Clear Clutter and Donate for a Good Cause, Luxury Sheet Comparisons, Bob Vila visits The Money Pit and More
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: Happy February, everybody. Man, the year is moving right along, isn’t it?
LESLIE: Already. It always – January gets off to a slow start and then it zoom, takes off.
TOM: And then, you know, it’s going to be only weeks before we will start talking about spring home improvement projects. Then you’re really going to be getting going, so why not get it – get going early by calling us with that project that you have on your to-do list? We are here to help you get it done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
We’ve got our projects. We want to hear about your projects, because you are our project. We are here to help you, lend a hand. We’re not going to pick up the hammer or the saw but we’ll tell you how to get the best tools, how to get the best materials, how to get the job done right the first time so you won’t ever have to do it again. But you’ve got to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up this hour, if you’ve stopped making good on your resolutions to get organized this year, we understand.
LESLIE: That was fast.
TOM: We understand and we’ve got some ideas to help you clear clutter and help someone else at the very same time. Learn how your leftover stuff can actually help build homes, in just a few minutes, through a cool, new organization.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also ahead, do you want the luxurious feel of expensive sheets to cuddle up with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Well, we’ve got the low-down on comparing luxury sheets, to find out how to get the luxury that you want, on any budget.
TOM: And this hour, we’re also going to get some green building advice from the father of how-to TV and a very good friend to The Money Pit. Bob Vila will be stopping by in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re giving away a prize pack of ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. It’s worth 30 bucks and it’s enough to get you going on your next paint project; probably even enough to do the whole house.
TOM: So, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We want to hear your home improvement question.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Brian in Illinois has a question about the 70s choice of décor paneling. What can we do, Brian?
BRIAN: Well, I wonder if it’s a good idea to paint the brown paneling that’s in my father’s house or leave it as is or pull it out and drywall? We’re trying to sell it on the cheap; the house.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, one thing I would want to find out is whether the old paneling was glued to the walls or not. If you can pop off one section and it seems to come off pretty easily, then I would be tempted to remove it completely. You’re going to have to, then, just spackle nail holes and do a little bit of wall repair; a little wall surgery when it’s off. It’ll look better that way.
If it’s glued on, the answer is absolutely, positively don’t pull it off because you’ll pull all the paper of the drywall off with it. Then just paint it. But I’d like to know if it’s glued on or not and I’d make my decision based on that.
BRIAN: I think, from my touching it, it’s both; it’s got – it’s tacked up but also I think they put some strips of glue along it. It seems like it sticks in other spots, to the side where the nails are.
TOM: Well, that’s going to make it a really messy job to pull it down and if you do, you might end up having to skin all the drywall. Because if you pull that paper off, it’s just impossible.
LESLIE: Yeah but skinning the drywall isn’t a terribly difficult process, right?
TOM: Yeah but he wants to sell the house, so let’s get it down quick.
Is the entire house covered with this paneling, Brian?
BRIAN: No, just the family room and part of the kitchen. We’re trying to sell it for an estate, by my father.
TOM: Listen, why don’t you prime it and paint it? I don’t think that it’s going to be worth the aggravation of pulling it down then. But use a good-quality primer like an oil-based KILZ primer or something like that.
LESLIE: And you’d be surprised how crisp that paneling can look when it’s done in like a nice, glossy white.
BRIAN: Alright, guys. That’s helpful. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brian. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rosie in Missouri is having a gutter leakage issue. Tell us what’s going on.
ROSIE: I have a deck that extends all the way across the back of my house.
ROSIE: And I had a roof put over a partial section of the deck, just coming out of the sliding glass doors. And the gutter – they cut it off there and it’s butting up against the new roof but there’s nothing there to contain the water from leaking out.
TOM: So there’s no downspouts?
ROSIE: The downspout is at the opposite end of the house.
TOM: OK. So the end of the gutter is open? Is that correct?
ROSIE: That’s exactly it.
TOM: OK. So, that’s not a problem. You can buy a gutter cap. They sell them at all the home centers. And the gutter size is pretty standard. What you probably have is what’s called a 4-inch, K-style gutter. But the gutter caps are, you know, probably all of a buck and they press on to the end of the gutter. And the trick is that you caulk it in place. You don’t just press it on; you caulk it in, once it’s there, with some silicone.
ROSIE: OK. I’m just saying that the gutter is right up against my new roof.
