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    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: So glad to be here with you on this fine almost-spring day. Hope it’s nice in your part of the country. It is where we live because spring is – well, I think it’s almost officially here. That’s why I have to say “almost.” It doesn’t actually happen until a little bit later. But hey, I’m thinking spring home improvement projects already. Got a couple on my to-do list – Leslie, you may have some on yours, as well – but we want to hear what’s on your list, what you want to get done today. We’re here to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    And coming up this hour, with a stock market that’s getting more unpredictable by the day, you might want to consider investing in your home instead. We’ve got advice for home improvement projects that really pay off.

    LESLIE: Plus, if you want a quick way to start a neighborhood feud, just put up an ugly fence on the wrong side of your property line. We’ve got some tips on the right way to fence your yard, a little later in the broadcast.

    TOM: And this hour we’re giving away a $50 assortment of Thompson’s WaterSeal products, along with an array of premium painting tools from Purdy. So, if you’d like a chance to win that, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Ann in North Dakota, you’re on The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    ANN: I am looking at a house that is over 100 years old and it has an open staircase. The problem is is that there is a bedroom that is above the staircase and adjoins it at the top. And part of that bedroom is cantilevered harshly and then totally over the open staircase. And I have a big crack that’s developing on an open area. And that area is cantilevered out about 6 feet from a load-supporting wall.

    And I don’t know if I can just patch it or if I need to put a support beam or jack or something underneath it, because this area is getting pretty worrisome. I’ve got two cracks that are about 3/8-inch and pretty long.

    TOM: So, Ann, are these new cracks or has it always been cracked?

    ANN: It’s always been cracked but it’s been a hairline for many years.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    ANN: And then we had a massive flood.

    TOM: How long ago was the flood?

    ANN: That was in ’97. And then the ground has been shifting ever since. Since that flood, the cracks have gotten bigger. That was in ’97.

    TOM: When we have cracks in walls and foundations and things like that, we always look to determine if they’re active or inactive. Because, frankly, all homes have cracks. If you tell me that over the last 20 or so years that this crack has opened from a hairline to 3/8-inch, it might be active. I’m not actually convinced of that yet but I am concerned enough to tell you that you probably should have it looked at by an expert.

    What I’d like you to do is go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors; that’s ASHI – A-S-H-I – .com. And find a home inspector in your area. There’s a zip-code sorting tool there that’s a member of ASHI. And talk to two or three of them and find one that specializes in structural issues like this and have them look at it. And see if we can determine, based on that inspection, whether or not this is an active, ongoing situation or just a crack in an old, plaster wall that needs to be fixed.

    It’s not unusual for old homes to have lots of cracks in them and especially around a staircase, because just the way homes were framed back then is different than they would be today. And so, that’s not an uncommon area for cracks to develop. But I think we need to determine – for your own sort of sanity, if nothing else – whether or not this is active and ongoing or something that’s really just historical. Does that make sense?

    ANN: It sure does.

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

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

    KEVIN: Hi. I’ve got a washer and a dryer on the second floor of my house. And it seems, in the last year, I’m getting a lot more vibration, a lot more sound out of those units. And I can feel it a lot more in the second floor. So I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to kind of reinforce something in order to limit that vibration. Because I’ve got three small children now and my amount of washing and drying is not going to go down at all.

    TOM: Well, two things. First of all, you want to double-check that the appliance is absolutely level. Because if it’s slightly out of level, you’ll get more vibration. Then the second thing that you could do is pick up some anti-vibration pads for the feet of the washing machine. These are like rubber blocks that are indented where the washing machine legs sort of sit inside of it. Then they sit on the floor and they help absorb some of the vibration.

    I have the washer and the dryer actually stacked – full-size units – stacked on the second floor of my house. And I put the anti-vibration pads in it and whenever the machine is spinning, I can literally look at those pads and see them working, because the vibration is really being absorbed by them. And in fact, I have – also have the washer sitting inside of an overflow pan that’s made out of fiberglass. So to get that to work, I had to sort of carve the bottom of the vibration pads to fit sort of the angle of the pan that they’re sitting in. So even with that modification, they work and they work well.

    So I would pick up the anti-vibration pads. They’re about 25 bucks for a set of four and you could find those online or I think I found mine at Home Depot.

