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 are here to help you with your home improvement project. So help yourself first: pick up the phone and call us. We would love to talk about what’s going on in your money pit, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And for those of you that don’t like to pick out the letters on the telephone, it’s 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up on today’s program, do you need a little extra space? We’re going to have tips to help you build or update your shed so you can pick up some storage, some appeal or even some recreational space. Maybe you’re thinking she shed or a man cave? You can do that, too. Just call us with your questions at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ooh, you said, “She shed.” Is that a new term?
TOM: That’s right. It’s a new term.
LESLIE: Ooh, a she shed.
TOM: You like that?
LESLIE: She shed she shells by the she shore.
TOM: Well, you could have a she shed for your she shells.
LESLIE: True. I’m starting to think of lots of great ideas.
Alright, guys. If you also love the look of shakes and shingles but you don’t really like all of the upkeep that goes along with it, there’s finally a low-maintenance, engineered version that passes for the real thing. We’re going to help you figure out if it’s right for your project.
TOM: And your dishwasher does a good job of keeping your dishes nice and clean. But if you don’t clean it, it can start to turn to stink really quick. So we’re going to have some tips on a disinfectant that will not only help your dishwasher stay clean but also do the job better.
LESLIE: And this hour’s prize will make one lucky DIYer very happy. We’re giving away a Stanley Prize Pack, including a Stanley FatMax Exo-Change Utility Knife, six Diamond-Tip Screwdrivers and a 2-in-1 Connect Tool Box for storing it all.
TOM: It’s a prize pack worth more than 50 bucks. So give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question and we will toss your name into The Money Pit hard hat and you might just win that fantastic Stanley Prize Pack. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading out to Minnesota where Gordon has a question about garage moisture.
What’s going on, Gordon?
GORDON: I’m in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I’ve got a two-stall garage. It’s divided. It’s a tuck-under garage. The house is a walk-out, so the back side of the garage is below-grade and it kind – it ramps up from the front to the back.
In the springtime, for a couple – first couple of months in the spring, the garage floor is wet and it’s – I believe that it’s wicking up or coming up from under the floor. I don’t believe it’s just condensation forming on the top.
My question is: is there any kind of a sealer or anything that I can do, short of knocking out the whole floor? I know that now you should have a moisture barrier, some kind of poly under the floor before you pour it, if you wanted to put an epoxy coat or something on there.
TOM: There’s two ways to address a moisture problem in a concrete structure like that. One is to try to make it float, which is not going to happen. And by that, I mean when you put all sorts of sealers and caulks and so on on these floors or on the walls, yeah, you’re never going to block out 100 percent of that moisture.
But the more effective thing to do is to reduce the volume of moisture that’s getting there to begin with. And I think I can explain why you’re seeing that moisture on the floor in the spring. Because concrete is very hydroscopic; it’s like a sponge. Imagine if you stuck the end of a sponge in some water, how quickly that entire sponge fills up with moisture. That’s what happens with concrete.
So the first thing I want you to address is the sources of moisture. And they’re very likely to be the spring rains and the drainage control at the foundation perimeter. It happens to almost everybody. So, the walls that surround that below-grade space, we want to make sure that there’s gutters on that, covering that side of the roof, that are not only there, they’re sized properly, which means you have at least 1 downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface and that the downspouts are extended well away from the foundation. We’re talking 4 to 6 feet.
The second thing to do is to make sure that the soil slopes away and there’s nothing trapping moisture against the house, like landscaping. If you do those two things, you will dramatically reduce the amount of moisture that’s getting up against that concrete. And that will stop the moisture that’s – from pulling up onto the floor and perhaps even through the walls.
Now, as for a sealant, what I would recommend you do, because this is a garage floor, is to simply paint it with an epoxy paint.
These epoxy finishes now are terrific. They’re pretty easy to use. They’re a two-part mix. Usually, when you buy the epoxy kit, you’ll have a gallon that’s about three-quarters filled with product and then a quart can that’s the hardener. You mix the two together and you basically paint the floor. And sometimes, there’s color chips that you can drop in the paint that help hide dirt. And when it dries, it’s a chemical reaction that’s really hard and it really adheres well to the floor. And I think that will stop some of the residual moisture that’s left.
But try to control as much moisture as you can before you take that step. And between the two, I think you’ll be good to go.
GORDON: OK, yeah. That’s kind of what I was thinking.
