Easy Leaf Cleanup Tips
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Easy Leaf Cleanup Tips #1009171

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  • 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: And we are thrilled you’re here with us today, because it’s our job to help you take on those projects around your house that you need to get done. It is officially fall fix-up season and we’re going to give you the fall fix-up hotline, which is 888-MONEY-PIT. If you call us, we will give you the answer to your home improvement question or you can also post it to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.

    Coming up on today’s show, fall is here. And with all those leaves falling from the tree, do you burn them or do you bag them? What is the best way to get rid of those leaves? We’re going to have some options, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, can a tree really help you save energy? Well, Roger Cook from This Old House says it can and he’s stopping by to explain why.

    TOM: And we’re also going to talk about wood floors. You know, there’s nothing that emits a warm, more natural feeling than wood. But there is one thing that wood floors just won’t work for and that’s a wet location. We’re going to share what will work and still looking amazingly like wood, just ahead.

    LESLIE: Plus, if you call in your question now to 888-MONEY-PIT or post it to The Money Pit’s Community page, we’re going to toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat for the Mr Beams Home Safety and Security Lighting Bundle. And that’ll surely help brighten your day.

    TOM: Yep. It includes the Security Light, the UltraBright Ceiling Light and the very cool MB360XT LED Spotlight. It is a package worth …

    LESLIE: It’s a serious name.

    TOM: That is a serious name for a serious light.

    The package is worth 110 bucks. It’s going to go out to one person that calls or posts their home improvement question. So, let’s get started. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT. The website is MoneyPit.com.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Susan in Texas has some concrete that’s cracking up. Tell us what’s going on.

    SUSAN: Yes, I have a curb out front of a 1955-year-old home.

    TOM: OK.

    SUSAN: And the curb is cracking in spots and going down in a slant. And I didn’t know what do I need to do to repair that.

    TOM: And this is your responsibility and not the township’s?

    SUSAN: Yes. I’ve called several times and everyone says it’s my responsibility to fix it. I just – they say when you sell your home – the curb appeal? And I have a curb that’s messed up.

    TOM: Yeah. The curb appeal has got to start at the curb and you keep calling and getting the same answer. So I guess you’re kind of stuck with it.

    SUSAN: Right.

    TOM: Well, listen, there’s a couple of things that come to mind. First of all, when you say it’s slanted and sloped, if it’s settling then it’s going to have to be torn out. If it’s just cracked, there’s a lot of ways to fix the cracks. QUIKRETE has a number of good products that are designed exactly for that. There is a crack seal, there’s a crack-repair product that’s kind of like caulk. There’s also a resurfacing product. So if it’s spalled or deteriorated, you can resurface it and it will stick to the old concrete and come out looking quite nice. So there certainly are products to make what you have look better and work better.

    But if the whole curb is structurally sinking because sometimes water gets under it and that kind of stuff, then that’s the case where you’d have to tear it out and have a mason build you a new one.

    SUSAN: OK, OK. But that QUIKRETE is pretty easy to do?

    TOM: Absolutely, yes. Take a look at QUIKRETE.com. They have lots of great videos there. They’ll walk you through exactly what you need to do. Just search for “crack repair.” You’ll see there’s many options, depending on the thickness of the crack and what you need to achieve, OK?

    SUSAN: That is wonderful. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Jack from Michigan is on the line with some gurgling sounds coming from the toilet and the sink. What is going on?

    JACK: We have a sump pump downstairs in the basement. And when we run the washing machine or when the water softener regenerates and runs the sump pump, I have a gurgling noise that comes up and comes up through the kitchen sink and then usually the bathroom – the upstairs bathroom – toilet.

    TOM: I bet you want to know what’s causing that.

    JACK: I would love to.

    TOM: It’s a lack of venting – a lack of proper venting.

    JACK: OK.

