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How to Host a Garage Sale, Tips to Build the Perfect Patio, and How to Silence Noisy Air Conditioners

  • Transcript

    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 you are here today. We have got lots of tips, lots of advice, lots of ideas to help you with your home improvement projects. Help yourself first, though: pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, it occurs to me that we are just about halfway through the summer, which means it’s garage-sale time. And I think every year, about this time, we celebrate that little known Hallmark holiday known as National Garage Sale Day. I’m pretty sure there’s no cards for it but we still call it a “Hallmark holiday.”

    LESLIE: No, it’s a newspaper ad.

    TOM: That’s right. Yep. But it’s as good a reason as any to clear clutter and maybe make a few bucks. So we’ve put together some tips to help your garage sale go smoothly.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, you know, creating a beautiful living space outdoors doesn’t require walls or even a ceiling, just a beautiful floor. We’re going to share some tips on how to create the perfect patio.

    TOM: And if mold is a problem at your money pit, is bleach the best solution to get rid of it? Well, we say probably not. We’re going to tell you what works better, just ahead.

    LESLIE: Plus, if you’re feeling the sweltering summer heat more than ever right now, you especially want to call with your home improvement question, because we are giving away a new Serenity Series Room Air Conditioner by Haier.

    Now, this is not only the most efficient A/C around but it is the quietest air conditioner on the market. And it’s going out to one lucky listener who calls in with their question to 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: So, make that you. Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Steve in Delaware needs some electrical help. What’s going on at your money pit?

    STEVE: I have an outlet that died on me. I changed the outlet but it still doesn’t work or the breakers. None of the breakers went and all the GFIs are all good. It just doesn’t work.

    TOM: So it’s just one outlet?

    STEVE: That’s correct.

    TOM: And you have no ground faults that tripped it and you have no breakers that tripped it. Do you know if the wiring is hot in the outlet?

    STEVE: Right. I put a tester on it and it says it’s not hot. Now, all of a sudden, it just died.

    TOM: Well, it says the outlet’s not hot but I wonder if the wiring feeding the outlet is hot. That’s my question. So, you – first of all, you probably shouldn’t be doing this repair, Steve, unless you’re very, very confident with electrical work, because it’s potentially dangerous. But if I were you and I was faced with this problem, what I would do is I would take the cover plate off of the electrical outlet, I would use one of my electrical testers that detects current – not the outlet but current – and I would stick it in there and see if I actually have hot wires. If I have hot wires, then I know I’ve got a bad outlet. And if that’s the case, we need to turn the power off completely, make absolutely, positively sure that the power is off and then switch out that outlet with a new one.

    STEVE: Well, I checked the wires when I went to switch the outlet out, because there was a crack on the outlet.

    TOM: OK.

    STEVE: I switched the outlet out and I checked the wires when I did that. And I’m not getting any electric to the wires.

    TOM: So, Steve, this is now beyond the scope of what I think you probably should be doing yourself, because outlets can be wired in series. And so, the actual failure can be somewhere else done the line. And I think you ought to turn to an electrician and have them investigate it and repair it, just to make sure it’s safe, OK?

    STEVE: Alright. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Sometimes it’s a do-it-yourself project and sometimes it’s not.

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

    DOTTIE: We have a patio that had some cracks in it. It is exposed aggregate. My husband dug it out and filled in the cracks. Now, our question for you is: is there a sealer with some colorant that we could use over the whole area?

    TOM: I think what you’re asking us for is a concrete stain. Sealers are always clear. So, if you’ve got this crack filled in and you’ve got some color to that, then what you’re going to have to do is stain the concrete to match that and then you could seal it. But you’d have to stain it. And if you’re going to stain concrete, you would use an acid stain.

    DOTTIE: OK. Is there anything you can recommend?

    LESLIE: QUIKRETE makes a great one in a couple of good colors. More neutral than anything a little crazy but it’s an easy-to-apply product. You’re going to get some great coloration there. And you know what? It’s a reputable brand; they know what they’re doing. So I would start there.

    DOTTIE: Oh, that sounds great. And I really love your show.

    TOM: Thank you very much, Dottie. Good luck with that project.

