Summer Storm Safety

  • Lightning Storm
  • Transcript

    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 to help you with your home improvement projects on this lovely summer weekend. It’s a bit hot outside but whether you’re working in that heat or working inside or planning a project for the cooler weather ahead, give us a call and we’ll help you do just that. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up on today’s program, severe summer storms can strike at any moment, no matter where you live. But if that happens, are you ready with emergency supplies and gear that you’ll need at home, at work or perhaps even your car? We’re going to have some tips on what you need at all three locations, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And if you’re looking for a nice finishing touch for your kitchen, we’re going to have some advice for designing and installing a beautiful, new backsplash that can certainly spruce up the space.

    TOM: We just completed a big makeover at our money pit and it all started with a new garage floor that was made of tile that you can install yourself. I’ll tell you about that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you are working on. Let us know what’s going on at your money pit. No project, big or small, is too much for our team to help you tackle. We’d love to hear about it. We want to see what you’re working on. You can always post your pictures in the Community section. We are happy to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now.

    Let’s get started. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Henry in Illinois is taking on a driveway-repair project. What can we do for you?

    HENRY: Where my driveway meets the asphalt road in front of my home, right where it meets – I have a hole forming there and it goes down about 3 to 4 inches deep and probably about 4 feet in diameter. And so it turns out that when I turn my wheels to turn into the driveway, well, the left front wheel hits it and it kicks that rock out. And I put new pea rock in there and it just kicks it out, too.

    TOM: So you have a pea-gravel driveway and the force of the car running it over and over and over again is sort of wearing away a hole. There is a solution for that, Henry and that is – what I’d like you to consider doing is pouring a concrete apron at the foot of the driveway.

    So what the concrete apron does – it doesn’t have to be very big: across the entire driveway, maybe 2 feet, maybe no more than 3 feet deep. But 2 feet will probably do. That concrete driveway – that apron then serves as the entry point for those tires.

    So you hit that, you go over the concrete apron and then you go into the pea gravel. And the edge of the concrete apron will retain – acts as sort of the retaining wall for the pea gravel in the driveway. That’s the easiest way to stop that from happening. Otherwise, it’s going to be a constant maintenance hassle for you to replace what is really just a very soft apron now with the pea gravel coming right out and spilling out into the roadway.

    You’ll also save a lot of stone in the winter when the plows come by and start pushing that snow around.

    HENRY: OK. Hey, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Johanna from Michigan who wants to get out and enjoy the deck. How can we help you with that project?

    JOHANNA: Hey. We’re getting ready to put a deck on the back of our house. It’s going to be about 20×20. And we’re looking at the composite products and in doing some research, I have come across some hair-raising images of black mold, chipping, cracking, crumbling and so on. And I would just like to get your opinion on the composite decking and if it truly holds up the way it says it does or if there are things we need to look out for.

    TOM: I think it absolutely does hold up. Originally, the very first composite products that were out there had wood fiber in them, as well as the plastics. And the wood fiber would tend to grow sometimes algae and things like that and people didn’t like that.

    I think it’s a perception issue. If you think that there is zero maintenance – “I’m never going to have to do anything at all” – you’re not going to find any product like that. Because even though it’s composite, it’s going to get dirty. It may grow a bit of algae and need to be cleaned once in a while. But realistically, I think it’s going to stand up a lot better than pressure-treated.

    Just give you an example. My son recently completed his Eagle Scout project about a year ago. And his project was to build a 30-foot bridge across a stream. And we chose, for that project, composite decking. This is going to be in a park, it’s going to get lots and lots and lots of foot traffic. That’s been up now for a year and it still looks as good as the day we put it down.

    So, I think composite is a good choice. Stick with a name brand; stick with Trex, for example. Good product, good history. And I think it’s going to cut down on the maintenance overall and it’s going to look terrific at the same time. And you won’t have to paint it and stain it and all that.

    Now, you realize that you do – the framing of this is all done through standard pressure-treated, right?

    JOHANNA: Right, right. And we will have benches and stuff built in and we’re going to use, I think, cedar for that.

    TOM: OK. Well, I mean you can use composite for the built-in benches, too. Anything that’s going to be exposed like that, there’s no reason not to use the composite.

