Eco-Friendly Lawn Watering Options, New Looks in Vinyl Siding, Home Design Trends that Are on Their Way Out, DIY Home Security 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: We are here to help you with your home improvement project. Let’s solve whatever project, whatever do-it-yourself dilemma you’re working on. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, great. If you’re somebody that doesn’t want to tackle the project, we call you a “direct-it-yourselfer.” You’re going to pick the pro, pick the products and hire out the job. That’s great.
But most importantly, we want to make sure you do not become a do-it-to-yourselfer, which means you may be getting yourself jammed up in a project. We can help you with that, too. So pick up the phone to help yourself first. Your first tool is your telephone to get the project done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up this hour, would you like a green lawn without wasting water? We’re going to have some tips to make the most of your lawn-watering.
LESLIE: And also ahead, vinyl siding is extremely low maintenance but it doesn’t really look much like the real thing, you know, wood. We’re going to tell you about a product that offers the charm of natural wood without all the maintenance.
TOM: And all good things must come to an end and that includes home design trends. This hour, we’ve got tips on which enduring trends are finally on their way out and which ones are poised to take over in their place.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller this hour gets a cleaner house in less time. We’re giving away the PivotPro Water Wand for Outdoor Cleaning.
TOM: It attaches to any garden hose and washes mold and mildew from siding, patios and walkways. It’s a prize worth 49.99 but one caller we talk to on the air gets to take it home for free. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Rick in North Dakota is on the line with a driveway-repair question. How can we help you today?
RICK: I have a concrete driveway that, over the years, it’s started getting little pits in it in some of the areas. It almost looks like it’s where rocks have popped out of the concrete from over time and there’s other areas that little – small, little scales or sheets of concrete have come loose. And I’m just wondering what type of a product I can use to repair those pits. I know I’ve seen, different times, where people have put regular concrete in there and it doesn’t tend to stay very well.
TOM: So, what you want to do is use a concrete-patching product. And it’s not just regular concrete or regular cement, because that won’t stick. It usually is epoxy-based. And I know QUIKRETE has a product designed specifically for this and you can go to their website at QUIKRETE.com. That’s spelled Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E.com. The epoxy-based products will stick to the old, original concrete material and not fall out the first time the surface freezes.
Now, I just want to also point out that being in North Dakota, I’m sure you get a lot of road salt on that driveway and that probably contributes to this. But if you’re doing any salting on your own, make sure you’re using potassium chloride, not calcium chloride. Because potassium chloride is much less corrosive to the concrete surface and will not cause that destruction that you’re witnessing now.
Alright. Does that help you out?
RICK: Yep. That does. Thank you very much for your assistance.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Maria in Delaware on the line who needs help with a paneling/painting project.
So you’ve got a new house and it’s got a lot of it, huh, Maria?
MARIA: It sure does. About 25 years ago, the paneling was probably very popular but I’m really tired of looking at it. We tried painting one room and – we sanded it a little bit, primed it and painted it. I’m OK with that but my husband is not because you can still see the grooves through the paint. So we were wondering if there was a way to take care of those grooves – maybe spackling it or whatever – but we didn’t want the spackling to later flake out or chip off and cause more problems than we already have. So, hopefully, you know of some way that we can do this without just taking all the paneling down.
LESLIE: Yeah. Anything that you’re going to fill in is just going to come out, just like you think. So, really, the best thing is to either sheathe over it with a ½-inch drywall or take the paneling off and put drywall on.
MARIA: OK. A ½-inch drywall. So, how would that affect the molding that we have? All of that would have to be replaced, as well, like around windows, everything?
TOM: Yeah, you’d have to pull that off.
The thing is, what you might want to try first, though, is just removing the paneling and seeing what’s underneath it. Because there might be a halfway decent wall underneath and if you’re lucky enough to find out that the paneling was not glued to those walls, then maybe you can just repair the wall, spackle the nail holes, fix any tear – torn areas – or any other damage and then just paint the walls again. Because that paneling was often nailed on with a very thin ring nail.
MARIA: Yes, it was nailed on. I can see the nails in that.
TOM: Yeah, it usually pulls off pretty easily. So I would – first thing I would do is pull that paneling off. Nothing you put over that paneling, in terms of – there’s no way to really fill it in, because I know what you’re asking us to do. But there’s no way to do that, because it’s going to crack and fall out and it’s going to look worse than it does now.
