TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Podcast. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And as you are tooling around your house today, maybe you’re tackling some chores, maybe you’re out running some errands with the family, with the kids, with the spouse. Whatever is going on in your home improvement life today, we are here to help you with those projects. Whether it’s a décor project, whether it’s a fix-up project, whether it’s a project you want to plan for the year ahead, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Yeah, I know you’re thinking, “Well, I just turned the podcast on, Tom. How are you in the studio right at this moment?” Well, the truth is we never leave. I never let Leslie rest. No, she has to stay right here all the time. We’re always here taking your questions.
No, seriously, you can call us and if we’re not in the studio, we will call you back the next time we are. Or you can go to The Money Pit’s website at MoneyPit.com and post your question to the Facebook page.
Coming up on today’s show, with spring right around the corner, it’s probably a good time to get outside and make your yard look both beautiful and functional. And if you’re aiming to have that best yard on the block or you want to install an outdoor family room or maybe you just want to expand your space for entertaining, we’ve got tips to help you plan out that space, just ahead.
LESLIE: And the bathroom, it’s the most humid place in the house, which is why it’s also where the paint tends to peel and mold just loves to grow. We’re going to have tips on the best way to keep that space’s moisture under wraps.
TOM: Plus, over the winter, garages get pretty gross. I mean between the stuff that never quite gets put away from last fall, to the dirt that drips off your car, those floors can be a real mess. We’re going to have some tips, this hour, on garage-floor solutions that are very easy to clean.
LESLIE: And if you’re planning a flooring project this spring season, we’ve got a fantastic giveaway going out to one lucky caller this hour. And it’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: So, give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Dean in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DEAN: OK. We’ve just purchased a home and in that home we’ve got a traditional gas water heater.
DEAN: And my wife loves to take baths every night. She’s one of those really hot bath-type persons.
TOM: OK. Good for her.
DEAN: Just wanted to kind of know what the best setting for the water heater was. We’ve been told a couple different things. Usually, we turn it all the way up and we’ve been told some different things, so …
TOM: Mm-hmm. Ooh. That’s really hot. Yeah, well, is it just you and your wife or do you have kids, too?
DEAN: We do have kids, as well.
TOM: Yeah, you want to be careful with the children, especially. You don’t want the water to be any hotter than about 110 to 120 degrees. And if you turn it all the way up, it could get close to 160 and that’s really dangerous. So, if you have a 40-gallon water heater and you’re taking a big bath every night, I think you’re going to have adjust your schedules around that because it’s going to use a significant amount of it. But it also has a pretty fast recovery.
If you opt, at some point in the future – if you’re there in the house for a number of years and you want to get a water heater that’s never going to run out of hot water, you should opt for a tankless water heater. They’re a little bit more expensive than a tank water heater but they basically provide you an endless supply of hot water.
So I think those are your options, Dean. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Carol in Delaware needs some help with some insulation recommendations. What’s going on?
CAROL: Hi. We built, about two years ago, a pole building that we are insulating one-third of, that we are making into living space for a shop.
CAROL: And the whole pole building was wrapped in Double Bubble, including the ceiling. So, now that we are getting ready to enclose – or encapsulate or enclose this area – it’s 20x30x14. We need to know what type of insulation you would recommend over the Double Bubble?
TOM: Now, when you say Double Bubble, I’m not actually familiar with that term.
CAROL: It is like bubble wrap.
CAROL: And it’s closed-cell, so it’s just a roll that they – it’s a rolled product that they put out, like a bubble wrap.
TOM: Oh, OK. I think I’ve seen this. It’s like a foil-faced product? It’s not going to have very much R-value at all.
CAROL: No, it doesn’t. (inaudible)
TOM: It’s obviously not going to hold much heat in. I think your best option here for insulating that space is spray-foam insulation. Spray-foam insulation can seal all of the gaps that will be in that shell. You don’t need as much of it, in terms of thickness. And it does a very good job of not only insulating but sealing out the drafts. So, I would highly recommend spray foam over a fiberglass-batt insulation for this particular space.
