Siding Options for Your Home, Tips for Drywall Repairs, New Advances in AC 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 Happy Summer, everyone. What are you tackling on this beautiful day? Inside your house, outside your house, we’re here to help you make it the house you’ve always wanted. So give us a call, right now, with your home improvement questions. Let us help solve the do-it-yourself dilemmas that you’re facing. Have a decorating question? Have a repair question? We’re here to help you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up on today’s program, siding protects everything you hold near and dear in your home, so it’s one building product that better be super-durable and easy to maintain. This hour, we’ll get expert siding advice from This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.
LESLIE: And also ahead, drywall repairs are a constant hassle for homeowners. But if you don’t do them right, you’ll be doing them again and again and again. It’s a vicious cycle, guys. You’ve got to do it right the first time. We’re going to share some tips to take care of common fixes, coming up.
TOM: Plus, we’ve got a great way to help you keep cool during the hot summer days without disturbing your peace and your quiet. We have a review of a new window air conditioner that is actually the quietest on the market.
LESLIE: And speaking of staying cool, one caller we talk to on the air today wins a Cyclone 1000 Evaporative Cooler from Portacool. You can take it anywhere, including your patio and deck.
TOM: It’s a prize worth 389 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random, so give us a call, right now, with your home improvement questions. We are standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Greg in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
GREG: Yes, I have a house that was built in ’42 and stuff and for some reason, somebody put those sticky tiles in the kitchen right over top some nice hardwood floors.
TOM: Ugh. OK.
GREG: And so you know, it’s all original.
GREG: It’s all original and stuff.
TOM: So definitely worth saving.
GREG: How do I get the sticky glue off the wood? I use – a sander just tears the glue on it, tears it up. And I’ve used – I don’t know if I can say the product but I used Goo Gone and it just doesn’t do any good. I didn’t actually (inaudible at 0:02:49).
TOM: What kind of sander are you using on it?
GREG: Well, I had a belt sander that I had and then I used a palm sander. And I used – tried to use a different grit.
TOM: Alright. So, I would stop right there, Greg. I would call in a professional floor-refinishing company and let them do it with their tools. You can sand that stuff off and their sanders are big, 12-inch-wide belt sanders with varying types of grit on it. And I think if you have them come in, they’re going to sand this floor. And I generally don’t recommend belt-sanding because it takes some of the life of the floor. But in your case, when you have adhesive on it, it’s the best way to do it.
LESLIE: It’s the only thing that’s going to work.
TOM: Yeah. But have a pro do it. They’ve got the right tools; you don’t. And it’ll just save you a lot of aggravation. It’s not terribly expensive. You know, if you want to save money, you could even just have them sand it and not finish it and you can finish it yourself. But their finishes – generally, the pro finishes are better than the ones that you can buy over the counter, so to speak.
So I would leave this job to the pro because it requires their specialized tools. And don’t even rent the tools yourself because you’re not going to have the skills to use it and you could ruin the floor using a tool like that.
GREG: And so there’s no chemicals would pull it up without …
TOM: No. I wouldn’t – no, I wouldn’t do that. I’d just have it sanded off. It’ll look so good when it’s done.
TOM: Alright, Greg? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nancy in Massachusetts is dealing with a garage that’s got other plans than closing. What’s going on there?
NANCY: I have a dilemma about what to do about the door. It’s just not closing properly. And sometimes, it doesn’t even want to go up and down, never mind when it comes down it wiggles left to right, left to right until it gets to the bottom.
TOM: This is on a garage-door opener?
NANCY: Oh, oh, yes, yes.
TOM: So when it goes up and down, it shimmies in the opening?
NANCY: Yes. And the closing.
TOM: So, generally, the rollers on the side of the garage door are failing when that occurs. They’re ball-bearing rollers and when they get stuck, then they get sort of hung up on the way down and that’s what makes the door sort of vibrate and puts a lot of resistance on it, too. And that may be the reason it’s not closing all the way or closing evenly.