So if you don’t like the painted look and you want to go back to just a clean wall, I would take the paneling down. Do it one wall at a time, one area at a time, until you get the hang of it. And this way, you can almost not do any molding work whatsoever because, generally, that stuff is cut around the molding or you can cut the paneling really tight to the molding and leave it there.
MARIA: OK. Thank you both so much for your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair, your décor, improvement. Whatever the heck is going on at your money pit, we are here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Still ahead, does your dining room look drab? We’ve got tips for an easy weekend project that can take it straight to fab, when The Money Pit continues after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.
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, with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win the PivotPro Water Wand. It will get rid of dirt and grime that’s getting between you and the perfect summer get-together with a simple, easy-to-use process.
LESLIE: That’s right. The PivotPro Water Wand for Outdoor Cleaning, it’s going to let you clean off your porch, patio, siding and walkway quicker and easier than ever before. It’s a prize worth 49.99 and it goes home free with one lucky caller we talk to this hour.
TOM: Check out everything the water wand can do at TheHydeWay.com. That’s The – H-y-d-e – HydeWay.com or call us, right now, with your home improvement question for your chance to win.
LESLIE: Lester in Tennessee is on the line with a squeaky, noisy floor situation. Tell us what’s going on.
LESTER: Well, I’ve got some – a split-level house. And the master bedroom and the garage are on the ground floor and right above the – on the second floor, the floorboards squeak when you walk. It’s carpeted flooring and as you walk across the floor, you can tell exactly where that person is heading and what they’re doing, based on the squeak in the floor.
And because it’s over the master bedroom, my wife has a hard time sleeping when I’m upstairs walking around and vice versa. So we need a resolution.
LESLIE: So, now, the reason why you’re getting a squeaky noise is because there’s some movement between the subfloor and the joist. So when somebody steps now, you’ve got nails that have backed up and you’ve got the subfloor and the joist sort of rubbing together, which is giving you that squeaky sound.
Now, with the carpet, totally not the end of the world. You do need to be able to identify, though, where those squeaks are coming from. And you’ll sort of have to do this in tandem: one person in the master bedroom, one person upstairs sort of stepping so you can kind of isolate where the sound is.
And once you know where that sound is coming from, now you have to locate exactly where that joist is under the carpet and under the subfloor, because what you need to do is reattach that subfloor to that joist. And you can do that, once you know exactly where everything is, with a nail. That’s totally fine and you’ll have to use a nail, unfortunately, because of the carpet situation.
And you’ll hammer it, actually, through the carpet, reattaching the joist and the sheathing. And then once you’ve got that all put together, you sort of grab the rug by the nap and lift up and you’ll sort of pop that nail through the carpet and just – it’ll still do its job of connecting the joist to the underlayment. Does that make sense?
TOM: And the type of nail that you use is important. You want to use a galvanized finish nail. Galvanized because it’s rough on the outside and has more holding power. And finish nail because it has the smallest kind of head. And this way, the nail can be driven through the carpet or the carpet can be pulled up through the nail head and you won’t see it when it’s done.
And one more tip. When you’re looking for that floor joist, you could use one of the newer – like the Stanley stud sensors that are available today. Super-accurate and they can go pretty deep into a floor. So they’ll go through the carpet, through the subfloor to locate exactly where those joists are. Because it’s really critical that when you place that nail you know that you’re going to hit the floor joist underneath.
LESTER: OK, great. And those are new on the market? Because I have some older ones. You think I need to buy something or rent something?
TOM: The stud sensors?
TOM: Yeah, well, they’re new and they’re pretty expensive - they start at about 20 bucks – but you can certainly try the one you have. And if you – if it doesn’t work, then you can go out and pick up a new one.
LESTER: Twenty bucks is probably worth the sleeping my wife’s not getting.
TOM: Exactly. Lester, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Pam in Illinois on the line dealing with a flat roof. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
PAM: We are having a problem finding a leak. On our roof is – we have a roof that’s flat but it has a slope to it. We have our air-conditioning units that sit up there, along with the roofing vents. We’ve used that white vinyl to seal it; it’s a rolled roofing, you know. We’ve sealed it with a white vinyl.