CAROL: OK. And my husband’s sitting here. You’re on speaker-phone. Would you recommend open- or closed-cell?
TOM: So, closed-cell is going to be better for moist locations. If you’re considerate about moisture – concerned about moisture – you would use the closed-cell. But open-cell does just a very good job, as well. I actually have both in my house. In my crawlspace, I have closed-cell for the box joists and in the walls and the roof rafters I have open-cell.
CAROL: OK. And then what would you do with the ceiling?
TOM: With the bubble wrap that’s there?
CAROL: There’s a space between the ceiling and the roof. What would you recommend putting in that space?
TOM: So you have two options. If you want, you could insulate the underside of the roof rafters and consider that attic space to be part of the conditioned space, part of the heated space. I mean not the heated space but it would insulate there. Or you could put the spray-foam insulation across the ceiling and make the attic completely unconditioned.
If you make it a conditioned space – if you insulate underneath the roof rafters – you’ll find that, you know, if you need it for storage, it’s not going to have the same kind of temperature extremes that you would have in an attic that was just more traditional and it was just whatever temperature it was outside. Whether it was 110 degrees in the summer, 10 degrees in the winter, that’s the temperature that attic’s going to be. So, it’s just kind of your personal preference. But wherever you decide to make that barrier, I’d make it with spray foam.
Take a look at Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – Icynene Insulation.
CAROL: What would you recommend as far as the heating/air-conditioning system we have? We have two areas: we have the wide-open space and then we have a bathroom space that will be in that area.
TOM: Do you have gas – natural gas – available?
CAROL: Yeah, we do. We have propane.
TOM: You have propane? Yeah. Well, I think propane’s going to be – probably be your best option. I’d prefer – my order of preference on fuels would be natural gas, followed probably by oil and then propane almost about the same. But propane is probably OK with an efficient furnace. And then electric would be last; that would just cost you a boatload of money.
But I think probably a propane gas furnace that’s a high-efficiency furnace. In the open space, you’re going to use a space heater that’s like one of those big furnaces that hangs up sort of in the air and warms that whole space. In the bathroom, that smaller area, if that could be connected to the same heating system that’s heating that room – is this bathroom separate from the living space you’re talking about or is it part of it? Because you’re going to need heat throughout that whole living space, aren’t you?
CAROL: Right. We’ll need heat throughout the whole living space. The bathroom will be closed off as a bathroom so that …
TOM: I think probably – you’d probably going to end up putting a furnace up in that attic. Sounds like you’ve got some room up there for it. But put a gas furnace up there and you can use that for heating and air conditioning.
CAROL: OK. What do you think about the split units?
TOM: The split-ductless units?
LESLIE: They run beautifully, though, but they’ll be expensive.
CAROL: I thank you’ve answered our questions. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Jessie. Well, good luck to you and your husband with that project and send us pictures when you’re done.
CAROL: I sure will. Thank you.
LESLIE: Hey, this spring season, what’s your how-to or décor question? Well, give us call now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project.
TOM: Just ahead, are you ready to get outside and make your yard both beautiful and functional? We’ll have tips to help you plan that space, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, whether you’re planning a décor project, remodeling project or you want to fix up your kitchen or your bath, you’re fixing a leak, you’re fixing a speak, whatever, we’re here for you every step of the way. You can call in your question, right now, to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
LESLIE: And hey, guys, here’s another great reason to reach out either on the phone or through our Community section: we are giving away a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. You guys can get a lot of flooring done with that amount on your gift card. You can choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, wood-look waterproof flooring and more. They really have incredibly low prices.
And you can also use that gift card for all those finishing touches, like molding and trim. Or here’s the best part: if you are not a DIYer and you’re just not into installing this flooring yourself, you can even use it for installation.
Just remember, you’ve got to redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of the Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide. Or just give them a call at 1-800-HARDWOOD.
TOM: 888-666-3974. That Lumber Liquidators gift card worth 200 bucks going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Tom in Tennessee is on the line and needs some help with a porch. Tell us what you’re working on.
