00:00/ 00:00

How to Incorporate the Latest Trends in Bathroom Design into Your Bathroom Makeover, How To Create Your Own Vessel Style Sink with Found Objects, The Resurgence of the Porch and more

  • 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: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. What do you want to work on? Give us a call. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk you through where to start, where to get the materials, how to get some design help, how to figure this whole thing out. You can figure it out by picking up the phone and calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. We will help you get going.

    Got a great show stacked up for you this hour. First up, without fail, the top two home renovations that give you the best return on your investment? Bathrooms and kitchens, of course. So, if you’re thinking of a bath remodel and don’t know where to start, we’re going to look at some of the latest trends in bath design, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And speaking of bath trends, one that is not going anywhere anytime soon is the vessel-style sink and vanity. Now, if you’re afraid that this update is going to blow your budget, we’re going to tell you how you can create the look from found pieces for a fraction of the cost.

    TOM: And with all the frenzy of modern life, are you longing for the days of a past era when homeowners sat outside, chatted with neighbors and enjoyed a nice, cold lemonade in a rocker? Well, another trend making a huge comeback is porches but not just the porches you grew up on. We’re talking about porches with more and more options. We’re going to talk about some of those details, coming up.

    LESLIE: And one caller that we talk to on the air today is going to win the Chamberlain MyQ Belt-Drive Garage-Door Opener with Battery Backup worth $249.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a cool product. No power, no problem. The battery backup makes sure that you can get into your garage. And the MyQ technology allows you to operate that garage door from your smartphone pretty much anywhere you are.

    So, if you’d like to win that, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Bill in Florida needs some help with a new home. How can we help you with that?

    BILL: My brother-in-law purchased a home lived in by a smoker of 13 years: a heavy smoker. Inundated the home with – considerably with the smoke. And we had mentioned some options to him, which was KILZ, take out the rug and sanitize his ductwork. Well, he’s done two of those three things, except for the sanitation of the ductwork and the vent system. And there’s still a preponderance of smell in there. And I was just wondering, are there any other mitigating things that we haven’t considered that we could provide to him to help him out?

    LESLIE: Did you do anything to the subfloor that was underneath the padding?

    BILL: He did nothing to the subfloor. I know that for a fact.

    TOM: OK. It would be a very good idea to prime that.

    BILL: He’s not a man of means, so to pull the rug up and put it back down is probably not going to be an option for him.

    LESLIE: Are you sure that filters have been changed in the ductwork and in the cooling system itself?

    BILL: OK, I know the filters have been changed because I changed them myself when I showed them to him. He has not had the ductwork cleaned and one of the recommendations we’re making is that he hire someone to get in there and clean it. And when you take out the big intake vent, there’s just yellow corrosion all around that foam as it leads up into the roof of the property. So I’ve recommended that he might want to have that foam pulled out.

    But again, depending on the expense, I don’t know if he can do that. Is that something you guys would recommend?

    TOM: Well, here’s another step that you could take in the meanwhile and that is that 3M has a filter that just came out on the market that is a carbon-based filter. So it’s designed to not only filter the air, in terms of dust particles, but it’s also designed to remove odors from the air. So you might want to think about replacing the HVAC filters with the 3M Filtrete Odor-Reduction Filters.

    The carbon in there is pretty significant; it’s about five or six times more than what the nearest competitor has. It really is quite a lot and I think it might help a little bit in this case.

    Cleaning the ducts when they’re that dirty and that gross is going to be probably a good move. But you might just want to replace the filter with one that’s designed to absorb odor in the meantime.

    BILL: Well, I appreciate the assistance. We’ll try the filters and we’ll just go from there.

    TOM: Try the filter. It’s not very expensive. You know, it’s probably $25, $30 and it’d be worth a shot.

    BILL: OK. Hey, thanks for your time, guys. Good show. Appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Veronica in Iowa on the line who needs some help repairing some flooring. Tell us what’s going on.

    VERONICA: Well, we have wood laminate floors throughout our home and when moving some furniture, we scratched the floor. And so I’m trying to find out if there’s an easy way to fix that.

