TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are super glad to be with you on this beautiful fall weekend. We hope that you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather. It’s our favorite time of the year because we call it the “Goldilocks season.” Why? Well, it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, it’s just right. Right? Just like the fairy tale but it’s just right, in our case, to take on just about any home improvement project that’s on your to-do list, whether it’s outside, inside or anywhere in between.
Coming up on today’s program, if you’re getting ready to cook up a storm this holiday season, having the right filtration system in your kitchen vent hood can keep both your kitchen and your lungs a lot cleaner. We’re going to tell you how to improve the air quality and do just that, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, daylight saving time ends this weekend, which means it’s a lot darker around your house. We’re going to have tips on how you can add bright ceiling lights wherever they’re needed but without having to run all that new wiring.
TOM: Plus, Leslie, what do you think is the most dreaded thing to clean in any house?
LESLIE: Ugh. It’s probably the toilet, right? It’s got to be. It’s got to be.
TOM: You’re right, yep. Absolutely right. Well, now some good news: there’s a new toilet out from American Standard that actually cleans itself. It’s called the VorMax Plus Self-Cleaning Toilet. We’re going to tell you all about it, in just a bit.
But first, let’s get to your calls. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions, right now, to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Diane in South Dakota is on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
DIANE: Yes. We had a problem with trying to put some wood flooring down on our floor. We have a modular home over a full basement.
DIANE: And when they delivered the wood and they went to lay it down, they said that our floor was not flat. We had some ridges or bumps on it and that they could not put the flooring on because it would pop up and wouldn’t hold.
TOM: Yep. OK.
DIANE: And I’m just wondering if there’s any way to rectify that.
TOM: So, what type of subfloor do you have that they were trying to put this new flooring on top of? Is it plywood?
DIANE: It’s plywood, yes.
TOM: Yeah, sure, a good flooring installer would know this, so I’m surprised they didn’t tell you what had to happen. But there’s a couple of things you can do. There’s a carpentry solution. And a carpentry solution may involve – it depends on how far out of whack it is. I mean they’re right: these new flooring products, they have a certain range that they’re designed to work within. And if your floor is out of level above that range then, certainly, you could have adhesion problems.
So, the carpentry solution might involve working on the floor joist to actually get them to lay down. Sometimes, you get a joist that is crowned and sort of rises up. There is actually a way to go into the basement, cut that beam in half, put a new solid beam next to it and bring it down. And that will help it lay down and eliminate that bump. So that’s a carpentry solution.
Then the other solution you can use is to apply what’s called a “floor-leveling compound.” Now, this is a liquid, very thick compound that gets poured onto the floor and then it’s self-leveling. It’ll level and it’ll keep everything nice and flat. And that takes up the dips and the rises in that floor and gives you a very flat surface to work on. Probably not a do-it-yourself project, something I would have somebody do that has some experience with it, because it’s got to be done right. And once that dries, the new floor can be laid right on top of it.
So there’s a carpentry solution and then there’s the floor-leveling compound, which is designed exactly for situations like this.
DIANE: OK. I actually think that we probably have to go the carpenter route, because I asked them about that product. I said, “Isn’t there some kind of a leveling product that you could pour on the floor?” And they said it won’t – wouldn’t work in this situation.
TOM: OK. Well, I’m not sure why. They probably should be giving you more information on that. And sometimes, when a contractor says it won’t work, what they mean to say – that’s what comes out of their mouth. But what they’re saying is, “I really don’t want to do it.”
DIANE: OK, OK.
TOM: OK? Maybe they didn’t want to do it. Don’t take that to heart. It may be that it can, in fact, be done; you just don’t have the right person involved yet, OK?
DIANE: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your calling me back.
TOM: Yep. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading to Minnesota where it’s super chilly.
Larry, what is going on with the concrete at your money pit?
LARRY: No cracks. The only cracks I’ve got is in the butter on the concrete brick wall that goes through the foundation of the house.
