Drought Resistant Lawns, Quietest A/C in America, Tips for Basement Remodeling 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: And hey, we are here to help you with your home improvement project, your décor project. Whatever is going on in your home that you need some professional assistance with, we regret to inform you that there are no professionals available. But you’ve got us and we’re here to help at 888-666-3974. Just kidding. We’ve been doing this a long time. There’s very few home improvement issues that we can’t resolve. So if you’re facing one, pick up the phone and call us at 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s program, it’s usually about this time of year that homeowners grow pretty tired of paying the water bill necessary to keep lawns looking green and lush. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you have drought-resistant grass. We’ll tell you about just that, coming up.
LESLIE: Plus, staying cool this summer doesn’t always mean having to listen to a rackety window air conditioner that can drown out the peace of the day. We’re going to have the info on a new, portable air conditioner that’s been rated the quietest A/C in America.
TOM: And are you thinking about refinishing a basement? Well, basements are damp spaces and they need special consideration when you choose products to put down there, like floors. We’ll have tips, just ahead.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a fun product that was named one of the best, new products at the National Hardware Show. It’s called Bondic and it’s the only product that works where glue fails. It’s a liquid plastic that only hardens when it’s exposed to the included UV light. And it can be used to fix dozens of things around your house.
TOM: We’re giving away a 5-pack, plus the Bondic hat, worth 120 bucks. So, plenty to share with family and friends. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: John in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: I have a pressure-treated wood I’ve used. And I put it on – I sealed it with a solid-stain paint. And it seems like within – after two years, my wood, it starts to rot. It gets soft. I wanted to know: why is this happening? It’s pressure-treated wood.
TOM: When you stained it, first of all, did you do all sides of the board, including the bottom edge of the slat? Because very often, that’s where moisture gets pulled in.
JOHN: I did the whole board and I assembled it. And it just seems like it holds the – like a moisture within it. And it was in, like I say, two years it’s – you can almost push on it. It’s soft or it starts rotting.
TOM: Yeah, I suspect that it’s – there’s different layers of pressure-treatment. But I suspect whatever was done to this was not done very well. You know, I had some landscape ties that were allegedly pressure-treated. And within a couple of years, they were rotted away. I stepped on them one day and went right through it. So, I suspect that the quality of the wood in this fencing wasn’t really what you expected it to do.
I’ve taken just plain fir fence and I’ve treated it with WOODLIFE and made sure that the bottom of the fence was up at least 2 to 3 inches over the grass, because otherwise it gets a lot of moisture that pulls up into it. And I’ve had fences like that that I treated and then I used a solid-color stain on. Lasts 15 years.
Just because it’s pressure-treated or not well pressure-treated doesn’t mean it can’t last. But I think it’s a combination of the installation and then the treatment of the stain that was used initially.
JOHN: OK. Because, see, I have a boat dock and it’s over the water. And I just put clear sealer over it and you know what? It lasts longer than me sealing it with solid-stain paint.
TOM: And it comes down to the quality of the wood itself. And whatever this fence is made out of just is not comparable to what your dock’s made out of, John. Sorry to tell you that but I thinks that’s what’s going on. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JOHN: OK. Well, thanks and have yourself a great day.
LESLIE: Sharon in Ohio is on the line with a sump-pump question. How can we help you?
SHARON: We have an issue with our furnace. It seems to be pulling sewer gas from our sump pump, because that’s where it drains into. And we can’t figure out how to solve the issue. Temporary solution is to pour water in the sump pump. But then about three or four days later, we turn the furnace on and it draws the sewage-gas air again.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about this. So, first of all, what water from the furnace is being drained into the sump pump? Are you talking about the condensate line from the air-conditioning system?
SHARON: Yes, sir.
TOM: Is there a return duct in the basement area where this is or in the room where this is? Or do you think it’s coming in through the drain pipe?
SHARON: We think it’s coming in from the sump pump. And it’s a wintertime issue, because it happens when we turn the furnace on.
