Get Rid Of Garbage Disposal Odors, Cut Cooling Costs With Awnings, And How To Build A DIY Terrace In Your Yard
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 standing by to help you with your home improvement projects, so help yourself first: pick up the phone, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a direct-it-yourselfer, whether you’re going to pick up the hammer, pick up the saw and get the job done or pick up the phone and get a pro to help you, we can help you get started on the right foot, with the right information. So that project will get done once, get done right and let’s face it: you won’t have to tackle it again. You can tackle something else. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So let’s get to it.
Coming up this hour, is the smell from your kitchen-sink garbage disposer killing your appetite? Well, we’ve got a solution for that that’ll get your disposal fresh and clean in just 60 seconds.
LESLIE: And maybe they remind you of the 1950s but awnings that extend over your windows and doors can save you up to 15 percent on your cooling costs. That and other reasons why awnings are making a big comeback, this hour.
TOM: And would you like a beautiful, landscaped, terraced look but don’t have a big budget? Well, you can get that same look with a do-it-yourself retaining wall. We’re going to tell you how to do this project at a fraction of the cost of hiring a pro.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller this hour can stop wondering whether they left their doors or windows open when you left the house, because we are giving away the Pella Insynctive Door and Window Sensors. It’s a package worth 350 bucks.
TOM: Yep. Pella’s Insynctive lets you check on your windows and doors and even control motorized blinds, from any location, from your smartphone. Pella Insynctive is going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Thomas from Texas on the line who’s got a question about paint. What can we do for you today?
THOMAS: Well, thanks for taking the call. I painted this house – well, it was built almost 10 years ago. And I painted the interior. And I had paint left over, so I kept it. And every once in a while, I have to do touch-ups. And what I’ve found is – even though the paint is originally a flat paint, when I go to do the touch-up, the touch-up is shinier than the old flat paint. Because it’s even gotten flatter. Is there some way to flatten this paint that I have left over so it’ll blend in?
TOM: It sounds like the original paint has faded and now it’s not quite matching the touch-up paint. Is that accurate?
THOMAS: That’s pretty accurate. When you stand off, you can see the difference in the – my touch-up. It’ll be – it’ll look shinier. Now, that may be just because the original paint has aged. I’m not sure.
TOM: So, one thing that you could try is you could take a chip from the wall paint now. If you can possibly get a chip of the faded paint, bring that to a paint store, like a Sherwin-Williams, and have them scan that paint. And they can very, very accurately match that exact color and provide the right finish for it – whether it’s flat or eggshell, whatever finish is necessary – so that you get both the finish that matches and the color that matches. It might be that that will give you a better match than the original paint that you held onto.
But in terms of trying to sort of flatten those spots – I don’t know, Leslie, I’m just wondering if something like a Scotch pad or something like that might help take a little bit of the shine off it or a Magic Eraser. But it’s really going to have to be a trial kind of thing – trial and error.
LESLIE: Yeah, you’re going to have to try some stuff. A Magic Eraser might do the trick but it also tends to dull things a little bit by color, not just by sheen. So you try it on an area where you might not notice so much. But that could be the trick. I feel like that does a lot.
THOMAS: I’ll give that a try. I certainly appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Tammy in Philadelphia on the line who’s looking for a better shower. How can we help you today?
TAMMY: Hi. I was calling in because I wanted to find out – I have an old Victorian house and I have a three – it’s three stories. I have a bathroom on the third floor and a bathroom on the second. And when I – if someone is in the shower on the second floor and then someone takes a shower or runs the water upstairs, on the third floor, the shower goes cold. And I’ve been asking my contractors and my plumbers and I’m not getting a consistent answer. So, I’d like to remedy that, because I’m doing remodeling.
TOM: OK. So are you opening up walls as part of this remodeling?
TAMMY: Yes. Completely stripped down to the studs.
