Best Fall Flooring Choices for Your Home

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  • 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: What are you working on this beautiful fall weekend? If it’s your house, you are in the right place because we are here to help you get those jobs done. Whether you’re doing it yourself, hiring a pro – whether it’s repair, remodel, home renovation or maybe just planning for the future – give us a call right now. Let us talk you through it at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up on today’s show, floors make up the largest horizontal surface in any home. And fall is the most popular time of the year for an update. But with so many new types to choose from – and they just keep rolling them out, folks – we’ve got hardwood, we’ve got engineered, we’ve got laminate, we’ve got vinyl, we’ve got engineered vinyl. I mean how do you know what’s right for you? We’re going to have some easy steps to help you choose, just ahead.

    LESLIE: Plus, the gardening season is winding down but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on all those fresh veggies. A greenhouse can keep them growing strong. We’re going to review some DIY options to build your own from kits.

    TOM: And have you taken a good look at your driveways and garage floors or walkways and noticed some cracks? Well, now is the time to seal them up before winter’s frost sets in and makes them worse. We’ll have a guide on how to do just that.

    LESLIE: But first, this show is about helping you with your own home décor and improvement questions. So call in your home improvement question now and you’re going to get the answer. Plus, today you’ll also get a chance at winning tools to help you get the job done.

    We’re featuring the Jorgensen E-Z Hold Expandable Bar-Clamp Package worth 80 bucks.

    TOM: So, give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Bob in Illinois is on the line and working on a kitchen makeover. What can we do for you?

    BOB: Oh, we’ve got kitchen cabinets – they’re probably close to 30 years old – and we’re wanting to remodel our kitchen and I’m wanting to strip them down. And I was just wondering what was the best way – what to use to do it with.

    TOM: Well, the good news is that 30-year-old cabinets are usually very, very well-built. You can’t really strip down a 10-year-old cabinet, because they pretty much fall apart. But if it’s a 30-year-old plywood cabinet, you can definitely strip it.

    Now, what do you want to do after you strip it? Do you want to paint it or do you want to go with a clear coating?

    BOB: I’d like to go with a clear coating on it. Maybe put a pecan finish on it or something.

    LESLIE: And what’s on there now? Are they just stained or are they painted?

    BOB: No, they’re just stained.

    TOM: It’s hard to change the color of a stained cabinet. I’m just telling you just be prepared for that. But what you might want to do is use a good-quality stripper. Like Rock Miracle, for example, is a good one.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, another thing that’s good to do is head over to your local mom-and-pop paint shop, because sometimes there are newer products that are out there.

    I was just getting some wallpaper paste but in that section, there were some really nice paint strippers. They apply a little differently, they go on more easily, they work more quickly. So I always just pop into the shop to sort of see what they’ve got in there that they’ve worked with.

    But Tom and I have both used Rock Miracle and I like that because it goes on more like a paste, so you can really see where it is, you can see it start to work. And I guess it depends on how much stain is on there, how dirty they are.

    I would start by giving them a good cleaning. Then make sure they’re dried very well, then put the stripper on them. Follow the directions. And you’re going to want to use a wire brush and a paint scraper. And that’s going to get that finish off of there.

    Now, it’s important to work on them on a flat surface, so take all the doors and drawer fronts off. Label them as you take them down, with a piece of tape on the back side of the cabinet door and one on the cabinet box itself so that you know exactly where things go. And leave the hinges on the box sides so that you can have the doors flat. These are things that are just tricks of the trade that will help you be more successful.

    And if your doors are full overlay – are they or are they not?

    BOB: Are they what now?

    LESLIE: When your cabinet door closes, do you see any of the cabinet box around it, like a frame? Or does the door cover it?

    BOB: Yeah, it does; it flushes up against the frame of the cabinet.

    LESLIE: So, that’s a blessing and a curse. Because then you can ignore the box or you can also work on the box while it’s in place, to strip that down, as well. And in that case, the Rock Miracle is really good because it’s really thick, so it’ll stay on in a vertical position, as well. So, those are some good things.

    And you may have to apply it more than once, depending on how well-adhered your stain currently is. I mean you’ve really got to see. And then keep in mind that depending on the species of wood, the type of color that you might get from the stain that you’ve selected to go on there might be a little different. So you might want to work on a back side or a smaller area, just so you can see how it will react and what color you’ll actually end up with.

