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 what are you working on on this beautiful summer weekend? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place because that’s what we’re doing, too. In fact, it actually doesn’t matter that it’s summer, because we never put the hammer down. There’s always something going on in our money pits and perhaps in yours, as well.
LESLIE: It’s true.
TOM: And if you’ve got questions about how to get some of those jobs done, even if it’s a job you’re going to do yourself or hire a pro to get done, we can help. The first step, though, is to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or post your question online to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, spring and summer storms may have been great for your lawn and garden but they also did a lot to help that awful mold, mildew, moss and algae grow on everything. We’re going to have a tip on the easy way to eliminate that unwanted greenery from your home.
LESLIE: And fixing a broken window is a project that most homeowners end up needing to get done one time or another. But now that windows are often double-pane glass or molded into a frame, is it a project that you can get done yourself? Tom Silva from This Old House will be stopping by with tips to do just that.
TOM: And if you’re lucky enough to have a built-in pool, you might not feel quite as lucky when you have to pay the bills to heat that pool. We’re going to share a tip on a free energy source that can heat your pool and help extend the swimming season.
LESLIE: And don’t let bugs get the best of your garden this summer. We’re giving away a supply of Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew from Bonide. This ready-to-spray product is an all-natural insecticide for use on vegetables, ornamentals and many other plants.
TOM: The package is worth 50 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Larry in Louisiana needs some help at home. What are you working on?
LARRY: I have a pier-and-beam house. I had an addition added onto it. And the addition is starting to sink and it’s causing a bow in the floor and in the kitchen.
TOM: So, what kind of foundation was the addition built with?
LARRY: It was under concrete, little runners that ran around the house.
TOM: So, when you say concrete runners, can you describe that? Are we talking about – was this a concrete footing?
LARRY: Well, it’s split. It’s maybe every 5, 6 foot is like a 1-foot-thick piece of concrete that runs down a channel. And it circles the house. And then they put these other concrete pieces that sit on top of it where – to where they put the foundation of the house on it.
TOM: Concrete blocks? Well, it sounds like a standard footing with a concrete-block foundation. And if you’re getting movement in there, that’s definitely a concern. It points to some failure in the way that foundation was designed.
How much – when you say it’s shifting or it’s sinking, how much are we talking about? What are you seeing in terms of movement?
LARRY: There’s a bow in the kitchen. It’s probably about a 10-, 12-degree angle coming off of it.
TOM: Yeah, that’s pretty significant. Yeah. Well, unfortunately, you’re going to have to have this looked at by a structural engineer, because there’s going to be some sort of rehabilitation that’s going to have to be designed for this to stop it from moving further. It’s not likely you can pull it back up but the goal, at this point, is to stop it from moving any further. And if you try to do this, you know, by calling in a myriad of contractors, you’re going to get a myriad of opinions. And it may …
LESLIE: Yeah. None of which you’ll be able to compare.
TOM: None of which you’ll be able to compare. And very likely, if you try to sell the house, you’re still going to have a problem. Because you really need a licensed design professional to evaluate exactly why this is happening and then prescribe a solution for you.
So, my advice to you is if you’ve got a 10- to 12-degree dip in this floor that it definitely would call for further investigation by an expert. And the best person to use for that would be someone who’s a structural engineer. So you might want to start looking around for that service.
And I will also say that there’s probably home inspectors in your area that also are – happen to be structural engineers. So you could check the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. That’s ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. See if you can find an engineer there that’s also a home inspector. But that’s the type of sort of forensic building investigator that you need to figure out why this is moving and what you have to do to get it stabilized. I think that’s real important and you should try to hop on it as soon as you can.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Delaware where Margie has a crawlspace question. What can we help you with?
MARGIE: I’d like to know if you should put plastic on the ground underneath your house. We have a 3-foot – you can climb under there. Should we lay plastic on that for a barrier – for a moisture barrier? Underneath a ranch house.
LESLIE: What’s the – is it underneath the entire house or is it just under a certain area?
MARGIE: No, it’s underneath the entire house. You can crawl under and someone said you should put plastic on top of the dirt.
LESLIE: Now, are you having any moisture issues inside the house?
MARGIE: Not really. We were just thinking it would be a good idea to do that.
