Low Cost to No Cost Apartment Decorating #1225172

  • 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: What are you working on to kick off the brand-new year? Are you probably just exhausted? Hey, is your house exhausted? It occurs to me that if you’re stressed out from all of this holiday magic that we’ve just gone through, your house is probably equally stressed out. Because when you have a holiday, you quickly identify the choke points in your house, right, like the bathroom toilet doesn’t always flush or the kitchen’s too hard to work in. And that usually translates into a lot of projects that you want to get done as the new year starts to kick in. So if those projects are on your to-do list, give us a call. Let’s talk through them. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s show, if the new year has you just starting out in your first home or apartment but you don’t have the budget to spruce it up, we’re going to have tips for a makeover that requires little to absolutely no cash.

    LESLIE: Plus, winter has officially arrived. Can your water pipe stand up to these frosty temps? Well, we’re going to share some tips to help avoid the hassle of freezing pipes, coming up.

    TOM: Plus, we’ve got a solution for doors that stick, which is a very annoying problem that doesn’t really have to be. We’ll tell you how to make it go away once and for all. But first, let’s kick off the new year with your questions. So, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question, right now, to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Nancy from Illinois is on the line with a question about a soffit. How can we help you today?

    NANCY: Well, I inherited a house that – from a relative – that was built in 1960, so it has soffits above the cabinets. I still have the original kitchen. I mean everything: the floor, the counters, the appliances. You know, I know that in all the newer construction they’re using either cabinets that go from all the way to the ceiling or they have an empty space up there where people can display things.

    I have a lot of dust allergies and I’m also a senior citizen. And so I don’t think I want that empty space up there that’s going to collect dust. I don’t want to have to be dealing with dusting that all the time and climbing up on a ladder.

    TOM: OK.

    NANCY: So I’m trying to figure out – do you think soffits will ever come back? Or is it easier just to have cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, knowing that I’m probably never going to use those top shelves?

    TOM: Well, actually, there is a way for you to use those top shelves, because there are ways that you can bring those shelves down to stack things on and put them back up. There’s cabinet designs where the entire shelf content pulls out and drops down and sort of hinges down and then it goes back up. They’re accessible design options that are made by a bunch of different manufacturers, so it is possible to even have high cabinets and be able to use that space if that’s a need for you.

    NANCY: I’ve got two torn rotor cuffs in both shoulders, so I’m not even supposed to be reaching up high. So I don’t know how difficult it is to get those shelves to drop down.

    TOM: Usually, there’s a handle that’s sort of like shoulder height where you reach out right in front of you and pull it towards you and then that whole thing drops down from there.

    NANCY: Oh. Oh.

    TOM: It’s all on springs so it supports itself. Called Rev-A-Shelf – R-e-v-A-Shelf. And their system is simply called a “cabinet pull-down shelving system.” So that type of system is available. The cabinet is basically completely empty and then the shelving system is put in and then again, you reach out, you pull it towards you and it drops down. And these things are strong enough for – you could have, like, canned goods on every single shelf and it’s still going to hold it, so that’s an option for you.

    The other thing is, I think the dated part of the soffits, Leslie – and you correct me because you’re the decorator here – is where the soffit extends past the kitchen cabinet.


    TOM: But you could sort of have a flush soffit that’s sort of flush with the front of the kitchen cabinet that wouldn’t give you that sort of ugly overhang, right?

    NANCY: Mine is flush with the current cabinet.

    TOM: OK. Well, then maybe you ought to think about just keeping it the way it is and painting it to sort of blend.

    LESLIE: I like having the soffit, because then it just fills that space. So then you’re not thinking about putting stuff up there, which then be – then it’s just a dust collector.

    NANCY: Right.

    LESLIE: So if you’re going to get rid of the soffit, you really need to think about what is the purpose of that space above it. “Am I just extending the cabinet higher? Am I putting in some glass?” Something that makes it purposeful.