    BOB: Thank you, then.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Dina in New Jersey on the line who’s dealing with something going on with the chimney. What’s happening? You’ve got grout crumbling? What’s going on there?

    DINA: I have water, apparently, leaking in and it’s coming down around the fancy bricks of my fireplace. Because I see the cement crumbling and I see changes of – after a rain that I had, it’s darker over on the cement that’s crumbling.

    I’ve had my chimney relined and I just don’t know what it is. They said maybe it’s the flashing up on top that needs to be repointed and then it should be sealed. I just don’t know where to start and I’m getting high, big prices.

    TOM: Alright, Dina. This is a masonry chimney?

    DINA: Brick.

    TOM: A brick chimney, yes. OK. Masonry chimney, OK. Same difference.

    DINA: OK, thank you for being there for people like me.

    TOM: Alright. “No, it’s not masonry, it’s brick.” “Well, that clears it up.”

    Alright, look, when you have a masonry/brick chimney, at the top there is a chimney cap, which is a concrete lip that goes between the flue liner and the outside of the brick edge. And typically, when you get leaks, that concrete crack – cap is cracked. And it’s a very minor repair to seal those cracks or even to replace those cracks – that concrete section. It’s just a little, maybe 6-inch-deep section of concrete that’s sort of troweled between the clay flue liner and the outside edge of the brick.

    So the first thing I would do is seal the gaps or cracks around that and see if that fixes it. Now, the leaks are coming into the chimney. They’re not coming around the chimney by the ceiling, right? So that means – that sort of excludes flashing, because the flashing seals the gap between the masonry chimney and the roof. And if the flashing was failed, then you would have, probably, leaks when you look up at your ceiling. The chimney itself is leaking, so the most common culprit is simply that concrete cap or that masonry cap around the top of it.

    The other thing that you could do is you could put a chimney cap on this, because that has the effect of sort of putting a roof over your chimney without really blocking the chimney. And sometimes, that will dissuade the volume of water from getting into it.

    Now, the – one of the things I have to caution you about is that the chimney contractors – the chimney sweeps – that do these sorts of repairs are a disingenuous group. They’re not the most honest contractors out there and they almost always try to tell you a tale of woe, of death and destruction that will befall upon you unless you open your checkbook open wide and write them a big number. So, just be careful to find somebody reputable that can dig into what’s going on and just do what’s necessary but not an excessive amount of work on it, OK?

    DINA: Uh-huh. They’ve also mentioned doing repointing on the chimney and then waterproofing it.

    TOM: If it turns out that the masonry is cracked or deteriorated or falling out between the bricks, certainly repointing – but I think it’s a lot simpler than that. I think most likely it’s just some minor cracks in the chimney cap.

    DINA: Uh-huh. Because what they showed me was – they said, “See? There’s moss growing here. So that means that there’s water in between the bricks.”

    TOM: There’s always going to be water in a chimney. It’s a masonry structure; it holds moisture. And if you’ve got moss, you can put a mildicide on it. You can put a product like Concrobium on there that will kill that moss or another product called Wet & Forget that will kill that moss. And then beyond that, you need to get to the source of the leak, which I think is that chimney cap.

    So let’s not overcomplicate it, OK? Let’s see if that thin concrete cap is cracked and get that fixed.

    DINA: Thank you so very much. And now I know that bricks are masonry. Thank you.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.

    LESLIE: John in Delaware is dealing with a spider problem. I can’t even talk about it for fear they will jump into my house. What’s going on?

    JOHN: I moved to the beach about 10 years ago. I’m not – I’m 12 miles from the water but I don’t know whether that’s part of the problem or not. But we have spiders inside the house all the time. They’re always in the corners of the room. It’s rare to come into any room and not have one. And it seems like as quickly as you get rid of them, a week later you have more in the same areas. And it is very annoying.

    TOM: What do you do to get rid of them, John?

    JOHN: The only thing I do is I try to kill them and knock down their little web.

    TOM: Good luck with that. That’s not working out too well for you, I bet, huh?

    JOHN: No, it’s not.

    TOM: You’re not going to win the war if that’s your treatment approach. The thing about insects today is the best way to control them is through science. And if you look at a company like Orkin – you know, a company that’s been around forever – these guys know exactly what insecticide to put down, they know how to put it down in the right amounts and the products that they use today are very insect-specific.

    It used to be that there was sort of a broad-spectrum pesticide that was put down. Today, the pesticides are very, very specific for the problem. And if I was dealing with this in my house, I wouldn’t be running around with my boot trying to kill them all. I would have the pesticide applied in the right amounts, right place and be done with it.

