Easy End of Summer Projects to Avoid Winter Woes – #0828172

  • checking roof for leaks
  • Transcript

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Are you working on home improvement projects? Well, you’re not supposed to be. This is the weekend of rest. We’re going to officially give you this weekend off. But if you want to plan for a project for next week and the weeks to come, we’re here to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And I bet if you pick up the phone and call us, we will save you some labor on those projects that you have planned. You can also post your question to The Money Pit’s website at MoneyPit.com. Just click on the Community section. Sign on in and post your question and we can answer that way, as well.

    Well, as summer rolls to a close, now is the perfect time to take on a few easy projects that will help you avoid some of those bigger, colder headaches in the dead of winter. So coming up, we’re going to share the top projects that you need to do now, just ahead.

    LESLIE: And whether you’re a new empty-nester like Tom – I’m sure you guys are still crying over there between the partying – or maybe you’ve just found some unused space at home, we’ve got some really creative ideas for putting that extra square footage to good use.

    TOM: Yes. Plus, if you’ve got a flooring project in mind and you’d love to consider an eco-friendly option, the key is knowing how the floors are made. So we’ll tell you what to look for, just ahead.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re shedding some light around your home because we’re giving away a two-pack of NetBright Spotlights from Mr Beams.

    TOM: Very simple way to add light without wiring to any dark area, because they are battery-powered. These batteries last for a full year. And that pair is worth 69.99.

    Now, there’s two ways for you to get in on that drawing, You can either call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com. Here’s how this works. If you call any time this weekend with your home improvement question or you post any time for the whole previous week, including this weekend, all of you folks are tossed into this hard hat. So we love to give stuff away to the widest possible audience. So go ahead, post your question, call in your question, we’ll give you the answer. Plus, you may just win a pair of fine NetBright lights from Mr Beams, 888-666-3974.

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

    MAISY: Just asking about – how can you get rid of the gnats going in through your house?

    TOM: They’re eating you up, huh?

    MAISY: Yes. I’m about gone.

    TOM: Well, one of the things that you can do is to create a somewhat natural repellant for those gnats. And you take apple-cider vinegar, put it in a small bowl and then add in a surfactant, like dishwashing detergent – just a bit of that – mix it together. And then you cover that bowl with plastic wrap and you put a few holes in it so that the bugs can get in there but they can’t get out of there. And they’ll be attracted to that.

    It ends up being sort of a one-way trap, though. Because once they get in there, they can’t get out.

    MAISY: I love that idea.

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

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

    DEAN: We bought our house about eight months ago. And the radon mitigation system’s working fine. The levels were low when it was tested and there’s no major issue with that. But there’s this annoying, high-frequency noise in our bedroom, directly behind our bed. And there’s a 4-inch ADS pipe that runs from the basement, you know, through the first floor where our bedroom is, up to the second-floor attic and then out through the roof. It’s vented in a witch hat up there, yeah.

    TOM: Where’s the fan located? The physical fan.

    DEAN: Oh, yeah, it’s in the attic.

    TOM: OK. And your bedroom is on the second floor? So the fan is pretty close to you?

    DEAN: So it’s a Cape Cod but the – so the – it goes from the basement.

    TOM: OK.

    DEAN: And then the first floor, actually, is our bedroom. And then it goes – the second floor has the attic. And then it goes through the roof from there.

    TOM: OK. So, obviously, the whine is the fan. Generally, they don’t whine. It might be that the bearings on the fan are starting to wear out and that may be the source of this. I don’t have a good solution for you because getting to the pipe – it’s already, I would imagine, buried in the wall. And unless you have access to all sides of it, it wouldn’t make sense for you to add any soundproofing materials to it. But I would focus in on the fan itself.

    Now, if you go up in the attic, do you still hear that same fan?

    DEAN: Yeah. So, yeah, good point. I went in the attic. I thought the same thing: maybe it was a bearing or something in the – with the fan. I do actually hear the fan. I don’t – I’m not a – I don’t know if you can get quieter fans or whatever or if I’m just hearing airflow. But it’s got to be the fan, right? It’s got to be vibration.

    TOM: I would think it’s the fan.

    DEAN: I know that the noisy plumbing issues with water, it can really be exacerbated by plastic pipe. And sometimes, they can solve that by swapping out plastic pipe with cast iron. I’ve heard of that. I don’t know. Haven’t done it.

