- Outdoor Living Spaces: Planning a backyard project? Check out the outdoor living spaces that buyers want most.
- Painting Tips: Paint is an easy way to create a new look, but how do you get paint to stick to tough surfaces? We’ve got some tips.
- DIY Plumbing: Unless it’s an emergency, you may not need to call a plumber. Here are 5 DIY plumbing projects you should know.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Roofing: Can roof sheathing be installed right on top of old barn boards? Catherine may need to add an underlayment, but if the boards are solid, that should be fine.
- Driveway Mold: Mold keeps coming back on a shaded area of David’s driveway. We recommend using a mildewcide product that has a lasting residual effect.
- Floor Beams: Wendy is tearing up an old floor right down to the beams. We have advice on installing additional beams and plywood to lend more support.
- Door Replacement: When replacing a front door, do you have to replace the entire transom around it? Rick learns why it’s harder to only change the door.
- Flooring: Laura is worried that her shaking appliances will ruin the new laminate flooring. We’ve got tips on leveling the machines and using special padding.
- Water Heater: Should you replace an electric water heater with a tankless model? A 240-volt timer would be better at helping Ken save on his water heating bills.
- HVAC Condensation: Condensation from an HVAC system is dripping into Gail’s crawlspace. She needs to have the contractor install it properly with a condensate pump to direct the moisture outside.
- Insulation: Can you ever have too much insulation? We help Brad figure out how to finish and insulate the attic in a Cape Cod-style home.
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: Welcome to Episode 2282. We are here to help you take on the projects that you want to get done around your house, whether it’s inside or out, upside or down. Maybe you feel like your project is upside-down. If that’s the case, we can help. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question or go to our website – and this clearly is the best way to get in touch with us – click on the microphone button. You can record your question right there and we will answer it in an upcoming episode.
Coming up today, are you guys thinking about making an improvement to your outdoor spaces but wondering if the popularity ended, with the pandemic, of fixing those spaces up? Well, we’ve got some new data on what spaces buyers are going to be looking for this year. And we’ll talk about whether outdoor spaces made the cut.
LESLIE: Ooh, I can’t wait. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t. Everybody loves an outdoor space.
Also ahead, paint is cheap and it totally transforms whatever you apply it to. But what if you can’t get that darn paint to stick? We’re going to share some tricks on how you can get paint to stick to surfaces like vinyl siding or ceramic tile, even plastic furniture: you know, all of those things you wish you could change the color of but just can’t figure out how to do it.
TOM: And if you guys have a plumbing emergency, you might need to hire a plumber. But there are actually five very common plumbing projects that you could definitely tackle yourself. We’ll share those, just ahead.
LESLIE: But first, we want to help you create your best home ever. From bathrooms to basements and demolition to décor, we’re your coach, your counselor, your cheerleader for whatever kind of project. If it’s big, if it’s small, if it’s a huge renovation or maybe just a slight redecoration, whatever it is we are standing by.
TOM: So give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Or better yet, go to MoneyPit.com, click on the microphone button and record your question right there.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading up north to New Hampshire where we’ve got Katherine on the line who’s got a roofing question. I mean it’s a roof of a barn but roof nonetheless.
So what’s going on?
KATHERINE: I have an 1890s barn, 30 by 40, that needs a new roof. It has about 1-inch-thick barn board going across the rafters. And I’m wondering if I can put either shingles or a standing-seam metal roof right on top of the barn board or if I need to put plywood or some other type of sheathing on top of that barn board before I apply the shingles.
TOM: Well, that sounds like a really beautiful building. And I’ll tell you, as long as that sheathing is solid sheathing and not spaced sheathing – so, in an old building like that, sometimes you have sheathing that’s spaced upon which you would nail a cedar-shingle roof. If that’s the case, you need to plywood that roof so you have solid sheathing.
But if that barn board is continuous, solid, thick, 1-inch-thick wood and if there’s no major damage in it – there’s no rot or big, warped sections or anything like that – there’s absolutely no reason that you cannot go right on top of that. Of course, you’re going to use an appropriate underlayment, like a heavy tar paper or something of that nature, but you could shingle right over that without having to add plywood sheathing. Plywood’s not going to add anything to that but weight, so I think you’re good to go.
LESLIE: David in Massachusetts has a question about mold.
Tell us what you’re seeing.
