- The Spring real estate market is heating up with buyers eager to upgrade to a new home. But the features they’re looking for have changed – a lot! We’ll share what today’s home buyers are hot on.
- Is your family growing? BEFORE you hear the pitter patter of little feet – It’s smart to make sure home sweet home is safe as can be. We share the 9 best ways to baby-proof your money pit.
- If you’re thinking about taking on a tile project, choosing the right look is only a part of the project. We’ll have tips on how to choose the best TYPE of tile for your project.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Marla in Louisiana wants to know how to convert her porch into enclosed living space.
- Perry wants to know the proper way to put a metal roof on his house.
- Christina from Montana wants to know the most cost-effective solution for bringing natural light into a bathroom.
- Michael in North Carolina is a new homeowner who wants to know if cracks in his foundation are a big problem.
- Tara from Pennsylvania need a solution to get rid of with earwigs and crickets.
- Barry spilled caustic drain cleaners on his tub and wants to know if he needs to replace the tub now.
- Tammy in Tennessee wants to know they best fasteners to use when installing new gutters so they don’t fall off.
- Joe from Kentucky has spots on her porcelain tub and wants to know how to fix and cover them up.
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: And this is Episode 2187 for those of you that keep track of that sort of thing, which means we’ve been doing this a long time. And we are here to help you fix up your home, fix up your money pit. For us, a money pit is a term of endearment. It means we care. And we all have things that we love, that take money to maintain and improve. And that kind of includes a house and so we’re going to help you do just that.
If you’ve got questions about home improvements you want to get done, maybe you’ve got some projects that you’re thinking about taking on for spring, reach out to us. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you’ve got something that’s not gone well in your house – maybe something’s breaking down, maybe you’re seeing a leak or a squeak – you could post that question to MoneyPit.com. Or brand new, starting today, you can also download The Money Pit VoxPop app, a new way for you to get your questions answered.
And for those that download the app and leave their questions on the app, there’s a simple way for you to push a button and record a question to us, send it over to the studio directly. You will get your questions answered first. You’ll find that link at MoneyPit.com. The new Money Pit VoxPop app.
Coming up on today’s show, with cities beginning to reopen, the real-estate market is heating up again this spring, with buyers that are very eager to upgrade to a new home. Well, here’s what’s interesting: the features that you’re looking for, well, they have changed a lot. We’re going to share what today’s home buyers are hot on.
LESLIE: And is your family growing? Well, before you hear the pitter-patter of little feet, it’s smart to make sure that your home-sweet-home is as safe as it can be. We’ve got everything you need to know about babyproofing your money pit, coming up.
TOM: And if you’re thinking about taking on a tile project this spring, choosing the right look, well, that’s only part of the job. We’re going to have tips on how to choose the best type of tile for your project.
LESLIE: So give us a call, let us know what you are working on. From tiling to design to heating and cooling and outdoor décor, whatever it is we’re standing by and we’re happy to lend a hand.
TOM: That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com or download The Money Pit VoxPop app.
LESLIE: Marla in Louisiana is on the line and has a question about a porch.
What’s going on?
MARLA: I have an old house built in 1910. It has about 22 columns on the porches. A two-story. And my question is: if I want to take in part of my porch downstairs and screen it in or just take it in and make a sunroom, how can I do that with those huge columns in the way? Because they are not a perfect shape and they’re round. And they have the big, Corinthian, beautiful caps on top. So, how would I do that? Would I have to take the columns off and just box in the porch?
TOM: Marla, that is a huge project.
Leslie, if she [has just] (ph) 22 columns on that house now – I mean columns like that, they’re not designed to be boxed in. Plus, I’m sure those columns are probably holding up a good portion of the roof.
So to even disassemble and move them, you would need to support what’s behind it. And if you were to kind of square them off, I think it would ruin the architectural view of the house right now. So, I think the best thing for you to do is to talk with an architect and have them redesign the front of the house to get closer to what you want to do.
This style does not lend itself to modification. I think it would be kind of odd to have a screened-in porch sort of shoved into a space that is covered by all those columns.
What do you think, Leslie?