ROSIE: So am I going to have to – I kind of think I know what you’re talking about but am I going to have to cut the gutter off?
LESLIE: So the end of the gutter butts right into the roofline?
ROSIE: That’s correct.
TOM: Yeah. Well, then – if they didn’t leave enough space for you to put a cap on it, then you’re going to have to cut back the gutter a little bit. And it’s a little tricky but you can do it with a hacksaw. But I’m only talking about maybe a ½-inch, because that’s all the space you’re going to need to slip in that end cap.
ROSIE: OK. And is there a special kind of caulk?
TOM: Silicone works the best.
ROSIE: Alright. Well, I certainly appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Rosie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: James in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JAMES: I’m restoring a 1926 funeral home and I’m wanting to put a beam underneath the second floor. And I built a beam that’s – it’s a 6×6 that is wrapped with 2x8s.
JAMES: And it’s 20-feet long and I wanted to know how many posts I would need to have under it to support it; if one at each end or one like a third of the way back from the end would hold it or if I was going to need more.
TOM: Well, the answer is it depends. What are you replacing, James? Why are you building this beam? Was there …?
JAMES: OK. I bought the building and somebody had taken it out. The reason I know is when I took the floor up, I found the footer that runs the length of the building. And the second floor, as all old buildings do, is not level and so I was going to jack it back up with the beam under it and put it in.
TOM: Well, the answer depends on how much weight it’s carrying and how much weight it’s carrying depends on the structure of the building. And it’s really not possible for us to give you the answer without knowing more information.
I would suggest that you consult with an architect, an engineer or at least your local code official before doing this. Secondly, taking a 6×6 and sandwiching it with a couple of more 2-by pieces is not always the best way to build a beam. There are several ways to build beams …
JAMES: Oh, I know a lam beam would be much better.
TOM: Well, a laminate beam or one that’s got a steel plate in it that’s called a flinch plate. There’s a lot of different ways to build it. The way you are suggesting is somewhat very unconventional. I realize it’s an old house and you’re probably giving it more than it had but we want to make sure that you do it once, you do it right, you don’t do it again.
And finally, to your point of jacking things up, bad idea. When you have an old building that sags like that, you generally don’t want to try to push it back up into place, because everything sags with it: the wires sag and stretch, the piping moves. And when you try to put this all back into alignment, chances are that you’re going to cause some damage, either in the wall structures or in the mechanical systems.
So you want to more think of this as an opportunity to preserve it exactly the way it is. OK, James?
JAMES: Right. OK.
TOM: Alright. 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 on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home repair, home improvement, home décor question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, I’ve got a great Valentine’s Day gift idea that you can enjoy with your honey all year long: luxury sheets.
LESLIE: Ah. But with the choices ranging from silk to bamboo, how do you know which ones to go with? We’re going to help you figure it all out, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil. Want hardwood floors but are on a budget? The affordable and feature-filled Skil Flooring Saw is just what you need for your installation project.
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. And you can reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now with your home repair, home improvement, décor. Whatever you are working on, we’re going to help you with that project. And if we answer your question on the air, you could win a ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape prize pack worth 30 bucks.
You’re going to get two rolls each of the ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Tape, Advanced Delicate Surface Tape with Edge-Lock Paint Line Protector and Advanced Multi-Surface with Edge-Lock Paint Line Protector. My goodness, this is really high-tech tape, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your answer and your chance to win.
Well, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the key foundations of health and well-being. One way to get better rest is by investing in high-quality, organic bedding. But with so many options, how do you know which type of luxury sheets will best suit your needs?
There are pros and cons of several types for you to consider, so let’s start with organic, Egyptian-cotton sheets. They are very soft and comfortable. They’re also machine washable with little to no shrinkage but they can wrinkle very easily.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, bamboo sheets are also really popular right now and the feeling is often compared to that of cashmere. Now, they’re also machine washable and they resist pilling but they can shrink and processing bamboo does require chemicals.
Now, another option is cultivated-silk sheets. These are legendary for their softness and luxury. They absorb perspiration and are naturally resistant to mold and mildew. They’re also naturally hypoallergenic and fire-retardant, so that’s great. But they’re kind of expensive and since silk traps heat, they can be uncomfortably warm. They’re also going to require special care in cleaning. When it comes to sheets, do you really want that?
TOM: If you want more detailed pros and cons, just Google “Money Pit luxury sheets.” We’ve got a great article in MoneyPit.com with all the tips you need to choose the right sheets for you.
