How to Prevent Break-ins at Home, Sealing Air Leaks, Fresh Uses for Old Doors and More
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, 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.
TOM: And you should pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are standing by, here to help you get the job done. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, did you know that a home is broken into every 15 seconds in this country? October is, in fact, Crime Prevention Month, so we’re going to teach you what you can do, this hour, to keep your home safe from forced entries, one of the top ways that intruders get in.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, losing money to crooks? That’s one thing. But if you’ve got leaks and gaps in your home, you can actually be throwing money away without even realizing it. So we’re going to tell you how to seal up those energy leaks and get rid of those high energy bills for once and for all, in a few minutes.
TOM: Also ahead, a new way to look at a door; they’re not just for your front entrance anymore. We’ve got some fresh ideas for original ways to use a door to decorate your home.
LESLIE: And we have a very cool giveaway this hour. One lucky caller to 888-MONEY-PIT is going to get a copy of the book, The Best Homes from This Old House. And it’s a look at 10 of the best transformations on that very popular PBS show in the past decade.
TOM: And what’s even cooler, it’s autographed by the entire cast of This Old House. If you’d like to win that, you’ve got to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Dave in New York is dealing with icicles and does not want them anymore on his roof. Tell us about them.
TOM: But they’re so pretty.
LESLIE: They are pretty but they’re bad.
DAVE: They’re pretty but they’re also dangerous. I’ve got one that hangs on the back (inaudible at 0:03:13) over here in the wintertime. Where I live, the houses, they’re not super-close together – there might be 40 feet between us – but the guy’s driveway runs right under there.
DAVE: And I had an icicle on their last winter that was about 10-foot long and I know it had to be 2-foot thick. And there’s another one up in the front of the house – there’s a little jut in there – and it gathers there. What is a good way to prevent them from happening?
TOM: Well, here’s the thing: icicles form when the heat from your house escapes through your ceiling, gets into the attic and then melts the snow immediately right above the heated space. So if you improve your insulation in your attic space and if you improve the ventilation, especially the soffit ventilation, you keep the roof surface at the same temperature as the outside all the time. Hence, you’re not going to get any meltdown that’s going to go and create an ice dam and form at the roof edge like that.
So it really comes down to improving insulation first and then attic ventilation second. And those two things together, Dave, can stop the icicles from forming. But I still think they’re pretty.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Lisa in Wisconsin is on the line with a basement finishing question and she is one of our Facebook friends.
Thanks, Lisa. Welcome.
LISA: Hi. We live in a small ranch house and the base of our house is painted a brown color right now; it’s like the cement brick. And I’d say it’s about 20 inches from the ground up to the first bit of siding. And I was wondering what kind of products are out there. Are there panels of something that can cover that? I had seen something advertised on TV lately, some type of panel. And we’re just wondering if you know of any good products out there that would work for that or if it’s just easier just to go ahead and paint over the brown cement bricks.
TOM: Well, I mean you certainly could panelize it and there are different systems out today. I know, for example, Owens Corning has a basement finishing system where they’re kind of like preassembled sort of padded walls that are almost like office cubicles, I always think when I see them, that they attach to the walls. Or you could paint them.
The thing is, if you’re going to take any steps towards finishing your basement, Lisa, the first thing you want to do is make sure it’s absolutely positively dry down there, by being very careful to check the drainage at the foundation perimeter and making sure everything slopes away.
The second thing is that if you’re going to put any kind of a paneled wall there, what you really need to do is to frame a wood wall in front of the bricks so that takes up some of the depth of the basement, as well. But you’re going to use a pressure-treated bottom plate – that’s what goes along the floor – and then you could frame a normal wall between that and the floor joists above. And then on top of that, you could add drywall.
Now, in terms of the type of drywall, what you might want to consider is one that’s fiberglass-faced and not paper-faced.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s something from a company called Georgia Pacific and that’s known as DensArmor Plus. And that’s a fiberglass-faced drywall and that’s great for applications where you have high moisture content, like a basement or a bathroom or even in a heavy-duty kitchen or something like that.