    So, I would recommend that you call Orkin and have that taken care of the right way. It’s safer to do that than to buy over-the-counter pesticides, which you end up over-applying – which are far more dangerous, in my view – and certainly a lot less frustrating than having to stomp them to death, OK?

    So, I would use a pesticide to control these spiders and that’s the best solution.

    JOHN: OK. And you would not advise trying to do it on your own. You’d advise getting a company that’s – would pay them regularly to have them come back?

    TOM: Yeah, you can’t buy the products that a professional can buy. They’re not available to the general public because they have to be applied just right. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn to a pro, like Orkin.

    John, 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 Give us a call anytime at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews and book appointments all online.

    Well, fall is the most popular time of year for adding new floors. But with so many types to choose from, how do you know what’s right for you? We’re going to have some easy steps to help you choose, in today’s Pro Project presented by, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to 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. Find top-rated home service pros and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: And if you call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you might just win the Jorgensen E-Z Hold Expandable Bar-Clamp Package that we’ve got to give away. With these handy clamps, you’ll be able to clamp with one hand. Plus, they always can be joined together to double the capacity for bigger projects. You’re going to get two of the clamps for a total value of 80 bucks.

    That package is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Chris in Pennsylvania is having a problem with a dishwasher. What’s going on?

    CHRIS: Bought a new house and I’m a first-time homeowner. And my house was built in 1957. And so, I was wondering if I would have to hire separate people to work on the carpentry, the electric and the plumbing? Or is there somebody, like a regular contractor, that would put a dishwasher in?

    TOM: Do you have a space for a dishwasher right now, Chris? Or has one never been installed?

    CHRIS: One’s never been installed.

    TOM: OK. So you’ve got to figure out where you’re going to put this and it’s going to take away from some cabinet space.

    Now, typically, the dishwasher is next to the kitchen sink. And if you happen to have, say, a 24-inch cabinet next to your kitchen sink, that will be the perfect place to do that. But this is going to take a bit of work. You’re going to have to do carpentry and I think you’ll need a carpenter and probably a plumber to do this. And you may need an electrician, depending on whether or not the plumber could do the wiring for you or if there’s wiring right there you can pull from.

    Because what has to happen is you’d remove the cabinet to create that 24-inch space, then the dishwasher would slip in there. And it needs to be plumbed, so you need to have the supply line and the drain go basically through the side cabinet wall, where the sink is, and tap into the plumbing there. Then, of course, it needs to have electricity, so you’ll need to have an outlet installed. So it is a bit of a project, I’ll tell you that.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But if she were to hire somebody like a general contractor – who may have those subs in his arsenal, if you will, or at least access to those people – they would better supervise the entire project and sort of take all of that worry out of your hands.

    TOM: Or just a really good handyman. The trouble is that, theoretically, or at least technically speaking, you need a licensed plumber to do the plumbing work and you need a licensed electrician to do the electrical work.

    CHRIS: OK.

    TOM: Alright, Chris?

    CHRIS: Alright. I appreciate your advice.

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

    LESLIE: Well, flooring plays a pivotal role in your house. And upgrades can increase your home’s value, aesthetics and function. But the choices for types of flooring can truly be dizzying. So before you start tearing up carpet, we’ve got a few things to consider, in today’s Pro Project presented by

    TOM: Now, first, you want to think about what flooring fits the way you live in a particular room.

    So, for example, if you or your kids are spending a lot of time sitting or playing on the floor, carpet or area rugs could be the way to go. But if allergies are an issue, wood floors, tile, laminate, engineered vinyl, those types of surfaces might be better.

    LESLIE: Now, costs for each kind of material are going to vary widely and depending on the quality and of course, square footage.

    Now, the labor costs can dwarf the material expense. So the harder the floor is to install, the more the labor is going to cost.

    TOM: But before you make choices about where to cut those costs and where to splurge, it really comes down to the flooring itself. Keep in mind that floors get more wear and tear than any other part of the house. So you might save money up-front buying lower-grade materials and doing the installation yourself but it could cost you more in the long run.

    LESLIE: Now, you’ve got to think carefully about the use of the room, traffic patterns, kids, pets and anything else that can do damage to your floor. Also, think about that room’s location. If the floor is for a bathroom, kitchen or basement, water-resistant has got to be important. But fortunately, there are so many new choices in laminates and engineered vinyls that really closely mimic the look of for-real wood floors that you can consider something that actually looks like the real deal.