    TOM: So, when the washer is discharging or the sump pump is discharging and all of that water is draining out of those pipes, it’s basically causing a pressure that wants to pull the rest of the water out of the trap, which is – there’s a trap in the toilet, there’s a trap in the kitchen sink.

    JACK: OK. Yep.

    TOM: And as it does that, that’s when you get that kind of gulp-gulp-gulp sound, because it’s just gasping for air as that happens.

    JACK: Yep.

    TOM: Now, if you drive down the average neighborhood and you see pipes that come up through the roof – plumbing pipes – those are vent pipes.

    JACK: Yes, we have one of those.

    TOM: And they let air into the plumbing system. OK. So you have one of those but for some reason it’s not hooked up correctly, because you’re not getting enough air into the bathroom or the kitchen.

    JACK: Yes. OK. OK.

    TOM: Now, let’s – leaving the bathroom aside for now, in terms of the kitchen, there is an under-cabinet vent that you could put in that would supplement the house venting, that will only let air in and not let sewage gas out.

    JACK: OK.

    TOM: So there’s one possible repair there.

    For the bathroom, you really need to figure out why it’s not venting properly. It could be that that vent is obstructed. And that has happened and it could be something as simple as a nest that got in there. But for some reason, those vents are obstructed or they’re not hooked up right and that’s why you’re getting that plumbing system gasping for air.

    JACK: So would I have to have maybe a plumber come over and drop maybe a camera down the vent tube, just to check it?

    TOM: Yeah. Or just a bright – I mean just a really bright flashlight, you know? Like a MAGLITE or a Streamlight.

    JACK: OK.

    TOM: And you could look right down there. And sometimes, you can see the obstruction but you’ve got to kind of track it down and figure out what’s going on.

    JACK: I also have issues that when we flush the toilet, it doesn’t seem – the back of the tank, the bowl fills up with water but there doesn’t seem to be a good water level in the toilet itself. Is that all part of the problem?

    TOM: Potentially, yes. Potentially, that could – it could be causing that issue, as well.

    JACK: OK. So that could be related to the vent?

    TOM: Yep. Exactly. Yep, it’s definitely a venting issue. You’ve just got to get to the bottom of it, Jack.

    JACK: So, just got to determine where the problem is in the vent.

    TOM: Where and how and – right, get it addressed. Get some more air in there. Yep.

    JACK: And in one vent – one outside vent is usually enough if it’s operating properly?

    TOM: Yeah. Well, sure, one main vent is typically what you would have. How many bathrooms you have in this house?

    JACK: Just the one.

    TOM: Yeah, well, that’s all you’re going to have is one vent. Yeah.

    JACK: OK. I think that narrows it down, then.

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

    JACK: Thank you very much.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Call in your question now to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

    TOM: HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros that you can trust for any home project. And if you’re a service pro looking to grow your business and connect with project-ready homeowners, you should also check out HomeAdvisor.com.

    LESLIE: Well, fall is upon us but for all those leaves falling from the trees, what’s the best way to get rid of them? We’re going to have the answer, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

    LESLIE: And hey, here’s another great reason to reach out to us by phone or even on our Community page, because we are giving away a great prize. We’ve got up for grabs the Mr Beams Home Safety and Security Lighting Bundle. Now, that includes a Security Light, an UltraBright Ceiling Light and the very cool – with a very cool and serious name, the MB360XT LED Spotlight. It is amazingly powerful and super-duper-duper easy to use. It’s a package worth 110 bucks.

    TOM: Yep. That spotlight has 200 lumens of motion-activated light and that’s a lot. And the best part of this is that it’s battery-powered, so one set of batteries can last for about a year. And that’s with 8 to 10 activations a day, so that’s some serious light.

    It’s available at MrBeams.com. And I’ve got to tell you, we’ve got Mr Beams lights outside our house and also inside our house. And because of them, we can actually see what we’re doing now, especially in the closets when we’re trying to get dressed in the morning. It’s awesome.

