Creating a Hobby Room, Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Roofing Material, How to Prevent an Ice Dam and More
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is 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: Standing by to help you with your next home improvement project. Yes, you. We know; you’ve been thinking about it. Your spouse has been bugging you about it, you’ve been putting it off. Well, no more. Now is the time to get it done and guess what? We’re going to help you do it. Pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. We are standing by to help you get through this project.
Do you have a question about how to get going? Call us. Do you have a question about what product you need to get it done? Call us. Got a trouble spot in your house? You’ve got a leak? You’ve got a squeak? You’ve got a stain? You just don’t know how to get rid of it? Call us. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
We’ve got a great show for you planned. I’m not sure if Leslie being stuck inside during the chilly winter has anything to do with this but now it’s officially National Hobby Month.
LESLIE: I love it.
And if you actually have a hobby but maybe no room to do that hobby in, this hour we’re going to have some tips on how you can create a hobby room in your home and help you carve out a space for your favorite activity, whatever that might be.
TOM: And also ahead, maybe you’re starting to make a list of things to do around the house for this year or perhaps your spouse is making that list for you.
LESLIE: That sounds right.
TOM: And if a new roof is on that list, we’re going to give you the low-down this hour on all of the roofing materials available. And we’re going to share the pros and the cons of each so that you can make the best possible decision to once and for all, finally get rid of that roof leak.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Here’s one sign that you might actually need a new roof or at least some better underlayment: icicles. You know, they look beautiful but they could lead to a leaky roof. We’re going to tell you how to avoid ice dams, coming up.
TOM: Plus, this hour, one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT is going to win a year’s supply of Morton’s Safe-T-Pet. And that’s a great ice melt for your sidewalk and your driveway that won’t hurt your four-legged friend. It’s a prize package worth 60 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question this hour at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Maryann in California is on the line with a tiling project. How can we help you?
MARYANN: Yes, hi. Well, I would like to replace the tile in my kitchen. They’re large and they’re – several of them are cracked and the grout is just – it’s wearing out and it’s pretty dirty. And I was just wondering if there’s something that someone who is not extremely handy, like myself, could do for a reasonable cost or is that kind of like out of the picture?
LESLIE: Are you talking about floor, backsplash, countertop?
MARYANN: Oh, I’m sorry. The floor.
TOM: OK. And you have tile now, so you have to either put a second layer on top of that or tear out what you have there. And you said it’s really dirty and gross. Is it structurally solid?
MARYANN: Yes, I believe so. Several of them are cracked.
TOM: They’re not separated from the subfloor, are they?
TOM: OK. You can put a second layer of tile on top of that. It’s possible to glue one tile on top of the other. The one issue you have to be careful of – do you have a dishwasher?
MARYANN: I do.
TOM: So you have to watch the height of that dishwasher cavity to make sure you have enough play on the legs of the dishwasher to be able to basically make it a little shorter, so you could make up the thickness of the tile layer. But you can put a second layer on top of it.
Is it a do-it-yourself project? Well, I mean if you can handle the layout, if you can handle the tile cuts – you need a tile saw – a wet saw – to do it. It’s a pretty adventurous home improvement project and of course, the material is pretty expensive and you – if you screw it up, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. So, it’s probably not the first do-it-yourself project that we would recommend but you can do it yourself.
MARYANN: I see.
TOM: But you’ve got to have special tools and a lot of patience.
MARYANN: OK. That sounds like it’s probably not for me then.
TOM: And even the grouting itself requires some skill. And if you don’t grout it right, it dries, it’s impossible to get off and you don’t get a second shot at it without a whole lot of work.
MARYANN: I see. But how about a different type of flooring that isn’t tile?
TOM: Now you’re talking. So what about a laminate floor, for example? This is a lot easier on you.
A laminate floor is great. You can get laminate-floor patterns that look like tile or look like marble or look like wood. They’re like puzzle pieces; they all lock together. There’s a strip version and there’s types that look more like tile.