TOM: Well, if you think it’s because it’s reversing – it’s pulling whatever soil gas is causing this unpleasant odor – if you think it’s coming in because of the drain line, there’s a really simple solution: put a trap in it. So, if the drain line has a P-trap, kind of the same kind of that sort of U-shape pipe that’s underneath a bathroom sink, then that pipe will stay filled with water and will not allow any gases, any air to back up through it and get into the furnace.
SHARON: That’s not built into the furnace already?
TOM: Not always. I mean it depends on the workmanship of the installer. But no, you would see it on the outside. If you don’t see a P-trap, it doesn’t have one.
The other thing that could be causing this – and sometimes this happens – is occasionally – and I don’t want to freak you out but occasionally, you’ll get a rodent that will die inside of a return duct. And if that happens, yeah, the stink can go on for quite a while. But I would take a look at that drain line and if it doesn’t have a trap in it, do that. And make sure it’s filled with water when you start, if it’s the winter, because it won’t be. And I think you won’t find any more air gets through that pipe.
Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, keeping a healthy-looking lawn shouldn’t have to be at the expense of the local water supply. We’re going to tell you about drought-resistant grass that costs less to maintain, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We want to hear from you, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you pick up the phone and call us, you’ll get the answer to your question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a pretty fun prize. It’s the Bondic Starter Kit, plus the Bondic Hat, worth 120 bucks.
So what is a Bondic Starter Kit? Well, Bondic is a pretty cool product. It’s basically a liquid-plastic welding product. The starter kit includes 4 grams of the liquid plastic with the applicator, 1 LED UV light and 4 additional grams of liquid plastic.
What do you do with this stuff? Well, you can repair just about anything in the house with it. And the way it works is you apply the product – and it’s a liquid – and then you hit it with this UV light for about five seconds. And it instantly changes to a solid and you’re done with your repair. You can fix all sorts of things.
One of the guys on our team actually rebuilt the bearing for his vacuum cleaner, with this stuff, by building it up and sanding it to fit. If you’ve got eyeglasses that have to be fixed, if you’ve got key fobs that break down – we’ve even seen it used to repair a hole in a plumbing pipe. Really amazing stuff.
Named The Most Innovative Product at the National Hardware Show. The website’s BondicUSA. That five-pack is going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again: 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Paul in New York is on the line. What can we do for you at your money pit?
PAUL: I’d like to finish my basement, make it a more usable area. But I have a problem with some water leakage at times. I believe the construction is called a “floating slab” where there’s a weep channel around the edge of the basement that goes into a sump pit.
TOM: Tell me, when do you seem to have the biggest problem with signs of water coming in or actual water coming in?
PAUL: Heavy rains.
TOM: Alright. So I’ve got great news for you. You don’t need anything more than some minor adjustment in the grading and drainage outside.
Whenever you have water that leaks and after a heavy rain, that’s always caused by exterior drainage conditions that are just not right. And usually, it’s as simple as not having the right gutter set up around the house. You need to have gutters. They need to be clean and free-flowing and the downspouts – now, this is where most people get it wrong – have to be extended a minimum of 4 to 6 feet away from the house. Because those first few feet at the foundation perimeter are where water collects and saturates and then goes down into those basement walls and shows up as a leak inside. So I want you to look at that very, very carefully.
The second thing is the angle of the soil at the foundation perimeter has to pitch away from the house. And it has to do so with soil that can drain. Sometimes we see people that pile up a lot of mulch around the house or they have a lot of topsoil around the house or they have sort of like a brick edging around some landscaping that kind of acts as a retention pond and it holds the water against the house. You basically want to move that water. That first few feet around the house, move it away. Get it going so that it drains away. It can drop about 6 inches over the first 4 feet. But after that, it can move slower with a gentler slope away from the rest of the house.
