- If you’d love to have a backyard swimming spot, we share a cool option over traditional chlorine pools; natural in-ground pools that are pond-like, gorgeous and earth-friendly options.
- Looking for a new floor that’s beautiful, durable and totally waterproof? We found it! It’s called Duravana and made using stone hybrid technology. We’ll share more about this affordable new flooring technology.
- Memorial Day Weekend is here. And along with barbecues and pool openings, we honor the service and sacrifices of our troops. That’s why now is a good time to display your patriotism by flying the flag. We’ll share tips, including how to attach flagpole brackets to a wide variety of siding materials.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Roy wants to know the best way to put in a walkway for his yard and if it’s a DIY project?
- Michelle in Alabama is having a mold issue just above her baseboard.
- Sage from New York is having a minute long delay for his outside faucet to turn on.
- Selena in Tennessee wants to know if she needs to replace her supply price if she is replacing all of her drainpipes.
- Moshe from Ohio wants to know if there is a caulking silicone that will last longer than a year.
- Andrea in Ontario has black mold behind her sink that she can’t get rid of.
- Anthony from New York has a stucco chimney that is starting to break off.
- Heidi in North Carolina wants to know if she can move the fuse box inside and how to find someone to finish converting a sub panel.
- Carol from Oregon has rusty well water corroding her toilets.
- Margaret in Virginia has a rusty cast iron tub she would like to restore.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you doing this weekend? Because I think we’re picking up an extra day. It’s the Memorial Day weekend and if you’ve got some plans to enjoy yourself or maybe some plans to work on your house, we can help with the latter. All you need to do is reach out to us with your questions. Head on over to MoneyPit.com, click on the floating-microphone button, leave us a message and we will get back to you with the answers to your home improvement question.
What are you doing this weekend, Leslie? Are you going to enjoy it? Take that third day? Or are you going to get to work on something?
LESLIE: Ah, you know, we actually have a soccer tournament to go to. So, no rest for the weary.
TOM: Ah, yes.
LESLIE: We’ll be at Hershey Park having some fun but also many, many games of soccer.
TOM: Yeah, I remember those long, long, extra tournament weekends. Pretty much it’s all in, right?
LESLIE: It is all in.
TOM: Packing up the car and heading on out. Yep.
LESLIE: Yeah. You are there, you are heading out, you are cheering people on and hopefully, everybody walks away with a smile.
TOM: Well, if you are not heading out to a sporting tournament and you’re hanging out at home and maybe you’re going to tackle some home improvement projects, you’ve got something to do, we are here to help you get that done. Reach out to us. Again, click on the microphone button, record your question and it’ll shoot right to the production studio.
Hey, coming up on today’s show, if you’d love to have a backyard swimming spot – and this, by the way, is the year you’re going to really do something about it, because a lot of us have these. We’d love to have it for years and maybe next year, maybe next year. But if you really want to do it, we’re going to give you a very cool option over a chlorine pool. I mean pools are nice but sometimes that chlorine just is really hard to breathe and it kind of burns your face, burns your nostrils. But we’ve got the scoop on a natural, in-ground pool that’s pond-like, gorgeous and completely Earth-friendly without all of that chlorine need.
LESLIE: Oh, I love it.
Coming up also, are you looking for a new floor that’s beautiful, durable and totally waterproof? Well, we found it. It’s called Duravana and it’s made by LL Flooring. We’re going to share more about this brand-new technology in flooring, just ahead.
TOM: And now that we’re in Memorial Day weekend, along with barbecues and pool openings we honor the service and sacrifices of our troops. That’s why now is a great time to display your patriotism by flying the flag. So we’re going to offer some tips on how to attach flagpole brackets to a wide variety of siding materials.
LESLIE: Alright. But first, what are you working on this holiday weekend? Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s your tan. That’s all fine. But whatever it is, we’re here to lend you a hand with all things home-related. So give us a call or post your question anytime.
TOM: Again, go to MoneyPit.com, click on Leave Us a Message and record your question for us. And we’ll get right back to you with the answer.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Heading to Plattsburgh. We’ve got Roy on the line who’s got a question about a walkway.
What’s going on?
ROY: Currently, right in front of my house, I just have grass. There’s no real walkway. And I’m looking to put a walkway in. I was thinking of these colored, precast sort of blocks.