It sounds like the door is pretty old. And your options are to replace all the hardware and try to realign the door to get it working right or just replace the door and the door opener. If it’s that old and that sort of rickety, I might lean towards just a replacement. The new doors today are actually a lot lighter than the old doors and they work really smoothly.
I just put two on in the garage, I guess, about 8, 9 months ago now and I’m really happy with them. And I used to have really heavy, hardboard doors on this garage and now I have nice, factory-painted, steel doors that look really good, really sharp and just close flawlessly every single time.
NANCY: Well, this is one of those metal doors.
TOM: It is? OK. But it’s an older metal door?
NANCY: Yeah. And I put Boeshield on the tracks to try to get it to roll down properly.
TOM: Yeah. But if the hardware has failed – even if you’re lubricating the tracks, if the hardware has failed, it’s not going to work right.
NANCY: So what would you recommend? A new door or just get somebody over to do the hardware?
TOM: I’d get a new door and a new opener.
NANCY: Yeah, OK. I don’t want to put good money after bad.
TOM: Exactly. I think – who knows if you can find the old hardware to match and everything? I’d just get a new door and a new opener. I think it’d be worth it.
NANCY: OK. Very good advice. I appreciate it very much.
TOM: Thank you, Nancy. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. It is officially summer; at least the calendar is telling us so. So what are you working on? We want to give you a hand keeping your money pit in tip-top summer style. We’re here for your 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are drywall repairs driving you nuts? We’ve got tips to make sure they are one and done. No more making the same fixes over and over again. We’ll tell you how to get it done, when The Money Pit continues after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, we’ve got some cool home improvement advice and an opportunity for you to win a cool product, because we’re giving away the Cyclone 1000 from Portacool. It’s a portable cooling unit that can lower temperatures by as much as 30 degrees using the natural process of evaporation.
LESLIE: Yeah. The Cyclone 1000, it’s perfect for cooling down your garage, your garden area, even your patio or deck. You just plug it in to a standard 110 outlet. And it’s far more effective than a fan and it operates for just pennies an hour. It’s a prize worth 389 bucks.
TOM: Portacool is a 25-year leader in sport cooling where A/C is just not practical. Visit Portacool.com to learn more and call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rosemary in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ROSEMARY: Yes, hi. I’m having a problem with the light bulb for the garage door. The light bulb keeps going out and I understand there’s a special one to use but I haven’t had time to check it out. Have you heard of such a thing?
TOM: Well, sometimes with all the vibrations associated with that operation of that garage-door opener, you can get a lot of vibration. Sometimes that will ruin a standard incandescent bulb. There’s a type of bulb called a “rough-duty bulb.” You may have a hard time finding that in a normal hardware store or home center. I think a better idea is just to get yourself an LED light bulb. I think the LED bulbs are much more durable than incandescents, in addition to being much more cost-effective. And I think that will solve it.
ROSEMARY: Oh, OK. Thank you so much. I’ll try that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Rosemary. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ben in Illinois on the line with a popcorn-ceiling question. How can we help you today?
BEN: I’ve got a, probably, 70s ranch-style home.
TOM: 1970 was a very good year for popcorn.
BEN: Yes, it was. They had this popcorn ceiling all the way in the TV room, uninterrupted, that goes through the kitchen.
BEN: And uninterrupted flow goes all the way down the hallway.
TOM: OK. So what happened? Did you have a leak or something?
BEN: Had some wind damage to some shingles and it came down through the attic. And it stained some of the popcorn ceiling in the TV room. I since put a new roof on but it – yeah, it stained it and some of the popcorn stuff came off.
TOM: So, is the popcorn physically damaged except for losing a few kernels, so to speak?
BEN: Well, there’s still a little bit of staining on the stuff that didn’t fall. But there’s some sections that did.