LESLIE: Now, generally, with an enclosed crawlspace or one that’s smaller scale to an entire home, we would always recommend putting down sort of a plastic sheeting. And you want to fill the entire space. And in areas where you do have to have seams, you want to make sure that you overlap a good foot or two so that it really lays down nicely.
Now, Tom, would you do that if it’s under the entire house?
TOM: Yeah, I’d put it down across the crawlspace floor, along the entire house, because it stops the moisture in the soil from wicking up and evaporating up into the air and then getting the insulation damp and making it ineffective. So, it’s always a good idea to have – it’s called a “vapor barrier” and have that down on top of that soil surface.
You also want to check the exterior, though, to make sure that your gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended. It’s part of a moisture-management solution. It’s not just [one-off] (ph).
LESLIE: You want to make sure you’re limiting the amount of moisture that actually gets to that – the dirt or the soil underneath the crawlspace. So if you make sure that your gutters are extending away from the house a good 3 feet or so and not depositing the water back towards that crawlspace – any sort of plant-embedded areas, you want to make sure that that soil slopes away. You just want to do your best that you can to move the moisture away.
MARGIE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’d love to give you a hand with whatever it is you are working on around your money pit. Give us a call to 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, compare prices and even book appointments online.
TOM: Just ahead, solar energy can help heat a home on the cheap but it can also help heat your swimming pool. We’ll explain, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
And hey, if you’re a gardener, here’s another great reason to call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or by posting your question to The Money Pit community, because we’re going to give you a way to beat back the bugs that may very well be invading your green space. We’ve got a supply of Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew to give away which – I love that name: Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. It says it all.
LESLIE: It’s so pirate-y and fun.
TOM: Exactly. It’s by Bonide and it’s an all-natural insecticide for use on vegetables, ornamentals and many other plants.
Now, it’s easy to use because it comes in a ready-to-spray, no-mix container. Just hook it up to the garden hose and turn it on. It’s going to mix right at the correct rate. It’s going to control all sorts of chewing insects, like bagworms, tomato hornworms.
Have you seen the tomato hornworm? It looks like a little dragon.
LESLIE: No. But that sounds horrible.
TOM: It’s huge.
It also controls tent caterpillars, gypsy moths and a lot others. The product retails for 29.99. We’re throwing in a pint of the concentrate, as well as the ready-to-spray, so the package is worth almost 50 bucks. You can check it out at Bonide.com.
The Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now with your home improvement, your décor question at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Mike in Alaska, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MIKE: I have an upstairs window that leaks when it rains. I noticed the soffits are dripping on the outside of the window sill and I’m wondering if the reason for the window leaking is because of the soffits. Or could it be the roof that’s leaking or even the window that’s leaking? I don’t know who to call first.
TOM: So, second-floor window. When you say the soffit on the window, I mean windows generally don’t have soffits. What kind of window is this? Soffits are the overhang where a roof overhangs the exterior wall. So are you saying that that’s where you’re seeing the water come out?
MIKE: Yeah, I’m seeing drips coming from the soffit.
TOM: Do you have gutters?
TOM: Alright. And sometimes, gutters get backed up and then the water will overflow the back of the gutter and drip out through the soffit. Do you think that might be what you’re seeing?
MIKE: That’s possible, too. I’m just wondering why I see drips coming from the soffits.
TOM: Right. Because, as I said, the water will get behind the gutters and then it will work its way into the soffit area. And once it does that, it’s just going to run out the path of least resistance, which could very well be what you’re seeing with the drips.
Is the soffit above the window?
TOM: OK. So the window’s a first-floor window?
MIKE: Second floor.
TOM: And there’s a soffit above it. And you think the window’s leaking. Why do you think the window’s leaking when the water is coming out the soffit?
MIKE: Because it drips and I have to put a towel around the window because – dripping when it rains.
TOM: So, there could be two issues here. It might be flashing around the window or it could be an issue with the gutter. But here’s one way that you can diagnose this. What you could do is take a garden hose and get it up on that roof and let it run down the roof, right around where that – where the window is under it, you know what I mean? Not blast it but just saturate it for a good 10, 15 minutes and see if you can make it leak. If you can make it leak, you probably have a leaky gutter or a leaky roof.
