How to Fix a Spring Roof Leak #0313171

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  • roof leak
  • Bathroom Sink Faucet
  • Q+A_Wet Basement
  • Candle dripping wax
  • Geothermal Heat Pump
  • Foundation crack
  • under-cabinet-LED-lighting
  • Transcript

    Stop Spring Roof Leaks #0313171

    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: Hey, what are you doing today? If it’s a home improvement project, a décor project, we’d love to chat with you at 888-MONEY-PIT. So pick up the phone and help yourself, first, by calling us at 888-666-3974. Because that’s why we exist: to help you get the projects done that you’d like around your home

    And with the start of spring now just a few days away, it’s a great time to take on a home improvement project, especially if it has to do with your roof. Because when those spring rains hit, well, you’d better make sure it’s good to go. So we’ll have some tips on how to make sure it’s ready for that deluge.

    LESLIE: And we’re about to be outside a whole lot, so is your deck ready? Well, sun, rain and even insects can damage your deck’s surface but a good finish can help keep Mother Nature from ruining that deck. We’re going to share some tips, just ahead.

    TOM: And if you’re planning a new floor for your home this spring, you need to choose carefully if the floor is going to be in a damp location, like a bathroom, a basement or maybe even a laundry room. So we’ll have a guide on what type of floors hold up best in those locations, including info on a new product that can actually be submerged without damage.

    LESLIE: Plus, if you’re dreading dragging out your gas-powered lawn mower for another season of back-breaking, pull-cord starts, fear not because this hour, we are giving away a fantastic product to one very fortunate homeowner. It’s the Greenworks 60-Volt Lithium Walk-Behind Mower and it’s worth 402 bucks.

    TOM: I’ve got to tell you I actually have this mower and it’s fantastic. It’s got a push-button start, which doesn’t really get any easier than that. I mean no with the pull cords, like you said. It’s completely hassle-free.

    Now, you’ll find it at Lowes but we’ve got one going out to one lucky listener who calls in their home improvement question to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So, make that you. Give us a call right now, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: David in Arkansas is on the line with a geothermal question. What is going on at your money pit?

    DAVID: Well, I have leaks, for one. But at any rate, it’s a water furnace unit. It’s about 23 years old and so it’s probably had a good life. I’m just curious, these days, if it’s best to look at replacement with a geothermal or if conventional units are now just as efficient, you know, and which way to go.

    TOM: And what kind of fuel do you have right now, David?

    DAVID: Our home is all electric.

    TOM: So it’s all electric. OK. So, yes, the HVAC systems are far more efficient than they used to be. If you were to go geothermal, you have the investment of having to essentially install the ground line, which basically goes deep into the soil as part of this. And that’s something that’s going to depend greatly on the condition of the soil, whether it can be easily drilled and so on and so forth. The install on geothermal tends to be pretty expensive, so you’re definitely going to have to get some estimates on that and see if it makes sense. If not, I would buy the most efficient electric heat-pump system that you can afford.

    And I’d also make sure that you replace both the coil on the A/C side of this, as well. Because the coil has to match, right? You don’t just want to put the unit outside. You have to replace that coil, as well. Because unless they’re properly matched, you do not get the efficiency that you are promised, so to speak.

    DAVID: OK.

    TOM: And then thirdly, I want you to make sure that you replace the thermostat with one designed for heat pumps. This is a common mistake people make. They put standard clock-setback thermostats on heat pumps. And what happens is if a heat pump runs on the heat pump cycle, the temperature has to move very slowly so it doesn’t trigger the backup system that’s built into all heat pumps, which is electric heat. And if you do that, that gets really expensive to run.

    So, replace the heat pump with the most efficient one you can afford, match it with a proper-sized coil and make sure the thermostat is also replaced and is a heat-pump thermostat. And by the way, lots of thermostats today, too, that are Wi-Fi, wireless thermostats. Your phone becomes a remote control.

    DAVID: Right, right.

    TOM: You don’t have to get up off the easy chair to change your heat or even when you’re coming home from work.

    DAVID: Right, right. Right.

    TOM: If the heat is set low, you want to kick it up a few degrees. You can do that before you get in the car and start driving home.

    DAVID: Alright.

    TOM: So lots of technology for you to take advantage of, as well, OK, Dave?