    TOM: Now, one cost that homeowners often forget – but we don’t want you to forget – is preparing the subfloor. If you don’t happen to have a clean, flat, level surface, you may need a contractor to do the prep work before you can put down any flooring materials.

    LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by 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: Stuart in Louisiana is on the line and has a question about light bulbs. What can we do for you?

    STUART: I was curious about choosing the correct kind of light bulb – fluorescent versus LED – and what wattage if I – whichever one I choose.

    TOM: So, compact-fluorescent technology is pretty much fading now – pardon the pun – and I think what you really want to look at is some of the many choices in LEDs. In terms of wattage, you know, it’s not really measured in wattage anymore; it’s measured in lumens. But generally speaking, if you do see a wattage indicator on the bulb, it’s going to be about 25 percent of what you’re used to getting in terms of light output.

    So, for example, a bulb that would deliver the equivalent of around 100 watts of light, that you might be used to in an incandescent bulb, is only going to use about 25 watts or less of electricity, only because it’s that much more efficient. A lot of folks don’t recognize that wattage is a measure of power; it’s not a measure of light. Light’s measured by lumens. But we’re just so accustomed, over the years, to choosing the wattage when it comes to bulb and understanding how much light that delivers.

    But if you’re trying to figure out about what the conversion rate is, it’s about 25 percent. It uses about 25 percent of the power to deliver the same light that you would’ve gotten out of, say, the 100-watt incandescent bulb in my example. Does that make sense?

    STUART: It does indeed. So what lumen range would I be basically looking for if I wanted to have the same amount of wattage – I’m sorry – same amount of light as a 100-watt light bulb?

    TOM: Good question. A 100-watt incandescent bulb is going to deliver about 1,600 lumens. So, not that easy to do the math. It’s not really convenient. But that’s what it is. A 100-watt bulb delivers about 1,600 lumens; 75-watt bulb would deliver around, say, 1,000 to 1,100 lumens. So that’s the range that you’re looking for.

    STUART: Fantastic. Thank you very much for your assistance.

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

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

    Hey, how about building a greenhouse so you can have fresh veggies all year long? We’re going to help you out with some DIY tips to get that project done, after this.

    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, with your fall home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s my favorite time of the year because it’s not too hot and not too cold. You can get pretty much any job done around your house, inside or out. And we are here to help. Whatever is on your to-do list, slide it over to ours by calling us at 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Bob in South Dakota is dealing with a drywall issue. What’s going on at your house?

    BOB: We have a 1990s home and we had sheetrock nails that were put in that began popping, mainly toward the ceiling area and corners – inside corners – especially. And we had a contractor do – redo some. We redid some ourselves. One of the things they did and we did is we just drove the nails in and covered them and put a screw maybe 2 to 3 inches from it. But the nails reappeared after we did it. What’s the answer?

    TOM: Well, it would if you just drove it back in and didn’t put a second nail that overlaps it.

    LESLIE: And then it’s in the same hole, so it’s given the same movement area.

    Now, what Tom mentioned with the second nail is you’re right putting a screw in; a screw is a great way to do that. But if you’re putting a screw in, I would have taken out the nail instead of giving it the space to come back out.

    But what you can do, if you see the nail to start backing its way out, you can take a second nail and overlap it so that the two heads would overlap. So when you drive in the second nail, it pushes that first nail back down with it and will keep it in its place. Because the new nail is in fresh wood, so it’ll stay there. And then you go ahead and cover over it and sand it and spackle it, everything. Make it nice and smooth to prime and paint.

    But a screw really is the best way, because those won’t back themselves out.

    BOB: What do you think, in your professional opinion – I’ve listened to your show a lot and just as a plug for you guys, thanks a lot for all of the helpful hints. But what do you think has caused those screws to pop like that – or nails, I should say?

    TOM: Normal expansion and contraction. You know, the nails that are used to attach drywall have a glue coating on them. They’re like a rosin coating. And when you drive the nail in, it’s supposed to kind of stick in the wall but it doesn’t. And as the walls expand and contract, they very often will back out. It’s really typical. It would be unusual for it, frankly, to not happen.