LESLIE: The columns definitely are part of what makes that house the architectural style. So by changing that, you’re definitely modifying the look of the house. And what else to you have to do to sort of accommodate that new look so it doesn’t seem like a mishmosh (ph) of styles? So I think there’s a lot to be done there. It’s just a matter of sticking with an architectural style you like and making sure that’s consistent. And to do so, you definitely need an architect to help you along the way.
TOM: Yeah, this is not an easy porch to enclose, because you’re completely changing the style of the house. So I think that’s the best place for you to start.
LESLIE: Perry needs some help with a roof project.
Perry, what’s going on?
PERRY: I’d like to know the proper way to put a metal roof on a house.
TOM: Alright. That’s a straightforward question there, Perry.
So, first of all, when it comes to metal roofing, some contractors will try to put it over an old asphalt roof. I generally think that’s bad practice. So the first thing would be to strip off the old roof, right down to the sheathing. And then assembling the roof would go probably on top of a vapor barrier. So you would probably use ice-and-water shield at the bottom and then you would use a heavy tar paper, probably like a 30-pound felt. And then the metal roofing gets attached on top of that.
The way it gets attached is going to vary based on the roofing manufacturer. Usually, they’re different types of either clipping systems or there are fasteners that have a rubber grommet built into it. This is a pretty physically difficult job, because the sheets are big. They’re not terribly heavy but they can act as sails if the wind catches it. They can push you right off the roof, so you’ve got to be super careful as a do-it-yourself project. You might be better off just hiring a pro that does this all the time. Because this also gets tricky around the chimneys and around the wall intersections, because all that stuff has to be properly flashed.
Now, the good news is when you get it done, you’re going to have a roof that lasts a lifetime because these roofs literally never wear out. So, good luck with that project and we definitely think metal roofs are a good choice.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Christina in Missouri on the line who is about to tackle a bathroom renovation but has a lot of questions.
Tell us about the project.
CHRISTINA: So my project, it’s the master bathroom. And it’s one of those bathrooms where it has the tub. And there is a window – a big window – right above the tub and a very, very narrow shower. And so, I would like to be able to remove the shower and the tub out completely and make an expanded shower and use the space where the shower is at – make that into storage.
And so, my question is: what do I do with the window? Do I – I like the light that comes in but it’s very, very drafty. So if I were to replace the window, would I use a double-pane or a triple-pane? Or if I were to kind of shore up the window, then would that mean probably, obviously, some masonry work that needs to be done? I’m just trying to figure out what is the most cost-effective and quickest way, I guess, to be able to resolve the window issue.
TOM: You might want to look into privacy windows. You know, there’s some really pretty privacy windows that are designed for bathrooms.
I’m thinking of one that looks like glass block, Leslie. You know the kind that has sort of the wavy glass to it? It’s not designed to open but it brings a lot of light in.
LESLIE: But there are double-hung windows that are privacy glass, as well, that are meant for bathroom spaces. Otherwise, how would the window that’s directly next to my toilet function?
LESLIE: It’s amazing. It’s the worst place for it but luckily the glass is clouded, in a way. So there are options that give you the privacy within the glass but also the functionality of the window. But you definitely do need to upgrade that window system that you have so you’re not getting those drafts.
CHRISTINA: Right. So, I have seen some frosted glass and other Instagram pictures and things like that. But are those types of windows – are they double-pane windows? Do they even – I don’t even know. I guess I have a lot of research to do.
TOM: Those types of decorative windows with the frosted glass, they are available in – we call that “thermal-pane.” Double-pane are thermal-pane windows. Certainly, you could buy a privacy window that is an ENERGY STAR-rated window. That’s another good thing to look for.
The other thing I’ll point out is make sure that the bathroom – I don’t know if your bathroom has a ventilation fan in it. Because sometimes, bathrooms with windows don’t have these vent fans. But you’re definitely going to need to add one, especially if you decide to use a non-openable window. And even if not, if you’re going to do the renovation, I would add a bath fan at the same time.
CHRISTINA: OK. Yep, we do have one. And I was thinking of replacing that one, also, because I think it just – it’s one of those things where if I’m going to do the upgrade, I might as well upgrade that, too.
