical reaction with the floor and causes a discoloration. We get calls a lot for people being like, “I’ve got this weird stain that’s the same as my bath mat. How can I get it out?”
TOM: And it won’t come up. Yeah, right. Because it oxidizes the rubber against the vinyl. But I don’t know that there’s a problem putting that against marble; I’ve never heard that.
LESLIE: Yeah. No, I’ve never heard that.
DANIEL: OK. Great, then. Thanks a lot, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome, Daniel. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
I tell you what, he’s treating it at the right time. There’s never a better time to treat it than when it’s brand new.
LESLIE: Right at the beginning. Because if you wait and it gets even slightly dirty, you may never be able to get that stain out and then you’re going to seal in that stain. So it’s like just do it right away.
Now we’ve got Pat in Hawaii on the line with a roofing question. Calling to make us jealous, I am sure.
PAT: So what we have is a house where the interior temperature is – during the day is maybe 83 to 85.
PAT: And so it has a roof that has the rolled asphalt. And we’d like to put on this application and they’re available at places like Home Depot. There’s two different price points. You can apply it three different ways and so forth but people have told us, that live in that same area as this house, that they have reduced the heat in their house by 20-plus percent by doing this reflective thing on the roof.
And now, our question is: how do we prep the roof? Do we sweep off any rocks with asphalt? What is the prep?
TOM: It’s pretty forgiving. You want to get rid of the loose stuff and of course, any moss or anything like that that’s growing on it. But what you’re talking about is fibrous aluminum paint and it’s a UV-reflectant paint. And it does make the roof a lot cooler and that can actually make your house cooler. It’s a very common application, not only in tropics like Hawaii but even places on the East Coast. I’ve seen it on roofs in Washington, D.C. Definitely a good thing to do.
PAT: OK. And so if – also, my husband’s question was – and so does your roof last longer with that on there?
TOM: Yeah, theoretically, it will because if you reflect the UV, you’ll have less deterioration of the oils in the asphalt, less evaporation of that. And that can make the roof last longer. Another good reason to do it.
PAT: OK. And any specific on application? Whichever one works out best for you? Is that what they’re saying?
TOM: Well, I don’t have any specific recommendations on a product but on the concept, I think it’s solid.
PAT: That’s wonderful. That’s a great idea. I think you answered my question. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Pat. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rob in Iowa is on the line with a bug/creepy-crawly question.
Tell us what’s going on.
ROB: My wife and I picked up some bed bugs from a hotel we were in.
TOM: Oh, no.
ROB: Even though it was – oh, gosh, it’s been a mess. And we’ve had a professional come in. We’ve done – we’ve moved everything out of the room. We’ve bagged up all of our clothing and run it through the dryer. And we still – they’ve sprayed and we’ve still got residual bed bugs. Is there anything else we can do?
TOM: There is a system out there where a professional can pretty much super-heat your house; they kind of turn the house into a bit of an oven inside. It’s a pretty big deal, because you have to take out your plants and all that kind of stuff. But they pump in hot air and basically, what they do is they drive up with this, essentially, like a furnace on a truck. And they put these big supply ducts into the house and they overheat the house. And I forget what the temperature is they have to get it up to. It’s not a dangerous temperature but it basically …
LESLIE: So I want to say it’s like 120 degrees or something.
TOM: It’s something like that but it heats everything up in the house for some number of hours and that completely wipes out the bed bugs, no matter where they are. So you don’t have to find them with the spray to catch them; you just overheat the house.
So if you can find an exterminator in your area that does heat treatments like that, that’s proven very effective at wiping bed-bug populations out for good.
ROB: Very good. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got furry family members, it’s smart to start thinking about which type of flooring is going to hold up best in the face of those scratchy paws, an accident, excessive shedding. It all comes along with having a pet at home.
Now, a good, pet-friendly floor, it’s got to be easy to clean with a vacuum and a mop. Plus, it has to be moisture-resistant so it doesn’t become permanently damaged in the event of accidents or spills and safe and comfortable for you and your pet. And then, of course, it’s got to look great while doing all of that on top of it, you know?
TOM: Well, true. But fortunately, there are a lot of great floors to choose from. LL Flooring makes two: the Dream Home Laminate, which features a watertight locking system, and that holds water on the plank’s surface so it can stand up to pets and kids and heavy foot traffic; or you can go with the new Duravana Hybrid Resilient flooring. It’s also completely waterproof and incredibly durable.
Both products are easy to install with a simple click installation and they’re available at LLFlooring.com and at 430 LL Flooring retail stores across the country.
LESLIE: And right now, you can post a picture of your pet and you could potentially win a $1,000 gift card and more from LL Flooring when you enter the Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes. Then go ahead, share your entry, along with the #LLFloofProof, to earn bonus entries and increase your chances to win scratch-resistant floors that you’re going to love as much as your floof. Enter today at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
TOM: That’s MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
LESLIE: Michelle is on the line with a cleaning question.
How on Earth did you spill some glue on your floor? Tell us about it.
