Best Apps for Home Improvement Projects, Clean Up Tips for Big Renovations and How to Add Wainscoting
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: What are you working on this beautiful weekend? Your house? Your apartment? Your condo? Maybe you’re thinking about your dorm room and what you’re going to do to that when you get back to school? All of those are great questions. We’d love to talk about it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. You can post your questions, also, online at MoneyPit.com.
So coming up this hour, we’ve got a busy show. First up, finding home improvement help is no fun when you’re in the middle of a project. But now you’ll be able to access it easily, in one place, with a brand-new home improvement app for your Apple or your Android smartphone. We’ve got a review, just ahead.
LESLIE: And before you start any construction project, you really need to do a bit of destruction. Kevin O’Connor, the host of This Old House, is stopping by with tips on the best way to handle the loads of debris that will inevitably pile up when you’re tackling a big remodeling project.
TOM: Plus, if you’d like to take on just one project that can really step up a space, you might want to think about adding wainscoting. There’s a number of ways to do this, including some that use recycled or repurposed materials. We’ll have tips, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, we’re giving away a fun product this hour that was named one of the best new products at the National Hardware Show. And it’s called Bondic. It’s the only product that works where glue fails. It’s a liquid plastic and it’s only going to harden when it’s exposed to an included UV light. And you can use it to fix dozens of things around the house that you probably didn’t think you could fix before.
TOM: Amazing stuff. We’re giving away a 5-pack of the Bondic Starter Kit, worth 120 bucks. So, plenty to share with family and friends. Going out to one caller drawn at random. So make that you. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Michael in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MICHAEL: I moved into a place. There was a tenant here before my wife and I moved in. And there’s a garage – a detached garage. It’s probably about 10 square, maybe. That’s what the roofer said it was, I believe.
The roof isn’t in bad shape. It’s probably 10 to 12 years old. It’s still got a lot of gravel on it but there’s a tree at one end – a maple tree; a big, old one – and the branches were hanging over it. And now they’re – they’ve been cut back. But there was like ¾-inch of moss all over the very end of it, going about 4 feet in the whole rake of the thing. The guy calls it “the rake”: hole from the gutter to the ridge. And it was all moss. And I got up there with a small – like a kid’s nylon snow shovel and scraped a little off. And I was very weary of doing that because I didn’t want to take the gravel off, because the rest of the roof is fine. And I really don’t have the money to invest in a roof. And I was wondering if there’s some kind of a chemical I could use that wouldn’t loosen the gravel, that would melt that off maybe.
LESLIE: Well, yeah. Actually, there’s a couple of products on the market. A good one that we use a lot is Spray & Forget. And it’s actually something that you’ll spray right on the moss or mildew or anything that’s organic and growing on the exterior: your siding, outdoor furnishings, your roof, for example. And you spray it on and you forget about it. And it truly will do the work. The more it rains outside, the more it sits in the sun, that will start to sort of eat away at the moss and the mildew and get rid of it. And it does a good job of maintaining it over time, as well. Plus, you really don’t want to get up on the roof. I mean everything is so slippery when there’s moss and mildew up there. And you just don’t want to get hurt. So you can do this all from the ground.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a great product. SprayAndForget.com is their website. Now, it will take the green stains away from exterior surfaces in about one to three days. If you’ve got really thick roof stains, that could take a couple of months or more to get rid of it – of all of it. But it starts to work as soon as you apply it.
The other thing that you can do on that tree that you mentioned is try to cut it back a little bit. The more sunlight you can get on that roof makes it a lot harder for that moss to grow.
MICHAEL: Yeah, yeah. The tree’s already been cut back, yeah. It was a safety issue besides an appearance issue just following on that. I just – but I (inaudible at 0:04:36) shade but the thing is it was neglected for so many years. And as the water dripped, yes, the green of photosynthesis dripped down and it just stained it. And moss there was quite, quite thick. So what I did is I used a plastic ice scraper for our car and I got most of it off being very cautious, obviously. I had to be, you know, sitting on my rear end and my feet sideways in an old pair of sneakers.