TOM: You’re going to have to repaint the popcorn ceiling. And it’s kind of a pain-in-the-neck job but it can be done. The key here is this: you want to use a very, very thick roller and one that’s slit. The rollers are about ¾-inch or even an inch thick and they have a slice, kind of, in them every inch or so. And so it uses a lot of paint.
And the key thing is you’re going to want to use a primer first. Don’t just do this with topcoat, because that leak stain will come right through. So you prime the popcorn ceiling first and then you paint it.
Now, if you’re missing a bunch of area of popcorn and you want to touch that up, there are a number of companies that make popcorn-repair products. One of it’s called Homax – H-o-m-a-x. And they have a spray where it’s as easy as using an aerosol spray-can that you basically shoot up there and it will replace the texture. So you can kind of fill in the area where some of that material has come off. And then, since you’re painting, you paint the whole thing over again.
Now, whether you go from end to end in the house is up to you or whether you, you know, just kind of decide where you’re going to stop painting. That’s your call. Maybe there’s a natural place for that, maybe there’s not. But you have to paint it; that’s the only way you’re going to be able to get this to look normal again.
And by the way, one final thing, when you do paint it with the topcoat, make sure you use flat ceiling paint.
BEN: Gotcha. And I guess a two-prong question here, if I still have time. To fill in those spots where the popcorn ceiling came off, how do I avoid this major overlap if I use this aerosol spray that’s supposed to fill in?
TOM: Well, you’re just going to kind of thin it out in the areas where it already exists and then go a little bit heavier. You have some control over it. It’s not going to look like a patch. It will be whiter than everything else but you’re going to paint this whole thing, anyway, when you’re done. So, what we want to do is really just replace the texture and then you’re going to paint everything. And so it’ll all blend in nicely when it’s done.
BEN: OK. And I would plan on doing a transition: maybe a fancy wood deal that goes over to block that TV room ceiling off from where it goes into the kitchen. And I could connect it to the kitchen counters that extend out a little bit. That way I wouldn’t have to do the non-damaged sections and repaint them, as well.
TOM: Why don’t you do that after you paint the section that’s damaged and see how you like it? Because you’re going to – you’ll be surprised with how dirty and dingy that ceiling has gotten when it has some new paint against it. It’s going to look pretty fresh and clean and might inspire you to do the whole thing.
BEN: And that just might. That’s a very good point. I appreciate that very much, Tom.
TOM: Three most expensive words in home improvement, my friend: might as well.
BEN: You got it right, brother. OK. Well, you got me motivated.
TOM: Sounds good. Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, drywall repairs, or as we more commonly refer to this as sheetrock repairs, they’re some of the most common home maintenance projects that homeowners have to take on. But, if you don’t do them right, you’ll be doing them again and again and again, what you need to know in this week’s Pro Tip, presented by Grayne Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group.
LESLIE: Yeah. The three most common types of drywall repairs that are needed are going to be nail pops, holes and cracks.
Now, nail pops are the result from a nail that has loosened and started backing its way out of the drywall. So you simply tap it in and drive a new nail next to it. You just want to make sure that you cover the head of the old nail with the new one. Then you spackle that area, smooth it and allow it to dry well, then sand and touch up the area.
You can also use drywall screws instead of nails. This way, there’s absolutely zero chance they’re going to find their way back out.
TOM: Now, the best way for a homeowner to fix a wall or a ceiling crack is to use a strong, perforated drywall tape. Now, this is the kind of tape that’s got sort of large squares and looks almost like netting. You apply this first to kind of bridge the gap in the crack, then you want to smooth a moderate amount of spackle or mud over the wall or the ceiling. And once the area is dry, it can be sanded and then repainted. But keep in mind you need to use about three coats of spackle. You don’t want to do it all in one because it may not dry and it certainly will look very lumpy.
LESLIE: Now, if you’ve got holes in the wall, which it happens from time to time in everybody’s house, no kit needed. Just a scrap of drywall, a leftover piece of window screening, some joint compound and a few tools are really all it’s going to take.
