Cleaning Grout, Creating Cedar Closets and Lawn Care Tips
TRANSCRIPT FOR JULY 27, 2009, HOUR 1
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
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: Before you pick up the hammer, before you pick up the saw and tackle your next home improvement project, we want you to pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’re here to help you get the job done, to solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas because we’ve been there, we’ve done that. We’ve made some mistakes along the way and we’re going to prevent you from doing that. We’ve got the injuries to prove it; some that we’ll admit to and others that we’d rather just keep to ourselves. (Leslie chuckles) But nonetheless, we’re here to help you get those jobs done the right way the first time. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, does the smell of cedar bring fond memories back of, say, your grandma’s closet? Well, if you want to recreate those memories, we’ve got a great tip for you this hour about how to build your own cedar closet. It’s a lot easier than it used to be.
LESLIE: Yeah, and the tools are a lot better today as well. (chuckles)
LESLIE: And we’re also going to tell you about, this hour, you know, your bathroom; it’s really only as clean as the grout that’s in that bathroom because dirty, dingy grout can really be a downer. So later this hour, we’re going to have our friends Kevin O’Connor and Tom Silva from This Old House stop by to talk regrouting tips with us.
TOM: And if your lawn looks more like a hay field than a putting green, we’ve got some mowing tips that will bring it back to life.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a prize from our friends over at Villa Deco. It’s a do-it-yourself crown molding kit that is going to make adding this finishing touch to any room so simple. It’s worth 240 bucks. That’s a lot of molding.
TOM: It sure is, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Sharon in North Carolina has some unwanted visitors in her house that truly freak me out – bats. (Tom chuckles) Sharon, what’s going on?
SHARON: Well, my husband and I – in our house, the bats have managed to take up residence in the roof ventilation area on the east side of our house.
SHARON: We were wondering how to get them out of there.
TOM: Well, first of all, you need to repair your vents so that there’s not an easy way in. And then, secondly, what I would do is install what’s called a bat door. You’re going to need to create some space somewhere in the siding so that the bats can get out and you cover that with like a netting; sort of like a bird netting that’s attached on the top and the sides but sort of open at the bottom. What’ll happen is the bats will go out that hole and they’ll go outside but they won’t be able to find their way back in again. And that’s the way you kind of welcome them back out of your attic space.
SHARON: OK. I appreciate your time in helping us with that.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bats are just unsettling. (Tom chuckles) I read somewhere once that there’s something with their wings and if they encounter you, they can get stuck in your hair. And the whole idea of a bat getting stuck in my hair freaks me out.
TOM: (overlapping voices) I think bats are – I think a bat would probably be more afraid of you, Leslie, than you would be afraid of it.
LESLIE: I’m not so sure. (Tom chuckles)
Bruce in Michigan is calling in with help on a painting project. What can we do for you today?
BRUCE: Yes, I painted my floor with an etching primer and then put paint for basement use on the floor and it chipped up.
BRUCE: What can I do to prevent this in the future?
TOM: Well, the best paints today for basement floors are the epoxy paints. They’re two parts. They’re a chemical cure. And so once they actually cure, they really do lock in tight to the floor surface. In this case, you’re probably going to have to strip up the paint that you have right there because you can’t put good paint over paint that’s not sticking because it’s …
LESLIE: Yeah, it won’t stick to it.
TOM: Yeah, it’s kind of like putting it on top of a Teflon surface; it’s just going to come up again. So what you’re going to have to do here, Bruce, is you’re going to have to remove the original coat of paint and then I would use an epoxy paint; it’s available from a bunch of good manufacturers: QUIKRETE makes one; Rust-Oleum makes one. Good-quality product; good process where you clean the surface then you mix the paint, you put it down, then you use a color chip which is nice because it sort of hides the dirt. And once you’re done, it cures pretty quickly. Also available for garage floors, too.
BRUCE: OK. Well, that answered my question.