    DAVID: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Appreciate you guys being on for us to call in.

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

    LESLIE: Sandy in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a carpet question. What’s going on?

    SANDY: Well, I had a Scentsy, one of those little things that uses hot wax. And my granddaughter knocked the Scentsy over onto the carpet and part of it splashed on my (inaudible at 0:05:36) chair, which is upholstered.


    SANDY: And I didn’t – haven’t done anything yet because I don’t know really how to go about cleaning that.

    LESLIE: Good. Well, the first thing you want to do – and this is – it’s kind of an easy fix. You just have to make sure you haven’t already scratched at it or rubbed it or anything. Take a brown paper bag and an iron. And you want to put the iron on a high setting without steam. And put the paper bag over the wax and then iron. And the wax will melt but then stick to the paper bag and you’ll be able to peel it right off.

    SANDY: Well, that’s awesome. OK, brown paper bag with a hot iron not on steam.

    LESLIE: No steam.

    SANDY: Just hot cotton and hold it on there for a few minutes and it will pull it out.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you don’t want to sit it on there too long, because you don’t want to burn it through.

    SANDY: OK, yeah. Right.

    LESLIE: So you want to kind of just hold the brown paper bag, then put the iron on top and then shift it around, moving to a clean part on the bag as you get more of the wax onto the bag. This way you’re not respreading the wax.

    TOM: So the bag kind of acts as the absorbing medium here. That’s like the paper towel, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: It soaks into it. OK, got it. Great trick.

    SANDY: That sounds wonderful. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Sandy. 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

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t mean the holidays; I mean spring. I believe that we are all looking forward to getting outside and staying outside soon. So give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will get your money pit ready for the spring season, 888-MONEY-PIT. You know what to do.

    TOM: And with spring comes spring rains. Is your roof good to go? We’re going to give you a tip for a thorough checkup, next.

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving a Greenworks 60-volt mower.

    This product has a push-button start, so there are no cords to pull. It’s got a very powerful brushless motor. It’s going to cut through the toughest grass. And it’s capable of saving you up to 70 percent in storage space. Available exclusively at Lowes and but we’ve got one to give away. It’s worth 400 bucks, 402 to be exact.

    So give us a call with your home improvement question. We will toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat and perhaps send that mower to you. And you will be one happy dude not having to use gas or oil to power your lawn mower all season long. All you’ve got to do is charge the battery and you’re good to go, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Jacob in Arkansas is on the line with a crack in the garage. Tell us what’s going on.

    JACOB: My wife and I have recently bought a new house and there’s a crack above the garage. It’s more cosmetic where it gets no – none of the support. But it goes through the brick and the mortar and so I was wondering if there’s a certain kind of putty or way I can fill this in so the water doesn’t get inside of it.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s exactly what you want to do. Now, mind you, the brick is also going to be porous, so it will still get wet. But if you want to stop water from getting in there, most importantly freezing and making the crack worse, what I would recommend you do is to seal that crack with a clear silicone caulk.

    Now, when you buy the silicone, Jacob, you can buy it in a large tube or a small tube. If it’s just that one crack, I would just buy a small tube. But here’s the trick: when you cut the tip of that tube, you want to cut it so you have a very small hole there that the caulk won’t kind of come out in a big glob. You can always make it larger. But of course, once you cut it, you can’t make it any smaller. So then get up on a ladder, get real close to that.

    And sometimes, with silicone, it’s pretty thick, especially if it’s cold. You may have to really squeeze it to get it to come out. But it doesn’t clean up with soap and water, so just try to kind of lay it on there nice and even. That’ll stop the water from falling into the crack and you should be good to go.

    JACOB: Awesome. Thank you, guys.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joyce in Alabama on the line who’s got a question about a sink odor. What’s going on?

    JOYCE: Well, this is in a bathroom sink. It’s about 25 years old. It’s a type that has three air-vent holes in it or overflow holes in it. And the odor seems to be emanating primarily from there. It’s a very musty odor and came down to that conclusion because I finally took some paper and stuffed up those holes. And things smelled much better in the bathroom that way.

    TOM: Well, sometimes what happens is you’ll get some bacteria that will grow in that overflow trap. So, what I would suggest you do is this: that is to fill the sink up with hot water and add some bleach to it and let the bleach very slowly trickle over that overflow. And so it saturates it and hopefully, that will kill that mold or that bacteria.

