LESLIE: Jeff in Maryland finds The Money Pit on WJFK Free FM. And how can we help you with your leaky ceiling? What’s going on?
JEFF: Hi, how are you?
LESLIE: Good. Great. What’s happening?
JEFF: Well, here’s the story. We have a room that was originally a garage that was finished. And it has sort of a flat roof on top with some sort of rubberized roofing. We’ve noticed on the inside of the room, on the ceiling, there’s some puckering in the ceiling along the drywall seam. We’re figuring it’s either leaking through the roof or I was also wondering if it might be caused by too much heat from the gas fireplace that’s in that room. I didn’t know if that could also cause puckering along the drywall.
LESLIE: Well, that could be the joint compound just drying out over the tape.
TOM: Well, that’s what I was thinking, too. When you say puckering, Jeff, define puckering for us. Because in a garage situation, the building code requires only one layer of spackle and tape for fire resistance. But, typically, what happens is people don’t know that and they paint right on top of it then, eventually, the tape falls off.
LESLIE: But in an interior situation you need three coats.
JEFF: I see. And that is what it looks like. It looks like the tape is starting to hang and you can push up on it and it’s soft but there’s no staining. You know, and that’s what made us wonder if maybe it wasn’t the water.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, well, this is … this is … no, this is very good news, Jeff. You just are the recipient of a lousy tape job.
TOM: So all you have to do here is just, basically, redo the tape. If it’s loose, pull it down.
TOM: If there’s an area that’s loose and an area that’s tight, take a razor blade or a razor knife and cut across it on an angle so that you are only pulling down the loose tape and leaving the stuff that’s intact.
TOM: And then, when you go to retape it, go buy some of the perforated fiberglass tape. It looks sort of like netting and it’s a little sticky.
TOM: It’s a really good way to retape because you don’t need as much skill. If you use paper tape, you have to get an even layer of spackle underneath …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mud, tape, mud, tape.
LESLIE: It’s like … it’s hard.
TOM: Yeah, it’s hard. And you get a little air bubble in there and then you just like want to hit yourself when you’re done because it looks really bad but you don’t learn that until the next day when it dries. But if you get that fiberglass tape, then you can just sort of build it up and you won’t have to worry about because it’s, basically, just wearing out. The tape is just loosening and falling off. But this does not sound to me like you have a leak. When you said flat roof, I was immediately thinking …
TOM: … flat Washington (ph) roof and man, I’ve seen a lot of those in my day and they do leak, very quickly. But I don’t think it’s happening to you yet. So fix the tape and move on.
JEFF: That sounds great. Now, quick follow-up. If I’m at all worried about the roof, is there an easy way that I could roll something on or apply it to do an extra coating on the roof; which I imagine hasn’t been treated in years?
TOM: If it’s not leaking now, don’t set foot on it. (laughing)
JEFF: Got it. (laughing)
TOM: Chances are you’ll step through it somewhere and put a little crack in it and then you’ll be …
TOM: … you’ll be upset. So, no, I’d leave it alone, Jeff, okay? Seriously though, if you want to coat it with something and it’s a flat roof, the best thing to paint it with is a material called fibrous aluminum paint. Because it’s a silver paint and it reflects the UV of the sun back out and that help … that helps actually preserve it. It’s a special roofing paint. That’s about all I would do to that.
JEFF: Very good. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jeff. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.