    JOHANNA: And it’s a very sunny area, so …

    TOM: Yeah, if you have a lot of sun, you really won’t have a lot of problems with mildew and algae growth, because the sun is a very natural mildicide. It’s usually the real shady decks that have the issues.

    JOHANNA: Yeah. Maybe there was a bad run at that time?

    TOM: And you know what? Composite has changed in the last five years, too.

    JOHANNA: OK. Well, good. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Alright, Johanna. Good luck with that project and let us know when the party is, OK?

    JOHANNA: Hey, it’s next Friday.

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

    JOHANNA: Thanks.

    LESLIE: Don in Wisconsin is dealing with a window-well retaining wall that’s coming apart. Tell us what’s going on.

    DON: We have a window-well retaining wall that has – have railroad ties in there. Been there for quite a few years. Has started to deteriorate and I’m just now – I’ve been trying to check on what to do and been told to try to use retaining blocks and put blocks on there. And then you have to put some kind of a pea gravel in front of the block to hold the sand back, because we have sand here; it’s a sand country.

    And I’m not sure. I never did this before. And I was just wondering if it’s something that a person – because I’m handy – be able to do myself or is it something that you should actually have a professional landscaper do?

    TOM: At the highest part of the wall, from the distance between the ground and the top of the wall, how high is that?

    DON: Thirty-two inches.

    TOM: OK. So it’s fairly low to the ground. Alright. I think this is project you can do yourself. Concrete blocks – the interlocking, retaining-wall blocks – are a terrific option because they’re very easy to install. Because it’s only 32 inches off the ground, it’s not a lot of soil for you to deal with. You’re going to take the wall apart one sort of area at a time and build the blocks as you go.

    The thing that’s going to be different about the concrete blocks, though, is you’re going to have to have them on a bit of a solid footing. Now, that’s one that you might want to create yourself. You could probably create that out of stone that’s well-tamped down. But you’ve got to get them sat nice and level; you can’t just put them right on the dirt, OK?

    And then as – after you assemble them, then you can add the pea gravel behind it and the sand behind that. But I do think that that’s a good option and it’s going to be – literally, if you do it right, you’re going to get a lifetime’s worth of satisfaction out of that because, of course, the blocks are not going to rot.

    DON: Oh, OK. It sounds great.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews and book appointments online.

    TOM: It’s all free at

    Still ahead, severe summer storms can come out of nowhere. Are you ready no matter where you live? Emergency preparedness for home, work or car, 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: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, your DIY dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Terri in Pennsylvania on the line who’s got a gutter issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    TERRI: I have white aluminum gutters and on the gutters that face the southern exposure, the part of the gutter that faces out is turning black and there’s like – where the water runs off it, it’s like a dark gray and just water drips all along the face of the gutter.

    TOM: Right. So, does it seem like the gutters are overflowing and the water is coming over the top and getting these sort of drip marks? Is that what’s going on?

    TERRI: Well, yeah. I have what’s called a “gutter insert” to keep the leaves out. And I know that – well, I’m pretty sure that that’s not causing it, because I had the same problem when I lived on Long Island. And it was only the gutters that faced south. And on Long Island, we had a white aluminum top to the gutter to keep the leaves out?

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    TERRI: And then the water would roll off of that and then go into the – it would be caught into the gutter. So, it’s a different type of leaf system but I’m still having the same black drip.

    TOM: Right. OK. So, first of all, I would make sure that the gutters are not blocked and that water isn’t backing up and overflowing that particular gutter, so that – because that water rolling over the top of it, it can get behind it, it can rot out your fascia.

    The dark stains are probably from the water and tree sap and everything else that gets into those gutters. The gutters also fade quite easily; the paint wears off and fades quite easily. So I don’t think it’s a stain that you’re going to actually have to be able to clean. I think what you’re going to end up having to do here, Terri, is repaint those gutters.

    So what I would do is I would wash them down with a trisodium phosphate, get as much of that gunk off. Then I would prime them and I would paint them again. But just – but do make sure that they’re not clogged, because that could be leading to the problem.

    TERRI: But yeah – no, they’re definitely not clogged. And I tried scrubbing it – the ones that aren’t on the second story, where it’s worse. But the ones that are on the first story, I tried cleaning it with a Fantastik and it bleeds into the stain a little bit but I didn’t realize that the aluminum gutters – was it like a hydrostatic or electrostatic painting process?

