- Summer sun and storms can cause serious damage to your roof. Find out how to spot and stop leaks before they happen.
- Ever wonder if you’re overpaying a contractor? Tom and Leslie get smart strategies for hiring pros from leading Economist Meisha Fisher of ANGI.
- A leaking shower can end up being one of the most expensive pluming leaks to repair. Find out how the right shower drain can prevent this from ever happened to you.
- Are costly cooling bills cutting into your monthly budget? Find out the easy fix for a common mistake that causes bills to get out of control.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- How to paint fiberglass shutters?
- What’s the best way to restore damaged concreate?
- How to stop air conditioners that blow breakers?
- How to refinish original hardwood flooring?
- How to pick the best water heater for your family?
- Exterior trim: paint or wrap with aluminum?
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: Hey, guys, what are you working on today? It’s a beautiful day. It is almost summer. And if you’d like to fix up your home-sweet-home, we’d love to help. Whether you’re working inside or out, you can call us with your questions about those projects at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, the summer season, with the very intense heat and all of these thunderstorms, is pretty darn rough on roofs. And that’s why now is a good time to plan for any roof work that might be needed to keep your home nice and dry. But what’s the smartest way to go? Should you repair the roof or replace it? We’ll tell you what you need to know to make that determination, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by Bank of America Customized Cash Reward Credit Card.
LESLIE: And also ahead, if you’ve ever had to hire a contractor for a project around the house, you’ve probably wondered before whether that price you’ve been quoted is fair for the work that you’re requesting. Well, a leading economist says the reason is simple: it’s an information imbalance between you and the pro. So we’re going to let you know how to level the playing field.
TOM: And if you’re planning a shower or remodeling project, one key area to focus on is the drain. Because if you choose the wrong one, you will not only limit your design options but you might also be setting yourself up for a shower that leaks. We’ll tell you how to choose the most functional and stylish drains, just ahead.
LESLIE: But first, we’re here to help you create your best home ever. So whether that’s a quick fix or a tremendously large project, whatever it is we can help you save time, money and hassles.
TOM: Couple of ways to get in touch with us. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT any time of the day or not that you’ve got a project question. We’ll get back to you the next time we’re in the studio. And you can also post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
So let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Angelo in Florida is on the line with a painting project. How can we help?
ANGELO: Well, guys, I have some window shutters and I believe them to be fiberglass.
ANGELO: And they’ve been on the house new since 2003. And they face the sun in the hottest part of the day. Now, they’re not chipped but they have a feeling like they have a flat color on them now, because they’ve faded so bad. So I’m wondering how I can prepare those to paint. Can I do it with a brush or can I do it with a spray can? Do I need to strip them? What do I need to do?
TOM: It’s interesting. I’ve had mixed results painting fiberglass shutters. And the last time I did it before the present, I had a problem with the paint that peeled off, even though I used a product – and I think it was a Sherwin-Williams product that they absolutely swore was designed to adhere to those shutters.
So, what I did most recently – because I just did shutters on a building that was owned by our local scout troop. And we redid all the shutters and we pulled them off the building, because it was just easier to do it.
TOM: But I used a product that I found at Home Depot called Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X. It’s got a big 2X on it and it’s a paint and primer in one. The reason I used it was because it bonds to plastic.
And I was a little concerned about whether or not it was going to be tough enough. But I sprayed a shutter to test it with the stuff. It wasn’t expensive; I think it was five or six bucks a can. And then I tried to peel the paint off and I couldn’t do it. So I really was impressed with how well it sort of binded to that fiberglass shutter.
So I would use that – it’s Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X – on those shutters. I think you’ll find that it really works well. You can probably find it online, figure out where it is near you. I’d pull one of the shutters off. I’d spray it with that. Pick up a can. Put it through its paces for your area. But I think that it’ll do well for you. I certainly was very impressed with it.
ANGELO: OK. Thanks, guys.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Annie in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ANNIE: Yes, I have a front-porch stoop. It’s uncovered, for the most part – 4 foot by about 15 – and half of it was built over 100 years ago and the concrete is kind of crumbly. What’s the best way to cover it? You know, restore it, make it smooth.