TOM: OK, great. So, first of all, the reasons you have reduced water pressure in older homes are generally because you have old steel pipes that suffer from internal rusting and they clog. They close down, kind of like a clogged artery, and then you can’t push enough water through it.
Now, that could be your main water pipe, it could be the supply pipes that are inside the house or a combination of them. And so, since you’re taking the walls apart, the general rule of thumb is that whenever you expose these old steel pipes, you want to replace them with copper pipes or with PEX, which is a different type – a newer type of plumbing pipe.
Now, the other thing is you may not have enough water pressure coming in from the street.
TAMMY: Well, the pressure is not that big of a deal, because I think that the pressure is kind of OK. It’s just that, basically, we have two bathrooms in the house and you can only use one at a time. Like the water completely goes ice cold if you’re in the shower and somebody comes in and uses the sink.
TOM: Well, that’s because the pipes may not be supplying that hot water. They may not be moving enough hot water.
What size water heater do you have?
TAMMY: Forty gallons.
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s a minimum size but it should be OK for two bathrooms.
TOM: And is it an older water heater?
TAMMY: No, I just replaced the water heater.
TOM: When you replaced it, did they change any of the plumbing around it? Is it still going through the steel pipes?
TAMMY: I don’t think that they changed the pipes around the – no, I don’t think so.
TOM: So, you need to talk with your plumbers about what kind of pipes you have, whether or not that’s contributing to the problem. And you need to know what the water pressure is at the street. Because if you’re not getting enough pressure, that could be the whole cause of it.
TAMMY: OK. Now, I Googled and I saw something online called a “pressure-balance valve.” Would that remedy the issue at all?
TOM: So, a pressure-balance valve is designed to be used primarily in a shower. And what it does is it keeps the mix between hot and cold balanced so that you don’t get scorching or freezing-cold water when the pressure drops. So if somebody was to, say, run hot water downstairs and now rob all that hot water from the upstairs shower, it would not change the balance of water from – the mix of water between hot and cold. So the flow would be less – you’d have less of a stream – but it wouldn’t be – the temperature wouldn’t change.
TAMMY: OK, OK.
TOM: Right. So, no, that’s not it. I don’t think that’s the cause. I mean that would certainly be a good thing to have and something you should consider. But I don’t think that’s the reason you’re not getting hot water on the second floor. I just don’t think you’re moving enough water up there.
TAMMY: OK. So, basically, what I need to do is tell them to check the piping around the water heater.
TOM: Yeah. And the plumber should know this. Not only around the water heater but basically, if you’re going to open up those walls, what kind of pipes do you have and are they corroded? And should they be replaced to help alleviate this, OK? And if all else fails, you could always add a second water heater upstairs. You can add a tankless water heater, which would be a really small unit. And it would supply additional water to that second-floor bathroom.
TAMMY: Oh, OK. OK, that’s interesting. OK. Well, I think that kind of remedies the problem.
TOM: Alright. Well, 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.
We are cruising through the summer, guys. So before it starts to get chilly, what are you working on? What do you want to get done before that first leaf falls? I know it’s coming; it’s around the corner. Maybe I’m just counting the days until school starts. Alright. I’m going to go with that.
But whatever you are working on, we can give you a hand before the summer runs out, 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, get the landscaped look for less. We’ve got a DIY secret to a beautiful backyard that doesn’t cost big bucks. Learn all about it when The Money Pit continues, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.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.
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TOM: Learn more at Pella.com/Insynctive. That’s I-n-s-y-n-c-t-i-v-e. And call us, right now, for your chance to win. We’re giving away a set of Pella Insynctive sensors worth 350 bucks. You can check out more of these great smart products online at MoneyPit.com when you flip through our Smart Home Gallery.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got John from Iowa on the line who has a question about an addition. How can we help you today?
JOHN: We have an addition that was built onto our home before we bought it. It’s about the size of a two-car garage but this winter, it started separating from the house. You can see where the mud and the tape separated about an inch from the original part of the house and we actually had frost on the inside of the room. So we don’t know what we can do to fix it.
