TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we hope that you are enjoying this beautiful spring weekend across the United States. If you’ve got a home improvement project that you are trying to get done today or tomorrow or one you’re planning for in the future, hey, give us a call right now, because we are here to help you with advice, with tips, with ideas. We’re going to help you. If you need to do the job yourself or hire it out, we’ve got the info that can help you get it done quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. But you’ve got to help yourself first and call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.
Coming up this hour, it’s the season to get outside and enjoy the barbecues and picnics and parties. But that enjoyment can quickly be interrupted when mosquitoes are on the hunt for their next meal, which could be you. So we’ve got some tips to prevent that from happening.
LESLIE: Plus, if you’d like a beautiful, green lawn to enjoy this summer, is it better to start with seed or sod? We’re going to help sort out those options.
TOM: And with all this talk about outdoor living, building a greenhouse is a popular project you might be interested in. So we’re going to have some tips to help you choose the best materials for that job, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, we’ve got a great way to help keep your air clean and allergens away. We’ve got a $150 Home Depot gift card to help you stock up on the new Honeywell Allergen Plus Pleated Air Filters and get started cleaning your air for spring.
TOM: And water quality is top of mind right now and The Home Depot is a great place to pick up whatever you need to improve the water quality in your home. So this hour, we’re featuring one of those products. It’s the ScaleBlaster Electronic Water Conditioner worth $198. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone, right now, and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Nancy in Arizona is on the line with a broken patio door.
Nancy, what’s going on?
NANCY: It’s very, very hard to open it and it’s getting worse.
NANCY: I have to – when I go to open it, I have to lift up on the handle a little bit to even get it to open.
NANCY: Now, my question is – I had a friend come by and he said, “Oh, there’s a kit. You can fix that.” And so that’s fine. But my question is: should I replace this door or should – what do you – or get one of those French doors that have wood and glass on them?
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
NANCY: Which one would be more energy-efficient?
TOM: You have an old, aluminum sliding door right now? Like a heavy, metal door?
NANCY: You’ve got it, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. You know, they’re – that door is never going to be efficient and the rollers are probably worn out, because that’s what happens to those doors. And sure, you can replace those rollers but it is what it is. I will say that the new sliding-glass doors, they’re vinyl-clad, like a vinyl-clad Andersen door. Andersen makes one that’s designed for remodeling and one that’s designed for new construction. And the difference is really important, because the remodeling door is exactly 1 inch shorter in height than the new-construction door, which you don’t notice. But if you’re putting it in, it makes it a lot easier because it fits in the existing opening.
So, if you get the right door, replacing that slider with a new Andersen vinyl-clad slider is not that complicated a job for a carpenter to do. He can do it in a couple of hours. But it’s just a beautiful door that’s going to perform well and be energy-efficient.
Now, the French doors are nice, too; they’re beautiful. And Leslie, you probably recommend that over a slider, because it looks great, but they’re a little harder to keep airtight.
LESLIE: I mean they really are harder to keep airtight because you’re dealing with, now, so many more opening points. And you’ve got – similar with the top and the bottom with the slider but now, with the French doors, you’ve got the opening down the center. And you tend to get air leakage around the top and the sides and all of those functioning points.
However, there are things that you can do as far as weather-stripping, even a weather-stripping on the bottom that the door sort of locks into. But they’re gorgeous and they really do change the look of a room. And there’s just something that really finishes the space with a French door. So I think if you find the right French door and it’s properly fit and it’s properly installed with the right weather-stripping, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of drafts and the amount of air leakage that could occur with it.
I really love them. I have them in my own house.
TOM: Well, good luck. I think you’ll enjoy that. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Joel in Arkansas is on the line and has a question about beams. What can we help you with?
JOEL: I have a house that has a center, load-bearing beam. And I’m kind of wanting to remove it. And my brother-in-law, who is my roommate, says that there’s a way to put it up into the attic. And I’m just kind of curious if that is possible or …
TOM: So you have a beam that runs down the middle of the house and you’d like to eliminate this so that it doesn’t become sort of an obstruction. Is that correct?
TOM: So that you have like a continuous, flat ceiling?
JOEL: Yes. We’re going to drop the ceiling down about 7 inches. The beam is actually 9½-inches down. It’s two 2×4 – or two 4x6s and then two 2x4s on either side. Kind of an eyesore.
TOM: Why are you dropping the ceiling?
