Solutions for Squeaky Floors

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here for you, to help you with your home improvement and décor projects. Help yourself first: pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question. If you’ve got a do-it-yourself dilemma, if you’ve got a project you’d like to plan for the months ahead, if you’re saying to yourself, “I want to be stuck inside pretty soon, because it’s going to get really cold, and I want to make my space look better,” all good reasons to pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or you can post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at

    Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to talk about one of life’s little annoyances: squeaking floors. But do they signal a structural problem below? We’re going to have the answer, plus step-by-squeaky-step tips to make them go away for good.

    LESLIE: And fall may be the season when leaves fall and gardening winds down but it’s also prime time to work on your lawn for the year to come. We’re going to tell you exactly how to do just that, just ahead.

    TOM: And when it comes to picking a new floor for your home, do you have difficulty deciding what color, texture or material is right for your space? We’ll have tips to help you land on the best style for your home, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a very fun tool to give away. It’s the iconic, American-made Prize Package, which includes the Arrow T50 Electric Staple Gun and Nailer, plus the Arrow G12 ODT Glue Gun, staples and glue sticks. I mean this is a prize pack that’ll help you get a lot of stuff done.

    TOM: That package of Arrow products is worth 60 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, let’s get to it. Who’s first?

    LESLIE: Caitlin in Iowa is on the line and needs some help restoring an old bath. Tell us what’s going on.

    CAITLIN: Hi. My husband and I moved into our 1917 farmhouse about a year ago. And our main bathroom only has a clawfoot tub and we would like a shower in it. So I was wondering if you had any tips on restoring the clawfoot tub and installing a shower kit.

    TOM: So, you want to keep the tub, right? You don’t want to put a separate shower. You just want to basically plumb up a showerhead into that, correct?

    CAITLIN: Correct.

    TOM: Since it’s a clawfoot tub, if you disconnect the plumbing, then you can get that out of the house. Because the best way to refinish that or resurface that is to send it out to a company that does that. Because if you do it in the house itself, they can come in with acids and they can etch the old finish and they can add a new finish and then they can bring in heat lights and bake it on. But I’ve found that it doesn’t work nearly as well as basically sending it out to a place that’s set up to re-enamel a tub. And then you’re going to have one that really lasts for the long haul.

    And after that, installing a shower kit to that is pretty much a plumbing project. Lots of places, like Restoration Hardware, have kits or you can find them online. Or you could basically plumb up the pipe that comes up and then arcs over for the showerhead. And you need a circular shower curtain – shower bar above it for a curtain – and all that’s easy. But the hard part is getting the tub re-enameled.

    CAITLIN: OK. And how costly is re-enameling a tub?

    TOM: It’s probably not as expensive as buying a new tub and it’s going to last indefinitely.

    CAITLIN: OK. Well, thank you for your advice.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Damian in Iowa on the line who’s got a mystery noise in the bathroom. Tell us about it.

    DAMIAN: Bought a new house beginning of April and it’s my second house I’ve owned. And in my master bedroom, in the closet – master closet and the master bath – it’s just some weird like clicking/ticking noises in the walls.

    TOM: Does that happen when you run water, Damian?

    DAMIAN: That does but that’s mainly – I think my plumbing’s in the flooring. And I don’t think this is a plumbing issue.

    TOM: So if it happens consistent with running the water or turning the water on/off, it’s almost always the pipes expanding and contracting. If the pipes are rubbing against the wall as it expands or contracts, it will make that clicking sound and then that clicking sound will resonate. So, it could be originating in the floor and you might hear it in the wall and so on. Sometimes it sounds like a drip, sometimes it sounds like a click. But in a bathroom area, that’s the – almost exclusively the reason that that sound occurs.

    DAMIAN: Here’s my thing. It happens in the closet and it happens for hours at a time when the plumbing’s not even being used.

    TOM: OK. Well, it still could be expansion and contraction.

    DAMIAN: Could it be because – I’m kind of facing the west side and it happens in the afternoon. Do you think the sun has anything to do with it? Stuff heating up in the walls or …?

    TOM: It may very well because when you’re heating things up, then you’re going to get expansion.