Now, our favorite patching method includes a great tip: you want to cut the hole to fit the patch, not the other way around. Even if it means that you’re making the hole in your wall like a little bit bigger, don’t be freaked out because it’s going to work out better for you.
Now, this method really tends to be foolproof. Now, when you’re working with the joint compound, remember it’s like an art. You have to apply thin coats and don’t fuss with it. After two or three strokes, just leave it alone until it’s dry. You want to sand it and then paint it and you’re as good as new.
TOM: And that’s today’s Pro Tip, presented by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. The uncompromising beauty of Grayne’s 5-inch shingle siding offers the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com – that’s G-r-a-y-n-e.com – or ask your pro today.
LESLIE: Judy in Virginia, you’ve got a painting question. How can we help you with that project?
JUDY: We are trying to put an epoxy on our basement floor, like we did on our garage floor. And we are having a very serious problem with this basement-floor project, because we went through all the process of putting down the pre-treatment that would get rid of any oils or solutions on the floor. That bubbled up the way it was supposed to. Then we went in and we put down the epoxy as we were supposed to and it came right back up. It turned to a brown powder and then just came up.
And so, we got all that off and then we went back in and put down a sealer and then came back with the epoxy again. And it’s doing the same exact thing. We had no problem with our garage floor and it’s a garage floor that was put down several years after the basement was done. And we were told that – from some people who know the history of the house – that the basement – or that the house was built in the winter months, back in the mid-80s and that they likely used calcium chloride to help the cement set up. And that it could be having an effect on this epoxy.
We’re using a very good-quality – a name brand. It’s not a box-store quality; it’s a quality, quality product that we’re using.
TOM: OK. Have you turned to the manufacturer to ask the question as to what might be going on?
JUDY: Well, we have asked and the calcium chloride did come up as a possibility. But they don’t really know what to do about that.
TOM: So, you did talk directly to the manufacturer, not the retailer, about this.
JUDY: The retailer actually talked with the manufacturer about it.
TOM: I would go right to the manufacturer and speak with them directly about this. I don’t like going through the middle man because – not that I don’t trust the retailer to do this. You can never be sure if they’re actually talking to the right guy. And they could be talking to – you see, they could be talking to a field rep who thinks he knows the answer and maybe he doesn’t.
I mean obviously something – the first thing that came to mind was moisture. Did the floor – was the floor thoroughly dried before you started this whole process?
JUDY: Yes, it was. We made certain it was very dry in there and used big box fans after we had scrubbed the floor real thoroughly. The big box fans were used and the doors were opened to let the air circulate through. And it was very dry.
TOM: Both times, the paint that you put down, was it from the same batch?
JUDY: No, different batches.
TOM: I’ve never heard of an epoxy floor not adhering, so this is an unusual situation. And it’s one that I would turn to the technical experts at the manufacturer. As you mentioned, it’s a major brand. They have folks – chemists – that basically are standing by to take questions like this; most of them do.
If you have difficulty identifying the right people to talk to, if you e-mail us to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details, perhaps some photographs and the name of the manufacturer, I am certain that we could quickly get through to the right person for you. There’s a chemical reaction going on here that’s causing this issue and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.
JUDY: Will do. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s an unusual situation and there’s got to be a reaction going on between that floor.
LESLIE: Yeah. I’ve heard of instances where a previous homeowner maybe put like a water-based sealant or a water sealant on a concrete.
TOM: Or a silicone.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you don’t see it.
TOM: I was thinking about a silicone sealer. Yeah, yeah. If they put a silicone sealer down on the concrete, that could impact it, as well.
LESLIE: Right. And then you might not know it’s there.
TOM: But that’s what the pre-treatment is supposed to deal with. You know, the idea of using the acid-etch products that all the epoxy floors come with – the epoxy, they come with an acid etch and it sounds like that’s what Judy did. So, let’s hope she can get to the bottom of it.
