3 Ways to Extend the Outdoor Living into Fall

  • CMAC Project – McCune Outdoor Living
  • Transcript

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we’re here to help you take on your home improvement projects, your remodeling jobs, your décor dilemmas. Whatever is on your to-do list, we’d love for you to switch it over to us, right now, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a busy show planned for you. Coming up this hour, just because it’s starting to cool off and get dark a bit earlier, well, that doesn’t mean you have to cut back on outdoor entertaining. We’re going to have some advice on three ways you can extend the use of your outdoor space.

    LESLIE: And stainless steel is a popular choice for kitchen sinks. But not all stainless steel is created equal. We’re going to tell you what you need to consider before buying your next kitchen sink.

    TOM: And it’s hard to believe but it’s almost time to close your pool for the season, that is if you’re lucky enough to have one. We’re going to have some tips to avoid high repair bills next summer, by teaching you how to winterize it the right way today.

    LESLIE: But first, we want to hear what you are working on. Getting ready for back to school? Maybe your kids are already back and you’re working on some rooms in the home? Getting ready for the winter season? Well, whatever it is, we’re here to lend a hand, so give us a call.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Hey, Bill, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    BILL: Trying to hang a projector screen in my basement. It’s a finished basement and there’s a beam going across an opening here that, after drilling into the drywall, found out that it’s – well, there must be steel or iron of some sort and …

    TOM: Not a good surprise.

    BILL: Yeah.

    TOM: OK. So you’re kind of wondering how you can attach this. So this projector that you want to hang, I guess it’s got some weight to it?

    BILL: Sorry, it’s a projector screen. So I need to be able to pull it up and down.

    TOM: Well, the drywall is going to be maybe attached to something aside from that one steel beam. That beam’s probably used to support the ceiling joists or the floor joists for the floor above. But what’s holding the drywall up? It can’t be all on steel.

    BILL: Yeah, I’m not sure. Since it’s in a finished space there, I’m not able to climb underneath it.

    TOM: Well, this may be a case where you have to do some investigative surgery there by removing a piece of drywall, because I think it’s unusual that you have a beam, you know – I mean it’s certainly not unusual to have a beam but having a beam that’s taking up that whole space would be unusual. We need to figure out another way to get this thing attached.

    I guess what I would probably recommend you do is if you are going to attach it to the steel beam, I would drill through that beam and attach a wood block to it. And then attach the screen to the blocks so it’s easier for you to work with the existing fasteners and hardware that come with it. As long as you have a secure connection there, then it should work. It doesn’t seem to me like just a screen that would pull down is going to take all that much support. But certainly, it can’t be just in the drywall.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: But you need to figure out what else is behind there aside from the drywall.

    How old is your house, by the way? I’m curious.

    BILL: Let’s see. The house was built in the mid-50s. I’m not sure when the basement was finished. Probably sometime in the late 90s.

    TOM: Yeah, that – mid-50s is a very good age for a house. I bet you have a lot of lumber in that house that you have to be discovered. You’ve just got to figure out how it’s being run so that you can get into some of the beams there.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: A good-quality stud finder can help you detect all that.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: Tell you another trick, too: if you hold your flashlight – a really strong flashlight – parallel with the ceiling, almost right on it, you’re going to see almost every nail fastener or every screw fastener that’s going through that drywall into a joist above it. And you’ll know exactly how it’s run.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: It’s not going to be obvious when you look for – when you just look up with your eyes. But if you get up there with a ladder, hold that flashlight so the light goes right across the bottom surface of that beam, parallel to it – that ceiling – you’re going to see exactly where all the fasteners are and right on the fasteners is the wood.

    BILL: OK. I suppose if I can see the joists, I could probably put some screws into the joists instead if that …

    TOM: Exactly. Yep, exactly. Correct.

    And once you find the first one, remember the next one is going to be either 16 or 24 inches apart.

    BILL: OK, great.