    TOM: Do you know what manufacturer of the floor is?

    VERONICA: I don’t. I’m assuming that the floor was bought at Home Depot. The prior owner was an executive at Home Depot, so everything they put in the house came from Home Depot. But I don’t know the actual manufacturer.

    TOM: Veronica, if you don’t know the manufacturer of the floor, there are some generic products that you can use. One that I would take a look at is Bruce. Bruce is, of course, a big floor manufacturer but they make one that’s supposed to work well on any type of laminate floor.

    And it’s simply called Acrylic Wood Filler. I know it’s sold at The Home Depot, so that stays in the family of Home Depot products that are in your house. And it’s about 6 bucks a tube and you can also find it online. It’s going to come in different colors, so you choose the color that’s closest to your floor. And if it’s not exact, then what you could do is go a little bit lighter, a little bit darker and kind of mix the two together. Does that make sense?

    VERONICA: Yeah, OK. Great.

    TOM: Alright. Well, there you go. Good luck with that project. Problem solved. 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.

    Sad to say just a few, short weeks until the unofficial end of summer: Labor Day Weekend. So, what are you working on? Can we give you a hand at your money pit to help you complete those projects before, all of a sudden, we are freezing our butts off and talking about heating? 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here to lend a hand.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead, are you looking for a few extra square feet for storage? Perhaps an entertainment center or even for hosting guests? The solution may surprise you and it could be closer than you think. We’ll have details, 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: Taking your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    And one caller we help on the air today is going to win the MyQ Belt-Drive Garage-Door Opener with Battery Backup from Chamberlain worth 250 bucks. Now, the battery backup and smartphone connectivity give you complete peace of mind with this product.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, the MyQ is going to send you alerts when you forget to close your garage door. And it lets you close it from anywhere at any time. And with the battery backup, that means even without power, you can still operate your garage door.

    It features a 1¼-horsepower, steel-reinforced belt drive; two three-button remote controls; a wireless keypad; and the MyQ Internet Gateway.

    You can visit Chamberlain.com or you can call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win this great prize.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Pat in Illinois needs some help with a leak. Tell us what’s going on.

    PAT: I got new, enlarged gutters and downspouts on. And they cut a trough out to the – my field, which is OK. We’ve had some torrential downpours and this hasn’t, obviously, been lately but I got flooding in my basement. And I was told that there’s a trough that is next to my block basement that is either inside or outside. I could see, visually, it coming in underneath my stairs as I cut away the drywall and I’m not sure – because, unfortunately, the company that did it is out of business – if my trough is inside or outside.

    TOM: Does the rainfall precipitate the flood? In other words, does it always flood after a heavy rain?

    PAT: It never flooded. I built the basement on in an addition 12 years after I built the house for, really, a storm shelter. And it never did until I put the new, improved, larger gutters/larger downspouts on.

    TOM: Right. So, obviously, it’s – the issue is with the drainage of these spouts. And when you have an area that’s susceptible to flooding, you need to discharge the water at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation, if not further. I mean I – if it’s possible, I like to run the pipes out underground and take them to a dry well or take them to daylight somewhere if the property is set up such where you can get away with that. But you’ve got to manage the drainage.

    And it’s great that you got the bigger gutters because they’re not going to clog as easily. But wherever these downspouts are hitting, that water has got to get far away from the house.

    PAT: I think that was the case. I think what has happened is the abundance of rain that came over the gutters, based on the mass that it came down – and again, it probably has happened before but it never flooded down there.

    TOM: Pat, whenever you get a flood that’s consistent with rainfall, it’s always, always, always drainage, OK? It’s not rising water tables or any of that other kind of stuff. It’s always drainage, always. So, it’s a clogged gutter, it’s a downspout that’s dropping water too close to the house, it’s soil that’s sloped back into the wall. Fix the drainage, you’ll fix the flood, guaranteed.