TOM: So, you can restore deteriorated concrete. There are products that are designed especially for that purpose. The mistake that most people make is they use sort of a standard cement in trying to stucco over that. But you have to use products that are designed to adhere to the old concrete. QUIKRETE has a line of products that do that. A lot of them are epoxy-based, so they stick really, really well. And I’ve seen some resurfacing materials that actually are so strong, when you try to pull them apart they actually pull apart the old concrete. But they stick so well that they can do that.
There is one called Re-Cap – R-e-C-a-p – that I’ve used that worked really well that QUIKRETE makes. And you can put that on over that whole surface and it’ll just smooth it out, look like a brand-new concrete porch.
ANNIE: Some of the divots and gouges are ½-inch, ¾-inch deep. Is that too thick?
TOM: That should be OK. Yeah, I forget how thick it can go but that’s pretty minor. That should be fine. And if it’s too – if it exceeds it, I would read the instructions on it. If it exceeds what they recommend, then you would simply use a patching compound underneath it and then perhaps put the Re-Cap over top of the whole thing.
ANNIE: OK. And how about standing up to cold temperatures? We get a lot of ice and snow here.
TOM: Yeah, see that’s the point. You can’t – that’s why you use a product like that because it adheres. It’s designed to stick to the old concrete. Anything else you do will split off in the cold weather. But these products are designed to adhere, to stick and they won’t separate.
ANNIE: OK. Wonderful.
TOM: Alright, Annie. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Marcie in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARCIE: We have a 15,000 BTU. It’s a window air conditioner.
MARCIE: And it keeps popping our breaker.
MARCIE: It does it in the heat of the afternoon. If we have it on the fan, it won’t pop it.
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
MARCIE: Is it the window, the air conditioner or the breaker?
TOM: No, the breaker’s doing its job, because you’re pulling too much power. Is this in a bedroom? Or where is this?
MARCIE: It’s a living room.
TOM: A living room. Yeah. In some houses, especially older houses, you have typically too much on that same circuit. You ought to really identify what else is on that circuit and see what you can reduce.
I have that happen once in a while in my house. We had – we used to have to put a window air conditioner in one room in it, because it was just fully exposed and just needed a little bit of help when central air wasn’t getting there. But I knew that if we vacuumed in that house, I had to plug the vacuum into the next room. Otherwise, I’d trip the breaker. So you need to figure out what else is on that.
MARCIE: Well, that’s the only thing that goes off.
TOM: And the other thing you could do is you could have an electrician figure out why that’s happening. You can – there’s a way to determine exactly how much power that unit is pulling and perhaps even run an additional circuit, just for that unit, that’s properly sized.
LESLIE: Yeah, dedicated specifically for that.
TOM: But the reason it happens with air conditioners is because when they first kick on, there is sort of a surge of electricity that it needs to get the compressor going. So that tends to push those breakers a bit. And then they do what they’re supposed to do – is turn off to prevent the wire from heating up. Does that make sense?
MARCIE: OK. Yeah.
TOM: Yep. So that’s why it’s happening.
MARCIE: So would it be benefit to put a higher breaker on it?
TOM: Well, it’s not just the breaker. You have to run the properly-sized wire for it.
TOM: So you have to run a new circuit, OK?
TOM: You can’t put two – you can’t put a larger breaker on it because then you’re defeating the purpose of the breaker.
MARCIE: That’s what I needed to know. Thank you.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome. Good luck.
LESLIE: Greg in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
GREG: Yes, I have a house that was built in ‘42 and stuff. And for some reason, somebody put those sticky tiles in the kitchen, right over top of some nice hardwood floors.
TOM: Ugh. OK.
GREG: And so you know, it’s all original.
GREG: It’s all original stuff.
TOM: So definitely worth saving.
GREG: How do I get the sticky glue off the wood? If you use a sander, it just tears the glue on it, tears it up. And I’ve used – I don’t know if I can say a product but I’ve used Goo Gone and it just doesn’t do any good.
TOM: What kind of sander are you using on it?