    Now, the other thing that you can do is you could take the bathroom-sink trap apart and clean it out with a bottle brush. Now, some of the traps today are just plastic. They’re easy to unscrew and put back together. Under the sink, sometimes you can clean that. And again, you get that biogas that forms in there. If you clean it with a bleach solution, that usually makes things smell a lot better in the bathroom. OK, Joyce?

    JOYCE: Alright. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, with spring starting next week, now is a great time to make sure your roof hasn’t been damaged by the long winter. The first step is to grab a set of binoculars, so that you can do this inspection safely from the ground, and scan your roof for any sagging or uneven areas.

    TOM: And you want to also check the valleys. Now, that’s where two planes of the roof, so to speak, come together in kind of a V. Because that’s an area where very often you’re going to get some leaks. Also, check out the shingles and the flashing, which is what’s used around anything that comes through your roof, like a roof vent, the skylight, the chimney, where two walls intersect with the roof. Those are the areas that are most likely to leak, so check them carefully. Look for any curling or cracking. Because if you see that, it could mean a new roof should be added to your to-do list.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, another important area to check is your gutters. Now, you might find branches, leaves or even tennis balls, kids’ toys, you name it. Lately, I’ve been find these little Styrofoam rockets that the kids step on. And those toys and leaves and other things, they can cause lots of problems, including foundation damage and leaky basements.

    TOM: And make sure that the gutters are fastened properly and are tight. They tend to loosen up. And I’ll tell you what, if they do, here’s a quick repair trick: what you want to do is take out the gutter spikes – those are those long, 8-inch long nails – and replace them with gutter screws.

    Now they look about the same as the nails but of course, they’re screws. There’s usually a hex head on them. And once you insert those into the gutters and then into the fascia and screw them in, they will stay in permanently. Because they’re screws, they don’t back out like the spikes do. And so once you do it, you won’t have to do it again.

    888-666-3974. If you want advice on other projects just like that to help you do it once, do it right and not have to do it again, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    JOHN: I’m in the middle of remodeling after 25 years. I built my house 25 years ago. I’ve remodeled two bathrooms already and they look great with the tile and marble-top vanities. And this month has been a bad month for me. I had a tooth extraction, a hot-water heater replacement and so I’ve gone over my budget for about $3,000.

    TOM: Oh, boy. Alright.

    JOHN: I’ve talked to the carpenters and I’ve got Formica countertops in my master bathroom and my kitchen. And obviously, I’m going to just paint my counters and reuse – not my counters – my cabinets and reuse them. I talked to two different people. I’ve had one gentleman tell me that he could paint the Formica countertop and it would look just like marble or one of the other products. And it would also take the seam out and I’d be pleased with it. And then that cabinet maker says that the Formica has improved over the last 25 years and it looks much better. It looks elegant.

    I want to get your take on it and if I need to, I can dip into my retirement fund and get marble or granite countertops to replace the old ones. Because I just want to update my house to make it look new again.

    TOM: Alright. Well, we want to make sure that you are well cared for in your retirement, so let’s leave those funds where they are. So, if I’m understanding you correctly, your one contractor is saying he can do a paint treatment on the countertops and the other one is suggesting just replace the Formica? Is that correct?

    JOHN: Yes, replace the old, which has a chip or two on it.

    TOM: Yeah. Right.

    JOHN: Not real noticeable but it just looks dated. And that’s why I remodeled the bathrooms in the first place. So many people have new homes and I’m on – live in my home and no plans to sell.

    TOM: Yeah.

    JOHN: But I have pretty good people that come visit and I just want to look better than cheap.

    TOM: Either of those is a good option. Now, I’ve replaced laminate and I found that as long as the countertop is structurally in good shape, you can actually put the new layer of laminate, be it Formica or any other manufacturer, on top of the old. It’s more work than the painting option, because you’ve got to pull the top of and obviously disconnect the sink and all that. You’ve got to pretty much have it on a workbench to do this job but it certainly can be done.

    Now, you asked about painting and yeah, there are a number of products out there that are designed specifically to take that laminate countertop and make it look like granite or stone.

    And they do a pretty darn good job, don’t they, Leslie?