And that’s a lot easier to handle. You can cut it with a regular saw and it floats on top of the tile, so you don’t have to pull up the old stuff. Still have the same height concern with the dishwasher space but it’s a lot easier and a lot more forgiving to do something like that. And it’s very durable. I’ve had a laminate floor down in my kitchen for more than 10 years and it’s great.
MARYANN: Yeah, that sounds like the way to go. So, I didn’t realize you could put it right on top of the – what you have already. The tiles that I have are not flat, smooth, you know? They kind of have a texture to them. Does that matter?
TOM: Yeah, that’s perfectly fine. No, there will be a slight – a very thin – underlayment underneath the laminate floor, usually a thin foam. It’s either separate or it’s attached to the back of the laminate and so that will take up any slight defects like that. But I think that’s the way to go.
Why don’t you head out to Lumber Liquidators? You can go to a Lumber Liquidators store, you can go to LumberLiquidators.com and take a look at all of the laminates that are there. You will be amazed at the number of selections. And choose one for your house. I think that’s a great option for you and a lot easier than trying to cut tile.
MARYANN: Oh, my gosh, yes. I wouldn’t even think of attempting that. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Barry in Florida is dealing with a plumbing situation. Tell us what’s going on.
BARRY: Well, I replaced the sprayer in my kitchen sink. And I did – at the same time, I did a dishwasher and the dishwasher is working fine, no problem. And the sprayer, though, it’s been there 22 years. It just wasn’t spraying. I figured it was all clogged up so I replaced it and when I did, the new one – when I turn on the water – not the sprayer but the water – I get a bang-bang-bang like air in the pipes. But it’s been doing that for about a month now, waking everybody in the house up.
So, I thought maybe I’d call you guys and see if you could help me figure out – I’m a fairly handy – what do I need to do? Either replace the whole thing again – and I replaced it with a brand new one I bought at the hardware store.
LESLIE: Barry, when you said that the sound is waking everybody up, is it happening on its own or only when you’re using that sink?
BARRY: No, no. Only when you’re using the water. My wife told me that when I get up in the morning to make coffee, I wake her up by turning on the water. Only when you use the main water handle.
TOM: Now, does it happen when you turn the water on or when you turn it off?
BARRY: On. When you turn it on.
BARRY: The whole time the water’s on it does that.
TOM: Hmm. That’s interesting.
BARRY: If I left it on for 20 minutes, it would do it constantly for 20 minutes. That’s why I don’t think it’s air.
TOM: And the whole time it’s on. Yeah, so, I think you’ve got a bad washer in there somewhere.
Now, if it happened when you were spraying and then you released it to turn the water off and you got banging then, that I would say is water hammer, because the water has a forward momentum in the pipes. And when you stop spraying the water, it keeps moving and bangs the pipes. That’s water hammer.
BARRY: Ah, yeah.
TOM: That has one solution. But if it’s happening just because you turn the sprayer on, then I think that the valve in the sprayer is bad and it’s probably vibrating somewhere in there. This happens sometimes with kitchen sinks. If you lift up the lever to turn the sink on, sometimes you get a kachunka-chunka-chunka-chunk kind of a sound.
TOM: And that’s when you have a bad valve. And so I suspect that if you replaced just – you don’t have to replace the whole line but just the handle part of it. Try replacing that and see if it still does it. I think you’ve got a bad one there, buddy.
BARRY: You’re talking about the handle in the hand-held sprayer.
TOM: Correct. Yeah. And those are replaceable.
BARRY: OK. OK, sure, yeah. Absolutely. OK.
TOM: Alright, Barry. Give it a shot.
BARRY: Well, I’ll try that. I didn’t think – that’ll be an easy fix if that’s the fix.
TOM: And that’s what we hope for. Barry, 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. Welcome to The Money Pit this holiday weekend. We are here to give you a hand with all of your home improvement, design questions, décor questions. Hey, you’ve got three days, so there are no excuses. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, we’ve got tips to help you create the hobby room that you’ve always wanted in your home.
MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
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: The telephone number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and call us now with your home improvement project. We want to talk to you; we want to hear what you’ve got planned. We want to help you get the job done.
