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, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Now, go to the garage, get out the tools. It’s time to get to work. Because we don’t care what you’re working on. We’re going to help you make it easier, make it faster, get it done, make it look better. And even if you got stuck in the middle of a project, you can call us and we will help you get through it with no embarrassment and no judgment.
LESLIE: Chances are we’ve been there. So you can tell us your stories. We might laugh a little bit but we’re laughing out of sympathy because we know what it is like to find yourself in an embarrassing situation.
We have got a great show for you guys this hour. You know, here’s some irony. Pressure treated lumber or pressure treated wood …
LESLIE: … is used for things like decks and it’s designed to be long-lasting and to be durable. But the pressure treating process itself can actually leave the wood very vulnerable in some pretty specific areas. We’re going to tell you where they are and what you can do to protect them.
TOM: And that’s especially important if you’re thinking about building a deck this spring.
Plus, if you’re thinking of redoing your bathroom, well that’s smart thinking because bathrooms and kitchens give a great return on investment when it comes time to sell your house. But before you start, we’ve got some advice. Don’t miss our list of the top five don’ts when redoing your bath.
LESLIE: And if you’re tired of winding up that wet, muddy garden hose, we’ve got the prize for you. It is a water powered, automatic hose reel. It’s from the folks at No-Crank and it is worth 65 buckaroos.
TOM: So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Time for kitchen talk with Jonathan in Florida. What’s happening at your house?
JONATHAN: We’re – when we’re putting in the new cabinets we’re going to be – the current cabinets are hung on a soffit from the ceiling. He’s building the cabinets but I have to tear out the old cabinets. My question was what’s the best way to go about tearing out the old soffit.
TOM: OK. Well, it’s a big of a job but here’s what you do. First of all, can you get the wall cabinets out? Do you need help with that?
JONATHAN: They’re just – yeah, I can get those out with a drill driver.
TOM: Alright. Well, the next thing you’re going to do is cut the drywall off of the soffit. And I would try to cut it clean at the top and the bottom of the soffit because you need to create a seam here where you can easily seam in the new drywall patch.
TOM: So I would cut the drywall off of the soffit from the front and then the underside. That will allow you to kind of figure out how the soffit was made because how you disassemble it is going to be based on …
LESLIE: It’s like the opposite of how it was put together.
TOM: Exactly. You’re basically going to disassemble it. Now once you get it out of there, remember that the goal here is to have a very clean drywall seam. You may decide to cut it further into the ceiling, for example, at the top so that you get into just an area of drywall where there’s no spackle; it’s just drywall itself. Because then you could put another piece against that, tape it and spackle it and have a more invisible seam than if you tried to sort of line up a brand new seam with a very old piece of drywall that’s sort of half covered with spackle and half not. But, you know, you’re basically going to take it apart the same way it was put together but the first part is to pull the drywall off the front and the bottom and see what you’re working with.
JONATHAN: What I did is I knocked a hole in it.
TOM: And what did you find?
JONATHAN: The soffit is actually – looks like it was built without a top on it so that there’s actual – well, you can see into the roof.
TOM: Right. That means that they didn’t put the drywall up across the ceiling and down the wall and then put the soffit on. They built the soffit at the time of the framing. That’s – frankly, that’s what I expected you to find.
TOM: So you’re going to be looking at the bottom of the ceiling joist and that’s where the new drywall has to go. But just take your time on that seam and make sure it’s as straight and clean as possible because that’s going to really bug you once you finish it if you still see that. If you can keep it, you know, where you’ve cut it out, that’s fine. If not, don’t be afraid to go back another four to six inches, cut another clean seam and seam it up against that.
JONATHAN: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jonathan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Remodeling a kitchen; always a great home improvement project. Gives you one of the best returns on investment.
LESLIE: It’s a huge inconvenience but it really does make a huge change.
TOM: But put the pizza guy on speed dial (Leslie chuckles) because it’s never going to be finished on time. (chuckling)
LESLIE: We’re going to talk insulation with Mike in Florida. How can we help?
MIKE: Hi. Yeah, I had a question about r value insulation for a ceiling. I was wondering, in the state of Tennessee, what r value would you recommend for the ceiling.
TOM: Well, r value is resistance to heat loss and with fiberglass insulation there’s usually like three r per inch. So if you had 10-inch bats that would be r30. If you had a 12-inch bat that would be r36. I think that anything in the 10 to 12-inch area would be great for Tennessee.