As far as that epoxy, everything that I’ve seen says to not apply it to a floor that gets damp. There’s a plastic test and you tape a piece of plastic down and if moisture forms …
TOM: Yeah. Personally, I think that’s a really silly test but people seem to like it.
Look, all concrete floors are going to contain some level of moisture. As long as it’s not excessively wet, then I think you’ll be OK. Now, there usually is an etching material, like an etching wash, that you use first. So I would do that, just to make sure the floor is ready to accept it. But if you pick a nice, dry day, I think you’ll be fine.
GORDON: OK. Well, I thank you for the insight. Appreciate your time.
TOM: Alright, Gordon. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Beverly in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
BEVERLY: Well, I have a house that’s just been built a year-and-a-half ago but I have a covered patio. And my builder put cedar posts out there. The rest of my trim is all white. So I wanted to cover or paint the cedar but he’s telling me I can’t do it because I’ll rot them out. And I – that doesn’t sound right to me but I’m not sure.
TOM: So, what would you – in a perfect world, Beverly, what would you like to see on those cedar posts? Would you like them to be white and match the rest of the house?
BEVERLY: Yeah. All of my trim is white and so I would rather them be white. They’re a year-and-a-half old now, so they’re starting to turn this cedar look and get all dark.
TOM: Right. Are they kind of decorative?
TOM: OK. See, here’s what I would do. The first thing I would – I’m going to recommend a staining process. So, the first thing you’re going to do is prime them with an oil-based primer or a solvent-based primer. And then you’re going to stain them and I would use a solid-color stain. And the solid-color stain is not going to look like paint, so it won’t tend to peel; it’ll fade over time. But it’ll soak in really nicely. And you can get a white stain – a solid, white stain – and it’ll look quite attractive.
Painting wood does not cause it to rot; it prevents it from rotting.
LESLIE: It just requires a lot of repainting.
BEVERLY: Yeah. I mean he said if I covered it or painted them, that it causes the moisture to hold to the base and then they rot.
TOM: I would disagree with that. I think if you stain them, you’ll find that they’re quite attractive and that the moisture will wick in and out just fine.
BEVERLY: Good. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this.
TOM: Good luck with that project. You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Pick up the phone and give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are always standing by to take all of your information and answer your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, a not-so-clean dishwasher means not-so-clean dishes. Tips to get rid of those germs and get a longer-lasting dishwasher, when The Money Pit continues after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, are you taking on a do-it-yourself project this summer? We can help with the advice and the tools to get the job done, because we’re giving away a Stanley Prize Pack worth more than $50 to one lucky caller.
LESLIE: Yeah. It includes a FatMax Exo-Change Utility Knife with a magnetic tray for easy alignment of the blade, six Diamond Screwdrivers and more.
TOM: Check them out at StanleyTools.com and call now for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nils in Delaware is on the line with a fly problem at a new house. What’s going on?
NILS: Girlfriend purchased a historical home that was located in our county seat where all the court buildings are. It was built in 1806 and they moved it out of town. And so now we’re redoing it a room at a time but we’re trying to keep it in period, because it’s in the register. So, I guess we’ve got to be careful what we do.
But when we opened up the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, there was a humongous snake that had died in the ceiling.
TOM: Oh, no.
NILS: And all that was left was the skin and she was done when she saw that.
TOM: Wow. That’s freaky.
NILS: But we’ve got all these different types of frogs in the yard. We’ve got a million ticks and now we’ve got these – everybody’s calling them “furnace flies” that sees them. But we don’t have a furnace. We’ve got a boiler but that’s out in what’s called a “potting shed” and it’s a detached building from the home. So I don’t know where these flies are coming from.
TOM: Well, listen, Nils, we can give you some advice on how to tackle the flies. But between the flies and the ticks and everything else that’s going on in this house, I really think you should just, you know, cut the pain and pick up the phone and call a pest-control operator – a licensed pest-control professional. Because they have the tools and the techniques and the products that can effectively and safely make this house a lot less insect-infested.
