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  • Transcript

     Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 because we are here to help you.
    Hey, coming up this hour, are you going old school with your heating this winter and perhaps using a wood stove? They were very popular as we were growing up in the 70s and are now making a pretty big comeback. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to make sure yours is running safely and efficiently.
    LESLIE: You know, wood stoves are actually the original heating system and if you have a hundred-year-old house, most likely that’s how it was heated at some point in its lifetime. You know …
    TOM: I thought it was a fireplace.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) Exactly. (Tom chuckles) You know, you might think a hundred-year-old home is not as energy-efficient as, say, one built today but that’s not necessarily true; especially if you know the specific methods for weatherizing this type of house. So we’re going to chat with an expert about exactly how to do that, a little later.
    TOM: And this hour, we’re giving away a great organization system from Gladiator GarageWorks. It’s called the GearTrack. It’s worth 55 bucks, so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
    LESLIE: Alright, Lori in Indiana has a question about let’s call this electricity and heating. (chuckles)
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: What’s going on, Lori?
    LORI: (chuckles) Well, I’m calling from (AUDIO GAP) and I have the mother of all money pits.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK.
    LORI: So – hello, so I have a question for the professor.
    TOM: (chuckling) OK.
    LORI: There are wires sticking out of the wall for baseboard heaters.
    TOM: Right.
    LORI: How do I determine if I [should use] (ph) 120 volt or 240 volt?
    TOM: Oh, well, if it’s a baseboard heating unit, it’s going to be 240.
    LORI: Really, it’s that easy?
    TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah. I mean you can’t – it would be unusual to have a 120-volt built-in baseboard heating system. How many wires do you have sticking out?
    LORI: Well, I have a black and a white and a ground and I was told that if it was 240 it would have to be black and white and red.
    TOM: Oh, well, if it’s a black and a white and a ground, it’s not 240. But are you sure it’s for heat?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And not an outlet?
    LORI: (overlapping voices) Yes, they had eight heaters and yanked them out and threw them away.
    TOM and LESLIE: Hmm.
    TOM: Well, they may have had some old 120 volts but, typically, you need 240 for a baseboard heating system.
    LORI: Alright.
    TOM: Alright?
    LORI: And it’s not possible that they took a 120 and wrapped it around and hotwired it and I’ll burn down my house, is it?
    TOM: No, no.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) No.
    LORI: (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: Not likely. But listen; you should make sure those wires are dead and you should make sure that if they’re tied into a circuit breaker that they’re disconnected for the breaker; they’re not just – the breakers are just turned off but somebody could turn that back on by accident and then all of a sudden you’ve got hot wires.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And they’re sticking out and they’re live.
    TOM: Yeah. You want to make sure they’re completely disconnected from the panel.
    LORI: OK. Thank you so much.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Dave in Oregon needs some help with a walkway. What can we do for you today?
    DAVE: Well, I’ve got a walkway at the side of the house – it’s a cement walkway – and it’s sunk a little bit toward the house; so it’s down a couple of inches on the [towards the house] (ph).
    TOM: OK. So the water runs towards the house.
    DAVE: Right.
    TOM: OK.
    DAVE: So now I want to – and basically, so does the rain.
    TOM: Mm-hmm, right.
    DAVE: I want to try to figure out is there some way to repair it without pulling out that sidewalk.
    TOM: Is it in sections?
    DAVE: Yes. Well, it’s – but it’s all sunk even. I mean there’s – you know, there’s a couple slabs.
    TOM: The answer is it’s so much work to try to straighten it out, it’s almost easier to break it up and pour it again.
    DAVE: OK.
    TOM: Because you could jack it up. You know, those sections will actually lift up and you can regrade and pop them back down again; but, man, it’s so much work and they’re so heavy. By the time you add in the bill for the chiropractor (Dave chuckles), you’re really better off just tearing it up and redoing it.
    You know, in the meanwhile, you could apply a sealant between the sidewalk and the wall but it’s only going to be a temporary fix. That water running against there leads to all sorts of problems, additional settlement of the house, wet basements, wet crawlspaces, you name it. Yeah, pretty typical but, unfortunately, it’s not an easy fix when concrete decides to shift like that and reverse the slab into the house.
    DAVE: OK. (sighs)
    TOM: Alright, Dave?
    DAVE: Yep.