The other thing I would caution you though, Mike, is to make sure that you also have ample ventilation in the roof space. Because if you add just a little bit of moisture to insulation it reduces the r value. In fact, two percent moisture will reduce your r value by a third. So if you have a damp attic, that 12 inches of insulation could have the same r value as, say, eight inches of insulation because it’s damp. It’s important that you have insulation and ventilation to have an energy efficient space.
MIKE: Thank you. That answers my question and some. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’ve got it, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Frank listens on WPRO from Rhode Island. What’s going on at your money pit?
FRANK: Yes, the question I have is I have a bathroom on my second floor and it’s above my entry foyer. And it – unfortunately, some water leaked through the floor and there’s a water stain, now, on my ceiling. And I was wondering how do you get rid of that?
LESLIE: Have you fixed the leak? The source of the water?
FRANK: Yes. They’re remodeling the whole bathroom upstairs and taking care of all that.
TOM: How big is the stain?
FRANK: Probably about two to three feet.
TOM: OK, you’re going to want to prime the entire ceiling. And I would recommend an oil based primer. Because what happens is you get a chemical reaction with that water and the drywall and the paper …
TOM: … and it tends to sort of give you this dark, like almost iron-looking like stain.
TOM: And if you prime the surface of that ceiling – and you can’t just spot prime it because it’s such a big area. That’s why I asked you how big it was – you’re going to have to prime the whole surface. Because it’s going to make it a little bit more impervious than the rest of the area and if you don’t prime the whole thing, when you put your top coat of paint on …
LESLIE: Just going to wear differently.
TOM: Well – yeah, it’ll have sort of a different sheen. You’ll be able to see it. But if you prime the whole ceiling and then you paint it again, you’ll never see it again.
FRANK: Does it matter if it’s – what do you call? – the scroll type ceiling?
TOM: Textured ceiling?
TOM: It’s a little harder to work with a textured ceiling but no, it doesn’t matter. Leslie, you had a good trick of the trade on that when it comes to the roller to use.
LESLIE: Well, with a textured ceiling, depending on what it is, if it’s a firm, rigid texture you can go ahead and just use the very thick nap roller. But if it’s that popcorn texture that kind of comes off, it flakes against it if you rub on it, you want to get one of those foam rollers that are spirally sliced so that as you roll across the ceiling it sort of opens up to accommodate the texture. So depending on what kind you have, choose the proper roller and you’ll get a really good job.
FRANK: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us, Frank, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
JOHN: Hi. Have a home that’s about three years old. And I was wondering if I could use my high-pressure machine to clean the eaves. They’ve discolored a bit. Or if you have any other suggestions that might help me get – it’s not actually mold; it’s just dirt – from being underneath there; I guess with the rain and all.
TOM: What are they made out of? What are the eaves covered with?
JOHN: It’s vinyl.
TOM: It’s vinyl? OK, you …
LESLIE: You’ve got to be careful, right?
TOM: Yeah. You can use it but you’ve got to be careful.
LESLIE: Because you can blow a hole right through that vinyl so you really want to be careful with your setting and sort of step back from it and control your pressure.
TOM: And they have the fan setting on the pressure washer so it kind of has like a wide spray as opposed to a point spray.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. One of those like pointed, drilling sprays.
TOM: I would use a house cleaner on that, too. I would first spray it with like a Jomax, which is a house cleaner.
TOM: Yeah, J-o-m-a-x. Yeah, you mix it up. You can put it in like a garden sprayer and sort of pump it up there. Or there are also cleaners. If you have a detergent tank that goes with your pressure washer, there are cleaners that can go like right into the pressure washer. But you need to clean it with a mildicide first because usually a lot of that growth is organic so it’s algae or moss or something like that and you need to spray it; sort of kill it first and then you can clean it off with a pressure spray. But Leslie’s absolutely right. If you overdo it, you’re going to be looking at Swiss cheese pretty soon.
JOHN: Outdoor Clorox? Is that a good thing to use?
TOM: Clorox is fine as well but make sure you protect your plants.