    LESLIE: I actually used the Rust-Oleum. I believe they call it the Countertop Transformation and it’s a kit. I used that for an episode of Hotel Impossible, just because of the volume of bathrooms I had to do for the episode. And while – it’s labor-intensive in the fact that there’s some sanding in between. So you put a base coat out. Then as that’s sort of setting, you spray in or you sort of use one of those seed spreaders to put these little chips all across the top. And then that dries.

    JOHN: Right.

    LESLIE: And once that sits on there, then you sand it and sand it and sand it to kind of make that smooth. But once you do that and get the topcoat on, I mean it really looks gorgeous. And you can kind of control the amount of speckle, so to speak, that’s in each of your countertops that you’re working on. So if you’re into the work, it’ll look really great.

    And the kit itself, I’ve – don’t quote me on it. I want to say it’s $30 to $50, depending on the size of the kit that you get.

    JOHN: And how long will it last?

    LESLIE: Well, no, I was going to say, that said, it’s something that you’re going to have to repeat every, I would say, five years or so.

    TOM: Few years? Yeah.

    LESLIE: Depending on how much scrubbing and how much use and how much water sits on the surface.

    TOM: I would give that a shot because you know what? If you get five years out of one of these tops, then you can reassess it back then and maybe you’ll decide to replace it with the real stuff then. Or maybe you can do some laminate at that point. But why not give it a shot right now? It’s a budget way to go and it looks great and it’s going to do the job.

    JOHN: Alright. Well, I want to invite you to Georgia. I live on an island 13 miles long and 3 miles wide. Great place. It’s a resort area. And we have Southern hospitality if you come visit us.

    TOM: Do we need to bring our tools?

    JOHN: No, no, no, no. You would be our guests. We’d treat you like royalty. And I’m old school. I’m old-fashioned Southern.

    TOM: Alright, John. Well, that’s a very generous offer. Thank you so much. It sounds like a lovely place. I’d definitely like to get down there sometime.

    LESLIE: Alright. Just ahead, after a long year of rain and snow, not to mention tree droppings, is your deck ready for the outdoor-living season, which is just around the corner?

    TOM: Well, to make sure, Tom Silva from This Old House will be by with tips on how to apply a fresh coat of stain to get it ready for summer, brought to you by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy. We’ll be back with that and your calls to 888-MONEY-PIT, after this.

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

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Now is really a great time to make sure that your deck is good to go. Tom Silva, the general contractor from This Old House, is stopping by with his expert tips.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House tip on The Money Pit is presented by Lumber Liquidators. With over 400 varieties of bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less. But first, let’s get to more of your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’ve got Lauren from Nebraska on the line. What can we do for you today?

    LAUREN: I live in an area where it’s all – a lot of clay in the soil. And we have a basement underneath of our house. And the walls have moved in a little bit from the pressure of the earth. And I notice in the summertime, when it’s very dry, the earth pulls away from the house. And sometimes, it’s an almost 2-inch gap of air space that – and I’m just wondering, should a guy put something in there when that pulls away or should he just leave it alone?

    TOM: I don’t like to see those big gaps in there. I would be of the mind to tell you to backfill it and add additional soil and tamp it down so that you don’t have those big gaps.

    LAUREN: So that wouldn’t add more pressure when it gets – the soil gets earth – or the earth gets wet and it pushes back in?

    TOM: No. Because I think it’s going to expand equally in all directions. If it’s not pressing on the walls, as it is now, I don’t think it’s going to do that later.

    LAUREN: OK. Well, you’ve answered my question. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, even the best built decks can’t escape the elements. Sun, rain and even insects can damage your deck’s surface.

    TOM: Ah, yes. But a good finish can help keep Mother Nature from ruining your deck. Here to review the options is This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.

    Welcome, Tommy.

    TOM SILVA: Thank you. It’s nice to be here.

    TOM: So decks, by their very nature, get a lot of wear and tear. They get a lot of exposure to the weather. What’s the best way to protect those finishes?

    TOM SILVA: It’s really a matter of what you’re looking for. What kind of a look are you after? Do you love to celebrate the wood or do you care about just really protecting the deck? Is it going to be used a lot? So there are all types of finishes from oil-based finishes to acrylics and latex finishes.