    TOM: Alright? Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Charlotte in North Carolina on the line who has got a popcorn ceiling that doesn’t have butter on it.

    Charlotte, tell us what’s going on.

    CHARLOTTE: Well, what happens now – we have a brown stain on the ceiling from the leak but we’ve had the leak repaired, of course. And it’s a popcorn ceiling. I’ve always hated this popcorn ceiling; I’m not opposed to getting rid of it. But I’m just wondering, what’s the best way to make the repair here? Because I’m afraid if we just take off the section where the stain is, it’s not going to match anymore and it’ll – you can – it’ll be like a repaired look. What would be your suggestion?

    LESLIE: Now, is it truly a popcorn ceiling? Like when you reach up, you sort of end up with remnants of it? Or is it like a textured stucco ceiling?

    CHARLOTTE: Whatever that drywall is that they kind of make and they spray on the ceiling.

    TOM: Yeah. So, here’s the thing. You’ve had the roof leak. The roof leak is now repaired?


    TOM: Has it physically damaged the ceiling or is it just the stains you’re concerned about?

    CHARLOTTE: It mostly looks like the stains. To me, it looks like there might be one small section that might have a little bit of a bulge in it.

    TOM: Alright. Well, let’s ignore that for the moment. What I would suggest you do is to use a good-quality primer and repaint that ceiling.

    Now, if it’s just a very limited area, you could prime just the stain and leave the rest. If it’s a bigger area, you’ve got to prime the whole ceiling. But if you use a good-quality primer there, like a KILZ or a B-I-N or something like that, then that should seal in the stain and you could put paint on top of that. You will have to paint the whole ceiling if it’s not been done recently. But if you seal it with a primer and then paint it, that will make the ceiling stain disappear and preserve the popcorn.

    Removing the popcorn, at this point, is just a whole lot of work but it sounds like it’s really not necessary for you to do, unless you just don’t like the look of it.

    CHARLOTTE: Thank you very much. That’ll help a lot. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Phil in Mississippi who has a lumber question. What can we do for you?

    PHIL: Hey. I recently – an opportunity to acquire about 500 treated 4x4x8 timbers.


    PHIL: And I’m fixing to start a new-home construction in about the next 30 days. And the only way I figure I’m ever going to be made of money is out of my sweat equity. So I was going to saw these in half and turn them into the 2x4s that I would use to – for my studs for my walls. But I was not sure if anything in those treated 4×4 timbers would leach out into the house over the years and cause any kind of harm due to the chemicals.

    TOM: Interesting question. Not that I can think of, because we do use treated lumber for sill plates all the time and I’ve never heard an issue related to that. But boy, it’s going to be a lot of work for you to saw those 4x4s down to 2x4s, because …

    LESLIE: Tom, any concern about the integrity of the lumber? Is there – because posts – well, traditional studs are kiln-dried and these are more wet from the chemicals that are used?

    TOM: Yeah. You may have a lot more movement inside the walls, that’s true. So you could get a lot more twisting as a result of this. I mean 4x4s are typically very wet and even if they look dry on the outside, once you cut them they could, basically, twist like a pretzel. So you may find that you frame walls with them and then you find out that the walls have all kinds of bows when it’s way too late to fix them.

    So, listen, the cost of 2x4s as part of the entire home construction budget is fairly minimal. So I would really think twice about whether or not it makes sense to do this. You might just want to hold onto them, use them for a retaining wall, use them for landscaping projects, that sort of thing. I don’t think, if it was me, I would consider this a good use.

    PHIL: OK. Well, that’s exactly what I needed, because I had not even thought about them not being kiln-dry. I just assumed they were just like 2x4s, so that’s a good point.

    LESLIE: No, they’re so wet.

    TOM: Yeah, they twist like crazy. I’ve seen them twist 90 degrees sometimes; it’s really nuts.

    PHIL: Oh, wow. OK. Well, guys, I do appreciate it. You might have just saved me a major headache 20 years from now.