Now, winter conditions can be a dangerous time for pets. And one caller this hour is going to get a great way to keep both you and Rover safe when there’s ice and snow on the ground. We’re giving away an entire winter’s worth of Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt from Morton. It’s salt- and chloride-free, which is good for your car, your concrete sidewalks and of course, your pets. Give us a call right now with your question and your chance to win. The number is 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Well, many of us have dreamed of having a space in our homes completely dedicated to our favorite hobby. Maybe for you it’s a workshop, a sewing room, a writer’s nook or an art studio. Now, there is no better time to live your dream.
You want to start with basic questions, guys, alright? If this is something you’re thinking about, you need to think about what kind of storage you’re going to need. Do you need outlets? A lot of outlets? Is the space that you’re going to be working in – does it need any specialized ventilation? Can you use an existing space? If you’re thinking about that, maybe you should look into your closets. Can a closet turn into, say, a work area if you take the doors out and put a desk in there? You’ve got to be creative. You want to look for space that is kind of untapped, like your garage or your basement.
And remember that – now, this is kind of crazy but remember, just because it’s called a dining room doesn’t mean it has to be a dining room. It could be your favorite sewing spot.
TOM: That’s right. And when you plan that room, think about the three most important areas. For example, if you’re creating a sewing room, your key areas might be your cutting table, your sewing area and the ironing board. Board workers like me, it’s probably a table saw, a radial arm saw and a workbench.
Design the hobby room so that these three areas have a very short distance between them. It’s known as the working triangle. Now, we have working triangles in our kitchen. The distance …
LESLIE: Like the kitchen.
TOM: Right. It’s between the sink, the stove and the refrigerator. You design that to be small so that you really keep your traffic to a minimum and so you don’t tire yourself out walking around the place.
We’ve got a great article online. Just head on over to Google and Google “money pit hobby room.” Or pick up the phone right now and call us with your specific question at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now joining us from Hometalk, we’ve got Cass in Georgia on the line with a furnace question.
CASS: I live in a townhome in Georgia and it’s about six years old now. And I was talking with my HVAC guys and they recommended that I do a service agreement. And what that service agreement was is that they come out twice a year just to check over the system.
CASS: Is it really worth it?
TOM: Now, when they check over the system, do they actually service the heating system and service the air-conditioning system when they do that?
CASS: Well, I guess that would be according to the definition of service. I don’t know what kind of service it really is.
TOM: And that’s the question, Cass. Yes, if they’re going to come out and clean the furnace once a year and if they’re going to come out and check the function of the air-conditioning system – make sure it doesn’t need to have refrigerant added, that sort of thing where they’re really doing an evaluation, not just sort of a look-see but they’re actually doing some service work to the system – I think it’s fine, you know, assuming it’s reasonably priced.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Maintenance.
TOM: Typically, if you need parts or bigger things, then that’s not covered. But your system does need to be inspected, in fact, serviced twice a year. In the wintertime, it needs to be cleaned.
Now, is this a – let me just clarify – is this a gas-fired system or oil-fired system or is it electric?
CASS: Well, let’s see. I get a gas bill and an electric bill.
TOM: OK. I’m sure it’s gas then. And yeah, see, gas runs – when gas burns, it burns dirty. It produces …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And can really muck up the whole system.
TOM: Yeah. It produces a carbon deposit on the burners that makes it inefficient. And that has to be cleaned. So, that’s something you would do in the fall: September, October timeframe. And then in the spring – May-ish, maybe even a little bit earlier in Georgia – you have them come back and check the function of the air-conditioning system. So, those two services do need to be done and if they can cover them in a reasonably-priced agreement, I think it’s a good idea.
LESLIE: And you want to make sure that that eliminates the need for service-call charges. It should eliminate the need for materials. It should also give you priority should you have a heating or cooling situation that needs to be addressed. It’s not “oh, we can’t get around to you until four weeks.”
Because we have a service agreement with our heating system and it has proven to pay for itself over the years.