TOM IN TENNESSEE: Well, I just bought the house maybe two months ago. It has a screened-in back porch with different, various sizes of stone. I’m not sure exactly what it is but it has cement in between them.
TOM IN TENNESSEE: And it’s a smooth porch. And when it rains or when the humidity is high, we have a layer of water on the porch. And I know the roof is not leaking, because we have a table and chairs and they’re not wet. And I don’t understand where that water could be coming from.
TOM: Well, if it’s not because of gravity – so if it’s not falling – that means it’s being drawn up into the slab from somewhere underneath that. So, that usually means that there’s water collecting somewhere around that perimeter of that porch area. And it’s saturating that concrete and that stone and it’s sucking it right up and condensing on the surface.
TOM IN TENNESSEE: Yeah, that sounds possible.
TOM: So, then, what you do for that is you try to identify the source of the moisture. It could be grading and gutters, it could be soil that’s sloping into the wall, not sloping away enough. And you try to dry that up as much as possible.
I suspect it’s going to change. Right now, it’s not that hot; it’s fairly damp, a lot of rain. We’re getting into the warmer summer months, so it’s not something you’re going to see every day. But I could understand that in certain periods of the year, with a certain amount of precipitation, that this would be common if that rainwater is not properly managed.
TOM IN TENNESSEE: OK. OK. I don’t think it’s the downspouts, because I’ve checked those. And the only possibility could be the drainage on the outside of the porch.
TOM: Mm-hmm. How far away from the wall are the downspouts extended?
TOM IN TENNESSEE: Well, there’s actually one at the corner of the screened-in porch but there’s no water at that corner. The water is mainly in the middle of the porch itself.
TOM: Well, see, here’s the thing about water: it’s not always logical. You can have it – you can have a malfunctioning downspout or water that’s piling towards one corner and then have it show up 10 feet away, 20 feet away. I’ve seen that happen on a frighteningly regular basis because that’s the water behaves. I would tell you this: make sure the downspouts are at least 6 feet from the house. Don’t let them come out 1 or 2 feet, like most of them do. Get that water well away, even if you have to just throw some extensions – some leader extensions – on those spouts for a few weeks to see if it has an effect. Just get that water away from those corners and regrade it so it slopes away and then let’s see what happens.
TOM IN TENNESSEE: OK. OK. That makes sense. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Tom. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, spring is almost here. And if you’re ready to get outside and make your yard both beautiful and functional, now is the time you should be planning. You’ve got to plan before you act. So, first, think about the goals.
Now, maybe you’re aiming to have the greenest yard on the block or perhaps you’re shooting for an outdoor family room or you simply want to expand your space for entertaining or maybe all three.
TOM: That’s right. Planning makes perfect.
And next, it’s smart to draw a sketch of your yard and make sure you include any major features that exist now, like trees and bushes and gardens and – what? – lawn furniture or flower beds, play areas? And then add in what you’d like to build, if it’s a deck, an outdoor patio, maybe a pergola or maybe you’re going for a pool.
And you want to note, also, where maintenance might be needed. The bushes need to be trimmed back from the home or the garage. Is there enough space to kind of get around for all that? Do you want to put in some more flowering bushes or trees? Are you thinking about adding a fence? Get all that sketched out on paper first because it’s easy to make changes that way.
LESLIE: And guys, you don’t have to be an amazing artist. You can take a picture of your yard in that perspective that you want to draw or modify. And then just trace over that with some vellum or just a regular piece of computer paper. You can go right on a light box and just trace. And this way, you’ve got a good drawing and a good basis that you can keep working on and off of and it doesn’t take a lot of work. So don’t be afraid if you’re not a good artist.
Now, once you’ve got that sketch in hand, you can head outside with a good length of rope and use it to lay out the actual space for everything that you want to add. This way, you can show the perimeter of the pool or how big the patio and deck are going to be or walkways or gardens by using that rope. And it’s really a smart way that you can get an actual feel for how everything is going to space out in your yard.