    TOM: What happens is – and you’ll see this: if you take the gutter and you wipe your hand over it, you’ll probably get some white paint that will come off. It oxidizes because it’s exposed to UV. And so then the paint doesn’t tend to last more than maybe 10 years or so on aluminum gutters.

    So I think, though, if you clean off as much of this thing as you can, prime it and paint it, it’ll look great.

    TERRI: Alright. Great. I’ll give it a try.

    TOM: Terri, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, summer storms can strike without warning. One moment you’re comfortable, the next you’re worried about how long you can get by with what you’ve got. Now, when the forecast calls for severe weather, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready for the storm, whether you’re at home, at work or in the car.

    TOM: Now, a well-stocked emergency kit is the first step. It’s really essential to any place you or your loved ones are going to spend some time. Think about what every family member needs to get by for a few days without power or even water. Keep those emergency items in one spot in your home and make sure everybody knows where to find them. We’re talking about stuff like food, water, medicine, toiletries, survival tools – like flashlights and tents and tarps – and those extra batteries.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you’ve got to remember that emergencies can strike when you’re not at home. At work, you should keep a supply of water, food, toiletries and medicines in close range. And you want to be sure to have comfortable sneakers within reach, too, in case the evacuation requires a lot of walking.

    And finally, don’t forget your vehicle. You want to keep jumper cables, flashlights and shovels in your trunk. And also think about keeping some water, some food, blankets, things that are going to keep you comfortable in case you’re stranded.

    TOM: Another good idea is to install a standby generator or a whole-house generator, which is a permanent generator installed outside your house. And it’ll come on automatically within seconds of a power outage.

    I’ll tell you what, we had to live through Hurricane Sandy and had no power for about three weeks. And if it wasn’t for that generator, I think we would have probably left home. But with that generator, we were able to stay here and keep on with our lives and help our friends and families and neighbors out, as well, because we were pretty much the only house on the street that had power for that whole time.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now up, we’ve got Paul calling in from Tennessee who’s got an issue with a water pump. Tell us what’s going on.

    PAUL: I’m getting some air in this well water. The well is six-and-a-half years old, as is the house. And it goes down 350 feet and the casing goes down 105 feet where they grouted it. When they first put it in, I was bothered by the amount of turbidity I had in it and I was changing the whole-house filter about once a week.

    And I went back to the drilling company and they said, “Well, it would take about three months to quit that.” Well, it was 36 months. And then after about four years, I started getting some water hammer in the cold water, particularly in the basement. Although upstairs, it’ll do it, too.

    But then I’m getting air out of the faucets upstairs and it’s collecting air from somewhere and I can’t figure out where. And as far as I know, the well tank, with the bladder in it – the 40 pounds of air pressure hold the bladder. That seems to be OK, Tom.

    TOM: OK. Yeah, that was the first thing I was going to think: that if you had a leak in that bladder tank, that that would cause that. Other possible causes are bad siphons but I’m not quite sure how you could test that without having all the gear that you would need.

    Have you had the well company come back and take another look at this, specifically for the air-bubble problem?

    PAUL: No. Because it’s been quite a while and they – the guy they used to have there at the company, in the daytime, didn’t seem to know much about it. In fact, when he told me 3 months it was going to clear up and it was 36 months, I thought, “Maybe I’m talking to the wrong guy.” But I haven’t gotten a hold of him.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, he told you 3 months because his warranty was 90 days, right?

    PAUL: Yeah.

    TOM: Paul, obviously, we’re getting air into that system and if it’s not coming through the bladder tank, I’m not quite sure where it’s coming in. And I think you’re going to have to get a well expert there – a real expert – that understands these things and try to see if there’s any way they can determine exactly how that air is getting in.

    Do you have another well company that you might try?

    PAUL: Yeah, there’s several of them here because this area is very rural. We’re right at the edge of the Smokies.

    TOM: I would try another well company, because you didn’t have good luck with the first one, and see if you can get to the bottom of it. But I agree with you: if it’s not the tank, it more than likely is the pump.

    PAUL: OK. Well, very good. And thank you. I will try someone here local, then, and see if they can build (ph) it out.

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

    LESLIE: Dixie in Illinois has a question regarding a crack in the basement and the possibility of it caving in.

    Dixie, are you calling us from a pile of rubble or are you just concerned?