TOM: Well, alright, Cass. I’m glad we gave you some direction, some tips on how to successfully invest in a service agreement for your HVAC system. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lee in Texas is on the line with a window and foundation situation. Tell us what’s going on.
LEE: Well, I’ve got a house that’s approximately a little over 45 years old and it’s got the original windows in it.
LEE: And I’ve got a foundation problem.
TOM: Alright. What’s going on with the foundation?
LEE: Oh, it’s shifting, it’s cracking. I’ve got a big crack on the westbound side.
TOM: Hmm. OK.
LEE: And it’s spread out quite a bit.
TOM: Do you sense that it’s actively – like it’s growing?
LEE: No, it isn’t growing. It’s stable, just a crack.
TOM: It’s been like that for how long?
LEE: Probably about 20 years.
TOM: OK. Well, then, I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. If it’s not active, which means it’s moving, then it’s probably stopped. It just happened for whatever reason: soil shift, who knows? But if it’s not active, then I don’t think it’s a big concern if it’s been stable for 20 years. So then I think you can move on and think about replacing the windows.
A good time to replace windows. The technology has really come a long way. They’re super-energy-efficient; very, very comfortable; very, very easy to operate. What you want to do is choose your windows very carefully.
If you go to our website at MoneyPit.com, we actually have a free guide. It’s a download from our book, My Home, My Money Pit. Just click on the picture of the book and look for the guide to replacing windows in your house. It will walk you through kind of the whole purchase process and tell you what to look for. You have to decide what kind of frames you want, what kind of glass you want: double-pane versus triple-pane and so on. And it will help sort of walk you through that whole process and then you’ll be more knowledgeable when you start talking to the actual window companies.
But replacement windows are pretty easy to install. They fit inside the existing openings, so there’s not a lot of siding that’s torn off and stuff like that. And for the most part, they can do the whole project in a day or two.
LEE: But if it starts being active again about when it shifts?
TOM: Mm-hmm. Then here’s what you need to do: you need to consult a structural engineer, not a foundation-repair company or a contractor or anybody like that. There’s a lot of so-called experts out there but unless they have the pedigree of a degree, then we don’t want to hear from them. We want you to consult a structural engineer.
Because when you have a serious foundation issue, you have an engineer inspect it, you have them write a report stating whether or not it needs to be fixed and if so, how it should be fixed. Then you get it fixed by a contractor. Then you have them come back and reinspect it so that they can certify that it was done correctly.
And with that record, you won’t have any problem selling your house. If it becomes an issue later on, you can show them that you hired an expert to review it and to review it after it was fixed and it’s been done satisfactorily. And that should be all you need to know to fix the foundation and to protect the value of the home.
LESLIE: Clara in Minneapolis, Kansas is on the line with a dryer-venting question. How can we help you?
CLARA: Our dryer is in the basement, is the beginning part of the problem. So when we hook it up to the vent, the vent goes straight up.
TOM: How far up does it go?
CLARA: Well, it’s probably 8 foot.
CLARA: And then it goes vertical – I mean horizontal – probably about 25 feet to the back side of the house.
TOM: Wow. OK.
CLARA: And then that’s where the exhaust comes out of the house. And we can get part of it cleaned.
TOM: Is it a metal exhaust duct or a plastic exhaust duct?
CLARA: It’s a metal.
TOM: OK, good. Perfect. We’ve got a solution for you. It’s called a Gardus LintEater. And it’s a special brush that fits inside the dryer exhaust ducts and it’s on fiberglass rods. And as you …
LESLIE: So it’s flexible.
TOM: It’s flexible. And so what you do is you start with like 3 foot or 6 foot of the fiberglass rod, you hook it up to a drill and the drill is what spins it. You run it into the duct, pull it out a couple of times. Then you add another length of fiberglass and another length of fiberglass rod and so on.
LESLIE: And it’s the coolest thing, because you will be amazed – both, I should say, amazed and disgusted – at the amount of lint that is going to come out of your vent the first time you do it.
TOM: Yeah, it’s fun.
CLARA: I imagine.
TOM: Just Google it – LintEater, Lint-E-a-t-e-r – and you’ll find it.
