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 here for one thing and one thing only and that is to help you with your home improvement and décor projects. Help yourself first. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We’ve got a great show planned for you. First up, April showers do bring May flowers but they also bring a whole bunch of weeds that need trimming. We’re going to have the scoop on a brand-new string trimmer that’s battery-powered, quiet and super efficient at trimming those weeds and much more, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, Tim Carter will be stopping by. Now, Tim is the founder of AskTheBuilder.com and one of the most successful home improvement bloggers on the planet. He’s got some tips on how to get your deck, patios and sidewalks sparkling clean for the summer.
TOM: Plus, would you like to take your décor to new heights? We’re going to have tips to step up your style by using flooring on walls and ceilings.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re going to shed some light around your room because we’re giving away the Ultra-Bright Ceiling Light from Mr. Beams.
TOM: Yep. Pretty cool product. It’s a simple way to add light without wiring to any dark area in your home, like closets or showers or sheds or pantries. They’re super bright and the batteries last for a full year. It’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Ginny in Missouri has a question about a skylight. How can we help you today, Ginny?
GINNY: We have turned our garage into a living room and consequently, we have windows only on the south side where the door was. We have a nice, large living room but it’s been very dark on the north side. So, I found a wonderful deal on a tubular skylight and I bought it. But because it’s our living room and we have our television in there and such, now I’m concerned about putting it in because is it going to interfere with being able to watch the television in the daytime? And no one seems to have information about this.
TOM: Are you saying because of the fact that it’ll be so bright over the TV, possibly, that it would sort of wash it out? Is that what your concern is?
GINNY: Right. It won’t be directly over the television. It’ll be in the middle of the north part. But we’re just concerned because of reflections and things like that.
LESLIE: Yeah. But Tom, the sun tunnels generally, depending on the way they’re installed, direct the light straight down, correct?
TOM: They have diffusers. So the lens part of it that’s at the end, it’s kind of more like having a ceiling-light fixture when you’re done. So, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I’ve never heard of that as a complaint, Ginny.
GINNY: Oh, OK.
TOM: So I would tell you to do it. I think those are great products.
And by the way, for those folks that are not familiar with this, so what a sun tunnel is, like Ginny said, it’s a tubular skylight. So imagine, instead of having to cut a hole in your roof and then build a light shaft, you can cut a round hole in your roof, you can drop this tube down through it. And basically, it snakes down between the roof and the ceiling, kind of like – think of it as a dryer-exhaust duct. It’s flexible like that but it’s wide. It’s 12 to 14 inches wide.
And the inside of the tube is polished like a mirror, so it’s takes a lot of light and directs it down that tube to that light diffuser, which is at the ceiling level. So, I think it’s a great option and I think it’s a good use in this particular space.
GINNY: Well, I really thank you because it was very difficult to find information.
TOM: Good luck, Ginny. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Pete in Arizona is on the line and has a question about a tar roof. What is going on at your money pit?
PETE: I have a patio roof that runs the whole length of my back of my house, which is pretty long. When they put the roof on, they put plywood and a paper and they had some kind of machine or whatever it was that was burning wood. And they melted tar and they filled up a bucket and they took a mop and they went all over the roof with this tar. And then they got some kind of rolled, shingle-type material and they put it on the roof.
Now, it looks like when they put this shingle-type material on the roof, whatever squeezed out that was the seam between each shingle and wherever the roll stopped and a new roll started. But around the outside of the roof, they have a metal trim that goes on the front of the roof and both sides. And it looks like they tarred it.
Well, the tar now had been here 18 years and it’s 120-degree heat in the summertime. And the tar is all cracked and it’s missing pieces. And what I wanted to do is buy some of this Flex Seal you see on TV and I wanted to go around all these edges and fill in the holes and cracks. Is that a good idea?
TOM: Well, there’s no way to know if that product is going to work with the old tar roof. It sounds to me like you’re at the end of a normal lifecycle for this roof.
PETE: It’s 18 years.
TOM: And it sounds like it was originally – yeah, well, that’s pretty old for a low-slope roof. I mean it’s really old. Usually, you get about 10 years out of a roof like that. So, I think you are working towards a new roof here and what you might want to think about doing is a different type of roofing product. You know, you might want to use a rubber roof or a modified bitumen roof. You could have a torch-down roof.
