- Are your kids’ rooms ready for a design refresh? We’ve got tips to help you design a room that can grow as fast as they do.
- Home repairs often come as a surprise for most owners, but did you know that many are predictable if you know when your home was built. We share hacks to help you determine your homes age, and the most common repairs to expect!
- And as we move toward winter, are you looking to get everybody up & active on those not-so-sunny days. Adding a game room may be the answer you’re searching for!
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Michelle wants to know what kind of flooring to use in her young son’s bathroom.
- Randy from Missouri is asking if removing his gable vents is from the attic is smart when adding new ridge vents?
- We give Eden in Arizona the best way to stop her garbage disposal backing up into her other sink.
- Ken from Illinois has a three-way light switch that isn’t working.
- Rosalind and Gary in Delaware want to know how to seal a marble table.
- Larry has some 30-year-old wallpaper that is starting to peal and needs a solution.
- Janet in South Carolina wants to extend her roof to cover a patio and needs to know the best way to attach the new roof to the old one.
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: And we’re here for you. We want to help you tackle your home improvement projects, your DIY dilemmas. If you want to hire a pro, we can give you some tips on how to do that, get the best price and make sure your project gets done right the first time. And if you’re planning a project for the end of the year or maybe next year, we’d love to walk you through it. You can help yourself first by reaching out to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, if your child’s room is space-challenged and you’re thinking about making a change, we’re going to share some tips to help you design a room that can grow as fast as they do.
LESLIE: And as long as there have been homes, there have been repairs which, of course, can happen at the least convenient moment. So, wouldn’t it be nice if you can predict what’s going to happen when? Well, you kind of can if you know your home’s age. We’re going to explain that, in just a bit.
TOM: And as we move towards winter, are you looking to get everybody up and active on those not-so-sunny days? Well, adding a game room might be the answer you’re searching for. We’re going to tell you how to get this project started.
LESLIE: Hey, guys. You need some help with a renovation, a repair or a décor project? Well, we’re here to help you create your best home ever.
Plus, we have got a great product to give away today to one listener, especially if you’ve got a kitchen or bath countertop that’s in need of an update. We’ve got up for grabs, from Daich Coatings, the SpreadStone Countertop Finishing Kit and it’s worth 125 bucks going out today.
TOM: It’s going out to one listener that posts their question on MoneyPit.com or calls us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, let’s get started. There’s a lot of folks trying to get in some projects before the end of the year. So, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Michelle on the line who wants to do a special bathroom for the kids. Tell us about the project.
MICHELLE: Well, we want to update it, throw out paint. I’ve already got new linen but because I have boys – young boys …
LESLIE: I have the same.
MICHELLE: I’m wondering what kind of flooring we should put in there, because of overspills from the tub.
LESLIE: Oh, you were very kind in mentioning that first.
TOM: Leslie, I don’t know if it’s possible to have a totally little boy-proof floor.
LESLIE: I don’t know. Something without grout lines that absorbs every scent of everything? I’m telling you, the boy-bathroom issue is a problem and it grosses me out every day – every darn day.
So, for bathroom floors, your first bet is obviously something that’s waterproof or at least water-resistant. So, tile, people tend to go to first but there’s also laminates or EVPs or water-resistant sort of fabricated floorings that can look like a variety of things.
Now, if you are going to go with a tile, please make sure it’s glazed and not unglazed, because that will just absorb everything and be an issue.
And you also want to try – I know with grout lines on the floor, they tend to go wider with the sanded grout because of the floor. But if there’s any way to avoid them being so wide or be sure to seal them immediately so that anything that spills on the floor, whether it comes from the tub or from the human children, does not get absorbed into the floor and cause an issue. I mean it really depends on the look that you’re going for but the main thing we’re looking at here is durability and cleanability.
MICHELLE: Yes. Those are my issues because, right now, we’ve got linoleum tile in the bathroom and it’s – we just – it just needs to be replaced.
TOM: You know, Michelle, I just recently got a chance to check out a new product from LL Flooring that’s called Duravana. And it’s a composite flooring. Now, I’d never seen a composite-flooring product before, so I was interested. Now, this stuff is only about 4 bucks a square foot. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m really impressed with its durability. First of all, it’s 100-percent waterproof.