LESLIE: There’s also something from the folks at Flood and it’s called their DEKSWOOD Deck Cleaner and Brightener and it’s made to take the gray out of any sort of weathered wood material. But it also does an amazing job of brightening up anything that’s made out of vinyl or fiberglass or plastic. So you might want to give that a try as well or use that instead.
JOHN: OK, I appreciate your help. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, hey, Money Pit listeners. Spring is around the corner and we can help you get your house in tiptop shape. It’s like bikini season for your help, you know? (Tom laughs) You really want to start dieting, get the house ready and do everything you have to do. So now, to help you do that, you know you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24/7 at that magic number – 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, up next, most decks are built with pressure treated wood. The process can help protect the wood from rot and decay if you know how to maximize the life of the pressure treated wood. Pressure treated wood actually has some weaknesses; some weak areas. We’re going to identify those and teach you how to protect your deck, 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: 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the phone number for The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you doing? What are you working on? Let’s talk about it. Let’s get the job done. If you call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, not only will you get the answer to your home improvement question – I love this line – but wait!
TOM and LESLIE: There’s more!
TOM: One caller today is going to win a hose reel from No-Crank. It’s worth 65 bucks. It’s a patented, water powered engine that rewinds your garden hose with an easy single push of a lever. Yard work will never be easier. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT if you want to get in on that giveaway. You must be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question.
LESLIE: I love it. Everybody is so anxious to get outside with the weather just turning and spring really starting to get into effect. Alright, so if a deck is on your project or your honey-do list – whatever you want to call it – you need to keep in mind some things.
Decks – they’re usually built with pressure treated wood. I mean it’s made for the outside, it’s made to withstand the elements, you’ll want to use it. But to do that, to make that lumber pressure treated, what they do is they put the lumber in a vacuum-sealed container and it’s filled with all sorts of chemical preservatives. And basically the chemicals are forced into the wood via pressure – exactly; pressure treated lumber. The downside is that the chemicals don’t always completely saturate the wood and these areas, which are generally found near the center or near the end cuts, are high-risk spots for rot.
TOM: Absolutely. And you know, no matter how small those areas are, the wood can easily absorb moisture and allow decay organisms to enter. And what’s also pretty upsetting about where those weak spots are, they’re also generally where the joists have to bear on, say, girders or the box beam. So it can actually be somewhat dangerous if it rots at the end and the joist falls away. There’s going to be nothing to hold it up.
LESLIE: Well and doesn’t it sometimes react to the metal that’s actually the joist hangers and the pieces as well?
TOM: That’s the other issue because this new pressure treatment process is also very, very corrosive. So those are all good reasons for you to protect the ends of the joist. And the way to do that is with a weather-resistant, self-adhering membrane. It’s like a piece of flashing. One we like is Vycor Deck Protector from Grace Construction. It’s actually one of the only ones that’s specifically designed to solve this particular problem and protect the decks.
LESLIE: And it’s the same width as the lumber that you would use for the joist on the deck itself. So it’s like a roll of tape.
TOM: Yeah, it makes it really easy to apply. And all you have to do is basically adhere it to the top of the deck joist and it provides an impervious barrier against water or any type of moisture penetration to that area. So it’s a good idea to put that in there. It’s only one extra layer but we highly recommend it.
If you want more information on that product or Grace’s complete line of weather barriers, you can visit their website at GraceAtHome.com.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we’re standing by for your phone calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and also through our website at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Mike in Virginia, what can we do for you?
MIKE: Yes, I have some hardwood floors that I’m interested in refinishing but they squeak like crazy. Is there a way to get a squeak out of the floor before I refinish them?
TOM: Absolutely. How old is the house, Mike?
MIKE: About 45 years old.
TOM: Alright. So you have original hardwood. These weren’t added subsequently. These were part of the original construction.
TOM: What you want to do is identify where they’re the loudest. And you need to resecure those to the floor joist below. Because the reason the floors are squeaking is because they’re loosening up and we need to secure them down. Now there’s two ways …
LESLIE: And the squeaking is actually the dried out wood sort of just rubbing against each other, correct?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s not a structural concern. It’s more of an annoyance than anything else.
LESLIE: Or charm; however you like to put it.
TOM: That’s right. It could be defined as charm.