TOM: Yeah, we don’t want you to get hurt.
MICHAEL: No, no, definitely don’t want that.
TOM: That moss can be very slippery, too. So it’s good that you got the most of it off but I want you to apply Spray & Forget. And I think you’ll be very happy with the result.
Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading to Arizona with Yvonne on the line who has got a stinky bathroom sink.
Gross, Yvonne. What’s going on?
YVONNE: Yeah. So, it doesn’t happen all the time but every once in a while, I’ll be running the water in the bathroom sink and this foul odor comes out of the drain. So I’m wondering what could be causing that.
TOM: Usually, it’s bacteria. You get bacteria that will decay in those drains and it will cause what’s called a “biogas.” And the best way to clean this is to really take the drain completely apart – that’s the trap that’s underneath that – and to really do a good job of scrubbing it clean. I would use some oxidized bleach for that, as well. If you can get that super clean, that will kill the bacteria. And if you can even plug the pipe and sort of fill it up with some of that bleach solution, that will also kill the bacteria that’s in there. And I think you’ll find that if you can deal with that biogas, it’ll start smelling a lot better.
YVONNE: So I have to actually scrub it? I can’t just pour in some bleach down there?
TOM: No. No, you definitely need to scrub it. And that’s why you probably want to take it apart from underneath the sink cabinets. It’s probably going to have a trap, the U-shape pipe. If it doesn’t, by the way, that’s the source of your problem. But I’m sure it does. Take that trap apart and then really scrub the inside of that with some oxygenated bleach. And I think that that will kill that bacteria and then the biogas will go away.
YVONNE: OK. Sounds like a lot of work but I’ll certainly give it a try.
TOM: Hey, we never said it was going to be easy. But we will save you the work.
YVONNE: No. Nothing ever is, it seems like.
TOM: Alright, Yvonne. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Holy moly. We are halfway through the month of July, you guys. What are you working on? Before you know it, it’s going to be autumn. Alright. I know I’m getting ahead of myself but that’s kind of the way I’ve been thinking lately. So what are you working on? Are you getting your house ready? Are you building a new deck? Whatever it is, we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, do you hate scrambling for answers in the middle of a home improvement project? Well, there’s an app for that. Learn all about it when The Money Pit Radio Show continues, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, right now, and call us with your home improvement question, your décor dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away 5 Bondic Starter Kits worth 120 bucks.
Bondic is a pretty unique product. It’s not a glue. It’s literally a welding tool that uses a unique formula to build new plastic around two objects. So instead of gluing the two flat surfaces together, you’re kind of building a patch. And after the Bondic has been cured, it can be sanded, polished, drilled, filed, shaped, formed and even painted to make a flawless repair on anything. And the coolest thing is how it’s cured. You basically expose it to a UV light, that’s included with the product, for about four seconds and it’s done.
You can find it at NotAGlue.com. That’s NotAGlue.com. This prize pack is worth 120 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in Oregon is on the line with a floor-cleaning question. How can we help you?
RON: Yeah. I’ve got a Brazilian cherry floor. And I’m wondering what would be the best thing to clean it with, because I don’t know who’s cleaned it and with what.
TOM: Is it an older floor or is this a newer floor?
RON: It’s seven years old.
TOM: So, what I would recommend you do is kind of a two-step process. I would definitely use Murphy’s Oil Soap on the floor and follow the instructions. You don’t want to use a lot of water. But it works pretty well as a cleaner. It’s very neutral and it’s going to do a good job pulling out whatever that floor has.
And then in terms of the polish, you know, there are a lot of liquid floor polishes out there. But I don’t like them because they tend to not have the same sheen and the same sort of natural shine that a paste-wax floor would be. I love when you do a hardwood wax – a hardwood floor wax – that has to be buffed on. And so I would encourage you to use a floor wax with a buffer.