TOM: Yeah, they’re called “pavers.”
ROY: Pavers. And what do I have to do underneath those to make sure they don’t move over time? And if that’s something I should be able to undertake myself or should I get a pro to do that?
TOM: Well, it’s a job. And I’ll tell you that if you don’t do it right, you’ll see those pavers start to move and stuff start to grow through it within a year or two.
But what you have to do is you have to excavate down about 6 to 8 inches and you put in a crushed gravel base. And then you tamp the gravel base in. And usually, if it’s a pro, they’re going to have a mechanical tamper that does that. And it’s always amazing to me because when that gravel base is tamped in, it’s as hard as concrete and you can’t detect that it’s just gravel anymore. But that tamped base is really, really important because on top of that, you’re going to lay your paver brick.
And the paver bricks are modular. They’re designed so that two-brick wide is one-brick long, if you’re using the rectangular bricks. And that is unlike a regular building brick, because a building brick actually leaves room for a mortar joint but a paver brick doesn’t. That’s the difference between those two. And of course, you have other styles, octagon styles and things like that. But getting that base in is important.
And I think – is it a long walk? How many feet are we talking about here?
ROY: Only a short walk, maybe 25, 30 feet at most.
TOM: Yeah, that’s pretty long. I don’t know that I would want to do that myself.
TOM: That’s a lot of work. You’d have to hand-tamp that with a tamping iron and even after an exhausting day or two of beating that stuff down, it’s still not going to be as hard as it would be if you had a pro do it.
Of course, the other thing to do is you could pour your own concrete sidewalk if you want to do that.
ROY: OK. Alright. Well, sounds good. Thank you so much.
TOM: Well, good luck with that project. Thanks for reaching out to us at The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Michelle in Alabama, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MICHELLE: OK. Well, we live in a home that was built in the early 70s. And in two of the bedrooms, we are having a mold issue and it’s just above the baseboards. And I’ve actually cut into the sheetrock, thinking that maybe it’s the moisture from the outside coming through but it’s not. There’s no mold inside; it’s just in the room. And I don’t know what’s causing it or how to even fix it.
LESLIE: And are you certain that it’s mold? Have you had it tested?
MICHELLE: Well, yeah, it’s like a – we had a piece of furniture there – a dresser there – and we moved it and we were totally shocked that there – like it was black and fuzzy. It was no – it was mold.
TOM: So if you had this furniture against the wall, you probably created sort of a chilly, damp area there. Moving the furniture out probably helps because you get a little more ventilation behind it. But what I would do is I would spray that mold down with a bleach-and-water solution so that would kill anything that’s there. Protect the carpet because, obviously, you don’t want to bleach out your carpet. But spray it down, let the bleach-and-water sit for a while – maybe 10, 15 minutes – and then clean it. And that will stop any further mold from growing.
And just try to keep that area dry. If it’s very damp and it’s – and if the furniture was pressed up against it, that might be why it’s happening.
What kind of furniture was against it?
MICHELLE: It was really like a child’s dresser.
TOM: OK. So it was wood. It wasn’t a couch or something like that?
MICHELLE: No, it was wood, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, so take a look at the back of that, too and make sure if there’s any mold spores on that, that they’re cleaned, as well.
MICHELLE: Alright. Thanks for your help.
LESLIE: Sage in New York is on the line with an outdoor-watering question.
Tell us what’s going on.
SAGE: How are you doing? I have an outdoor faucet, which I use to connect my hose in the front. And I believe it’s called a “frost-free sillcock.”
SAGE: And the problem I have is that when I open the faucet, I can open it full but the water takes, sometimes, up to a minute to come out, if it comes out at all.
TOM: Now, inside your house, there’s going to be another valve that is designed to shut off that line for the winter. Did you check to make sure that valve was fully open?
SAGE: It is fully open, yes.
TOM: So the valve is fully open on the inside of the house, the valve – the hose bib – on the outside of the house, though, you open it up and it takes a minute to come out. And when it comes out, is it coming out fast or slow or what?
SAGE: It comes out slow and I also wondered if the fact that the pressure was lower on this faucet, as compared to the faucet at the back of the house, was part of the problem?
TOM: And how old is the house?
SAGE: Oh, the house is only about 3 years old.