    DAMIAN: OK. Yeah, I’m just not used to – I used to own a brick house and this one’s steel siding, so I never used to hear those kinds of sounds.

    TOM: Oh, well, see, yeah, the expansion and the contraction of the siding is very noisy, too.

    DAMIAN: Oh, could that be it then?

    TOM: Yeah, it could be, absolutely.

    DAMIAN: I’ve gotten to the point where I almost want to take a hammer to my drywall and see what’s going on in there.

    TOM: I think you’d be chasing it for a long time and probably never exactly find the point. But it’s pretty typical and I wouldn’t worry about it. OK, Damian?

    DAMIAN: Alright. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, guys.

    TOM: Alright. Try to get some sleep. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Susan in Montana is having some drainage issues with the driveway. Tell us what’s going on.

    SUSAN: I had my office driveway resurfaced with asphalt. And I thought that the people did a really excellent job until we got a monsoon (ph) rain and all the water was collecting. And I had to leave to go down to Colorado and I got a frantic phone call from my husband telling me that the water was backing up into the house and it was like a big pool. And I called the asphalt people and they’re not responding to me.

    TOM: Well, listen, if they just resurfaced the driveway, they’re not going to do anything to change the pitch.

    SUSAN: That’s true. They did do it but they deliberately – supposedly, they had the pitch so that it would drain off into the lawn.

    TOM: And they didn’t quite get that right. So how do you fix that?

    SUSAN: Yeah.

    TOM: If the water is draining down the driveway back towards the building – so in other words, it’s never really draining off to the lawn anywhere – then what you have to do is you have to put a curtain drain in the driveway itself.

    And in a driveway, basically it’s a job where the driveway is essentially sliced in half. They slice out a chunk of driveway that’s maybe 6 inches wide. And you drop this trough into it so that as the water falls down the driveway, it drops into the trough – there’s a grade on top – and then it runs out the bottom of the trough. And of course, that requires some additional plumbing, so to speak, because you have to hook it up to a drainpipe to take it to the lowest place on the property to get rid of the water. But that’s how you drain a driveway that’s not pitched properly.

    And typically, that’s put right near the house or right near the garage lip or something like that so that it catches the water at the lowest possible spot.

    SUSAN: So who would I call for something like that? A plumber?

    TOM: You’re going to need a general contractor that can install that for you. I mean a driveway-sealing company is not going to do it. A general contractor that could do that – it’s kind of a handyman project. It’s not a difficult project, it’s not a really time-consuming project but you essentially have to cut into that driveway and install a drain. You’ve got to catch that water and you’ve got to manage it. And that’s the only way to do it, Susan.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Find top-rated home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: And just ahead, we’re going to talk about squeaking floors. They are clearly one of life’s little annoyances. But do they always signal a structural problem below? We’re going to have the answer, plus step-by-squeaky-step tips to make them go away for good, in today’s Building with Confidence Tip presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, at 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.

    And if you do call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. And you might just win the iconic, American-made Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun and a supply of staples, along with the Arrow G12 Glue Gun and glue sticks. Together, a great set of products. You can use them for lots of projects around your house.

    And right now, Arrow is featuring one on their website at It’s how to upholster a bench. All the step-by-step instructions and images are right there, so check it out at Just click on Projects.

    The package of tools is worth 60 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. That number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’re going over to Eunice in Arkansas who has a retaining wall that thinks it’s a chameleon. It’s changing colors. What’s going on?

    EUNICE: Part of it is – the part that’s turning white powdery-looking is the part that’s exposed to the weather. It’s kind of spreading. It looks like it’s – you know, the whole thing will eventually turn white. I don’t know if it’s oxidizing or if moisture from the ground is making it change colors or what.

    TOM: And that’s exactly what’s happening, Eunice. What you’re seeing is called “efflorescence.” And essentially, water from the ground pulls up because those concrete blocks are very hydroscopic. So it – water pulls up and then as the water evaporates, it leaves its mineral salts behind. And that’s what that whitish/grayish deposit is.

    So it’s not harmful; it’s really just cosmetic. And there’s not going to be a lot you can do to stop it, though. If it’s an outside wall like that, if there’s going to be a lot of moisture collecting in that area, you’re going to get that sort of thing from happening.

