Four Flooring Trends for 2015, Fireplace Safety Tips, How Trees Affect the Soundscape, Holiday Kitchen Safety and more
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 we are here to help you tackle your home improvement projects. So what are you working on? Take a look around your house. And give us a call; we’re here to help, 888-666-3974.
Hey, are chilly drafts from windows making your house freeze and maybe your blood boil? Well, coming up this hour, we’re going to have some do-it-yourself tips that can help cut down on those unwanted drafts, not to mention your utility bills, as well.
LESLIE: And if you’re worried about the winter blues, don’t shut Mother Nature out altogether. Consider bringing the great outdoors inside with a container garden. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is here with everything that you need to get started on this perfect, off-season touch to your home.
TOM: Plus, if you’re planning on cooking up a storm this holiday season, make sure your stove’s vent hood can handle it. We’ll tell you why the right range hood can help keep your family healthy and safe.
LESLIE: And how many times have you pulled out of your driveway only to later wonder whether you actually closed the garage door or did you leave it wide open? Well, never worry again, because Chamberlain MyQ Garage exists and it’s awesome. It’s a wireless system that not only lets you check the status of your garage door, it lets you open it and close it remotely, right from your smartphone. And we’ve got one to give away to one lucky caller drawn at random from those we feature on today’s show.
TOM: It’s a prize worth $129 but it’s free for one lucky caller we talk to on the air today. So don’t wait; give us a call, right now, 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Anna on the line who needs some help with some door improvement. Tell us what you’re working on.
ANNA: Hi. Yes, I have one metal door and three fiberglass doors that – I got a guy to paint it. And not knowing – when I got home, he actually painted with a spray-can paint. So when the heat hits the door, I can’t open the door because it’s sticking to the door jamb.
TOM: Oh, boy. What a mess. What a mess.
ANNA: How do I repair that?
TOM: Well, you know, even though he painted it with spray paint, it should still work. I mean it should dry. The fact that it’s spray paint is not making it any more or less tacky than perhaps if you use paint out of a gallon. But the fact that it’s sticking might mean that the door needs a bit of adjustment inside the opening. Are all the doors sticking?
ANNA: All the doors stick right on the rubber of the door jamb. It’s like a – I think that it’s a shoo-shoo (ph) can paint, not – I’m like, “Well, you sprayed what to the door?”
TOM: What kind of paint did he use?
ANNA: I call it a “shoo-shoo (ph).” Regular can paint. He went to the hardware store, got a spray-can paint and sprayed it.
TOM: Well, look, what you should do now, if you’ve had a bad paint job, is you really have to pull that old paint off. So I would take the doors off of the hinges, lay them down horizontally, use a paint remover to pull off the paint that’s there.
Once you get it back down to where it was when you started, then I would prime the doors first. And I would use an oil-based primer, because that’s going to give you good adhesion to both the metal and the fiberglass doors. And then I would put a good, top-quality finish coat on that using a semi-gloss paint. Then let them dry really well and then reinstall them.
ANNA: So is it possible then to – this is on metal and fiberglass – to get a paint remover for this thing?
TOM: Yes. There’s paint removers – the citrus-based removers are the most effective, so use the citrus-based paint removers, pull off the old paint, prime the doors and then repaint them. You should be good to go. OK, Anna?
ANNA: Thank you so very much again.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Minnesota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: Yes, I have a sauna in my basement that I have to transfer over to a shower.
TOM: OK. You want to convert it to a shower?
JOHN: Yes. And I’m wondering what I can put on those walls to dress it up. Like some paneling or panels? Or do I have to use tile?
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, before we talk about what you’re going to put on the walls, how are you going to drain this? Is there a drain below the floor?
JOHN: Yes. I have a cement floor and there’s a drain right in the middle of the – in that room there. Yes.
TOM: Now, do you know if that drain is connected to the plumbing system of the house? Or is it just a basic floor drain that perhaps goes outside somewhere?