TOM: Alright, Bruce. Well, 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. Can you believe it? We are flying through summer, so if you’ve still got some things on your home improvement to-do list that you want to tackle before Labor Day, pick up the phone and give us a call because we are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we can help you get all of those projects done before the summer ends. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, if you think it’s been way too hot to get out there and cut the grass, I’ve got some good news for you: your grass agrees with you. (Leslie chuckles) You shouldn’t be cutting it too frequently this summer. We’ll tell you why when we come back.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win enough Villa Deco crown molding to crown just about any room in your house. Now, this crown molding that we’re giving way, they’re actually made from high-density architectural foam; so they’re super-lightweight, they’re strong, they’re really easy to cut and they’re super-simple to install – you don’t need a hammer, you don’t need nails.
Now let me tell you, I used this Villa Deco crown molding on this pilot I shot for A&E and everybody laughed at me when these boxes came. They’re like, “It’s foam. What are you going to do with this?” And it went up so beautifully. I mean it glues up with a bead of caulk. There are no nails. You cut it with a miter box and a handsaw. And when it was up, everybody was eating their words. They’re like, “You know what? This is gorgeous.”
So get in it to win it. Ask us your question. We’re giving away a prize pack worth 240 bucks. If you want to check it out online, go to DIYCrown.com and they’re offering a special, limited-time discount offer exclusively for our Money Pit listeners and that website is DIYCrown.com. Or pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Well, if you’ve been thinking now that it’s a little too hot to get outside and cut the grass – even though your wife or your husband has been begging you to do that – I’ve got some good news for you: you probably shouldn’t be cutting it that frequently. In hot, dry weather, grass often goes into a semi-dormant state. It’ll come back when the weather conditions improve. So you don’t want to cut your lawn right now more than about once a week. If you cut too frequently, it means the grass actually is going to lose more moisture from the cut tips and the mower wheels can actually leave brown stripes because the grass is already very, very stressed.
Also, it’s best to keep the grass a little bit longer in the hottest parts of the summer – which, of course, is right now; so a good mowing height is about two-and-a-half to three inches. Cut any more than that and you’re really doing more harm that good.
So, for more ideas just like that on maybe how to get out of some of your household chores, pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Anything to get out of a home improvement project, Tom. I see where you’re going with this.
TOM: (chuckling) Alright, let’s get back to the phones. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Joan in Louisiana, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOAN: Yeah, I didn’t quite back up far enough for my garage door to come down the right way.
TOM: (laughing) OK. Alright.
JOAN: It kind of buckled.
JOAN: The other garage door is the old kind that has the springs and the roller.
JOAN: So we’re wanting to replace both doors.
JOAN: OK, which would be the best? Like the steel – the steel insulated – or the steel insulation steel? Well, I realize what’s best but what do you think?
TOM: Well, let me ask you a question, Joan. Is your garage heated or cooled?
TOM: Then why do you want to insulate it? You don’t have to insulate it. The insulation – and a garage is an unconditioned space; so the thermal barrier is the walls and the doors between the garage and the rest of the house; it’s not the garage door. So there’s really no reason to insulate the garage door. So take that out of the equation.
TOM: You know what I always used to see people do when I was inspecting houses? They would hang a tennis ball from the ceiling of the garage …
JOAN: Yes, I’ve seen that, too.
TOM: … and they knew that when they drove in and the tennis ball hit the windshield it was time to stop. (chuckles)
LESLIE: They were good.
JOAN: Well, that will be our next deal once we get the new doors put up. Thank …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright, new garage door and two new tennis balls for Joan. (Leslie chuckles) Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: At least she was honest.
TOM: That’s right. She owned up to her little incident.
LESLIE: That’s funny.
Yeah, I remember when my sister was learning how to drive, we had this Volare station wagon and I was a kid and she backed right into the garage door when it was down and we were coming up the driveway and punctured this big hole in it. And we quickly – I remember my mom grabbed the repairman and had the piece of wood repaired and the paint done on it and I remember my …
TOM: Oh, before your dad found out?