    TOM: Well, let’s start right there. The traditional thinking is oil-based is always more durable than acrylic latex products. Do you agree with that or has that changed?

    TOM SILVA: I think it’s changed. It used to be that the oil was the way to go. But the oil – a lot of people will just stain a deck and they think they’ve protected it. And the staining of a deck with an oil-based stain is really the least amount of protection that you can, because it’s so watery and so thin.

    The more pigment that you have – let’s say, for example, paint. Paint has a lot of pigment. You can’t see the wood but it’s going to give you the maximum protection. So you can get to a semi-transparent stain, you can get into a solid-body stain or you can just get into a stain that’s going to celebrate the color of the wood or change the color of the wood.

    LESLIE: You know, I think that’s interesting because so often, people want to put paint on a deck. And that’s just something that’s going to sit on the surface. And I think, in the very nature between a paint and a stain, a paint’s just meant to sit on top where a stain will actually penetrate the surface. So if you’re looking to properly protect the deck but also get some hint of color or even just a slight indication of color, how do you determine what the best product is to use to get the duration out of the product and the deck itself?

    TOM SILVA: Again, that’s the more pigment, the better the protection. But if you want to see the wood, then you want a stain with a color in it. It’s like people will say, “Well, I’ve just painted my deck.” Did they paint it or did they stain it?

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM SILVA: Some stains look like paint.

    LESLIE: And I think the other thing that a lot of people will get confused about is when you’re dealing with a brand-new deck, let’s say, what’s the story with allowing it – is the term to weather or sort of …?

    TOM SILVA: Air out a little bit?

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, yeah.

    LESLIE: How quickly can you put something on top of a new deck?

    TOM SILVA: Well, if it’s a new deck and you want to use an oil-based stain …

    TOM: And we’re talking about pressure-treated decks here as opposed to, say, a cedar or a redwood deck.

    TOM SILVA: Right. And you want to put a stain on it? Oil-based? You can’t. You’ve got to let it dry out, sometimes, six months. If it’s not in the sun, sometimes even longer because the oil will not stick to any moisture. But if you want to put an acrylic or a water-based stain on it or a latex stain on it, you can put it on a couple of days later. Just let it really get wet. If it’s really wet, let it dry out a little bit. But the water-based stain will adhere to the moisture that’s in the wood. And so you’ve got some protection.

    LESLIE: But will it affect your color? If you’re dealing with such a new deck in a pressure-treated lumber, sometimes they’re green.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. It will definitely make a difference in the color. You’ll actually see that green come through that stain.

    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, absolutely.

    TOM: And one common mistake that I see folks make is that they love to pressure-wash their deck before they stain it.

    LESLIE: So get it super wet.

    TOM: As in Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon. But it just doesn’t dry out that fast.

    TOM SILVA: I’m not a huge fan of pressure washers because people use them incorrectly. If you use a pressure washer with, let’s say, under 1,200 PSI and you keep the nozzle off the deck at least 12 inches and you go quickly with it, then alright. I would rather clean the deck with a cleaner and scrub it with a brush and then hose it off than use a pressure washer. Same with the house.

    TOM: And then, of course, you do have to let it dry and dry well.

    TOM SILVA: Right. Because it’s got to dry because the pressure washer is driving the water into the grain. And sometimes, when you use a pressure washer, you use it too close. You’re actually damaging the grain. You’re hitting it so hard that you’re actually damaging the fibers and it can’t take on any finish because the grain is too compressed.

    LESLIE: So now, when it comes to maintaining this look of your deck or the color or the finish of the deck, I guess it’s going to vary by what product you ultimately choose to put on there?

    TOM SILVA: Absolutely. They’ve done tests in the middle part – I can’t remember exactly where they do these tests. These labs do testing grounds and they have these decks in the hot sun and the weather and the rain and everything. They found that the deck that holds up the best is the one with the solid-body paint. Will hold up better than anything.

    LESLIE: A solid stain or a solid paint?

    TOM SILVA: A solid-body stain or a paint will hold up better than a semi-transparent or a transparent.

    TOM: I think solid-color stains are underrated. People think it’s the same as paint but it’s not. You do see the grain of the wood through it but as you say, you get more pigment. That means it lasts longer.

    TOM SILVA: Right. More is better.

    TOM: More is better. Words to live by.

    Tom Silva, the general contractor on TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for being a part of The Money Pit.