    LESLIE: Lester in Tennessee is on the line with a squeaky, noisy floor situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    LESTER: Well, I’ve got some – a split-level house. And the master bedroom and the garage are on the ground floor and right above the – on the second floor, the floorboards squeak when you walk. It’s carpeted flooring and as you walk across the floor, you can tell exactly where that person is heading and what they’re doing, based on the squeak in the floor.

    And because it’s over the master bedroom, my wife has a hard time sleeping when I’m upstairs walking around and vice versa. So we need a resolution.

    LESLIE: So, now, the reason why you’re getting a squeaky noise is because there’s some movement between the subfloor and the joist. So when somebody steps now, you’ve got nails that have backed up and you’ve got the subfloor and the joist sort of rubbing together, which is giving you that squeaky sound.

    Now, with the carpet, totally not the end of the world. You do need to be able to identify, though, where those squeaks are coming from. And you’ll sort of have to do this in tandem: one person in the master bedroom, one person upstairs sort of stepping so you can kind of isolate where the sound is.

    And once you know where that sound is coming from, now you have to locate exactly where that joist is under the carpet and under the subfloor. Because what you need to do is reattach that subfloor to that joist. And you can do that once you know exactly where everything is, with a nail. That’s totally fine and you’ll have to use a nail, unfortunately, because of the carpet situation.

    And you’ll hammer it, actually, through the carpet, reattaching the joist and the sheathing. And then once you’ve got that all put together, you sort of grab the rug by the nap and lift up and you’ll sort of pop that nail through the carpet and just – it’ll still do its job of connecting the joist to the underlayment. Does that make sense?

    TOM: And the type of nail that you use is important. You want to use a galvanized finish nail. Galvanized because it’s rough on the outside and has more holding power. And finish nail because it has the smallest kind of head. And this way, the nail can be driven through the carpet or the carpet can be pulled up through the nail head and you won’t see it when it’s done.

    And one more tip. When you’re looking for that floor joist, you could use one of the newer – like the Stanley stud sensors that are available today. Super accurate and they can go pretty deep into a floor. So they’ll go through the carpet, through the subfloor to locate exactly where those joists are. Because it’s really critical that when you place that nail you know that you’re going to hit the floor joist underneath.

    LESTER: OK, great. And those are new on the market? Because I have some older ones. You think I need to buy something or rent something?

    TOM: The stud sensors?

    LESTER: Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, well, they’re new and they’re pretty expensive – they start at about 20 bucks – but you can certainly try the one you have. And if you – if it doesn’t work, then you can go out and pick up a new one.

    LESTER: Twenty bucks is probably worth the sleeping my wife’s not getting.

    TOM: Exactly. Lester, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    We are truly on the back half of the summertime, so what is it that you want to get done at your money pit quick before it starts to get cold and you start talking about heating and autumn leaves? All that stuff, it’s not far away, guys, so let’s enjoy the summer. Give us a call so we can help you out at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead, summer is always the best time of year for a good yard sale or a tag sale or a garage sale. Whatever you might call it, you know it’s an opportunity to turn your trash into treasure. We’ve got garage-sale tips, after this.

    TOM: When the forecast calls for severe weather, a few early steps can make sure you’re ready for the storm.

    Hi. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete with today’s Money Pit Home Improvement Minute.

    In the panic and chaos of severe weather, it’s easy to forget crucial items that you’ll need to weather the storm. Creating a storm to-do list now can help avoid emergencies.

    TOM: For example, you’ll need to fill prescriptions, fill up propane tanks and get to the bank for extra cash. You’ll also need to fill your car’s gas tank and be sure to get plenty of extra fuel for portable generators.

    LESLIE: You’ll also need to stock up on canned food and dry goods, including your pet’s food. Make sure that you’ve got flashlights and that they’re all in working order and that you have fresh batteries on hand.

    TOM: Now, if you live in low-lying areas or near the coast, consider moving your cars to higher ground and fill up a go bag with any additional essentials needed for a quick evacuation. I’m Tom Kraeutler. For more Money Pit home improvement tips, visit MoneyPit.com.

    (theme song)

    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: We’d love to hear from you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you call us with a question, you’ll get the answer. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away an opportunity to win a Haier Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner.

