- Have you ever taken a shower and received a blast of water that was freezing cold or scalding hot? That’s what we call shower shock! Tom explains exactly why this happens and how to stop the shower-shock for good.
- By now, garages are usually a mess of toys, tools and toxins like lawn chemicals and paints – all of which are too close to each other for comfort. We share garage organization solutions that can help.
- If you’ve ever tried to repair old, worn-out concrete by covering it with new concrete only to find it didn’t last, we’ll share a solution that will, and delivers a beautiful new finish in just a few hours.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- John in Maryland wants to reno a small bathroom that contains the home’s water heater. He’s looking for a recommendation on the smallest possible water heater that will do the job.
- Phyllis from New Jersey is buying a home built in the 1960’s and want to know what repairs to expect in an older home. Tom taps his 20-year’s worth of experience as a home inspector to share useful tips about homes built in that era.
- Charlie in Tennessee wants to expand his kitchen and wants to know how to tell if his wall is a load bearing wall before he rips it out!
- Michelle in Iowa wants to build a firepit out of brick and needs a recommendation for the best type of mortar to use for her project.
- Charlene from Indiana has a low slope roof in bad shape and wants to know if she can replace it with a metal roof.
- Randy from Maryland wants to stain a brand-new deck build from pressure-treated lumber and wants to know if he should do this right away or wait a year.
- Margaret wants to know how to get rid of popcorn ceilings.
- Eve in Delaware wants to get rid of a smoke smell from her studio apartment.
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 do just that: to improve your home, to renovate your home, to fix up your home. Whether you’re a DIYer – whether you’re a pro that needs some help, some advice – whether you’re just getting going on your first project or perhaps this is your hundredth project, if you’d like to share what’s going on at your money pit, we would love to help give you a hand.
Couple of ways to get in touch with us. You can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will take your message and we will call you back the next time we are in the studio. Or you can post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, it’s probably happened to you at least once or twice. Imagine this: you’re standing in the shower, you’re enjoying the warm water cascading all over your body when all of a sudden, yikes, the water turns freezing cold or scalding hot. We’re going to explain what’s going on, why it happens and how to stop the so-called “shower shock” for good, just ahead.
LESLIE: Yeah. Normally, it’s my son with a pitcher of ice-cold water over the top of my other child. But I know there’s other reasons for it, as well.
Also ahead, guys, now that we’re getting to the end of summer, how is that garage looking? I know mine is just filled with random balls and things on wheels and helmets. It’s kind of a disaster. So if you’re looking like the same and you’ve got in there tools and toys and toxins and lawn chemicals and paints and it’s all kind of too close for comfort, we’re going to share some solutions that can help, in today’s DIY Project Highlight.
TOM: And if you’ve ever tried to repair old, worn-out concrete by covering it with new concrete – this is something that folks do every spring, because they put rock salt on their sidewalks and it leaves all these pits and holes in it. Or maybe you’ve just got an old sidewalk that’s cracked. But you tried to patch it, right, with more concrete? But what happened? It didn’t last. It chipped off. Looks worse than ever. Well, that’s because you’re not using the right kind of patching material. We’re going to share a solution that works and works really, really well.
LESLIE: But first, we want to help you guys with whatever you are working on, whether it’s a home décor project or an improvement project.
And we also would like to give you some products that can help for sure. So, today, we’ve got a nice package of products from The Original Super Glue Company. Now, that includes Total Tape, which is as strong as a construction adhesive but as easy to use as tape.
TOM: That package is worth 57 bucks. Going out to one listener drawn at random. So, why not make that you? Join us. Call the show now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: John in Maryland is on the line with a water-heater question. How can we help you?
JOHN: Have a gas hot-water heater right now that vents up through – it’s not really a chimney stack but it’s, you know, the sheet-metal pipe. And that takes up a lot of space in a bathroom I have and I’d like to kind of eliminate that. And I was wondering if there are any side-venting gas water heaters, similar to how they have some high-efficiency furnaces that sort of vent out of the side of the house. I was wondering what you guys’ opinion on are – of gas water heaters that might do the same. And that would allow me to get rid of that unusable space in my bathroom, for renovation.
TOM: Yeah, you’re correct. There are what – it’s called a “direct-vent appliance.” And there are direct-vent water heaters. And if you are going to replace your water heater, I would consider a tankless water heater. You mentioned space. Tankless water heaters are about a quarter of the size of the traditional tanked water heater. And yes, they are available as a direct-vent type of installation.