    KEVIN: Alright. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Alright, Kevin. 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 or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whatever is going on at your money pit, we want to lend a hand. Give us a call, 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, they say good fences make good neighbors but they can also add style and value to your home if they’re done right. We’ll give you tips on picking and building the right fence for your home, after this.

    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 we’ve always gotten a lot of questions about flooring here on The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Which is why it’s great to be working with Lumber Liquidators again. They’re America’s largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring. And their buying power allows them to offer low mill-direct prices on top-quality floors.

    TOM: Yep. So you can save big on over 400 varieties, including Bellawood Prefinished Hardwood backed by a transferable 100-year warranty.

    LESLIE: Or you can choose from engineered hardwood, bamboo, cork, laminate, wood-look tile and even vinyl plank. Talk to their flooring experts. They’ll make sure you get the right floor for you.

    TOM: And during their spring flooring sale right now, you’ll save even more on nearly everything in stock. Lumber Liquidators has hundreds of stores nationwide and their floors can be found in over 2,000,000 homes. For locations, call 1-800-HARDWOOD or visit LumberLiquidators.com. Like they say, Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.

    LESLIE: Dennis in Michigan is on the line with a water-heating issue. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    DENNIS: I am actually calling for a lady friend. She has a 1,500-square-foot home.

    TOM: OK.

    DENNIS: It’s on a well and septic. And the water heater is at one end of the house and the kitchen and the bathroom is at the other end of the house. And obviously, the hot water takes forever to get there. Is there something that can be done for that?

    TOM: One of two things. So, what you could do is put in a second water heater and that would be a tankless water heater, closer to the point of consumption, which would be the bathrooms and the kitchen. And that will speed up that water.

    And then Rinnai also has a type of water heater, that they’re just releasing on the market, that has like a recirculator built into it where it will actually pull a stream of water back and constantly keep it warm without driving up the utility cost too high. Does that make sense?

    DENNIS: Well, OK. But the Rinnai, is that a tankless, also?

    TOM: Yeah, Dennis. The Rinnai product is called the Ultra Series. And it basically is sort of a breakthrough in recirculation technology. So I would check out the Rinnai website. I believe it’s ForeverHotWater.com. And there you’ll be able to take a look at the Ultra Series of tankless water heaters and that might just solve this problem once and for all.

    DENNIS: Yeah. So that would probably save energy, too.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jan in South Dakota on the line who needs some help with leveling a basement floor. Not a terribly difficult project but a big one. How can we help you?

    JAN: We’re planning to remodel the lower level of a townhouse. And what we’d like to do is retile the traffic areas, which is the hallway, and also a bathroom and utility room. But there’s a bedroom with a closet on an outside wall and a utility room in the – in sort of the center of the rooms that has an unlevel floor.

    So my question is: is there a way to relevel the concrete floor before we resurface it?

    TOM: Yeah. I mean there’s a product called a “leveling compound” – a “floor-leveling compound” – that, essentially, you can mix up and pour on the floor and trowel out and use it to level floors. And so that’s really your only option. But how out of level is this floor? Is it really visually bothersome? Because I would suspect that it’s a big project for you to level it and it might be easier just to sort of adjust things around it.

    JAN: OK. Like relevel the appliances and …?

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s just a – it’s kind of a pain in the neck to level the entire floor.

    JAN: Is it expensive?

    TOM: To have it professionally done, I would say yes. Todo it yourself, no. but then again, it’s not the kind of thing that you could just pick up and do. It does require some skills to get it done right.

    JAN: You would just get a long board to use as a trowel?

    TOM: There are products that are self-leveling products and they’re usually good for more minor leveling jobs, say, up to being 1 inch out of level. So if you choose a floor-leveling compound that’s designed for self-leveling, essentially, what you do is you mix it up, say, like in a 5-gallon bucket and then you pour it out and it will seek its own level. But you have to keep going back, mixing more, pouring it, mixing more, pouring it. And then you can kind of trowel it out as it starts to level out. And then, at one point, it will meet, you know, the original floor.

    So, that’s an option for you is to use a self-leveling compound.

    JAN: That sounds great.

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

    Well, putting up a fence can add style, security and value to your property. But it can also be an eyesore, a maintenance headache and cause a battle with your neighbors. If you’d like to avoid the pitfalls, you really have to plan carefully.

    LESLIE: First, you want to check your property line so that you don’t build in your neighbor’s yard.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s really important.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That’s a huge mistake. So you want to know exactly where your property line is before you start this project.

