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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects, your décor dilemmas. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. It is the holiday season, officially. So if you are tackling a few projects to get your home just right before the friends, relatives and neighbors start popping by, we’d love to talk with you about that. If you’d like to plan a project for next year, now is a great time to do that and New Year’s planning, as well. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are here to help you.
Coming up on today’s show, as winter approaches, you may have tuned your furnace and checked your insulation but there’s one additional step you need to take to avoid a major plumbing problem. We’re going to tell you what that is, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, replacing worn or dated carpeting is a popular project this time of year, you know, as you homeowners out there are getting ready for holiday parties and all of those guests that stop on by. But with so many carpet choices, we’re going to have a tip on how to buy carpet that will make it easy to find exactly what you need.
TOM: Plus, if your walls are showing cracks, holes or nail pops, we’re going to have some tips to get them back in shape once and for all. All that, plus the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Christy in Delaware is on the line. How can we help you today?
CHRISTY: I have a back porch that is on a concrete slab and I recently installed a storm door. It’s a 36-inch door and the bottom of the door has the built-in weather-stripping. But it was installed and everything’s fine but there’s pieces of that concrete slab, right where the door is, that over time has chipped away and more specifically, in each of the corners. And I’m wondering, what can I do to build it up, fill it in without having to buy a whole bag of Sakrete?
TOM: So you’re going to want to use a patching compound on that. And you’re right: it’s not typical – it’s not a typical, bagged concrete mix. It’s made by the same manufacturers. Take a look at QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E. They have a patching compound. And basically, the difference is the patching compounds are designed to stick to the original concrete surface. So if you have some chips or broken-out sections there, you can repair it with the patching compound. And this way, it’ll stay through the weather.
And in terms of that door that’s not striking properly, what you could do is put a sweep on the outside of that door. They have door sweeps that attach to the outside. And they’re adjustable so that you can have one side be lower than the other. And some of them are rubber where you can actually scroll it – take a marker and trace the uneven concrete surface to the bottom of the door sweep and basically cut it to fit.
CHRISTY: Yeah. Because the problem that I’m having is little critters get in – slugs, crickets, that kind of thing – and it’s really not – it’s just the corners.
TOM: I would do both. I would patch the concrete and if the door sweep is still not in constant contact, I would replace it and then adjust it to fit.
CHRISTY: OK. Great.
TOM: Good luck with that project, Christy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Curtis in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CURTIS: I’m putting together plans to build a metal building and it’s going to be a shop and a home combination. And there’s so many different kinds of insulation that could be used today. I built buildings 25 years ago – metal buildings and used insulation – but I know they have a lot of different technologies today. And I was trying to find out what would be the best way to go about doing it, that would be economical in doing it and most cost-effective.
I know there’s a spray-on insulation that you can just blow it on the walls. And then I planned on building a wall on the part that’s going to be the house. I plan on building a wall inside the metal wall and insulating it. So, that’s what my question is. I want to insulate both of those walls. Which would be the way to go? And also, it’s going to have a vaulted ceiling. So, what type of insulation would I use on the ceiling compared to the walls?
TOM: So I think in all of those applications, that you’re probably better off with spray-foam insulation, for a lot of reasons. First of all, spray-foam insulation is going to give you the highest R-value per inch compared to any type of a batt insulation. Secondly, the nice thing about spray foam is that not only does it insulate, it also stops leaks. And sometimes, metal buildings can be a little more drafty than other types of buildings. So this seals in all of the infiltration and exfiltration that helps keep your heating and cooling costs down.
And also, metal buildings tend to be a little louder, especially in rainstorms and things like that. And it kind of quiets them. So I think spray foam is absolutely the right way to go with this new building.
From an economic perspective, I think you’re going to find that it’ll probably cost a little bit more than doing batt insulation. But I do think it’s going to give you a good return on investment in a very short timeframe. And for the cathedral section, the nice thing about spray foam is that it basically does not need to be ventilated. So you can apply right to the underside of the roof structure. If you were to use a batt insulation, you would have to provide for airflow. And that’s, frankly, hard to do with any substantial amount of insulation in a cathedral.