Around the air-conditioning units and the vents, we’ve used the black mastic tape but we can’t seem to get – to seal them. So do you have any suggestions? Something that would work?
TOM: So, do you know where the leak is?
PAM: Well, we’re thinking around the vent or the air-conditioning unit.
TOM: Have you tried to take a garden hose up there and strategically sort of flood that suspected area to see if you can cause the leak to happen?
PAM: No, we haven’t.
TOM: So that might be a good next step. Start low on the roof, because it’s sloped, and flood that area with the garden hose for 15 or 20 minutes. And then if nothing happens, move it up a few feet and a few feet and a few feet to see if you can narrow down the exact area where the leak is happening.
You’ve got a difficult situation, Pam, because first of all, rolled roofing is the weakest roofing material out there when it comes to low-sloped roofs. Secondly, you’ve got an air-conditioning compressor on the roof, probably sitting on 4x4s or something of that nature. So when the – where the air conditioner sits, as it goes on it vibrates. And so that vibration breaks down that roofing material, makes it really difficult for you to get something that’s leak-free.
If the roof was built in a different way – and by that, I mean if the rolled roofing was stripped off right down to the sheathing and the roof was built with a rubberized roof or something of that nature; and there are special types of support mechanisms for air conditioners that have flashing built into them – then you wouldn’t be having this issue.
So there’s no sort – there’s no easy way to kind of make this go away. All I can really suggest is that you strategically try to find out where this leak is and then focus your tarring-application efforts right around those spaces. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy to find it but once you do, hopefully you can identify the weak link. And then, as a matter of preventative maintenance, you can get up there and then reseal it every once in a while.
PAM: OK. Well, you’ve certainly helped us and given us a lot of food for thought.
TOM: Well, if you’re taking a vacation this summer, one thing you don’t want to come home to is a burglary. Summertime is peak time for break-ins and one very easy thing you can do is not broadcast the fact that you’re away, by simply cancelling your mail and your newspaper deliveries for the week. It’s easy to do with a few keystrokes, because it’s all online these days. And it’s better than having to depend on the neighbor to do the job for you.
LESLIE: Yeah. You can also have a really good security system in place. That’s a great idea. And one that’s super-simple to install, that you can do yourself, is SimpliSafe. It installs in 30 minutes without wiring or drilling and there’s no long-term contracts for you to get all locked up in.
TOM: Yep. You can customize a system for your needs. SimpliSafe is a new sponsor of The Money Pit and we love the system because for less than 15 bucks a month, you can have an award-winning, professionally monitored security system that protects your home and gives you peace of mind. And the best part is Money Pit fans get an exclusive 10-percent-off deal.
Now, to grab your discount, you need to visit this website: it’s SimpliSafeMoney.com. SimpliSafeMoney and Simpli is spelled S-i-m-p-l-i-SafeMoney.com. That’s S-i-m-p-l-i-SafeMoney.com.
LESLIE: And you know what I think is really amazing about SimpliSafe, that just sort of sets it off from everybody else, is that it’s basically do-it-yourself. But you’re still getting that professional monitoring and it’s all at one-third of the price of the other guys.
TOM: And no pushy sales pitches, no hidden fees. It’s straightforward and simple. Visit SimpliSafeMoney.com now.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Damian in Iowa on the line who’s got a mystery noise in the bathroom. Tell us about it.
DAMIAN: Bought a new house beginning of April and it’s my second house I’ve owned. And in my master bedroom, in the closet – master closet and the master bath – it’s just some weird like clicking/ticking noises in the walls.
TOM: Does that happen when you run water, Damian?
DAMIAN: That does but that’s mainly – I think my plumbing’s in the flooring. And I don’t think this is a plumbing issue.
TOM: So if it happens consistent with running the water or turning the water on/off, it’s almost always the pipes expanding and contracting. If the pipes are rubbing against the wall as it expands or contracts, it will make that clicking sound and then that clicking sound will resonate. So, it could be originating in the floor and you might hear it in the wall and so on. Sometimes it sounds like a drip, sometimes it sounds like a click. But in a bathroom area, that’s the – almost exclusively the reason that that sound occurs.