    Now, you also want to check with local officials and make sure that you don’t need a permit to build a fence. Now, once you’re sure about those things, you can start thinking about what kind of fence you want.

    TOM: And there are a lot of choices to make. Fencing is available in many materials, including natural and pressure-treated woods, as well as vinyl and metal. Now, natural wood can be beautiful but it’s going to require the most maintenance.

    LESLIE: And you want to remember that there are two sides to your fence. It needs to look good from the outside, as well as the inside. Now, don’t try to save money on your gate. That’s going to take the most wear and tear and it can also be a security risk if somebody leaves it open. So try to add a spring hinge – that’s going to help it swing back into place – and that’s really super important if you’ve got a pool. You have to do it.

    TOM: Now, it’s important to have that fence around the pool but consider this: some fences you want to be visible but some fences you prefer to be sort of invisible. And pool fences are a good example of that because they’re often sort of plucked right in the middle of a backyard. So here’s a trick of the trade: if you want your fence to be less obvious to, say, the neighbors, use a black fence. Like black chain-link fences, they’re practically invisible, especially when you put a bit of green landscaping around it.

    So if you want to see the fence, fine. Go with something bold and beautiful. But if you’d rather have it sort of melt right into the landscaping, choose a black fence, especially chain-link or iron fences. They can really blend in quite nicely while still giving you that safety and security.

    888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. What are you working on? We want to know.

    LESLIE: Joyce in Massachusetts, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JOYCE: I have nine windows and we had someone caulk the windows where the window sills – because we live in Boston and the cold air has been blowing in. I want to know how I can seal them up, because it didn’t do one iota thing for the gentlemen caulking the nine windows.

    TOM: Didn’t do any good, huh? And did he caulk them from the outside or from the inside?

    JOYCE: From the inside, because this is an apartment building. And what – we’re on the seventh floor and we have windows going on different angles. And so I’m trying to find out what is the easiest way to prevent the cold from blowing in, because it’s unbearable.

    TOM: OK. Since you’re on the seventh floor, I presume that you don’t use your windows – you would never use your windows for emergency egress. Do any of them go to a fire escape or anything like that?

    JOYCE: No, no.

    TOM: OK. So, there’s two things that you can do here, one of which is you can use a shrink film. It’s a clear, plastic wrap that you cut to fit the size of the window. You attach it with a double-face – clear double-face tape that comes with it. And then you use your hair dryer to heat it and it becomes very taut and clear so it doesn’t obstruct the view.

    JOYCE: What about weather-stripping, like weather felt?

    TOM: Well, that’s all possible but there’s another option. And the reason I asked you if you needed to use your windows for egress is because I was going to recommend temporaryweather-stripping.

    Now, there’s a caulk that’s like a weather-stripping sealant but it’s a temporary sealant, OK? So the way this works is you essentially caulk your windows shut. You caulk all the seams in the window, where they slide up and down, with this clear, temporary caulk. And then what happens is in the spring, you can actually grab the edge of this caulk and peel it right off. It comes off like a clear, rubbery strip. And it enables you to essentially seal your windows shut in the winter and then restore them in the spring.

    JOYCE: Thank you very much. And I enjoy your program immensely.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Cody in Kansas on the line who has a sheetrock question. What can we do for you today?

    CODY: Well, we’re actually renovating our kitchen and – first renovation; we’ve never done this. We have wood-paneling walls and I’m wondering, can you sheetrock over the wood paneling? Do we need to do a complete teardown and tear it out before we sheetrock?

    TOM: I mean you could drywall on top of that but I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think you’re better off taking that old – those old, wood walls down. You’re going to get a much cleaner look when you’re done and I just don’t think it’s a good idea to have all that extra material on your wall.

    CODY: OK. Is there – should I go with ¼-inch drywall? Should I go with ½-inch?

    TOM: Is this regular paneling that’s like an 1/8- or ¼-inch thick?

    CODY: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, that should come down fairly quickly. Once you pull all the electrical cover plates off the boxes, you should be able to get that going at the seams and pull that right off. And then just lightly sand the walls, if there’s any imperfections there and then you can apply new drywall on that.

    You could use probably – if you have existing drywall there, you could use 3/8-inch drywall as your second coat. And if you glued it, make sure you can – you’ll need fewer fasteners but make sure you overlap the seams. So don’t use the same exact seams as exists in the original wall. Does that make sense?