LESLIE: Right before my dad came home from work that night. (Tom laughs) And I remember my dad walking up the driveway and like putting his hand on the garage door in the exact spot. Like he knew, he sensed it; and he came in with brown paint on his hand. It was like, “Is there (inaudible at 0:09:42.8)?” It was funny. She was honest.
Joe in Iowa needs some help getting rid of termites. Tell us what’s going on.
JOE: Well, doing a little bit of work underneath the back deck and lifted up some old boards that were laying underneath there and found a little nest of termites and eggs. The house has a history of having a little bit of termite damage around it.
JOE: And I was curious – I’ve heard you talk about Termidor before on your program but only exterminators are allowed to spray it, from what I understand.
JOE: So I was wondering if there’s a product on the market that I could self-apply that would help me out.
LESLIE: It’s not going to work as well.
TOM: Yeah, definitely not going to work as well and not that I’m aware of. There are some baiting systems that are do-it-yourself and I’m trying to recall the company that makes it. It might be Spectracide.
LESLIE: The baiting systems are something that you sort of pepper around the yard, Tom? They’re sort of little places that they kind of come to and then get the treatment?
TOM: Yeah, conceptually …
JOE: Yeah, it’s a little plastic cap with some wood – treated wood in it. Yep, I’ve seen those at the hardware stores before.
TOM: Right. Conceptually, what happens is that you wait for the termites to find this and then once they find it, you replace the wood with a piece of material that has termidicide in it and then they take the termidicide back to the nest. But it takes a long time, you have to monitor them regularly and I really think that using a product like Termidor is the quickest, most effective way to be sure that you get them once, you get them right and they’re not going to come back again.
See, the reason that you use this product is because it’s an undetectable product. That means that termites don’t know it’s there. They live in the soil and they live deep in the soil and when the product is in the soil, they go through it; they get it on their bodies and they take it back to the nest. I’ve used Termidor now in two houses; been very happy with it and haven’t had any recurrence after we did the application.
JOE: OK. So, sounds like it’s worth the investment to have an exterminator come on and apply it then, huh?
TOM: I think it is because, I’ll tell you, those termites will keep coming back and they can find a lot of ways in.
TOM: Joe, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Vince in Delaware needs some help with a staining project gone bad. What happened?
VINCE: I stained my deck with elliptic (ph) stain …
VINCE: … and I splashed it up on my siding.
TOM: Uh-oh, you were a sloppy stainer.
VINCE: Yes, I am; I’m the most sloppy painter there is. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) I splashed it up and then I wiped it off with a rag, but there’s the tan stain on my yellow siding.
TOM: What kind of siding was that? Did you say aluminum?
VINCE: Aluminum siding, yes sir.
TOM: Yeah, you’re going to have to paint it, my friend. You know, I don’t – you can try a slight abrasive. You know what you might want to try is some compound from an auto parts store; from an auto – like a Pep Boys; because that’s a very slight abrasive in it like you would use if you were compounding your car finish. You may be able to abrade just enough of that old stain off to bring some color back. But the aluminum siding is probably – the paint is probably fairly worn on that anyway, so you may have to just repaint it. But you couldn’t hurt it by seeing if you could get a little bit off first with an abrasive cleanser or a compound.
LESLIE: Sue in Utah needs some help in the kitchen. What can we do for you?
SUE: I purchased a home with a travertine floor. The home is 10 years old. The travertine floor is original.
SUE: The grouting is coming out. They’re 12×12 squares. It’s got a very dull look and there’s chipping along the edges because the grouting is coming out and I’d like to know what to do.
LESLIE: Well, this is a situation where you’re going to want to remove the rest of the grout as best you can just to sort of give you a nice, even surface in the grouted areas so that you can go ahead and regrout the flooring. Because if you try to add – Tom, if she tries to add some new grout on top of the old will it adhere as well as you would like it to?
