Cooling System Checkup, Top Framing Mistakes. Exterior Stains and more
(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: Standing by on the cutting edge of home improvement; helping you get projects done without a trip to the emergency room. So give us a call right now. We’re going to help you do it safely, get it done, make your house beautiful. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Man, it has been hot out there.
LESLIE: What a crazy hot summer we’ve been dealing with already.
TOM: It has been. That’s why, on today’s show, we’re going to give you some tips – if your air conditioning system is not working correctly – on how you can do a quick test to figure out what’s wrong and then you’ll know exactly what to do about it.
LESLIE: Alright, I’m going to keep that in case my new AC goes on the fritz.
And also ahead, we’re going to share with you common construction mistakes that can leave you with a weak flooring system in your house. We’ve got Tom Silva from This Old House stopping by to tell you what to look for to make sure that your home is solid underfoot.
TOM: And speaking of wood work, now is a great time to check all your outside wood for signs that the sun may be wearing it away through its UV ray degradation. And if that’s happening – if the boards around your house are cracked and checked and peeling and looking really tired, we’re going to have tips on a brand new acrylic formula stain product that can help restore your wood and protect it for many years to come.
LESLIE: And this hour we’ve got a great prize for you. We’re giving away the Stanley Bostitch handheld tool set worth nearly $140. It’s a really great thing. Tom and I actually just saw this whole Stanley line of tools just unveiled at a media event quite recently.
TOM: We did. In fact, we were saying that we hadn’t seen Bostitch hand tools in a long time and the guy said, “Well, that’s because they’ve only been out for about six months.”
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and they’re beautiful.
TOM: And man, did they do a great job of innovating some really nice features into these tools. I love the tape measure, I love the knives. They really did a great, great job. I mean even the hook on a tape measure now is oversize, so if you need to hook something upside down or sideways, it’ll grab it and you won’t be …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it’s good because it’s so oversize that if you’re working with anything wet or if you’re dealing with some sort of concrete or building a form, it really holds on; which is nice for a lot of people working in that industry.
TOM: And that package is worth 140 bucks; going to go out to one caller who reaches us on today’s show with their home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974, so let’s get right to the phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Tom in Georgia has a home where the brick is breaking off, if you will. Welcome, Tom. How can we help you?
TOM IN GEORGIA: Oh, how you doing? I just bought an older home and it’s got a nice, brick fireplace but the chimney that’s exposed on the roof is crumbling a little bit and there are actually pieces of it on the roof. And I’m trying to find out what I can do to seal it to keep it from further crumbling. I’m assuming it’s doing it from the heat and the cold and just being old brick.
TOM: Yeah, well the frost cycle definitely causes some problems. What you’re going to want to do is repair all those spawled areas. Now, you can do it with an epoxy patching compound; although I will say that it’s going to be difficult to have it match. You can actually add colorants to epoxy products so you get something that’s similar to brick color and perhaps from the street you can almost have it not be that totally visible. But what you don’t want to use is use anything that’s just a straight concrete type of a mix or mortar type of mix because it will fall right off.
TOM IN GEORGIA: Right. Is there anything that I can apply to the brick to keep it from further crumbling after I do the repair you’ve described?
TOM: Right, once you repair the deteriorated brick, here’s what you want to do. Look at the chimney crown; that’s the upper surface of the chimney. There are probably going to be some cracks in that between the flue line around the edge of the chimney and that’s where water gets in, gets the brick real wet and then it freezes and then it deteriorates. So you want to make sure the chimney crown is in good shape and you almost might want to consider putting a cap on the chimney. And if you can keep the weather from getting in around the top, that protects the brick.
LESLIE: Linda in Connecticut, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house today?
LINDA: I was wondering if you could come up with an idea on how I can get rid of the discoloration on my bathroom floor made from the rubber backing on my rug.
TOM: Do you have a vinyl floor?
LINDA: It’s linoleum.