But to do tar and – to do a built-up tar roof in the way you’ve described, it doesn’t sound like it’s probably the best approach right now. Anything you do to try to patch what you have is just going to put off the inevitable. So, I think you’re looking at a new roof here after 18 years. I don’t think this roof owes you a dime and it’s time to update it.
PETE: On this metal strip that they put all around the outside of the roof, when they put it on, I guess it’s for a beauty effect or whatever because it doesn’t look like it does anything, really. But it sticks up a little bit above the roof. And when it rains, my roof – main roof – is pitched towards the patio roof. And I get water laying up there because it can’t go over this hump, that it just lays there. I have to get a ladder and squeegee it off because I don’t want mosquitoes and stuff living up there.
TOM: When it comes time to replace that roof, there is a – it looks like an insulation board but it basically can improve the slope of the roof. It’s a second layer that would go on there. You’d build it up so that you would have a better pitch. You don’t need a lot of pitch but you need some pitch and that will make the roof drain. So talk with your roofer about that problem, OK?
PETE: OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck, Pete. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And 1-888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor.
Now, they’re a new sponsor to The Money Pit and we’re so happy to have HomeAdvisor. It’s where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Check them out at HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Just ahead, are you ready to take on some yard work? We’re going to have tips to get the job done without the hassles of firing up gas-powered lawn gear, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Gladys in Texas is on the line with a wallpaper question. So how can we help you?
GLADYS: Oh, I would like to know the most easiest way to remove wallpaper from the wall after about 46 years.
TOM: Forty-six years? Well, if it was 45 years, we could’ve helped you out. But now that it’s 46, it changes everything.
LESLIE: So now, tell me, is it really super sticking to the wall? Do you have it peeling up in some areas? What kind of condition is it in?
GLADYS: Well, (inaudible at 0:09:05). It’s not in too good a shape.
LESLIE: OK. So you’ve got some areas where it’s peeling up. Can you tell, does it feel like paper or does it feel like vinyl?
GLADYS: Oh, say, vinyl.
LESLIE: Alright. So because vinyl is made with a more sort of not rubbery but it’s not like a paper surface where if you were to steam it, it would go right through. So your first step is to get something at the home center called a “paper tiger.” And it’s basically a bunch of blades and you’re going to just sort of run that over the wallpaper. So what you’re doing is you’re cutting through that outer layer of the vinyl to expose that back layer where the adhesive is.
Then you can rent a wallpaper steamer. And you’re just going to steam the walls so you’re getting the adhesive on the backside damp. And what that’ll do is it sort of loosens up the adhesive and it makes it loosey-goosey and you’re able to peel away the paper.
Now, the paper tiger is going to make it into smaller pieces, so you’re going to have a lot more to peel off. A lot of people will use fabric softener mixed with water and put that on the walls. That tends to help and give it a little bit of a more slippy (ph) surface, as well, to get the paper off. But that’s really the step of it. It’s a lot of elbow grease, it’s going to take a little bit of time but that’s the trick to getting the paper off.
Now, you want to make sure that you get down to a smooth surface or at least get as much of that adhesive off as you can. Because what’s going to happen is if you paint over it, you’re going to see every imperfection. So you want to get off the adhesive, all the paper backing, everything that you can.
And then once you’re there and the walls have sort of been dry from the steaming, you can take a light sander and just hand-sand the walls just to get rid of whatever adhesive is left over there. Make sure you get a smooth surface. And then I would use a really good primer, even an oil-based one, if you can in your state, and prime the walls. Let that dry and then do a good latex topcoat. And that should do the trick.
And then I love wallpaper, so if you ever want to know how to put it on, I’m happy to help you with that.
GLADYS: Sounds real good. And thank you so very much.
LESLIE: You are so welcome.
[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]Alright. Heading up north to Canada where Dave in Ontario needs help with a garage door. What can we do for you?
DAVE: I’ve got the old, wooden garage door and over top of it is the wooden framework. And the paint was all bulging, so we kind of tapped on it and it looks like the whole thing’s dry-rotted. So I’m not sure if I’m opening a whole Pandora’s box and I’m not going to be able to have to tear the whole garage down. But it looks like I’ve got to replace the header in it. Now, it’s a cement-block garage, so I don’t know how involved this is going to be.
TOM: So it’s just a header over the garage door? Was there a leak above it?