TOM: So, what kind of foundation does this addition have?
JOHN: It looks like – it was built before we bought it but we had a contractor come out and he dug around in a couple places. And it looks like it’s only about 6 inches thick.
TOM: That’s what I was afraid of. It sounds to me like it was kind of like a patio that maybe somebody thought they could convert to an addition. And we see that quite frequently. And unfortunately, this is the same – this is the sort of thing that happens.
Foundations have to be down to the frost line and that usually means they have to be 2 to 3 feet deep. And if you just have a cement slab and that slab is just 6 inches thick, you are going to have movement.
Now, you can minimize that movement by making sure that the soil at the foundation perimeter slopes away and you have good drainage and you have good downspouts that discharge the water away. That kind of thing could make it more stable. But it’s really difficult to try to stabilize a building that’s moving like that when the core problem is that the foundation is insufficient to hold that load.
So, that’s not really what you want to hear. I get that. But it is an issue that’s going to have to be dealt with. So what I would suggest you do is have an inspection done, not by a contractor but by a structural engineer who can maybe design – I’m thinking they may be able to design an underpinning system that could help support that slab.
And then once that repair is designed, then you could take that – those instructions, give those to a contractor to have the work done. Then you have the engineer reinspect the work to make sure it’s done completely and write you a letter that says that. In this way, if you go to sell the house in the future and that comes up, you can prove that you addressed it and you had an engineer design a fix. And that was properly executed as a result of the letter that you can present to a future buyer. That’s probably the best way to get it done correctly once and not have to do it again and to make sure that it does not have a negative impact in any future sale. Does that make sense?
JOHN: Do you have a general idea what something like that would run?
TOM: No. It’s kind of all over the map because I don’t know exactly what kind of fix that they would spec out. But for you, just to pay a consulting fee of – I don’t know – $200, $300, $400 for an inspector to come out that is a structural engineer, not just a contractor. A structural engineer.
JOHN: Yeah, we had a contractor come out and he said it might be the frost in and out that was going to make it shift.
TOM: Well, of course that’s – of course it’s the frost in and out that makes it shift. That’s why you put things below the frost line, you know?
JOHN: Right, right.
TOM: So, yes, he’s correct. But if you minimize moisture, you’ll get less movement. That’s just a very temporary slowdown type of solution but it’s not a permanent one. So I really want to see you get to the bottom of this so it doesn’t impact the future value of the house.
Did you have the – did you have an inspection done, by the way, before you bought the house?
JOHN: There was one done the year before that we had.
TOM: Oh, so you did have your own – you did not have your own home inspection done?
JOHN: No, no.
JOHN: And we’ve been there eight years and this is the – and we’ve had much worse winters. And this is the first time it’s done anything. But the contractor we did have come out offered – he suggested putting a 2-inch-thick Styrofoam around the base of the house and putting that down below the frost line. And he thought that would keep the frost out but he’d want to charge – I think it was $3,500 to do it. And then he said that would be if it works.
TOM: Well, my concern about that, if you start digging around that foundation perimeter and you don’t have a foundation there, you’re just going to loosen up all the soil that’s helping to support that foundation in place where it is. So you might get more movement if you start disturbing that dirt right around the foundation perimeter. Because you’re never going to get it back as tamped and solid as it is right now. And it will hold more water.
JOHN: Alright. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, nothing sets a yard apart and gives it that professional, landscaped look like stone. You can stack it up high to create timeless, terraced-style retaining walls or you can keep it low for borders around gardens and trees.
LESLIE: And now you can actually create that polished look, all on your own, without hiring a landscape architect. In fact, you’re not even going to need previous experience with landscaping or masonry because there’s a product that makes the stacking and the wall design really easy.