    EUNICE: Oh, OK. So power-washing it or using a chemical or anything wouldn’t make a difference?

    TOM: Well, really, all you need – I’ll give you a little trick of the trade. If you use white vinegar – so if you were to mix up some white vinegar and mix it with water in a pump-up sprayer, that will melt the mineral salts right away.

    EUNICE: OK. Very good. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Eunice, good luck with that project. You’re very welcome.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading out to Hawaii, the most beautiful place in the world, with Ross. What can we do for you today?

    ROSS: Thank you for saying this. And I had a question for you guys about countertops. What can you recommend that does not require treatment every six months or year like granite or – I know Silestone is supposed to be good. But what can you recommend in the natural-stone arena?

    TOM: Well, Silestone is quartz. And quartz is not as absorbent as granite and that’s why it needs a little bit less care. Concrete tops are gaining in popularity. But again, all of those stone-based products do need more maintenance and more care than something like a basic, solid-surfacing material that is designed to look like stone.

    So, if you want to use the natural products, you’re going to have to buy into some of that maintenance. And I think if you are definitely committed to natural, I would look at quartz over granite.

    ROSS: And that would include Silestone?

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a type of quartz.

    ROSS: Does that require maintenance?

    TOM: Yep. They all require maintenance, so you’re not going to get something that’s completely maintenance-free. But I think it requires less maintenance than granite because it’s not quite as absorbent. A little more forgiving to those tomato-sauce and coffee stains.

    ROSS: OK, great. Well, I appreciate that very much.

    TOM: Alright, Ross. Good luck with that project.

    LESLIE: Squeaking floors are just one of life’s little annoyances but they rarely signal a structural problem is happening below. Now, the actual sound stems from one or a combination of two sources: you’ve either got loose boards that are rubbing together or the nail that holds down the floor is squeaking as they’re moving in and out of their holes.

    TOM: Now, that’s right. And fortunately, squeaks can be about as easy to fix as they are to find, if you know what to do. The solution, in both cases, is simply resecuring the floor to the joist below. Because if the floor is held tightly, then the squeaks are eliminated.

    Now, how you actually do this, though, depends on the floor covering.

    LESLIE: Exactly. So, if you’ve got a floor squeak that’s happening underneath carpeting, the best solution is always to remove the carpet and then use some hardened drywall screws to hold that floor in place by driving one next to every single nail that you see in the floor. Because those screws are never going to pull out, so they’re really much better than nails at stopping those squeaks. It’s also smart to do this if you’re replacing your carpet. This way, you can stop the squeaks before they even happen.

    TOM: Now, if you’re fixing a squeaking hardwood floor, it’s a little trickier than fixing a carpeted floor but the principles remain the same. You need to locate the area of the squeak and then use a stud finder to locate the joist below. You want to screw those floor boards down in this area but you can use a type of screw called a “trim screw.” Now, it’s hardened but it has a really small head, kind of like a finish nail, so it’s super easy to fill the hole in with wood putty when you’re done.

    LESLIE: You know, squeaking floors might be one of life’s little annoyances but they really are easily kept under control.

    For a complete guide on how you can fix floor squeaks under carpet, hardwood, tile or vinyl, check out our blog on

    TOM: And that’s today’s Building with Confidence Tip brought to you by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. It’s completely online, reduces annoying and time-consuming paperwork and gives you a real, accurate and personalized mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation, with no hidden fees or hassles.

    LESLIE: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Apply simply, understand fully, mortgage confidently.

    TOM: 888-666-3974 is our telephone number. We’d love to chat with you about your next project, so give us a call right now.

    LESLIE: Theodora is on the line with a leaky ceiling. What’s going on?

    THEODORA: We got a leak. We don’t know where it came from. We don’t know if it’s from an outside frame on a window or if it’s from vines that were crawling up the outside, which we pulled out, and loosened the frame.

    Anyway, we’ve got a leak. It’s a two-story house. I live on the main floor and it’s my ceiling that’s leaking. And it’s left – it barely leaks and it rarely leaks unless we get water from that side.

    TOM: So kind of like a driving rainstorm?

    THEODORA: That’ll do it.

    TOM: Yeah, OK.