DAVID: I have a problem. I have a driveway, which is about 6 years old. And in the summer, we get mold up on the shady area. Not too much but enough. It comes about maybe 2 feet by 3 feet wide, OK? I used bleach on it, tried to kill the mold. But within months, it’s back again. I scrub it with soap and water. I did stuff with detergent and it’s still come back. I think it loved the water.
TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah. Well, listen, there’s a very simple solution. There’s a product called Spray & Forget. And when you apply Spray & Forget, it basically is a mildicide. And it will kill the mold, the mildew, the algae, the moss that’s there and even the lichen if that’s what’s causing it. And it has sort of a residual effect to it, so it sticks around for a couple of months and then you reapply it. So it’s really easy to do. And as long as you keep that – keep doing that, you’re never going to have a problem with that building up again.
The problem with bleach is you’re basically just taking it off one time and then it starts – from that moment forward, it starts to regrow. But if you use Spray & Forget, it’ll have some mildicide that will stay back and stop it from reforming.
DAVID: Now, can I purchase this Spray & Forget at Home Depot or Lowe’s or what?
TOM: You can find it at – yeah, you can find it at home centers. Go to SprayAndForget.com. There’s a store locator there, I believe, and you can find out where it’s sold right near you.
DAVID: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Wendy in Florida is on the line with a question about the structure of her home.
How can we help you?
WENDY: Yes. I’m restoring an old house. It’s about 100 years old and we’ve had to take up the kitchen floor. And we’ve taken – there’s layers of plywood and whatnot. And in order to get through it and get the rot out, whatever was gone down to the beams underneath the floor – now, the beams are 4×4 and they’re on 28 inches on center. And so I’m wondering – this needs more support and I’m wondering, can we put – instead of putting beams down in between the two so they’re parallel, can we put perpendicular ties across from those two and create boxes to support the floor?
TOM: Can you get underneath the existing floor joists?
WENDY: Well, it’s called “above grade.” And so there’s not that much space. You can get under there. It’s about to my side – to the ground.
TOM: Yep. So here’s the thing: you can’t change the direction of the beams because they usually go front to back for a reason. Typically, there’s a girder in the middle of the structure – the middle of the building somewhere. But if you want to support those beams because they’re sagging a bit, what you could do is you could put beams perpendicular to those underneath them. But those, of course, would have to be supported, as well. So I think your options are to put additional beams in in between this big, wide 28-inch gap or to put beams perpendicular underneath.
But if you put them underneath and you still have this wide gap, the other problem you’re going to have is supporting the plywood now or whatever you’re going to need for that. So, in that case, you would have to put some perpendicular spacers in between the beams but those are not – they don’t have any structural value. All that’s going to do is going to give you some additional surface to support whatever kind of floor you put on top of it. Does that make sense?
WENDY: OK. That answers my question.
TOM: Alright, Wendy. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, the home experts over at Zillow recently unveiled their predictions for the top-five home trends that we can look forward to this spring season. Now, the predictions were based on data collected from both buyer and seller activity, as well as searches on the site.
TOM: So, not surprisingly, the top home trend for ‘23 is backyards.
TOM: Outdoor space has always been a nice feature to have but the pandemic dramatically increased demands for access to fresh air. Now, according to Zillow, backyards are mentioned 22 percent more often in for-sale listings as compared to last year, with patios mentioned 13 percent more and pools seeing an uptick of 11 percent. Zillow also found that backyards are now highlighted in one out of every five Zillow listing descriptions.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? This really is not a passing fad. Zillow reports that the rising popularity of outdoor features suggests that the pandemic has changed the way we want to live for good. I mean it definitely changed everybody. And homeowners are now even rethinking how that space could serve as an extension of their home in new creative ways, like maybe an exterior home gym or natural pools or veggie gardens or another kind of an outdoor space.
TOM: And all this means that now is a really good time to continue investing in outdoor spaces, because the popularity with home buyers seems to be here to stay. So, if you’ve got a patio, you’ve got a porch, you’ve got a deck, you’ve got an outdoor gym, maybe even a jungle gym for your kids that you want to put together in that beautiful backyard and you need some help, reach out to us with those questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or post them at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: We’ve got Rick from Illinois calling in to Team Money Pit.
What can we help you with?
RICK: Well, we had the house built 22 years ago and over time, the front door has taken his bumps and bruises. Two teenage boys at the time throwing balls. Things like that dented (inaudible).