TOM: Yep. It’s called the Windsor Stone Retaining Wall System by Pavestone. And it features lightweight, easy-to-handle stones with a rear lip that keeps them in place once you stack them, with no risk of one or two stones being loose. The Windsor stones can be used on walls up to 2 feet high.
LESLIE: And not just straight walls we’re talking about. Windsor works just as easily on curves. So whether you’re placing it around a tree or you’re just doing a cool shape in your garden or just even for dimension or show, you can do it.
TOM: And also, matching caps are available to finish out the design once the stones have all been laid. It’s the look you’ve always admired, at a price you’ve always wanted. And you can learn more about the Windsor Stone Retaining Wall System at Pavestone.com.
LESLIE: Michelle in Minnesota is on the line with a bathroom-floor thing is all I can call it. What is going on? You’re getting moisture coming up through the floor?
MICHELLE: Yes. It’s a laminate floor. This is my third summer in this house and it’s the first time that I’ve had this issue. And it was – started around the warm and humid days. At first, I thought maybe that it was my toilet leaking, because I had a new toilet put in last summer. But the plumber did come out and pull the toilet and it didn’t look like it was leaking or that the seal was broken on it. So we’re thinking that it’s condensation from the concrete slab coming up between the slats of the laminate flooring.
TOM: So the laminate flooring is on top of a concrete slab?
MICHELLE: Correct, yep.
TOM: What’s this looking – what’s this doing to the floor? Is it causing it to deform in any way? Or is it just showing up as a stain?
MICHELLE: It is not buckling or anything along the edges. He thinks that maybe it’s a rubber flooring – more of a rubber-based flooring – rather than a wood. And so it has not curled the edges or anything like that. It just heats up as moisture and it comes – like beads up right along the edges of the laminate.
TOM: Do you have air conditioning in this bathroom?
MICHELLE: I do not. Nope.
TOM: Yeah, I was thinking cooler, moist air against a warmer floor could cause additional condensation.
So, look, if you want to reduce the moisture that’s coming up through the bathroom, there’s a couple of things I can suggest. First of all, you want to take a look at the grading and the drainage conditions outside that bathroom. Because the slab, if it’s getting very wet, is extremely hydroscopic. So all the moisture in the earth will be drawn into the slab and that’s going to wick up and show up in your bathroom, apparently.
So, take a look at your gutters and downspouts. Make sure they’re clean and free-flowing and the spouts are extending 4 to 6 feet from the house. Get all that roof water away and then take a look at the angle of the soil and make sure that that’s sloping away.
Now, do you have a fan in this bathroom?
TOM: That is helpful. You might want to think about replacing the fan with one that has a built-in humidistat, because that’s convenient in a couple of fronts. First of all, when you take a shower and you leave the bathroom and turn the switch off, it’ll actually stay on until all the moisture’s properly vented out of there. And if it does get humid on its own, then the humidistat will kick the fan on and also dry it out. They’re not terribly expensive; I know Broan makes a good one. There are a number of manufacturers you can find this from.
And keep an eye on the floor. Some laminate floors, you know, stand up very well to moisture. I’ve seen laminate floors that can be submerged and they don’t seem to be affected by it. But others will buckle just like hardwood would. So just keep an eye on it. And if it ends up that it does have to be replaced, I would paint that cement slab underneath with a couple of coats of epoxy paint to kind of seal in and stop the moisture from evaporating through and into the room.
MICHELLE: Mm-hmm. OK.
TOM: But only if you get that far. I wouldn’t tell you to tear up the floor now. But if you have to replace it, just make sure you seal the slab at the same time.
MICHELLE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, OK. Thank you. That’s good, thanks.
TOM: Alright. Good luck.
LESLIE: Hey, if you’re looking to save some costs on cooling – and really, who doesn’t? – why not try this old-school solution? We’ve got Kevin O’Connor stopping by from TV’s This Old House to talk about awnings. They are making a serious, and I might add stylish, comeback.
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.