    Now, this is a great product. It’s America’s quietest window A/C. It’s barely louder than a gentle rain. It offers world-class cooling and dramatically produces less noise than the average air conditioner. It’s also ENERGY STAR-qualified. It’s got a beautiful LCD remote control. It’s worth $299 for the 6,000 BTU but if you’ve got a slightly bigger room, they will be happy to send you the 8,000 BTU, which sells for 399. So, you get to pick. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    If you’d like to learn more, head on over to HaierAmerica.com. That’s H-a-i-e-r – America.com. Haier, room to invent.

    LESLIE: Daniel in Louisiana is on the line with a stinky-water situation. What’s going on?

    DANIEL: OK. My girlfriend moved into a dentist office about a year ago. And the office sat vacant for couple years before she moved in. And now the water has a rotten-egg smell to it. It’s not coming from anything. It’s actually coming from the water itself. It’s not coming from a drain or anything like that. It’s actually coming from the water when you turn it on.

    TOM: OK.

    DANIEL: Hot and cold water.

    TOM: Because if it’s coming just from the hot water, then that – what that means is that there’s a bad anode rod in the water heater itself. So that could be contributing to it. If it’s coming from both hot and cold water and it’s coming not just when you turn the water on but when it runs for a while, if it still smells that way then I think what you’re going to need to do is to put a charcoal filter in.

    DANIEL: Exactly.

    TOM: I would put a whole-house water filter in so that it’s installed at the main. And that will actually treat all of the water going through the house and take that smell away.

    DANIEL: OK. Just so – what kind would you – what kind is out there? I’m not sure. I’m not …

    TOM: Called a “whole-house water filter.” Lots of manufacturers out there. But you want a whole-house water filter, not just one at the faucet itself. A whole-house.

    DANIEL: OK. Good enough. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joann in Illinois who’s working on a kitchen-cleaning project. Tell us what you’re working on.

    JOANN: I have lovely, Quaker-made kitchen cabinets. They’ve been in, oh my, I suppose 35 years. They’re really good shape but the only thing I’d like to ask you is – you know, where you go to pull the – to open them? It seems like there gets to be, oh, accumulation of grease, oil or whatever. And I’d like to know: what is the best thing to use to wash them down?

    LESLIE: Have you tried an orange-based cleaner, like an Orange Glo?

    JOANN: That is – would be just a straight cleaner? It’s nothing you mix with water or anything.

    LESLIE: Nope. It’s just a straight cleaner. And I find that it’s really good at degreasing and de-sticking a lot of buildup. When we took the protective bumpers off of our very pointy wood coffee table when Henry got a little bigger, the sticky stuff just left the worst residue across my amazing apothecary table.

    And nothing I could use was getting off this residue and Orange Glo really did the trick. I was very surprised at how quickly it just melted the tape extract and all of that adhesive. And I use it on my kitchen cabinets. I use it pretty much on all my wood surfaces and I find it really does a good job.

    JOANN: OK. I really enjoy your program.

    TOM: Thank you so much, Joann. Good luck with that project and thank you for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dan in North Carolina is dealing with a streaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.

    DAN: I am calling you from hot North Carolina today.

    TOM: Hot North Carolina, huh?

    DAN: I live in the woods. The roof of my house, however, has sunshine over it. It’s four years old.

    TOM: OK.

    DAN: A new roof, 12/12 pitch.

    TOM: Good.

    DAN: And I have started getting these black streaks coming down all over.

    TOM: OK.

    DAN: Is there something that I can spray on that or put up on there that can help get rid of those black streaks on this new roof?

    TOM: Yeah. I’ll give you a couple ideas. First off, there’s a roof cleaner called Spray & Forget. That works very well. You apply it to the roof and it kind of goes to town right away working on a wide variety of stains. It might take a month or more but they will disappear.

    The second thing that you can do is you can take – if you feel up for this or want to have a contractor do it, if you go up on your roof and if you cover the top ridge – that’s that sort of peak of the roof – from end to end with a piece of copper flashing – maybe one piece on one side, one piece on the other – what you’ll find is as rain hits that, it releases some copper which acts as a mildicide and also helps to keep the roof very clean. So a little trick of the trade there. Use a roof cleaner and then a piece of copper flashing installed into that ridge will give you some ongoing protection against future streaking.

    DAN: That is a cool idea about the copper.

    Spray & Forget. Do I just use my regular hose?

    TOM: The Spray & Forget is a concentrate. So all you need to do is mix it up. And what you can use to apply it really depends on what you have. What I like to use is kind of a pump-up garden sprayer. It’s really easy to handle. Doesn’t get too heavy. And then I spray my roof down with that.