JOHN: It is hooked up to the – my sewer system.
TOM: Alright. Terrific. Well, that’s the hardest part. That’s solved. So now it just becomes sort of a décor question for you. And you say that this was a sauna at some point in time?
TOM: So I guess the sky is the limit here. What do you like? Do you like tile? Do you like solid surfacing materials like Corian? You have – you can pretty much do anything at this point. You’re going to start with the floor and you’re going to put – you’re definitely going to put tile on the floor, I would think. And place that drain with a cover that’s built into the tile base. And then from there, you’re going to build it up.
So you can do really anything you want to do at this point. You could put tile on those walls, you could put solid surfacing materials on those walls. Or if you want to keep it funky, you could leave them as a wood – you could leave it as wood. I’m presuming it’s probably cedar or some other type of moisture-resistant material.
JOHN: Well, the walls are that – it’s that clay tile.
TOM: Oh, the walls are clay tile? So then it has to be covered, yeah. So then the right thing to do here, if it’s just basically sort of a raw surface right now, is you’re going to need to put in a shower pan to start with. And then build up the bathroom from there. Now if you’ve already got walls that are sort of creating this – how big is the space that the sauna was in now?
JOHN: Eight by eight.
TOM: OK. Do you want an 8×8 shower? You want it to be pretty much a drive-in shower there? It’s a pretty big shower but do you want it to be that big?
JOHN: Well, I was going to probably have like 80 percent of it to shower. I wanted to put a double – like a double, two-headed shower or one on the – have a rain shower on top and one coming out the side and then the other …
TOM: Yeah, like a car wash.
JOHN: Yeah, exactly. Then the other part just kind of a drying area.
TOM: So, John, this sauna area, this 8×8 area, this is made of the terracotta clay tile?
TOM: Then I think you can glue ceramic tile right to that with a good-quality tile adhesive, as long as it’s fairly flat. Because the tile’s not going to bend. But if it’s a flat surface, you should be able to adhere the tile right to it, since it’s already a water-resistant back, and pretty much go up from there.
Now, the floor, you have to build up a shower pan there so you get good drainage down to the hole in the floor, so to speak. But once you get that established, I think you could adhere ceramic tile right to those terracotta walls and go right from there.
Now, make sure that you have ventilation in that space, you have an exhaust fan. Of course, do all your plumbing ahead of time and the last thing you’ll do is lay those tile walls in. Does that make sense?
JOHN: OK. Yes, it does.
TOM: Alright, John. 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.
Well, I can’t even believe it’s November. I can almost smell the turkey cooking in the oven. Hey, what are you guys working on? Because you’ve got a big holiday approaching and do you maybe have a lot of houseguests arriving and you want to get things in tip-top shape? Well, we are here to give you a hand. We can even give you tips on a turkey, if you’ve got a question about that, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you sick of those chilly drafts seeping in through your windows? Are the drafts making you sick? Well, we’ve got easy ways to keep the cold outside where it belongs, 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.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
And if we talk with you on the air this hour, you could win the Chamberlain MyQ Garage Smartphone Controller.
LESLIE: Yeah, the MyQ Garage is going to let you check and control your garage door anytime, anywhere. So whether you’re across the street or across the globe, one click on your smartphone and that garage door does exactly what you want it to do.
TOM: The MyQ Garage is wireless and easy to install and worth $129. Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Esther on the line from South Dakota with a gutter question. How can we help you today?
ESTHER: Well, we need to replace our rain gutters but our shingles on our dearly beloved old house are Portland cement shingles. And the first three people that are the first – the companies that I’ve talked to about replacing rain gutters, they tell me how simple it is to just lift up the asphalt shingles and put the strapping in underneath it and fasten it. And I think, “OK. Asphalt is flexible but I think the cement singles might crack.” So how do I find someone who knows how about preserving the shingles and putting up new rain gutters?