DAMIAN: Here’s my thing. It happens in the closet and it happens for hours at a time when the plumbing’s not even being used.
TOM: OK. Well, it still could be expansion and contraction.
DAMIAN: Could it be because – I’m kind of facing the west side and it happens in the afternoon. Do you think the sun has anything to do with it? Stuff heating up in the walls or …?
TOM: It may very well because when you’re heating things up, then you’re going to get expansion.
DAMIAN: OK. Yeah, I’m just – I used to own a brick house and this one’s steel siding, so I never used to hear those kinds of sounds.
TOM: Oh, well, see, yeah, the expansion and the contraction of the siding is very noisy, too.
DAMIAN: Oh, could that be it then?
TOM: Yeah, it could be, absolutely.
DAMIAN: I’ve gotten to the point where I almost want to take a hammer to my drywall and see what’s going on in there.
TOM: I think you’d be chasing it for a long time and probably never exactly find the point. But it’s pretty typical and I wouldn’t worry about it. OK, Damian?
LESLIE: David in Mississippi is on the line with some cracks in the foundation. Tell us what’s going on.
DAVID: My house is eight years old or nine years old this year. But I’ve got ceramic tile and it keeps cracking my ceramic tile.
TOM: So we’re talking about cracks in the floor, David?
DAVID: Yes. I hadn’t seen any in the walls or nothing, just in the floors with ceramic tile. And it’s in different rooms, too, so I know it’s more than one crack. The only thing I can think is it’s stress cracks from the concrete foundation.
TOM: Well, it may or it may not be. Now, when you put ceramic tile on a concrete floor like that, and especially in a large surface, there is an isolation membrane that works well to go down in between the concrete and the tile. And that helps to prevent the condition that you’re seeing.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for this. There’s no inexpensive way to stop a floor from cracking if, potentially, it was installed improperly to begin with. The only general advice we can give you is to make sure you try to keep it as dry as possible down there, because moisture is going to make the slab move more.
DAVID: Well, let me ask you a question. What if I took the ceramic tile up and put some hardwood floors in?
TOM: Well, you couldn’t put solid hardwood floor because the moisture will cause it to warp. But what you could put in is engineered hardwood floor. And in fact, if you wanted to put engineered hardwood flooring, you don’t really have to take the ceramic tile up. You could leave it down there and just go on top of it because it’s not connected to the floor; it pretty much rides. It’s a floating floor; it rides right on that surface.
You’d put down a very thin underlayment underneath it. It’s a very thin foam, like underlayment, like maybe a ¼-inch thick. Then the boards are snapped together and they sit on top of that. You just leave a gap at the edges of the room.
DAVID: OK. I sure appreciate it. I listen to you all’s show all the time. Sure appreciate all the information I can get from you all.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, do you want the beautiful look of cedar shingles without any of the maintenance? We’ll tell you all about a new product that’s revolutionizing exterior siding, when The Money Pit continues.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand and a leader in air-quality solutions. Haier is a new kind of appliance brand, focused on home solutions designed for each stage of the emerging consumer’s life.
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: Well, maybe you grew up in a house covered in shakes or shingles or perhaps you live in one right now but either way, you know how hard they can be to maintain.
LESLIE: That’s right. Engineered shakes and shingles have actually been around for a while but many people complained that they just didn’t look natural, until now. Here to tell us about Grayne Shingle Siding is Daniel Franklin, a product manager with The Tapco Group.
Dan, you finally get the timeless charm of natural cedar without the maintenance, right?
TOM: So Dan, tell us about the Grayne product. What makes your engineered shake and shingle siding so unique?
DANIEL: Well, what we’ve done is – and we’ve been in the market of shake and shingles for many years. But what we did is we went back and we started to really look at nature of how they actually make real wood shakes and shingles. So what we did is we went back and we really looked at the aesthetics of the whole program and what we wanted to do going forward. We spent like almost two-and-a-half years on this project. So now, we’ve come out with a product that really could be a great replacement for natural cedar.
LESLIE: But Dan, why do you think that Grayne is the most realistic wood replacement? What makes it look so fantastic?
DANIEL: Well, what we did is we spent hours upon hours and shingle after shingle – we took real wood cedar and white-cedar shingles and we went through them. And we met with contractors and builders, actually, across the nation, starting on the Northeast and working our way out west.