In fact, that’s one of the things that makes them so cool is that they’re so small and they’re so easily vented that you can pretty much put them anywhere. So, I think your solution is a directly-vented tankless water heater.
JOHN: OK. And there’s no issue there with any problem with the – you’re always worried about getting flue gas and all that stuff. That side vent – those are safe to vent out and there’s no issue, right?
TOM: Well, there’s rules about where you put them. Like, for example, there has to be so many feet away from a potentially open window and that kind of thing. And it has to be so far off the ground so it doesn’t get covered with snow – the vent doesn’t get covered with snow. So there are some basic rules about where you put in a direct vent. But as long as you follow those then no, there’s no issue about them getting blocked.
JOHN: Great. Alright, guys. Thanks a lot for your help. Love your show.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Phyllis from the Jersey Shore calling in. What can we do for you today?
PHYLLIS: I am looking to purchase a home. And the problem is I’m looking at a very specific area because I don’t want to leave the current school district the children are in. All the homes around here were built in the 60s. So my first question is: what should I look for in that era of home construction that might be a red flag? And also, the way the homes are all built, the bottom floor has radiant-floor heat and upstairs is hot-water baseboard. And I just – I can’t imagine that 50-year-old pipes are not going to go at some point. And I’m wondering, how do I make sure they’re OK or look for signs that they’re getting weak?
TOM: So you’re basically looking for the good, the bad and the ugly of 1960s construction.
TOM: And the story is that it’s actually a pretty good time for home construction. You had copper plumbing, you had decent wiring. Sometimes, the services were a little small but if the homes were mostly natural gas, you really don’t need more than about 100 amps to power pretty much everything, including central air conditioning. And you’ve got hardwood floors. Very frequently, you had hardwood floors in 1960 houses. And it’s interesting because they put the hardwood floors in and they very promptly covered them with wall-to-wall carpet.
LESLIE: With shag carpeting.
TOM: Or shag, yeah. That’s right. Which actually protects them very nicely and didn’t allow them to wear. So, it’s a pretty good year for home construction.
Now, because it’s a 50-year-old house, you’re obviously going to have – how old is the furnace? How old is the water heater? Stuff like that to consider. What’s the general maintenance been? But in terms of an era of home construction, I think it’s a really strong era.
Now, if you’d asked me about the 80s, I would tell you, eh, not so much. Those houses were put together pretty fast and not always in the best possible way. But the 60s is a pretty good year for construction.
PHYLLIS: Oh, good. Because I’m moving up. I live in an 80s house now.
TOM: Oh, there you go. So you’re going to get better.
In terms of that radiant heat, that’s probably one – the one weak link that that home has. But the thing is, you can’t really determine how far along it is and whether or not it’s going to break. It probably will eventually fail and when that happens, you’re going to be faced with a pretty costly repair. You’ll have to put in some sort of alternative heat system, because it’s virtually impossible to repair those pipes in the slab.
So the first floor of your house will either be running new baseboard pipes or you’ll be running electric radiant or you’ll be adding an air-to-water heat exchanger so that you can take hot water from the boiler, run it through a heat exchanger and blow air over it through your HVAC system, the same one you use to cool the house.
But I wouldn’t obsess about that. I mean it’s probably going to happen eventually but it may not even happen in the time that you own this next house. So if you like the neighborhood, 1960s is a pretty good era for home construction.
PHYLLIS: Great. That’s great news. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, we’ve got a great set of nine products to give away from The Original Super Glue to one lucky listener. If you’d like to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question, you could win these products from Super Glue, including Total Tape.
And The Original Super Glue Total Tape is very cool. It’s a double-sided, construction-adhesive tape that is mesh-reinforced. So, think about it: it’s as strong as construction adhesive but it’s as easy to use as tape. It’s available at Amazon, in your local hardware store or learn more at SuperGlueCorp.com/TotalTape.
That package of products from The Original Super Glue, including Total Tape, is worth 57 bucks. Going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us, participate, join us on The Money Pit. That number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Charlie in Tennessee is on the line and looking to do some renovating at his money pit. How can we help you today?
CHARLIE: I have a small kitchen that – I’m trying to knock out the walls to increase space, to make my kitchen and my dining room one big room. My dilemma is the fact that I don’t know whether the wall that I’m knocking down is a load-bearing wall or not.
LESLIE: Well, step away from the project and don’t knock it down just yet.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, what kind of house do you have, Charlie? Is it a ranch? Is it a Colonial? Describe it to us.