    DAN: I’m going to try that. I really love your show and keep up your good work.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks, Dan. We appreciate it.

    Well, with the last blast of garage-sale season ahead, it’s a good time to clean out and clean up by selling what you don’t need. National Garage Sale Day takes place around this time every year and it’s a good reminder to kind of dig into those crammed storage spaces, try to get a bit more organized and make a little bit of profit in the process.

    LESLIE: And you know what? Lightening your load is much easier when you have a system. So as you go through your belongings, you want to sort them into piles of things that you want to keep, things that are definitely trash and things that you want to sell. And once you’ve taken out the trash and reorganized the keepers, then team up with your neighbors and your friends and you can come up with a good selection of really good-quality items and have a giant sale.

    TOM: Yeah. Now, remember that the serious shoppers come early. So be prepared with your best wares a few minutes before your planned start time. And be careful about selling things that might have updated safety features, like baby furniture and car seats. Certainly don’t want to pass those down to somebody else. Furniture, housewares, electronics, kids sporting equipment, those kinds of things always sell pretty well.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? You might be surprised at how much new space you’re going to create just by cleaning out and how much money you’ll end up making by letting go of what you don’t need. So, guys, good luck and happy selling.

    TOM: And you know what? Who knows? You might even be inspired to take on a new remodeling project once you see all that space opened up. We can help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Washington State where Sabrina is dealing with some grout that’s cracking up. And it’s not laughing; it’s falling apart. Tell us what’s going on.

    SABRINA: So I had some grout installed quite some time ago. And they’re about 18-inch tile pieces. And what I’m noticing now is there are several places – it’s kind of happening all over – where the grout is actually cracking. And I’m not sure what to do.

    TOM: So, is it a fine crack or is it a big crack?

    SABRINA: The grout is cracking and now some of the tile pieces are cracking.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem. It sounds to me like the tile was not put down on a base that was solid enough. When you use a big tile like that, you need to have a really strong base. So you have to have a mud base or you have to have a tile base. And you may even have to have an expansion material underneath that so that you don’t get this kind of cracking. If you don’t get good support across an 18-inch tile and you get a little bit of movement in the floor, it cracks very quickly.

    So, I think this – at this point, it’s going to be something you’re going to have to manage. And if it gets really bad, you’re going to end up taking those tiles out and replacing them. It’s very hard to recover from this when the tile job was potentially not done right to begin with.

    SABRINA: Yeah. And I was wondering if it has anything to do with – I’ve heard a couple of people tell me that the underlayment – and maybe you said that – the underlayment wasn’t secured down properly or whatnot.

    TOM: It wasn’t strong enough, right. It wasn’t strong enough. You see, if there’s more – if there’s flex in the floor, the tile is not going to bend, it’s going to crack. And so that’s why the tile – what’s under that tile has to be really solid. With a – bigger the tile, the wider the tile, the less forgiving it is. If you put mosaic down, you know, it can move all day long and you’re never going to see those cracks. But when you put a big, 18-inch square tile down, it’s got nowhere to go.

    SABRINA: It’s got nowhere to go.

    TOM: Exactly.

    SABRINA: And what is your recommendation for my – for correcting it?

    TOM: Unfortunately, there’s no easy recommendation. If the tile project was done wrong to begin with, there’s nothing I can tell you to do that’s going to fix it at this point in time. It’s really going to be something that you’re going to have to tolerate and eventually, you’re going to end up replacing them. And this time, you’re going to do the proper job with putting the floor down.

    How long have these tiles been down?

    SABRINA: About five years.

    TOM: I was going to say, whoever put them down didn’t really do the job right. You’re going to end up having to tear it out and do it again.

    SABRINA: That’s OK. Well, thank you, guys. I just wanted to talk to some professionals. And I heard your show and I really appreciate you guys giving me the advice.

    LESLIE: John in Oregon is on the line and has a question about a wood-burning stove. What can we do for you?

    JOHN: Yes. I know that they have them – they sell them. Just was wondering who actually makes them.

    TOM: Wood stoves?

    JOHN: Yeah. Fuel efficient. I guess they’re more efficient than the older type wood stoves.

