Get a Jump on Spring #0305181

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are so happy that you are here with us today listening to the program. You know, we do this for you guys. We do this to try to help you get those projects done around your house, your condo, your apartment, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or somebody that needs to hire out those projects. Hey, whatever’s going on on that to-do list, we’d love to help you. So if there’s something that you’d like to get done, you don’t know where to start, you don’t know the best paint to use, you don’t know where to find some particular product that you need, give us a call right now, 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or post your question online to The Money Pit’s Community page at

    Are you ready to climb out from under all those winter layers? I know we are. So coming up this hour, we’re going to have some tips to make sure your spring cleaning is easy and fun. And yes, I did say fun. We’ve got some fresh, new ways to get the job done without any hassles.

    LESLIE: Alright. That’s kind of a stretch, Tom, but I’m going to go with you on this.

    TOM: I promise, I promise.

    LESLIE: Alright, alright.

    Also ahead, guys, we are ready to help you get a jump start on creating a beautiful lawn. Landscaping contractor Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, is here with advice to help kick-start your lawn so it really becomes the envy of the block. And that’s also fun. I’m just going to say that.

    TOM: And if you’re thinking about taking on a tile project this spring, choosing the right look is only part of the project. We’re going to have tips on how to choose the best type of tile for that job, just ahead.

    LESLIE: But before we get to that, we want to hear from you. What’s your question? What are you working on? Are you thinking about a project and just don’t really know where to start? Well, whatever it is, do not be afraid. We are here to help.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, with that how-to question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post it online to the Community page at

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

    LESLIE: Michael in North Carolina is on the line with a water heater that’s making some curious sounds. Tell us what’s going on.

    MICHAEL: Recently, the last four to six weeks, I’ve been noticing – it sounds like a bubbling and a popping noise inside of the water heater. I’ve read several things on the internet but I can’t quite put my finger on it and I’m worried that either the vessel is getting ready to go or – I’m not sure, at this point.

    TOM: How old is the water heater?

    MICHAEL: It looks to be of considerable age. I’m guessing between six and eight years.

    TOM: Well, I mean water heaters generally go about 10 to 12 years, so that’s not – that’s kind of middle-aged; it’s not too terrible. By the way, if you look at the data plate on that water heater, usually there’s a date stamp sort of buried into the serial number. Sometimes, it’ll actually say what the date of the manufacture is or at the least, it’s going to have a gas standard in terms of which code it was built to and it’ll give you a year there. So you can get an actual sense of what the age of the water heater is.

    The noise is usually caused by a sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank. So, if you drain the tank occasionally, that will usually stop that. Have you ever drained your tank?

    MICHAEL: In the eight months I’ve been there, no. But I’d read something somewhere along the lines that you have to be very careful with – it’s got a plastic drain valve on it. And when you have a water heater that’s a little bit older, I guess they get – become brittle. And I’m worried about breaking that and making things much worse immediately.

    TOM: Well, you could very carefully try to drain the water heater. You simply hook up a garden hose to that spout; it’s designed to be drained. And let some of the water out of it and try to spill off some sediment with that. You get sediment on the bottom of the tank and that does tend to make it pretty noisy sometimes.

    MICHAEL: OK. Is there any chance that I have the temperature turned up too high and it’s causing – well, I guess not at 125 degrees. It wouldn’t cause a boiling, would it?

    TOM: No, it wouldn’t. And 125 degrees, though, is pretty hot. You really want it to be more like 110.


    TOM: Just for safety’s sake, if nothing else.

    LESLIE: Yeah, because you could easily get scalded.

    MICHAEL: OK. Alright. I’ll give that a shot.

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

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

    BETTY: We live in a ranch-style home and we have several bedrooms and bathrooms where the door frames – up above the door frames on just one side – are cracking. And we have repeatedly had contract workers out here to repair them and it has not held.

    TOM: You feel like it’s Groundhog Day? You’re fixing the same thing over and over again?