CHARLIE: It’s a wood-frame home.
TOM: OK. One story or two?
CHARLIE: One story.
TOM: And the roof peaks in the middle? Goes up from the front, goes up from the back, peaks in the middle?
CHARLIE: Kind of. It’s L-shaped.
CHARLIE: And where the wall would be would be pretty much right where the two meet.
TOM: Yeah. So you’re in the middle there; you’re not quite sure. And the dining room and the kitchen are side by side? Is it aligned front to back on the house or is it aligned end to end, so to speak?
CHARLIE: It would be – that wall would be parallel for the front to back.
TOM: So, it’s aligned front to back. OK. I would say that in most cases, that is a bearing wall. That doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water; it just means it’s a little more complicated for you to open this up. Because if it’s a bearing wall, you have to support the structure while it’s disassembled and then you have to put a new beam in to carry that load in the new, open-plan design.
It’s not something that you would do yourself. It’s not like – I don’t want you to – like, “Hey, I’ve never done home improvement but today, I’m thinking about tearing down a bearing wall.” Bad idea, OK?
TOM: So you need to know what you’re doing or get some people to help you to know what you’re doing or hire a pro. And get a building permit.
And basically, the way it works is temporary walls are built on either side of the bearing wall and this holds up the structure that they’re supposed to be holding. Then the bearing wall is taken apart. The bearing wall is reconstructed but now you would use a girder. And it could be a wood girder, it could be a metal girder, it could be a combination wood-and-metal girder that goes the whole span. It could be a girder that sits below the ceiling or it could be a girder that’s actually flush with the ceiling so when it’s all done, it’s invisible.
But one way or the other, you’ll need this beam to carry the load above that. And then once it’s all put back together, you’re really not going to know that it’s there. But you’ve got just to do it right so that you don’t damage your house in the process, OK?
CHARLIE: Yes, sir. Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Charlie. Good luck with that project. Now, put the saw down, OK?
CHARLIE: No problem. Thank you. I appreciate …
TOM: Well, hey, guys, if you’re a pet lover, we are now in the last week of the Post a Picture of Your Pet Photo Contest, which is pawsented (ph) by LL Flooring. And it’s been super popular.
LESLIE: Yeah. To enter, all you’ve got to do is post a picture of your pet with a short description. And then share your entry and invite your friends to vote.
Now, the top three vote-getters are going to receive a $1,000 gift card from LL Flooring, as well as a $50 gift card from Chewy. And you can choose from any of LL Flooring’s beautiful styles, including scratch-resistant floors, as well as water-resistant laminates, waterproof tiles and waterproof vinyl.
And we’re seeing all kinds of pets, too. Right, Tom? Not just dogs and cats.
TOM: Oh, I love it. We’re seeing lots of dogs, lots of cats and even a pet monkey. Which was super cute because he was dressed up in a tuxedo.
LESLIE: That’s amazing. Because you always have to look your best when you’re doing home improvement.
Enter today at MoneyPit.com/Contest. That’s the Post a Picture of Your Pet Photo Contest presented by LL Flooring at MoneyPit.com/Contest.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Michelle in Iowa on the line who’s looking to spend some more time outdoors with a fire pit. How can we help with that project?
MICHELLE: Well, we started making an outside fire pit with fieldstone. And our mortar that we seem to be using, it just seems like it’s awful dry and it’s like it’s cracking. So, didn’t know if you had a different brand that you thought would work or any suggestions.
TOM: Well, one tip is that if it’s a really warm, dry day when you’re working, you might want to consider putting some plastic over the areas that you’re working on, to slow the evaporation rate. Because if it dries really quickly, sometimes it can shrink and crack.
MICHELLE: And no certain brand of mortar you think would work best as what the stores recommend for outside fireplaces?
TOM: Well, QUIKRETE works extremely well, so you could look to the QUIKRETE brand. And one of the advantages of QUIKRETE is they’ve also got lots and lots and lots of videos online that give you the step-by-step on how to properly mix the product, for example, in this case.
MICHELLE: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s probably happened to you at least once or twice: you’re standing in the shower, it’s warm, it feels fantastic and then all of a sudden, that water turns freezing cold or crazy hot. And that can just ruin everything.
TOM: Yeah. That’s definitely an experience that can knock you totally off-balance. The solution, however, is to install a pressure-balanced valve.