There’s a couple of ways to do this. First of all, an easy way to do this is to locate those areas where the floor joists are below and you can do that with a stud finder – one of these electronic stud finders – so you make sure you’re right on top of the floor joist. And then you can take some finish nails and you need to predrill the hardwood floor. And you could actually do this by cutting off the head of the nail and stick it in the end of the drill or you could use a twist drill bit. You want to drill into the hardwood floor at a slight angle; maybe like a 15 to 20-degree angle so the nail’s not going in straight. And you’re going to renail that seam right on top of the floor joist maybe one in every board for, you know, the couple of feet it is that they’re squeaking. Set the nail below the surface, fill it with a wood putty and then, after the refinish, it’ll be absolutely invisible.
Now, the only downside of doing it with nails is they can eventually pull back up again. If you want a totally permanent repair then you do the same thing, except you use screws. But to use a screw you have to counterbore below the surface of the wood and then put a wood plug in.
LESLIE: Which could be a stylistic choice if it works with your architecture and the period of the home. But that – you know, you then would want to repeat it to make it look like a pattern and make it look pretty and not just in the individual place.
TOM: And if you only have to do it in a few places, you could probably get away with it and your eye wouldn’t pick it up. Just make sure that the wood plugs you put in are the same material as the wood that you took out. So if it’s oak …
LESLIE: So they finish the same.
TOM: Yeah, if it’s an oak floor use an oak plug. And align the grain with the grain of the floor. So in other words, don’t – make sure the plug doesn’t go like 90-degrees opposed. You line the grain up. And then the wood fillers today that can go and sort of fill the pores of the wood across the plug and across the old board as well will do a really nice job when it’s sanded up and it’ll be almost invisible. So those are the two ways. But basically, this is a project where you’re securing the floors to the floor joist below and that’s going to quiet them down.
LESLIE: Gary in Connecticut, what’s happening at your house?
GARY: Well basically the situation is that I’ve got a – it seems like a small leak. I notice a brown spot. I have a gabled roof. And I’m just curious as to is there any way you can determine where the water’s coming from?
LESLIE: Where are you seeing the brown spot?
GARY: It’s at the very bottom where the slanted ceiling actually meets the top of the wall.
TOM: So, you’re seeing this inside your house?
GARY: Yes, I am.
TOM: Are there any bathrooms or any other type of an obstruction that goes through the wall in this area? A chimney, a plumbing vent pipe or something of that nature?
GARY: Nothing like that but it is an extension on the house. The rest of the house is higher. This comes out as an extension and the roof is lower than the rest of the house.
TOM: Because generally, roofs are going to leak at intersection points or where things come through the roof.
Now, a good way to test this – are you sure this is an active – this is active right now?
GARY: Oh no, no. It’s occurred and then it’s gone away. It only happened once or twice.
TOM: Alright well, here’s what I think you should do. Take that spot and paint it with a primer. I want you to use a KILZ oil-based primer because that’s going to seal in that – there’s a chemical reaction that occurs sometimes with ceiling paint or regular latex paint and the stain that’s left behind by a leak. And what it’ll look like is you’re painting it over and then it’ll seem like it comes through. So I want you to paint that spot over with primer first. And then, you know, repaint it with your topcoat and keep an eye on it.
If you’re convinced there’s still an active leak and we’re in the leak diagnosis stage of this, then what you should do is you should get a garden hose and you should start low on the roof and flood that roof with water and then work your way up to see if you can figure out where it’s leaking. I can suggest to you that it’s probably most likely at an intersection point like where the roof cuts into the old part of the house.
LESLIE: I mean it could be as simple as just needing to revamp your flashing over there.
Dawn in California, you are on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
DAWN: Hi, I was wondering if there’s any way, besides just using one of those little lint brushes, if there’s a way of getting the excess lint that gets trapped inside the dryer without taking the back off.
TOM: There’s a brush – actually, Leslie and I both have one of these lint eaters, which is really cool.
LESLIE: Yeah, but that does the whole line from like …
TOM: No, but they have – they have additional brushes for it that do the dryer itself, too. They have like a flat brush.
LESLIE: Mmm. This is awesome, Dawn. It’s called – it’s the Gardus LintEater and Tom and I both have it. And it’s a series of sort of flexible piping that you go to the outside of your house where the dryer vents out and, using a power driver, you almost snake out the drain. That’s pretty much what you’re doing. And as you pull this brush in and out, it pulls out all the lint that’s built up in the entire line from where it goes from the back of your dryer to the outside of your house.
