- Home Improvement: New Year’s resolutions are for home improvement as well as self-improvement! Find out the best resolutions that are worth keeping.
- Renter’s Insurance: If disaster strikes, are the contents of your rental home protected? The right renter’s insurance offers some peace of mind.
- Sticking Doors: If your doors need an extra push to open and close, you need these simple sticky door solutions.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Kitchen Cabinets: Soffits over the kitchen cabinets look outdated, but opening the space attracts dust and taller cabinets are inconvenient! Nancy can either paint the soffits to blend with the cabinets or install a convenient pull-down system to make her cabinet storage more accessible.
- Driveway Repair: When driveway blacktop starts to crumble, should the driveway be patched or resurfaced? Bruce needs a latex patching compound that will adhere properly to fill the holes, then a topcoat to cover it.
- Countertop Stains: Corian countertops in the bathroom are turning yellow around the faucets and drainers. When sanding and cleansing don’t work. Sharon gets tips on making a paste to bleach and lighten the stains.
- Doorway Cracks: Ralph wants to know what’s causing cracks in the corners of the doorways and how to fix them. It’s common for cracks to appear when there is movement around openings, but some fiberglass tape and spackle should repair them before he primes and repaints.
- HVAC Filters: Jeannie is worried that filthy filters and ducts are making her friend sick. An inspector should check for mold and other issues that the landlord may need to address to improve the air quality.
- Roofing: Should the edges of tar paper be covering the roof ridge vents? Jeff learns that it was overlooked and he needs to cut the tar paper to provide proper ventilation in the attic.
- Painting: The new layer of paint is starting to bubble and Catherine’s contractor just wants to paint over it again. She’ll want him to pull off the paint instead and prep the surface the right way before adding a new coat of latex paint.
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: Happy Happy Holidays. Hope you are enjoying this magical time of the year. We are here to help you, once again, take on projects that you would like to get done in your house. So, our gift to you is tips and advice and ideas to help you avoid the perspiration, give you some inspiration on the projects you want to get done at this point for 2023. Help yourself first: reach out to us with your question. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT; that’s 888-666-3974. Or post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, it occurs to us that every January, we promise ourselves to start following good habits but those often will fizzle. Those resolutions, if you will, will fizzle just a few weeks into the new year or faster. But what if there was a link between self-improvement and home improvement? I know what you guys are thinking: “Ah, you’re onto something now.” Whether it’s losing weight, getting organized or making more money, your house can actually help you keep these New Year resolutions. We’re going to tell you how to do just that.
LESLIE: And if you’re renting a home or apartment in the new year, did you know that your possessions may not be covered by the building’s insurance? Now, contents insurance is designed just for renters and it can help. And guess what? It’s not expensive. So we’re going to tell you what you should get.
TOM: And do you got a door that sticks? That is an annoying problem that really doesn’t have to be. We’ll have some tips on how to make it go away once and for all.
LESLIE: And what do you want to do in this new year, guys? It’s 2023. Let’s think about some amazing projects to work on in the house. Maybe they’re big ones, maybe they’re small ones. Maybe you just want to redecorate. Whatever it is, we can help you guys tackle those to-dos with confidence and have truly a kick-butt home in the new year. So let us help.
TOM: We want to help you create your best home ever. So if you’ve got a question about a bathroom, a basement, you want to demolish or decorate, we’re your coach, we’re your counselor. We’re definitely your cheerleaders for house projects, big and small. And sometimes, we can be your therapist, too. But whatever you need, give us a call. The number here: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or better yet, post your questions onto MoneyPit.com by clicking the blue microphone button.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Nancy from Illinois is on the line with a question about a soffit.
How can we help you today?
NANCY: Well, I inherited a house that – from a relative – that was built in 1960, so it has soffits above the cabinets. I still have the original kitchen. I mean everything: the floor, the counters, the appliances. You know, I know that in all the newer construction they’re using either cabinets that go from all the way to the ceiling or they have an empty space up there where people can display things.
I have a lot of dust allergies and I’m also a senior citizen. And so I don’t think I want that empty space up there that’s going to collect dust. I don’t want to have to be dealing with dusting that all the time and climbing up on a ladder.
NANCY: So I’m trying to figure out – do you think soffits will ever come back? Or is it easier just to have cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, knowing that I’m probably never going to use those top shelves?