LESLIE: Chris in Virginia is on the line with a cracking wall situation. Tell us about it.
CHRIS: Well, I just purchased a home in August and the basement was finished about four years ago.
CHRIS: And it’s like a bathroom, a family room and a bedroom downstairs. And the dividing wall between the bedroom and the family room – and the bedroom side of it looks like it’s cracking from top all the way to the bottom, basically, in the corner.
CHRIS: It seems like the wall is coming apart.
LESLIE: Is it just at the corner where the two walls meet or is it sort of zig-zagging its way?
CHRIS: Yes. No, no. It’s right there where it meets.
LESLIE: And the walls are finished in a drywall finish?
CHRIS: Yes, yes.
LESLIE: OK. Well, then that’s probably just the taping or the caulking, whatever was used to sort of combine those two surfaces together, which should have been mud and tape or fiberglass taping and spackle. Eventually, these things dry out, the houses move and they start to crack. You’re going to notice cracks around door frames, around windows; anywhere you could possible get movement.
So that’s really fixable and you want to fix it with that meshy fiberglass tape and you want to sort of put it so that it splits the corner; put the middle right on the corner and then halfsies on either side. And then go ahead and cover that over with spackle or joint compound, whatever you like to work with. And you want to start with a thin layer and sort of build up in layers and work out – sort of feather it out, sanding in between. This way, you’re going to get nice coverage and because of the fiberglass, it’s going to move with the movement of the house and you’ll see that crack return way later than you would if you did traditional tape.
CHRIS: OK. Great.
LESLIE: Madeline in North Carolina needs some help with a marble countertop. Tell us what’s going on.
MADELINE: Yes. I have a bathroom that my – I had housekeeping come by and for some reason, when she left, I noticed that the countertop was dull. And I don’t know – I’ve tried cleaning it with the over-the-counter cleaners from the hardware store they recommended. I put hot water. Nothing seems to – it just looks awful.
LESLIE: And this was from a one-time cleaning job? It wasn’t like this person was continually using this product over time and it’s then dulled? This was like boom, it happened instantaneous?
MADELINE: Well, actually, she was here several times, so I really didn’t notice it because I don’t use this bathroom as often. Is there anything I can do?
TOM: Madeline, there is a website that specializes in products for taking care of stone. It’s called StoneCare.com. And they have a cleaner called Marbalex, which we’ve gotten some really good feedback on. So that’s one product that you might want to give a try.
LESLIE: And generally, with marble, I mean over time because it’s such a porous surface – even though it’s a hard surface, it’s one of the more porous ones – it needs to be resealed and have a new finish applied to it. So it could just be that you’re getting to that point.
But it should be something that lasts and lasts, so you want to make sure that it is sealed and does have the finish on it. Because if you spill, I don’t know, some sort of makeup or if you have a guest in the bath and they bring a glass of wine at a party and it spills, that could get absorbed right into that marble and just never come out.
MADELINE: Oh. So either I go to the StoneCare.com. If they can’t help me, I would have to redo this because the house is like two years old.
LESLIE: Not redo it, just have – well, two years old – is it a light-color marble?
MADELINE: Yes. It’s a beige color.
LESLIE: Light-color marble needs to be resealed more frequently than a dark color. They generally recommend every one to two years.
MADELINE: OK. So I should see if I can get it – the dullness – off and if I can’t, what would I do?
LESLIE: You’ll be able to refinish it. If you can’t do it with a product yourself, head on over to – I’m not sure where you got the countertop or if it came as part of the vanity. But if you look in your neighborhood for a local marble or granite dealer, that’s something that they’ll do. They’ll refinish and resurface and they can come right on site and do it for you.
MADELINE: Oh, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Madeline. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Don in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DON: Yes. About seven years ago, I remodeled and added square footage. I’ve got about 3,200 heated and cooled. We added a new roof and when I did it, I had them put ridge vents across the majority of the part of the heating and cool part; not over the garage.
DON: We’ve got four turbines and I’ve been debating about cutting some holes in the eaves and putting vents over that, which my thinking is the more the better. But I talked to a small, call-in show several years ago and the guy said, “Well, the turbines are working against the ridge vent,” and I would need to close those off.
TOM: Did you call me several years ago, Don? Because I would have told you the same thing.
DON: Oh, OK. How do they work against each other?