    But I’m telling you, with these cabinet pull-downs that Tom has mentioned, they operate smoothly. They really are helpful. Any person can have one regardless of abilities, so it really will make your life so much easier.

    NANCY: And it’s just spelled R-e-v as in victor or R-e-b as in boy?

    TOM: Yes.

    NANCY: V?

    TOM: Nope, R-e-v as in victor. Rev-A-Shelf.

    LESLIE: Like rev your engine.

    TOM: Like revolving shelf, like that kind of thing.

    NANCY: OK. Well, that’s going to be exciting for me to check out. My other question that I was going to going to be asking you was – as an aging senior that has some macular degeneration that – it’s the slow-developing kind but still, I know it’s coming because relatives have had this and lost vision. Would you recommend contacting an architect or is there a certain type of contractor that would be good to help me design this new kitchen?

    TOM: So, to design your kitchen, you might want to use the services of a certified kitchen-and-bath designer. That’s a designation that is sought through the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Guys that have the certified kitchen-and-bath design designation are very, very competent at designing kitchens and bathrooms that meet those specific needs that you mentioned.

    NANCY: Well, I appreciate all this good advice. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mike on the line who’s got a drain issue. What’s going on at your money pit?

    MIKE: House was built in 1999. It’s on a septic, which is actually part two of my question. And the kitchen sink, I don’t know, about five months ago or so started draining slowly. And so – I am not actually on a direct vent. It has a vent – what do they call it? I just pulled it off – a mini-vent underneath the sink, because it’s on an inside island or what-have-you, so there’s no vent stack.

    And so I took the mini-vent off, brought it to Home Depot or wherever. And I replaced it with another one thinking, well, maybe it got clogged or what-have-you. And it still is draining slow. Now when I – if I have a sink full of water and I undo the vent, it will actually drain quickly.

    TOM: Yeah. I think you’re talking about a – you’re calling this a “mini-vent.” I think you’re talking about an air-admittance valve.

    MIKE: OK.

    TOM: Basically an under-sink vent. When you don’t have a space for a roof vent, you have one of these air-admittance valves. And you tried two of them and it’s still not working well?

    MIKE: Well, the one – yeah, the one started slowing down. It worked fine before and then when I took that off and put – but then over time, it slowly slowed down. And so I took that off and put the new one in. I guess my question is: can I extend that higher? Because right now it’s about, I don’t know, 4 or 5 inches below the sink. So I have enough room where I could put a 4-inch piece of PVC a little bit higher. And I’m wondering if that would help bring it in.

    TOM: Yeah, it really shouldn’t make a difference.

    Now, I wonder if there’s another way you could get to this vent because, sometimes, you can vent through the floor joist and over to the wall and intercept with the vertical vent there. It doesn’t always have to go straight up from the kitchen.

    MIKE: OK.

    TOM: Because sometimes, what you do is you take the drain from the kitchen sink, right? And where it turns down the drain, the water – you sort of go up in sort of a U-shape pipe, then go back down again and then across the floor joist and join the vent and go up. You kind of create this venting loop that could let more air in.

    Have you talked to a plumber about other possibilities?

    MIKE: I haven’t yet. No, no. We just wait an extra two minutes and then it goes down but …

    TOM: Yeah. Well, sooner or later you’re going to get really annoyed with all that time. And I also wonder if maybe you could step it up and put a bigger air-admittance valve in, too.

    MIKE: So that was the other thought – was right now it’s an inch-and-a-half. But it’s right on top of the drain. So, for instance, it’s almost like a W. I’ve got the dishwasher coming in one, the sink in the other and then this air-admittance valve just above it. So, again, the thought was if I could extend that W, the center one, a little bit higher but it sounds like that won’t make much of a difference.

    TOM: I don’t think it will. So what’s your septic question?

    MIKE: Garage disposals: yay or nay?