TOM: So the only cracks are in the foundation wall. Is this a block wall or a brick wall?
LARRY: It’s a block wall, 8×12.
TOM: And your question is: can you paint it?
LARRY: Can I paint the butter on there to keep the water from turning to concrete?
TOM: You know what comes after paint, Larry? Repaint. So, probably not the best approach.
If you want to try to stop water infiltration, I would recommend a couple of things. First of all, you want to use a silicone-based masonry sealer. Silicone is important because these products are vapor-permeable, especially in the cold climate of Minnesota. You don’t want to seal in moisture that will invariably get into that block wall, because it will freeze and start to spall or chip off some of that surface. And it’ll deteriorate it; it won’t look very good. So you want to use a silicone sealer.
The second thing is you want to do what you can to reduce the amount of moisture that gets on that wall. And there’s a couple of ways to do that. I have very often seen those block walls deteriorated from something as simple as a blocked or misdirected gutter, where the water lands at the foundation perimeter, splashes up, puts that much more water against that wall, which proceeds to freeze and break and crack. And also, when you have a lot of water around the foundation, you get more movement under the footing. And that causes cracks.
So, anything that you could do to reduce the amount of moisture that’s getting to that wall – by painting a silicone sealer on it and then by making sure your gutters are clean, your spouts are discharging away from the foundation and that the soil around it slopes back so that you don’t have water splashing up there. Does that make sense?
LARRY: Yep. I don’t have no soil. I’ve got all concrete driveway right up to the foundation.
TOM: OK. So you probably – some of the rain probably hits that driveway and splashes up. But I guess there’s nothing you can do about that. So then I think the best thing for you to do, Larry, is not paint it, because the paint’s going to peel. It’s going to be an ongoing maintenance challenge for you. I would use a silicone sealer and I think that will address it.
LARRY: Yes, sir, we’re going to give it a shot then.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Larry. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. For help with your next home improvement project, call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can get matched with background-checked home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire a pro you can trust.
Still ahead, is your family planning to tap your house as entertainment central for the holidays this year? Well, Thanksgiving is right around the corner but before you get cooking, you ought to be taking a look at the filter in the vent hood over your stove. We’ll tell you why, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your how-to question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor. You can also post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Charlotte in Georgia needs some help making some glue go away. What happened?
CHARLOTTE: Hey, I had a new linoleum laid and the glue that they used to glue the floor down with?
CHARLOTTE: A lot of it got on my floor.
TOM: Oh, boy.
CHARLOTTE: And I’ve been using a knife to scrape it off but I didn’t really want to hurt my linoleum. And I was just wondering if there’s any kind of product that I can use to get that glue up.
TOM: Wow, that’s tricky because I would be concerned. I mean there are flooring-adhesive removers specifically designed for that type of adhesive. But I would be concerned about its impact on the floor. So I would tell you to search for a flooring-adhesive remover and then I would tell you to use it very carefully and watch for any color changes in the flooring. Perhaps even if you have an extra scrap piece of that vinyl, that would be perfect; you can try it out on that. But we want to make sure that it doesn’t damage the vinyl in any way, shape or form.
CHARLOTTE: Alright. Sounds good.
TOM: Alright, Charlotte. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sam in Tennessee is on the line with a water-pressure question. How can we help you today?
SAM: Yes, I have just purchased a home that is about 75 years old. And we’re refurbishing it and we’re trying to keep everything as original as we can. I have great water pressure in every room that has water but my bathtub.
TOM: Sam, does your 75-year-old home have steel water pipes?
SAM: It has the old – we’re eventually going to replace all the water system. But we’re having to live in part of the home now and redoing the other half while we live here.
TOM: If you have the original steel water pipes in a 75-year-old home, they are absolutely going to suffer from interior rusting. What happens with steel is it rusts and it expands inward, so it kind of clogs like an artery, so to speak. And the older it is, the more that can occur. It’s possible that that – you may have a bad pipe on the way to that tub and that’s why you have such a slow fill out of that. The other possible issue is the valve itself that’s feeding water.