TOM: Well, actually, there is a way for you to use those top shelves, because there are ways that you can bring those shelves down to stack things on and put them back up. There’s cabinet designs where the entire shelf content pulls out and drops down and sort of hinges down and then it goes back up. They’re accessible design options that are made by a bunch of different manufacturers, so it is possible to even have high cabinets and be able to use that space if that’s a need for you.
NANCY: I’ve got two torn rotor cuffs in both shoulders, so I’m not even supposed to be reaching up high. So I don’t know how difficult it is to get those shelves to drop down.
TOM: Usually, there’s a handle that’s sort of like shoulder height where you reach out right in front of you and pull it towards you and then that whole thing drops down from there.
NANCY: Oh. Oh.
TOM: It’s all on springs so it supports itself. Called Rev-A-Shelf – R-e-v-A-Shelf. And their system is simply called a “cabinet pull-down shelving system.” So that type of system is available. The cabinet is basically completely empty and then the shelving system is put in and then again, you reach out, you pull it towards you and it drops down. And these things are strong enough for – you could have canned goods on every single shelf and it’s still going to hold it, so that’s an option for you.
The other thing is, I think the dated part of the soffits, Leslie – and you correct me because you’re the decorator here – is where the soffit extends past the kitchen cabinet.
TOM: But you could sort of have a flush soffit that’s sort of flush with the front of the kitchen cabinet that wouldn’t give you that sort of ugly overhang, right?
NANCY: Mine is flush with the current cabinet.
TOM: OK. Well, then maybe you ought to think about just keeping it the way it is and painting it to sort of blend.
LESLIE: I like having the soffit, because then it just fills that space. So then you’re not thinking about putting stuff up there, which then be – then it’s just a dust collector.
LESLIE: So if you’re going to get rid of the soffit, you really need to think about what is the purpose of that space above it. “Am I just extending the cabinet higher? Am I putting in some glass?” Something that makes it purposeful.
But I’m telling you, with these cabinet pull-downs that Tom has mentioned, they operate smoothly. They really are helpful. Any person can have one regardless of abilities, so it really will make your life so much easier.
NANCY: And it’s just spelled R-e-v as in victor or R-e-b as in boy?
TOM: Nope, R-e-v as in victor. Rev-A-Shelf.
LESLIE: Like rev your engine.
TOM: Like revolving shelf, like that kind of thing.
NANCY: OK. Well, that’s going to be exciting for me to check out. My other question that I was going to be asking you was – as an aging senior that has some macular degeneration that – it’s the slow-developing kind but still, I know it’s coming because relatives have had this and lost vision. Would you recommend contacting an architect or is there a certain type of contractor that would be good to help me design this new kitchen?
TOM: So, to design your kitchen, you might want to use the services of a certified kitchen-and-bath designer. That’s a designation that is sought through the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Guys that have the certified kitchen-and-bath design designation are very, very competent at designing kitchens and bathrooms that meet those specific needs that you mentioned.
NANCY: Well, I appreciate all this good advice. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with your project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading to Tennessee where Bruce is on the line with a question about a driveway.
What’s going on at your money pit?
BRUCE: Hey, guys. I’ve got a driveway that’s kind of – it’s not cracking but it’s kind of crumbling into small pebbles and pieces. I have heard, from a buddy of mine that used to do some summer work, that you can take that black top and put a little bit of, I guess, sand in it and mix it up into a putty and maybe save it for a couple of years. What have you guys heard?
TOM: So I think that that would work as sort of a temporary patch but I wouldn’t expect it …
LESLIE: And certainly not for the whole surface, like to just …
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, I mean that’s the kind of thing where if you’re resurfacing the driveway and you all of a sudden find that maybe there’s a little hole that you mixed that you missed, you could take some of that sealant, mix it with some sand, stick it into that hole and kind of call it a day.
But if you want to have – if you want to do this to the entire surface, you need to use the products that are designed for that, because they’re designed to adhere properly to the surfaces that are below. And I think just trying to sort of make this from scratch doesn’t make a lot of sense.
BRUCE: OK. What would you suggest?
TOM: So, there’s a lot of good-quality latex products that are out today and what you want to do is start with the patching compounds. Clean the driveway really well, use the patching compounds next, fill in those cracks, fill in those holes. If you have a really deep one, then there’s essentially like an aggregate that you pack in first, then you seal the surface. And then once those dry, then you go ahead and put your topcoat on and kind of broom your way out.
