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.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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 make good homes better. We are here to help you tackle your home improvement projects; to help you with those do-it-yourself dilemmas. We know it’s hot; it’s sticky; it’s muggy. But you know what? Cool weather’s just around the corner. Fall is what we call the Goldilocks season: not too hot; not too cold; just right …
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s just right.
TOM: … to get those home improvement projects done. So, it is time to start planning them. We’re going to help you do just that.
Speaking of planning, coming up this hour, when you purchase home improvement products you want to make sure you buy just the right amount to get the job done. Now, if you buy too little that means lots of trips back to the home center or the hardware store and that’s a big waste of time. If you’re buying too much it’s a waste of money. And we’ve got some solutions to help you buy just the right amount; especially if it’s flooring. We’re going to give you some formulas to help you figure out how much material you need to tackle various projects around your house.
LESLIE: Alright. And Tom, I don’t know if you’re like me but I tend to sort of wander around my house and look for things to do. (laughing)
TOM: Ah, that’s the serial renovator part of you.
LESLIE: It’s a bit of an issue. I’m always looking for something. So if you’re like us, when you’re surveying your house for your next project, are you noticing something that looks like little bumps on your walls; like something is pushing through? Well, those are called nail pops and that’s where a nail has backed itself out of the drywall. Now, does it mean that your house is going to fall apart? Nah, not really. How do you fix them? Well, we’re going to tell you in just a few minutes.
TOM: Also ahead, it’s the deck-building season and you’re thinking, ‘Isn’t that the spring time?’ Well, actually it’s not. There’s two big deck-building seasons and it’s amazing how many people build decks in the fall because they’re kind of tired of the one they have now or they just wish they had one. So a lot of folks are ramping up to build decks. And that’s why, this hour, we’re going to get some expert advice from the editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine. The August issue is on newsstands now and it’s got a great story on what to think about when you’re planning a deck project. And Kevin Ireton is going to fill us all in with some great deck design ideas.
LESLIE: Yeah, I love that Fine Homebuilding. I love the shape of the magazine; I love the ideas; and it really is a good issue. So that sounds great. I’m looking forward to it.
And also, we’re giving away – as we always do give away a great prize – this hour we’re giving away a $100 prize package from our friends at Zircon. It’s going to include a tool that’s going to find ductwork; metal conduit; plumbing; pretty much any type of metal that you’ve got hiding behind your walls or in concrete. But you’ve got to be in it to win it.
TOM: So call us right now. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win that prize package. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: In New Hampshire you can find The Money Pit on WGIR like Rachel does. What can we help you with?
RACHEL: I have this very old house; 1780. And in the kitchen and the – well, actually, in three different rooms – I have wood flooring that has large spaces in between because the wood has dried so much.
RACHEL: It’s knock-down-dead gorgeous flooring but it has these big, wide gaps. And the previous owner had put down like heavy string or twine in between. And I want to know what’s the right thing to do. The gaps can get really big but obviously you can’t put anything hard down in there because of the way the wood …
TOM: Right, it’s just going to expand and contract. It sounds to me like the previous owner did the right thing because we’ve often …
TOM: … advised folks to use jute cord, which is the same stuff that carpet’s made out of, as a filler for those situations. Because you’re right, you can’t use wood filler. It expands and contracts. It’s going to fall out. But if you use something that’s dark colored, like jute, you can press it down there; it’ll stay there; you can finish over top of it. But it does require some maintenance.
LESLIE: Yeah, you can even stain the jute to be a closer color to your flooring so it, you know, doesn’t stand out as much. And the interesting thing about jute is that there are so many layers of the twine itself that makes up the larger rope that you can sort of take away layers of it so that you can tuck it in more efficiently and make it fit to the area you’re trying to fill.
RACHEL: Yeah, sounds like a great idea.
TOM: Think of that flooring by its technical term: charm.
TOM: Does require some maintenance, though. Rachel, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
RACHEL: Thank you.
LESLIE: Walter in Montana tunes in on KGEZ and you’ve got a porch question. What can we answer for you?
WALTER: Well, I have supports on my deck that support the roof and they are four-sided and they meet at 45 degree angles. And in the five years the house was built now it’s – they’ve separated and split apart. And there’s white paint showing inside. They’re split about 1/8-inch on the corners. And I’m wondering how best to fill those and how to handle it.