    CODY: Yes. And the original wall, I believe, is the – it’s lath and plaster; it’s not actual drywall.

    TOM: Oh, plaster lath? Yeah. I would definitely go on top of that. I would not pull down the plaster lath. I’ve done that job both ways and it’s a lot cleaner if you just go over it. But keep in mind you’re going to have to extend the electrical boxes and perhaps trim around windows and doors and that sort of thing to compensate for the additional thickness.

    CODY: OK. Alright. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got – calling in from Money Pit territory, we’ve got Diane from New Jersey who’s got a question for heating up a home.

    Diane, how can we help you?

    DIANE: Yes and thank you. I love your show. And I think I realized most people, when they call their house a “money pit” – even though that’s a bad word.

    TOM: Well, for us, Diane, it’s a term of endearment, you know? We love our homes, even though they can be money pits. And we’re here to kind of help take the pain away.

    So, how can we help with your house? What’s going on?

    DIANE: Well, my mom is 89 years old. And every year, she’s cold and she doesn’t want to put on the heater because – higher because it’ll take too much money. So, I got determined. And last winter, I insulated – it’s a split-level home. So I insulated the basement and I painted the walls – the cement walls. And yet she’s still cold. So I’m wondering, what is it?

    TOM: Well, how much insulation do you have in the attic of Mom’s house?

    DIANE: There is a plank where you walk. And on either side of the plank, it is insulated. It was done by a modular-home company, so maybe it’s not the best.

    TOM: Because here’s the thing: if you’re going to pick one space in a house to insulate, you need to pick the attic. Because heat rises and that’s where you get most of your heat loss.

    DIANE: OK.

    TOM: So I would take a look at that attic. And in New Jersey, you need to have 15 to 20 inches, easy, of insulation – of fiberglass insulation. So I – most homes need additional insulation. And you can add that by adding unfaced fiberglass batts. Not with the paper or the foil type of face but just plain, old, raw fiberglass batts. And you lay them perpendicular to the insulation you have right now.

    And that’s the single, most effective way to reduce your heating costs and improve your comfort.

    DIANE: Alright.

    TOM: OK? Good luck, Diane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still to come, are you always confused over which adhesive to use for your DIY project? There are so many choices, it’s really hard to know which one’s right.

    TOM: Well, we’ve got tips on a construction adhesive that can replace all the others and use for most of your do-it-yourself projects, when we return.

    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 hey, if you are any kind of do-it-yourselfer, you no doubt have a collection of adhesives in your tool box. Our question is: why would you do that?

    LESLIE: Well, there’s an adhesive out there that will replace many of the others that you’ve already got. And here to tell us about it is Josh Murphy from Gorilla Glue.

    Welcome, Josh.

    JOSH: Hi, guys. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: You guys have done a really good job of working up adhesives that really make our projects a whole lot easier. I remember some years ago, Josh, we were doing a – I think it was a social media ask of our audience to tell us how they use Gorilla Glue. And it was amazing how many ways people were finding to use that product, specifically the Construction Adhesive. But I guess that’s pretty common in your business.

    JOSH: Oh, yeah. That’s very common. And that’s something that we stand for at Gorilla is really just being a brand that we know people can trust, where they can use our products on a number of different projects. You know, when you walk into your local hardware store, you walk down the adhesive bay, it’s very confusing. There are so many different types of adhesives, specifically construction adhesive. There’s like 30 different varieties. There’s for subfloor, there’s for drywall, there’s outdoors.

    So, being the brand that we are and really just having the consumers at heart, we wanted to come up with a product that kind of did everything that all those other products did. So that’s why we came up with our all-surface, all-purpose construction adhesive.

    TOM: It really does sort of replace all of those very specific adhesives but gives you great capabilities. So let’s talk about some of those. Now, one thing I’m always concerned about when I do use a construction adhesive is I want it to grab quickly, because I’m usually depending on that for strength.

    LESLIE: To hold things in place.

    TOM: And to hold it in place while I attach fasteners and stuff. So have you guys tackled that in the formulation so you get a really quick grab of this?

    JOSH: Yeah, absolutely. The last thing you want when you’re working on a project is it sliding down the wall on you or something like that. So, one of the cool features of this product that – it’s got a fast-grab capability where it grabs in 30 seconds. You hold it up there and it’s just sitting there waiting for you. It’s not going to slide on you, so you can continue to move about with your project or do whatever you need.

