Dress Up a Boring Garage Door, Install a Pet Door to Make Life Easier and Tips to Remove Mold and Mildew From Your Home

  • Transcript

    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: And what are you working on this fine day? We’d love to help you with your home improvement or décor projects. So help yourself, first, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Whether it’s your home, whether it’s your apartment, whether it’s a project you want to tackle for your mom or for your dad, we’d love to chat, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s program, are your garage doors just sort of plain and boring? We’re going to have some tips on how you can dress up your overhead door to add value and style to your house.

    LESLIE: And do you love your dog but not so much having to get up in the middle of the night to let that dog out? Well, we’re going to share some tips on how to install a pet door that your pet can actually open, close and lock themselves without the help of their human friend or the risk of unwanted wildlife using that same entry.

    TOM: And also ahead, spring rains might have been great for your lawn and garden but they also did a lot to help mold, mildew, moss and algae grow around your property. We’ll have a tip on the easy way to eliminate that unwanted greenery from your home.

    LESLIE: Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize for one lucky caller that will help with all of those flat bike tires and underinflated soccer balls. It’s the RYOBI 18-Volt Power Inflator and Lithium-Ion Battery and Charger Upgrade Kit. That’s a great prize.

    TOM: You can pick one up at The Home Depot for 85 bucks or call in your home improvement question, right now, for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is on the line and has a question about a water heater. What can we do for you?

    DOUG: I’m considering changing the anode rod in my natural-gas water heater because I’m told that it’s necessary to change. Now, it’s a 12-year heater – a water heater. So, is this something I definitely need to do?

    TOM: Are you having any issues with odor in the hot water? Does it smell like sulfur or rotten eggs?

    DOUG: No.

    TOM: Then I say no. Don’t do it.

    It’s really hard to do this project because sometimes, the anode rods get really locked in. The bolt on top that you have to take out to get to them and pull it out is – gets really corrosive. So it’s a hard project to do. You may damage the water heater in the process. It’s already made it to 12 years. So, I mean you’re not going to expect to have a lot more years out of it anyway. And I don’t – I wouldn’t recommend putting any money into a 12-year-old water heater.

    DOUG: Yeah. I was reading something where it is a little difficult to get it out.

    TOM: Yeah, it is. That’s why I say when your water heater’s just getting up in age, it’s probably not worth it.

    DOUG: OK. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome, sir. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Debbie in Delaware is on the line and needs some help with a building project. What can we do for you, Debbie?

    DEBBIE: My husband broke his hip and we are in desperate need of a handicap ramp. He’ll be needing this handicap ramp after the break heals. He’ll be using a wheelchair and a walker after this. We are limited in income and we can’t afford even the materials to build this ramp. And I’ve been trying to get through government agencies and everything. And all I have gotten is a bunch of red tape.

    TOM: Tell me something: how high up does the ramp have to be? How many steps are you trying to accomplish? Or just kind of describe the layout to me.

    DEBBIE: Yeah. It’s five steps into the house.

    TOM: Debbie, as much as I’d like, there’s sort of no quick fix for this situation. You do need a ramp and the ramp has to – it’s going to be a very large structure and has to be properly done. So I think your energy is best focused on how to get the professional help and to get the funds necessary to do this.

    Now, there is an organization that is called Rebuilding Together that does this sort of thing. And their website is TogetherWeTransform.org, TogetherWeTransform.org. Or just Google “Rebuilding Together.” They have got affiliates in most states across the country. Their national headquarters is in Washington D.C. And what I would suggest you do is to reach out to the national headquarters and speak with them about trying to connect with an affiliate that’s near you. I see there’s no affiliate directly in Delaware but of course, you can go to New Jersey or you can go to Maryland – anywhere around there – and probably find exactly what you need.

    They used to be called Christmas in April. And now they’re called Rebuilding Together. And I’ve done some of their projects in the past. And there – seem to be a good group of people that get a lot of great things done.

    DEBBIE: OK. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help.