You want to buy one of those driveway squeegees, which is kind of like the size of a push broom but it has a squeegee on it and just very carefully start as close to the house as possible, then bring yourself out to the street. And do it at a time where the weather is decent and when you can try to keep cars off it for 2 or 3 days, at least. Because the longer you let it sit, the better it is.
BRUCE: Do you suggest a certain temperature?
TOM: Well, the temperature range is going to be dictated by the manufacturer. But as long as it’s not freezing and as long as it’s not 100 degrees out, you’re probably OK.
BRUCE: Awesome. Thanks, guys.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sharon in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
SHARON: I have two Corian sinks in my bathroom and the water is turning them – they were white and the water is turning them yellow. And my husband heard that you could use the fine sandpaper and sandpaper around the drain, where it’s really the worst. And that doesn’t seem to work. His is now gray around his drain and mine he didn’t touch.
SHARON: So have you got any solution?
LESLIE: I would try first a couple of different softer cleansers, just to see if that does anything. I know Bon Ami seems to be a good one for a surface like that. And then after that …
SHARON: I’ve tried all of them.
LESLIE: You’ve tried all of them?
SHARON: I’ve tried all of them. Yeah. And I even tried the little green scrubby thing that they told me to use.
TOM: You know, have you ever, with Bon Ami – or Bar Keepers Friend, I think, is the other one. When I have a Corian sink – and I find that what we do is we put a lot of it on there and just sort of almost make a paste and let it sit on the surface for a while.
TOM: And then we come back 15, 20 minutes later and then start rinsing it off. But it has sort of a bleaching effect when you let it sit there. It’s not just a rub it and rinse it away but let it sit on the stains for a while.
TOM: What you’re describing is not that unusual. Unfortunately, Corian does absorb stains. It’s not as stain-resistant as we’d like. It can be abraded but that’s not really going to change anything because it’s not – the stain is not on the top. It’s kind of soaked in. So you really need to kind of clean it and that’s why those products work well for that.
SHARON: OK. I’ll try that: making the paste and putting it on there and leaving it on there for a little bit.
TOM: Just sprinkle it out and just – and then get it a little bit wet until it gets kind of pasty. And then just let it sit. I make it kind of pasty and I’ll do a first, sort of – a first scrub while it’s real thick like that. Then I just walk away for a while. And then later on I go back and finish it off and that works well for me.
SHARON: Alright. Well, I’ll try that. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, making upgrades to your money pit can actually help you meet your goals for health, wealth and happiness this year. With a few simple changes, you can expand your space, save money and make your home a healthier, better living environment and yes, actually accomplish some of those New Year’s resolutions in the process.
So, here’s where you begin.
TOM: So, the first resolution is this: save money. It’s a common New Year’s resolution. It’s often accompanied by vows to cut back on the daily lattes and make dinner and a movie night the rarest of occasions. But a few changes or smart choices around your house can actually help you hold onto more of those dollars and cents without making any sacrifices.
For example, the average deck addition costs about $19,000. But you’ll see a return on that investment of 65 percent. Plus, if you fix up a tired bathroom, that gives you an impressive return if the house is sold within a year from the time the work is completed. And even smaller projects, like replacing your garage door at an average cost of about 4 grand, well that can score a 98-percent return on investment when it comes time to sell.
LESLIE: Now, how about this: losing weight. I feel like that’s everybody’s top three. Now, it’s definitely – comes up every year. You’re going to get a new gym membership and you’re going to get a diet plan. And then you’re going to neglect everything by the end of that week or maybe the month. Whatever it is.
Now, if your goal is to go on a diet, consider that cutting the fat could also mean decluttering the rooms in your home.
TOM: I like that.
LESLIE: Crowded spaces are hard to work in, they’re hard to clean and can take away too much of your daily energy. But if you do this, if you get organized, if you get rid of some stuff, you can definitely move onto more productive projects. So I like this: losing weight by throwing stuff out.
TOM: Think about all the calories you’ll burn doing that organizing, too.
LESLIE: Yes, definitely.
TOM: Alright. Speaking of calories: eating better. Also another good resolution. And one way to increase your chances of sticking to that new regimen of healthier eating is to give your kitchen a makeover that will make it a welcoming, pleasant place. But if you’re thinking kitchen improvements are expensive, well, consider inexpensive kitchen makeovers, including many that are very easy do-it-yourself projects. We’re talking about new paint, lighting or floor covering. It can make a big difference on a very small budget.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re worried that these New Year’s resolutions for your home might not last to the end of the month, don’t set yourself up for failure. You can plan these improvements in small stages, especially if you’re doing them by yourself. If you break up a bigger job into smaller parts, every time you tackle something and achieve it, you are going to feel so accomplished along the way at a variety of points. And then you won’t be overwhelmed, you’re not going to give up on that project.
