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 1 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: Call us now with your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We know you’ve got a question. We know you’ve got a do-it-yourself dilemma. What are you doing? What are you working on? Call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: So, Tom?
LESLIE: What the heck is going on at your Money Pit? It seems like there has been just a barrage of work happening over the past few days.
TOM: We’re going to have – we’re having a half a dozen rooms painted right now.
LESLIE: All at the same time?
TOM: Yes, exactly. It’s so …
LESLIE: You guys know that’s never a good idea.
TOM: I have got stuff everywhere. I’ve got – you know, obviously, all of the rooms are broken down. Furniture is moved away. Here’s what happened. We decided to get new furniture.
LESLIE: Uh-huh. Seems innocent enough.
TOM: And if you’re going to buy new furniture, well then you’ve got to get rid of the old furniture. And you go to pull that out and you look at the walls and you’re like, ‘Well, they’re kind of nasty.’ And so you …
LESLIE: (chuckling) You’re like, ‘Mm, that dirt mark doesn’t match the new dirt mark.’
TOM: Exactly. So, you know, the project grows. The three most expensive words in home improvement are ‘might as well.’ (Leslie chuckles) So we’re taking the house apart. We’re painting right now. We’re getting the job done. What are you working on? What are you working on at your house? We know something’s going on. It’s spring. There’s lots of things to do around the house; whether it’s outside or inside. Give us a call. Let us help you get the job done.
We’ve got a great show in store for you this hour. First up, are you getting ready for spring planting? Well, you can get a head start with a greenhouse. Now, if you don’t have one, we’re going to give you the steps to make one in your own backyard.
LESLIE: And they don’t have to be super enormous either. It doesn’t have to be mansion-type greenhouses. They can be small and nice, as well, to meet your needs, folks.
Well, your deck. It’s supposed to be a place for fun and leisure; not a place to worry about getting hurt. But if you don’t protect your deck, over time fasteners and joint areas, they might get weak and they could actually fail. Find out how to keep those parts of your deck sturdy and strong.
TOM: And one caller this hour gets a chance to win a filtering faucet from Moen. You get fresh water and it filters it at the same time. So give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, let’s get right to the phones. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Listening on WABC, we’ve got Bill up in Connecticut. How can we help you in your Money Pit?
BILL: OK, yeah. I have a house that has a real thick wall to the – the house is about 200 years old. And it’s a stone wall. And on the outside of it is some stucco but it’s broken away in some part. But the wall is wet; constantly wet on the inside. And it’s – actually there were people living in the house and they moved out and the house sat empty for about a month and everything’s frozen in there now and you can see all this like frost and everything on the wall. You can see where there’s mold starting to form even in the wintertime here.
TOM: Now this is a basement wall?
BILL: First floor exterior wall, yeah?
TOM: Alright, so we need to get this moisture problem under control. Stone and concrete walls and mortar walls are very hydroscopic, Bill. That means they soak up …
LESLIE: They just suck that water in.
TOM: … a lot of water. And they’ll suck it up from the ground and they’ll pull it up into the wall and then all kinds of weird things happen. So you need to look at your drainage conditions at the outside of this wall to try to get it drier than it is. Look at the gutter system around the house. Make sure it’s clean and free flowing.
LESLIE: And also, with your gutter system, make sure that your downspouts – you know, sometimes they put the end of it where they deposit the water right next to that foundation, next to that stone wall. So get those downspouts away from the house. You know, if you have to bury them, get it away; but at least three feet or more.
TOM: And look at the angle of the soil at the foundation perimeter. Make sure it’s sloping away from the wall. You want it to drop about six inches over four feet. Those things collectively, together, will stop the volume of moisture that’s getting too close to your wall right now from wicking up into the stone and you’ll start to see those conditions dissipate very quickly.
BILL: OK, what about where the stucco might be broken away on the outside? It’s in various parts of – it’s like a three-story wall.
TOM: Well, those areas, certainly water can get in there and they certainly should be repaired. But it’s probably a matter of doing that as well as the drainage improvements.
BILL: OK. So you think it’s mostly coming from the ground up then.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Most – usually – typically it is.
BILL: Alright, well thank you for your help.
LESLIE: Anthony in Georgia’s got a dirty driveway. What kind of dirt, what kind of driveway, what can we do for you?
ANTHONY: It’s just – I’m not even sure what kind of dirt. It’s just dirt. I have a terrible drainage problem. I live on a dirt road. I have a concrete driveway. Every time it rains it all comes down in my driveway and right straight into my house and ruining my floors …
ANTHONY: … and I’m not sure how I can fix it.
LESLIE: That sounds like a major grading issue, too.
ANTHONY: It does come down a slope into the yard. It’s – I’m just not real pleased with the way the house was built so I’m having to fix some serious problems. And this is a major one that I need some help with. (chuckles)
TOM: Alright, well let’s talk about the drainage issue. Is it possible that you could intercept this water that’s running down and moving the dirt off …
LESLIE: Like a curtain drain.
TOM: Yeah. I’m thinking curtain drain here. Where basically what you would be doing is you would be digging a trench between the driveway area and hill and you would be – it doesn’t have to be a deep trench; one that’s about 12×12.
LESLIE: And don’t they get covered by, you know, gravel and grass …
LESLIE: … in itself? So you don’t even know it’s there.
TOM: You dig the trench first. You put about four inches of stone in there, a perforated pipe, more stone and cover it with dirt and grass so it’s invisible when it’s done. And you angle it and slope it so that the pipe can actually discharge somewhere. And what this does is this will accept the water as it’s running down the hill; allow it to collect and sort of run around the driveway and around the house area. And this way, you won’t have to worry about the runoff.
ANTHONY: I have thought about doing that and that’s a real good option that I have available to me. The only other question I have is if I do that would there be a way that I could tie the downspouts into that and get it all going away from the house?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, you could do a PVC system that actually ties it all together. In fact, there is a PVC component that goes from a four-inch K-style downspout into a four-inch round PVC pipe. They actually make a fitting for that.
TOM: Yep. It’s specifically designed for that. Just make sure that – I would recommend that you try to take the downspout water through a different pipe …
TOM: … and not run it through the perforated pipe so you don’t erode more soil out than you have to. Take it through a solid PVC pipe out. But you definitely could do a drainage system where you collect all of the water together to get it away from the house.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And get it all away together.