CURTIS: OK. What about the ceiling itself? Would that – does it need to be heavier than the walls? Because I know that’s where the main heat loss is. And also, what about the side walls? Because, like I said, I’d planned on framing the wall – I’m going to use metal studs and frame a wall inside that wall that I can drywall easier.
TOM: First of all, you want to insulate the exterior walls. Are you talking about – when you say frame a wall inside of it, so are you going to frame that inside the metal shell? Is that what you’re saying?
CURTIS: Yes. You bet, yep. I’m going to put in about – well, whatever. Maybe flush with the purlins or – I want about a minimum of 6- but up to 12-inch gap in between there with the metal-stud wall.
TOM: Well, then you’re not going to insulate that interior wall; you’re going to insulate the exterior skin. That’s where you want the insulation. And you could work with your insulation contractor to figure out the best way to apply that and what to do first, whether or not the metal interior framing should be up before they come in and spray. But I definitely think you’re going to want to do the spray foam on the exterior skin because that’s going to be what separates, basically, conditioned from unconditioned space.
CURTIS: OK. And you have any idea of names of companies that are available for doing that? I live in Kansas.
TOM: So I used Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – in my home. I’ve been very, very happy with it. I have a very old house and it was a very drafty house. And we were able to spray Icynene into – we didn’t do the walls, because the walls were already built, but we did it in the crawlspace along the band board all the way around. That made a big difference on cutting down the amount of drafts that were getting under the floors. Then, of course, we did it in the attic, on the underside of the roof, and also against the gable ends. And it really made a big difference.
In fact, one half of my house – not one half but there’s – it’s like a two-story house with a one-story sort of built-on addition. And the one-story addition was done in the early 1900s and always used to be warmer in the summer and colder in the winter than the other parts of the house. Literally, the day after these insulating contractors got done with it, it was the same temperature as the rest of the house. They really did a good job of kind of locking that all in.
So, I was very happy with Icynene. They’re one of the leaders in this space. So why don’t you take a look at their website at I-c-y-n-e-n-e.com and start from there?
CURTIS: OK. Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Metal buildings are getting more and more popular these days, Leslie. I think it’s a very good option. It definitely cuts down on the cost of construction and you get a pretty reliable, strong building out of it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And there’s a lot of choices with it, as well. It’s not what people think of when they think of a metal building.
TOM: It’s not a shed.
LESLIE: Exactly. I think that’s what people think when they hear it but it’s not that at all.
TOM: You know, there was a time, right after WWII, when building materials where short and there were a lot of metal buildings built in this country. And many of them are still up today.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Hey, you guys, are you still super full from all that Thanksgiving turkey? I mean Thanksgiving is my favorite meal but it’s even better on Friday. And it’s even better on the weekends. So, I’m not going to judge if you’ve got a turkey drumstick in one hand and a hammer in the other. Just don’t get confused as to which one to use on your project.
Give us a call, guys. We’re here, full or not, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, carpeting is a popular project for this time of year. But if you measure your room the wrong way, it can cost you big bucks. We’re going to have a trick of the trade to help you figure out exactly what you need and don’t need, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Now is a time when so many people, Leslie, are doing some decorating to kind of move things around, make room for family and friends that stop by. You were telling me before that you actually found a pretty cool way to sell off some of your unused furnishings to make room for new stuff.
LESLIE: Yeah. All of us are on a budget. Some of us are on a tighter budget than others and I really wanted to refurnish my entire first floor. It was just everything was the same piece of furniture since Ed passed away. And I wanted to start over but I didn’t really have the budget. So I wanted to sell some things and I came across an app called Chairish, like chair-ish.
And Tom and I aren’t sponsored by this app, so it’s personal opinion only, really, here. But it was a great app because what they do is you take pictures and you take all the measurements and you write up a little description and you say, “I want X amount of dollars.” And then they remove all of your background stuff and just put your piece of furniture on a white background and they advertise it beautifully.