But this is what I do to test flooring. I did some – a little bit of work in The Money Pit test lab. First of all, I took a hammer and I swung it full force five or six times and I couldn’t dent the stuff. So, that’s good, right? Next, I took a piece of sandpaper, 120 grit. I put it on the bottom of my vibrating sander and I tried to sand the finish. So if you can imagine years of dirt being ground into floors, I thought that was a pretty fair test. And it didn’t take off the finish. Didn’t even affect it at one iota. And finally, I took a utility knife, brand new – I did a little video on this and I showed me using it to cut sandpaper in one swipe. Then I must’ve swiped it across this floor about 20 times and the scratches didn’t show at all.
So I was really impressed with this stuff, especially at the price and the fact it’s 100-percent waterproof. It’s not out just at this moment but it’s coming out very soon, so you might want to take a look at that as an inexpensive flooring option for this bathroom.
MICHELLE: Great. Do we just get it at our local hardware stores?
TOM: No. It’s an LL Flooring product, so you can go to LLFlooring.com or to one of the LL Flooring stores. They’ve got about 400 or so odd stores across the country.
LESLIE: I wish you good luck. I’d like to say it gets easier. I have a 13-year-old and an 8-year-old and it’s still terrible.
MICHELLE: Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
LESLIE: Randy in Missouri is on the line.
Now, Randy, you’ve got some questions about a new metal roof. Alright, what’s going on over there?
RANDY: Yeah. I had a metal roof put on. A few years ago, we decided – my wife and I decided to go with a metal roof.
RANDY: The contractor came and the first thing he wanted to do is take out the two whirlybirds on top of my roof.
RANDY: Does that sound – do you know what that – I guess you know what that means.
TOM: I know what it is, yeah. It’s a vent. And it was the right thing to do.
RANDY: He covered up the two holes of the whirlybirds and now I have nothing. There’s no ventilation to the top at all. My two outside vents …
RANDY: They were there when I built the house. Is that safe or is that …?
TOM: So, you’re talking about the gable vents at the ends of the building?
RANDY: Right. Yes. Yes.
TOM: That’s what you have now? Yeah.
So look, first of all, I will tell you that what you’re calling that whirlybird – that vent that spins on top of the roof – is the least efficient, least effective vent you could’ve possibly have had. So I wouldn’t think twice about covering those up, period, because they really just don’t do that much.
Now, if your attic is really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter, it might be that you need additional venting. Now that you have a metal roof, I would’ve told you to put in a ridge vent down the peak of that roof. But the fact that you don’t have one now is not kind of a dealbreaker. Just make sure that if you don’t have it, that you add this and add soffit vents at the overhang, where the roof overhangs the exterior wall. Because you want to let air in low and then exhaust it up high.
RANDY: I think I do have some of that soffit – has holes in it.
TOM: Yep. With holes in it, yes.
RANDY: But the insulation runs right up to it.
TOM: Right. So the solution there, Randy, is something called an “insulation baffle.” It’s kind of like a cardboard sleeve or a foam sleeve and it’s designed to be pressed underneath the roof sheathing, right up against that exterior wall frame. So it sort of pushes the insulation down, squishes it on purpose right where those vents are. And this way, the ventilation gets past that insulation and works its way up into the roof. Because the air that blows across – the wind blows across your house and it blows in those soffit vents and it will go up in that attic space and exit at those gable vents that you have on the end.
So I don’t think you lost any efficiency taking out those whirlybird vents. I only suggest that you install these baffles to make sure that your soffit vents have the access that they need to do the job.
RANDY: OK. Well, that answered my questions.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, one project that can really change the look of a kitchen is replacing your countertop. But while replacing the top can be an expensive project, refinishing it is not. And it can be easily accomplished with a kit made for just exactly this project. And we’re giving it away today.
TOM: I love this product. It’s called the SpreadStone Countertop Finishing Kit from Daich Coatings. You might be thinking, “Why is it called ‘SpreadStone’?” Because it’s got real stone in it. I mean really, it has stone in it. When you feel this product, it weighs a ton in the can compared to paint or something like that. But when you’re applying this solution, which contains real stone, you get beauty and lasting performance. You get heat-resistance and water-repellency.
It’s available in 11 different colors. The retail value is 125 bucks. You can find out more at DaichCoatings.com. That’s D-a-i-c-h – Coatings.com.