    TOM: Alright. Well, we’re so happy we could. 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. Give us a call with your how-to, décor, even your remodeling questions to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.

    TOM: And just ahead, with just three projects, you could extend the use of your outdoor spaces well into fall. We’ll have those summer-saving projects, after this.

    Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home service pros and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: So, Leslie, this summer you tackled your outdoor-living space. And did I hear you just put some lights in? How did that go?

    LESLIE: I did. It actually came out really great. And this time, I went with some of those LEDs – I guess you would call them a “café light” where you have the exposed filament in the bulb, except these are dimmable and a very incandescent feel, with the durability of the LED bulbs.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: They look great. I put in some solar-powered lights. I sort of opted for some really easy do-it-yourself stuff out there when it came to the lighting. And we’re just loving that space. I mean it’s amazing how not that big of a change in the landscaping, an addition of a stone wall with a big planter – and my yard is very small. I don’t want anybody to think I’m sitting on a big piece of property. My whole property lot is 40×100 and I think my yard works out to be 25×20. It’s little.

    And I made it feel like it’s so much bigger. And it’s great to see the kids running around. So it’s so fun when you creatively think about how to use this space and it succeeds.

    TOM: I think about that a lot when I lie in my hammock that I installed. I’m like, “Yeah, this is working out pretty well.”

    888-666-3974. What projects are you tackling? Or maybe you just got one done and you want to tell us all about it, 888-666-3974.

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

    LAURIE: I am trying to put a freestanding deck in my backyard. And my backyard has blackberry bushes in it, so I have to get rid of the blackberry bushes first.

    TOM: Right.

    LAURIE: And I don’t want them to, you know, grow back up through the deck.

    TOM: OK.

    LAURIE: So how could I do that?

    TOM: Well, they’re probably not going to grow through the deck, because the deck is going to block all sunlight to it. That said, as you prep the soil, what you’re going to want to do is – obviously, you have to build footings for this, right? So you build the footings and then you take off whatever the top surface is there, if there’s grass, whatever. And then you lay down weed block – which is sort of this black, burlap-y kind of fabric. And you lay that down underneath the deck and then you can go ahead and frame over that.

    What you might end up doing is do the framing and then kind of lay the fabric down at the very last minute because, frankly, it’s kind of hard to walk on it while you’re framing this deck. So you might end up even putting the floor joists down, then lay the fabric under it, then finish it off. And that’ll help slow down anything that wants to come up right away.

    But I think that once this deck is built, it’s going to be so dark under there that you’re not going to have problems with the blackberry bushes coming up through the deck. It certainly would come around it but not through it.

    LAURIE: OK. Alright. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Ken on the line who’s got a question regarding the countertops at the home. What’s going on?

    KEN: Well, I have a quartz countertop that we had installed professionally, probably, 12 years ago. But one of the seams has broken loose and I’m trying to figure out how to get that seam sealed again or get it glued back together again. Is there a way I can do that?

    TOM: So you have some movement on these slabs, so to speak, that is causing the seam to open up? Maybe some expansion and contraction?

    KEN: It’s over the dishwasher. And we – I put too much pressure on it and it broke the seam loose. So, I put some weight on it.

    TOM: OK.

    KEN: So I’m just trying to get it sealed – glued back together again.

    TOM: So, it’s kind of a tough job to do yourself, because you’re not going to have access to the materials that installers are going to use. But they probably used an epoxy-like seal when they first put it together. Right now, I would think all you want to do is stop moisture from getting in there so that you don’t get mold growth and that sort of thing.

    But if you want to actually repair it, I’m afraid you probably are going to have to go back to a pro. And as you’ve discovered, there’s really two issues: there’s whatever structurally allowed it to bend like that, even with the pressure on it. You want to make sure that gets beefed up; otherwise, it’s going to happen again. And then, of course, you’ve got to get the seam resealed.