Now, with the flies, you can make your own fly traps out of apple-cider vinegar. All you do is you take a cup or a jar, you put a couple inches of vinegar – apple-cider vinegar – in it, you cover the top of that jar with plastic, punch some holes in it that are big enough for the flies to get in and they’ll find their way in there and they won’t be able to get out. So we can give you some sort of home remedies like that but if you’ve got this level of insect infestation in this old house and even the surrounding yards …
NILS: Oh, no, no, no. There is no infestation in the house. It’s just we’ve got flies that go around the kitchen and her family room. Most of the floor is like 18-inch planks, 18 inches wide. And we just don’t know where the flies are coming from and how to get rid of them. And I have to be careful, because our neighbor was killed in a car accident and we’ve inherited all five of her cats because they had nowhere to go, I guess.
TOM: Well, I still think that you could have the house professionally treated, safely, even with the animals inside of it. And it’s going to be a lot more effective than chasing them down with any other type of remedy. There are pyrethrin sprays that you can buy over the counter but I just don’t think you should use them.
A professional is going to come in and sometimes people think, “Well, if the professionals come in, they’re using the really strong stuff.” Well, I always put it this way: they’re using the right stuff and they’re using the right amount of it to do the job at hand. Pesticides today are heavily regulated and they have to be applied very specifically and consistent with the label directions. And they do a pretty good job, because the guys are trained to know how to do it. And so, considering the level of issue you’ve got going on here, that’s exactly what I would do here. OK, Nils?
TOM: Well, you may be a good housekeeper but some areas of your house you just never hit with the mop, the rag, the scrub brush or the broom. And usually, this isn’t a big issue. But while those dust bunnies on top of the fridge aren’t the end of the world, a dirty dishwasher – yes, that very appliance that you use to make sure your dinnerware is clean – can go from unsightly to downright unsanitary really, really fast.
LESLIE: Yeah, think about it: if your dishwasher is full of food residue, grease and odors, these are going to get passed along to your plates, your glasses and silverware. And then think about it: right into your mouth. Gross.
TOM: Well, the solution is a disinfectant that’s safe for it and for you. And we’ve got a great one. It’s called Glisten Dishwasher Magic. It not only checks both of those boxes, it’s good for the environment, too. In fact, it’s the only dishwasher cleaner and disinfectant that’s registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
LESLIE: Glisten Dishwasher Magic gets through heavy food buildup and it also cleans rust and hard-water stains from years of use. I mean years. It’s really going to get to work. And it’s going to help your clean machine clean better and maybe even last longer, too.
TOM: Check out Glisten Dishwasher Magic at your local grocery store or your home center or online at GlistenCleaners.com.
LESLIE: Betty in California needs some help with a toilet question. What can we do for you today?
BETTY: I’m interested in the high-rise toilet and I’d like the pros and con and possibly a brand. Because our plumber is thinking of using KOHLER – the quick flush and we’re on well water and that’s it.
TOM: Well, there’s really no cons of using – a “comfort-height toilet” is what’s that called. Not a high-rise but comfort-height. They’re a bit higher than a standard toilet. And in terms of brands, one that I can recommend is called American Champion 4. I’ve got American Champion comfort-height toilets in our house. And it really doesn’t matter what age you are, they are just easier to use. And the other benefit is that they use very little water and they don’t clog.
So I would take a look at the American Standard Champion 4 toilets and just get the accessible size and you’ll be good to go.
Alright, Betty? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mark in Illinois is on the line with a foundation question. What’s going on at your money pit?
MARK: I have a 10-year-old house that, as with a lot of houses, the ground around the foundation is settling. And I need to put some fill-in to keep the rain from – or to drain the rain away from the house.
MARK: And I was wondering if there is a particular type of mixture of soil to use to do that.
TOM: Yeah, it’s called “clean fill dirt.” Basically, it’s not rich, like topsoil with a lot of organic material in it. It’s very compactable. I always think it looks kind of like the pitcher’s mound. It has that sort of medium-brown color to it and you can really pack it down well.
So, what you want to do is to sort of rig back some of the topsoil that’s there, add the clean fill dirt, establish slope with that. And if you want to prevent moisture problems, then I would slope it about 10 percent or about 6 inches over 4 feet – a 6-inch drop over 4 feet. Then on top of that, you can add topsoil and replant the grass or add mulch or whatever other groundcover. But clean fill dirt is all you need, Mark.
And I would be careful when buying this from the gravel yard, whoever is selling it, to make sure it doesn’t have glass in it. Ask about that. Make sure it’s really clean. Because sometimes, when you buy fill dirt, it has broken glass in it and you don’t want that to happen.
MARK: Alright. And how far out from the foundation should you fill?
TOM: Well, you want to have that first 4 to 6 feet be sloping away. And then after that, it can have a gentle slope after that.