TOM: Let me tell you what’s happening here, Linda. You have an – there’s oxidation that goes on between the rubber-backed carpets and the vinyl or linoleum floors that causes a chemical reaction that’s a discoloration. So what you’re seeing is not a stain in the sense that it’s dirt or something else that’s on top of it; it actually is a change in the material. So, unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do about that.
If you – when you buy new vinyl floors and new linoleum floors, the manufacturers actually warn against this particular – in fact, I’ve seen this on the Armstrong website; about the effects of oxidation.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s like a void in the warranty.
LESLIE: And it’s so funny because every bath mat that’s out there has a rubber backing.
LINDA: That’s true.
TOM: But there is a solution, Linda. You have to buy a bigger bathmat (all chuckle) and cover it up.
LINDA: Oh. I know, I’d have to lay it on there exactly the same spot.
TOM: Alright, Linda. Sorry we can’t give you better advice. 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. You can give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and this week only, we have a very special person that you can speak to here at The Money Pit. We’ve got the birthday boy Tom Kraeutler. (Tom laughs) Just wanted to give a little shout-out to my buddy Tom.
TOM: Thank you so much.
LESLIE: We’ve been working together six years. Happy birthday.
TOM: Thank you.
LESLIE: So we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you with your home improvement problem at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Do you know that not only is it my birthday this week, but born on the same day – it must have been kismet – is our executive producer Sheetal.
LESLIE: How amazing.
TOM: (overlapping voices) So happy birthday to both of us.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I always think it’s so great that you guys have the same birthday. Happy birthday, Sheetal.
TOM: Alright. Well, up next, is your air conditioning on but perhaps doesn’t seem to be cooling as well as it should be? We’ve got do-it-yourself tips to help you check its efficiency and show you what to do to fix it, 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. Therma-Tru Doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit Therma-Tru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
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 should definitely be picking up the phone and giving us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll give you the answer to your home improvement project, of course, but one lucky caller-inner – of course that’s a Leslie-ism (Tom chuckles) – this hour is going to win a great prize. We have got for you – and this is like some sneak-peek stuff. We have got a whole …
TOM: Good stuff.
LESLIE: Yes, seriously. This is the Bostitch tool kit from Stanley. Now the kit includes the Bostitch anti-vibe hammer – they’ve done a lot of great innovations here to really spruce up that hammer; a chalk reel, which is always handy; then check this out – a twin-blade knife, so it’s like a retractable utility knife except there are two blade options. So if you need a scoring blade and a cutting blade, you’ve got it. It’s really cool and it doesn’t make it that much bigger. Then we’ve got the clamping box beam – completely awesome; a bi-material tape with blade armor. And the coolest thing about the measuring tape is that little hook on the end is not so little; it’s about 150 percent bigger and it actually acts like a grappling hook. No, you’re not going to climb up a mountain with it but it’ll hang onto pretty anything and everything that you are measuring. And the whole shebang is worth 138 bucks but it could be yours for free, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Well, it’s been quite warm this summer and it might have you wondering whether or not your air conditioning system is performing up to snuff. If so, there’s a very quick way to test it without calling in a pro. Here’s what you need to know. This is one of my home inspector tricks of the trade from 20 years in that business.
What you want to do is take a thermometer and measure the temperature of the airflow at the supply and the return duct nearest the blower. Now you can use a simple refrigerator thermometer for this; any kind of room thermometer. Now what you do is you find an air conditioning register that’s blowing pretty strong; generally one that’s somewhat close to the air handler. What you want to do is measure the temperature there; the temperature of the air that’s coming out. So let’s say that it’s coming out at maybe somewhere around, I don’t know, 55, 60 degrees – let’s say 60, for argument’s sake.
Then you go to the return register and measure the temperature going back in. Now it should be about 15 to 20 degrees warmer. If it is, the air conditioning system is working correctly. If it’s not, that means you’re probably low on refrigerant, which shouldn’t be more than a service call from your local HVAC contractor to get it checked out. So remember, 15 to 20 degrees difference between supply and return register is what you want to check for to determine if your system is cooling properly.