DAVE: The roof was done a year and a half ago, so and – again, it’s not an – it’s a detached garage. So, if it was leaking, I’m not really – I’m not real sure whether it was long-term.
TOM: But you’re not – it’s definitely not leaking now?
DAVE: No, no, the – everything is dry in there now.
TOM: And are the roof rafters resting on that header?
DAVE: Yes. Yeah, it’s a four-sided, so I guess they’d call it a “cottage.”
TOM: What you’re probably going to have to do is you’re probably going to have to build a temporary wall to hold up the roof rafters while you disassemble the header.
TOM: And you do that right inside the garage door. You basically build kind of a fake wall, right up to the underside of those rafters, to support them between the garage floor and the underside of the rafters while you do the disassembly and replacement of the header.
TOM: Then once it’s all put back together, then you can disassemble that temporary wall and then the weight will be transferred back onto the new header. So that’s the process.
DAVE: Would I be jacking that up, taking a little bit of pressure off of it?
TOM: I wouldn’t jack it up but just make it snug. It probably won’t move at all.
DAVE: OK. So this is something I could probably handle myself or should I be getting a contractor in for it?
TOM: Well, if you’re pretty experienced, yes. But it’s also the kind of thing that you might need to have a pro help you with if you’ve not done it every day, because you don’t want to mess this up. If you get something wrong, then you could cause some structural problems that are going to be, you know, pretty concerning.
DAVE: Yep. Very good. That gets me pointed in the right direction.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, now that it’s spring, it’s about time we started hearing the lawn mowers, string trimmers and chainsaws getting fired up around your neighborhood. But thanks to the advancements in brushless-motor technology, battery-powered tools are getting better and better and now can do the job just as well.
TOM: Yep. And a good example of this is the new line from Greenworks called Pro 60-Volt. They’re available exclusively at Lowe’s. And I’ve been checking out the new Greenworks 60-Volt Lithium String Trimmer. And I’ve got to tell you, I really like it. I mean it really gives you all the power you need without the hassles of gas.
So, for example, instead of a pull cord, it’s got a variable-speed trigger, which also means no gas, no oil to deal with. And it’s got a 16-inch cut path, so you can handle pretty large yards very quickly and easily. And I also noticed that this brushless motor was really powerful and it delivers about 40 minutes of runtime when the battery is fully charged. So, pretty sweet product from Greenworks: the Pro 60-Volt Lithium String Trimmer. Great job.
LESLIE: Now, that string trimmer retails for $199 and it’s part of a full suite of Greenworks Pro 60-volt, lithium-powered outdoor equipment, which also includes a mower, hedge trimmer, chainsaw and handheld leaf blower. All tools include a battery and a charger and are available exclusively at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]Alright. Let’s talk decking with Jeanine in South Dakota. How can we help you today?
JEANINE: I’m going to build a new deck, tear my old one down and have a new one built. Wondering what is the best kind of wood to use.
LESLIE: So you’re tearing down the deck from scratch? Starting completely over or are you leaving all of the underside, the supports and just taking off the decking?
JEANINE: Mainly, it’s going all down.
LESLIE: Everything. Are you redesigning, getting a bigger one?
JEANINE: It will be about the same size, which is not that large. It’s only about a 12×10 but the posts that go down into the ground is what is giving.
TOM: So, yeah, so you need to start from scratch and rebuild that structure and then create new footings to hold it up. So, I think the structure is pretty straightforward but when it comes to the decking itself, I think you have a lot of options. If you don’t want to use wood, that can give you a surface that’s going to wear better and it’d be a lot easier on the feet.
LESLIE: That is true. So now, for the decking itself, for the support system, you’re going to have your contractor build everything out of a pressure-treated lumber. All the joist hangers, you want to make sure everything is stainless, everything is weather-resistant and everything is put together very nicely. And at the point where it attaches to your home, you want to make sure that that is really firmly connected to your house, because this is all of the structure that’s going to hold that deck in place and keep it nice and safe.
If you are going outside of any existing spots, you want to make sure that you or your builder call 811. And 811 is going to come out and make your property and tell you where your power lines are, your water lines, everything else that are underneath the ground. So if you’re digging a new hole, you and the builder will not hit anything and cause any damage to the neighborhood or your home.