    TOM: Wish we had an easier answer.
    DAVE: Appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Rick in Texas has a cooling question. What can we do for you today?
    RICK: Hello. Yes, me and my wife have a three-bedroom home; it’s 2,100 square feet.

    TOM: OK.
    RICK: And it’s just me and her and the extra two bedrooms we don’t use. And I was wondering, on the registers, if I should keep those open or closed. We keep the extra bedroom doors closed also and I don’t want to waste energy by heating or cooling the rooms that we’re not in.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Sure. Right. As long as they don’t get too damp, especially in the summertime. We don’t want mold to grow in there. But you can turn the registers off and, actually, more efficient than that is to find the damper. In the duct system, usually there’s a damper somewhere in line and you’ll have a handle that is on the side of the duct and if the handle is parallel with the duct it’s open; if it’s perpendicular, it’s closed. You may be able to control the flow more efficiently that way.
    RICK: Alright, well thank you very much. That should do it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, do you have old kitchen cabinets? Are they bringing down the look of your space? Well, you can fix them up and make that kitchen look brand, spanking new again. We’ll share a tip on how to do just that, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will help you with whatever home improvement situation you have got going on at your money pit. And one lucky person that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a really great prize. We are giving away a garage organization system from Gladiator GarageWorks. I mean these products are tough and they will help even the messiest person become organized in the garage. I promise you that. We have got, for you, the GearTrack Pack. It’s worth 55 bucks and it includes two four-foot pieces of their GearTrack channels and then it also includes all the hooks that you need to organize and protect those weird and hard-to-store items like your rakes and your shovels and your tools.
    You can learn more about this fantastic product. Their website is GladiatorGW.com. And call us right now for your chance to win an answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Now, if you have an older kitchen and you can’t afford to remodel, you are in very good company but you can take a look at where you can make simple changes. Maybe it’s falling apart and just needs some maintenance. We’ve been asking for your Liquid Nails stories and we got some great submissions like this one from Laura Carlo about an improvement that she made to her kitchen using that product.
    She says, “We are a Liquid Nails family. There isn’t a room in our house that hasn’t benefited from Liquid Nails. One project we did recently was reattaching loose trimwork on our kitchen cabinets. The small pieces of trim were hard to reattach with regular nails but with Liquid Nails, the trim is holding up great. We’re now getting ready to do a remodel of our upstairs bathroom and while we haven’t started our list of tools and materials yet, one thing for sure that we’re going to have on hand is Liquid Nails. So thanks for letting us share our story.”
    LESLIE: Hey, that’s a great story, Laura, and you’re right. You know what? If you’re trying to nail trim pieces – especially tiny ones that are on cabinetry [in place] (ph), you’re dealing with the teeny-tiniest nails and perhaps a needle-nose plier or your big thumb getting in the way. So good use for Liquid Nails.
    We’ve got a great prize pack coming to you. We are sending you a Liquid Nails gift pack. It includes 11 different samples of Liquid Nails, so take that off your list because you’re already getting it for free in the mail. And it also includes a tool bag with all of those adhesive samples in it.
    Hey, keep those Liquid Nails stories coming. We love to hear them. Send them to us at MyStory@MoneyPit.com and if we use your story on the air, we’re going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack worth 65 bucks.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question.
    LESLIE: Joan in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    JOAN: Well, hi. I was wondering about the EdenPure heater. I looked at it last year and this year and a local store is carrying it but I don’t know of anybody that’s actually used it that can tell me, “Yes, this is a great deal and it really works.”
    LESLIE: Alright, well you’re talking to one. I happened to do some work with the EdenPure folks and I have one of their heaters. I’ve got the GEN3 Model 1000. And I have an older home and what happens is they – a previous owner got rid of our cast-iron baseboard heaters on the first floor and put in aluminum baseboards.
    TOM: Big mistake. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: So, for some reason, the first floor is freezing all of the time and I can crank up the thermostat and, you know, everywhere else is super-hot but the first floor is still cold. So I keep an EdenPure. I keep it in the dining room just because I get really good sort of circulation for the entire first floor and, that way, I don’t have to crank up the thermostat in the rest of the house but it does supplement the heating on the first floor and actually makes it not only tolerable but very, very comfortable.