    TOM: Alright. And we hope that your husband heals up quickly. Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Jack in Missouri on the line. What can we do for you today?

    JACK: What is the best way to treat mold?

    TOM: Yes. So where is the mold that you’re trying to treat?

    JACK: Well, let me be right up front with you, sir: I kind of clean up rental houses. And it’s, really, wherever I find it.

    TOM: Pretty common. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

    JACK: Underneath the sink, around the bathtub or something like that when we tear out a piece of floor or something.

    TOM: Right. OK. So, you want a product that can really be used for cleaning. You know, there are some products that we use on the outside of the house, for example, for mildew and mold and algae on siding and roofs. In your case, you want a product that can clean this, because most of it’s going to be inside.

    So, I would suggest a product called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X. And it’s a product that you mix up. Yeah, it’s made by the Zinsser company. And it’s a good cleaner for those sort of interior spaces where you’re trying to clean up the mold – J-O-M-A-X – and get them cleaned up there. It’ll do a really terrific job.

    JACK: OK. So you – the Concrobium wouldn’t do us quite as good.

    TOM: No. I think it would do fine if you can – if you’re having trouble finding it. I think it’s also a good choice.

    JACK: Yeah, yeah. That’s true. Yeah.

    TOM: But either JOMAX or Concrobium, OK?

    JACK: OK. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to help you with whatever it is you are working on.

    But we’d also like to maybe help you come up with a project for the dad in your life or pick out a great gift. So, whatever you need for all those dads out there, let us give you a hand. Heck, maybe you can plant a nice garden or repair a fence. We’ll help you with some ideas. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, a plain, ugly garage door can bring down the overall curb appeal of your home. We’re going to tell you about a trellis system that can add appeal with very little maintenance, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize form The Home Depot. It’s the RYOBI 18-Volt Power Inflator and Lithium-Ion Battery Plus Charger Upgrade Kit. The 18-Volt Power Inflator is perfect for tires and small inflatables ranging from 0 to 150 psi. And the cordless convenience allows for use in virtually any location.

    It’s available at Home Depot and HomeDepot.com. It’s worth 85 bucks but it’s going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. We want to hear from you. We want to take your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ray in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    RAY: I have a little problem. I have painted my bath – the walls and the ceiling – a few years ago and also put on a border. Well, the ceiling paint is peeling in thick spots. And when I painted it, I used KILZ. And I don’t know why it’s peeling.

    TOM: So there must be moisture behind it or – how old is this house?

    RAY: Well, the house was built in ’78.

    TOM: Because the other thing that can happen is if you have multiple layers of paint, sometimes you’ll get delamination of an older surface of that paint. So what might be peeling off might not be the paint from the KILZ or the KILZ from the prior paint. It could be a layer several layers back. And when you have such a severe adhesion problem, the best thing to do is to strip the old paint off of the ceiling, then apply an oil-based primer like KILZ or really any other brand that’s a name brand. And then apply a flat ceiling paint on top of that.

    RAY: Yeah. I did use a ceiling paint. But now that you mentioned it, looking at where it’s peeling, it does kind of – it’s a – let me think here – yeah, like a grayish color underneath the paint.

    TOM: Yeah. So, you see, it may not be what you painted that’s peeling. It might be a prior layer that’s peeling.

    RAY: Right. I follow what you’re saying. Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah. So you need to get all that old paint off and start from scratch, unfortunately.

    RAY: So now, do you have to just scrape it or sand it or do you have to …?

    TOM: Well, no, you’re going to need a paint stripper. You’re going to need a paint stripper because you’re not going to be able to scrape it. You’ve got to get that loose stuff off.

    RAY: Wow.

    TOM: OK?

    RAY: That’s a lot of work.

    TOM: I mean look: the other thing you could do is you could put another layer of drywall right on top of that and just skin it. You wouldn’t even need to use ½-inch drywall; you could use ¼-inch drywall. You’d have a seam or two to tape and spackle but then you’d start from scratch.

    RAY: Alright. Well, I appreciate the help on that.