Now, if it doesn’t leak, then that’s good. So the next thing you do is you take that water and now you start holding it around the sides of the window. Of course, the window has to be closed, right? But you hold the – between the siding and the window, not right up against it. But just try to sort of flood that area with water and again, see if it leaks. If it leaks then, then it’s very likely the flashing around the window. And to fix that, you’ll have to remove, most likely, the siding in that area and then have a pro reseal that window. It’s not usually a matter where you can caulk it; usually, you have to reflash it because there’s a breakdown somewhere that’s letting that water in.
But those two very simple checks can tell you which part of the area assembly is leaking. It’s kind of hard, as you’ve discovered, to track this down. So you have to be a bit of a detective and that’s one way to do it. If you can make it leak, you’re going to know where that area is.
Just do one side at a time so that if it leaks on the right side, for example, and the water is on the right, then you know kind of where to look for the failure that’s causing it. If you just blast the whole side of the house with water, you’re not going to know anything except it leaks. But you knew that when you started. So you’ve got to be kind of smart and strategic about it, OK?
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, swimming pools sometimes need a bit of a heat boost to be comfortable. But that heat can be very expensive. Think about the tens of thousands of gallons of water that have to be warmed. When you’re heating the radiators inside your house, that’s like hundreds of gallons. Now we’re talking about thousands of gallons, so it really takes a lot of energy.
LESLIE: That’s true.
TOM: The good news is that you can take advantage of some of the free energy provided by the sun if you know how to do this job.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, I think people forget that the pool cover actually has a lot of uses. So think about using it every night. That’s going to help hold in the solar heat that was absorbed by the pool water during the day and increase the pool’s average temperature by about 4 to 5 degrees.
Now, to soak up maximum heat during the day, your pool should be uncovered and in full sun between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If nearby trees are interfering with the amount of sun exposure, trim them back and get the most sun you can on that pool all day.
TOM: Now, you can also tap into even more free energy by adding a solar pool-heating system. But even if you just adjust your routine with pool covers, you can harness enough heat to extend that swimming season by up to six weeks. And you’re doing that on the cheap because solar energy is free.
So think about it. Give it a shot and I think you’ll be very surprised with the result.
LESLIE: Darlene in Arkansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DARLENE: Well, we heat our house with wood and our fireplace bricks are real cream – light-cream colored and they’re very roughly textured. My question is – the soot – above the fireplace doors, soot gets in the brick and embedded in there. And I’ve tried to scrub it out with everything I can think of, other than muriatic acid. And I know I can’t use that in the house. Do you have any suggestions?
LESLIE: Have you tried TSP, which stands for trisodium phosphate? And it’s sort of like a cleaning prep step when you’ve got some really sticky stuff that won’t come off.
DARLENE: Yeah. I think I did some time back but maybe I should use a stronger solution instead of – it says not to use it the way it comes out of the bottle.
LESLIE: Well, what you can do with TSP is – it comes in a powder format and it’s available in the clean – well, in the painting aisle, generally, of the home stores. And I would just mix it up so that it’s more of a paste than a liquid and apply it that way. And let it sit there and give it some time to do its job.
DARLENE: Alright. That sounds great.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jackie in Illinois is looking for some small garden-décor tips. What’s going on? Tell us about your space.
JACKIE: I just purchased my home. It’ll be a year the second of next month. And my yard is big enough for me but yet small enough for anybody else. What I would like to do is put a garden area up along the west side of my fence without having to dig the yard up and make the yard look real tacky. Do you have any hints, suggestions, ideas?
LESLIE: So, you have a fence along this one wall. You want to put a garden or a flower bed in front of that. What is the rest of the space?
JACKIE: Well, it’s – my backyard is fenced in.
JACKIE: And from my garage, which is on the east side of the property, clean clear to the west side, I get plenty of sunlight.
LESLIE: OK. But is it grass? Is it patio?
JACKIE: The biggest portion of the yard is grass. I’ve got a small patio area right next to the garage. And if I could just put a flower bed or a place that I can put a small garden, it’s what I would like to do. I’d kind of like to use the landscape lumber but I don’t know how much to get or how to go about putting it up.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, my first thought, since you’ve got this patio area in front of the garage and the garage is probably just a blank wall of whatever the siding material is, my first thought is to do a great, little seating area in front of there.
And you need to think about, you know, are you looking to sit at a table or do you want to sit at a small settee, a little couch area with a chair? So think about how you would like to use that space. Are you looking for eating and entertaining or more like lounging and relaxing?