TOM: And just as important, since we’re talking about drainage issues, is to make sure your gutters are clean and your downspouts are significantly extended away. A lot of times, these gutter installers like to just turn them out about 2 feet at the bottom. You want it to go out 4 to 6 feet.
MARK: Oh, OK. Alright, alright. Well, thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Roger in Alabama, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ROGER: I have a problem with a door. It’s a storm door. And when I originally installed it, everything looked perfect on it. And now, there is a large gap at the bottom and a small gap at the top and the latch doesn’t really want to hold anymore. And I put levels on it and everything looks like it’s supposed to be but it’s not. And I’m at a standstill trying to figure out how to fix it outside of knocking my post out of align.
TOM: OK. So it sounds like the door is out of alignment and it’s not square. Got a situation where the jamb probably has to go up or down. So, for example, if you were to take the jamb and move it down, then the outside edge of the door will move up. If you were to take the jamb and move it up, the outside edge of the door would move down. So it sounds like something is not in alignment.
Storm doors can be tricky because every side of the jamb is applied separately. But what I might do is I might leave the jamb side attached, then try to reset the other two pieces of the door.
In terms of the gap at the bottom, if you can’t close that, just add weatherstrip to the outside of the door. You know, you can pick up a door sweep that has sort of a metal flange with a broom-like bristle edge at the bottom that works very well. We use it on exterior doors all the time. And that will stop drafts from coming through it.
But it sounds like the door is out of alignment. What you’ve described with uneven gaps and a latch doesn’t work means that the door is simply not square in the opening.
ROGER: OK. I think I’ve got an idea of what I can do with it now.
TOM: Alright. Great. Roger, hope that helps. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next, do you have a backyard shed that’s maybe a bit worse for wear? Landscaping pro Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is up next with tips on how you can take it from being an eyesore to eye-popping.
TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools and the new line of FatMax Exo-Change Utility Knives. Change the blade in three easy steps: extend, remove, replace. Makes cutting easier and safer and blade-change faster. To learn more, visit StanleyTools.com.
MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton. With a focus on safety, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs. To get more information about how to help improve your home’s electrical safety, visit www.GetSafeToday.com.
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: Well, when the fridge warms up or the microwave stops working, there’s a big decision to make: repair it or replace it. Why not let The Money Pit help? Just go to MoneyPit.com and search “repair or replace.” We’ve got a comprehensive guide to whether or not your stove, your refrigerator, your garbage disposer is worth reviving. And it’s all online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Trent in Florida on the line who’s dealing with a falling-apart popcorn ceiling. How can we help you?
TRENT: Well, my popcorn ceiling is actually in my bathroom. I guess, on one night or something, my son had gotten it wet and when it dried, it started flaking off the ceiling. And now it’s just continuing to do it.
LESLIE: Well, it’s funny because when you get a popcorn ceiling wet, that’s actually the way to remove it. You would spray it with some sort of garden sprayer and then scrape it off. So if you want it gone, he’s got you on the correct path.
TOM: Now is the time, right.
But if you don’t want it gone, what I would do is this: I would take maybe a stiff-bristle brush and gently brush away – maybe like a dry paintbrush and just brush away all the loose stuff. And then you’re going to pick up some popcorn-ceiling patching material. There’s a number of different manufacturers of this. I know that Zinsser makes one, Homax makes one. It comes both in a trowel-on finish and also in a spray-on finish.
LESLIE: It looks like cheese in a can when it comes out.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. It looks like Cheez Whiz. And you can spray that on and recreate the popcorn effect that way. And then, lastly, you’re probably going to have to paint that ceiling and paint the entire ceiling to blend it in.
But you’ve got to get rid of the loose stuff, add the patching material and then repaint the ceiling and you’ll be good to go.
TRENT: OK. Well, great. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Now you’ve got options. You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Well, the humble garden shed doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. These multifunctional marvels can simplify life by offering extra storage or providing a small, private workspace.
TOM: Yeah. But when it comes to sheds, functionality is not the only consideration. To find out more about choosing a shed that’s both beautiful and useful, we welcome Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House.
ROGER: Thanks. We’re talking sheds, huh?
TOM: Yeah. We’re talking about things that are beautiful and useful. That’s why we invited you on today.
ROGER: I am neither.