    So, those are the steps that are involved. But I don’t feel like they’re DIY projects, because I don’t think you’re going to have the tools and materials you need to get it done. It’s kind of specialized doing that granite-countertop work.

    KEN: Oh, OK. Well, I noticed underneath there is no support. It’s a seam that’s out in an open area. So, that was one thing that really bothered me, because it’s dropped down a little bit.

    TOM: That’s part of the issue. So that really should be beefed up. It might be that you’re going to have to pull your dishwasher out in order to sort of stiffen up the underside there with framing, so it supports those countertops. Because man, they are super heavy, as you know.

    KEN: Yes.

    TOM: And that, plus a little pressure on top, is probably all you needed to break it loose.

    KEN: Alright. Appreciate that. Thank you.

    TOM: Alright, Ken. You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, the days may be getting a bit cooler soon and shorter as we move in towards the fall season. But taking on just three projects now – and you don’t have to put an end to all of that outdoor entertaining.

    TOM: That’s right.

    And first, just like the landscape wedding we just talked about, think about adding exterior lighting, especially lighting on timers so it only is on when you need it to be. And you can also think about picking up some solar-powered lights if you want a really inexpensive way to have some décor, say, along a walkway.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Another great thing that you can add to your space, that will certainly extend the life of that spot, is a fire pit, a fireplace, a patio heater. All of these things are readily available these days. And if you want to build one yourself, it’s a very easy do-it-yourself project.

    Not only do they create a really cozy and warm space, they also add a great ambiance to entertaining. I’m looking for a gas-powered sort of fire pit/coffee table. I’m not finding one in the style that I really like but I can’t wait to get out there in September and sit on the couch and use the fire pit. It’s so great.

    TOM: And finally, if you’ve got a pool, a pool cover is all it takes to harness that daytime sunlight so it stays warmer after Labor Day.

    If you take just these three steps, you can definitely enjoy your backyard retreat even after the first frost.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. We’d love to hear about your next home improvement project.

    LESLIE: Joanne in Alaska is on the line with an electric-heating question. What can we do for you today?

    JOANNE: Well, I have purchased a money pit next door to my home and it’s a five-unit complex that was built around 1901.

    TOM: OK.

    JOANNE: And it has this heating system – I’m from New Orleans, originally, so knowing about heating systems is not my forte.

    TOM: Yeah, well, now that you live in Alaska, you’d better learn quick, huh?

    JOANNE: I’m working on it. But the house I lived in had oil heat; this is a wall-mounted – it’s about 4 feet by 20 or 24 inches.

    TOM: Right.

    JOANNE: The surface of it looks like warming trays that you use – a buffet, you know? It’s like a (inaudible) thing and is this still made? I have one glass that’s broken. They do have wall-mounted thermostats. What is the efficiency of this kind of heat? Is it ridiculous or …?

    TOM: It’s not. It is ridiculous. I mean it’s – first of all, it’s electric heat, so – it’s electric-resistance heat. They’re just using the glass as the heat exchanger, so to speak. And I’ve seen these before and they sort of hang off walls and the air is supposed to pass through behind them and sort of create this convective loop.

    JOANNE: Right.

    TOM: And will they work? Yeah, they work but they’re very expensive. Are there any other heating options for you there?

    JOANNE: Well, electric is my only option in these units. They’re all electric, so is there a more efficient electric type of heat?

    TOM: Well, a heat pump – electric heat pump – would be the most efficient but I think in Alaska, I’d probably rule that out. The climate is just too raw for that. So, no, I guess you’re going to be stuck with resistance heat.

    Now, if they’re broken – you mentioned that one was broken?

    JOANNE: Yeah, the glass on one of them is broken.

    TOM: Well, if the glass is broken, I guess it’s potentially unsafe. Depends on how the heating coil is distributed inside that glass. If you did have to replace them, you can buy new glass wall-panel heaters. And actually, some of them can look kind of stylish. Some of the new ones look almost like a flat-screen TV; they’re black and sort of modern-looking.