JACKIE: Mainly eating and entertaining.
LESLIE: Yeah. So definitely a table, umbrella, some chairs there. That’s great and does not have to cost a ton of money. I mean you can find some at home centers, department stores that specialize in home décor, for very affordable amounts.
Now, on that back wall with the garage that’s kind of lackluster, you can either do a trellis with some potted plants on either side, with a climber, like a clematis or an ivy or a night-blooming jasmine, something that will sort of grow up and out of the pots and onto the trellis.
I did this on the side of my garage with two potted clematis and I have this beautiful, wrought-iron trellis that I found that I’ve put twinkling white Christmas lights on and the clematis sort of takes over it in the summer months and blooms and smells fantastic. And it’s just lovely to sit in front of. You can do something like that very inexpensively and very easily, as well.
Now, as far as a flower bed on the opposite side, you’re really not going to sacrifice that much yard space if you do dig up a portion of that lawn. And that really is the best way to do it to create a flower bed.
And what you can do is you can use either that landscaping lumber or even stones – river rock or fieldstones – stacked up to create a little wall for a flower bed. Just remove that layer of grass, fill it in with potting soil and plant away. And that really is a great way to create a flower bed. And if you go sort of creatively with your shape and edge it a bit, you’re not giving up that much lawn space.
JACKIE: I thank you so much for your help and I greatly appreciate it.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Well, window repairs are a definite DIY-doable project. We’re going to tell you how to get them done safely and effectively, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we’d love to hear about what’s going on in your neck of the woods. Are you working on an outdoor project, an inside project, perhaps a deck, picking up the paint, improving your kitchen? Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros.
TOM: And there’s no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. Check them out at HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Randy in Texas needs some help with some yard work. Tell us what’s going on.
RANDY: Yes, ma’am. What I’ve got, I’ve got a 30-foot by 15-foot pressure-treated deck on the back of my house. And where the wood has shrank or shrunk and given me gaps between the 2×6 boards, I’ve had leaves fall in there and I can’t get – I have no way to get them out without taking the deck up, which I don’t want to do. Is there some way that I can put some kind of organic matter or something in there to break down the leaves so I don’t have sprouts coming up?
TOM: So you’re saying that you have organic matter that’s stuck between the 2×6 floorboards of the deck and they’re starting to grow?
RANDY: The deck itself is sitting on a concrete patio. And then I’ve got 2x4s laid on edge and that’s what I built the deck on.
TOM: Oh, so it’s basically a wood platform, like a pallet on top of a patio.
RANDY: There you go.
TOM: Yeah. No wonder it’s so moist. Well, listen, I mean that’s a real unusual assembly and there’s good reason for doing it – not doing it that way, because of what you’re seeing. You’ve got a lot of moisture issues here.
I don’t have a good solution for you, because it’s just a non-traditional way to assemble a deck.
RANDY: Without having – it had to be that way, otherwise it wouldn’t match up with the floor. I’d be elevated above my floor, my elevation of the house itself.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
RANDY: I’ve heard putting dry molasses. Would that help?
TOM: I have no idea.
LESLIE: I don’t know. I feel like that might attract some critters of some sort.
TOM: Yeah, some ants. Definitely ants and stuff.
You have a wood-framed deck that’s basically built flat on top of a concrete surface. The concrete is going to stay really moist and damp, which is one of the reasons that it’s such perfect, almost greenhouse-like conditions for you to grow plants through there.
One of the things that you could do is you could use a product like Roundup, which is a herbicide that will – you know, once you spray it, it will stop – it will kill things and stop it from coming back.
LESLIE: Kills a lot of things.
And you also might want to try Spray & Forget.
TOM: So, Spray & Forget also has the ability to stop mold and mildew and lichen and algae. And it may be just enough to stop the growth of whatever is happening between those boards. But you can find that at home centers nationwide. It’s a great product and it has sort of a residual effect.
Now, it’s not an instant-gratification kind of deal. You spray it on there and you let the sun and the wind and the rain get to it. And very slowly, over time, it breaks down all of those materials and stops it from coming back. So, you’re going to have to do something like that to try to maintain this.
TOM: But in terms of stopping the material from getting in between the cracks, that I don’t have a solution for you on, OK?