    TOM: And I think we just filled up a couple of weekends for you, too.

    RAY: Yeah.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Martha in Ohio is on the line with a leaky door and a leaky window. What is going on?

    MARTHA: We had some sliding-glass doors in our family room that’s paneled. And we had them taken out and we wanted just a picture window in there. So, when they came to do the picture window, they took the door out – the sliding doors out – and the foundation was like, oh, maybe a block or two up and the door had been left empty down lower.

    So, what they did was they took 2x4s – I think it was wood – and built up to the block level and then proceeded to put in the supports for the window. So, now, when it’s – I made a flower bed out there and now, when the ground gets real saturated and water tends to puddle there, collect, it runs under the wood, through the wood.

    TOM: Right. Not surprised and – well, so it sounds like instead of building the foundation up with concrete block, which is what they should have done, they sort of filled it in with wood framing. Is that correct?

    MARTHA: Yes, yes.

    TOM: Yeah. Probably wasn’t the best choice.

    MARTHA: Can we seal that or do we need to start over?

    TOM: Well, you know, it’s kind of hard to advise that you seal something that was never done right to begin with. It really should have been a concrete block. But having said that, if you are going to trap that much water against the foundation, whether it’s a wood patch or a concrete block, it’s still going to leak. You just can’t hold that kind of water against the foundation.

    We advise against this all the time, Martha, because those sorts of planters and anything else that holds water against a house is just not a good idea, especially in an area like Ohio where you’ve got a pretty significant freeze/thaw cycle.

    MARTHA: Yes.

    TOM: Because if that water that saturates the soil – that soil freezes, it’s going to push inward on that wall and weaken the basement wall. So, I would recommend, if you are going to have a planter, that you’ve got to have some drainage in there so that the water does not puddle up. Because if you do trap it against the wall, regardless of how that wall is built – even though it wasn’t repaired correctly – it’s going to leak and it’s going to cause damage. So I think the issue, really, is what you did after the fact more so than what they did to install the picture window. OK?

    MARTHA: Oh, OK, OK.

    TOM: Good luck.

    MARTHA: Well, thank you so much and have a nice day.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, now is a good time to think about adding decorative touches to the exterior of your home. And if you’re going to do that, it’s best to look for details that will add value and style but not add a maintenance headache. Because a lot of those trim materials do just that.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So, here’s an idea that you can use to actually dress up your garage door. Now, if you pick up some PVC trellis materials and then cut it to fit around your garage door, that’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to make an easy, low-maintenance way to actually accent a single or double garage door. And you can use it to add some style to your front door or even make a garden shed just look great.

    TOM: Now, most trellis systems come complete with beams and hardware and lattice that might remind you of Italy. But because it’s PVC, it’s not going to wear. It’s not going to rot. It’s not going to warp. It won’t be an invitation for insects or pests to move in. And the PVC can also be painted to match your home. So, an easy weekend project to dress up the outside of your house and step up that curb appeal.

    LESLIE: Gary in Virginia is on the line and is dealing with some odor coming from the sink. Tell us what’s going on.

    GARY: We do have a problem in the bathroom. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I don’t know whether it could be trapped gases or whether it could be – I don’t think it’s anything in the water, because it’s just in the bathroom. But a lot of times when we take a shower, get out and – now, if we get dried off and everything and leave the bathroom or come back in, it’s a terrible odor in there. It smells like you – kind of like a sewer, I guess, maybe.

    TOM: Right.

    GARY: But we’ve had our septic pump (inaudible at 0:14:07) last year and it’s not that. And it not only happens in the shower, it can happen if we use the tub or sometimes if we’re at the sink, you know, like we shave – or if I shave or something like that and finish up, it’s like it comes up through the pipe. But it doesn’t happen every time. It could happen twice a week, it could happen no time.

    TOM: It sounds like something we call “biogas.” You get bacteria that will form in the drains and in the traps and in the fittings around there. And the bacteria itself has an awful odor to it.

    GARY: Yeah.

