- Summertime is finally here which means more time out on the deck. Tom and Leslie walk you through the step-by-step staining tips for a finish that’ll last you years.
- Looking to step up your outdoor kitchen? We highlight the latest trends in outdoor cooking, including smokers, wood-fire pizza ovens, cast-iron cookery and outdoor rotisseries to kick up your outdoor cooking and entertaining game.
- Butterflies are one of the best parts of spring and summer and attracting them means you’ll have an army of pollinators working hard in your garden. We share the top 5 flowers that will encourage butterflies to make your home, their home.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Is it better to reseal your deck or convert to composite?
- How to prevent moisture from rising in your crawl space?
- What are the benefits to metal roofs?
- Tips on how to clean your showers.
- How to remove stains from your driveway?
- What is the best way to remove carpet glue?
- What is the best way to improve attic ventilation?
- How to refinish a really old deck?
- Is it necessary to replace the anode rod in a hot water heater?
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 we are here to help you create your best home ever. So if you’ve got a question about a project you’d like to get done, inside or out, the number to call is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve been doing this for a little while. In fact, today is our 2,100th episode. Twenty-one hundred episodes of The Money Pit. I can’t believe it.
LESLIE: That’s a lot.
TOM: And we are so appreciative of the opportunity to help you create your best home. So if you we can help you do that today, pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, deck season is finally here. And if you’re ready to clean off that winter grime and stain your deck for the summer, we’re going to walk you through the essential steps for a finish that will last for years. Because so many people do this every spring and you just don’t have to if you do it once and do it right.
LESLIE: Well, speaking of decks, if you like to take your cooking outside, gone are the days of serving burgers and dogs on paper plates and calling it a day. We’re going to highlight the latest trends in outdoor cooking, including smokers, wood-fire pizza ovens, cast-iron cookery and outdoor rotisseries to kick up your outdoor cooking and entertaining game.
TOM: And butterflies are one of the best parts of spring and summer. And attracting them to your home means you also get an army of pollinators working hard in your garden for you. So we’re going to share the top five flowers that will encourage butterflies to make your home their home.
LESLIE: But first, we’re here to help you create your best home ever. So help yourself first by reaching out with your home improvement question. You’re going to get the answer, plus you may even win a great tool from Arrow Fastener.
TOM: That’s right, because we’ve got the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun, along with a supply of staples, worth about 50 bucks going out to one listener drawn at random. So make that you. Call us at 888-MONEY-PIT with your questions or post them to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: George in Iowa is on the line with a decking question. What can we do for you today?
GEORGE: The wife and I have done the sealing with the deck twice. And both times – the first time, it lasted a year and it peeled up. And we sealed it again last year and it peeled up again this time after the winter snow had melted. So, we’re not sure if you have any tips or some advice for us to help us out there.
TOM: Well, you might want to think about doing a deck do-over where you just pull off the decking material and add a composite deck. Keep the structure. You won’t have to do this again.
Some of the decking sealants, if you don’t strip down to the original lumber, they never absorb properly and they’ll bead up and they’ll peel off. So, your options are – to do that, strip off everything that you have there and you’ve literally got to strip it off down to the wood and sand it. And then you can use a primer and a solid-color stain and that will give you the maximum chance of adhering.
The other thing you might want to think about doing, as I mentioned earlier, is doing sort of a deck makeover where you pull up the deck boards and then you replace just the deck surface boards with a composite, like Veranda, for example, which is available at The Home Depot. And this way, you’ll never have to worry about staining again. You can even keep your existing railing or you could go further and change out the railing, as well.
But it doesn’t affect the structure of the deck because the material is still sitting on top of the old original joist. Just that the deck surface has now been completely made-over. It looks great and you never have to worry about staining or sealing again. Because it’s a lot of work and you don’t want to have to do it every year, that’s for sure. Make sense?
GEORGE: Yep, that makes sense. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
TOM: George, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Delaware where Margie has a crawlspace question. What can we help you with?