Those two things will solve the vast majority of flooded crawlspaces and flooded basements in this country. The only time you need to install a very expensive, sub-slab drainage system is when you have a high water table. And that behaves differently. When you have a high water table, water comes up very slowly. Generally, in the winter it’s typically higher and then goes down very slowly. And you can actually physically see that water sometimes ponding in the sump pit or something like that. But when you have rain or snow melt and you get water in your basement, that’s because of drainage and that’s really easy to fix.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading on over to Minnesota where Mercedes is having some roofing issues. What’s going on at your money pit?
MERCEDES: Well, I had roofing put on a few years ago and they nailed it in the valleys instead of on the ridges.
TOM: Oh, OK.
MERCEDES: And then now that it has rained these – you know, quite a bit in between, then my paint in my kitchen ceiling is peeling off and the sheetrock is wet because of the moisture coming in.
TOM: So, basically, it’s leaking through the metal valleys because there’s holes in those valleys, Mercedes?
MERCEDES: Yes. Yes, in the valley.
TOM: So, obviously, that wasn’t done right. And so, you have really two choices: you can either replace that valley flashing – and that’s a project, because the metal roof has to be loosened up to get the new valley underneath it – or what you could do is silicone-caulk those holes and hope for the best.
Silicone, you’ll probably get a good couple of years out of that but you may have to do it again.
MERCEDES: Well, now, I wonder, did you hear about this product that – they put an undercoat on a metal roof to repair it? And then they put a second coat over the top of that?
TOM: No. And I don’t know how you get an undercoat under a metal roof that’s already down.
So, metal roofs have been around for over 100 years and they’re super-durable roofs. But the problem is that a lot of times, the contractors don’t have the skill set to properly construct them and properly repair them.
If they’re installed properly, then they can last indefinitely and be leak-free. It sounds like there were some errors made in the installation of your roof. And so you have to kind of decide now whether you want to take this apart and fix those errors or just continue to explore opportunities for patching.
If it was me, I would try to disassemble it and replace that flashing, because it’s going to be a sore spot moving forward, not only with water but also, you’re going to have ice dams that’ll form there in your part of the country. The water will get behind it and that can also work its way into the roof.
OK, Mercedes? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, using a ton of water on your lawn to keep it looking green can really take its toll on your wallet and on the water supply. It’s been estimated that demand for water has increased more than three times in just the past 50 years. And it’s going to keep going up in the decades ahead.
LESLIE: Well, the good news is that researchers are working on introducing new grass species into the marketplace that can survive on reduced or even limited water, while still maintaining that overall plant health. It’s actually called “drought-resistant grass” and it’s growing in popularity.
TOM: Now, to find this grass, you just need to look for products that are endorsed by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance or TWCA. Now, these folks are an organization that’s aimed at saving billions of gallons of water each year. And one way they do that is by testing plants and grasses and shrubs that claim to save on watering. And then they give their stamp of approval to the products that meet their very stringent criteria. So, a good way to identify whether the grass you’re installing is truly drought-resistant.
To learn more, just Google “money pit drought-resistant grass.”
LESLIE: Jim in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JIM: Well, I’ve got a couple of exterior doors in the garage I’ve added onto my house. And I’m getting water coming inside the doors. And two of them are coming through the latch side bottom corner. I’ve tried siliconing the threshold up to where it meets the jamb. Tried running a little bead of silicone in there to seal that up but I can’t seem to find where it’s coming in at. But every time it rains and if there’s a breeze and pushing the rain against the latch side of the door, it’s running down and coming to the inside.
TOM: I’ve seen that kind of thing before. It’s very frustrating. You’re talking about a standard exterior door, not an overhead door, right? You’re talking about one that has hinges?
JIM: Right. Yeah. An exterior walk-through door. Yep.
TOM: The first thing I would check is to make sure the door is perfectly hung. And by that I mean it has an even reveal top, side, bottom. And then looking under the door, sometimes with a flashlight you can see gaps. So if you use a flashlight at the saddle, you could shine it on one side and look underneath and see if there’s any gaps there.