    TOM: So what I would do is I would take the trap apart for the bathroom sink, because you can get to that. I would use a bottle brush and scrub the heck out of all of that. I would put it back together and fill the entire trap with oxygenated bleach and let it sit.

    I would do the same thing for the bathtub. I would take the drain cover off and I would use a bottle brush to get down there and scrub the insides of those pipes. And I would fill those with oxygenated bleach and let them sit. Because the bleach is going to kill those microbes, kill that bacteria.

    GARY: OK.

    TOM: And that should make a difference. If it is biogas, it smells terrible and …

    GARY: Then why wouldn’t it do that at every time?

    TOM: Well, sometimes it’s more active than others is all I could say. But it depends on a lot of things, including the air pressure in the room. If the room happens to have a lower pressure because of other things going on in the house, it may draw out or not. So, it’s probably there all the time; it’s just that you don’t smell it because of the airflow.

    GARY: Yeah. Well, we’ve had a plumber look at it and he’s just – he can’t find the answer, either, so I had …

    TOM: I think if you Google “biogas,” you’ll see that there are a lot of folks that have the same issue. And this is how you solve it.

    GARY: Right.

    TOM: OK?

    GARY: OK. Alright. I appreciate your help.

    TOM: Alright, Gary. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Eleanor in Virginia on the line with a decking question. How can we help you today?

    ELEANOR: The question I have is we have Trex Decking on our – for our deck, which is – and also the porch – screened-in porch. But on the deck – which is not covered by any roof or anything like that; it’s all open to the environment – we have spots on that, which are – it’s a gray-color decking. And we have these dark spots all over it. Almost kind of looks like a mold. And we do not know what it’s caused by.

    My husband has tried to use a power washer with the soap that is recommended for that power washer. Also bleach with a scrub brush. He has – he can get it lightened but not totally gone. And we’re wondering if there’s – if you’ve ever heard of that with Trex Decking and have any suggestions.

    TOM: Yeah. I mean some of the composite materials out there do have some wood-fiber component and they will grow algae, which is most likely what you’re seeing.

    Now, one of the treatments that we would recommend is a product called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X. And JOMAX actually has a deck wash. And JOMAX is a detergent that also gets mixed with bleach, gets applied to the deck. You let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then you scrub it off. I would be very careful with the power washer except for just rinsing purposes. Because too much pressure can actually ruin that deck.

    Now, another possibility is that those black spots are what’s called “artillery fungus.” They kind of look like a shotgun kind of a pellet size. Artillery fungus is particularly difficult to get off. And one of the sources of it is mulch. Do you have mulch around your house or around your yard?

    ELEANOR: Yes.

    TOM: Well, sometimes the mulch that’s sort of the ground much – the shredded-bark mulch – will contain artillery fungus. And once that gets out and attaches to surfaces, like decks or sometimes even cars, it’s really, really difficult to get rid of it. So, if that is what’s going on, we would recommend that you don’t do that again. Don’t put the shredded mulch back on. Only use the bark mulch that’s in pieces. That seems to not have the issue. It’s the shredded mulch that attracts and contains artillery fungus.

    I would try the JOMAX Deck Wash and Cleaner. I think you’ll have better success with that than you did with straight bleach, OK?

    ELEANOR: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey. Are you a pet-lover? Well, so many of us are and so are our friends at This Old House. Well, Tom Silva is going to be stopping by and he’s going to give us some tips on how to install a pet door that’s so convenient, your pet will literally be able to let him or herself out and then lock that door behind them. So stick around.

    ADAM: Hey, this is Adam Carolla. And when I’m not swinging a hammer, I’m catching up on The Money Pit with 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.

    TOM: Hey, I have a question for you: have you tuned up your air-conditioning yet?

    LESLIE: No, not yet.

    TOM: I don’t know what you’re waiting for because you know what’s going to happen. That hottest day of the summer is just around the corner. And that’s when it’s going to break. Probably when you’re having a party and all your friends are over. Then they’ll be all sweaty and mad at you. You can stop all of that angst if you get your system tuned up. We’ve got tips on how to do just that, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Brandon in California has been taking some cold showers. Well, not intentionally, anyway. How can we help you with that?

