- Bathroom Remodel: Are you planning a bathroom remodel? We’ve got important tips to stay on schedule and on budget while reducing stress.
- Disposal of Used Building Materials: Once you’ve finished that renovation project, how do you get rid of old appliances and used materials? Here are some helpful suggestions.
- Paint Spraying: If you’re tackling a big painting project, an airless paint sprayer can help you get the job done in a third of the time. Find out our recommendations to make your next DIY painting project easier.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Paneling: The 1970s called and they want their wood paneling back! Ashley finds out how to remove old paneling from her walls, insulate the space behind it, and install moisture-resistant drywall in its place.
- Composite Decking: Can you replace old decking with Trex materials installed on an existing deck frame? Mike learns it can easily be done, but what to check for when ripping up the current deck.
- Roof Preservation: How reliable is a product that claims to seal and rejuvenate roof shingles so that they’ll last longer? Debbie finds out about a cost-saving way to extend the life of her roof and how it works.
- Cracked Patio: When you need to repair cracks on a cement stamped patio, are you able to match the color of the cement? We explain to Tom that it’s important to fill the cracks but why clear caulk may be his best option.
- Toilet Stains: What’s causing the dirty ring to keep reappearing in Cindy’s toilets, no matter how often she cleans them? We’ve got tips on some products that help eliminate toilet stains.
- Flooring Adhesive: Vito has some used flooring that he wants to install in his bathroom, but it won’t stick. We have advice on flooring adhesive and how to apply it.
- Crawlspace: Is there an easier way to remove excess dirt under the crawlspace of a house? Bowen’s considering a tough job that must be done by hand and finds out some concerns about exposing too much of the home’s footings.
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: Here to help you take on the projects you want to get done around your house. So, Happy September, everybody. Yes, it is the last month of summer. You get like 2 or 3 weeks in September and then it’s officially all over. So, enjoy it.
Now, in our part of the country, this is what we call the “local summer.” Because after Labor Day, all the people from out of state go back. They go back home and we get to enjoy our seaside-shore getaway here, because this is where we live 360 days a year. So, we’re kind of into this time of year. We really appreciate it. And usually, the weather stays nice for quite a while. So, I’ve got lots of outdoor projects, that are unfinished, I’ve got to get done before it gets too cold out. So that’s on my to-do list.
What’s on your to-do list? If we can help you with those jobs, give us a call because we are here to do just that. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to talk about bathroom remodels. They usually provide a 60- to 70-percent return on investment as a home improvement project when it comes time to sell. But with this project, it’s really important to plan your remodeling ideas ahead of time, for two reasons: to keep costs in line and to keep that bathroom downtime to an absolute minimum, especially if you only have one bathroom in the house. So we’re going to walk you through that project.
LESLIE: I’m telling you, when there was that billion-dollar lottery a month ago, I was like, “All I want is another bathroom.”
TOM: That was on your shopping list?
LESLIE: “Add a bathroom or get a house with a bathroom.” So I get it. When you’ve got one, you’ve got to be frugal with your time here to get that bathroom back up and running.
Alright. Also ahead, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But try telling that to someone who has just torn out a kitchen or a bath to make room for a new remodel. That’s the stuff nobody seems to want. So, we’re going to share ways that are the least-expensive ways for you to get rid of all that old, you know, things from the kitchen and bath to make room for all the new, shiny stuff you really want.
TOM: And are you ready to take on a big paint project this fall, like a deck, a fence or even the exterior of your house? Well, as tough as that size job sounds, it’s actually become a lot easier to do thanks to the new high-efficiency airless paint sprayers that are on the market. We’re going to tell you how they work and help you cut painting time by a third.
LESLIE: But first, The Money Pit is about helping you create your best home ever. So whether you live in a house or an apartment, you’re dealing with a repair or maybe you’re dreaming about a renovation, we’re going to help you tackle your to-dos with confidence and have a little fun along the way.
TOM: And this’ll be fun: how’d you like to win a $500 gift card to Lowe’s, courtesy of our friends at Trex? That’s our giveaway today. Trex has just launched the new Trex Transcend Deck Kit at Lowe’s. And Trex has also given us a $500 gift card to Lowe’s to help you get started with that project.
