Drop Ceilings Deliver a Dramatic New Look

  • ceiling makeover
  • 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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you get your projects done. Inside or out, whether you want to spruce up, fix up, repair, remodel, plan for a big project for the future, whatever is on that to-do list, put it over on our list by calling us at 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve been thinking about a remodeling project and wondering what to do with your ceiling, I’m going to bet there’s probably one type of ceiling you’ve totally ruled out and that would be a drop ceiling, right? I mean we all grew up with drop ceilings and I don’t think anybody wants to put one of those in your house. Well, they didn’t used to. But now, they have been totally redesigned.

    We’re going to share with you why you might want to give them a second look, because there are a lot of drop ceilings out there right now that are just gorgeous. And you would have no idea that it, in fact, was one of those ceilings that we used to look at, you know, when we were in school or at work that had just those very plain tiles and those bands that separate everything. Now, they’re just amazing. We’re going to share some details on that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, have you ever thought about the dozens of products you use to just keep your house clean, the expense of buying them and the waste of throwing away all those empty bottles and cans? Well, we’re going to highlight an innovative solution that can make all of that go away.

    TOM: And also ahead, leaking tubs and showers can be a real mess to deal with. But many happen because the tub or shower was never caulked or grouted right to begin with. We’re going to tell you the one surprising place that tubs and showers leak and how to fix it fast, just ahead.

    LESLIE: Plus, if you’re ready to tackle some tree-trimming this fall, you’ll especially want to call in your home improvement questions, because we’re giving away the Greenworks 60-Volt Lithium-Ion 18-Inch Brushless Cordless Electric Chainsaw, battery included, worth 329 bucks.

    TOM: I have had the Greenworks chainsaws before and they are absolutely amazing. There’s no need for gas chainsaws anymore.

    This one’s available at Lowe’s and Lowes.com but we do have one to give away on today’s show. So, if you’d like to win it, you’ve got to be in it. Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ivan in Missouri is on the line with a wall-texture issue. What happened to your money pit?

    IVAN: Well, we had a skylight that had water leaked on it. And I finally got some roofers up on the house and was going to install new skylights. And they didn’t get the skylights done when they were roofing, so they had to come back and put the skylights in. But in the meantime, I got rain, I got water in the house and water damage.

    So, I got the windows in and the sheetrock work done, except for the texture. And I could match the texture on the ceiling; that’s a popcorn I can do out of an aerosol can. But I’ve got a texture on the wall. I have no clue how they prepared this and put it on. It’s almost like maybe they used a sponge but it doesn’t really look like a sponge. It’s no definite pattern to it.

    TOM: So, Leslie, what are some of the techniques for texturing walls, such as like he’s describing?

    LESLIE: There’s a lot. If it looks like it’s a sponge – does it have flat textures to it or is it spiky?

    IVAN: I was going to say I’m looking at here and it’s all rough. There’s no place that’s really smooth on it. And some of it is heavy texture, some of it is light texture. Almost maybe they used a plastic bag. I don’t know what to splot (ph) it on. I haven’t figured out how to match it.

    TOM: That actually is a technique where you blot the paint with a bag.

    IVAN: OK. Well, that may have been what they’re done.

    LESLIE: It’s just the paint or is it the actual finish on the wall?

    IVAN: They sanded some of that where I did the patch and stuff. And I think they textured it with – probably had a little bit of a dye in it and stuff. But I can match the color with the paint. That’s not a problem. I’m just trying to figure out how to match the texture to kind of hide my repairs.

    LESLIE: Well, if you think it does look like a plastic bag, you can put some of the spackle or the joint compound onto the wall, where you have your repair, and sort of feather it out. And then, like Tom said, you can take a plastic bag and sort of sponge it, like scrunch it up in your hands and sort of blot with it. And that’ll give you the areas of smoothness and then the areas of depth and height, as well.

    There’s some other textures that you can do. Like one’s called a “knockdown” where you almost give it a spackle and then you wipe it through with a trowel but not too heavily. And a smooth-edged one.

    IVAN: Yeah. Like kind of an “orange peel,” I think, they call that one.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So it’s like that one’s called “orange peel” and that kind of sounds a little bit like it to me. This is one of those times where you need to put a picture on our website so we can help you out better and see it directly.