    BRANDON: My old water valve, when I – it just happens just to the cold water. If I turn on the hot water, it doesn’t have the problem. But when I turn on the cold, it does this knocking or like a bang in the wall. And the pressure is reduced significantly. And it just will – it’ll come out really low pressure unless I really turn it on. And then the pressure comes back but I don’t know what – I don’t know if that’s called “knocking” or “hammer-knocking” or something like that but …

    TOM: Yeah, it’s called “water hammer.”

    BRANDON: Water hammer. Is that what that is?

    TOM: Yeah.

    BRANDON: OK. It’s not like a continual knocking, though.

    TOM: OK. So, first of all, when you open up the faucet and all the water kind of runs forward towards it, that has a lot of force with it and that will bang the pipe sometimes. And if the pipe – especially if it’s not attached well to the floor joist or whatever it happens to go through, makes that banging sound. That’s why we call it “water hammer.” It can be lessened or completely repaired with some plumbing work. But it may or may not be worth it, because it doesn’t really damage the pipe; it’s really just more of an annoyance.

    Now, in terms of the pressure issue – so the water comes on fast and then trickles out after that? Is that what’s going on?

    BRANDON: Well, it comes out normal but then it just seems like someone’s in the wall kinking the line. And it’s just coming out – like it comes out still; it’s not like trickling out, like drips.

    TOM: Is it one faucet in the shower? What about the sink that’s right next to it?

    BRANDON: No, there’s the three. One on the left is the hot, the center transitions it from the bathtub to the showerhead and the one on the right is the cold water.

    TOM: What about your sink? Does it do the same thing at the sink?

    BRANDON: No, it’s just in the shower.

    TOM: So, what I would do is I would install a pressure-balance valve in the shower. The pressure-balance valve, essentially – and it’s not going to address the water hammering but what it’ll do is it’ll keep the pressure even between hot and cold – keep the mix even between hot and cold so that you don’t get any sort of shell shock when you step in the shower and somebody runs a fixture somewhere else and it changes the temperature.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So no more pranksters flushing the toilet and getting a super-scalding shower.


    TOM: And the fact this is only happening at the shower means it’s a problem with the valves; it’s not a problem with the plumbing lines. Otherwise, it would be happening at the sink, as well.

    BRANDON: OK. That kind of makes sense. Because sometimes it’s just – sometimes it’s hard to balance when we’re in the shower. It’s like, “Oh, man, this is just scalding hot.”

    TOM: Yeah.

    BRANDON: And we’ve really got to crank up that cold to get it kind of balanced out right.

    TOM: Yep. That’s what you need: a pressure-balance valve.

    BRANDON: Alright. Perfect. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Brandon. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: So are you tired of hearing your door scratched constantly by your dog in the middle of the night? Well, having a pet door for your dog or cat can put that to rest.

    TOM: So how do you go about making that happen? This Old House general contractor Tom Silva joined us now with tips.

    Welcome, Tom.

    TOM SILVA: Thank you. Nice to be here.

    TOM: So, a pet door can be super convenient both for you and your pet. But since you’re actually cutting into your, say, back door when that happens, you better well have a plan, huh?

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. You want to make sure that you – first of all, I say you want to make sure you have a door that will lock because you don’t want other critters to come in.

    TOM: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: But, yeah, you want to make sure that it’s a good door because you don’t want the wind blowing it open, the rain blowing it open. And you want to let your pet be able to come in and out.

    TOM: And we should explain that the way doors are made today – it used to be a hunk of solid wood but now, more likely, it’s maybe hollow fiberglass.

    TOM SILVA: Could be a hollow fiberglass door, could be a door with foam in it. Yeah. So you’ve got to make sure you can really attach it or fasten it tightly to that door.

    LESLIE: I also feel like it just poses such security issues. I know you mentioned it should have a lock because you don’t want other critters coming in. But I’ve seen too many kid-friendly heist movies that show some bumbling crook trying to climb in a doggy door.