It’s definitely the enthusiasm of accomplishing these tasks that help you move forward with the rest. So definitely break them up into smaller bits so you can keep giving yourself that atta-boy and get onto the next one.
Alright. Now I’ve got Ralph on the line.
Ralph, what’s going on at your money pit?
RALPH: I have several cracks appearing at the corners of doorways. They’re diagonal from the doorway up towards the ceiling. There’s even one in an archway. It’s a squared archway but it could have had a door in it but didn’t.
RALPH: And I’m wondering A) what’s probably causing that? The house is about 32 years old. It’s drywall. And could it be fixed with just fiberglass tape and spackle?
TOM: Yeah. So, first of all, Ralph, it’s pretty typical to have that kind of crack. If you think about the wall structure, wherever you have, essentially, a hole in the wall, which would be for a door or an archway or even a window if it’s on an exterior wall, you tend to get more movement of the wall around those openings because it’s a little bit bigger, it’s a little bit weaker. It’s kind of almost like – think of it as a hinge as the wall – as the house expands and contracts. It’s going to open up in those spaces. To have cracks, therefore, in those corners is not anything necessarily, by itself, to worry about.
Now, how do you fix this and how do you stop it from showing back up again? And you mentioned fiberglass tape and that is, in fact, the best way we’ve found to make that repair. Because if you just spackle it, obviously, that crack’s going to form once again because the spackle’s not really doing anything. It’s not going to expand and contract with it; it’s just going to fall right out.
So, the best thing to do is to put the fiberglass tape on and then do two or three coats of new spackle above that tape. The tape tends to bridge that crack and keep that wall from opening up in those corners again. So I would do that. And remember, before you put on your tape, I’d like you to lightly sand that to make sure we don’t have any dirt or grease on it. We want to get good adhesion. And that fiberglass tape is tacky, so you don’t even have to worry about spackling it in place; it’ll just stay there.
But then, when you put those layers of spackle on, go thin. Fight the temptation to put a lot on thinking you’ll get the job done quicker. Put thin layers on there, sand in between. And when you’re done, prime it and then paint it. And use a good-quality, flat ceiling paint. And I think it will stand up quite well.
You know, maybe one or two more will open up over time but for the most part, I think you’ll close them nicely.
RALPH: Right. Understand. It’s a stressorizer (ph). They just happen to occur at that point due to the movement of an aging house.
TOM: Yeah. Well, we all have stressorizers (ph). So I have three of them. They’re called “my children.”
RALPH: I gave you the straight line.
Hey, how deep do I have to go down into the drywall? Because I figured a V-cut following the crack, fill in the crack …
TOM: Not necessary. I would just take out any – if there’s any loose spackle or drywall on that edge. You don’t have to open it up as if you’re repairing concrete here. You could just go right on top of it.
RALPH: OK. I don’t want a lump there. But do it thin. And feather it in on the …
TOM: You’re going to have a – listen, you’re going to have a little bit of a lump. You can’t avoid that. But that’s why I told you to use flat wall paint. Because if you use flat paint and if you prime the area first, it will blend in nicely and it’ll be really hard to detect that you have a bit more of a rise there because of the spackle.
LESLIE: Genie in Ohio is on the line with a crud question.
What is going on at your money pit?
GENIE: My friend – I’m afraid that her – it seems like her apartment may be making her sick.
TOM: Well, what are you seeing?
GENIE: She has central air. She has COPD. Two weeks after they change the filter – if they get around to it – they’re dirty again and she’s been vacuuming them up and wiping around them with bleach, water and stuff like that. And she said out of the vents, also, there’s a brown something or the other. But she doesn’t know what it is and I don’t know. She doesn’t know if it might be mold?
TOM: She has an apartment or she has a house? What kind of a place is it?
GENIE: One-bedroom apartment. She lives with her son. She’s in her late 50s and he’s in his early 30s.
TOM: Right. And it’s a forced-air heating-and-cooling system? So it’s gas-fired or what?
TOM: OK. So, I mean obviously, the landlord needs to address this. And what I would tell you to do, first, would be to have somebody look at the duct system and really look at the apartment for sources of mold. The problem is that landlords aren’t motivated to find mold because that means they’ve got to fix it up. But a good mold inspector could detect it.