    IVAN: Yeah. I wish I had the means to do that for you but I don’t today. And I’ve called a handyman in the area that was recommended to me and we just haven’t been able to link up yet. So he may be able to give me some ideas when I get him out here.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I would try the plastic-bag technique. You could also try sort of stippling it with a paintbrush, like a heavy stipple brush to give it some areas and then you can smooth out certain areas with a mat knife or a putty knife just to see how that might do for you. There’s a lot of different ways. You know, you can do it with brushes, you can do it with combs if you have something linear, wallpaper trowels, all kinds of things.

    IVAN: My biggest question is – I’ve got a bucket of joint compound but I think that it’s probably too thick. I probably just need to go get some plaster and mix it thin to do the texture with.

    LESLIE: The plaster is going to do the trick, either/or. If you do the joint compound, you just have to use lighter layers. If you use the plaster, you have to make sure you get the mix right, because you want it to adhere and you want to make sure that it’s not too thin or too thick. So it’s going to be a little bit of experimenting to see how you feel comfortable.

    IVAN: Yeah. I’ll do some experimenting on a piece of sheetrock or something that I’ve got for scrap until I figure out something, I guess, and go from there. It sounds like you gave me some good ideas so we’ll …

    TOM: Yeah, well, that’s kind of the best way to attack this sort of thing – is to just experiment a little bit until you get something that’s sort of close to what you have there and then sort of blend it in. But it feels like you’re on the right track now.

    IVAN: Alright. I appreciate the information.

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

    LESLIE: Sylvia in Ohio is on the line and clearly spilled some glue somewhere. What’s going on?

    SYLVIA: No, I didn’t spill glue. We have – our carpet in our kitchen is glued down like 20 years ago.

    LESLIE: Did you say carpeting in your kitchen?

    SYLVIA: Yes, they used glue to put the carpet down. So my question is: how do we get it off the floor without tearing the whole floor out?

    TOM: What kind of flooring was it glued over? Is it hardwood?

    SYLVIA: No, just …

    TOM: Plywood?

    SYLVIA: Yes, uh-huh.

    TOM: Some sort of subfloor? So, really, you don’t have to get it completely off; you just have to kind of get it smooth so you can put whatever kind of flooring down you want to do over that.

    What kind of flooring do you want to end up with, Sylvia?

    SYLVIA: We want to put hardwood over it or on it.

    TOM: So, what you should do is get a citrus adhesive remover. There’s a number of different citrus-based adhesive removers. They’re not as caustic as some of the other adhesive removers. And what it will do is soften that adhesive. And your goal here is just to get any of the sort of the thicker, chunkier areas removed so that what you could do is put down another layer of plywood – an underlayment of plywood – say, like a ¼-inch luan or something like that. Then on top of that, you could install your hardwood floor.

    There’s lots of options with the hardwood floor. You can use engineered hardwood, which is thinner but very, very beautiful. And it’s more dimensionally stable and it would be probably a better choice for a kitchen. Because if you put regular hardwood down and you ever had a big leak, spilled a pot of anything, it will swell up and become damaged. But if you use engineered, it’s much more stable and resistant to any type of swelling when it gets damp or wet.

    SYLVIA: Oh, that’s great. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Call anytime with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Hey, do you think that drop ceilings look old and dated? Well, you may want to give drop ceilings a second look, because those coming out today can be absolutely stunning. We’ll share the new options, 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: Call in your home improvement or décor question, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com. You’ll never have to worry about overpaying for a job. Just use their True Cost Guide to see what others paid for a similar project, then get matched with top-rated pros, read reviews, get quotes and book appointments, all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.

    LESLIE: And hey, are you looking for another reason to contact us with a home improvement question? I mean come on, guys, we all know we’re giving out great advice. But did you know we’re giving out good prizes, too?

    We’ve got up for grabs a perfectly seasonal tool. It’s the Greenworks 60-Volt Lithium-Ion 18-Inch Brushless Cordless Electric Chainsaw, battery included. Now, this battery is going to provide the power that you need for lots of projects around the property, because it will provide up to 180 cuts on a single charge. That’s a lot of power and a lot of use.

    It’s available at Lowe’s, so you can check it out right now – and Lowe’s.com, as well – for 329. So make sure you check it out but give us a call for your chance to win.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Bret in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    BRET: We have the 1890s Victorian home in Wakefield. Gut rehab. Put in an 8×14 master bath in with Frank Lloyd Wright Arts and Crafts-style tile in it. And the shower in the corner, that’s a step-in shower. And over the last eight years, because the plastic floor of the shower wasn’t supported, it started to crack from the flexing. And I’m not sure how I can take care of those cracks without ripping out all the tile around the lip of the plastic floor of the shower.