    TOM SILVA: Right. Well, there are doors that have a slider – a slide faction on the inside. We actually just drop this metal piece down and that actually adds some security to that lock. More for keeping other critters out. I suppose if I wanted to ram it with my head, I suppose I could get in there but …

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: Alright. So if you would like to go ahead and install this project, what’s the first thing to check for?

    TOM SILVA: Again, you want to make sure that the door is good enough to support that door. And if you realize that the door will do it, then go ahead and install it. Install a good-quality one with a good magnet or a latch that when the door comes through, it’ll slam shut; it won’t swing back and forth. And if it can’t go into the door, you can install it into a wall. They actually have them that you can install it into a sliding screen if you have a sliding door that you want to install but keep the screen shut. I actually made one for my daughter where I took a piece of foam, I put a wood frame around …

    TOM: You made your daughter use the pet dog to go – pet door going out?

    TOM SILVA: I did. Yeah, yeah. But she doesn’t have any dogs. But she didn’t want to …

    TOM: Dad of the Year.

    TOM SILVA: But yeah, I just took a piece of foam and I framed it with some one-by. And then I put some plywood on that – thin plywood. And to cut the – put the doggy door on that. And I made it fit into the track and then she slams the door on it with a rod on the back side so the door is basically safe.

    LESLIE: Now, if you are going into an existing door in your home – say you live in a hurricane-prone area – does cutting out that portion of the door then make your door not structurally sound for hurricane resistancy or …?

    TOM SILVA: Well, it doesn’t help. Let’s put it that way. That’s why you want to make sure that that door that you’re going to install can have some type of a safety mechanism that you can slide down to really keep the wind and driving rain out, because there’s a lot of force. And if you’re in a hurricane area, that dog door probably will get blown in.

    TOM: Now, you mentioned – you guys both mentioned security earlier today. I’ve seen pet doors where the dog actually wears a transmitter. And the door will open when the transmitter approaches the door.

    TOM SILVA: Yep. That’s right.

    TOM: And when it closes, it drops into a channel, which makes it secure.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. Safe. That’s right, right. It’s pretty good. It’s like a garage-door opener that you keep. When you push a button, it opens the garage door. Well, the dog doesn’t know that he has to push the button. It’s just a sensor on his neck. It’s pretty cool.

    LESLIE: And there’s probably an app for that that would then tell you whether or not your dog’s been in and out of the house.

    TOM SILVA: Probably.

    LESLIE: Did they bring a friend in? Maybe a camera will click on and show you your dog coming and going.

    TOM SILVA: There’s an app for everything. Yeah. And if you want to position the door the right height for your dog, too, position it off the floor 4 or 5 inches. But make sure it’s about 2 inches higher than his shoulders, when he’s standing on the floor, so that he can get in and out easily.

    TOM: Good advice. Tom Silva, the general contractor on TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    TOM SILVA: Always my pleasure.

    LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    Up next, summer is the season for mold, moss, mildew and algae. We’ll have a tip to keep that green growth away from your home, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by QUIKRETE. It’s what America is made of. For project help from start to finish, download the new QUIKRETE mobile app.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to whatever it is you are working on around your money pit. Plus, this hour, we’ve got a very useful summer prize. I mean it’s great if you’ve got kids. We’re giving away the RYOBI 18-Volt Power Inflator and Lithium-Ion Battery and Charger Upgrade Kit.

    Now, this 18-Volt Power Inflator is really perfect, of course, for tires and bicycle tires and all of the stuff that actually makes things go. However, it’s super great because if you’ve opened your garage post-winter season and found that every ball your children love to play with is deflated, think of how fast you can inflate everything in that garage. Goes from 0 to 150 psi. It’s cordless. You can use it anywhere.

    Check it out now at HomeDepot.com. It’s a prize worth 85 bucks but one lucky caller is going to win it this hour.

    TOM: Give us a call right now. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Pat in Iowa is on the line with a question about painting. What can we do for you today?