JOEL: Because we’re going to put in can lighting.
TOM: Alright. So you’re only going to have an extra couple of inches to deal with with this beam. Is that what you’re saying?
TOM: Moving it a little or moving it a lot makes absolutely no difference. I will tell you that moving a main beam like that is one of the most difficult projects you can do. It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself project. It’s one where you absolutely have to have pros involved. And if you do it wrong, you could collapse your entire roof.
The way it’s done is the structure above it is supported by temporary walls while that beam is disassembled. And then it gets sort of notched into the ceiling-joist structure above and then moved up flush with those beams. So once it’s done, once it’s flush in there, then you would have a continuous, flat ceiling. I don’t see why you couldn’t put the ceiling lights above that if you want to go that whole way.
But this is a big project, Joel. This is not a small project to move that beam. Alright? Good luck, though. Thanks very much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JOEL: Hey, thank you so much for accepting my call.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
We are cruising towards Memorial Day, guys. How can we help you get your money pit in tip-top shape? Well, give us a call with your question to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
TOM: And this spring, would you like to sneeze less and avoid having so much dust around your house? Well, you can achieve both with the right air filter. And we’re going to help. We’ve got a $150 Home Depot gift card going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. And you can use that to stock up on the brand-new Honeywell Allergen Plus Pleated Air Filters. So give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We’ll be back with more of your calls, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Well, we are smack-dab in the middle of allergy season. And if you’d like to sneeze less, you’re going to need good air filters in your house. We’ve got a $150 gift card from The Home Depot which you can use, in part, to help stock up on the new Honeywell Allergen Plus Pleated Air Filters.
TOM: You know, I think that’s a project that people frequently forget. It’s really important to do that on a regular basis, because filters are an easy way to keep the air in your home fresh this spring and really, all year long. You just want to remember to replace those filters at least every three months if you want to reduce allergens and cut down on the dust which, of course, cuts down on the dusting. And it keeps your heating-and-cooling systems running efficiently, as well.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you also want to choose good-quality filters. The Honeywell Air Filter is available at The Home Depot. Capture more particulate dust and other airborne allergens than your average filters are going to. And that’s going to allow much better airflow and really give you the best combination of clean air and efficiency.
TOM: So give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win that $150 gift card to The Home Depot, so you can stock up on those new Honeywell Allergen Plus Pleated Air Filters.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to it. Leslie, who’s next?[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Conrad in Texas is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help?
CONRAD: And I want to get your advice as to whether or not it would be advisable to put up a solar vent over my garage and leave the ridge vents throughout my – the rest of my house. I am getting ready to re-roof my entire house and garage.
TOM: So, when you say “solar vent,” do you mean solar-powered attic fan?
CONRAD: Yes, yes. Right.
TOM: First of all, my general advice is to never use an attic fan. And the reason I give that advice is because, typically, when the attic is over living space that is air-conditioned, what happens is the fan is so powerful that it will pull air conditioning from that living space through the hundreds of nooks and crannies that you don’t know about, like the space in between the 2x4s and the wall cavity where, say, the outlet is installed. That becomes an intake port where it’ll suck out the air conditioning.
If you were describing this garage as being attached to the house but not attached to the living space – and I would include the attic in that if the attic is complete independent of not being over living space. And considering that it’s a hip roof, which is the type of roof – folks, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s the one that’s like a pyramid, right? It goes up on all four sides. You end up with this really small ridge at the top where you really can’t put an effective vent. In that circumstance and that circumstance only, yes, I think it’s OK to put a solar-powered attic fan.
And I think it makes a lot of sense for you because if you’re – you’ll be pulling air through all those soffit vents all the way around, you’ll be drawing it through that attic space and exhausting it. And that will keep the roof temperature cooler and yes, it can increase the longevity of the roof.
Now, for the other sections of roof and attic that are, again, separated from that garage space, there you should use a continuous ridge vent. Make sure the ridge line is cut open at least an inch to an inch-and-a-half so you have a good, wide gap at the top. And then the vent fits on top of that.