GREG: Well, I had a belt sander that I had and then I used a palm sander. And I used – tried to use a different grit.
TOM: Alright. So, I would stop right there, Greg. I would call in a professional floor-refinishing company and let them do it with their tools. You can sand that stuff off and their sanders are big, 12-inch-wide belt sanders with varying types of grit on it. And I think if you have them come in, they’re going to sand this floor. And I generally don’t recommend belt-sanding because it takes some of the life of the floor. But in your case, when you have adhesive on it, it’s the best way to do it.
LESLIE: It’s the only thing that’s going to work.
TOM: Yeah. But have a pro do it. They’ve got the right tools; you don’t. And it’ll just save you a lot of aggravation. It’s not terribly expensive. You know, if you want to save money, you could even just have them sand it and not finish it and you can finish it yourself. But their finishes – generally, the pro finishes are better than the ones that you can buy over the counter, so to speak.
So I would leave this job to the pro because it requires their specialized tools. And don’t even rent the tools yourself, because you’re not going to have the skills to use it and you could ruin the floor using a tool like that.
GREG: Yeah. And so there’s no chemicals that would pull it up without …
TOM: No. I wouldn’t – no, I wouldn’t do that. I’d just have it sanded off. It’ll look so good when it’s done.
TOM: Alright, Greg? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, the summer season, with its very intense heat and frequent thunderstorms, is pretty darn rough on roofs. And that’s why now is a good time to plan for any roof work that might be needed to keep your home nice and dry. But if you find a problem, what’s the smartest way to go? Should you repair the roof or replace it? We’re going to have the answer, in today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
LESLIE: Now, the first step is you’ve got to evaluate the wear and tear. Older roof shingles are generally made from a cotton- or glass-fiber base and then that’s covered with an asphalt coating.
Now, as the sun heats the roof, the asphalt dries out. So you’ve got to check your roof for signs of wear and tear. The easiest and safest way that you can do that is with binoculars while you are standing on the ground. While you’re there with those binoculars, you want to check for cracked or curled shingles. If you see any broken shingles, those are all signs of wear and tear.
TOM: Now, if you’ve got a worn section, maybe it’s just limited to a small area. For example, in all the years I spent as a home inspector, I would always look at the area where the first-floor roof kind of intersects with a second-floor wall. Say it’s a porch roof and it’s going up to the walls right under the bedroom windows. In a space like that, you get not only direct sunlight on the roof but you get reflected light off of the siding.
So that is – kind of makes that area more intense in terms of an area that’s going to wear out. And if that’s the case, you just replace that section. But if a complete roof replacement is in order, it’s really important to figure out how many roof layers make sense.
Now, you can usually add one additional layer of shingles for a total of two. But that said, doing a tear-off, it’s not such a bad idea even if you’ve only got a single layer down. Because the second roof layers, they just don’t last as long as just having one layer, because they don’t cool well in the summer. All of that roof material just holds the heat and they wear out a lot quicker than the single-layer roofs will.
LESLIE: Now, if you find that your roof is actually leaking, you’ve got to check the flashing. Now, flashing can get loose and it can deteriorate and that’s probably the reason why you’re having those roof leaks. I mean it’s usually the most responsible for it and it’s really an easy repair.
Finally, if you do need a new roof, you want to make sure you improve your roof ventilation at the same time. Because cool attics are going to help you keep the roof cooler and a cool roof is going to last a lot longer.
TOM: Now, the best type of vents to add are passive vents. Now, those are the vents that don’t use any energy and they are much better than active vents like attic fans, for example.
Now, the best passive vent is the one called a “continuous ridge-and-soffit system.” These vents are inexpensive. They consist of vented soffit panel and then a ridge vent at the peak. And they can usually be added to any house of any age. And they’re going to work together to keep that attic cool in the summer and dry in the winter, because you don’t want moisture to build up. That’s going to impact the effectiveness of your insulation.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card. Apply for yours at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
Mary in Alaska is on the line and needs some help with a water supply.
What’s going on, Mary?
MARY: I have hot-water heaters downstairs and I’m considering going to a tankless.
TOM: What kind of fuel do you have in your house, Mary? Is it gas or electric?