That said, once the structure is built and everything is square and secure, you can go ahead and – you know, most people will go with a lumber. You don’t have to do that. You can actually go with a composite, which is made from recycled materials. It’s usually plastics and some wood scraps. But it’s structurally stable, it’s very smooth, it does not require practically any maintenance other than a good cleaning at the beginning of every season. You’ll never have to repaint or restain.
And depending on which brand you go with, there’s a product within every price point. And it really does make for a beautiful, durable deck that’s easy on the feet. You’re not going to get splinters, you’re not going to have to worry about bug damage or mold or mildew or any of those things that would damage a traditional wood deck. And a composite really is the way to go.
JEANINE: And that’s a mixture of plastic and wood combination?
TOM: Some of the products, you have some wood fiber in it but they’re mostly composite. So there is absolutely no wear and tear on these. They really stand up incredibly well.
LESLIE: What it is is it’s mostly plastic. Some of them are made from recycled soda bottles or plastic bags. And then some of the products have a hint of wood dust in it. It’s not made from a tremendous amount of wood. It’s just a mixture of materials. That’s why it’s called a “composite.” You don’t have to stain them, you don’t have to paint them. They come with the finish already on them. So you don’t ever have to do that again.
TOM: Jeanine, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Louisiana is on the line with a question about concrete. What’s happening to it?
MIKE: I have a crack in my foundation and I was wondering what would be the best way to stop it.
TOM: So is this a basement foundation or a crawlspace foundation? What’s it look like?
MIKE: I have a slab. I don’t have a (inaudible at 0:17:47). It’s just a crack in the concrete. Goes pretty much all the way across on one end of the house.
TOM: OK. So does it – is it the floor or do you see it from the outside? Where are we seeing this?
MIKE: Just in the floor. I just see it in the floor. I don’t see it on the side. Looked at it twice on the outside and I haven’t seen it.
TOM: Alright. So that might not be part of the foundation. Because when you have a slab-on-grade house, the floor area itself is actually not part of the foundation; only the perimeter is. So that’s a pretty standard crack repair. What you want to do is go to a home center and pick up a QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E – epoxy-based or patching compound. And that is something that you can apply to the crack.
There’s a number of different types of this. Some of it comes in a tube that you can apply with a caulk gun and others you mix up. But it has to be a patching material because the – otherwise, it won’t stick to the old concrete. Then what you do is clean out that crack, you apply the patch, let it dry and you’re good to go.
MIKE: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks, again, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, if you’re a DIYer, you have no doubt turned to YouTube now and then to search for a video to help you with your project. And there’s also a good chance you may have seen the videos from AskTheBuilder.com. Founder Tim Carter is joining us with tips to get your decks sparkling clean, next.
[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, if you’re a DIYer, you no doubt have turned to YouTube now and again to search for a video that can shed some light on the project you’re working on. And there’s also a really good chance that you’ve seen our next guest host one of those videos.
TOM: Yep. Tim Carter has personally produced over 600 YouTube videos and he’s got over 69,000 followers who love his quick-witted, no-nonsense expert help. And Tim Carter is the force behind AskTheBuilder.com, a home improvement site with over 4,000 pages of useful posts and videos.
Tim Carter, welcome to The Money Pit.
TIM: Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Leslie. I sure appreciate it.
TOM: You deserve a lot of credit. You saw the video craze coming on very early. You’ve been producing videos for over a decade, helping thousands and thousands of people with their projects.
You have an interesting story, though. You got started with your website because you actually had won a national award as a builder, right?
TIM: Yeah, that’s correct. I was – it’s kind of cool. As you know, Tom, I’m one of the few people in the media that’s actually done all this stuff. I was a custom home builder and custom remodeler. And back in 1993, I got picked as one of the Top 50 in the U.S. by Remodeling Magazine. And about that time, I had figured I needed to get out of the business if I didn’t want to be crippled.
TOM: Yeah, I hear you.
TIM: So, I used that award to kind of launch a syndicated newspaper column called Ask the Builder.
TOM: Yeah, well, well done, sir. And you’ve been giving out great advice ever since. So we invited you on today because we wanted to talk about a favorite spring project a lot of folks are doing right now and that’s deck cleaning. I know that you’ve done a lot of research on deck cleaning, and I wanted to kind of pick your brain and learn some of your tricks of the trade so that we can share with the audience the best ways to get that job done.