MARGIE: I’d like to know if you should put plastic on the ground underneath your house. We have a 3-foot – you can climb under there. Should we lay plastic on that for a barrier – for a moisture barrier? Underneath a ranch house.
LESLIE: What’s the – is it underneath the entire house or is it just under a certain area?
MARGIE: No, it’s underneath the entire house. You can crawl under and someone said you should put plastic on top of the dirt.
LESLIE: Now, are you having any moisture issues inside the house?
MARGIE: Not really. We were just thinking it would be a good idea to do that.
LESLIE: Now, generally, with an enclosed crawlspace or one that’s smaller scale to an entire home, we would always recommend putting down sort of a plastic sheeting. And you want to fill the entire space. And in areas where you do have to have seams, you want to make sure that you overlap a good foot or two so that it really lays down nicely.
Now, Tom, would you do that if it’s under the entire house?
TOM: Yeah, I’d put it down across the crawlspace floor, along the entire house, because it stops the moisture in the soil from wicking up and evaporating up into the air and then getting the insulation damp and making it ineffective. So, it’s always a good idea to have – it’s called a “vapor barrier” and have that down on top of that soil surface.
You also want to check the exterior, though, to make sure that your gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended. It’s part of a moisture-management solution. It’s not just [one-off] (ph).
LESLIE: You want to make sure you’re limiting the amount of moisture that actually gets to that – the dirt or the soil underneath the crawlspace. So if you make sure that your gutters are extending away from the house a good 3 feet or so and not depositing the water back towards that crawlspace – any sort of plant-embedded areas, you want to make sure that that soil slopes away. You just want to do your best that you can to move the moisture away.
MARGIE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in Pennsylvania is on the line with a metal-roofing question. How can we help you today?
JIM: My question is – metal roofs. What’s the advantage of the metal over the shingle or vice versa? The cost? I see a lot of my neighbors putting the metal on.
TOM: So, metal roofs are probably the most durable roof available today. And so the main advantage is durability. The other thing that you can get with a metal roof is today, they’re coated with low-E coatings so they can actually reflect the sun in the summer and lower your cooling costs, as well.
The downside of metal roofs is that they’re very expensive. They’re called “investment-grade roofs,” very frequently, for a good reason. Because it’s the kind of roof you put on when you really want to invest in the house and it’s the house that you’re going to be in for the long haul. If it’s a short-term house for you, I probably would not recommend a metal roof because I don’t think you’ll get the value out of it when you sell. Certainly, you’ll get some value out of it but I don’t think you’ll get the cost of it. But if you’re like, “Listen, this is the house I’m going to be in for the next 20 or 30 years, maybe longer. I want to really do something that’s going to stand up with literally no maintenance,” then maybe a metal roof is for you.
Aesthetically, they’re beautiful. They come in all sorts of colors, all sorts of designs and they can really make your house stand out. But they are costly. Probably, I would say two to three times the cost of an asphalt-shingle roof.
JIM: But they’ll last 30 years, you say, or more?
TOM: They’ll last 50 years, they’ll last 75 years. They can last even longer than that.
JIM: Hey, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, we’ve got a great tool to give away to one lucky listener today. It is the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun, along with all the staples you’ll need for quite a while.
So, Leslie, my wife and her girlfriend were upholstering a new bench. And the staple gun that my wife’s friend brought over just wasn’t cutting it. I said, “I can fix that.” And I got out my E21 and they were all very happy.
LESLIE: So you said, “Here is the best one.”
It’s a fantastic staple gun. I mean you can work on a project for up to 3 hours with that battery life. And it’s really fantastic, because you can use it for crafting, woodworking, all kinds of upholstery projects. It’s just a super-great tool and for 50 bucks, it’s going to last you a lifetime.
TOM: That Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone, call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Deb in Wyoming, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DEB: Yeah, I’ve got some trouble with an area of grass right in the middle of my yard. It’s probably 20×20.