TOM: I hear you.
RICK: Yeah. So my wife decides she wants a new front door. So, we went to the big-box store and asked about a new door. He says, “Well, you’ve got to replace the whole door, the transit, everything.” That whole – so you’ve got to basically rip off a third of the front of my house to replace this assembly.
RICK: So, the guy comes out to measure. I say, “Perfect world, I just want a door.” He says, “Oh, no problem. I can just measure for the hinges. We’ll get you a new door.” Well, we get a call from the big-box store. He says, “You can’t do that. We’ve got to replace the whole thing.” What do you think? You tell me.
TOM: So, first of all, you certainly can replace just the door. Now, I will say, though, that that is a much more complicated project, from a carpentry perspective, because you’re never going to find a new door that fits – it’s not like replacing a part on the car, right?
TOM: You get a dent in your door, you get a new store panel, you put it on, it fits perfectly. It’s not like that. You’re going to find that the door is not going to fit exactly, so it has to be made to fit. You’re going to basically buy what’s called a “slab.” We call those kinds of doors a “slab.”
TOM: You’re going to have to put the hinges on, you’re going to have to put the deadbolt in, you’re going to have to put the latch in. And then you’re going to have to make sure that it swings and closes properly and it doesn’t bind and that it’s properly sealed all the way around.
So, I’m not saying you can’t do it but just understand that it’s a lot more complicated than just tearing it out and putting in a manufactured unit. Because in that case, everything’s designed to work together. The air seals are better, the insulation is better and so on and so forth.
Is this a wood door that you’re replacing?
RICK: It’s an insulated metal door.
TOM: OK. Well, you know what? I would do a little investigation on your own, Rick. I would look for those metal-door slabs and I would measure exactly your old door and see how close you can get to the same size door. The big-box stores, they have their systems and certainly, they’re not in the business of sending out expert carpenters to do that kind of fine work. They’re more in the rip-out-and-replace business.
TOM: But it’s entirely possible if you find a door that is very similar, if not identical to what you have, that you may be able to minimize the carpentry work. Do you consider yourself pretty handy when it comes to carpentry? Could you do that sort of work yourself?
RICK: Well, a quick – I’m legally blind, so, it’s kind of limited. Limited to what I can do.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
RICK: I’ve got low vision. Not completely blind. Low vision, so it’s very limited.
TOM: Well, you could hire a carpenter just to do that install but separate from a big-box store.
RICK: Yeah. I know a few guys that might – I’m going off into the weeds here. I apologize. But I’ve had some experiences with contractors in the past and I am very leery, so …
TOM: Yeah. Well, you don’t want a general contractor here. You just want a carpenter. You just want somebody who’s a carpenter.
You know, why don’t you look at a site like Angi? The Angi website, Angi.com. They have reviews there on folks for all sorts of different trades. The only thing I would caution you on is that sometimes I find that you’ll see general contractors pop up in a search for a carpenter. But there’ll be plenty of small construction-company carpenter kind of guys on there and you can find somebody that way that can just do the installation.
But I wouldn’t rely on them to find the door. I’d do that work on your own. It’s probably going to be a lot easier and less expensive. This way, you’re just paying for the labor to replace it.
RICK: Yeah. I think you’ve convinced me just to do the whole thing when you’ve laid it out like you did. Just replace the side lights, everything, so …
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Take a look at the fiberglass doors that are out now, too. That’s another advantage of the fact that you’re doing this from scratch now. They’re very insulated and they don’t dent like the metal ones.
RICK: That’s what the big-box store is kind of pushing, too, so I’m heading in that direction. So, OK.
TOM: Well, good luck with that project, Rick.
RICK: Thanks a lot.
LESLIE: Laura in Connecticut is on the line with a question about flooring.
What can we do for you today?
LAURA: Putting down laminated flooring in my kitchen. It houses a washer and dryer. The washer and dryer, they shimmy a bit.
LESLIE: You mean they shimmy as in they’re moving across the floor or they just shake a lot?
LAURA: They shake a lot. I mean they shimmy to the point of if I have my coffeepot on the stove, the water will shimmy a little bit in the pot.
LESLIE: Seriously? Now, that could be a balancing thing. It could be, quite frankly, that your washing machine itself isn’t perfectly leveled. That could be a matter of adjusting the legs or something’s up with the flooring underneath it. But that could be one thing. Or if it’s not happening with every single load, it could be how you’re loading the washing machine. You could have too much stuff in it. But I would start, really, by making sure that the washing machine is perfectly leveled and perfectly balanced.