So, thank you (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah. You know the four most important words – you know the four most expensive words for bathroom renovations? While you’re at it.
CHRISTINA: Yeah. Yes, exactly. Well, it’s all the small things that start adding up, that make the project that much more expensive. But having a plan – having a good plan – and doing my research – and part of the call to you was part of that. So thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Good luck with this project.
CHRISTINA: OK. Thank you. Take care.
TOM: Well, with vaccines rolling out and cities beginning to reopen, the real-estate market is again heating up, with lots of buyers eager to upgrade to a new home.
LESLIE: But if you’re thinking about selling your home this year, the National Association of Realtors reports that features home buyers are looking for have shifted to reflect the impact that the pandemic has had on our lives.
TOM: We’ll share the improvements today’s home buyers are focused on, in today’s Smart Spending tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
LESLIE: Alright. Number one – and I can understand why this is first on the list – an upgraded outdoor space. I mean if you’ve got a backyard, even some minor landscaping refreshment, that can make a huge difference and increase your home’s curb appeal. And you might also consider adding in a fire pit or an outdoor kitchen: something that makes that outdoor space totally desirable and the place you want to go. Because boy, did that save our lives for this pandemic, having that backyard.
TOM: And likewise, a functional home office. Before the pandemic, the return on investment for a home office upgrade was nil. It was really towards the bottom of the barrel of all the improvements you could make.
LESLIE: Oh, it was a terrible improvement.
TOM: Really terrible. Now, it’s up at the top because we all need to have a dedicated space for multiple people to be able to be on calls at the same time. Even if you don’t need two home offices or a remote learning station for your own family, you might want to consider staging your home to show the possibilities for new home buyers.
LESLIE: “And here is Cubicle 1, where you can relax. And here’s your living-room pod.”
TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s right.
LESLIE: I know we’re joking but it’s real.
TOM: Speaking of which, let’s look at this next item: no more open floor plans.
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. Can you imagine? It’s like just having this wide, open space and everybody trying to do their thing on a Zoom call at the same exact time. You know, it makes sense why these open floor plans are not as popular. You need those distinct spaces for family members to work or to study.
And with people spending more time at home, they kind of want a room or at least a different environment so you don’t feel like you’re stuck in the same space all day.
TOM: And they’re also looking for spaces for a home gym. Many folks could not go to the gym during the pandemic and they got very comfortable with the idea of working out at home. In fact, the sales of home exercise equipment is way up now. So people are looking for a space to hold that gym equipment, whether it’s a yoga mat, a treadmill or a stationary bike. Having that space in your house or at least showing potential new buyers that you could have a home gym in a particular space makes a lot of sense.
LESLIE: Yeah. And this other one makes sense, too: it’s an upgraded in-law suite. But it doesn’t mean that it has to be for your parent. How many young adults, just out of college or first-time jobs, had to come back home, leave their apartments? Now, suddenly, everybody’s back in the same space again. So, a guest house, a mother/daughter space, something that gives an option for a completely separate living space is great, especially for people with multigenerational households. And also, you never know when people are going to come back and come back to stay.
TOM: And finally, a seriously spruced-up laundry room is big right now. First off, concerns about cleanliness and hygiene have been at an all-time high during the pandemic. So, understandably, people are doing a lot more laundry. But buyers also want these spaces to be beautiful, like the rest of their homes. They’re going to be spending a lot of time there. We don’t want the laundry room to be like the last vestige of space in your house where you can’t think of anything else to do with it, so it’s the laundry room. No, it really needs to look nice.
And so, if you’ve got a spruced-up laundry room, you’re going to be that much farther ahead of the pack when it comes time to finding a home buyer that’s willing to pay the highest possible price for your home.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Smart Spending Tip presented by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card. Earn three-percent cash back on online shopping. Apply at BankOfAmerica.com/MoreRewarding.
Michael in Raleigh is on the line. New listener, new homeowner and definitely has a lot of questions about how this home was built.
What’s going on?