    TOM: Plastic pipe or even copper pipe can be noisy. But you wouldn’t want to go through all that trouble if you did have all those walls removed so you had exposure to that. You would simply wrap a soundproofing material around the pipe. But I do think that the source of the problem has got to be the fan, not just a whistling sound of the air. And I would reach out to the radon company that did the installation and see if they could swap out that fan.

    And by the way, is there a pressure gauge on that pipe somewhere so that you can determine that it’s still working properly?

    DEAN: Yeah. There’s a – you can see the pressure differential in the basement.

    TOM: Right. There should be a liquid pressure gauge where you can see the difference in the levels of liquid in the tube.

    DEAN: Yep. Exactly.

    TOM: And that syndicates – it indicates it’s under pressure, yeah.

    1. So I think that’s going to be the solution there, Dean. I think you’re going to have to replace that fan.

    DEAN: OK. Alright. Very good. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’ve got it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Post your question to us, right now, at MoneyPit.com or call us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top rated home pros you can trust for any home project.

    TOM: And if you’re a service pro looking to grow your business and connect with project-ready homeowners, you should also head on over to HomeAdvisor.com and check it out.

    Well, just ahead, home emergencies are enough of a hassle when the weather is warm. But we’re going to share some steps that you ought to be taking now, when it’s still nice outside, to avoid those home headaches when the cold weather finally arrives.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

    LESLIE: You can get matched with background-checked home service pros in your area and 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 a pro you can trust. And if you do call in or post your home improvement question to MoneyPit.com, you’ll get the answer. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a two-pack of the Mr Beams NetBright Spotlights. These are their best sellers. They’re an ideal choice for home security and safety.

    They deliver 140 lumens of bright LED light to light up those dark areas. There’s a – they’re motion-activated. They’ll actually trigger from about 30 feet away and they’ll automatically shut off after about 30 seconds. Totally waterproof. Wireless installation. Takes less than five minutes to put this anywhere outside.

    They sell for $69.99. Going out to one person who calls or posts their question to The Money Pit at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call right now. Make that you, 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jan in Iowa on the line who is dealing with a concrete patio that has some carpeting issues. What’s going on?

    JAN: We purchased our condo, as a retirement home, with a patio – an outdoor patio – with indoor/outdoor carpeting already installed on it. And we think it’s awful. It’s discolored and stained and we want to remove it. We need to know the best way to get it up off the concrete. And then we would like to know what to use as something that could improve the appearance of the concrete. Because we know it’s going to probably have bits of glue and who knows what that’s adhering to it. And it won’t be attractive.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a very time-consuming, messy job to rip up indoor/outdoor carpeting that’s been glued down. So, let’s just assume that that’s the case. And you’ll get off as much as you can but there’ll still be some black, rubber backing and other bits of glue that’s still stuck there. So, it is difficult to decide what to do with that.

    I would tend to think that the best thing to do might be to cover it. And what you could do is you could take a brick paver and basically assemble pavers right on top of the patio. Now, that will raise it by about an inch-and-a-half to 2 inches but it will look beautiful. And you won’t have to worry about any movement in the brick pavers, because you have a solid piece of concrete underneath.

    JAN: Alright. So once the carpet is off, then the brick pavers could be installed over the concrete.

    TOM: Yep. Right on top of the concrete. You can – there’s lots of different styles and colors and they’re all modular. And they fit together like puzzle pieces.

    JAN: We’ll do that.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Richard in Illinois on the line who’s getting some water through the foundation. Tell us what’s going on.

    RICHARD: What it is is over time – I’ve got a ranch house with a walkout basement. And on the walkout, when you come out, there is a retaining wall that is about 8 foot tall where it meets the house. It hasn’t really separated from the house but there is water that gets in between the retaining wall and the foundation and then it gathers right at the bottom, on a heavy rain, and then seeps back into the basement. So, I’m trying to figure out – the previous owner that had this house is – put something in there, like a caulking of some type, that has gotten hard over time and it’s not slowing it down too much.

    TOM: So this is a gravity situation, so let’s give you a gravity solution. Let’s have the drainage work with you and not against you. And by the way, you can seal this until the cows come home and it’s still going to find its way in. What you have to do is stop the water from accumulating.

    So, on the opposite side of this retaining wall, I’m guessing that there’s some runoff that goes towards the wall?

    RICHARD: Yes, there is.