And then there are actually pads that you can get at the home centers, even a Bed Bath & Beyond-type place. It’s an anti-vibration pad that goes underneath. Some of them are large enough to fit underneath the entire washing machine. And some of them are more for the corners under the legs. But they’re meant almost like shock absorbers from the machine to the floor. So, definitely start with making sure it’s fully balanced and level.
LAURA: And I can put these machines directly on my laminate flooring?
TOM: Yeah, you can. Look, if they’re going to shake a lot, you’re going to get maybe some abrasion, especially if you get dirt under the leg. That could wear through the laminate surface.
But I think Leslie is spot-on. Get it leveled and then get the anti-vibration pads or blocks. You can Google this. You’ll find them.
I’ve got four of them, one under each leg of my washing machine. And I had it in there from when it was brand-new and it didn’t really shake at all. But it was on the second floor, so I wanted to make sure it was as quiet as possible. And they work fantastic.
They’re just like rubber spacers that go under the leg of each washing – of each of the four legs of the washer. And they sit on the floor. And because they’re rubber, also, they will protect the laminate floor from any scratching.
LAURA: OK. Thanks for your help.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Ken from Pennsylvania on the line who needs to talk about water heating.
What’s going on?
KEN: Space in our house is at a premium. We’ve got that big, old water heater in there.
KEN: And I wanted to find out, what are the – are there benefits, are there costs, problems with getting a tankless water heater? Because we don’t – it’s just my wife and I. We don’t use both bathrooms, we don’t use all the sinks at the same time. We just feel like we’re heating all this water – keeping all the water hot all the time.
TOM: Right. And so, is this a gas water heater?
KEN: No, it’s electric.
TOM: Ah, OK. Alright, so that changes the answer and here’s why. If you were asking me about gas-fired tankless water heaters, I would tell you this is absolutely a no-brainer. You definitely should do that, because they’re incredibly efficient and while they’re a little more expensive up front, they last a lot longer, too.
But you can’t get that efficiency out of an electric tankless water heater. They exist but they’re not efficient. The only kind of electrical water heater that gives you efficiency is a heat-pump water heater. That uses heat pump technology, the same way heat pumps will cool and heat homes. It uses that kind of technology. But again, they’re very expensive.
A very simple and inexpensive way to sort of manage the cost of running that electric water heater is to install a 240-volt timer on it. So, think of the same kind of timer that you’d need for a light, except much bigger. And essentially the way it works is you would set this to come on, say, a couple of hours or maybe just an hour before you wake up in the morning so you have plenty of hot water in the morning. And then it would go off. The tank’s going to still stay pretty warm throughout most of the day. Then you have it come on again around the late afternoon, sort of dinner into the bathing-that-you-might-do-before-going-to-bed hours.
So, let’s say you have it on – let’s say you get up at eight in the morning, because I’d turn it on at seven, I might turn it off at nine or ten and then I’d leave it off all day long. I might bring it back on at, say, 5:00 and then maybe turn it off again at 10:00. So by the time I’m done, I’m really only heating that water maybe 8 or 10 hours a day instead of 24 hours a day. And that’s going to make a big difference in the cost to run that water heater.
KEN: I see. Alright. Well, good. That’s the kind of information I need. I appreciate your help. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck, Ken, and have a great day.
LESLIE: Gail in Ontario is on the line.
How can we help you today?
GAIL: We just had a high-efficiency energy furnace and central air installed in our house. And I have a ranch-style house crawlspace. It’s all insulated. And they installed the furnace in the laundry room and they’ve got the condensate pipe from the furnace and the central air dripping into a bucket into the ground of the crawlspace. And there’s limestone in the bucket. And we’re at odds whether this is a good thing or not.
TOM: So you say it’s dripping into a bucket. Is this a sump pump, like a sump pit? Or is this just a bucket on the ground in the crawlspace? Kind of describe it for me.
GAIL: Yeah, it’s just a bucket with limestone in it. They cut a hole in my plastic that’s running along the bottom of the crawlspace and they’ve got the bucket over the – where they cut it. And yeah, the pipe is just dripping into the bucket, going through the limestone and in the ground.