    So I would say that it works. I will say that you will see a reduction in your heating bills and it is very comfortable. And the thing that I feel most happy about is that the casing on it never gets hot. So I’ve got, you know, a one-year-old and I have a small dog who tends to get into everything and I don’t have to worry about people accidentally touching it and then getting a burn. So I feel very comfortable with it. I think it’s a great deal. It’s a good value. And you know what? If you buy it from the EdenPure website, you can try it for 60 days risk free. If you don’t like it, you get your money back.
    JOAN: OK, that sounds good. You also had mentioned, the other night on the radio, about $100 off.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. The code that you want to enter in is “Leslie” and when you do so, it should take it off and then you’ll see the reduction in the price there.
    JOAN: OK, that sounds great. I really appreciate your help.
    TOM: Alright, Joan, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Mel in New York who seems thoroughly confused about replacement windows, judging by the question: vinyl with insulation; vinyl with insulation with aluminum; vinyl without insulation. Mel, what’s going on?
    MEL: I’m very confused. (Tom chuckles)
    LESLIE: Apparently.
    MEL: Depending on where you go to, you will get – pushing their products.
    TOM: Of course.
    MEL: Empty spaces in the vinyl frame could either be empty or have foam insulation inserted in it.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep. Right. Right.
    MEL: And some of them have aluminum for rigidity. And each one is saying theirs is the best. (chuckles)
    TOM: Of course. So, how do we sort this out? Well, first of all, you’re correct in that this is nothing more than salesmanship. You know, every window manufacturer – and especially when you get into the replacement window business because not as many of the big boys are in that; you get a lot of smaller companies that are making their own windows or buying them from other jobbers and they all want to create features and benefits that are unique to their particular product. It makes it virtually impossible to compare them but, actually, that works to their advantage because the best salesman is going to win. So how do you know? Well, here’s what you need to do.
    First of all, there’s two things you want to look for. Number one – you’re not going to buy a window unless it’s Energy Star rated because that’s an independent verification right there. And number two – you’re not going to buy a window unless it has a National Fenestration Rating Council Label, NFRC. It’s a big, square label about, I don’t know, 4×6 on the window and it has a set of numbers on it. It’s going to tell you things like the U factor, the solar heat gain coefficient. These are all measures of energy efficiency: how much light gets through; how much heat stays in; that sort of thing. And only by comparing those numbers to each other are you able to make an intelligent decision as to what the best window is for you.
    Now, we have a guide that we wrote that is on our website. It’s on the homepage; I think it’s the second panel of the slide show. And it’s called “Your Guide to Replacement Windows” and it covers everything that you need to know when it comes to choosing a replacement window: all about the NFRC label; the hardware options; the style options and so on. I would advise you to go there, download that guide. It’s free. It’s actually a chapter from our book, My Home, My Money Pit. We made it available for free on the website. And you can learn all of the different things that you should look for when it comes to choosing replacement windows. It’s a good time to do it because you get a tax credit right now of up to 1,500 bucks.
    But you need to make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. The window companies make it kind of hard to do that, especially the small ones. You work with a big company like Simonton Windows, who helped us put that guide together, you’re going to get a good-quality product that definitely meets the tax credit requirements. With some of these other companies though, it’s very, very difficult.
    LESLIE: Dolly in Florida has a leaky bathroom vent. What can we do for you? Tell us what’s going on.
    DOLLY: Yep, sometimes it leaks and sometimes it doesn’t when it rains.
    TOM: OK.
    DOLLY: Like today we had really a downpour and wind blowing and everything and it didn’t leak today, so I don’t know what’s going on. It’s like a round vent with a cap over the top.
    TOM: Dolly, is this an asphalt-shingle roof or a metal roof?
    DOLLY: It’s a metal roof.
    TOM: OK, what I think is happening is I think that you probably don’t have the right type of flashing around where this comes through the metal roof. And, as a result, whoever put this in probably just tried to use some caulk or some other type of roof cement or something of that to seal that space and that’s going to be just destined for trouble; because of the expansion and contraction, it’s going to crack.
    There is a product that’s called Dektite – D-e-k-t-i-t-e – and this is a design for a pipe flashing. It works for plumbing, for heating and for exhaust vents. And it basically goes around that round pipe where it comes through the roof and it seals to the roof and it seals to the pipe and absolutely prevents any water from getting in there.