So if you want to win it, you’ve got to call us with your home improvement question or you could also post it at MoneyPit.com. And we will draw one winner out of those that reach us for today’s show. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
So, let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Ashley from Georgia, who’s a new homeowner, taking on some projects.
What can we help you with?
ASHLEY: So, we just bought our first house and it …
ASHLEY: Thank you.
It was built in 1970. So, there are three rooms that have wood paneling. One isn’t an issue but one of the other ones doesn’t really have very good ventilation. And it might be a laundry room, so moisture and ventilation are kind of an issue. And then the other one, the wood paneling wasn’t installed particularly well. So, there’s some gaps and some water damage and things like that. So we’re thinking of replacing it but we aren’t sure exactly the best way to go about it and what the cost would generally be. But also, I’m concerned with if there’s anything we need to do to prep behind where the drywall would go, to prevent moisture and bugs and other issues down the line.
TOM: OK. So, let’s talk about that laundry room first. Paneling, in general, is a sort of a thing of the past. Now, there’s two ways that paneling was typically installed. In both cases, it was nailed. But in one of those operations, they would glue it, as well. And if you glued it, then it becomes a lot harder to tear it out and replace it. Well, I mean – and today, most people aren’t even replacing it, of course; they’re just trying to restore the drywall that’s behind it.
You mentioned that other room that’s got paneling and it’s got gaps and stuff. Is there any place where you could sort of loosen up that paneling and try to pull it off the wall a little bit? Does it seem to come right off or do you think it’s glued to the wall?
ASHLEY: Yeah, there are a couple spots in both rooms that you can kind of peel it up.
ASHLEY: It may be nailed but possibly with just – too far in between.
TOM: OK. Because if you take the paneling off, you may find that the glue pulls the paper off the drywall. If it’s really bad, then you either have to replace the drywall or you can spackle over those sort of torn areas, if it’s not too terribly bad, and then sort of start again from there. But I think job number one is getting rid of that. If you have paneling that’s really well adhered and it’s not really causing any issues, you could paint it.
You know, Leslie, we used to give a lot of advice on painting paneling. One thing you can’t do, which people think you can, is to fill in the grooves with spackle, right? Folks ask us that, as well.
LESLIE: It’s never going to stay.
TOM: It never, never works out well.
ASHLEY: Yeah. So, just one clarification, there’s actually not drywall behind the paneling.
ASHLEY: So it’s just straight insulation and joists and bugs and dirt and debris.
TOM: Really? Wow.
ASHLEY: So that’s why I kind of want to clean it up because I’m just worried about moisture getting trapped back there when we do drywall it.
TOM: Oh, yeah. That’s unusual. Typically, paneling is on top of a wall board. OK. Well, in that case, yeah, you’ve got to take it down.
Once you expose those walls, you’re going to have 1970s insulation in there. I’d probably pull the insulation out since it’s right there and it’s easy to do. You want to put some new insulation in there. The easiest thing to do would be to pick up some PINK Fiberglas Insulation from Lowe’s or Home Depot. There’s a new product out by Owens Corning called PINK Next Gen. It’s not itchy. It’s really soft and cotton-y and easy to handle and stays nicely in between the studs of the wall. So you’ll reinsulate that.
And then you’ll put new drywall on. You’re going to want to use ½-inch drywall. You lay the sheets horizontally and then you have to tape and spackle the seams. So, a kind of advanced DIYer here – not too difficult but it’s going to take you some time to kind of master the job.
In terms of insects and moisture, look, that’s just general pest control. If you live in a warmer climate, you typically have more insects than you do in a northern climate. And I would imagine you’d probably just get a service contract with a pest-management professional who might visit you once a month or so to keep those bugs kind of under check by applying the appropriate insecticides.
If you mention the laundry room and the moisture issues, if you really want to do something that’s moisture-resistant, there are types of drywall panels that are basically waterproof and mold-proof you could use.
ASHLEY: Oh, OK.
TOM: Those are available, as well. Very, very heavy compared to the regular drywall and more expensive. But it’s a long-term investment, so that’s an option for you, too.
ASHLEY: OK. Cool. Thank you.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Good luck with the project and reach out to us anytime you have a question.
ASHLEY: Alright, perfect. Thanks so much.