    Yeah, it’s pretty common. Around the door frame and around windows, those are the weakest portions of the wall. So if you have some movement from the normal expansion and contraction, that’s where it’s going to show. Typically, what happens is you’ll have a painter or a handyman come out and they’ll spackle the crack and paint it and it seems to go away for a while. But of course, as soon as the wall moves again, it shows up.

    What you really have to do here is sand down the area around the crack.

    BETTY: OK.

    TOM: And then you have to cover it with a perforated spackle tape. And that usually looks like netting and it’s a little sticky. You put it across the crack and then you spackle over the tape. And that does a permanent repair, because it actually sort of melds one side of the wall with the other and it should not separate again the next time the wall moves.

    BETTY: OK. Well, that sounds wonderful. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit. What’s your how-to or your décor question? Give us a call now 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: Just ahead, spring is all about new things. So how about a new perspective on spring cleaning? We’ll have some easy ways to get those projects done, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And going on, right now, at, exactly what you need to get a good night’s sleep. All you need to do is enter the Good Night’s Sleep Sweepstakes presented by our friends over at Tuft & Needle, makers of the most comfortable mattress on the internet.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And there’s over $4,000 in prizes, including your choice of a Tuft & Needle mattress, plus pillows and sheets. You can enter today at Plus, you can earn even more chances to win by visiting Tuft & Needle’s website at or even sharing the sweepstakes with your friends. So, enter today at

    TOM: 888-666-3974. That’s the number you need to know for the answer to your home improvement question, 24/7: 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

    LESLIE: Mike in Georgia is on the line with a question about a dimmer. How can we help you?

    MIKE: My kitchen is in the center of my house, so I get very little light from the windows.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: And I tried an LED light. I have five 60-watt cans in there. I had heard you mention about a dimmer that would work with the LEDs? My question is: is there a particular kind? I need one that works with a three-way.

    TOM: Yeah. You can go to The Home Depot and you can pick up the Lutron Skylark Contour CžL Dimmer. That’s the Lutron Skylark Contour CžL. This is a dimmer that’s designed specifically to work with energy-efficient bulbs. It works with CFLs and it works with LEDs. And specifically, it’s adjustable so that you can get the lowest level and then the highest level of light. And therefore, when you move the dimmer up and down, it controls that.

    Typically, with standard dimmers, you can get a flicker because at some point, you’re going to be not putting enough power in to bring that bulb on. So you get this sort of flickering effect?

    MIKE: Right.

    TOM: But with this Skylark Contour CžL line of dimmers, you can adjust the low end and this way, it’ll always be on when you turn the switch on. And then you can bring it up from there.

    MIKE: Yeah, I was afraid with five cans in the middle of the house, it would look like Yankee Stadium at nighttime.

    TOM: No, actually – I actually have one of these dimmers in my kitchen and I’ve got five cans on this dimmer, so I have exactly that situation. And I have LEDs in the lights. I have the Philips LEDs in there, the ones that are yellow. And they turn really super-clean, white light when you turn them on. And I’ve got that Skylark dimmer controlling the whole thing. Now, that’s not a three-way but I’m sure it will work on a three-way.

    And the thing that’s cool about Lutron is as you’re putting this together, if you have a question, they have an 800 toll-free, tech-support number. You can call them and there’s somebody always standing by to kind of answer your wiring questions. If you can’t figure out where the extra wire goes, they’ll tell you.

    MIKE: OK, great. Thanks a lot.

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

    LESLIE: Debbie in Texas is on the line and is dealing with a basement project. Tell us what you’re working on.

    DEBBIE: Well, I have a cement floor that, right now, has indoor/outdoor carpet that’s glued down. And I’d like to peel the carpet up and then paint the floor. So my question is: what type of prep – once I get the carpet up, what type of prep do I need to do and then what type of paint should I use?

    LESLIE: Now, have you started to try and remove this outdoor carpeting?