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

    Well, are you looking for a few extra square feet for storage, for relaxation or maybe for an entertainment center? The solution might already be right under your nose and your roof, because it could be your porch.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? This is amazing. Porches are making a huge comeback, which – they’re showing up more and more in a number of new-construction homes, which is great because the porch is just such a fantastic feature.

    And if they only make you think of the old days, think again. New porches today are being equipped with radiant-heating panels in your flooring, they’ve got glare-proof mesh instead of the traditional screening and the other features that not only make them comfortable but fit for year-round use.

    TOM: Now, when we say “porch,” you tend to think of the front porch but really, we’re talking about outdoor living here, folks. And if you’re not building a new home anytime soon but you want to get in on the trend, you could screen-in an existing deck. It’s another great way to get that much needed extra space or to just extend your day-to-day living outdoors. The decks are the least expensive ways to do just that.

    And once you do, you might want to consider a variety of weatherproofing features that allow for televisions, couches and other unexpected touches on your porch. My buddy just put in a TV outside on his porch and I tell you, it was kind of cool to sit outside and watch a game.

    LESLIE: And with that TV you might have on the porch, maybe some extra seating will be called for, especially because I find with a porch – with me, I don’t have a porch; I just have a front step. But when I sit out there, I meet a ton of people. So if you’ve got a beautiful porch, you’re probably going to meet some people from your block or your neighborhood that you didn’t even know live there, so get ready.

    But before you invite anybody to sit on your porch, you want to make sure that it’s structurally sound, weatherproofed and ready for its revival.

    TOM: And we’ve got tips that can help you on doing just that, on MoneyPit.com. We’ve got tips on porch-door repair, floors and railings. Just search “porch repair” on MoneyPit.com and we will hook you up.


    LESLIE: Mike in Michigan needs some help with an insulation project. What can we do for you?

    MIKE: Well, I’d like to know if there’s a do-it-yourself spray-in insulation, to do in my rim joists?

    TOM: So to do the entire rim joist, it’s probably too big for a product like GREAT STUFF but that’s pretty much the only do-it-yourself spray-foam insulation. If you’re talking about a product like Icynene, that’s put on with very specialized equipment and it’s definitely not do-it-yourself.

    But if you’re just trying to seal gaps around the rim joists, why not invest in a few cans of GREAT STUFF? It’s very effective and it expands to fill all those cracks and crevices. You could do the rim joists and then you could put some fiberglass insulation batts on top of that after it dries and it should be quite warm.

    MIKE: Well, thanks a lot.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Laurie on the line who needs some help with a kitchen-flooring project. How can we help you?

    LAURIE: I am needing to put a new kitchen floor in but I need something that’s going to be easy on my joints.

    LESLIE: One of the floors that I like to recommend for kitchens that are soft, forgiving and beautiful is cork. And surprisingly enough, it’s very durable. If sealed properly, it’s great for a kitchen environment. And it’s soft because of the nature of the cork itself, so it does tend to be a little bit easier on your legs.

    LAURIE: Awesome.

    TOM: And cork also lasts forever. You know, there’s a very famous house that has cork floors. It’s the Fallingwater House that was built by Frank Lloyd Wright back in the late 30s, early 40s. I had a chance to visit it this summer and I was really pleasantly surprised to see that he originally installed cork floors into the bathroom and they still were in good shape.

    LAURIE: Wow.

    TOM: It’s a very durable and very eco-friendly product, as well.

    LESLIE: And it can be very, very beautiful.

    LAURIE: OK. That sounds like something that I will be looking into.

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

    LESLIE: Tyler in South Dakota is on the line who’s got some unwanted visitors in the yard: moles. Have you bitten it more than once in the yard, due to their little hole-digging?

    TYLER: Yes, it’s actually been quite the adventure having those little, friendly guys in your yard.

    LESLIE: And they’re so adorable, aren’t they?

    TYLER: Yeah, they are. They’re wonderful.

    So, we’ve been having this problem with moles and I think what this animal is called is called a “vole” – v-o-l-e.

    TOM: Vole. Yeah, very similar to a mole.