JOE: This is Joe Namath. Now, when I’m not throwing a football around, I’m listening to Tom and Leslie on The Money Pit.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton. With a focus on safety, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs. To get more information about how to help improve your home’s electrical safety, visit www.GetSafeToday.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And nothing feels as good as listing your home and getting that first solid offer. But nothing feels worse than having it dashed by a bad home inspection. Don’t put that For Sale sign out until you’ve read our home inspection tips for sellers. That’s on our home page right now. Just look up Money Pit’s “Home Inspection Tips for Sellers” on MoneyPit.com, right now, and you will have a very positive experience.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Carl in Maryland on the line. Welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
CARL: My toilet is making a whistling sound. It’s a high-pitched monotone. Doesn’t do it all the time. It starts and stops intermittently. I’ve tracked it down to the – where the fill is, where the water comes in the toilet.
TOM: Yeah. What’s causing that, Carl, is the fill valve and it’s not an unusual condition. We see that a lot; we’ve heard about it many times. And the reason it happens intermittently is it’s somewhat indicative on the expansion and contraction of those parts. And it’s going to vary based on the water temperature. But it also is only going to happen when the toilet’s refilling.
So, what you should do is simply replace the fill and while you’re at it, the flush valve because they usually come in a set. They’re not very expensive; you can buy both for probably 15 bucks. And if you follow the instructions that come with these, it is a do-it-yourself project to be able to kind of pretty much rebuild your toilet.
CARL: OK. Sounds good.
Now, if I may point out something, it does it when the water is not running in the house at all, sometimes.
TOM: Right. And here’s why that’s happening, OK? Because you probably have a leaky flush valve. That’s one of the reasons I said to replace both fill and flush valves. Because if you have a leaky flush valve and you’ve got a very slow leak of water out of the bowl, the fill valve will respond to that and refill that bowl. So you’re probably wasting some water because of this condition, as well. So it’s a good thing you found it but again, it’s an easy, inexpensive fix and you can do it yourself.
CARL: OK. Very good, Tom. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, awnings have always been a functional addition to your home’s exterior. But today, they’re gaining popularity as an improvement that can deliver not only energy savings but also an increased home value.
TOM: And if you’re thinking that awnings are those dreary and dated structures made of aluminum, canvas and rusty bolts, well, it turns out that’s not true anymore. Here to discuss the new generation of awnings is This Old House host Kevin O’Connor.
KEVIN: Hi, guys. Great to be here.
TOM: So, the thought of awnings always reminds me of 1950 suburbia.
KEVIN: Well, I mean I think that’s a pretty good image, right? That’s the one we have in our minds and it’s not necessarily a bad image. But the image of those sort of rusty aluminum ones probably is a bad image.
And today, I think awnings have come a long way.
KEVIN: They are resurging in popularity and so I think it’s good that we’re talking about them.
TOM: So let’s start with the numbers. Awnings extending from windows and doors and patios can actually cut your household energy bill, right?
KEVIN: If you think about the solar gain that you get from the sun blasting through your windows, the primary function of an awning, back in the day, was to throw some shade onto those openings. And it can cut down on your cooling bills, for sure.
Now, they probably sort of fell out of favor because air conditioning became so popular in this country. And all of a sudden, we could overpower all of that solar gain and that heat. But …
LESLIE: Just beat it down. Beat the sun.
KEVIN: Well, just crank the A/C, you know? The amount of houses in this country that have air conditioning has skyrocketed over the last 50 years. That being said, they’re a good alternative to actually cutting down the operating costs of your air conditioning if you could put some shade on those windows and patio doors.
LESLIE: And I think what’s important to also consider is that a fabric awning can look so beautiful on the right type of home. They really can invoke sort of a vacation-y sort of escape type of feeling. And why not have that at your house every day?
KEVIN: If you think of – we see this all the time on projects that we work on – the transformation that a house goes through when you put shutters on the windows.
LESLIE: Oh, completely.