In that same bathroom, I presume you have a sink and a toilet. Do you notice any water pressure problems with those appliances?
SAM: No, sir. We have, like I said, great pressure everywhere except for that one spigot. And it’s the hot and cold runs into one.
TOM: The other thing it could be is a bad – it also could be a bad faucet on that tub. But if the pressure is pretty good everywhere else, it’s not likely to be rusted just at the bathroom – at the one fixture itself. So, I would suggest that maybe you want to replace that tub – that set of tub valves, because it’s probably obstructing there.
SAM: Right. Well, actually, it’s got the old-timey butterfly controls on it and we were really wanting to keep it but …
TOM: You can find those valves today. There’s a lot of sources of antique plumbing. And some of the new fixtures and faucets are designed to basically go – you’d be using a retrofit situation like that. So you can find modern versions that look old.
SAM: Yes, sir. Thank you.
TOM: Sam, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Have a great day.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re playing host for Thanksgiving or the holidays that follow, you might want to make sure that your stove’s range hood is up to the task. Now, the right range hood doesn’t just make cooking more pleasant, it actually improves the air quality of your entire home and keeps all that smoke and grease and who-knows-what-else out of your lungs.
TOM: Yeah. And it’s a good time to do that, right now, ahead of that holiday-cooking season. And if possible, you want to make sure that that range hood also vents to the outside of your house in order the carry the exhaust and the odors completely out, for a really healthier indoor environment inside. Too often, when it vents inside your house, it recirculates the air. It just dumps that smoke right back in pretty much where you’ve generated it.
LESLIE: Now, if you do have an old range hood, it might be a good time for an upgrade. It’s possible to find a hood that works quietly while you’re carrying on a kitchen conversation. You know, you want to look for certified sound ratings and sone levels. One sone is equivalent to around 40 decibels. Now, the lower the sone level, the quieter that range hood will be.
TOM: Also, make sure that you include features like dishwasher-safe filters and motion-sensor lighting for safety. Because I guess you wouldn’t want to trip and fall in the dark when you’re prowling for that midnight snack that is always, always way too available around the holiday season, right?
888-666-3974. If you’ve got a question about your how-to project, a question about a décor project, whatever is going on in your home, we can help. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Darren in Virginia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DARREN: Yes. I’m trying to convert my toilet from regular water in the house to a rain – 265-gallon rain barrel outside. So, piping it in underneath my house I had the CPVC, the smaller stuff. So what I was wondering is: do I have to filter that water? And if I pump it in there, what is the max PSI that I should use?
TOM: Are you putting a pump on it?
DARREN: I’m going to have a solar pump on it.
TOM: Alright. So first of all, no, you don’t have to filter toilet water because it’s waste water. It’s gray water. So it can go straight in.
Secondly, how much pressure do you need? Well, I guess that’s really going to depend on the toilet but I would think most water pressure in a house is going to be anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds. So that’s probably what your toilet’s used to working with.
And thirdly, you want to make sure – I know it’s – I mean it’s a great thing you’re doing trying to use rainwater for all this but let’s not forget the obvious: make sure your toilet itself is efficient. Toilets today can use as little as about 1.3 gallons of water per flush. So if you’d have an older toilet, you might want to upgrade it so you’d need even less water for the flushing mechanism.
DARREN: Alright. Well, that’s something to think about, also.
TOM: What other green upgrades are you making to the house?
DARREN: This actually all started with – I put in a drinking system for my pigs.
TOM: OK. Oh, you’ve got a farm there?
DARREN: I have a farm. I have a small farm in Damascus, Virginia and we piped, in the stalls, drinking nipples for the pigs because they kept spilling all their water. So now, they are totally self-sufficient. They have a solar-powered pump at 40 PSI going to these nipples and it’s coming off of their roof into a rain barrel that feeds it.