TOM: And you’ll find the house is going to be a lot drier when you do this as well and you’ll also have a more stable foundation.
ANTHONY: I’m just worried about trying to save my floors. We’ve been in this house for like – November will be five years and we’re already having to look at replacing the carpet in the living room and the linoleum in the kitchen.
TOM: I definitely think that you will (Anthony chuckles) – you’ll find it to be far less wet.
LESLIE: Yeah, once you stabilize everything, then replace that floor.
ANTHONY: Yeah, absolutely. I’m not doing any – because when we replace it we’re going with hardwood. I don’t want this problem when I get the hardwood. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Well, you know what? Since it – once you get that moisture under control it’s going to be a great situation. But if you ever have any doubts about the moisture, think about an engineered hardwood because they stay structurally stable regardless of the moisture situation. So it’s a good option even for a kitchen.
ANTHONY: Oh, OK. Well, that’s an idea I hadn’t thought of. Well, I appreciate you all’s time.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Going out to Utah to talk to Peggy. What can we do for you?
PEGGY: Well, I have a wood shake roof that’s at least 40 years old and on the north side it has a lot of moss on it. There’s no leaking in the house but because of the moss I thought I’d better get a roofer out. The first – I had three come. The first one said, ‘Don’t worry about the moss. It doesn’t appear to be leaking inside at all so don’t worry about it. Don’t touch the moss.’ The second one said, ‘You need to get the moss off there right away. I have a solution I can put on it.’ (Tom chuckles) And the third one said, ‘You need to replace the roof right away.’
LESLIE: (chuckling) Three very different answers.
TOM: So we have roofer number one says everything’s OK, roofer number two has got a solution for the moss and number three says, ‘Oh, my God. Replace the roof immediately.’
LESLIE: Crisis. (ph)
PEGGY: Yeah, right (ph).
TOM: Leslie, is it a one? Curtain one, curtain two or curtain three? (Peggy chuckles)
LESLIE: I say curtain two.
TOM: I’m going with curtain one.
LESLIE: Leave it alone? Not remove it?
TOM: Well, I’m going with curtain one or curtain two. Forget curtain three. But I suspect that curtain two roofer is the guy that just wants to sell you a job. First of all, the moss is not hurting anything.
LESLIE: Right but – but maybe not using his formula; using your own formula. If it’s – if you find it unattractive, you know, let more sunlight get to the area; trim back the trees that are causing so much shade; let the sun do its work and use a solution to get rid of it.
PEGGY: What kind of solution do you …?
LESLIE: You could use …
TOM: You could use Zinsser’s Jomax. That works very well for roof moss.
LESLIE: Or bleach and water. You know, it depends – either/or works great because they’re both going to work well, they’re going to sit on it, they’re going to kill this spore that’s growing the moss and then it’ll – you know, as long as you get sunlight to it, it’ll keep it from coming back.
PEGGY: Well, because of the way the house faces, I don’t think I’ll ever get much sun to it.
LESLIE: That’s why you have all the moss.
PEGGY: Right, right.
TOM: Yeah, that’s why – and that’s why you’re going to have to deal with this on a regular basis. But understand that it’s not going to hurt the roof. So it really is a cosmetic issue.
PEGGY: OK. And the fact that it’s 40 years old?
TOM: If your roof is deteriorated – and you know, the fact that your roof is not heavily exposed to the sun is actually helping it last longer.
TOM: Because the ultraviolet rays of the sun deteriorate the roof surface and dry out the asphalt. So it might be that you need a roof. But you don’t need a roof because you have moss on it.
PEGGY: OK. And so the roof could go on for another 10 or 20 years?
TOM: Well, I don’t know about 10 or 20 but, you know, as long as the shingle is not cracked and there’s no leaks then you don’t have to replace it.
PEGGY: Alright. Well, thank you very much. That’s good news.
TOM: You’re welcome.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit.
Hey, springtime home improvement fans. Did you know – of course you did – that you can call in your home repair or your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are working all spring here. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: And speaking of spring, you know, you don’t need a green thumb to build your own green house. We’re going to give you some tips to get that job done, after this.
ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/HomeDesign to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Remember, one person we talk to this hour is going to win a filtering faucet from Moen. You’re going to get filtered or tap water right from the same faucet with just one twist of the wrist. They’re gorgeous. It’s worth 120 bucks. So give us a call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, would you like to get a head start on spring planting? Well …
LESLIE: Yes, please.
TOM: … you can use a greenhouse and you can build one yourself. It’s really not that hard. Let’s talk first about the framing material because that choice is critical for your greenhouse. So here …
LESLIE: And this is the same for greenhouses large or small, correct?
TOM: That’s right. Exactly. And you might want to start with something and really consider your garden size and determine how much space you need. But remember, with a greenhouse, if you’re just starting plants you don’t need a really big one because you’re going to transplant them outside when they start to really take root.
But consider the framing material. Wood retains the structure’s heat. So wood is always a good thing to use. You want to use pressure-treated lumber, of course, so it will not rot. You also need to remember that it requires refinishing from time to time because even if it’s treated it will check and crack.
Another option is aluminum framing. Now, that will not retain as much heat but it will resist corrosion and it does keep its shape.
But the newest option is rigid steelcore PVC pipe. It’s sort of a combination of steel and PVC …
TOM: … and it can be used for not only the frame of the greenhouse but it can also be used for shelving. Think sort of erector set. If you remember those from …
LESLIE: Interesting. How easily does it cut?
TOM: It does cut pretty easily. You can cut it with a hacksaw; same way you cut regular PVC pipe.
LESLIE: Not bad.
TOM: Easy to do. So give us a call right now if you’d like to talk about that or any other home improvement question. Maybe you’re planning another exterior home improvement project like a deck. Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Marty in Indiana, what can we do for you today?
MARTY: Hi. I painted my soffits in my house about four years ago.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
MARTY: And I prepared it by sanding it off with an electric sander and then I used TSP to clean it up and I used, probably, a medium-grade mildew resistant paint. And I’ve already got mold and mildew growing up under my soffits.
TOM: Do you have a lot of mulch around the flowerbeds?
LESLIE: Yeah, what kind of mildew are you seeing?
MARTY: It’s dark black in color.
LESLIE: Is it like a huge collection or are they small dots?