TOM: So these – is it – these are columns that are split?
WALTER: Yes, they are.
TOM: OK, the wood itself is split?
WALTER: No, they’re composed of four pieces.
WALTER: And where they join it’s at 45-degree angles.
WALTER: It’s very sharp.
TOM: Alright. Well, here’s what you’re going to want to do. First of all, obviously you’re going to have to sand them all down. And then you’re going to use a wood filler to fill in all of those gaps. If there’s any loose pieces they need to be secured so that they’re not moving. Once they’re sanded down and the filler is applied, all of those gaps are closed, then it’s going to be real important that you use an oil-based primer and seal all of the exposed surfaces of those columns. Once you’re done with the primer then you can put a finish coat on top which does not have to be oil-based but I would definitely recommend an oil-based primer to seal it in and it’ll give you some dimensional stability.
WALTER: Sounds good.
TOM: Terrific. Walter, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lots of great home improvement calls. Hey, are they getting you busy planning your next fall renovation? You want to get organized and we can help you so call in your home repair or your home improvement question any time the mood strikes you; 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you getting ready to replace that old carpeting in your house? Maybe you’re thinking about installing some laminate floor or some hardwood floor. Well, don’t waste money buying more flooring that you need. We’re going to give you a surefire formula for measuring your room correctly, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: It’s a great hour. It’s a great idea. It’s The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And the magic number here over at The Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And one caller that we talk to today – you’ve got to ask your question on the air, folks, and you’ve got to have a legitimate home improvement question. The question, ‘Hey, can I be the winner?’ doesn’t cut it. So we know you’re working on stuff so give us a call. Because the prize we have today is a package from Zircon and it includes a MetalliScanner and it’s a totally new, futuristic-looking tool that’s going to detect metal – maybe nails, screws, conduit, rebar, ductwork, pretty much anything metallic – behind your walls and in your concrete. And you’re also going to get a circuit breaker finder that’s going to allow you to find the breaker that controls a specific circuit so you can cut that power to that direct circuit so you can do that work safely. The two tools together; worth about 100 bucks. Give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Let’s talk now about floors. That’s one of the popular topics that we’re asked about a lot on this program. And I’ve got a simple formula for you if you’re thinking about doing some carpeting work. If you want to figure out how much carpet you need you’ve got to account for the waste; you know, the areas that – where you’re going to lose a little bit off the roll. It’s nice to know how much carpeting you need before you go to the carpet store …
TOM: … because this way you can budget out properly.
LESLIE: And it’s also good to make sure that you’ve got that extra in the beginning because if you need to reorder – say, for another area – that die lot might be different and they might not match exactly.
TOM: Absolutely. So here’s the formula. Very simple: length times width divided by eight. Now, you wouldn’t divide it by nine because that would give you the exact number of yards that you need. But if you divided it by eight, that’s going to give you the yardage that you need and a little bit extra to help you get around those top spots; to get into those nooks, those crannies; have some extra to go under the doorways and in the closets; and that’ll make sure you have enough to get the job done right without having any waste.
If you want more tips you can log onto our website at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Tuning in on WETR we’ve got Jackie in Tennessee who’s got a fireplace project. What are you working on?
JACKIE: We have about a maybe 50-year-old home that has a standard brick fireplace.
JACKIE: And we added a gas insert that’s smaller than the hole. And so we had some brick – additional brick. A mason added some additional brick, you know, to fit the insert. And it looks great structurally but the color doesn’t match and the mortar doesn’t match. Do we have any option to make that naturally look more natural and blend in? Is there a way to use watercolors or stain rather than just paint?
LESLIE: What sort of difference are you seeing? Is it just that the grout is more dark in the older parts and the brick just has sort of like a brownish, age-y glow? Or is …
JACKIE: It’s noticeably different. It’s a gray grout versus a tan but we didn’t worry about it at the time because we just assumed we were going to paint. But the new brick, of course, is a different color. We got as close as we could but it’s more of a red brick versus a mesa, you know, western-looking desert color. And it just doesn’t match at all.
TOM: It would be difficult to strategically stain that grout, wouldn’t it? Even if you tried an acid stain or something like that?
JACKIE: That’s what I’m wondering. Now, we do have a wooden mantle that we are putting that will cover the seam where the connection is. So, you know, we’re fine with just painting it. That is our best option. Is there anything special we need to do or kind of paint or …
LESLIE: Well, first try this. Do you have any extra of the new bricks kicking around?