Next, go ahead and grab a lawn chair and just plop yourself down and use your imagination to think about how all of this is going to look. Do the sections flow well together? Is there enough space for the furniture, the grills, the other accessories? Can you talk to your pals? Think about all of this.
TOM: Now, it’s even smart to let it sit for a day once you get done with all that. And then look it over again to make sure it really works for your family. It’s pretty easy to overestimate locations and spacing and maintenance when you’re working on paper. But when you lay it out with a rope, it really brings things all closer to reality without ever having to plunge that shovel in. Because believe me, once you start this project, you do not want to have to move things around. A lot easier to do it on paper or with a rope outside before you start setting that first shovel to ground.
[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Iris in Florida is on the line and has a question about a new countertop. Tell us about it.
IRIS: Oh, hi. First and foremost, Leslie, let me tell you I’ve loved listening to you and Tom for so many years. You’re just – both of you are just so wonderful.
TOM: Thank you, Iris. We appreciate that.
LESLIE: Thanks, Iris.
IRIS: You’re most welcome. Well, my husband and I built our current home about four years ago. We did not upgrade the granite counters in the kitchen. We are now putting in a wonderful click-in, waterproof, vinyl planking throughout the entire house. And of course, the counters are looking like they need to be upgraded, as well. So we’re …
TOM: What kind of counters do you have right now?
IRIS: We currently have granite but we’re very strongly favoring a quartz.
TOM: OK. OK.
IRIS: So, what do you think?
TOM: I mean the cost is about the same. It’s kind of a toss-up between those two products. The granite is probably a bit harder to take care of because it’s more absorbent. It’s a difference between, you know, solid stone and really engineered stone. The solid stone is what you have now and engineered stone is what you would be getting.
IRIS: We want to stay in this house fairly permanently, so – and we’re pretty contemporary. And there’s so many beautiful quartz patterns.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. Yep.
IRIS: What are your thoughts about Silestone?
TOM: Silestone. Yeah, it’s beautiful stuff.
LESLIE: So, I think, Iris, the reason why – I really do like quartz as a product. We put it in – my mom has a vacation home out on the East End of Long Island. My whole family shares it. And we had a big flood due to a pipe bursting a few years back. And we renovated everything in the house and we had Formica countertops, laminate countertops that – from a gajillion years ago.
And we – all of us loved the look of marble but none of us wanted the maintenance of marble, so we ended up going with a quartz that looks just like a beautiful white marble. And it’s gorgeous, it’s durable, it’s stain-resistant. You can put a hot pan on it and not worry about it. We try not to but it – you can.
So we all love it. And we ended up also doing one that has a concrete look for a surround to a fireplace. And we’ve all been happy. This was trying to please three siblings and a mom. So, we all struggled on picking the right thing but I really do enjoy the quartz product. Truly, I love marble, I love granite but there is such a level of maintenance that goes along with it. And if you’re not willing to take on that maintenance, it’s just not going to stand up.
IRIS: Well, it sounds like you made an excellent decision based on so many people to please. And since we were leaning so favorably toward it, I think I’m convinced. So, thank you both so very much.
TOM AND LESLIE: Alright.
TOM: Yeah. Good luck with it. I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful when it’s done.
IRIS: Thanks so much, Tom. Take care.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, anywhere where you’re combining moisture and air and drywall or perhaps even some other food source, you can easily get a mold problem. All of those are certainly present every single time you take a shower. Just ahead, Richard Trethewey from This Old House is joining us with tips on you can have a mold-free bath.
TOM: And today’s edition of This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators, where you can get the latest spring trends and the hottest styles in bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less.
We’ll be back with more, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, call in your home repair or your home décor or your home improvement question right now. In fact, you can call it in, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Brad in Virginia, you’re up next. How can we help you?
BRAD: It’s a water situation in my house.
BRAD: In one bathroom, you’ve got cold and hot. You go to the kitchen, you’ve got hot and barely is running cold. And then the last bathroom, it’s the same way.