LESLIE: Alright. Heading up northeast to Kennebunkport, Maine. We’ve got Mike who’s looking to do a deck-over project.
Tell us about it.
MIKE: I want to do my deck over in Trex and I want to know if I could just pick up my old decking and put down the Trex on my old frame.
TOM: Yeah, Mike. You absolutely can do that. In fact, I am doing that very project myself.
Now, I’ll tell you what happened to me. I had an old wood deck and I looked at the floor structure, I looked at the joists and I kind of climbed under there. And they looked like they were pretty good. But once I pulled the decking boards off, I found that there was decay kind of right around where the nails were. And I opted to replace most of the floor joists as a result. I was able to use the ledger and the box beam at the perimeter but I put new floor joists in. So sometimes when you get those old decks apart, you’re going to be surprised. So just be prepared for that.
But if the framing is in good shape, you pull the decking off, you could basically install the Trex decking right on top of that, as long as it is no wider than 16 inches on center. And in my case, I used the Transcend decking. I was able to put it down on the new joists that I put down, which is sort of mixed in with parts of the old frame that weren’t rotted. And it really came out absolutely beautiful. And I used the hidden fasteners, which I liked because it didn’t have to face-nail – or face-screw, I should say – any of that stuff. And they maintain a ¼-inch gap between the boards, which is important for drainage.
So, that is definitely an option and I’d take a look at the Trex deck kits that are available at Lowe’s. I’m using the Island Mist color, which is kind of like driftwood, which is beautiful. So, give it a shot. I think you’re going to enjoy it.
Hey, we’ve got a great giveaway today, courtesy of Trex who just launched the new Trex Transcend Deck Kit at Lowe’s. I just completed building my own Trex Transcend Deck Kit and I am pretty darn impressed with this product. It’s absolutely beautiful. And Trex has given us a $500 gift card to Lowe’s to help you get started with that project. It’s going to go out to one very, very lucky caller or listener to the show who reaches out to us with their home improvement question.
Now, the Trex Transcend Deck Kit includes all the materials needed to build a 12×16-foot deck with Trex top of the line Transcend Decking, Trex Fascia and Trex Hideaway Hidden fasteners. With one click on Lowes.com, you can purchase all the Trex products you need. You can have it ready for pickup at your convenience or it could be shipped directly to your project site. And it’s all available exclusively at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
LESLIE: That $500 Lowe’s gift card is going out to one very lucky listener who reaches out to us with their home improvement question. And yes, you’ve got to have a home improvement question to qualify. You can’t just say, “I really, really, really want it.” Yeah, we know. We all really want this decking kit; it’s amazing. Thanks, Trex. But you’ve got to call us with a question for your chance to win, so do so at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Or head to MoneyPit.com and click on the blue microphone button to record your question.
LESLIE: Heading out to New Hampshire. We’ve got Debbie on the line who’s looking for some help in learning about a product called Roof Maxx for her roof.
What’s going on?
DEBBIE: I’m trying to find out about a company called Roof Maxx – R-o-o-f-M-a-x-x. They are saying they have a spray to help seal up your tiles, your roof. Five-year warranty. Cheaper, of course, than putting on a new roof. Five years would at least help me raise the money for a new roof. So, I’d like to see if they are legit and how that works.
TOM: Yeah, it definitely can save you money because the application of Roof Maxx is a lot less expensive than replacing your roof.
But what that is is basically it’s a rejuvenation treatment where they apply it to the roof and …
LESLIE: It’s like a mask.
TOM: Well, it’s an oil, right, that soaks in.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like a hair mask. You put the oil in your hair and it makes your hair all smooth and luxurious and healthy again.
TOM: I don’t use a hair mask, so I didn’t know about that.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s basically the premise of it. When your hair gets dried out, you put an oil base or some sort of mask on and it rejuvenates. And that’s kind of what Roof Maxx does for your roofing shingles.
TOM: Yeah. These guys have been at it a long time. They came from the roofing industry. They knew that there were millions and millions of tons of asphalt shingles being dropped into landfills. And that if the shingle itself could be rejuvenated, if it could be sort of moistened in a way, that they could get some additional years out of it. So they developed a product that does just that.
Now, full disclosure, Roof Maxx is a sponsor of this show. And that is, frankly, the reason we know so much about it: because we’ve looked at the company, we’ve looked at the research. And they’ve got a good reputation.
