- A survey of 32,000 homes by Zillow showed painting with the right colors can help your home sell faster and make you more money in any real estate market. We’ll share the paint colors that really pay off.
- Garage floors need to be one of the most durable floor surfaces in any house. They have to take the punishment of hot tires in the summer or dripping road salt in the winter, plus a ton of storage needs. We’ll share a finish that’s tough, durable and slip-resistant AND DIY!
- As the weather turns chilly, it might be time to light your fireplace for the first time this season. We’ll have the how-to you need to know to make sure your chimney, damper, and firebox are all safe.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Sam from Tennessee has a water pressure problem with his bathtub.
- Laura is having an erosion problem with her sloped yard and wants to know what the best way to stop it is.
- Dave from Washington wants to know if insulation tape he is using is fire safe?
- Diane in South Dakota is having a problem with an uneven subfloor.
- Louise is having salt deposit stains on her mailbox and wants to know the cause and how to clean it.
- Darrin in Iowa is getting a frost on his basement wall and wants to know the cause.
- Dorothy from New Jersey wants to know how to deal with Centipedes and Crickets in her basement.
- Floyd from Iowa whether or not to put a plastic vapor barrier in a crawl space and if he should close his basement vents.
- Janiese in Kansas is asking if she needs to seal an epoxy grout?
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 Fall, everybody. Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather, the brisk days. It’s perfect to work inside the house, to work outside the house. So whatever project you are doing, we would love to help. If it’s a project you want to get done, if you need help solving a problem, if you’ve got a decorating dilemma, this is the place to turn because we have got the tips, the experience, the ideas to help you get off of that stumbling block and get on to getting the job done. Reach out to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT – that’s 888-666-3974 – with your questions or post them at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the sale of your house. But according to a survey of 32,000 homes by Zillow, it turns out that painting with the right colors can actually help your home sell faster and make you more money in any kind of real-estate market. So we’re going to share the paint colors that really pay off.
LESLIE: And garage floors need to be one of the most durable floor surfaces in your entire house. They take a lot of punishment: hot tires in the summer, dripping road salt in the winter, plus a ton of storage needs. We’re going to share a finish that’s tough, durable and slip-resistant, that you can put down yourself in just a weekend.
TOM: And as the weather turns chilly, it might be time to light your fireplace for the first time. Don’t do it just yet. We’re going to have the how-to you need to know to make sure your chimney, your damper and your firebox are all safe.
LESLIE: But first, let us help you create your best home ever. It’s the holidays coming up soon. Are you going to be celebrating with family and friends for the first time in a long time? Let us help you get your house in tip-top shape. And we’ve got a great tool to give away to help you do just that.
TOM: Yep. We’re giving away America’s best-selling staple gun, the Arrow T50, plus a supply of staples. Now, that’s going out to one listener drawn at random, so reach out to us at MoneyPit.com or call in your questions, right now, to 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sam in Tennessee is on the line with a water-pressure question. How can we help you today?
SAM: Yes, I have just purchased a home that is about 75 years old. And we’re refurbishing it and we’re trying to keep everything as original as we can. I have great water pressure in every room that has water but my bathtub.
TOM: Sam, does your 75-year-old home have steel water pipes?
SAM: It has the old – we’re eventually going to replace all the water system. But we’re having to live in part of the home now and redoing the other half while we live here.
TOM: If you have the original steel water pipes in a 75-year-old home, they are absolutely going to suffer from interior rusting. What happens with steel is it rusts and it expands inward, so it kind of clogs like an artery, so to speak. And the older it is, the more that can occur. It’s possible that that – you may have a bad pipe on the way to that tub and that’s why you have such a slow fill out of that. The other possible issue is the valve itself that’s feeding water.
In that same bathroom, I presume you have a sink and a toilet. Do you notice any water pressure problems with those appliances?
SAM: No, sir. We have, like I said, great pressure everywhere except for that one spigot. And it’s the hot and cold runs into one.
TOM: The other thing it could be is a bad – it also could be a bad faucet on that tub. But if the pressure is pretty good everywhere else, it’s not likely to be rusted just at the bathroom – at the one fixture itself. So, I would suggest that maybe you want to replace that tub – that set of tub valves, because it’s probably obstructing there.