LESLIE: And if it is, then just crank it up. (chuckles)
TOM: Set it on deep freeze.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Jill in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JILL: I’m doing some new landscape to a house and the house just is not real elevated – I mean it’s just average height – and there is a landscape plan that I really like that has some mounds that are elevated with shrubs and flowers and so forth.
JILL: So that makes the foundation of my house look low. Should I avoid going with height for the landscape against the foundation or does that enhance it to give it some height.
TOM: Hmm, that’s an interesting question; a décor question.
LESLIE: Hmm. And the issue with the mounds of soil against the foundation makes me a little bit nervous. How – you know, Tom …
TOM: Well, you can’t cover the siding. You can’t cover the wood framing.
LESLIE: Right, and what about moisture situations?
TOM: That would be OK.
TOM: As long as you didn’t trap water against the house; as long as you had slope away.
JILL: OK. Yep, and we would. And yeah, the drain-off would be fine. It’s a crawlspace, no basement.
JILL: Which direction do I go? Because I can go either way; I just didn’t want the house to look like it was more of a berm-type house when it’s sitting on an acre-and-a-half out in the country and I don’t want it to look like the ground is hugging it.
LESLIE: Right, eating up the foundation and going right up.
TOM: I mean I think if you had – you know, if you used it in moderation. I mean I wouldn’t …
LESLIE: Right. I think if you used it to sort of accent certain areas like maybe the corners or on the edging – you know, the outermost corners of the house where you could then put a taller shrub or an arbor vitae or a Leyland cypress just to give height in those areas.
JILL: And then I wouldn’t have any danger with the drain-off that way either; then I’d be secure.
LESLIE: Exactly. And mix it up. Make sure you get local-grown items that you know will do well in your soil and in your climate conditions. This way you’re not wasting money on items that aren’t really going to work in your area. Look for irrigation additives that you can put in the soil when things are being planted; sort of reduce the amount of water you might need. Just think about those things in the selection process and if you’ve got a plan you like, I say go with it.
JILL: OK. Well, you shifted me back to my original plan with these thoughts. (chuckles)
JILL: So, good. OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Jill. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bob in Texas is calling in with a concrete flooring question. What can we do for you?
BOB: Hi, yes. I have an enclosed back porch that the previous owner left a planter box, for lack of a better term – about 14 inches wide, 8 feet long – that I guess I’d like to fill in with concrete. I’m wondering do I need to add some type of reinforcement or rebar for that.
TOM: So is this like a hole in the existing back porch?
BOB: Exactly. It’s along an outside – exterior wall. There are two exterior walls and they built in, enclosed the back porch.
TOM: Right. OK. And they left kind of a space out where you can have plants.
BOB: Right, right.
TOM: Well, look …
LESLIE: So it’s like a trough, almost.
TOM: Yeah. I mean you can pour concrete in there. Having a little bit of reinforcement mesh is not a bad idea. But it’s never going to adhere – it’s never going to level perfectly with the existing floor. You’re always going to have sort of a seam there.
BOB: I understand.
TOM: But I think you can do a pretty good job of patching it.
BOB: OK. And as far as maybe a suggestion for the type of flooring over the top? Is it …?
TOM: Is this a weatherproof room?
BOB: It’s an enclosed back porch. It’s going to be used as a bedroom by some college students. It’s a rental house.
TOM: Oh. Well, if it’s totally enclosed and you don’t have any weather there, then I would use laminate flooring. Because laminate flooring will interlock together. It’s very moisture-resistant …
LESLIE: And let’s say it’s super-durable for those college kids and the crazy parties they’re going to have.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah.
TOM: And pretty easy to install, too.
LESLIE: And easy to clean, easy to maintain and they pretty much cannot destroy it.