TOM: Well, here’s what happens. The most efficient ventilation system is when you have ridge vents, which is what you have, but you also have to have soffit vents; vents at the overhang or at the roof edge.
And if you just have those two types of vents, what happens is air enters at the soffit, because the wind blows against the side of the house. It becomes positively pressurized, enters at the soffit, works its way up underneath the roof sheathing, carrying out heat in the summer and moisture in the winter and then exits at the ridge, which is depressurized because wind blows over that and sort of sucks the air out of the attic. So if you think of it as a cycle, right? So it goes in at the soffit, up under the sheathing and out at the ridge.
Now, if you add to that turbine vents or gable vents, now you are completely messing that up. You’re creating turbulence in all different places where the air forces are working against each other.
So now that you have the ridge vent, I would not use the turbine vents; I would remove those. I would not put gable vents in the side but I would make sure that my soffits are continuously open.
How old is your house?
DON: It’s about 30 years old.
TOM: So back then, you probably had solid-plywood soffits or maybe soffits with some small vents cut into them? If that’s the case …
DON: Well, there’s none right now.
TOM: There’s none.
DON: I was going to plan on putting them about every 4 feet all around the house.
TOM: Ah, I wouldn’t even do that. You have a soffit?
DON: Oh, yes. Right, right. Got it.
TOM: So I would take that – all the plywood out; all of it out, completely wide open – and replace it with perforated soffit material.
DON: I’ve got you.
TOM: Alright? And it’s fully wide open and that’s the best ventilation system.
DON: OK. And then just plug up the turbines?
TOM: That’s correct.
DON: Because I don’t want to take them off and try to match that (inaudible at 0:17:41).
TOM: Nah, you could just plug them up.
LESLIE: You don’t have to.
DON: Yeah, OK.
DON: That sounds great. I sure appreciate you all’s time.
TOM: Alright, Don. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mary in Missouri needs some help repairing a ceiling. Tell us about the problem.
MARY: Well, I have an old, kitchen ceiling that had popcorn texture to it and I’ve had a dropped ceiling with fluorescent lights installed. I want to upgrade and take the dropped ceiling away and the fluorescent lights away and I wanted to know whether or not I could get by with patching that – the holes in the ceiling where the fluorescent lights were installed – or if I might be better off putting new drywall up.
TOM: Right. I don’t see why not. You certainly could patch it if you did a good job. It’s a little tricky. You’re going to have some seams. When you’re all said and done, though, you’re going to want to prime the entire ceiling and paint it with ceiling paint. And make sure you use a flat paint, because if you use something with a sheen, you may see the patch underneath it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You’ll see all unevenness.
MARY: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead, Bob Vila is stopping by The Money Pit to tell us about his latest project. And later, you’re going to learn how your extra home improvement materials can help get someone back on their feet.
TOM: The Money Pit continues, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, our guest today is an icon of home improvement. He was right at the forefront of the do-it-yourself movement.
TOM: That’s right. And more than 30 years later, Bob Vila says he is thrilled to be influencing a whole new generation of homeowners as they work to create a home they love.
Bob Vila, welcome back to the program.
BOB: Thank you so much. It’s great to be with you.
TOM: And it’s our pleasure to have you. And you’ve been working hard on a different sort of renovation that we’d like you to talk with us about today. You’ve got a brand new website.
BOB: Yeah. The old website was a dozen years old. We were kind of pioneering then but now, we’re really into the 21stcentury with the new BobVila.com. Not just in terms of the look of it, it’s much cleaner and crisper and the primary thing is being able to navigate through it because there’s so much to see and to do on the website.
TOM: And it looks terrific. It looks very clean, it looks very green.
LESLIE: It’s really fresh.
TOM: Speaking of which, you’ve been involved in some very green projects lately, too.
BOB: Yeah. No, the whole green movement, obviously it’s not something that’s brand new but it’s an area that I really wanted to focus and concentrate on when we renovated BobVila.com.
So, we’ve done a fair amount of reporting on a number of different projects. One of them is a project in New York City that Habitat for Humanity is responsible for and it’s a multi-family – it’s actually a 50-unit building that’s a green building. Everything from a green roof with plants growing on it to the latest in technology for heating and electrical consumption, et cetera.
We also got involved with my friends, Bobby Kennedy and his wife, who are renovating a house outside of New York City and have done a lot of different green things. And we looked at a house built by an architect called Allan Shope, who I hope is going to be on the website often. But he is one of the big proponents of zero-carbon footprints. So, there’s a lot of stuff on BobVila.com that is of the moment, in terms of energy conservation and everything from, you know, learning about LEED certification, et cetera.