The type of weather-stripping you have is the kind that kind of looks like what’s on a refrigerator door?
JIM: Yeah, yeah. It’s that – the style or old style, whatever you want to call it, yeah.
TOM: That’s actually pretty durable.
Now, does this door open into the garage or does it open out to the backyard?
TOM: So pretty much like a standard door.
Well, listen, if you don’t find anything there, I think you’re going to have to go with a storm door, because it’s definitely breaking down with the weather-stripping.
JIM: I’m going to have to give that a try.
TOM: Alright? Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Audrey in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
AUDREY: Well, in my children’s bathroom, we have a vinyl floor. And it is separating from the bathtub and it doesn’t look like there’s any caulking there, to begin with. And so I can see a small section of the subfloor.
LESLIE: OK. Which is not good.
AUDREY: Right. And so when I lay down the vinyl, it doesn’t reach to the tub. So I’m just trying to find the best way to fill that small space so as the children get in and out of the bathtub, the subfloor does not get wet.
LESLIE: Yeah. Probably because you get a lot of movement with the flooring, especially with the vinyl floor, your best bet is probably not going to be to use a filler or a caulk of some sort but to actually put another piece of flooring, perhaps like a shoe molding or a cove molding: something that’s small, that’s curved that could bridge that gap between the tub and the floor. And this way, it’ll cover over that opening. It’ll protect it from whatever water is spilling over. Because if your kids are like my kids, for some reason they just pour buckets of water right out of the tub, because it’s fun. And why not?
AUDREY: Right. And so I’m trying to preserve that. Because they’re only three, five and seven, so we have a long way to go.
LESLIE: So I think if you’re using some sort of a shoe molding that’s in the same material or the same look as the vinyl flooring or even a cove molding – you can get that in rubber. This way, it just sort of bridges the gap and will protect that from the water. And you want it, obviously, to be vinyl or rubber, yeah.
AUDREY: OK. Great. And that’s pretty easy to install?
TOM: Yeah, it’s basic carpentry skills, you know. It could be a little bit tricky because it’s going to bend. But if you get the PVC molding – the flexible molding – you should be able to work it in slowly but surely. I would predrill the nail holes. I would not try to nail right through without predrilling it first.
TOM: But once you get it set in place, you can fill those nail holes and you can caulk over the top and bottom lip of it and paint it and you’ll be good to go.
AUDREY: OK. Great. Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jeff in Iowa on the line who’s got an air conditioner that doesn’t always smell so great. What’s going on, Jeff?
JEFF: I can’t smell. The wife can smell.
JEFF: Yeah, we have a …
LESLIE: We smell everything.
JEFF: There’s a smell emanating from somewhere. I thought it was maybe the basement drain or it’s not flowing like it should. And she seems to think that it – she says it comes on – the smell comes about when the air is turned on – when the air comes on.
JEFF: So maybe it’s not cleaning – or am I on the right track?
TOM: Maybe. So let’s talk about some basics. If we want to get to the bottom of this, we could start with duct cleaning, just to kind of eliminate that as a possibility. The second thing we should talk about is what kind of filter do you have?
JEFF: Just your generic, basic one from the hardware store.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem. So what I want you to do is I want you to pick up a Filtrete filter – 3M Filtrete brand. And they sell one that has activated charcoal built into it and it’s specifically designed for eliminating odors. It’s called the Filtrete Home Odor-Reduction Filter. And it’s got activated charcoal built in and so that’s designed specifically to get rid of the odors. And of course, it does a great job with dust and pollen and mold and that sort of thing.
JEFF: Oh, alright. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
TOM: And that’s going to make your wife very, very happy.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, if the inside of your house is as muggy and warm as the outside, even if your air conditioning is running, it might be time to invest in a new air conditioner. We’re going to have tips on one that’s been touted as the quietest in America, next.