TOM: Wow. So this is a natural extension of that? And if it’s good enough for the pigs, I guess it’s going to be good enough for your home plumbing system, as well.
DARREN: Yeah, yeah. I definitely want to try to do as much as I can with Mother Nature before I have to depend on somebody else.
TOM: Alright. Well, it makes a lot of sense.
Darren, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kathy in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
KATHY: Hi, I have an exterior basement window that I need to try to waterproof some way. The house was built in about 1924 and landscaping and surrounding drainage problems have been an issue in the past. But we need to try to somehow waterproof the exterior window for the basement so we don’t get water in there from outside.
TOM: So does the – is this window above grade or is it below grade?
KATHY: It’s right at grade.
TOM: It’s right at grade? So the bottom of it is kind of level with grade? Do you have a window well around it?
TOM: And the water that you’re getting in there, is it leaking through the window as if the window is bad? Or is it leaking through the wall?
KATHY: No, it’s coming in through the window.
TOM: So, basically, you just have a leaky window. The fact that it happens to be above your basement is not really relevant here, because it could be leaking no matter where it was in the house. What kind of window is this? Is it a double-hung window or what?
KATHY: No, it is a – just a wooden window with – I think it’s Plexiglas that was put in it. And I think it’s just probably getting old but we still need to try to keep the water away from the window because when we get heavy rains, we get a lot of water coming in there.
TOM: Whenever someone tells me that heavy rain leads to leakage problems in that kind of a space, it’s always related to – the cause is always related to the grading and the drainage at the perimeter. And the two ways that are most common to address that is first, to get a good, careful, honest look at your gutter system. Because many folks have gutters that are undersized, they don’t have enough downspouts or most importantly, they often have the downspouts discharge right at the corner of the foundation. They don’t run that spout out 4 to 6 feet. So that’s the first thing that causes an increase in the drainage problems in the basement.
KATHY: OK. There used to be gutters on there but because we’ve had renters in there over the past few years, the gutters are no longer there.
TOM: Yeah. There’s your – that’s the number-one cause of your problem right now. I wouldn’t do a thing until I put gutters on that house. You’re fighting an uphill battle unless you get gutters on that house, because all that water is coming off the roof. And sure, it’s going to land in and around the window and that whole basement area. It’s going to saturate the soil at the foundation perimeter and it’s going to end up in your basement or at the least, it’s going to raise the humidity levels inside that house.
So I wouldn’t do a thing to that window until I got gutters on and I would make sure the downspouts are extended out 4 to 6 feet. It’s really critical and a lot of folks think it’s just to kind of keep water off your head when you’re going in and out of your house. It’s not. Gutters have a very important structural purpose and that is to keep that water away from the foundation. So, that’s what I would do, Kathy, and I think you’re going to see a big improvement after that.
KATHY: OK. Sounds great.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nelson in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on?
NELSON: Well, I have asphalt paving. Actually, about 2,200 square feet of it.
TOM: Wow. OK.
NELSON: And I just had it put in six weeks ago.
NELSON: And my question is – seal coating. Do I use a water base or an oil base? I’ve heard …
TOM: Well, if it’s only six weeks old, it sounds like it’s a little early for you to be seal-coating it. It might be that you want to go ahead and just let this go until next year and give it a seal coating either in the spring or the fall then. And at that point – I think the formulations on these have evolved to the point where you can do a really nice job with a latex-based product. And what you want to do is pick up the seal coat and pick up the tools to apply it with at the home center. And then start in one corner and work your way across.
But since it’s so new, I would let it bake in the sun a little bit. You’re going to have a lot of solvents in that material that’s going to bake out for a while. So I think it’s kind of early for you to seal it. I think you should just hold off, perhaps, for about a year and then seal it before maybe we go into the next winter. Does that make sense?