LISA: Oh, OK.
LESLIE: But it’s great because it’s fiberglass-faced so you’re removing that paper. So because of the moisture, you won’t grow mold. And it finishes the same way and it’s really not that much more expensive, so it’s definitely worth it in this type of application.
LISA: OK. And then for the attachment thing, you said from Owens Corning that that product was? And then Georgia Pacific for the fiberglass drywall?
TOM: Well, Owens Corning makes a basement finishing system. If you Google that, “Owens Corning Basement Finishing System,” …
LESLIE: It’s like panels that sort of stand up on their own and then have a piece that covers them. As Tom said, it’s very cubicle-like but it’s gorgeous and it can be done very well for a basement space.
LISA: Alright. Thank you very much, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome, Lisa. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Up next, is your home a target for thieves? Don’t make it easy for those bums to break in. We’re going to give you some valuable information on how you can keep your most prized possessions secure, after this.
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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. And if you call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, not only are you going to get the answers to your home improvement questions but one lucky caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to get a really great prize. You’re going to get a look at the greatest home transformations on PBS. We are giving away the book, The Best Homes from This Old House.
TOM: That’s right. It shows the best interiors and exterior makeovers on the show for the last 10 years. But wait. As we love to say, there’s more. The book is actually autographed by every cast member, so you will be getting yourself one collectible item if you call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT and are the name we draw out of The Money Pit hard hat at the end of today’s show.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to give you a hand with everything that you are working on.
Now, October is Crime Prevention Month and the FBI reports that a home is broken into every 15 seconds. And that adds up to more than 2 million homes annually. So to celebrate, if you will, Crime Prevention Month, we’ve got advice to make sure that your home doesn’t become a statistic.
First, you want to make sure that you secure your doors and your windows. The FBI says that 60 percent of all burglaries are forcible entries through windows or doors.
Now, you might want to consider installing multi-point door locks. They’re the ones that have the pins that extend through the top and bottom and the sides of the door, that make it virtually impossible to kick that door in.
Also, you want to use impact-resistant laminated glass on your windows. And that can cut down on the chance that someone’s going to shatter that window and then gain entry into your home.
TOM: Now, alarm systems are also a great way to deter intruders and they can also help protect your home from fire, carbon monoxide or flood. And now they can even be tied in with your home automation systems.
Leslie, we saw this system called RadioRA 2 by Lutron. And what it does is when the burglar trips the alarm, man, is there a surprise in store. Because the system turns on every light in the house, it raises all the window shades and it flashes the outside lights.
TOM: It’s like, “Hello!”
LESLIE: “Hey, look at me. Something’s going on here.”
TOM: “Look at me. That’s right. Come right this way, policemen.” And so, yeah, it’s pretty cool that you can tie them in right now.
Now, another thing to think about might be a safe. Safes have been around for hundreds of years but the safes today are actually built quite differently. In fact, you want to buy one that protects media, electronic media: DVDs, USB drives, external hard drives, things like that where we keep valuable information. You’ve got to make sure that the safes can protect those from fire and from floods, as well as break-in.
Lastly, think about who you’re giving your keys to. Because so many of us hand our keys out. Think about it: babysitters, repair people, valet. I mean our keys do get tossed around quite frequently. A better option might be to consider electronic locks.
Now, all the door locks that are available on doors come electronic, if you want them, with keypads. And so with keypads, you can actually assign short-term codes to people that only have one or two reasons to come into your house or at least a code for each individual person that has permission to be there. And it’s a lot easier to control the codes than it is to control the keys because, of course, you can always reset them.
We’ve got lots more home security tips just like that on our website at MoneyPit.com. Just search “home security” for ideas on the many projects that you can do yourself to make your home secure.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jim on the line from Ohio who’s got a, I guess, a driveway-resurfacing project. What’s going on?
JIM: Well, my driveway is all cracked up and they’re quoting me big money to bust it out and pour new concrete. And I’m just wondering – I have the height to do it; I’m wondering if I can just asphalt over the concrete and maybe just touch that up every few years instead of – with the cost of gutting it and pouring new concrete.