    LESLIE: It’s like a mole/hamster.

    TOM: The reason they’re there, Tyler, is they’re looking for food. And specifically, they’re looking for grubs.

    TYLER: Oh, that was – I was going to ask you about that, because my backyard has been hit by these dry patches which, I just found out, I think, are grubs.

    TOM: Yeah. It all is making sense now, right?

    TYLER: Yeah.

    TOM: Because the grubs are in your lawn, they’re killing your lawn. The moles are probably saving part of your grass, because they’re eating the grubs. But what you need to do is get some grub control at GrubEx on that lawn. And that will get rid of the grubs. And once the grubs are gone and there’s no food left, the moles will move on naturally to your neighbors and try to find where all the grubs are living.

    TYLER: Every six weeks? Every six months? How often do I put down this …?

    TOM: Just follow label directions. And some of these products, you can put down once a season.

    TYLER: Sounds great. Oh, that’s very helpful. I appreciate it.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Terri in Pennsylvania on the line who’s got a gutter issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    TERRI: I have white aluminum gutters and on the gutters that face the southern exposure, the part of the gutter that faces out is turning black and there’s like – where the water runs off it, it’s like a dark gray and just water drips all along the face of the gutter.

    TOM: Right. So, does it seem like the gutters are overflowing and the water is coming over the top and getting these sort of drip marks? Is that what’s going on?

    TERRI: Well, yeah. I have what’s called a “gutter insert” to keep the leaves out. And I know that – well, I’m pretty sure that that’s not causing it, because I had the same problem when I lived on Long Island. And it was only the gutters that faced south and on Long Island, we had a white aluminum top to the gutter to keep the leaves out?

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    TERRI: And then the water would roll off of that and then go into the – it would be caught into the gutter. So, it’s a different type of leaf system but I’m still having the same black drip.

    TOM: Right. OK. So, first of all, I would make sure that the gutters are not blocked and that water isn’t backing up and overflowing that particular gutter, so that – because that water rolling over the top of it, it can get behind it, it can rot out your fascia.

    The dark stains are probably from the water and tree sap and everything else that gets into those gutters. The gutters also fade quite easily; the paint wears off and fades quite easily. So I don’t think it’s a stain that you’re going to actually have to be able to clean. I think what you’re going to end up having to do here, Terri, is repaint those gutters.

    So what I would do is I would wash them down with a trisodium phosphate, get as much of that gunk off. Then I would prime them and I would paint them again. But just – but do make sure that they’re not clogged, because that could be leading to the problem.

    TERRI: But yeah – no, they’re definitely not clogged. And I tried scrubbing it – the ones that aren’t on the second story, where it’s worse. But the ones that are on the first story, I tried cleaning it with a Fantastik and it bleeds into the stain a little bit but I didn’t realize that the aluminum gutters – was it like a hydrostatic or electrostatic painting process?

    TOM: What happens is – and you’ll see this: if you take the gutter and you wipe your hand over it, you’ll probably get some white paint that will come off. It oxidizes because it’s exposed to UV. And so then the paint doesn’t tend to last more than maybe 10 years or so on aluminum gutters.

    So I think, though, if you clean off as much of this thing as you can, prime it and paint it, it’ll look great.

    TERRI: Alright. Great. I’ll give it a try.

    LESLIE: Hey, would you love a vessel-style bath vanity but you’re afraid that making that selection is just going to blow your budget? Well, you can actually make the stylish look with some found pieces for a fraction of the cost. We’re going to have some tips from This Old House plumbing-and-heating contractor Richard Trethewey, next.

    TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley’s TLM65 Laser Distance Measurer. Point, click, measure, done.

    JONATHAN: Hey, this is Jonathan Scott, host of HGTV’s Property Brothers. Don’t let your home become a real-life money pit. Listen to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Cabinets To Go, where you get premium-quality cabinets for less. You dream it, they design it and always 40 percent less than the big-box stores. Visit them online at CabinetsToGo.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 hey, are you dreading the day you have to stop using your outdoor spaces because of cold weather? You can extend your home’s backyard use with an outdoor heater. Learn more on the home page, right now, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Brenda in West Virginia on the line who needs some help with her log cabin.