    TOM: Yeah. I mean look, all the major manufacturers are making more efficient wood stoves these days. In fact, just last year, the EPA introduced a new source performance standard that basically requires the wood stoves to measure and report how much particulate it distributes into the air. And that also plays into efficiency. So if you look for EPA-certified wood stoves that meet the 2015 standards, you’re going to be looking at a set of pretty efficient wood-stove products.

    JOHN: I guess you’ve answered my question. I appreciate it very much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Up next, while most patios are made of concrete, stepping up to stone can really add a timeless look. We’ve got landscaping expert Roger Cook from This Old House stopping by to tell us how.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is brought to you by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy.

    ADAM: I’m Adam Carolla. I’ve built hundreds of houses and I can tell you how to avoid falling into that money pit: listen to Money Pit Radio with Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And what are you working on this fine summer weekend? We’d like to help. Give us a call, right now, with your how-to question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line with a question about asbestos. How can we help you today?

    NANCY: I live in a home that was built in the mid-1950s. And on the ceiling, there are 1×1 square ceiling tiles. And I would like to take those off and just have a smooth ceiling put up. But I see on all these home improvement shows where they get into pulling things out of older houses and some of the things have asbestos in them. And I’m wondering how you tell that.

    TOM: Asbestos can’t be visually identified; it has to be tested. And what you could potentially do is take a sample of one of those ceiling tiles and send it to an asbestos testing lab and have it identified.

    NANCY: How do you find an asbestos testing lab?

    LESLIE: You can buy kits at any sort of major home center. I know Home Depot carries one. I think that one of the main brands that you can find in stores is PRO-LAB. And then you send a piece of whatever you’re concerned about to this company and they run a test and get it back to you with whatever their findings are.

    Now, the issue with asbestos is that it’s so lightweight that if it becomes particulate, if it breaks up and gets into the air, it takes almost a full day for it ever to reach to the ground. So that’s why there is such a concern when there is asbestos present. But most likely, your ceiling tiles are hopefully fine.

    TOM: Yeah, they’re probably just a fiber tile, which we saw millions of these used in the 50s. But if you’re concerned, that would be the way to do it: to send a sample to an asbestos-testing lab. You can use one that’s available in retail or if you just Google “asbestos testing lab,” you’ll find these all over the country. Find a good one, you know, slip a piece in a plastic bag, send it off and they’ll read it for you.

    NANCY: OK, great. I didn’t know they existed.

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

    LESLIE: Creating a beautiful living space outdoors doesn’t require walls or a ceiling, just a beautiful floor. The perfect patio will complete your yard but the right choice of surface is key.

    TOM: Yes. And while most patios are made of concrete, stepping up to stone can really add a timeless look. Here to tell us more is This Old House landscaping expert Roger Cook.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Hi, guys.

    TOM: Now, this is a project that I see people get wrong a lot. And generally, it’s because when they’re building that stone patio or paver patio, they don’t spend enough time getting the base right. Do you see the same thing?

    ROGER: It’s the same thing, boy. You’ve just got to do the base properly to make everything else look good.

    TOM: It’s kind of like the foundation for the patio.

    ROGER: Right. I think of it as a cake. The inside of a cake has to be good, too, not just the dressing on the outside.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But with a yard, you’ve got to go deep to get a good foundation. If you’re building a big patio, I mean this is a lot of work. And you’re going to encounter a whole bunch of things, like roots and plumbing and gas lines. This is a big undertaking.

    ROGER: It is. But it’s important to get it right. It all starts with the base. How are you going to feel when two, three, four years out, the whole patio is shifting and moving, you’ve got to lift it all up and redo it again? Sometimes, you can even hire a landscaper to come in, dig out the patio for you and do the prep and then you guys do the finish coat.

    TOM: So, if we are going to build the base, what’s the proper sort of assembly? What are the layers of that cake?

    ROGER: Usually, we want to dig down until we get down through to subsoil, which is below – what? It’s usually a loomy level of soil. That can be 6 to 8 inches deep. Sometimes, it goes deeper. We like that – to remove all that, save it, use it in another part of the garden, compact that subgrade. And on top of that, we try to put a mix of stone and stone dust we call “pack.” And we take that pack and we build it up and build it up. We put in layers compacted down either with a hand compacter or a gas-powered one until we get up to the finish coat. And usually the finish coat is like an inch or a stone or sand and then the paver itself on top of that.