LESLIE: OK. Take one of the extra ones; get something from the home center called an aging glaze.
LESLIE: And that basically is a quart. I know Ralph Lauren has one. Behr makes one. There’s a ton of different vendors …
LESLIE: … that sell specifically something called aging glaze. Then you mix into that or you can mix in a little dish on the side – you don’t have to commit to the entire quart with the color. Pick a tone in that brownish, mesa family that would mix into that aging glaze. Because the aging glaze is sort of clear and just helps loosen the paint and make it stick in a way in places where corners would wear and tear.
LESLIE: And mix in, you know, a couple of different colors that you think might help achieve that brick transition.
LESLIE: And try it on those extra bricks until you find something that sort of ages it.
For the grout, you know, you could’ve tinted the grout or chosen a grout at the time of install.
LESLIE: At this point – you know, is it too late at this point to use a grout tint?
JACKIE: Maybe not. If you …
LESLIE: I would look into grout tints. I would also, if you can – if you’ve got a little bit of the extra grout kicking around – you know, smear some on a brick; let it solidify and then work with it in the same way with a – not a watercolor but a latex paint with the aging glaze.
JACKIE: OK. OK.
LESLIE: Something that will help it. Just to try. Because I would hate …
JACKIE: We do have about a foot of wood that will separate the new brick from the old so it does – doesn’t have a very close transition. And there’s only about four inches of the new brick that are going to show. So …
JACKIE: … that’s good.
LESLIE: Yeah, because I – personally, I hate painted brick.
TOM: Yeah but Jackie, the good news is if it doesn’t work out you can always paint. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s like at least try it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly.
JACKIE: (overlapping voices) OK. Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Glen in Texas wants to talk roofs. What can we do for you?
GLEN: Yes, ma’am. I’ve been hearing rumors about reflective coatings for roofing the house; where they’re liquid or material, like insulation type things. Can you help me out on what to do? It’s going to be about six more months and I’m going to have to reroof the house. I was told that I could possibly paint something on the inside of the attic.
TOM: I don’t know that you could paint something on the inside of the attic. But what kind of roof structure do you have? Is it a pitched roof? Is it a flat roof? What do you have, Glen?
GLEN: No, it’s pitched. Yes sir, it’s 1950s ranch-style house facing north and south. And therefore, you know, the hips are east and west.
TOM: OK. Well (clears throat), the type of foil product you’re talking about for inside the attic is called a reflective barrier. And a reflective barrier basically keeps the heat on the side that you want it to be on. You know when you take tin foil and you put it over a casserole that’s come out of the oven to keep the heat in?
TOM: Reflects the heat back down? Well, if you put a reflective barrier in your attic it keeps the heat out of the attic and makes the attic cooler. I’m not aware that that’s available in a paint; some sort of a liquid application. But it’s available in more like a sheet foil type of material.
GLEN: Really? For the outside – for an underlaying underneath the tar paper?
TOM: No but it goes – no, it goes in the attic. It does not go on top of the roof.
GLEN: Oh, it is in the attic. OK.
TOM: In the attic, right. Now, the reason I asked you if it was flat is because if you have a flat roof there is an aluminum paint that’s very often applied to flat roofs that does reflect the UV radiation of the sun back out and helps them last longer. But it’s not something that you would put on any type of a sloped roof because it doesn’t look so hot.
GLEN: On a – I’m using single. Now I’m going to be going to dimensional. So the only thing I can do is on the underside.
TOM: Yeah. You can add a reflective barrier. The other thing, Glen, to look at – especially in Texas – is make sure you have great ventilation in that roof structure. Take this opportunity to add a ridge vent down the peak of the roof; add soffit vents on the sides so that you have good airflow throughout that roof. That will also help keep the home much cooler.
GLEN: Yes, sir. I just did that about three months ago. Alrighty, thank you so much, kids. I appreciate and love your show.
TOM: You’re welcome, Glen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Taking a call from Minnesota now with Chris. Chris, what are you staining? What are you working on?
CHRIS: Well, I’m curious about stain because I don’t tend to use it. I tend to just clear coat with polyurethane.
CHRIS: I like the natural look of wood.