    DEBBIE: Yes, we have and it is glued and so there’s a glue, I guess, base that’s on the floor. So we’d need to somehow scrape that off?

    LESLIE: Yes. And that – and did you say this was a screened-in porch or a covered porch?

    DEBBIE: No, it’s an indoor – it’s indoors.

    LESLIE: Oh, it’s completely indoors. OK. That’s going to make it a bit of a chore. The reason I was a little excited that you had a lot of fresh air while you were working is because you’re going to need to use an adhesive remover if your plan is to paint this floor. Because you’re going to end up with so much residue from that glue, that’s going to be all over, and there’s a good chance that it’s going to be uneven and raised and spotty in some areas. You’re going to have pieces of carpeting on it and it’s going to be a mess.

    So you’re going to have to find exactly what type of adhesive that is and what is the best remover for it. Because depending on what the base is of that adhesive will depend on what type of adhesive remover you use. So it’s really going to be an experimentation to sort of see what works well.

    And then once you find what really is working well at loosening up that adhesive, I mean you’re really just going to have to use a heavy-duty scraper and work on that glue residue until that’s up. And then even then, your painted surface is going to look really not that great, after all of that work.

    DEBBIE: So, I guess your recommendation would be go back with indoor/outdoor carpet.

    LESLIE: Well, in a lower-level space, carpeting really isn’t the best idea – whether there’s padding or not, whether it’s glued or not – only because you’re dealing with a dust trap that’s sitting right on top of a concrete slab that tends to get moist. All of that moisture gets up into that carpeting, whether or not it’s indoor/outdoor.

    Now, that moisture sort of sits with that dust and creates all sorts of allergens and mold and it’s really not the best idea. Tile would work fantastically. And if you got that floor fairly even-ish, even with the adhesive, you could go ahead and do something with that with tile.

    You know, it depends on what you want the space to look like. If you’re OK with seeing an uneven surface and you want to paint over that, then an epoxy coating is perfect for a floor in that situation. But it depends. I spend a lot of time in my basement, so I wouldn’t want to see such an uneven floor surface, whether it was painted my favorite color or not.

    DEBBIE: And what harm would come if I just peeled the carpet and scraped the glue, scraped it smooth and then painted? Would the paint not stick if there was still all the glue there?

    LESLIE: I don’t think so. The systems, like the epoxy-coating systems, are usually sold in kits. There’s several steps. The first one is an etching or a cleaning step. Then there’s your topcoat that you mix in with, I guess, all of the different process that sort of cures it and solidifies it. And some of them have that little decorative speckle and that gets sort of sprinkled in there at the end. And you want to work yourself out of a corner so you don’t get trapped down there. But it should stick fairly well.

    It just – is this a utility space that you’re strictly storing things in? Is this your family hangout? You have to think about what that space is and how you want it to look.

    DEBBIE: OK. Well, that gives me some ideas. I guess I first need to get the carpet up and see what it looks like underneath and go from there. Alright. Well, thank you so much.

    TOM: Well, Leslie, I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to spring cleaning, because it comes along with warmer weather and it helps us shake off the winter. Plus, you get a chance to cut down on allergens and germs that may have been sitting around all winter long. I always feel that when we start our cleaning, we kind of stir that stuff up. But it needs to be stirred up so we can get rid of it.

    LESLIE: Yeah. We had the flu this winter so I feel like I have been constantly cleaning the house. But you’re right, Tom. It is a lot of work.

    So, for starters, why not try to kill two birds with one stone? Team up and tackle the spring cleaning with a friend. You might be able to finish both of your houses in one day. Listen, guys, it’s cheaper than dinner out on the town. And hey, nobody is saying you can’t have a glass of wine or two and crank some tunes and have some fun. Seriously, make the cleaning an event and just have a good time doing it. You’ll see that you’ll really have a lot of fun and tackle a lot.