TOM: It probably won’t stick and you definitely would have a color issue.
SUE: OK, what do I remove all the grout with?
TOM: A grout saw. It’s a device that can either be attached to a drill that will grind it out or there’s a hand version as well. And once you get it regrouted, you mentioned that the travertine is rather dull. There’s a good website that has a lot of products dedicated specifically to taking care of those natural surfaces. It’s called Stone Care – StoneCare.com.
TOM: And they have a number of products that can help freshen that surface up and make it look better again.
LESLIE: Gary in New Hampshire is remodeling his basement. What’s going on in the project?
GARY: You guys have a great show. I listen to it all the time.
TOM: Thanks, Gary.
GARY: I’m remodeling the basement and I’d like to, you know, put up studs. And I’m not sure if I should use a concrete sealer and/or use a poly – you know, like plastic poly-vinyl to put up against the wall before I put the studs up.
TOM: Alright, a couple of things. First of all, do you have any basement moisture problems or humidity problems?
TOM: Alright. Well, what I would do is I would, first of all, make sure we look outside the house that this not going to become a problem; that we have gutters and downspouts that are present, that are extended out away from the foundation; then soil, also, that slopes away from the wall. I want you to do the basics because I don’t want this to be a problem later.
Secondly, what I would do is I would use a foundation wall paint and I would paint the walls because this will stop some of the evaporation of moisture through the walls. It’s not going to stop a lot of water that wants to get through if you had a gutter that got overflowing or something like that, but the foundation wall paint will stop the normal soil moisture that will come through.
Next, I would make sure that I install the studs. If you’re going to use wood studs or metal, I would keep them, you know, a few inches away from the wall; maybe six inches away from the wall. I wouldn’t go directly against the wall.
LESLIE: Because you need ventilation behind it.
TOM: Well, I don’t want – you certainly don’t want it to be attached to the wall because that’s mold food; especially if it’s wood. But I think a little bit of space is good for ventilation and, in fact, a little trick of the trade is you can take like a heating return register – which is basically just sort of a grate with slots in it – and put two low and two high on each wall so you get air that goes behind and sort of circulates and comes out the other register.
LESLIE: Do you want the low and high above each other to create that convective loop or stagger or …?
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, I would put them right above and below each other so that you get some air flow behind it. And that’s how I would do it.
LESLIE: And you know what else, Gary? You can use a drywall product that’s made specifically for basements or moisture areas. Georgia-Pacific has one called Dens Armor which is fiberglass-faced instead of paper-faced; so that then eliminates another source of mold food by getting rid of the paper. Finishes the same way, costs a little bit more but I mean it’s ideal for the space.
TOM: Now, if you don’t want to go through all of that trouble, you know there are some basement finishing systems out there that are kind of like lock-together systems. But they are pretty pricey. But they go up in like a day.
LESLIE: Jim in Washington has a question about tankless water heaters. What can we do for you?
JIM: Well, I’m planning on remodeling my home in the near future and the water heater now – it’s a propane heater – is about 20 years old, so I’m expecting it just to go at any minute.
TOM: That’s probably a reasonable expectation. What kind of water heater is it?
JIM: It’s white and it’s old. (chuckles) (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
TOM: What’s the fuel, though? What’s the fuel, Jim?
JIM: Oh, I’m sorry. It is propane.
TOM: It’s propane. OK.
LESLIE: Propane works for tankless, right?
TOM: Yeah, it sure does. Tankless water heaters would be a really good option for you. That’s the high-tech way of the future and they work fantastic. You have a lot of advantages because, first of all, they only heat the water when you need it, which is a huge advantage over the old-fashioned water heaters that heated a lot …
TOM: Yeah, it heated continuously including when you don’t need it.
LESLIE: They take up far less room.
JIM: Fantastic. Yeah.