It’s hard to figure out what’s coming out of these ducts and certainly, the filter needs to be changed on a regular basis. And if you have a better-quality filter – the filters come in a wide range of qualities. But if you have a good-quality filter, that’s going to do a pretty good job of trapping most of this. But you shouldn’t be seeing a constant source of substance coming out of those ducts unless they’re dirty and need to be cleaned. So, that’s kind of one thing that comes to mind.
You say that the house might be making her sick. Does she get better when she leaves the place or does she just not leave and she’s there all the time?
GENIE: It seems – well, she’s been in the hospital a couple times with bronchitis and other kinds of stuff that are breathing. I think I told you she has COPD.
TOM: Well, no, obviously, there could be a lot of things that are causing her distress. But I think eliminating the apartment as one of them would at least make her feel better. I would have it inspected thoroughly by perhaps a home inspector or a mold professional to look for signs of it. Because there are a lot of different places in a house where air quality can be impacted. Carpets can hide dust mites and allergens and different types of mold can form under appliances. There’s just a lot of places. And so, if you really suspect that there could be something of the mold nature going on there, I would have it inspected by a pro and figure out what’s there.
GENIE: Yeah. She talked about liking her purifier but I said, “If your system is dirty, I’m afraid it would fight each other.”
TOM: Yeah. Listen, you don’t want to go that way – you don’t want to add more filtration to this. I want you to inspect and determine if there’s a problem that exists. Then you can talk about the best way to clean it. So don’t keep throwing money out at this. Get the information, figure out what’s going on or maybe not going on and then you could put your mind to rest. Yes, having a good-quality filter in your HVAC system is important.
There’s a website, by the way, called FilterEasy.com that I like because you can sign up for a subscription service for filters. They end up being less expensive than they are in the store. And you just sign up once and then they’ll send you a new filter on whatever frequency you need, probably every about 3 months. And when it shows up, you just pop it in so it’ll always be clean.
You mentioned that she was always vacuuming. If you don’t have a HEPA vacuum, one that is a high-efficiency vacuum, you could be redistributing that dust to the air. So there’s just a lot of ways that the air could be contaminated and you really need to look at this holistically, not just at one duct at a time. Does that make sense?
GENIE: Yeah. The filter what dot-com?
TOM: FilterEasy.com. FilterEasy.com. Yeah, check it out. It’s a great way to make sure your filters are always replaced when they should be.
GENIE: Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck, Genie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, from cooking to fireplaces to space heaters, winter, it turns out, is the time of year when fire is most likely to break out in your home.
LESLIE: Now, prevention is, of course, your first priority. But if a blaze does break out in your space, you want to be sure that you have insurance that you need to cover those belongings that could be damaged or ruined.
TOM: Now, if you own your home, most homeowners policies cover this. But if you rent your home, there’s also a good chance your belongings are not covered by your landlord’s insurance policy, which is why renters need to have their own tenant contents insurance.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the great thing about contents insurance is that it covers more than just fire damage. Now, most policies are going to protect your possessions against 16 different causes. And they range from the usual suspects like fire and theft and even the unlikely catastrophes, like explosions or damages from an aircraft. But it covers all of those things. And I can remember my parents even having me get this for my dorm room in college.
TOM: Yeah, definitely. It’s about 10 bucks a month. It’s a small price to pay. And we had the same kind of conversation with our kids when they were in college. They were like, “Why do we need that?” I’m like, “Well, let’s think about all the things in your dorm room that you haven’t paid for but we have. Your computer. How much did that Mac cost? The iPad. The phone. The books. The clothes.” Doesn’t take much to add up to a heck of a lot of money. So, spending 100 bucks to 150 bucks a year on contents insurance makes a real difference.
LESLIE: Jeff in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JEFF: So what we’ve got – we just purchased a home recently and the inspection – we noticed that the tar paper that covers – or there is tar paper that covers the ridge vent. And of course, that should be removed under normal installation.
JEFF: But I’m wondering if I can utilize that throughout the winter, to build heat and preserve heat in the attic, to maybe help warm the living space and then remove that in the spring once the warm weather comes back.