TOM: They’re basically just dumping the water under the – underneath the vapor barrier. No, I don’t think that’s a very god idea at all. It’s really sloppy. What you should be doing in this case is you should – or they should, more accurately, have installed a condensate pump.
Now, a condensate pump is a small pump. It sits near the furnace and near the air handler. And then the moisture goes into that pump. And once it fills up, a float starts the pump up and then pumps that condensate up through usually a clear plastic tube or a small pipe and then outside. So you basically run it outside your house the same way you might discharge your gutter. For example, in my house, I have a condensate pump that discharges into the same splash block as my gutter downspout and it takes that water outside.
I don’t like the idea at all of just dumping it into the crawlspace soil, which is essentially what they’re doing here.
GAIL: Yeah, I’ll tell them that. Yeah. Like I was – we were – it was really bothering us because we didn’t think it was a good thing, because I’m thinking all that water going under there? It’s defeating the purpose of insulating the crawlspace.
TOM: Yeah. No, your intuition is spot-on, OK? So you call that Ontario, Canada contractor back and get him to fix that, OK?
GAIL: And thank you so much for calling me.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, paint is inexpensive. Anybody can use it and it completely transforms whatever you apply it to. But what if you can’t get that darn stuff to stick? There are definitely some notoriously difficult surfaces to paint but it can be done with the right approach.
TOM: Yes. So, let’s start by talking about one material that people probably are wondering about: vinyl siding. We get questions on this all the time.
You know, vinyl siding is widely used. People love it because of it’s low-maintenance needs but it is prone to fading. Now, paint is the definite solution to bring it back to life if you can get it to stick. And that is possible. Here’s what you need to know.
First, you’ve got to use latex paint, not any kind of solvent-based paint, because it won’t flex. It’s got to flex with the vinyl’s movement. You want to choose a color that is the same or lighter than the current color. Because if you go with a darker color, it’s going to retain more heat and that’s going to make the siding more prone to premature warping. And that makes it hard for the paint to stick.
And as with any painting project, prep is the key. So, first, you get the siding thoroughly clean. You wash it with a brush, you use a vinegar-water mixture and when it’s completely dry, you apply an adhesive primer. Not just a regular primer but an adhesive primer; it has more stick to it. And then on top of that, you can use a spray gun to apply a couple of coats of latex paint, making sure to let it dry thoroughly between coats.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, here’s another one that’s hard to paint: plastic yard furniture. It gets dirty, it gets dingy with age. But a new coat of paint really is an easy project if you choose the right paint.
Now, spray-paint technology has really come a long way and the latest formulas have very strong adhesive qualities and they’re made specifically to bond to plastic. Again, you’ve got to thoroughly clean and let dry. That’s the best place to start. Then you follow with the adhesive primer and then always – this is like a spray-painting rule. You want to apply light coats multiple times. And you’ve got to wait 30 to 60 minutes between each. And this way, you’re not going to get the runny spots, you’re not going to get that weird kind of dimpling from spraying too close or too much. So, it’s kind of a technique that you need to master, because less is more when it comes to spray paint. I guess less more times is what you really want to do.
TOM: Absolutely. Well, there’s nothing worse than thinking you did a good job, only to spot a run where the paint dripped down one side, you know, after you’re all done, because the light’s different and now you see it or whatever. But yeah, overlapping those coats, really critical.
So, lastly, let’s talk about refinishing or repainting cast-iron tubs. Now, tubs last forever but their finish? Not so much. But what do you do if your cast-iron tub is functional but just needs a new finish?
This is one project, I will admit, that for years I encouraged you not, absolutely not, to do yourself. And the reason was because the process that was typically done required some pretty dangerous materials, like acids and other caustic chemicals. But my advice and my thinking on this has shifted a lot lately, because I found a two-part epoxy product that worked incredibly well. It’s called EKOPEL and I used it to recast a 1906 tub in a house that we recently purchased that was a real disaster. I mean it was painted previously, so the paint was chipping and cracking. It was stained. It had rust stains. It was just a real mess.
So, EKOPEL was – I found it online. I started seeing how many reviews it had. Then I started watching the installation videos and I tell you, I was so impressed. The way it works is you thoroughly prep and clean the tub and they tell you how to etch it – instead of using caustic chemicals, you use Lysol Toilet-Bowl Cleaner because it has an acid in it and it’s all the etch that you need to do. So it wasn’t terrible to do that. And then you mix up the two parts of the epoxy and you have to follow the instructions to the letter. It’ll tell you, “Stir for this many minutes, let it sit for this many minutes, stir again for this many minutes,” because it has to bake, sort of, for the chemical equation to sort of start to flesh itself out and solidify into epoxy.