RANDY: OK. Alright, sir.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for that call. Appreciate your question and good luck with the project.
LESLIE: Well, what do you get when you mix a sunny, spring day and a neighborhood ball game? How about a baseball right through your windowpane?
TOM: That’s true. But whether it’s an actual break, a crack or other types of damage, you can replace that windowpane yourself. Somebody who’s not a pain is here to tell us how to do just that: it’s Tom Silva, the general contractor for TV’s This Old House.
TOM SILVA: Hey, guys. How are you?
TOM: Now, what’s the best way to take the pain out of the windowpane project?
TOM SILVA: Well, the best way to take the pain out of the windowpane project is first of all, you want to make sure you have safety equipment on: safety glasses and gloves a must. Alright?
TOM: Now, can you replace a windowpane? Is there a difference here between, say, a typical, single-pane window and a double-pane window? Is there one you can do, one you can’t do?
TOM SILVA: Single-pane windows shouldn’t be a problem.
TOM SILVA: Double-pane windows are insulated windows. Usually, you have to get it custom-made to fit the opening and in some cases, you can’t even do it. You have to get – if your window sash is broken, you’re not going to replace the pane; you’re going to replace the sash.
TOM: So that might be a situation where you have to, essentially, order the part.
TOM SILVA: Yes.
TOM: But if we just have some single-pane glass in a wood window, what’s the best way to extract all those pieces and then sort of reset the pane?
TOM SILVA: Once you have your equipment on and you’re ready to roll – you have a rag and a hammer is always nice – you can go up there with the rag and a hammer and tap the rag. I like to sometimes put duct tape on the glass, too.
TOM SILVA: And that keeps the shards from blowing all over the place.
And once you’ve got pieces that you can grab and take out, always start at the top of the window and pull the pieces out. So if you start at the bottom and you pull a piece out, you don’t want the upper piece to fall out and cut you.
TOM: Right. It can stab you.
TOM SILVA: Start at the top, work your way down.
TOM: Gravity counts.
TOM SILVA: Exactly, exactly. And you get in all the window – all the glass out of the sash and now you’ve got to start cleaning up the glazing or the putty. Clean that all up, drag a scraper in there and get all the putty out, nice and clean, down to the raw wood.
Now, before you set the window in there, you obviously have to measure for the glass. You want to make the glass a little bit smaller than the opening. Now you’re ready to start putting the glazing in.
But before you even do that, you want to prime the wood. Now, you can use a wood primer or you can use a linseed oil to oil the wood. The reason you want to do that is because you don’t want that raw wood to draw the linseed oil out of your glazing. It will dry it out and cause it to crack.
TOM: Oh, interesting. So you’re really just stopping the absorptive qualities of the wood at this point and making sure that once you apply that glazing putty, that it stays pliable and does the sealing job and the adhering job that you really need it to do.
TOM SILVA: Exactly. Exactly, exactly. The glazing is doing a couple of things: it’s holding the glass in place – well, actually doing three things. It’s holding the glass in place, it’s keeping the rain out and it’s keeping the air out between the glass and the sash. So that’s important that it’s a nice, tight fit. And you don’t want the glazing to fall out.
LESLIE: And now that you’re getting ready to put in the new pane of glass, what do you do with that putty? Do you, essentially, need to make it into a roping?
TOM SILVA: Yeah, you want to work it with your hands; roll it back and forth just like you make dough, you know? Make a snake, roll it back and forth. While it is soft and warm, you can just push it right in that – that’s called a “rabbet.” You can lay it right into that rabbet and then you’re going to have a nice bead. Push it around with your thumb, whatever you have to do. Take the glazing and lay it into that wet glazing compound or putty and work it back and forth until you get a nice seat there. You want to make sure that you have a nice, even size on the inside. You scrape away all the excess putty.
Now you want to take these little, metal points; that’s window points.
TOM: Points. Yeah, the window points.
TOM SILVA: And you just slide them right in on the surface of the glass, right into the wood. That holds the glass in position.
TOM: Those are very handy to have, too.
TOM SILVA: Very handy, yeah.
TOM: And they actually embed themselves into the final glazing (inaudible).
TOM SILVA: Looks like a little arrowhead with points going in both directions.