CHRIS: My sister-in-law swears by stain and I’m thinking, ‘Why would I want to do two steps when I could just do one?’ You know, well polyurethane’s always more than one step. (Leslie chuckles) But does stain finish the product? If you stain something do you still have to clear coat over it?
TOM: Yes, you do. The stain is going to give you the color coat but you still have to do a clear coat on top of it.
LESLIE: Unless you buy that product that’s the stain and the polyurethane in one coating.
TOM: Yeah, true.
LESLIE: I forget who makes it. It’s at the home center. The only thing, if you go with that product – because I’ve worked with it before on While You Were Out – if you double coat an area it – because it’s the polyurethane and the stain built in to one …
TOM: It gets blotchy, right?
LESLIE: … it’s get like muddy.
LESLIE: It like sticks to itself.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, you get one shot.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) So you really want to make sure you do it evenly and smoothly in one run and never sort of overlap where you stop and start. But you can stain. There are different colors; levels of opacity. You can have all different colors from blues and whites and reds to natural tones that will still show the wood grain; still show the beauty of the wood and then polyurethane them so that they have a durability and a sheen to them.
TOM: Yeah, Chris, you’ll find that if you use stain it evens out the tones of the wood. Let me ask you, are you talking about inside woodwork or outside woodwork?
TOM: What kind of work? Like trim work; that sort of thing or …?
CHRIS: Yeah. My staircase in the house.
CHRIS: I’m not sure what kind of wood it is. It’s kind of dark. Well, it’s been – it was like lacquered dark or something to begin with and I stripped it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, you know, stain can be used very strategically in projects like that. I have an old handrail in my home which was built in 1886 and it had an untold number of coats of paint on it. When we finally got down to the raw wood it was a very, very beautiful, like a dark – I’m still not quite sure what it was. I’m pretty sure that it’s either a mahogany or a walnut because it’s just so old. But it did have some inconsistencies even though we got all that paint off. I just took some dark Jacobean (ph) stain; put another coat on top of it; evened the whole thing all up. It looks great. We put some finish on top of that and it looks probably as good as the day it went in.
CHRIS: Well …
TOM: So you can use – you can use it strategically or you can use it to add some color to the wood. You can use it to even things out.
CHRIS: So you wouldn’t have to necessarily even stain a whole project if you just wanted to – if you – if it matched well enough.
TOM: If it matched well enough but I would recommend doing the whole thing.
CHRIS: Whole thing.
TOM: And you know, you don’t have to brush it on. You would put it on a rag and just dab it on; rub it out. Gives you a nice, handrubbed look to the whole project.
CHRIS: Oh. OK.
TOM: Give it a try. I think your sister-in-law might be right on this.
CHRIS: Alright. Great.
TOM: But you don’t have to tell her we said so. (chuckling)
CHRIS: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: Chris, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sherry, you’re on The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
SHERRY: I was calling. I’m having trouble with my hot water heater or hot water in my home.
SHERRY: When I get in the shower – and I don’t take long showers at all – by the time I’m ready to wash the conditioner out of my hair I’m running out of hot water.
TOM: What kind of water heater do you have right now?
SHERRY: You mean brand name or …
TOM: Is it gas? Is it …?
SHERRY: Gas, uh-huh. It’s …
TOM: It’s gas? And how old is it?
SHERRY: I don’t know.
TOM: Really old? Like 10 years plus?
SHERRY: Probably so, yeah.
TOM: Well, you certainly shouldn’t be running out of hot water that quickly. So that sounds to me like the gas valve has malfunctioned and it’s not really doing the job it should be doing. You know, normally if you have like a minimum size gas water heater it’s going to be 40 gallons. It could supply 30 to 40 gallons of hot water per hour. And certainly you’re not using that much in the shower. So it sounds to me like your water heater’s not functioning correctly. You might want to check the valve and make sure it’s set correctly. You want to have the water coming out at about 110 degrees; not any hotter because you could get scalded. If the valve is set correctly and still not – you’re still running out of hot water that quickly then you’re probably going to need to replace the valve or replace the water heater.
LESLIE: What’s the general lifespan on a water heater?
TOM: Ten to 15 years, for the most part. And if you’re going to replace it take a look at the new tankless water heaters. They’re a lot more efficient. Little more expensive to put in but a lot more efficient in the long haul.