    PAT: Yes. I would like to paint my aluminum siding on my home. I can’t afford to side it right now and I was wondering if it’s possible to paint aluminum siding.

    TOM: Absolutely. There’s no reason you can’t paint aluminum siding. What you want to do is clean the house really well, power-wash it perhaps. And then you’re going to have to prime that siding. That’s really important.

    LESLIE: Otherwise, nothing is going to stick.

    TOM: Exactly. So you need to do a primer coat.

    PAT: OK. Well, what kind of primer?

    TOM: Well, you’re going to use a primer that’s designed to work with the paint that you select.

    So, for example, if you’re going to work with the Benjamin Moore family of paints, you’re going to use a Benjamin Moore primer.

    PAT: OK.

    TOM: And the primer is the glue; it’s the adhesive coat. That’s what makes the paint stick. And then you put the topcoat on top of that.

    PAT: Now, will this peel on the south side where the sun hits?

    TOM: No, not if you do a good job on the prep. You know, that’s why we’re telling you to prime it. And because the siding is metal, that paint job should last you a good 8 to 10 years. Less if it’s an organic material, like wood siding. But with metal siding, it can last a long time if it’s done well.

    PAT: Oh, good. That’s a good thing to know. OK. I wasn’t sure I could even do it. I thought maybe it would just peel right off.

    Now, the power wash, is that with – I’d have to hire somebody to probably do that.

    TOM: Yeah, unless you happen to have your own pressure washer, yeah, you’d have to hire somebody to do that. And they’ll use a detergent and clean off any dirt and debris and algae and so on that’s on the metal. Then you let it dry really, really well. Then you prime, then you paint.

    It’s a big project, Pat. If you’re not comfortable with 10-foot and 20-foot ladders, depending on how high your house is, you might want to hire a painter to do this.

    PAT: No, I’d probably hire someone else to do it but do you think it’d be real expensive? Or would I be better off to find a good vinyl-siding man to put …?

    TOM: Well, I think that you don’t have to side the house. You don’t have to put siding. You can paint this house and paint it successfully and I think it will be less expensive than siding.

    PAT: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Pat. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, if you’ve noticed that your siding, your decks or your walks are starting to grow moss, mildew, mold or algae, you might be wondering how best to get those surfaces clean again.

    There are lots of ways to go here but it’s important to note that this isn’t just a matter of cleaning the surface. You need to make sure that, once removed, that growth does not simply reoccur.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And that’s where Spray & Forget comes in.

    Now, this is a product that truly removes exterior stains that are caused by mold or mildew or algae, even moss and lichen. And this will actually keep them from coming back. Now, there’s no need to rinse or mix. The product is ready to use out of the trigger-spray bottle. You simply spray the area and forget it. And then let Mother Nature do the rest.

    TOM: You could use it to treat decks and patios and walkways and pavers. Really any masonry surface, like landscaping stone or even siding and fences and furniture, flower pots, awnings. You name it, it works on everything. The 1-gallon House and Deck Cleaner with trigger spray is eco-friendly. And it’s available at The Home Depot, Ace, True Value, Do it Best and online at SprayAndForget.com.

    LESLIE: Sandy in Iowa is on the line and she has got a problem where the stairs meet the wall. What’s going on there?

    SANDY: In my stairwell, where the sheetrock meets the floor joist, when they originally did that, they put that – you know how they use that heavy paper stuff and then they mud over that? Well, that cracked. And I peeled that off and now I’m trying to figure out how to smooth that over there between the sheetrock and the floor joist in the basement. Because it’s sheetrock to wood, I don’t know what material to use to fill that crack so that I can paint over and it look smooth.

    TOM: So, what you want to do – it sounds like you pulled the old tape off – the paper tape off. Is that correct?

    SANDY: I did.

    TOM: Well, that’s OK. Because what you want to do now is you want to go out and buy some fiberglass tape.