BOB: Right. Alright, I’ll try my hand at concrete.
TOM: Alright, Bob. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Spiro in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SPIRO: Hi. I’m calling about my asphalt driveway. It’s about four or five years old and over the winter, it developed some cracks that are about a foot, two feet long and about 1/8-inch in diameter. And I’d like to know if there’s something that I could do to fix it myself.
TOM: Yeah. I mean there are some good latex products that are available now for crack fillers and you can buy them at any home center or hardware store. And the key here though is to clean out any debris that’s inside the crack. Because if it’s got a lot of dirt and gunk in it, then what happens is you can’t get enough of the crack filler in there to really grab on.
Generally, it’s a texture that’s somewhat about the same consistency of, let’s say, I don’t know, spackle. And you get it into the crack, you trowel it in and usually it’s sort of self-leveling; so it sort of takes a little bit of a while and then sort of settles out. And then after that dries, you put a sealer across the whole surface and it does a good job of protecting. You’re probably always going to see the crack. It doesn’t make it disappear. Because you’ll always see sort of the indentation where it was. But it’s a really simple project. You want to do it on a cool day – not on a really, really hot day but a cool day – early in the morning. And there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do that project yourself, Spiro.
SPIRO: OK. Well, thanks a lot. You answered my question.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jenny in North Carolina is dealing with something old being new again but not so much having that brand, spanking new smell. What’s going on in your old townhouse?
JENNY: Well, I bought a townhouse about two years ago and it was a rental so it was – and it was trashed.
JENNY: So we basically redid all the surfaces. I mean, I took out all the carpet, put hardwood floors in the living areas, new carpet. It’s just on a slab so we scrubbed the slab; put new carpet in the bedrooms; painted all the walls, all the closets, all the woodwork. The only thing that didn’t get painted was the ceilings because they’re popcorn and it’d need to come down.
So I thought after two years of just living there and being clean and – that it would smell better but it still – a lot of times when you come home, it greets you with the smell of an old, musty hotel room.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because it’s haunted.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Hmm. You don’t have any old, musty people living there, right? (chuckles)
JENNY: No. You know, we’re very un-musty people. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Jenny, what are you guys doing about dehumidification?
JENNY: Well, we have an air conditioner. I mean we live in the south so …
TOM: Right. And air conditioners are not good dehumidifiers. You have a central air conditioner?
TOM: What you might want to consider is something called a whole-home dehumidifier because if you have high humidity, you can have odors.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And high humidity could be pulling that odor out of that popcorn ceiling, out of the subfloor. I mean any time that there’s moisture, suddenly you smell something that you spilled on that carpet a year ago.
TOM: Yeah. What you want to do is install a whole-home dehumidifier and that will automatically lower the moisture in the house. That will make a big difference.
Now, this popcorn ceiling is another issue. You can, in fact, paint it. You want to use a very, very thick roller and we would recommend that you prime it first. You can use a water-based primer but you want to prime the ceiling first with a very thick roller. In fact, they have rollers that are sort of slit that …
TOM: Yeah, spiral-cut or slit and they work really well with popcorn. You’ll get some popcorn that will come out and get stuck on it and …
LESLIE: You might even get sections of it off but …
TOM: But all in all, it will – when you’re done, it’ll look good and it’ll definitely seal in any odors that are associated with that.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, common framing mistakes can actually bring a home crashing down when you least expect it. We’re going to tell you how to make sure that your home is safe, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, 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.
TOM: It’s my birthday show.
LESLIE: Whee! Happy birthday, Tom.
TOM: Oh, thank you so much and happy birthday to our EP, Sheetal, our executive producer. We share the same birthday.
LESLIE: What a coincidence.
TOM: It was just meant to be that we work together.
LESLIE: Right. (chuckles)
TOM: Did I ever tell you that Sheetal discovered me?
LESLIE: I always find this so crazy that years ago you guys sort of started in the business together …
TOM: We did, we did.