TOM: Three years old? Alright. So the plumbing should be fine.
What you’re describing is simply a valve that’s not fully open. And so, if the valve inside is open and the valve outside is open, then somewhere we’ve got a bad valve. Because that shouldn’t be happening; it should be very simple. The valve opens, the water flies out. Three-year-old house, there’s no reason for any corrosion to be inside the pipe or anything of that nature. And so you’ve got a bad valve somewhere; that’s what has to be looked into.
SAGE: OK. Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Celina in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CELINA: Last week, I had estimates done on my home to have all my drainpipes replaced.
TOM: Hmm. Why did you do that?
CELINA: My house was built in 1944 and we’ve had some trouble here lately with clogs and everything. So, I just decided to go ahead and replace all the drain lines.
TOM: Is that because the – you were getting roots and that sort of thing in the pipes?
CELINA: I don’t think there’s roots in them, no, because we’ve had those – the pipe from the house back to the drain replaced already. This is just the inside pipe. And they’re old and yes, we have had a couple of them to rupture but I just decided to get them all replaced.
However, today, my son told me that all of that is useless if I don’t get the main line coming into the house replaced, also. And I wanted to see what your take was on that.
TOM: Well, we’re talking about two different types of pipes. You’re talking about drainage pipes versus supply pipes. And the supply pipe that comes into the house may or may not need to be replaced. The questions I would have for you are: what’s the pipe made out of and are we having any problems with it?
Now, in an older house, you may have the original steel plumbing – steel main-water pipe – coming into the house which, if the house was built – did you say the 40s?
TOM: That’s a super-old pipe that definitely is at risk of breaking.
CELINA: OK, great. So when they come back out to do my plumbing, because they’re doing it in 2 weeks, I need to ask them to look at the pipe. And that means – because none of the people that gave me estimates even mentioned it was bad.
TOM: Well, I would take a look at that. And typically, in a house, you don’t replace the drainpipes. I’m a little surprised that you’re doing that. Typically, in an older house with steel pipes, you end up replacing the supply pipes. And you do the horizontal pipes first because they’re the easiest to access. And you do the vertical pipes that go up through the walls last because they’re the hardest to access. And you can do it in stages.
The first step of a steel-pipe conversion is to do the main. The second one is to do all the horizontals in the basement crawlspace and the third is to do the verticals. And so, typically, that’s what you do in a house that has that kind of plumbing.
You mentioned you had some problems with clogging with the drainpipes but that’s pretty unusual. And I actually have never heard of anyone wanting to replace drainpipes. Typically, they replace supply pipes.
So you might want to get a second opinion on this and not just take the opinion of the plumber that wants the work.
CELINA: OK, great. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Well, there’s a new trend in alternative swimming pools and it’s not the saltwater pool, either. It’s called the “natural swimming pool” and it’s kind of a high-end pond right in your backyard.
Now, rather than using chlorine, these pools use living ecosystems to actually clean the water and keep it healthy for swimming. It’s sustainable and eco-friendly and it’s super popular in Europe, where it originated about 30 years.
TOM: Yeah. And here’s how they work. A natural swimming pool is actually made up of two separate but adjoining sections and the water sort of circulates between them.
Now, the first section is the actual swimming area and the second is known as the regeneration zone, essentially a shallow water garden. Now, aquatic plants that are rooted in a substrate will act as a biological filter by removing bacteria and contaminants from the water and taking in nutrients, depriving algae of what it needs to flourish.
LESLIE: Yeah. I really do love how these look, as well. I mean they look so natural and beautiful and refreshing and inviting. And the shape and the design, that’s truly up to the homeowner. It can be organically curved, like a real pond or you can just say, “We’re rectangular like a regular pool but we’re different at the same time.” But they’re gorgeous.
Now, the regeneration zone, that just needs to be equal in the area, same as the swimming zone, to give you the proper filtration.
TOM: Now, the initial construction costs are pretty comparable with a regular pool. But keep this in mind: the maintenance costs can be hundreds of dollars lower because you have no chemicals to buy and it uses very little electricity. Plus, a lot of homeowners do spend a ton of money on landscaping around the pool to create the feel of a real pond. So why do that if you start with a real pond? It’s a great option for those that want to have a very natural look to their backyard space.