TOM: Well, I think there are a number of ways to install gutters. You can put straps that go up under the asphalt shingles but they can also be attached directly. So what you’re going to want to do is attach those gutters directly to the fascia. And instead of using nails, you’re going to want to use gutter screws. They’re very long lag bolts – lightweight, thin lag bolts. Usually have a hex head on them.
And the nice thing about these gutter bolts, so to speak, is that once you put them in, they don’t pull out. Sometimes the nails – the gutter spikes that they use – will pull out. But these gutter screws will not pull out. So you just need to use a different fastening system. And have you had – physically had somebody at the house that saw this configuration? Or are they just sort of telling you this on the phone?
ESTHER: No. We had just moved to the area and I was just going down the Yellow Pages trying to get a …
TOM: Well, once they get to your house, they’re going to figure out the best ways to attach the gutter. But rest assured, there’s a number of ways to do this. And no, you don’t have to take your shingles apart.
And by the way, as long as those shingles – those roof shingles – look good, then there’s no reason to replace them. You know, the cementitious roof shingles are very durable. The reason that most people replace them is they tend to grow a lot of algae and moss and they can look nasty after a while. But if they’re still looking decent and they’re – it’s not leaking, then you’re good to go.
ESTHER: Yep. We’re good and there’s a whole pile of – or a little pallet, probably 200 or 300 of them down in the basement. So if we have another hailstorm, we should have some shingles.
TOM: Oh, boy. So you are good to go. Alright, Esther. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jason in Louisiana, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JASON: I just have a problem with my well pump that I have here. From my knowledge of talking to a few people, they dig the wells pretty shallow here in Louisiana, because they don’t have to dig any deeper than 40, 60 foot.
JASON: And I had a well-pump guy come out because I had a pressure problem.
JASON: He rebuilt my well pump itself. Got great pressure after but then the next, few following days, I started getting a gray silt that started being pumped into my home.
JASON: And I flushed out the system, restarted it. It clears up for a few days and then problems persist again. What do you think could be the problem with that? He told me I may need to dig a new well and go down a few hundred foot but other people say they’re all shallow wells.
TOM: What kind of filtration system do you have on the home? Because it seems to me like if you’ve just got a fine-grade silt, that that could be dealt with by a filter rather than replacing the well.
JASON: I recently have installed a whole-house filter out there since.
JASON: That seems to be aiding in fixing the problem. I noticed a significant difference in my water.
TOM: OK. So this is progress then.
JASON: I think that could have potentially fixed it but that filter seems to be getting pretty dark pretty quick.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, they always get dark pretty quick but that doesn’t mean that they’re totally blocked. Usually, they’ll discolor pretty quickly, because they look so pretty and clean coming out of the box. I wouldn’t – yeah, I wouldn’t run out and replace the well right away. I mean it might be that the increased pressure is causing a little more debris in that water than what you’re accustomed to. But if the filter is holding it, I would just live with that.
JASON: OK. Yeah, because I have the whole-house filter and I also put a filter on my sink water in my kitchen, so whenever I cook …
TOM: Yeah, just make sure that you replace it per the manufacturer’s instructions. In other words, don’t let it go for an extensive period of time, because then it could get worse and it could affect your water pressure.
JASON: Right. I think there are recommendations every three months on this filter that I bought.
TOM: There you go.
JASON: OK. So you think that – yeah, because the guy was quick to jump to want to charge me $2,800 to redrill me a well.
TOM: Of course. He needs the job.
JASON: And I just said, “No, I don’t foresee that happening.”
TOM: Yeah, proceed slowly, my friend. Jason, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, windows are a common sight of unwanted air flow but plastics can help make windows more energy-efficient in many ways. Here are some DIY tips to keep warm air in this winter, presented by Plastics Make it Possible.
TOM: First, consider plastic-based sealants. Now, these help prevent drafts and are resistant to extreme temperature. So, for example, by simply applying a sealant, like latex caulk, where the window meets the frame and where the frame meets the wall, you can significantly decrease the amount of air escaping through gaps around windows.