    LESLIE: When you’re doing a bathroom remodel, you’ll need so many different adhesives for all of the different surfaces. And then when you finally get to the décor stuff and you go to put up a glass mirror, you’ve got to grab a completely different adhesive. Otherwise, you get that weird discoloration on the backside. But you can use the Construction Adhesive from Gorilla Glue for mirrors, as well. Is that true?

    JOSH: That’s true. Yep. It works on mirrors and like you said, you can do pretty much anything in the bathroom with it. You can lay the tile in the shower, you can do the floor, you can hang the mirrors, you can do pretty much anything in the bathroom with it. So, that’s what makes it a truly special product – is you really only need one product. You don’t need to go back to the bag or the truck to pick up another tube. You just need one.

    TOM: So I use this in combination with one of my other favorite products, duct tape, to attach a soap dish that had popped out of a tile wall in a bathroom. And I found it really easy to use because I was able to apply the Gorilla Tough product to the back of the soap dish, press it in place and it held fine. And I put a couple of strips of duct tape across just to kind of make sure it stayed exactly where I wanted, had a little downward pressure on it. And just a few hours later, it was good as new.

    JOSH: Yeah, yeah. It’s really crazy. And one of the things that we’re – we’re coming out with a new size, a construction adhesive in a tube here. This spring, that’ll be in stores. And it’s perfect for fixes just like that. You have a loose tile around the shower or you have a soap dish you’re putting up and maybe you don’t have the wherewithal to go out and buy a big caulk gun. But you can tube it on just like any other normal glue, almost like a tube of toothpaste, and do quick fixes and repairs around the house.

    LESLIE: So, Josh, how does this differ from your traditional Gorilla Glue? Does the construction adhesive expand, as well?

    JOSH: So, one of the things that consumers know about our original Gorilla Glue is that it does expand when wet. The cool thing about construction adhesive is that it does not expand, so you don’t have to worry about some of the run-out issues.

    TOM: It’s truly an all-in-one product. Josh Murphy from Gorilla Glue, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JOSH: Thanks, guys, for having me.

    TOM: And for more information on the Gorilla Construction Adhesive, visit GorillaTough.com. That’s GorillaTough.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, has the crazy stock market got you feeling skittish? Well, invest in your home instead. We’ve got tips on improvements that deliver the best ROI, next.

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    TOM: Making good homes better, 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.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We want to help you get all of your spring- and current winter-season home improvement projects done. You can tell I’m a little bit over this winter. I’m ready to move on.

    Well, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs this hour with those spring timely home improvement projects right around the corner. We’ve got up for grabs an assortment of Thompson’s WaterSeal products, along with an array of premium painting tools from Purdy. I mean these really do go greatly hand in hand. You can find them at so many retailers nationwide.

    It’s a prize pack worth 50 bucks. It’s going to go to one lucky caller that we draw out of the Money Pit hard hat, totally at random, from everybody who gets on air this hour. Number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Heading to New Jersey where Vicky has a painting question. How can we help you?

    VICKY: I have dining room and part of my living room. I had – the ceiling was peeling – painting and peeling.

    TOM: OK.

    VICKY: As the pieces were running wide, opening, coming down, I had a painter come and he scraped all the peeled paint off. And there were parts that were not peeled, so he didn’t touch that. He just peeled the pieces coming down.

    Now, he painted. I have no idea if he put a sealant or not. But after that, about a year or so later, I had the same problem. Now, this is all coming down, so I have another painter, another $4,000 I put into this and it’s peeling again.

    TOM: Let’s talk about what’s probably happening with your paint. When you have paint that starts to peel like that, it’s essentially sort of delaminating. The paint between the layers of paint, it loses its ability to remain sort of stuck together or loses its bond. And it’s very common for this to happen when you have a lot of coats of paint. Because at some point, you’re really at the point of no return where the paint – you can’t just keep adding more paint, because it will peel. You have to strip off the paint that’s there.

    So if you’ve got this problem of paint that repeatedly peels, the next time you work on this project, you have to apply a paint stripper and pull off the old paint. Then you need to prime that space. And I would use an oil-based primer for maximum adhesion. And then you can add the final, finishing touch of a latex ceiling paint over that. But if you keep adding good paint over bad paint, you’re continually going to have this problem where you get peeling and delamination and the process will have to be repeated.

    Vicky, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’re heading over to Washington to talk with Jean about moss. What can we do for you?