    TOM: So what you’re going to want to do is intercept that runoff so we don’t get as much water that collects in that area. What we want to try to do is limit the amount of water that gets in that area to just direct rainfall with no runoff. That means no gutter discharge, no runoff from higher elevations. So, the way we do that is, first of all, examine the gutter situation and make sure there’s no water dropping at the high side of this where it could work its way down. If there is, you’ve got to run a pipe underground to get it to a place where it’s not going to interfere with leakage into the basement.

    Secondly, in terms of intercepting the runoff, what you could do is install something called a “curtain drain,” Richard. It’s a really – it’s a rather simple drain that you might construct yourself. You dig a trench that’s about 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide, you put some stone in that trench. Then you put a perforated pipe on top of the stone, surround it with more stone, lay a piece of filter cloth across the top and cover it with soil. So when it’s all done, it’s invisible.

    And the end of that drain that you just installed should exit to daylight somewhere, so you need to figure out the best way to do that based on the configuration of your yard. What that will do is it’ll intercept the water that’s coming down from higher elevations. It’ll fall into that trench, come up into the pipe and then run around the house as opposed to collecting in that particular corner. If we can keep the water from collecting in that area, you will probably be just fine, because it’s rare that just direct rainfall accumulates enough water to actually leak in the house. It’s almost always the runoff from gutters and from drainage.

    RICHARD: Right. And needless to say, I’ll probably have to do some – get rid of some landscaping, because it’s got some little, green bushes there along that wall, as well, so …

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s a good point, because sometimes you can make the problem worse by having landscaping that traps water. So just think in terms of water control here, not in terms of trying to seal that water out, and I think you’ll be in good shape.

    Richard, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, temperatures are nice now but in a few months, you’ll want nothing less than to bundle up, head outdoors and deal with a home improvement problem in the dead of winter. So we’ve got a few easy fix-ups you can take on right now that could potentially save you a major repair hassle, starting with leaks.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you know, water-leak emergencies, like pipes that freeze and break, are common when it’s cold out. So now is the time to locate and label those important water valves. We’re talking about the main water valve, your water-heater valve, your outdoor hoses – so you’ve got to know where those turn on and off on the inside – and the ice-maker valves. Now, knowing where they are and what they do spares you some major damage and hassle when the cold weather strikes.

    TOM: Next, you want to make sure your roof is leak-free. Now, after the next big fall rainstorm, we want you to grab a flashlight, head on up in your attic and then inspect those areas around chimneys and where plumbing vent pipes go through the roof. And then grab some binoculars and inspect those same spots from the top. You want to scan, also, for missing shingles and loose flashing that needs to be replaced. Pretty easy, straightforward job to do right now. But in the dead of winter, it is a lot more complicated and dangerous.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And fixing those loose handrails, that can also mean avoiding an emergency this winter. So you want to make sure all of your inside and outside handrails are secure and then repair any loose railings or posts or spindles. And those really need to be extra sturdy when conditions get icy. Because if you start to fall when you’re on a step or something like that, you are going to grab those and you could be moving pretty quickly.

    TOM: And lastly, let’s talk about how to keep that chimney in good shape. Because I’ve got to tell you, in all the years I spent as an inspector, I saw a lot of chimney damage because of this one simple fix. You need to caulk cracks that form in the top of your chimney. It’s called the “chimney crown.” It’s that masonry coating that’s over the top edge of the brick and up into the liner. If you caulk those cracks, what’s going to happen is water won’t seep down there. And if it doesn’t seep down there, it can’t expand, freeze and break. It’ll start tearing apart your chimney one crack at a time.

    So, think about it. These are really simple, easy things you can do right now that can save you a really big hassle later on. So, get to it.

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

    JOHN: Yes, I have a sauna in my basement that I have to transfer over to a shower.

    TOM: OK. You want to convert it to a shower?

    JOHN: Yes. And I’m wondering what I can put on those walls to dress it up. Like some paneling or panels? Or do I have to use tile?

    TOM: OK. Well, first of all, before we talk about what you’re going to put on the walls, how are you going to drain this? Is there a drain below the floor?

    JOHN: Yes. I have a cement floor and there’s a drain right in the middle of the – in that room there. Yes.

    TOM: Now, do you know if that drain is connected to the plumbing system of the house? Or is it just a basic floor drain that perhaps goes outside somewhere?

    JOHN: It is hooked up to the – my sewer system.