    JOANNE: Is that better than the baseboard heat? I see a lot of people here use these baseboard heaters.

    TOM: Yeah, they’re all electric heat, yeah. The only advantage is that you’re able to control the heat of each individual room separately that way, so you have a bit more control. But it will be expensive to run.

    JOANNE: Mm-hmm. OK. So the best alternative would be to put in oil or something to bring a different kind of heat in.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. If the fuel was available, you would be almost always better off with oil, propane or gas than electric.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    Remember, you can call us anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your home repair or your home improvement question. We’re here to lend a hand at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Just ahead, stainless steel is an always popular choice for your kitchen sink. But not all stainless is created equal, so we’re going to explain what the difference is when The Money Pit continues.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire that pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mike on the line who has a question about insulation. How can we help you?

    MIKE: Yes. I have a wall on the west side of my house. It gets pretty warm. I live here in Arizona, so I get – it does get over 118 sometimes. But is there – and it’s a block home. Is there a way that I can insulate that so that it doesn’t quite get in as much heat as it does?

    TOM: Well, insulating the wall will be difficult because you can’t get to the interior of it. If you could, I would tell you to use a spray-foam insulation and fill up the interior cores. But that’s difficult to do since the home is completely built.

    Is it at all possible for you to add an awning to that side or create some sort of shade that would block off some of the sun?

    MIKE: It’s possible, yes.

    TOM: See, something along those lines would be less expensive, even though it might be a bigger thing for you to look at than some insulation. But if you were to deflect some of that sun – and I know that they have awnings, in your part of the country, that have reflective surfaces that are cooler underneath. That would probably make a big difference in the heat that you’re dealing with. Because I guess what you’re saying is that the wall gets super warm and then you’re basically paying more air conditioning to bring it down, in terms of the temperature.

    MIKE: Correct.

    TOM: Yeah. And the other thing that you could do on the inside of it – you could always insulate the inside of it with a foam insulation. You could use an isocyanurate board, for example, or the blue Dow STYRO types of board that interlocks. And use that as a wall covering and then put drywall on top of that. So that’s another thing that you can do.

    But I think if you were to block some of that sunlight with an awning, for example, or some landscaping, I think that that would probably be the least expensive way to achieve what you’re trying to do here.

    MIKE: Alright. I will take a look at that then.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, stainless steel is an obvious choice for a kitchen sink, because it cleans up quickly and it’s got a great, professional look. But while most consumers think that all stainless sinks are the same, there can actually be a huge qualitative difference.

    And here’s what you need to be most aware of.

    TOM: Yeah. Now, first up, the gauge of the metal. That’s the thickness. You want to think strong, silent type here. The higher the gauge of the steel, the thinner it is and therefore the noisier and more flexible. So, what you’re looking for is 16 to 18 gauge. That’s going to stand up to dents, as well as the vibration caused by, say, a garbage disposer.

    And depth is also important. Six-inch deep, they are cheap to make but they splash, they don’t hold much water. The 10-inch sinks, on the other hand, much better choice. A big plus, also, when the countertop space is limited.

    LESLIE: Next, you want to give it the thump test. Now, stainless-steel sinks can be loud, so look for those with a rubbery undercoating and pads, which are going to help deaden the sound of running water, clattering silverware. And it’s also going to reduce the condensation in that base cabinet.

    Last, you want to look for a good drain. Now, some sinks come with drain assemblies and baskets and some don’t. Now, there’s a location and a design to consider, as well. Towards the back means that you’re going to have more usable space in the base cabinet and better drainage when the dishes are piled up in the sink. And you know that happens a lot at both of our houses.

    TOM: Absolutely. Definitely something you’d like to avoid. If I can only get the kids to start putting those dishes right into the dishwasher.

    LESLIE: No. It’s got to go in the sink first.