TOM: And there’s also a brush attachment that works inside the dryer as well. There are different size brushes and you basically go into the lint area and where you have your lint screen you pull it out and then there’s a brush that works in there. And there’s even a vacuum attachment for the brush.
Dawn the website for the LintEater is simply LintEater.com. And again, we both have it and I think we both pulled out so much lint we were embarrassed.
LESLIE: An embarrassing amount.
TOM: (chuckling) Exactly.
LESLIE: And it’s probably one of the funnest chores you will ever accomplish. You should probably do it once a year but I find I want to do it all the time.
DAWN: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit.
Are you redoing your bathroom? Well, if you’re on a budget you don’t want to scrimp on the stuff that goes behind the walls. We’re going to have more tips on what not to do, next.
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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, making homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So are you thinking about redoing a bathroom? Well, you’re on the right track. Bathroom and kitchen redos bring top dollar on your investment. But before you even start shopping you first have to know what you want.
LESLIE: Our next guest specializes in bathroom design. Barbara Salick (sp) is the co-founder of Water Works. She has a top five list of don’ts for us to make sure that your dream bathroom doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
So Barbara, you say that we shouldn’t run to the nearest showroom when we decide we want to redo our bath. But wouldn’t a showroom be a great resource?
BARBARA: The showroom is a great resource but it can be a minefield of products and confusing thoughts and ideas if you have not defined your style and taste.
TOM: So how do you do that? Where do start by making that sort of an initial to-do list?
BARBARA: Well, the first thing you need to do, I think, is open your closet. And you need to look at the kinds of clothes you buy, the kinds of shoes you wear and then you need to look around your house. What are the dishes like that you always fall for and what does your silver look like and what are your chairs like? And until you can identify that, then, in fact, you should not walk into the store.
BARBARA: It’ll all just look so confusing to you.
LESLIE: Well there’s so many beautiful things. You know, it’s interesting to think that your silver and your dishware could make such an impact but I guess all of it sort of composes who you are. So it makes good sense to examine it so you know the direction to go in.
BARBARA: Exactly. It’s all about your style and taste.
TOM: You know, Barbara, some decorators say pick one thing that you really like in your house and then build a room around that; so, for example, if you happen to have a cushion or a pillow that’s got great colors in it or a curtain that’s got great colors in it. Do you ever see people taking that sort of approach; where they might identify, like you say, a piece of furniture or maybe it’s an outfit that really has all of those things that you like and then build a room around that?
BARBARA: I think you could do that. But you want to make sure you haven’t just thrown that pillow in there for a momentary burst of color. You have to make absolutely certain that it is something you love. Do you love its color? Do you love its texture? Do you like its shape? So there are many things that go into defining what you love.
LESLIE: So if, when you’re in the researching, shopping or even just the planning phase and you find, say, a faucet or a tile, do you invest in it and pick it up or do you wait until you get the big picture before you buy each individual?
BARBARA: It’s all about the big picture because one piece does not a bathroom make. You could just find the fitting that you love the most and it just doesn’t fit with anything else that you also fall in love with. So you really need to weigh every decision absolutely perfectly. So don’t go shopping until you have totally identified what it is you want and begun the planning stage of what it is you’re going to do.
LESLIE: And then you also recommend that even though you’re picking out beautiful materials, the installation could be the pitfall in the whole process. So what do you recommend to avoid that?
BARBARA: Well first of all, I recommend that, in fact, if you’ve received references you must thoroughly check them. You just don’t call your friend and say, ‘Ooh, did you like them?’ You need to go and inspect the job. You may need to make certain that the job that you’re looking at is similar to the kind of thing that you are going to do. And you need to hold the installer to a very high standard. And you can start by bringing him material, having him grout it to a plywood board; talk about the size of the grout joint, for example; determine the color grout; test the colors of paint. And there are so many things that you must do in order to have the outcome that you are dreaming about.
TOM: That’s a good point because so many people get contractor references but then they just stay on the paper figuring, ‘Well, if he’s got names he must be OK.’ But you do need to actually …
LESLIE: Yeah but anybody can make up some names.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
BARBARA: And you have to make those phone calls and you have to go and see those jobs.
TOM: We’re talking to Barbara Salick (ph). She’s co-founder and Senior Vice President of design for Water Works.