And be careful with the type of vent that you choose. You want to make sure you get one that’s open enough to allow the airflow but not let water drive into it. There’s one by CertainTeed called Air Vent. It’s the – that’s their manufacturer’s name or their trade name: Air Vent. I think it’s AirVent.com or Air Vent Inc., something along that line. And it has a nice baffle built into it, which speeds up depressurization. It’s also got a filter that fits inside of it that stops rain from blowing in. So just get a good-quality vent like that and I think you’ll be good to go, have the best of both worlds in that situation.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, do you want to take the bite out of backyard fun? We’re going to have some tips to stop mosquitoes from taking over your yard, presented by DynaTrap, just ahead. But first, let’s get back to the calls.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Diane in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DIANE: We live in New Jersey. And my dad had the Pennsylvania Dutch come all the way to New Jersey. And they put up a beautiful gambrel pole barn with that nice shape to it.
DIANE: But I noticed there are little rafters along the edge. And even though they have little holes in them, every year the flies come in through there and I have hundreds, all dead, at the end of summer. And I don’t know what I could do to stop that problem.
TOM: So you have – this is a barn that you have and it’s a fairly open barn? I mean you’re not going to keep the flies out of the barn. You can’t make it that tight because by the nature of the building, it’s pretty drafty, correct?
DIANE: Well, actually, my dad – we never had any animals near stalls but he – it’s completely closed all the time. It’s got two electric doors at either end and a door, so it is contained. The only way they’re getting in is through – under the edges of the roof, there’s a – it looks like a – I don’t know. You know the gutters, sort of? It looks like gutters – gutter situation. And there’s an opening there and the sunlight and the air go through, which I guess you need for animals. But we’re not using it for animals.
TOM: So at the room edge, the rafters, does it have a complete soffit? Is it constructed so that you have a flat, vented area underneath it? Or is it just wide open?
DIANE: No. There is a vented area. They have looked at it closely. And it appears to have – and it’s got little holes in it big enough for flies.
TOM: So they’re not getting in this soffit area where you’re suspecting.
DIANE: I don’t know. I thought they were coming through those holes.
TOM: Yeah. But if they’re that small, they’re not coming in. Look, typically, soffit ventilation is too small for insects to get into. So they’re probably coming in a different way. Do you have a ridge vent at the peak?
DIANE: Actually it’s just for looks because when I – there is a staircase that goes up to the top of the barn and there’s no openings in the roof.
TOM: Diane, if you’re trying to keep these barn flies out of the barn, there’s really two ways to approach this. Mechanical, which is what we’re talking about in terms of making sure that you have screening wherever it’s necessary. This would include any vents, gable vents, cupola vents, soffit vents and the like. And of course, you mentioned that it has large doors that generally stay closed. I guess there’s not much you can do right there.
But the second technique is chemical. And there are professional pesticides that are designed specifically to deal with these flies. There’s usually some formulation of pyrethrin that essentially is sprayed inside the barn to control these insect populations. And in fact, in some cases where you actually have livestock, there are formulations that can also be applied to the livestock without harming them.
So I would do two things: I would make sure that I examine the barn very carefully for any additional openings where these flies can get in; and then I would consult a pest-management professional for an appropriate application of pesticide, because you have such a severe problem. I don’t think this is anything you’re going to be able to handle with, say, a more natural, smaller-scale approach like I might give you for your house. In this case, I think you need to choose the right product and have it applied properly. And when done, in accordance with all the label directions, I think it is a relatively safe thing to do.
I hope that helps you out. Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s the season to get outside and start enjoying the warm weather for barbecues and picnics and parties. But that enjoyment can be quickly interrupted when mosquitoes are on the hunt for their next meal, as well, which could be you. We’ve got tips to prevent that from happening, presented by DynaTrap.
TOM: Now, the first step towards making your home less inviting for mosquitoes is simply to eliminate standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. And here’s why: according to the Center for Disease Control, mosquitoes grow from eggs to full size, ready to bite adults, in as little as 7 to 10 days. And the best way to stop that from happening is just to eliminate any standing water anywhere around your property.
LESLIE: Now, there are literally dozens of places standing water can collect at your average home. And mosquitoes only need a cup or more to drop a whole brood of young’uns. And they’re going to grow up fast and start stinging away.
TOM: Yeah. Think about places like your gutters. I mean if they’re clogged, you’ve basically got a breeding pond there. And don’t miss places like pool covers or pet dishes, kids’ toys, buckets. You know, even something as simple as an overturned garbage-can lid that blew off in a storm is collecting some water. Really, anything at all that can hold an inch or more of water needs to be drained. If you do stop that standing water for wherever it does exist, the only thing, I think, you’ll be slapping this summer are maybe some steaks on the grill. And that sounds pretty good to me.