    THEODORA: And the thing is that we cleaned it with bleach and we put KILZ on there. And then about a month later, we put latex on there.

    TOM: OK.

    THEODORA: And I was told that ought to work but the stain came back. It’s kind of a rusty color and pretty ugly.

    TOM: So the question is: do we think it’s still leaking, Theodora? Or do you think it’s just a stain you’re having difficulty with?

    THEODORA: It leaks only when we get those Kona storms. And otherwise, it doesn’t leak. Storms come and go and it does not leak.

    TOM: So, if the leak is active no matter what you put on there for paint, obviously, it’s going to keep coming through again. So we have to deal with the active leak.

    Now, you mentioned that you live on the first floor of this home. Is it a two-family house or – who’s upstairs?

    THEODORA: My daughter lives up; I live down. I rent from her; she’s my landlord.

    TOM: Oh, I see. OK. Well, you’re going to have to complain to the landlord here, I think. Obviously, you’ve got a leak that’s caused by driving rain, which means it’s coming in generally through flashing. What kind of siding is on this house?

    THEODORA: I guess I would have to say that the walls are hollow tile? That brick that has a hole in the side? And there is no flashing I – there is on the second story, on the ceiling – on the roof. But in my area, it’s just kind of – if you put adobe on there, you’d have kind of a brick house.

    TOM: Well, what you’re going to have to do is basically have a contractor look at the side of this house, because you’re getting water up and under somewhere. And if you don’t deal with it, the mold could get worse.

    Now, because it’s a driving rainstorm, it’s going to be probably flashing-based, like I said. And so, that may involve you taking apart some of the trim around windows, for example, or where roofs intersect or where plumbing pipes come through and trying to get to the source of this.

    One thing that you could try to do is you could have a contractor run water down the house, starting at the top and working down, to see if we can recreate the leak. That might help you narrow down where it’s happening.

    THEODORA: The second-story roof has vaulted ceilings. It’s way up to heaven. They won’t get up there with water. I know that.

    TOM: Well, look, you can get as high as you need to get, with the right tools, Theodora. But the problem is you’ve got to deal – this is not – you called a question about how to deal with the stain. It’s not a stain issue; it’s a leak issue. The leak has got to be addressed. I can’t tell you where it’s happening on that side of the house but I can tell you it does exist and you’ve got to identify that. And you could try caulking obvious areas and things like that to see if it makes it go away. But I would recommend a more comprehensive approach. And unfortunately, you’re going to need a pro to get that done.

    So, complain to that landlord. Get somebody in that can fix that. I’m sure your daughter will understand.

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

    LESLIE: Fall may be the season when leaves fall and gardening winds down but it’s also prime time to work on your lawn for the year to come. We’re going to tell you exactly how to do just that, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, fall may be the season when leaves drop and gardening starts to wind down but it’s also prime time to work on your lawn for the year to come. Planting new grass now, as well as fertilizing and applying weed killer, gives your lawn plenty of time to grow deep roots without the fear of extreme temperatures that can burn out new grass or stunt the growth of the grass you already have.

    With us to talk about that is Jim Wood. Jim is the lawn-care expert for Bonide.

    Welcome back, Jim.

    JIM: Good to be back, Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: It’s always great to have you on, because you guys have been in this business for more than 90 years now. So when I want to get clear advice on how to tackle a project, I know I can turn to you and the team at Bonide.

    So let’s talk about fall lawn care, because I think people sort of mentally think that their gardening work is done. But really, their lawn work is just beginning now, right?

    JIM: Oh, that’s very true. As we get into the fall months, it’s a great time to get everything ready for next spring season, that’s for sure. And turf is right there with it.

    TOM: Now, let’s talk about the lawns that are having sort of bare patches and maybe have thinned out a little bit over the very hot summer months. What’s the best way to start to restore the grass in those areas? Do you put seed down first? Is there a type of seed you put in? Do you apply fertilizer first? Kind of lay out the best approach for restoring a lawn or really beefing up the lawn that you have right now.

    JIM: Well, what I would do, Tom, is suggest that the homeowner analyze the extent at which he needs to reseed some areas. And the key thing is to make sure that they choose the right seed blend that is for the area that they’re going to seed.