ANNOUNCER: Today’s Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand. Stay cool this summer with a Haier Serenity Series Air Conditioner. Quieter than the average window air conditioners, yet cool your home effectively and efficiently. Learn more at HaierAmerica.com.
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: What are you working on this fine day? If it’s your house, we’d love to talk with you about what’s going on. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading on over to Clint in Texas. How can we help you today?
CLINT: Would like some recommendations on a good waterproofing for the capstones on my roof. My house is a commercial-style building with a flat roof and the parapet is crowned with capstone. And I need to waterproof that. And I have an exterior that is EIFS and it needs a good waterproofing. And then part of the home’s exterior is also terracotta block. I think the concrete is letting water soak down into it and then when it freezes, it shatters.
TOM: Alright. Well, starting with the capstone, OK, at the parapet wall, what you want to use is simply a silicone-based sealer for that, since it’s a masonry product. So a silicone waterproofing sealer for masonry is what you would use there.
Now, the more difficult matter is when you mentioned that you have EIFS. And EIFS is exterior insulated foam siding. This is that siding that looks like stucco but it’s not; it’s foam. Now, do you happen to live in a home that’s masonry or is it a wood structure?
CLINT: No, it is built all out of these huge concrete blocks that you would normally see in commercial …
TOM: Alright. Good. Because if you were living in a wood structure that had that same type of siding, I would say you had a serious problem on your hand, because the stuff leaks like a sieve.
I am not sure what the appropriate coating would be for EIFS over a masonry surface but I know that there’s not as much concern about leakage. Because even if it does get in, it typically gets into the joints. It’s going to strike the masonry underneath and not cause rot. The problem with that stuff is when you put it on a wood house, the moisture gets into the sheathing and studs and it causes decay, which is serious trouble. So I can’t help you about that.
Now, what was the third part of your question, about the cracks?
CLINT: I have some terracotta – some decorative terracotta – in the walls, around mostly the pool. And that terracotta has a concrete capstone, also. But water is seen to getting – it’s getting into some of the terracotta. And then when it freezes in the wintertime, it breaks the terracotta apart.
TOM: I wonder if there’s ever been a sealer put on that. Because if you put the wrong sealer on it, that very condition happens. If you put a sealer on that’s not vapor-permeable, which is a type of sealer, the water gets in but it doesn’t evaporate out. You’re never going to completely 100-percent waterproof your terracotta block but if you put the type of sealer on that’s vapor-permeable, then that allows moisture to evaporate out. So I think that’s what you’re going to need to do.
Well, Leslie, have you ever found yourself trying to have a conversation in a room where the air conditioning is running and making a real racket?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. I mean it can be really loud sometimes.
TOM: Well, in that lies an opportunity that the Haier company has taken on. They just came out with a product this summer that makes all of that go away. It’s called the Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner. And it’s America’s quietest window A/C. Basically barely louder than a gentle rain, the Serenity offers world-class cooling and it produces dramatically less noise than the average air conditioner.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s also ENERGY STAR-qualified and uses about 15-percent less energy than conventional models, which could mean a savings of about $85 over the lifetime of the unit, on average. Now, it comes with a very convenient LCD remote control, which shows the settings in the palm of your hand. So you can turn the A/C up or down right from your bed.
How does that sound?
TOM: Yep. The 6,000 BTU Serenity Series A/C sells for 299 and the 8,000 BTU goes for 399 each. They’re available at Walmart, Amazon and other fine retailers. You can learn more at HaierSerenitySeries.com. That’s Haier – H-a-i-e-r – SerenitySeries.com.
LESLIE: OK. Let’s welcome Donna from North Carolina with some squeaking floors. What’s going on?
DONNA: We have a 13-year-old home in Raleigh, North Carolina, which was purchased as new construction. We have squeaky floors – wood floors – primarily in the kitchen, in front of the sink. Originally, we – there were shims placed between the joists to even the floor after we moved in. But after a first frost, there were raised areas of flooring, particularly in the kitchen. And some of the shims were removed to even the floors once again.