TOM: It’s a really handy tool to have. Once you have one, you can use it a lot. You can do it from the outside. They’ve got other attachments that help you get in closer to the dryer and so on but it’s a great product, OK?
CLARA: OK. OK.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? If you don’t do it, you really need to be careful because all of that lint is sort of just building up in there and it could be a fire hazard. So you really do have to get on this.
CLARA: Yeah. That’s what we were concerned about.
TOM: And that’s actually their website, too: it’s LintEater.com. So check it out.
CLARA: OK. That sounds great.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You know, that’s such an important thing to do, Leslie, because there’s a lot of fires that happen in homes because of dirty dryer exhaust ducts. So, a good idea to keep it clean.
LESLIE: It’s funny. I was just noticing the lint buildup in my driveway again and I was like, “Ah, it’s time to get out there.”
TOM: Time again. Yep.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. You cold-climate people know, when you get an ice dam, you’re going to end up with a roof leak. The good news? They are preventable. This Old House‘s Tom Silva will be along to tell us how, after this.
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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: Hey, did you make a resolution to save more money this year? Well, we can help you do that. Simply go to our website at MoneyPit.com and search “saving energy.” You’ll get tips on saving water and power and keeping all your heat inside where it belongs, all in one convenient click at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Well, if your roof starts to leak when the snow starts to melt, you might have a common problem known as an ice dam.
TOM: That’s right. Heavy snowfall followed by those warm days often allows ice to dam up at the roof edge, where it blocks that melting snow and can cause some serious leaks inside your house. There is a solution, though, and here to tell us about that is Tom Silva, the general contractor from TV’s This Old House.
TOM SILVA: Thank you. It’s nice to be here.
TOM: And since roofs usually leak when it rains and not when it snows, this is a problem that has surprised most people. How do we make sure that that meltdown doesn’t end up melting away the walls inside our homes?
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Ice dams can be a major problem. And this last winter, there was a lot of it.
TOM SILVA: Roofs that never even had backup had it this year because there was so much snow. That snow is laying on the roof. Think of that snow as a big insulation blanket. So if you have heat loss in your attic, like not enough insulation …
TOM: Which almost everyone does.
TOM SILVA: That heat is getting through the roof and the snow is being melted underneath. So the water is running down under the snow. When it hits that cold overhang, it freezes. The water continually comes down, the freeze gets bigger. It’s a dam; it’s holding back the water. The water is now running up the roof shingles and not down the roof shingles, getting into the roof below.
TOM: Now, Ice & Water Shield is the product that we usually apply to stop this but that’s not required in all parts of the country where ice dams happen, correct?
TOM SILVA: Right. Ice & Water Shield, a great product. It’s basically a self-sealing membrane but it needs to be installed correctly.
TOM: Just to make sure we’re clear here, it goes under the shingles, pretty much the first thing on top of the sheathing?
TOM SILVA: Right. But what a lot of people don’t understand is that first course of Ice & Water Shield should come down onto your fascia board. It should come down the lower edge of the roof. It should wrap the edge of the roof up under the roof sheathing and down onto the fascia board at least an inch to an inch-and-a-half. And then that should get covered by the drip edge and maybe even a piece of trim, because you don’t want ultraviolet light to hit it; it’ll break it down.
Now, I always like to use a minimum of two rows of Ice & Water Shield, because you never know how bad the snow is going to get during the wintertime. And basically, what happens is it’s – basically, it’s an insurance policy to stop your roof from leaking if the water should get under the roof shingles.
LESLIE: Now, what are some of the steps that you can take on the inside of your attic, to sort of keep conditions just right for a proper melt and removal of that water?
TOM SILVA: Alright. Well, the first thing to understand is you want to think about your roof on your house as an umbrella that keeps your house dry. You live in the box below the angled umbrella. If you could take that roof and you could hold it above your house 1 foot, the air outside would run under the roof, keeping the whole roof the same temperature on both sides, the snow won’t melt.
TOM: So in a perfectly ventilated home, the temperature in your attic really should be the same as the outside; it should be ambient.