    LESLIE: Alright. So now you’ve gone through the most labor-intensive part, you’ve got the base all prepped. What are some of our options to get that really beautiful patio? I’ve heard of something called the “Belgian block” but I don’t know that I’ve ever known this term.

    ROGER: Yeah. There’s a whole bunch of pieces you can add to the top once you’re ready. Belgian blocks are pieces of granite, which are hand-chiseled. They’re usually 6 to 8 inches wide, maybe 8 to 10 inches tall. And they can be set in. But the Belgian blocks aren’t flat and the patio isn’t flat. It’s really a rough surface. But it looks great with an older home.

    TOM: Now, what about bluestone? That’s a very common material for patios both old and new. Is that hard to work with?

    ROGER: No, it’s a great stone. It works really well. It comes in dimensional sizes so you can limit very much what you cut. But again, you get what you pay for. When you ask for bluestone, there’s a couple different colors with them. First, you order blue-blue, which is the most expensive you can get. And it’s true color or pretty true color all the way through. Then there’s random colored bluestone. And it has rust in it, it has purples, it has all sorts of colors. It doesn’t affect the bluestone itself but it just gives it a totally different look.

    I love that different change in color. I like it more than the blue-blue.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now what’s the difference between a bluestone and a flagstone? I’ve always sort of thought that term was interchangeable.

    ROGER: I’d say they’re both in the same family, with one being a stronger cousin than the other. The flagstone tends to really flake apart, especially when you use it set in a concrete base. It’ll get water inside and pop and just make the whole walk bad. Bluestone tends to resist that. It really doesn’t absorb water, so it doesn’t crack.

    TOM: Now, is flagstone similar to slate? Is it a type of slate?

    ROGER: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah. So I can – I know exactly what you mean. It tends to delaminate and sort of chip pieces away. And very often, we’ll see those flagstone patios where someone will put mortar in between. And that’s just a disaster waiting to happen, because there’s just no way that mortar’s going to stay in there once the patio starts to freeze.

    ROGER: We even repaired a walkway for Ask This Old House where the pieces were so loose that we took them out and we used the wall mortar – the tube mortar – and put it in there and pressed the piece back down in there and sealed it right back into place.

    TOM: There you go.

    LESLIE: What about paver bricks? I feel like – or “paver stones,” however you want to call them. I feel like those give you so many options. There’s different shapes, there’s different sizes and that’s almost like a puzzle.

    ROGER: Yeah, they do. They’ve come out with every color under the sun and every shape under the sun, too. So you can have a lot of fun with them but they still – even though they’re a blend, it’s not just one color. They’re usually a blend. It just doesn’t look as natural as bluestone or some of the other products do.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, it’s probably a more affordable option, right?

    ROGER: Yeah. It’s much more affordable and I think it’s pretty easy for anyone to put down once they get their base in place right.

    TOM: Now, speaking of paver bricks, once that project is done, they have to have – be filled with sand. The joints between have to be filled with sand. Is there a way to treat that sand so it’s not quite as absorbative (ph)?

    ROGER: Yes, nowadays we use a product called “polymeric sand.” And it gets swept in through the joints, you literally spray it down and it hardens up. And it keeps ants, weeds and even the water from going in between the pavers.

    TOM: And you’ve got to love that. Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: You’re welcome.

    LESLIE: Alright. 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 on PBS by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    Still to come, bleach is a powerful cleaning product but one problem bleach may not be best suited for is mold. We’ll tell you why, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by QUIKRETE. It’s what America is made of. For project help from start to finish, download the new QUIKRETE mobile app.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, we’re giving away a really great and perfect prize for the summertime. We’ve got up for grabs the Haier Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner.

    Now, this really is America’s quietest window unit. It’s barely louder than a gentle rain. And the Serenity Series offers world-class cooling and produces dramatically less noise than the average air conditioner. Plus, it uses less energy. It’s ENERGY STAR-qualified and you’re going to see about a savings of $85 over the lifetime of the unit. Comes with a remote control, which is great. So you can relax and adjust the temperature without ever leaving your bed or your couch, whatever it is. Whatever floats your boat in the summertime.

    It’s a great prize. You get to choose whatever size you need between the 6K and the 8K. Prize varies between 299 and 399. And you can check out their website at HaierAmerica.com.