LESLIE: Now, windows with vinyl plastic frames are another option. These fit snugly to reduce unwanted airflow. And some contain additional plastic insulation inside their frame. In fact, the use of vinyl window frames has been shown to save the United States 2 trillion BTUs of energy per year. That’s enough to power 18,000 homes for a year.
TOM: And plastic window film is also an option. Now, it works by slowing heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home. You can install it yourself and it can be used in both winter and summer to cut both heating and cooling bills.
LESLIE: And easy-to-install plastic weatherstripping around windows helps prevent unwanted airflow, which reduces energy use. Weatherstripping, it’s easy to apply and often comes in a peel-and-stick roll that can be cut to fit any size window.
TOM: This tip was presented by Plastics Make it Possible. For more information, visit PlasticsMakeItPossible.com.
LESLIE: Catherine in Rhode Island is on the line with a leaky roof. Tell us about the problem, Catherine.
CATHERINE: I have a small hole in the ceiling, in the corner of the back of the house. And I was just wondering if when I go to have it replaced, how much of the plaster they’re going to have to take down.
TOM: So you say it’s a small hole. So this is a hole that was caused by water damage?
CATHERINE: Yes. It’s coming from the roof. I’m going to have to have a new roof, also.
TOM: How old is the roof that you have now?
CATHERINE: The roof is about 20 years old.
TOM: OK. Well, it might be at the end of a normal life cycle.
In terms of that ceiling space, you don’t have to take a lot down. How big is the hole that you have right now?
CATHERINE: I would say it’s about 8 inches across.
TOM: Eight by what?
CATHERINE: It’s just like a slit.
LESLIE: So there’s nothing open; it’s just like a crack.
CATHERINE: Yes, it’s like a crack. And water drips but just from one area; it’s just like a little drip.
TOM: If it’s not swollen or deformed in any way, then what you can do is you can add drywall tape across that crack, which would be perforated. You use – it looks kind of like a mesh; it’s a little sticky and it’s like a mesh. And then you spackle over the tape. And so you can basically spackle this crack closed and then prime it and paint it without having to replace any of the drywall.
CATHERINE: Oh, really? Oh. Well, thank you very much. I thought I’d have to replace the whole ceiling.
TOM: Nah, don’t let the contractors tell you it’s any more than that. It’s a real simple repair. If it’s just a crack, it can be spackled, primed, painted and you’re good to go.
CATHERINE: Well, thank you very much. And I just want to add I love listening to your show. I learn so much. I listen to it every Saturday night.
TOM: Well, thank you very much, Catherine. We really appreciate it. Thanks, again, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rusty in Missouri needs some help with an addition going on at his money pit. How can we help you?
RUSTY: We actually just moved into this modular home and we’re looking to possibly adding onto it. And I – we were just curious on – you know, are there any do’s or don’ts to that project, adding onto something like that? And then where can I go about to find any better ideas or any ways of going about that?
TOM: Well, a modular home simply means that it was made in a factory and there’s nothing special about adding onto that. So you can go ahead and add the same way that you would add any addition.
Now, the planning on this, though, is really important. Just with any project like this, you need to really start with an architect or a design pro to make sure that you lay it out properly and you think through all of the elements of it and you create a comprehensive list of specifications.
Sometimes when the project is smaller, we tend to ignore this but it’s very important, we think, to have that list of specs. Because as you progress through this project, if the spec list is done, then all the contractors who come in will be bidding apples to apples; they won’t all be selling you different windows or different doors that make it very difficult for you to compare. If you have every item of the improvement laid out, with the manufacturer and the type of product and so on, it’ll be a lot easier for you to get this done and you can rest assured it will come out better, as well.
Rusty, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, are you already feeling a touch of cabin fever? Well, stay in touch with nature by bringing the outdoors in. We’re talking about container gardens. We’re going to tell you how to grow one in your home, with advice from This Old House‘s Roger Cook, after this.
TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools. Stanley Tools has been helping to build America since 1843. Look for specially marked Stanley packaging featuring the Made in U.S.A. With Global Materials logo. Visit StanleyTools.com/BuildYourAmerica.
RICHARD: Hi. I’m Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor from TV’s This Old House. If you want to keep your home from freezing, frying or going on the fritz, keep listening to Tom and Leslie on The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
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: And Facebook is where we’ve got more answers, more advice and some fun stuff that doesn’t fit into the show. Just go to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, like us and get your Money Pit fix whenever you want.
LESLIE: Bill in New Mexico is working on a bathroom remodel. How can we help you with that project?
BILL: Well, thank you for taking my call. I have a project in my bathroom. We have cork flooring and it was installed professionally.
BILL: And with the cork, you can still see the seams and such and I’m concerned about getting out of the tub, out of the shower and the water landing on the cork flooring.
TOM: Well, first of all, cork was a very, very good choice for a bathroom. I mean it lasts indefinitely. I’ve seen cork in homes that are 40 or 50 years old and still in good shape. Cork stands up very well to water, so that’s why it makes a great choice for bathrooms.
In terms of finishing the cork, it’s really quite simple. Today, we just use polyurethane. So, a light sanding and then a couple of coats of polyurethane is really all of the refinishing that needs to be done to that floor.
BILL: So when I do a light sanding, the color in the cork, is it going to change? Is it going to get lighter? Is it going to …?
TOM: It may, depending on how much of that color is dirt and grime and how much of it is the original cork.
TOM: So, I would just do a little bit at a time and do it evenly and just kind of watch what’s happening and monitor as you go.
BILL: A brush? Roller? Spray?
TOM: Actually, the easiest way to put on polyurethane is with something called a “lambswool applicator.”
BILL: Oh, yes. I see. Uh-huh.
TOM: Yeah, it’s kind of like a mop. But in a bathroom, it’s so small that you might just find it easier to brush on. I don’t know how big your bathroom is but if it’s your standard 5-foot-by-8-foot bathroom space and you have to go around all the fixtures and cabinetry, if it was me I’d probably just use a 2½- or 3-inch brush.
So does that answer your cork question?
BILL: It certainly does. And I’m going to get some and put some polyurethane down.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Bill. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: When summer turns to fall and the foliage outside starts to go dormant for the cooler weather, you may feel like your green thumb needs to take a rest.
TOM: Ah. But you don’t have to stop gardening; you just have to bring the green inside with container gardening. Here to tell us how to get started is This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook.
ROGER: Thanks for having me.
TOM: You know, indoor gardening has really taken off in recent years. There’s seed companies that are creating seeds specifically for this purpose now, right?
ROGER: Right. And there’s a lot of kits you can get that has the pots, it has the material and the seed all in one. It’s really easy for kids to do, too.
TOM: So just add water.
ROGER: Just add water, literally.
LESLIE: Now, are you starting off whatever these things that you’re growing from seed to then eventually move outside once the weather warms up? Or am I traditionally really making something to stay inside?
ROGER: Ninety percent of it, I would say, is to go outside in the garden. So you have to know when you plant that material. You want it to grow for 4-6 weeks before you put it out in the garden and that 4-6 week period has to lead up to a time when there’s no more frost. Because these little plants go outside, get a little bit of frost on them, they’re all going to die. So that’s one thing you have to be very careful of.
TOM: Now, are there certain plants that are better suited for indoor container gardening and that maybe would be transferrable to the outside?
ROGER: A lot of the mints – the different types of mints and herbs – are really good to start inside. And as they grow, you can take little cuttings off them and use them when you’re cooking. And then they’ll last very long that you can bring out into the garden.
TOM: I’ll tell you one time at the supermarket, I purchased basil and it happened to have root structure on it, right? So I said, “What the heck, let’s try it.” And I planted it and we had big basil bushes as a result of just buying the basil from the supermarket. Probably not the best way to do it but it worked.