LESLIE: More great calls coming up. But first, how to build a better deck. Kevin Ireton is going to join us. He is the editor at Fine Homebuilding magazine and he’s got some great and unique deck design ideas. So stick around.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better with your help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
You know, maybe you’re working on some things around the house or even out of doors. It really is the perfect time of year to tackle all of those outside projects. And you want to get them done quick before summer escapes you. And a deck, if you didn’t know, is the most cost-effective way to add square footage to your home without actually building an addition. And decks have become the ultimate outdoor living space. But instead of taking a cookie cutter approach you should think outside the box when it comes to building.
TOM: That’s right. You know, a conventional deck is usually pressure-treated wood framing that’s attached to your house with railings and with ballisters all around the edge. But what if your deck had seating built into the perimeter or, better yet, it was freestanding from the house? This is an interesting concept that was pointed out by the folks from Fine Homebuilding magazine who have a nice article called ‘Build a Better Deck’ in this month’s edition. And with us to talk about that is Kevin Ireton. He’s the editor of Fine Homebuilding.
KEVIN: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
LESLIE: Hi, Kevin.
TOM: So you’ve got the solution to build a better deck and one of your talking points is that we should really not be attaching this to the house. Why do you say that?
KEVIN: Well, Tom, you’re a home inspector. You’ve got to know that one of the problem spots is that ledger where the deck attaches to the house.
TOM: Well, that’s true. Because you know, dimensional lumber – you know, 2x10s for example – are not exactly built to be attached to the outside of a weatherproof surface.
KEVIN: And that’s where the water hits and people never flash it properly.
KEVIN: So here’s the deal. Why not leave a little bit of space? When we’re talking about a freestanding deck I don’t mean 10 or 20 feet away. I mean right against the house.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. (Tom chuckles)
KEVIN: But there’s actually just a little bit of space; like a half-inch or an inch between the house and the deck so any water that lands there can just drain harmlessly away.
TOM: Well, it makes sense. But from a constructural standpoint, one of the advantages of attaching to the house is what we call rack protection. It stops it from sliding or moving. So how do you deal with that?
LESLIE: Or moving out of square, yeah.
KEVIN: Well, the first thing is I wouldn’t do this with a deck that was very tall. You know, this works best with a grade-level deck or anything, you know, 30 inches below you could do this.
KEVIN: And basically you provide rack resistance in the framing underneath the deck.
LESLIE: So this is just done, really, with multiple posts instead of just that one ledger that would be on the side of the house. You’re just adding more 4x4s or 6x6s.
TOM: Well, you’d need like, say two girders instead of one.
KEVIN: Exactly. You’re doing the same thing on the inside that you do on the outside …
KEVIN: … which is, you know, [pour some piers] (ph) and put a girder across.
TOM: Alright, what about the benches and the railings around the perimeter? What suggestions do you have for that?
KEVIN: Well, the first thing is that built-in benches – especially on a low deck – not only do they add seating but they add visual interest. So many decks are just this big sort of football field that’s a boring expanse of lumber. Built-in seating just instantly adds interest and practicality to a deck. But one of the cool things is to use the same posts that are supporting the deck to come right up through, support the benches and then keep going and build up a pergola, which is a roof-type structure over top of the – over top of the bench. Plant some vines and you’ve got a beautiful outdoor space.
LESLIE: Which is interesting because shade structures usually have been sort of an add-on or a second thought and you don’t really put that into the original planning process.
KEVIN: It’s much better if you can integrate them from the beginning so that they look like it was all one thought and the design becomes an integrated whole.
LESLIE: What about in the planning process of a shade structure or this pergola, as we’re going to call it? Is there any sort of directions, when we’re thinking about placing the rafters, that would help us, you know, better enjoy the deck on a hot, sunny day?
KEVIN: I think, you know, the thing that you typically keep in mind is that the higher you go the smaller the dimension of the lumber should be. And this is, again, kind of a layering effect. And you want to kind of work like a tree so that the higher up the tree you go the smaller the branches get. The same way with a pergola structure. So your smallest pieces are the ones that are at the very top. You can cut decorative curves on the ends of them pretty simply but also really dresses up the pergola.
TOM: Now Kevin, let’s talk a bit about the structure of the deck in terms of the pressure-treated lumber that’s actually used. As the formulations for pressure-treated lumber have changed to get away from the arsenic-based treatments to more of the copper-based treatments, are we seeing more corrosion in the hardware and the fasteners and how do we work around that?