    MrBeams.com. Check them out. These are really cool products.

    LESLIE: Saving Tom from fashion disasters every day.

    TOM: Absolutely. And we’d like to check out what’s going on with your money pit. If you’ve got a question about a project that you’re doing, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Lynette in Louisiana is on the line with a warped-floor situation at her house.

    How can we help you today, Lynette?

    LYNETTE: My home that I live in was built in 1940 and it is on concrete piers.

    TOM: OK.

    LYNETTE: There’s a differential crawlspace underneath the house, as little as 6 inches on the east side to approximately 2 feet on the west side.

    TOM: OK.

    LYNETTE: And recently, I had a pest-control professional do a wood inspection and determined, fortunately, that there were no termites. But in walking through my home, he noticed that my floors, which are laminate-covered, were warped and very soft in various areas throughout the house, which I’ve experienced – continuing to deteriorate in that fashion over the last three to four years.

    He indicated, through his inspections, that he looked at the – underneath the house and noticed that there was wood rot and possible mold occurring. And I’m calling to see what can I do to rectify that and does that mean that I need to literally tear out the floor to remedy the situation?

    TOM: Probably not. But did he prescribe – like did he give you an estimate for fixing it? Because sometimes these guys will do that: they’ll find a problem and say, “I’m just the guy to fix it for you.” Did he give you a number?

    LYNETTE: No, sir. He simply came out to give me a state form for this wood inspection that’s necessary for a VA loan.

    TOM: OK. So he sounds like he might be a decent guy, then.

    So the next thing you want to do is try to get a sense as to how much decay, if any, is down there. And I think – I mean for that, what I would tell you to do is to contact a professional home inspector. Home inspectors don’t work for a contractor; they work for you. And they only represent the information, so they don’t have any conflict of interest in trying to identify – or make a problem sound like it’s bigger than it really is.

    Sure, it’s not going to be unusual for a house in your part of the country to have some decay or some potential mold growing on it. But I want to get a sense as to how bad that is. Are the floor joists completely rotten? Is the subfloor rotten? How much mold are we talking about? If you’ve got a couple of feet on one end, then you can probably get pretty far into that. And then with a high-powered flashlight, you can work your way down as far as the eye can see. If it turned out that you had to do work on it, typically what you would do in that case is you would trench that area where the grade goes up to, as you say, 6 inches so that you can actually kind of go back and forth and work on that space.

    Once we know exactly what’s going on, then we can talk about treatment options. And so, if there is actual decay and the decay is bad enough to warrant some structural repairs, then that would be done from the crawlspace. In terms of the floor itself, if that subfloor was really badly rotted, you would have to take that apart from the top. But if it’s not really that rotted and maybe you’ve just got a decayed joist or two, you may be able to make that repair from the bottom. Worst case scenario is you tear out all your floors but I think that’s really extreme. And I wouldn’t even think about that until I had a lot more information.

    Now, the lumber can also be sprayed and treated to stop any decay or mold growth that’s going on right now. And then you could also – when you’re all done figuring out what caused this and what you’re dealing with, you want to make sure you get better ventilation in that crawlspace so that you don’t have this problem reoccur. Now, if you can’t get natural ventilation, you could use fans that are hooked up to humidifier switches – or humidistats, I should say. And they’ll come on whenever the humidity gets high and it’ll pull drier air through the house – through that crawlspace – to keep it from decaying any further.

    So you’ve got a few steps in front of you, Lynette, but I would start by getting a good, independent home inspector to take a look at it. You can go to HomeInspector.org – that’s the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors – and start there. You are looking for an ASHI-certified member. That’s A-S-H-I – American Society of Home Inspectors. An ASHI-certified member. And they’ll give you some good advice and help you take the next step, OK?

    LYNETTE: Fantastic. Thank you so very much. I appreciate the information.

    LESLIE: Well, fall is upon us and with all those leaves falling from the trees, have you ever noticed that many people like to burn the leaves?