TOM SILVA: Exactly. Unless you want to make your attic conditioned space. So really, what you need to do is make sure that the insulation in your house is plentiful. The more you have, the better it is. You don’t want to compact the insulation against the edge of the roof at the eave line, because then you could stop the movement of air that’s ventilating air.
Because the warm air that’s in your house is swollen with moisture and when it gets through the attic, it needs to be drawn out. You draw that out a couple of different ways. You can use a ridge vent or you could use a gable vent or you could use mechanical ventilation. But you have to be able to let air in while the bad air can be drawn out; that requires soffit vents. Soffit vents cannot be blocked.
TOM: So if you have a lot of insulation, as the insulation sort of piles down near where the roof meets the exterior wall, we need to put some baffles in there to kind of press that insulation down just enough to let the air flow over top of it.
TOM SILVA: Have an inch-in-a-half to 2 inches of space and that should flow really freely.
Now, one of the issues that I always – I’m always concerned about is if you have a ridge vent on your house and we have a real bad winter, that ridge vent is going to get blocked by the snow for quite a while. So you’re not going to have that warm, moist air being drawn out of the house until you can get some of that ridge vent clear. So you’ve got to be careful of that.
LESLIE: In a case like that, does it make sense to have a gable vent, as well, just to sort of give you that movement? Or get on your roof and do some maintenance?
TOM SILVA: I never like to tell people to get on their roof, especially in the winter.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean especially in the winter.
TOM: The wintertime, yeah.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, no. A lot of people get hurt when they get up there. Gable vents are fantastic. Plenty of them. Bigger is always better but you don’t want to have – this is silly – but you don’t want to have a gable vent and a ridge vent work together, because they will take the path of least resistance from your soffit vents.
In other words, the gable vent will be – the air from the gable vent will be drawn in through the ridge vent and it short-circuits …
TOM: And short-circuits 90 percent of the attic. Right, so …
TOM SILVA: That’s right. So your soffit vents won’t be working, so you might as well have the insulation up against the roof at your soffit vent.
TOM: So, really, if you have a completely-vented soffit, completely-vented ridge and that’s it, that’s going to handle it most of the time.
TOM SILVA: Right, exactly.
TOM: Because that air is going to enter at the soffit, ride up under the roof sheathing, exit at the ridge, take out the moisture in the winter, take out the heat of the summer.
TOM SILVA: Right. And when it’s not working and you get ice dams, what happens is that ice-and-water shield will prevent the ice from getting into the house, because it can’t get through that self-sealing membrane.
TOM: Yeah. That’s great advice. And if all else fails, what I’ve found is it usually – not always but usually, homeowners’ insurance will cover ice-dam damage.
TOM SILVA: Right. My biggest issue with this whole situation this last winter where there were so much problems – so many problems with houses – people were getting their insurance company to come in and fix the damage from the ice dams but they weren’t fixing the correct – to solve the problem.
LESLIE: No corrections.
TOM: Right, right. They fix the drywall but it’s going to happen again and again and again.
TOM SILVA: Exactly. You’ve got to get up there and fix the roof, yeah. Yeah.
TOM: Oh, that’s great advice. That’s definitely the right way to do it. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, you’re going to help us keep our homes dry if we get another bad winter, once again.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great articles on ice damming, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by Home Depot. Home Depot, more saving, more doing.
Up next, do you have a few ugly water stains on your walls or on your ceilings that you’re hiding with, hmm, maybe art? Well, guess what? You might need a new roof. We’re going to tell you how to choose the best material for a leak-free installation, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.
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: Pick up the phone, call us right now. We want to hear your home improvement question. We want to help you with your next project. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.
And one caller this hour that does just that might just win a winter’s supply of Morton’s Safe-T-Pet. It’s a salt- and chloride-free deicing product. It’s totally safe to use around pets, plus it’s not going to rot away your concrete sidewalks, which is great. It’s not going to hurt your pet’s paws, their skin or their eyes. And it’s a prize pack worth 60 bucks. Going to go out to one caller chosen at random that calls us with their question right now at 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to help you with whatever project you are working on on this long weekend.