KEVIN: Completely changes the look of the house. Well, an awning can have the same effect and I don’t think people think about them as commonly as they think about shutters. But it can have a dramatic effect similar to what shutters do to a house.
TOM: And awnings have now gone high-tech. There’s a lot of options on them, aside from what we used to see.
KEVIN: You can think of the old, permanent ones that are out there constantly or if you had to sort of go out and you had to crank them over with a long rod. Nowadays, they’ve got light sensors and anemometers, things that actually measure wind speed. Because one of the concerns is if you’ve got a big awning on, let’s say, the patio, you don’t want it out there when the winds kick up. And so these things now can actually sense those gusts of wind and retract themselves so that – I just say, Tom …
TOM: Oh, that’s great.
KEVIN: Yeah, lots of high-tech solutions and alternatives to just leaving that awning out there fixed all the time.
TOM: And it really continues to help us extend that living space that we’re all so passionate about today, getting outside and enjoying that outdoor area but with some protection from the weather.
KEVIN: It gives you good shade for a deck so you can use it during the hottest part of the day. You can put it over a dining table outside so that it doesn’t get the leaves and the rain on a regular situation, keep the chairs drier. It’s a great way to extend that living space, as you say.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I think it’s also important to talk about the materials. The awning material, itself, today is so much different than the traditional canvas we saw years ago that would fade and stretch even.
KEVIN: Yeah. I mean the cotton canvas is sort of that classic look and maybe people would like to get that look. But as you say, it’s not going to perform as some of the alternatives out there. It could fade, you can get some mildew, mold buildup on those things. So, thinking about a material that is waterproof, something like an acrylic-coated polyester, something that’s stretch-resistant and weatherproof is probably going to serve you better than the old-fashioned cotton canvas.
TOM: And of course, the other options are whether or not it’s stationary or retractable. If you want the functionality to be able to pull it in in high wind, you can have that. And if it’s stationary, it’s probably going to be a little more structural in terms of having more framing to it.
KEVIN: I think you’re going to end up – if it is stationary, I think you’re going to end up with sort of an aluminum frame, where it is made to withstand those gusts of wind to be out there permanently. It can be a great look. It means you never have to touch it but you should also consider the fact that, if it is retractable, you can step it up a notch and have it retract automatically when it’s supposed to.
TOM: Well, it sounds like awnings are back and they’re better than ever with many new options that increase their functionality and their value.
Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for filling us in.
KEVIN: They make me want to go on vacation. Great to be here, guys.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, you can catch Kevin on his vacation on 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 Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
Up next, need a way to get rid of that foul odor coming from your kitchen sink for good? Well, we’ve got news on a product that deodorizes your disposer while cleaning it, too. That tip’s coming up, 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: Hey, call us, right now, with your home improvement question and you might just take home this hour’s prize: the innovative Pella Insynctive Door and Window Sensors.
LESLIE: Yeah. They’re really easy to install and they’re going to let you check your home’s doors and windows from any location, anywhere in the world, as long as your smartphone is on and working.
TOM: You get convenience and peace of mind right at your fingertips. Check it out in our online Smart Home Gallery at MoneyPit.com or learn more online at Pella.com/Insynctive. That’s Insynctive – I-n-s-y-n-c-t-i-v-e.
And call us now for your chance to win this fantastic prize from Pella worth 350 bucks.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Charles on the line.
Charles, what’s going on at your money pit?
CHARLES: We’re in North Central Louisiana and we get up in the 90s with the high humidity. But specifically, my house was built in ’91 and I’ve got good insulation in my attic: the roll-type insulation. About 8 inches of it. And we put another 3 inches of blown insulation on it.
What the problem is is I don’t have any kind of airflow to really pull the heat out of my attic. I have a big vent on the north end of the roofline and I have two turbines and that’s it. There are no, I think – what do you call them, soffit vents or something that normally you see under the edge of your roofline? On the – yeah, I don’t have any of those so I’m wondering, would that help my situation some? And if so, how do I figure how many I need and how to space them?