    TOM: So, there is one way to do it. And it’s not real pretty but you can do it this way. And that is that plastic base is made of fiberglass and you can use a fiberglass-repair kit and basically cover the split area with a fiberglass patch. And essentially, that means you’re going to put down resin and then you’re going to put down fiberglass itself and press it into the resin. Once that dries, you’re going to put down more resin and then more fiberglass in. You’re going to kind of crisscross it and essentially, you’re going to build up kind of a patch across that crack.

    Now, of course, that’s going to be painfully obvious but maybe you don’t care about that. Maybe you’re thinking, “I’d rather have it just be patched and watertight than have to tear out the tile.” Because yes, replacing that kind of shower pan will require that you remove that tile around the first 8 to 12 inches all the way around to be able to get that pan out.

    BRET: Yeah, I’m not sure that it’s fiberglass; I think it might be just hard, molded plastic. I got it at a big-box store.

    TOM: The only way to try to repair it is with a fiberglass-repair kit. And you can pick that up at an auto-parts store. It’s like a body-repair kit. And essentially, it’s just those two things: it’s basically the resin itself and the fiberglass material. It may be some – it may have some sandpaper with it. But you’ve got nothing to lose; you might as well try it.

    I did it once in a house that I owned – bought myself a year before I got around to tearing out the shower pan – and it worked great.

    BRET: OK. It’s a great idea. We’ll give it a try. Thank you so very much.

    TOM: Well, hey, have you been thinking about a remodeling project and wondering what to do with your ceiling? I bet there’s probably one ceiling that you definitely are not considering: a drop ceiling, right?

    LESLIE: Yep. Yep, we get it. They’re old, they’re dated, right? But you may want to give drop ceilings a second look. Those coming out today can be absolutely stunning. We’ve got some tips on how to decide if a drop ceiling is for you, in today’s pro project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.

    First of all, guys, it’s not just plain, flat tile anymore. Today, you can find drop ceilings that look much more like old-fashioned tin tiles, wood paneling, so many more design styles. Plus, with the right kind of finish, it’s really even hard to tell that they are drop ceilings.

    TOM: Yeah. With a drop ceiling today, you have tons of choices for color, for texture, for material. White is generally a good color for smaller spaces because it really creates a lot of openness. But if you’re looking for something bold or something different, take a look at the colored – the textured tiles. They can also be a really good idea.

    LESLIE: Yeah. To make sure that the drop ceiling is going to work for you, first of all, think about the available head space. It’s not just a practical consideration but an aesthetic one, as well. You’ve got to look at the space above your living-room windows, from the window frame to the ceiling, and consider where a drop ceiling would come to on that window frame. That’s going to be a big design detail, so you want to make sure it fits in well.

    TOM: Now, you also want to think about another benefit of drop ceilings and that is that they provide for easy access to any mechanical systems above, like pipes and wiring, especially if your drop ceiling is being used in a basement. That’s one reason drop ceilings are so popular in that space.

    But remember, they’re not just limited to there. Because they are so gorgeous, they can really work anywhere in your home.

    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: Judy in Minnesota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JUDY: We replaced our windows – all the windows – in our home over 10 years ago. And just this year, there appeared to be snow between the glass on two of the windows. So our question is: do we have to replace the windows again or is there some way to get that out?

    LESLIE: Actual snow or was it just fogging up?

    JUDY: No, it’s like – it looks like snow when the sun shines on it. It’s that noticeable.

    LESLIE: So that’s probably more like a frost. And generally, what happens when you start to see condensation or frost or any sort of cloudiness in between two panes of glass, that usually means that the seal has failed. And that’s not generally something that’s fixable. Because when the seal fails, the gas that’s in there to keep the windows energy-efficient and put that thermal seal in there, that’s gone, too. So your window loses all of its energy efficiency, other than just the two panes of glass.

    So, repairing that really isn’t worth it. At this point, you should probably look into a replacement window.

    JUDY: Replace the windows. Not all the windows. Just those two windows?

    LESLIE: Right. And it would be a replacement window, so the operable parts are what changes out. The side panels, that all stays. It’s the up-and-down parts that get changed out.