LESLIE: OK. Now, we’re going to chat with Moshi from Ohio who’s got a question about caulking a tub.
What’s going on?
MOSHI: I just wanted to know if there is a silicone that lasts more than a year.
TOM: Yeah. Sure. So, first of all, you want to make sure you’re using a kitchen-and-bath silicone, because it has a mildicide in it, so you’re using the right product. Secondly, though, let me give you some tips on how to make sure you’re applying it correctly.
First off, you’ve got to remove everything that was there before. Now, if it doesn’t come out easily enough by you sort of scraping it out with a dull putty knife or something like that, there’s a product called a “caulk softener,” kind of like a paint stripper for caulk that makes it a little bit easier. Softens it, makes it a bit more mushy. But once you get that out, then what you want to do is spray that joint down with some bleach-and-water solution so that you’re killing any mold that’s kind of left behind. You can rinse it out and then let it dry thoroughly.
And before you apply the caulk, fill up the tub because that weights it down and pulls that seam open a little bit. And then you caulk it and once the caulk dries the next day, you release the water from the tub.
Now, when you caulk it with silicone, I’ll give you a little trick of the trade. If you spray your – if you want to try to smooth it out, it’s kind of hard because it’s gooey. But if you put a little window cleaner on your hands or at least get them wet a little bit, you can use your finger and kind of drag it along that seam and it’ll press it in nicely and leave kind of a rounded edge that looks kind of neat and clean. The other thing that you could do is you could mask off the top and the bottom of the joint where you’re going to caulk. And then you could just pull off the masking tape if you’re afraid that it’s going to be a little bit too sloppy.
But following those steps, you should have a caulk that’s going to last you at least 3 or 4 years, I would think.
MOSHI: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Moshi. Good luck.
LESLIE: Andrea from Ontario, Canada is on the line with a mold question.
How can we help you today?
ANDREA: My question (inaudible) regarding black mold. And it’s behind my sink. Between the sink and the backsplash, there’s a little bit of space and this black mold settles in. There’s a lot of moisture, obviously. We’re running the water and it splashes, so – behind and around the sink, as well as around my tub.
I tried bleach. I scrubbed it. We, at one point, took out the caulking and recaulked it but it came back. So I’m at a – kind of a loss what to do with this.
TOM: Mold is going to grow any place that you have an organic material, which could be drywall. Or it could also be, believe it or not, soap scum. It can have organic matter in it and that can feed mold. And so, you have a condition there that’s going to be prevalent to mold regrowth. Even when you clean it, it’s going to come back. You’re not going to permanently prevent it unless you change the environment – the climate – that exists in that particular area.
So, with respect to the tile area, let’s deal with that first. When you retiled – when you recaulked, I’m sorry – did you pull all the old caulk out?
ANDREA: Pulled it all out. Took it all out. It was actually our contractor who said, “Keep it very dry.” “Bone dry,” he called it. And then once we had it all dried out, then he came back and put a layer of this white material. I’m not exactly sure what it was but he finished it all.
TOM: OK. So you’re not quite sure what the product is.
Here would be the steps. When you pull the old caulk out, you need to spray the joint between the tub and the tile with a bleach solution. That’s going to kill any mold spores that are left behind. Then, after that’s dry, one additional step: fill up the tub with water because it makes it heavy and it pulls it down. And then you caulk it.
And when you caulk it, you want to use a product that has mildicide in it. Now, DAP, for example, has a caulk that has an additive called Microban. And Microban will not grow mold; it will prevent it from growing. And so, if you use the right product and you take the step of treating it with a bleach solution first, before you apply it, that helps it to last as long as possible. But again, if you don’t control humidity conditions, eventually it will come back.
As for the sink, the same advice applies. You not only have to clean it, which takes away the visual but you have to spray it with a mildicide. And so you could mix, say, a 10- to 20-percent bleach solution with water. And then let it dry and that will help prevent it from coming back.
ANDREA: I’ll try that.
LESLIE: Heading to Upstate New York. We’ve got Anthony who’s got a question about a chimney.
What’s going on, Anthony? How can we help?
ANTHONY: I have a house that’s about 80 years old and about 20 years ago, the chimney started to – some of the brick started to loosen in it and so on. And it needed to be fixed. So we turned around and had stucco put on it. And it was fine until now. Now, it’s starting to break off and we’ll have to take all of it off. I don’t know what else – what to put on it.