ROGER: Oh, no. It’s fine, it’s fine. You just have to be careful. Some of these things will get out of control and just …
ROGER: I like to plant herbs in separate containers, so that way I can always control how big they’re going to get.
LESLIE: I mean it’s amazing: basil will grow like just a monster. The other one that will is also lavender.
LESLIE: Lavender just takes over. It smells fantastic but it’s the one thing that I don’t happen to kill in the yard. It does very …
ROGER: Yeah, lavender is one of the most common plants we use in the landscape now just for that purpose: it smells so nice and the silvery green foliage on it. It’s a good plant.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, is there anything that you can’t start indoors? I know Henry always wants to pick up seeds at the supermarket for like broccoli and eggplant. Are these things that I shouldn’t be thinking about starting inside?
ROGER: I have never seen vegetables that we were able to grow inside and get fruit off of.
LESLIE: Oh, really?
ROGER: Yeah, it just has never worked for me and I’ve never seen it done.
LESLIE: And if you can’t do it, then I definitely cannot.
ROGER: Well, couple things you could try with the kids that I have a lot of fun with is Paperwhite Narcissus.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Oh, they smell really nice.
ROGER: Yeah. And they grow like overnight. The kids love them because they can see them grow so fast.
LESLIE: Is that from a bulb, though?
ROGER: From a bulb. You just buy the bulb and it’s all pre-chilled, so you just put it in stone, keep it wet and it grows up fantastic.
LESLIE: Now, that’s an interesting point with the bulbs, because I’m thinking a packet of seeds when I’m thinking of an indoor container garden. But when it comes to bulbs, generally, you would be planting those outdoors in the fall.
ROGER: Right. There are some that we can just do this with in the wintertime.
LESLIE: Would it be labeled on the packaging? Or can you just buy a bulb of anything and stick it in?
ROGER: No, no, no, no. Not a bulb of anything. The majority of the bulbs have to be planted in the fall because they need a period to chill. The bulbs you’re buying now are pre-chilled. Sometimes you can buy a little container of tulips that are just starting to come up. Well, someone planted those and they were kept chilled all fall and then they brought out for sale at that period of time.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s interesting.
TOM: So there’s a lot of options. You can grow the herbs, you can grow the flowers, you can do it all indoors and enjoy it through the cold season.
ROGER: It’s a great way to make the winter go a little bit faster.
LESLIE: Heck. I’m looking at it – a great way to kill an hour with the five-year-old. Like what are you talking about?
TOM: Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: I’m having a ball. Thank you for having me.
LESLIE: 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 by Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.
LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, did the family tap your house as entertaining central for the holidays this year? Well, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But before you get cooking, inspect your stove’s vent hood to make sure that it’s up for the job.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Chamberlain Garage-Door Openers, with a battery backup for when the power goes out and MyQ technology that alerts you when your door is open, so you can close it from anywhere. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.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: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
One caller we talk to on the air this hour is never going to have to worry about whether they left their garage door open again.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’re giving away a Chamberlain MyQ Garage Smartphone Controller. Now it not only lets you check the status of your garage door from any place, any time, it actually lets you control your garage door remotely, too. All right from the palm of your hands with your smartphone.
TOM: And without any electrical reconfiguring, because MyQ Garage is entirely wireless. It’s a prize worth $129.99. Going to go out to one lucky caller drawn at random from those who reach us for today’s show, so let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leslie in Nebraska on the line who’s dealing with an oversized oak door. What happened? Did it grow?
LESLIE IN NEBRASKA: What I did was – I live in a 100-year-old, German bungalow-style house.
LESLIE IN NEBRASKA: And I changed the doors. It had been remodeled and it just had the flat, hollow-core doors in it. I changed them out for solid – for oak doors. And in one room, the door now – the hinges are in the very corner, as it were. But at the bottom, it meets and at the top, there’s about a ½-inch gap where we put wedges. So I’m wondering how to trim that out appropriately.
The original doors had 1-by trim with the flat board on top so they butt against the board on the top. And I’m wondering what I can do to make this work.