LESLIE: … then discovered that you shared a birthday and now you will work together for the rest of your lives. Because I think that’s what happens when you find your birthday mate. You’re just destined to work together forever.
TOM: Sheetal was the first person to ever put me on television. She was in a really tiny station and – you know, it was the kind of station that when the show aired, the audience was like Mom, Dad and my wife pretty much. (Leslie chuckles) But that’s how we got started.
LESLIE: It doesn’t get more local than that. (laughs)
TOM: Now look what happened. (chuckles)
Alright, well I’m in a great mood because it is my birthday which means I want to help you turn your home improvement project into a celebration as well, so give us a call right now with your question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to it.
LESLIE: Nathan in Texas needs some help shopping for a faucet. Tell us about it.
NATHAN: Yes, I’m actually looking for a matching – something that will work in both my shower and my lavatory faucet in my bathroom.
TOM: OK, that shouldn’t be a problem.
NATHAN: The design I want, the lavatory is going to have the split handle that’s stubbed out of the wall; not off of the sink base.
NATHAN: Going into like a bowl.
LESLIE: OK, like for a vessel sink.
NATHAN: Correct, yes. And then the shower, I want a split handle as well that’s matching and that’s what I’m having trouble finding; a split handle in the shower. And I had heard rumor that that was against some sort of ordinance or a code or – I don’t know.
TOM: You mean where the hot and cold are separate handles.
TOM: Well, I think what you need is – when you talk about code, you’re probably thinking of a pressure balance valve where it’s a single handle that mixes the hot and the cold and protects you from sort of shower shock and that’s the way most new construction would be today. But there are an awful lot of old homes out there that have separate hot and cold water faucets and I don’t see why that would be a challenge. And in fact, Leslie, the very same faucet handles that we’re using for the lavatory, we could probably use for the faucet, right – for the shower.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean I don’t …
TOM: I don’t see why not.
LESLIE: I don’t see why not. I mean generally the issue is sometimes when you’re shopping for tub-and-shower faucets, it’s completely sold as a set; you’ve got the showerhead, you’ve got the faucet and you’ve got the tub spout. Hmm, I’m trying …
TOM: But you could buy everything separately and put it together.
LESLIE: Yeah, you could buy everything separate. I don’t see why – have you tried Moen?
NATHAN: Well, I mean I’ve just been cruising websites and it’s hard to specify what exactly you’re looking for; there are so many out there.
TOM: Well, what I would do is I would go to a plumbing supply house, explain the situation and see what options they present you. This is going to be something that’s difficult to find on a website or a home center, but if you go to a plumbing supply house and just explain to them that you want matching handles for the lavatory and for the shower that come out of the wall, turn everything on and off …
LESLIE: And that you want separate hot and cold.
TOM: … and you want a spout that matches whatever design. So I don’t think this should be that hard to do.
NATHAN: OK. Well, I really appreciate your show. It’s my six-year-old’s favorite show.
LESLIE: Oh, alright.
TOM: (chuckles) We’ve got some young fans out there. That’s terrific.
NATHAN: Well, I mean he really loves building stuff and he heard your show several months back and I mean he gets me up every Saturday.
TOM: Alright, well what’s his name?
NATHAN: Holif (sp).
TOM: Holif (sp). Alright. Well Holif (sp), thank you so much for being a fan of The Money Pit.
LESLIE: (chuckles) Thanks, Holif (sp).
TOM: And Nathan, if you hold on, we’ll send you guys a book; then when Holif (sp) gets a little bit bigger, you can read some home improvement tips to him. OK?
NATHAN: Oh man, that would be outstanding.
TOM: Alright, stand by. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you ever had a house built or just watched one come to life, you know that the framing process can be pretty exciting because that’s truly when you see the house become a house. But there’s one critical mistake that framers can make that could bring parts of your home crashing down even years later.