    TOM: There are disposers that are specifically designed for septic systems and the difference is that they grind the food up into a finer particulate. And I think if you do that, you’ll be fine.

    MIKE: OK. Perfect for when I’ll talk to my plumber for both issues.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, you’d like your new place to look good but your budget’s already strained? Well, how about a little creative brainstorming? We’ve got some ideas to get you started, after this.

    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 we are here for you, so what’s going on in your money pit? What are you planning to do in the new year? What are you planning to decorate, to repair, to build, to fix? Give us a call right now. We will give you some advice to help you get that project done as quickly and efficiently and inexpensively as possible. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    DARLENE: Remodeling a bathroom into a laundry room, because there was no laundry room there and three bathrooms. So, I put the stick-on linoleum squares on the floor, which was probably a mistake but it’s all down. And now I notice, on the edges, it’s starting to pull up just a bit. It’s fine in the middle but around the edges – and so I was wondering, should I use a silicone around – kind of pull them up a little bit, put silicone around there or a water-based sealant of some kind? I just didn’t know quite what to do if we put the washing machine in there and there was a leak. And then I was afraid the whole floor would come up or something.

    TOM: So do you think if you kept pulling the tiles, they would all come up completely?

    DARLENE: I think the reason why the sides are – maybe the floor isn’t quite even on the edges or something. I’m just thinking that maybe it wasn’t quite even. And it’s not every side but just part of it. Right where the washer is going to be, as a matter of fact.

    TOM: Well, look, if you were able to lift up those edges and add a tile adhesive underneath that – a regular floor-tile adhesive: the kind of tile adhesive that you would use if you were laying down these vinyl tiles from scratch – and then you weighted it while it dried, that would probably be the best chance you’ve got of preventing it from coming back up again. But I’ve got to tell you that it’s been my experience that once these seams start to go, you fix one and two more pop up. So this might be something you’re chasing.

    And if it’s only a small area, what you could also consider is basically replacing the vinyl floor with laminate floor. Just a small amount of laminate flooring won’t be that expensive and it can be laid down right on top of that vinyl floor. Laminate floors will float; they don’t need to be attached. They sort of lock together and they will lay down on top of that. You put a saddle in where you – like at the doorways and that kind of stuff. But that would give you a really durable floor and you wouldn’t have to worry about it.

    DARLENE: Well, that’d be better than pulling it all up. That’s a good idea. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, if you’re just getting started in, perhaps, your first home or apartment or you know somebody that is, you’re probably on a really limited budget. But there are ways to stretch that budget along with your creative muscles and create a place you’ll be proud to call home, just by repurposing what you have or perhaps some items that you might collect from friends or family.

    LESLIE: Yep. And that first step is to experiment with what you already have. You know, why not have some fun just moving things around or even pulling something from one room and giving it a test drive in another room? If you experiment with creating those little vignettes – I’m talking about those groups of three or five items – really, you do that and it creates this amazing little look. And you can do that on a side table or on a chest or on a dresser or anything. That’s what I call a “vignette.” When we’re talking about that, you can make those all around your house.

    Now, the key here, guys, is to not worry about matching. Designers, all of us out there, for the most part, we don’t like sets of furniture. We like to mix and match. It gives the room personality, it makes things feel homey and it really makes it feel like you’ve curated this look over time. So don’t be afraid to mix and match the way the pieces look.

    Now, you can even carry this idea into your bedroom by buying single sheets, different pillow cases, shams, all of that stuff. Find things on sale that you like and then create a custom look for your bed by mixing and matching those colors and patterns. And it’s really going to suit your personality and look fantastic.

    TOM: You also might want to think about using baskets. I mean these are great for storage in small spaces. And the woven designs and the texture of baskets, they really add kind of a warmth, especially in an apartment where you often have these white or very off-white walls. You can find them at off-price stores. You can find vintage baskets, in different sizes and shapes, at flea markets.