LESLIE: Hey, are you thinking about sprucing up your home’s siding this year? We’re going to have some tips to help you choose what’s best for you, from Tom Silva of This Old House, coming up.
TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Stanley FatMax Tape Rule, the efficient tape with a versatile, interchangeable hook and 13 feet of standout.
MARILU: Hi, this is Marilu Henner and you’re listening to The Money Pit. I love these guys. Can I move in?
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the smart solution for all your electrical needs. Learn how to help improve your home’s electrical safety at GetSafeToday.com. And be sure to enter their June Safety Products Giveaway. That’s GetSafeToday.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.
TOM: And now on MoneyPit.com, the 2016 color trends revealed. Find out what colors are making the hit list for next year, now. It’s on the homepage at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Hi, Fred. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FRED: I have a standard toilet. House was built in ’29, so it’s, what, 80 years old? It’s the type where the tank hangs on the wall and then you have an L and then you have, I guess – what do you call that? The bowl?
And it started to leak and so the old metal was pretty corroded and everything. So we took everything out. We took the tank off that wall, we – I say we, that I, the plumber who I’ve been using for many years – cleaned everything up. Went to the hardware store that handles these kind of fittings and we just cannot get this thing to work. It leaks …
TOM: Where does it leak? Does it leak at the – where at – the base of the tank where the pipe connects?
FRED: In both, yeah. Well, one time we did it, it leaked at the bottom of the tank. The other time, it leaked when it went into the bowl.
TOM: What kind of a washer are you using? Or what kind of a gasket or seal are you using in those two places?
FRED: Well, I don’t know the technical names of it. The guy at the – they look like the same stuff we took off. I’m a musician; I don’t know all these things.
TOM: Well, this shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish and it sounds like whatever they’re using in that gasket space right there is not working. And look, if all else fails, you can simply use silicone here. You could apply the silicone in – as you put this together, you could – you seal all of those joints with silicone, let it dry. Try not to touch it until it dries. And then you can take a razor blade and cut off the excess, nice and neat, and essentially make your own gasket.
FRED: Yeah, the plumber mentioned something. He said the only thing is if that thing fails and I’m not home, I’m going to have a house full of water.
TOM: That’s true. But the thing is, if it – once it works, it usually works continuously. It’s not – it doesn’t usually fail. If you get it right, it’s not going to fail, OK?
FRED: Yes. So, in other words, unless I can see some chips or damage on the porcelain or something like that, which I don’t see, it should work.
TOM: But I would take it apart and I would seal, with silicone, each connection as it goes together so that you end up with a good compression of silicone around that. That’s the solution, OK?
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: If you’re planning a siding project, deciding which siding to use is really important and one that you will have to live with for a long, long time.
TOM: That’s right. The siding you choose for your home’s exterior not only determines the look, it sets the stage for a maintenance plan for years to come. Here to tell us more about siding options is This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.
TOM SILVA: Thanks, Tom. Nice to be here.
TOM: You know, generally speaking, the more organic the siding, the higher the maintenance. But all siding has pros and cons, right?
TOM SILVA: It sure does. You’ve got to think – what are you going to have to do to maintain that siding?
TOM SILVA: Let’s take a cement-fiber siding, for example. There’s a couple of them out there: CertainTeed, HardiePlank.
TOM SILVA: It’s a siding that goes up relatively easily. It is heavy, so that is a con, and it snaps and it can be dusty if you cut it. I like the material. It’s practically indestructible, it holds paint very well and it looks like wood once it’s up.
TOM: And it’s available primed so you can skip that step, as well.
TOM SILVA: You can also get it in a color if you want to choose a color and then you don’t have to worry about painting it for quite a while.
TOM: Wow. That’s terrific. Now, what about wood clapboard? If you’re not going to go with the organics, you want to stick with the traditional?