    TOM: Alright. Terrific. Well, that’s the hardest part. That’s solved. So now it just becomes sort of a décor question for you. And you say that this was a sauna at some point in time?

    JOHN: Yes.

    TOM: So I guess the sky is the limit here. What do you like? Do you like tile? Do you like solid surfacing materials, like Corian? You have – you can pretty much do anything at this point. You’re going to start with the floor and you’re going to put – you’re definitely going to put tile on the floor, I would think. And replace that drain with a cover that’s built into the tile base. And then from there, you’re going to build it up.

    So, you could do, really, anything you want to do at this point. You could put tile on those walls, you could put solid-surfacing materials on those walls. Or if you want to keep it funky, you could leave them as a wood – you could leave it as wood. I’m presuming it’s probably cedar or some other type of moisture-resistant material.

    JOHN: Well, the walls are that – it’s that clay tile.

    TOM: Oh, the walls are clay tile? So then it has to be covered, yeah. So then the right thing to do here, if it’s just basically sort of a raw surface right now, is you’re going to need to put in a shower pan to start with. And then build up the bathroom from there.

    Now, if you’ve already got walls that are sort of creating this – how big is the space that the sauna was in now?

    JOHN: Eight by eight.

    TOM: OK. Do you want an 8×8 shower? You want it to be pretty much a drive-in shower there? It’s a pretty big shower but do you want it to be that big?

    JOHN: Well, I was going to probably have like 80 percent of it to shower. I wanted to put a double – like a double, two-headed shower or one on the – have a rain shower on top and one coming out the side and then the other …

    TOM: Yeah, like a car wash.

    JOHN: Yeah, exactly. Then the other part just kind of a drying area.

    TOM: So, John, this sauna area, this 8×8 area, this is made of the terracotta clay tile?

    JOHN: Yes.

    TOM: Then I think you can glue ceramic tile right to that with a good-quality tile adhesive, as long as it’s fairly flat. Because the tile is not going to bend. But if it’s a flat surface, you should be able to adhere the tile right to it, since it’s already a water-resistant back and pretty much go up from there.

    Now, the floor, you have to build up a shower pan there so you get good drainage down to the hole in the floor, so to speak. But once you get that established, I think you could adhere ceramic tile right to those terracotta walls and go right from there.

    Now, make sure that you have ventilation in that space, you have an exhaust fan. Of course, do all your plumbing ahead of time and the last thing you’ll do is lay those tile walls in. Does that make sense?

    JOHN: OK. Yes, it does.

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

    LESLIE: Still to come, if the kids have flown the coop and you’re feeling a little blue about your empty nest, we’ve got some ideas to turn that empty space into a place you can really enjoy, when The Money Pit continues.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros. Plus, it’s 100-percent free to use.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Finish those last-minute projects of summer before Labor Day by starting at HomeAdvisor.com

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Anna on the line who needs some help with some door improvement. Tell us what you’re working on.

    ANNA: Hi. Yes, I have one metal door and three fiberglass doors that – I got a guy to paint it. And not knowing – when I got home, he actually painted with a spray-can paint. So when the heat hits the door, I can’t open the door because it’s sticking to the door jamb.

    TOM: Oh, boy. What a mess. What a mess.

    ANNA: How do I repair that?

    TOM: Well, even though he painted it with spray paint, it should still work. I mean it should dry. The fact that it’s spray paint is not making it any more or less tacky than perhaps if you use paint out of a gallon. But the fact that it’s sticking might mean that the door needs a bit of adjustment inside the opening. Are all the doors sticking?

    ANNA: All the doors stick right on the rubber of the door jamb. It’s like a – I think that it’s a shoo-shoo (ph) can paint, not – I’m like, “Well, you sprayed what to the door?”

    TOM: What kind of paint did he use?

    ANNA: I call it a “shoo-shoo (ph).” Regular can paint. He went to the hardware store, got a spray-can paint and sprayed it.

    TOM: Well, look, what you should do now, if you’ve had a bad paint job, is you really have to pull that old paint off. So I would take the doors off of the hinges, lay them down horizontally, use a paint remover to pull off the paint that’s there.

    Once you get it back down to where it was when you started, then I would prime the doors first. And I would use an oil-based primer, because that’s going to give you good adhesion to both the metal and the fiberglass doors. And then I would put a good, top-quality finish coat on that using a semi-gloss paint. Then let them dry really well and then reinstall them.

    ANNA: So is it possible then to – this is on metal and fiberglass – to get a paint remover for this thing?