    JUDY: So they can just replace that middle part then?

    TOM: That’s correct. Especially if it’s a recent window and yeah, the manufacturer is still sort of available. When the seal fails like that, there’s no repair for it. If you probably are not suffering through a lot of energy loss as a result of this, it’s mostly just a visual thing. But it’s not repairable; you need to have that sash itself replaced.

    JUDY: OK. Well, thank you so much.

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

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

    MIKE: I’m actually calling to find out the best way to remove the trim on an old hardwood floor without tearing it all up.

    TOM: So you want to remove just the trim? Is that what you said?

    MIKE: The base mold, the quarter round and the existing previous hardwood. I’ve got new hardwood to put down.

    TOM: Oh, you’ve got new hardwood to put down. But you said without tearing it up. I mean you’re going to have to tear it up to remove it.

    MIKE: Yeah. Without destroying it, to be able to repurpose it.

    TOM: Oh, without – oh, oh, OK. Yeah, I see what you mean. You want to try to preserve it. Man, I’ve got to tell you, it’s tough because if it’s traditional ¾-inch hardwood and it’s put in with flooring nails – these are flat, long steel nails that go on an angle and they go in the tongue part of this and it’s very, very difficult to take that floor up. Generally, you have to cut it out and pry it up.

    It would be an enormous amount of work for you to get that floor out. Even if you sort of cut out, say, a foot of it so you can get some flat bars in there and started working it, I think you’re going to find that it’s going to be a lot of work to try to work each one of those boards loose to the point where you could back the nails out and preserve it. It’s certainly worth a shot and depending on what kind of materials – what kind of hardwood they used to put that together, Mike, you may have a chance of trying to save some of that.

    But it’s very, very difficult because if it was put down properly, it would have been put down with a flooring nailer. And the way that thing works is it’s a hammer that kind of fits right into the tongue side of the board. And then you slam the mallet down and it shoots the nail deep into the wood and then countersinks it. So, it’s a hard fastener to get out. It’s really only designed to go one way.

    MIKE: Oh. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Hey, have you ever thought about the dozens of products that you use to just keep your house clean? You’ve got the expense of buying them and the waste of throwing away all those empty bottles and the cans. We’re going to highlight an innovative solution that can make all of that go away, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, have you ever thought about the dozens of products that you use to just keep your house clean and all the hassles and the expense of buying them and the waste of throwing away all those empty bottles and cans?

    TOM: Well, our next guest has a very innovative solution called JAWS, which stands for the Just Add Water System. Bruce Yacko is the president of JAWS International and joins us now.

    Welcome, Bruce.

    BRUCE: Hello.

    TOM: I never thought about it before but when you clean your house with all these products, you actually make the environment a lot dirtier as a result, which is one of the benefits of your system. So tell us about it.

    BRUCE: Sure. So the JAWS is an ecological, eco-friendly, non-toxic, economical, top-performing line of cleaning products that are concentrate – sold in concentrates. And then they’re placed in child-resistant cartridges, which are about the size of a roll of nickels, and offered in elegant, heavy-duty bottles designed for reusability. Heavy-duty sprayers, which are commercial-grade sprayers, designed for a long life. And it’s all about reusing the bottle and using our concentrate as a way to make your own cleaning product in your own home.

    LESLIE: Now, I think when people think of concentrate, they worry that they’re not going to get the mix correct and perhaps they’re going to over-dilute or under-dilute and then waste some of the product. How are you making sure that people can use it correctly?

    BRUCE: Well, the beauty of it is that the cartridge itself gives you exact dilution every time. So you’ll fill up your bottle to the water line, insert the cartridge. And when you tighten down the sprayer, it releases a very exact amount of cleaning concentrate into the water. And that gives you exact dilution every time and the same consistent cleaning result every time.

    TOM: You know, it’s a very interesting concept because when you think about it, all of the products that we buy on the shelves, we’re paying a lot of money for a lot of water, aren’t we? And they all have water in it.

    BRUCE: Yeah. The thing is, the 90 percent of that bottle plus is water. And so the cost of shipping water around the country – you have your own water. What you need from me is a high – a fabulous cleaning product in concentrated form, a way to deliver it into the bottle. And then reuse that bottle over and over again so that you’re not throwing away a bottle that you paid for and after one use.