SAM: Right. Well, actually, it’s got the old-timey butterfly controls on it and we were really wanting to keep it but …
TOM: You can find those valves today. There’s a lot of sources of antique plumbing. And some of the new fixtures and faucets are designed to basically go – you’d be using a retrofit situation like that. So you can find modern versions that look old.
SAM: Yes, sir. Thank you.
TOM: Sam, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Have a great day.
LESLIE: Laura is up next with a lot of erosion going on at her money pit. Tell us what’s going on.
LAURA: Our yard slopes downward from the front to the back, probably close to – well, it’s a pretty good angle. I don’t actually know it’s 45 degrees. But when we have a hard rain, the rain comes off of the roadway and just a river flows down the back to the back corner of the house.
LAURA: And we’re seeing trees – like the roots. Real bad erosion. And I was wondering, what’s the best type of, I guess – I don’t know – like a retaining-type wall? Or is a flower bed – like a large flower bed – something to stop the flow? Or just a natural – like if we put bushes down – what’s the best would you suggest to (inaudible) that erosion to stop.
TOM: Well, the best thing to do is to interrupt that flow by catching the runoff and running it around the house. And an easy way to do that is with something called a “curtain drain.”
Now, a curtain drain is dug into that sloped area at some point and I can’t tell you where; it depends on how the soil is sloped and shaped that makes the most sense. But basically, think of it this way: it’s a trench that you would dig in front of the house where all the water is collecting.
And that trench, in it you would lay a perforated pipe. And the idea is that the trench has about 4 inches of stone, then it’s got a pipe. Stone continues to move up around the pipe and then a little more stone on top. And you put a piece of filter cloth and then you landscape over it or put dirt and grass over it, so you don’t see it when it’s done. But conceptually, the water shoots down the hill, falls into that invisible trench now, fills up the pipe and then runs out the other end of the pipe – the low end of the pipe – somewhere to daylight.
So, to do this, you need to be able to get the pipe in place and then have the end of it run out somewhere where you want to dump that water. Does that sound like it’s possible with your yard, the way it’s configured?
LAURA: Yeah. No, that’s very doable. I didn’t know they make stuff like that. So, no, that’s very doable.
TOM: Well, it’s kind of like – you know, it’s not like you can go to the curtain-drain aisle at the local home center. You have to kind of build it yourself but it’s a very common technique called a “curtain drain” or a “footer drain.” So take a look at that and you can find instructions on MoneyPit.com.
LAURA: Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Laura. Thanks again for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, we’ve got a very handy tool to give away to one listener. It’s the Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun and a supply of staples.
This is America’s best-selling staple gun. It’s jam-resistant, it features all-chrome steel housing and it really helps you tackle all sorts of projects around the house. It’s going out to one listener drawn at random, so make that you and reach out to us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post those questions to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to take a call from Spokane, Washington where we’ve got Dave on the line. What’s going on at your money pit?
DAVE: I have a house and my electric heat was kind of expensive. And I checked some insulating ideas and I used Frost King pipe-wrap insulation tape behind the electric baseboard heat. And I used it with a foil side against the heater. I’m not losing the heat into the wall and the heater’s working about 30 to 40 percent more efficient. My question: is it fire-safe?
TOM: That’s an interesting question. So, you took this insulating tape. Now, describe the tape to me. Is the foil-faced sort of rubbery-like insulation that Frost King makes? Or what does it look like?
DAVE: Yes. It’s Frost King pipe-wrap insulation tape. It’s 8- and 7-inch thick. It’s 2 inches wide. It comes in a 15- or 30-foot roll. It’s sticky on one side, then it’s got a foil on the other side. The foil is what reflects the heat away from the heater and away from the wall out into the room. The heat doesn’t go into my wall now. I had an infrared done by the fire department and most of the heat used to go back up into the wall. Almost none of it’s in the wall now and the heater’s a lot more efficient. And I don’t know how to get the material approved but it does work. My insulating material works and it’s very inexpensive. It costs about $10 a heater and it’d be a whole lot more efficient.
TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s really interesting. Now, I would say, first of all, we’re definitely dealing with what is termed an off-label use. In other words, the manufacturer would never sell it for that particular purpose.
To your core question, is it safe? I can see a couple of ways where it could potentially be not safe. In particular, the heater is designed to release a certain amount of heat to the back wall of it. And if because of the reflective qualities of the foil, it’s now not doing that and basically reflecting that heat more into the room, I guess it’s possible that some of the electrical components inside the heater itself could work – could have to work there at a higher temperature than they normally would and therefore potentially be unsafe. I would think that in both cases, both using the tape from the Frost King manufacturer’s perspective and even from the electric-baseboard manufacturer’s perspective, I don’t see any scenario where they would recommend those two be worked together.
So, even though it’s not – it’s off-label, is it really unsafe? Are you really at a risk hazard? I really can’t tell you for sure. But I guess common sense would dictate that if you’re not smelling anything that’s burning or anything seems to be working poorly in any way, you may want to continue to use it. But keep an eye on it. So I’m afraid I can’t completely put your mind at ease, because it’s kind of a solution here that you sort of made up yourself that’s not going to be recommended by either the baseboard manufacturer or the insulation manufacturer.
That said, there are probably other materials that would more likely be designed to go in that space: perhaps a foil insulation, which is more typical of a baseboard space. So I would say if you’re going to keep using it, keep a close eye on it because it is potentially unsafe.
LESLIE: Well, according to a survey by Zillow, painting your home with the right colors can help sell it faster and make you more money in any real-estate market. Let’s take a look at the paint colors that pay off best.
TOM: Now, the results vary by room, so let’s start with the kitchen. The research showed that a blue-gray is really the best color for a kitchen, for several reasons. First, the surfaces are easier to keep clean than, say, in an all-white kitchen, so that kind of goes without saying. But the data also showed that bluish grays evoke feelings of trustworthiness and that can help home buyers connect with your house. So the result? Homes with those blue-gray kitchens, well, they sold for $1,809 more than average.
LESLIE: Wow, that’s amazing.
Now, your living room – that should feel warm and cozy, which is why living rooms painted oatmeal, beige or biscuit, those have tended to have the best return on investment. Those neutral colors also can make a room seem bigger, which helps it feel spacious and not cramped to those potential home buyers.
On average, living rooms painted in a warm, neutral color fetched an average of $1,926 extra dollars on the home’s selling price compared to a white-walled living room.
TOM: Now, the bedrooms painted blue also tended to have good ROI. But the big winners were bathroom colors. And this is amazing, because you might think that white is the ideal bathroom paint color. Not so. Zillow found that bathrooms painted periwinkle blue or pale blue can push a property’s price up by a whopping $5,000. Five-thousand bucks. I mean those bathrooms, they’re always important but 5,000 bucks more? Boy, I’m going to get my paintbrush out today.
LESLIE: Diane in South Dakota is on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
DIANE: Yes. We had a problem with trying to put some wood flooring down on our floor.
DIANE: And when they delivered the wood and they went to lay it down, they said that our floor was not flat. We had some ridges or bumps on it and that they could not put the flooring on because it would pop up and wouldn’t hold.
TOM: Yep. OK.
DIANE: And I’m just wondering if there’s any way to rectify that.
TOM: So, what type of subfloor do you have that they were trying to put this new flooring on top of? Is it plywood?
DIANE: It’s plywood, yes.
TOM: Yeah, sure, a good flooring installer would know this, so I’m surprised they didn’t tell you what had to happen. But there’s a couple of things you can do. There’s a carpentry solution. And a carpentry solution may involve – it depends on how far out of whack it is. They’re right: these new flooring products, they have a certain range that they’re designed to work within. And if your floor is out of level above that range then, certainly, you could have adhesion problems.
So, the carpentry solution might involve working on the floor joist to actually get them to lay down. Sometimes, you get a joist that is crowned and sort of rises up. There is actually a way to go into the basement, cut that beam in half, put a new solid beam next to it and bring it down. And that will help it lay down and eliminate that bump. So that’s a carpentry solution.