LESLIE: The yard? Or the problem area?
DEB: The problem area is probably 20×20.
LESLIE: OK. That’s a big problem.
DEB: Yeah. And the lawn is pretty big and it grows really good all the way around this area. And it only – it’ll grow maybe an inch or two and then it kind of heads out and never really gets green. We put extra water on it and we fertilize it and aerate it, just like the rest of the lawn, but it just doesn’t look good. And seems funny that this would be just in one area.
LESLIE: Well, it could be that that area, for whatever reason, has a different pH balance than the other parts of your lawn itself. And therefore that the seed that you’re using is reacting differently to the soil than the other areas.
So, you might want to take a couple of soil samples from the problem area and have those tested. Sometimes, the home centers sell little kits. Sometimes, you might have to contact your local building department to find out who you can do that with. But you can have a soil test done pretty easily and inexpensively.
And once you know exactly what’s going on with the soil in this area, that could be enlightening to have this information. Because you could be using the wrong seed, you could be using the wrong fertilizer. That will tell you exactly what type of fertilizer, when, how to water it. That’s really the key here and that should clear up a lot of this problem.
DEB: OK. That sounds great. I’ll sure give it a try.
TOM: Deb, I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, deck season is finally here. And if you’re ready to clean and restain your deck so it’s good to go for the summer ahead, we’re going to walk you through the essential steps, right now, in today’s DIY Deck Do-Over presented by Wagner Control Pro High-Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayers.
TOM: Well, even the best-built decks can’t escape the elements but a good finish can definitely help keep Mother Nature from ruining the deck surface.
So, first off, a deck finish really needs to do three things: it’s got to repel water, it’s got to preserve the wood and it has to screen out those damaging UV rays. Now, there are two types of deck finishes you need to know about: sealers and stains. Now, both are formulated to seal out the elements, as the name implies. Clear sealers, though, are non-pigmented finishes and stains are available with a little pigmentation, semi-transparent or in solid colors. And unlike paints, which form a surface film, they’re clear and pigmented finishes that penetrate the wood and can definitely stand up to foot traffic.
So, the next question is: what should you use? Oil or water-based finishes? And the one you choose depends on priorities. Oil-based finishes always provide more and longer-lasting protection because they penetrate deeper. But the water-based products are certainly easier to clean up than the oil-based. I don’t think they’re so much easier that it makes it worth using them. I would always prefer oil but it’s definitely a consideration. And they’re also more forgiving in damp conditions. Those water-based finishes will work with a very damp condition where the oil definitely will not.
LESLIE: Well, then how do you decide between clear or color? So, clear deck finishes are super popular right now because they allow the natural grain of that wood to show through. But that’s not as good as blocking those UV rays as something that has color in it. Now, the best UV protection does come from a combination of chemical inhibitors and the color pigments.
Now, lightly-pigmented or semi-transparent finishes will add some color to the deck while allowing some of the grain to show through. But they also will form an effective UV barrier. But the more pigment that your finish has, the better it is at blocking those UV rays.
Now, solid-color finishes will offer you the most UV protection. Unfortunately, most aren’t formulated for foot traffic. Now, if you want a solid color, you want to look for products that are made expressly for deck surfaces.
TOM: Now, with new decks, we often get the question as to whether or not we should stain them right away or you should wait. But if you leave the wood unprotected, you’re going to lower the interior moisture content and allow the pores to be opened to accept more stain or sealer. And unfortunately, it contributes to weathering. Instead, we suggest that you do apply a finish on a newly-built or newly-clean deck within a few weeks and then apply a second coat the following year. And you certainly won’t have to repeat it the year after that. You should be good to go for a good 4 or 5 years.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Deck Do-Over Tip presented by Wagner Control Pro High-Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayers. These sprayers produce up to 55-percent less overspray, making it easy for homeowners to transform big projects, like home exteriors, decks, fencing and more. The Wagner Control Pro 130 is available at all major retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Menards and Amazon. And you can learn more at WagnerSprayTech.com.