TOM: OK. So, you can’t really go with an electric tankless water heater, because the tankless water-heater technology is really designed for gas water heaters. What you can do is switch to something called a “heat-pump water heater.”
Now, a heat pump is a high-efficiency electric water heater, so it will save you some money. It’s also – typically will qualify for various different types of energy rebates. But it’s going to be more expensive than your traditional, just tank electric heater. Because with an electric water heater, you know, it’s running 24/7 and it’s pretty expensive. With a heat pump, it basically is – kind of uses the refrigeration concept that you used to use with heat-pump air conditioners to try to provide some of the warmth of the hot water. So it is less expensive to operate.
So I think it really comes down to how much you want to spend for the unit, how long you’re going to be in your house, because it’s not like you pack the thing up when you leave. You know what I mean?
And if you want to keep the electric water heater, you can do so. What I would suggest you do is add a timer to it. There is a device, not too expensive. It’s a heavy-duty timer designed for a 240-volt appliance. And you basically would set the water heater to come on maybe around dinnertime, stay on through evening showers and bathing and then come on again in the morning for morning showers and then go off again. The water will still remain warm throughout the day but instead of it running 24/7, maybe you only have it run 8 or 10 hours. And that will save you some money, too. Does that make sense?
MARY: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it does. I was just trying to get rid of the tanks of water. I always …
TOM: I hear you.
MARY: I had one bust on me one time and flood my basement.
MARY: And I don’t want that to ever happen again. And I was really hoping I could get rid of all that water sitting down there in one place.
TOM: Well, I tell you what, chances are that if you have experienced a busted water tank that flooded, it’s never going to happen again. Because it’s just not that common and I can’t – you would have the most awful luck in the world for it to happen to you twice. OK?
If you have Wi-Fi in your house, there’s lots of smart-home products that are out there, including some that are leak detectors that basically get mounted on the basement floor. And if you ever get a flood again, it’ll at least alert you and maybe you can send some – send a neighbor over or somebody to check the house.
MARY: Yeah, yeah. I know. They have shutoff valves and all that kind of stuff now, too. But I just wanted to get rid of all of it. But no electric tankless yet, huh?
TOM: No, not – no, they have them but they’re really expensive. They don’t give you any energy savings.
Do you have propane to – that you use for anything?
MARY: No, no.
MARY: We heat with fuel oil.
TOM: OK. Yeah, so I think that the best thing for you to do is to either put a timer on your standard water heater or get a heat-pump water heater. Either way, I think that’s probably the best option, OK?
MARY: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mary. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
MARY: Thank you. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever had to hire a contractor for a project around your home, you probably wondered whether the price you’ve been quoted is fair for the work that you’re requesting.
TOM: Well, our next guest says there’s a big information imbalance when it comes to home services, which helps explain why that question can be so difficult to answer.
Mischa Fisher is the chief economist for Angi, where it leads market and economic research, including consumer-spending behavior and residential-housing trends.
MISCHA: Hey. Great to be with you both. Thanks for having me.
TOM: That is really what it all comes down to when you’re hiring a pro. You like the pro. Perhaps you’ve done your due diligence. They’ve had a good reputation and you’ve heard good reports. But you really don’t have a way to assess whether the price is the correct one for the work that you’re requesting, right?
MISCHA: That’s exactly right. There’s a natural information imbalance when it comes to, really, any complex task. And home improvement is no different. As a consumer, you probably have some sense of what you want but you don’t know how much work is required to get it done. You don’t know what the materials cost. You don’t know what the going rate is in your area. And that’s where you aren’t necessarily on the same playing field as the people you’re hiring to do the work for you.
LESLIE: And do you feel that the situation with the pandemic kind of changed this whole dynamic? I mean there were shortages of labor and materials and people were hesitant to do work. So do you feel like that’s also part of this pricing guessing game?
MISCHA: Yeah. And that certainly did take the existing problem and made it much more intense and much more pronounced. Because, as a consumer, it was already tough.