And then what happens is you start to develop a following and when you – maybe after a week, you’ll get an e-mail saying, “Oh, 20 people like your dining table. Why don’t you mark it down?” And then you really sort of get to see how many people are interested in the piece and make a good price. And the best part is that it removes the whole some-stranger-comes-to-your-house-to-look-at-your-things-and-buy, because that’s the scary part.
TOM: You’re not even really talking to these people, are you?
LESLIE: You have zero interaction with the buyer and I kind of liked it. And it’s interesting because they set it up so that a third party – almost like a freight forwarder comes or a white-glove delivery guy comes – packs up your piece of furniture and trucks it off to wherever. In fact, I sold half of my stuff out to California.
TOM: Wow. And I guess it was a good deal for them because it was less than buying it new, even with the delivery charges.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s interesting. I sold a $1,300 TV cabinet for 200 bucks. So they got a good deal and I got a good 8-year use out of it.
TOM: Yeah. And nobody had to come schlepping over to your house, some thug that you didn’t know and have them come in and check it out.
LESLIE: I mean that’s the scary part.
TOM: Yeah, I know. I understand completely. That makes a lot of sense. So Chairish it’s called, huh? Very cool.
LESLIE: Chairish. And the best part is I got some money to buy my new furniture.
TOM: There you go.
888-666-3974. Hey, if you are taking on décor project or a home fix-up project, we’d love to help you. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cynthia in Michigan is working on a flooring project. How can we help you?
CYNTHIA: I moved into a home years ago and there was carpeting down. And when I pulled it up to get to the hardwood floor, it was something on the floor. It looked like tar but someone said it could be mastic cement. And I don’t know how to get it up and someone recommended BEAN-e-doo. But I was told that was for cement only.
TOM: So, it sounds to me like you have some sort of adhesive on that floor and I would look to use a citrus-based adhesive remover to see if that will take it up. But you may find that even if you get that up, what you’re going to have to do is refinish those floors. If they’re hardwood floors, they’re going to have to be sanded and refinished. Because even if you get that adhesive up, you may find that there’s a stain or discoloration and the only way to kind of really get them looking good is to sand them and refinish the floors.
CYNTHIA: Yeah. I’ll just retry – I tried mineral spirits, I tried Goof Off.
TOM: Goof Off is good for stickers but if you use a citrus-based adhesive remover, that’s kind of what you need, OK?
CYNTHIA: Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, installing carpeting is a popular winter project. And if it’s one you’re planning for your money pit, measuring accurately, guys, is the key to success. Really, with carpeting, aside from the correct choice and what your style is, measurement is the biggest thing you can mess up. So you want to make sure that you’re buying enough for the job but not more than you need, right?
TOM: Absolutely. And here’s an easy trick of the trade to help you out and make sure you have just enough. So what you want to do is measure your room in feet. Not in yards but in feet. And then multiply length times width and divide by eight to get the yards.
So all you mathematicians are out there going, “No, no, no, Tommy. You have to divide by nine.” I know that, OK? But the reason you’re dividing by eight is because it allows for just the right amount of waste. See that? Thought you had me, didn’t you? If you divide by eight and not nine, you’ll get just what you need and not too much.
LESLIE: Yeah. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that most carpets come in a 12-foot width. So if your room is wider than 12 feet, you’re going to have to plan where those seams are going to be or try to find a wider carpet, which is out there but you just have to look for it.
TOM: Yeah. And for stairs, another rule of thumb for that is to simply count 1 full yard of carpet for each step. Because you have to cover the step and the riser, you know, plus fold-over on the edge and that kind of stuff. So it takes 1 yard to do that.
So, follow those easy rules of thumb when you’re shopping for carpet and at least – you may want to have the carpet company come to your house and measure themselves but at least you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to need. And if they come back and say you need a whole lot more or a whole lot less, than that might raise a red flag and you can have a conversation about that.
But that’s a way you can do it yourself, because that’s what we do on this show, The Money Pit. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Nevada is on the line with a window question. What’s going on at your money pit?