    But seriously, maybe the best plan is to just not plan on finishing everything all at once. It really is smart to break down those chores into daily, weekly and deep clean. Now, the daily stuff could be as simple as wiping down the stove and the counters. Weekly might be cleaning the windows. And deep cleaning is renting a steamer and deep-cleaning all the carpets and the drapes, all that stuff. You don’t have to do everything at once.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s the plan because that approach helps you stay on top of cleaning without having to devote an entire weekend to it. You’ve got better things to do, like listening to us.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your how-to question.

    LESLIE: J.C. in North Carolina is on the line with a question about radon. How can we help you?

    J.C.: If your home is built on a concrete slab, then are you in danger of radon effect?

    TOM: Well, you could potentially be in danger of it but the risk, that would be a far smaller chance of you having an elevated radon level on a concrete slab than if you had a basement. Because radon is a gas that emits from the soil and typically, it gets into the home at the basement level through concrete-block walls and the concrete floor and the gaps around it, builds up in the basement. And it’s typically highest in the basement, then it gets far less on the first floor, second floor and so on.

    J.C.: Yes. And I would assume it would be more dangerous with a crawlspace then.

    TOM: Actually, I think it’s less dangerous with a crawlspace and here’s why: because crawlspaces are open to the outside all the time, so they’re completely ventilated. So the highest risk would be if A) you were in an area that was prone to radon and B) you had a basement. Then you would definitely want a test.

    Now, in North Carolina, there are three different Radon Zone levels: 1, 2 and 3. Very little of the state is in the Radon Zone 1, which is the highest risk. I’d say about 30 percent, maybe 25 percent is in Radon Zone 2 but the rest of the state is all Radon Zone 3, which is the lowest risk.

    And in your area, which is Lee County, you’re in Radon Zone 3. So you’re in an area that has a low risk of radon, you’re on a concrete slab. I’d say the likeliness of you having a radon problem is very small but the only way to know is to test, J.C. And you could do that with a charcoal adsorption canister very inexpensively.

    J.C.: Alright. Well, I do thank you.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lorraine in Arizona who needs some help with a paneling decorating project.

    Welcome, Lorraine.

    LORRAINE: We have an older home that has two walls that has paneling on. And I was told that if we took the paneling off, it would probably damage the drywall. So I was considering maybe trying to put something over top of the paneling to give it a different look and wanted some suggestions.

    LESLIE: Well, it depends. It depends on how it’s attached to whatever is behind it. There may not be any drywall behind it; it might just be the paneling attached directly to the studs, in which case you would have to put drywall up. It could be that the paneling was glued to the drywall. Then you would never get it off without completely destroying the drywall. Or it could be that it was just nailed on. You’re not really going to know until you sort of peer at a corner or an area where you can take off a little bit of trim work and see what exactly is going on before you make a decision. So that’s probably best step number one.

    Now, if you find out that there’s really no removing it and your choices are to deal with the paneling and make it look better or cover over it with ¼-inch drywall, you can do that. It depends on how much work you want to do.

    Painting paneling certainly is an excellent option. It creates a totally different look when you paint paneling a crisp, glossy white or an off-white or something that really just poses a good, neutral backdrop and just sort of go with it.

    LORRAINE: OK. This is very light paneling anyway.

    LESLIE: And are you at a point where you just want to see it be darker, different or gone?

    LORRAINE: Different.

    LESLIE: Painting it really does look nice. It doesn’t have to be something that, in the end, you’re going to think, “Ooh, that doesn’t look good.” You just have to make sure that you clean it, you prime it well and then you give it a good topcoat.

    Now, I would really start by just taking off a piece of trimming and door frame and seeing how it’s attached. And if you want to truly start with just a fresh look, you can absolutely cover over the entire space with ¼-inch drywall without losing too much space. You’re just going to have to sort of bump-out your electrical boxes, your switches, your trim work, et cetera which, for a handy person, isn’t that big of a deal. So it could be a project you could do on your own. Or to hire somebody wouldn’t be that expensive.

    LORRAINE: OK. Sounds good.