    But the key is that when it does happen, if you just drive it back in it’s going to happen all over again. But if you were to overlap the old nailhead with a new nailhead so that you’re now creating sort of a second nail and a second nail hole that’s holding it in place, that’s effective. Or you pull out the drywall nail altogether and replace it with a drywall screw and it will never pull out.

    The fact that you put the screw 2 or 3 inches from the old one will help keep that board tight but it’s not going to stop the drywall nail from expanding and contracting and pushing itself back out, as you’ve learned. You just – you really need to sort of reinforce it by overlapping the heads with a new nail.

    BOB: OK. Yeah, that sounds good. And I think, from what I’ve seen, if we pull the old nail and put a screw in a ways away, I think that’s the best solution. Because then we don’t have any possibility of anything happening there again and doing away with the situation completely.

    TOM: Trial and error is the best, right?

    BOB: Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. Thank you for the great show.

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

    LESLIE: Well, now that it’s the fall season, are you thinking how are you going to have those fresh veggies at my fingertips all year long? Well, you can if you live in a four-season climate but maybe you don’t have that option. You can, though, if you build or buy a greenhouse.

    So, if you think building a greenhouse is a big deal, it really doesn’t have to be. You’ve got limited space, a mini-greenhouse is a great option. There are small and portable options that can fit into a narrow area. There’s low tunnel-style greenhouses. That’s another one. And because of their size, they can be used and then easily removed and stored.

    TOM: Now, prefab is another way to go from there. These greenhouses are often sold as kits. They’ve got doors, they’ve got shelves and they can take up only 30 or 40 square feet of space.

    But if you’re lucky enough to have a larger piece of land, you can add a traditional greenhouse. That’s always fun. This type of structure has walls and a roof that are made from, usually, a see-through material, usually glass but sometimes plastic or acrylic. And the glass can trap heat in the structure while protecting the inside from the elements, like cold and snow and wind.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, greenhouses are typically fitted with tables or shelves on which you can grow the plants. Typically, these types of greenhouses are manually heated, which is really great if you do live in a cooler climate.

    TOM: Now, we’ve got a very detailed post on all the options with greenhouses, on So check it out. It’s called “Grow Fresh Veggies All Year Long,” and is on the home page, right now, at

    LESLIE: Trudy in Delaware needs some help jazzing up her brick home. What can we do for you?

    TRUDY: I have a single-family house and the base of it is not finished, from the dirt up to where the siding starts. And I’m wanting to know what I could use on that so I have a more finished look.

    TOM: So is it a brick foundation, Trudy?

    TRUDY: No, no. It’s a brick front and then the sides and the back is siding. But from the dirt – from the ground up to where the siding starts is about maybe 2 feet. It’s just basic cement, unfinished look. And I wanted to know what I (inaudible).

    TOM: Right. There’s a couple things you can do. You can do something really simple, like paint it. You would use a masonry paint for that exterior. Masonry paint.

    The other thing that you could do is you could stucco that. Now, that’s a little bit more work but there are premixed stucco mixes that you can buy at a home center. And with a few tools, you could apply a stucco to that, maybe put a bit of a pattern on it. And you need to do that, though, by following all the right steps for prep. Because if you don’t get it right, it’ll freeze and break off.

    But those would be the two easiest ways to clean that up.

    TRUDY: OK. So, yeah, I didn’t want something to start chipping off or the paint to start slinking (ph).

    TOM: Right. Well, that’s why you’ve got to use the right products with the paint. You’ve got to prime it and you’ve got to use an exterior-quality masonry paint. And kind of the same thing with the stucco. You’ve got to use the right tools and the right application methods and make sure it’s nice and clean and dry when you start and it’ll hold up nicely. Alright, Trudy?

    TRUDY: OK. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Remember, you can reach us anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Just ahead, have you taken a good look at your driveway, the garage floor, walkways? Maybe you’re seeing some cracks? Well, now is the time to seal those up before the winter’s frost really sets in and only makes them worse. We’re going to have a guide to do just that, next.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to 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 a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.

    TOM: And if you do give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a really fun tool package we’re giving away.

    We’ve got the Jorgensen E-Z Hold Expandable Bar Clamps to give away. And I love these clamps because they’re very easy to use. In fact, you can clamp with one hand, which is handy, especially if you’re holding the project together with the other while you get the clamp in place. Plus, if you’ve got a really big project, well, they can be joined together and that can double the capacity for those big projects.