KEVIN: Tom, absolutely. The newest formulations of pressure-treated are more corrosive because they’ve got more copper in them and so you’ve got this galvanic reaction. So what you want to do is buy the highest quality galvanized or stainless steel fasteners.
TOM: And also you have these high-tech flashings like Grace Vycor Plus, which is a membrane that wraps around it. Are you seeing professionals do a much better job with these high-tech synthetic flashings than they perhaps did with the standard aluminum flashings of years ago?
KEVIN: Oh, absolutely. In part because they’re great high-tech materials, but they’re also way easier to work with. I mean these elastameric membranes; I mean you don’t have to have a lot of expertise working with metal. You don’t need a break. They’re just much easier; much more forgiving.
TOM: Good advice. The article is called ‘Build a Better Deck.’ It’s in this month’s edition of Fine Homebuilding magazine.
Kevin Ireton, the editor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: My pleasure, guys. Thanks for having me on.
LESLIE: Aw, it is always great to have Kevin on the show.
Alright, speaking of home improvement, you like to do projects. Do you find yourself wandering around your house just looking for things to fix? Well, if you’re like us you’re probably doing that right now while you’re listening. And you might be noticing something like a little round bump on your walls. They’re in a line. Ah, that’s a big clue to what it is. Well, they’re a common problem and they’re called nail pops. We’re going to tell you how to fix them, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s what Leslie calls the magic number because …
LESLIE: It is a magic number.
TOM: … it’s live all the time. There’s always somebody standing by to take your home improvement question and if we’re not in the studio we will call you back the next time we are.
LESLIE: You know what, Tom? When we’re bailing people out of some sticky home improvement situations I bet you they’re calling it a magic number.
TOM: I bet they are. (chuckling)
Hey, today we’re going to give away a Zircon prize package to one caller to the magic number of 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It includes a circuit finder, which is very handy. If you ever wonder what breaker turns off a specific circuit in your house – like maybe something that something’s plugged into (Leslie chuckles) and you’re trying to figure out how to do deenergize it so you can make an improvement.
LESLIE: It’s good to know.
TOM: You go, ‘Honey, is that it?!’ ‘No.’ (chuckling) You know? Or you could what I used to do. Put the radio on really loud and listen for it to go off.
LESLIE: Wait for it to go off? Yeah, those are primitive circuit finders.
TOM: Zircon has got a very cool system where you plug a tool into the outlet; you go down to the electrical panel and you kind of run this magic wand over it. A lot of magic in this show. Are you noticing the trend here? And it actually tells you which breaker is connected to that circuit so you can turn it off, do your repair and be on your way. That plus the MetalliScanner is worth 100 bucks. We’re going to give it to one caller. So call us now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us that question to qualify for that great prize from Zircon.
And speaking of home improvement questions, one of the most pressing ones we get is, ‘How do you fix those darn nail pops?’
LESLIE: And it’s funny that people know exactly what they’re called. But the description of what it is is pretty much what you’re calling them; nail pops. You see this little round head poking up through the drywall paper. It’s sort of pushing everything up. It’s lifting up that paint. That’s why you see that little circle of the nailhead and then that little depression of the paint around it. And it’s really – it’s nothing dangerous. Nothing is wrong with your house. They’re easy to fix. It happens when framing lumber is drying out. And it’s going to push that nail right back out of it just because everything is tightening up.
And the best way to take care of it is you want to drive a new nail right next to the loose one. And make sure that the head of the new nail is overlapping to the loose nail’s head. And the hammer it down til it brings both nails flush. Another option is to just pull that nail out and replace it with a drywall screw because a drywall screw is going to stay in. If you replace it with a nail give it a couple of years. You’re going to get a new nail pop.
Once you’ve got it fixed you want to cover it with spackle, sand it, repaint it and no one will be the wiser.
TOM: Easy to fix. Call us right now for more home improvement tips. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Joann in South Carolina’s got a fireplace problem. What can we help you with?
JOANN: Yes, we just remodeled our home and took out a glass-front fireplace screen. And we have a lot of humidity over here so I’m trying to figure out how I can keep the humidity out besides just the damper. We don’t want to do anything permanent because someday we may want to sell the house.