    LESLIE: Now, what kind of products are available? I feel like, generally, at home I go for a product that might be multi-use. But then I have certain surfaces that definitely have a specific cleanser that I need to get, just to make sure that I’m not damaging the surface. How are we able to make sure that the concentrate we’re using is the correct one for the surface we’re working on?

    TOM: Well, the beauty of our system is that we are using non-harmful chemicals. So it’s safe for the kids, the pets and all the surfaces in your home. And a lot of the cleaners that you find on the shelves are 40-year-old technologies. They’re harsh cleaning chemicals. They’re not designed for the newer surfaces in your home.

    So to have a kitchen degreaser that you can use on your marble and granite and stainless steel, even the darker surfaces – we used to have white Formica. Now we have darker surfaces that are harder to clean and to make look good. So our non-streaking formulas are designed not only to keep the people and the pets and those things safe within the household but really, on the modern-day surfaces that you have in your home.

    TOM: So you’ve got glass cleaner. You have a daily shower cleaner. So these formulas are basically designed for these specific purposes. Of course, glass cleaner has to be especially streak-free. The shower cleaner has to get the soap scum off and that sort of thing. Kitchen cleaner, especially if you live in my house, pretty much has to get everything off because all sorts of things come across our kitchen counters.

    And then you’ve got those surfaces in the kitchen, like granite – and marble in the bathroom, as well – that have a very unique cleaning need. And those surfaces, in particular, are ones that folks – they think that they’re never going to have to do any cleaning to them. But they’re some of the worst offenders, especially when they start to absorb the coffee and the spaghetti stains and stuff of that nature.

    BRUCE: Well, the beauty of it is that – let’s just take our glass cleaner, for instance. To have butyl and alcohol and ammonia in a glass cleaner anymore is just kind of repugnant to me. And so, having none of those materials in the glass cleaner now gives us the ability to use it on our big-screen TVs, computer screens, iPads and all of those newer surfaces – electronic surfaces – that we have in the home, as well as your glass.

    And whether it’s UV-coated glass out in Arizona or it’s colder glass in the Midwest or Northeast in the winter, having the ability to use that product across the spectrum of newer surfaces and things that we have now in the home, that we need to clean, is really important.

    TOM: And these products, aside from being very easy and convenient, they’re easy to store, as well. Because if you think about it, those refill cartridges are very, very small. So you could easily have the bottle, plus the two or three of those refills for each type and keep it all in one cabinet.

    BRUCE: Oh, the beauty of it is that shipping, storing. Shipping water all over the country, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore. Throwing away bottles after a single use, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore. And having small cartridges that are basically the size of a roll of nickels, that you can store in any drawer in your house – you’re not going to store 50 bottles of cleaners.

    But to have extra cartridges around, within the home, for future use is great, especially coming into this time of year where you have holiday seasons and things like that, that to have an extra cartridge around is awesome. Or two. To have extra bottles around just takes up too much space in your house.

    LESLIE: Now, Bruce, I mean this product seems so smart. Did you create it for the consumer, initially, or did you start off elsewhere?

    BRUCE: Well, we started in the commercial world. There they’re cleaning 400 mirrors a day rather than 1. They’re cleaning 400 countertops a day versus 1. And they’re being paid for the privilege of doing that. Therefore, they’ve really got to perform.

    And so, we’ve sold over 40 million cartridges to people who are cleaning professionals across the globe. And if you’re listening and you have a cleaning business, certainly, look at us as a great opportunity to economically and ecologically and safely clean all of these various surfaces in your home. And because of the variety of surfaces you can use them on, because how safely we’ve created them, you have the ability to clean lots of different kinds of surfaces as you go forward.

    And that’s what the cleaning professionals have really liked: that they get a great cleaning job and they are able to use it on a great mix of different kinds of surfaces, that they encounter, as they go about their business in cleaning various businesses and homes and offices and things like that, so …

    TOM: Well, it’s been proven by the pros. It’s going to work for you as the consumer. The website is JAWSCleans.com. And if you go there and place an order – perhaps you want to pick up the cleaning kit – you will save 25 percent if you use the promo code MONEYPIT. Just add MONEYPIT as the promo code and you will save 25 percent.

    Bruce Yacko, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and telling us all about the JAWS Just Add Water System. You guys really have a winner here and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been using it for years. And I love the product for all the reasons you stated.

    BRUCE: Ah, well, thank you very much. I appreciate that. And we’re going to change the way the world cleans and the world is going to be better for it. And the consumers that use these products are going to love them.