But hey, do you want to do a quick redo of your countertop before the holidays? This can be done in a weekend and we’re giving it away on today’s show. So call us, right now, with your home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or post them at MoneyPit.com. That SpreadStone Countertop Finishing Kit is going out to one listener drawn at random.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Eden in Arizona on the line who’s got a question about a garbage disposal. What’s going on?
EDEN: My question is that every time we turn on the garbage disposal, the sink that is next to the sink that has the disposal in it has all the junky stuff come up through the drain, up into that sink. And we had a guy come out to adjust the garbage disposal for a different reason and I hoped somehow that would fix it. But it’s still doing it.
So, basically, I turn on the garbage disposal and everything that’s in the garbage disposal goes into the other sink. So, it’s really gross.
TOM: So if your garbage disposal – into a double sink and a disposal – is backing up into the other sink, that means that that main drain line is somehow obstructed. And the water is trying to get down there but it just can’t. And because it can’t, the only place it has to go is back into your sink. And because the drain on that side is the path of least resistance, it’s going to bubble up there and bring all of that gunk that the garbage disposal ground up. So, this is a situation where you’re going to have to clear that drain.
Now, it is a little trickier when you have a double sink because you have to block one sink so that your air – so that when you actually use a plunger, it doesn’t try to push air out that side. So you block, say, the disposal side. And you can put a rubber jar opener or something like that across that sink and hold it in place while you plunge the other side to see if we can get that pipe moving.
Now, if that’s not enough to clear it, at that point you’ll need to have a drain-cleaning service come in. But if it’s properly cleared, it should not be backing up into the opposite sink. It’s just a simple matter of fixing a clogged drain.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got kids, you know that their stuff seems to multiply when we’re all asleep. I have no idea how. Charlie’s room goes from being perfectly organized and spacious to just jam-packed in an instant. I feel like I blink my eyes and it’s crowded again.
So, if you’re finding that your kid’s room is space-challenged – you know, tripping over those Legos, dealing with lost puzzle pieces – does it sound familiar? Because I feel like I’m just telling you all about what goes on in my house.
Well, we’ve got a few easy décor tips that are going to help you design a room for your kids that can grow as fast as they do.
First of all, you’ve got to plan a space for your kids that is going to grow with your child. And that includes everything from what color you paint to the accessory colors. You want to make sure that all of that is going to serve as a long-term back trap, because their tastes are going to change, their interests are going to change. You want to make sure you invest in furniture pieces and storage solutions that are going to be useful to you over a long haul, not just for – “Oh, this works for now.” And then they have completely outgrown it. So you want these pieces to grow with the kid.
TOM: Yeah. And when you’re thinking about smart storage, maybe look for furniture that has storage space in it, right? Because it gives you the option to hide all their stuff and also frees up some floor space for activity zones in the room design. If you make that storage flexible, you get a lot more out of it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And now, not everybody’s room has a closet but if your kid’s room does have a closet, you’ve got to think about the space in there and find the way to best use that storage spot.
So, look at it. What kind of things are you hanging in there? Are you not hanging anything at all? Do you need more drawers? Do you need more shelves? Customize your closet to work with how you want to organize things. That can be anything from bilevel clothing rods, shelves, some sort of organization system that comes from an organizing store that’s going to give you a multiple use of things: shelves, drawers, hanging pieces. Whatever it is, you’ve got to look for the best way to utilize that space for your needs.
And then you really have to be on the lookout for underused spaces, like under the bed. You can find sliding bins that are perfect for a space like that and you can store toys, shoes, all kinds of stuff. I just got Charlie a bed that has the dressers built into the bed and that has two sort of sliding-out pieces that become a desk. So it’s a great, multifunctional piece that cleared up a whole extra spot in his very tiny, tiny room that now he can actually hang out in there and play and not feel super crowded.
TOM: Absolutely. I still have a sore spot on my foot, I think, from when I stepped on Legos when my kids were little. I stepped on one once that was at that perfect spot, just in front of your heel, where I feel like it got imbedded in my foot. And even talking about it now, I can feel the pain.
LESLIE: Well, you know that after dark, the Legos turn into baby razors. That’s just what happens. You step on them and I don’t even know how they hurt so badly but they do. And it’s not like that in the daytime.