Well, it’s a nasty fact faced by every homeowner at some point: your roof will not live forever. As much as you want it to, it’s just not going to. Even the best roofs still need to be replaced and it can be a little confusing picking which material is right for you. So here are the pros and cons of the most popular options.
First, let’s talk about metal roofing. We love it. It saves energy and it can last a century, literally. The downside: you’re going to have to shell out a lot more money for it upfront. Now, a cheaper option is asphalt shingles. It’s really the most popular roofing material out there. You see it practically on every house and it’s only going to last about 20 to 25 years, which is a good chunk of time.
TOM: It is. Now, an even less-expensive option is asphalt roll roofing. It’s one of the cheaper ways to go but it really is only a short-term solution. But you do see it used on a lot of sheds and barns. Built-up roofs are another option. They’re great for flat or low-slope applications but they can be hard to repair.
Now, one more type of roofing that’s actually gaining in popularity now is clay roofing. Natural roofing options like clay are really gaining in popularity because they’re green, they can last about 50 years and they’re really, really durable. But if you go with clay, remember that the clay tiles are really heavy and the roof has got to be specially framed to support them.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If you want to know more about the differences in roofing materials, take a look at our book, My Home, My Money Pit. It’s available on Amazon.com and it’s got a section devoted to helping you find the best roofing options for your needs.
TOM: 888-666-3974. If you’ve got a roof leak, call us right now. We’ll help you fix it.
LESLIE: Michaeline in Wisconsin is on the line needing some help insulating a crawlspace. Tell us what’s going on.
MICHAELINE: Well, I hung some plastic and insulation from the ceiling of the crawlspace and all the way around. And I’m still getting drafts and air coming in into the bedroom that faces the north, by the wall.
TOM: So you’re getting drafts up through the walls? Is that where you feel like it’s coming up?
MICHAELINE: Yeah. And up through the crawlspace. There’s half a basement, half crawlspace.
TOM: OK. Now, what kind of insulation did you use, Michaeline?
MICHAELINE: Well, I used the black plastic and I used the R-stuff with the …
TOM: The R-stuff. Let’s back up for a second, OK? The insulation that you put in, is it – was it unfaced insulation? Did you press it up into the floor joist, like nice and fluffy?
MICHAELINE: No, I didn’t press it into the floor joist.
TOM: How did you hang it?
MICHAELINE: I went with what the Reader’s Digest said, to hang it from the ceiling of the floor, down to the flooring of the crawlspace and let it …
TOM: So, where is the – the insulation that goes up in that floor should be unfaced: should have no paper face, no plastic face; it should be unfaced. And it should be big and fluffy and should be as thick as the crawlspace floor.
But here’s the steps. And if you had called me before you started this, here is what I would have told you to do. First of all, I would say the area on the outside of your house, where we have what’s called the “box joist” – that’s the beam that goes around the outside perimeter.
TOM: In that area, you want to seal the gaps with an expandable foam, like GREAT STUFF or a product like that, so you …
MICHAELINE: On the inside?
TOM: On the inside, right. You seal that, you spray it. Because you get little gaps that – where air can come in around that. Then once that dries, it gets nice and hard. Don’t try to scrape it away or cut it; it doesn’t matter. Just spray it, let it dry, stop right there, don’t cut away the excess. Then, add some insulation and the insulation would be unfaced fiberglass batts. If your floor joists were 2x10s, I would put 10-inch fiberglass batts there.
How do you support those? You use insulation hangers. They’re like pieces of wire that stick in between the joists. And let it hang there. And then, on the crawlspace floor – is it a dirt floor?
TOM: So if it’s a dirt floor, then you want to add the plastic right on the dirt floor. Now, that’s not for drafts; that’s to stop moisture from coming up.
LESLIE: That’s for moisture.
TOM: And those things – that’s the best you can do for that crawlspace.