If you want to just do this once a year, move the furniture out of the way while you’re doing this. But apply a good paste wax designed for a floor, because it’s not slippery that way. It’ll give you a beautiful, deep shine. And it’ll do a great job of keeping that floor clean because it’s much easier to sweep when you have good floor wax on it. And also, it will keep it looking really, really nice with a very soft and warm and natural glow. So I would use a floor wax and then I would use the Murphy’s Oil Soap as my prep and make sure it’s really, really dry.
RON: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Gail on the line who has a question about her oven. What’s going on?
GAIL: Yes. I have a stove that – it’s an electric stove. And it’s about five to six years old. But it’s a self-cleaning oven. And right after I received it, it seems as though there’s – in between the glass on the door, it doesn’t clean that when I use the automatic cleaner. And I just wondered how I clean in between the glass on the oven door.
TOM: That’s a tough space to clean. And I agree. I don’t think you can. I think what you have to do is take it apart. And that can be done. The door has to be disassembled. And so, it depends on how comfortable you feel about taking that project on. It’s not sealed glass, in the sense of a double-pane window. It’s really two pieces of glass. And sometimes, because of heat and humidity and steam, it gets in there and it discolors. But you have to disassemble that door if you really want to get it clean. So it’s obviously not the kind of thing you want to do every time you clean your oven.
GAIL: No. And I noticed that it looks like they’re Phillips-head screws at the bottom part of the door. But the top part, it doesn’t look like – it’s not a regular screw. It’s something that – it doesn’t fit in a screwdriver. So I don’t know if that bottom part – and I’m afraid that once I get that undone, I’m not going to be able to get it back.
TOM: Yeah. Get it back together again. No, I hear you, I hear you. I know that there are some great videos online of people doing this. I’ve seen then. And so you could take a look at YouTube. But the process is going to be to disassemble that door.
Now, it’s going to come apart one way or the other. The types of fasteners you’re describing may be the type of fastener that needs a specialized – not a screwdriver, but like a nut-driver or something of that nature or like an Allen wrench or something like that. But it will eventually come apart. You’re just going to have to figure out how to do that. But if you’re not comfortable with that process, if you’re not really mechanical and are afraid to get into that because you might not be able to fix it, then I think you should just kind of learn to live with it, unfortunately.
GAIL: Now, is this true of all brands? Does it matter which brand it is? Do they all have to be – does it happen to them all? Or have you heard …?
TOM: Some may be better than others. But if it’s happened to you, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s happened to anybody else, because you don’t want to have to replace that oven. You really just want to make sure you can get it clean. So, that’s what you need to do.
GAIL: Yes. OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gail. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, remember when you had to run inside to a computer or to your bookshelf for help with a home improvement project? Smartphones have certainly changed all that. And they’re great for getting information on the spot, right when you need it.
LESLIE: Yeah. But navigating browsers and search engines on your phone is kind of tough if your hands are covered in paint or caulk or even sawdust.
TOM: But for DIYers and pros alike, there is an app for that. The QUIKRETE mobile app is out and it really delivers all the info you need to tackle any home improvement job, with fewer steps and less hassle.
LESLIE: Yeah. You can find how-to videos for every step of the job, even quantity calculators that will show you how much of a product you need. It’s all there, all the time, just a few easy touches away.
TOM: There’s even a built-in scanner that’s really handy, because you can swipe over barcodes for additional product information and learn more before you buy it or even take it out of its package.
LESLIE: And if you still need help, the QUIKRETE mobile app lets you dial customer service with one easy touch.
TOM: Head on over to QUIKRETE.com to download the mobile app to your Apple or Android device today. That’s QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E – .com.
LESLIE: Randy in Ohio is on the line with a decking question. How can we help you today?
RANDY: I just built a deck. And it’s got that new-wood look, you know? What kind of stain can I put on it?