TOM: Probably not because what’s going to happen is the concrete, if it’s already cracking, it’s going to continue to crack and now it’s going to lift sections of the asphalt at the same time. You know, the key to a proper driveway surface is the layers and the way it’s built up.
So you need to pull out the concrete which, frankly, you could do yourself. That part of it is just labor; you can rent a jackhammer. But pull that out and then you put down the stone and then you have the crushed gravel and it’s compacted and that’s what really makes the driveway last a long time.
So if you’ve got bad concrete there, just pull it out yourself and start from scratch. But you cannot go on top of it. You will not be happy because those cracks will continue to move and shift. Imagine it like when you see tree roots that lift up through asphalt? It doesn’t take much strength to do that and that’s what’s going to happen.
JIM: Alright. Sounds like I should rent a jackhammer and put my four teenage sons to work.
TOM: There you go. That’s the easy way to do it.
JIM: Thanks, guys. You’ve got a great show.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dina in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DINA: Hi. I’ve got some citrus trees – one very large Eureka lemon and two Meyers – two Meyer lemons – as well as a miniature orange tree.
DINA: And for the first time, in the last year or so here in northern California, we’re getting freezing temperatures that last for two, three, four nights in a row. I’ve gotten freeze cloth and used that in the past but now, at least, the Eureka is way too tall to be doing that; it’s probably 15 feet high.
So my question is – well, one is kind of about trimming and pruning. Should I just be topping it off to keep it smaller so I can use the freeze cloth or is there another product you could recommend that I can use instead of …?
LESLIE: Well, when it comes to pruning, you don’t want to prune too late in the season because when you do prune them and you get new growth, that’s when the tree is its most vulnerable. So don’t prune too late in the season. If you know this weather is coming, just hold off and wait until the spring; let it sort of be hardy as you go into the cooler weather.
DINA: OK. Alright. So I won’t do any pruning. Anything besides freeze cloth that you would recommend?
TOM: Many experts actually recommend that you use electric lighting as a source of potential, additional heat when you have a freeze that’s pending. So it could be anything from a spotlight to Christmas lights or anything of that nature, to add additional heat to the tree.
Another thing that you want to do is maintain the soil moisture; it’s very important that the tree is kept moist. If it’s not, it will not radiate as much heat into the atmosphere at night, so you want to make sure that you keep up on your watering.
And also, it’s a good idea to sometimes spray the tree with water before a frost.
LESLIE: Yeah, if you’re expecting a hard freeze. Because what happens is the water sort of pours over the fruit as it freezes overnight and a lot of the professional citrus growers down in Florida will run those sprinklers all night knowing that this freeze is coming. So when the freeze happens, it almost forms like an ice protector around each piece of fruit, sort of protecting the fruit and protecting the tree.
But some of the experts say that once you’ve had an orange or a lemon tree in the ground three years, you really don’t need to try to protect it too much, that they become pretty hardy at that point.
DINA: Oh. Well, that’s good because this is probably the third or fourth year and they’re quite large and very prolific. I don’t have much in the way of lemons on the Eureka – on any of them, really, right now; we’ve pretty much picked them all – but it’s just a lot of green and in past years, it’s gotten frostbit on the outer edges.
DINA: And we ended up cutting it off in the spring, so maybe I should just let it see what happens and trim it in the spring.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Keith in Pennsylvania is dealing with a leak. Tell us about it.
KEITH: I have a probably 18-year-old home – Colonial home – that has a precast stair – I guess you call them steps – to go into the basement that are pretty typical of many homes that have basements. And I guess when they install those, they have a seal that’s installed from the manufacturer.
So what I believe, over those 18 years, that may have deteriorated and we – now we have a leak and it goes in the basement and it’s not major but we get about – the last rain that came down very hard, within maybe 8 hours we got about 10 gallons of water.