MICHELLE: Well, this is an interesting story. My fiancé and I just bought a condo and it needed some renovations. We weren’t planning on buying a fixer-upper; it’s just how it worked out. And one of the things was the floors.
He decided that he would install them himself; he’d done it once before. And so, these floors required a glue, which a lot of folks like – we know a lot of people and people were like, “Glue? I never heard of glue.” But that’s what the lady that we bought the floors from said, so we got this really intense glue.
And he kind of slammed through these floors pretty quickly and now I have this glue in fingerprint and bulges on top of the floors. It’s really terrible. And I’m just wondering – so we’ve tried – the turpentine works but it takes the finish off. That’s what you’re supposed to use to get it off your tools and off your hands and stuff? But it takes the finish off the floor. We’ve tried these 5505 wipes that are like $20; that didn’t work. Those are the recommended product: the anti-product to the glue. We’ve tried something called Goof Off or Goo Off or something like that. I don’t know if you have a trick but this glue is really intense.
TOM: I think what you’re going to have to do is try to get it off as best as you can but you – just buy into the fact that you’re going to probably want to refinish these. And it’s not that big of a deal, by the way. What you could do is get everything off and then what I would do is I would sand the whole surface. And you could rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. It’s not like a caustic, rough belt sander.
MICHELLE: Sure. But I don’t think with a sanding screen …
TOM: No. You put a sanding screen on it and it abrades just sort of the upper surface of the floor.
TOM: And then once you get that all abraded and even if you have to sand down deeper in the areas that are really bad, it’s OK. Because you get it all abraded and you get it all roughed up just a little bit with the floor buffer and the sanding screen. Clean it up really good so you have no dust and then you get some urethane – clear urethane. You want to use semi-gloss. And you apply that with a lambswool applicator.
Now, that kind of looks like a mop for a kitchen except there’s lambswool on the end of it. And you essentially pour a little urethane in a paint tray and you mop it on very carefully and very smoothly, working out of the room. And then give it a day or two and it’ll dry and you should be good to go.
Now, the one other thing I would do is check with the manufacturer of the hardwood floor to see if there’s a specific floor finish that they recommend for refinishing, because I’m not quite sure what they did initially.
MICHELLE: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Michelle. Good luck with that project and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
Hey, if you survive the home improvement, you’ll survive the marriage, OK?
MICHELLE: We’ve been living together 5 years, so this kind of thing is not new, honestly.
TOM: It’s nothing, huh? Alright, Michelle.
MICHELLE: Thank you very much.
TOM: Take care.
LESLIE: Brian in Ohio is dealing with a settling house.
Tell us what’s going on.
BRIAN: Ah, well, I have a real nice, 1930s brick Colonial. And in a number of areas, you can see that the house has settled so that the doors aren’t square in the door frames. And the tile on one wall in the bathroom is about an inch below where the tile line on the other wall is. And there’s some cracks in the outside of the brick structure.
And I just wondered if it – if there’s a way to fix this to sort of square up the house. Because, among other things, if I redo the bathroom, I’m afraid that if the house is moving or twisting, so to speak, and I put new, beautiful tile on the floor or the wall, that it’ll crack that next.
TOM: Brian, did you have a home inspection done when you bought the house?
BRIAN: Well, I’m in the real estate business, so I kind of knew what I was getting into from the standpoint of the structure. So I did not have a home inspection done, no.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah. Or not.
OK, well, as a former professional home inspector, my first advice would be to determine if the home is still actively moving. And that’s the type of observation that takes a bit of a trained eye. You want to see if there’s anything that tells you that those cracks are active or not. It may very well be that in a 1930s house, this is just normal settlement that’s happened over time.
In terms of re-squaring the house, really bad idea. You never want to put a house back where you think it belongs, because it took many, many, many, many years to get into that sort of skewed, settled state. If you try to lift up different pieces, you’ll end up cracking more walls, breaking wires, breaking pipes and that sort of thing.
So, what you would do, if you redid the bathroom, is basically just live with that. Chalk it up to another real estate word, “charm,” and just live with it, OK?
BRIAN: Thanks. Great. Great insight, OK.
TOM: Alright? There you go. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, guys, if you put up a fence, that can add some style and some security and value to your property. But it could also be an eyesore and a maintenance headache and cause a battle with your neighbors. So if you want to avoid these pitfalls, you need to plan carefully.
First and most importantly, check your property lines so that you don’t build in your neighbor’s yard. You’re also going to want to check with local officials to make sure that you don’t need a permit to build one. And once you’re sure about those things, you can really start thinking about what kind of fence you want to get.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, fencing is available in a lot of materials, including natural and pressure-treated lumber, vinyl and metal. Now, natural wood can be beautiful but you’re going to find that it will require the most maintenance.
Also, you’ve got to remember that there are two sides to a fence. It needs to look good from the outside as well as the inside. Also, you want to make sure that you don’t try to save money on the gate. That’s going to take the most wear and tear and it’s also got to be a security risk if you leave it open. So you want to make sure that maybe that gate has a spring hinge and that’s going to help it swing back into place so nobody leaves it open. Now, this is especially important if you have a pool.