TOM SILVA: Yeah. You want to stick with the wood clapboards. We use a lot of wood clapboards. So you want to either get them primed on all six sides. If you do a cut on the end or anything like that, you always want to make sure you prime that. I like to lift it off of the sheathing just a little bit, to create a little bit of air behind it. And again, it’s going to have to be painted every now and then.
TOM: Now, does that change if you use cedar clapboard? I’ve seen products like Cedar Breather and that sort of thing, which put a lot of space behind it.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. It’s a little plastic matrix that sits on the wall.
TOM SILVA: Think of it like a miniature chain-link fence that’s plastic.
TOM: Yeah. Like a mesh almost.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. And that’s – it’s called – Home Slicker is one that goes on the side wall. And that just lifts it right off a little bit and you get a lot of air just moving behind it. And it actually helps your paint last longer.
TOM: Now, there’s composite products out there that are not wood, they’re not cement fiber, they’re not vinyl, they’re a little bit of everything. Any thoughts on those?
TOM SILVA: I’m not a real fan of those. I mean I guess I’m kind of a traditionalist. I do like wood and I do like the cementitious materials.
TOM: Now what about vinyl? You can’t have your wood; we’re going to take that away from you right now. Would you put vinyl on a house?
TOM SILVA: Well, I live in a house that was built in the mid-1800s and I got tired of painting it for the first 10 years when I lived in it. So I said to my wife, “I’m not a big fan of vinyl but I’m going to put it on my house.” And it was on there for over 20 years and I have to say, I didn’t have any maintenance. So I guess I could say vinyl was final in that …
TOM: Yeah, there you go. No paint.
TOM SILVA: I did take it off about 10 years ago and put on my cementitious siding.
TOM: Alright. So let’s talk about some of the masonry products, like stucco, stone veneer, brick veneer. That really comes down to the install on that to make sure that it’s on once and on right, doesn’t have to be done again.
TOM SILVA: It has to be done right. You’ve got to make sure it’s fastened to the wall correctly. You have to make sure that there is a water barrier behind it or some kind of a drain tile behind it, because it can be porous. And you want to make sure you have an exit route for that – any kind of moisture that does collect behind it.
TOM: With all these products, it is all about managing the moisture, correct?
TOM SILVA: It’s the name of the game. That’s how you protect your house. Keep the water out.
TOM: And speaking of which, are certain areas of the country better suited for certain types of siding?
TOM SILVA: I would say yes. I mean when I – we build a lot of houses by the ocean and we have to think about the rain coming sideways, so we want to make sure that we have a siding that can be really tight and withstand the high winds. So, that’s why we use a lot of wood – heavy wood. And we also use a lot of cementitious siding in that situation. It won’t blow off.
TOM: Good advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: Nice to be here.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House andAsk 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 GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.
Still to come, we’ve got a review of a new window air conditioner that is super-efficient and the quietest ever invented, when The Money Pit continues after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
You know when you step out of the pool on a hot summer day and you kind of instantly cool off? Well, that’s called “evaporative cooling” and it’s the idea behind our giveaway today.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller who gets on the air with us is going to win the new Cyclone 1000 from Portacool. It’s a portable cooling unit that’s going to lower temperatures by as much as 30 degrees using the natural process of evaporation.
TOM: The Cyclone 1000 is perfect for cooling down the garage, garden area, patio or deck. Just plug it into a standard outlet and it cools for just pennies an hour. It’s a prize worth 389 bucks. It’s going to go out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us on today’s show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going over to Alaska where Mary has a question about siding. How can we help you today?
MARY: We recently sided our house with concrete siding. It’s 25 years old and underneath is plywood and then Tyvek. We used 4×8 or 4×12 panels that are prepainted but I can’t remember if they’re 4×8 or 4×12. And they’re attached to the plywood walls and they’re attached vertically. On that, we attached 2-inch batten, which was also prepainted at the factory. And those 2-inch battens run vertical on 8-inch centers.