And this comes from a small area at the bottom of the precast stairs at the foundation. I just want to know how to remedy that. I have started to dig out from the exterior but that’s 7 feet that I have to dig to get to the bottom and I’m thinking either – should I have an excavator come in and dig out that area to get to the bottom of the steps or should I seal it from the inside?
TOM: I think you’re working way too hard, my friend.
KEITH: Hmm. Bad luck for that.
TOM: This is a – yeah. This is a situation that whenever you say that it happens consistent with rainfall, that you can deal with it at the top of the surface, not the bottom. It’s not like you’re going to make it float, you know what I mean?
So what I want you to do is to look at two things. Number one, track the drainage of water off the roof to make sure that you’re not dumping any water in and around that foundation. If you are, extend the downspouts well past it, even if you have to use over-ground downspouts. Get it out 4 to 6 feet past the area that’s leaking.
And the second thing is take a look at the slope at the foundation perimeter and make sure that it’s all sloping away from the walls. So, away from – well, away from the walls. If you need to add more soil, do not add topsoil; add clean fill dirt because you can pack that kind of dirt down really well and it’s not as organic. Then you can put a little grass on top of that or stone or mulch.
But those two things – maintaining that water around the outside, making sure the water moves around from the – away from the house – that’ll stop the leak. So you don’t have to dig down and try to patch it that way.
KEITH: So fill dirt, like maybe – like just like a – not a topsoil, just a …
TOM: Clean fill, yeah. It kind of looks like a baseball pitcher’s mound.
TOM: It’s usually brown and rich like that and it tamps and packs really well.
KEITH: OK. So nothing – but not topsoil, you were saying?
TOM: Not topsoil. Topsoil is very organic; it’s like laying sponges around the house.
KEITH: Oh, OK. Alright. Sounds like a good plan to me and I will give that a shot.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead, you know, cash leaks out of your home with every draft. We’re going to tell you how to seal air leaks and save that cash after this.
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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 we are still in what we call the Goldilocks season for home improvement: not too hot, not too cold, so no excuses. Fall is just right.
For lots of home maintenance projects, you can visit our website at MoneyPit.com for a complete fall home maintenance checklist. We’ve got it all there, from furnace cleaning on up. We’re going to help you make sure you are ready for the upcoming winter season. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Omar in New Mexico, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
OMAR: I’m trying to insulate a huge warehouse and I ran across some – they’re kind of like insulating paints. I saw one online, which I think insulates by kind of those little, tiny bubbles that you mix into your paint? And then I saw some that is like a white, thick latex paint that I guess is supposed to reflect the sun’s rays and not allow your building to get so hot.
TOM: Yeah, I think you’re close. It’s not that you’re adding insulation to it.
The additive is a radiant barrier, correct, Leslie?
LESLIE: Yeah. It makes the paint become a radiant barrier. And what’s happening is you can use it on the inside or the outside of whatever structure. And it works to reflect the heat away if it’s outside and if it’s on the inside, it sort of keeps in the heat or sort of keeps in the cool; it maintains that temperature.
Now, there is one product that I’m familiar with and it’s called Insuladd. And that’s an additive that does act as a radiant barrier. And once it’s on the walls, whether it’s interior or exterior, you could repaint new colors down the road and that radiant barrier will still be effective, whether it’s three or four or five layers of paint below the current layer of paint that you’re showing.
And it really does work. I mean if you go to their website, which is Insuladd.com, you can see, using an infrared technology, that it’s actually keeping the heat in and not allowing it to escape. And it really does have some good effects and it’s a very easy product to sort of mix into any sort of paint off the shelf that you can buy.
OMAR: OK, sounds good. And yeah, actually, that’s one of the products that I had run across. I just remembered it when you mentioned it.
LESLIE: Yeah and it’s affordable. And it really is a good, good product.
OMAR: OK. Well, sounds good. I just basically wanted to know if it was an actual, legitimate product or not. So, thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when it comes to making your home energy-efficient, there are certainly lots of choices and it helps to set some priorities so that you can pick a place to begin.