    Now, burning them really isn’t necessarily the best idea, as flames can spread and they can spread easily. Plus, then you’re giving up all the nutrients that are in those leaves that you could use to help feed your yard.

    Now, a much safer option is to toss all of those leaves into a compost bin to nurture the flowers and all your veggie gardens that you’ll have come springtime. So if your lawn mower is suited for mulching, go ahead and you can run it right over the leaves. Then all those chopped-up pieces you can use to feed the grass as it remains dormant through the winter months. There’s so much you can do with the leaves just outside of burning them.

    TOM: Now, if your town offers a leaf pickup, you might be able to just rake them to the curb. I’ve got a trick of the trade for that and I’m sure I’m not the first guy to have thought of this but it works really well. What I do for my house is I lay out a tarp – like one of those blue tarps – on the grass and then I rake the leaves onto the tarp. I can put a massive pile of leaves up on that tarp and then I just drag the tarp over to the curb and then kind of dump it right there.

    So it’s a really quick and efficient way of moving a lot of leaves off of the yard and into the curb. A lot more than it would take, say, if you had to put them all in a wheelbarrow and take them over one trip at a time. I must have five, six, seven wheelbarrows’ worth on that tarp by the time I drag it over there. And if I’ve got a helper, I could put even more.

    LESLIE: And the good news is if it’s windy, you can use that tarp to kind of keep everything contained if you fold it over.

    TOM: That’s right.

    LESLIE: I’ve seen so many times you get a light wind and all of a sudden, all the leaves you’ve piled up are back at it again. So, it’s really helpful.

    TOM: Checking wind direction is a critical step when you’re raking leaves, right?

    LESLIE: That’s true.

    TOM: Because you don’t want to be raking them into the wind. You might as well just put the rake down and pick it up another day.

    LESLIE: That is true.

    Now we’ve got Rob in Maryland on the line with a building with a dirt floor and he needs some help with it. How can we help you?

    ROB: Yeah. Hi. I have an 18-foot-diameter round space outside. It’s a little hut and I have a dirt floor. And just want to see if there’s some type of concrete that I can just pour down there or pour on it and it’ll just find its own level.

    TOM: Well, concrete, to some extent, finds its own level. You have access to this space, right? Is there any reason you can’t float it out?

    ROB: Yeah. It’s easy to do.

    TOM: Yeah. So then what you’re going to want to do is a couple of things. First of all – this is an unheated space?

    ROB: Correct.

    TOM: Alright. So what you want to do is you would want to make sure that the dirt is solidly tamped down, right? And then you’re going to add concrete to that, to a thickness of at least 4 inches but maybe even 6. And then float the concrete.

    It takes a little skill. You’re going to have to do some research on how to do this. But essentially, when the concrete comes off the truck, there’s stone that’s embedded in it. And as you spread it out with a shovel and a rake, you sort of float it. You shake it with a float – a trowel. It’s like a big trowel. And then the stones sink to the bottom of the concrete and sort of the cream comes to the top and that’s what gives you that nice finish. And you’ll sort of work the concrete smooth and then work your way out the door. So I think it’s as simple as putting in a concrete slab floor.

    ROB: Is there anything like a dust cover?

    TOM: Yeah. You can – there’s plastic dust covers and things like that. But you want a floor that you could actually use, so the concrete is the best way to go.

    ROB: OK. Alright.

    TOM: You could probably do something with brick pavers. But it’d be a lot of work because you’d have to cut all those round edges.

    ROB: Alright. Well, thanks a lot.

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

    LESLIE: Cindy in Illinois is on the line with a basement question. What’s going on?

    CINDY: I lived in my home for over 40 years and had no trouble with water in the basement. And then, about 3 years ago, we had a terrible drought here and it seems like ever since then, if we get a hard rain, I end up with water coming up through the floor of the basement.