    BRENDA: I was wondering if it’s more economical to put polyurethane on new logs with a sprayer or roll it on.

    TOM: You want to have the shiniest house on the block, Brenda?

    BRENDA: No, I’m not really looking for shine.

    TOM: Is that …?

    BRENDA: I’m looking for just a protectant. The inside – I’d have to do the inside and the outside and was putting the polyurethane on the inside.

    TOM: You wouldn’t use polyurethane. On the outside, you would use an exterior stain.

    BRENDA: Right.

    TOM: And there are different types of exterior stain: there’s either transparent, semi-transparent or solid-color. Solid-color is going to give you the most protection; it has the most pigment in it. It has to be redone the least frequently. So, that’s going to last the longest.


    TOM: There are lots of good brands out there but solid-color stain would be the material to use on the outside of that home. And you could apply it, by the way, with a sprayer; you don’t – you certainly don’t want to brush it because of all the nooks and crannies and the uneven surfaces. The easiest way to do that is with a paint sprayer.


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

    LESLIE: Well, the original bath vanity consisted of nothing more than a piece of furniture with a bowl on top and a pitcher of water kept nearby.

    TOM: You can get that vintage look but with the convenience of modern plumbing by building a bath vanity from recycled pieces. Here to tell us how is This Old House heating-and-plumbing contractor Richard Trethewey.

    Hi, Richard.

    RICHARD: Hey, guys.

    TOM: Hey, so the look of sort of a bowl on top of a vanity, which we also call a “vessel sink,” seems to be making a pretty big comeback. We see it in all of the design centers. We’re seeing it at the trade show. People really like that it’s a throwback to times gone by, right?

    RICHARD: Right. It is the rage these days, you know. I personally – I’m not sure if it’s as functional as having a more conventional bowl where the water all works its way in but people love the look. I think it does harken back to the old days of plumbing and I think they’re nostalgic for that.

    LESLIE: Well, what I think is interesting when you’re working with a vessel sink, Richard, is that I feel like your options for bases sort of really expands then. Because you can go with something that’s much more vintage-inspired or perhaps even a found piece of furniture to make it work.

    RICHARD: Taking an old dresser or some beautiful, old sideboard sort of piece and try to make it feel like it was around at the turn of the last century.

    There are some cautions with that, though. I mean that beautiful, old dresser has drawers; it’s a dresser. So, now, you’re going to put a vanity bowl or a vessel on top of it, well, let’s talk about the drain. Well, the drain has to come down exactly through the center. So, one thing that has to be done is the plumber has to rough-in in the wall exactly where the center of that is, so that the drain can hopefully come right through to where the drain of the vessel is and not have to completely cut away all the drawers.

    Now, we just did one of these on our most recent This Old House project, this Italianate – this beautiful Italianate house. And Tommy Silva, as usual, worked his magic where he took the drawers and cut them exactly so that when you pulled open that drawer, it was cut to allow for the trap and the drain to be perfectly in the center of that drain. And it was detailed in perfectly.

    Well, that takes work, that takes money and it takes time. So, I want to caution people that this is not just throw a dresser underneath and think it’s not going to have some issues trying to get it modified in there. It’s a labor of love to get this thing working and so that you have both drawers and a functioning, working drain.

    TOM: Well, besides converting dressers, does this approach work with other types of furniture, as well?

    RICHARD: Yeah. The antique sideboard. We’ve seen old, oak desks are done. Even an old table where those legs of the table stand proud and really give a beautiful visual element to the front of it.

    You do want to be cautious about the heights. You tend to want to have a vanity to be not at the 36-inch height of most kitchen counters; you want it down to 29 or 30. And that’s generally what a table height is. But you want to get the right height so it’s functional for people, too.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s a good point because the vessel sink is going to sit on top of that vanity surface or that dresser surface, just like a bowl would.