MARTY: Small dots.
LESLIE: Yeah, that sounds like artillery fungus.
MARTY: Well, I don’t have a lot of mulch in my flowerboxes.
TOM: Well, Ken (ph), it travels through the air quite nicely because the spores are very, very small.
LESLIE: Because if your neighbors have it it could.
TOM: And it sounds to me like you might be getting artillery fungus. It’s fairly difficult to get rid of. One of the things that works is a product called Jomax; J-o-m-a-x. And you mix it with bleach and spray it on there. Let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes and then you scrub it off. And that will do a pretty good job of removing it but it also will stain the soffit material too, so it’s kind of a situation where you have to sort of manage it. But that’s probably the only thing that you can do because these are airborne spores and there’s probably a source of it somewhere around.
Now, very often we tell people that if they have ground up mulch around the house, that’s definitely a cause of it. You should switch to the chip type of mulch. So you might just want to look around your neighborhood and try to see if you can pinpoint where this is forming. If you do a little research on the net about artillery fungus, you’ll be able to get a picture of this and compare it to what you’re seeing. But it sounds an awful lot like it and it’s very, very sticky and very hard to get rid of.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s even been known to stick to cars. You know, it sort of just travels through the air and sticks to cars and then it’s even more difficult to get off of a painted metallic surface like the car because it just really adheres. And you’ve got to be so careful because you can – sometimes you can fade it but it really does permeate that soffit material.
MARTY: And by scrubbing it up and everything before I paint it again isn’t going to really remedy the situation?
TOM: Well, if you use a mildicide-based paint, that’s probably the best you can do. But still, you’re just sort of controlling it. You’re not eliminating it. It’s very environmental. You’ve got to find the source in the environment.
Marty, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Insulation issues in Virginia with Mike. What can we do for you today?
MIKE: I have a double-wide mobile home and I’m wondering if there’s a good way to get extra insulation in the attic.
TOM: Yeah, what kind of an attic space do you have there, Mike? Do you have rafters?
MIKE: Yes. It’s rafters in there but it’s no access.
TOM: Well, the first thing you’re going to have to do is cut access. So you’re going to have to have some space to get in there and work on it. The second thing to check is not only do you need space for insulation but you have to have additional ventilation because if you add insulation and don’t ventilate the space, you’re going to get a lot of condensation up there and that’s going to make the insulation ineffective.
So, once you get in there you want to make sure that you have vents at the soffits or at the eaves and also a vent at the peak; at the ridge. If you do have those two things, there’s no reason you can’t have, say, eight to twelve inches of insulation in that space. But you’re going to have to dig yourself an access there at one place or another. You know, you might want to consider a bedroom closet or some other less-than-obvious place where you can provide that access space.
The other thing that you could do is blown-in insulation once you get up there. But again, you’ve got to have ventilation. If you don’t, it’s just not going to work.
Mike, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cathy listens in on WABC in Fairfield, New Jersey. How can we help you today?
CATHY: My question is just this past Friday we had a lot of snow and rain melting. And in my finished basement I walked in to find half of the floor – the carpet – flooded.
CATHY: Soaking wet.
TOM: Leslie’s been there.
LESLIE: I’ve been there, Cathy. I feel your pain. I know carpets in the basement, they seem wonderful. If you keep things moist-free it’s nice down there. But inevitably there is going to be an excessive amount of moisture one day around your foundation – just like you found – and that water finds its way in.
And really, what you need to do is number one, you want to make sure you dry out that basement as best as you can. If you’re stuck and want to keep that carpeting, really get airflow down there. Let that dry out as much as you can. And then you want to address where the water came from, which is outside around your foundation walls.
CATHY: Right. We think we have that figured out. We think it was the gutters and the grading around the foundation.
LESLIE: That’s it.
TOM: Yeah, definitely. Good, good choice.
CATHY: Yes. But my main question is – we have about three-quarter inch thick pine painted paneling over the brick wall at the foundation.
LESLIE: And it’s soaked.
CATHY: And I didn’t know if I need to worry about any water or mold growing behind that because I can’t see the brick.
LESLIE: And is the paneling attached directly to that brick?
CATHY: I’m not 100 percent sure.
LESLIE: If it’s directly against that brick in your basement, there’s a good chance that, in general, as moisture sort of comes in and wicks through the cement and into the brick it’s just sort of sitting against that paneling.
TOM: How much water did you have? How high up did it come?
CATHY: Oh, it didn’t come high. It just soaked the carpet. It didn’t …
TOM: Then I think you’re probably OK.
TOM: If you got rid of the carpet, you dried it out, you dehumidified the space, if you just got a little bit of moisture into the wood paneling, I think you’re probably OK.
CATHY: OK. Well, we’ll make sure we fix that and I won’t worry about mold.
TOM: Alright, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, did you know that you can now have Leslie and I in your pocket? Well, not exactly in your pocket. But you can download our hugely popular podcast which we are pleased and proud to tell you is now listed as the number one home improvement podcast on iTunes.
TOM: We’re very excited about that.
LESLIE: It’s so exciting!
TOM: We’re glad that so many folks are enjoying having us on the go. So if you’d like to sign up, you can go to our website at MoneyPit.com. It’s free. You can either search our shows by topic or download the one that’s just right for you. Remember, that’s MoneyPit.com.
We’ll be back with more, 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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What are you doing? What are you working on? Is it a floor that squeaks? Is it a toilet that leaks? Maybe it’s a floor that leaks. (Leslie laughs) That would be kind of backwards but that’s really bad when your floor leaks. You know, I’ve been in houses where the floor was leaking like through the ceiling. (chuckling) And you go upstairs and of course it’s the toilet overflowing …
TOM: … or something like that. Yeah, when your floors leak it’s a bad – really bad thing. But call us right now. We will fix it no matter what’s going on.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well you are teamed up with The Money Pit and as you know it, nosy people can be very annoying because they’re always getting into your business. Tom is always in my business. (Tom laughs) I love him anyway so it’s (laughing). I’m kidding. But if you’re buying a house, there is one super snooper that you have to have to have to bring along. We’re going to tell you who it is and why you need that person in our next e-newsletter. So sign up now at MoneyPit.com. It’s free.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the phone number. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Bruce in Michigan, what can we do for you at The Money Pit?