LESLIE: Now, that seems to be like eco-building to the nth degree. Is there a way – and I know we all talk about this often but what kind of advice could you give to someone who’s either buying their first home or looking into going green but sort of starting in at the entry level and working their way up? What’s the best place to sort of think of, to be green in your home?
BOB: Well, the best advice I can give them is to come to BobVila.com, because there are so many different directions that you have to know about and that you can go in. The fact is that, obviously, budgets, the age of a house, the style of a house, the location – whether you’re in the Sun Belt or whether you’re in the freezing North – all these different factors affect what you can do and what you can hope to do in terms of renovating a house or building a new house.
And so, that’s one of the reasons that we’ve tried to really focus on getting a lot of this type of information easily to the consumer. I mean when I started renovating houses – I can’t believe it but it’s been almost 40 years; it’s been almost 30 years since we started This Old House – and now I’m looking at a whole new generation that’s much more concerned about style and about being eco-friendly and being responsible for the environment. There’s so many different directions to go in that you can’t – you can fit it all into the site but we keep expanding the site.
And then we also have done a lot to kind of preserve some of my early shows and some of my more recent shows. We’ve digitized the entire library of Bob Vila’s Home Again shows and all of these are slowly getting onto the website so that you can not only watch them without interruptions but you can see them in a full screen or you can watch them in some of – you could even watch them in your iPhone. So it – there’s a lot of material there that we’ve made available in a kind of a new way.
TOM: Well, the nice thing about where we are today with technology is that there is so much information at your fingertips. The problem is there’s just so much information at your fingertips.
TOM: So having a well-organized site really helps you dig into that.
Bob, speaking of green, one of the concerns that I think our listeners have, as they dive into choosing green products, is the vast amount of green-washing that seems to be going on right now. You’ve got every company out there claiming their greenness and trying to get business based on those promises. Any tips for trying to sort the wheat from the chaff, literally, when it comes to that?
BOB: Yeah. Yeah. We try to help people in terms of pointing out that you have to – you’ve really got to read the label; you’ve really got to do your research. And we’re hoping to help people understand that a lot of the impact of the interest in the green building revolution is just what you described: that there’s a lot of hype attached to some of it.
And you’ve got to really read the user’s manual, read the ingredients list, get a good idea of what it is you’re talking about, whether it’s flooring and it really is made from renewable, sustainable woods or whether it’s electronics or whether it’s household appliances. We’ve had Energy Star for a long, long time but the responsibility still lies with the owner – the homeowner; the person who is doing the improvements.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s important, as a homeowner, to sort of figure out what level or what type of green is important to you. For me, for example, if it’s possible, I like to buy things locally because I hate the idea of long-term shipping and the effects that air travel and whatever boating – whatever it might need to get that item to your area. So you really need, as a homeowner, to decide or sort of hone into what portion of green and what that means to you and how you then go about bringing that into your home.
BOB: It’s true. It’s a very good point. However, you also have to temper it by realizing that sometimes buying a product that was grown sustainably in Brazil or in China might be more responsible to the environment than using a product that was grown locally but that’s endangered or (inaudible at 0:25:26). There’s so many different aspects to the whole question that you really have to do your homework and that’s what we’re there to do for you or to help you do, at BobVila.com.
TOM: And I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it all; you can make very small, green steps. Everything counts, whether it’s just changing a light bulb or putting in a very energy-efficient window or door. You can do this in pieces; you don’t have to do it all at once. And you can get that kind of step-by-step advice on Bob’s new website.
Bob Vila, thanks so much for being a part of the program and congratulations on an amazing renovation at BobVila.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, clear your clutter and help someone build a house at the same time. We’ve got details on a great, new website that’s going to help you purge, find deals and lend a hand, after this.
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: You can call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question; your home improvement or your home décor question. And if we answer your question on the air, you could also win a ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape prize pack worth 30 bucks.
You’re going to get two rolls of each of the ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface, the Advanced Delicate Surface with Edge-Lock, the Paint Line Protector and the Advanced Multi-Surface with Edge-Lock Paint Line Protector. Basically, high-tech tape; enough to get your next decorating project done with ease. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on and lend you a hand with that project. And maybe you’re trying to get organized. So if this sounds like you and you’re looking to clean out that clutter, donate some items to charity and maybe even find a great deal on that kitchen sink you’ve been looking for, then look no further than these two sources: first, we’ve got DiggersList and then the Habitat for Humanity ReStores.