So, the reason this happens is because your plumbing system is trying to give you as much hot or cold water as you have essentially ordered, right? You set that mix just where you want it. Your plumbing system’s chugging along. It’s giving you just enough hot, just enough cold, to get that perfect balance. But the problem is that that works well when you’re a single person and nothing else is running in the house at the same time. As soon as a second fixture gets used – now, this could be a dishwasher, could be a toilet, could be laundry, could be anything.
LESLIE: It could be anywhere in the house, right?
TOM: Right. Anywhere in the plumbing system. When that happens and it starts to ask for either hot or cold water, then that impacts the mix of the water coming out of your formerly warm-and-very-comfortable shower. And that’s why you get the shower shock.
So, the solution is to install a type of shower valve called a “pressure-balanced valve.” It’s really not temperature-balanced; it’s pressure-balanced. It keeps the ratio of the hot-and-cold-water mix the same, even when the supply – or the pressure, the flow – of the water is reduced. And because that mix is the same, you are not going to get these extreme temperature changes.
LESLIE: Yeah. And anti-scald devices, they really can be a smart investment. In fact, Consumer Reports tells us that some 200,000 injuries are caused by sudden changes in water temperature while you’re bathing. And young children, elderly and pretty much anyone who’s physically challenged are going to suffer the most. So it’s definitely worth updating.
TOM: Yeah. It’s a project you should probably have on your to-do list if you don’t have one yet. And by the way, some states are requiring these now in newer construction. But if you don’t have one, definitely put that on the plumber’s to-do list.
LESLIE: Charlene in Louisiana is on the line with a roofing question. What are you working on?
CHARLENE: I have a shallow roof on my house. They call it a “2:3 pitch.” It’s not flat but it’s very shallow, OK? Almost no attic, about maybe 2 feet in there. I was interested in an aluminum roof, like a lifetime roof? And I wanted to know which would be better: that or a regular shingle roof, like an architectural roof.
TOM: You don’t have the pitch for an asphalt-shingle roof. You need to have at least a 3:12 or a 4:12 roof to put in shingles.
CHARLENE: Well, I have shingles on it now and they’ve been there for 20 years.
TOM: I’m telling you, you may but it’s not right. You can only put shingles on a roof that’s got a minimum pitch of 3:12 or 4:12. And if you’ve got them on there right now, count your blessings but it shouldn’t have been put on there. And any roofing manufacturer will tell you that.
If you – your options, therefore, are either to do, say, a rolled roofing or a rubber roofing or a metal roof, as long as it’s rated for that low pitch. And I think a metal roof is a great investment if you’re going to be there for the long haul. But that’s what I would invest in because with that low of a pitch, you probably don’t see it very much and you want to make sure that it’s really going to be watertight. And with a low pitch, you just can’t use an architectural shingle; it just won’t work.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And hey, Leslie, I understand that you – while you were (inaudible) because while you were away with the kids, you had your kitchen cabinets painted. How’d that come out?
LESLIE: I mean it was kind of fun. It was interesting, while we were away, to constantly see the Ring-doorbell updates. So it’s like I knew things were happening.
TOM: You knew they were going in and out.
LESLIE: Yeah. I knew people were going in and out. I knew what was going on. I picked out everything to paint our kitchen cabinets. You know, I wanted to do a bit of a change without a tremendous expense. It was not inexpensive, because I had super-old oak cabinets with that heavy, heavy, heavy grain that you can’t just paint.
LESLIE: So the doors and the drawer fronts went to the shop. They all got coated and sanded and filled and all that stuff and then with a spray lacquer. The boxes were handled inside the house, obviously.
I came home. Things were a little dusty but what a tremendous difference. Holy cow. To go from that sort of pinky-orange oak color – you know what I’m talking about, especially one that’s probably 40 years old – to this beautiful, bright, white space?
TOM: Absolutely. Yeah, how cool was it that they filled all the oak grain, too? Because that can really take it away.
So, that’s great. Glad to hear it. And you’re kind of living the dream. We talk about these projects and we do them ourselves, as well.
888-666-3974. If you’ve got a project you’d like to get done, give us a call right now.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Randy from Maryland on the line with a decking question. How can we help you today?
RANDY: I just put a brand-new deck on the back of my house. The house was actually built in 1988, so it’s good and settled. I just wondered how soon I could treat it. I’ve heard 2 months, 3 months. I’ve heard a whole season. I don’t want to wait too long but I don’t want to do it too early.
TOM: Randy, what’s the material the deck is made out of? Is it pressure-treated lumber or cedar or redwood? What?