TOM: Depends on whether or not you want your insulation to work well or not, Jeff. Because the ridge vent is designed to help vent moisture out of that attic space and make the insulation more effective. So, it’s designed – in a perfectly insulated home, the insulation layer is at that ceiling level, right? And above that, it should be ambient. In other words, the attic should be the same temperature as the outside. So your attic is not designed to hold heat in. Not this type of installation. There’s another type that is. But this particular type is not.
So, I would recommend that you grab a utility knife. And can you reach that – the underside of the ridge from the attic?
JEFF: I can. It really wouldn’t be a big task at all to get it removed. It was actually when I was about to address that that I thought, “Wait a second, I might be able to utilize this heat over the winter.”
TOM: Yeah. You have other vents in the roof, as well. You may have gable vents or soffit vents, so you’re not really changing the dynamic of the ventilation in the attic. But no, I would recommend that you cut that tar paper out.
That’s actually, shockingly, not that uncommon. What happens is the roofers put tar paper across the entire roof, put the shingles up and then the guy – the last guy that puts that ridge vent on top of that ridge is supposed to cut out the tar paper. But if he was – if he didn’t go to ridge-vent class that day, he missed that step and he leaves the tar paper in place. And then, of course, it blocks the vent and then it just doesn’t work.
So, the reason I said it impacts your insulation is because the insulation, if it gets damp, it’s not effective. So, fresh air should be pushing in the soffit vents underneath the roof sheathing and out the ridge. That keeps everything nice and dry. So go ahead and cut that out and that’s the way you should be all winter long and thereafter.
JEFF: Perfect. I appreciate the help. I appreciate the advice.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Jeff. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Good questions from Jeff in Georgia.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a sticking door, it can go one of two ways. You can either just put up with it, letting that little annoyance build up over time, or you can resolve to fix it once and for all. We’re kind of advocates of that second option. Definitely fixing it.
So, here’s what you need to know.
TOM: First, it helps to understand why the door actually sticks. Now, most doors are made of wood. So the best way to understand the sticking-door problem is to think of it as a sponge. When the sponge is dry, it’s small, it’s compact, it’s hard. But when it gets moist, that sponge swells up to its full size but it becomes slightly softer. And that is exactly what’s happening to your door. It swells, then it dries out. Either extreme can cause the door to stick. In fact, I know some people where one spot sticks in the winter and another one sticks in the summer. At least you know what season it is, I guess.
LESLIE: Ah, it’s bathroom-door season.
Now, to fix that sticking door, your first task is to figure out exactly where that door is sticking. You can discover this by slowly opening and closing that door and just make a note of where it is in relation to the frame, when it starts to stick.
If you want a visual guide, you can use a piece of chalk or lipstick to cover the door where it seems to stick. And then you can open and close that door a couple of times and that chalk or lipstick – something that’s removable but it’s going to leave a mark on the opposite side – it’s going to transfer, then, to the exact point where that sticking is happening, where the door touches the jamb. Then you wipe it off without a trace and you know exactly where to work.
TOM: Now, there’s two methods to actually get the fix done, which we will call “easy” and “hard.” First, tighten the hinges. If the door opens on the right and sticks towards the top, the most likely culprit may be the opposite hinge on the left. And by tightening that hinge or replacing just one or two of its screws with longer ones, then it will go through the jamb and into the framing area. It can pull that door over just enough to free up the sticking area.
Now, the other option is a little harder and that is to sand down the door where it’s sticking. So you know when Leslie just talked about looking for that transfer mark – whether it’s chalk or lipstick or whatever you used – wherever that mark ends up, that’s where you’re going to sand.
Take a rough piece of sandpaper, sand it down firmly against that section of the door that’s been sticking and then repeat the process until the door no longer sticks in the frame. But try not to overdo it. You want to make sure that you sand enough so that when you repaint that area, you still will be able to close the door easily. But don’t overdo it. So just enough but not too much.
And once that door fits well, you can use some progressively finer sandpaper, go ahead and smooth out those rough edges. And you will be good to go, ready to paint and no more sticking door in any season.
LESLIE: Catherine in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CATHERINE: My bathroom was painted years ago with oil-based paint. And when the fellows tried to put the new paint on, it’s just washable Glidden paint – scrubbable and washable. And it started to bubble. So they stopped and they’re going to come back next week and do another coat of this washable paint.
TOM: See, when the paint doesn’t stick, OK, and it starts to peel off …
LESLIE: Let’s just add some more paint.