Now, DiggersList, it’s a website of home improvement classified ads. And it gives Americans an easy-to-use avenue for charitable giving and it’s a really fantastic site.
TOM: Yeah. The website’s donation center offers an easy way to clear out clutter from your garage or your house and then you can offer that right to Habitat for Humanity. They then turn around, use those donations to build homes for victims of natural disasters or people in need.
You can visit DiggersList today and turn your clutter into somebody else’s saving grace. The website, again, is DiggersList.com. That’s D-i-g-g-e-r-s – List.com.
LESLIE: Nick in Alaska needs some help with a bathroom project. What can we do for you?
NICK: Hey, there. I have a dry cabin right now and so I’ve got no running water at all.
NICK: I’m looking at putting a bathroom in; you know, kitchen and all of that in. And so I was curious what steps I might need to take to ensure that the pipes don’t freeze and would a foundation be a solution to help that?
TOM: You could install those pipes in South Carolina and not have a problem. Yeah, a little tough there in Alaska.
So you’re on a crawlspace right now?
NICK: Yeah, just on like four posts, basically.
TOM: Alright, so it’s up off of the ground. Is it enclosed at all?
NICK: Around the outside of the house? No, so it needs to be at least skirted, I would think.
TOM: I would think it should be at least skirted. And is the floor insulated?
TOM: OK. So yeah, it at least needs to be skirted or the floor needs to be covered. I would also use pipe insulation on all of the pipes that are down there. Be very careful to insulate it right down and into and around the main water pipe. That’s going to be really important because you’ve got to keep those pipes warm or they will freeze and break.
Now, is this a cabin that you don’t use all the time or what?
NICK: No, it’s – I live there all the time.
TOM: Oh, you live there all the time. OK. Alright. Well, I mean I think that’s all you need to do: insulate the pipes and insulate around the pipes with fiberglass. Close the whole thing in and you should be good to go.
TOM: Alright? Now, some people put electrical tape on there, too, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.
NICK: You don’t think the heat tape (inaudible at 0:29:32)?
TOM: No, because it’s not supposed to be used inside of insulation.
TOM: It could be a fire hazard, OK? So, if they – if it turns out that you’ve got some pipes that freeze, let’s deal with that separately. You may have to do a better job insulating. But I would definitely not put electrical tape on there at that time.
NICK: Is that the same thing that you’re talking about as heat tape? That’s the same thing?
TOM: Yeah, heat tape. Yep, mm-hmm.
NICK: OK. Alright. Well, cool. I guess that’s it then.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: What happens? Does the – does it shorten and get like electrocuted?
TOM: Yeah, don’t – if you use the electrical tape or the heat tape, what happens is it’s designed to be air-cooled. In fact, you’re not even supposed to wrap it over itself, like by twirling it around the pipe. You just put it on one side.
TOM: And if you cover that with insulation, it just gets too hot and it’ll burn the insulation. So, I’ve seen a lot of people put that on their pipes in situations like that and it’s just never a good idea.
LESLIE: Nate in Utah needs some help with a home office. What can we do for you today?
NATE: I’m building (audio gap) and I’m building an office. I got the walls all up and I drywalled the outside of the walls but I’m noticing a really annoying cracking, popping, creaking sound in my floor that wasn’t there before I put this wall up.
NATE: And I don’t really want to (inaudible at 0:30:48) the other side of the wall if there’s something I can do to get rid of that noise.
TOM: Hmm. Where did you put the wall up?
NATE: Right in the middle of my living room, so …
TOM: OK, you sort of divided it in half?
NATE: Well, yeah, I divided the room in half.
TOM: I see. OK. And so now you’re getting a cracking sound in the floor.
TOM: Well, you didn’t do anything that affects it structurally. This is just a partition wall. If you tied that wall into the floor, you may be impacting the expansion and the contraction of the flooring products; that could be causing that noise. What kind of floor is it?
NATE: It looked like it was waferboard when I put the 2x4s for the wall down.
NATE: And underneath it, it’s wood and I-beam joists that are about 24 inches apart.