Then the other solution you can use is to apply what’s called a “floor-leveling compound.” Now, this is a liquid, very thick compound that gets poured onto the floor and then it’s self-leveling. It’ll level and it’ll keep everything nice and flat. And that takes up the dips and the rises in that floor and gives you a very flat surface to work on. Probably not a do-it-yourself project, something I would have somebody do that has some experience with it, because it’s got to be done right. And once that dries, the new floor can be laid right on top of it.
So there’s a carpentry solution and then there’s the floor-leveling compound, which is designed exactly for situations like this.
DIANE: OK. I actually think that we probably have to go the carpenter route, because I asked them about that product. I said, “Isn’t there some kind of a leveling product that you could pour on the floor?” And they said it won’t – wouldn’t work in this situation.
TOM: OK. Well, I’m not sure why. They probably should be giving you more information on that. And sometimes, when a contractor says it won’t work, what they mean to say – that’s what comes out of their mouth. But what they’re saying is, “I really don’t want to do it.”
DIANE: OK, OK.
TOM: OK? Maybe they didn’t want to do it. Don’t take that to heart. It may be that it can, in fact, be done; you just don’t have the right person involved yet, OK?
DIANE: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your calling me back.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Louise on the line who’s got some mystery stains on a mailbox. What’s going on?
LOUISE: OK, I have a brick mailbox and it seems to have salt deposits leaking through the outside of it.
TOM: Is it in the way of a lawn sprinkler, by any chance?
LOUISE: No, it isn’t.
TOM: Because, often, what happens is if it gets groundwater splashed on it – and that can happen if you have sprinklers and wells – a lot of mineral salts in there that will dry and basically adhere to the outside.
You know, what’s happening here is you are seeing some sort of mineral deposits and you’re going to have to clean it. And the best way to clean it, believe it or not, is to mix up a vinegar-and-water solution. Because vinegar melts the salts.
TOM: So you can mix them up in a bucket, splash it down with a nice, soft-bristle brush, scrub it. And that should make those disappear. They may come back but the other thing that you could think about doing, once it gets nice and dry and clean, is to apply a masonry sealer to it. And if you use a silicone-based masonry sealer, you want to get one that’s vapor-permeable so it doesn’t trap the water underneath the sealer surface. This lets it breathe and stops it from cracking and chipping. But that should slow down the showing up of any additional salt stains.
LOUISE: Well, thank you so, so much. I’ll do that.
TOM: Alright, Louise. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And hey, guys, if you’re a professional contractor or remodeler or custom builder, we have launched a brand-new podcast, presented by LL Flooring, that is just for you. It’s called the PRO Files Podcast.
Now, in it, we are profiling successful pros. Because you know what? We’re all out there, we’re all working independently. We don’t always get a chance to talk to each other or share tips with each other and that’s what we do on this show. We’re talking to some great people, successful people, successful pros that are sharing their experiences so we can all learn together.
LESLIE: You can listen and follow the PRO Files Podcast at LLFlooring.com/Pro. That’s LLFlooring.com/Pro or wherever you get your pods.
Now we’ve got Darren in Iowa on the line. What can we do for you today?
DARREN: I have a problem with my basement walls. They’re a poured concrete wall. And in the wintertime, I get a thick frost on the inside of the basement wall, on the area that’s not underground, per se.
TOM: OK. So what’s happening is you have warm, moist air inside your basement striking a very cold, concrete surface condensing and freezing. The solution is to add basement-wall insulation.
Now, there is a specific type of insulation that’s designed to cover those poured-concrete basement walls. It’s like a fiberglass batt that’s surrounded in a reflective, foil Mylar kind of covering. It’s pretty easy to install and that will stop that from happening. Because once you have the warm fiberglass across that wall on the inside, you’ll no longer have that thermal contact between the moisture in the air and the chilly basement wall that’s causing it to freeze and crust over.
DARREN: OK. Would you put a vapor barrier in between? A thick plastic, per se?
TOM: Nope. Just put the insulation on and you’ll be good to go.
DARREN: OK. Will the same suggestion be correct to do if we’re going to fur (ph) the basement out later?
TOM: Yes. And the other suggestion I would make is to reduce the amount of moisture that could possibly be getting into those walls from the outside – is to improve your drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. And that means making sure your gutters are clear, the downspouts are extended well away from the house and the soil slopes away from that wall, as well. OK?