TOM: That’s right. And the two most common moves to make homes more efficient are to increase insulation and to decrease the amount of air that can leak in and out of a house. But even with those, which delivers the best return on investment? Well, let’s find out as we welcome This Old House general contractor, Tom Silva.
TOM SILVA: Well, thank you. It’s nice to be here.
TOM: Now, you must be faced with questions like this every time you start to tear open one of those grand, old homes that you guys make over. Homeowners want to know how they’re going to get the best energy efficiency out of their renovation. Where do you begin on that air sealing versus insulation question?
TOM SILVA: Well, the air-sealing part comes in real early here, because there’s a new code out there that actually requires that I have an inspection – another form of inspection – for the inspector to come out and make sure that I do certain things.
TOM: OK. Oh, that’s interesting. So, when we think about the building inspector looking at the foundation and the framing and the mechanicals and making sure the roof’s there, now they’re really looking at this important energy question, as well.
TOM SILVA: That’s right. The energy is – is they have to come out before I insulate.
TOM SILVA: And they want to make sure that before the siding goes on that the windows are sealed up correctly on the outside.
TOM: So all those drafts are now covered by code-enforced inspections.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. Any of the joints in the plywood.
LESLIE: Now, is this something that really only applies to a new construction or is this when you’re adding an addition or working on a major renovation? Do you have to sort of take this step with the res code, as well?
TOM SILVA: You have to take this step with the res code. It follows a little bit different when you’re doing a renovation and addition. The old part is more forgiving than the new part. So, if I’m doing an addition, for example, I have – that addition has to meet the res check but the alteration has to be insulated but it doesn’t have to be opened up to be insulated. So you can assume that it’s insulated and you can – any wall. If I just opened up one part of a wall, I’d have to insulate that section. I don’t have to do the whole wall.
TOM: So air sealing really is a priority, then, over insulation today. Let’s say we get the air sealing correct and we’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing. Now we want to look at the insulation. Is there a priority, in your mind, between, say, floor insulation, wall insulation and ceiling insulation, as to what the most important place of your house is to insulate?
TOM SILVA: Well, once you’ve cut down the drafts, now you have to think about heat. Heat rises. So, what do you want to do? You want to put the hat on the building; use the warmest hat to keep it warm. The next thing you’ve got to think about, the walls. You want to tighten those up.
I like to insulate levels. So if I live in a two-story building, I like to insulate the first floor and the second floor. I want the heat that’s in the first floor to stay in the first floor. I want the heat in the second floor to heat the second floor.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re insulating between the first and the second floor, because you’ve got two conditioned spaces, in essence, do you use unfaced batting or is it better to go with, you know, more of a foam type?
TOM SILVA: You don’t need a vapor barrier at all, in a space that’s heated above or below.
TOM SILVA: So, it’s unconditioned space needs a vapor barrier and you’ve got to think about what part of the country you live in and where do you want that vapor barrier. For example, if I live in Florida, I want the vapor barrier to be on the outside of the building. If I live in New England, I want the vapor barrier to be on the inside of the building, because I heat more than I cool.
So, condensation can form on that wall surface in New England, for example, and it’s going to get to the outside of the building, it’s going to collect on the back side of the sheathing, frost is going to build up inside that wall, it’s going to run down and my sills are going to rot, my paint’s going to peel.
TOM: And that’s really critical, because that condensation – I mean we think of insulation and we measure it by R-value but if you add 2-percent moisture to insulation, you reduce the R-value by up to a third. So it’s very, very important that you have insulation be as dry as it possibly can be.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. The moisture is the enemy, whether it’s coming from the inside or the outside. And you want to keep that building tight; you want to make sure your vapor barriers are on correct. You want to make sure all of your electrical boxes are sealed up nice and tight. There’s all kinds of new things out there that you have to be careful of.
TOM: Well, there’s an awful lot of new tricks that the old contractors out there – you excluded, my friend – are learning about how to make homes more energy-efficient and I tell you, it’s really, really great for everybody. It’s saving money; it’s making those homes so much more comfortable, as well.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely.
TOM: Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: As always, it’s my pleasure.