    TOM: So, the reason you’re getting water that comes up through the floor of the basement in a hard rain is because there’s some defect in your drainage conditions outside the house. So, you need to start by looking at the roof and making sure your gutter system is clean and making sure the downspouts are extended away from the house. It should be out 3 or 4 feet.

    If that’s all in good shape, then I would take a look at the angle of the dirt around the house, the grade. If it’s really flat or if there’s an area where it’s tilting in or you’re getting neighboring water from runoff from a different lot or something of that nature, you’ve got to regrade to keep the water away from the house.

    The only way it’s getting down there is it’s coming from the top and pushing under. It’s not a rising water table, because that takes months to happen. If it’s reactive to the rain, then it’s a problem with drainage, Cindy. So you need to look carefully in that area and I’m certain you’ll find the cause of it and be able to stop it.

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

    LESLIE: Hey, you know, you hear about planting trees being helpful for saving energy but does it really? And how much energy are you saving? Well, Roger Cook from This Old House says it can and he’s going to tell us why, in just a bit.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House Tip on The Money Pit is presented by Lumber Liquidators, with over 400 varieties of bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less.

    KEVIN: I’m Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. When I’m not working on old houses, I’m making sure my house doesn’t turn into a money pit, with help from Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    Hey, whether you are buying, selling or just enjoying your home, we are here for you every step of the way. Just call in your home improvement or your décor question now to 1-888-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: Alright. Let’s get right down to home improvement business with a quick tip here that we discovered about your dishwasher. Did you know that dishwashers can flush out bits of food during regular cycles? But hard-water minerals and grease can settle on the spray arms and all those internal parts that you really just can’t see. And that’s why it really is a good idea to use a dishwasher cleaner between cycles. Because hey, nobody likes washing dishes by hand. And once you have a dishwasher, you never want to go back to washing dishes by hand.

    TOM: Yeah. And you know what? It gets really grungy inside that machine. And if you use a dishwasher cleaner, it just cleans it up so easily. It dissolves all of that gunk and it makes your dishwasher work better. And your dishes will actually come out cleaner as a result.

    LESLIE: James in Ohio is on the line with a heating question. What can we do for you today?

    JAMES: Yeah, hi. I was calling in – I have an older home built in 1968. And I was wondering if it’d be easier to install an electric furnace, instead of having the baseboard heat, or possibly getting a – one of the outdoor units that mount high on your wall.

    TOM: Do you have natural gas or propane or oil in your area?

    JAMES: Maybe natural gas?

    TOM: Yeah, that would be the way to go. If you’re going through the trouble of putting a furnace in, I would definitely not put in an electric furnace because that is the most expensive way to provide heat to your house. I would suggest a high-efficiency, natural-gas furnace. The installation expense is going to be similar if you’re putting a new furnace in but the ongoing cost to run it will be a lot lower.

    JAMES: Will I incur more cost because – for the ductwork? Because I have plaster walls instead of drywall.

    TOM: Well, if you’re going to put an electric furnace in, you’re going to have to do the ductwork anyway. So, the ductwork is there whether or not you use an electric furnace or a gas furnace. And it really depends on how creative your HVAC contractor is but that’s a fixed cost. If you’re going through the trouble of ducting out your house, which is going to add to its value, I definitely would recommend gas.

    And typically, the gas companies don’t charge to bring gas up to your house, so they’ll bring the line up and put a meter in because now you’re going to be their customer forever and they’re very happy about that.

    JAMES: OK. Well, I thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, green home improvement projects that save money and make your home more comfortable are among the most popular improvements to make these days. But there’s one kind of energy-efficient home improvement that is green in more ways than one.

    TOM: That’s right. Planting trees of the right size and shape, in the right places, can deliver energy savings for many, many years. Here to help us plan that project is Roger Cook, the lawn-and-garden expert for TV’s This Old House and a guy who’s planted a lot of trees in his career, huh?