MICHAEL: There’s a sunroom that’s attached with the roof. The roof is new. The sunroom is old and it has footings that seem to be partially buried. We’re not sure if there’s enough footings down there. We’re not sure how to check yet. And then, the inspector said that the frame of the sunroom isn’t bolted to the foundation of the house, so we’re not sure if that’s something to be worried about. And there was an unfinished support beam underneath the frame of the house that had no pier to the ground. So those three things are just kind of weird. And we weren’t sure how scary they were but we were going to try to get them fixed. And we’re just not sure the best way to go about it.
TOM: So, Michael, yeah, you definitely have a lot of reasons to be concerned. What you’re describing to me sounds a lot like a scenario that I often saw as a professional home inspector. And it kind of goes like this. When the house was built, at some point there was a slab, like what’s called a “patio” off the back of a wall. Somebody got the bright idea that hey, we’re going to create a sunroom and we’re just going to build the sunroom. Which very often they come in kits or they’re built from scratch. And they build on top of the patio.
But here’s the thing. Patios are not foundations; they’re patios. They’re only 4 or 5 inches thick, typically, and they’re not designed to be stable enough to become really living space of the house. So, now that the sunroom was built on top of it and then you mentioned that the new roof overlapped the sunroom, it sounds kind of sloppy. Obviously, your home inspector found that it wasn’t bolted to the house or it wasn’t bolted to the home’s foundation. Again, kind of like bringing me down that path to thinking that this was just all thrown together very haphazardly.
And you say you don’t know how to check if it has a foundation. That I can help you with. That’s actually pretty easy. The way I used to do it is I would take a very long screwdriver – I used to buy these screwdrivers, Leslie, when I was home inspecting. I must have been one of the only people to buy these. I’d always get them at Sears and it was a straight screwdriver that was about 14 inches long.
LESLIE: What do you actually use that for?
TOM: I don’t know. If there was a straight screw in a diesel engine you needed to reach to it. But I used to use this so much that I would almost wear off the tip of it. And I would take that – and I would use it a lot because I would check for termites with it, right, by poking wood. But I would also poke for foundations. I would take that screwdriver and I would insert it underneath the slabs, in buildings like this, at a 45-degree angle. And almost all the time, it would go straight in, indicating there was no footing ever.
And so, basically, if you’ve got a house that’s got one of these sunrooms on, it’s worth nothing. It’s not fixable. There’s nothing that you can do to make it any better. If it becomes a problem, you’ve simply got to tear it off, go back to where you were with the patio or take the patio out and actually build it like an addition, which means you put a slab in first that has footings built into it.
The other thing of concern is you mentioned that there’s some sort of unsupported beam in the basement. You know, that’s all bad stuff. So, it sounds like your home inspector did a decent job with flagging the stuff for you. I’m a little bit surprised he didn’t take it further by telling you how serious it is. Because just from your descriptions, I’m concerned. So I think you need to get more information from your home inspector or get a second opinion, perhaps from even a structural engineer or an architect before you move forward. Because I’m concerned that one, if not both, of these things could lead to some very expensive repair bills in your future.
LESLIE: Tara in Pennsylvania is on the line with an insect question.
How can we help you?
TARA: Hi. I was just wondering – we have a bunch of earwigs that’s up underneath our siding. And it seems like they’re always there and we were just wondering, what can we do to get rid of them? Is there anything that’s attracting them there?
TOM: Well, look, they’re probably looking for food, so something is landing on that siding and attracting them. Generally, when they’re not up high like that, it’s advisable to trap them. Like a trapping program will reduce their population. But if they’re up on the side and crawling on the building, I’d probably go straight to a pesticide-management program, some sort of chemical control.
The University of California recommends a pesticide called Spinosad – S-p-i-n-o-s-a-d. And there’s a number of commercial products that are available that have that in it. And that should be probably the best way to control them and stop them from coming back and encourage them to go to somebody else’s house to infest.
TARA: That would be helpful. Oh, along those lines, as far as insects go, we get crickets down in our basement every …
LESLIE: Spider crickets.
TARA: I have – I guess they’re spider crickets; I’m not sure. Little black crickets. But every year, they drive me crazy because my bedroom is downstairs.