Folks are getting out this time of year, staring at that deck and it doesn’t look quite as pretty as it did when they put it all away in the fall. It’s got a winter’s worth of grime and dirt and mess on it. We want to get it spruced up, so where do they begin?
TIM: First of all, we’ll talk about wood decks because, as you know, the composite-decking craze has been around strong for 20 years now. But the biggest problem I see people make with wood decks is that they will get a pressure washer. They’ve seen all these videos online or home improvement television shows, whatever. They get out a pressure washer and they proceed to ruin their deck. And I know that you have been on the fishing piers over there in New Jersey and you know what those piers look like after 50 years of being in the sun?
TOM: Yeah, yeah. All the wood’s eroded away.
TIM: Yeah, yeah. What happens is people can take the pressure washer and a wood deck that’s only a year or two or three old, they’ll use so much pressure they’ll erode that light-colored spring wood that is in between the darker bands of grain. And pretty soon, your deck just looks horrible.
So the best way to handle it after that is – what I’ve discovered in all these years – I actually did one of my early columns back in the 1990s about deck cleaning. And as part of the research, I stumbled across this magical cleaner called “oxygen bleach.” And at the time, I thought the only bleach out there was chlorine bleach.
TIM: And there are still many, many, many websites and companies that say use chlorine bleach on your wood deck. And it’s a huge mistake. And the reason why is because chlorine bleach will take the color out of the wood. It destroys the lignin, which is the glue that holds wood fibers together. And you know the metal connectors, like the Simpson Strong-Tie and the nails (inaudible at 0:23:20)?
TOM: Right. Yeah. And that’s important because that keeps the structure all together.
TIM: Yeah, yeah. You were in the home inspection business, so you know that that chlorine bleach will accelerate the corrosion of those very, very important connectors. So, the long and short of it is that the chlorine bleach also kills all vegetation that’s around your deck. So you just don’t want to use chlorine bleach.
So we found that the safer, non-toxic, the organic way to clean is to use Stain Solver Oxygen Bleach, which is an oxygen bleach made in America. It’s just a really great product.
LESLIE: And I think there’s a lot of confusion, post the cleaning phase, as to what then do you put on the wood deck. You hear so many people say, “Oh, I want to paint it,” or, “I want to stain it.” And I think there’s just such a confusion there, so what do you recommend as far as a sealer or that next finishing step?
TIM: Four or five years ago, my son actually helped me do it. I decided to do my own authoritative deck-sealer test. And we went out and we got all the top major brands. We cut pieces of treated lumber, we cut pieces of cedar. We stained them exactly how the manufacturer said and to make a long story short, we discovered that the sealers that do the best are ones that have a medium color, like a medium brown. And the ones that penetrate into the wood do better.
And it should come as no surprise that the sealers that were applied to treated lumber did much, much better than the sealers that were applied to cedar. Cedar is a really, really hard wood to stain; it doesn’t absorb it as well. So, you want to get a sealer that soaks into the wood and you want to make sure that it’s got a medium-brown pigment, because the pigment acts as a UV-block, just like you put sunscreen on your skin so you don’t get sunburned. So that’s the best sealer to use.
TOM: Great advice from Tim Carter of AskTheBuilder.com. And Tim, you’ve hooked up our listeners with a great offer. If they head to Go.AskTheBuilder.com/Decks – that’s G-o.AskTheBuidler.com/Decks – you’re actually offering the entire report on deck-stain testing for 50-percent off the normal price. So that’s a great deal and a great opportunity to really find out what’s out there in terms of the products and which is going to work best for your personal situation.
I can’t tell you how many calls we get from folks that think that this is an annual rite, Tim, that they have to do this every single year. It’s because they’re doing it wrong and they’re wasting time, they’re wasting labor, they’re wasting product.
TIM: Yeah, they’re not only doing it wrong, they’re using the wrong product. Because the winner of my test, I got three years out of it. Imagine that. So all they would have to do is at the end of each winter is on year – at the end of Year One and at the end of Year Two is they would just have to go out on their deck and just use some liquid dish soap and water and everything’s going to be fine.
TOM: What’s in the deck-stain test results that they’ll receive?
TIM: So what happens – it’s really cool. So, we took these pieces of lumber. We cut 1-foot long pieces of treated and cedar. I stained all of them the same. We put the stain on, we let them out to dry for one day and then we immediately took half of the samples and put them up in my shed – in the shade, in a cardboard box – so they would not get any weather or any sunlight on them. The other pieces we put out on a test strip and I laid them out on my dock. And you know how punishing the sun is on a New Hampshire dock.