TOM: So you have a number of options. You said you just built it, so you might want to let it dry out. Sometimes we don’t recommend staining until about the second year, because the pressure-treated lumber is going to have a lot of moisture in it. But when you are ready to treat it, what I would recommend that you use is a solid-color deck stain. Deck stains come in solid color and semi-transparent. And if you use solid color, it basically has more pigment in it, so it tends to last a lot longer. So,go for a good brand – a good-quality brand – of a solid-color deck stain. And I think that’s something that you’ll hope to get maybe two or three seasons out, depending on the use of your deck.
RANDY: Alright. Yes it does. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kim in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KIM: Well, we have trouble with weed. And it was never a trouble before. But it – we have had trouble finding what we used to have and want to know if it is outdated or no longer safe to use for the environment.
TOM: Oh, you mean your weed-killer?
KIM: Well, no. It’s not a weed-killer, because we try not to put anything down in the ground other than to kill the fire ants.
TOM: But your goal here is to eliminate weeds?
KIM: We used to use a black plastic. The black plastic would keep the weeds gone – just literally gone. And the plants would actually flourish from the root system being gently baked, we use the term. But now, all you can find is that sand fiber stuff almost.
TOM: Well, listen, if it’s worked for you in the past, I don’t see why it won’t work for you in the future. It certainly is available and it’s safe. And you’re talking about weed block. That’s a different material entirely. And weed block is basically designed to cover the whole surface or to be just below the surface. I mean it will work, as well. But generally, with weed block, you put slits in it and that’s how the plants grow through it. They don’t grow under it.
Now, if you’re talking about a lawn, there are other ways to deal with a massive influx of weeds. If your lawn is in really bad condition and completely full with weeds, then I would recommend a kind of radical step called a Round-Up restoration, where you essentially spray the entire lawn with a Round-Up product in the fall, by the way. In the fall. You spray the entire lawn. And then as that lawn starts to die out, you put seed on it. And the seed comes up through the original dead lawn. And then by next spring, you’ll have a beautiful, new, green lawn without a lick of weeds in the whole place.
So there’s a couple of ways to approach it but either way, I think, is fine. If you can identify the plastic and use it again, I see nothing wrong with doing that. If you want to use the weed block, that’s fine. But you have to have cuts in it for the plants to come on. Or if you just want to restore the entire lawn, then go with the Round-Up restoration.
Kim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. We’re going to talk decks, and how to keep them beautiful, with John in North Carolina. What can we do for you?
JOHN: Well, we decided to take unused space and turn it into a deck, so we spent about four months. We toyed with Trex and pressure-treated and settled on cedar. And it looked absolutely gorgeous. We put a can of SPF stain on it. And that was – we finished last September.
This spring, we look out the window and it’s kind of whitish. It’s not the honey color. It’s like – a western cedar is what we have. So I got with Cabot and they were very surprised. So I guess they’re going to work something out with us. But is there something, either a stain or a – I’m thinking like a polyurethane or something that’s specific for cedar? It seems to be an unusual kind of wood.
TOM: It’s not that unusual. Basically, what you want to do is you’re going to want to prime it first. And then you’re going to cover it with a solid-color stain. If you use a semi-transparent stain, you’ll – you may see more of the grain. You’ll still see it through solid color but you don’t have as much pigment in it, so it doesn’t last quite as long. But if the deck is primed first – and when I prime cedar, I use an oil-based primer. And then on top of that, I’ll use a solid-color stain and it can last a really, really long time.
JOHN: Well, the only thing is we didn’t want to do the solid color because the cedar looks so beautiful.
TOM: Yeah, I get that. But the thing is you’re not going to preserve that natural color. Eventually, it’s going to fade to gray. You may not want to do it now but you will do it eventually. It’s going to happen with you or without you.
JOHN: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we all go gray, I guess.
JOHN: Alright. Well, I appreciate it very much.
TOM: Alright, John. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey. Do you want to spend less money getting rid of your old junk and feel good while you’re doing it? We’re going to share some tips, just ahead.