    TOM SILVA: Always a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Lumber Liquidators. Hardwood floors for less.

    Up next, wood floors are beautiful but they’re not always the best choice in damp locations, like bathrooms and laundry rooms and basements. We’re going to have an overview of what will work best, after this.

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we are giving away a truly fantastic prize. We’ve got up for grabs the Greenworks 60-Volt Mower. Now, this is a push button-start mower. And it’s battery-operated, so it is super easy to use. But for real, this battery start is just fantastic. I, for some reason, cannot start anything with a pull cord. I don’t know if it’s my Tyrannosaurus Rex arms or I just don’t have the strength for it. Like I cannot figure out why a pull cord …

    TOM: Don’t have the technique down.

    LESLIE: I just – I cannot. So this push button-start is just completely the best thing ever. Super powerful and it stores upright. And I mean it really takes up so much less room in your garage. You will be so happy. It really is a fantastic mower and again, a push button-start makes it fantastic.

    It’s 402 bucks but one of you lucky listeners this hour is going to win this great, battery-powered mower that you can find only at Lowe’s. So give us a call now for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Well, if you just love the look of wood floors and want them in areas that can be prone to a lot or even a little water, hardwood is probably not your best choice. Well, we’ve got better options in today’s Flooring Tip, presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. Solid hardwood that gets wet can swell and buckle. And once that happens, Leslie, there’s no going back. I’ve gotten lots of calls over the years from folks that have had that happen from one cause or another. And unfortunately, once it swells, that’s pretty much it.

    But there are a lot of better options that can deliver the look of real hardwood without that risk of water damage, starting with wood-look tile floors. Now, these are waterproof and they don’t have to look like a traditional square tile. There’s many styles available now that look a lot like real hardwood.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like a plank.

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. Laminate flooring, of course, always a good choice. Now, that’s made by photographing the image of finished hardwood and then it’s laminated and protected on the surface of a fiberboard type of a base. But the new laminates are highly water-resistant and they can be extremely durable.

    Then, of course, there’s one of my favorites, especially for basements: engineered flooring. I love engineered flooring because it’s made with real hardwood. They basically sort of custom make – think of it as a hardwood plywood, where the top layers are real hardwood. So it really is that soft, wood look. And because it’s made up of different layers, though, it’s dimensionally stable. So it can take some moisture without buckling and twisting and bending.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Now, there’s another choice: it’s engineered vinyl plank or EVP, which you might see in the stores. And this really is the newest form of flooring on the market. And it’s totally and completely waterproof. It’s as durable and waterproof as vinyl but it’s quick and easy to install, like a laminate. It’s also extremely durable and it can stay wet for an extended period of time. So if you ever need to wet-mop bathroom splashes or if your pet has an accident, it’s not going to damage the floor. And best of all, it’s beautiful and looks amazingly like the hardwoods that have inspired its design.

    TOM: And that’s that product that I mentioned earlier that can be completely submerged without any effect whatsoever. So, not only water-resistant, in fact, completely waterproof.

    And today’s Flooring Tip was presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find the new CoreLuxe Engineered Vinyl Plank Flooring. CoreLuxe EVP is ideal for any room in your home, including bathrooms, kitchens and mud rooms. It’s easy to install and a great option for upgrading your floors with a truly waterproof option.

    You’ll find CoreLuxe Engineered Vinyl Plank at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at

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

    WADE: Hi. I was curious about calcium deposits showing up in my – recently just my hot-water returns coming out of the kitchen sink, bathroom sink. And I’ve noticed it in my washer inlet hose, as well. Is there a good way to prevent that through – stop that from happening?

    TOM: Well, it sounds like hard water and you might need a water softener. That white stuff is mineral deposits that’s trapped inside the water. And as it dries out, it can cake on those fixtures and those faucets and makes them difficult to clean. And in the worst-case scenario, it can clog up some lines, too.

    So, you might want to think about water-treatment options. Now, one of the easiest is a product called EasyWater. And it’s a water softener that mounts near your main water line. And electronically, it essentially charges the hard-water particles and magnetizes them in the sense that they don’t stick together anymore. And that helps them sort of flow right out.