TOM: Well, I don’t think that your fireplace is the source of your humidity problem if you live in South Carolina. (Joann chuckles) You know, the heat’s going to be up the chimney; not down. If you’re trying to reduce humidity there’s a whole bunch of other things that you should be thinking about doing. Starting on the outside of the house: making sure that your gutter system is there, it’s functional, it’s discharging water away from the house; making sure the soil slopes away from the walls. These are ways to manage the water from the outside.
LESLIE: Yeah, do you have a forced air system?
JOANN: We have a heat pump.
TOM: OK. Then you’re going to have a forced air duct system if you have a heat pump.
TOM: A good thing to add on to that is something called a whole home dehumidifier. There’s one made by Aprilaire that’s excellent. They’re one of the sponsors of this show. They are a terrific company that makes a product that takes out 90 pints of water a day.
LESLIE: And it doesn’t ever need any emptying so it’s consistently pulling the water out from where it needs to be. And you can adjust it in different ways to kick on in different zones; particularly rooms below grade more often than in the rest of the house. But it’s continually pulling the moisture.
JOANN: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking to Rosemarie in Pennsylvania. Welcome. What can we help you with?
ROSEMARIE: I purchased a condo in Florida. And all these walls have contact paper.
TOM: That certainly was an odd decorating choice, don’t you think? (laughing)
ROSEMARIE: I didn’t realize it until after I purchased it.
TOM: So the …
ROSEMARIE: They left the roll and it is contact paper.
TOM: Oh, that’s in case you want to make any repairs.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) You want to add more.
TOM: (chuckling) That’s right.
So is the contact paper on top of drywall?
ROSEMARIE: It’s sheetrock.
TOM: Ah, yeah. That’s drywall. That’s going to be very hard to get off, Rosemarie. You know, you can try to use a hair dryer and heat up one corner of the contact paper.
TOM: It’ll start to peel up a bit once it starts to soften and loosen it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’ll loosen the adhesive.
TOM: Yeah. And then peel it back and see how it behaves. Now, if it comes off and maybe just leaves the glue on the wall, that’s not so bad. If it pulls the paper off then you’ve got a bigger problem. The only way you’re going to be able to deal with this is if you pull the paper off is you’re going to have to put a second layer of drywall on top of that. But I would do a little experimenting in seeing how hard it is to pull it off. And if it comes off fairly easily and you’ve just got some glue behind, then what I would do is I would an oil-based primer and prime right over the glue. It’s kind of the miracle paint. It will cover everything and give you a good neutral surface to make the new paint stick. Should be able to paint on top of that. It might be just a bit more textured than what you were hoping for. But if you use a flat paint it’ll probably come out very nicely.
ROSEMARIE: Thank you ever so much.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Gail in Virginia, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with?
GAIL: Yes, I have a home where the garage – it’s a rancher and the garage actually is below grade on the backside of the house.
GAIL: And when we have a situation where we have really heavy rainfall within a short period of time water actually comes through the back wall of the garage into the garage. So I’m trying to figure out the best way to – solution to fix the situation.
TOM: Is the exterior wall concrete block and it’s actually leaking itself?
GAIL: (INAUDIBLE) below grade is concrete block. Above grade is brick. It’s a brick veneer home.
TOM: OK. And so the water is sort of coming through the brick and getting into the garage wall. Is that correct?
GAIL: Yes, that’s correct.
TOM: Alright, well what you could do is try a masonry sealer. If you use a masonry sealer on that you want to make sure that it’s a vapor permeable sealer. In other words, it lets the brick breathe so that moisture can move in and move out of it.
TOM: It’s available at home centers, at hardware stores. I would also, obviously, look for any places where there could be voids that water is getting in. If there are any windows above that, make sure you don’t have any cracks in the window brick edging where water’s going to get in. So do all the basics. But what you could do is put a masonry sealer on that and that will probably slow the flow of water through that brick. Brick’s very absorbent. It’s very hydroscopic so it tends to suck a lot of water in and then that water will evaporate into the inside space; probably, you know, show up as puddles as well as like white, crusty mineral salt deposits inside the garage wall.
GAIL: Right, right. OK. Alright. So the best route then is to use a sealer of some sort.
TOM: A masonry sealer.
GAIL: Right. OK, well …
LESLIE: And make sure that you have enough gutters directing the water away from that wall itself to begin with as it’s coming off the roof.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, try to reduce the amount of water that’s getting there one way or the other. And if that’s still a problem then use a masonry sealer.