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

    Hey, spring will be here in a few weeks, I promise. So just ahead, Roger Cook, from This Old House, is stopping by with advice on what you need to do now to get a green lawn coming in fast and furious.

    TOM: And today’s episode of This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.

    We’ll be back with that tip and more, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We are standing by for your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jan in California is having a wallpaper-removal situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    JAN: Hi. Been removing wallpaper and repapering for 50 years and never come across where you take the wallpaper off and it looks like there’s a paper lining behind it. I’ve had some people tell me that this is a filler for the texturing so the wallpaper looks smooth. And others tell me that it’s a liner and it fills the whole wall with pencil lines where the wallpaper goes. I don’t want to damage the sheetrock that’s underneath, so I’m a little leery about taking that off or leaving it on or what I should do with it.

    TOM: So your end game is to get down to the drywall?

    JAN: Well, it doesn’t have to be if I can texture over what’s there. But it’s almost like a paper and I don’t know if we can put the mud and everything on that.

    TOM: If it’s adhered well, then I don’t see why you couldn’t texture over it. Do you want to use a textured paint?

    JAN: No, I want to use the texture that I’ve had on the other walls.

    TOM: The key here is whether or not the surface that you’ve exposed is well-adhered to the drywall underneath. If it’s well-adhered, then you can go ahead and put your texture over that. If it’s not, then your texture could be on there for a couple of months and it could start falling off in chunks when that backer paper pulls off. As long as it’s well-adhered, then I don’t see any reason you can’t go on top of it, Jan.

    JAN: OK. I appreciate you and enjoy your program all the time.

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

    LESLIE: Are you green with envy over your neighbor’s lush lawn? Well, that lawn, it did not happen to look that way just by magic.

    TOM: That’s right. It takes work to maintain a lawn and one of the necessary steps is fertilizing. You’ve got to get that just right if you want your lawn to look great. Landscaping contractor Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, is here to help you make your lawn the envy of your block.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Thank you.

    TOM: Now, this is something that I think we’re all set up for disappointment, because we all see the local golf courses and the neighbors on the street that have golf course-like lawns but never can quite get it right ourselves. It’s a pretty complicated process to get it – when you think about all the things you’re battling. You’re battling weather, you’re battling the seed that you choose, you’re battling the fertilizer, you’re battling the weeds. How do you win that battle?

    ROGER: You don’t. You work the little battles; you win the little, tiny wars.

    TOM: So you choose the ones you can win.

    ROGER: Exactly. You can’t change the soil underneath the lawn, so you have to deal with what you have and work with that.

    LESLIE: So what are some of the things you need to sort of arm yourself with, knowledge-wise, so that you can head to the home center to make those right decisions?

    ROGER: Well, the first thing I would tell you to do is get a soil test done. That’s going to tell you exactly what’s going in the soil, whether it needs nitrogen, phosphorus or it needs lime to balance it and change the pH. Without that, you’re just going blind and putting things down on the lawn.

    TOM: And once you do know that your soil is in good shape and let’s say you do need to add some things to it, are there some tools that actually make that easier? Because lawns are just so big. I mean let’s face it: it’s a lot of work to get it spread just evenly, not to put too much or too little in one particular area. How do you kind of eliminate the human-failure factor when you’re trying to add fertilizer or lime or seed?

    ROGER: The first thing you have to do is read the directions on the bag, then read the directions on your spreader.

    TOM: Guys hate to do that.

    ROGER: Well, you’ve got to, in this case. There’s a number on the bag that will correspond to the spreader you’re using to put down the product at just the right rate. You don’t want to put down too little and you don’t want to do too much.

    Couple things to be careful of. If you put down too much fertilizer – say you stop and it comes pouring out – it’s going to kill the lawn. Number two, if you use a drop spreader, you have to be very careful because there’s no overlap. I can’t tell you how many lawns I’ve seen where after using a drop spreader, there’s stripes all up and down the front lawn. And that’s not a good thing.