    So take a look at that product: EasyWater. You can find it online; I believe it’s

    WADE: Another quick question about – I replaced the anode rod in my water heater and I noticed that some of the similar stuff was kind of chipping off of that – my old rod. Would that have anything to do with it or would that help it?

    TOM: No, that’s just more evidence of hard water. That’s just another place the hard water and the mineral deposits collected: on that anode rod. So it’s all sourcing from the water quality itself. You need to address the water quality if you want to address the mineral deposits.

    WADE: OK. That makes sense.

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

    LESLIE: Hey, do-it-yourselfers, we know you work hard on your projects. So we’ve got some great news. Now there’s a national holiday just for you. So stick around and we’ll tell you all about it.

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Hey, if you are a DIYer, there’s now a national holiday just for you. Sunday, April 2nd, is National DIY Day. And to help celebrate, we’ve teamed up with the folks at the DIYZ mobile app, who are all about getting you the help you need for all your DIY projects.

    TOM: Yep. DIYZ is a very handy app. It lets you video chat with a pro advisor that has years of experience in their field and can answer questions about home repairs, remodeling or even those craft projects and give you tips to help you plan your next big home improvement.

    LESLIE: And the best part of that service is it’s free. While you’re on the app, you can browse a large library of how-to projects with step-by-step videos and shop for tools and materials that are recommended by project.

    TOM: And here’s the coolest part. For DIY Day, Leslie and I will be taking a shift as pro advisors for DIYZ. On Sunday, April 2nd, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern, you’ll be able to connect with us personally, one on one, for answers to all your home improvement décor or remodeling questions. You can take your app, you can walk around the house, show us what’s going on and we’ll give you a solution on the spot.

    So, download the DIYZ mobile app today for free in the Apple App Store or for iPhone or the Google Play for Android. And mark your calendars to connect with us, one on one, on April 2nd from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

    You know, Leslie, it’ll be very cool to see our listeners in person, because we just usually talk to them.

    LESLIE: I know. This is so great. Except we cannot wear our pajamas.

    TOM: Oh, no. Never. Alright. 888-666-3974.

    Hey, we got a lot of posts that came in this week. Who’s up?

    LESLIE: Yeah. Will in Dover, Delaware writes: “I installed a new fiberglass front door and I want to install a door knocker on the door. The installers didn’t want to install them for me. They were afraid they would crack the fiberglass. Is there any way to do this safely?”

    TOM: Well, sure there is but I kind of understand where they’re coming from with this. I mean first of all, you made a really good choice going with fiberglass, because it’s just light years ahead of a wood door or a steel door. Steel doors rust and they dent. Wood doors, of course, need a ton of maintenance. Fiberglass doors, you know, once you put them up, you finish them, they’re pretty much good to go because they’re not organic. They’re not – that paint’s going to last a lot longer, too. Plus, I think they’re about eight times stronger than a typical wood door is. So it’s better from a security perspective, as well.

    Now, in terms of the door knocker, yeah, I could see that. It really depends on the door. I would be cautious about putting a door knocker on. But if you did, certainly, you can drill it like you would any wood surface. It’s just plastic; you can drill right through it. But if you screw the door knocker together – let’s say there’s two sides: an inside piece and an outside piece – and you do it too tightly, then you might find that it does, in fact, crack the door.

    Now, if it also is just designed to be screwed in from one side, like you would with wood screws, I cannot be confident that’s going to work for you. Because, remember, that fiberglass is pretty thin. There’s not a lot of meat behind it to hold the screw, so you might want to think really carefully about whether or not this is going to be that important that you put that door knocker on. You might just be better off with a traditional doorbell.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Samantha who writes: “My basement walls are covered with a foil type of insulation. Well, after a heavy rain recently, I noticed a wet spot on the very lower part of the wall, as well as a hairline crack in the same area. Should I have a professional inspection?”

    TOM: Well, probably not. What you really need to do here is to address the gutters and the drainage outside. And if this happened after a heavy rain, well, then it’s almost always going to be caused by problems with those drainage conditions: there’s an overflowing gutter, there’s a downspout not extended enough, the soil is too flat or sloping into the wall. Fix that and I bet you this problem will go away as quickly as it showed up.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on this beautiful pre-spring weekend. We hope we’ve given you some tips and advice and ideas to get started on your next home improvement project. Remember, you can reach out to us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Community page at

    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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