TOM: And you can control the temperature very easily. Usually, there’s a thermostat where you can dial it up and dial it down very, very simply and they do run on propane. So I think tankless water heaters would be a great option. There’s a website I want you to take a look at. It’s SmarterHotWater.com.
JIM: Got it.
TOM: SmarterHotWater.com. That’s the website for the Rheem folks who have been a sponsor of the program over the last year and they make a really good product. And they’ve got a very informative site there; you can learn about the different options and try to figure out which size you’d need for your house.
JIM: Fantastic. Appreciate the information.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Thanks so much for being part of The Money Pit.
Hey, pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you are looking around your bathroom and you see nothing but dingy grout. Because if you’ve got it in your house, then you know that that dingy grout can really make your bathroom actually seem a whole heck of a lot dirtier than it actually is. So up next, we’re going to head to Boston to the home of This Old House where I’m sure the grout is always super sparkly clean. (Tom chuckles) We’re going to have host Kevin O’Connor and general contractor Tom Silva join us with tips to give your tile a fresh start, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Bill in South Carolina needs some help painting the siding of his house. What can we do for you?
BILL: Yes, we have cedar siding on our house and the house was built in 1994. And the part of the house that’s cedar siding, where the paint was applied, is now peeling and this is the second time it’s peeling. The paint is not peeling completely but it’s peeling in spots. What can I do to stop this? What do I need to do to use as an undercoat?
TOM: Bill, when the house was built, do you know what kind of building paper was put under the cedar siding?
BILL: I really don’t know. I think it was a standard Styrofoam half-inch insulation. And I noticed that the part that’s peeling is in direct sunlight. The rest of it is painted; it’s not direct sunlight, doesn’t peel.
TOM: Interesting. Well, you’re certainly going to get a little more wear and tear when the UV is exposed to it. Do you know if the siding was back-primed before it was installed? Because, typically, the installation recommendations for cedar siding that’s going to be painted is that you back-prime the siding. In other words, you prime the back side of the siding that you don’t see to be able to control the moisture and the humidity inside the board. Do you know if that was done?
BILL: I’m sure it was not.
TOM: OK. Well, that might be part of the problem. You know, at this point, all you’re going to be able to do, Bill, is to take out that – try to sand out the peely part and then to prime it with an oil-based primer like a KILZ or something of that nature that’s going to give you good adhesion. If it’s a fairly limited area and you’re able to cut out the piece, then what you simply could do is back-prime the repair piece so that this particular section that peels a lot has the proper preparation.
BILL: Do they make a stain available to do that? A white stain?
TOM: Yeah, certainly there’s white stain available but you can’t put solid-color stain on top of wood that’s already been painted.
BILL: I see.
LESLIE: Without stripping the paint.
TOM: Right, if you had told us that it wasn’t painted, we probably would be recommending solid-color stain because it doesn’t peel.
BILL: I see. Thank you so much, Tom.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if the grout in your kitchen or your bathroom has never, ever looked as good as the day you installed it no matter what you do to clean it, it might be time to think about removing it and starting all over from scratch.
TOM: And doing that project is not as hard as you might think. To show you how, we welcome our friends, host Kevin O’Connor and general contractor Tom Silva, from TV’s This Old House.
Welcome, guys. So, where do we start?
KEVIN: Tom and Leslie, thanks for having us.
TOM SILVA: Great to be here.
KEVIN: And if the ceramic tile in your kitchen or bathroom is in good shape but it just seems tired or dingy, simply regrouting the tile can make a big difference.
TOM SILVA: That’s right. But the first step is to remove the grout and that could be hard. You can use a hand scraper; you can use a rotary tool or even a multi-tool. After you’ve cleaned out the grout, now you have to clean the surface of the tile. Use a vinegar-and-water solution and really wash off the tile well. Then you have to take clean water and remove the vinegar-and-water solution.