TOM: That’s WagnerSprayTech.com.
LESLIE: Donna in New York is on the line and is having an issue cleaning some showers.
What’s going on, Donna?
DONNA: Well, I work at a fitness facility. And boy, do I have a problem with one out of four of the shower stalls there. That one, of course, is in the men’s room. Oh, my God, it’s so gross. It constantly cakes up this slimy, brown, gross, moldy – I don’t even know what this gunk is on the walls. And I have tried everything. I used bleach, the bathroom cleaners, antibacterial scrub brush. I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t even know what to do.
TOM: Yeah. It’s just getting away from you.
Well, first of all – and I know this is out of your control but the more humidity that builds up in that space, the worse this will continue to get. So if they don’t have good ventilation, they get dirtier and dirtier because it supports the growth of mold, mildew, algae and moss.
But one product that I’ve had great success with is called Zep – Z-e-p. It’s a shower, tub and tile cleaner. It’s a commercial cleaner. It’s not expensive. It’s about seven bucks a jug at Home Depot. And when you spray it on, it foams up and does a really good job of cutting out that nasty combination of soap scum and then everything that grows in the soap scum. Because the soap scum is like a food to a lot of those materials and that’s why it just gets so nasty. So I would try the Zep – Z-e-p – and see how you like that.
DONNA: Oh, my God. I am so glad I got through.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Richard in Florida is on the line with a question about a driveway. What’s going on?
RICHARD: Well, I had a golf cart parked in the driveway and it must have been leaking something. And I’ve got a rust stain and I – it looks like some oil stains. And it’s a brand-new driveway. I was wondering if there was anything I can use to remove those stains.
LESLIE: Well, it’s a brand-new driveway with a brand-new stain. That’s terrible.
TOM: That’s funny.
LESLIE: That always happens. You start off with something brand new and then it just gets ruined right off the bat.
TOM: Yeah, the first one hurts the worst, too. It’s like the first dent you get in a new car.
LESLIE: Ugh. Terrible.
RICHARD: That’s exactly …
LESLIE: You know what you could try is something called “trisodium phosphate.” Goes by TSP.
LESLIE: You’ll find it mostly in the painting aisle at home centers. And it’s a powder and you can mix it into a paste, you know. And I would sort of put that onto the oil stain and the rust stain and let it sit there as a thicker paste. And then, as it seems to start to be drying up a little bit, you can take a brush and kind of scrub it, just gently, to see. And that should pull everything out: the rust and the oil. That oil is probably going to have to be done a couple of times, just because it is so porous and the oil does just want to get into every nook and cranny.
RICHARD: OK. Yep.
LESLIE: But that should do the trick.
RICHARD: OK. I’ll try it.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
RICHARD: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’ve got Laura in Michigan. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?
LAURA: Hi. Well, I recently removed my – some carpeting from my bathroom floor. And it’s ceramic floor and I’m having a hard time getting some of the, I think – what is it? – glue and part of the back of the carpeting on – it’s still on the floor. Not a lot but I want to get it up. It’s mainly around the edges. And I thought maybe you had a way of doing that that would take less elbow grease, I guess.
LESLIE: Alright. So, Laura – and you’re trying to get rid of this adhesive from the carpet that was over ceramic tile, which is so crazy. But at least you’ve got a nice, smooth surface that you can work with to try to remove the adhesive.
Now, some of the things that you could work with are citrus-based and there’s one called Citrus King Mastic Remover. And there’s actually a website you can go to: CitrusDepot.net. And if you go to that website, you can buy a trial container. I want to say it’s like $10 for a pint, so you can just try it out and see if that’ll do the trick. And that’s worth it and that’s a good product to use that’s not going to be stinky and it’ll be good to work with. I’d say give that a try and see how that works with the adhesive that’s from your carpet.
LAURA: That sounds great. I’ll definitely give it a try.