TOM: Why don’t you call a pest-control operator, like Orkin, and have them just do a general spraying for insects? So you can probably put just the right pesticide in and around your home in a safe and effective way that will reduce both problems – stop the earwigs and stop the crickets – and just get you a lot more comfortable.
TARA: Oh, that would be great.
LESLIE: And you know what, Tara? With the cave crickets, we get them where I live on Long Island, in the basement. And I always feel bad when my sister and brother-in-law sleep over, because they’ll sleep on an air mattress in my basement and I’m like, “The spider crickets are going to leap on you.” Because they totally gross me out. But if you take some double-stick tape and just put it around the perimeter of the room, in the interim while you’re waiting to treat, they do tend to congregate there. And they’ll get stuck and then you can just pick it up and toss it in the morning.
TARA: Oh, that’s a good idea. I was just using some indoor spray every year when they come around and then I’m sucking up the crickets constantly – dead crickets – everywhere. And along with them and stink bugs, it hasn’t been fun.
TOM: Yeah, I bet. Tara, when it comes to making decisions to whether or not you should go with a professional or use the sort of the do-it-yourself approach, I always feel that if you go with a pro, they’re actually going to use less pesticide than you’re applying yourself. And it’ll be done in exactly the right manner, with just the right amount, to take care of the problem. I think people tend to overspray when it comes to the over-the-counter pesticides and actually put themselves in greater danger. Does that make sense?
TARA: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, when it comes to protecting kids, nothing short of a rubber room can be totally child-safe. But with just a little bit of work, you’ll be able to remove the most worrisome hazards.
LESLIE: First of all, let’s talk about windows. Now, they may look completely harmless but if your window blinds still have cords, you should know that they’re one of the most dangerous items in the house for babies and for young kids. So you want to shorten all long cords. Tie them up, get them away from the reach of those little hands. You can also Google “Window Covering Safety Council.” And they’ve got some info there for a free tassel-shortening kit.
TOM: Now, another big issue to watch out for is furniture-tipping. Look, kids love to climb. So, anything that has shelving is going to be very attractive. Make sure bookcases, large TV stands and other climbable furniture are anchored to the wall.
And by the way, also make sure your oven is modified to prevent it from tipping. There’s a special bracket that fits on the back legs and it’s secured to the floor. So if the door was opened and the kids climbed up on it, they wouldn’t be able to tip the oven forward, which actually happens surprisingly easily unless it’s properly secured down.
LESLIE: That is true.
Now, you’ve got sliding doors at home, glass doors around the house. You like to keep them squeaky-clean so they look crystal-clear and beautiful. Well, kids often forget and let’s be honest, not just kids. People sometimes forget that the door is there and then they walk or run right into it. So, if that glass breaks, you could end up with some serious injuries.
So, go ahead, apply some decorative decals. You know, there’s a lot of different things you can get for the seasons. Have the kids help you put them up. I know it’s something that’s going to mess up your nice, clear glass but it’s a lot better than broken glass and stitches. Believe me, people do walk into them so this saves a ton of issues.
TOM: Yep. And finally, check your stairs and railings. Railings need to be at least 3 foot tall and they can’t have more than 6 inches of space between any of the spindles. And at the same time, make sure handrails are in place for all stairs and make sure those handrails have a closed end. Handrails that don’t wrap around to the wall, they can catch loose sleeves and cause a fall.
Now, if you want some more tips on how to babyproof your home, check it out. We’ve got lots of articles and some videos at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Barry needs some help with his Jacuzzi.
What can we do for you?
BARRY: Well, what happened was the drain got stopped up. So I took some Crystal Drano and poured it and it got on the tub itself. And it burnt all the way around the drain. I mean it’s burnt plastic. So I was wondering, is there a way to get that back to looking new or do I just have to replace the whole tub?
TOM: Well, unfortunately, you’ve chemically damaged the tub by using caustic drain cleaners. We really don’t like caustic drain cleaners for reasons just like this. They don’t really work very well to begin with. And what happens is you end up overusing them or spilling them and I’ve seen them melt tubs and melt plastic before.