NORM: Hi. I’m Norm Abram from This Old House and when we’re working on our projects, we listen to The Money Pit.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, there’s a new survey out now on what consumers look for when hiring a contractor. And interestingly, the number-one behavior that reflects positively on the credibility of a service provider is cleaning up after a job. Yes, 85 percent of you think that that’s important. Showing up on time, 84 percent. So that’s number two. Presenting a professional estimate and collecting and providing receipts. If you have a pro that does those four things, you’ve got a good guy, right?
888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bob in South Dakota is dealing with a drywall issue. What’s going on at your house?
BOB: We have a 1990s home and we had sheetrock nails that were put in that began popping, mainly toward the ceiling area and corners – inside corners, especially. And we had a contractor do – redo some. We redid some ourselves. One of the things they did and we did is we just drove the nails in and covered them and put a screw maybe 2 to 3 inches from it. But the nails reappeared after we did it. What’s the answer?
TOM: Well, it would if you just drove it back in and didn’t put a second nail that overlaps it.
LESLIE: And then it’s in the same hole, so it’s given the same movement area.
Now, what Tom mentioned with the second nail is you’re right putting a screw in; a screw is a great way to do that. But if you’re putting a screw in, I would have taken out the nail instead of giving it the space to come back out.
But what you can do, if you see the nail to start backing its way out, you can take a second nail and overlap it so that the two heads would overlap. So when you drive in the second nail, it pushes that first nail back down with it and will keep it in its place. Because the new nail is in fresh wood, so it’ll stay there. And then you go ahead and cover over it and sand it and spackle it, everything. Make it nice and smooth to prime and paint.
But a screw really is the best way, because those won’t back themselves out.
BOB: What do you think, in your professional opinion – I’ve listened to your show a lot and just as a plug for you guys, thanks a lot for all of the helpful hints. But what do you think has caused those screws to pop like that – or nails, I should say?
TOM: Normal expansion and contraction. You know, the nails that are used to attach drywall have a glue coating on them. They’re like a rosin coating. And when you drive the nail in, it’s supposed to kind of stick in the wall but it doesn’t. And as the walls expand and contract, they very often will back out. It’s really typical. It’d be unusual for it, frankly, to not happen.
But the key is that when it does happen, if you just drive it back in it’s going to happen all over again. But if you were to overlap the old nailhead with a new nailhead so that you’re now creating sort of a second nail and a second nail hole that’s holding it in place, that’s effective. Or you pull out the drywall nail altogether and replace it with a drywall screw and it will never pull out.
The fact that you put the screw 2 or 3 inches from the old one will help keep that board tight but it’s not going to stop the drywall nail from expanding and contracting and pushing itself back out, as you’ve learned. You just – you really need to sort of reinforce it by overlapping the heads with a new nail.
BOB: OK. Yeah, that sounds good. And I think, from what I’ve seen, if we pull the old nail and put a screw in a ways away, I think that’s the best solution. Because then we don’t have any possibility of anything happening there again and doing away with the situation completely.
TOM: Trial and error is the best, right?
BOB: Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. Thank you for the great show.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, they say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But try telling that to someone who has hundreds of pounds of junk on hand after a home renovation project.
TOM: Well, before you can add the new, you’ve got to get rid of the old. And that can often be a costly part of any home improvement project. Here with tips to help lighten the load is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.
KEVIN: Hey, guys. Great to be back.
TOM: So, getting rid of that debris can be pretty expensive. How can we spend less money getting rid of our old stuff?
KEVIN: So, if you deal with Tom Silva, our general contractor, he will tell you that the debris he removes from a job site can cost him up to $10,000 a job. Now, we’re doing big renovations?
KEVIN: But that’s a lot of garbage and that’s a lot of money.
KEVIN: So there are definitely ways that you can reduce the cost and also reduce the strain on the landfill. A couple of things to start with – carpet is one thing that we tear up a lot of. People like hardwood floors, so out goes the old carpet. Well, if it’s in relatively decent shape – no stains, no worn patches – you can donate it.