    You’re going to get two of the E-Z Hold Medium-Duty Expandable Bar Clamps for a total value of 80 bucks if you pick up the phone and call us right now. We might just draw your name out of that group of folks and give those clamps to you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ryan in Georgia is in hot water, literally. What’s going on at your money pit, Ryan?

    RYAN: Something kind of bested me for a little bit. I’ve got an idea of what it might be but I’m not 100-percent sure. I’ve got something that I have, which is very – it’s always very hot in Georgia about 80 percent of the time. And every time, when we turn – during the day, we turn on the cold water. It’s scalding, scalding hot for about two to four minutes and it depends – that the length on, I guess, what time of day it is. But the – I could even turn on the hot water and the hot water will be a lot colder than the cold water. And eventually, it will get colder. But I checked every other water source in my house.

    I’ve checked the shower and the showers are fine; it’s not affected whatsoever. The only thing, assuming – that I think it might be, which you guys probably know more about this than I do is – the reason why it’s not doing it in the showers – because that has the – I don’t know if you want to call it the “thermostat” or a “temperature gauge” that controls the cold water and the hot water that makes sure it’s not too hot. And I think, since we’re in Georgia, a lot of the pipes are in the attic and attics. When it’s most – when it’s 90 to 100 degrees out, they – gets pretty hot in our attics.

    TOM: Well, I think you’re right on track with that theory, Ryan, because I’ve seen that in my own home in New Jersey. I know it’s not in every fixture, of course, because it really depends on how the pipes are run. But I know that the way my kitchen is built, it was sort of an – it’s an addition that was done in the early 1900s. And the plumbing on that is sort of the – on the furthermost southern wall.

    It gets very, very warm there during the day and sometimes, when we don’t use it all day – and then I turn it on, I do get hot water through the cold faucet. And I know that’s just because the pipes in that area are being exposed to a lot of heat. And the pipes are just warming up and it’s warming the water in turn. But after that warm water that’s in those pipes that are right in that surrounding area runs through the system, it gets cold again.

    So I think that’s exactly what you’re seeing here. I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem. It’s more of an annoyance and yes, it does waste a little bit of water. But does this happen in the winter or is it just a summer issue?

    RYAN: No, no. Not 100 percent if it happens in the winter. But it might but I know even our attics sometimes, in the winter, does get pretty decently warm, too. But the – I know it’s definitely in the spring, fall and summer.

    TOM: I mean the only thing that you could do is you could insulate those pipes. If you can get access to them, you could put fiberglass insulating sleeves around your cold-water pipes and that would prevent them from overheating as they are right now.

    RYAN: That’ll even make a difference, even though they’re – all the piping is all in the attic? The attic’s pretty hot.

    TOM: Well, right, wherever they’re heating up. And that water gets to your faucet from the attic really quick.

    RYAN: Yeah.

    TOM: OK?

    RYAN: Alright. So just a fiberglass sleeve? I’ve seen a little – looks like foam – black foam sleeves. Does that work, too?

    TOM: Yeah. You could do that, too. I think the fiberglass sleeves are a little bit more expensive but they’ll work better.

    RYAN: OK. Yeah, I’ll definitely do that then.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project, Ryan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Glad we were able to solve that mystery.

    LESLIE: Well, winter will be upon us in just two or three more months. And when that cold sets in, small cracks that you may have in your driveway, the garage floor or walkways can get filled with water that’s going to freeze and expand and it’s going to make them a lot bigger. That’s why now is the best time to seal those up before winter’s frost sets in and makes them worse.

    Well, QUIKRETE has a line of commercial-grade sealants and adhesives that can suit any concrete or masonry repair that you need. And they shared some tips on how to handle two types of cracks, in particular.

    TOM: Yeah. So, first, let’s talk about small cracks. And I define those as less than ¼-inch wide. These are most likely the result of shrinkage as the concrete cures. And they’re really easy to repair using QUIKRETE’s Advanced Polymer Concrete Crack Sealant.

    This product is super flexible so once it’s applied, it can expand and contract with the crack and therefore, prevent water from – and therefore protect the water from seeping in and making the crack worse.

    LESLIE: Now, for bigger cracks or gaps in expansion joints that can get filled with a lot of crud, QUIKRETE makes an Advanced Polymer Self-Leveling Sealant that’s super effective in filling those gaps and stopping water from running under the concrete slab, which can lead to bigger problems with settlement and cracks.

    Now, for that product, it’s best to clean out the gaps of dirt or debris, fill in the gaps with backer rod first and then apply the sealant over the rod.