    DIXIE: I am actually concerned because it started out with just hairline cracks following along the concrete blocks. And there’s cracks in each corner of the foundation above ground, as well as these cracks in the walls below, in the basement. But the cracks are getting bigger and bigger. I mean there are some of them that are gaping, I want to even say, an inch-and-a-half, 2 inches of …

    TOM: You have an inch-and-a-half crack? You mean width? It’s open an inch-and-a-half?

    DIXIE: Well, they are – well, you can’t see through the crack but the walls are bending in. We’ve even put reinforcements.

    TOM: Alright. So, horizontally – like the cracks are horizontal and they’re bending in, Dixie?

    DIXIE: Most of the ones that are bending in are horizontal, yes. But the cracks do go up and down, as well.

    TOM: Alright. So you need to immediately contact a structural engineer and have the foundation inspected. This sounds serious. I can tell you that, typically, horizontal cracks are caused by frost heave, where the drainage conditions are poor at the outside of the house, water collects there, soil freezes and pushes in.

    But you have that many cracks and those cracks are that significant, you need – not a contractor. I want you to find a structural engineer. You’re just hiring this guy to inspect the home and prepare a report discussing the condition of the foundation. And if repairs are needed, the engineer should specify those repairs. Then you can bring a contractor in to follow the engineer’s specification and make the repairs.

    And then finally, make sure you bring the structural engineer back to inspect and certify that they were done correctly. Because at this point, unless you follow those steps just like that, you’re going to have a serious deficit to the home value. So that’s why if you have it inspected by a structural engineer, repaired by a contractor per the engineer’s specs and certified by the engineer as OK, you have kind of a pedigree for that repair you can pass on to future home buyers, OK? Does that make sense?

    DIXIE: OK. But how do you find a structural engineer?

    TOM: So, there’ll be local engineering companies. You could also check the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. Now, those guys will not necessarily be a structural engineer but there may be an engineer among them that’s also a home inspector.

    Alright? Thank you very much, Dixie. I hope that helps you out.

    LESLIE: You can reach us here anytime at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home service pros and book appointments online, all for free.

    Up next, are you looking for a design touch that makes a splash? Well, a backsplash does that and more. We’re going to share some tips for designing and adding one to your kitchen, when The Money Pit continues.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

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

    Hey, how’s that air conditioning working? If it’s feeling like it’s not working too well, here’s a quick tip on how you can determine if it needs more refrigerant: just measure the temperature of the air that’s going out the register and the temperature going back into the system. Now, if the air between the supply and return is 15 to 20 degrees difference, well, that’s normal. But if it’s less than that, that means you may need to call the serviceman to have some additional refrigerant added. Because if you don’t, it’s going to have to run longer to do the same thing. And if it gets really hot, it’s just not going to do it at all.

    LESLIE: Jack in New York needs some help with a crawlspace. What can we do for you?

    JACK: Well, I have an area that is – was a crawlspace and we dug it out. And so it’s – we have about a 7-foot ceiling now. And I put some gravel in it and I wasn’t going to do anything but now I want to expand my shop. And I don’t really have access to where I can put concrete in it. And I was wondering if you would have any ideas.

    TOM: Well, first of all, Jack, since you dug it out down to 7 feet, how did you support the soil under the foundation wall?

    JACK: We left a step. This dirt that was in there was so compact that it was almost impossible to dig it out, so we weren’t too worried. But we did leave a step around the foundation, the footer.

    TOM: OK. Right.

    JACK: There’s about 2½ foot – we went about 2½ foot below the footer.

    TOM: That’s what we call, in our part of the country, a “Yankee basement” where it’s dug out. It’s not a joke; that’s actually what they call it. They call it a “Yankee basement” or, well, sometimes a “root cellar,” where basically you take the interior perimeter of the foundation wall, move in about 2½, 3 feet and then dig down there. So you leave this sort of berm of soil to support the foundation that’s under the footing.

    So, options for cleaning – for finishing that floor. Why can’t you get concrete into the floor? Because most times, there would be a situation where they’d set up a chute that goes right through a window and pour some concrete into that floor. That’s clearly the easiest way and fastest way to create a floor in a basement.

    JACK: Yeah, I agree with you but I really – the time to – the expense of the concrete and having – you know, doing a whole project would be pretty pricey.