MIKE: I have an old house I was – I’m fixing up to retire in but it’s got these old, wooden windows in it that has a cross and there were four panes. And someone broke into it. And I’m trying to figure out a good video or I don’t even know what those kind of windows are called. So I’m just lost where to start. And I talked to an old-timer guy and he said they sell that putty that goes in those window panes, in a can. And he said, “Just smear it in there with your fingers and then trim it off with a pocket knife.” I thought, well, maybe they sell it in a caulking gun by now.
TOM: No. Well, no, because it’s not caulk; it’s called “glazing.” And it is like a putty. And so, what you want to do is scrape out, obviously, the broken shards of window and the old glazing and you’ll get sort of a nice, clean recessed edge. You press the new pane in place and it gets held in place with the glazing. And in fact, there’s kind of a special putty knife that you can use for that or you could use a standard one. The special one just has a couple of more bells and whistles to it for glazing that window.
But basically, you’re going to trowel it in there and try to be as neat as you possibly can. Look at the other seams around it, try to make it match it. Sometimes, with old windows, you have to replace that glazing from time to time anyway.
Now, I will – I would imagine that those windows are going to be a little bit drafty, so you’ll have to decide whether you want to add storm windows on top of that or not. But they’re beautiful windows, I’m sure, and they just take a little more work to keep them operable and working.
MIKE: Well, they broke the wood – the wooden cross. And I was looking at that, trying to figure out how do you make new ones. That’s what I was trying to find out.
TOM: So, that’s more of a carpentry project. And that is going to take somebody that’s got a pretty high degree of carpentry skills to put it back together, especially if it’s a milled piece. Do you have the broken pieces? Is it at all possible that you could use those to glue it back together?
Because if that was the case, I would recommend that you use epoxy on that. And there are some epoxies out there that can rebuild missing sections of the wood. For example, if you ever have a rotted window sill, sometimes you get kind of a hole – it’s just a rot hole. There’s an epoxy patch that works well for that that basically you can fill up like you’re filling a cavity and then sand it off and it works great.
So what do you have left? Anything of these broken pieces?
MIKE: I’ve got some of them from the outside but there’s a big piece, right in the middle, where they join at. That’s the one I couldn’t find. And I thought, “Maybe there’s a video that tells you how to make a new one of those.” I’m pretty good with a lot of tools and carpentry and building things but I don’t know even what those kind of windows are called.
TOM: Yeah, Mike. The product that I would recommend is called J-B Weld – J-B, the initials, J-B Weld. And it basically – it’s a premium epoxy putty and you can use it to pretty much rebuild anything. And it gives it – it can sort of restore the structural integrity to that piece. So, again, I would try to put back together everything you’ve got and the piece that’s missing perhaps you can rebuild with the epoxy putty. And then you’re good to go.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now that temperatures have dropped, frozen pipes could be just one ice storm away. We’re going to share a tip to help you avoid that big mess that could result from it, after this.
JONATHAN: Hey this is Jonathan Scott, host of HGTV’s Property Brothers. And you’re listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
ANNOUNCER: Today’s Money Pit is presented by Mr. Beams. Lighting solutions that can be installed in five minutes. No wires, no electrician, no kidding. Find Mr. Beams lights at major retailers and learn more at MrBeams.com.
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: So, as a mom, I’m sure you often find that your children maybe aren’t really that good at taking stuff out of their pockets before the clothing goes into the hamper. Have you noticed this?
LESLIE: Crayons, markers, ChapStick. One time, a handful of Swedish Fish. What do you do with that? What do you do with that?
TOM: OK. What’s the effect of Swedish Fish on a dryer? Probably you have roasted Swedish Fish. I can imagine.
LESLIE: Yeah. Stuck to the sides. The shorts are stuck together in the pocket. It’s a mess.