They are a couple of national organizations. Habitat for Humanity, being one of the best, has a nonprofit home improvement store. They call them ReStores. And you donate your old home improvement goods. It’s an actual store where people go in and they can pull this stuff off the shelves and buy it. And it is supporting the charitable organization. So it’s a great place to think about first when you’re pulling materials out of your house.
LESLIE: You can even put extra materials there. I mean they’re really great and it does a really good service for the community.
Along that line, appliances, they may work for you and really not be in bad condition, just be outdated. What can you do with your old appliances?
KEVIN: Appliances are so efficient these days. It’s rare that you get rid of an appliance because it’s not working.
KEVIN: You’re usually updating it for the look. And because you’re doing that, that means that you’re getting rid of something that works. And there are a lot of people out there who would love to have it. You can actually sell it to an old appliance dealer. I’ve got one in my town that comes by and picks these things up. Sometimes, the antique dealers will actually do it. If it’s a really bad situation and it’s not working, well, the thing weighs a ton and it’s got a lot of material in it. So a salvage guy might actually take it away for you, as well. And they could pay – I don’t know – maybe 10 cents a pound for an appliance and then pick these things apart.
Another thing that I point out – and this is something that my wife and I used when we recently renovated our kitchen – are local websites where you can actually donate your goods to other people in your town. And a lot of towns actually have these little networks set up via the web. So, you’re not only getting rid of your stuff but you know it’s going to your neighbor and you don’t have to deal with the transport.
TOM: That’s fantastic. So, basically, you post on the site what you have available for donation and people come and get it.
KEVIN: They do.
TOM: Yeah, that’s great. You know, a lot of times when I’m trying to purge old tools or old materials, of course, being the business that we’re in, I’m often faced with – I think I had 8 or 10 windows at my house at one time, each one different than the next because we used them for TV projects. I’ve actually put them on my front lawn with a sign that says, “Free to a good home.” And I’d rather people pick them up.
KEVIN: What’s the address? I’m swinging by.
TOM: Speaking of things that don’t cost a lot but can have a lot of value, let’s talk about all the wood that you pull out of buildings. Up-cycling is a hot topic these days. And purchasing products that are made with recycled lumber is very, very popular. Can we get that wood to a place where it could be created into something new?
KEVIN: Absolutely. Again, I bring up the ReStore run by Habitat for Humanity. If you’ve got tongue-and-groove flooring that isn’t working for you, where you’ve got to move it around in the house, there are a lot of people who would love to get their hands on it. It is often hardwoods in really good shape and as you mentioned, Tom, sort of hard to get.
KEVIN: So you can take it out carefully and places like ReStore can resell it so that it can be used, again, for flooring. There are wood-waste dealers who might be able to take it from you and use it and turn it into scraps. And if you are going to have to throw it out, well, there’s a couple of things that you want to think about.
First of all, in our state of Massachusetts, for example, if you have a construction and demolition dumpster, that, by definition, is going to a recycling facility. And they’re going to start separating those materials. So the wood’s going to be removed, the plastic is going to be put in a different pile, the gypsum in a third pile. And so you want to source the waste through systems like that.
And then, finally, if it’s got a lot of lead paint on it, just be careful about its deposal because there are lots of rules and regulations on how you get rid of anything with lead on it.
TOM: Now, what about the wallboard, gypsum and other types of construction debris? Can any of that be recycled?
KEVIN: Absolutely. We have – do this all the time. Tommy has stopped doing demolition of houses and he’s doing what he calls “deconstruction.”
TOM: Yeah. Like disassembly.
KEVIN: Basically taking it out, putting it into piles and then people come by. We’ve dealt with guys who take old asphalt roof shingles and they grind them up and they actually turn it into asphalt paving.
LESLIE: Oh, interesting.
KEVIN: We’ve had guys take concrete and brick and they chop that stuff up and they turn it into road base. The gypsum actually gets crushed up and reused, as well. It’s remarkable how efficient we have become by recycling all of these materials. And so, as you take it out of the house, know that you are – can put it into a stream where this material will be reused oftentimes in ways that you never would’ve thought of. Could you imagine your roof shingles being underneath the wheels of your car as you drive down the highway? Well, it happens.