TOM: OK. So, you have a good stream of hot and cold water in the one bathroom but you don’t have it in the other two?
TOM: So, to me, that sounds like it’s a valve problem. Because the first thing you want to ask yourself is whether or not you have enough water pressure coming into the house. And if you’ve got it in one bathroom, then you certainly do. You just don’t have it in these other two and got to figure out why that is. It could be a partially obstructed valve; it might look like it’s open but it’s partially closed. It could be a clogged aerator but that would affect both hot and cold equally. You could easily check that, by the way, just by unscrewing the aerator. That’s that little tip of a faucet where the water comes out.
LESLIE: Just make sure you remember how you took it apart, because it goes back in that opposite way.
TOM: Yeah. It’s like – it’s kind of like Rubik’s Cube sometimes trying to get it back together again. But the fact that you have water that’s the correct pressure in one bathroom means it’s not a water-pressure problem. It’s definitely going to be in the plumbing or in the valves or the fixtures or faucets themselves, which is another thing, by the way. The plumbing faucet itself could be a problem.
The other thing that you could do is you could disconnect the plumbing, you know, at the valve and just hook up some hose lines to it there. And just see how much water pressure comes out. See if you can sort of narrow down where the restriction is. Is it the faucet? Is it the valve? Where exactly is it being restricted? Is it before it gets to that fixture or faucet? Because you do have the water pressure; you’ve proven that. OK?
BRAD: Yeah, OK. Thanks.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, moisture might be great for your skin and giving you a youthful appearance. Heck, it’s even good when you go grocery shopping for fruit and produce. But when it comes to your home, it is the last thing that you want on the inside.
TOM: That’s right. Too much moisture can cause paint to peel and mold to grow but there are ways to prevent it. Here to tell us how is the plumbing-and-heating expert from TV’s This Old House, Richard Trethewey.
RICHARD: Nice to be here.
TOM: Now, we often think of mold being a basement problem but mold is actually more common in the bathroom, isn’t it?
RICHARD: Well, anywhere you combine moisture, air and some food source – drywall or a paper – you’re going to get a mold problem. And the bathroom is a perfect candidate for that.
TOM: And one of the best ways to prevent that is to have good bath ventilation. What are some of the options to choose from?
RICHARD: Well, I think there’s really three. The most common one that we all know is that bath fan. Sometimes, it has an integra (ph) light in it and it sits right in the center of the bathroom. And it turns it on and you exhaust it to outside.
RICHARD: They also make a remote fan now, which you could put a – as the name suggests, you could put a fan up in an attic and it could be the fan for more than one bathroom. And that can be quieter and it can be energy-saving.
TOM: So it’s ducted to the individual bathrooms then but really one motor can basically run everything.
RICHARD: That’s right. And the motor’s efficient and quiet.
RICHARD: And the other thing that you see more and more in these tighter houses is a thing called an “energy-recovery ventilator” or a “heat-recovery ventilator.”
TOM: Alright. Now, how does that work?
RICHARD: Well, just imagine that all the places where you could get air that was both highly humid and filled with odor – that would be bathrooms and kitchens – that leaves through an exhaust duct through this box.
RICHARD: And as that air leaves, it will pass through this energy-recovery ventilator while at the same time, fresh air from outside will pass in the opposite direction across that stale, heated air.
Now, the air doesn’t touch it directly but the heat is transferred to that new air that’s coming in.
TOM: Ah, so we actually take some of that heat that we paid to create – in that smelly, damp, moist air – and we transfer it through this sort of heat-exchange mechanism to the fresh air coming in.
RICHARD: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, we get the best of both worlds. We get preheated, fresh air into the building while we’re exhausting the stale air out. And with an energy-recovery ventilator, we also can transfer humidity, so we’re not going to be bringing in dry, dry air in the winter. We’ll get some of the humidity that was in the house to stay in the house.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about the switching mechanisms for these, because I think that one of the easiest ways to try to keep mold down in your bathroom and reduce that humidity is to make sure not only that you have the ventilator of your choice but that it runs long enough to do the job. Timers can play an important part there, couldn’t they?