And what we did is we looked at – we asked them the questions. What are they key components of the aesthetics of real cedar? And what do you guys look for in the field or what would you throw away versus what you would put on a house and that type of thing? So, after that, we went and bought bundles and bundles of cedar and we handpicked each individual cedar shingle that’s on our panel.
LESLIE: So you made like the best-of-the-best run of shingle siding.
TOM: Yeah. You had to handpick the individual model shingles to use as the guide for the engineered product.
DANIEL: Yeah. And they’re – actually, we took those and they’re actually formed using those shingles. So it’s not just a man-made design of the grain; it’s actually the grain from those shingles.
TOM: Now, aside from the look of these shingles, one kind of pain point for cedar is that it could potentially be a fire hazard because it ignites so easily. By using the manufacturing process and the engineered process, do you get a better fire rating than you would off of the natural wood?
DANIEL: Absolutely. Our product is a Class A1 fire-rated product, so it does not sustain a flame. And we also went one step further with our materials to make it also meet the smoke requirements for this. So, when they do these tests, there’s one that you can pass the flame spread but you can’t pass the smoke. Typically, smoke is what does most of the damage to yourself or the house before the flame does. So ours passes both.
LESLIE: And what kind of warranty do you guys offer?
DANIEL: We offer a 50-year limited warranty, 10-year on color. Probably one of the top warranties that we have out there as far as in the hardwood industry.
TOM: So if it’s a 10-year warranty on the color, can the shingles be repainted after that 10 years?
DANIEL: You can paint them. I don’t think you will need to. I don’t want to say even think. We know, if based on our technology and the color technology that we’ve put into this, the top layer – actually the part that you see on the house when it’s installed – that is an acrylic-based cap that can handle the weather. I mean that’s the whole goal here is to not worry the homeowner with that issue, like you do with painted.
TOM: And the fact that they’re prefinished when they arrive to the job site is huge, because you could just do such a more thorough job. You can use better-quality products when they’re finished in a factory than you could ever do on site.
DANIEL: And you said that perfect. It’s a prefinished look. You know, the one thing that we spent a lot of time on was going around from different job sites and talking to different builders on that. We wanted to pick the palette – a color palette – that gave you that real, finished look of what they’re trying to achieve. Like a lot of the grays out on the cape – I’m going to just use this for an example – the cape targets this gray color. The shingles go on and they look like a natural wood – unfinished wood. But what their goal is, and it takes three to four years to get to this, is a silver-gray color. So that’s what we give them right out of the box.
TOM: Right out of the box. Yeah. It’s great technology, it’s a beautiful product. Dan Franklin, the product manager for Grayne Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
DANIEL: Oh, thank you.
TOM: And if you’d like more information, you can visit Grayne.com. And Grayne is spelled G-r-a-y-n-e.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, guys, we’re going to have some tips on cutting lawn-watering down to size but still giving you a nice, lush lawn that’s easy on the environment and best of all, your wallet, when The Money Pit continues.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is sponsored by Pella Windows And Doors. Pella products with Insynctive technology can connect with compatible home automation systems so they can be programmed to help keep your home in sync with you. Learn more at Pella.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: Hey, here’s a great idea for easy outdoor cleaning. Why not just attach a cleaning brush to the end of your garden hose? Oh, wait, Hyde Tools did just that.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s called the PivotPro Water Wand for Outdoor Cleaning and it’s the closest you’ll ever get to siding, concrete or a porch that cleans itself. No more reaching up or leaning down to get to all of those hard-to-reach spots.
TOM: One lucky caller this hour gets to try out the 49.99 PivotPro for themselves. Learn more at TheHydeWay.com. That’s The-H-y-d-e-Way.com. And call us now for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nadine in Iowa has an interesting question. Your countertop has gotten noisy? Tell us what’s going on.
NADINE: Yes, it does. We had it installed, I would say, between three and five years ago. And right after we had this Corian counter installed, we started getting very sharp, loud bangs occasionally. And like somebody-just-shot-up-the-house bangs. And it has been going on since we had it installed, to varying degrees. Louder sometimes than others.