And we left them out there for a year to see what it would look like. And then we extended the test for another year. And then I took before-photos and after-photos and the photos are side by side, so you can actually see this is what the samples looked like before they went out to the weather and this is what it looked like after. The photos are unbelievable.
And actually, by just going to that page, to the link that I give them when they go to Go.AskTheBuilder/Decks, you can actually see all of the photographs for free. I don’t tell you what the stains are until you purchase the report. But the report’s less than five bucks after they use the promo code. So it’s a super deal.
TOM: Well, certainly worth a few dollars to understand what’s going on with these products and how to choose the right product for your home. Again, that URL is Go.AskTheBuilder.com/Decks. You’ll get a 50-percent discount on the entire test result of the deck’s sealing products, as well as a 10-percent discount on the Stain Solver Oxygenated Bleach.
Tim Carter, great work, my friend. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and we look forward to talking to you again.
TIM: Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Leslie. I sure appreciate it.
TOM: Just ahead, if you love the look of hardwood on your floors, you might not realize that this same product can be used to create a beautiful accent wall or even a ceiling. We’ll have tips to get that project done, presented by Lumber Liquidators, after this.
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: And we’d love to talk with you at 888-MONEY-PIT. But hey, if you want to get advice from a pro, one on one, and get that advice for free on your specific project, well, we recommend you download the very cool DIYZ app. This is an app that lets you video chat with a pro advisor that’s got years of experience in the field, one on one. The DIYZ advisor can answer questions about home repairs, remodeling or craft projects or even offer tips to help you plan your next big home improvement.
LESLIE: And the best part of that service is, right now, it’s free. While you’re on the app, you can browse a large library of how-to projects with step-by-step videos. And the videos are not only really well done, they’re designed so that you can watch them one step at a time, so it makes them really easy to follow while you’re getting your project done.
TOM: And you’ll even find lists for the tools and materials that are recommended, by the project, and you can shop for them right through the app. Download the DIYZ mobile app today for free in the Apple App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android or learn more at DIYZ.com. That’s D-I-Y-Z.com.
LESLIE: Well, with as little as 100 square feet of flooring, you can step up the style in any room of your home by using flooring to create accent walls. This trendy, new look is a great weekend home improvement project that delivers a big impact for a relatively small expense.
TOM: You know, the decorative wall installations can be a very durable kind of artistic element to your décor. You can choose from all sorts of flooring materials for this project. You could use hardwood, bamboo, wood-look tile. You could try out the new luxury vinyl tiles or even laminate. Plus, you can do this project using decorative wall panels, which are hardwood strips that are mounted on sort of a wooden backing. These are very versatile and easy to install and they look great.
LESLIE: Now, installation is straightforward and pretty much the same as if you were installing the product to a floor. Depending on the type of flooring you pick, planks can secured to the walls using nails, glue or even wood-flooring tape.
TOM: You’re also going to want to make sure to let the flooring acclimate in your home for a few days before you start the project. And to get the best layout, here’s a trick of the trade: just arrange your planks, side by side, on the floor first to balance out the color and the grain pattern before you put them on the wall. A whole heck of a lot easier without gravity getting in the way.
LESLIE: And it really is such a great project.
Today’s Flooring Tip was presented by Lumber Liquidators. With such new trends in hardwood flooring and so many options to choose from, including decorative wall panels, you’re sure to find what’s right for you. Plus, get expert flooring help at every local store.
TOM: For locations, call 1-800-HARDWOOD or visit LumberLiquidators.com. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.
[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Keith in Georgia is on the line with a crawlspace question. How can we help you?
KEITH: I’ve got about a 40s- or 50s-built home and my crawlspace is probably 18 or 20 inches. Really low.
KEITH: And listening to you all’s show, it says – you all said that you need to have some kind of a sealant on the dirt under there. Just wondering, any suggestions on a product that I could use to seal something with a small crawlspace layer?
TOM: Yeah. All you want to do, Keith, is just use polyethylene sheeting. Same kind of sheeting you might use as a drop cloth, perhaps a little bit thicker. And roll that out and lay it across the crawlspace floor. I always tell folks to make sure you kind of scan the floor first to make sure there’s no debris or anything that’s going to break through it.