TOM: Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for sharing how the materials we use to build our homes can have a new life once they’re replaced.
KEVIN: My pleasure. Great to be here, guys.
LESLIE: And you can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Gorilla Glue. For the toughest jobs on Planet Earth.
Up next, do you want to dress up your dining room with just one simple project? Adding wainscoting can do just that. We’ll tell you how, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by QUIKRETE. It’s what America is made of. For project help from start to finish, download the new QUIKRETE mobile app.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re going to help you with whatever it is you are working on this lovely July weekend. Plus, we’ve got a really cool prize that once you get your hands on it, you will be thinking about ways that you can use it all around your money pit.
We’ve got up for grabs five Bondic Starter Kits. And that’s worth 120 bucks. And you’re like, “What is Bondic?”
Well, let me tell you. Bondic, it’s not a glue. It is literally a welding tool but it uses a unique formula. And it’s going to build new plastic around two objects. So instead of gluing two flat surfaces together, you’re kind of bridging the space between them. It’s really amazing. And then what happens is once you apply the Bondic, it cures because you put a UV light on it. And that’ll sort of bond it and cure it. Then you can sand it and polish it and file it. You could shape it. And you can even paint it if you need to to make a flawless repair. It’s really awesome.
Their website is NotAGlue.com. It’s a prize pack 120 bucks. And I am telling you, you will be hooked once you get your hands on it.
TOM: That website, again, is NotAGlue.com.
Well, if your dining room is more of a space you just pass through to get to the kitchen and doesn’t show very well or really, if you’ve got any other kind of sort of nondescript space, well, you can change that pretty easily by adding wainscoting. It doesn’t take a lot of DIY skills to add wainscoting and it can be done in a weekend. And it can be enjoyed for years to come. But what is wainscoting?
Leslie? What is it?
LESLIE: Well, wainscoting is basically a decorative panel that goes on the lower part of your walls. Now, you can buy precut panels of wainscoting. It’s ready to go up right on your walls. There’s even some PVC options that are totally going to cut down on your maintenance. But if you do choose real wood, it’s a good idea to let it sit in your house for about 48 hours before you install it. Now, that’s going to allow it time to acclimate to all of the conditions in your house so it’s not going to shrink or expand. It’ll do whatever it’s doing before you put it up.
TOM: And think about other materials that you can use for wainscoting beside PVC. For example, you could use an old door. Very often, we’ve seen old doors being used, placed horizontally along the floor. They go up about 36 inches. They make a really attractive panel on a room. That sort of material can really add some character, some charm to that space. But either way, this is a project you can probably knock out and enjoy in one weekend. It’ll make a real impact on your home.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
LESLIE: Matt in Oregon, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MATT: We have just picked up a 1970s ranch home. And the kitchen needs to be totally gutted and remodeled. It looks like a kitchen from the 70s. And my question is – we need to take down a wall, maybe two. And I was curious if there’s a way to find out, quick and easy, if a wall is load-bearing or not.
TOM: So, you can’t use words like “quick” and “easy” and “load-bearing” and “structural” kind of in the same sentence. They just don’t work well together.
MATT: Oh, I was hoping it was going to be easy.
TOM: Well, I can just tell you, in general, if you have a ranch, OK, the walls that are parallel with the front and the rear walls are usually load-bearing. And there’s going to be one wall that goes down the middle of the ranch and that wall is almost always load-bearing because the roof rafters are sort of pitched – are angled to be right above it. And the ceiling joists will cross on that wall.
But because it’s a ranch, there’s not a whole lot of weight above that. So, just because it is load-bearing doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to it. You just have to do it correctly, which means that you can’t just take it away. You have to build something there to support the weight that it was carrying to begin with. It’s a lot easier to do that in a ranch than it is in a two-story house, where you’re carrying the weight of a second floor.