    TOM: That’s H-a-i-e-r – America.com. Haier, room to invent.

    888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Don in Virginia on the line who’s got a painting question. How can we help you today?

    DON: I’ve got a house that’s about, oh, probably 30 or 40 years old and I’ve got Masonite siding on it. And it’s flaking at the bottom and there’s a couple chips needing – a woodpecker drilled a couple holes in it. I was just wondering how you smooth it out and repaint it.

    TOM: So, that type of siding is what we call “composite siding” and it does require frequent painting, more so than other types of siding. It’s slightly less durable than other types of siding. And the problem is that it delaminates, too. So if you say it’s flaking, you mean that the layers are actually coming apart?

    DON: No, just the paint just peeling off a little bit.

    TOM: Oh, just the paint. OK. So what you’re going to need to is get as much of that loose stuff off as possible and then you’re going to apply a primer coat. And make sure it’s a good-quality, oil-based primer from a major manufacturer.

    And the reason you’ll do that is because that’s going to give you the best adhesion. The primer will really, really stick well to the surface after the loose paint is left. And then after it dries well, then you could put your topcoat over that. But by using an oil-based primer, you’ll find that you have better adhesion of the subsequent layers of paint. Does that make sense?

    DON: Yes, it does. What kind of paint would I use? Would only oil-based paint or …?

    TOM: Yeah. I would use an oil, solvent-based primer. A Benjamin Moore would be a very good brand or a Sherwin-Williams.

    DON: OK.

    TOM: And then I would use their matching exterior paint.

    DON: OK. Well, now, exterior is what I’m painting.

    TOM: Right. No, I understand that. But you’re going to use the exterior primer and then the exterior paint. But just use the oil-based primer.

    DON: OK.

    TOM: Because you have the option to use an alkyd-based primer, which is like a latex base. I think that in your situation, that’s not going to stick as well. So I want you to use the primer that gives you the maximum adhesion and that’s going to be an oil-based primer.

    DON: Well, I certainly appreciate it.

    TOM: Well, good luck.

    LESLIE: Well, you’ve probably heard that bleach is the best weapon against mold. But in reality, bleach is only a short-term fix and can actually interfere with the mold removal. And it can pose a bunch of health risks for you and your family.

    TOM: And while bleach can give the impression of effective mold control, even the strongest bleach can’t permeate surfaces to kill mold at the roots. And that’s important because that means it’s only a matter of weeks before that bleach-treated mold makes a comeback. And even worse, the water in bleach adds moisture that can actually contribute to the mold growth.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? That’s not the only way that bleach makes the problem worse. It actually leaves behind a carbon-layer residue that blocks effective mold cleaners from actually reaching the mold’s roots.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s why we prefer cleaning products like Spray & Forget. These products can actually kill the mold and stop it from coming back for months. They also help you avoid the health hazards that can come from using bleach around your home, as well as the damage to landscape that bleach can also cause.

    So, it’s not a cure-all. Make sure you choose the right product when you’re dealing with a mold, mildew, algae or moss problem.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Natasha in Missouri is on the line with a molding question. What can we do for you today?

    NATASHA: Our house is about 11 years old and the interior walls – the sheetrock or the drywall – is finished with a nice, round, bullnose corner. So it doesn’t come to a right angle, so to speak. And just through wear and tear with kids and dogs, we have found several dents appearing. And I’m wondering if you have ideas on how we might repair that or if we are going to have to just replace that whole corner edging. Any thoughts?

    TOM: Yeah. I mean is this like the metal rounded corner?

    NATASHA: I think it’s metal. I tap on it and it sounds plasticky but it might be metal, which would explain the dents.

    TOM: Why not just plaster over those?

    NATASHA: I thought about that. Some of them are just little dimples but I don’t know if I can successfully fill and sand and patch. But that’s one thought we’ve had.

    TOM: Yeah. You could skim-coat it. And the other thing that you could do, if it’s a crisp dent, is you can use auto-body filler. We use that on metal doors, like metal doors that have dents in it and that sort of thing. It’s just a little harder to sand. But if it’s just the outside corner on drywall, you could use spackle for that. Build it up and then sand it. It sands really easily. You’re just going to have to prime it and repaint it.

    NATASHA: Yeah?

    TOM: Shouldn’t be a big deal.