TOM: To learn more about air sealing and insulation, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And make sure you watch Tommy and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House, on your local PBS station.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by State Farm Insurance. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead on The Money Pit, some ideas that might have you taking your front door off of its hinges. We’re going to have some fresh ideas for using your door to decorate, when we come back.
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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. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call, because we are going to help you get all of your home improvement projects done.
But one of you lucky callers this hour is going to win a really great prize; I’m really jealous about this. We’re giving away a copy of the book, The Best from This Old House. And it really is; the book is stunning. It’s a look at the best renovations from the past decade of PBS’ This Old House.
But this isn’t just any old copy of the book that you can go pick up. This one is signed – signed, you guys – by each and every cast member. That’s right: Norm and Kevin and Tommy and Richard and Roger. That’s right. We’re on first-name basis and I’m very jealous
So, pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Well, it’s time now for your Fresh Idea, presented by Trewax, makers of the 100-percent all-natural, wood-cleaning products.
This week, we’ve got some ideas for you that will have you looking at your door in a different way. You know, old doors are a great decorating item. In fact, they’re one of the hottest-selling items at flea markets because of their charm and multiple uses.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s right. You really can do a ton of different handy and crafty projects with those found doors. And here are just a few ideas.
Now, if you find a paneled door in either wood or even composite, turn it sideways and then attach it to your wall like on the lower portion of the wall right above your baseboard. And you probably want to remove the baseboard, put the door on and then put the baseboard in front of it. And it’s instant wainscoting; I mean it really is a super-simple project for a really great, paneled look for a room.
Now, a door can also easily be turned into a desk or even a table of any height, just by simply adding some legs. Now, two or more paneled doors turned sideways and stacked and anchored on a wall can make a really great headboard. And you can do them sideways, you can do them standing straight up and down. Completely up to you.
You can also cut a door straight down the middle and turn it into shelving for a wall. We did that on an episode of $100 Makeover. We did those hollow-core doors, sliced it right up the middle. Actually, we took about 12 inches off each end and then put the open end on a support where you attach to the wall and secured it in place.
Really, you can do a ton of projects. If you find a great-looking, weathered old door, prop it up against the wall and then just attach photographs or prints and you’ve got, really, some beautiful, decorative flair.
TOM: The ideas are endless and you will never look at a door the same way again. And of course, to keep your wood surfaces clean, we recommend Trewax All-Natural Floor Cleaner. It can be used on just about any wood surface, from floors to doors. It’s also got the Good Housekeeping Seal and it’s chemical-free. Visit Trewax.com for more information.
LESLIE: Bela in North Carolina is calling in, needs some help with a project. What can we do for you?
BELA: We have a crawlspace.
BELA: And then we put heavy-duty plastic on the ground to keep the moisture in the ground.
TOM: OK. So far so good.
BELA: And then one of my neighbors is a contractor. He says you need to put crushed stone over it so it is flat. And then there is another contractor. He said, “No, don’t do it because the moisture going to condense on the rocks and then you’re going to have water on top of the plastic.” So which way should I go?
TOM: Well, I don’t think there’s any reason to put the rocks on top of the plastic. There’s no reason whatsoever to do that. You just want to put heavy-duty plastic down and what that does is that stops the soil moisture from evaporating up into the crawlspace and it keeps the humidity down. So there’s no reason to put anything above that. You’re not …
LESLIE: No, the only concern is that if you’ve had to use more than one piece of your plastic sheeting to sort of cover that ground area, you need to make sure that you’ve got a really large overlap so that you’re not allowing moisture to escape.
BELA: So you don’t think that’s a good idea?
TOM: I don’t think it’s necessary.
BELA: I already shoveled 2 cubic feet or 2 cubic yards of crushed stone under the crawlspace.
TOM: No. Not necessary. Put the plastic right on top of the soil and be done with it.
BELA: Yeah, that’s very – thank you very much. I wish I contacted you two weeks ago.