And now, as you said, materials prices are way, way up. There’s been this sort of perfect storm of higher demand from both new home builders and existing homeowners for remodeling. You’ve got the storm in Texas that knocked out a lot of the production that leads to things like pipe and plastics and glues. All the chemical plants down there got turned off, so the shortage is there. Lumber shortages are pronounced. The price of lumber is up about 300 percent since the start of pandemic.
So, all of these things have just taken that existing information imbalance and made it more complex. Because the consumer – you not only don’t necessarily know what things cost but also what the price trajectory is. Are prices going up or down and how quickly? And so that’s just added a new layer of complexity to navigate.
TOM: Mischa, as an economist, you must have been very engaged to see the shift towards the importance of improving your home at levels that we haven’t seen in a very long time. I know, almost from the beginning of the pandemic, the number of folks that have reached out to us for help on projects and taking on projects just soared.
And you guys must have seen that, as well, from your chair as the chief economist for Angi. What did you make of it?
MISCHA: Yeah, it was not something that people were expecting a year ago. That first couple of weeks of the pandemic, after the NBA season got cancelled and everybody was hunkering down, I don’t think any observers were expecting a big boom in housing and home improvement but that’s what came along. And it was a couple of different factors.
So, the first thing is lots of people who are able to work remote did not lose their incomes and were suddenly spending more time at home. So we saw three big shifts, in terms of how consumers were spending their budgets. We saw about 33 percent of households shift some of their commuting budget specifically into home services. We saw about 48 percent of households spend some of their vacation budget on home improvement and home services. And about 52 percent shifted restaurant and bar and that sort of spending into their homes.
So, there was this natural switch where people were still earning their incomes, they still had their savings and they shifted that spending right into their homes. So that caused a lot of the boom. But then the other big boom was, of course, interest rates dropped. And so that allowed a lot of existing homeowners to refinance. So those extra mortgage payments got a lot smaller for a lot of households and so then there’s some extra money to spend there on your home.
And then, also, a bunch of new homeowners entered the market. Because when those interest rates dropped, it was cheaper to buy a house and a lot of people wanted to enter the home market. And that has not only driven up the demand for new homes but it’s also driven up the demand for existing homes and raised equity across the board.
So you’ve got all these different factors coming in there that came about as a result of the pandemic and have really put the whole market onto overdrive.
LESLIE: So, Mischa, I mean it seems like with everybody being home more, you’re just inundated with information: information about the housing market, improvements you can make, materials, all kinds of things. So, once you’re getting all this information, what does it really mean to be an informed consumer?
MISCHA: That’s a really important and timely question for so many people. I think it really comes down to three things. So, the first is thinking about what you want really specifically and doing it ahead of time. Because what that can accomplish for you first is it can reduce the total cost you’re going to pay. You don’t want to be in the position of putting in change orders with your contractor or deciding you want something different halfway through. Those things are all just going to increase costs for you. And when costs are already elevated, which is what you were sort of alluding to, you don’t want to be adding more on top of that.
But the other big factor that planning ahead will give you is it will allow you to deal with some of these long lead times. So, if you know you want a specific product, lots of products have 10-, 12-week lead times right now if not longer. And so, planning ahead of time, if you can put that order in before the work even begins on your project, it doesn’t necessarily have to delay the completion. So that’s the first thing I think that it means to be an informed consumer is really thinking about what you want.
The second thing is think about why you’re doing it in terms of are you doing this to repair damage or defects or decay in your house? Are you doing it to get a return on investment? Are you doing it for your lifestyle? Are you doing it to make your family life easier? Really think through all the different reasons of why you’re pursuing the project, because that will help give you kind of a North Star as you make decisions around budget and materials and that sort of thing.
And then the third thing it really means to be an informed consumer is thinking about cost and quality, really internalizing that there are different components that can drive project costs. And you really have to sort of consider all of those trade-offs.
TOM: That’s a great point.
Today, with supply and demand, costs – and especially in certain areas, certain types of renovations – are higher than they’ve been in the past. Given the factors that are driving higher project costs, how can consumers be smart shoppers? How can they make sure they’re not overpaying for a project?