DARREN: Excellent. Well, I sure appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, garage floors need to be one of the most durable floor surfaces in any house. Because, if you think about it, they take the punishment of your car’s hot tires in the summer and that dripping road salt in the winter. And in between those extremes, they need to handle a lot of storage needs. And that’s why choosing a tough and a durable and a slip-resistant garage-floor finish is really key to creating a surface that can really stand up and really last.
LESLIE: Now, we’re going to feature one that is just that tough and you can apply yourself. It’s made by Daich Coatings and it’s called the DaiHard 100 Garage Floor Epoxy Kit. Now, this product is a roll-on epoxy floor coating. The epoxy is going to resist salt in the chemicals, plus has no hot-tire pickup. And once you apply the epoxy, it lock onto the concrete floor and that provides a super-durable surface.
TOM: Now, the kit contains everything you need for a floor that’s up to 250 square feet. And the process starts by cleaning the floor; that is really critical. Then you simply mix the two-part epoxy and you roll it on. And there are even decorative color flakes included that could be spread in the finish while it’s wet. And that’s going to add texture and also help you hide the dirt.
LESLIE: Now, you can find The DaiHard 100 Kit – which, by the way, is priced at less than 90 bucks. You can find it online at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Daich Coatings, all their websites. And it’s available at DaichCoatings.com. Let me spell it for you – that’s D-a-i-c-h – Coatings.com.
Alright. Dorothy in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DOROTHY: I respect all life but when you have a centipede crawling up a wall, that left the basement coming up into the house, it looks very ugly and scary. I understand they’re carnivores, so maybe they’d eat other bugs but I don’t really know how to get rid of them. And also, I’d like to know about crickets, how I could catch them.
LESLIE: What kind of crickets are you talking about? Those weird-looking ones that hop and they’re gigantic in your basement? They look like prehistoric?
DOROTHY: The black ones that live outside but as soon as it turns cold, they come in and you hear them singing in your garage.
LESLIE: Oh, OK. And you don’t want to kill anything, correct?
DOROTHY: Well, I guess I could. But personally, I have a pet that eats crickets. I’d like to catch them. I read on the internet – I can’t seem to come up with a way to capture them. And we’re – I’d like to capture them and get them out.
The centipedes, I’m open to extermination.
LESLIE: Well, I was going to say, for your basement, I would start by making sure that everything is sealed off. So if you have anything that protrudes through the foundation wall – dryer vents, anything – make sure that it’s all sealed around. Anything can come in through the tiniest opening. So whether you use an expandable foam or a steel wool, you want to make a combination of things to close up every opening that you see, because that’s how they’re getting in.
Now, once you’ve done that, if you see a centipede in the house, I would suggest – you could take a vacuum and you can put a piece of pantyhose at the end of the intake hose. So before it gets into the bag or gets into the area, it gets caught in that little piece of pantyhose.
DOROTHY: Oh, that’s a good idea.
LESLIE: And you can vacuum them into the pantyhose and then release them into the wild or whatever you like or feed the crickets to your lizard or snake friend.
Now, as far as the crickets in the garage, I would do the same. I’d make sure everything is sealed up. I don’t know of any sort of traps that you can place and leave and go and then collect any of the crickets. I’ve done – and I’ve seen this done with bait – with people who have crickets in the basement, specifically the cave crickets. They take tape and lay it sticky-side up around the entire perimeter of the room. And then the crickets, when they crawl in under the walls, they get stuck to the tape.
Now, they’re still alive stuck to the tape. I would usually think people throw away the tape but you might be able to, I don’t know, feed them to your friend that way?
DOROTHY: Right. OK. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Give us a call, ask us your question. You’re going to get the answer, plus you could win a very handy tool this hour. We’ve got, up for grabs, the Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun, plus a supply of T50 staples.
This is America’s best-selling staple gun. It’s made right here in the U.S.A. It’s great for repairs, holiday decorating, installing insulation, tacking up trim, upholstery projects. You name it, you can most likely tackle that project with a staple gun.