But they’ve been out to check and can’t figure it out and I don’t – the only unusual thing that happened when they put it in was that one corner didn’t want to go down, so the guy had to put his full weight on it to push it down and finally make it go down. And my feeling is – or something must be bound in there that every once in a while builds up enough energy to really snap.
TOM: Well, that’s certainly an unusual situation, because countertops aren’t known for their noise.
TOM: We get squeaky-floor questions, we get banging-pipe questions.
I don’t think we’ve ever gotten any loud-countertop questions, huh, Leslie?
NADINE: Well, I doubt that it’s the countertop. My feeling is something might be bound in there, having been caused by having the countertop put on.
TOM: Well, you might be correct and what could be happening is that you could have expansion and contraction going on, either with the walls or even with the plumbing. Especially with the water being right there, when a pipe heats up, it tends to expand. And if it’s attached to the framing very, very tightly, it will rub across that framing and it can make a creaking sound or a banging sound.
TOM: And I’ve heard that before in bathrooms and also in kitchens.
TOM: The other thought is that if the countertop is bound, as you say, against part of the frame of the house and you’re getting expansion and contraction, that could be the source of the sound. Although, I tend to think that, even though it’s annoying, it probably isn’t really very damaging if it’s one of the other of those things.
NADINE: No, I don’t think it is damaging at all. It’s just that when you have guests and their eyes get wide and they start to go for the floor, you think maybe – I mean it is quite loud when it does it. So you think it could possibly be plumbing?
TOM: It could very well be, because plumbing really carries the sound. And especially if you’re running a dishwasher and the hot water comes on, that could cause a noise.
NADINE: However, we’ve kind of checked that out – what’s on, what’s running and all of that – and that doesn’t seem to come into play. What would your suggestion be as to sleuthing this problem out?
TOM: Well, I guess I would have to be sitting there staring at it, thinking about it for a long time. But reinstalling the countertop would probably be the best solution, although it’s a boatload of work and you can potentially damage the countertop in the process. If they had to really squeeze it in, I suspect that something is a little bit too tight in its intention and it’s really not designed to be pulled out.
NADINE: Yeah. Alright. Thanks so much.
TOM: Well, if you think watering your lawn is wasteful, you are probably right. When, where and how much water to use on your lawn can mean the difference between a lush lawn or an empty wallet.
LESLIE: To cut costs without giving up the green lawns that we love, you want to water your lawn early in the day and that’s going to prevent evaporation. If you water it at night and then leave your lawn wet, your grass could develop a fungus disease. And you also want to make sure that you adjust your sprinklers, to avoid wasting water, by having it directed away from your driveways and your sidewalks. I know it sounds obvious but a lot of people are just simply watering concrete and that’s not going to do anything.
TOM: I see it every day. Somewhere driving around, people are watering streets and sidewalks and it’s a big waste. Also, use timers on your sprinklers to limit water usage to only what’s needed. Don’t water every day. Two or three times a week is better than daily, which can actually overwater your grass.
Now, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your lawn receives 1 inch of water a week, depending on where you live and what type of grass you have, in any form. So check the weather report for rain.
LESLIE: Yeah. And get a rain sensor, you guys. My gosh, it’s like the simplest thing to install and it will just simply not water your lawn if it’s raining. That drives me nuts when I see that it’s pouring and somebody’s sprinklers are going.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Are you tackling an outside project around your money pit? We’d love to talk about it. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bill in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BILL: We put a deck on the back of our house. It was with pretreated wood. Stained it with deck and – transparent deck stain. Turned out the color was not what my wife expected. We tolerated it for a few months and then she said, “I don’t like this. So, let’s paint it or let’s do something.” So we went back to the place where we got the paint.
And they gave us a paint that was not a real pink paint but he said it will go ahead and just cover that blue. So I said, “OK,” painted it. And it was satisfactory and then decided more – decided to put a rug out on half of it so that it would match the paint in the house and so forth. So, left it for a year and sure enough, when you pull the rug up, the paint – some of the paint peeled off, which I understand because of the moisture in that. But other parts of the deck are starting to peel off now. And I’m wondering what I should do to go and repaint it or rough the – sand the deck down or something. But it won’t work.
TOM: Well, here’s the thing: you can’t put good paint over bad paint.
TOM: So, if the paint layer is separating and delaminating, you have to strip it. So you absolutely, positively have to strip this deck with a good-quality wood stripper. Get it down to the wood and then go back up from there.
