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washer, washing machine, garage

Can I Move My Washer and Dryer to My Garage?

I'd like to move my washer and dryer from my basement to my unheated garage.  Other than plumbing for the washer, do I need to do anything special beforehand, like add insulation to the space or heat it? My partner thinks it's a bad idea, but I have a hard time with the stairs to the basement, and there is no other room in the house that will fit them.  Also, I believe this will help dry up the basement and our poor little humidifier will finally get some relief!

Our Answer

There are a few very real deterrents to moving your washer and dryer to your garage:  First, I don't know what climate you live in, but yes - without additional heating - you risk water lines freezing in an unheated space.

Since heating a garage quickly becomes expensive, even once it's insulated, you might find yourself spending far more money than you ever anticipated on clean clothes and convenience! But there's something else in your question that concerns me: Your mention of dehumidifying your basement by removing the washer and dryer.  This is an unwise motive.  If your dryer is properly vented, it shouldn't be contributing to basement moisture.

If I were in your shoes, I'd concentrate on dehumidifying the basement by taking steps independent of the washer and dryer.  And if you really need to make the washer and dryer more accessible,  consider a stacked unit  - a dryer on top of a washer - that is more likely to fit in your closet or your kitchen.  There's a quality one from Santa Fe, and if that's too big, there are smaller appliances and models designed for apartments and compact homes.  Good luck!

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basement walls bowing in

Fix for Basement Leak Near Chimney

I have an old chimney that use to vent the furnace.  It has now developed a leak at the lower junction of the chimney and the basement floor.  Do I seal i from the inside or to I have to dig down from the outside to seal the leak area?

Our Answer

Whenever we find a leak in a home, be it from a basement or roof, its natural to suspect the cause to be directly related to the area in which the leak is found. This however, is not always the case.

In your case, the basement leak could be caused by rain water saturating the chimney structure, falling to the bottom of the chimney and then dispersing across the basement floor. Any masonry structure like a wall or chimney is hydroscopic -- meaning it soaks up a LOT of water, somethings masking the true source of the leak.

My suggestions would be to approach this by looking for the most obvious and common causes first, and those are defects in the gutter system or in the grading of soil outside the area of the leak.  Failures of roof and surface drainage are responsible for over 90% of all basement leaks and need to be eliminated first.  The details are covered in this post about the causes and cures for a wet basement.  Be sure to apply this advice to your entire home perimeter as I have frequently seen an issue like a leaking downspout cause a basement leak 20 or 30 feet away!

If that doesn't stop the leak, I'd look at the chimney. Check for cracks in the chimney crown which is the mortar between the edge of the brick and the chimney clue.  If found, they need to be caulked (use silicone for that).  Also check the chimney flashing for leaks.  As a last resort, you can also apply a masonry sealer to the exterior of the brick chimney but make SURE is is "vapor permeable" meaning it will allow moisture in the brick to evaporate out.  If not, the moisture trapped in the brick can freeze, expand and deteriorate the chimney eventually leaking to a significant repair cost.

Hope this helps fix the basement leak. For more info, call your question in to our national radio show at 888-MONEY-PIT.  We take calls 24/7 and will call you back the next time we're in the studio.


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How Durable is Deck Paint?

What do these deck painting companies use to redo wood decks, that they claim it will stain and protect the wood deck to the apocalypse?  Can't I get this product and just do it myself?

Our Answer

Paint that will last until the apocalypse?  Now THAT we have to see!

It sounds like you are referring to a category of products known as "high build" elastomeric coatings.  High-build is tech talk for thick paint, and elastomeric is a type of product that will expand and contract with the substrate, which is this  case is your wood deck.

Some history here - about 20 years ago we began hearing about companies who would make similar durability claims for a product called "liquid vinyl siding."  Similarly, hard-selling contractors would claim that they could apply this paint to your wood-sided home and it would last and perform like vinyl siding.  It did just that, except for months, not decades as promised.  After that it began to peel of in sheets and/or allowed water to get behind and rot to set it.  Those claims also extended to the products claimed ability to insulate as well -- which is about when the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and put the kibosh on a lot of that.

Today we don't hear much about liquid vinyl, but there are finishes designed to protect and restore decks and docks that sound a lot like that original product. The difference is, these are made by major manufacturers who thoroughly test and warranty their products.

Products such as Sherwin Williams' SuperDeck Exterior Deck & Dock Coating or RUST-OLEUM'S Deck & Concrete Restore® 10X tout that they can fill gaps as large as a quarter-inch, adhere to deteriorate surfaces and can take the foot traffic.  I'm more tempted to believe claims with a major manufacturer behind them but unfortunately, I've not seen enough independent reviews from purchasers to run out and buy any high-build products.  The other deterrent we should mention is cost.  The average good-quality gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet of surface area and costs around $25 a gallon.  These products run around $50 a gallon, and offer coverage of just 75 square feet, so they are not inexpensive.

My best advice, pickup a gallon and do a small section of a deck, like maybe the stairs.  Follow the prep instructions to the letter as this will ensure maximum adhesion, and see what happens. If it works as performed, then go all in the following season.


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