    TOM: Oh, yeah, it’s a rite of passage.

    LESLIE: First stop: sink.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit. Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Charlene in Louisiana is on the line with a roofing question. What are you working on?

    CHARLENE: I have a shallow roof on my house. They call it a 2:3 pitch. It’s not flat but it’s very shallow, OK? Almost no attic, about maybe 2 feet in there. I was interested in an aluminum roof, like a lifetime roof? And I wanted to know which would be better: that or a regular shingle roof, like an architectural roof.

    TOM: You don’t have the pitch for an asphalt-shingle roof. You need to have at least a 3:12 or a 4:12 roof to put in shingles.

    CHARLENE: Well, I have shingles on it now and they’ve been there for 20 years.

    TOM: I’m telling you, you may but it’s not right. You can only put shingles on a roof that’s got a minimum pitch of 3:12 or 4:12. And if you’ve got them on there right now, count your blessings but it shouldn’t have been put on there. And any roofing manufacturer will tell you that.

    If you – your options, therefore, are either to do, say, a rolled roofing or a rubber roofing or a metal roof, as long as it’s rated for that low pitch. And I think a metal roof is a great investment if you’re going to be there for the long haul. But that’s what I would invest in because with that low of a pitch, you probably don’t see it very much and you want to make sure that it’s really going to be watertight. And with a low pitch, you just can’t use an architectural shingle; it just won’t work.

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

    LESLIE: Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, if you’ve got a pool, did you know that one common mistake when you close it up can make its water unsafe for next season? We’re going to tell you what you need to know, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement 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’ve got a question about your next home improvement project, we are standing by and ready to help.

    LESLIE: Hey, Tom, I can’t believe that summer is – it’s almost over.

    TOM: I know, I know.

    LESLIE: Everybody’s getting in these last little trips and all these adventures before everybody’s got to go back to school and really focus on work. But you and your family, you guys just took a trip, right? I think Virginia?

    TOM: Yeah, we actually – West Virginia, yeah. I love that area down there. It’s just so beautiful. And we took a trip and we came back but unfortunately, my car did not. We had a major problem.

    LESLIE: Oh, no.

    TOM: Yeah, we were crossing the West Virginia mountains and the engine, all of a sudden, started to rev up to over 5,000 rpms. I’m like, “This is not good.” And then we pulled over. We got off an off-ramp and at the end of the off-ramp, the engine just quit. And that’s it; it would not start up again. It was 100 miles …

    LESLIE: You haven’t had this car that long.

    TOM: Well, no, actually, I have. It was a 2011 Audi Q7 and I had 215,000 miles on it. So I can’t really complain that it didn’t last a long time, because it did. Although I’m not really a big fan of the Audi brand anymore, because I think they had some engine issues they weren’t necessarily up-front with or helpful when it came time to fix it. However, that aside, I still put a lot of miles on the car.

    But listen to this. So, I call a tow truck, AAA, thankfully. They took me the – they took me 98 of the 100 miles to where I had to go. And guess what happened at Mile 98? The tow truck broke down. Broke down. I swear the tow truck broke down. There is smoke coming out of the tires, there’s an air leak. The driver says to me, “I’m going to go into this convenience store.” It was like a sort of truck stop/convenience store.


    TOM: I tried to buy a pair of vice grips so I could clamp off the air line and get us back on the road. So he’s in there for 10 minutes and I’m thinking, “There’s no way they’re going to have vice grips next to the bread, the milk and the eggs in this convenience store.”

    LESLIE: They might.

    TOM: They didn’t. But you know what? I was thinking about it and I had actually brought four tools so that when we got to our house, we would be able to do minor repairs. And one of those was a vice grip.

    Now, imagine this: my big SUV is on the top of this flatbed. I’ve got to climb up there, I’ve got to empty the stuff. I finally find the tool that I need to fix this air line. Then the tow-truck driver says to me, “You know, what I really need is a needle-nose vice grip.” I said, “You mean like this?” And it was the one tool I had with me. I don’t know why I grabbed that one. It was intuition. But I had the needle-nose vice grip. We clamped off the air line.