TOM: So why do you think you have to take all of it off? Is the stucco coming off in big chunks now? Or is it just a little bit here and there?
ANTHONY: A little bit here and there. And I don’t know if we could replace it as such. I’m not sure.
TOM: Well, I think you can patch it. Stucco repairs are pretty common. Had we talked about this before you did the stucco, I would’ve kind of given you a heads up that this could happen because chimneys loosen and they do need to be reset, repointed very often.
TOM: The bricks can be taken out and put back in again.
But now that you’ve got this covered with stucco, your best option now is to just chip off the loose areas and then re-stucco only those areas as essentially a repair or a patch. And that’ll last you several years and – but you’re just going to have to maintain it that way.
Now, the other thing that you could do is – after it’s done – is you could put a masonry sealer on it. You want to use a silicone-based masonry sealer because that will prevent a lot of the water from absorbing but they’re also vapor-permeable, which means they breathe. And that’s important because if water gets underneath the stucco and doesn’t drain out or evaporate away, then it freezes and it can push off chunks of the stucco.
TOM: But I think it’s OK for you to patch it down. Remove the loose stuff, patch it and put the sealer on. And that’ll buy you a few years, I think.
ANTHONY: OK. OK, that sounds fine. Now, the point of it is is to find someone to do it. I’d like to find someone to do this type of work, you know?
TOM: So what I would do is I would go to Angi – A-n-g-i – .com. Now, that is a service where you can put information in about your house and your project and they will send that out to screened contractors. You’ll get probably two or three different quotes. You can read reviews about the contractors and make a selection that way.
ANTHONY: OK, fine. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck, Anthony.
ANTHONY: Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for reaching out to The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re ready to update the flooring in your home this spring, choosing a product that’s beautiful and durable is key to making sure that you’ll be able to enjoy that floor for a very long time. Well, LL Flooring has a new product called Duravana and it does just that. It’s really unlike any type of flooring that’s out there.
TOM: Yeah. Duravana represents a brand-new category of flooring. It’s called “hybrid-resilient flooring.” It is incredibly durable, it’s very tough and it’s waterproof. So it makes it a great choice for high-traffic areas, like laundry or mud rooms. But it also looks amazing in a kitchen, for example, where water resistance is key. In fact, I just finished off my own laundry room project where Duravana was a great choice. The planks just lock together and now we have the Dual Defense waterproof technology that’s built in, protecting the floor from spills and splashes.
LESLIE: Now, Duravana, it’s also designed with an easy-click installation, so it’s great for DIYers. And unlike any other type of flooring, there’s no acclimation time that’s needed. So when you get it, you can install it as soon as you get back from the store. And because it’s sourced from FSC-certified forests, it’s definitely eco-friendly.
It’s a really beautiful floor with 22 unique patterns and extra-wide, 7-inch planks that give you a genuine, weathered, natural presence. In fact, I really like the Duravana Chapel Bridge Oak. It’s an excellent design. It’s got hints of honey tones and a lot of medium brown in it and it could truly look great in any house. But whatever your taste, there is for sure a look for you.
TOM: Duravana retails for 3.99 a square foot and it’s available at LLFlooring.com and at over 430 LL Flooring retail stores across the country. Learn more at LLFlooring.com.
LESLIE: Heidi in North Carolina is on the line with an electrical problem.
How can we help you today?
HEIDI: Well, I have kind of a two-part question. I have an older home. It’s about 68 years old. We paid an electrician to come in when we converted over to a heat pump, from an oil furnace, to up our service. And we have an old fuse box that are the screw-in type fuses. And when he put the system in – the new electrical box – he was supposed to convert everything over into the new electrical box and he left the little electrical box – the little fuse box – in my kitchen.
And unfortunately, he put the new electrical box on the outside of my house. That would be OK, except I’m a single woman and I don’t – safety reasons. I don’t think it’s really smart considering I have a full-size basement it could easily be put in.
HEIDI: So do I need to – I would never call this guy again, for lots of reasons. But do I need to pay somebody else to come in and convert that last part of my home into this other fuse box or – you know, these little fuses are hard to find and when they blow …
TOM: So, it’s definitely an active panel, right? The fuse panel?