It’s going out to one lucky listener drawn at random. That person’s getting the Arrow T50, plus the supply of staples. So make that you.
TOM: Give us call, right now, with those questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or post them to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Floyd in Iowa on the line who needs some help with a crawlspace. Tell us about it.
FLOYD: OK. I just recently purchased a home. And in part of the basement, I have a crawlspace. And when the inspector came in to do the inspection on the house, he recommended that I put plastic down and to close the vent. When I was listening to you guys’ show the other day, I noticed that you guys said something about keeping the vents open so nothing ventilates into the house. So I was just kind of trying to find out which direction should I go? What kind of plastic should I use? And does it sound like a good idea?
TOM: OK. So, let me clarify for you. First of all, putting a plastic vapor barrier down across the floor of a crawlspace is always a good idea. You use the plastic Visqueen – the big, wide sheets – overlap them about 3 feet. Try to get as much of that surface covered. What you’re doing is preventing some of the evaporation of soil – of moisture up through the soil – so that’s a good thing.
In terms of the vents, the vents should be opened throughout most of the year except, perhaps, just the coldest months of the winter. So if you close it, say, November and December and maybe January, that’d be OK. But for the rest of the year, those vents should be open because it helps take the moisture out.
FLOYD: Now, I also have insulation up in the rafters of the floor joists. Is it a good idea to put – or to seal that with any kind of plastic at all or should I leave those exposed?
TOM: Nope. No, you can leave it exposed just like that. It needs to ventilate.
FLOYD: OK. Good deal.
TOM: Well, whether or not you’ve used your fireplace yet this season, you don’t want to light that match until you make sure that the fireplace and the chimney is up for it. They are really key to your family’s safety.
LESLIE: Yeah. Seasonal chimney maintenance makes sure that smoke, fire, embers, ashes are all going to stay contained in that fireplace and the chimney. And it also checks for creosote, which is a highly-combustible buildup that can lead to chimney fires. Your chimney should be checked for creosote at least once a year or about after 80 fires.
Head over to the website for the Chimney Safety Institute of America to find a certified chimney sweep.
TOM: Yup. And even a safe fireplace can use some backup, so you want to make sure that you’re putting a non-flammable rug in front of the fireplace to keep any loose sparks from damaging your floors or worse.
LESLIE: Yeah. And if you don’t already have chimney caps, you want to have them installed, because that’s what’s going to keep the wildlife away. They won’t use your chimney as a passageway into your home if you’ve got the cap on.
TOM: You know, in all the years I spent as a home inspector, I used to check those fireplaces from the bottom and looking up. And I remember distinctly the couple of times that I opened up the damper and in dropped the tail of I-don’t-know-what. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a skunk or I would’ve got sprayed but it was probably a racoon or something. It’s pretty scary. But they do love to use those spaces, so the chimney caps are really important for that.
And finally, you need to check that firebox. That’s the area where the logs burn and it should be cleaned at least once a week during the months you use your fireplace. So, make sure you leave about an inch of ash on the bottom because it acts as insulation. But clean the firebox free of any ash during the months that you don’t use it.
And never, ever, ever place those ashes in anything but a metal ash bucket. And make sure it’s stored well away from your home. There have been many fires caused by ashes that people put out too close to their home. And they stored it too close to the house and they thought it was out and it wasn’t. So, make sure you’re careful with that.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jenise (sp) in Kansas on the line who’s got a question about grout. What can we do for you today?
JENISE (sp): I had installed a porcelain tile. It’s a heavy-duty tile. So I used epoxy grout on the floor and all throughout the shower, the floors, the ceiling, the walls. And what I’m wondering is, do I need to seal it? If I need to seal it, what kind of sealer should I use on an epoxy grout?
TOM: I don’t think you need to seal epoxy grout, because the epoxy is going to prevent things from soaking into it. It’s really the sand grouts that we want to seal.
JENISE (sp): Well, I’ve already noticed some discoloration. It was white grout and it’s already sort of a brownish tint.
TOM: Oh, is that right? That’s probably water stains.
JENISE (sp): Oh, OK.
TOM: Yeah, that – usually, that’s mineral salts that dry out. So, try to wipe it down with a white-vinegar solution – white vinegar and water. That might clear it up.