    But bottom line, with a little imagination and a willingness to kind of bend those décor rules a bit, there’s no reason why you can’t decorate your home or apartment on a really tight budget and make it a place you’re going to love coming home to.

    For more tips, just search “budget décor” on MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: William is on the line with a gutter question. What’s going on at your money pit?

    WILLIAM: Hi. We recently purchased a home that – it’s surrounded by a lot of pine trees. So I’m getting a lot of pine needles on my roof and in my gutters. And it’s only been a few weeks and already I’m tired of climbing up there to clean them. Do you have any suggestions for keeping them off the roof and keeping the gutters flowing?

    TOM: Well, we can’t fight gravity, so you’re going to always have them on your roof.

    I will give you a couple suggestions. First of all, as you probably know, there’s a wide range of gutter covers out there. And the type that are sort of screen-like are the type that are most likely to clog, because the pine needles will lay across the top, they’ll get stuck in there and you’ll just be very miserable. What I think the best type – is the ones that are continuous gutter covers that go all across the top of the gutter, where the pine needles have a chance to actually wash over the top and let the water fall in through the principles of surface tension.

    Now, the bad news is that those are expensive. They’re so expensive that you may find that removing your traditional 4-inch gutters and replacing them with 6-inch gutters – which will not clog with pine needles because everything is much bigger, the throats for the downspouts are bigger, the gutters are bigger, they can take more water, more flow – might be the best way to go. So that’s kind of your option. I would either use a gutter cover that covers the entire top of the gutter or I would take out the 4-inch gutters and I would put in 6-inch gutters, which is what I did at my house and just never looked back.

    WILLIAM: OK. Well, thank you.

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

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

    KAYLA: Just got married and moved into a new home. And it already had a Honeywell whole-home humidifier installed in it. And it seems like a dream come true. I thought it was going to be amazing.

    But we have 100-amp service and every now and then, our breaker will trip and I – you don’t even know downstairs unless you’re down there. And I have gone down a couple times and it was – the basement is flooded. And it floods over into the other room, like into the – where I eventually want to lay carpet and have a family room.

    TOM: Is that because the dehumidifier condensate pump stops working?

    KAYLA: I’m not sure what it is. There’s like an overfill thing for it and I’m assuming it’s supposed to lead to a drain. But the drain is in the laundry room, which is in the opposite direction.

    TOM: OK. So when everything is working correctly, this dehumidifier is going to take moisture out of the air, drop it into a reservoir, which you either have to empty or it will pump out somewhere.

    Usually, if it’s got a condensate pump associated with it, it could pump up sort of against gravity and there’s a clear, plastic tube that goes out and leads to a drain somewhere or even outside the house. If you have a power failure, it’s not going to work and it might actually start to leak maybe back into that room where you are. Of course, the dehumidifier is not working at that time, so it’s not going to leak for long. But I could see how it could create a bit of a puddle. So your problem is not so much with the dehumidifier but while you’re having a problem popping these breakers.

    Now, 100-amp service is actually a pretty darn good service and it frequently doesn’t get the respect it deserves. When these breakers pop, it’s not usually because you’re pulling more than 100 amps; it’s because that whatever circuit you have this particular dehumidifier on is – needs to be improved, perhaps by adding an additional circuit. But the service for the house should be fine.

    KAYLA: OK. It does have a clear hose that leads outside.

    TOM: That’s what’s going on. When your power goes out, the pump stops working and that’s why it’s leaking, OK? So focus on getting this plugged into a circuit that is a little bit bigger than what you have right now. An electrician could help you sort this out but it’s not a big deal to add an additional circuit just for that device.

    KAYLA: Alright. Sounds good.

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

    LESLIE: Up next, winter is here. Can your pipes, though, survive the cold? We’re going to give you some easy and inexpensive ways to keep them from freezing, when we return.

    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: Happy New Year. We’re here to help you take on those home improvement resolutions that you want to get done. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Byron in Arizona is on the line and has a question about a log home. How can we help you?