TOM: Absolutely. And here with the nuts and bolts of that is This Old House host Kevin O’Connor and the show’s general contractor, Tom Silva.
And Kevin, there is definitely an order of events that comes into play here when you’re framing a house and especially when you get that all-important framing inspection done.
KEVIN: When you order a framing inspection on a new or renovated house, there’s a good reason that the building inspector waits until the plumbers and electricians have finished the rough work. Cutting or notching beams to make way for wires, pipes and duct work can weaken the structure significantly.
So Tommy, what’s the right way to cut into a beam without causing structural damage?
TOM SILVA: I always have to watch those electricians and plumbers. Drilling and notching can dramatically ruin or weaken the structure of your building, so there are definite rules that you have to follow.
First, let’s talk about notching. Never notch in the middle 1/3 of the span but when you do notch, you can never go deeper than 1/6 the depth of the joist and no wider than 1/3 the depth of the joist.
KEVIN: And how about drilling?
TOM SILVA: Drilling? You can drill anywhere along the span is OK but not bigger than 1/3 the joist depth and not within two inches of the top or the bottom of the joist.
And if you need more information on this, you can watch a video about drilling and notching joists on ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Tommy, it sounds like Richard Trethewey and his saws awl has been causing some mischief for you over the years.
TOM SILVA: I have to watch him all the time. He’s dangerous. (all chuckle)
TOM: Tommy Silva, Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: Thanks, Tom. My pleasure.
LESLIE: Wow, that’s a lot to keep straight and it’s good information to have before you build that addition or take on that renovation or even start your dream home from scratch.
TOM: Absolutely. And for more tips, you can watch Kevin and Tommy on This Old House and also Ask This Old House on your local PBS station. And Ask This Old House is proudly sponsored by GE. GE – imagination at work.
Well, up next, with the sun beating down all summer long, right about now your wood deck or siding, your fence might be looking a little worse for wear. If so, we’ve got the scoop on a newly-formulated acrylic product for exterior wood that will help protect and restore those sections of your house for years to come. That’s coming up, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch, professional-quality hand tools, pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers. Choose the brand that pros trust most – Bostitch, available at Lowe’s and other retailers.
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 because this hour we’re giving away a handheld Bostitch tool kit from Stanley. The kit includes the Bostitch anti-vibe hammer, twin blade knife, clamping box beam, 25-foot measuring tape and a chalk reel. The great thing about this chalk reel, Leslie, is that it has a chalk view case so you can actually see how much chalk is left because …
LESLIE: No longer the great mystery.
TOM: No. And you know, what happens is you get close to the end of the job and all of a sudden the chalk gets lighter and lighter and lighter and lighter and you’ve got to run back out to the car or the truck and put more stuff in it. So now you can see exactly how much is left. The whole kit is worth 138 bucks; going to go to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question at 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.
You know, now that we’re several weeks into summer, we’ve all been dealing with that super-hot sun but we never think about what it’s doing to our house. Because while we’re enjoying the heat of the sun, that same hot temperature is beating down on your house; it’s been doing so for about a month or more. So really, at this time of the year, we want to take a good check of the exterior of our house and look at the woodwork because it really does take a beating this time of year.
And if you find that it does need a little love – maybe it’s fading, cracking or peeling – there’s actually a great new product that can help you not just make it look better but help protect it. Behr Premium exterior weatherproofing wood stains and finishes have a new, 100-percent advanced acrylic formula that’s going to protect your decking as well as wood siding and your fencing from all of the elements that Mother Nature can dish out. And it also allows the stains and the finishes to penetrate deep into that wood, which is going to deliver great-looking surface protection and it’s going to last for years.
TOM: And they’ve also got a ton of colors to choose from. The entire line is currently available exclusively at The Home Depot. And if you go to The Home Depot, Behr even has these really cool WoodSmart kiosks where you can get step-by-step project tips and even pick up some of their eight-ounce samples, which is a great way to check out colors or even take on smaller projects. You can get more information at Behr.com – B-e-h-r.com.