TOM: Well, if you guys love to take your cooking outside, this summer there are more options than ever before to help you expand your outdoor kitchen beyond just that backyard grill.
Now, according to the experts at RiverbendHome.com, wood-fire pizza ovens, smokers, cast-iron cookery and outdoor rotisseries are more popular than ever and can definitely help you kick up your outdoor cooking and entertaining.
LESLIE: Well, first, let’s talk about outdoor pizza ovens, because these have become super popular lately. Now, you can power these by gas or wood and produce the high temperatures and quick cooking times that are required for that super-delicious, crispy crust and dare I say, melted-to-perfection cheese, along with that slightly charred flavor. Can you tell I’m hungry and that I super love a wood-fired pizza?
TOM: Yeah. Absolutely.
LESLIE: Those outdoor pizza ovens, I mean they’re available in compact models, portable models or even as DIY kits for building larger, stationary units. In fact, on RiverbendHome.com, you can find several from WPPO that you can build in about 5 hours. And they’re going to set you up for years of delicious pizza-making.
Now, next, besides your basic gas or charcoal grill, a great tool to have in your backyard-barbecue arsenal is a smoker. My brother-in-law, Chris, he smokes everything. I swear, everything we see him he’s like, “Here’s a bag of jerky. Here’s a brisket. Here’s …” – and I’m like, “It’s amazing.” And it takes hours and hours but boy, is it delicious. You get a slow temp, you cook it for a long time and you’re going to end up with something that’s really tender and juicy and it has that signature smoky flavor.
And some of these models can also be used as a conventional grill, so it kind of gives you the benefits of having a grill and a smoker in one appliance.
TOM: Now, here’s a trend that really surprised me. Cast-iron cookware is rising in popularity but not necessarily over an occasional open campfire. The outdoor chefs of today are discovering that cast-iron pots and pans are a great choice for cooking on grills or in outdoor ovens. You can use Dutch ovens to create casseroles or roast vegetables or make stews or soups. And the skillets and griddles, they let you cook fish and bacon and breakfast foods, like eggs and pancakes, for a nice Sunday brunch on the patio.
And finally, if you guys like the grilled meats that you typically find at a Brazilian steakhouse, you can use a gas rotisserie grill and serve guests rodizio style by carving the meat off the skewers and serving it directly onto their plates.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. That sounds super yummy, you guys.
And that’s today’s Outdoor Living Tip presented by RiverbendHome.com. With unique finds for the inspired home, you’ll find everything you need to create your outdoor oasis right at RiverbendHome.com.
And now through May 31st, you can save 15 percent on your order of $150 or more by using the code MONEYPIT15 at checkout. That’s MONEYPIT15 at RiverbendHome.com.
Now we’ve got Ken from North Dakota on the line with a question about roofing. What can we do for you today?
KEN: So I have a 20-year-old house that I reshingled recently and took out the power vent and put in – well, when we finished the roof, of course, then I put in the continuous ridge vent.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep.
KEN: And when the power vent was in there, the soffits were all full up with insulation and then there was just – every fifth rafter, they had the 4-foot baffle to allow air in.
KEN: So, now, my question is: with the continuous ridge vent, do I need to open up the soffits so that there’s more ventilation in there?
TOM: Yeah. Well, first of all, replacing – removing that power vent was a really smart thing. I’m not sure if you realize this but removing it basically is going to make your whole home more efficient. Because those power attic ventilators, what happens is in the summertime when they kick on, they’re so powerful that they take air not only out of the attic but they’ll reach down into the house, through all the nooks and crannies and spaces around wiring and plumbing and such, and it will pull out all the air-conditioned air or some portion of it, which means you have to replace it and it costs you more to cool. So that part was good. Ridge vent was good.
To your question about the soffits, yes, you would be better off having those soffits be completely opened as opposed to every few feet. When you had the power ventilator, you were able to get away with it but continuous ridge and soffit vents are the best way to go. They work together to flush out warm air in the summer and cool, moist air in the winter, which can make your insulation inefficient.