    You might want to take a look at a building supply website like ITW Buildex is one that has this sort of industrial commercial supply. But that’s the kind of product. And I hate to put you in charge of this but this is something that a roofer should know to do. You need to have a flashing boot around this and they didn’t put one in and that’s why it’s leaking.
    DOLLY: OK, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Gary in Utah has a question about a sidewalk that seems to be uneven. What’s going on with it?
    GARY: I’m a handyman for a large property management company and I could usually figure out most things.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
    GARY: But on a lot of the properties that we manage, we have sidewalks that settle and there’s a trip hazard; people with wheelchairs. And in the past, what I usually do to remedy the problem is use like a vinyl concrete, you know? Sidewalks might have settled an inch-and-a-half.
    TOM: Right.
    GARY: And I use some vinyl concrete but it doesn’t usually last through the winter. It cracks and I’m just trying to figure out is there a solution for this without moving …
    TOM: Yeah. Have you used an epoxy patching compound?
    GARY: No, I haven’t.
    TOM: Alright, go to the website for Abatron – A-b-a-t-r-o-n.
    GARY: OK.
    TOM: And they have a variety of products that are made for this and they can be used to restore damaged concrete or build up some low spots of concrete. And they’re epoxy-based and they adhere really well and they stand up to the freeze-thaw cycle, which is going to be real important, obviously, in your area of Utah.
    GARY: Right.
    TOM: And I think that’s what you’re doing. If you use simply concrete with a vinyl additive, it’s going to chip off and that’s kind of what you’re experiencing.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, they won’t adhere to one another.
    TOM: Yeah. They’re not very compatible.
    GARY: (overlapping voices) Right, that’s what’s been happening.
    TOM: Yeah, so do that. You’ll be able to do it once. The material itself is going to be more expensive but it’s going to be more of a permanent repair.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    GARY: Right. OK. That is great. Great information.
    TOM: You got it.
    GARY: And I’m going to give it a try.
    TOM: Alright, Gary. Good luck with that project.
    GARY: Thank you. Thank you so much.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    And if you’ve got an empty unit, let me know; I’ll be there to ski.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) Up next, the best way to winterize an older home. It can be done – we promise you – and it will save you money and energy; so stick around with a pen and paper.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And Leslie, know the old saying, “They don’t build them like they used to?”
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Well, that has never been truer than when talking about homes. You know, my old home is proof positive that a century ago, homes were really built to stand the test of time and I guess that’s true for you as well.
    LESLIE: Yeah, mine’s almost 100 years old and my house is in pretty good shape. But there is one thing that’s changed in the last 100 years and that’s weatherization techniques. Now, you can insulate your older home without compromising it’s unique charm and here to tell us exactly how to do just that is Adrian Scott Fine and he is the director for state and local policy with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Geez.
    Welcome, Adrian.

    ADRIAN: Thank you. Good to be here.
    TOM: So Adrian, it seems to me that you have some competing causes here when it comes to weatherization with an older house. You know, you want to make your home warm and toasty but you don’t want to ruin that historic character. So can you balance those needs?
    ADRIAN: Absolutely. I think there are definitely low-cost, easy things to do that you can improve your house’s energy efficiency but, at the same time, without taking away the character. One of those big issues is the whole thing around windows.
    TOM: So what can you do to windows to make them energy efficient? I mean I was staying in a bed and breakfast about a week ago and it was a beautiful old building but it had single-pane windows – single-pane, double-hung windows that didn’t really operate very well. And all I could think of is I really would not want to see what their heating bill is in the winter.
    ADRIAN: Sure. I mean part of the issue is that a lot of people immediately go to windows as the primary source for heat loss when it’s actually somewhere around 10 to 25 percent.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    ADRIAN: Most of your heat loss is going through the roof or your walls or your foundation. But the windows are a big issue, at the same time, because it’s the thing that we immediately feel and the thing that we see. So there are ways to retrofit the windows, to do storm windows, to do weatherstripping; all kinds of things that can improve the efficiency of the older windows.
    LESLIE: Now, are there other – other than the window area, are there other portions of an older home that have sort of unique weatherization issues that you might not find in new construction?
    ADRIAN: It’s not that different. I mean it always depends on the building materials and sometimes it varies regionally but a lot of the times you’re, again, looking at where does heat loss escape or where can you – where are you going to gain heat or where is heat gain going to occur and that’s often at the roof and that’s where you need to be focusing on insulation and that kind of thing as a starter place.