Currently, we’re selling our house and my concern is that when the purchaser employs a home inspector, that the squeaky floors would be so obvious that we would need to resolve the problem. And I wondered what you would suggest we do.
TOM: I was a home inspector for 20 years and I’ve never ever, in those 20 years, reported squeaky floors as a structural problem.
TOM: So, on that point, I don’t think you have a lot to worry about unless you have somebody that really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes, if you get an inspector that is really under-skilled, they will take the minute, normal occurrences of a home and turn it into a major issue. But that’s it.
It is kind of annoying. And trying to figure out why it squeaks requires you understanding which part of that floor assembly is moving, because it’s evidence of movement. So, if there’s movement between the subfloor and the floor joist underneath, that could be one source. Or if there’s movement between the finished hardwood floor and the subfloor and the floor joist, that’s another type of movement.
You can deal with all of this if you were to be able to identify where – from the top side, from the kitchen side – the floor joists are underneath that area that’s loose. And then you can drive what’s called a “trim screw,” which is about as wide as a finish nail, with the proper prep. Which means you have to pre-drill the floor. But you can drive a couple of those into the hardwood floor to kind of tie it all together. And once you do that, you’ll find that you’ll quiet it down quite a bit. And the size hole that you’ll have to fill is no more than the width of a finish nail.
DONNA: OK. So the key is finding the joist, I would guess.
TOM: Floor joist. And there’s a way to do that, too. And you can do that by measuring it out or you could simply get a stud finder – a stud sensor. They have them today where they’re good enough where they can actually see through 2, 3 inches of building material and find the floor joist below with great precision. Stanley makes a number of very good-quality and inexpensive stud sensors that can do that.
But don’t panic. A squeaky floor is pretty much typical and it’s not indicative of a structural issue.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. It’s just more annoying. And I think one of the benefits of you saying – you know, you seem to have so much knowledge of the shims and what’s going on there. It makes me feel like you have access to the thing, so it should be fairly easy for you to get to the bottom of.
DONNA: Alright. Well, thank you so much for that information. It’s encouraging.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Tennessee is on the line with a shower question. What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: You just had a previous broadcast and there’s a gentleman that called in and had a fiberglass shower stall that was giving away under his feet. And I think the determination was that it hadn’t been installed properly.
So in the process – we’re building a house now and have a couple of those fiberglass shower stalls. And I know that they haven’t been put on any kind of mortar bed or anything. So I was curious if it’s – if you can use an expanding foam spray to sort of help support that bottom or is that sort of not a good thing? Or is there another product that can be used if it wasn’t installed on a bed already?
TOM: Yeah. I’ve heard of that being done that way. People use products like GREAT STUFF to go in from the bottom and drill holes in the floor and fill that space up. The thing is you’ve got to really do it really carefully, because you want it to be able to expand back into the area you don’t care about. Because if it expands upward, it’s going to crack the shower pan. So it’s got to be done really carefully.
Let’s say you’re working on a second floor and you can get underneath it or if, let’s say, there’s a crawlspace and you get underneath it and you apply it from there and just kind of watch the expansion and let it drip down towards that unfinished side. I think you could get some decent support in there by doing it that way.
MICHAEL: OK. Great. Appreciate the help.
TOM: Make sure you let it dry, though, before you use that tub, alright? Because we don’t want to squish it out.
MICHAEL: Yeah. Very good. I enjoy listening to you guys. Thanks a bunch.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Hey, basements are damp places, which is why you need to make sure that your flooring choice can actually stand up to any potential soaking. We’re going to have some tips on how to pick the best flooring for your below-grade space, next.
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. We want to help you with whatever it is you are working on at your house. Plus, we’ve got a really kind of cool prize this hour. We’ve got up for grabs the Bondic Starter Kit and Bondic Hat.