TOM: OK. Bela, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, since we are officially in the autumn season, guess what’s right around the corner? Chilly-toe season. That’s right, when the floor gets too cold for your feet to stand. We’re going to tell you how to keep those tootsies warm all winter long, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by The Iron Shop, the leading manufacturer of spiral stair kits. Visit www.TheIronShop.com today to find out how you can own a beautiful, iron spiral staircase.
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: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT with the answer to your home improvement question, which could be: “If I’ve got 10,000 bucks and want to decorate one room of my house, how can I do that?” Well, I’ve got a better answer for you than do it with your own money: enter the Arrow Dream-Room Contest, the Arrow Fastener $10,000 Dream-Room Contest. Because if you do, they’ll hand that 10,000 bucks to Leslie Segrete and let her do it for you.
LESLIE: I’m so excited, you guys.
TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to go to ArrowDreamRoom.com and you can explain what your dream room would look like. And if you win it, you’re actually going to fly out and do this project, aren’t you?
LESLIE: That’s right. First of all, I’m going to talk to you on the phone a ton. I want to see pictures, I want to see videos, I want to know why this room does not work for you. And then I will design you a space that does. And I’m going to use $10,000 of the Arrow Fastener folks’ money, so it is so great. You’re not going to spend any money; you’re going to get a great room. So head on over to ArrowDreamRoom.com and make sure you enter today so you could be our lucky winner.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the telephone number but you can also post your question on MoneyPit.com, like Ken did. Ken says, “I’ve got a bathroom built in my attic space above the garage.” That’s a good use for an attic space, Ken. “How do I insulate the ceiling of the garage and the floor of the bathroom?”
Well, that’s actually, of course, the same space. And the way you would do this …
LESLIE: That’s got to be a freezing bathroom.
TOM: Yeah. You know why? Because it’s over unconditioned space.
TOM: So what you – and because it was an attic originally there, there was never a reason to put insulation there. So you’re just missing insulation where you would normally have it.
And so what you have to do, in this case, is – and if you’ve already built the bathroom, it’s going to be easier to take the drywall down in the garage. You can either take the drywall ceiling down and insulate it that way or you could use blown-in insulation in the ceiling, above the garage.
LESLIE: From the ceiling.
TOM: And that would probably do the trick, as well. Either way, you have to insulate that.
Now, it’s important that you know this: if you take the drywall down in a garage space, the drywall you put back isn’t just regular ½-inch drywall; it’s 5/8-of-an-inch thick and it’s fire-rated drywall. Because the drywall that separates the garage from the house has to be more fire-resistant than the normal drywall that separates all the other rooms in your house.
So good luck with that project, Ken, and thanks so much for logging on to MoneyPit.com and posting that question.
Next one here is from Linda who says, “My dryer vent is running under my house. It’s a long run and it’s hard to clean the lint. Any tips to make that process easier?”
And Leslie, you have coughed up a few lint balls in your day. What was that tool that you used that coughed up all the lint balls?
LESLIE: Not me. It’s called the Gardus LintEater. But I can remember the first time. You know, I called you up, Tom. I was like, “It appears my house is coughing up lint balls. I don’t understand.”
TOM: That’s right.
LESLIE: I’d pull in the driveway, which is where the dryer vent vents to, and there would be this tumble-lint rolling across the driveway.
So the Gardus LintEater, it’s a series of flexible tubes that you sort of attach together with – almost looks like a chimney-sweep brush on the end. You put it right into your drill driver, feed it into the dryer vent from the outside and it pulls all of this lint out.
And you want to do it, because it’s a huge fire hazard. You want to do it every couple of years. Heck, you’re going to love this chore. You’re going to end up doing your neighbor’s house. Wait until you see what you pull out of that dryer vent.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Happy Fall Fix-Up. Everybody, get out there, pick up a paintbrush, pick up a saw, tackle a project this weekend. It’s good home improvement therapy time. You’re always going to feel so much better when you get a project like that done. Don’t take one on that’s too big; start small and you can build up from there.
And remember, if you have a question any time of the day or night, we are always available at 888-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.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2011 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.)