NELSON: Yeah, it does.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Just ahead, with the days getting shorter and the nights getting darker, could you use more lights in your home? We’ll tell you about a great way to add light exactly where you need it. And you won’t even need an electrician to hook it up. That’s coming up, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Going on, right now, at MoneyPit.com is the Weekend Warrior Sweepstakes. Have you entered? What are you waiting for? You can enter once a day and share the sweeps with friends. You could win from $4,500 in tools direct from The Home Depot. It’s online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Yeah, those are some really awesome prizes. So, guys, get to it and enter right now.
Hey, have you ever had your disposer jam up on you just when you need it the most? Well, when your disposal jams, it often automatically shuts off. And it might not restart by using the wall switch. Now, many homeowners don’t know but there’s a reset button and it’s located at the bottom of the unit. So, after you safely remove any foreign objects from that disposal, one touch of that button could save you a big repair bill.
TOM: Yeah. And here’s a little tip: if your disposer gets jammed up, as a last resort what you could do is turn the power off to it. And if you kind of get in the cabinet where it is and look underneath of it, you’re going to see a hex key. And there’s going to be an Allen wrench that came with the disposer. Hopefully, you still have it. If you insert that Allen wrench into that hex slot, you’ll actually be able to move that disposer mechanism back and forth and that can free it up. I’ve seen that happen if it gets a little rusty or something and it just gets kind of hung up. And once you break it free of whatever the clog is that’s holding it back, it should work normally.
So, just a little tip there that might save you a plumbing-repair bill. But remember, make sure you turn the power completely off before you do that.
Hey, if you’ve got a repair that needs to get done around your house or an improvement, give us a call right now. We’d love to chat with you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Arizona needs some help venting a water heater. Tell us what you’re working on.
JOHN: I’m going to install a tankless hot-water heater and I’m curious – a gas tankless hot-water heater. Curious if there’s any simple way to vent it on the interior wall of the house.
TOM: Well, you obviously have to get that exhaust out. So, that means you’re going to probably have to go up if we’re on the interior wall of the house. You can’t downdraft something like that. So you need to be on a space where you can get that vent pipe up through the interior wall, up to the attic and out through the roof.
Now, depending on the efficiency, that may not have to be a metal vent pipe. It could potentially be a plastic vent pipe. But that’s going to depend on the efficiency of the water heater and whether or not it’s a condensing version, which basically takes as much heat out of that – out of those gases, so all that’s left is basically water vapor. And then that can vent out of a plastic pipe. But you do have to have it vented.
The other thing that you could do is you can direct-vent those. So, you could go out, say, through a side wall. Many times, I’ve seen those and mounted on an exterior wall and they basically turn right through the wall and go right out. Now, there are rules about how close that vent termination needs to be or more accurately, how far away that vent termination needs to be from a window. But you can direct-vent those, as well.
JOHN: Right. From the top of your head, do you know the smallest diameter I could get away with on venting it?
TOM: No. I don’t know the specification precisely but I would guess it’s around 3 inches. I’ve seen these come through roofs many times. It’s usually around a 3-inch vent pipe.
JOHN: Right. OK. Well, that answers my question. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, John. Well, good luck with that project. I think you’re going to enjoy a lot of efficiencies with a tankless water heater, in addition to the fact that you’ll never run out of hot water.
LESLIE: Well, now that daylight savings time has come to an end, it’s getting a lot darker a lot faster. And it’s a great time to think about adding some additional lights to your home. But we all know adding lights can be costly because, you know, you may need to hire an electrician, you’ve got to run wires, hook up switches, right?
TOM: Well, not really. There’s a new Mr Beams product out called the UltraBright Motion-Sensor Ceiling Light. And it’s the brightest indoor light they’ve ever made.
This light is cool. It delivers 300 lumens of white light and it’s got a unique diffuser that spreads that light across a very wide coverage area. So it’s good for lighting large spaces like closets, showers, sheds, hallways, pantries and even storage areas.