TOM: Yeah. So, if that’s happened to you, whether it is a stray crayon or a pen or a Swedish Fish, here’s a good trick of the trade to get rid of it: you want to use a spray cleaner and a mild abrasive or a laundry-stain treatment and then wipe that on the spot where the stain is. Put it on with a damp cloth and then dry a load of old towels. We find that if you dry the towels for about 25 minutes or so, it’ll pull off the stain and it’ll prevent that color from transferring onto your clean laundry. And next time, don’t trust your kids to empty their pockets on their own. You’ve got to check because that’s our duties as moms and dads.
888-666-3974. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Mark in Illinois is on the line with a question about heating a bathroom. How can we help you?
MARK: Well, I was wondering if it would be cost-effective to run floor heat off of my gas water heater in my bathroom.
TOM: No. First of all, you have the initial installation of the piping under the floor. Secondly, a water heater produces hot water at around 110 degrees, which is not nearly warm enough to warm your floor. A boiler, on the other hand, is going to come out much, much hotter, more like maybe 160 degrees. And so, you really can’t use a water heater to provide enough heat to deliver radiant heat.
Now, if – is this a new bathroom you’re putting in, Mark?
MARK: No. Matter of fact, it’s – there’s a crawlspace under it, too.
TOM: So, I think that you’re probably best just insulating that floor and not trying to heat it, because it’s an awful lot of work for just a bathroom to add that.
MARK: Right. Well, that answers my question.
TOM: Alright, Mark. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, broken water pipes can cause expensive home headaches and they happen most often in winter when pipes carrying water freeze, expand and then burst.
TOM: Yep. But ironically enough, the pipe most susceptible to freezing – which, of course, is that outdoor hose faucet – is also the easiest to protect. With us to talk about that is Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House.
RICHARD: How are you?
TOM: We’re well.
And this is a problem that I have seen happen time and time again over the years. When I was a professional home inspector, you could always see a home where you had several old hose bibbs and then one that was brand-spanking new. And you know it wasn’t because they wanted to do an upgrade, because it actually froze.
RICHARD: Yeah. That’s right.
TOM: How do these frost-proof faucets work and do they really stop freezing?
RICHARD: Well, the standard – and by the way, they don’t – there’s not an issue when they freeze. It’s an issue when it thaws.
TOM: Oh, is that right?
RICHARD: When the water – once they freeze, the water doesn’t come out.
TOM: Yeah. That’s true.
RICHARD: It’s just a big block of ice. But oh, my goodness, the first thaw and the house is just (inaudible at 0:22:36).
TOM: Totally flooded. Right.
RICHARD: So frost-proof sill cocks are beautifully ingenious. And that is the standard outdoor faucet. It has a handle and right below the handle is the washer. And so that means right below the washer, water is sitting in harm’s way where a cold freeze could come and split the faucet. Now, the faucet’s made out of metal; it’s brass and so that brass will split readily. The difference with a frost-poof, it’s as if you had that handle and then a very long stem or thread that came down and put that washer back 10, 12 or 14 inches inside the building.
TOM: So you’re actually holding the water back, so to speak?
RICHARD: That’s right.
LESLIE: Into the conditioned space.
RICHARD: That’s right. And then – and what’s so wonderful about these is it means you could go out and wash your car on a day that’s suddenly nice. You could – just above freezing. You don’t have to think about – remember to do it. But every – worries, lives in fear – “Oh, I didn’t call or I didn’t get it turned off in time when the first frost comes.”
RICHARD: So they’re – it would be great if they were a standard thing in cold weather, cold climates, you know.
TOM: But they’re just not?
RICHARD: They just – no. Well, just the cost is just more money than a basic one.
So, we do them all the time. We always love it. I actually showed, on Ask This Old House last year, a hot and a cold one on the outside of the house. And that was just fantastic. So now you could wash the car, wash the dog, you can do anything with a hot-and-cold, frost-proof sill cock on the outside of the house.
LESLIE: So then no more turning off the water supply to that bibb?
RICHARD: That’s right, that’s right.
LESLIE: Which in my house, it’s in a closet behind the laundry room, that I store all the holiday decorations in. I have to pull out a million boxes to get back there just to turn this bibb off.