TOM: What do you do? Put more on top of it, right? That’s just silly. No, you want to stop them from doing that. Here’s what has to happen. You’ve got to pull off all the paint they put on already. And if it’s peeling, that may not be a big deal. Then you have to clean the walls. You want to use trisodium phosphate; it’s TSP. It’s a powder, you mix it up. You’ll find it in a hardware store.
And here’s the most important step, Catherine, and that is you’ve got to prime these walls. And you want to use a good-quality primer. You want to use one that is an oil-based primer, as a matter of fact: an alkaline-based primer, like KILZ, for example. That will stick to the old finish. And then once it dries, you will be able to put a latex paint over that and you’ll have really good adhesion.
Right now, they’re trying to paint Teflon, so to speak, alright? And you’ve not prepped that surface properly to make that new paint stick.
CATHERINE: Oh, good. OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
If you’ve got a question, a good way to get those questions to us is to post them on MoneyPit.com or on our social-media sites. And that’s what John from Pennsylvania did. I think he came in on Facebook.
LESLIE: That’s right. John wrote in. He says, “Is there a way to keep snow from forming at the edge of my roof and collapsing the gutters?”
TOM: Yeah. I mean sure. They’re called “snow guards.”
A couple of things to keep in mind. So, first of all, if you’ve got snow that’s forming on the edge of your roof, you probably are one step away from having an ice dam, which is when the snow above that melts and gets stuck behind that big block of ice and can leak. So be aware of that.
Secondly, if you want to slow it down so that they don’t really put pressure on your gutters themselves, put in snow guards, which are kind of like metal brackets, I guess would be a good way to describe it. They go under the shingles and stick up on the roof. You’ll very often see them, certainly, when you have a metal roof or when you have a very steep-pitched roof, like up in the northern parts of the country.
But snow guards are designed to do that. They’ll hold the snow back. They’ll prevent it from falling off en masse, because it’s darn heavy, and hurting somebody that’s below it. And it will definitely stop it from forming in your gutter and tearing the gutter off at the same time.
So if roof snow is what you’re up against, snow guards are what you need.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, as long as we’re talking gutters, Ben in New Hampshire wrote in saying, “I paid a lot of money for copper gutters. It performs perfectly but it’s turned a dirty green color. Is there a way to remedy this?”
That’s patina and it’s gorgeous.
TOM: Yeah. That’s what you paid for. That’s right. That’s called “patina.” And we charge extra for that.
LESLIE: Yeah. The Statue of Liberty would be shiny like a penny but she patinaed.
TOM: How do you buy copper gutters and not know that’s going to happen or not want that? I don’t get it.
LESLIE: Well, if you really have your heart set, lemon and salt does the trick. But that’s going to be a lot of work.
TOM: You’re going to need a lot of lemons.
LESLIE: And a big ladder. And a lot of salt.
TOM: Yeah. But at least it’s natural.
Well, did you guys know there may be some surprisingly common household poisons that are lurking behind your kitchen cabinet and pantry doors or maybe in the garage? Leslie is going to have some tips to help make sure that they’re stored properly, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie? Take it away.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, every 15 seconds in the United States, a poison-control center gets a frantic call about an accidental poisoning. A whopping 90 percent of accidental poisonings do occur in your home. So, here are a few ways that you can stay safe.
First, most adult poisonings are a result of mixing chemicals that just should never be combined. You never want to mix cleaning chemicals and always read the labels about potential deadly combination of products.
Now, more than half of all home poisonings happen to children under the age of 6. You’ve got to remember that those kiddos are fast and they are wily. So don’t just keep an eye on them; just keep the poisons out of reach and locked up.
It’s also super important to discard old prescription medicines promptly. Don’t flush them down the toilet because then they’re just going to wind up in the water supply.
Now, let’s talk about your garage, the basement, the shed. I mean these are weird places. They’re where you have toys and fun stuff for the yard with hazardous chemicals. It’s super strange. So, keeping those things right next to each other, it just doesn’t work. So don’t do it. Keep those things separate, keep them locked up, keep your kids safe. Definitely avoid the temptation of those curious little guys and girls. So definitely just keep them apart and you will find that you have a much safer home and definitely less opportunities for these things to happen.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, have you ever woken up with a dry, parched throat? Well, if so, you might know a little bit about the value of having a humidifier in your home. But with so many types of humidifiers out there – you’ve got some indoors, you’ve got some for built-ins, you’ve got some that have drums, you have some that drip, you have some that hiss. Well, we’re going to sort through those and share tips to help you pick the perfect humidifier for your home, 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.)