TOM: Oh, yeah. There are actually sound-control products that you can use to quiet a floor like that. It’s essentially an underlayment, Nate, that goes between the waferboard floor and then you would put a second layer of flooring on top of that. There’s a number of them available from manufacturers around the country. You can find them online.
One product is called Quiet Curl and I think something like that would give you the silence that you’re looking for. Because you have a waferboard floor or an aspenite floor on top of those plywood-beamed joists, you’re always going to have a lot of movement there and that’s always going to result in a fair amount of sound.
What was your finished floor plan for this? Was it going to be carpet or what?
NATE: It’s carpet. The carpet is there.
NATE: This is – I cut my carpet down the middle where the wall was going to go and I put the wall up.
TOM: I see. Yeah. Well, unfortunately, this is a solution that would require you to pull all the carpet up, so you really have to decide whether or not it’s that important to you.
NATE: OK. Well, I will look into that. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, a leaky toilet can drive anyone nuts. We’re going to help one listener solve that battle, next.
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. And I don’t know if we’ve told you this but we are so excited and so pleased that so many of you are posting and responding to questions in our Community section on the new MoneyPit.com. It’s really so great to know that you’re all just chiming in and helping each other out with projects and we love to hear about them, so keep posting them.
And sometimes Tom and I answer those questions online and sometimes we throw them in here on the show. And I’ve got a posted question from Lynn who wrote: “Several months ago, I replaced two older toilets with low water-flow ones. Now, one is leaking water into the bowl from the tank and I also notice water running through a pipe sound that lasts about four seconds. The leaking is totally random. Please help.”
TOM: You know what this sounds like? I don’t think the water is leaking from in the bowl into the tank; I think it’s the other way around. I think it’s leaking from the tank into the bowl and I think it’s a leaking flush valve, which is very common. And that’s the flapper that’s at the bottom of the toilet.
Now, sometimes with the low-flow toilets, it’s all built into one center valve in the middle. But if you replace that flush valve part of it, I think this problem will go away. I know it’s a newer toilet and I don’t know why it’s leaking but what you’re describing is definitely signs of a leaking flush valve, because a little bit of water leaks out and then the toilet has to refill.
And by the way, what you can do is you could put some food coloring in the toilet tank and see if the bowl turns to the same color. And if it does, then you definitely, positively have a leaking flush valve and you need to fix that.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s a fairly simple repair. Fluidmaster makes a complete repair kit that you can get at any of the home centers. If you go to their website, there’s really easy-to-follow sort of cartoony directions that tell you the entire step-by-step process.
So, if you’re feeling handy, it’s absolutely a project that you can do without worrying about causing a major disaster. Just remember to turn off the water.
TOM: Always good.
LESLIE: Always good. Remember that. If you have to write it down on a piece of paper in big, capital letters – TURN OFF THE WATER BEFORE YOU START YOUR PROJECT – you’ll have no problem with this, alright, Lynn? Good luck with your first plumbing project.
TOM: Well, home-theater systems certainly are a great way to enjoy your evening entertainment but how do you do that without bugging the neighbors, especially if you like great sound? Leslie has got some tips in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. If you are really going to go all out with a home theater, upholstered wall panels are a great fit for this type of space.
Now, from a design standpoint, wall panels are super-gorgeous and they’re really just plain glamorous, so it really does make a super-standout addition to a space. And from a practical point of view, the fabric panels actually help to soundproof the area for your optimal audio quality when you’re watching a movie in your home theater.
Now, you can do this in a traditional way, the same way you would go about upholstering a headboard. You use some batting or some foam, you put it over plywood or luan, then you wrap it around the fabric, staple on the back and attach to the wall. Or you could go with a wall-mounted, fabric-panel system that’s specifically made for this purpose and there are companies that you can find online that will fabricate these for you and they do it for real movie theaters and live-performance theaters and even concert halls.
But there’s one company that I’ve worked with and it’s AcousticalSurfaces.com. And they sell like a plastic tracking system that you attach to the wall, then put your soundproofing material right onto the wall, then your fabric sort of snaps into these panels around it. It was easy to use; it made a super-professional look. And choose the right fabric and you can really create a standout experience for your home theater.
So, make sure you go about this, because you want good, awesome sound quality. This way, you’re going to have a great home movie-watching experience.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have insider tricks to help you refinish your wood floors and we’ll get those from a guy who’s refinished more wood floors than even us. This Old House general contractor, Tom Silva, will be by. Learn what the experts do to make this easy but tedious project go better, next week on The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2011 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.)