Now, it doesn’t work for all roofs. You have to have the Roof Maxx dealer come to your home and look at it and see if it’s within the range where Roof Maxx treatment will work. But when it does work and if it is qualified, you can get at least 5 years out of this. And in your case, as you said, that’ll give you some more time to save up for roof replacing.
Because Leslie, I don’t think that that’s anything that people do. They kind of wait for the big event.
LESLIE: Oh, for sure.
TOM: And then all of a sudden, they’ve got to find the money.
LESLIE: Well, I also don’t think people realize that this roof rejuvenation from Roof Maxx was even an option. So it’s so great to learn that there is something that you can do. If the shingles are in the right state, they can be rejuvenated. And you can extend the life of that roof, which is fantastic and a huge cash-saver.
TOM: So, we’re fans. Good luck with the project and let us know how you make out.
Well, bathroom renos are one of the most popular and best home projects. But when you hire a remodeling contractor for a bathroom reno, it’s really important to ask the right questions and set realistic expectations and get accurate cost estimates.
So first, let’s talk about the questions to ask. Now, a bath remodel usually involved several different trades, including construction, plumbing and electrical pros. So talk to your contractor at the start of the project about, first, if they have any previous work references that demonstrate their skill, how they bid the project. Are they going to bid it by the hour, square foot or as a total? Any additional fees that could get tacked on, like what happens if they find mold inside a wall? And how they deal with mistakes, damages and repairs and if they offer an expressed warranty or guarantee. All really important questions.
LESLIE: Alright. Next, here’s what you need to look for in a bathroom-remodeling quote and scheduling agreement. You want to make sure it includes a written schedule, that it has an itemized list of all materials, labor, permits and any other costs that might pop up and a list of all the construction tasks they’re going to perform and prices for each. You also want to have deadlines assigned for each task and then get to an agreement here on penalties. What happens if those deadlines aren’t met in a certain timeframe? This kind of keeps everybody on point. It keeps you paying when things are completed and it keeps them actually completing stuff.
Now, a good agreement helps prevent all of those disputes that kind of pop up along the way and it also gives you clear expectations about how long that project really should take to complete. So, again, it’s all about keeping everybody in check here, on both sides.
TOM: Yeah. And one final point: if there are going to be any changes along the way, they must be made in writing. So if you decide that you don’t like the tile or you don’t like a fixture or anything else changes, make sure that you do a change order, which is simply an agreement with the contractor that says, “I agreed to pay X and now I’m paying Y.” Y could be more or less than X. Depends on what the difference in price is between what you now want and what was originally part of the agreement.
But get that change in writing. Because otherwise, you have these surprises that happen at the end and that can really cause a lot of stress on your wallet, as well as the relationship. So, plan it carefully upfront, get all the details in writing. And if there are any changes, make sure you get those in writing, as well.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Tom on the line who needs some help finding caulk to match the windows.
Tell us about it.
TOM (CALLER): Hi. I have a question about a cement-stamped patio hat we have on the back. It’s got a pretty big crack in it and I wanted to find that best way to go ahead and either fill that. I didn’t know if you use a special kind of caulk or if you’ve got to get – that is somehow able to be stained and made the same color and trowel it in.
TOM: Well, it’s nice that you have a stamped-concrete patio. But unfortunately, I don’t believe you’ll be able to find anything beyond the basic caulk colors. You should seal the crack because if you don’t, water gets in there, it freezes, it expands, it disturbs the dirt under the patio and could cause more cracking. So you do need to get that sealed in there. But I don’t think you’ll be able to find one that matches it exactly.
There is a product called Exact Color, which will allow you to tint caulk by mixing it with paint. But I’m pretty sure it’s only available as a latex, which is not as optimal for an outdoor application as the silicone would be. There are concrete products that you can mix with dyes to get a color. But the problem is that you shouldn’t really be patching those things with concrete because it’s just going to fall out; it’s not designed to actually stick.
There is a product called Re-Cap made by QUIKRETE. It may be possible to stain that to match it. And that is a different configuration, so it’s designed to basically adhere very well to old concrete. But I think I would focus on just using a clear caulk. I just don’t think it’s going to be practical for you to be able to mix one or find one that’s just exactly the right color, unless it happens to be almond or white or gray or all those sort of standard colors.