RICHARD: Right. You need enough fresh air in a building and as the building gets tighter, as fuel goes up, people are insulating more and doing all sorts of things to keep the heat and the air in. So putting a timer for 20 or 25 minutes of every hour, to just bring some fresh air in, is actually good to keep ahead of that mold issue.
TOM: And probably the more that you can do this with occupancy sensors and things like that – where you don’t have to depend on your kid, for example, to set a timer when they step out of the shower – makes the most sense, because it’s more of a chance it’s going to actually get used.
RICHARD: I think that’s part of the future, Tom, is this remote-proximity sensor. I think in a bathroom, it should bring on the fan to bring fresh air in, it should bring on a recirc line to bring hot water to the hot-water faucet. And then more and more of that’s being done now with some of these cool home-automation systems.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about venting. Once you take that humid air out of the bathroom, it’s real important that you don’t put it somewhere else where it can do damage, like the attic.
RICHARD: We’ve seen on Ask This Old House all these years, so many times the attic is so filled with mold because the vent pipe has come off of the exhaust fan. You’ve just been dumping highly humid air into this wooden …
TOM: Which is cold and condenses and it’s wet all the time.
RICHARD: Perfect condition for mold, yeah.
TOM: Not to mention the fact that that insulation getting wet really doesn’t do its job very well, either.
RICHARD: That’s right. We often see that flexible ducting that’s used on these bath fans also can – if it’s not supported, can provide sag points where moisture will sit in it and that really becomes a mold place.
TOM: Interesting. So it becomes almost a trap, just a plumbing trap, but it’s collecting condensation.
RICHARD: That’s right. That’s right. That’s right.
TOM: Now, what are some other things that you can do to reduce mold in the bathroom?
Specifically, let’s talk about grout or caulk, for example. That’s that one dirty area of the house that you wish you’d get clean but sometimes you just can’t.
RICHARD: Well, they have mildew-resistant caulking and that can do a good job. It’s not going to stop every bit of mildew if you’ve got high, high humidity levels. You can use paperless, mold-resistant drywall in the bathroom. You’ve got to really get rid of that food source, which is any paper or cellulose, where mold wants to grow.
TOM: And always make sure you have a paint that has a mildew-resistant additive to it, as well?
RICHARD: That’s right. That’s right.
TOM: Yeah. So, essentially, if we want to stop mold growth in our bathroom, we need to attack it on all fronts: we need to make sure we keep the humidity down; we ventilate all that warm, moist air; and then any other opportunity we have to choose something that’s mold-resistant, then definitely take that step.
RICHARD: Yeah. Water is the active ingredient that you’ve got to stay ahead of, most importantly, Tom.
TOM: Unfortunately, we need a lot of that in the bathroom.
RICHARD: That’s right.
TOM: Richard Trethewey, the plumbing and heating contractor from TV’s This Old House, great advice, as always. Thanks for stopping by.
RICHARD: Great to be here.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great step-by-step videos on home improvement projects you can tackle this weekend, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Caseta by Lutron.
Just ahead, over the winter, garages get pretty gross. I mean between the stuff that never quite gets put away in the fall, all that dirt that drips off your car, those floors can be a real mess. We’re going to have garage-floor solutions that are easy to clean, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we have got, for you, a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. To qualify, all you’ve got to do is pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
LESLIE: Yeah. And with that $200 gift certificate, you can choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwoods, bamboo, laminates, wood-look waterproof flooring. There are so many choices and they’re all at incredibly low prices, so you can accomplish a lot.
And you can also use that gift card for any finishing touches, like moldings and trim. And here’s the best part: if you don’t want to do the work yourself – which I get; not everybody wants to lay flooring on a weekend project – you can actually use that gift card for installation. So it’s really a great, great, great prize this hour.
TOM: You can redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide or call for more information at 1-800-HARDWOOD.