LESLIE: Yeah. That’s the kind you want to do, guys.
Today’s Mosquito Prevention Tip has been presented by DynaTrap Mosquito and Insect Trap. DynaTrap protects up to a ½-acre to guard your family and pets from nuisance insects that may bite and spread disease. DynaTrap produces CO2 – and that’s an irresistible attractant for mosquitoes – through a chemical reaction, with no additional lures or attractants needed.
TOM: It’s completely non-toxic and can be used indoors and out. It’s available at Bed Bath & Beyond. You can learn more at DynaTrap.com.[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Tom in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
TOM IN OHIO: Hi. Yeah, I had a question about cracks in the basement. I’ve got a home that’s about 15 years old and we’re thinking about selling in a year. And we’ve got some cracks in our basement. It’s a full basement. And it’s probably – I don’t know – it’s mostly around an eighth. In some places, they’re kind of chipped up a little bigger than an eighth and they kind of – couple of them start out from the drain and kind of spider out. And I’m just kind of wondering at what – to what point they become a concern, especially if we’re going to try to resell and what we need to do – need to address the problem.
TOM: OK, Tom. I would not be too concerned about basement-floor cracks. Here’s why: that basement floor is not structural. Even though it’s made of concrete, it’s not holding anything up, so it’s really just supporting itself. And it cracks for a number of reasons and may – the soil underneath may not have been prepped properly when it was first installed or the floor could be too thin or it wasn’t reinforced.
So what I would do is I would definitely fill them and there’s a number of ways to do that. If it’s just an 1/8-inch, QUIKRETE makes a concrete patching compound that comes in a caulk tube. It’s really easy to apply. So you can squeeze this patching compound into those cracks, let it solidify.
And then what I would do is I would paint the entire floor. I would use an epoxy basement floor-painting system. It’s a two-part epoxy. It’s a chemical cure, so you mix the two parts together, you apply the epoxy. There’s usually some sort of a colorant chip that you can put in to give it some density to the surface. And you probably won’t even see those cracks when it’s done.
And I don’t think it’s structural, so it’s not like you’re hiding anything. I think it’ll just make the whole thing look really nice when it’s finished.
TOM IN OHIO: OK. Great. Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
If this is the year you’re planning to grow a beautiful, green lawn, can you get there faster and sustain the lawn longer if you seed or sod? Roger Cook, landscaping expert for This Old House, will be here to help us figure out the best solution, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT which is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
And just ahead, landscape expert Roger Cook from This Old House is going to join us with the secret to getting a lush, green lawn just in time for summer. And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is presented by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy.
But first, let’s get back to your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Deborah in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DEBORAH: OK. I’m purchasing a home that has a couple of stains on the ceiling. And it turns out the stains are located directly under the vents. I don’t know any other way to explain it but they’re like these tubes on the outside where the roof is. So, I was told by the inspection that those rubber-stopper things that go around them need to be replaced.
TOM: OK. Yeah. So, the plumbing-vent flashing is what is leaking here. And the plumbing-vent flashing consists of an aluminum piece of flash material that goes underneath the roof shingles and a rubber boot that is designed to fit over the plumbing pipe. And they very often – that rubber boot will very often crack and deteriorate and does have to be replaced.
Not a terribly complicated job. A roofer or a carpenter can do it in about 10 or 15 minutes. They just basically have to peel up a roof shingle or two right around there. You can do that with a flat bar. You can actually put the flat bar under the roof shingle, get it right up to where the nail is and kind of wiggle it back and forth. That nail will come right out. You can kind of disassemble the roof one shingle at a time, replace the flashing vent and put it back together.
So, pretty easy, straightforward repair project and not the least bit unusual, Deborah. OK?
DEBORAH: OK. Well, I appreciate you taking my call. Thank you.
TOM: Yeah. You’re welcome. Good luck, Deborah. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve been striving to create a lush, green lawn around your home but you feel like you’re consistently losing the battle to bald spots and weeds, you might be tempted to throw in the towel and start from scratch.
TOM: And if that’s you, the question is: should you reseed your lawn or go with sod? To help us figure out the best solution is Roger Cook, the landscaping expert from TV’s This Old House.
Roger, I guess you have done quite a bit of both.
ROGER: Oh, I hate to tell you how much.