TOM SILVA: Now you’re ready for the grout. You want to mix it up. Now, if you have a grout line that is, let’s say, an eighth of an inch or less, you may want to use an unsanded grout. It’ll go into that joint easier. Sometimes I mix a latex additive, instead of water, to the grout when I’m mixing it. It makes it a little more flexible and more sticky.
KEVIN: Got it. So, once the tile is prepped and the grout is all mixed, what about some tips for applying the grout?
TOM SILVA: Well, I apply the grout with a rubber float holding about 45 degrees with the joint and then rub it across the tile, pushing it into place. The trick is to let it dry but don’t let it dry too much because it really becomes hard to get off. So you want to take a clean sponge with some water and continually wipe off the tile, but you want to be careful you don’t pull the grout out of the joint.
TOM: Tom, what do you think about grout sealer? Is that a good idea?
TOM SILVA: In some cases it’s a good idea. You don’t worry about wine spilling. Like a countertop; you definitely want to seal that. That grout can be porous.
TOM: Do you ever spill wine just to test your sealer?
TOM SILVA: No, I don’t spill any wine. (Tom and Kevin laugh)
TOM: Tom Silva, Kevin O’Connor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: Thank you, Tom. It’s good to be here.
LESLIE: That’s a great tip.
Hey, if you’re convinced now that this is a project you can do yourself, there is a step-by-step video to show you exactly how on ThisOldHouse.com. Now This Old House is sponsored by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
TOM: Up next, a cedar closet is a great way to keep moths away from your clothing and you can’t beat that fresh cedar scent. We’ve got a great idea for cedaring a closet that will keep everything in place for years to come, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. You can count on Therma-Tru for beautiful, reliable and easy-to-install entry doors. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974; because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the do-it-yourself crown molding kit from Villa Deco. This is a very cool kit. It will actually cover 100 linear feet and the Villa Deco crown molding comes in a smooth, bright-white finish that is paint-ready and includes precut corners; which, of course, is the most difficult thing to do when you’re working with the wood version of the molding.
LESLIE: It’s true. And you know what? When I used this on my project for A&E, when I was ordering it from the Villa Deco folks, they asked me, “How many inside corners? How many outside corners?” And I told them and then they sent me enough lengths of the molding. Everything was labeled exactly so I knew which one to what corner and exactly where. And if you even go as far as to give them the exact measurements, they’ll just map everything out. Of course, I didn’t go that far but it was fantastic. So I can’t speak highly enough about it. It looked great.
TOM: Well, this prize is worth 240 bucks. You can go to DIYCrown.com for a special, limited-time discount also exclusively for Money Pit listeners. Again, that’s DIYCrown.com. Or pick up the phone right now and call us for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rick in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICK: Yes, I have a built-on patio roof to my house. It’s made of fiberglass and when it rains real heavily the water backs up against the house and I was wondering if an improved gutter system would make a difference.
TOM: Well, the patio is like a second-floor patio that you walk out on? Is that what happens?
RICK: Yes, sir.
TOM: Hey, Rick, tell me exactly how the water is flowing. How exactly is it backing up?
RICK: The water flows over the middle of the roof and it builds up against the house. And it does have a gutter system currently on it.
RICK: I was just wondering if a bigger gutter system – more gutter or a big gutter would help get the water off the roof.
TOM: Well, it certainly would. The standard gutter is a K-style five-inch gutter but you can put a bigger gutter on there. You can go with a six-inch gutter. It actually will hold a lot more water. Gutters are designed so that one downspout will handle 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface.
TOM: And so if you have more roof than that going into a single downspout, you’re going to get a backup. Of course, I’m assuming you checked to make sure there’s no blockage there.
TOM: But if it’s clean and free-flowing – it just has so much water going into it that it’s overflowing – then yeah, you can put a bigger gutter in there and it’s something that any gutter company can install for you.
RICK: OK, great. Thank you very much for that.