HEIDI: Oh, it’s active. Yes, sir.
TOM: OK. So that’s called a “sub-panel” and that’s going to be a sub-panel from the main panel. You said the main panel is now in the basement or the main panel is outside?
HEIDI: It’s outside. We have a full basement and why he put it outside, I have no clue. But he put the main panel …
TOM: Yeah, that makes no sense. Because the only time you usually see full panels outside is maybe a condominium situation and then they’re in utility closets. So I can’t imagine why that was done that way. It doesn’t make sense. It sounds to me like you do need a better electrician to come in and take care of this.
If it makes you feel any better, the fact that you have a fuse box does not mean that it’s unsafe. Fuses are actually quite safe if it’s the right-size fuse matched against the wire that’s hooked up to that circuit.
And so, to know if that’s the case, somebody has to open the panel and say, “OK, this is Number 14 wire, so it’s a 15-amp fuse. And this is Number 12 wire, so it’s a 20-amp fuse,” and so on and physically write that right above the fuse on the panel so you know what size to put in there. Because it’s too easy, with a fuse box, to put in a 20-amp fuse on a wire that’s only rated for 15 amps. Then, of course, that’s potentially unsafe.
So, it does sound like you need another electrician. It’s obviously not a do-it-yourself project. And unless there’s some compelling code reason in your part of the country to put that outside, I don’t understand why they would have done that. And you could consider rerunning it back to the inside and unfortunately, that’s kind of where we’re at. It’s not an easy fix; it’s one that’s going to require the investment of a good electrician.
HEIDI: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Heidi. Thank you for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Carol in Oregon is on the line with some rusty water at her house.
What’s going on?
CAROL: My house is about 25 years old. I’ve lived in it for about six. My problem is well water corroding both of my toilets.
CAROL: And I don’t know – I’ve tried using Clorox. That doesn’t seem to work. I’m wondering if there’s something – some kind of a chemical or something – that I can put inside the tank to keep it from turning black.
TOM: So, have you tried CLR?
CAROL: No. What is that?
TOM: OK. So I would look – take a look at CLR. It’s a product that’s been around for many, many years. A great company and it stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust. It’s specifically designed to clean rust stains from bathroom fixtures.
CAROL: OK. Could you spell that for me?
TOM: Yeah. C-L-R.
CAROL: OK. Got it.
LESLIE: Well, Memorial Day weekend is here and along with barbecues and pool openings, we’re celebrating what it means to be an American and saluting our troops. And what’s more perfect for that than flying the flag? Well, we’ve got some tips to help you pay proper respect to our flag.
First of all, you have to genuinely handle it with care. The American flag should not touch the ground, it shouldn’t become worn or soiled.
TOM: And when you’re flying the flag, it should be displayed with the blue union up, except as a distress signal in times of dire emergency.
And another important bit of flag etiquette: never use the flag as a wrapping or any sort of decoration. That, by the way, is why we have red, white and blue bunting to use as décor for our houses.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I love bunting. I do love to decorate with it. It’s so festive and fun and happy and it just fills me with pride for our country.
Now, here are some other protocol tips that you’ve got to follow. When you are hoisting the flag, you want to raise it briskly. And when you’re lowering it, you want to lower it ceremoniously to a recipient’s waiting hands. And then together, fold that flag neatly and carefully for storage.
TOM: And finally, when you’re flying the American flag at night, you need to make sure there’s a light on it at all times. Be sure to pick a spot that’s lit up by a porch or a streetlight or consider installing sensor lights that automatically come on in the evening.
For more flag-flying tips, including tips on how to attach a flagpole bracket to just about any type of building material, visit MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Virginia where Margaret has a question about a bathtub.
Tell us what’s going on.
MARGARET: We have an old, cast-iron tub and it’s real rusty in spots. And I’m wondering what we could do to restore it.
LESLIE: Now, when you say real rusty in spots, are we talking about big spots or are we talking about small, little ones from a chip here and there?
MARGARET: No. We’re talking about big spots because the water – it was not good water when we first moved here. And so it had a lot of wear and tear on it about 40 years before we moved here. And we’ve been living here, probably, about 45 years, so …
TOM: So your tub is almost 100 years old, huh?