RICHARD: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So the question if you want to put one in after the fact you – if it’s in an exposed basement, it’s pretty straightforward. Then it’s just going to be – you’re going to have to use a torch, so you need some basic skills around plumbing. But then it’s just to turn the water off to the old one, cut out the old one, clean it up with an emery cloth and then push that new frost-proof sill cock in from outside and just make that connection and solder it together. It’s a pretty straightforward project and it really is great.
Now, we just did a – we saw – we always – the great thing about our show is we get new samples on different stuff.
RICHARD: So we just saw a variation on a frost-proof sill cock. And that is when you look at it on the outside of the house, it just looks like a little, flush disc that you can paint to make it look so you don’t see anything.
RICHARD: And then when you want to use it, you – there’s a little blue adapter that sticks onto the end of your hose and you just push it in and twist. And that makes it activate.
TOM: Oh, cool.
LESLIE: Oh, how interesting.
RICHARD: So when you’re done, it just looks so clean and beautiful, so …
TOM: Like a quick-connect.
RICHARD: That’s it: a quick-connect, yeah. So you’ve got to be sure you don’t lose the quick-connect to activate it. But if you really had the money side of the house where it’s really – you wanted the front of the house to look great and not see those faucets, it’s just beautiful.
TOM: So last question: if you do have the freeze-proof faucet on the house, should you still have that shut-off valve for it?
RICHARD: Do you worry?
TOM: Yeah. I’m Italian. I can’t help it.
RICHARD: You’re a home inspector.
If you’re going to have a frost-proof sill cock, live a little.
RICHARD: Leave it so you can rot in the cold weather.
TOM: What are the chances?
RICHARD: That’s right. And if you’re Florida, you don’t have to worry.
TOM: There you go. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House, I’m going to call you to come to my house when it freezes and breaks in February.
RICHARD: I’m coming right over.
TOM: Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
RICHARD: Great to be here.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
Up next, now that we are in the heating season, are you noticing cracks or holes in your walls that seem to open up out of nowhere? It happens a lot in winter for one simple reason: your walls are drying out and they shrink. Yes, walls will expand and contract. And when that happens, you can get cracks and holes and nail pops. We’ll have tips to help you make repairs, once and for all, after this.
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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now. We’d love to help you with your home improvement project. If it’s a do-it-yourself dilemma, if it’s a job that you don’t want to do yourself, we can help talk you through how to hire the right contractor to get that job. But help yourself first: call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, have you noticed cracks or holes in your walls that maybe weren’t there before or at least you’re pretty sure they weren’t there before? That happens a lot this time of year and here’s why: because when you turn your heat on – and it’s been going now in my part of the country for about a month now. And as it does, it starts to dry out your walls. Your walls get sort of humid and moist and they swell, right? And in the wintertime, when the heat gets on, they shrink.
And as they shrink, you can very often see cracks that will open up in the walls. You’ll see nail pops where the nails sort of back out of the wall, take a little piece of spackle with them. And you’ll see cracks and seams and you’ll see tape that sort of wrinkles – the drywall tape. All very, very common things that happen this time of year. But there are solutions to these. And the thing is if you fix it right, it’s not going to move the next time the wall expands or contracts.
LESLIE: Yeah. So let’s talk about some of the best ways that you can handle the situations that are happening. So, first, let’s talk about nail pops.
Now, these result from a nail that’s loosened and then truly because your house moves, the nail starts to back its way out of the drywall. So you just really have to tap that nail back in and then drive a new nail right next to it. But you have to make sure that you cover the head of the old nail with the head of the new nail so that as the new nail goes in, it sort of holds that old nail down. Then you want to go ahead and spackle the area, smooth it, allow it to dry really well and then sand it and touch up that area. And that really does the trick for that.