    TOM: Well, OK, let’s talk about insulation. Most homes – most older homes – don’t have insulation in their exterior walls. Do you think it’s a good idea to do blown-in or would you just concentrate on attic insulation where you can get access to the space a lot easier?
    ADRIAN: There are a lot of varying opinions as far as blown-in insulation. If it’s done correctly, it can increase the thermal efficiency of a home but a lot of times it can actually be done in an incorrect way and lead to mold and other types of deterioration because of the process in which blown-in insulation sometimes occurs with a building. A lot of times, you should be focusing on insulation in the attic. That’s your primary source of heat loss. It’s easy to do, fairly cost-effective to do and that’s really where I think we tend to focus a lot of people or try to direct people to look at that area first.
    LESLIE: You know and I think it’s interesting; when you’re looking at an older home, the way they were designed initially really features or has a lot of features that were meant to sort of boost it’s energy conservation just in the way it was built. You’ve got a lot of thick walls to provide insulation. You’ve got deep porches, perhaps, to sort of space away the living area from the elements itself. You know, do you find a lot of that with older homes?
    ADRIAN: Absolutely. I mean that’s a key benefit that comes with a lot of older homes. They were also designed in the days where you didn’t have a lot of sophisticated systems that you might have today in newer homes, so they did things like the way they arranged windows so you would have optimal air circulation; again, the deep porches. I mean there are lots of energy saving devices built into older homes.
    TOM: We’re talking to Adrian Scott Fine – he’s the director for Center for State and Local Policy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation – about ways to make your older home more energy efficient.
    Adrian, are there manufacturers that specialize in building materials and building components that perhaps fit well within an older home but are energy efficient as well?
    ADRIAN: Yeah. Increasingly, we’re seeing more and more product manufacturers come online; trying to develop materials, products that set (ph) the character of older homes. And it goes back to our message that a lot of older homes can be retrofitted – the windows, the insulation, whatever they may be focusing in on – and there are better products out there that can do it in a way that don’t detract or take away from the character of the house.
    TOM: Good point.
    Adrian Scott Fine, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    If you’d like more information on how to preserve your old home and make it more energy efficient, you can go to their website at PreservationNation.org. That’s PreservationNation.org.
    LESLIE: Alright, well as long as we’re on the topic of older homes, you know, 100 years ago, wood stoves were the standard method used to heat a home and, today, many of you want to use your wood stove to help you save some money and some energy. It’s a great idea. We’re going to share some tips to make it energy efficient, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Rheem heat pump water heater. It’s easy to install and more than twice as energy-efficient as any standard electric water heater. The new Rheem heat pump water heater qualifies for federal tax credits. For more information, visit www.RheemHPWH.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Hey, if you call, you’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question but you are also going to get a chance to win our weekly giveaway. And this week, we’ve got the Gladiator brand’s GearTrack Pack and it’s got everything you need to start organizing your garage. That’s right, I said start organizing your garage; because if you’re like me, your garage is a disaster and you could use this GearTrack Pack.
    Now, it includes two four-foot pieces of GearTrack channels and all the hooks that you need to organize that hard-to-store stuff; you know, like your rakes and your tools, et cetera. It’s worth 55 bucks and it’s available everywhere that Gladiator GarageWorks are sold, including Lowe’s and Sears. But call us for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Now, if you have a wood-burning stove, don’t feed the fire with the wrong fuel. That could damage the stove; decrease its energy efficiency, costing you money; and it could be very unsafe. Never burn driftwood or treated woods and do use season wood for the best heat release and the least creosote buildup, which can be pretty dangerous.
    Also, make sure you store your wood in a dry place. Burning wet or green wood wastes a lot of energy and also contributes to that creosote buildup. Now, the harder, denser and heavier the wood, the more heat you’ll get out of it. That kind of wood just simply has more BTUs and delivers more heat. And don’t forget that your wood stove is not a trash incinerator (Leslie chuckles), so don’t use it to burn garbage.
    LESLIE: My goodness. Lots of tips and advice going on right now for wood stoves. You know, we also have great tips on fireplaces and all of that is in chapter eight of our new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and you guys can check it out right now at MoneyPit.com.