Now it’s a prize pack worth 120 bucks and you’re like, “What?” Now, Bondic is really cool. It’s not an adhesive but you can use it to rebuild something. So it’s almost like an epoxy or whatever is in this tube. And you sort of rebuild something that’s broken off and then you cure it with a UV light.
So, I know this isn’t super technical but I have one. And I always have this little tag from Toys R Us that I use quite frequently, as a mom of young boys. And it fell off of my key fob; like the plastic broke. Well, I rebuilt the little piece of plastic that broke off and remade the little hook with the Bondic. I mean it’s super awesome. My mom’s glasses, the arm broke. I was able to rebuild the piece there.
So you’re able to rebuild pieces as you repair rather than throwing something out or gluing something together. Bondic is amazing. You will try to find many, many uses for it.
Now, the starter kit includes a Bondic tube, which is a 4-gram set. It’s a liquid plastic with applicator, 1 LED light which cures it and one bonus 4-gram tube of the liquid plastic. And it was voted The Most Innovative Product at the National Hardware Show.
Check it out. It’s BondicUSA.com. And the prize is valued at 120 bucks.
TOM: Going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. That could be you if you pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, there’s nothing as refreshing as a nice summer rain until that rain flows right into your basement. Now, even the drainage systems can fail. Now, even the best drainage systems can fail in a heavy storm and it’s only going to get worse if you made the wrong choice in basement flooring.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the number-one question you should be asking yourself when planning your basement flooring is: does it dry out? Now, with carpet, the answer is no. We all know that carpet warms up a basement and it’s really nice under your toesies. But it holds a ton of moisture and then it becomes a breeding ground for mold.
TOM: Now, if you want to just leave the concrete as is, that’s certainly a great way to go. It’s inexpensive, it’s durable and you actually can make it pretty attractive if you stain it or paint it with one of those fancy epoxy paints. They look pretty nice when they’re done. Tile is also a good choice when it’s properly installed but don’t forget about cork. It’s softer than concrete or tile and it doesn’t rot. And of course, there’s always linoleum. It’s coming back in very rich, bold colors now. And it’s a sustainable product that’s made of linseed oil, so it doesn’t emit toxins. So, lots of choices. Just make sure you’re making the right choice for your below-grade space.
LESLIE: Ken in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
KEN: We had a contractor rebuild a little cottage. The upstairs is 790 foot and then the bottom is a garage. And we might make up with it in another bedroom. But we were debating on whether to put in the ductless mini-split system or they mentioned this high-velocity, little 3-inch vent system. But I think I’m pretty much going to go with the ductless mini-split.
TOM: Yeah. The high-velocity systems are good for – especially for older houses where it’s hard to run ductwork. But I found that they’re pretty expensive, especially in a small project like that. I think a ductless mini-split will work fine and you can get one that both heats and cools.
Now, how many rooms are in this 700-square-foot cottage?
KEN: Well, it’s like 795 upstairs. But what I was figuring on is going with the 48,000 BTU and then go – or 4,800, excuse me. And then do two 18 where we’re going to live at, 18 upstairs and one 12,000 downstairs. Does that sound right?
TOM: Well, there’s a heat-loss calculation that you can do and your HVAC contractor should do for you. But my – the reason I asked you about how many rooms is you just want to make sure that the A/C can get to all of the rooms, because split-ductless means it’s one point.
KEN: It’s one great, big room upstairs: you know, one open room upstairs. And I was going to put one on each end.
LESLIE: I think you’re best to consult with an HVAC pro. You have to also keep in mind that each of the split systems – the one piece that’s on the inside goes to its own individual condensing unit on the exterior. Now, there are commercial-grade split systems that I’ve used on episodes of Hotel Impossible that contain multiple interior units that go to one condensing unit. So, speaking with a pro, they might be able to give you a better idea of which options would work well to minimize the amount of units on the exterior and maximize the amount of cooling.
Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey. Are you new to the fantastic world of home ownership? Well, we’re going to have some tips to get you started on your very first projects, after this.