TOM: Definitely. Now, the other one are cracks. And they take a little more doing to get fixed. And the best way to do this is when you actually use a drywall tape but you don’t want to use paper tape. The pros use paper tape and that’s fine because they do it every day. What you want to do is use fiberglass tape, which is kind of like a tacky kind of netty-like tape that you cut a piece, you put it over the crack and then you spackle that. And you want to use three coats of spackle.
Start with – a little goes a long way. So if you put too much on it because you’re kind of in a hurry, it’s going to end up taking longer and it won’t look good. So, three really thin coats to cover that tape, a little bit of sanding and then what you’ve got to do is prime it, right? Don’t just paint over it. Put some primer on it first and then paint it. If you do it that way, the crack will not reappear the next time the wall wants to move.
And most importantly, generally, when this happens seasonally, it’s not indicative of a structural problem. It’s really, as I said before, just kind of the expansion and the contraction of the walls. But if you repair the cracks correctly, they won’t reappear. Too many people just try to put some spackle on it and they never deal with the underlying issue. So that’s what we’re saying here folks.
If you cover the crack with drywall tape or if you cover the head of the nail that backed out with a second nail, you’re not going to see those come back again. And as we always say, we try to get it done once, done right and you won’t have to do it again. If you follow those steps, that’s just what’s going to happen to you.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve Joan on the line who’s got a question about a shower leak. What’s going on at your money pit?
JOAN: Yes. I have a shower enclosure and underneath the door – you know how they have that plastic strip? Every time I take a shower, the water leaks on one end and off on the other end. So my husband has replaced that strip two times now and it still leaks no matter what we do. So we were wondering, what else could it be? How is the water getting out from underneath that strip?
TOM: So the strip is under the door and you’re wondering how it gets out under that strip? And I mean that generally means that there’s some water pressure pushing it out. But let me ask you this: if you just closed the shower door and you’re not in there taking a shower, does it still leak?
TOM: Yeah. And so the only difference between those two experiments is you. And that actually happens a lot with bathrooms because when you stand in the shower and take a shower, the water bounces off your body and it can start to leak. We see this a lot with tile walls where maybe there’s a little gap in the grout or something like that. And it doesn’t leak until somebody’s in it and then the water’s kind of bouncing all over the place and it starts to leak. So it doesn’t help solve your problem but at least it explains why it’s happening when you’re taking a shower and not happening when you’re just running the water.
Now, the type of door that you have here, can you explain what this sort of sweep looks like, what the seal on the bottom looks like?
JOAN: You mean besides the plastic underneath it or …?
TOM: Well, you say it’s plastic underneath it. I just want to clarify what that is. You say it’s a plastic strip. Is it a rubber gasket, like a door sweep that you might see?
JOAN: Yeah. Kind of like that but it’s flexible. My husband bought it off of a roll. It came in a roll. And so he just – you speed it through underneath the door. You feed it through. There’s a space in between the bottom and you feed it through that.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Is there a groove that kind of holds it in place?
JOAN: Yes, yes.
TOM: And is this a metal shower door?
JOAN: Yes it is. I’m just wondering if we have to buy a whole new enclosure because …
TOM: Why can’t you just replace the shower doors themselves? Why do you have to replace the whole enclosure?
JOAN: Tell the truth, I didn’t even know you could just replace a shower door.
TOM: Yeah. You can buy shower doors to fit any size opening.
JOAN: Is that expensive?
TOM: Well, there’s like anything – you can buy some that are pretty inexpensive and some that are very expensive and the quality varies according.
JOAN: And that’s something that you can also buy at a Home Depot or a Lowes or …?
TOM: Certainly you could buy it at a big-box retailer like that or you could go to a kitchen store or a kitchen-and-bath refurbisher or you can find them online; they’re available. And they’re going to be sold within certain ranges. It’ll be from this door will cover from this size to that size and then the next set will go slightly bigger and so on.
JOAN: I think I’ll try that. Thanks very much. I appreciate your taking the time.