TOM: Rick, we hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, pavers certainly make a gorgeous driveway or patio or even a front entrance walkway and Nancy in Florida needs some help with her project. How can we help?
NANCY: Hi there. I’ve got cement pavers around our pool here in Florida and we have a problem with mold and weeds growing up between the pavers. Do you have a suggestion of something that can permanently help us with the mold and maybe something to seal them so that the weeds don’t come up as much?
LESLIE: Yes, Tom and I found a great new product at the Builders Show this year.
TOM: Absolutely. There is a product that’s brand new out from QUIKRETE; it’s called PowerLoc and it’s actually known as a jointing sand. It’s a brand new product that has never been out there before to solve this very, very problem; where you have weeds and moss that grows up between the bricks. And the way you work is, basically, you clean that area out and then you sweep this jointing sand in and then you run some water over it and it basically solidifies.
NANCY: QUIKRETE PowerLoc.
TOM: That’s right.
TOM: QUIKRETE PowerLoc is a jointing sand designed to solve exactly this problem; in fact, Leslie and I just found it at this year’s International Builders Show.
NANCY: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mel in New Jersey is dealing with some solar issues. What can we do for you?
MEL: Hi. I have a 22-year-old deck house that has a delightful solar conservatory in the front of the house – sunroom.
MEL: And it has six approximately 4×8 dual pane windows, about eight feet up and 30 degrees off the vertical.
TOM: Are they curved or are they flat?
MEL: They are flat.
MEL: One of them has moisture in it.
TOM: Right, the panes have failed.
MEL: I can’t find anyone locally, or even non-locally, that can deal with this. I had one fellow out, based on an ad. There’s an outfit called Window Matrix that claims to be able to repair the dual pane windows.
TOM: No, you can’t repair them. You have to replace them. You need to find a source to have those glass panels remade.
TOM: The reason they’re leaking is because there’s two panes of glass that are assembled under a vacuum and that material that surrounds them, sort of that gasket in between, is called swiggle.
LESLIE: Which is my favorite word.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a great home improvement word.
TOM: Swiggle, right. And over the years, the swiggle will fail and then you’ll get a little moisture in there and that will form condensation. Now, the good news is …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and create the fog that you can’t clean.
MEL: (overlapping voices) Right.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it’s dirty but it’s not leaky in terms of water getting into your house and it does maybe affect the energy efficiency. But other than that, it’s a pretty cosmetic issue. But what you’re going to need to find is a glazer that can actually remanufacture these glass panels for you.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever had a retro moment – you know, when you’re remembering that smell of fresh cedar maybe from a closet or a hope chest that your parents or even your grandparents might have had when you were a kid – well, today it’s easier than ever to get that retro feeling back. In fact, one of our listeners wrote in with a trick of the trade to make that project super easy.
TOM: That’s right. Scott Suss wrote us and said, “Ten years ago, I bought my first home. One of the improvements I’m proudest of was cedaring the closet in the master bedroom. I used Liquid Nails for it and it couldn’t have been easier or faster because of the Liquid Nails product. Every plank is still solidly in place to this very day and everyone is pretty jealous of my closet and asks where the nails or screws are. Fact is, there are no nails, there are no screws because I put the whole thing together with Liquid Nails and it came out fantastic.”
LESLIE: I like that he even wrote, “Thank you, Liquid Nails.” And it’s true; the cedar is so gorgeous, you don’t want to sort of mar it with a nail or a screw and then the filler never looks right on cedar.
That’s a great tip, Scott, and thanks so much for sharing what a fantastic job Liquid Nails did for your project.
Now, if you have a Liquid Nails story to share, please post it at MoneyPit.com and if we use your story on the air like we did with Scott’s, we’re going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack worth 65 bucks.
TOM: Up next, it’s one of the most popular topics on this show; questions about wood floor. We’ve got an e-mail here from a listener who wants to know, “Is it a project that you can do yourself?” And the answer is it depends. We’ll help you sort it out when we come back.
TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: You can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or head on over to MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us an e-mail question. Got a lot that came in this week. Let’s get right to it.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one here from Shy (sp) in Brooklyn who must be one of those hipster Brooklynites and he writes: “My wife and I have a lot of free time over the summer” – (chuckling) That’s good – and we’re considering putting in wood floors in our living room which is about 300 square feet. Problem is, we’ve done some light projects around the house but we’ve never done any floors but we’d like to. Where can we get tips on how to do it or should we just hire a pro?”
TOM: Well, if you’re reasonably handy, Shy (sp), I think a 300-square-foot floor project is just about the perfect size for doing this on your own. I will tell you that the wood floor products have gotten a lot easier over the years. Now it used to be if you wanted to put in wood floors you had to put in three-quarter by two-and-a-quarter hardwood floor that was tongue-in-groove; they had to have a base to it; it had to be toenailed in so that you hid the nails; you needed special tools; you needed to have some pretty strong knees and – because you had to sort of tighten each board together as you went. That’s all behind us now. Now, most of the wood is all prefinished and it locks together. The joint between the boards still is tongue-and-groove but it’s kind of a locking tongue-and-groove.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like a snap-and-lock.
TOM: Yeah, so it’s kind of like putting together a puzzle piece. So I think it’s definitely a doable project. The floors today that are prefinished have an aluminum oxide surface on them and that makes them incredibly durable and incredibly tough. The only real carpentry is when you get to the edges and you just have to make sure that you cut it properly, leave a little bit of space between the baseboard molding and the floor and then use a piece of shoe molding to cover that gap and you’ll be very, very proud of what you accomplish by doing this project on your own.
LESLIE: I say try it, go for it. Why not? Plus, Tom and I are pretty close to Brooklyn, so we can always come by and help you out. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
Alright, now we’ve got one here from Naomi in North Carolina who writes: “Does it save money to adjust your thermostat up to 77 degrees in the summer and down to 62 in the winter? Or would it be the same if you just kept the temp at a comfortable 72 in the summer and 69 in the winter? Also, is it beneficial to close the vents in rooms that you don’t use, that don’t have doors; like a dining room next to an open living room? I think it would be best to only close vents in rooms that you can shut off.”
TOM: OK, first things first. In terms of setting a steady temperature as opposed to running an up-and-down, I think a clock thermostat is the right way to go. But a clock thermostat is going to work differently in the winter and the summer. In the summer, you’re almost better off keeping it within a few degrees – very, very close to consistent temperature – because it takes a lot of time for a hot house to cool back down again. Plus, if you’re not running the air conditioner all the time, you’re not going to dehumidify the air enough to make it comfortable. So, in the summer, I like to keep it like around 78 when I’m home and around maybe 82 when I’m not.
Now, in the wintertime, you certainly can drop the heat down significantly; setting it down to 62 may be a little bit chilly but maybe 63 or 64 when you’re asleep or when you’re not at home and then back up to 72 to 73 when you’re home. So more of a close to a 10-degree split there in the wintertime is OK. In the summer, though, it’s got to be a lot tighter together because of the humidity issue.
LESLIE: Yeah, but the benefit of a programmable thermostat, Naomi, is that you can set up the entire system; you can create a program for summer, create a program for winter and that will really help you keep everything on target and then not only will you feel more comfortable but you’ll notice an increase in savings as well. And it’s pretty simple to install one of these programmable thermostats. You can have a pro do it, you can do it yourself. Right, Tom?
TOM: Absolutely. Easy job to do and the manufacturers continue to be very good with the instructions and the programming actually has also gotten a lot easier. No more blinking lights.
LESLIE: You don’t need a teenager to do it. (chuckles)
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips to help educate and inspire you to tackle your next home improvement project. If you need more info, remember, you can call us any time of the day or night at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio, we will call you back the next time we are. And we’re always online at MoneyPit.com.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2009 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.