    TOM: Yes. There’s paint removers – the citrus-based removers are the most effective, so use the citrus-based paint removers, pull off the old paint, prime the doors and then repaint them. You should be good to go. OK, Anna?

    ANNA: Thank you so very much again.

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

    Well, whether it’s the day you’ve been dreaming of or the one you’ve always dreaded, fall brings lots of empty nests for adults that are sending kids off to college. And this year, my wife and I, sadly, are among them, sending our third and youngest child off to school. It’s going to be quite different around here and we’re also going to need a lot less food, I’ll tell you that.

    LESLIE: You’re going to need a lot less food, except you guys are going to start entertaining a lot more. I have a feeling.

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. Less laundry, less food. And those are good things. And more …

    LESLIE: That is true.

    Alright, you guys. But maybe you’re on the opposite end of that timeline and you’re still growing into your new family home. Either way, you’ve got some unused space in your house that you’d like to take better advantage of.

    TOM: Well, unused bedrooms are a good place to start. They make great home offices or craft rooms or even home gyms. And you can add a bed or a pullout sofa in that same space and that can handle the occasional overnight guest. And if the kids return home, converting those rooms back to bedrooms is not a very difficult thing, either.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But if your kids have maybe left your nest for good, you can go ahead and really get creative with those spaces. Maybe a home spa. That’s not only going to add luxury but all of those bathroom upgrades really do deliver a great return on investment. You can mimic your favorite hotel spa or bathroom with soothing colors, great linens, maybe an amazing light fixture, fancy towels, all those wonderful things that I dream of if I ever get my own bathroom. Please.

    TOM: Well, the other thing you can do is you can give the grown kids a good reason to come visit, with a game room or a man cave or new space for the big-screen TV, air-hockey game, whatever, a pool table, you know. There are smaller versions available if you’re short on space on space, as well. But take advantage of all that newly found space. There’s lots of creative ways you can put that to good use.

    LESLIE: Joyce in Missouri is on the line with a grout question. What can we do for you?

    JOYCE: Hi. I have ceramic tile that I have had down for a few years. And I have – the grout is a charcoal color with a black-and-green tile. And the charcoal has dulled over the years and looking almost chalky. What can I do? Do I have to pull all that grout out and regrout it? Do I need to paint it or what can I do to give it new look of life?

    TOM: Well, the grout is pretty easy to replace. There are special tools called “grout saws” that you can use to carve out the grout and then put new grout over sort of where the old grout was. You don’t have to get it all out but you’ve got to go down at least an 1/8-inch or so. And so, if your real concern is the grout and the condition of the grout, I think that’s the easiest way to deal with that.

    JOYCE: OK. So that’d be – the best way to make it look fresh and new again is just take the top layer off at least an 1/8-inch and just regrout it?

    TOM: Yeah. Make it look fresh and new by putting in fresh and new grout.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And then make sure you seal it.

    TOM: Right. Yeah, that’s key. You want to seal it first.

    LESLIE: Otherwise, it’s not going to look fresh and new for so long.

    JOYCE: Seal it after I put new grout in and let it dry? Then seal it and then we’re good to go?

    TOM: Right, exactly.

    JOYCE: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: Hey, we want to take a moment now to speak directly to the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I live along the coast of New Jersey and Leslie lives not too far north of that and we were both in the midst of the worst damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. We saw firsthand the devastation that floodwaters brought to our communities and we can imagine what you are feeling right now.

    But Texas does everything big and that’s going to include a big recovery. Know that there are people pulling for you and praying for you all over this nation. You are in our hearts and you’re in our minds and may God bless you and the great state of Texas.

    LESLIE: Well, when it comes to shopping for eco-friendly floors, the key is knowing how the floors are made. We’ll tell you what you need to look for, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And what are you working on this beautiful fall Labor Day weekend? You have a project planned? I’ll tell you what I’m thinking about doing. I am ready to empty out the garage 100 percent. We’re going to take everything out of there, for two reasons. First of all, it gives you a chance to throw out all the crap you really don’t need and secondly, I want to redo the floor. I want to put a nice, beautiful epoxy coating on that floor: one that’s easy to sweep, one that’s going to stand up when the salt sort of falls off the car in the winter. And then we’ll put everything back and hopefully, we’ll have half as much stuff.

    So that’s sort of my plan. We’ve got to get it done in the fall when the weather is pleasant enough to do all of that stuff.