    TOM: Now, talk about seed blends. How do seed blends differ from place to place?

    JIM: They differ by basically the name on the bag. I mean if it says “full sun,” the seed varieties that are within that bag do their best growth in full sun exposure.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: If you have a dense shade area or a shaded area, you could either choose between a dense-shade blend or a sun-and-shade blend. So there’s a variety of ways that they can go. But it’s critical that they get the right blend of grass seed for the area that they need to reseed.

    And then, Tom, the biggest thing, once they go to seed the lawn, they need to ensure that there’s good seed-to-soil contact.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: Just throwing the seed on top of the ground is not going to do it. They need to cultivate the areas.

    Now, if it’s in spots, they could cultivate the area with a hoe, a rake, something like that to loosen up the top ¼-inch or inch. Or if they’re doing a larger area, they could also core-aerate, you know, which means running a core aerator or running that across the lawn.

    TOM: Now, let’s talk about that. I’ve done core-aeration before but I think many folks are not familiar with it.

    A core aerator is basically a machine that cuts plugs, sort of, in the lawn every few inches. So it kind of looks like your lawn has been drilled, very consistently, with holes across the entire surface. But that lets the seeds drop in.

    And then how, also, does that aeration help the current grass grow better?

    JIM: Well, it reduces the soil compaction, which is one of the major problems with turf. So, it’s always beneficial to core-aerate on an annual or every-other-year basis, to remove the compaction. And it also allows for moisture. Going through a dry fall would at least allow the moisture to get down deep into the soil.

    TOM: Now, of course, you’ve got to be careful if you have a sprinkler system. Make sure your heads are all marked because you don’t want to run the machine across that, right?

    JIM: Oh, that’s for sure. You definitely need to know where they’re located so you don’t do that.

    And then, when the homeowner is done putting the seed down, it’s ideal to cover that seed with straw or some type of covering – organic covering. And then, keep it moist and then put down some lawn-seed starter, which is a fertilizer that would be high in phosphorus. Bonide has our Lawn Seed Starter in a shaker can and a 5000-square-foot bag. It definitely supplies ample phosphorus for root growth and it also feeds for up to 8 weeks, which is critical in the growth and development of the turf plant.

    TOM: We’re talking to Jim Wood. He’s the lawn-care expert for Bonide.

    So, Jim, if we were just doing lawn care in general and we don’t have any areas that we have to patch, do we also need to apply fertilizer this time of year? And what about weed control?

    JIM: I think, Tom, the best time to feed your lawn is in the fall months. In my career, I’ve seen excellent results when a homeowner feeds their lawn in the month of September and then follows it up again with fertilization sometime in mid to late November. That gives the plant nutrients so it gets off to a very good start in the spring season. And by doing that, they probably would only need to apply just a crabgrass preventer-type product without fertilizer in the spring. But the best time to feed – and this is basically agreed to by many universities across the country – is the fall season.

    And to controlling weeds in the lawn, fall is an ideal time to do this. If you make an application of a broad-leaf killer, such as Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra, they could apply that sometime in October, well into the month of November, because it works down to 45-degree temperatures. They would get a jump on next spring’s weed control if they were to spray their lawn this fall with a lawn-weed killer. No doubt about it.

    TOM: That’s great advice. Jim Wood, the lawn-care expert for Bonide.

    Now you’ve got the step-by-step on how to get your lawn ready for spring. That work begins right now.

    Jim, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice, as always.

    JIM: Thank you, Tom and Leslie. Always a joy to be on your show.

    TOM: And if you’d like more information about Bonide’s products, take a look at their website, –

    LESLIE: Jim Wood from Bonide, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Well, when it comes to selecting a new floor for your home, do you have difficulty deciding what color, texture or material is right for your space? We’re going to have some tips to help you land on the best style for your home, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And if you do, we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat because we’re giving away the iconic, American-made Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun and a supply of staples, along with the Arrow G12 0DT Glue Gun and glue sticks. Basically, everything you need to get projects done around your house.

    And there’s a lot you can do with that, like upholstering a bench, which is a project that’s on Arrow’s website, right now, if you click on the Projects section at You’ll get all the step-by-step details on how to make a beautiful bench using those Arrow tools.