TOM: Yeah. Well, look, it served the house well. It’s not going to last forever. It needs to be reglazed at this point. And I’ve had some experience with folks that have tried to reglaze these tubs inside the house. And it can be done but it’s an awfully messy and intensive job. And unless it’s done professionally, it doesn’t seem to last very long. There are home reglazing kits. Rust-Oleum makes one that’s for tub and tile but I wouldn’t expect it to last all that long.
The best way to do this is to have the tub taken out and reglazed. But if you’re going to do all that, you might as well replace it and not just have that – not just not have that reglazed unless it’s particularly beautiful. I think those are your options. It’s not easy to do a touch-up to something like this when it’s just got so – it’s got almost 100 years of wear and tear on it.
MARGARET: Oh. Yes, yes. OK. That was my question. I appreciate that.
TOM: Unfortunately, Margaret, there’s no easy way to remove 100 years of wear and tear on that tub and so you’re probably better off just replacing it.
LESLIE: Pat in Macon, North Carolina has reached out to Team Money Pit and says, “I have a rotten-egg smell in my laundry room. You smell it when the water is running into the washing machine or into the laundry-room sink. Any idea what might be going on?”
TOM: Well, if it’s only in the laundry room itself, then it’s most likely a biogas that’s being formed by a dirty drain or some dirty seals.
LESLIE: I do get that sometimes in the washing machine, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Kind of nasty, right?
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s surprising, too.
TOM: Especially around the door, right? If you’ve got a front load, you have all those rubber seals. Well, what happens is you get bacteria that digs in behind those seals and it really can smell quite nasty. So what you have to do is you have to clean that with a mildicide. I mean bleach is probably a fine thing to use there. I would spray it on and let it sit. Try to get it saturated around all of those seals and then rinse it off thoroughly. And then maybe run a load, just to make sure you haven’t left any behind, because we don’t want it to get onto your clothes.
And in terms of the drain itself, the best way to handle that would be to get some oxygenated bleach, which is kind of like a cleaning compound. And you’re going to apply that to the drain, you’re going to let it sit there again, let it really saturate and then flush it. And that should go pretty far in terms of getting rid of most of that smell.
Now, if you had said that it’s smelling like rotten eggs all over the house, then that’s an issue with your water heater. There’s a sacrificial anode, which is like a rod that’s in the water heater. And when it starts to wear out, then you start to get that sulfur smell. But if it’s just the one room, it’s probably the drains.
LESLIE: Will that always wear out in every single water heater or is that like a maybe it will, maybe it won’t?
TOM: Some houses have to replace that maybe every few years. Other houses can go 20, 25. I think it depends on how acidic your water is.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s interesting. And given that the life cycle or lifetime of a water heater is generally around 10 years, for you to say 20 years, that’s crazy pants.
TOM: Yeah. No, I’ve seen it as a home inspector. I’ve seen them that old: 20, 25 years and still kicking. Of course, my advice is: this should’ve leaked probably 10 years ago, so I wouldn’t wait too long before you upgrade it.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got one from Debbie in North Andover, Mass who writes: “What’s the best way to get dark stains off of composite decking?”
That sounds like mold, kind of, right?
TOM: Well, it’s usually algae. Even though composite decking is not organic, you still can get algae that sits on the surface of it. So I would use Wet and Forget on that.
So Wet and Forget is a cleaning fluid that – or cleaning solution, I should say. It comes in a ready-to-apply bottle. You hook it up to your hose. Basically, you spray it, you let it sit there for a while and then you just kind of maybe scrub it a little bit with a broom and it goes away. And it has a residual effect where it sits on there and it actually stops the algae from regrowing for some period of time. If you have a lot of shade, this is some normal part of your deck maintenance to be able to – have to do that once in a while.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean we have a PVC gate between the drive and the basketball area at home and that thing grows a green algae on it all the time, no matter what I do. It’s like every season, there it is again. I just clean it off and keep going.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. We hope that you guys are enjoying it, having a good time, just relaxing and giving thanks to all of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women.
Hey, if you’re ready to take on a project now that we are hitting the summer stride and you want some advice on how to get that done, remember, you can reach out to us 24/7. Best way to do that is to go to MoneyPit.com, click on the blue microphone button and record your question. We’ll get back to you on the very next edition of The 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 2022 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.)