And Leslie, I was telling you that I’m heading out to the Boys Scout jamboree in a couple of weeks.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s like the forever Boy Scout festival. I feel like you’re going to be gone for weeks.
TOM: It’s the big Boy Scout festival. That’s right; it starts at the end of this month. And actually, I’ve been building a kitchen box to take with us to this jamboree and I needed just a little bit of wood stain for it and …
LESLIE: Oh, and I bet that eight ounces was perfect.
TOM: It was perfect. It was perfect. It did the entire project. And this is something that’s going to be outside and take a beating from not only the sun but, worse than that, the scouts.
LESLIE: The Boy Scouts. (chuckles)
TOM: And this was just the right product. So I mean that was a great use as well. So if you’re doing decks, fences, siding or even a small project around the house – shutters, mailboxes or, in my case, a kitchen box for your scout troop – it’s a great product. Go check it out – Behr.com available exclusively at The Home Depot. The new Behr Premium exterior weatherproofing wood stains and finishes.
888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: We’re going to talk to Lorraine in Missouri about an outdoor project dealing with a porch. What happened?
LORRAINE: It’s cracked. It was painted and it faces south and it cracks and I want to know what – if I can put that – something in that crack before it’s repainted.
LESLIE: Now this is a concrete porch?
LORRAINE: No, it’s wood and the wood is cracked.
TOM: Are the cracks between different floorboards?
LORRAINE: They’re on the top rail and on the floor, yes.
TOM: OK. Well, I mean this is a fairly common condition with wood. It’s always going to expand and contract and what we would recommend you do is sand down the paint and then fill those areas; I would use a good-quality wood putty. You know Elmer’s makes one that’s very flexible, comes in different size – you know quart-size and down to like half-pint-size cups. And it dries very quickly, it’s easy to sand and then you prime it. That’s very important. You want to make sure when you do a wood putty that you prime over that and then repaint it and you’ll be in good shape.
LORRAINE: OK, thank you much.
LESLIE: Judy in Utah needs some help venting a bathroom. Tell us about the problem.
JUDY: OK, I have a downstairs basement bathroom that I’m redoing and it had a vent in the wall that went into the furnace room. And somebody told me that I – and now I want to move the vent into the ceiling and somebody told me that it shouldn’t go into the furnace room; that it should go up through the floor of the bathroom upstairs and out through the roof.
TOM: OK, this is – now this is the vent for the plumbing or the vent for the fan; the vent fan?
JUDY: The vent fan.
TOM: OK. Well, the vent fan should vent to the outside. It shouldn’t vent to another room in the basement or upstairs or anywhere else. Now, if it’s a basement bathroom, the shortest distance between the bathroom and the outside is where you want to go and probably the easiest way to do that is to not worry about running it all the way up into the attic space but just run the duct hose for the vent in between the floor joists and take it out the exterior wall at the level of the floor structure.
TOM: And that’s a lot easier than worrying about taking it up and out. Plus, you know, a fan for the bathroom doesn’t have that much power. It doesn’t blow that many cubic feet per minute. And if you try to push that air up two stories …
LESLIE: It won’t make it.
TOM: … it’s not as effective.
JUDY: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Judy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Yeah, I wasn’t sure what kind of vent she was talking about because there’s two kinds of vents in a bathroom; you know, the plumbing vent, of course – which is the pipe that has to go up through the basement usually all the way to the outside …
LESLIE: And that sort of vents gases?
TOM: Yeah, that vents – well, that actually vents the sewage gases, yes; the sewer gases.
TOM: And then of course we have the vent fan, which is just as important for creature comfort for other reasons.