    BYRON: I am planning on building a log-cabin kit and – 8-inch logs. We’re in a very cold climate, 7,400 feet elevation and wondering if I need to insulate the inside of the logs or if the logs will give enough thermal mass to insulate the house itself.

    TOM: Well, you mentioned you’re going to be in a very cold climate and generally, if you’re building a log – a home in a very cold climate, most people will insulate those logs. And typically, that’s done by adding furring strips and then some sort of a sheet insulation, like an isocyanurate insulation or a Dow foam board-type insulation. And the other advantage to doing that is it makes the wiring a little bit easier; you don’t have to drill the logs to run the wires. You can use that insulation space to also run all your wiring.

    BYRON: OK. Yeah. We were hoping to keep the logs exposed, just for looks, but we might be able to do that by some – on the outside of the furring strips with some planks or something.

    TOM: Well, I think it will be warmer if you insulate them but let’s – if you want to just leave it raw for now, you could always go back and do the insulation later. Those logs are going to have some thermal mass to them, especially since they’re 8 inches thick. But I think, generally, the building practice would be, in a very harsh climate, to try to insulate the inside of those walls.

    BYRON: I think I’ll take your advice and insulate and then, like I say, use some wood planks to make it look more like log on the inside.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    BYRON: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your assistance.

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

    Well, anyone who has had to deal with this problem can tell you frozen, broken pipes, they are one expensive headache, especially if it happens while you’re not home. But the good news is there are a few easy things that you can do to keep them from freezing in the first place.

    LESLIE: Yeah, on those really super cold nights, guys, you want to open the door to any of those under-sink cabinets that are on the outside walls of your home. And that’s most often your kitchen cabinets in your kitchen sink. That’s going to let the warm air in and that will really prevent it from becoming a freezer, which will then lead to those frozen water lines. I mean that’s a simple step anybody can do.

    TOM: Next, you want to bundle up those pipes just like you do, perhaps, with a winter coat. You can wrap insulation around the pipes and especially in those that are in unheated crawlspaces and attics and basements.

    There’s a couple of different types of insulation. They have the foam tubes that are very easy to use. There’s also fiberglass tubes or there’s fiberglass pipe wrap, which is kind of like a wide roll – a 3- or 4-inch-wide roll – of thin fiberglass insulation that you can wrap over and over and over. I personally think that the tubes are the easiest things to use, either the fiberglass – which kind of does a better job in super-cold places than the foam. But either one is going to do a good job.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And the foam is so easy. It’s split down the middle and it just goes on so simply.

    Now, the next place is your crawlspace and basements. They can get a lot of drafts in those spaces and that can freeze any of those uninsulated pipes in a matter of, really, just a few hours. So once you find those drafts, consider using expanding foam. That’s a sealant. It will really seal things off very well. And then close those crawlspace vents during the coldest months. That will help a lot.

    TOM: And make sure you always keep your heat above 55 degrees all winter long. Shutting off or lowering those unused heating zones can possibly cause water and heating lines to freeze in the walls and the ceilings. And if you go away for any extended period of time, please, please just turn off your main water valve.

    There’s really no reason to leave it on and if you do, you’ll be completely protected against the possibility of not a frozen pipe – because that can still happen – but a pipe break. You don’t want to come home and see water rolling out your front door to meet you in the driveway.

    LESLIE: Janice in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JANICE: Yes. I have bought a new outside storage shed-type building, you know, you get it at the big-box stores? And I wanted to know how you can – what’s the best way to treat the exterior wood to keep it lasting longer? And also maybe the inside – the wood inside – the best thing to do for it.

    TOM: Is it made of pressure-treated lumber, Janice?

    JANICE: They call it – well, it’s got lumber on the trim and then the other, they call that “smart siding”? And that’s the side of the walls and stuff are – on the outside – smart siding?