BRUCE: Yeah, I’ve got about a 28-year-old house and I live in Michigan; lot of salt and snow and my – both my garage drains do not drain. And they’re the old steel covers and slightly rusted and I can’t get the covers off. So what do I do?
TOM: Well, you’ve got to get them open before you can start to work on them. So, one way or the other, you’re going to have to get those covers off. If the screws on them are rusted shut, you’re going to have to drill them out.
BRUCE: You know, I can probably get the covers up but then what?
TOM: Alright, well the next thing is – are these wide drains; like three-inch wide drains; three to four-inch drains?
BRUCE: Yeah, they’re like …
TOM: OK. Well, you can snake them out or you – if there’s a question as to where they go, where they connect, you can have a camera inspection done. It’s not terribly expensive. Most of the plumbing, drain cleaning companies do it today; where they can actually run a camera down and examine the condition of those pipes and determine where they’re clogged and what it’s going to take to fix it. They can also determine, by using the camera, exactly where you might be above the pipes so that you don’t have to dig out the entire pipe. You may just be able to dig down from the top and deal with an obstruction. But I would start with a basic, you know, getting the top off and a basic snaking of them. And if that causes problems, you run into areas that you can’t break through, then I would have a camera drain inspection done and determine what’s causing it.
BRUCE: Do you know how much – is that expensive or not?
TOM: Well, the inspection itself and the basic snaking of them will probably not cost you more than $100 to $200. And then once you find out what’s going on you can determine from there. But it could be that you clean them out with a snake the first time and you’re done.
BRUCE: Alright. Try that first. Thanks.
TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got water pressure issues over at Bert’s house in Alabama. What can we do for you?
BERT: Hey, love you all’s show by the way.
TOM: Thank you.
LESLIE: Thank you so much, Bert. So tell us what’s happening at the house.
BERT: Well, the thing – the problem is that it – and I tried to fix it. That’s why I’m calling y’all because it didn’t work.
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
BERT: We have excessive water pressure and we know that. And I guess – and what I mean by that is between your water meter there’s supposed to be a regulator. It’s a diaphragm-type control valve you can screw down; control the pressure. Not one there. But not a problem because I’ve had – I mean even though the pressure’s probably around 70 pounds per square inch, we don’t have any problems except this. My dishwasher, when it changes cycles, every time it shuts down a cycle it will shake the whole house.
BERT: So I’m afraid something’s going to pop. So when we went to a large chain kind of place to get some plumbing supplies, they said to put what they call a water hammer in between your hot and your cold water lines for your washer and it would take care of all that.
LESLIE: Well, a water hammer arrestor.
BERT: Yeah, that’s what it’s called. A water hammer arrestor, thank you.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.
BERT: And we did that and it did not fix the problem. Now, my house, I was told, was plumbed for two water heaters. So maybe – is there a possibility that it’s just on a different kind of line and it’s maybe getting back flow?
TOM: Well, this chatter that you’re hearing you’re saying is shaking the whole house. I’m thinking that you may have a bad valve on the dishwasher that’s doing this. Because very often, if you have a bad valve, it’ll make that chattering, shaking sound when the valve closes or opens. Is that what you’re hearing?
BERT: I don’t hear a chatter. I just hear the actual – I mean I was in – when I was in the military I did a lot of plumbing, stationary engineer work and it’s a back pressure. When the actual pressure comes off, the back pressure goes through the existing valve structure. It does it, to some degree – or it did it to some degree – on the washer but not to any of the degree that you get it on there.
TOM: Well, that is water hammer then and it might just be that you don’t have the water hammer arrestor in the right place.
BERT: Well, and when I asked this guy, who was supposed to be a plumber that worked at this large chain, he said, ‘Put one on the inlet of both the …’ Because I asked him. I said, ‘Well, how’s that going to fix my dishwasher?’ and he said, ‘It’s all on one line.’ And that makes sense, you know, that it would just kind of [rest there] (ph). Now, what I was told – and maybe you could help me with this – is that you can actually buy like a bladder and have a plumber install it somewhere in a main line that acts like an air cushion.
TOM: Well absolutely but that’s what a water hammer arrestor is. It’s like a pressure tank. And there are different types and some look sort of more like a pipe and others look like a tank; like a small tank that’s attached to it. What type of water hammer arrestor did you put on?
BERT: It was a – I mean it’s brass. It fit on the …
TOM: Was it about the size of a – did it look like a softball?
BERT: I’m in the medical profession. It kind of looks like an inhaler.
TOM: OK. I think that the kind of water hammer arrestor that you put on is not working for you. You need one that has sort of a diaphragm and an air tank and an air cushion. It sounds to me like you may have put it on but it’s not working for you. I don’t think you have the right type of water hammer arrestor. You may need a larger one and that’s probably going to stop this problem. Because this clearly sounds like water hammer. As the water runs through the pipes and the valve shuts off you have a lot of centrifugal force that shakes that pipe. Water’s very heavy. It weighs eight pounds per gallon. And when you shut the pipes off very quickly with a valve, the pipes shake.
The other thing that you could do is make sure those pipes are securely attached if there’s an area where you can access them. Because if they are securely attached then there’s nothing to really shake.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If they’re fastened well to their surface.
TOM: That’s really the two things that you need to do, Bert. OK?
BERT: OK. Now, let me ask you this. So this diaphragm, is that something I can install myself?
TOM: Sure, if you can do a basic plumbing project. It’s really not that difficult to do. It’s just a matter of cutting it into the pipe in the area close to the inlet valve.
BERT: Alright, well that’s what I’ll try. I just – I was at my wits end and you guys have helped with other things that I’ve listened to.
TOM: No problem, Bert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Adrian in Florida’s got faucet troubles. How can we help?
ADRIAN: Hey, yes ma’am. What I’ve got is sometimes when I turn on my faucet I get a spurt of water. It’s like backed up pressure.
ADRIAN: And I’ve taken the faucet apart and I’ve cleaned the screen and all and put it back on and I still get it. And I had the water department out here checking, you know, for unusual pressure and they said they could not find anything.
TOM: Does it only happen in this one faucet?
ADRIAN: Well no, it happens in the bathroom, too.
TOM: So as you – as soon as you turn it on, it spritzes?