KEN: Correct. Alright. Well, thank you so much. Appreciate the help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, if you enjoy woodworking, crafting or even DIY projects, heck, if you like making things, have we got a great tool to give away to one lucky listener.
TOM: Yep. We’ve got the Arrow E21 Cordless Electric Staple Gun, along with all the staples you’ll need for quite a while. It’s compact, easy to use, fires 30 staples and nails per minute. It’s got a super-long battery life of up to 3 hours. And it’s great for crafting and woodworking and lots of other projects in and around the house.
It’s worth 50 bucks but going out to one caller drawn at random.
LESLIE: So make that you. Give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win and of course, help with whatever project you’re working on.
Carol in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CAROL: We have a new porch that we put on the back of our house. And we used on it a treated lumber and we put a transparent stain on it. Now, we have two other porches on two different other buildings and they did not get stained or anything. They were treated wood and now they’re kind of weathered-looking. You know how they turn.
So, now we’re wondering if we pressure-washed them, could we put the transparent stain on them?
TOM: You could but I wouldn’t recommend it. And here’s why: because the transparent stain doesn’t have any pigment in it. And so it doesn’t really do a good job of keeping the UV away from the wood. It’s not – you can’t – the natural color of the wood is, unfortunately, impossible to maintain. What I would recommend is that you do clean those surfaces to make sure they’re ready for a new stain, let them dry thoroughly and then add either a semi-transparent or a solid-color stain to that porch surface. You’ll still be able to see the grain of the wood underneath but it’ll be well protected.
CAROL: Thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carol. Good luck on that farm. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, butterflies are one of the best parts of the spring and summer. And attracting them to your yard means that you’re going to have an army of pollinators working very hard right at your home.
Now, for butterflies, nectar is food. So if you plant the right flowers and flowering bushes, butterflies are going to gladly stop by to feed. Now, these five flowers can help you.
Now, first, the butterfly bush. I mean come on, the name says it all right there. It is, by far, the best choice when it comes to having a butterfly garden at home. And the plant itself is also called “summer lilac” and it’s really gorgeous.
TOM: Now, the butterfly flower or butterfly weed is another must-have for you butterfly lovers out there. I like that this plant does double duty. It not only supplies nectar for the adult butterflies but it’s a host plant for caterpillars. And get this: the butterfly weed helps keep species, like the monarch butterfly, thriving because the plant contains a toxic substance that makes the caterpillars taste nasty to predators. How smart is that? And the hummingbirds love that butterfly weed, as well.
Now, next, the cone flower is third on our list of plants butterflies love. The cone flowers are easy to grow. They’re drought-resistant. They’re good in cold temperatures. They’re going to grow pretty much just about anywhere. And the large flowers are going to bloom over a long period of time, which is nice. You’re going to have them through several seasons and they’re really a must for any serious butterfly gardener, because they’re just going to stick around and do their job well into the fall.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, here’s another good one. It’s the Aster family. And that’s going to include a lot of different varieties. They’re all beautiful. They come in a variety of blue and purple tones. Really lovely. And the nice thing about this butterfly-attracting plant is that it’s going to bloom late summer and fall. So that means you’re going to attract butterflies for a longer period of time in your garden.
And lastly, Salvia. It’s really another must-have for anybody who wants to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, honeybees. This is just a great one to plant. Now, the Salvia plant produces rich nectar even in drought conditions, which is needed as a food source in extremely dry weather. Red is a favorite if you want to try to attract hummingbirds, too. They’re easy to grow and they add some nice, bright color to any garden.
TOM: So, to sum it up, your butterfly garden, it ought to have the butterfly bush, the butterfly weed, the butterfly flower, the cone flower, anything from the Aster family and Salvia and you will be good to go. You will have so many butterflies, it will be amazing to watch them go to work on your garden.
LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is on the line and has a question about a water heater. What can we do for you?