    TOM: OK. So has it been painted?

    JANICE: No, no. It’s just raw wood.

    TOM: OK. So what we would do is we’d recommend that you prime it first. And I guess you have an option to paint it or stain it, depending on how the siding actually looks. But you want to prime it first. And then after you prime it, then you could add a couple of coats of either good-quality exterior paint or good-quality exterior stain.

    You don’t necessarily have to do anything to the inside as long as it’s watertight. But I would definitely work on the outside before it gets any colder out.

    JANICE: OK. Alright. Alright. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Just ahead, a door that sticks can be pretty annoying. The fix, though, doesn’t have to be. We’ll tell you how, after this.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Welcome back to the program. Happy New Year, everyone. If you’ve got a project that you’ve been working on or a problem that’s developed with your house full of all of those holiday guests that have hopefully just about left by now, you can give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: I hope so.

    TOM: We’d love to talk with you about what’s going on and help you get the job done.

    LESLIE: Al in New York has a roofing question. What can we do for you?

    AL: Wondering, since my roof blew away, what’s the progress on the solar-powered roof shingles?

    TOM: You say your roof blew away? What happened, Al?

    AL: Well, it’s old. It’s old. Like 40-year-old asphalt on top of cedar shingles. Then had a little storm here and there. We got $18 from FEMA.

    TOM: OK.

    AL: We got 8,000 from the insurance company, which is owned by the bank.

    TOM: Alright. Well, listen, at least you got something towards it. But listen, if you’re asking me are solar shingles to the point now where I would recommend them? My answer would be no. I think there are solar panels that I’m very comfortable with.

    But solar shingles, I’m concerned about their durability and their longevity. And every time I’ve evaluated them and seen them at, say, building/trade expos and things like that, I found that the warranties on these things don’t even come close to the warranty on an average roof. So, I’m concerned about how long they’re going to last and what it would take to replace them. They’re very, very expensive, as well. So, I’m not a proponent of solar shingles yet, although perhaps that can change in the future.

    Now, as to your roofing project, you mentioned that you have asphalt shingles on top of cedar shingles. I actually had a very similar roof, because I have a very old house that was built in the 1800s. And just about two years ago, we took off that original layer of cedar shingle, which had been covered by asphalt shingles over the years. And it was in amazingly good condition.

    But we pulled it off and then we resheathed the roof. So this particular type of roofing project is an expensive project because, usually, cedar shingles are on top of furring strips and you have to put plywood down over those furring strips to do it right. Your option is, of course, just to pull off the asphalt shingles and put another layer on top of the cedar and you’ll get more years out of it. But it won’t lay as flat, clean and nice as it should if it was on proper sheathing. Does that make sense?

    AL: Yeah, I know all that. As far as the local code is – you’re going to have to go down to the rafters, which means you’ve got to build up the existing furring strip and the existing – you know, the thicknesses.

    TOM: Well, what I would do is would leave the furring strips in place and attach the plywood right to that. That’s going to be a little less work and with an old house, it doesn’t make sense to pull those off. Just leave those and put the plywood right on it.

    Al, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a sticking door, it can go one of two ways. You can either put up with it, letting that little annoyance build up over time, or you can resolve it once and for all. We here at The Money Pit are advocates of that second approach, so here’s what you need to know.

    TOM: Definitely. And the first thing you need to understand is why doors stick. Now, most doors are made of wood, so the best way to understand the sticking-door problem is to think of a sponge.

    When the sponge is dry, it’s small, it’s compact, it’s hard. But what happens when it gets moist? It swells up to its full size but becomes just a little bit softer and that is exactly what happens to your door. As it swells and dries out, either extreme can cause it to stick. In fact, I know people where one spot sticks in the winter and another spot sticks in the summer. It’s a year-round problem.

    LESLIE: It really is but here is how you fix it. So, your first task, really, is to find exactly where that stick begins. You can discover this by slowly opening and closing the door and make a note of where the door is in relation to the frame when it starts to stick.