    ROGER: Yeah. And Tom, it’s pretty exciting to know that the Department of Energy has done studies that show you can save up to 25 percent by strategically planting trees.

    TOM: That’s amazing. I mean I don’t think that people realize how successful this can be as a way to save energy. We think about insulating and caulking and things like that but just getting these trees right makes a whole lot of sense.

    So, what are the considerations that you have to ask yourself, to help yourself start saving some energy?

    ROGER: Well, before, if you even think of trees, if you’re building a new house, consider how you’re going to space the house. You want the living areas with the kitchen to get sunlight all day long so they take in that radiant heat.

    TOM: OK. So the orientation of the building is the critical first step, if you have that opportunity. But what if you don’t?

    ROGER: Well, then you start thinking about heating and cooling.

    Now, if you want to cool the house in the summer, you’re going to plant some deciduous trees on that corner of the house, usually the south or east side of the house. And that’ll block the rays of the sun from hitting the roof and the window.

    LESLIE: And a deciduous tree is like an evergreen, sort of dense? Describe that a little bit more.

    ROGER: Deciduous trees are the ones that drop their leaves, because that’s going to be great for you. The rest of the season, during the fall and winter, the radiant heat, the sun’s light will be able to get through the tree and heat your house when you need it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. OK.

    ROGER: On the north side of the house, we would plant an evergreen tree or a row of evergreen trees. And you see these in farms all the time, especially in the Midwest. That’s to protect …

    LESLIE: Oh, like a wind block, almost.

    ROGER: Exactly. To protect those cold, winter winds from coming in and buffeting the house, no matter …

    TOM: Those farmers are pretty smart, huh?

    ROGER: Yeah, they’re a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They’ve been doing it a long time, too.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    ROGER: You think about those cold, winter winds coming in and hitting your house. No matter how tight we seal it, there’s always cracks and that’s going to blow that cold air into the house.

    TOM: Now, Roger, what if we’re in a neighborhood where we just can’t bring in a whole bunch of brand-new trees? Can we get some minor benefit by only shading parts of the house?

    ROGER: You can. If you have air-conditioner units and you can shade those, they will operate more efficiently. Two ways to shade them. Sometimes we’ll put up a solid fence, which will protect them, or even a row of shrubs to keep the sun from beating on them when they’re operating.

    LESLIE: Makes it a lot more attractive, as well. You’re not looking at that condensing unit.

    ROGER: Yeah.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    Now, Roger, we get a fair number of calls for folks asking for help when trees get actually too close to the house and impact walkways or foundations. How far should we keep the trees away to get the benefit of that strategic shade but not actually be too close?

    ROGER: I would say a minimum is 20 to 25 feet from the house.

    TOM: Got it.

    ROGER: That gives room for the tree to grow but also for the house to breathe.

    TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: Thank you. I had a great time.

    TOM: And to see a great video on how to plant trees and save energy, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    LESLIE: And you can watch Roger and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    Just ahead, there’s nothing that emits a warm, more natural feeling than wood floors. But there is one thing that wood floors just won’t work well for and that’s wet locations. We’re going to share what does work, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

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    It’s online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: And for the answer to the home improvement project question that you’ll obviously be doing when you win all of those tools, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, flooring is a huge part of your home and we all know that wood floors really help to create a warm and natural feeling in your home. It works good in any décor and it just feels so nice under your feet. But there’s one thing that wood just isn’t good for and that’s damp or downright wet locations in your house.

    Fortunately, there are lots of options in flooring that look as good as wood but will stand up to those kinds of environments. We’re going to have those highlights in today’s Flooring Tip, presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: Now, first, let’s talk about hardwood floor. I mean I love hardwood floors. They are great for most living locations, like living rooms and dining rooms and halls and bedrooms. But for places like kitchens and bathrooms and mud rooms and basements, there are lots of other flooring materials to choose from that can stand up to those damp and moist environments but look just like the hardwood that you love so much.