DOUG: I’m considering changing the anode rod in my water heater because I’m told that it’s necessary to change. Now, it’s a 12-year heater – a water heater. So, is this something I definitely need to do?
TOM: Are you having any issues with odor in the hot water? Does it smell like sulfur or rotten eggs?
TOM: Then I say no. Don’t do it.
It’s really hard to do this project because sometimes, the anode rods get really locked in. The bolt on top that you have to take out to get to them and pull it out is – gets really corrosive. So it’s a hard project to do. You may damage the water heater in the process. It’s already made it to 12 years. So, you’re not going to expect to have a lot more years out of it anyway. And I don’t – I wouldn’t recommend putting any money into a 12-year-old water heater.
DOUG: Yeah. I was reading something where it is a little difficult to get it out.
TOM: Yeah, it is. That’s why I say when your water heater’s just getting up in age, it’s probably not worth it.
DOUG: OK. I appreciate it.
LESLIE: Brad writes: “I am a young commercial architect and I love the podcast. I listen to every episode while I’m drafting.”
TOM: I love that.
LESLIE: “On Podcast Episode 2,095” – it’s very specific – “a caller asked about cast-iron piping and Tom mentioned a relining process to smooth the inside of the pipe. Now, my house was built in 2004 and the plumbing in the house is PVC but the vertical stack is cast iron. In the three years we have lived in the home, we’ve had a plumber come snake out the pipe four times due to the flushable wipes from our potty-training toddlers, who just love to flush them down the toilet when we’re not looking. I’d love to find a better solution and I’m wondering if lining the cast-iron pipe would be an option.”
TOM: I think maybe trying to survive the potty training would be the better option here.
LESLIE: Yeah. First step: potty train.
TOM: So, first of all, thanks for listening and I’m glad that we help you get through all of that drafting. But lining the vertical cast-iron pipe? Not the solution. I mean this process is done to repair broken pipes and especially those that run underground, without having to dig them up. And it’s particularly useful when the pipe runs under a driveway, a pool or other structure that would be really costly to disturb to fix the busted pipe.
Now, aside from just waiting this out until the potty training passes, the other option would be to replace the cast-iron with PVC. But I guess you’re going to have to weigh the cost of paying the plumber for snaking out that pipe against the cost of replacing the vertical stacks. And frankly, I think I would just try and step up the enforcement and wait it out, as I suspect this won’t last long enough for the replacement to be cost-effective.
Leslie, you’ve been through this more recently than I have. What about a reward for no flushing the wipes down the potty? Would that work?
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. Please, you’re just bribing them to go in the potty. So what are you going to do? You’re going to be like, “I’ll give you an M&M if you pee in the potty and I’ll give you a sticker if you don’t flush the wipe.” You’re going to end up with these charts everywhere and stickers and candy. It’s not easy.
TOM: Yeah. Maybe you should just pay the plumber.
LESLIE: Good luck with all of that.
Alright. Now, Reggie asks, “I recently purchased a home where part of the roof is not sloped enough for shingles. My home inspector said that portion was roll-on roofing and was in good shape. However, he advised me that the roll-on portion would only have a life of 5 to 7 years and would need to be redone. When it’s time to redo, are there other roofing materials to consider that have more longevity?”
TOM: Yeah, your inspector is correct. There’s a lot of factors that impact the life of roofing but roll-on, low-slope roofing is definitely one that doesn’t have a very long duration. It has to be used whenever the slope of the roof is less than about 3/12. I think the best option would be a type of roof called EPDM, which we commonly refer to as rubber roofing. It’s flexible, it handles hot and cold weather cycles and it can definitely last for decades.
LESLIE: Yeah, Reggie. It’s all about finding the right product for the right job.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Wrapping up our 2,100th episode. Thank you so much for being a part of the history of this program. We’re so proud to have been able to help you guys with your projects for all these years. And we are still going strong. So if you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach us through our website at MoneyPit.com or by calling our toll-free number at 888-MONEY-PIT any time of the day or night.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2021 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)