    If you want a visual guide, guys, think about when you go to the dentist and they make you bite down on that ink paper and they’re like, “Oh, see where things are rubbing together?” Let’s do this with your door. So, take a piece of chalk, color the door where it seems to be sticking and then open and close the door a bunch of times.

    Now, that chalk mark is going to transfer to the exact point where the sticking door touches the jamb. And it can easily be wiped off without a trace. You don’t have to worry about the chalk; you have to worry about the sticky part.

    TOM: Now, to actually make the repair, there’s two methods. So, we’ll call them “easy” and “slightly harder.” First, you want to tighten the hinges. Now, if the door opens on the right and sticks towards the top, the most likely culprit could be the opposite hinge.

    What happens is the hinges get loose. And think about it: as the hinge loosens, the door slides away from the hinge. So, to fix that, you might just need to tighten up the screws that are there or sometimes it’s best to pull the screws out of the hinge and put in a longer screw that goes through the door jamb and into the frame that’s inside the wall. That can tend to pull that door over and it might be all you need to do to fix it.

    Now, if it’s not the case, then you have to resort to sanding. So, once you’ve identified that spot that sticks, as Leslie just explained, you want to basically work on sanding that spot down. Now, I wouldn’t just sand it down until it closes without sticking. I would go a little bit further, because what’s going to happen is it may swell up again or as you put the paint finish on, that’s going to develop a little bit of a thickness to it.

    So I would make sure it clears, then go a little bit more so that you pretty much have it all out of the way. Then you need to seal it or paint it so it all matches. And once you do that, you should be good to go. It’s definitely worth spending a half-hour or an hour on this project and then never have to worry about that problem again.

    LESLIE: Ronnie in Maryland is on the line and has a question about a paintsicle – you know, when a gallon of paint freezes and you wonder if you can still use it.

    Welcome, Ronnie. How can we help you?

    RONNIE: Yes. I was wondering if that’s – I have some latex paint. It was out in the garage. I live in that climate in part of Maryland here where things freeze up. I was wondering if the paint was still good when it’s frozen. And if it is frozen, how I find out if it was frozen or not.

    LESLIE: Alright. So is it currently frozen? Do you know? Has it been frozen only once or have you had it like a year or two and it’s probably frozen a couple of times?

    RONNIE: I have no idea how old it is. It was actually – I bought a house and there were just lots of gallons of leftover paints that were in the garage.

    TOM: You not only have frozen paint, you have old, frozen paint that could have had a long history to it. The short answer is a definite maybe.

    I think that if you asked the manufacturers, Leslie, they’d say no. But I think we’ve all used some frozen paint before.

    RONNIE: They’re brand-new cans of paint I opened up. I could see that they’re separated a little bit but the – that’s why I didn’t know if they were actually good or if they were bad. If I mixed them back up they were good or …?

    LESLIE: Well, here’s the deal. I would start by bringing the paint indoors. Let it get to room temperature and then stir it. If it stirs and starts to go creamy, then it’s probably OK. If it still looks lumpy, then I’d say no. The issue is that latex paint has a large quantity of water in it. So, obviously, that’s going to freeze and cause things to separate. And then you might end up with problems with adhesion and peeling and perhaps color not matching.

    RONNIE: That’s why I thought if there was any lumpy stuff that might be in – I could run it through a cheesecloth or something like that.

    LESLIE: No, you wouldn’t want to. If it’s lumpy or cottage-cheesy looking in any kind of way, that just means that all of the additives that cause it to adhere have completely separated and are not sort of going back into the paint itself. So I wouldn’t strain it off, because then it’s just truly not going to stick.