LESLIE: True. (chuckling) For other types of gases. (chuckling)
TOM: Building a bathroom is all about managing the gases. (chuckles) Trying to get them where you want them and not where you don’t want them to be. (chuckles)
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, copper, PVC, OSB, plywood, blueboard – what exactly are the best homes being made of these days? There are a lot of high-tech materials out there. We’re going to help sort through them and answer a few questions on what the right choices are for your project, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, 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: Want to follow us on Facebook, just text “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665 to be instantly added as a fan to our Facebook page and be instantly updated with improvements to the show, the website, opportunities to call us directly and have your home improvement questions answered in person. That’s available online if you simply text us, text “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665.
LESLIE: That’s right. And you know what? If you’re surfing the web, why not e-mail us your question and I’ve got one here from Kim in Urbana, Ohio who writes: “Our builder is giving us a choice between OSB and blueboard. Which is better?”
TOM: That’s an interesting question because you can’t really compare those two.
LESLIE: Right. Isn’t the OSB – isn’t that sort of an exterior sheathing and then the blueboard would be like an insulated foam?
TOM: Yeah. And you know, there are a lot of high-tech products available, manufacturing products, when you build houses and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. I mean even when you say the term “blueboard,” there’s a drywall that’s like blueboard that’s basically designed to be covered by wet plaster and then there’s the blueboard insulation. OSB is a structural product. It stands for oriented strand board and it’s that plywood that kind of looks sort of wafer-y.
TOM: It’s made up chunks of wood sort of heat-pressed together. And it’s a fine product but it’s a structural product. It’s designed to strengthen walls and strengthen roofs. It is probably possible to construct a framed wall without OSB if you reinforce in a different way. You could reinforce it with lumber. But I don’t understand why there would be a choice between the two. Perhaps your builder is suggesting that you may or may not want to have blueboard on the wall and that’s just a question of the amount of insulation that you need.
I think it’s a good product; a good, exterior sheathing product. I, in fact, have it on my home on top of the studs in addition to the insulation. So I think if it’s a reasonable additional cost, I wouldn’t hesitate to add that in addition to the sheathing. I don’t think I would do one without the other, though.
TOM: I think I’d always have a structural sheathing product on the outside of my house just because it’s a lot stronger.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright, I hope that helps.
Now we’ve got one from Nick in West Virginia who writes: “My house, which was built in 1991, does not have copper pipes. Everything is PVC plumbing. Will this be a problem in the future? How long do PVC pipes last? I did not build the house.” He’s not taking credit for it. (chuckles)
TOM: Interesting question, Nick. I think I would caution you, though, to make sure that the plumbing pipes are in fact CPVC, which is OK, and not PB which stands for polybutylene. There is a type of PB pipe that was the subject of a lot of lawsuits. If you see that your plastic plumbing system is put together with crimp connectors, that was in existence I think between 1978 and 1995. So if you’ve got that type of plumbing, that one could be a real problem. But if it’s straight CPVC plumbing, then it should be OK. And PVC, of course, is used for the drains and CPVC is used for the supplies and that’s OK.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Don in Virginia who writes: “I’ve got a shop building that I’d like to insulate. The roof purlins are 2x8s and I plan to put in six inches of insulation. Does the space above insulation and below a steel roof need to be ventilated as does a conventional structure?”
TOM: Well, I’m assuming you’re going to heat this structure and if that’s the case, then yes …
TOM: … you are doing the right thing by having that two-inch space. I would simply add a ridge vent at the peak of this roof and then in the overhang have a soffit vent there. If you don’t actually have a soffit, you can install something called a drip-edge vent which extends the edge of that steel roof just a little, tiny bit.
LESLIE: To sort of mock a soffit, right?
TOM: Yeah, sort of mocks a soffit and allows air to get in there, ride up under the roof sheathing and exit out the peak.
LESLIE: Alright, I hope that helps, Don. Good luck, everybody, with your projects.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us and helping me celebrate my birthday show.
LESLIE: Yeah, happy birthday.
TOM: 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.
TOM: Can we go have cake now?
LESLIE: Alright, you can blow out the candles. (Tom chuckles)
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2010 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.)