    RICHARD: That’s right.

    TOM: And so that’s going to add a few inches there. Then I imagine the faucets are specialized, too, because they have to reach up and over and in.

    RICHARD: That’s right. You’re not just going to have the conventional 4-inch-wide (inaudible at 0:23:40). You know, conventional faucets come in either 4 inches on center or 8 inches on center to fit into conventional sinks. These are generally going to be single-hole faucets that have a gooseneck spout of some sort to bring that water up and over the lip of that lavatory.

    TOM: I see that ending up as one of those what’s-wrong-with-this-picture images where the vessel sink is installed but the faucet is about 4 inches off the counter of the picture (ph) itself.

    RICHARD: And don’t forget to leave a towel handy for all the water that sprays on the wrong side.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right.

    LESLIE: I feel like I make a mess regardless of the type of sink I use.

    RICHARD: Yeah. This is not the vessel for you, Leslie.

    TOM: I’m kind of with you on this, Richard. It seems like it’s more work. Because I just imagine myself with three kids always wiping up the top of that surface around the sink.

    RICHARD: Yeah.

    TOM: It’s hard enough to wipe out the sink; now you’ve got to wipe the furniture every single time.

    RICHARD: Look, this is a design fad, we can call it right now, and it’s hot and people love it. And I’ve got to admit it looks beautiful. Most often, I see it in beautiful, high-end restaurants. They might use it because they have people to clean and wipe those things down every day.

    For a day-to-day sink, I’m not sure about its functionality enough, particularly with places with kids.

    TOM: Well, if you decide to go ahead and install the vessel sink, now you have the options, thanks to our friend, Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House.

    Thanks again, Richard, for stopping by The Money Pit.

    RICHARD: Thanks, guys.

    LESLIE: Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.

    Still to come, do you find yourself squinting into the bathroom mirror? Let there be light or at least better light. We’re going to tell you about a new trend that’s bringing back the lighted vanity mirror with new clarity, next.

    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, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And we here at Team Money Pit are taking your calls. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that we help on the air today is going to win a MyQ Belt-Drive Garage-Door Opener with Battery Backup from Chamberlain. It’s worth 250 bucks. The battery backup and smartphone connectivity is going to give you complete peace of mind.

    TOM: That’s right. MyQ sends you alerts when you forget to close your garage door and lets you close it from anywhere at any time. And the battery backup means even without power, you can operate your door.

    It features a 1¼ horsepower, steel-reinforced belt drive; two three-button remote controls; a wireless keypad; and the MyQ Internet Gateway.

    Visit Chamberlain.com and call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

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

    STUART: Hey. Well, I was calling to ask you about, though – I’ve got the stucco house.

    TOM: OK.

    STUART: One of a kind here in East Atlanta, (inaudible at0:27:03).

    TOM: Alright.

    STUART: But I’m noticing the small cracks and (inaudible at0:27:09), nothing really serious. And it’s specifically in the paint.

    And so we had it painted. About six years ago, they pressure-washed it. Did a really nice prime coat and then two topcoats. It’s about time to repaint it, I think, so question is: is about six years right on repainting? So the – every six years or is there a better strategy so it’d be more complete and protect my stucco?

    TOM: It feels a little light. Six years for an outside paint job seems like it – I’d rather see you try to get eight to ten years out of it. But if it needs paint, it needs paint.

    Now, in terms of the cracks, is the stucco cracking or is it just the paint that’s cracking?

    STUART: Both.

    TOM: OK. So, for the stucco cracks, once you prime the surface and clean the old paint, before you repaint – reprime, in this case – you’re going to want to seal those. If they’re very fine cracks, like under a ½-inch in terms of width …

    STUART: Oh, yeah, they’re small, very small. In width, in terms of width, like 1/8-inch, 1/16-inch.

    TOM: OK. So you can use a crack sealant. And QUIKRETE makes one that’s designed for stucco repair, that has kind of like a sanded sort of feel to it.

    STUART: Right.

    TOM: And it blends in with the stucco and it’s paintable; it’s an acrylic formula.