MISCHA: The first thing to do is check online. You know, obviously, our platform provides a lot of price information there and that’s one of the reasons why we do that is to put consumers on an even playing field. So, we’re obviously not the only players in the market but check one platform or another online for pricing in your area. That’s the first big thing.
And then I think the second thing is shop around at different retailers just before you’re even sort of in that decision-making process. And that can mean going to the big-box stores but it can also be going to specialty distributors. Sometimes you can get different ranges of products and prices and variety, depending on which retailer you go to. So, don’t just rely on one retailer if you’re doing the fore-shopping. Consider checking out a number of them.
And then really thinking about the compounding impacts of how much quantity you’re using for your project. So if you are looking at something, it might seem like a pretty subtle difference between $2 a square foot and $3 a square foot. But when you multiply that by your square footage then, all of a sudden, you can be talking about pretty dramatic differences. So, make sure you’re always thinking not just about the price as it’s presented to you on a per-unit basis but think about how much you’re actually going to be using.
TOM: You mentioned to check your site at Angi.com. Your True Cost Report is really extraordinary. And I have actually used that for years to get a sense as to what projects are costing in particular areas of the country. I’ve found it very valuable, with a national audience, to make sure I was properly dialed in. There’s a lot of research that goes into that and there’s a lot of data and a lot of details.
And I think, aside from just determining what something should cost, what I like about that report is you share all the elements that should or could be included, because those all play into cost. I think folks sometimes will shop for home improvements like they’re buying a TV and they think it’s a commodity and it’s the same product no matter where you go. But it’s just not. So much of it depends on materials and the quality of the labor, as you say.
And I think that True Cost Report is a good place to start your research, because you really explain all of the different elements that could go into a kitchen reno or a bath reno or replacing your floors or whatever.
MISCHA: Yeah. I couldn’t have said that any better myself. It’s very much not like buying a television. When you buy a television, you’ve sort of really only got two things to think about: you’ve got, roughly, your sort of premium tier level and you’ve got maybe your overall size of the television.
But when you’re looking at a home improvement project, the average price can swing a lot. It can swing because the input prices are up, so it could be swinging because the price of labor or the price of wood or other plastics or hardware and trim – it could be going up because all those things are rising. Or it could be going up because people are choosing to pursue bigger projects.
And the trade-off there is completely different in terms of understanding what a project might cost you. So, that’s why we’ve got that guide online and certainly, I’d encourage everybody to check it out because things are constantly fluctuating and changing. And you really have to sort of stay on top of it.
TOM: Mischa Fisher is the chief economist for Angi.
Mischa, thank you so much for being a part of our program and for the work that you guys do to help us all find qualified, competent contractors.
MISCHA: Absolutely. Well, thank you both so much for having me and for all the amazing work you do covering the space.
LESLIE: Curtis, you’ve got boards rotting off your house? What’s going on?
CURTIS: If I have cracking and rotting fascia, how can I fix that without having to replace it? Because that would be a very expensive ordeal because it’s 2×10 fascia.
TOM: If you are going to replace it, you could replace it with AZEK – A-Z-E-K. Now, that’s a CPVC product that is kind of like wood, so it comes in standard, nominal sizes: 1×8, 1×10, 1×12 and so on. It’s also – there’s also a sheet version of it. And if you do that, that can’t rot, obviously. So if you’re going to go through the trouble of taking it all off, you might want to check out AZEK. It’s going to be more expensive.
Or you can just replace it with wood. If you prime both sides of the board before you put it back together, you’ll find that it’ll last a heck of a lot longer than if you didn’t.
CURTIS: I think that was my problem originally.
TOM: Yeah, it probably wasn’t painted right. Yep. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re adding or replacing a shower, one key area to focus on is the drain. According to the experts at Schluter, who make the KERDI-SHOWER System, there are multiple types of drains available, which provide options for both style and function.
TOM: Yeah. And this is something I hadn’t thought about before I heard from these guys, because I’m just so used to the one single type of drain. There are really just two, though. The two basic types of shower drains are called “point drains” and “linear drains.”