    LESLIE: Now, is there a better time of year, over others, to add this variety of components, like the fertilizer, like the lime, like the cedar? Do you do it all at once in, say, the spring?

    ROGER: The lawn needs to be fed consistently over the season.


    ROGER: Usually, it’s three or four feedings is what I recommend to people. In the spring, you’re going to get a lot of growth out of your lawn. So if you add a fertilizer which has a lot of nitrogen, which is the first number, then you’re going to get 4 to 6 inches of growth a week and you don’t need that; that makes it hard to cut.

    So in the spring, I like to lower the nitrogen a little bit. Because in the spring, 75 percent of that nitrogen goes to leaves, not to the roots. In the fall, when you put on a late-fall application, 75 percent of that nitrogen goes to the roots instead of pushing top-growth. So in the …

    LESLIE: And that’s just based on the thickness of the lawn at that point? Or is there a different fertilizer that you’re using?

    ROGER: No, it’s based on the physiology of the plant. The plant is getting ready for winter, so it wants to store a lot of energy so the following spring it’ll just pop up.


    TOM: Now, you mentioned cutting. I think a lot of folks tend to want to cut their grass very, very low but that can actually hurt the grass, can’t it?

    ROGER: That’s the worst thing you can do for a lawn. Especially if it’s grown long, you haven’t cut it in a week or two, you can even burn the lawn.

    But the thing about a long blade of grass is it actually shades the ground below and keeping it cool, keeping it moist. But more importantly, that helps stop weed seeds from germinating.

    TOM: Right. So if you think you’re doing yourself a favor by cutting it low, you’re actually making more work, because you’re going to get more weeds and the grass that does come out is not going to be nearly as healthy.

    ROGER: Right. And if you scalp an area, that’s killing the grass and the weeds will just climb right in there.

    TOM: Now, what about watering when it comes to the fertilizing and the feeding cycle? Do you always water after that?

    ROGER: I like to water to just to get the material down into the ground, so it won’t break down from the sun’s rays, and just get it down to the roots, which is where you need it to be.

    TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, I think our lawns are going to be looking a lot healthier thanks to your advice.

    ROGER: The neighbors will be green with envy.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and a step-by-step video on how you can fertilize your lawn and some other projects, visit

    TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Gorilla Glue.

    Just ahead, if you’re thinking about taking on a tile project this spring, choosing the right look is only part of the job. We’ll have tips on how to choose the best type of tile, after this.

    Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we are The Money Pit.

    Hey, we’d love to help you get a good night’s sleep this spring season. And so, The Money Pit has the Good Night’s Sleep Sweepstakes, presented by Tuft & Needle, going on, right now, at

    Now, Tuft & Needle make the most comfortable mattress on the internet. And we know because Tom and I are both super lucky to have a Tuft & Needle mattress in our homes. And I have to tell you, it really is super-duper comfy. There are over $4,000 in prizes, including your choice of a Tuft & Needle mattress, plus pillows and sheets. So enter today at

    TOM: Yeah. And you can share your entry with your friends for even more chances to win, because we give you bonus entries. You get five entries for every friend that enters from your share link. So check it out,

    Hey, whether you’re planning a décor project, a remodeling project – maybe your kitchen, your bath – or you’re fixing a leak or a squeak, we are here for you every step of the way. Call in your question now to 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. Now, this problem is something we probably have all dealt with: your water is taking way too long to heat up.

    Monty in Alabama, tell us about it.

    MONTY: We’ve got a – our water heater – we moved into a house a few months ago and it’s taking about 90 to 120 seconds for the – in the kitchen – for the hot water to heat up. And it was just this tremendous waste of water.

    And it’s an electric water heater and it’s located on the other side of the house, upstairs, so it’s having to travel so far, I’m sure. Is there any reasonable solution to that?

    TOM: Yeah, well, you hit the nail on the head. The reason it takes that long for the water to get hot is because that’s how long it takes for the water to travel that long run down the pipe and to get over to the kitchen from the other side of the house.