    TOM: So get some of the QUIKRETE Stucco Repair. It looks like caulk; it comes in a caulk-like tube. Designed specifically for stucco repair, though, because then you get that sanded formula and it’ll, texture-wise, kind of fit in with the rest of the stucco.

    But make sure you seal up all those cracks because otherwise, if you get water in there, then it expands and causes additional havoc. So just make sure you seal them up first and then repaint the place.

    STUART: Alright. Well, thanks a whole lot. I appreciate your help.

    TOM: Hey, are you planning a new look for your bathroom? Well, it’s time now for some advice on incorporating the latest trends in bath design, from the design experts at Cabinets To Go. And those experts say that modern bath design relies on simple, functional features.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And high on the list is more light in the bathroom, including a return to lighted vanity mirrors and even sconces.

    Now, the simple design includes a seamless style that will eliminate curbed showers. Tubs, however, are more popular than ever but now a freestanding look is very high in demand. They take up less space and help to create a spa-like atmosphere.

    TOM: And white bath vanities are huge. It’s a classic and timeless color and it can complement any style fixture or tile. And a nature influence is also on the rise, with materials like bamboo and natural stone taking the center stage. And colors, of course, like earthy greens and plants and flowers are also a hot look in the bathroom. And there are several tropical varieties that will do very well in that environment, as well.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And finally, green is the way to go with – water-saving fixtures, materials and lighting, including dimmers, are very popular for bathroom design right now. Wall-mounted and tankless toilets are part of a growing trend in toilets that are better for the environment, as well.

    TOM: And this tip is presented by Cabinets To Go, where you’ll get premium-quality cabinets for less. You dream it, they design it and always 40 percent less than the big-box stores. Visit Cabinets To Go online at CabinetsToGo.com.

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

    SHARON: Hi. I’m interested in tearing down a wall that’s between two rooms. And I’m wondering if I can do that by myself – I don’t have any experience at all – or if I – it’s something that I would need to have an expert do.

    TOM: Maybe, maybe not.

    LESLIE: It depends. What’s in the wall? Is it load-bearing?

    TOM: Yeah.

    SHARON: Yeah. How do you tell that?

    TOM: Well, where is this wall? First of all, what kind of house do you have? What shape is your house? Is it Colonial? Ranch?

    SHARON: I have a – what do you call that – bi-level, where there’s an upstairs part and a downstairs part?

    TOM: Bi-level? OK. Alright. And where is the wall?

    SHARON: The wall – it’s two bedrooms and the wall is right between the two bedrooms.

    TOM: Hmm. So is it parallel with the front wall of the house and the back wall of the house or is it perpendicular?

    SHARON: It is perpendicular.

    TOM: It’s most likely not a bearing wall; that is my sight-unseen assessment. I could be wrong but it’s most likely not. Because usually in a bi-level, the only bearing wall is the center wall that goes down the middle, parallel with the front and the back wall of the house.

    But even that said, what you can do, as a do-it-yourselfer, is you can tear out the drywall and get to that. But remember, once you do that, Sharon, you’re going to be having – you’re going to be looking at plumbing, you’re going to be looking at heating ducts, you’re going to be looking at wiring, not to mention the fact that you’re going to have to patch all that drywall. So, there’s a lot to it.

    SHARON: Oh, really? I thought I could be a do-it-yourselfer; I really wanted to do the project myself (inaudible at 0:31:59).

    TOM: Well, look, you can do it yourself. We don’t want you to become a do-it-to-yourselfer, alright?

    SHARON: Oh, right.

    TOM: So you really should not be doing the electrical work yourself. What you could do …

    SHARON: I am concerned about that part.

    TOM: Yeah, what you could do is take apart all the drywall. That’s easy to do. But again, if …

    LESLIE: Yeah, take out the trim, take down the drywall.

    TOM: Yeah. Maybe if you get it all ready, you can have a carpenter just come pull the wall out and an electrician rerun the outlet and you’ll be done.

    SHARON: Alright. Well, I just wanted to make sure – advice about that.