I would recommend that you not paint but use solid-color stain next time. That’s going to give you long-term protection of the deck. And it’s not the kind of material that will generally peel, either. So I would strip it down and then use a solid-color stain to get to the color that you want it to be.
LESLIE: Still to come, I’ve got a look at the long-standing design trends that we’ll soon be seeing the last of and what new ideas they’re going to be replaced with. That and answers to your community questions, when The Money Pit continues.
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TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Now is the time we jump into our e-mail bag. And I’ve got one here from Drew who posted: “After a couple of months of heavy grilling, my gas grill needs an extreme makeover of its own. Do you have any tips for a midseason grill cleaning?”
TOM: Yeah. You know, that same charbroil and grill action that flavors the ribs and the chicken and the steak and the burgers all season long can really cause problems if you don’t stop and do a thorough grill cleaning once in a while.
So, here’s what you need to do and it’s kind of similar to what you would do at the beginning of the season. But you want to soak the grids in hot, soapy water and clean them with a nylon scrubbing pad. Now, if the grids are really encrusted, you can also use oven cleaner in a very well-ventilated area and then rinse them clean again.
Next, you want to remove the lava rock or the ceramic briquettes and clean them with a wire brush. And if you find that by doing so they’re kind of crumbling in your hand, just replace them. They’re really inexpensive. And don’t try to save them any further.
Then you want to remove the burner. You want to brush it clean and carefully check for cracks or split seams or rust-outs. Now, if any are found, the burner needs to be replaced. It’s now dangerous. And what tends to happen is sometimes that charcoal will cover up those cracks but once you clean it, if you see the cracks, please replace it. Because you could get a buildup of gas and that could cause a very small explosion that could be dangerous or even a big one. So, be careful with that.
And then when you put it all back together, make sure you check all the gas lines. To do it safely, you want to mix a 50/50 solution of liquid dishwashing soap and water, brush it on the connections, make sure you don’t see any bubbles and then you’re good to go for the rest of the season.
LESLIE: Yeah. And enjoy that barbecue. I mean this really is the season to get out there and get grilling. So make sure you have a nice, safe one and enjoy the summer.
TOM: Well, they say all good things must come to an end. And it’s especially true in home design where styles come and go, often at lightning speed. But a few outgoing trends have actually had unusually long shelf lives, which means there’s a good chance they show up in your home. To discover what these are and how to update them on a budget, Leslie has got tips in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, gallery walls, we’ve loved them for a while. I’m talking about the walls that are covered in frames and artwork: assorted sizes, assorted frames creating that gallery look. And that’s going to be yesterday’s news, guys. I’m sorry. What’s taken its place? Supersized art and photos that cover a wall in one, fell swoop.
Now, if you have a hard time parting with all of those smaller prints, fear not. You can display smaller pieces on your desks or bookshelves and even your pianos. Who still has pianos? People do; it’s just not me and my tiny house. That will still remain very in. Or you can have your favorite small print simply blown up to fit the entire wall.
Now, there’s also good news for anyone whose kitchen cabinets have seen better days. Open shelving in kitchens? That is in. You simply remove those cabinet doors, organize what’s inside, lay some shelf paper, even wallpaper to cover up the interior of the shelving units or the boxes themselves. If you get on board with this trend, that’s going to buy you a few more years until you decide whether to replace or refinish your cabinets altogether.
And bright, interior colors, they aren’t going away. They’re just making their way to the trim and molding in a room. So you can consider going neutral on the walls themselves and then painting all the trim or crown molding the color of your choice. It’s really a bold option but it looks amazing if you do it well and you pick a color that you’re really, really going to live with.
And if there’s one hot design in architecture trend that swept the nation in the early 2000s, it was exposed brick. Now, you can give yours a modern touch with a few coats of paint. If you do so, gray and white are the go-to colors but a pop of brightly colored brick can also have the effect, too. Just remember, once you paint brick, you’ve got to keep it painted. Because getting it back to the original brick is a very difficult task.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, weeds can feel like the enemy but they actually hold clues to gardening success. We’ll have tips to teach you what weeds are saying about your yard and how to tackle them once and for all, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself…
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2015 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.)