    So if it’s separating like that, chuck it. But if you mix it and it looks creamy and it seems OK, I’d give it a go.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if making New Year’s resolutions is something you dread, instead of making promises to yourself, you might want to consider making resolutions that are a lot easier to keep: those that will help improve your home. We’re going to tell you what to resolve to do in the new year that’s going to save you money, help keep your home humming and are a lot easier to keep, 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: Thanks so much for spending this hour with us. If you’ve got a question about your home, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. If you want to decorate your apartment, we’d love to chat with you about that, too. Now that it’s getting pretty chilly outside, perhaps you’ve got some questions on how to save some money on the heat. Whether it’s a home or apartment, we’ve got great solutions. That number, again: 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. And I’ve got a post here from Bobby in New Jersey who’s looking for a solution. Now, Bobby writes: “I’m excited about my new high-efficiency washer but not about the part in the manual that says I might need to reinforce the floor beneath it. What’s that all about?”

    TOM: Yeah, right. Congratulations on your new washer. Now you need a contractor.

    Well, I mean for the most part, you don’t have to reinforce your floor, Bobby. But if you have a really old house, I guess it’s possible. And I think what the manufacturer is going to warn you against is that these machines, even though they’re extremely efficient, they spin crazy fast.

    And because they spin really fast, if the floor isn’t stable, what could happen is it could start to oscillate and that would be really bad for the machine and probably for your clothes, as well.

    Now, there is a solution to stop a machine that does tend to oscillate or shake a little bit. They’re called “anti-vibration pads.” They’re like rubber blocks that you put under each leg of the washer, designed specifically to kind of take the shake out. But I will tell you this: the most important thing to know when you put in a new washer, and especially a high-efficiency one, is it absolutely, positively must be level. If it’s not level, it just is not going to work.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But your clothes are going to come out of those washers so much less wet and they will dry super fast. So you’re going to be really happy with that new washer.

    TOM: Well, every New Year’s, Americans promise to lose weight and save more money but most of us don’t realize our homes could be doing this for us. And with a few simple changes around the house, you might find that you can expand your space, save money and make your home a healthier, better living environment all at the same time. Leslie will explain how in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Yeah, let’s think about this for a second. First, I’m on going to say a resolution that you might associate with yourself and then we’ll talk about how we can put it towards your home. So, let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to go on a diet, which I feel like my resolution is always to go on a diet and then somehow I eat more donuts, so that just doesn’t work.

    So, if your New Year’s resolution is to go on a diet, let’s think about how you could apply that to your house. You could declutter the rooms. Crowded spaces at home are really hard to work in. They’re hard to clean, they’re hard to focus in. You can really have a difficult time focusing your energy on productive projects if your house is all cluttery.

    Now, how about getting in shape? I feel like this goes hand in hand with the diet but if you’re like, “I swear I’m going to go to the gym,” think about this: let’s get your house in shape. Lack of maintenance is the number-one cause of deterioration in homes today. So even if you don’t have a lot of time for home care, small maintenance jobs done now can save thousands of dollars later. So make a list of important maintenance jobs that need to be done each season. For example, in January, it’s too cold to work outside. So take this time to look over your plumbing systems for leaks, things like that inside the house.

    Now, if your resolution is to save some money or perhaps stay on a budget, think about your home. If you lower your energy usage, you’re going to do that right there. Small fix-ups like improving your insulation, caulking around windows or sealing any gaps around outlets and light switches that are on the exterior wall can dramatically reduce the cost to heat and cool your home.

    So start there. I’m going to give you guys a pass on all the things related to your personal being. And let’s do all the resolutions to our home instead and really just have a really wonderful 2018 that we can stand by and be proud of.

    TOM: Just go ahead, grab that bowl of ice cream. It’s (inaudible).

    LESLIE: And a donut. Eat the donut. Why not do both?

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, the old incandescent light bulbs are quickly becoming part of history. But as we move more and more towards the energy-efficient LEDs, we’re discovering that not all LEDs deliver the same kind of light. We’ll tell you how to find the best bulbs for your space, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 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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