So good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to talk to Cindy who’s got a question about a mysterious toilet ring.
What’s going on?
CINDY: We’ve got a strange thing that – I clean the bathrooms and clean the toilets. And within about 3 days of cleaning the toilet, both toilets in the house come up with a residue around the water ring. And it looks like dirt. I’ve never had dirt come up to a water ring in my toilets before. I’m wondering if you might have an idea of what the source is of this.
LESLIE: Now, Cindy, I’ve never heard of dirt. I’ve heard of getting a ring because the water is sitting there. Perhaps it’s not a toilet that’s used very often.
But if you do have a toilet that just needs constant cleaning – and I sort of went this route because I have boy children who are gross in the bathroom – I got a VorMax Plus. This is American Standard VorMax Plus toilet. And it sort of has a built-in cartridge that you put in and it’s got a LYSOL-based cleaner. So it freshens the toilet but also sends out this kind of oxygenated foam every time you flush. And it kind of scrubs the toilet on its own that gives you a leg up on cleaning everything. And that may do the trick.
Otherwise, Tom, could it be something that’s decaying in the tank? Maybe something with the ball valve or something?
TOM: I mean I guess it’s possible. But I think the VorMax is a good idea. It’s a self-cleaning toilet. And I think, in this case, that’ll make it go away.
I don’t know if you’ve ever used another type of commercial bowl cleaner but you could try that, as well, if you don’t want to change the toilet out. But I like the fact that with VorMax, you basically – gets dumped into the bowl every time you flush. Of course, the downside of that is you have to keep ordering them and replacing them. But I think that’s a great option.
LESLIE: I do get the packs of the insert cartridges – a six-pack – online. So it’s like I’ve always got them sticking around.
Well, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But seriously, try telling that to somebody who’s remodeling a kitchen or bath and has all those cabinets and plumbing fixtures and things that are just kind of old and yucky. And they’re like, “Please, please, take it.” But nobody seems to want to.
TOM: Well, before you can add to the new, you’ve got to get rid of the old. And that can be an expensive part of the reno process. But there are some ways to save money and do the right thing for the environment by selling or donating some junk for reuse and responsibly recycling what you can.
LESLIE: Well, let’s talk about appliances first. They certainly take up a lot of space in a dumpster. But are there alternatives here? Well, one person’s obsolete appliance might be someone else’s vintage antique. So you might be able to make some money by selling your appliances to an antique dealer or a restorer.
Now, if your appliance is of the non-functional variety, you can try selling your appliance for scrap. Now, metal salvagers will usually pay around 10 cents a pound for appliances and will sometimes even arrange for pickup of it. Now, if you’re looking for one, check your local yellow pages, Google it up, get online, whatever you need and you can find salvagers in your area.
TOM: Now, here’s one of my favorite things to recycle and that’s wood. If you’ve got unused tongue-and-groove flooring, you could try taking it to a dealer or to a charity resale store, like ReStore. Wood-waste dealers may also be able to take lumber scraps off your hands. And if you’re going to throw the wood out, make sure it doesn’t include woodwork containing lead paint. This is a risk for materials that were painted before 1978.
LESLIE: Now, what about gypsum and all that other construction debris? If you’ve got asphalt shingles, those can often be recycled. So check out ShingleRecycling.org for some more information. And you can sometimes get rid of mixed debris for a nominal fee by taking it to a center where recyclable wood, metals, concrete and gypsum – everything gets sorted and then it’s sold. If you want some more information about that, check out CDRecycling.org.
TOM: And if you just can’t find someone to take the junk off your hands and recycling’s not a real feasible option, what are your alternatives? Well, make sure you check with your sanitation department to find out what your local regulations are. Because in my part of the country, we’ve got some options here. We’ve got a yard – a recycling yard – that we can take things to.
And we have also pickups. Now, they don’t happen very often. In fact, I’ve got a metal pickup on my calendar now 3 months from now because it only happens 4 times a year. So, if you keep an eye on those things, you may find that your local municipality could take some of this for you.
LESLIE: Alright. Vito in California, how can we help you today at The Money Pit?