TOM: And I’ve been there with a lousy lawn. When we first moved into our house, the lawn was a weedy mess. So we kind of opted to kill off the entire yard with a round of Roundup and then we reseeded from scratch. It worked out but I have to say, it probably took two to three years for the blades to get really thick and healthy. Is sod a better approach or a quicker approach?
ROGER: With sod, you’re buying time. What I do to my customers is I bring a piece of sod to them. I say, “Here. If you seed the lawn, in 16 to 18 months, under perfect conditions you take care of it, this is what you’ll end up with.”
TOM: Got it.
ROGER: So it’s time. It’s a question of time. Some people love the idea of seeding a lawn, then taking care of it and finally getting that lush product. Other people, they’d just as soon have the sod put in and have it instant but …
LESLIE: Well, regardless of which direction you’re going in, what is the prep to the surface to make sure that it’s going to take? Because I imagine that that’s really key.
ROGER: You hit the nail right on the head, Leslie. Soil prep is the most important thing that’s done. All lawns will fail if you don’t fix the soil. So what we do is we rototill, we add compost, we till that in. We’ll add sand if it’s a heavy soil and then some starter fertilizer. And then we put in seed or sod, depending on which way we want to go.
TOM: Now, Roger, do planning times play into the decision? Can sod be planted in the spring and be sturdy enough to survive the summer heat?
ROGER: Not only that. Sod can be planted any time of year, as long as you have water to take care of it.
ROGER: Because it will need a lot of water. But seed can only be done early in the spring or in the fall. If you try to seed a lawn during July or August, it’s going to dry out.
LESLIE: It’s just going to dry out.
ROGER: You’re going to have nothing but weeds. Crabgrass loves that hot time of year.
LESLIE: But with sod, even in a Northern climate where you’re getting snow, that’ll do fine if you put it in sort of winter-ish?
ROGER: I’ve actually sodded a lawn on December 24th.
TOM: Merry Christmas.
ROGER: Yeah. But that spring, it was the greenest lawn in the neighborhood.
TOM: Really. Wow.
ROGER: It was great.
So one thing that happens is people go to a garden center and they see a piece of sod laying out on the asphalt or the concrete and they think sod is a miracle that’ll just grow like that. Sod fails and people are unhappy with it when you don’t prep the soil underneath it.
The other thing about most sod blends, they’re made for sunny areas. Seed you can adapt; you can buy different blends of seed that will do well in a shaded area. Sod, for the most part, should only be put in a sunny area.
TOM: But regardless of seed or sod, it really comes down to the watering. That’s where you can really – it doesn’t matter what it is. If you don’t have a proper watering plan, it’s not going to grow.
ROGER: No. And people don’t understand that when you put down a seed lawn, you need to water very frequently for very short periods of time. Because that seed is just sitting in the top ¼-inch of soil, so that’s what you want to keep moist. Once it germinates, then you start watering for longer periods as the root system goes down in the soil.
LESLIE: Is there any consideration to what, I guess, what the makeup is of your soil, like the chemical makeup or the pH levels? Do you need to think about that?
ROGER: I do a soil test on every piece of ground before we put grass on it. I want to know what the pH is, I want to know what the micronutrients are. These all affect how the grass will grow.
TOM: Now, Roger, very often in new construction, we see this material called “hydroseed.” It kind of looks like they’re spray-painting a green lawn on brown dirt. Is that a viable option?
ROGER: It is, for large areas.
ROGER: All hydroseed is is a way to apply the seed. And it’s just sprayed on with water, they ground up newspaper, they use dye in the seed so that you can do large areas very quickly. And because it’s sprayed on with those materials, that helps it germinate, too.
TOM: I see.
ROGER: A smaller area, less than 4,000 square feet, you’re better off doing by hand. Because the cost doesn’t weigh out on that small of an area. Larger than 4,000 square feet, you can look to have someone come in and hydroseed it.
TOM: Fantastic. Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: Thanks for having me.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you by on PBS by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Make comfort personal.
Up next, water quality is top of mind right now and Home Depot is a great place to pick up whatever water-quality solution you might need. So this hour, we are giving away one of those solutions. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question and we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and perhaps send out that product to you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great product to help you improve the quality of water in your home.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, water quality really is top of mind right now and has been for so many since we all learned about what’s going on in communities like Flint, Michigan. Now, the first step is to identify any potential concerns or contaminants in your water so that you can select the right solution. From pitchers and faucet mounts to whole-home systems, The Home Depot is a great place to pick up whatever water-quality solution you might need.