    What I might suggest that you consider is adding a second water heater. Now, you could pick up a tankless water heater and they do actually have some reasonably energy-efficient, electric tankless water heaters right now. I never used to say that but I recently saw some new ones. The technology is getting a little bit better. They actually have heat-pump water heaters that are pretty efficient. But if you were to split the run to get the water heater a little closer to the kitchen, that would make a difference.

    Now, is the kitchen the only place you’re having this? Is it – is the hot water reasonably quick, in terms of where the bathrooms are located?

    MONTY: Yes.

    TOM: Yes, since the bathrooms are more important than the kitchen, in terms of the speed with which the hot water arrives, especially if it’s you standing on a cold floor waiting for the water to get warm before you hop in the shower, I would probably tolerate it, if it was me. I would tolerate it and deal with it.

    Now, the other thing that you could do is you could put a point-of-use water heater, right under the kitchen cabinet, to supply additional hot water. But again, it’s kind of an expensive project and I don’t know if you would ever make that up in terms of the savings on water cost and that sort of thing.

    MONTY: Mm-hmm. Yeah. If it’s not something that we can make up, it’s not really worth doing because …

    TOM: I don’t think it’s worth doing then, Monty, because it’s not really inconvenient because it’s not near the bathroom. It’s just you have to be patient a little bit waiting for that warm water to arrive. And I imagine after it arrives, it stays warm in the pipes a little bit longer.

    One thing you could think about doing is insulating that hot-water pipe so that once the warm water gets in it, it stays warm a bit longer. And that would …

    MONTY: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s a good thought and that would be inexpensive.

    TOM: Inexpensive, right. And make it a little bit more convenient. OK?

    MONTY: OK, Tom. Thank you so much. Enjoy your show.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if you’re planning a new tiling project, you’ll probably start your selection by narrowing down the tile colors and designs and the type. But before you get to that, it really is a good idea to understand the types of the tile that are available, because there are a lot. It can be confusing. And that’s the topic of today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    Now, for most tile projects, you’re going to be deciding between two types: ceramic tile and porcelain tile. Ceramic tile is going to be made from a mixture of special clays and natural materials that are mined from the earth, then formed into shapes and then heated in kilns. Now, ceramic tile can be naturally colored or left unglazed, like that beautiful terracotta tile I think everybody is familiar with. Or they can feature color or highly-designed surfaces, which then can be glazed.

    Now, most ceramic tile either has a white- or a red-body coloration underneath that glazed, colored top layer. And since ceramic is less dense, it really is more susceptible to breaking if a heavy object falls on it, like pots or pans or a piece of furniture, you know. So you have to be more careful with a ceramic tile.

    TOM: Now, porcelain tile is different. It’s actually a form of ceramic tile and it’s really popular, of course, among homeowners. But porcelain tiles are made of fine porcelain clays. And the difference is that they’re fired at a much higher temperature than ceramic tiles. That process makes porcelain more dense, less porous and much harder and less prone to moisture and stain absorption than compared to ceramic tile. All reasons that porcelain tiles are a great option for both indoor and outdoor projects.

    Now, for both ceramic and porcelain, it’s really important that you choose the right underlayment like Fiber Fusion, for example, which is a waterproof underlayment that absorbs subfloor movement. And it adds strength to the mortar and prevents that tile from cracking. If you don’t have the right underlayment, you’re going to be sad when your tile starts to break up.

    LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with your tiling projects, you guys.

    Today’s Flooring Tip has been presented by Lumber Liquidators, the only place you’ll find Avella Wood-Look Porcelain Tile. Offering 15 varieties of Avella Wood-Look Tile in a wide array of realistic hardwood styles, textures and colors, Lumber Liquidators is sure to have the perfect wood-look tile choice for your home.

    TOM: Plus, they’ve also got the grout, mortar and all the tools you’ll need to finish the job.