    The first is water-resistant laminate. Now, laminate is always a good choice. The technology behind laminate can really deliver a plank that looks good and even feels a lot like beautiful wood floors. Plus, one type of laminate floor is also highly water-resistant and it’s simply called “water-resistant laminate.” And it can stand up to those damp spaces. Plus, it’s really durable and scratch-resistant, which makes it ideal for kids and pets and high-traffic areas.

    Then best of all, that laminate comes in authentic hardwood designs and even textures that make it look and feel like real hardwood floors.

    LESLIE: Now, another great option, especially for those damp spaces, is engineered vinyl-plank flooring. It’s a new waterproof product that’s on the market and it can deliver the look of real hardwood without that risk of water damage.

    Now, the nice thing about EVP is that it’s totally and completely waterproof. So it can stay wet for an extended period of time, so wet-mopping, bathroom splashes, pet accidents, trekking in all of that snow and wet from the outside is not going to damage the floor.

    Another way to achieve a wood look in a wet environment is with a ceramic tile that looks like a plank. Now, ceramic plank is similar to a wood-look tile but it costs less and it’s a lot easier to install. These planks are simply going to click together and you can float them over most floors. Unlike wood-look tile, ceramic plank won’t require grout or mortar, so you don’t have to wait a long time after you install it for that floor to set. You can really get back to using your room, putting the furniture right back in place, which is really – the best part about a flooring project is getting to put the stuff back in. And with ceramic tile, you usually have to wait a while. But with ceramic planks, you don’t.

    The ceramic planks are waterproof, extremely durable. They’re resistant to warping and fading and they come in ultra-realistic wood designs.

    TOM: And that’s today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find the new Felsen Click Ceramic Composite Plank Flooring. Felsen CCP is ideal for any room in your home, including bathrooms, kitchens, basements and sunrooms. It’s also easy to install and a great option for upgrading your floors with a truly durable and waterproof option.

    You’ll find the new Felsen Click Ceramic Composite Plank Flooring at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.

    LESLIE: Wade in South Dakota is on the line and has a question about siding. How can we help you?

    WADE: Hi. We had a big hailstorm come through and it took out a bunch of our siding – our steel siding. And I’m kind of fighting with the insurance company to find an exact match. My question, I guess, is – the house is close to 20 years old. What are the chances that the siding that they pick is going to match up with the color?

    TOM: Between little and none.

    WADE: That’s kind of what I figured.

    TOM: And listen, Wade, when – this is not a new argument with insurance companies. It happens all the time with roof damage, you know?

    Like say you get ice-dam damage and you have to just replace like 3 feet of roof on the front of the house or maybe you get leaks around a vent or something and you have to replace a piece of roof. Insurance companies traditionally replace the entire roof. And in your case, they should be replacing all of your siding, without argument, because they’ve got to restore it at least as good as it was before. And giving you mismatched siding isn’t what you contracted them to do.

    So I would stick to your guns. And sure, give them the opportunity to find a replacement but they won’t be able to. And you don’t have to accept it and you can insist that it all be replaced with brand-new siding.

    Do you have a private adjustor on this to help you with the claim?

    WADE: Somebody that the insurance company contacted, yes.

    TOM: That adjustor is working for the insurance company. What you want to do is get a public adjustor. And a public adjustor works for you, the public. And they work on commission, so it doesn’t really cost you much to have these guys on the job. And they’re there to find every single, solitary thing that they can claim for and get that into the claim.

    So, everything from picking up the nails on your property that will be part of that construction project, to getting the whole house re-sided. They try to get that claim as full as possible because the more they find, the more money they make. Because they’re all on commission.

    So I would definitely find a good-quality public adjustor; perhaps check with your attorney. Do your research. Find somebody that has a lot of experience and let them fight for you so you don’t have to fight with the insurance company.

    WADE: Great. I’ll definitely look into that. Thank you.