MARY: My first question is: do I need to caulk where the batten attaches to the panels? And secondly, do I need to caulk the nail holes on the batten?
TOM: Well, you wouldn’t caulk where the batten attaches to the panels. You might use an adhesive in that area if that’s recommended by the siding manufacturer.
In terms of the nail holes, generally, you don’t have to caulk nail holes. You know, as long as you’re not smashing the nails and breaking the siding, they’re usually tight enough around them where you do not have to caulk each individual nail head.
MARY: The nail holes have broken through the painted surface.
TOM: So, if they broke through the painted surface, it’s not a bad idea to touch them up with a little bit of caulk. But I wouldn’t be too concerned about it.
MARY: OK. And then you think that it needed to be caulked or adhered to behind the batten before it was attached?
TOM: Well, no. What I said was I don’t think you need to caulk it, because there’s really no seal between the siding and the batten or the strip of wood. What you might need to do there is – or an option might be to use an adhesive, like a construction adhesive, to help adhere the siding pieces to the batten. But I wouldn’t do that unless it was recommended by the manufacturer of the siding. They’re going to have specifications for how to install the siding. And if it tells you to use an adhesive, use it; if not, you just fasten it with the nails.
MARY: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: So, Leslie, I know this has probably happened to you. Have you ever found yourself trying to have a conversation in a room that’s got a very loud banging and clanging window A/C unit running?
LESLIE: What? What? It’s too loud.
TOM: Well, we have a brand-new partner in our program called Haier and they’ve eliminated the “can you hear me now?” conversation. They’ve got a unit called the Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner. And it offers world-class cooling and produces dramatically less noise than the average air conditioner. In fact, it’s barely louder than a gentle rain.
LESLIE: And that is super-peaceful, so thank goodness for that. And it’s also ENERGY STAR-qualified and it uses about 15 percent less energy than conventional models, which could mean a savings of about $85 over the lifetime of the unit on average. Now, it comes with a very convenient LCD remote control, which also shows the settings in the palm of your hand. So you can turn the A/C up or down right from your bed. How does that sound?
TOM: The Haier Serenity Series A/Cs range from 299-399 each, depending on the BTUs. And they’re available at Lowe’s, Amazon and other fine retailers. Learn more at HaierSerenitySeries.com. That’s Haier – H-a-i-e-r – SerenitySeries.com.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Esther on the line from South Dakota with a gutter question. How can we help you today?
ESTHER: Well, we need to replace our rain gutters but our shingles on our dearly beloved old house are Portland cement shingles. And the first three people that are the first – the companies that I’ve talked to about replacing rain gutters, they tell me how simple it is to just lift up the asphalt shingles and put the strapping in underneath it and fasten it. And I think, “OK. Asphalt is flexible but I think the cement singles might crack.” So how do I find someone who knows how about preserving the shingles and putting up new rain gutters?
TOM: Well, I think there are a number of ways to install gutters. You can put straps that go up under the asphalt shingles but they can also be attached directly. So what you’re going to want to do is attach those gutters directly to the fascia. And instead of using nails, you’re going to want to use gutter screws. They’re very long lag bolts – lightweight, thin lag bolts. Usually have a hex head on them.
And the nice thing about these gutter bolts, so to speak, is that once you put them in, they don’t pull out. Sometimes the nails – the gutter spikes that they use – will pull out. But these gutter screws will not pull out. So you just need to use a different fastening system. And have you had – physically had somebody at the house that saw this configuration? Or are they just sort of telling you this on the phone?
ESTHER: No. We had just moved to the area and I was just going down the Yellow Pages trying to get a …
TOM: Well, once they get to your house, they’re going to figure out the best ways to attach the gutter. But rest assured, there’s a number of ways to do this. And no, you don’t have to take your shingles apart.
And by the way, as long as those shingles – those roof shingles – look good, then there’s no reason to replace them. The cementitious roof shingles are very durable. The reason that most people replace them is they tend to grow a lot of algae and moss and they can look nasty after a while. But if they’re still looking decent and they’re – it’s not leaking, then you’re good to go.