    TOM: How big is the floor area?

    JACK: Well, it’s about 25×15 and then with an 8×8 jut to – on one end of it. So it’s L-shaped, basically.

    TOM: Well, I don’t have any quick ideas on how to create a hard-surface flooring when you don’t want to put concrete down there. You could frame something but I mean it would be very temporary. I would really prefer that you put concrete. And you don’t have to do – it doesn’t have to be 6 inches thick. I can be 4 inches thick and pour it in sections. But I really think you should just budget for and use concrete down there because anything else you do is going to be very substandard. It’s not going to contribute to the value of your house.

    JACK: I hear you. Yeah, it sounds like a foot (ph) I was afraid I was going to hear.

    TOM: Yeah, OK. Well, look, you got all the hard work done digging it out. I would just budget for and save up for some concrete. Get a mason to help you or get somebody that’s used to finishing concrete. And get it all poured and it’ll be done in a day.

    JACK: Oh, yeah, sure.

    TOM: It has to be done in a day because the concrete’s going to cure.

    Alright, Jack? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, everybody certainly loves to spend most of their time at home in the kitchen. It tends to be the heart of the home and a place where everybody socializes. But maybe it’s not looking as great as you would like it to. And there are a few ways that you can change the look without spending a ton of cash.

    First of all, backsplashes. These are the panels above sinks and stoves that protect your wall from splashes and food. But they can also be a great space for design. So let’s focus here on creating the kitchen of your dreams with a huge design change that’s your backsplash.

    Now, they’ve been around for as long as kitchens. But in the last decade, we’ve seen a leap in unique patterns and designs that backsplashes can take on. Now, among the most popular look are tile backsplashes, which can add sophistication at a fraction of the cost of most major design upgrades.

    TOM: So, let’s start with some of the practical considerations for deciding whether tile is a good material for backsplash for you or not.

    A few things to consider. First of all, is it important to you that it’s easy to clean or that it looks a certain way? So, for example, you’ve got some choices. Ceramic and porcelain tiles? Very easy to clean. But natural stone, not so much. It’s porous, it’s prone to chipping. It’s a lot harder to clean. And then you have the individual tiles or the tiles that come on the mesh-backed sheets. Those mesh-backed sheet tiles, that contain a few dozen tiles, make installation easier but they may limit your design options. And they’re going to need a lot more grout, which is another cleaning issue we’ll get to in just a minute.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think you’ve got to consider design. What do you want this backsplash to look like? How do you want to accomplish it? Is a focal point key to what your design plans are? Well, if it is and you’re using the most expensive tile, consider only using it in one spot, like maybe over the stove where you can really create a focal point. Use that expensive tile wisely in a way that’s going to get a lot of attention. And then fill in the area with a less expensive tile. It’s really going to increase that visual impact on the piece that you’ve spent a lot of money on, without sort of spending all that money for it just all to look really lovely and maybe not seem so special.

    And you can get some great tiles at a very reasonable price, that’s not going to kill your budget and really showcase this beautiful area. You’ve also got to consider: how much space am I tiling? If you’ve got a ton of backsplash or maybe you’re doing the whole area above the stove, to the ceiling, you really have to think about how you’re going to use it. You don’t want that tile to make your space look smaller. You can use a different tile that’ll make the space seem bigger. You’ve got to consider all of these things and how you lay out the tile to really, you know, decide how your space is going to feel.

    And don’t forget, you can lay your tile out in an interesting pattern: herringbone, offset, stacked. There’s a lot of different ways that you can use the tile that will change the feel of the space. So, experiment with it a little bit. Get samples and put them up in a space that gives you a sense of what it’s going to be.

    TOM: OK. Now, let’s talk about grout. That is the bane of so many of our existences when it comes to cleaning, because it gets dirty so fast and it’s so hard to get clean again. You can make this process a little bit easier if you take some steps ahead of time.

    First of all, if you use sanded or unsanded grout, they’re both pretty porous types of grout and the stains are going to soak right in. So with that kind of grout, you’ve got to seal it.