    TOM: Alright.

    SHARON: I’m glad you told me before I got in the middle of it.

    TOM: Exactly. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, don’t let a pressure washer do more damage than good. We’ve got tips on choosing the right pressure washer for the surface that needs to be cleaned, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Cabinets To Go, where you get premium-quality cabinets for less. You dream it, they design it and always 40 percent less than the big-box stores. Visit them online at CabinetsToGo.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.

    And get this: you’ve got the cardboard boxes, you’ve got the movers, you’ve got the U-Haul on standby. Well, you’ve got everything except a buyer for your current home. That’s a big problem. Are you having a hard time getting your current place so that you can just move?

    TOM: Well, a few simple, do-it-yourself ideas can make your home much more appealing to prospective buyers. This is the topic I covered on my last appearance on Fox and we’ve got it all online at MoneyPit.com: “10 Tips for Essential Home Staging.”

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question, just like somebody from Texas did who writes: “The wallpaper in my kitchen and bathroom is 26 years old.” Wow, it must be really stuck on there well. “I’d like to get rid of it but I dread taking it down. Can I paint over old wallpaper? It’s in relatively good shape and it’s only curling in one small spot near a baseboard.”

    TOM: Sure. You could always – can paint over it but I’m not thrilled with that idea. Once you paint, it’s that much harder to take it off. I mean eventually, it’s going to have to come off. And once you paint it, it becomes really – if you think it’s hard now, try taking it off after it’s painted. And you know what? It doesn’t look like nice wallpaper; it looks like painted wallpaper, which is kind of weird and tacky.

    So, I would say that you’d be much better off spending the time right now. If you’re having a really hard time with it, you can rent a wallpaper steamer that can considerably speed up the project. But I would definitely try to get that wallpaper off of it. It is possible to paint but I just don’t recommend it.

    LESLIE: The other thing – you can paper over paper but it sounds like you’re not into the wallpaper look. So if you don’t like the one you’ve got now, chances are you’re not going to like a new one. But definitely do not paint over it. It’ll just look like it.

    Alright. Next, we’ve got a post from Cindy who writes: “I’d like to buy a pressure washer for my deck but I’m nervous I might damage the wood. I found washers with different types of nozzles but should I be looking for one with an adjustable psi? What do I need to know about adjusting the pressure for different surfaces?”

    TOM: Well, look, Cindy, there’s really three things that you need to know when you’re considering buying a pressure washer. It’s really the three Ps. The first one is water pressure. And how much pressure you need really depends on the kind of job you’re doing. A basic, light-duty pressure washer is going to deliver somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 psi. And that’s probably fine. It’s about 30 times as powerful as a garden hose and it can do jobs like cleaning cars, cleaning boats, cleaning furniture.

    If you want to work on something that is more heavy into the grease or the grime, then you might choose a medium-duty pressure washer that would go, say, over 2,000 psi. And if you really have some very serious repairs, like you’re trying to strip paint off of metal or something like that, then you might go into sort of 2,500 to 4,000 psi.

    The second P is gallons per minute. You know, the larger the gpm, the more surface area that you can clean. So, if you want to clean a large area, you need to really kind of go for a higher gpm flow rate.

    And the last one is price. There’s a lot of variety. But I would tell you, if you’re only going to do basic cleaning projects around the house, to invest in a light-duty pressure washer from a good brand. Check the reviews out online. And that should be able to handle all of the things that you need.

    And remember, use the least amount of pressure possible to do the project. Because if you go too heavy, you’re going to damage it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it really does an amazing job of cleaning. Sometimes you need soap on surfaces, sometimes you don’t. So try it out and see.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this summer hour with us. Hope we’ve given you some design ideas, some tips, some suggestions to help you fix up your money pit.

    If you’ve got questions that you couldn’t get to us on the show, we understand. That’s why we’re available, 24-7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And you can also post your questions online 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 2014 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

Leave a Reply


More tips, ideas and inspiration to fuel your next home improvement, remodeling or décor project!