ESTHER: Yep. We’re good and there’s a whole pile of – or a little pallet, probably 200 or 300 of them down in the basement. So if we have another hailstorm, we should have some shingles, yeah.
TOM: Oh, boy. So you are good to go. Alright, Esther. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up, questions from The Money Pit’s online community. You can check it out, right now, at MoneyPit.com/Community.
TOM: And this week, we’re going to help Steven with his water-temperature problems and find out why the hot water works fine for most of the house but not all the faucets. We’ll have the answer, after this.
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TOM: Where home solutions live, you are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, guys, summer can be the most dangerous time of year for kids, so take a look at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got summer safety tips that will keep kids safe at the pool and the playground, right online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a post here from Steven who writes: “I own a two-story house with hot water that consistently runs out of just two faucets while the rest seem fine. Any suggestions?”
TOM: Well, the fact that you have several faucets working fine and only two that don’t work, we can eliminate the problem – any problems with a water heater or a water pump. Because if those appliances were defective, all the faucets would not be delivering hot water. So the problem therefore, Steve, has got to be in the valves or the faucets themselves.
Now, if the valve isn’t fully open, it’s possible that when it heats up, it could expand and interrupt the mix of hot and cold water. And the same could happen internally for the faucets. So I would concentrate your trial-and-error search on the plumbing system and not so much the water heater or the pump itself. And you will find the solution right there.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Abby who writes: “I’m a novice when it comes to home improvement DIY work and I’m interested in repairing some sun damage I see on my front door. On multiple websites, including The Money Pit, it’s recommended to sand the door down, then apply marine varnish. Can you give me more information on how to sand and prep the door to get it ready?”
TOM: You know, refinishing a front door is really a fun, DIY project. It’s perfect for sort of a warm weekend, because that’s really all the time you need to allow all the coats to dry properly. So I would time the project so that the door is dry at the end of the day and it can be reinstalled overnight and then taken off again in the morning to finish it.
It’s certainly easier to work on the door when it’s off the hinges and horizontal than upright. Gravity being what it is, you tend to get more runs when you work on it when it’s upright. And if you take it off the hinges, it’s just easier to handle. Just lay it across some sawhorses and it’ll let you do a much better job. It’s also going to be a lot easier on your back as you’re sanding.
Now, in terms of the sanding, you can sand it by hand, though it’s a lot easier if you happen to have a vibrating sander. And if you do opt for hand-sanding and your door features details like raised panels, then what you might want to use is one of these 3M sanding sponges, which are really easy to handle. And they sort of compress and get into those nooks and crannies that are really hard to reach.
And about the varnish, if it’s a wood door you’re staining, you might have to touch it up with stain after sanding it, especially if you take it down to raw wood. So keep that in mind.
The reason we recommend marine varnish is simply this: it’s got a very high degree of UV protection, which is going to slow sun damage to the door. Because once you do this project, you don’t want to do it again anytime soon.
LESLIE: Yeah. Abby, another benefit of taking the door down and sort of laying it on top of some sawhorses is that it allows you to remove all of the hardware. Because you’ll find once you start sanding and then when you’re putting the varnish on or whatever finish you’re doing, that it’s really kind of difficult to get around all of the hardware and keep things nice and neat. So that lets you do that and really work with it sort of smoothly and nicely.
TOM: And remember, those sawhorses will not be harmed by the process. We’re advocates of taking good care of all your animals, including your sawhorses. And they will be happy to help you with that work without any damage whatsoever.
LESLIE: That’s great advice, Tom.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show always on air and online at MoneyPit.com, where the show continues. Hey, we hope that we’ve given you some tips, advice, ideas, inspiration to tackle a project around your money pit.
If you’ve got questions, you can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or please, post your question to the Community section or the Facebook page, right on 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.
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(Copyright 2015 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)