    But the other option is epoxy grout or cement-based grout. And this is less porous and it’s easier to keep clean. So think through that before you choose your grout and you’ll save yourself hours upon hours of cleaning after you get that tile up and start to enjoy it.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And remember, grout also involves choosing the color. A darker color might not need to be cleaned as often – hint, hint, hint – but also is a contrast to the tile. Lots of choices. That’s why those grout little pieces come in samples, as well. Take a look and decide the look that you want.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. 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: Just ahead, would you like a beautiful, new floor in your garage, basement or even your workspace that’s incredibly tough but is as easy to put down as assembling a puzzle? Well, Lock-Tile is a product that does just that and we just used it for a makeover at The Money Pit’s workshop. We’re going to share those details and tell you where you can see a time-lapse video of the entire project, after this.

    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: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by Never worry about overpaying for a job. Just use HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide to see what others paid for a similar project. That’s all for free at

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kathleen in Illinois on the line and she’s got a question about a vaulted ceiling. What can we do for you?

    KATHLEEN: I’m calling about a renovation project that we are trying to do on a three-season sun porch. And it’s a 12×27 room. We did tackle doing window replacement by ourselves and we managed to do that. They’re vinyl-clad windows, the tilt-in kind and everything. But the ceiling right now is 12-inch tiles that are – they seem to be glued up to the ceiling. They’re not on a grid system; they’re just up there. And we want to put faux-tin ceilings. And we’re wondering if that’s a project that we could tackle or is that something best left to professionals or – we’re looking for your advice.

    But we had some damage from rain on the roof and we’ve had the roof replaced. But I even painted over where the water stains were with Zinsser Stain Stop. And you can still see the – it did not cover it, so we need to change the ceiling.

    TOM: Hey, they make these tiles that are a drop-ceiling type of a tile that looks just like tin. Have you seen those, Kathleen?

    KATHLEEN: Yes, we have. And we thought that those were very cool and we didn’t know – do you think just LIQUID NAILS or something to put it up over these existing tiles?

    TOM: What’s underneath the tiles? Plywood sheathing?

    KATHLEEN: I don’t know. It feels really solid when you push a …

    TOM: I would try to figure out what’s underneath it. You could take some pieces of the old tiles apart, see how thick that is. I would prefer to have a mechanical attachment, like a staple or something like that, than just simply the glue. The glue is OK.

    LESLIE: I mean I would use LIQUID NAILS and something else.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    KATHLEEN: Uh-huh. And you don’t think it would – I don’t want it to look uneven, how they – you see sometimes those grid systems where the tiles kind of droop and sloop and look …

    TOM: No, if it’s done really well, it looks great. We’ve seen them at really high-end décor showrooms, where you have some really upscale decorating done and they look fantastic.

    KATHLEEN: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much.

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

    Well, this past weekend it was time for us to take on a project here at The Money Pit, which was to update the floor in our workshop.

    Now, this is a concrete slab and it’s a project I’d actually been putting off for quite a while, because I was thinking I was going to add a new epoxy floor finish, which is super popular now. But I knew it was going to be a ton of work, mostly because to do it right, you’d actually have to grind off the old finish off the concrete slab, which is a really big job renting a concrete grinder and just putting in many hours of getting rid of that old finish. It’s just a ton of work.

    But fortunately, though, I found a better alternative and I’m going to tell you, I could not be happier with the result. The product we used is called Lock-Tile and it’s an interlocking and very hard-wearing, do-it-yourself flooring system.

    Now, it’s made from 100-percent recycled materials and it pretty much can instantly and very easily transform any space within hours.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, the Lock-Tiles are about 20 inches square and they’ve got an attractive finish, which makes them easy to clean. The perimeter of each tile has an interlocking edge. It’s kind of like a big puzzle piece. So to install them, all you have to basically do is put the puzzle together by laying them down side by side.

    They come in so many different colors that you can come up with your very own pattern, which is exactly what we did. In fact, if you go to The Money Pit’s Facebook page, we’ve got a time-lapse video up now of the entire project.

    Now, Lock-Tiles are great for garages, your work spaces, even your basement. And the best part is you can install them over a floor if it’s cracked or uneven or any sort of existing flooring. No glue or professional labor is required. Plus, they’re easy to clean and stain-resistant.

    TOM: Check out Lock-Tiles at I am so happy that we discovered this product. The workshop looks better than ever and we got the entire project done in just a few hours.

    Again, that’s or you can call them at 888-LOCK-TILE. That’s 888-562-5845. Lock-Tile. Great product, great ideas. So glad we used them.