ADRIAN: Yeah, it’s like a built up pressure, you know? Just for a second and then everything’s normal. But I’m just worried about a pipe bursting or something, you know, and it …
TOM: I don’t think you – I don’t think you have to worry about a pipe bursting. I’m just trying to think what would cause that. So is there air in the pipe?
ADRIAN: I don’t know.
TOM: Well you know, there could just be – it could just be that you have a problem with the water pressure and there may be a lot of air getting in the line. And sometimes, when you turn water off and back on again, you get a lot of spurting and spritzing and sputtering as the air works its way through the line.
Do you have municipal water or well water?
TOM: City water. Yeah. I suspect it has to do with the flow of water into your house. But it doesn’t sound like anything to worry about.
ADRIAN: Oh, OK.
TOM: I would just consider it charm. (Leslie chuckles)
ADRIAN: (chuckling) I appreciate it and I really appreciate the help.
LESLIE: Thanks for listening to The Money Pit.
Did you know that most decks are built from pressure-treated lumber. Of course they are. They can also even be made of cedar. Both are great choices and work really well against the elements. But even the best wood can deteriorate if it’s not properly protected. You’re going to find out how to check for damage so you can get the most from your deck now and always, next.
ANNOUNCER: Stay-Green lawn care products and gardening supplies provide practical solutions for seasonal lawn and garden needs at value prices. Stay-Green products are available exclusively at Lowe’s and come with a written guarantee printed on every package and label. The complete line of Stay-Green fertilizers, growing media, weed controls and grass seed help keep lawns looking beautiful year round and are the perfect blend of science and technology at an affordable price.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What are you doing in your house? Are you overcrowded? Are boxes part of your living room design plan?
LESLIE: (chuckling) You’re just talking about what’s near to you right now, Tom.
TOM: That’s right. I’m surrounded by boxes. We tear our house apart to do some painting projects. But …
LESLIE: It’ll be all worth it.
TOM: It will be worth it and we’re going to help you get the job done. So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Another good reason to call is that we are giving away a Moen filtering kitchen faucet this hour. It’s worth 120 bucks. This faucet will give you filtered and tap water from one spout. It’s just a twist of the wrist is all it takes; switch between the two. And the filter is mounted under the sink to save room on your countertop.
LESLIE: Yeah, and what’s interesting, when it’s time to change the filter, a little light is going to come on on the top where you switch between the two types of water. So you don’t even have to futz around with things. It really is sleek looking.
TOM: We don’t like to futz. Futz is a bad thing.
LESLIE: Yeah, I hate futzing around with things. (Tom chuckles) Especially, you know, with limited counter space as it is, it’s always so nice when you get things out of sight; although, with that little light, it’s not out of mind. So remember that one person we talk to this hour is going to get that great prize. But you have to ask your question on air. So use that great phone number. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Now let’s talk a little about your deck because it is deck season. And your deck is supposed to be a fun leisure area for you and your family. But every spring and fall it’s a good idea to take a little time on maintenance and cleaning to maximize the life span of that deck. Here’s what you need to do.
First, you want to inspect the top, bottom and sides of the deck to see if there are any nails or screws popping up or missing. If there are, you should replace them – not with more nails …
TOM: … but with galvanized or stainless steel deck screws. They go in, they disappear below the surface, they never rot …
LESLIE: And they really grab to the below structure.
TOM: … and they do a great, great job.
Also, sand away any splinters. And keep in mind that corrosive chemicals are also used to pressure treat the wood and these chemicals can tend to leak from screw and nail holes onto the metal fasteners. So be sure to check your deck’s fasteners for corrosion because that could compromise the structural integrity of the whole thing.
LESLIE: Yeah, and when you notice any sort of structural issues with those joists or those metal fasteners, before you go about replacing any of the ones that are damaged or corroded, you might want to think about a protective waterproof membrane. There’s a good one called Grace Vycor Deck Protector. It’s sort of the same width as the side thickness of anything material that you build your joist out of or build the framing of the deck. So it goes on almost like a roll of tape. And by putting this underneath your metal fasteners and on the top of all your deck joists – this is the places where the wood and metal meets – even just when a nail punctures through, you really want to make sure. Because it’s going to ensure the best protection possible and help avoid future corrosion as well as rotting out the joists and the stringer. So it’s very important to help sort of maintain the structure and the stability of the deck itself. You know, this way, the problem’s not going to happen again.
Remember, regularly repair, clean, maintain your deck. It’s going to love you back. If you want some more information on maintaining a safe and enjoyable deck, go to our friends at GraceAtHome.com.
TOM: That’s GraceAtHome.com. Or call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Insulation issues in Alabama. Nick, how can we help you?
NICK: Well, I have a home that was built in about – in the mid-50s. Has asbestos siding on the outside with 1×6 (ph) underlayment there. And it has hardwood floors. And I am considering insulating this house as I just recently bought it. And I heard your take on faced and unfaced insulation and I have a friend who’s used the new foam. And if I use foam it’ll seal all the cracks but it’s going to be about three times as expensive. But I’m planning on keeping the house a long time.
TOM: Yeah, you’re talking about …
TOM: … polyisonene?
NICK: I think so.
TOM: Yeah. That’s great stuff. It is more expensive to do.
LESLIE: Well, and it’s expensive, I think, because of the installation process. You know, it’s not something that you can do on your own. Well, you know, you really do need a pro because it has to be balanced and put in in a certain pressure sensitive kind of way so it’s not bursting through the drywall or the wall surface.
NICK: Well, I’m going to use it on the floor.
LESLIE: OK. So it – I mean it really does need to be done by a pro because they monitor it how it goes in and levels and it really does do a fantastic job. Because like you said, it gets into all the nooks and crannies. So it can be worth that extra cost.
NICK: OK. I just thought I’d call you and talk to you about this new stuff.
TOM: Well, it’s good stuff, Nick, and if you’re going to be there for the long haul it’s probably a good investment.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. Well around here we call squeaks and creaks by their other lesser known name – charm. (Tom chuckles) But if it’s really driving you crazy – come on, you know you’ve got an older house, things are creaking, it really does add up to the agedness and the charm of the house. But again, if it’s driving you mad, there’s actually something that you can do about it. We’re going to tell you what that is, next.
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: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Soup to nuts and floorboards to shingles, including the squeaks. That’s what we talk about on this show. So let’s jump right into the e-mail bag. I believe we have an e-mail about a horrible floor squeak to talk about.