Now, once you do that, the way you apply it is interesting. Of course, you mask everything off. There’s instructions for that but you don’t start from the bottom on up. You pour it over the lip of the tub, all the way around, and it flows down and sort of joins together.
And I’ll tell you, Leslie, when I was done, this thing looked like a brand-new tub. It was super white, it was beautiful and it was rock-solid. I had to put a heater in the room because they wanted it to be 74 degrees, I think it was. So I just left a space heater in overnight and the next morning it was totally good to go. So, really impressed with that product.
So, look, folks, there are ways that you can paint these very slippery surfaces if you’re using the right products. It really comes down to prep and product. Make the right selections and you can paint pretty much anything in your house.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a plumbing emergency and need it fixed fast, you probably want to hire a plumber. But there are plenty of simple plumbing repairs that you can do yourself. We’ve got tips on how to tackle the five most common DIY plumbing projects.
TOM: Now, the first one is this: replacing a toilet. The hardest part is actually moving the toilet itself, because it’s heavy. But once you remove the old toilet, you just need to clean up the closet flange and add a new wax ring and set that new toilet in place. Then tighten the bolts at the base and hook up the water supply and you’re really ready to go, literally.
LESLIE: Alright. That’s great. Next, replacing a showerhead. This one doesn’t even require a tool. First of all, you just turn the old showerhead counterclockwise by hand to sort of unscrew it from the pipe and remove it. Then you’re going to wrap some new Teflon tape to the shower discharge pipe, around the threading, wrapping it clockwise. And then mount the new showerhead, turning it clockwise to tighten it. And then you’re all done and ready to jump in that new shower.
TOM: Now, if you’ve got low water pressure in the shower, that might be a different showerhead solution. The existing showerhead might be clogged with sediment, typically mineral-salt deposits. To get rid of it, just soak it in a vinegar-water solution to then clean off all that gunk. And an easy way to do that is to take a plastic bag, like a clear bag, like a sandwich bag or maybe a gallon bag. Fill that up with white vinegar and then immerse the showerhead into it. And secure it to the pipe above the showerhead, maybe with a couple of rubber bands or with a zip tie, and just let that showerhead sort of bath in that vinegar for a while. That will loosen up all the mineral salts and the next time you turn it on, they’ll be gone.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, here’s another one. If you’ve got problems with the stream of water coming from a kitchen or bathroom faucet, in that case you should take a look at the faucet aerator. Now, this is a small device with a screen. It adds air into the water as it streams from the faucet and kind of controls the flow. So you just want to unscrew the old aerator counterclockwise. It’s at the end of the faucet. And if that screen is clogged with sediment, just tap it out upside-down until it’s clean and put it back. And faucet aerators are pretty cheap, so you can also purchase a new one and just replace the one you’ve got.
TOM: And if you need to install or replace your garbage disposer, just like a toilet the toughest part is lifting it, since it can weigh 10 to 20 pounds. So get a little help with the disposer while you secure it to the bottom of the sink and the rest will be very easy.
And here’s a little tip I will pass on because I made this mistake once myself. Even though I know better, I replaced a disposer for Mom and I took the old one out, I put the new one back and same exact model. Hooked up the drain, hooked up the dishwasher discharge and forgot that when you do that in the disposer, the dishwasher line, it has a little plastic plug because not everybody has dishwashers. So, on the disposer, you have to break out the little plastic plug, otherwise the sink cabinet floods and your mom gets really mad at you.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Brad on the line.
Brad, what can we do with you today at The Money Pit?
BRAD: I have a knee wall in our bedroom upstairs. I’m planning out – planning to box out the eaves. Now, the knee wall is currently insulated and I was wondering, if I box out the eaves, do I need to remove the insulation from that wall? Obviously, I’m going to insulate above the box and the back of the box but do I need to remove the insulation from the wall?
TOM: So, this is the knee wall in the attic between the floor and the exterior?
BRAD: Yes. The knee wall is – yeah, it’s the eaves from the bedroom.
TOM: Right. So, the back of that wall is technically an exterior wall. So, yes, that should be insulated.