    LESLIE: You know, I just did that and it really is such a satisfying project and if – you’re now the only one in your garage. I have little kids who like to just knock everything over and make it look terrible again. But it really is so satisfying when you clean out your garage space and you can see where things go and maybe actually fit your car in there one more time. I mean it truly is a great project.

    TOM: Absolutely. Hey, give us a call right now. We’d love to talk about your project. If you do, we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. We’ve got a two-pack of the Mr Beams NetBright Spotlights. They are best sellers. Ideal choice for home safety and security. They are battery powered, last about a year and you pretty much put them anywhere outdoors that you need.

    They’re worth 69.99. Check them out at MrBeams.com. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to Tennessee where Jean has a stucco question. What’s going on? How can we help you?

    JEAN: Well, the house was built in 1914. And the outside exterior walls are covered with stucco that has the kind of swirly bumps where they throw the trowels on it. And it looks like it’s in good condition, so I was thinking we could probably just spray it a nice color. It’s still kind of golden like it used to be. But wherever the branches of the shrubs went against it, it’s kind of yucky and gray-looking.

    But I know that when we painted our patio slab, we had to do some treatment to it before we could paint it. Does stucco need some preconditioning besides just hosing it off with soap and water?

    TOM: Well, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that there’s no algae attached to it. And so I would probably do a very light pressure-washing and cleaning of the outside of the house and let it dry for a good couple of days in warm weather. And then I would prime it with an oil-based primer and then I would use a good-quality, exterior topcoat paint over that.

    You can’t cut any corners here; you can’t take any shortcuts. But if you do it once and you do it right, it’s going to last you a long time, because that siding is not organic. You may find very well that paint can last you 10 to 12 years, as opposed to maybe 5 to 8 if it was wood.

    JEAN: Alright. Well, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if you like to save energy or not waste water, you’re probably an environmentally-responsible shopper. But when it comes to shopping for flooring, knowing how those floors are made is key to really knowing if it’s an eco-friendly choice. Here’s what you need to look for, presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: Now, first, there are two types of floors that are generally considered to be the most eco-friendly. First, there’s cork. And it’s a good choice for a number of reasons: it’s sustainable, it’s beautiful, it lasts a long time and it’s quiet. Now, the cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is stripped every nine years and then grows back. So it really inflicts no damage upon the living tree. Pest controls or fertilizers are rarely used in the farming of these cork trees and the waste cork can also be frequently recycled.

    LESLIE: Yeah, now, the other option that’s really eco-friendly is bamboo. Bamboo floors are manufactured from a bamboo plant, which really is a type of grass and it makes them super sustainable. Bamboo grows at a really much faster rate than trees do and it can reach maturity in as little as five years, which is why bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly flooring products available. But the other big advantage of bamboo is that it’s really, really hard. It is sturdy. Now, strand bamboo is actually about twice as hard as red oak, which is why bamboo flooring is both sustainable and a truly durable flooring choice.

    TOM: And today’s Flooring Tip is presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find Morning Star Bamboo Flooring. Morning Star is a naturally beautiful and ecologically-friendly product that evokes a feeling of luxury. It’s available in smooth or distressed textures and in a wide variety of colors including new, fashion-forward Crushed Indigo. Morning Star Bamboo Flooring is a perfect complement to any room design. It’s available at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.

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

    BRIAN: Last summer, I repainted the exterior of my house and I used quite a few nails to kind of shore up some different things. I also fixed a window. And after I repainted, I used galvanized nails. But this year, I already have a lot of bleeding of rust from the nails coming through. So I also did some caulking between the pieces of wood and that seems to be peeling out already. So I was just wondering if there was something that I could go over the heads of the nails with: something quick, something that I didn’t have to redo the whole side of the house.

    TOM: When you did the side of the house last summer, did you prime it or did you just put the paint over the old paint?

    BRIAN: I put lots of primer.

    TOM: Lots of primer?

    BRIAN: Yeah.

    TOM: What kind of primer? Like a – was it a latex primer? Oil primer? What was it?

    BRIAN: Gosh, I don’t know that. I didn’t buy the paint but we put a …

    TOM: But you did prime. You primed over those nail heads?

    BRIAN: Yes, we did. Yes.

    TOM: And it’s coming through. Because, generally – well, you say you used galvanized, so that’s good. Was this cedar siding?