    NATASHA: Great. Well, that’s exciting. Some other advice I’d had was to replace the whole corner, so I love your suggestion much, much more.

    TOM: Well, you can always do that but why don’t we try the easy stuff first?

    NATASHA: Maybe in the bedrooms where it’s not so obvious. We’ll try that first, so …

    TOM: Then you can practice and you’ll get good at it.

    NATASHA: That’s right. Hey, thanks so much. I really appreciate your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Natasha. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, have you ever been faced with a house or apartment that just needs so much work it’s really hard to know where to start? And especially where your project list is bigger than your budget? We’re going to share some tips to help you tackle that challenge, next.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement projects at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You know, now that it’s sort of warm and moist, it’s a time when mold tends to form a lot in houses. One way to avoid that is to try to avoid using cardboard storage boxes. Cardboard is mold food, especially if you’re storing things down in a damp space, like a basement or in a garage. Try to use plastic bins when possible because that will be impossible for mold to attack.

    LESLIE: And you know what? You can actually see what you’re storing in the clear containers, so it’s easier to find stuff in the long run.

    TOM: Now you can pick up the phone and call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question on MoneyPit.com, which is what Cody from Colorado did. Cody has got a lot of work to do.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It does look like that. Cody writes: “We recently purchased a home that needs some TLC. We want to replace the aging furnace and water heater. We also need to rip out carpeting and replace with hardwood flooring. Finally, one of the bathrooms is in bad shape. How would you prioritize these projects? We want to have these completed over the next two years.”

    Well, at least it’s good they’re thinking about spacing everything out.

    TOM: Yeah. That’s true. So I would suggest structural first – structural and mechanical first – which means to put off the carpeting and the hardwood floors, even though that’s probably the first thing you want to do because it’s what you’re staring at. I would suggest that you plan to replace that furnace and water heater, perhaps, as your first good project. You want to make sure that those mechanicals are solid because if you don’t do it now, chances are they’re going to fail at the least opportune time.

    And you mentioned the bathrooms and you say one is out of shape – is in bad shape – which means you have another in the house. So that is a project that is not central in terms of remodeling. It sounds like it may be functional; it just doesn’t look so nice.

    So I would do the furnace and water heater first and then I would probably take on the bathroom next, followed by carpeting and hardwood. So just remember to do the most important structural things first when you’re faced with these types of challenges and then the mechanical things and then the sort of cosmetic improvements later.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It does make sense. Plus, the carpeting is going to protect whatever you’ve got underneath. It could even be beautiful hardwood floor. You don’t know and so it’s better …

    TOM: It makes a great drop cloth, doesn’t it?

    LESLIE: It really does. So it’s like, “Just live with it while you’re doing the work.”

    Alright. Next up, we have a post from Julie in Nebraska who writes: “I’m a new, first-time homeowner.” Congratulations, Julie. Then she then goes on to say, “I’m going to change all of the paint colors inside and I can’t figure out what finish to use. I have kids who love to make messes.” Join the club. “Which finish is the easiest to clean?”

    TOM: There’s a lot of choices in finishes. I mean you’ve got flat finish, you’ve got high gloss and semi-gloss, which is in the middle, and then you’ve got another one that’s called “eggshell” or “satin” or “low luster.” I think the key is not only which finish you should choose, Julie, but also which quality paint you should choose. Because not all paint surfaces are going to clean the same. If you buy a very good-quality flat paint, it can be very, very cleanable. If you buy a poor-quality flat paint, you may not ever be able to clean it.

    So I would tell you to focus on good-quality paint and then probably something with a little bit of finish if you’re considering having to clean it. So that means eggshell or low luster would be the least amount of shine I would get. I wouldn’t go too more shiny than that because what happens is when you have any sheen in that wall, any type of defect in the wall, like a nail pop or a crack or a split, that just shows right through, especially when light hits it kind of from the side.

    Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: It really does. You know, sheen on walls is really not my favorite thing to do. There’s also – some manufacturers make it and some don’t – but a scrubbable matte, which will give you a flat surface but it has a scrubbable quality to it. So make sure you do your research, buy good-quality paint that’s got the cleanability that you want and you won’t have to repaint far as often.

    TOM: You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some good ideas, some tips, some advice on how to improve your money pit. If there’s a project on your to-do list, move it over to ours, 24/7, by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question on our website at MoneyPit.com.

    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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