TOM: Hey, for more tips, check out “Create a Kids Room That Will Grow with Your Child.” We’ve got a great post on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Ken in Illinois is on the line with a question about a light switch. It seems like some sort of mysterious light switch that works, doesn’t work. What’s going on?
KEN: I have a light switch that’s controlled in two locations but it seems like less than the exact right up or down spot. But it doesn’t work. It’s like one controls the other one. Just wondering how I can fix that.
TOM: Ken, you have a three-way switch that’s not correctly wired. That’s your problem there. That’s why you have to have one of these switches in one position because that’s providing power to the circuit and then that’s why it doesn’t automatically turn on or off, depending on which switch you’re at. So, you need to have this wiring evaluated and repaired by an electrician. That’s what’s going on here. It’s not a bad switch; it’s just that it’s wired incorrectly because it’s not behaving properly for a three-way switch.
LESLIE: Heading over to Delaware where Rosalind is on the line about a marble question. What’s going on?
GARY: Yes, I’m Gary. I’m Rosalynn’s husband.
LESLIE: Oh. Hi, Gary.
TOM: Hi, Gary. How can we help you?
GARY: Yes. We have a question. We bought a marble table and we didn’t know that it needed to be sealed. How do we go about doing that?
LESLIE: Gary, are you calling because you’ve stained it and now you’re sort of stuck and want to work backwards or you’re just preemptively doing some work?
GARY: We had stained it. We got the stain out but we didn’t know that it needed to be sealed.
LESLIE: And is it a new marble table or is it sort of an older piece that’s maybe lost its surface finish over time?
GARY: No, it’s new.
LESLIE: Brand new. So, now, there’s a couple of different kinds. You may have a honed piece of marble, which doesn’t have any polish on it at all and it’s meant to sort of have that chalky, unfinished look to it. And then there’s a more high-polished finish that looks like it has a glaze to it, where it’s shiny.
Now, there’s a couple of different ways to achieve that. There are professional products that you can get at your local – a place where you might get granite or marble countertops. And they have a sealant. Sometimes it’s better if they do it. I know when you have marble or granite countertops, they should be reapplying that glaze every 3 to 5 years. If it’s a lighter color, it should be more often.
But with a piece like that, you might be able to just get away with some marble polish, which will give you a shine and give you a bit of a more protective surface on there. But there really doesn’t seem to be a homeowner type of glaze that you can get to apply, because it is truly a mixed different bunch of parts that are meant to be applied very systematically, very carefully.
GARY: Oh, OK. So now I can get that at a local home goods store or something like that?
LESLIE: Yeah, I would definitely get a marble polish. And follow the directions and apply that exactly the way you’re told. And that’ll give you a nice sheen on it and make it much more durable.
If you want something that’s much more shiny and really meant to coat and protect the surface, I would head on over to a local vendor near you that does marble and granite countertops and ask them for a product. They might have something that’s DIY or they might be willing to take the piece and coat it for you. Since it’s a small table, it shouldn’t be much of a charge.
GARY: I see. OK. Alright. Well, thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
GARY: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: I love that Rosalynn’s putting up her husband, Gary, to make the call.
LESLIE: “Get on the phone, Gary.”
TOM: She’s like, “Talk to these people, because you’re going to have to fix this.”
LESLIE: We’ve got Anne in Texas on the line with a question about a countertop. Tell us what’s going on.
ANNE: I wondered if my countertop, if I could – they have a leather look to them and I would like to have them smoothed down. Is that something that can be done since they’re already installed or do they have – do I have to change them out?
LESLIE: Anne, if this is a leathered-look granite, which is a very specific finish to give it that sort of rippled texture – I don’t think it actually looks like leather. It just looks like it has a very matte sheen and a lot of texture to it. I don’t think you can smooth that down at all, especially if it’s installed. This is something that would have to go through extensive machinery to be smoothed and resurfaced completely.
TOM: It’d probably be cheaper to replace it completely than it would be to smooth out what you have.
TOM: If it turns out that it’s not granite, you just have a leather pattern – just, say, a laminate – there are great countertop-finishing kits out there that use real stone. There’s one called SpreadStone, which is a countertop kit that when you apply it, it takes about a weekend and it gives you a good-looking top. It’s heat-resistant. It’s water-resistant.
But again, you can only use it on laminate. If this is granite and it has that textured, rough pattern, then no. You cannot, definitely, smooth it out.