TOM: You’re welcome, Joan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Just ahead, dryer fires are surprisingly common and most are caused by one simple thing. We’ll share how to stay safe, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this time of year? Are you working on a project to improve the décor of your money pit? We can help with that at 888-MONEY-PIT. Maybe you’ve got a fix-up you’re trying to get done. Maybe it’s a door that’s stuck, a floor that squeaks, a wall that’s got a crack. All great topics. Give us a call with those questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or if you’re maybe too shy to call, that’s OK. You can post your question at MoneyPit.com, like Tyler did.
LESLIE: Yeah. Tyler writes: “My dryer vent is on the opposite side from the wall outlet and the vent hose kinks. Would it be OK to run a length of PVC pipe with elbows instead?”
TOM: Yeah. Really bad idea, Tyler. Right idea that you don’t want to have a kink in the dryer-exhaust duct but you can’t use PVC because, obviously, it will burn up if you had a dryer fire. You need to use metal venting material.
Now, I tell you, in my house, we had a situation with a dryer. When we moved into this very old house, we moved the laundry room from the first floor to the second floor, because a lot of old homes always had their laundry on the first floor and some even have it in the basement until somebody gets really tired of schlepping the laundry up and down the stairs every time you’ve got to do a load. So we moved it upstairs, because we had the room, but the problem was the venting. So to vent this dryer, we had to go down about 3 feet in the wall behind the dryer. Then we had to go out about 8 feet, under a bedroom, to get to the exterior.
And I was never really happy with that because it’s always really hard to clean a spot like that and it takes too long for the clothes to dry. So it’s both unsafe and it’s a waste of energy. The shortest distance that you can go with the least number of bends is the best. So, we ended up redoing the laundry room, stacking the washer and the dryer and running the vent out all of about 12 inches to an exterior wall, which made a lot more sense. And actually, the clothes now dry really, really quickly.
But the key is that you’ve got to have a straight shot out. And if you’re not going to be able to do that and you’ve got these turns to make, you want to make it with solid dryer-ducting material, not flexible dryer-ducting material. This looks just like kind of like the venting that you’d put together if you were building a new air-conditioning system or heating system. Smaller but it’s that same kind of solid material, because it’s not going to kink, it’s not going to crush. And every time you put a turn in that, it’s equivalent to about 10 feet of resistance that you would get on a straight piece of pipe. So you want to put as few turns in as possible.
And then the other thing that’s really important to do, at least two or three times a year, is to clean the dryer-exhaust duct.
And Leslie, you’ve got a funny story about this. You always talk about the lint balls that coughed out of your dryer the first time you did it. So I’ll let you tell that.
LESLIE: You know, I mean it’s interesting. When you become a homeowner, it’s like, “Yes, I’ve always cleaned the lint part of a dryer wherever I did my laundry.” But now that I owned a home, the first time I remember pulling into the driveway and seeing the house cough up a tumbleweed but of lint, out of the dryer vent on the side of the house. And I remember calling you, Tom, being like, “Why is my house coughing up lint balls? Is it a cat I don’t realize it? Is there a tumble-lint?”
TOM: “And is there a cat in my dryer’s exhaust duct?”
LESLIE: Right. Seriously. But there had been so much lint there from the previous owners and I guess no one had thought about it, truly, until I became educated about the reason that dryer fires happen. I would’ve never thought to clean that.
TOM: So the solution is a tool called the LintEater, which is sort of a brush on a flexible rod.
LESLIE: It’s like a bottle brush.
TOM: Yeah. You attach it to a drill. It comes with multiple sections. You spin it through the dryer-exhaust duct and then it cleans it out. So you’ve got to do this, like I said, two, three times a year.
LESLIE: Spin it in reverse or forward? I always forget. I know I always call you.
TOM: It’s in forward because if you go in reverse, it’ll uncouple itself.
LESLIE: Gotcha. I always call you every single time.
TOM: Yep. But that’s the secret, Tyler. No plastic. Just metal in the dryer-exhaust duct.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with your project, Tyler.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. That is about all the time we have for this hour’s program. But hey, if you’ve got questions, remember you can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT or always online at MoneyPit.com.
Happy Holidays, everyone. 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 2016 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.)