    TOM: And now is a really important time to do this, because if that water gets in there it’s going to freeze and it’s going to expand and it’s going to make the concrete a lot worse over this winter. So, do it once, do it right, you won’t have to do it again.

    The QUIKRETE Advanced Polymer sealants and adhesives are solvent- and isocyanurate-free, so you’ll get an environmentally-friendly and very superior solution to traditional polyurethane technology. They’ve got a fast-cure technology, as well. It becomes tack-free in about an hour. They’re available at home centers and lumberyards throughout the U.S. for between six and eight bucks a tube.

    QUIKRETE. It’s what America is made of. Learn more at

    LESLIE: Remember, you can reach us anytime with your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Just ahead, in many states, bathrooms in homes that have windows aren’t required to have exhaust fans, which is a real hassle for homeowners. We’ll talk through the fix, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to 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 Never worry about overpaying for a job. Use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others have paid for similar projects, all for free at

    And don’t forget you can always post your question on Money Pit’s Facebook page or right in The Money Pit Community section, just like Ronnie did in California.

    Now, Ronnie writes: “My house was built in 1960 and there are no exhaust fans in the bathroom. I’d like to put up crown molding in the bathrooms but is it going to swell from the moisture? Is there a certain type that I should be using?”

    TOM: You know, it is true that if you have a window in your bathroom, that building codes will not require you to have an exhaust fan. So, it’s kind of dumb because who is going to open up the windows in January? Well, maybe in California you would – in Southern California – but certainly not in the East Coast or anywhere in between.

    But look, if you’re worried about moisture, you should be putting up composite molding. It’s made of PVC and it can’t rot. But there are bigger moisture headaches that you’ll need to deal with, like mold and mildew. So, I would definitely explore ways to get a bath exhaust fan in that space, even if you have to run it up through the attic and out, in terms of the exhaust ducting. Because not having that humidity venting out can lead to a lot of mold and mildew problems that you just really do want to avoid.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Patricia in Buffalo writes: “My heating bills have been really high and I’m thinking about beefing up insulation before the winter sets in. I’m interested to know the difference between fiberglass and newer spray-foam insulation.”

    TOM: That’s a great question. Fiberglass, of course, is the traditional insulation. The main difference is that when you put that in your attic, you have to vent it because your attics are going to be moist and damp and the fiberglass has to be dry to work properly.

    In my house, I actually had fiberglass. I left it in place but then I added spray foam to the underside of the roof sheathing and completely sealed in the attic. And I have never been more comfortable and my bills have never been lower, because that insulation does not need to be vented. So once you do it, you can basically seal up all of the vents because the attic becomes, essentially, an extension of your living space.

    LESLIE: Well, enjoy keeping those heating bills down in a much warmer house this winter.

    TOM: Well, are you new to the fantastic world of home ownership? Well, then, very shortly, you’re probably going to be new to the fantastic world of home improvement, as well. We’re going to have some tips to help you get started on your very first projects. Leslie has some tips, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    Leslie? Always a project that needs to be done.

    LESLIE: Seriously. But first, congratulations. You’re the proud owner of your very first home. Now what?

    Well, like a baby, a home’s got to be cared for and loved and also, like a baby, nobody gives you instructions on how to take care of it, whether it’s a house or that infant. So, here’s really what it comes down to: as a first-time homeowner, it’s your job to maintain your home year-round.

    So, the first thing to do is invest in the tools that you need to do that. Now, a basic toolbox should include a hammer, some screwdrivers, a pry bar, a level and an adjustable wrench. You can add some power tools later or right away but you should include a drill and a circ saw. Those tend to really cover all the bases.

    Now, understanding the basics of your home’s mechanical systems is a must. So make sure you know where your water-main line is, how to shut it off if there’s an emergency. And get acquainted with that fuse or breaker box. And remember that home ownership puts you in charge of covering all of those utilities. So, if the initial months in your new abode have given you sticker shock over power and water costs, take some steps to manage your energy dollars.

    Finally, even if you’re in a brand-new home that’s under warranty, it’s wise to have a contingency fund to cushion those curveballs that life could throw at every homeowner. If you want some more great tips, just Google “money pit first-time homeowner tips.”

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, the most active part of hurricane season is upon us and no one is more vulnerable than our senior citizens, especially if they live alone. We’re going to have tips to help you keep those important folks in your life safe from weather emergencies, on the very next edition of The 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.


    (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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