    That package is worth 60 bucks. Going out to one caller or one poster to our Community page, so make that you. Get in touch with us, 1-888-MONEY-PIT, or post your question to the Community page at

    LESLIE: Peter in Alaska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    PETER: Well, I’m having trouble with my soil stack at my house, the vent – the main vent – going out. In the wintertime, it freezes solid and I don’t know what to do about it.

    TOM: Let’s see. Tell me about the structure of your house. So the soil vent goes from your bathroom, up through your attic into – though the roof and out?

    PETER: Correct. And it’s a two-story house. It’s very well insulated. I have R-32 walls and R-83 ceiling and I have double walls in my house. And the attic is vented along the ridge and it also has gable vents.

    TOM: And is it freezing over it, across the top of the vent?

    PETER: No. It’s down a little bit and my vent is up high. I got it about 4 feet down from the peak of the roof and it stands about 4 foot up from the roof.

    TOM: I wonder if you were to insulate that soil pipe, whether it would be warm enough to prevent the freezing from forming down deep in it, if you were to insulate it right up to the point where it exits the roof.

    PETER: I thought about that. I did that for our vent that’s over the stove, because I thought of the heat going up through there might condensate with the cold metal. So I did insulate that. So I was thinking maybe that would work. I don’t know.

    TOM: I would. That’s a really easy thing to do. I would definitely think about giving that a shot. Because the moisture that’s getting out there is obviously a lot of water vapor. And if we can keep that pipe from freezing, the less chance you’re going to have to get that ice buildup. And then probably what happens is you get gurgle-y pipes because you’re not getting any air out of it. Things don’t flush right and all that.

    PETER: Exactly. Yeah, we’re concerned about it. And everything is heated, you know? Our toilets are hot water.

    TOM: I would try that. I would insulate it. It’s a very easy thing to do and you’ve already got a terrifically insulated house, so why not just extend it up the other side of the roof?

    PETER: Yeah. Alright. Thank you very much. I’ll try that.

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

    Well, when it comes to selecting a new floor for your home, do you have difficulty deciding what color or texture or style is right for your space? There are more options than ever before and we’re going to give you some tips now to help you land on the best style for your home, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    LESLIE: Yeah. For any home décor project, where color and style are key, a good place to start is by identifying items in your home with colors or patterns that make you happy. You’ve already got stuff there you like, so let’s play off of that. Do you have a favorite pillow, a photograph collection or maybe a piece of furniture that you just love? Then consider using those colors and accessories to start narrowing down the flooring that will best complement those styles.

    TOM: Now, next, you want to consider mixing flooring materials and colors and styles. And this way, you can create patterns that can beautify the room you’re working in. A huge trend today is to mix two floors that are complementary in style and design but vary in color or width. You can also play with patterns, like adding texture to your space with floors, say, in a herringbone pattern. Make it personal and make it unique to you. There’s lots of options.

    LESLIE: For a very rich look, you can think about using new flooring designs with gold hues to add luxury to your home. New products, like Bellawood Gilded Reserve from Lumber Liquidators, feature a wire-brushed look that reveals a metallic-gold shimmer. And it’s just that wonderful, extra detail that really completes a space.

    TOM: Yeah. And you can also sort of bring the beauty of nature indoors by using earthy colors and natural materials. And for open-concept spaces, here’s a little tip: you can use extra-long or extra-wide planks with fewer seams. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

    LESLIE: And that’s today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators. Now offering new flooring styles this fall flooring season. Choose from more than 400 varieties of hardwood, bamboo, laminate, waterproof flooring and more.

    TOM: Visit your local Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide today or online at Lumber Liquidators, beautiful floors for less.

    LESLIE: Valerie in Washington is on the line and has a question about outdoor décor. What’s going on?

    VALERIE: I have a simple railing on my front porch and it’s cedar. Part of it’s stained to keep it from deteriorating, so it’s orange-colored. And the rest is just naturally-aged cedar-silvery. And I want it to be white to match the rest of my trim. So, there’s two different colors and do I do an undercoat – a primer? And is it oil-based? And can I get a stain – a pure-white stain – for it?