    LESLIE: Remember, we’re here for you for all your home repair or home improvement questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, are you getting ready for a paint project and wondering what type of finish will be easiest to clean? We’ll discuss the options, when The Money Pit continues.

    Where home solutions live, 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. Or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at, just like Julie did in Nebraska, who’s got a very good question.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Julie writes: “I’m a new, first-time homeowner. I’m going to change all the paint colors inside and I can’t figure out what finish to use. I have kids who love to make messes. What finish is the easiest to clean?”

    Well, welcome to the club, lady.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think people get messed up by this because you’ve got, what, four different types of finishes. Let’s think about it. You’ve got flat, you’ve got high-gloss, you’ve got semi-gloss and then you have this sort of in-between weird one called “eggshell,” right?

    LESLIE: That’s the best one.

    TOM: So where do you fall on this?

    LESLIE: I mean personally, in my designer life, I love eggshell. I think it gives the paint a velvety texture. It’s gorgeous but it’s not easy to clean. You can clean it but it’s – you’re not going to be happy with what it does to the finish.

    So, I think in a house with kids, I go with a matte or a scrubbable flat, just because I don’t like anything with a lot of sheen. I don’t like a semi-gloss or a gloss unless it’s a trim or a watery space. So, for me, I go flat or a scrubbable matte.

    TOM: Now, a lot of this really has to do, though, with the quality of the paint. It’s kind of where the rubber hits the road. If you’re not using good paint, it’s a lot harder to clean it. In fact, you may not be able to clean it; you tend to wipe the finish off. If you’re using very good paint, it’s got more body to it, it’s got more additives which make it sort of stand up to the abrasion that would happen if you’re just rubbing it with a rag or even a Magic Eraser. You definitely see a big difference.

    So, buy good-quality paint and then choose that sheen carefully unless, like you said – I really don’t have much use for high-gloss paints but semi-gloss is my sort of go-to for trim.

    LESLIE: Trim. Exactly.

    TOM: And any surface that needs any kind of durability, like a cabinet door or something like that, I would probably use a semi-gloss or maybe a high-gloss with that. But if I wanted super durability, especially on cabinets, I might even use one that’s solvent-based over latex, just because it’s a harder finish.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But for me, I super love an eggshell finish on a wall. But you’re right: with eggshell, regardless of the quality it does change the consistency, when you clean it, a little bit. And so, I’ve got kids, so I’m constantly cleaning the walls. So that doesn’t work for me in my home. In my bedroom, I’ve got eggshell paint and I love it. I wouldn’t put it anywhere else, though.

    TOM: Alright. Julie in Nebraska, hope that helps you out.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a question here from Jim in Ohio who’s noticing that his sprinklers are spending a lot more time watering the sidewalk than the lawn. Is there a way to adjust this?

    TOM: Yeah. The only thing that grows when you water your sidewalk is the size of your water bill, right?

    LESLIE: It’s true, though.

    TOM: You know, I saw something like this, too. We were actually having some moisture in the basement and we were wondering why that was happening. Now, we had a lot of rain but my gutters are adjusted perfectly. All the water’s discharging away. I’m thinking, “How is it possible the water is getting in the basement?” Until one night, I was up late and I heard the sprinklers hitting the side wall of the house. I’m like, “Ah! That’s the reason right there,” because I was basically misdirecting the sprinkler.

    So, yes, the sprinkler heads can be adjusted, Jim. They need to be pointed out away from those walls and away from those sidewalks. And that is definitely something that you can do or can have a pro do. It should be done at the time the system is set up in the spring, so that they’re aimed properly. But if they’re not or if they got out of whack, it’s definitely something that’s important to do so that you don’t drive up the cost of that water or cause other problems, like that I experienced, with water in the basement.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Save your money and when you want to splurge on water usage, make it a sprinkler for the kids. Have some fun.

    TOM: Well, hey, thank you so much for spending this part of the beautiful summer weekend with us. We’re so glad you’re here. If you’ve got questions on projects you’re working on now or projects you’re thinking about tackling in the future or ones that you have put off tackling because you just didn’t know where to begin, you can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Post your questions to our Facebook page at or post your question online to The Money Pit’s website at There are lots of ways to get in touch with us and we’d love to help you get your projects done.

    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 2019 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.)