    But it was funny because I swear there was a tear that came to that West Virginia boy’s eye when I said that, because he thought that we were done. We clamp off the air line, we got some zip ties and we sort of MacGyvered the wrench to the body of the tow truck. And off we went to the repair facility, where I dropped my car, rented another one that …

    LESLIE: He dropped the tow truck.

    TOM: Yeah. Dropped my car, rented another one so we could move on with our trip. And the next day, I got a call that the engine was completely shot. And so, my car did not come home. It is in the hands of the West Virginia Make-A-Wish Foundation or probably, more accurately, the Make-A-Wish Chop Shop being sold for parts right now. And I am in the market for a brand-new SUV. That was the start of my vacation and it got much better from there. But it was certainly not the way I envisioned it happening.

    LESLIE: Well, bright side, you’re going to get a new car.

    TOM: That’s right. That’s right.

    LESLIE: Downside, you didn’t plan on it. But that’s how I got my truck. I was driving on the LIE out to visit my sister in my five-year-old Buick. Engine block seized. That was it. It was dead, it was done.

    TOM: Only five years. I guess I shouldn’t complain.

    LESLIE: Five years.

    TOM: Mine was eight.

    LESLIE: But I’m really happy with my new car. I’ve got the Toyota 4Runner. I love it. My favorite part is the back window rolls down.

    TOM: Oh, yeah. There you go.

    Well, there’s our car-repair woes. But if you’ve got a home repair woe that we can help you with, you’re welcome to give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, if you’ve got a pool, it’s almost time to close it up for the season. But if the process is not done correctly, you may set yourself up for failure when it comes time to open it again next summer. That’s why this is a project best left to a pro. We’ll explain why, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Now, first of all, your pool’s filtration system is the most susceptible to freezing temperatures. And that requires special attention. To avoid any costly repairs, that system, you have got to thoroughly flush it and drain those pipes and make sure that the fixtures are emptied before the cold winter temps set in.

    Now, to make sure that it’s done right, pros are going to use a compressor that’s going to blow out the air by just super-pressured air through the pipes. And they keep that pressure at less than 20 pounds per square inch. That’s sort of the key number to make sure that you’re getting enough pressure to clear everything out but you’re not going to damage the system.

    Next up, you’ve got to add some antifreeze to that system itself but not the kind that you pick up at the auto-repair store for your car. These pros are going to use specially formulated propylene-glycol RV antifreeze. That’s really important for the safety of swimmers come next season, as well as for people and pets that might come in contact with it and swallow spilled or maybe even stored liquid. You’ve got to be so careful.

    Now, this specialized antifreeze provides freeze-and-burst protection to temps as low as minus-50 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s generally safe for people and the environment.

    TOM: And lastly, don’t forget to plug the skimmer. Otherwise, the system could fill up with rainwater or melted snow and develop damage despite your best efforts.

    LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.

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

    RICHARD: I’m interested – I have an older home I remodeled. It’s built in the 30s and I wanted to put in a whole-house water-filtration system. And I was going to connect right to the service line going in.

    And I’ve been shopping around. I found the small canister types and then it just jumps up to a big, 33-gallon, barrel-type filtration, which is too much. And I just wanted to know what a good brand is and what I need – reverse-osmosis and all that.

    TOM: Richard, 3M makes the Filtrete line. That’s F-i-l-t-r-e-t-e. And they have single filters for use under maybe your kitchen sink or bathroom but they also have a whole-house system. It’s not terribly expensive; I think it’s under 100 bucks. And installation is pretty straightforward, so perhaps you could even do it yourself. And they also have various levels of filtration.

    So I would take a look at the Filtrete Whole-House System Water Filters and I think that’s a good choice to make sure your water is tasting good throughout the entire home.