There’s a new drain-cleaning product on the market right now that I’ve just come across and it’s fantastic. It’s called DRAIN-FX. The website is DRAINFX.com.
And essentially what this is is for under $20, you’re purchasing what’s, in essence, a pressure washer for your clogged drain lines. You hook this up to the sink faucet. It has a long tube that you can run hot water down. You drop this into the trap and then you turn the water on and it blasts the clogs away.
It’s under 20 bucks. Check it out at DRAINFX.com. You should have one in your toolbox because you never know when this is going to happen. And look, you could save yourself not only the hassle of a clogged pipe but in your case, the hassle of potentially replacing a tub or learning to live with the ugly stains that have resulted.
Do not use caustic drain cleaners on these surfaces. Take a look at DRAIN-FX. It’s a much better option.
Barry, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tammy in Tennessee is on the line.
How can we help you today?
TAMMY: Hi there. I was having a question about gutters. Me and my husband are wanting to put some gutters up on the outside. And what would be the best adhesive to use?
TOM: Well, typically, you don’t use adhesive when you’re putting gutters up; you use fasteners. So you would use gutters nails – gutters spikes, I should say – or gutters screws or bolts. I like, personally, the gutter screws because they go through the entire gutter and they attach to the fascia on the outside of the house. And they don’t pull out. Sometimes, when you use the spikes, they’ll work loose over time.
TAMMY: Oh, OK. Well, that’s good advice. So use the roofing nails.
TOM: No, no, no. No, no, no. Not roofing nails. Gutter screws, OK? They’re special screws. They’re about 7 inches long. They usually have a hex head or an Allen head to – that you have to drive them with. And they basically go into the gutters about every 3 to 4 feet. And they’ll do a good job of holding it in place, OK?
TAMMY: OK. Thank you so much for the information. I really appreciate your time.
TOM: Well, if you’re planning a new tile project, you’ll probably start your selection by narrowing down the tile colors and designs. But before you get that far, it’s a pretty good idea to understand the types of tile that are available, because there are significant differences.
LESLIE: Yeah. But I think for most tiling projects, you’re going to be deciding between two types of tile: ceramic tile or porcelain tile.
Now, a ceramic tile is going to be made from a mixture of special clays and natural materials that are mined from the earth. They’re formed into shapes and then they’re heated in kilns. Now, ceramic tiles can be naturally colored or you can leave them unglazed, like a terracotta. Or they can feature colored or highly-designed surfaces, which can then also be glazed.
Now, most ceramic tiles have either a white- or a red-body coloration underneath that glazed, colored top layer. And since the ceramic is less dense, it’s more susceptible to breaking if a heavy object falls on it, like a pot or a pan.
TOM: Now, porcelain tile is actually kind of a form of ceramic tile and it’s really popular among homeowners. They’re made of fine porcelain clays that are fired at a much higher temperature than ceramic tiles. And as a result, the process makes the porcelain tile a lot more dense and less porous and much harder and less prone to moisture and even stain-absorption than ceramic tile. So, more durable all the way around and all good reasons that most porcelain tiles are a great option for both indoor and outdoor projects.
Now, for both ceramic and porcelain tile it is, however, really important that you choose the right underlayment to absorb subfloor movements, because they don’t bend. So you want to make sure you have the right kind of underlayment, as well as the right type of mortar so it will prevent tile cracks.
I hate when we get calls from folks that have beautiful tile floors that have started to crack. And it’s only because they didn’t put the right membrane under it before they laid it, because it’s – there’s no fix for that at that point. You’re just going to have to live with it until it’s time to do it all again. And it can all be avoided if you put the right type of membrane under it. It’s called an “uncoupling membrane” and it does the job.
LESLIE: Jo from Kentucky is on the line with some help with a bathroom cleaning project.
What can we do for you?
JO: Yes. I have an old bathtub and where the water has leaked, I have some porcelain – I guess it’s a porcelain tub. I have some orange spots in there and they look like they’re going to eventually just give way on me. I want to know how I could patch that up.
LESLIE: Are they super-tiny or are they, you know, an inch or so?
JO: Yes. Oh, yes, they’re very small.
TOM: There are touch-ups but you know what? They will show.