TOM: For a full checklist and advice on building the best fences, just Google “Money Pit fence building.” We’ve got a great post online, right now, that’ll walk you through the entire process.
LESLIE: Erica in Illinois is dealing with a paint situation.
Tell us what’s going on. You’ve got peeling and bubbling?
ERICA: Yes. I had my paint – my ceiling painted by someone probably about 3 years ago. And just recently, the ceiling has started peeling and the walls have started, oh, crackling almost. Like it looks like underneath, there’s a crackle to it that if I pressed it hard, it would flake off.
TOM: OK. So, I suspect that when it was painted last time, the walls may not have been prepped properly. They clearly were not primed. I think now is an opportunity, Erica, where you’re going to have to get rid of all of that old, loose paint. Sand the ceiling down, sand the walls down and apply a primer. The primer is going to be key here because whatever that unknown surface is underneath that layer, we want to make sure we have something that can attach to it. And primer you should think of as sort of the glue that makes the paint stick.
So, prep what you have, prime it thoroughly, then put a second topcoat on. And that last coat, make sure you use a really good-quality paint and make sure it’s flat for the ceiling. And that will hide any imperfections that might be left behind. Does that make sense?
ERICA: Yes. Now, as far as my wall, do I need to try to scrape it off so I don’t have any of this crackle looking on my wall?
TOM: Yeah, I definitely would. I would definitely try to get rid of as much of that loose paint as possible and the same thing goes: prime them and then do a topcoat after that.
ERICA: OK. Alright. Sounds like a job but I’ll take it on.
TOM: And I know you can do it, Erica. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Post your question, email. Whatever it is, do like Paul and reach out.
Now, Paul says, “I have a two-bay garage. One half of the floor is settling and cracking. Can I just bore some holes in that floor and pour concrete to shore it up?”
Is that a thing? I’ve never heard of this.
TOM: No, you can’t. You know, the only way that sometimes folks will try to lift a concrete section is – there’s a way to do that where basically you can inject concrete under pressure. But frankly, that’s going to be a really expensive fix. We tend to think of these concrete floors as being – needing that repair where actually it’s easier to tear them out, especially a garage floor because the garage floor is not structural, right? It’s just a – usually a 4-inch thick slab. It is rarely even reinforced. And you can simply jackhammer that thing up, literally, in a couple hours and then have a new floor poured. A lot less expensive than trying to do any kind of a concrete injection and have it lift.
Now, if the crack is serious – if the floor really has dropped, if the crack has really opened up and it’s becoming a tripping hazard, you can do that. If you just want to seal it, by all means you can go ahead and seal it. But just boring holes and trying to pour concrete in there to shore it up is really kind of doing half the job. And then you’re going to find out that it’s an expensive and unnecessary waste.
So either live with it or tear it out and start again. It’s really not that difficult to replace.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Norm wrote in saying, “We’re building a new house. The first floor has a concrete slab, which we stained and sealed. Can we put wooden baseboards, which are primed and painted, directly along that finished concrete?”
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any reason that you can’t, assuming that your new home is properly graded to avoid moisture around its foundation. Concrete is very hydroscopic and absorbs water really well. So, if you’ve got a lot of ponding water around that house, it’ll get soaked up into the concrete slab. And I’m seeing that sort of transfer to baseboards from time to time; they show up as kind of a nasty stain. But if it’s built correctly, you should not have an issue with that.
By the way, typically, you want to put your flooring in first and then put the baseboard down on top of that. And that would probably be a better approach. At least you’ll have some flooring in between those two. And if not, if you just want to put it right on the slab, I would definitely space it so that it was up about a ¼-inch so you have sort of an air gap between the bottom of the baseboard molding and that concrete. Because you’re going to put something on it, right? You’re not going to live with a concrete slab.
LESLIE: No, I think he’s using the concrete directly as the floor.
TOM: For a full house? People don’t do that. They’re going to put something on there.
LESLIE: I don’t know.
TOM: You think so?
LESLIE: It could be the look that they’re going for. I mean if that’s the case, would you recommend some sort of like a composite baseboard?
TOM: No. If that was what she really wanted, the least you might do is use an epoxy coating on it, right? You’re not going to live on raw concrete. So I would just finish the floor first and then put the baseboard down.
LESLIE: And you know what, Norm? If you’re going with this concrete look for now but maybe down the road, you get tired and want something a little different, there are so many beautiful flooring options out there that you can put right on top of a concrete slab. So know that this could be phase one in your new design and then come down the road a few years, something different. Definitely a great choice and a good way to start your design process.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thanks so much for spending this part of your summer day with us. If you’ve got questions about a project that you working on – maybe it’s getting a little too warm in your house and you need to fix up that cooling system, maybe you want to tackle some projects outside so you can better enjoy the warm weather that we all have right now or maybe you want to take on some long-term project planning – whatever is on your to-do list, remember, we are here to help. We’re your coach, your counselor or your therapist. Whatever you need, we’re here to lend a hand.
But for now, that’s all the time we have. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2022 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)