Let’s talk about the materials that are hidden behind the wall. Just because you don’t see that material, what do you advise your clients to do when shopping for the hard stuff; the plumbing parts of this?
BARBARA: Because you don’t see it, you’re tempted to skimp. And that is the one place where you absolutely should not spend less than money than you possibly can afford. You can choose, perhaps, a less expensive tile and come up with good results if you have a great installer. But skimping on the materials that you cannot get at easily would be just the worst waste of your money possible. Buy the best shower valve that delivers the most amount of water, that is made of solid brass. But please be careful about that. I find that I’m always slightly appalled when people use just inexpensive shower valves. I mean I don’t understand that.
TOM: Yeah, good point. If you’re going to put all this money into redesigning your bathroom, better make sure that the nuts and bolts are functioning.
So Barbara, one more question. When you’re all done, how about some final decorating tips. A lot of people don’t think of the bathroom as a place where you could put statues and other types of, you know, art work that you might find in a flea market, for example. Should you be decorating your bathroom just the same you would any other room in the house?
BARBARA: It is the most personal space in the house and you need to put something in there that you absolutely love; whether it is a piece of art or a piece of sculpture or a piece of china. And the other thing that you really need to do is buy really beautiful towels and you need to change them seasonally.
TOM: Good point.
Barbara Salick (ph), thanks very much.
More insight on bathroom design and what not to do is available at Barbara’s website at www.WaterWorks.com.
LESLIE: Alright, well as long as we’re in the bathroom, we’re going to talk about something that’s often associated with a very moist space. Mold, like I said, can turn up in bathrooms; especially on the ceiling where that condensation can kind of sit and accumulate. We’re going to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about mold, including how to get rid of it, at MoneyPit.com. Just go to the Ideas and Tips section and look for our Mold Resource Guide. And if mold is your question of the day or you just want some information about how to keep those moist areas down, why not call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the phone number and one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a No-Crank hose reel. It’s water powered and makes rewinding and storing your hose effortless and it’s also worth 65 bucks. But it’s going to be free to one caller at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Chris in Alabama finds The Money Pit on WRJM. What can we do for you today?
CHRIS: I need to know how does one go about locating the sewer line where it comes out in the yard when there’s not a cleanout valve on the house that you can use to locate it.
TOM: Well, what can you see in the house? First of all, is it a house on a basement or a crawlspace or a slab?
CHRIS: It’s on a slab.
TOM: OK, that makes it tough. And you have how many bathrooms in the house?
CHRIS: One bathroom.
TOM: Alright. Well, you can assume that if you drew a line between the bathroom and the street that the pipe is going to be somewhere in that area because that’s generally how things go.
LESLIE: Now, is there not a utility company that you can call who would come out and map out the property and say, ‘This is where the sewer line is. This is where the gas lines are’ so that if you were to ever do any digging you know exactly where it is?
TOM: Not a utility company because that’s part of your own responsibility.
TOM: The drainway’s vent pipe is part of your responsibility.
Chris, is there a reason that you want to know where it is?
CHRIS: Well, what I need to do is add a half-bath on the other end of the house. And I need to find where the line is so I can trench out and put a boot on the existing line.
TOM: Well, the other thing that you can do is you can call a company like Roto-Rooter, who can do a drain inspection; a camera drain inspection. They have tools today that’s like a plumbing snake, where it’s a camera on the end of it. And when you have a slab, you basically would pull the toilet off and go right from there and you can actually see with a video camera and measure, as it goes into the line, exactly where it is. And they’ll be able to figure out which direction it’s going and exactly how many feet it goes before it sort of connects up with either another like split, like a Y connection, or whether it connects in with the city sewer in the street. But a drain camera inspection would tell you exactly where it is and I believe that there’s a way to locate like the end of that camera from above with like another device that sort of can pinpoint when it’s like right above the camera head.
So that’s a way to do it. I would plan your bathroom first and, you know, as a last step, try to figure out where you’re going to join these up. Because I’m sure it’s going to be between the house and the street. It’s just a matter of how you cut across the yard that’s going to determine where you join it.
LESLIE: Talking floors with Fred in Illinois. How can we help?
FRED: I have an older house with the 3/8-thick tongue-in-groove flooring.
FRED: And my widest crack is about 3/16 of an inch wide. I was just wondering when I sand this down, do I pick up the sawdust? Do I let it go into the cracks or what?