TOM SILVA: And there’s a couple …
LESLIE: And that’s acting like a wedge.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, it acts like a wedge that drives into the wood. That’s right.
TOM: We use them in picture-framing, too, sometimes, yeah.
TOM SILVA: Sure, absolutely. And there’s different types. They actually have a type that’s totally flat and there’s another type that actually is flat with two, little pieces sticking up that you can actually take your putty knife and push the tip into the wood.
TOM SILVA: So they – once that’s in place and it’s holding it, now you’re going to reglaze, again, the outside of the window, on top of the glass and covering the points.
TOM: Now, you mentioned a putty knife. A glazing tool comes in pretty handy if you have to do a bunch of these, doesn’t it?
TOM SILVA: And a glazing tool is pretty nice, yeah.
TOM: Because it helps you with the putty-knife function of being able to push those window points in and then also sort of a troweling function of pressing the – getting the angle to get the clean edge when you’re done.
TOM SILVA: Holding it. Yeah, nice angle. Right, right.
But if you’re like me, a Yankee, you’re cheap; you don’t want to go buy that tool. So you’re going to use whatever you’ve got.
But then you’re just going to force the glazing compound into the window and then you’re going to take the puttying tool and hold it about a 45-degree angle, start in the corners and work your way out, make it nice and smooth.
LESLIE: Now, Tommy, what about finishing the project? Do I have to wait a certain amount of time to let everything cure and really adhere well or can I go right ahead and paint it?
TOM SILVA: Yeah, you want that glazing compound to skin over; you don’t want to paint right away. That oil is in that area and the paint is not going to stick very well anyway. So you want to make sure that it skins over, so usually a couple of days is a good idea.
But you also want to make sure that when you paint over the glazing compound, a little bit of a line about – not even a 1/16-inch of the paint should actually touch the glass.
TOM: And then the final thing you should do is find the baseball and give it back to the kids, right, instead of through your window.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
TOM: Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice.
TOM SILVA: My pleasure.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great step-by-step videos on projects you can do around your house, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot.
Just ahead, summer is the season for mold, moss, mildew and algae. We’ll have tips to help keep that green growth away from your home, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by for your call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: You can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Norma from Delaware on the line who wants to know what size pipes you need to get good pressure in the bathroom.
Norma, that sounds like a personal question. What’s going on at your money pit?
NORMA: OK. I’m going to install a shower panel.
NORMA: And in order to get good – the right pressure, how big do the pipes need to be?
TOM: Right. You said you wanted to install a shower panel? So is this one of these units where it comes in and then fans out to multiple spray heads?
NORMA: Yeah, the jets, right.
TOM: How is your water pressure right now?
NORMA: Pretty good. Well, my house is about eight years old.
TOM: Oh, if it’s only eight years old and you have pretty good water pressure, you should be OK with this. I will say, though, that the water pressure coming out of multiple showerheads is not going to be as invigorating as coming out of a single showerhead. So, it’s going to give you good coverage but it may not be as strong. And I don’t think there’s much that you can do about that. If you’ve got normal street pressure, that’s how those shower-panel units are designed to work. But just be mindful that it’s not likely to be as strong when it’s going to come out of multiple heads, because you basically just need more water to do that.
NORMA: Oh, OK. Well, I inquired with the builder and he told me that from the basement to the shower floor, I have three-quarter pipes. And then from the floor to the showerhead, ½-inch.
TOM: And that’s typical. That’s typical. So, that doesn’t change anything.
NORMA: Oh, OK. Alright. Thank you so much for your help.
LESLIE: Well, now that we’re a few weeks into summer, have you noticed that your siding, decks or walks are starting to grow moss, mildew, mold or algae? Well, there are a number of approaches that you can take to get those surfaces clean. But we like one that not only kills the growth but stops it from growing back. And that’s Spray & Forget.
TOM: Spray & Forget is great. It removes the stains that are caused by algae, mold, mildew, moss and lichen from your roof. And it doesn’t matter if the roof is asphalt, wood, slate, clay and tile. It can handle it all.
And it’s really easy to use. You just apply the product and you kind of let Mother Nature take over with the cleaning duties from that point forward. Between the rain and sun and wind, that roof will be clean in no time.
LESLIE: And best of all, it not only cleans your house and all of your outdoor-living spaces brilliantly over time, it actually keeps cleaning well after application using no harsh chemicals.