So, wish we had better news for you but that’s the situation, Anne. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, as long as there have been homes, there have been home repairs. I mean they kind of go hand in hand. You build something, it looks great and then eventually, something breaks that you need to fix. But if you know the age of your home, problems common to homes built in that exact era can sometimes be avoided.
TOM: Yeah. Because at least you’ll know what to expect. After spending 20 years as a home inspector, I got pretty good at knowing what might be wrong with a house before I even walked in the door. And it wasn’t because I had some sort of mystic abilities. It’s just because I’ve seen the same problems in the same houses, of the same age, time and time again.
LESLIE: Don’t let him fool you. He’s the psychic home improver. It’s very, very true.
No but seriously, he’s right. If you know how old a house is, you can really determine what could go wrong and when. So here’s a few tricks to determine the age of your house, along with some of the most common repairs for that age of home.
So, first of all, you’ve got to research the records. The first step really is compiling a house history. You want to identify the era in which the structure was built. You can look at the architectural style of your house. That may give you some clues. Victorian homes were popular from, say, 1830 to about 1910. Cape Cods, they really started popping up in the 30s and 40s and ranches were more popular in the 50s and 60s. So that could kind of give you an idea of the age range of your home.
Then you also want to try and research some public records. Now, you can visit your local building department, the tax assessor or even the Register of Deeds office. Find the deed. Look at the map. See if you can get plot plans, building-permit history. All of that could fill you in on a piece of the history of your home. And it kind of gives you a sense of what was done when and what could go wrong when.
TOM: Now, my favorite way to date houses is just by looking at how they’re built and especially with regard to their mechanical systems. So, for example, if you’ve got old wiring – the old knob-and-tube wiring – hopefully, it’s no longer active but the old wiring will still be in the house. That means that it was probably built between, say, 1900 and 1940. And that goes for steel plumbing pipes, as well. And if you’ve still got them, believe me, you know it because you’ve got lousy water pressure and a major leak can happen at any time.
And then if you look at the sort of the wall construction – plaster-lath walls or vermiculite insulation – those were common between 1940 and 60. And of course, who can forget those beautiful avocado appliances of the 60s and the 70s? I call that decorating’s dark era. Again, give you a sense as to when the place was built.
LESLIE: I’m telling you, we looked at a house that was built in the late 50s. And if you could’ve tolerated that avocado-green bathroom, there truly was nothing wrong with it other than the fact that it was all this wonderful shade of green. It’s interesting.
TOM: Yeah. On top of that, they’re just made so darn well, right?
LESLIE: Right. Exactly.
TOM: You’ve got really solid walls, solid floors. It’s just that the color is awful.
LESLIE: I know. It’s like it’s well taken care of and it functions but boy, is it ugly.
So, Tom, when you’re looking at a house or you’re even just trying to determine what’s going on with your own home, is there anything ever that’s kind of – for lack of a better word – date-stamped so you can kind of figure out what the actual age is or at least of that part?
TOM: Oh, absolutely. This is, in fact, kind of a home inspector’s trick of the trade. Plumbing fixtures, like toilets and sinks, they often have the date they were manufactured stamped somewhere. So if you take off the lid of a toilet and turn it upside down, you’ll very often may see the full date – month, day and year – or you might see a letter followed by two digits. So it could be like N73, which means it was basically manufactured in 1973. And since manufacturers don’t make more than they can sell, that’s a pretty good indication of when that house was built, within a year or two of that date.
And then electric panels also often have inspection stickers on them, so you can look at that. And then appliance serial numbers. Some of those are coded with a date, too, especially when it comes to air-conditioning systems. They almost always have – a two-digit part of that is the year that it was built.
So, there are some tricky ways to find that. And we’ve got some info on that on MoneyPit.com. So just look for a post that’s called “Home Repairs by Age of House.”
This time of year, folks are really rushing to finish up their kitchen renovations before the next holiday hits. And one project that can really change the look of a kitchen, if you don’t have time to do the whole thing, is just by replacing the countertop. But replacing the top can be expensive. However, refinishing the top, not so much. It’s a project you can knock out in a weekend with a kit made just for that purpose, that we’re giving away on today’s show.
LESLIE: That’s right. Up for grabs is the SpreadStone Countertop Finishing Kit from Daich Coatings.