    LESLIE: You can reach us anytime at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.

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

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, or post your question online to The Money Pit’s Community page or our Facebook page. That’s what Jacqueline did from Chicago. And Jacqueline looks like she’s doing some cleanup.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Jacqueline writes: “I’d like to buy a pressure washer for my deck but I’m nervous that I’m going to damage the wood. I found washers with different types of nozzles but should I be looking for adjustable PSI? What do I need to know about adjusting the pressure for different surfaces?”

    TOM: Well, first of all, pressure washers are a great tool. I mean they’re fast, they’re effective and they easily remove dirt and grime from your home’s exterior or your deck or your boat or your car. You want to have the amount of water pressure that does the job and not more than that. A basic, light-duty pressure washer is going to work at about 1,300 to 2,000 PSI. And that is about 30 times as powerful as a garden hose. So that’s going to be a good choice for cleaning boats and cars and siding.

    And from there, they go up. You can pick up one that goes up to as much as 4,000 PSI and that may strip a surface for repainting. But you want to be very careful to only use what you need. Because if you use too much, you can easily damage it. Even though it’s fun, for example, to clean sidewalks of the moss and the algae that may stick to them, if you’re using the wrong pressure setting you’re going to find that you can actually carve away some of the surface of that concrete. And you won’t spot it until you’re all done and you’ll be just totally annoyed by it.

    So, choose carefully but it’s a great investment.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you’re going to have a lot of fun cleaning things once you figure out how to do it and you’re using it correctly. You seriously will start and might not stop until you reach the end of the block.

    Alright. Next up, I have a post here from Aaron in New York City who writes: “The wallpaper in my kitchen and bathroom is 26 years old. I’d like to get rid of it but I dread taking it all down. Can I paint over the old wallpaper? It’s in relatively good shape and it’s only curling in one small spot near a baseboard.”

    TOM: I don’t know. Listen, you could paint over it but really, I think it’s best to take it down.

    What do you think, Leslie?

    LESLIE: The answer is: you could. The real question is: should you? No. You’re putting paint on a surface that’s removable. So, eventually it’s going to fall off. You’re not sealing it in and keeping it safe for forever. You’re just adding another layer of nonsense when it’s time to actually do some real work. So …

    TOM: And it also is a lot hard to take off if you paint it now and you decide in a couple years you want to take it down. It’s a lot harder to take down wallpaper that has paint on it, because you can’t get the steam or the solutions that will loosen the glue beyond the layer of paint. So it just becomes a much bigger mess.

    LESLIE: Yeah, I would not recommend it. The trick is preparing to remove the paper. Some people suggest scoring it so that the application that you add to it gets to the adhesive side of the paper. Some people like to use a PaperTiger that really super scores it to tiny, tiny pieces.

    Either way, you’ve got to put a solution on top of it. A lot of people use a fabric softener-and-water mix that will help loosen the adhesive. And then the real trick is a steamer and a rentable store – store-rentable wallpaper steamer. You will steam that paper until the heat and the moisture loosen up the glue and then you can start to peel away the pieces. The key here is the smaller you score the paper, the more pieces you have to pull off the wall. So, I always try to get one, big, long piece off like when you’re peeling an apple, you know.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: But you do what you can. It’s going to take a lot of time. And when you get to the new surface, you’re going to want to sand it, prep it in any way you can. Assess what that wall looks like. Choose a paint with a low sheen and you’re going to have a good, finished product.

    TOM: Yeah. And priming is very important. You want to prime that surface. If you prime over that old surface, whatever paint you put on top of that is going to lay very flat and really stick well. And it’ll just look amazing. So, look, kitchen, bathroom, small rooms I would take it off.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this – one of the final summer weekends, the final warm-weather weekends with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips and advice to finish up those summer projects and some inspiration to take on projects for the seasons ahead.

    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 2019 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)


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