MATT: Right. OK. Well, that gives us hope.
TOM: Happy that we could do that for you, Matt. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey. Are you staring at a wallpaper that you just hate, but you do not even want to think about the hassles of removing it? Well, you might be able to just paint it. We’re going to have the best way that you can get that project done, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And Leslie, it occurred to me that amid all this summer fun, we need to be really careful with kids when it comes to pools, right? I mean this is the season when the kids are outside having a good, old time. You need to, of course, have adult supervision. But you also need to have something we call “layers of protection.” What does this mean? It means that there are several layers a kid might have to get through to get unsupervised access to that pool.
For example, you could have a pool gate. Special type of fencing, by the way. Very small slats. Very small squares if it’s chain-link. Special type of gate. Has a spring closure on it. You’ve got to have the right fencing. You ought to have pool alarms. If you’ve got doors that are between your house and the pool, those doors should have alarms. Take advantage of all that technology. Keep your pool safe and keep your kids safe, as well.
LESLIE: Yeah. I think it’s important to remember, guys, that drowning is silent. It’s not noisy like you think it is. And it takes seconds. So really, really protect your kids. Protect the pool, guys.
Alright. Let’s jump into our e-mail bag and see what’s going on. People are posting online. I’ve got one here from Sylvie in Kansas. And she writes: “Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this. Can you paint over wallpaper? I swear previous owners of my home put wallpaper straight on the drywall with no primer, which makes it difficult to remove. What’s the worst that could happen if I paint over it?”
TOM: Well, I think the key here is adhesion. And as long as it’s stuck on really good, you don’t have to worry about it peeling off. And I hear you. Look, getting wallpaper off is really, really hard. If you want to give it one good college try, what I would suggest you do is to go rent a wallpaper steamer. That is always the best way to try to get wallpaper off. All the wallpaper-stripping solutions have minimal impact. But if you use a steamer, you have a better chance of getting it off right the first time.
If you do want to paint over it, I think that’s OK. But like all sort of uncertain surfaces, you must prime first. Remember, primer is kind of the glue that makes the paint stick. It gives you the adhesion to that substrate, to that surface. So clean it, prime it and then put another coat of paint above it. And that last coat of paint, always buy the best paint you can afford because it’s got a better flow rate, it’s got more colorant in it. It’s called” titanium dioxide” and it’s just going to lay on there nice. It’ll be washable, as well.
So prime it and then put a good-quality flat paint. Flat’s key because otherwise, you’ll see – every kind of imperfection in the wall will pick up some of that glare from the lighting in the room and it’ll look terrible. So, primer and flat paint and good to go.
LESLIE: Sylvie, I’m going to tell you this, though: you’re going to see the seams. They’re going to be obvious once it’s painted. And if your wallpaper has any texture to it at all, you’re going to notice that, as well. So paint, try it, see what you think. But then I want you to call me back if you don’t like it.
Alright. Next, Jack from Mississippi writes: “I recently redid my kitchen. I have a new stove and I seem to have more of a greasy film on everything after I cook. Is this a ventilation problem? Would installing a better fan help?”
TOM: Well, certainly, it would. And there is a wide variety of quality on vent fans that you need to kind of consider. What I would suggest you do is A) make sure that your vent fan is vented out, because sometimes vent fans are re-vented, basically, back into the house. Those are called “recirculating fans.” So you want to make sure it’s vented out and you do want to buy one that has a really strong CFM. You can compare the CFM: the cubic foot per minute. That’s how you measure how powerful the fan is. And make sure you buy one that is of the strongest quality.
LESLIE: And you know what, Jack? I think you’re just cooking more because you’re really happy with your new kitchen.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Hey, thank you for spending this summer day with us. We hope we’ve given you some good tips and ideas on how to make your money pit more beautiful. Remember, we are available to you, 24/7, online at MoneyPit.com, on our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Pinterest page. We would love to hear from you. We’d love to see pictures of your projects and help you out any way we can.
Until next time, 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.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2016 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.)