Now, this is a kit that puts real, actual stone onto your countertop. So you’re not just refinishing; you are totally refreshing this countertop. You can find it in 11 different colors, this kit. It’s heat-resistant, it’s water-repellent and it’s an easy DIY project that you can get done in a weekend. You cannot beat that.
It’s 125 bucks but of course, it’s going out to one very lucky listener for free.
TOM: It’s available online at Home Depot, Lowe’s and the Daich Coating website at D-a-i-c-h – Coatings.com.
That SpreadStone Countertop Finishing Kit is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now as 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Got Larry on the line who’s got a question about some wallpaper that won’t stay put. Tell us what’s going on.
LARRY: I’ve got an old house, 200 years old. And it’s got the plaster walls with cloth wallpaper that was put on about 30 years ago.
TOM: Oh, boy. Right.
LARRY: And now it’s coming off in places but it’s still real intact. I’m wondering if I can just stick it back on with some kind of an adhesive.
TOM: So, is it coming out at the seams?
LARRY: Right, yeah.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK. So, there’s a tool called a “seam roller” and there’s a type of adhesive called “seam adhesive” – wallpaper seam adhesive. It’s not very expensive.
TOM: And what you need to do is you need to apply that seam adhesive. You can use a really small brush, like a painter’s brush. Try to get it on the back side of those loose sections. And then with the roller, which is kind of like a small rolling pin about 2 inches wide, you roll over it. And that presses it down, spreads the adhesive and helps seal those edges down.
Now, if you do this and it works, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t work, it might be that there’s too much debris on that wall and it’s just never going to stick. And you may have to say goodbye to that – I hate to tell you – 30-year-old wallpaper. But let’s think of it this way: it served your home well. OK?
LARRY: It’s been good. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Well, as we move toward winter, are you looking for ways to get everybody up and active on those not-so-lovely days? Adding a basement game room could really be the answer that you’re searching for. And it’s easier than you think with three simple steps.
TOM: That’s right. Step one, you want to address any moisture or dampness issues that you may have in that basement. It doesn’t mean you need to finish the basement but adding a space heater or a dehumidifier might be all you need to help make your guests feel comfortable. And then think about adding some extra electrical outlets for lamps, for speakers, for guests’ phones, chargers. A great addition to any basement game room.
And you can even add a mini-fridge so you don’t have to go far to pick up a little snack or a drink. This way, you skip that extra trip up and down the stairs.
LESLIE: Yes. But word of advice for a mom of boys here: make sure you put some garbages around those places because boy, do they love to make a big, fat mess in their new kick-butt game room. So garbages are key.
TOM: That’s not what the floor is for?
LESLIE: Oh, yes. It’s the biggest garbage of all, Tom. Of course. Of course you would know that.
But you know what, guys? You can make that space super fun. I mean my kids used to be afraid to go into the basement. But we made some simple changes and now it’s their favorite place to hang.
I did a lot of those marquee lights, you know? It looks like a theatrical light on the sort of board when you see it on a street. And it’s all their letter of their names and lights. I just did a big H and a big C. We picked a fun color. I let them do one fun color on a wall.
We picked out a lot of great things that really made it fun for them for gaming. And you know what? Around the holiday season, you can find those old-timey arcade-style games that have all the games that we grew up with in the 80s and 90s for the kids to come and play now. And they’re not terribly expensive, so it makes a great holiday gift. The more fun you put down there, the more they will want to go down and stay out of your hair, which really is the goal on a not-so-nice day, right?
LESLIE: Janet in South Carolina has got a question about covering a patio. Tell us about your project.
JANET: I want to build a patio cover. I want to know if I should come off from the soffit. The people I talked to that are going to maybe be building it want to come off the house, go underneath the soffit and come out that way. There’s a corner where it’s perpendicular. I guess the soffits are going to be perpendicular. So the roofline is also perpendicular, if that’s the correct word I’m using. So I just want to know if I should come – or could come off the soffit or do I need to come back and go against the house?
TOM: So, Janet, I think this kind of project, you have to be very careful about how you build it because I’ve seen more built poorly than built correctly. The idea of attaching it underneath your soffit is basically the first sign that it was kind of an amateur’s project. Because normally, you wouldn’t attach a roof under a soffit like that.