RANDY: Yeah. It’s pressure-treated lumber.
TOM: OK. So what I would do, at this point, is I would wait until next spring. Let it be exposed to the environment for a while. It is true that the lumber, when it first goes in, is very moist. And by waiting maybe 6 months in your case, you’re going to find that it’s going to dry out a bit. And it’ll be ready to sort of take a stain better than taking it right now. So I would certainly let it sit for a while and then stain it before next summer, when it gets sort of cool and dry out.
And then in terms of the stain itself, I would recommend that you choose a solid-color stain. It will still show the grain through but it’ll have more pigment in it and it’ll last longer. Does that help you out?
RANDY: I think so. So basically, say, wait a full season then?
TOM: Yeah. I would wait a full season and then I would stain it after that.
TOM: Thanks, Randy. I hope that helps you out. We appreciate you calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, as we’re nearing the end of summer, it’s a good time to improve the storage and organization that you’ve got in your garage. Because the time is going to come when all those toys and bicycles that you’ve got out and about right now need to kind of find a place to be for the colder season ahead. And if you’re not careful, you can have those toys stored side by side with your paint and lawn chemicals and other hazards. I mean truly, the garage is such a weird place where you mix up all this stuff and think that everything’s going to be OK in there.
So we’ve got a few storage-project solutions that can definitely help, in today’s DIY Project Highlight presented by Kreg Tool.
TOM: Well, first off, it’s really smart, when you’re getting your garage organized, to take advantage of the wall space. Be it for benches, for cabinets or shelves, getting that stuff up off the floor so it’s not tripped over or damaged is essential.
Now, at KregTool.com, they have got a whole section of plans for storage types of projects. So, for example, there is the Basic Friendly Storage Unit Project. And I like this one. It jumped right at me because it’s made from 1x2s and 1x3s and 1x4s, plus a few screws and you’re good to go. You’ll also find plans for a garage storage and work center that features cubbies, where you can really maximize your wall space, along with a number of plans for garage cabinets, as well.
LESLIE: Yeah. And tool storage is also very important in your garage. Everyday products like ladders and lawn tools, they can also be unsafe if you’re not storing them correctly.
You know, ladders, for example, they should always be stored horizontally so that your kids cannot climb on them. Rakes, hedge trimmers, shovels, if you leave them on the garage floor leaning against a wall, those can easily fall underfoot and cause a lot of injuries.
So, to be safe, you’ve got to use the wall space and get as many of those tools off the floor as possible.
TOM: Now, Kreg Tools makes this easy with over two dozen DIY plans for garage organization, including a DIY tool organization and storage cabinet that simply mounts on the wall, along with plans for a miter-saw station and storage, because those tools take up a lot of space. It’s nice to have something built-in for that. And even a shelf that’s designed just to hold cans of paint.
So, if you’re a DIYer, these project plans can make it easy to create storage solutions you need to keep your space neat, organized and safe.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s DIY Project Highlight presented by the Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig 520PRO, making it easy for anyone to make strong pocket-hole joints for all sorts of projects and a variety of materials.
TOM: Available nationwide at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home centers, woodworking and hardware stores. Learn more at KregTool.com. That’s Kreg – K-R-E-G – Tool.com.
LESLIE: Margaret, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARGARET: Yes. I’d like to know what I can do about my popcorn ceilings. They’re getting dirty. They’re 20 years old.
LESLIE: Well, there’s a couple of solutions. Do you like them and want to keep them? Or you just want them to not look so dingy?
MARGARET: I would not rather – I would not like to keep them no more.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, generally, with popcorn ceiling, if it’s truly a popcorn ceiling and not a texturized stucco, what you can do to remove it is you can get one of those garden sprayers or those light-duty paint sprayers. Put water in it and you spray the ceiling to sort of saturate the popcorn. And then you take a wide spackle blade – as wide as the one you can find – and you sort of gently start peeling away at the popcorn ceiling – at the popcorn texture, I should say, from the ceiling.
And that generally does a pretty good job. Because if you’ve ever tried to paint it, if you don’t have the right roller, when it gets wet, it starts to peel away from the ceiling. So by getting it wet, you’re being able to remove it. You just want to make sure, with your blade or your scraper, that you’re not digging into the drywall below it. Because keep in mind whatever’s left underneath there is what you’re going to paint and then see.
MARGARET: OK. How do I go about cleaning if I decide to just go ahead and keep this?
LESLIE: Well, you wouldn’t clean it. You would paint over it.