LESLIE: Yeah. But you know what my favorite part is about these Mr Beams products is that they’re battery-powered. In fact, each set of alkaline batteries will provide about a year of light with average use of, say, 8 to 10 activations a day. And it allows for wireless installation anywhere in and around your home.
TOM: Yep. And they look good, too. It’s got a clean, modern design that really complements any home décor. And it installs just about anywhere, without those wires or the electrician to hook it up.
Denise in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DENISE: I have a front porch. We fixed it last year, the front of it. And the cement that we used fell off. What is the best product to use?
TOM: Well, the reason it fell off is because you used cement on cement or cement on concrete. You need to use a patching product. There are special mixes of concrete products that are designed for patching and they have better adhesion to them. So, take a look at the products available from QUIKRETE and if you can find – you’ll find their patching product sticks very, very well. Generally, you have to make sure that the original surface is clean and then you could apply this. And you’ll find that it has good adhesion and that’s the key.
You just can’t put new concrete on old concrete or new cement on old concrete because it’s not designed to stay. The water gets under it and starts to loosen things up. But if you use the patching compounds, I’ll think you’ll find that it will stick around for quite a long time.
DENISE: OK. Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate it.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Up next, the solution to the most dreaded job in any home: a toilet that actually cleans itself. It’s called the VorMax Plus Self-Cleaning Toilet and it’s made by American Standard. We’ll have those details, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, call in your home repair or home improvement question, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
Hey, right now on MoneyPit.com, we’re running the Weekend Warrior Sweepstakes. If you’ve not entered, what are you waiting for? You could win some of the 4,500 bucks worth of tools we’re giving away from our friends at The Home Depot.
Now, we’ve talked about the big prizes – the ones from Milwaukee – but you know what? There’s a lot of smaller prizes, too. I mean there’s a lot of ways to win. And what I want to focus on, right now, is this RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Drill Driver. This is a combo kit that is awesome. It’s perfect for all sorts of jobs around your house and I’ve got 10 of those to give away.
We’ve also got some Husky Mobile Workbenches to give away – two of those – and two sets of the 268-Piece Husky Mechanics Tool Sets.
You know, Leslie, that’s like a tool for everything you’ll ever need, right. Whether you’re working on your car or your house, you’re going to find it. It’s going to be your go-to tool kit for pretty much any project.
LESLIE: You’re going to find pieces in there that you didn’t even know you needed or had need for. But you’ll find something to do with them. Truly, it’s like every time I go into one of the mechanics tool sets from Husky, it’s when I’m working on the kids’ bikes or fixing up the playset in the backyard, all random things that you wouldn’t think would work with a mechanics tool set, right?
TOM: Yep. And you can enter now at MoneyPit.com and you can even increase your chances of winning by entering once a day and then sharing the sweeps with your friends. Online, right now, the Weekend Warrior Sweepstakes at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alan in Georgia is on the line with a roach question. You’ve already given me the creepy-crawlies. What’s going on at your money pit?
ALAN: I’m having to have a forced move as of eight days ago.
ALAN: And so now I’m going to this other house and it is just crawling with both American and German cockroaches.
LESLIE: And you can understand them because of their accent?
ALAN: The bug man came in to spray but I was not here, so I don’t know where he sprayed.
TOM: Well, I think, at this point, you have to trust that he knows what he’s doing and then see if you can get this under control. From the – from an extermination perspective, whatever he’s going to apply is going to kill both of them. The American cockroaches are bigger than the German ones but they’re still pretty nasty. And generally, the advice on dealing with these things is to keep a clean house – I mean a really clean house – and then to use baits and gels and powder insecticides.
And you’re better off having the professional do that because frankly, they can get their hands on the stronger stuff that you can’t. And they know where to put it, they know how much to apply and hopefully it’ll do the job of getting these things under control and completely eliminate them. And then perhaps when you move into this house, that plus improved hygiene – because it sounds like the last occupant was pretty sloppy and may have left food around or had leaks in their plumbing, things that can sustain these insect populations – that that’s not going to happen ago. So I think you did the right thing and it’s just going to take a while for them to go away.