TOM: Hey, I wouldn’t say that. But listen, homeowners have always had sort of a love/hate relationship with backyard sheds. I mean we love the storage space but we hate the way they look sometimes. So what kinds of options are available to us today in new sheds?
ROGER: They’ve come a long way. You can really get any style you want: Victorian, Cape Cod-ish. You name it, you can find it.
LESLIE: Now, before we get super-excited about what you can get, can you get them? Should we be visiting a building department to find out if we’re even allowed?
ROGER: It’s always great to go get free information from the building department before you invest a dime in your shed. The thing to think about is: is it going to add square footage to the house and is it going to cause a zoning problem? Or is it going to be too big for the area? You have to remember that there are certain setbacks in a lot of towns for where the shed can go.
TOM: Now, building a shed is a project that most people see as a DIY project. It seems like a pretty fun project to do. There are a lot of options and different approaches to construction of it, though, right?
ROGER: You can buy kits that you just come – they get dropped off and you put them together yourself. You could build it from scratch if you really wanted to. But the thing to remember is that all of these sheds are a little different. Some of them have a floor and some of them don’t.
TOM: Now, if you don’t have a floor, I guess you’ve got to prepare a base for this, correct? And is that kind of like with pavers? Stone? What?
ROGER: It could be all of the above. But if you have a floor on the bottom of your shed and you’re propping it up on some pressure-treated blocks, you’re leaving a great area underneath the shed for animals to get in, particularly skunks.
ROGER: So what we usually do is put some wire mesh all the way around outside and bury it down into the ground to discourage them from going underneath the shed.
TOM: Now, I guess there’s a couple of key design considerations, as well. If you’re going to use this as sort of an additional building that you’re going to maybe do some potting in it or something like that, that’s one thing. But if this is a shed that so many of us have for, say, landscape equipment, I’m sure you’d appreciate this: you want to make sure you can get that equipment in and out, right?
TOM: Easily, right?
ROGER: So a double door or an extra-wide door and a ramp will really help you out with those.
LESLIE: Now, you had mentioned the wire to sort of keep the animals out. That’s not that attractive to look at and sometimes, the sheds aren’t really that pretty. Can you landscape them in a certain way to make it look better?
ROGER: You can either use them as something that blends into the landscaping around your yard and use the same plant material or you could make it a highlight. You could enter – put in some window boxes, make it pretty spectacular.
TOM: Spectacular sheds. You heard it here on The Money Pit.
Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice on how to build the perfect backyard shed.
ROGER: Oh, you’re welcome.
LESLIE: 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 on PBS by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
Up next, you can finally get the authentic look of shakes and shingles without the constant maintenance. We’ll tell you how, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you come on the air with Leslie and me and ask your home improvement question, you’ll get not only the answer but you’ll be in the running for this hour’s prize.
LESLIE: Yeah, we’re giving away the Stanley Prize Pack and it comes with a utility knife, a tool box and more. And it includes the Stanley FatMax Diamond Screwdriver with two times the tip life and simulated diamonds on the tip for better bite into the screw.
TOM: It’s a prize pack worth more than 50 bucks. See its contents for yourself at StanleyTools.com. And call now for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kelly in South Dakota is on the line and wants some help removing wallpaper. What can we do for you?
KELLY: I have a – some wallpaper that I want to remove. And I believe we primed the walls. This has been about 10 years ago. And when I pulled back on the edges of the wallpaper, it seems as though it’s taking a bit of the drywall with it.
TOM: So, what you want to do is you want to get a tool called a “paper tiger,” which puts small holes in the surface of the paper. And it helps the wallpaper remover get behind it and loosen up the adhesive.
Now, in terms of wallpaper removal, you can use fabric softener, which works well, or you could use a commercially available product like DIF – D-I-F. But putting those holes in there is important because, otherwise, it doesn’t saturate the paper.
Now, if you do that and it still doesn’t loosen up and pull off, then what you need to do is go out and rent a wallpaper steamer. And that will use warm, moist air to separate the paper from the wall.
No matter how you do it, it is a lot of work. And once that wallpaper is off, you’re going to need to reprime that wall with a good-quality primer so you have a nice surface upon which to put your final color of wall paint.
KELLY: OK. Do you need to sand that once you get it all done?
TOM: Well, if it’s a little rough, just lightly sand it. You don’t want to sand it too much, especially because you don’t want to cut into the paper that’s part of the drywall. But a little bit of light abrasion is not a bad thing.