Now, point drains are what we’re used to. That’s the traditional shower drain. They’re usually round. They have a 4-inch grate but it’s important to note that point drains require the floor to slope the drain from all directions. Now, why is this important? Because they have to be located in the center of the shower pan and they require you to use small tiles, like mosaics. Because if you try to use any of those big, fancy, stylish tiles, they don’t bend so well, right? So, you really can’t get the slope as tight as you need to make it work.
Now, the other option are linear drains. These are long and narrow and they’re more popular and actually more practical and here’s why. The linear drains can be placed along one wall of the shower but they could also be placed at the center or at the threshold. But because the shower floor slopes in only one direction, they allow for the larger tiles to be installed. And this way, you can have those very large and popular stylish tiles in your shower and get away from this tiny mosaics.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Bath Reno Tip presented by Schluter, makers of the KERDI System consisting of preformed and totally waterproof building panels for showers, including the Schluter KERDI-DRAIN and the Schluter KERDI-LINE Drain.
TOM: To learn more about the Schluter Shower Systems, go to Schluter.com. That’s S-c-h-l-u-t-e-r.com.
LESLIE: Vivian from San Diego has written in and she says, “I purchased my first home in December. It’s about 5 years old and there are cracks around a window in my daughter’s bedroom. How can I fix these? Thank you very much. I love your show.” With lots of exclamation points.
TOM: Oh, she didn’t say that. You’re making that up.
LESLIE: She did it with four exclamation points.
TOM: Well, thank you very much, Vivian. We appreciate that.
So, listen, cracks around windows and even around doors, they can look very concerning. They can look very troubling but they’re pretty normal, because those holes in the exterior wall of your house is where you get the most movement. And it’s not unusual to see a crack form coming out of one of the corners of those windows and doors. Usually a top corner the crack will open and it can be a little bit difficult to try to get it repaired, because it tends to happen over and over again.
There’s a product out from Abatron called KRACK KOTE that works very well. It’s a crack-repair kit. And the reason I like it is because you apply what is, essentially, kind of like a primer over the crack first. And then you put down this special tape that comes in the kit. And then, on top of that, you go ahead and put the spackle. It pulls those sides of the crack together really, really well and then it’s not going to open and close with every seasonal change. Because in the wintertime, all the buildings shrink and the summertime, they get damp, they get moist and they swell. And you can really make sure that that crack is not going to be part of that movement if you repair it properly.
LESLIE: And Vivian, then you get to have fun. Once everything is dried, cured, ready to go, you can paint that room a super-fun color. And why not ask your daughter what she wants to paint it? And then you guys can do it together.
TOM: Well, if you’re planning to buy an air conditioner this summer, there is a very common mistake that can leave your home feeling damp and musty instead of cool and comfortable. Leslie explains why, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie? Damp and musty is not good.
LESLIE: Yeah, no. Nobody wants to feel that way, especially in the summer, because then you’re freezing when you should just be comfortable.
So, if you’re planning to buy a room air conditioner this summer, one of the most important considerations is the size of the unit. But contrary to what you might think, bigger is not better.
TOM: Yeah. And here’s why. A unit with too much cooling capacity is going to waste energy and one that’s too small is not going to do a good job of keeping your family comfortable.
Plus, here’s something that very few people understand: an oversized unit is going to quickly cool the air without running long enough to dehumidify your home. It actually works too quickly and the result is that your home will be very damp and musty instead of cool and comfortable.
LESLIE: Now, determining the best size air conditioner for your room is going to depend on a number of factors, including the type of air-conditioner unit that you’re planning to install, the size of the room you need to install it in and the size of your window.
TOM: Yeah. Now, most manufacturers will offer handy calculators on their website. They’ll step you through the most important considerations and deliver that recommendation for your home. And also, if you have the choice, remember to always install the unit on the shady side of the room. Keeping it out of direct sun makes those air conditioners run much more efficiently.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about natural-stone countertops and most importantly, keeping them clean. You know, they’re really popular because they’re so durable and they’re beautiful. But man, they need a ton of maintenance to keep them looking as great as they did the day they were installed. So we’re going to share the easiest ways to maintain these sturdy surfaces, on the very 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.)