ALAN: OK. Would it do any good to bomb behind it or will that …?
TOM: No, no. No, no. I wouldn’t get involved in that and I can’t tell you how many times we read stories about those bug bombs blowing up houses. Because there’s a lot of people out there that think if one of those bug bombs is good, using eight is better. And it usually ends up with blowing out the front wall of the house or worse. So, yeah, I wouldn’t do that.
No, I would just trust the professional. They’re going to – let’s just assume that the guy put the right material in and then, listen, if you’ve got questions, call the company up. Ask them what they did, what they used. They should be at least leaving you information on what products they put in. And find out if there’s a guarantee. If you see any more roaches, should you call them and how long should you wait to make that call? Because it might take a couple of days for these things to settle down.
ALAN: Alrighty. Well, I appreciate you all.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, we love highlighting new products here at The Money Pit and this one, I’ve got to say, I’m particularly stoked about because it takes away one of the most dreaded jobs in any house. You guys, it’s cleaning the toilet. Nobody likes to do that.
Now, it’s called the VorMax Plus Toilet and it basically delivers the cleanest, freshest flush ever imagined.
TOM: Yep. It’s a self-cleaning toilet that basically is designed to freshen with every flush. The way it works is that there are VorMax jets that are up under the rim that blast away the grime with every flush. But it gets even better, Leslie, because the VorMax jetted scrub, it’s actually combined with what’s called the VorMax Plus FreshInfuser. And this releases Lysol, a cleaner, right into the bowl that’s going to keep it clean and smelling fresh flush after flush.
LESLIE: Yeah. And unlike any other toilet-bowl cleaners, the VorMax Plus FreshInfuser is hidden in a compartment. And it’s easy to access, so there’s nothing unsightly hanging inside the bowl. And it has a really forceful VorMax jetted scrub and that’s going to allow the Lysol cleaner to really scrub the entire bowl, including under the rim where the dirt gets trapped and it hides. And each one of those FreshInfusers lasts for about 30 days.
TOM: It’s a cool product. The VorMax Plus, it’s a self-cleaning toilet that freshens with every flush. Check it out, right now, at AmericanStandard.com. It doesn’t get any better than that: a self-cleaning toilet.
LESLIE: Marilyn in South Dakota is on the line with a cabinet question. How can we help you today?
MARILYN: A galley kitchen. It’s very small. We just live in a small ranch but I – we put in quarter-sawn, custom-built cabinets with the crown molding to the ceiling – the French cabinets up to the ceiling. And they’re European-style. And so, we’re going to be putting the house on the market. And my husband and I are having a little debate because I want to take them out and bring them with. They’re quarter-sawn solid oak and we put them in years ago where if we had to repeat this again, now it would be three times the cost.
And so I want to take them out and I’m designing a new home. So, I have the galley design sort of drawn in. And so we could put them, basically, in the same configuration with just a little bit more room on both ends for other living space. So I was wanting to get in your opinion on that.
TOM: Sure. Why not? You can basically disassemble it the same way that you assembled it. You mentioned that you have crown molding on the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. That’d be the place to start. And I would take the doors off – take the molding apart, take the doors off next – because you don’t want to have to work on those cabinets with the doors on them.
So I would take the doors off at the hinges, carefully pack them and store them and label them so you know which cabinet they go to. Then just start taking the boxes apart. Start with the wall cabinets and work your way down to the base cabinets. And the difficulty of the project is going to be totally based on how they put it together the first time. But hopefully, you can get everything apart pretty quickly. With just some very gentle prying off of the molding and with the removing of those cabinets the same way they were assembled – they were probably screwed into the wall – you should be good to go.
I would be careful that – the wall cabinets are usually also screwed together. And so you may have to pull out more fasteners than you expect. But I certainly don’t see any reason you can’t disassemble them, especially given the fact that they’re good-quality cabinets and that you feel like there’s a place for them in the new home.