    TOM: Or simply search “wood stoves” at MoneyPit.com.
    888-666-3974.   Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mike in Oregon who is just simply sick of the tile flooring that he’s got at his money pit. What can we do for you?
    MIKE: I have a modern wood stove at the edge of my living room and it’s sitting on a tile pad to protect the rug. It’s four feet wide and about, oh, seven feet long.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: And we changed the color of the carpet. Used to be blue and the tile is blue and now the carpet is beige/tan and the blue tile doesn’t go with it.
    TOM: OK. But it’s only a four-foot by seven-foot section, Mike?
    MIKE: Right, right.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: And it’s modern, ceramic tile. It’s not quite as glossy as some of it.
    TOM: Right.
    MIKE: And I’m looking for a paint. I think initially I could tear it out and move the stove and go to a lot of work replacing the tile but I think, for the time being, I’d like to paint the tile.
    TOM: Well, I don’t think you’re going to find a paint that’s designed to go on top of tile. If you used a good-quality enamel you could probably do it but it’s not going to look so hot. Have you thought about not removing the tile but putting another layer on top of it? That’s a very common way that people retile bathrooms, especially in the newer construction where the tile was just kind of crappy and didn’t last that long or look that great. People would just leave the tile in place and put another layer right on top of it. You can use a quickset adhesive and then glue the new tile right on top of the old one and then that wouldn’t be as hard because you’d probably only have to lift the wood stove, you know, the ¼-inch or so to get the new tile under it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, you know Mike, if you do want to try painting – I mean generally if somebody said, “I want to paint a ceramic tile floor,” we’d always be like, “No way,” just because of the traffic on the area and the wear and tear. But because this is an area you’re not walking on, first thing you want to do is make sure that the ceramic tile is I mean perfectly, perfectly clean. You don’t want any grease, you don’t want any dirt, you want nothing on there. So clean it, scrub it and just really, really go at it until it’s thoroughly fresh.
    And then what you want to do is use an oil-based primer; let it dry, dry, dry, dry, dry; and then an oil-based paint. And then once that is done, I would even recommend putting a water-based sort of like clear coat on top of it but you have to let every layer dry, dry, dry. Be very careful around the grout lines because I don’t think you would want to paint the grout; I think you want to keep it the way it is. But that could work, especially in an area where you’re not really walking on. So I would give it a go, especially if it’s something that you’re going to cover up anyway.
    TOM: My only concern is that if you do paint it, I don’t know if you’d be able to glue to the top of it afterwards.
    LESLIE: Oh, yeah?
    MIKE: Yep. Alright, well I’ll give it some more thought and get to it.
    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Cheryl in North Carolina needs some help with an outdoor project. What can we do for you?
    CHERYL: Yes, we have a deck that’s 12×24 and it is two stories in high in that the basement is at ground level in the back, so the deck is pretty high off the ground. But where the roof comes out, it’s – we don’t have enough height to actually put a roof over the deck and I’m really wanting to have a roof over it. And my husband said there’s absolutely no way to have enough slant, enough pitch to keep from having a water problem and I was wondering if you had any ideas about a good way to do that. Our house is 40 years old and he’s not wanting to tie into the roof to create enough slant.
    TOM: Yeah, that was going to be the obvious first suggestion; why couldn’t you tie into the existing roof, get up enough height and then you could have the slant.
    CHERYL: Right.
    TOM: We can’t talk him into that, huh?
    CHERYL: He’s not wanting to. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: OK. And do you want this roof – let me ask you this: do you want this roof for shade or do you want it for water, too?
    CHERYL: Well, I guess really more shade than anything but I wouldn’t to create a water …
    TOM: Well, if you want it just for shade, why don’t we talk about doing a trellis with – or a pergola, Leslie?
    LESLIE: Yeah, both of those are great ideas. A pergola generally is what you’d call, well, I guess a trellis, too, but a pergola is really a shade structure that can either come off the house or be four-legged and cover this whole deck area completely. And then what you can do for the top, since a pergola usually is sort of open slatting – you know, almost like an Asian-inspired, beautiful, open top – you can either, in between these sort of decorative rails, put in some aircraft cable, which is a plastic-coated metal wire, with some fabric on grommets that would hang down that you could run back and forth to either open it or close it to create shade. Or you could put some sort of trellis wood up there and put some sort of viney, beautiful, green, leafy thing like a wisteria or something that’ll give cover naturally. And both of those do provide beautiful shade and really just create architectural interest to a deck as is.