LESLIE: Yeah. I’ve used one. When we bought our house, there was a tiny – I mean super-tiny – little rust spot in our tub. And I used a product called Porc-a-Fix? And you can get it in – pretty much in any home center. It comes in a variety of whites and off-whites, so you kind of have to guess which one is going to work close enough to your exact white or bisque or whatever you want to call it.
LESLIE: And it almost looks like it’s a nail-polish bottle, kind of.
LESLIE: And you apply it in gradual layers, letting it set up and then going back the next day and putting another one on until you build it up. And it’s done a fairly good job. We’ve been in the house 8 years and it’s still there, it’s still covered up. But I know exactly where it is.
JO: OK. Well, I thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bathroom projects can be a larger project than you anticipated, especially when you want to rearrange some stuff, like Len. Len writes in saying, “We plan to completely gut a second-story bathroom. We want to move the toilet to where the current shower location is and put the shower where the toilet was. Plumbing-wise, it seems like it can be done but what’s involved and what could be the price range for that work?”
TOM: Well, while it sounds like it could be convenient, it’s really not because the toilet has got to be connected to the main waste pipes for the house. And those are going to be all neatly aligned.
LESLIE: I believe they call them a “stack” for a reason.
TOM: Yeah, right. Exactly. If there’s another bathroom above it, those pipes are aligned to take that waste from where they are and get them outside.
Now, just because you happen to have a shower, the shower probably drains into the main waste line now as it as. To try to flip it basically means you’re going to have to tear up a good chunk of that bathroom floor. Probably at least half the bathroom floor, I would think, if not more right down to the framing and then completely rerun all the pipes. It is a lot of work. It is not as easy as you might think.
So I would proceed carefully about making that switch. If you really, really have to do it, fine. But be prepared for the size of the project. It’s a lot bigger than you think.
LESLIE: And then, of course, the size of the price tag.
TOM: Of course.
LESLIE: Listen, it depends on how badly you want that, Len. If it’s really important for the new design, then it’s going to be worth it. If not, see what else you can figure out.
TOM: Well, now is a perfect time to think about redecorating spaces in your home for a fresh look. Leslie has got tips on where to start, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie? Spring’s right around the corner. Great time to redecorate, refresh and rejuvenate, right?
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? I think one room in the house that people kind of overlook for that seasonal fresh-up or just a kind of a refreshing of the space – because they think it’s got to be a big, major project – is the bathroom. But it doesn’t have to be huge. You can make small changes that are going to make a big difference.
And a few things that you can do – simply replace that shower curtain. Bring in a different pattern. Bring in something that’s a seasonal color that sort of freshens the space. I mean you go to any of those stores that those ladies love to spend the money at and the guys, too. You know which places I’m talking about. It’s an H and a G and you shop there like crazy. You can find shower curtains for, you know, such a little amount of money and it really does make a big difference. And I’m not saying get rid of the old one; just wash it and put it away for the next time that season rolls around.
You can also add in new towels. Same thing. You can have seasonal colors that really just freshen up the space. And you don’t have to stop there. Bathrooms generally tend to be the smaller spaces in the home, so you can paint that space in a very short amount of time. And if you don’t like that color, heck, you’ve got enough time to do it again.
But a bathroom is a great place to just simply refresh. Even you can do a vinyl wall covering, say, on just one accent wall. Not quite by the shower but somewhere in that space, just to give it a boost of pattern and design.
Think about the hardware on a vanity or your towel racks. Swap out the metal finish. Pick out a different style. Not a tremendous amount of money. Definitely things you can do on your own. Even lighting. If you’ve got a sconce, upgrade the shape maybe. Change the sconce pattern. Add a chandelier.
There’s so much you can do in very minimal, bite-size pieces that will definitely refresh that space. And it’s surely a place you didn’t even know you could do, for such a little amount of money and time, but you can and you should.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you guys live in an old house, like both Leslie and I do, you might be interested to learn as much as you can about it. Now, finding out when your house was built, who lived within its walls and what changes were made along the way can be a challenging but fascinating journey. We’re going to share tips on how to get it done, 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.
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