TOM: So, here’s how you add additional ventilation to a roof that’s configured like the one that you’ve described. The best type of insulation is, in fact, soffit venting combined with ridge venting. So soffit venting is at the overhang and ridge venting is at the peak. Now, because you don’t have soffits, there is a type of a vent called a “roof-edge vent” or a “soffit-edge vent” that essentially extends the roofline only about 2 or 3 inches and provides an intake vent for air to get in right under those shingles.
So if you were to add the roof-edge vent and then combine that with a continuous ridge vent, you would have the kind of flow that you really need. So what happens is as the wind hits the roof, it pushes up, it depressurizes that ridge, it’ll pull air out from the ridge vent while pushing air in from these soffit vents that we just talked about. And that will do a lot to cooling that attic space.
Now, those turbines that you described, if you get the ridge and the drip-edge vents installed, I would remove the turbines because they’re just going to get in the way. They’ll interrupt that airflow that we’re trying to establish the pattern for.
CHARLES: Yeah, this ridge vent you’re talking, I’m going to have to have them redo the ridge thing. It’s a shingle-type roof. Going to have to have them redo that?
TOM: Yeah, you’re going to have to do some carpentry work here. The ridge vent is pretty easy because you can cut right through the roof shingles, at the top peak, and attach the ridge vent right on top of that. And it’s a pretty watertight fit. The soffit drip-edge vent, that’s a little bit more complicated. You’d have to take apart the first couple of rows of shingles to get that in.
CHARLES: Alright. Well, I appreciate the information and I’m going to take a look at that stuff and then start looking around for a good contractor that can do that for …
TOM: OK. Good luck with that project.
Well, your sink’s garbage disposer makes cooking and meal prep a lot easier. But most disposers can come with one big drawback: food buildup that leads to a very foul smell.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean really, it’s no surprise that all those discarded food scraps can cause odors over time. But what is surprising is how hard it is to actually get rid of that funky smell.
Now, lemon juice is the go-to solution for a lot of people but it’s only so effective. And other natural solutions, like baking soda and vinegar, they can be hit or miss.
TOM: Well, there is a much better solution. I’ve been using it and it doesn’t just eliminate garbage-disposer smells, it gets rid of grunge buildup and germs, too. It’s called Glisten Disposer Care. And if you use it once a week to not only clean your garbage disposer, it will also freshen your entire kitchen.
LESLIE: And the powerful foaming isn’t just going to mask the odors. It actually wells up and then cleans out the entire garbage-disposal unit, wiping away food and buildup from all the blades and the sidewalls and even from under the splash guard.
TOM: You can pick up Glisten Disposer Care in most supermarkets or home centers or order it online at GlistenCleaners.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jim in Rhode Island on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
JIM: I’ve been in a condo for about 10-15 years and got married and so my wife and I are rehabbing the place. It’s downstairs. We’re on a slab. And it’s a different condo situation because I own mine and my neighbor – it’s like a condo duplex and we can pretty much do whatever we want. We’re our own little association.
So, I have a slab floor that’s got a couple of mild cracks in it, which – we haven’t had a moisture or a water problem of any sort but it looks disgusting. And I thought maybe to seal it off, I should paint it, possibly with an oil-based type paint.
TOM: I don’t think it’s a bad idea to paint the slab before you put the carpet down, primarily because it will reduce the amount of moisture that evaporates through it. And if you’re going to paint that floor, I would simply use an epoxy floor paint. The epoxy floor paints are designed specifically for concrete. They’re a two-part mix. They’re a chemical cure and so they dry reasonably quickly and they do a good job of sealing the floors. And then you can put the carpet on top of that.
JIM: OK. Because about half of it will be carpeted and the other half, we have – we’re putting down one of those 3/8-inch floating floors.