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

    A quick coat of paint really can make almost anything look fresher, well, unless you’re using the wrong kind of paint or putting the wrong paint on the wrong surface. There really is a lot to think about when it comes to paint selection, so we’re going to share some tips on painting, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question presented by HomeAdvisor.com. You can find top-rated pros you can trust. And for local pros who want to grow their business, HomeAdvisor is the easy way to get connected with project-ready homeowners.

    LESLIE: We’re going to go right to The Money Pit community. I’ve got a post here from Len in Wisconsin who writes: “I’m repainting my hall and want to add a sand texture. Do you foresee any problems if I add the texture to the primer and put it on in one step and then paint?”

    TOM: So Len wants to mix up his own sand mixture.

    Why would you do that, Len? There’s a lot more to making a textured finish than just getting some playground sand and dumping it into a gallon of paint. In fact, most of the sand in those textures is much, much, much finer than what you might be able to buy locally. So I think it’s a really bad idea to mix your own.

    There are paints that are out there that are already formulated for sand finishes. There’s one that’s called Valspar. It’s called Signature Sandstone. It’s a beautiful mix because it’s – altogether, it has the just the right texture: not too much, not too little. And it’s going to distribute evenly, which is another problem you’re going to have if you try to mix it up on your own. So I would definitely use a sandstone finish and not try to create your own, especially when you’re putting it on walls.

    There’s another type of textured surface you might use on a floor, if you want to have some increased grit that has thicker beads of sand in it or on the material that they use to provide that friction. But on the walls, no. I would use a premixed finish that’s made exactly for that job.

    Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: And you know what? The finish that you achieve with a product that’s actually made for that gives you sort of like – I want to say a sueded (ph) look. It doesn’t have a weird finish on it, like it’s meant to really accentuate that texture.

    TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Right.

    LESLIE: And then that texture is more soft than super scratchy. So I really wouldn’t just go willy-nilly and make your own. Ralph Lauren makes one, Valspar makes one. A lot of the manufacturers have a paint finish that gives you that sanded effect, so I would go there.

    TOM: We’ve gotten a lot more calls about how to take texture off than to put texture on.

    LESLIE: Off, true.

    TOM: So, I’m just saying let that be a lesson to you. You may regret it, ultimately.

    LESLIE: Alright. Let’s see what else is going on in our Community section. We’ve got one from Stan in Ohio who posted: “My garage door doesn’t seal when it’s down. And any time it rains or snows, water comes in under the door. How can I seal the gap?”

    TOM: Yeah, that’s unfortunate. You know, first of all, it sounds like your floor wasn’t built right, because the garage floor should have been stepped down where it’s under the door so that water that comes up the driveway, for example, can’t get really into the garage. But if it wasn’t done that way, you’ve got to have a good seal.

    Now, if the floor is settled so it’s maybe sloping, the garage door itself may have some flex in it. Some of them have adjustable sills at the bottom. But if not, you can kind of make your own. What I would do is I’d take a piece of 1×6 pressure-treated lumber, I would attach it to the bottom panel of the door. I’d make sure it’s flush with the floor, even if it has to kind of ride a little crooked, and then you could put weather-stripping on the bottom of that. So, basically, you’re kind of substituting the weather-stripping that’s in the built-in door with – by creating one that will ride outside of it. And that should solve it.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I mean that really is a good fix right there.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on a beautiful fall weekend. We hope we’ve given you some tips, some ideas and some inspiration to take on the projects you need to get done around your house. We are here for you, 24/7, literally. You can call us any time of the day or night at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we are not in the studio, we will call you back the next time we are. Or you can always post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.

    And remember, right now we’ve got that Weekend Warrior Sweepstakes going on on MoneyPit.com; 4,500 bucks in tools up for grabs. Check it out today. You can enter once a day and increase your chances of winning.

    That’s all the time we have. 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.

    END HOUR 1 TEXT

    (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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