    JEAN: Well, I would like to know, is there a product that I can use safely on blacktop or cement to get rid of moss?

    TOM: Yeah. You can use trisodium phosphate – TSP – which you can buy in the aisle of a – paint aisle of a hardware store or a home center.

    JEAN: OK. Then if you spray that on, do you need to also wash it away and wash it off?

    TOM: Yes. Yeah, you do. You need to let it sit there for a while and you can scrub it and then rinse it away.

    And then another option is a product called JOMAX- J-O-M-A-X. And that’s available at home centers and hardware stores, as well. And that’s made by the Zinsser Company. And that’s a house wash and mildew-stain remover, so that’ll work well on the algae, too.

    JEAN: OK. And is that a spray-on?

    TOM: You mix it up and you spray it on. That’s correct.

    JEAN: OK. And then do you think you need to rinse it off, too?

    TOM: I would follow the label directions. I believe you do. And that will take care of it, OK?

    Good luck with that project.

    Well, we’d like to believe that all our investments actually make money but when it comes to your home, they really can. Some home renovations pay better than others, like energy-efficient upgrades. You can earn tax credits and save a bundle on monthly utility bills with improvements like that. And they also include the smaller, simple fixes, like weather-stripping and caulk. New windows, heating equipment, insulation all generally bring great ROI.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Now, you want to make basic maintenance your top priority because neglecting those little things can lead to big expenses later. And you want to consider home renovations that are the most cost-effective. Now, if you want some guidance, you can look to the annual Cost Versus Value Report from Remodeling Magazine. And that provides data on popular improvements and their cost and it’s all what you can recoup by where you live, your region of the country and also by project.

    TOM: Yeah. And as much as you’d like to tackle these home improvements by yourself, look, you just can’t do it all. You may not be qualified and you want to – don’t want to take a chance on them not coming out well. So there’s actually never been a better time, though, to hire out. The cardinal rule of hiring a pro still applies. You want to really carefully vet your potential contractors. You want to confirm the licensing and the insurance and always follow up on referrals. If you get the job done right, it’ll help make sure your home renovations really pay off.

    LESLIE: Barry in Tennessee needs some help with his Jacuzzi. What can we do for you?

    BARRY: Well, what happened was the drain got stopped up. So I took some Crystal Drano and poured it and it got on the tub itself. And it burnt all the way around the drain. I mean it’s burnt plastic. So I was wondering, is there a way to get that back to looking new or do I just have to replace the whole tub?

    TOM: Well, unfortunately, you’ve chemically damaged the tub by using caustic drain cleaners. We really don’t like caustic drain cleaners for reasons just like this. They don’t really work very well to begin with and what happens is you end up overusing them or spilling them and I’ve seen them melt tubs and melt plastic before. You know, there’s a new drain-cleaning product on the market right now that I’ve just come across and it’s fantastic. It’s called DRAIN-FX. The website is DRAINFX.com.

    And essentially what this is is for under $20, you’re purchasing what’s, in essence, a pressure washer for your clogged drain lines. You hook this up to the sink faucet. It has a long tube that you can run hot water down. You drop this into the trap and then you turn the water on and it blasts the clogs away.

    It’s under 20 bucks. Check it out at DRAINFX.com. You should have one in your tool box because you never know when this is going to happen. And look, you could save yourself not only the hassle of a clogged pipe but in your case, the hassle of potentially replacing a tub or learning to live with the ugly stains that have resulted.

    Do not use caustic drain cleaners on these surfaces. Take a look at DRAIN-FX. It’s a much better option.

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

    LINDA: Well, I had an old garage torn down, so I had a prior cement pad. And I had a steel building put up. I have gaps now from – the steel building is not – the metal is more like a corrugated – it’s got a little ripple in it? And where it meets the floor and they put a 2×4 base around the inside to screw the metal to it, well, I’m getting chipmunks in there and everything like that in between. What can I use to seal it but still keep it so when the cold weather comes, it expands like it needs to.

    TOM: You must be having some pretty big gaps there if the chipmunks are getting into that.

    LINDA: Yeah.

    TOM: How much space are we talking about?

    LINDA: Some spots it’s not very big at all. But some it’s like maybe 2 or 3 inches high.

    TOM: Oh, wow.