LESLIE: And Michaeline, when you’re putting the plastic on the floor of the crawlspace, if you for some reason have to use more than one sheet, make sure you overlap by 2 or 3 feet so that you’re not getting any moisture releasing into it. Because, as Tom said, the moisture can really reduce the effect that the insulation is going to have.
MICHAELINE: Do you – do I tape it then if I’ve got to use more than one sheet?
LESLIE: If you overlap them by 2 or 3 feet, they’ll stay.
MICHAELINE: Oh, OK.
TOM: Yeah, they’ll stay. Gravity will hold it in place.
TOM: Alright? And that’s it. Alright, Michaeline? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, do you have hard water in your house? Well, the solution doesn’t have to be hard. We’re going to tell you about a salt-free way to soften it, after this.
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. And did you know that you can listen to The Money Pit Radio Show on the go? All you need to do is go to iTunes or MoneyPit.com and download The Money Pit app for free.
You can hear the show or ask a question in the Community forum. Go to our website, learn more and while you’re there, post your questions. And I’ve got one here from Pat in Arizona who wrote: “Our area has very hard water. Is it worthwhile to invest in a product like EasyWater? It supposedly eliminates the need for salt and thereby doesn’t waste any water.”
TOM: You know, that’s a pretty good product. We actually had them on the show quite a while ago and have continued to get a lot of inquiries since then. And they sent me a unit. Had a chance to test it out and it really worked well. And I liked it because it was so easy to install.
The difference here is that they use sort of an electronic scale-control technology. They take – the system sort of goes around your main water pipe; it doesn’t actually go through it. But it electronically – it forces the hard-water particles to basically release from the water, so it doesn’t actually get to the faucet where it can clog things up. And it really worked well.
And what’s cool about them is they have a great warranty. Their website is EasyWater.com and if you’re not happy, you can send it back.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Mya in Connecticut who wrote: “Is there a downside to having an old bathtub reglazed as opposed to replacing it?”
TOM: Well, I guess it really comes down to how long you want that finish to last.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And how special is that tub?
TOM: Yeah, because it’s expensive. That’s right.
If you want it to last a long time and you can locate a really good professional reglazer, that’s the best way to get, I don’t know – what would you think, 10, 15 years out of it?
LESLIE: Probably. If it’s done by a pro and if it’s done in the proper steps and it’s given the correct time to cure – I mean if it’s a specialized tub that’s of architectural significance, maybe it’s a clawfoot – is it something totally unique to your home? Then I would do that. But if it’s just your standard tub, is it worth the extra expense?
TOM: I’d probably think twice about it, yeah.
Now, there are DIY kits but I’ve seen very – yeah, very short-term experience with those.
LESLIE: They never last.
TOM: They really look like paint for your tub. I’ve seen them – even if you follow the directions to the letter – last a couple of years maybe. But they really start chipping very, very easily.
Another option would be a tub insert. And I don’t think you can do this with a clawfoot tub but if you have a regular tub, you can actually have an insert made that slips into it. What it does is it actually makes the tub a bit smaller but it will last indefinitely. So, there are those options but it really comes down to how much you love this thing. It really does.
LESLIE: OK. Butterfinger writes: “What is the best way to seal an old fireplace that’s no longer being used?”
TOM: In a way that everybody in your house knows that it’s not working anymore. Because the worst thing you want to do is seal something in and then not tell anybody, because somebody eventually will come in there and try to start a fire and burn the whole darn place down.
TOM: So, I think the best way to do this is to start at the top by sealing off the chimney at the top. If you’ve already got, say, a chimney damper, you simply can close that. What you might want to do is basically add some weatherstripping to the top of it so it really seals it in nice and tight.
And then, down below, you can stuff that chimney. Most people would stuff it with insulation and if you do that, you’re really going to stop the drafts and that’s the goal.
You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. We are so happy to spend this long Martin Luther King weekend with you. We hope it has given you lots of opportunities to rest, relax and perhaps tackle a project or two. And thank you for letting us be part of the solution that helps you get that job done. We are online with more help, 24-7, at MoneyPit.com. But remember, you can always pick up the phone and call us, any time of the day or night, at 888-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 2012 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.)