    Now, fiberglass drywall tape is perforated. It’s kind of like netting; it’s a little tacky. And you cut a piece off, you put it on top of that seam. And what that’s going to do is bridge the gap across the seam. And then you cover that with spackle.

    And you want to do about three very, very thin coats. Don’t put too much on. A little bit of spackle goes a long way. Sand in between in each one and then just build it out and build it up over those three coats. And that’ll be fine. And because you put the tape over – the fiberglass tape – it shouldn’t crack again.

    SANDY: That sounds like something I can do.

    TOM: I think you can, Sandy.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    Hey, are you getting tired of your tiled kitchen floor? Well, so is Debbie in Texas. And we’re going to have some options to share with her and you, 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.

    TOM: And we love to talk home improvement with you. You can always call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. But if not, you can post your questions to the Community section at MoneyPit.com, which is what Debbie from Texas did.

    LESLIE: Alright. And Debbie writes: “I have white, glossy tile in my kitchen. I hate it. It shows everything. The tile is in good shape. Is there any way to color or texture it?”

    TOM: We get this question a lot about people that have tile and just want to change its color. But unfortunately, tile is one of those building materials that does not lend itself to being painted or stained or covered over very easily unless, of course, you’re just completely burying it in another flooring system, like laminate.

    So I think my advice here, Leslie, would be to get Debbie to address, probably, what’s bugging her  most which is the grout, right? Maybe do some stained grout there to kind of darken it up, so it doesn’t show the dirt as much, and then decorate around it from there. Because if you’ve got a good, solid, tile-floor job in your kitchen, it’s kind of a shame to tear it out. But you can’t paint over it. Certainly, there are some paints that will advertise for that. They usually have a super-adhesive quality to them. But they’re not going to have the durability. So, even if you could get away with putting them on, say, maybe – I don’t know -a backsplash wall or something like that, you’d never be able to apply them to a floor.

    LESLIE: The other thing you can do is you can put a laminate down over the tile. The only issue there is you have to think about the height that you’re adding to the flooring. So, anything like your dishwasher, that might get stuck in underneath the countertop. So you’ve got to pull that out and floor underneath and make sure you can adjust the legs there. Plus, anything else with your cabinetry or other appliances, you have to make sure that if you put the laminate over the tile that additional height won’t cause a problem.

    All right. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Richard in New Mexico who writes: “I have a Southwest-style home with a clay-tile roof. Can I replace this with another material that still looks authentic to this type of architecture?”

    TOM: So if you lived in the Northeast like we do, you would find a Southwest-style home with a clay-tile roof to be very unique and beautiful, right? But down there in New Mexico, everybody has that style house and that kind of roof exactly. So if you want to do something crazy, Richard, and get rid of that roof, I’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.

    First of all, the way those tile roofs are typically installed are on spaced sheathing boards. So, when you pull the tile off, you’re going to see sort of wood strips evenly spaced where you would like to see plywood. You’re not going to see that with a tile roof. So the first thing you would have to do is you would have to sheath that roof, over those wood strips, with plywood.

    Now, on top of the plywood, you have lots of options. If you want to do something that looked like it fit there, there are asphalt shingles. They’re fiberglass-based asphalt shingles. And they’ve gotten so good at making shingles today that it can actually almost print shadow lines in it. And by that I mean when you have shingle on top of shingle, it looks like it’s a deeper shingle than it actually is, like it’s a thicker shingle. So you could put a shingle up there that looks tile-like or looks wood shake-like but would stand up very well to whatever Mother Nature threw at it.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Richard? Being that it’s so hot where you live in New Mexico, in the summer months, you want to make sure that you don’t overheat your attic space or even the roof sheathing itself. So make sure you’ll offer plenty of ventilation.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com, where you can also subscribe to The Money Pit podcast. Very popular. Going out, every single week, to over a quarter-million subscribers. So thank you very much for listening to us whenever it’s convenient for you. We hope that you’ve gotten some great tips and ideas and inspiration to save some perspiration on today’s show. If you’ve got questions, remember, we are available, 24/7, for those questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and always online at MoneyPit.com.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2016 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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