TOM: No, you’re going to want to pick it up because it’s going to mix with the finish and make the finish really uneven. Now you said it’s 3/8-thich flooring?
TOM: It’s not 3/4? It’s 3/8?
FRED: No, it’s the thin stuff.
TOM: It’s thin stuff. Alright. Now, why do you want to sand it down all the way?
FRED: Because the previous owner allowed (ph) paint splatters all over it and it does have a real slight unevenness.
TOM: I’m going to recommend that you sand as little as possible.
LESLIE: Because it’s already so thin. And especially if it’s been refinished ever before in its lifetime – I know it seems like with hardwoods you can refinish them as often as you want, but even they sort of reach a breaking point. So you want to make sure you don’t take too much off.
TOM: Let me give you some equipment recommendations here. First of all, I do not think you should use a regular floor belt sander because it’s going to be way too abrasive for a thin hardwood floor. What I would like to see you use is a floor buffer with a sanding screen on it. A sanding screen – you can get a fairly rough grit on the sanding screen and you put it on the bottom of the floor buffer like a 60-grit sanding screen. What that’s going to probably do is that will probably be abrasive enough to cut through the paint splatter that’s on there. And you may have to do a little bit of hand sanding by yourself. But it’ll sort of take off the top finish. And I like it because you can sort of stand in one place and, you know, really not damage the floor. And once you get that surface down where you want it, you vacuum the whole thing very carefully; possibly even damp mop it. Let it dry really well. Then you could put a new finish on top of that.
If you find that you need something that’s more abrasive than that, then I would rent a machine called a u-sand – u-s-a-n-d. And a u-sand is a machine that has four disc sanders – four six-inch disc sanders – underneath one large, square head with a vacuum attached to it. That’s also good because it takes off more floor material than the floor buffer with a sanding screen but not nearly as much as the belt sander.
I would definitely not go with a belt sander because I think it’s going to take off way too much and if you use that thing and you hiccup you’re going to damage your floor. And I don’t think you need to take off that much. As long as you get that surface off, then you could refinish the whole thing.
Do you want to stain it, too, or is it just going to be natural?
FRED: No, I was wanting to stain it.
FRED: But I was wanting to bring it back as close as I could to the original.
TOM: OK. Well, that’s why we’re trying to tell you to do just a little bit and not a lot. You want to do as little as possible. Once you get that surface off, you could do a stain coat and sort of rub it in, make it all nice and even and then put the finish on top of it.
FRED: OK. Now the other problem I have with it is my ex-wife … (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: No, we can’t help you with your ex-wife now. (laughing)
FRED: (inaudible) This is the problem that she created, though. She put down some self-stick tile.
FRED: And I have started with a putty knife lifting the tile. And the glue is still there.
TOM: Yeah, you’re going to need an adhesive remover. You’re going to need a solvent.
LESLIE: Ooh, and it’s stinky.
TOM: Yeah, you’re going to need a solvent to remove the glue.
TOM: And that’s the only thing that’s going to do that. You know, you’re not going to want to scrape that up. And that’s going to be a real impediment to the sanding process, too, because it’s going to get really gummed up. So you’re going to want to use an adhesive solvent and I’m trying to think which one I would recommend. I think you’re going to need something fairly strong.
LESLIE: Like almost even commercial grade.
LESLIE: Because that adhesive – that contact adhesive used for those tiles – is very sticky.
LESLIE: You keep in mind you want to sort of – even as you apply this adhesive remover, you know, there’s going to be a lot of aggressive peeling and sort of scratching at with, you know, maybe a spackle knife or something. So you want to be really careful with the floor. I mean you’re already going to be sanding it so you don’t want to create any deep gouges. So be cautious. And open windows.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So, his wife left but just a little bit of her stuck behind.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And I’m sure it annoys him every day. (laughing)
TOM: Every scrape of the tile he thinks about her. (Leslie grumbling) (laughing)
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit.
When we get back, we’re going to dive into our e-mail bag and answer one about how to be smart with your hot water and how to avoid heating water you don’t need. So stick around.