But lay that sheeting out across the whole crawlspace floor. You can let it run up the walls a few inches just to get it in there nice and tight. And just having that sheeting on that dirt floor is going to stop a lot of the moisture that naturally will evaporate through that sand and soil, up into the house, and just make it a lot drier and nicer in that space. And it can also prevent mold and mildew from forming.
KEITH: OK. Thank you so much because I was trying to figure – I said, “Well, if I just lay it, it’s not going to seal it.”
TOM: No, it does a pretty good job. It just covers it up and stops the evaporation. You don’t have to – it’s not really that hard of a job to do. Just hardest part is getting the plastic in there and cut the size and just kind of getting it laid in there nice. So, if you start down one end and kind of work your way down, you should be good to go.
KEITH: OK. Alright. That’ll be great. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Keith.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Up next, we’ve all heard the term “good bones,” but when it comes to taking on a major home renovation, how do you know if the bones really are there? We’ll tell you, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question online at MoneyPit.com. And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Let’s grab a question from our Community section. Charlie writes: “How much attic ventilation do I need to run a whole-house attic fan with a house similar to mine? I’ve got a 1,300-square-foot home with 8-foot ceilings.”
TOM: That’s a good question. Now, I think you may be kind of mixing up your terms because you say a whole-house attic fan. Those are really two separate types of fans. There’s the whole-house fan, which is used to ventilate the whole house. And then there’s the attic fan, which just ventilates the attic.
Now, we have found over the years, Charlie, that using an attic fan is not the most effective and efficient way to cool your attic, because what it tends to do – if you’ve got a house with central air conditioning or even window air conditioners, it will steal some of that air-conditioned air and pull it right up into the attic and exhaust it out. You’re better off with passive ventilation, like ridge vents, instead of an attic fan.
Now, a whole-house fan is something I wholeheartedly recommend. I’ve had them for years. They’re wonderful in the summer. They basically get mounted in the second-floor ceiling, if it’s a Colonial, or the first floor if it’s a hallway, if it’s a ranch. You run this fan and open up some windows in different parts of the house and it pulls a nice breeze through, up into the attic, and then it gets exhausted from there. The only thing is if you have a whole-house fan going, you have to have plenty of exhaust ventilation so the attic doesn’t become pressurized by mistake.
LESLIE: Alright, Charlie. That should give you a really cool and comfortable solution.
TOM: Well, if you’re the type of person that isn’t afraid of taking on a major home remodeling project, you might want to make sure that the house you’re working on truly has good bones. Otherwise, you could just be wasting time and money on a real money pit. Leslie has tips on how to make sure the homes you take on are really worth it, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Now, you guys know Good Bones, of course, a super-popular TV show on HGTV with the hosts of a mother-daughter team of Mina Starsiak and Karen Laine. Those ladies are amazing and I had the pleasure of working with them in their first season on Good Bones in Indianapolis.
And really, what the takeaway is from that series is when you’re looking at a house, you’ve got to decide – especially one that’s in supreme disrepair – you want to make sure that there is a good basis or a good foundation for you to build upon or repair that home, start kind of giving it a fresh life. And that’s what they call “good bones.” You want to look to make sure that it has – the studs are in good shape or the foundation is in good shape or some sort of structural element of the home itself is worth saving or in a good enough shape that you can build upon that.
So really, the first thing you want to do is get a home inspection when you are looking at a house, even one that has been not lived in for quite some time or one that’s just been, you know, overlooked during its lifetime and not exactly as loved as it should’ve been by a homeowner.
So once you get that home inspection, you want to make sure that the studs are in good shape, the floor joists are in good shape, the ceiling joists are in good shape. If you’ve got some areas of rot or decay or bug damage, that’s repairable. And you really need to look at that to decide if that’s in a good enough shape that you can build off of that.
Once you do that, you can go ahead and get back to building that home up to the way it should be and that’s getting to the wall materials, the flooring materials, all of that stuff that goes upon it. But you have to make sure that the structure of the home itself is in good enough shape that you can kind of give new life to it. And that’s really the point there in Good Bones.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you’re looking forward to a beautiful, green lawn this summer, you might be wondering if you should reseed your lawn or use sod. Roger Cook, the landscaping expert for This Old House will be stopping by to help us figure out the answer to that question, 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.
(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.)
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