    LESLIE: Bruce Yacko, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Just ahead, leaking tubs and showers can be a real mess to deal with. But many occur because that tub or shower wasn’t ever caulked or grouted in the correct way to begin with. We’re going to tell you how to stop the leaks for good, 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, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.

    TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. Just go to HomeAdvisor.com.

    LESLIE: And remember, guys, we’ve got a great prize that we’re giving out this hour. We’ve got the Greenworks 60-Volt Lithium-Ion 18-Inch Brushless Cordless Electric Chainsaw, including the battery, up for grabs. It’s got a brushless motor that’s engineered to provide more power. It can get the job done. And that battery gives you some extra-long life. It’s got a convenient push-button start, so no messy, smelly or loud gas lines.

    It’s a great tool for this season but to have all year long. Check it out at Lowe’s and Lowes.com. It’s a prize worth 329 bucks going out to one lucky caller this hour.

    TOM: Make that you. Pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Anna in Delaware is on the line with a painting question. What can we do for you today?

    ANNA: We painted around the bottom of our house, the foundation, with cement and sand.

    TOM: OK.

    ANNA: And what I want to know, can we paint over that with regular paint or would that bleed through?

    TOM: The cement-and-sand mix is like a stucco mix, right? And is that sticking to that foundation? Is it breaking off in any way or is it still solid?

    ANNA: No, no. It’s in good shape but I wanted – I really wanted to paint it. Some of the neighbors paint it and they look nice. Would it be OK?

    TOM: OK. So what you need to do is you need to prime it first. You need to use a masonry primer. That’s really important.

    ANNA: But do you have to sand that out?

    TOM: No. As long as it’s intact, OK?

    ANNA: Yeah, it’s in good shape, yeah.

    TOM: Then you need to prime it first, because the primer is what’s going to make the top right – make the top layer of paint stick, so to speak. So you prime it first, let the primer dry really, really well. And then you can put on the topcoat of an exterior-quality paint on top of that and it should be fine. But just remember, after paint comes repaint. So, once you paint it the first time, you’re going to have to paint it again and again as years go by.

    ANNA: Yeah, OK. You put the primer on first.

    TOM: That’s the key. Make sure it’s primed.

    ANNA: OK. Use primer first. OK. That’s what I wanted to know.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever had a tub or a shower leak, you may know that these can be tricky to diagnose and tricky to fix.

    Now, the reason is that they’re inconsistent. Sometimes they leak and sometimes they don’t. The reason for this, though, is very consistent. Now, the tubs and showers leak because of small gaps that develop in the grout of tile walls or in the caulked seam around the lip of the tub.

    So, for the walls, what happens is that as water hits your body, it’s going to splash back against the walls and then land in all those little gaps between the tile, where the grout might have fallen out. So to fix this, all you need to do is regrout those walls, which is a pretty simple DIY project.

    TOM: Now, for the tub, caulk is going to separate from either the top edge of the tub or the bottom edge of the tile. And it’s going to allow water to get behind those seams. The solution is to remove all of the old caulk and then fill up the tub with water to weigh it down, much the same way it gets pulled down when you step in it. Then once the tub is filled, then recaulk that lip and let it dry. And once it is dry, you can drain the water. You’ll find that as the tub sort of comes back up, it compresses the caulk. It won’t pull out again and it will seal out any future leaks.

    LESLIE: George in Texas is on the line with a driveway question. What can we do for you today?

    GEORGE: Well, I was wondering about some – found big cracks in my concrete driveway. There anything to do with that?

    TOM: So, are these new cracks, George? Or have they been there for a while?

    GEORGE: Yeah, they’ve been there for a while. The concrete’s probably 40 years old.

    TOM: OK. And how wide are the cracks? How far open are they?

    GEORGE: Maybe a ½-inch.

    TOM: Two things. Number one, you can repair these. And QUIKRETE makes a number of products that can help. But one thing that you want to do is, because the cracks are so wide, is you’re going to have to insert what’s called a “backer rod” in there first, which is like a very small foam tube. And you press that down until it’s about a ½-inch below the surface or maybe 3/8-inch below the surface. And then you can use a flowable urethane caulk on top of that. And the reason you’re putting the backer rod in there is so that you don’t lose a lot of the joint-sealing material down all the way down to the ground.