LESLIE: We do indeed. And this one is from Brian in Chichester, New Hampshire. I’m sorry if I mispronounce it. I just like the way it looks on paper. (Tom chuckles) Brian writes: ‘I have a ranch house with a full basement. My kitchen floor started making squeaking noises in the spots where I walk on it.’ Well of course. You’re walking on it. ‘What can be done to fix this?’ I’m wondering what the floor surface is though.
TOM: Yeah, I have to say that fixing squeaks on floors that are not covered by carpet or hardwood are particularly difficult.
LESLIE: Kitchen makes me think tile.
TOM: Well, if it’s tile or if it’s vinyl or if it’s laminate you can’t really attack it from the top surface. Now, if it’s a wood floor – like say it’s hardwood – you can actually nail through the hardwood floor or screw through the hardwood floor and plug it.
LESLIE: I doubt it’s carpeting because we’ve got a kitchen. But if you do have a carpeted floor, all you would need to use is a deep scan stud finder …
LESLIE: … and then find where those joists are and then you can screw right through that carpet.
TOM: Yeah, and then you can sort of pop the carpet back through the screw head or the nail head. So it’s possible to do it. Now, but if you have a vinyl floor or a laminate floor or a tile floor you need to have access underneath that. Now I will say that typically the squeaks that form in the kitchen are usually because of movement between the subfloor and the underlayment of the floor material. So for example, if you have luan plywood – very common to have that on top of a subfloor – sometimes that loosens up.
One way to fix this – and it’s got to be done carefully but I’ll give you the way to do it – you need to take a hole cutter. And this is like a drill with a circular saw on it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Sometimes they’re called hole saws.
TOM: Hole saws, right. And you drill up from the bottom – like, say, from the basement or crawl space – and you drill through the subfloor but you have to be very careful not to go through the upper surface. Don’t go through the underlayment. So you very carefully …
LESLIE: Oh, then you’re almost better using a paddle bit.
TOM: Well, but see a paddle bit can have a longer sort of spike on it. A hole saw can be adjusted so that the twist bit part of it just barely clears the teeth of the hole saw.
TOM: And then you take out that chunk of wood in the area of the squeak and you will find usually that there’s space there between the underlayment and the subfloor. And you take liquid nails and you sort of caulk that area and you sort of get as much of the glue in there as you can. And then you put weight on it from above and that usually collapses it.
LESLIE: So you’re pulling out that entire – with that hole saw you’re getting out that entire bit of luan.
TOM: Exactly. The two, two-and-a-half inch round disk. We’re pulling it out, gluing in that area, putting weight from area and that usually quiets it down. I’ve had to make that repair …
LESLIE: So it’s a family project.
TOM: It is a family project. (Leslie chuckles) You have one person up, one person down. But I’ve had to do that a number of times in newer homes that I’ve had or worked on over the years. And it does work well.
LESLIE: Alright. Here’s one, quickly, from Ron in Sumter, South Carolina. ‘I want to install ceramic tile over 6×6 oak parquet flooring. Can I apply the tile directly to the parquet using a commercial adhesive? If so, will the grout hold?’
TOM: I wouldn’t do it.
LESLIE: I don’t think so. The parquet floor’s got too much movement itself.
TOM: And you know how the parquet floors deteriorate and those pieces start to come up. So I would – if it was solid hardwood floor – not that you would ever want to do this – but you could go over it with …
LESLIE: Or even a laminate or a different type of solid flooring. Absolutely. But with the parquet, because – especially a parquet tile is made up of so many individual pieces that there’s just …
TOM: Yep. And they start to loosen up.
LESLIE: They’re just bound to have movement in so many places and then – you know, Ron, you’re just going to see that tile start to crack …
LESLIE: … in all sorts of places.
TOM: Take it up. Don’t do it. Don’t go on top of it. You’ll be better off in the long run.
LESLIE: Yeah. In the end you’ll have a tile floor you’ll love and it’s going to endure the ages.
TOM: Great hour, great ideas, great information. If you heard something today that perhaps you have a question about, you can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT anytime of the day or night. And if you miss something on this program, you need to hear it again, you can simply log onto our website at MoneyPit.com because the show is always there online and it’s totally searchable and there’s a transcript that will pop up …
LESLIE: Yeah, so you don’t even have to write anything down. We’ll write it down for you.
TOM: It’s all there for you at MoneyPit.com. Or call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
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.
TRANSCRIPT FOR MARCH 24, 2007, HOUR 2
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
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: What are you doing? What are you working on? Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Your home improvement projects just got easier because it’s always easier when you can do the job together, when you can get a little help. (Leslie chuckles) Well, we are just a phone call away to get the job done at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You know, I tell you, it’s been such a winter. I’m so glad that spring is finally here because we had so many wind storms some shutters blew right off the front of my house. And I just had to wait until it was officially spring, by date, to put them back up. I know I’ve been disappointing my neighbors but …
TOM: And I’m only glad that the rain has finally tapered off in my part of the country so that the grass will actually start to come back in now and not be a big, muddy mess.
LESLIE: Yay. And then it’ll really feel like spring.
TOM: But it’s the time when you get inspired to improve your house, to improve the place that you spend so many hours of the day. So give us a call. We would love to help you.
And coming up this hour, we’re going to talk about your roof. You know, it’s constantly battling enemies; not just during the bad weather but even bright sun can take its toll on your roof. Find out how to spot the signs. We’re going to give you a safe way to inspect your roof and spot those trouble signs before you start losing the battle to the elements.
LESLIE: And into the kitchen, if you’re thinking about replacing your dishwasher with a brand new model, we’ve got some practical advice to help you find the right one that’s going to work for you and your family.
TOM: Including, do you have to rinse the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Let’s slay …
LESLIE: No. It’s a mean lie that parents tell when you’re a kid (Tom laughs) so you do more work; which, of course, when I have children I’m sure I will tell them the same.
TOM: And did you know that your front door is a weak spot when it comes to strong wind, heavy rain and flying debris? That’s right. With all the storms we’ve had over the last couple of years, it’s become much more important …
LESLIE: Flying debris like my shutters. (giggles)
TOM: Yeah, like Leslie’s shutters. (Leslie laughs) Or in a storm, flying 2x4s, flying street posts; things like that. I mean your door really has to be super strong; stronger than ever before. We’re going to give you some tips on how to protect your home’s entryway in just a few minutes.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re going to be giving away a Ryobi One+ random orbital sander. It’s worth 100 bucks and it is a great tool.