But the most important thing is a good-quality priming paint applied to that wall surface, because you’re going to have old sizing material and who-knows-what-else stuck to that. And if you put the primer on, it’ll give you a good surface upon which to apply the paint. The paint will flow nicely and it’ll look better when it dries.
KELLY: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, maybe you grew up in a house that was covered in shakes or shingles or perhaps you live in one now. Either way, you know how hard they can be to maintain.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, engineered shakes and shingles have been around for a while. But many people complain that they really just didn’t look very natural, until now that is. Grayne has a shingle siding that you can finally get the charm of a natural cedar without all of the maintenance.
TOM: Yeah. And here’s how it works. Grayne’s graining patterns will create depth and shadow that’s very similar to those on actual cedar. It’s got sharp edges and they look totally authentic, not only when you’re looking at them up close but if you’re picking them up from the curb, it’s going to look the same.
LESLIE: Yeah. But maybe it’s not so much synthetic shingles that are bothering you as much as their slightly too organized look once you install them? I mean there’s nothing kind of random about a lot of those synthetic shakes. But Grayne has got that covered, too. Their patented, dual-offset installation actually avoids that stacked look, which really is a dead giveaway that the shingles aren’t real.
TOM: Now, they alternate the cuts and that results in a look that’s perfectly varied as what you’d find in actual cedar.
For more info about Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group, visit Grayne.com – that’s G-r-a-y-n-e.com – or ask your pro for details today.
LESLIE: Tony in Florida is on the line with some noisy plumbing. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
TONY: It’s in the walls. It seems like the clanking is going on in the walls. And I can’t get to the pipes because they’re hidden – they’re all covered by the walls. So every time I put the faucet on, hot or cold, bang, it’s one slam and that’s it. That’s what I get. And I’m just wondering, is there some easy, quick fix for something like that, you know?
TOM: Yeah. So does this happen, Tony, when you open and close the faucets? Is that when it’s worst?
TOM: Alright. That’s called “water hammer.” And what water hammer is – you have to remember that water is very heavy; it weighs, actually, 8 pounds per gallon. And so, as the water is traveling through the plumbing line and you open or close a faucet, the inertia of that water just keeps moving. And it’ll shake the pipe and that’s what makes the banging sound. And of course, pipes transmit sound like crazy and so you’re getting that kind of sound to it.
So, what can you do? There’s two things that you can do. All the piping that you could possibly access – so that would be like in the basement or crawlspace or attic. Any place where you can see a pipe, you want to add some additional strapping to the wall so that takes some of the bounce out of it.
The second thing that you can do is you can install – or have a plumber install – something called a “water-hammer arrestor,” which is, essentially, a shock absorber for a plumbing system. And it will take that inertia from the water and absorb it slowly so it doesn’t bang the pipe.
But what you’re describing is a very typical, very normal condition in an older house. Generally, unless it’s really super-bad, doesn’t cause damage. But it’s more of an annoyance than anything else.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tim in Maine is on the line with a flooring question. What are you working on?
TIM: Oh, I bought an old house and I ripped up the carpet in one of the rooms to find really old pine board. So I paid to have them professionally finished and they look amazing. And my question for you is – there are gaps around the – under the trim around the entire room, upwards of ½-inch. It’s pretty noticeable and there’s a lot of them. And I was wondering what my options were for taking care of those gaps.
LESLIE: So this is between that first board and your baseboard piece, correct?
LESLIE: So what you can do – and of course, I don’t know what the style of your baseboard is. And perhaps, at the bottom of your baseboard, is it just flat/straight? You’ve got a clean edge?
TIM: Yeah. It’s your standard, white sort of baseboard.
LESLIE: You know what you can do is you can do either a quarter-round or a shoe molding. And then come in a variety of sizes and those can be painted to match your baseboard or stained to match your baseboard.
TOM: Or even they could be natural oak and match the floor.
LESLIE: Yeah. That’s another way to go. And then you’d use that to sort of bridge the gap between the baseboard and the floor so it sort of just covers over that.
And you can get it in a ½-inch depth, which isn’t terribly gigantic. But that’ll cover your whole area. So it sort of acts as an application onto the baseboard. It attaches one side on the baseboard and the other side sort of rests on the floor, so it’s L-shaped with that quarter-round in between.