BRAD: If I box it out with sheetrock and insulate on the outside of that sheetrock area, should I remove the insulation from the wall, because that wall is no longer now an exterior wall or is it still an exterior wall?
TOM: So, when you say – so you’re removing it from the wall. So this short wall is, on the other side of that you would basically be an unfinished attic space, correct?
BRAD: Yes. And if I finish it, yeah.
TOM: Right. You can’t go wrong having insulation in that wall. Because basically, once you get to the other side of that, you’d have the rafter bays, right? The roof rafters? And so the roof rafters don’t have insulation in them. But then you have the ceiling joists below that and the would have insulation in them. So, that adds to the exterior skin of the home, so yes. You do need to insulate the back of that.
BRAD: Great. OK, that’s all I need to know.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Joe wrote in and he says, “We replaced our skylights 2 years ago because of condensation. That issue appears to be solved but now we notice a cold draft from the skylight shaft. What do you suggest for this problem?”
TOM: So, just for those that are wondering what a skylight shaft is, the skylight is installed at the roof surface but the ceiling below it inside your house is flat. So, the shaft is what goes from the roof surface down to your ceiling.
And it’s a tough spot to insulate, right? Because it’s kind of like a weird little wall. And very often, installers don’t insulate that section very, very well. And so, with heat rising you’re going to get warm air that goes up there and then it’s going to strike the cold glass of the skylight. Even if it’s a decent skylight, it’s still going to be colder than an exterior wall. And once it cools, it falls.
And so that, I think, is what Joe is experiencing, Leslie, as the draft. It’s basically the warmed air just hitting the skylight, turning around and coming back down. We also see that on windows, right? Where you have warm air that strikes windows and then if you have a chair nearby, that cold air will sort of – whiffs across you and makes you feel a bit chilly.
So, what I would suggest for this particular problem, Joe, is a really simple solution. And it may not completely solve it but it will definitely help. And that is to add a cellular blind. A cellular blind to the underside of that skylight. Now, you may have to find one that can be positioned in that particular space, because it’s going to be on an angle, so you’ve got gravity to deal with. But a cellular blind is basically kind of like a honeycomb design. And it actually adds another layer between that warm air and that cold glass. And it will significantly reduce the amount of that chilling effect that you’re getting where the warm air cools and then falls and makes it feel chilly inside your space.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you out, Joe, because that’s definitely a doable fix.
Now we’ve got Libby who says, “I’m planning to put down peel-and-stick tile in my kitchen and I’m not sure what kind of prep I need to do to the current floor. The floor is very old. I’m not sure if it’s linoleum or asbestos tile or something else. And we don’t want to tear up the old flooring since we’re on a tight budget.”
And you don’t want to tear it up if it is that asbestos tile. I mean once you start breaking it up, that’s when you get into some real issues and I think the asbestos tile is super recognizable.
It’s also a weird size, right, Tom? It’s like nine by nine and like no other tile is that size.
TOM: Very often it is. I’ve seen that same thing and I agree with you. I don’t think there’s any reason to take up any of this floor. It’s not a thick floor. It’s not like you have, you know, a full thickness of hardwood or a full thickness of tile on a mud floor. It’s just sort of a basic floor.
So, what I would do is not, by the way, put down peel-and-stick tile. That stuff is just gone, gone, gone. Just forget about that. Today, you want to use a laminate floor or better yet, use an extruded vinyl plank, which basically is going to be so much more durable than any type of a vinyl tile. Locks together, lays nice and flat. Looks fantastic. Doesn’t scratch, doesn’t dent. Or you could look at the new hybrid-stone products, like the Duravana product from LL Flooring, which is incredibly durable. I’ve put that down in a laundry room and in a kitchen and I was very impressed by it.
So, one of those is a much better approach because these are floating floors. They’re all floating floors. You don’t need to tear anything up. You just lay it right down on top and you’ll be amazed at the transformation.
LESLIE: Yeah, Libby. I hope that helps you out. There’s so many choices out there. You can really create a space that looks great and you’re definitely not going to have to do anything to your existing floor.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I hope that you guys enjoyed some of the tips that we offered on today’s program. If you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach us, 24/7, by just clicking the microphone button on MoneyPit.com and leaving us your personal question. Just record a question for a minute or so. Let us know your first name and where you’re calling from and then we will get back to you the next time we produce the program.
But until then, 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 2023 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.)
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