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: 888-666-3974 is the telephone number for us. We’re the Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: You can also log onto our website at MoneyPit.com where you will find the always free Money Pit e-newsletter. Comes out every Friday morning. Has lots of good home improvement tips that will get you through the weekend. Sign up at MoneyPit.com and while you’re there, why don’t you shoot us an e-mail question. Let’s jump into a few of those right now.
LESLIE: Alright. This one is from Paul in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Ooh, that sounds fun. ‘I have been looking at tankless hot water heaters and was just wondering which brand is best and which application is best suited for a two-bedroom, two-bath home.’
TOM: Well, there are lots of great brands out there. We’re not going to give you a specific preference but we will tell you that we are believers in tankless water heaters. We always say that the standard water heaters are sort of dumb because they heat your water whether you need it or not.
LESLIE: Intelligently challenged.
TOM: Intelligently challenged. That’s right. Let’s be polite, Tom. (Leslie chuckles) But they do heat your water whether you need it or not and that means they waste a lot of energy heating water when it’s not needed in your house as opposed to a tankless water heater which heats on demand. You basically say, ‘Hey, tankless water heater, I need hot water’ and it just delivers.
LESLIE: And so, what it does is it really just shoots that water through like a heated pipe so it’s heating it up quickly as it goes? Is that what’s happening?
TOM: Yeah. The heat exchanger is like – think of like a boiler, where it’s a very confined (ph) area and it’s basically powered to heat just that water as it goes through. It starts cold, comes out hot. And then it’s done.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I mean that’s quick!
TOM: Very quick. And because it’s quick, they use a lot of gas but they use it for a little bit of time. So that’s why it’s very, very energy efficient.
LESLIE: So you don’t see a big influx or super usage of your gas power.
TOM: No, absolutely not. And you know, somebody wrote me on my blog at AOL.com the other day and asked me if it was available in electric.
LESLIE: But that would be stupid, wouldn’t it? It would be expensive.
TOM: Well, I did some – I did some research and they are available in electric but they use a pile of power. I mean we’re talking about units that are like 150 amps. And so, I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams an electric tankless water heater would be more efficient than a standard electric water heater with – and this is important – with a timer on it. So if you have an electric water heater, you can add a 240-volt timer to that.
LESLIE: So that just controls the times it’s on so it’s not kicking on all day.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it only – that’s right. It’s only on for a few hours in the morning when you need it and then a few hours in the evening and the rest of the time you could leave it off. And I think that would be, probably, more cost effective than going tankless electric. But if you have gas, you’re always going to be better off installing a gas-fired tankless water heater.
There is a good website for one manufacturer I will recommend. It’s ForeverHotWater.com. And they have a sizing chart on that. You asked about a two-bedroom, two-bath home. That’s a good chart on that site that will tell you, based on your normal consumption, what size unit you need.
And the other nice thing about tankless water heaters is that they are very small. So you could actually fit them in about a quarter of the space of a standard water heater. And that can be very convenient, too.
LESLIE: Do you think it’s worth it to get two smaller ones if you’ve got a larger home and place them at opposite ends? Or just get one bigger one?
TOM: It could because it would zone your hot water and get it to the bathroom a lot faster; especially if you’re waiting a long time in the morning for water.
You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. What a great hour we had. Lots of cool information, lots of good home improvement questions. If you have one and couldn’t …
LESLIE: And lots of fun.
TOM: And lots of fun! If you have one you couldn’t get through, remember that you can call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Our live call screening team is always standing by and if we’re not in the studio we’ll call you back the next time we are.
Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to make some noise about a new trend in quiet rooms. And we’re going to teach you how to build one that can provide a restful escape from the noisy places in your house.
LESLIE: You know, I like noise. I find noise relaxing.
TOM: You do?
LESLIE: It’s almost like I find I keep the TV on even when I’m working because it’s just like that extra something.
TOM: That’s because you’re a New Yorker. (laughing)
LESLIE: I guess. No, if I’m somewhere that’s too quiet it kind of freaks me out. I’m used to, you know, horns honking and trucks and traffic.
TOM: Well, there’s good noise and not-so-good noise. The not-so-good noise is when you have a bathroom upstairs and you flush your toilet and all the water runs down through the dining room while you’re trying to have a dinner party, OK? (Leslie chuckles and makes flushing sounds) That’s kind of unpleasant. There’s nothing good about that noise. (Leslie chuckles) And we’re going to have some tips on how to quiet any room in your house next week on the program.
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.)