    LINDA: Because the cement pad was not really leveled or throughout the years, too, it could have sunk down in certain areas. I don’t know whether to put another board …

    TOM: Yeah. So listen, if you’ve got 2 or 3 inches of gaps, you’re going to have to add some additional sort of siding-type materials to cover that gap. You could actually use additional galvanized metal and form it to fit in that space.

    If you have smaller gaps, those could be filled with, say, spray-foam insulation or you could use steel wool. Sometimes, when we’re trying to plug up little gaps, especially when it comes to rodent prevention, I’ll have folks put steel wool in there that they are not apt to chew through. But you can’t have a gap that big and not expect those types of animals to get by.

    LINDA: Awesome. I’ll try that: the steel wool and the foam.

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

    LESLIE: Still ahead, we’ve got tips to help you spruce up your bathroom for a whole new look, just in time for spring.

    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: Why not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with shades of green? We’ve got eco-friendly home improvements that can range from small to big on our home page, right now, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got our first post right here from Cheryl who writes: “My den has a vaulted ceiling with exposed Styrofoam beams. They’re painted black and the ceiling is white and the walls are yellow. I’d like to paint those Styrofoam beams but what color do you suggest?”

    Hmm. Ceiling is white, walls are yellow and they’re currently painted black. Well, first of all, you’re going to have to prime the heck out of them to cover up that black. And then I think I would go for something that’s more natural, like maybe a beachy-washed wood grain. Now that’s going to require a couple of different layers with a painting technique to give you that nice sort of wood-grain striation-y look but I think it’s going to be worth it, especially when you’re dealing with a foam beam. You want it to seem more realistic.

    TOM: And people think that they can’t paint those composite materials and those fake materials, like foam, but you really can. And you mentioned it, Leslie. The key is really to prime it. The primer is sort of the glue that makes the paint stick.

    So if you prime it first, especially with such a dark color underneath, you’ll pretty much be able to paint that any color from there on out. And a little trick of the trade for primers is to tint them with the color that you think is going to be your final color. If you tint it first, it makes it possible to perhaps just put one top coat over above the primer and you’re good to go.

    LESLIE: Yeah, Cheryl. I think this really is the best approach. You’re going to end up with something that looks more cohesive and something that doesn’t stand out in a bad way.

    TOM: So, we’re about halfway through March now and spring is just about here, which makes it a perfect time to think about redecorating spaces in your home for a very fresh and clean look. Leslie has got ideas on where to start, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, spring is really the perfect time to take a look at rooms around your house and see what changes can bring some new oomph or pizzazz or just really jazz up the look of your home. Because, face it, we’re all tired of how things are starting to look after the winter months of being cooped up inside. So it’s really a good time to start thinking about how you can freshen up the look of your house. And I think the bathroom is a great place to start.

    Now, a few things that you can do are to replace your shower curtain, add in a pop of color there or you can add a tie-back drape in front of just a more simple shower curtain. A lot of people do that. It gets a little fussy and it really goes with a more traditional-look home. But if that’s your style, it works really, really well.

    Now, you can also very inexpensively replace your towels and bath mats and that also gives an entirely fresh feel. And remember, pattern does add interest. And it’s fun to mix and match patterns. As long as you’re going small-scale, large-scale, you can have fun and really get adventurous with your pattern mixture. You can even take it a step further and add a fresh coat of paint. Changing the color does drastically change the look of a space and bathrooms are smallish, so they’re perfect to paint in a one-day project.

    They’re also a great space for wallpaper, even if you just put it on an accent wall. You just have to make sure that you’re properly removing moisture from that space. Because with wallpaper in the bathroom, you want to make sure that things aren’t getting too humid. You don’t want to introduce an opportunity for mold growth.

    Now, you can also change out the hardware on your vanity or change out your towel racks. That gets a little bit more project-heavy and if you’re not that into DIY – but those are easy do-it-yourself projects. And if you have typical sconce lighting around your mirror, you can consider adding a chandelier or any other overhead light fixture. It’s just a great opportunity to change the look of a room. It’s a small room, so your cost will be down as long as you don’t pick that super-expensive light fixture, like I probably would. You’ll end up in a great shape with a fresh, new space.

    TOM: Good advice. 888-666-3974.

    Coming up next time on The Money Pit, hey, we’ve all been there: everything’s fine and then poof, the lights go off. That can happen if you’ve tripped a circuit. It may be a nuisance but circuit breakers are there for a good reason. Find out what your breaker is trying to tell you, 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.


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

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