    LESLIE: Hey, did you ever wonder what’s underneath that yucky, old carpet in that room in your home? Yeah, we’ve all wondered and that’s why if you check out a corner, you’re probably able to peel back and see what that wood floor looks like. Might not be in the best shape now but with a little TLC, you can make it gorgeous again. We’ll share that with you, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: What are you working on? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place. Pick up the phone, call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where you can find top-rated home improvement pros you can trust. Call in your home improvement question, 24/7, to 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. And if you don’t feel like talking on the phone, you can post your question in the Community section, just like David in Utah did. And he wrote: “We’re moving into a new home next week. I went ahead and pulled up the carpet in three rooms the other day, which revealed gorgeous hardwood. Problem is the hardwood is covered in staples and rust. What’s a quick fix for fixing this up before we move in next week? I don’t want it to look bad for first-time visitors but I don’t want to take on sanding and refinishing, right now, either.”

    TOM: You know, I think it would be a big mistake not to finish this, right now, before you move in. It’s a golden opportunity. And what you’re describing, David, is not really that unusual.

    Years ago, when carpet was more popular than it is today, what folks used to do is just nail it right down to that beautiful hardwood floor. I don’t know why they didn’t want to see that floor. I mean at what point in our life did real hardwood floor become unattractive?

    LESLIE: Because they were protecting it for the future homeowners. That’s what they were doing.

    TOM: Yeah, well, then they certainly did just that. But all you’ve got now is the holes from all the tackless and the rust stains around the nails, maybe stains from accidents that have happened that have soaked through the carpet. But the time is right for you to sand that down.

    Now, you’ve got two options on the sanding. If the damage is minor, you can use a machine called a U-Sand Machine, which is kind of hard to screw up because it sort of drives itself in the sense that it’s not going to dig into the floor. If it’s a really nasty floor that you have to restore, then you’ve got to hire a pro. Use a belt sander. They have these large belt sanders – they’re like 12-inch-wide belts – and they know exactly how to sand those floors without taking out too much material and without damaging the floor. But one way or the other, it’s got to be sanded down and then you’re going to need a couple of coats of good-quality polyurethane.

    But I would definitely hop on that right now, even if you have to delay the move-in a bit to get it done. Because this is the opportunity. You don’t have furniture to move. Believe me, it’s never going to be easier to do it than it is right now.

    LESLIE: Yeah, seriously. Otherwise, you’re moving that furniture twice and then it’s going to stink in your house. No matter what kind of stain you buy, the house is going to be very smelly for a couple of days. And you have to make sure that it has cured properly and thoroughly. Otherwise, it’s going to be a whole ‘nother headache. So definitely do it now before you’re inside.

    Alright. Next up, Mason in Tennessee who writes: “Our pressure-treated pine fence was stained 12 years ago when we put it up. I recently power-washed it and I like the new, natural look. Can I leave it like this or does it make sense to stain it again?”

    TOM: Sure, you could leave it like that for a month.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: And then it’s going to start to fade and look nasty quicker than ever.

    Look, the stain has a purpose: it protects the fence from the ultraviolet radiation that’s coming off the sun. The colorant in the stain is also going to give you consistency. So I think although it may look just fine and dandy right now, I would definitely restain it. Also, the stains are going to have algaecides in them that’s going to stop moss from growing and mildew and fungus and algae and that sort of thing. So I think it’s absolutely the right time to stain this fence.

    LESLIE: You can try to find a stain that has a similar color to that natural look that you’re seeing right now. It really does a wonderful job of protecting that wood, so you’ll enjoy that fence for a long time and hopefully keep that same look that you like for a while.

    TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending a bit of time with us on today’s show. Hope we’ve given you a few good ideas for projects you’d like to get done around your house. Remember, you can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And take a look at our website at Thousands upon thousands of home improvement tips, articles there waiting for you to search them and use them as you tackle projects around your house.

    The show does continue online. 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 2018 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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