That $200 Lumber Liquidators gift certificate going out to one caller drawn at random. So what are you waiting for? Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Jim in Washington is on the line and needs some help with an egress window. Tell us what’s going on.
JIM: Well, I’ve got a window in my basement that I need to replace with an egress window.
JIM: And there’s plenty of square footage in the opening in the concrete wall but my window will be 54 inches off the floor, which is a little bit more than the 44 that’s required off the finished floor. And I was just trying to figure out what my options were.
TOM: So your problem is that in the basement it’s going to be 54 inches off the floor?
TOM: Why are you putting it up so high? Is it because of the grade outside or the conditions outside?
JIM: Initially, I think that’s why they put it up so high.
TOM: Well, listen, you’re not going to achieve an escape window if it’s that high. I think what you need to do is look outside and let’s talk about some of the options there.
The BILCO Company – B-I-L-C-O – you know, kind of famous for the BILCO Door that’s that sort of metal, slanting door that covers a lot of basement doors. They have two products that are actually very efficient, very functional.
And one of them is actually particularly good-looking. One’s called a StakWEL and it’s an egress window well. Basically, it’s a very deep window well, very wide that has a ladder built into it. So you don’t really see the ladder unless you’re inside looking out. But you basically can go through the window, grab the ladder and then kind of climb up.
And the other one’s called a ScapeWEL, as in escape well. And that one’s kind of cool because it has a planter design; it’s like a terraced kind of a look to it. And that’s going to take up a little bit bigger room outside but it’s designed to do the same thing. It enables you to basically have that window at the proper height and then if you had to go through it in the event of a fire, you would easily be able to climb up out of that ScapeWEL.
So I would take a look at those products from BILCO. I’m sure there may be others that make it. I just happen to be familiar with those. I’ve seen them at the trade shows and they are pretty cool-looking. If I needed one, I’d definitely buy it.
JIM: OK. Is there any option, like building a step inside to bring you up to a …?
TOM: I mean you probably could do that but why would you want to have an extra step on the floor? That’s just going to take away from the square footage.
LESLIE: I’ve seen, similar to climbing out of a pool, sort of indentations where your feet would go in to get a foothold to climb up. I’ve seen that built into a wall when you have a similar situation. And then you climb into that egress window and then you climb out, as well. That’s a good solution if you need it but then you have to worry about the ability of somebody who might be in the space and the ability to climb out.
JIM: StakWEL and ScapeWEL.
TOM: Yep. Yeah, take a look at those BILCO products and I think you may find a solution right there.
JIM: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, during the winter, your garage, it can get pretty gross. Between all the stuff that never quite gets put away from last fall, to all that dirt that seems to drip off your car, that floor can be a real mess. And because most are concrete, they’re pretty tough to clean.
TOM: Yep. And that’s why sprucing up your garage floor is a really good spring project. Now, there are a couple of ways to do this and generally, they fall into two categories: either coatings or coverings.
Now, coatings are going to include the stains and floor paint, the epoxy paint and the sealants. They’re generally pretty easy to apply. And if they’re done well, they can provide a very attractive surface that is really easy to clean.
LESLIE: Now, coverings, they’re garage-floor options that are much tougher than coatings but they can be more expensive. Now, most garage-floor coverings are either mats or interlocking tiles. Both are pretty easy to install and the tile, in particular, can be really attractive. Now, that tile, it also tends to add about a ½-inch of that floor height. So, you’re not going to really notice it with the ceiling height. But what the good part of that is that if your car is getting wet from the rain or snow is melting off of it, all of that water is going to run below that tile. And it’s less likely to puddle and ice up and make a big mess on the floor.
TOM: Yeah. But you know what the best part of finishing a garage floor is? You have to empty the entire garage to do it. So it kind of forces you to do …
LESLIE: And you can get rid of a lot of stuff.
TOM: Yep, exactly. Forces you to do that spring cleaning at the same time.