Gail, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great calls after the break and e-mails, too; including one about your roof being strong enough to withstand a major storm. We’ll help you figure that out, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. But what happens if you’re too shy to pick up the phone. Well, you can …
TOM: Log onto MoneyPit.com and shoot us an e-mail question.
LESLIE: You can also, while you’re there, click on the Ask Tom and Leslie logo. Or if you’re surfing the web and suddenly it strikes you, you can e-mail us at [email protected], just like Ginny did here in Fairfield, Connecticut. And she writes: ‘We want to get our aging roof replaced before there’s a major problem.’ Good idea. ‘One of the estimates we got advised that we’ll need to weather tape our roof if we want to be sure it will stand up to severe storms. Is weather taping just contractor jargon or is there really something to it?’
TOM: Ah, you know, weather tape; scotch tape; masking tape. (Leslie chuckles) Just tape. (chuckling)
LESLIE: It’s like that undercoating at the car dealer that Jerry Seinfeld talked about.
TOM: (chuckling) Exactly. It is contractor jargon but it does have a specific purpose. It’s actually another word for flashing. Weather taping basically means to flash your home’s leak-prone areas from the effects of water and wind and any type of precipitation from getting in. Flashings are the products that actually prevent that air and water infiltration. They go around every opening for your roof. So, for example, they might go around a skylight; around a window; around a vent.
LESLIE: Even dormers.
TOM: Right, exactly.
LESLIE: Yeah, even dormers …
LESLIE: … or where you might have a situation where odd roof lines sort of join together. That could be a leak-prone area also.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. And there are lots of different flashings available but we really like the ones that are sort of high-tech. They’re very, very flexible. They’re self-adhering, rubberized, asphalt flashing. Now, why that’s important is because it actually can form and stick to the opening that you want to protect. It creates that waterproof seal. It really does sort of tape it in in a very permanent way. It’s better than the aluminum where water can find its way around very, very simply.
TOM: And the problem is that, you know, there are all kinds of little spots that aluminum can’t cover; like, for example, a nail hole.
LESLIE: Yeah, and this is so great. These rubberized membranes, once you put the nail through it – Tom and I saw a demo at, I think it was the builders show, where they had this rubberized membrane from Grace and they had the whole thing turned upside down with all these nail holes and no water was seeping through anywhere.
TOM: Yeah, that’s called Vycor Plus and it’s – another one is the Roof and Detail Membrane from Grace. Their website is GraceAtHome.com. That would be a great place to go and learn all about weather taping. And Ginny, thanks so much for writing us at The Money Pit.
Well Leslie, one of the unpleasant chores of summer is taking out the trash. Not that you don’t have to do this year round …
TOM: … but in the summer it’s particularly stinky and …
LESLIE: Just horrible.
TOM: … bug infested. And that’s why I’m glad that today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word, you have some tips on how to clean up that mess.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s true. The trash is pretty stinky usually. Add to it, you know, 100-plus degree temperatures and high humidity and pee-ew. It is horrible. In fact, your garbage can is probably the most underrated appliance and it is an appliance, folks, in your home. Although, you know, place some pretty nasty things in there and it does a great job of storing all of your life’s leftovers right in the middle of where you live, eat and breathe.
So, if you want to keep it so that you don’t notice it doing its work, here’s a tip so you keep things nice and clean smelling. Once a month you want to take all of your indoor trash cans outside and give them a thorough cleaning. Mix up three-quarters of a cup of bleach into one gallon of water and wash the interior of the garbage can and also the handles and also the lid. You want to make sure that that bleach and water solution has time to kill that bacteria that causes those odors. And some of that bacteria can actually be harmful to your family’s health. So let that bleach solution sit on there for at least five minutes and then rinse very, very well. If you keep it up you won’t even notice that the trash is there.
TOM: Great tips, great advice; especially in the summer when it’s hot, sticky and humid and when you’re spending a lot of money on your electrical bill. Have you been opening them lately? It’s not a pretty sight.
LESLIE: Yeah, they’re scary. It’s scary.
TOM: Well, that’s why I think on next week’s program we’re going to tackle that topic. We’ll have some cool tips to help you lower those electric bills and, believe me, it’s something you want to get on right now because you’re still going to have a few more big ones to pay and this way you will be set for next year.
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.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 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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