TOM: Yeah. Like a laminate floor?
JIM: Yeah. Not this finished Pergo type but …
TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah. Yeah, I don’t think it’s a bad idea for you to paint that floor, first, for the reasons I stated. It will seal it quite nicely.
JIM: Oh, great. I’m so glad to hear that. OK. Well, thank you very much. A two-part epoxy, oil-based paint should take care of it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up, guys, are you considering adding some extra living space by maybe finishing your basement? Well, not any flooring is going to do down there, guys. We’re going to share the dos and don’ts of finished basement flooring coming up, after this.
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TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, going on, right now, at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, we’ve got our Sizzling Summer Giveaway Sweepstakes. We’ve got five amazing prizes up for grabs, including 500 bucks worth of STIHL power equipment. You can share the sweeps for bonus entries which, of course, we all want to be able to enter as many times as possible so we can win amazing prizes.
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TOM: And you can also post your question to our Facebook page, like Adam did. And he said, “Hey, guys. I enjoy listening to your show and I’m looking for some help with basement flooring. There’s a lumberyard just down the street and they can cut fresh planks that I’m thinking about laying down over some underlayment, then sanding, sealing and staining the plank on top. Any thoughts or other ideas?”
That sounds really nice and really fun and really natural but guess what? Really bad idea.
LESLIE: Unless you want like a wavy, roller-y, like woo riding along.
TOM: Yeah, the wavy-look thing, right. The wavy, kind of moldy look? If that’s in, that’s the project for you.
But what happens is that the concrete is going to hold moisture and humidity, so it can cause those boards to twist and turn and rot and decay and get moldy and mildew-y and really nasty. So, no, not a good idea, Adam. A better idea, though, is – if you want the look of wood – is to choose something called “engineered hardwood.”
Now, engineered hardwood is made somewhat like plywood is made. If you think of a sheet of plywood, if you’ve ever noticed, if you look at the end grain, it’s made up of different layers that are glued together, sort of at 90-degree angles. So, it doesn’t really all go the same when – the same grain direction. By opposing the grain as they glue these boards together, basically you make it dimensionally stable. So the top layers, of course, are the solid oak or whatever other type of finished wood you’re looking for. But the internal layers give you all that dimensional stability.
So, I think engineered flooring is a really good solution for your basement. But don’t put down the fresh-cut planks. As nice as that sounds, maybe you could find another place for them upstairs. It would work well there.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Brielle (sp) who writes: “My 1984 Colonial home has no exterior door or window surrounds and I’d like to add surrounds to both. Most of the clapboards would have to be removed to install the surrounds. Or are there products available to avoid this step?”
TOM: There are. There’s a company called Fypon that makes exactly what you’re after. They make polyurethane and PVC exterior surrounds. So, of course, the advantage of that is that you never have to risk the rot or the warp that’s almost inevitable with wood.
So to answer your question, you shouldn’t have to remove your home’s clapboard to install the surrounds. The products attach, actually, right to the existing siding and they will prevent water intrusion that could occur from having to dismantle that siding. Better off going right on top with these materials that are truly maintenance-free.
LESLIE: Yeah. And Brielle (sp), what’s really great about these materials is that there’s so many different styles and profile options, that you’ve got a lot of opportunities to give your Colonial home, perhaps, a more traditional look. You know, I’m not sure how detailed the exterior of your home is. And this really is a chance for you to do it and do it in a way that’s going to really require very little maintenance.
Now, I re-sided my home – gosh, it’s almost three years ago now – and I used all extruded PVC trim pieces everywhere. And I mean the house looks amazing still. I haven’t had to paint. Sure, I cleaned it and I washed it down at the end of the winter season but everything looks great. So you are really going to make a great decision that’s going to last a long time and look good.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show always on air and online at MoneyPit.com where the show does continue. We hope we’ve given you some great tips and advice to smooth out your weekend projects. But remember, you can always post those questions at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
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.)