Well, if you’ve got some spring cleaning or home repairs on your to-do list, give us a call right now. We’d love to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Just ahead, are you ready for a decorating refresh but you don’t have the bucks to buy new stuff? Well, we’ve got some tips for doing a décor redo without spending a dime, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And The Money Pit is presented by HomeAdvisor.com, where you can find top-rated home improvement pros you can trust. Call in your home improvement question, 24/7, to 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Hey, you can also head on over to The Money Pit’s Community page and post your question. Sarah did just that. She’s from Oregon. She says, “I like my neutral bedroom but it lacks personality.” I guess it’s kind of hard to have a neutral bedroom with personality but OK. So, she wants to know: “Are there ways to make it more interesting without adding color?”
She really likes that neutral but she wants to add a bit more pizzazz. So what does she do?
LESLIE: Now, here’s the interesting thing. I think when people think of neutrals, normally we’re talking about sort of a taupe or a beige or a greige, like those light tones of neutral colors. It could even be creams but when we’re …
TOM: Did you say greige? Is greige a color?
LESLIE: Greige is like a grayish beige. It’s kind of oyster-y.
LESLIE: It’s a thing.
TOM: It’s a new word for me.
LESLIE: But I think what people forget is that there are so many tones of that color that you can have multiple shades of white or multiple shades of cream or multiple shades of beige. And that’s where you should really think about layering that, first of all, into the color palette of the room.
Now, you can also sort of mix and match between those neutrals. If everything is cream, you can bring in a gray or you can bring in a mirror finish or something that’s mercury glass. Think about all of the things that have a neutral feel to them but bring in a different sheen, a different tone, a different texture. That you can achieve without adding any color at all.
So perhaps it’s a really cool, new pair of lamps. Maybe you go from something simple to something mercury glass, like a gourd shape that’s a mercury glass with a drum shade. Maybe you add in a really nice, textured throw at the foot of the bed. Maybe you put in some throw pillows that have some beading or have some small mirror pieces, something that adds in those layers. You can also add a really cool ceiling light fixture. You know, these are ways that you can bring things in that give the room personality but aren’t being overwhelmed by adding pops of color or all different things. That’s not your thing and that’s fine.
TOM: I like the greige idea, though. I think if I buy a suit this summer, I’m going to ask for one in greige. Sounds like a summer color.
LESLIE: Hmm. It could be but don’t go linen. Linen wrinkles so bad.
TOM: No. Linen wrinkles, of course.
Hey, we’ve got another question here from Mark in New Jersey. He says, “I found accent pieces for my living room but I struggle with putting them together. Is there a secret?”
LESLIE: Like assembling them or putting them throughout the space?
TOM: I guess assembling them. I think he means – I don’t know. How many variations of accent pieces could there be, right?
LESLIE: Ugh. And you know what? An accent piece can mean so many things to so many different people. Is it a small accessory that goes on a tabletop or is it a pair of chairs?
LESLIE: For me, an accept piece is a pouf or a coffee table or a side table.
LESLIE: I think the important thing is to – when you’re planning your space, if we’re talking about actual small pieces of accent furniture, think about zones, think about areas of conversation, think about use of the space and then lay it out accordingly. If we’re talking about small, decorative accessories, I like to layer things of different materials at different sizes, maybe on a little tray just to ground them.
There’s a lot of different ways that you can bring those things in. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I think that’s the best part – is just move stuff around and don’t stop until you feel comfortable. And even live with something for a day and then switch it up.
TOM: And if he’s really just struggling to assemble maybe some IKEA furniture – you know what I hate about that? You get to one spot in the installation or the assembly and you figure out you missed a spot. I have a name for that. You know what it’s called?
LESLIE: What’s that?
TOM: The Scandinavian Surprise. It’s true, right? You have to go back and take it all apart and start all over again.
LESLIE: It is true.
TOM: The Scandinavian Surprise.
You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Hey, we hope we’ve given you some great ideas, great tips, great advice to help you get started on your spring home improvement and décor projects. If you’d like some more help, remember, check out our website at MoneyPit.com, post your specific question to the Community page or call us, 24/7, at 1-888-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.
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(Copyright 2018 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.)
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