    TOM: And I’ll tell you what, Cheryl; just to give you all the ammo that you need to tackle this project with your husband, we’re going to send you a copy of our new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. It’s got a whole section on building an outdoor room; give you some great tips and ideas and hopefully some inspirations to get this project done. How’s that sound?
    CHERYL: Well, wonderful. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’ll have tips to help you extend the use of your outdoor space even as the weather turns super-chilly, so stick around.

    (theme song)
    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: You can visit MoneyPit.com right now to get info on home improvement projects you can do with your kids; just like when I was a little kid and I developed my love for all things home improvement-y.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: You can do the same thing. We’ve got tips and advice. Just search “home improvements for kids” at MoneyPit.com.
    LESLIE: Hey, and while you’re online, you can e-mail us your question. We always answer them and we do so at this point in the show every hour. And I’ve got one here from Ed who writes: “I recently built a new home in South Carolina and installed a tankless electric water heater. I only get hot water after eight to ten minutes. What do we do to fix this? It’s very annoying.”
    TOM: Ed, we generally do not recommend tankless electric water heaters because there are just all sorts of problems; not to mention even if they’re working perfectly, they’re pretty expensive.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They’re expensive, right?
    TOM: Really expensive to run, yeah. If you’re going to go tankless, you have to go with a gas water heater; gas tankless. Could be propane or natural gas. Now, there is a type of very efficient water heater that is powered by electric and it’s called a heat pump water heater. Rheem makes one called the HP-50, which is excellent, and these things use a lot less energy than traditional electric water heaters do and they deliver plenty of hot water. So if you only have the option of going electric, I would recommend a heat pump water heater and not a tankless electric water heater. If you’ve got gas, tankless is great all the time; but if you’ve got electric, not so much.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one here from Casey, who writes: “I totally gutted my mother’s house earlier this year. Right now we’ve got sheetrock walls up and I would like to buy this house before I miss the first-time homebuyers tax credit. Will I need all of the fixtures present? Should I get an appraisal now or will it completely hurt my chances of receiving a fair estimate?”
    TOM: Hmm. Well, the answer to that, Casey, is it depends; depends on whether or not you’re planning on getting a bank mortgage because you’re not going to be able to get that mortgage unless the home is in livable condition and if you’ve gutted it – if it doesn’t have plumbing fixtures, for example, and you can’t move into it – you’re not going to get that mortgage.
    Now, if you’re buying it through some other source of financing – you know, cash or you’re borrowing the money from some other private source that doesn’t care so much about whether or not it’s finished – then, you know, you’re OK; but then you probably wouldn’t need the appraisal. So I’m assuming that you’re getting a mortgage. If that’s the case, you better finish it fast and close fast because, if not, you’re going to miss that tax credit. But I mean it could potentially be extended. They’re talking about it right now.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it expires December 1, 2009 and you have to have everything completely done with that. So good luck, enjoy your new house and happy home improving.
    TOM: Well, we all know by now that outdoor spaces have become an extension of our inside living spaces and, really, just another part of our house. We’ve got some ways that you can use those outdoor spaces as it gets chilly outside, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, that’s right. You know, when you go to a restaurant and you eat outside, you might have noticed those sort of large, giant, umbrella-shaped things. Well, they’re heaters and they are outside at outdoor spaces and they can help you to extend the use of those outdoor spaces a little longer, especially as we get into these colder months. Now, they’re called patio heaters and they come in tabletop and even freestanding versions and they range in price from around $100 all the way up to over 1,000 bucks. And they can run on propane, natural gas or electricity and compared to other heat sources like firepits or chimneys, they actually produce fewer emissions. So alright; earth-friendly.
    Now, wind can really affect your heater’s effectiveness; so, for best results, you want to set it up near a wall or a fence or an overhang but make sure that you keep it at least two feet away from anything. You just want to make sure you use them safely. This way, when it’s a chilly, starry night, you can sit outside and enjoy yourselves.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week, it’s the one kind of audit you really do want: an energy audit. Learn how getting one can help you save energy and money all year long. That’s next on The Money Home Improvement Radio Show.
    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.

    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 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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