TOM: Yeah. Like, for example, there’s the ScaleBlaster Electronic Water Conditioner. This is a product that’s going to solve that hard-water problem that you might be bothered with. But it does it without the need of chemicals or salt or maintenance, which is just a healthier way to solve that problem. It’s a DIY installation. There’s no plumbing required. And it’s going to prevent limescale from forming and it’s also going to remove that existing deposit forever.
You’ll find it at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com. It’s worth 198 bucks but we’re going to be sending a Home Depot water-quality solution out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. If you don’t like the taste of your water, the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Frank on the line who’s having an issue with paint on his siding.
What’s going on, Frank?
FRANK: It’s all – and first of all, it’s all coming off. It’s like no one ever primed it before or anything and I don’t know if they used paint or stain. And I’m not really sure what to go back with, if you have prime it. I really – I don’t know. I’m lost.
TOM: So we’re talking about siding shingles here, not roofing shingles, correct?
FRANK: Right. Cedar shingles – white cedar shingles.
TOM: So the paint’s coming off after you’re power-washed them, so you probably didn’t have good adhesion to begin with.
LESLIE: Yeah. But paint is going to come off when you pressure-wash. That’s just how it goes.
TOM: Well, that’s true and – well, depending on the ferocity of the pressure washer. But also, if paint wasn’t applied well, if it wasn’t primed properly, then it will come off even that much more quicker. So what I would recommend you do is to get rid of any loose paint that’s left behind. You’re probably going to have to abrade those shingles, probably brush them with a wire brush. Make sure you really get anything that’s loose off of that.
Then you’re going to need to prime the entire shingle surface with an oil-based primer, because that’s going to give you maximum adhesion. The primer – one of the qualities of the primer is that it really sticks to the substrate. And then after it’s primed, then you can put a topcoat of paint over that. But that’s the process and there’s just no shortcutting it, especially if you’ve got adhesion problems with the paint that you’ve taken off. You can’t put good paint over bad paint. You’ve got to get rid of all the bad paint, prime it properly and then repaint it and you’ll be good to go, Frank.
FRANK: OK. Because I’ve had some people telling me that you could use stain.
TOM: Well, you could use stain, as well, but only if all of the old paint is off. Otherwise, it’s going to look pretty bad.
Now, if you use stain, you still have to prime it. I’ve got cedar shingles on my home and I primed it first and then used a solid-color stain over that. And between the two of them – the last time I did it this way, it lasted about 15 or 17 years. But you’ve got to prime it. No matter what you do, you’ve got to prime it.
FRANK: OK. And an oil-based primer. OK. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’ve got it, Frank. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, we’re talking a lot, this hour, about outdoor living. And perhaps you’re planning on building a greenhouse so that you’ll be able to start seedlings early and extend your growing season into the fall. Well, you should consider the materials carefully. Here’s why.
TOM: Yeah, you’ve got some options. I mean wood framing is the basic, right? But that retains the structure’s heat and of course, you’ve got to refinish it. Another option is aluminum framing. It’s not going to retain as much heat. It’s also going to resist corrosion and keep its shape. But probably the best option is a material called “rigid steel-core PVC pipe.” It kind of combines PVC and steel and so it’s very resistant to rust. And it also keeps its shape and it’s great for shelving and it’s very easy to maintain. So, think about those materials when you’re deciding how you’re going to build your greenhouse. Because if you pick the right materials, it’s really going to last a long time and you’ll be able to enjoy it for many, many seasons.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Joann in Ohio is on the line and has an issue with mold. What can we do for you today?
JOANN: I have two decks in my backyard. One of them seems to be fine but the second one, which has a very large dog pen on it, has developed a lot of mold over the winter. And my thought is to buy a lot of bleach and to dilute it and just scrub the mold off. But perhaps you have something better that you could tell me to do.
TOM: There’s a much more effective way to get that deck clean. It’s a product called Spray & Forget. And just as the name implies, you spray it onto the deck surface and you don’t do anything else. You forget about it and it essentially goes to work immediately. And within a few days, it will degrade and destroy the mold, mildew, algae and moss that forms on your deck.
JOANN: Can I then have it repainted?
TOM: Sure. Absolutely. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You could paint it after that. But the thing is, if you use a lot of bleach, you end up potentially damaging all the landscaping that’s around that, as well. So, I would definitely recommend Spray & Forget.