ANNOUNCER: Today’s Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s first appliance brand. Stay cool this summer with a Haier Serenity Series Air Conditioner. Quieter than average window air conditioners, yet cool your home effectively and efficiently. Learn more at H-a-i-e-r.com.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Taking your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT and your e-mails by post to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or online at MoneyPit.com.
Got one here from Aidan in Florida. Wants us to settle a bet.
LESLIE: Yeah. This is an interesting one. Alright. Aidan from Florida writes: “My wife unplugs all of our appliances in a thunderstorm, including our refrigerator. I’ve argued for years that she doesn’t need to do this. Can you tell me who’s right?”
TOM: Well, listen, Aidan, I don’t think your wife is doing something that’s the least bit unreasonable, especially in thunderstorms where you have current surges. There are other ways to handle those surges. You could have a surge suppressor, for example, installed at your main electrical panel that can eliminate the need for all that unplugging. It’s rare but sometimes, if you get surges or certainly if you get a lightning strike, you can fry a lot of those appliances inside the house. So, not necessarily a bad thing for your wife to be doing. Not very convenient but not necessarily a silly thing to do.
LESLIE: And you know what? Really, as long as we’re talking about houses that are in a storm-prone area, like the Gulf Coast, chances are you’re going to lose power. And you might want to think about getting a whole-home standby generator, one of those that kick on that’s automatically powered by your natural-gas line, that will kick on in the event of a power outage. And a lot of them have built-in surge suppression, as well. So that’s a good benefit there. Plus, you’re not going to lose power again.
TOM: Yeah, definitely. The time to install those is before the storm hits. So many times you have folks that consider those whole-house generators just right after or right before a storm. But now is clearly a good opportunity, when we’ve had some very pleasant months of decent weather, to really seriously think about that investment.
LESLIE: You know what? I’ve got one. I’m so glad that I do because as a widowed mom, I don’t want to be alone in the house with the kids with the power out. So it gives me such peace of mind.
TOM: Well, now is the traditional time of year that homes are bought and sold. And for millions of Americans, that means being a first-time homeowner. What do you need to know that us seasoned money pitters already do? Well, Leslie’s got the lowdown, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Well, hey, first of all, congratulations. I mean buying a house? That’s a big deal. You are now the proud owner of your very first home. So, now what do you do? Well, just like bringing home a baby, a house has to be cared for and it’s got to be loved. As a first-time homeowner, it’s really your job to maintain your home year-round. You’ve got to remember that. There’s nobody who’s going to take care of it except for you. So the first thing to do is invest in some tools that you really need to do those projects.
Now, a basic tool box should include a hammer, some screwdrivers, a pry bar, a level, maybe an adjustable wrench. If you want, you can add some power tools later on, including a drill, although I think that’s great to have right off the bat because you never know what you’re going to be working on. But not mandatory. A drill and a circ saw.
Now, you’ve got to understand the basics of your home’s mechanical systems. Really, that’s a must. So you have to make sure you know where your main water line is and how to shut it off in an emergency. And you also want to get acquainted with the fuse or your breaker box, whatever you want to call it.
Now, remember that home ownership puts you in charge of covering all the utilities. So if the initial months in your new home have given you sticker shock over how much power and water does cost, this is when you can take some steps to manage your energy dollars. So there’s a bunch of different ways to do that. But you’ve got to see how much you’re spending and where. And then you can attack those things.
Finally, even if you’re in a brand-new home that’s under warranty, it’s wise to have a contingency fund, just to cushion those curveballs that life can throw at you as a homeowner. Because believe me, curveballs come. And sometimes they come often. Sometimes they don’t come at all but they definitely start a coming.
If you want some more great tips, Google “money pit first-time homeowner tips.” We’ll walk you through it all right there. Again, congrats and enjoy your new house.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show always on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this summer hour with us. If you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach us at 1-888-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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