MARILYN: I’ve been wanting to kind of call about this but we weren’t sure until we found out for sure we were going to be moving.
TOM: Alright. Well, it sounds like we’ve got a plan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, the floor is one of the largest blank surfaces in your home and it deserves as much, if not more, attention than any other surface. We’ll have tips, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
Hey, are you ready for a basement makeover you can enjoy all winter long? HomeAdvisor can instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: Alright. But you’ve got two pros right here willing to help you out right this moment. And I’ve got a post here that Tanya wrote. “I’m putting butcher block in for the bar tops and counters in my home. What do you recommend I seal it with?”
TOM: Ah, butcher block. I mean it’s a beautiful addition to any kitchen, right?
LESLIE: It’s gorgeous.
TOM: But it really requires kind of a lifetime commitment to the maintenance to keep it that way. You ought to think about the fact that, as a tree, it basically was designed to soak up things all the time, right? But now it’s in the form of a countertop, it’s going to be sucking up that food, oil and the fats and can really become a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, even E. Coli that could make your family sick.
So, you’ve got a couple of options here. First of all, you can stain the wood and apply a clear finish or you can apply a food-safe oil but you have to do that all the time. Now, if you go with the clear-finish route, you’re going to have a lot less ongoing maintenance. But some of that finish could possibly chip off if you’re not careful. If you go with oils, you need to apply it regularly for the counter. A good rule of thumb to maintain butcher blocks with oils is to apply it once a day for the first week, then once a week for the first month and then about once a month for the life of the counter after that. Just make sure you choose a food-safe oil so that any of that that gets into the food won’t cause you any harm.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And when you do get some food right on that surface, clean it up right away. You just don’t want it to absorb any of those bacteria.
TOM: Well, when it comes to laying out a new floor for your home, there are more design options than you can possibly imagine. And Leslie has got some ideas on how you can combine some of those flooring styles for a completely new look, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word presented by Pergo Outlast+.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, a great flooring project can really enhance any room, whether it’s a brand-new room or a room that you’re just redesigning. So, when it comes to flooring, I like to use a quality product that’s going to last and be super durable for the face. But I like to take it one step further.
Now, once I pick my flooring material, I like to make sure that the planks of the wood are available in different widths. Now, why do I do that? It’s because I like to create a focal point within that space if I can. Now, this works really well in a foyer or in a hallway, anywhere where you do have a little bit of open floor space that you’re not going to cover with an area rug. Because, essentially, I make what looks like a rug in the middle of the room except it’s out of wood flooring.
Now, what I like to do is use a wider plank throughout and then I choose an inset area. And using even the same exact flooring, finish, material but just a different width, I create an inset border. Now, maybe it’s a space that’s 3×5 and then do 1 plank that’s a thinner width. And then, on the interior of that 3×5, maybe I put the flooring down in a herringbone pattern or in a diamond pattern, something that’s just a little bit different and eye-catching. If you do this, it really can make that space feel unusual and gorgeous and well thought-out and so beautifully designed.
And thanks to Pergo, with all their amazing finishes and laminate choices, you really can create a beautiful focal point to any space.
TOM: And that’s today’s Flooring Design Tip presented by Pergo Outlast+, the only water-resistant laminate that prevents water from seeping into the joints. Unlike other water-resistant laminates that let water pass through the joints and causes edges to swell, Pergo’s SpillProtect24 technology creates a watertight surface so spills can be wiped up or simply evaporate over time. Plus, Pergo’s superior design, with deep textures and high-definition printing create an incredibly realistic look.
Outlast+ resists water and ends worries. Available in 19 different colors for 2.79 a square foot at The Home Depot and online at HomeDepot.com.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, as simple as it might seem to add insulation, it’s a project that many do-it-yourselfers get wrong. We’ll have tips to make sure you can get it right, on the 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.
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(Copyright 2017 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.)