TOM: So, if I understand this correctly, you purchased a prehung door, you installed it into the old opening. In order to make it fit, you had to shim it in quite a bit. And as a result, now you have large gaps between the prehung and the old door opening. Is that correct?
LESLIE IN NEBRASKA: Correct.
TOM: Alright. So, you need a wider trim, obviously; that’s where you’re going to have to start with this.
Now, the most traditional trim is clamshell – which is, I think, quite boring – 2½-inch or 2¼-inch wide, surrounds the door. A more interesting way to do this might be to trim it off with a two-piece trim. So what you could use is you could use a piece of baseboard molding as the first layer of trim. So this would give you a wide molding all around the door.
And you could make this as wide as you have to. Baseboard molding is usually either 2½ inches or 3½ inches wide. So you treat – use that as casing, if that makes sense. And then on top of the outside edge of the baseboard, you can put corner molding. And so it becomes sort of – its outside corner mold, so it becomes stepped. So, the fluted part of the baseboard is against the hinge and then it steps up at the end with the outside corner molding. And this gives you sort of a two-tiered casement arrangement all around the entire door.
This can be very, very attractive. I once did an entire house like this and it looked really good. Gives you a lot of dimension and it kind of brings you back to the day when all the moldings around doors were done in a really fancy way like this and gives that particular door a lot of personality.
LESLIE IN NEBRASKA: Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Leslie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re playing host for Thanksgiving this year, you might want to make sure your kitchen is up for the task before you start anything. Now, the right range hood doesn’t just make cooking more pleasant, it actually improves the air quality of your entire home. So now is a great time to replace yours ahead of more holiday cooking and day-to-day time indoors.
TOM: Now, in addition to removing cooking odors, a range hood will also whisk away grease, moisture and pollutants, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. So make sure it vents to the outside of your house, in order to carry that exhaust and the odors completely out of your home for a healthier indoor environment.
LESLIE: It’s also possible to find a hood that works quietly while you’re carrying on a kitchen conversation. You want to look for certified sound ratings and sone levels. Now, one sone is equivalent to around 40 decibels. The lower the sone level, the quieter the range hood is going to be.
TOM: And some other range-hood features to look for include dishwasher-safe filters and sensor lighting, which is especially important when you’re prowling around for that midnight snack.
888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Andrew in North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with shower-drain issues. What’s going on?
ANDREW: When you take a shower, about a couple minutes after the water has been running, it’ll start to back up to some degree into the shower itself. And if you take a plunger and you use the plunger up and down, up and down maybe four or five times and you pull it up, all of a sudden, as the water starts to go out slowly, you’ll get a slurping noise. And then you get through taking a shower and it’s running out. But you can go back in and 20 minutes later and the same thing happens again.
TOM: Right. So you know what that slurping noise is?
ANDREW: No, sir.
TOM: It’s your shower drain gasping for air. For some reason, that shower drain is not vented properly. So as the water drains out, you create sort of a suction and that’s what slows it down. And so I suspect with you using that plunger, you’re freeing up that suction and loosening up the water so it has a chance to grab enough air and go down.
Was this shower added after the home was built, by any chance?
ANDREW: No, sir. It’s been that way and – of course, the plumber said there was nothing wrong. I said, “Well, there has to be something wrong.”
TOM: Yeah, if you’re getting a gurgling sound like that, you’re not getting enough air in it. And so it sounds to me like you probably need to add an additional vent. This is assuming that there’s no clog there.
ANDREW: Right. Because we used – my wife has used Liquid-Plumr, I’ve used a plunger, the plunger, the plungers and it goes out. But then when you stop, the same thing happens again.
TOM: Right. Well, I wouldn’t use the chemicals. What you could do is run a snake down that line and make sure it’s clear.
TOM: Just to make sure there’s no hair or any other kind of gunk that’s trapped in there. But generally, when you have a drain like that that’s gurgling, it’s looking for additional air. And it usually means that the vent is not there or the vent is obstructed and that’s what’s really going to be the source of this: making sure we have enough air in there.