JOANN: Is this – come in a canister or a powder or something?
TOM: Comes in a bottle. It’s a no-mix bottle.
JOANN: In a bottle?
TOM: Yep. You can find it at lots of places. I think The Home Depot has it and many other retailers. Their website is SprayAndForget.com.
JOANN: Very good. I will definitely do that. And it’s safe for pets, too?
TOM: Yes. It’s biodegradable. It’s a safe, non-corrosive product that works really well. It’s also a great roof cleaner. Sometimes you get moss and it discolors your roof shingles. You can spray this on your roof. It does the same thing.
JOANN: Oh, that’s wonderful. I am going to purchase this. Thank you so much for your information.
TOM: Happy to help you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JOANN: Thank you.
LESLIE: Hey, give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Coming up, we’re going to help one member of The Money Pit online community design a baby’s room, so stick around.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, we’d love for you to stop by the new Money Pit community online at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got dozens and dozens of questions get posted there every single week. We answer as many as we can and then the rest of the community kind of chimes in and lets us know what they think. And luckily, most of the time they agree but sometimes they don’t. Always an interesting discussion online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question, just like Amanda in California did. She writes: “I’m expecting a baby and looking for flooring for the nursery. I want something that handles stains well but also something soft. Do you have any suggestions?”
TOM: Well, for the baby’s room, you want something that’s super durable and easy to clean. You could start right there, right?
LESLIE: Oh, yes. I mean really easy to clean is the thing. You don’t want to go wall-to-wall carpet unless you’re going with a color or a material that’s easily cleanable. Because, generally, you will be spilling lots of things: human, all kinds of other materials on the floor. I promise you you will be experiencing all kinds of spillage that you never even anticipated.
When I think of a nursery, for some reason I keep thinking of a cork-flooring product. You know, it’s so soft. It has an interesting look to it. It’s kind of got that California Boho vibe to it, which I really dig. And you can accessorize that really well.
TOM: Yeah. Now, if you really want something soft underfoot, though, people – we say don’t do wall-to-wall carpet but you could do an area rug, right? That would make a nice décor accent, too.
LESLIE: It really is. So, if I’m thinking cork, I like it because it has that natural sort of marled look to it. It can be rich in color but also soft in a tone. And it’s very soft on your feet but it’s a super-durable and cleanable product. They even make it to go into a bathroom. So, it can be very durable.
An area rug will really do the trick to add some warmth. Plus, it’s changeable should you make a mess. And then you can bring in different accessories, from lighting to the right rocker in a fun fabric, even great draperies. You want to go with a cordless shade, something that operates, really, just by a push or a touch lightly with your finger. You don’t want any cords in a baby’s room.
And I think if you think about products that are sort of low-VOC, you’re going to do well with air quality in the baby’s room, especially paints and flooring and furnishings. You want to make sure that if they are high in VOCs – which sometimes you don’t know; you can actually smell it if it’s kind of prone to that – let it air out outside or let even the manufacturer store it in their warehouse for a couple of days, especially if you go with flooring as – that’s a wall-to-wall carpet. You want it to air out in the manufacturer’s warehouse for a couple of days before it gets installed. Just get rid of that bad off-gassing outside of your home.
TOM: Good point. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. And you can post your question on MoneyPit.com in the community. Jay in Nevada did that. Jay writes: “My friend’s car leaked oil onto my concrete driveway.” Oh, come on, Jay, we know it was your car. “Do you know what I should use to get the stain up?”
Yeah, that’s a tough one because, usually, it sits there for a while before you figure it out. But what we’ve found is that if you make a paste out of trisodium phosphate, sold under the initials TSP – you will find this product in the paint aisle at hardware stores and home centers, because it’s also a product that gets mixed up to wash down the walls and get them nice and clean before you paint a room. But if you make a paste up of TSP and you apply it to the stain and let it sit there for a while, then wash it off, wet it down, scrub it out, we find that it generally will lighten it up if not take it out completely. So TSP is the hot ticket.
LESLIE: Alright. That really should do the trick right there. And next time your friend comes over, why not ask that friend to park out on the street? Just a thought.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this beautiful spring day with us. We hope that we’ve given you some tips and some advice and some ideas and inspiration to take on the next project on your to-do list. If you need help, we’d love for you to post your question to the Money Pit community online at MoneyPit.com or call us, any time of the day or night, 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.
(Copyright 2017 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.)