TOM: So call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: In New York, New York you can find The Money Pit on WABC like Joe does. How can we help?
DAVID: I have two problems. They’re both cracks. One where the ceiling meets the wall and one where the doorway meets the wall.
LESLIE: Both are very similar situations and very simply solvable problems, David. NO worries.
DAVID: They’re big in the winter and small in the summer.
TOM: It’s because your home is always expanding and contracting and that’s what’s going to happen. Now, what you could try to do is to tape these cracks up using a fiberglass tape. A fiberglass tape is a fairly strong spackle tape that gets saturated with the spackle, really makes a really strong bond.
LESLIE: And it’s perforated. It looks like netting. So it really does stick well and it accepts the joint compound very well.
TOM: Yeah, it’s easy to put on, too.
DAVID: Is there a certain size of that?
TOM: It’s standard – it’s a standard size. It’s two inches wide.
DAVID: So just put that in there …
TOM: Right across the crack and then spackle over that and use numerous coats. You might want to lightly sand the wall to start with just to make sure that there’s nothing that’s going to stop the spackling from sticking.
DAVID: And that’ll eliminate my winter/summer cracks.
TOM: That’s right.
TOM: And this – and you’ll never know what season it is anymore.
LESLIE: And also, David …
DAVID: (laughing) I know what season it is now every winter. (Tom laughs) It gets bigger and bigger and longer.
TOM: Must be winter.
LESLIE: David, you know, in the area where the wall meets the ceiling, if that crack sort of, you know, irritates you and you don’t feel like patching it up that way, you can think about installing a crown moulding regardless of the profile. Because the crown moulding, in addition to being pretty and enhancing the design of a space, it covers up that movement that naturally occurs within the house. So, you know, you kind of lose that element there as well while gaining something really beautiful.
DAVID: I never thought of that.
TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Florida, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: I have a question about mold and air conditioning.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
MICHAEL: I was told that there is mold in the air conditioning or mildew or both; I’m not sure. And I’ve gotten other people to come out and I’ve got all these high-tech solutions from a UV light to ozone treatments and also including some kind of a mildew and mold spray. I don’t know who to believe and what to do.
TOM: Well first of all, your air conditioning ducts are not made of an organic material so you can’t have mold that grows inside of them unless it happens to be growing on the dust. So really, this is a cleanliness issue. You need to make sure that the ducts are clean.
And the second thing that you can do is to make sure that you dehumidify as much as possible. If you want high-tech solutions, couple of things we could recommend. Number one – having a UV light is not a bad idea. That’s part of the overall solution. Number two – having a good electronic air cleaner system is a good idea. And number three – having a whole house dehumidifier installed that works in cooperation with your air conditioning unit and keeping the humidity levels down and not …
LESLIE: Yeah, and that could even bring your air conditioning costs way down because you can keep the thermostat set, I guess, higher in the situation with air conditioning. Because it’s the humidity that causes the discomfort and makes it feel hotter than it actually is.
MICHAEL: How do I treat the current problem with the mildew or whatever that’s in the coils and the system now?
TOM: Well, that can simply be cleaned.
TOM: A professional duct cleaning company can clean the coils, clean the duct system, get you sort of back to square one. And then, with better filtration and humidity control, you won’t have this problem form again.
MICHAEL: Great. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking to Lawrenceville, New Jersey with Barbara. Hey Barbara, did you go to college with Tom? Because he went to college in Lawrenceville.
TOM: I used to live there.
BARBARA: No. No, I didn’t. (she and Tom chuckle)
LESLIE: What can we do for you today, Barbara?
BARBARA: Well, I have a problem. I live in a condo and I have hardwood floors that I use a Swiffer on every single day. And there is an extremely large amount of dust that comes on the Swiffer. I mean it’s really a lot. I don’t get any dust on my furniture barely.
TOM: What kind of heating system do you have?
BARBARA: Just …
TOM: Forced air?
BARBARA: Forced air, yes.
TOM: Alright. And what kind of filtration system do you have in that?
BARBARA: I don’t know.
LESLIE: Well that could be the big problem right there. Because by adjusting the type of filters that you actually use through your forced air heating system, you can control the amount of dust that gets the opportunity to get into the air circulation in your home.
BARBARA: Well, I use just like a three-month filter.
TOM: Yeah, you probably need something better than that. We would recommend the Aprilaire Model 5000. That’s an electronic air cleaner that was ranked tops by Consumer Reports for the last three years. And …
BARBARA: So it’s called an Aprilaire?
TOM: Aprilaire. Aprilaire. That’s right. April-a-i-r-e. Their website is Aprilaire.com. And it’s the Model 5000. It’s an electronic air cleaner and it takes out even virus-sized particles. You just don’t have a good filtration system in there.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the filter with the Aprilaire 5000 Model is – you change it once a year. It’s something like 72 linear feet of fabric within this media. So it’s a ton of fabric that really makes up the filtration system. And as particles go through it, they become charged and sort of stick within that filter system so they don’t get reintroduced to the air. And you get rid of virus, you get rid of smoke, pet dander, food odor. And as a by-product, it collects so many particulates, you see far less dust. So it might not happen …
BARBARA: Are these very, very expensive systems?
LESLIE: They tend to be anywhere between, I would say, 600 and 1,000 depending on where you live in the installation process. But once it’s in, the maintenance is very minimal. You change that filter once a year and I think it’s $70. So it’s worth the investment. Plus for your health and indoor quality it’s great.
TOM: You’ll see a huge difference in the cleanliness of your home as well, Barbara. Give that a shot. The three-month filter that you have is just not going to be as effective as an electronic air cleaner.
LESLIE: We’re going to talk grout with Linda in Alabama. What’s going on? How can we help?
LINDA: Hi. I’m a chemical sensitive patient …
LINDA: … and I need to know what is the best product to clean my kitchen grout that has a couple of grease stains with a strong odor.
TOM: Hmm. So bleach is out, huh?
TOM: You know, Linda, what a good option might be is a product called Simple Green. Have your worked with that?
LINDA: Yes, I have. In fact, I have used that before.
TOM: And what’s your result been?