If you had to add additional vents to it, you know, depending on how easy or difficult it is to get to that line, it is possible.
ANDREW: I appreciate your help and thank you, again.
TOM: You’re welcome, sir. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still ahead, finding hardwood under several layers of flooring is a great surprise but getting that original floor in good shape might be a little trickier than you think. We’re going to tell you how to spruce up that newly uncovered hardwood, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.
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: And are you still looking for help with your money pit? You’re not alone. Just head on over to MoneyPit.com for tips and answers to home improvement questions big and small. And while you’re there, sign up for our free e-Newsletter and stay ahead of home maintenance year-round. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And while you’re online, you can jump into our Community section and post a question there, just like this person did which writes: “I recently peeled linoleum off of my original hardwood floor. What is the safest, easiest way to remove the thick, white layer of adhesive glue that was left behind? I’ve already started sanding, and that’s getting most of it, but I have concerns of doing too much sanding.”
TOM: Well, I think if the sanding is working, then I would continue with that. I don’t think you’re at risk of doing too much sanding, as long as you’re just going down deep enough to remove the glue. Now, sometimes with wood-floor adhesives, you can use a citrus-based adhesive remover but it doesn’t always work. So you kind of have to try it and see if it does.
But like I say, if you’re already having success sanding the adhesive off, just keep going with that. I would do it by hand, not so much with a big floor belt sander because that’s the kind that really will tear up. So I’d use more like a hand-powered, vibrating sander or something like that, not a big machine belt sander. I mean it’s a machine sander but it’s not the big, heavy belt sander, which can really rip through the floor in no time at all and really damage it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the reason why you’re concerned with the belt sander is that because of the shape of it and the power of it, it could create dips in the floor. Whereas if you’re working with something more circular, you’re not going to get a very drastic dip down if you’re not sanding evenly.
And I really doubt that you’re going to sand all the way through the floor because if you did, you probably had some really thin wood flooring under there. But I think you’re really in a safe bet to just sand off the rest of the glue, because adhesive gets tricky. Unless you’re using the right component to remove the adhesive, based on what kind of adhesive it is, you’re not going to get if off. So, definitely keep up with the sanding.
TOM: There’s a type of sander also called a U-Sand Machine, which is an orbital sander. That can be effective, as well, and it won’t damage the floor.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we have a post that says, “Our house was built in the 1940s and all the doors have original, mortise-style locks, antique knobs and backplates. But all of the keys are missing. I would like to replace the locking mechanism but keep the antique backplates and knobs. Can I add new locks to old knobs and backplates?”
TOM: I would say the answer is a definite maybe. You can buy replacement – it’s called a “rim lock,” the kind of lock that slips inside that door. You can buy replacement rim locks. They come complete with keys, they’re not real expensive, 40 or 50 bucks. And then, generally, you can buy the knobs and backplates separate.
So, if you buy replacement rim locks, you’ll find them online. Just search “antique hardware” or “skeleton keys,” that sort of thing. There’s a website called House of Antique Hardware I know that sells them. And you replace those locks. You probably can use the same knobs and backplates. But if worst comes to worst, you can buy antique replicas of those knobs and backplates from the same type of site.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, I’m assuming these are for interior doors, because I don’t know how safe I’d feel with one of these on an entrance door to the house because the locks …
TOM: The skeleton key?
LESLIE: Yeah, the skeleton key does seem pretty generic, so hopefully you’re talking about interior doors.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air, online at MoneyPit.com. We are available 24/7 to answer your home improvement questions. So feel free, if you wake up at 3:00 in the morning with that burning desire to ask a question or maybe you woke up because the roof leak opened up and is dripping on your head, you can pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And we won’t answer your question right then and there, because we’re probably not in the studio. But we will take the message and call you back the next time you are. Bottom line, we are here to help you, 888-666-3974.
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 2014 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.)