JENISE (sp): Was that a good choice to use epoxy, do you think, or …?
TOM: I think so, yeah. Absolutely. For a bathroom? Perfect location for that.
JENISE (sp): Thank you so much. I appreciate it. You have a good day now.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pick up the phone, give us a call, post your question online. However you reach out to The Money Pit, we are standing by.
And Peter did just that. Peter says, “I have an old home that has Kentile floors that I think contain asbestos. Removing these is dangerous and expensive but I’m not comfortable leaving them exposed, either. What is your best advice?”
TOM: Kentile was an interesting company. They were founded back in 1898 and they were in business for about a hundred years. They became well-known, though, as the source of asbestos, which affected the health of their employees and the installers and others.
So, what I would say to do is to first test this product to make sure it is, in fact, asbestos. And depending on the condition – if it’s solid, like a solid sort of vinyl asbestos-tile floor, I would choose one of the many floors that can float over it, like laminate floor, engineered hardwood. There’s no connection to the tile below; it’ll just float there. And this way, you can have a new floor without ever disturbing that asbestos-tile base.
LESLIE: And I feel like those 9×9 tiles are always a dead giveaway that they’re those asbestos tiles.
TOM: Yeah. I know. Me, too.
LESLIE: They just have a specific look to them.
TOM: Well, there’s no one on Earth who loves decorating for the holidays more than my friend, Leslie. And there’s no better place to decorate for the season than your entryway. And as luck would have it, that is the topic for today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
So, Leslie, how do we decorate our doors?
LESLIE: With a lot of fun stuff.
TOM: Of course.
LESLIE: I mean come on. The entryway, it serves as a perfect place to show off your love of the season. So I’ve got a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you.
You know, fall wreaths, they are a beautiful touch and they’re so simple to make. You can start off with a basic Styrofoam wreath or a grapevine wreath from your local craft store. And then, if you’ve got a nice yard or access to a park, gather some beautiful things like leaves, pinecones, acorns, whatever says fall to you on your adventures in your own backyard space. And then you can add all of that.
The grapevine wreaths are perfect for this, because you can kind of just tuck everything into it. And then don’t be afraid to embellish it with some extra autumn-y picks that you find at the craft store, as well. It really gives it that fullness. But the found stuff really keeps it personal and from your own home.
Now, when it comes time to hang up that wreath, don’t put a hole in the front door. It could damage it, it could void the warranty. You can actually get a small easel and then prop it up on your porch so that is says, “Oh, here’s my beautiful wreath.” And then maybe it doesn’t even have to be round; it can be a different shape. Or you can go ahead and use fishing line, tie that to the wreath and then go up and over your door. And then hook that on the inside with a suction cup or a suction cup on the outside. I mean so many different ways you can use that. And suction cups and hooks are definitely key for that.
And speaking of your door, have you ever thought about framing it with garland? It’s not just for Christmas. You can use something as simple as rope to attach fall-décor items to. Or you can frame the door by propping tall corn husks up on either side and putting pumpkins next to them.
I always love to stack those fun, unusual pumpkins. I think they called “cheese gourds” and “Cinderella pumpkins” and “turban pumpkins.” And they’re pink and pale green and white. And I make sort of like pumpkin topiaries and urns and I always frame things around the front steps there. It’s such a great way to just bring in nature and make it feel so seasonal. You can even use artificial leaf garlands, orange lights. It only takes a few seconds to create a lasting first impression.
And guys, those Halloween orange lights suddenly are Thanksgiving orange lights. So, take away the spooky stuff and now you’re still decorated for the next holiday.
Whatever you do, guys, think about stuff that can take you from one season into the next. So corn, squash, pumpkins, purple cabbage, that works great for fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving. And some of it will even last into the winter, the beginning of it. So think creatively and try to get those decorations lasting for the long run.
TOM: Great advice.
Coming up next time on The Money Pit, unless you live in a museum, your furniture is likely to have taken a few hits from time to time, especially if you’ve got kids. But while the water rings and the dings and the dents and the scratches are inevitable, that kind of superficial damage is easy to repair. We’ll walk you through, on the 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 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.)