VITO: I have a 4×8 bathroom that’s – I’m trying to put this used flooring on. And it’s a plywood floor – raised floor – to begin with. And I don’t know what to use. There’s no more sticking on this used plank that I’ve got. So, do you put plastic underneath or what do you put underneath?
TOM: So it sounds like Vito is trying to use an upcycled product here – old flooring – that he wants to put down in his bathroom but he can’t – it’s not going to stick.
So I think what you have to do here is use a floor adhesive. There are various types of floor-adhesive products. There are floor adhesives for wood, there are floor adhesives for tile. And I think what you’re going to need to do here is to clean the subfloor very, very well – as much as possible – and then apply the new flooring with an adhesive.
Now, one thing that’s really important about floor adhesive and that is the trowel. It’s a grooved trowel. It has notches in it or sort of like little triangles cut out of it so that when you push – when you put the adhesive down, it sort of stands up a little bit. And that helps it adhere better to the flooring product. Just do keep in mind, though, that it’s very difficult to remove these products once they set.
So make sure you’re sure that this is the way that you want to go. Because there are so many new floors that are out there today. They’re for bath – that are rated for bathrooms, that are 100-percent waterproof. There are a lot of good choices and a lot of inexpensive choices. But if you’ve found a floor that you love and you just need to adhere it, then flooring cement is going to be your friend in this case.
LESLIE: So, do you have a big paint project in mind, like painting the exterior of your house or maybe the deck or doing the fence? Well, as challenging as those size jobs sound, it’s actually much easier to accomplish thanks to a new, high-efficiency Wagner airless sprayer.
Now, these sprayers are perfect for DIYers who are just learning about airless spraying. You can take on big projects yourself instead of hiring a contractor. And that’s going to save you some money.
Now, Tom, you’ve had the chance to work with the Control Pro 170. How’d that go for you? What did you tackle?
TOM: Oh, I did a fence. I had to paint a pretty big board-on-board fence. And if I used a brush and a roller, it would’ve taken me forever, especially when you think about all the nooks and the crannies in between the fence panels. So spraying was definitely the best option.
And what I liked about the Wagner Control Pro Airless Sprayer is that it produces 55-percent less overspray than the typical airless sprayers. And so you aren’t going to waste paint, because paint’s expensive. You also get a sort of softer output and you get better control than a typical paint sprayer. And the finish looks great.
And I think, all in, it goes on about three times faster than a roller. So big projects get done pretty quickly. They’re also very ideal for DIYers that are just getting into airless spraying, because they’re easy to use. And they give you a high-quality pro finish that you can definitely be proud of.
Now, the Control Pro Sprayers come in several different models. But I chose the Control Pro 170 because it pulls paint or stain directly from either a 1-gallon can or in my case, a 5-gallon bucket, which I love. Because I had a big project and I didn’t want to have to keep changing out the paint supply. I just sort of carted it right around with me and it was really easy to get it done. I didn’t have to keep stopping and restocking all the time.
Hey, if you want to find the right sprayer for your project needs, go to WagnerSprayTech.com. That’s WagenrSprayTech.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Bowen on the line who’s dealing with some extra dirt under the house. This is strange.
What’s going on?
BOWEN: I am about a foot too much dirt under my house, 1,400 square feet. So about 1,400 cubic feet of dirt that I need to pull out from under my house. And it is very difficult through the small crawlspace. So I’m trying to figure out the best way to do that without breaking my back.
TOM: Wow. That is a really weird question. So, I am curious as to why you need to remove all of that dirt. One thing that comes to mind is foundations. You would like to think that the footing for your foundation was 3 feet below ground. But I’m concerned that if you take out a foot of soil from that crawlspace, you may expose part of that footing. And you can’t go deeper than the footing. So the first question is: where is the footing? Because you can’t go deeper than that.
Secondly, you mentioned there was a very small opening. That’s the first thing I would work on. I would enlarge the opening so that I had a comfortable place to work.
And I think if it was me, Leslie, and I had to do this project – and I don’t know why you feel you have to but assuming that you do – what I would do is I would trench down the middle of the crawlspace from basically – from end to end. So this way, I’m working to the front wall and to the back wall from sort of a center trench. And that would make it a little bit easier.