TOM: And there’s lots of places you can use it. We’re talking about decks and patios, your walkways, paver patios, too, landscaping stones. You can even use it on siding and fences and outdoor furniture and awnings. Pretty much anywhere that that green moss will grow, Spray & Forget will take care of it.
The 1-gallon House & Deck Cleaner with trigger spray is eco-friendly and it’s available at The Home Depot, Ace, True Value, Do it Best and online at SprayAndForget.com.
LESLIE: Just ahead, are you looking for an easy way to spruce up your kitchen in just a weekend? Well, a new glass-tile backsplash could be just the trick. We’ll tell you how to take on that project, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, summertime means kids are hitting the playground for many a fun afternoon. But if they fall off and actually hit the playground, it’s important to know that the right surfaces are being used to keep them safe.
TOM: Good point. Playground surfaces that are made of asphalt are really a dangerous thing of the past. And most people know that, right? It’s common sense. But here’s something that many folks don’t know: even grass can actually be too hard to prevent those injuries to kids. You really need to think about materials like mulch and sand and recycled rubber, because they provide a very safe alternative in the very likely event of a fall and will really keep those kids from getting hurt.
LESLIE: Alright. If you’re looking for more ways to keep your kids safe this summer season, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT or even post your question to the Community section. We’re going to jump right in now. We’ve got a question here from Mickey in New York who writes: “I’m redoing parts of my kitchen. I want to add a glass-tile backsplash. Do I need to put anything on the wall, under the tile, or can I put an adhesive straight to the wall?”
TOM: I mean you can always glue tile right to the wall. What you have to remember, though, is it now becomes a permanent part of that wall and there’s no going, really, back from there. If you ever decide that you’re tired of that backsplash, the only way to get rid of it is going to be to cut out that drywall.
Right, Leslie? Because you’re never going to peel it off, because it’s stuck to the paper surface.
LESLIE: Oh, God, no. Yeah, you’re never going to be able to get anything off of that drywall without removing the drywall itself at least – or half of it in the process of getting the tile off.
TOM: There’s not really a better alternative to that. You could attach it to a backsplash that might be made of some sort of a substrate that could be removable in the future. But really, let’s face it: once you put it up there, you’re probably going to live with it for the next 10 to 20 years, so maybe it won’t be an issue.
But one thing I would concern myself with and that is making sure that whatever tile and grout combination I chose was easy to clean. You do not want to use sand-based grout in that situation. You only want to use epoxy grout because otherwise, you’ll never be able to get the grease out of it which you know is going to happen.
The nice thing about tile is it’s beautiful the first day you put it down. After that, not so much.
LESLIE: Oh, for sure in a kitchen.
Alright. Next up, we have a post here from Alex in Florida who writes: “I have a four-year-old central air-conditioning system. It works well except for the front room of my house. It’s always about 5 degrees hotter. Any idea why and how I can fix it?”
TOM: Well, it’s not the fact that it’s a four-year-old system. I suspect it worked that way from the very first day because it just wasn’t designed right. If you have a room that’s warmer in your house than other rooms, there’s a reason for that.
Now, I don’t know the configuration of your home but I can – I could theorize that it might be that the front room faces south. Maybe it doesn’t have a very good overhang. Maybe the windows are single-pane, it’s letting in more heat gain that the air-conditioning system isn’t designed to overcome.
The solution is going to be a design solution, hopefully. I would consult your HVAC pro. See what they can do about getting additional air conditioning into that room, perhaps by extending another cold-air supply duct or even a return. Because, you know, returning the air back can actually help improve the temperature of that room, as well. But it’s going to be a design solution like that.
And then if all else fails, you could think about adding a split-ductless system to supplement that. But that’s kind of an expensive solution, so I would talk to the design pros first.
LESLIE: Yeah. You never know. At my mom’s vacation house, my bedroom was always so much hotter and I just had to undercut the door to help get that airflow back to the return. Simple solution there. Not so simple for an entry space.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this summer day with us. We hope that we’ve given you some ideas and tips and advice on how to maybe get done some projects that you’ve been thinking about around your house. We are here for you, 24/7. If you’ve got a question that comes to mind, you can always pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio, we will call you back the next time we are. And you’re also welcome to post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
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.
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(Copyright 2018 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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