    And once you do this and if you do it right, then that seal will expand and contract and it won’t crack again, OK? So you stuff the crack with the backer rod and then you repair it with a urethane sealant.

    GEORGE: OK. What is it I’m putting first in the crack?

    TOM: It’s called a “backer rod.” It’s like a foam tube.

    GEORGE: Oh, OK.

    TOM: It’s like a Styrofoam tube. It comes in different diameters.

    LESLIE: To fill the gap.

    TOM: It’s just to fill the gap.

    GEORGE: I see. OK. And then all those smaller ones just don’t do that? Put the second item in there?

    TOM: And then you apply the flowable urethane, OK? And that ought to do it.

    GEORGE: OK. Thank you so much.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question. We want to hear about your do-it-yourself dilemmas 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, at HomeAdvisor.com.

    LESLIE: When we come back, we’re going to share some additional uses for your microwave that you may never have thought of, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call in your home improvement question, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home service pros and book appointments online, all for free.

    LESLIE: And remember, post your questions online or post them in The Money Pit’s Community section or on our Facebook page.

    And I’ve got one here from Justin who writes: “I just bought a new range and now my other appliances in the kitchen are looking a bit tired, even though they’ve got plenty of use still left in them. Is it possible to paint a major appliance?”

    TOM: Yeah, it is. And you can actually do it in such a way that it looks like it just came off the showroom floor. The key, I think, has to do with the type of paint that you use. What I like to use is epoxy paint. And actually, sometimes it’s even called “epoxy appliance paint.”

    And what I find with epoxy paint is that it takes a really, really, really long time to dry. But once it dries, it is really tough. And you can clean it. It doesn’t scratch. The key here is that you want to basically pull off from the appliance.

    Let’s say you’re doing, for example, your refrigerator. You’ve got to disconnect it, take all the food out, of course. But take the handles off the door and mask around the weather-stripping. And then spray-paint it with the epoxy paint. You want to use light coats, probably two of them. It could take a day or two for it to thoroughly dry, depending on how much humidity is in the air. But it will look absolutely amazing when you’re totally done.

    So I think that you definitely can do that to a range, to a dishwasher, to a refrigerator and it can look fantastic. You don’t have to go out and buy all new appliances. Just paint them instead.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And again, Justin, just make sure you give extra time to let everything cure properly so that paint actually sticks and sticks for good.

    TOM: Well, if you’re only using your microwave to heat up leftovers, you might be missing out on some other very handy uses. Leslie has tips for more, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, we all love our microwaves and we know that you can certainly use them for heating up leftovers. Great choice, right? Making popcorn? Perfect application for a microwave. But did you know that you can actually disinfect sponges and get rid of that funky smell with your microwave? Just soak the sponge in a water-and-vinegar mix and then zap it for a minute. Remember, guys, that sponge is going to be crazy hot when you go to take it out of the microwave, so don’t just go grabbing it. Use a pot holder. Grab it carefully. Use tongs, whatever. But that sponge is going to smell great and be totally disinfected.

    Now, you can also do the same with a cutting board except this time, you’re going to rub a little lemon on it and heat it for a minute. And that’s going to help say goodbye to last night’s raw chicken germs.

    Here’s another little tip. If you’ve ever found that you’ve got a jar of honey and it’s a crystallized, solid mess, bring it back to life on medium power for 30 seconds. You can also cut grilling time on potatoes if you heat them in the microwave for two minutes and bell peppers for one before you put them on the grill. Again, use oven mitts when you’re taking these things out of the microwave, because they do get very, very hot. And having just had second-degree burns on my hand for a cooking injury, it’s no fun. So definitely take precaution, guys.

    One last tip that’s a great use for the microwave is to warm up citrus fruits. Now, not only is this going to help release the juice when you’re using them in a recipe but it also helps release the oils in the skin. So if you’re zesting, it makes it so much easier to get that zest and the flavor out. Or it simply just releases that wonderful citrus scent into the air when you’re displaying a bowl of fruit or anything with the citrus. I love to have it out. So if you can help it smell even better, why not? It’s all great. All-natural air freshener.

    Think of your microwave for a couple of other things next time you’re heating up that popcorn or reheating dinner.

    TOM: Sounds good. Coming up next time on The Money Pit, could you and your family use a little extra space? Well, that spare bedroom or half-bath might literally be right under your feet. We’ll have some tips on how you can convert your basement into usable space, 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.)