But boy, you know, it comes to mind, Leslie, this is going to be like when – some of those old army movies where they were trying to dig a tunnel? And the guy kept putting the dirt in the legs of their pants and walking around and dropping it all over the field.
LESLIE: And shaking it out as they walked around.
TOM: Shaking it out, yeah. I mean you’re going to have quite a conveyor belt there getting that dirt out. It’s going to be like a bucket brigade to take it out. There is no easy way to do this. You want to do it without breaking your back? I don’t have that solution for you. You can’t get equipment down there. This has all got to be done by hand and it is not going to be easy.
So, I hope you have a really good reason for doing this. I would definitely be curious to learn more. So reach back out to us and we can take it from there.
LESLIE: Andy wrote in and he says, “I have clay-colored, aluminum-wrapped window frames and I can’t find matching silicone sealant. In the past, I’ve used caulking but they all seem to shrink and crack in a matter of a couple of years. Can you recommend a solution?”
TOM: Yeah. There actually is a very unique product for this very purpose and it’s called Exact Color. It’s tintable caulk. It mixes with paint. And the brilliant thing here is that if you can buy paint to match those windows, you can make caulk to match those windows.
Now, I don’t know if you can make silicone caulk. I suspect that this is going to only be latex caulk. So you are giving up a little bit of longevity. And of course, your other option is to always use a clear caulk and have the color come through. But if you want to have caulk that matches it perfectly, check out Exact Color Tintable Caulk. You choose the paint, you mix it in with the product. It’s made by Sashco – S-a-s-h-c-o. So you can check it out at Sashco.com. You’ll find the product on their website, as well.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got one from Willie who wrote in saying, “I have a 12×40-foot concrete slab in front of my porch and I’d like to put down some decorative flagstone for a walkway.” He wants to know: “Should I put down a layer of sand to lay the flagstone upon or could the flagstone be laid on the bare concrete?”
TOM: Wow. That’s a lot of flagstone. And my fear here, Leslie, is if you put the flagstone on the concrete, it’s not going to stay, right? Even if you were to glue it down, you’re going to be constantly facing a lot of movement in that flagstone.
LESLIE: Yeah, things are going to slide around.
TOM: They’re going to slide around. And if you put mortar in between, it’s going to chip out. So I don’t think that’s a good option. I would give you two other options for this.
First of all, if the patio is in decent shape, there are a lot of cool concrete finishes you can put on now. You have finishes like those that are made by Daich Coating – like terrazzo, for example – that are absolutely beautiful.
Or there’s a paver brick designed specifically for this project and it’s made by Pavestone. And it’s called a Milano paver – M-i-l-a-n-o. And this paver brick is half the thickness of a normal brick but it’s designed specifically to add a layer on top of a concrete slab that doesn’t look so hot.
And the way it works is you put the perimeter around first and you adhere it to the slab with an adhesive. And then all the rest of the bricks are locked in place by that perimeter brick. And once you’re done, you fill it in with sand, like a regular paver job, and what you see from the top side looks like a full-thickness paver.
And it’s going to last indefinitely, especially being on concrete. It’s not going to shift. You’re not going to get weeds that grow up through it and so on. I think it’s an ingenious invention and it really looks spectacular.
LESLIE: Pavers really are fantastic. And the way that they’re made to keep the color for ages and ages. And even if they get dinged up a little bit, they still look fantastic. And I think the price point is pretty great. I’ve only used them for borders around my new drive but they really made it stand out.
TOM: Yeah. The other thing that’s cool is that if you spill something on it, you could actually pull out stained pavers – maybe you spill oil on it from an oil leak in a car or you spill some paint on it, whatever – and then just replace them. So it’s really easy to maintain them over time.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you can also get super creative with how you lay out the pavers. You can get them in uniform sizing or you can get them in a couple of different sizes. But either way, even if they’re uniform size, you can lay them out in a variety of ways to create something really interesting and I think that’s great. Because it can help you save some bucks and have something fantastically gorgeous.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thanks for spending this part of your weekend with us or your weekday with us, depending on when you’re hearing us.
Hey, we hope we’ve given you some ideas on how to tackle projects around your house. If you need some help, some tips to avoid the perspiration for your inspiration of a project, remember you can reach out to us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT or by logging onto MoneyPit.com. But for now, 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 2022 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)