    BRIAN: No. It’s just conventional (inaudible).

    TOM: Standard. Well, unfortunately, it seems like the nails – the galvanized coating on the nails – didn’t really stand up very well. But generally, the advice is this: when you finish nailing off that, you need to spot-prime those nail heads. But if you’re telling me you’ve already spot-primed them and the stain’s coming right through, then I’m not really sure that we have any other suggestions for you.

    There are differences in the quality of primers. I would always recommend an oil-based primer over a latex primer when I have a stain issue to deal with, because it tends to seal it in better. So, that’s the only additional thing you might want to try is to sand those down to the heads and then touch them up with an oil-based primer and paint them again.

    BRIAN: Alright. Well, I guess that answered my question.

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

    LESLIE: Up next, could your house use a little more shine? Get in on the design trend that’s making a comeback: lacquer. We’re going to tell you how it is, how you achieve it, all after this.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.

    LESLIE: Hey, guys, have you ever wondered if all the chemicals and cleaning supplies are safe for your family? Well, it turns out you may already have everything you need for a clean, healthy house right in your kitchen cabinets. We’ve got some DIY recipes for natural cleaning products using ingredients safe enough to eat. Head on over to MoneyPit.com and you can find all the recipes and how to use them there.

    TOM: Well, love it or hate it, the 80s are back. And whether you’re wearing acid-washed denim or not, the most stylish place to keep your clothes is in a lacquer dresser or chest of drawers. And the sheen doesn’t have to stop there. Leslie has got tips on adding high gloss for high style, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you know, lacquer furnishings, when we think about it, we truly go back to the 80s and we’re thinking of those rounded corners and super-shiny white or off-white pieces with gold and glass. I mean it doesn’t have to look like that. It really creates just a super-shiny, gorgeous, glossy finish. And today, lacquer is being used in some really unconventional colors and in some really interesting places that makes it feel fresh, makes it feel modern and it’s adorable and gorgeous. It’s not very easily achievable on your own. You really do need to think about proper prep and that means a lot of sanding and sealing.

    Now, before you apply the lacquer, you really have to clean whatever surface you are working on with a tack cloth. An aerosol-spray lacquer is really going to give you the best finish, because any time you try to apply something with a brush, it’s just not going to look the same. You’re going to end up with some brush marks. It’s just not going to appear as smooth and fluid as a spray would. So you want to make sure when you’re using the spray-aerosol lacquer you protect your work area with drop cloths, newspapers. And you’ve got to work in a well-ventilated space.

    Now, you’re going to want to apply the lacquer slowly and evenly, so you’ve got to hold that spray can about 18 inches from the surface of the project. Any further away than that and that lacquer can get that orange-peel or that dimpled appearance, which isn’t what you want. If you go any closer, you’re going to get areas of layering and buildup and runny spots. It’s not going to look good. So you’ve got to test some areas, maybe on the back or some part that you’re not going to see on the furniture, so you can really get your technique down. And then go forward on the front.

    So, as you work, you want to overlap your lacquer-spray pattern slightly. You want to spray thin coats, because that’s going to give you that high-glossy look as opposed to a couple of really heavy coats. Follow those instructions and really let the lacquer dry completely between coats.

    Now, you can use lacquer on most woods but you can’t use it on mahogany or rosewood. Because those woods have a lot of oil in it and that’s just going to bleed through the finish. And you also can’t use it over certain finishes. So if there’s an oil-based stain or a wood filler, it’s not going to stick to that, as well.

    Now, I really like to use lacquer on stairway railings at home, because it’s super shiny and it’s gorgeous and it’s easy to clean. And I pick an interesting color. A really cute-shaped side table, little fun chairs, stuff like that is where you can really put a pop of that lacquer in in a really great color and they’re super shiny. I’ve even seen people use lacquer paint on ceilings in certain rooms and it’s the same color as trim. Oh, my gosh, it’s gorgeous.

    Don’t be afraid. Be a little brave. It truly is a modern look once more, lacquer.

    TOM: Fantastic step-by-step advice. Thank you so much, Leslie.

    Hey, coming up next time on the program, here’s a décor challenge. Have you ever had to replace a cracked tile on a wall or a floor? The hardest part is finding a tile that matches, especially if it’s an older tile surface that you’re trying to fix up. Well, we’re going to have some tips to help make those tiles magically reappear, on the next addition of The Money Pit.

    Happy Labor Day. 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 2017 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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