LINDA: It worked OK but it didn’t actually remove the actual grease stain.
TOM: Well, the problem with grout is that it’s very absorbent.
LESLIE: It’s so porous.
TOM: And it might be that that grease stain is so deep that you’re going to have difficulty getting it out. Now, if you can’t get it all out, what you might want to do is think about replacing the grout. And the way you do that is with a little tool called a grout saw. It actually sort of scrapes out the grout that’s there.
TOM: And once you get it out, then you can put new grout in and you can seal it. So if you ever get grease on it again it won’t pull through again.
LINDA: Sure. OK.
TOM: That’s the solution.
LINDA: OK. Hey, I love your show.
LESLIE: Thanks, Linda.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit. So, do you have a lot of projects but you just can’t quite figure out where to start? Well, we can help because now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week whenever the mood strikes you. Just dial 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, most new shingle roofs are designed to last about 20 years. And while some types of slate, tile and metal roofs can last even longer, you might want to think about how old your roof is and how do you know when it needs to be replaced. Up next, we’re going to have the warning signs that tell you exactly that.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer. And add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If you do, you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a fabulous new tool from Ryobi. It’s the Ryobi One+ random orbit sander. It’s part of the tool system that Ryobi created where 25 different power tools can be interchanged to work off a single battery cell. No more clutter in the workroom. It’s worth 100 bucks. So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that orbital sander totally kicks butt and really does an amazing job at really smoothly and uniformly sanding surfaces. So, add it to your toolbox arsenal. You’ll be so happy.
Well, your roof. You probably don’t give it too much thought unless it starts to fail; there’s something wrong with it. But you should think about it because your roof’s got to battle a lot of enemies: ultraviolet rays, rain, wind, snow, ice, don’t forget crazy weather. Well, while today’s roofs can last about 20 years or even more, the actual lifespan of your roof might be shorter. It’s going to depend on a bunch of things like the climate where you live, the quality of the materials that you used, installation – probably most importantly installation – and maintenance. And you’ll want to prevent to your roof from springing a leak or even caving in to your living room. So you want to take a good look at it and here is where to start.
First, check your ceiling for any discoloration or spotting. That’s going to be a big sign that there’s a leak somewhere. The same thing goes for your walls’ plasterboard. Cracked paint and peeling wallpaper, they can also be huge indicators of a leaky roof as can any spots of mold, mildew, rot that you might see on your walls or your ceilings or even in your insulation and electrical systems. So look everywhere.
TOM: Outside, here’s what you need to do. First of all, grab a pair of binoculars. You do not have to go on your roof to do this inspection. You want to look for obvious holes and gaps as well as missing shingles or shingles that are warped, blistered or torn. You’ll also want to look at those flashings that’s around the chimney, the skylight, the pipes or other things that sort of stick out of your roof. Look for flashing that is loose and separated. And even if you suspect that your roof might be leaking, you’re probably right.
Now, when doing repairs or replacing your roof, you want to make sure your roofer uses premium waterproofing materials. One leading brand that we work with a lot here at The Money Pit is Grace. They make a product called Grace Tri-Flex 30 and also Grace Ice & Water Shield. These go under a roof’s covering and definitely keep the water from getting in.
So, inspect it. If you find a problem use good quality roofing materials so it doesn’t happen again. If you want more information on these materials, you can go to Grace’s website at GraceAtHome.com.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Sheryl in New York listens to The Money Pit on WABC. How can we help you?
SHERYL: (chuckling) Well, I’m trying to save some money on our heat. I got a quartz – a small heater. It has the quartz heating element and then it has a fan that takes the heated air across a copper heat exchanger so the heater itself doesn’t get too hot. It’s very safe. But one of the things they said was that it didn’t cost very much to run. But my first electric bill after I got it was pretty high.
TOM: Yeah, electric heaters are just expensive. Period.
TOM: They’re very expensive. It’s – electric resistance heat is the most expensive type of heat.
SHERYL: That’s what I always thought. But they said because of the quartz element and then the – you know, it’s like a – it’s supposed to be like a small furnace …
TOM: No, it still does cost a lot of money to run an electric heater. Period.
LESLIE: It just draws so much power to generate that heat.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, why did you get – why did you get an electric heater? Let’s talk about your room. What’s going on in your room that’s causing this discomfort?
SHERYL: Well, it’s a basement room.
TOM: Alright. So it doesn’t have any type of built-in heating system.
SHERYL: Not a lot. I mean there are some vents to our regular furnace that I could open.
TOM: Well, that would be a better choice. And not only supply vents but return vents. I would consult your HVAC …
SHERYL: But they’re near the ceiling so the …
TOM: I understand that. And that’s not as convenient place to have those ducts be. However, if you were to add some warm air through those ducts and then pull some damp, moist air via a return duct that was properly installed – and you need to make sure you work with an HVAC company to do this because if you put the return duct in the wrong place it could cause venting issues which could actually reverse the draft of a gas furnace and pull carbon monoxide into the room –
SHERYL: We don’t want that.
TOM: You need to do it correctly. But if you do it correctly, you will add a substantial amount of heat to that space because you’ll be recirculating warm, dry air; taking out cool, damp air and you’ll find that your comfort will go up. And it also might be possible to add additional vents, add additional supply registers …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To even bring more heat down there.
TOM: (overlapping voices) … to where I’ve seen them put enough heat in there where you wouldn’t need that quartz heater. The quartz heaters are just a really expensive way to go and there ought to be a better option; especially if you already have a forced air system.
LESLIE: Mike in Florida’s got a siding situation. What’s happening at the house?
MIKE: Well, I’ve got a construction issue with the way the house was constructed. The house is a two-story colonial house and the exterior has – well, it has a crawl space in the exterior foundation or cinder block. And then the framing of the house is a 2×4 framing so obviously there’s a ledge there on top of the cinder block. The facing of the cinder block has got regular brick there and then whether the builder basically used a piece of trim coil that was molded in a Z kind of fashion to bridge the gap where the exterior wall then (ph) comes over the brick ledge and then comes down a little bit.
MIKE: And it’s a vinyl sided house. So the corners, I’m getting water infiltration in the corners; in between the brick and the block. And it’s starting to deteriorate the wood backing behind the vinyl. And so, my question is I was planning on pulling, of course, the vinyl off and pu