Or you can do a different type of molding. I mean there’s a ton of different kinds of moldings – whether it’s a shoe molding, either a square or a quarter-round – depending on the look and the style of home. And then you can use that to bridge the gap.
TIM: OK. Is there any – so there’s no type of putty or filler or caulk or anything that I could put.
LESLIE: You’re going to have too much movement in the floor and it’s going to – whatever you put in is just going to break out and bounce out and it’s going to be a disaster that you’re constantly fixing.
TIM: Oh, that’s right.
LESLIE: And this is going to be such a minimal addition that’s truly going to cover up this opening that’s bothering you. And you won’t even notice it.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Up next, we’ll stop by The Money Pit Community section to help Paul get to the bottom of a bathroom odor that won’t go away.
TOM: And you can post your own question online. We might just answer it here next week. Head on over to MoneyPit.com/Community and stay tuned for more Money Pit, after this.
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TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, have summer rainstorms perhaps brought you inside? Well, let The Money Pit help keep your basement dry. Head on over to MoneyPit.com and search “basement waterproofing tips” for DIY tips and advice to keep it dry all the time. It’s online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And of course, you can post a question in our Community section at MoneyPit.com, just like Paul did. And Paul writes: “We replaced our home’s original faucets and countertop a year ago. Now we get a sewer smell from one of two his-and-her bathroom sinks any time we turn the water on. We tried cleaning the pipe and overflow drain but no luck. The city water department says the trap is burping. Only one sink does it; the other sink is only 4 feet away. Any idea what the problem is?”
TOM: Well, just keep in mind, Paul, that when anything organic breaks down in the absence of oxygen, which sometimes happens inside drains, it smells to high heaven, courtesy of biogas.
Now, biogas is essentially gases that are produced from the biological breakdown of bacteria. It’s not an uncommon problem. There’s one way to find out if that’s what you’re dealing with. Just disassemble the drain completely in the sink that’s producing the odor and clean it thoroughly with bleach. Use a bleach-and-water solution, maybe about a third bleach and two-thirds water. And then make sure to run some bleach throughout that overflow channel, as well. Then put it back together and note whether the smell is fading now over the next couple of days. I suspect that it will.
And if the drain is burping, the other thing that you can do is add an additional vent to it. There’s a way to do that in the under-sink cabinet without having to cut pipes through the wall and up to the roof. It’s a vent that has kind of like a stopper on it and it basically lets air in but it won’t let the stink out. A plumber can easily install it.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Christine who writes: “I inherited a house from my parents. It’s in a deed-restricted community and turning into quite the money pit. When some neighbors reported sinkholes, we had a ground inspection. Their insurance was then terminated due to the findings. The ground is unstable. The home is 40 years old. Because of the homeowners association, it must be maintained meticulously. I can’t afford to keep doing this but since it’s uninsurable, I’m afraid to rent it out due to liability. How do I get rid of this money pit?”
TOM: Well, listen, Christine, just because your insurance company or your neighbor’s insurance was cancelled by one carrier does not mean your entire house is entirely uninsurable. You mentioned that others in the community have the same problem. I would recommend asking them how they’ve navigated the insurance in light of the sinkhole concern.
But overall, your question is a hard one to answer. But if I owned your house, what I would do is get my own expert assessment of the true condition of the property. This may involve hiring a number of inspectors. You mentioned a ground inspection. I wonder who did it. Nothing short of a civil engineer or a structural engineer is appropriate for something like that.
Next, you want to figure out how big this problem is for the community, as a whole. And if, indeed, it’s a community-wide problem, you want to lobby for a community-wide solution. It’s easier for many to get something done than one, so talk with your association and your neighbors and tackle it together.
LESLIE: Yeah. You might also want to ask a local realtor who’s kind of familiar with this situation, as well. They might have some insight.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Hey, we’re just about out of time but want to remind you that if you didn’t get through to today’s program, you can post your question to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Hey, did you see that post we did, I guess it was a couple weeks back, on the kiddie pool that doubles as a fire pit?
LESLIE: And the adorable dog splashing around in it?
TOM: Went completely viral. We had like 10 million views of that. It was absolutely insane. People are still talking about it. I think we’re going to do a blog post with the step-by-step for the project to help everyone out.
But lots of cool stuff happening online with Money Pit Media. So, please stop by, please post your question, please call us at 888-MONEY-PIT any time a question comes to mind. And we will do our best to get back to you on the next 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.
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(Copyright 2015 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.)