    TOM: So, you probably can. What I would suggest is a two-fold approach. I would prime it first and then I would use a solid-color stain. Because I think that will give you the sort of more natural look that you seem to be looking for. But you should prime it and then apply the solid-color stain.

    Now, because this is off-color orange, as you describe it, if you don’t prime it, you may get some of that that comes through. That’s why I want you to prime it first. You’d use an exterior-grade primer and you’d use a solid-color stain. If you buy both the primer and the stain from the same manufacturer, you can be sure that they’ll work well together.

    VALERIE: OK. Does this matter if it’s oil-based or not?

    TOM: I would probably recommend an oil-based primer, only because you’re going to get better coverage over that darker color. But in terms of the stain itself, that could be latex-based.

    VALERIE: Oh. OK, then. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it and I enjoy your program.

    TOM: Well, thank you very much, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Post your home improvement question to The Money Pit’s Community page at or call it in to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to

    TOM: Up next, if you’re planning to build new or add onto an existing house, is prefab construction better than building from scratch? We’ll have the answer, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement or décor question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where you can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.

    LESLIE: And remember, the Community section over at is always open, so you can post your questions there. And we’d like to answer those now. I’ve got one here from Steve in New Jersey who writes: “I’m planning to add a second floor to our ranch home and want to get your opinion on using a modular-home company as opposed to a traditional builder or contractor. Are there any benefits or drawbacks?”

    TOM: Well, first of all, Steve, I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not you’re using a modular-home company or a builder because you have to have a modular-home builder. But I think what you’re talking about is whether you should build it as a what we call “stick frame,” which is the way you typically build homes, like one 2×4 and 2×8 at a time. Or do you want to build it using a prefabricated set of building components?

    Now, I want to just do a little history lesson here and point out that back after the war – the World War II war, I’m talking about – there were a lot of homes in this country that were built from kits. Craftsman, incidentally, from Sears – they actually had Craftsman kit houses that you could order where literally all the pieces were numbered, just like it would be in a puzzle, and people would put them together. And they were prefabricated. And there were advantages to those back then because lumber and quality lumber was hard to come by. And this way, you could have it shipped to the factory and you could construct your pieces there and have it shipped to your lot and then build it.

    Well, a lot of those advantages still exist today. And in fact, there’s more opportunities to use prefabricated sections of homes. For example, we did a program not too long ago with the folks at This Old House. And we featured the home that they were building up in Rhode Island, which was a net-zero home. So it’s a home that’s designed to basically generate all the energy it needs to operate. And I recall that their foundation was made many, many miles away and then shipped to the site to be installed in pieces.

    So, using modular construction or prefabrication – prefabricated construction – can actually be a very good thing because you’re building those components in a controlled environment. And very often, you can save costs, as well.

    So if you’re working with an experienced modular builder, then I think you’re probably going to be OK doing that. It’s definitely something not to be afraid of. But of course, just like anything else, you have to make sure you check your references and past customers and make sure the folks you’re working with know what they’re doing. But I do think it could be a very good way to build a home these days or even add an addition.

    LESLIE: Now, good luck with that project. Give us a call as you get in the process of it. We’d love to help you out with all of the decisions that come along with these projects, as you’re doing them.

    TOM: And then there will be many.

    LESLIE: Truly.

    TOM: Well, there’s one thing that you can do, right now, to save a bundle when it comes time to heat your home this winter. It’s a fairly inexpensive project and a good DIY task to take on. Leslie has tips on installing a programmable thermostat, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, a programmable thermostat is going to ensure that you don’t play with the temperature all day long. And by not playing with the temperature, you’re going to save money.

    You want to keep it at a steady temperature when you’re in the house and keep it set to about 55 degrees at night or when you’re away. You want to have the heat come up automatically, about an hour before you wake up, so you’re not freezing after your morning shower. And you can do the same thing just before everybody comes home for the evening. I mean it’s really very convenient and it’s going to save you so much money and energy. You’re really going to wonder why this wasn’t something you incorporated into your home style before.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s really true.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’re trying to give a small bathroom a makeover, you’ve got to make every inch count. We’re going to have tips on smart design that can make the most of those very small spaces, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 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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