But I’ll tell you what you would attach under that and that would be a removable awning. You know, there are really nice awnings today that can extend out 10 or more feet, that are mounted on the wall – exterior wall. And with the touch of a remote control, extend out and cover that whole dining area of the patio really effectively. And I think that is much more likely to give you enjoyment, it’ll have less maintenance hassles and improve the value of your house than trying to put together any kind of a roof structure over that.
If the option is just to make a patio cover, I think that’s probably a much more attractive way to go and probably less expensive.
What do you think, Leslie?
LESLIE: I think an awning, for certain, is far more customizable. You can have it come in, come out depending on the weather. You can pick an interesting fabric that’s going to work nicely with the house. I mean truly, awnings are lovely and really do a wonderful job of just updating the façade of a home. So I feel like that’s a better way to go, for sure.
Peter sent us in a fantastic question that has just yielded more questions from me, I believe? But let me tell you this. Peter writes: “I would like to modernize and remodel my Hawaiian kitchen at a reasonable cost. Any ideas for a budget tropical makeover?”
So, first, I want to know: does Peter live in Hawaii and he’s just talking about his regular kitchen but he calls it a “Hawaiian kitchen”?
LESLIE: Is he in a cold – super-cold spot and wants to make it tropical and vacation-y? I’ve got a lot more questions, Peter.
TOM: Maybe he lives in Alaska, where we have lots of listeners but just kind of wants to have that tropical feeling all year long.
LESLIE: Truly, this Hawaiian décor theme is a thing.
So, Peter, if you’re into this, we’re game and we can play.
So if you’re looking for a budget makeover, there’s a couple of things that you can do. And having no clue what your kitchen currently looks like – just because we just got a little note from you – maybe your kitchen cabinets, is there like a – are they Shaker style? Is there an inset panel or somewhere that you can add a woven bamboo mat or something that feels like woven leaves or even like a woven caning? Something that has that tropical, island-y made feeling that you can put inset in there? That’s kind of fun. You can even go ahead and paint that inset area kind of like a sunset-y, tropical color, like a peach or a nice golden yellow. It depends on what that raffia or grass cloth or whatever it is looks like, just so you have a little hint of that peeking through.
You can add in a ton of greenery, like Monstera leaves and elephant ears. Instantly, I feel like when you see those big, oversized, green leaves, it makes me feel like I’m on vacation. So just adding some of that could help. Changing the paint color could help. Adding in a different backsplash, if that’s – you’re so inclined to do so by choosing a different color or a different-style tile.
You can also – if you’ve got a large wall space, why not find a beautiful photograph and have it printed really large or have it printed as a wall covering that’s repositionable? You can do so much to bring an actual image of – whether it’s a sunset with a silhouette of a palm tree or somebody surfing, something that says to you tropical Hawaiian and just add it to that space. Send us pics and we can give you way more specific ideas, too.
TOM: Alright. Mark wants to know how many coats of paint are required for a proper paint job doing any renovation.
LESLIE: Enough to get the job done.
TOM: Really. I’m thinking it really depends on what you’re painting, right? Because if you’re trying to go over dark walls, well, then you need to use a bright primer. And if you’re trying to put a different color on, then you’re going to want to dye or tint that primer. And the number of coats is also relevant to the quality of the paint. If you buy cheap paint, you’re going to need more coats because there’s a definite difference in the amount of colorant, usually called “titanium dioxide” – of course, they leave that off the label because nobody knows what the heck it is – that’s in there that really gives you that sort of opacity.
So the answer is it depends on a lot of things. It depends on what you’re covering and the quality of the paint. But generally-speaking, I’m going to say primer plus two coats. What do you think?
LESLIE: I think that seems fair. I always allot for two coats. I don’t always prime, you’re right, depending on the color of the wall and the condition of the walls. Sometimes you, for sure, need it and sometimes you can get away without, like if I’m going from one light shade of gray to another light shade of gray. I kind of go without it.
But I think two coats is fair. Just make sure you look at it at different times of the day. Allow time for those coats to dry in between and you’ll end up with a fantastic paint job that’s going to last a long time.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on a beautiful fall weekend. If you’ve got home improvement questions, remember, you can reach out to us, 24/7, by posting your questions at MoneyPit.com.
But for today, that’s all the time we have. 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 2021 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.)