MARGARET: Oh, no. No.
TOM: Yeah, there’s actually a special roller for that. It’s like a slitted roller. It’s a very thick roller that’s got slits in it and it’s designed to squeeze the paint into that popcorn area. And that’s exactly why I would do it. I would paint it. It’s going to look a lot better than cleaning it. You just can’t clean that stuff. There’s nothing cleanable about a popcorn ceiling. You’ve got to paint over it.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got a great set of nine products from The Original Super Glue Corporation to give away today, including Total Tape.
Now, The Original Super Glue Total Tape is a double-sided, construction-adhesive tape and it’s mesh-reinforced. So it’s as strong as construction adhesive but as easy to use as tape. It’s going to provide an extreme instant tack and bond and it can hold up to 300 pounds per roll and 14 pounds per strip. Now, you can use it on all types of materials and in all kinds of weather conditions, with easy and clean results.
TOM: You’ll find it at Amazon or in your local hardware store or learn more at SuperGlue.com/TotalTape. That’s SuperGlue.com/TotalTape.
That package of products from The Original Super Glue, including Total Tape, is worth 57 bucks. Going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone, call us, participate. Let us help with your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your question to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Heading over to Delaware where Eve is trying to get rid of a smoke smell. What’s going on?
EVE: Right. We recently purchased a row home in Philadelphia and it has a third-floor studio apartment where the previous occupant was a heavy smoker. And we’re trying to get rid of the smell from the cigarettes. We’ve tried removing the floor tiles, replacing the drop-grid ceiling tiles and painting. But the odor is still pretty strong. So I’m wondering if you have any suggestions.
TOM: Hmm. So above the drop ceiling, did you paint that surface, as well?
EVE: No. We didn’t.
TOM: What did you paint with? Did you use any kind of a primer?
EVE: Going over paint, so we didn’t. We just used a regular latex paint.
TOM: Right. So the best thing to do in a situation like this is to use a very good-quality primer – either an alkyd primer or a solvent-based primer – because it tends to seal in all of those wall and ceiling surfaces, including the odors that are underneath.
The other issue, of course, is the floors. Now, you mentioned that there’s a tile floor there. So it was a hard-surface floor?
EVE: Yeah. Right now, we pulled up everything. We’re down to the plywood. And we were just going to put in a new flooring. So is there anything we should do before we do that?
TOM: Yeah. I would also prime the plywood.
TOM: I’d seal everything and I would use a good-quality oil-based primer, like a KILZ, for example. And I would prime the heck out of everything because that does a good job of sealing out those odors. That and some just normal ventilation ought to do it. But I think if you don’t prime those surfaces, you won’t be able to completely get rid of that odor.
Then, of course, it goes without saying that you’ve disposed of furniture and curtains and things like that?
EVE: Yes. The only other question is: what about kitchen cabinets?
TOM: You can’t do much with them. But what you can do is you can clean them with TSP – trisodium phosphate. It’s like a powdery soap mix that you buy in the paint aisle and you can mix up a solution and clean those.
Are these wooden cabinets or laminate cabinets?
TOM: If it’s wooden, you may not want to use the TSP on it. You could use Murphy’s Oil Soap instead.
TOM: But you’re going to have to clean them.
EVE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Eve. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Thankfully, fewer and fewer people are smoking today, so we’re getting fewer and fewer of those calls. But I tell you what, when you get a house that’s like that, what a mess. What a big mess. Hard to get rid of that smell.
Well, if you’ve ever tried to repair old and worn-out concrete by covering it with new concrete, you might have found that the new concrete doesn’t necessarily stick. And that’s because regular concrete or stucco mix is simply not designed to adhere to those old concrete surfaces. And that’s why the QUIKRETE Company created the Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer. With Re-Cap, you can renew old, worn concrete patios or sidewalks or driveways with a permanent and wear-resistant surface at really a fraction of the cost to replace it. And it’s super easy to do.
LESLIE: Yeah. And now, it has a bond to concrete that is four times stronger than the concrete itself. So that means that the old concrete is going to fracture or crack before that bond with QUIKRETE Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer is going to separate. So, as a result, your new concrete patio or your sidewalk or driveway, whatever it is, is going to last a very long time.
It’s also a DIY-friendly project. All you’ve got to do is mix, pour and then spread the concrete resurfacer over a surface that you’ve already cleaned. And you want to clean it well with 3,500-PSI pressure washer.
TOM: Yeah. And you can apply it with a squeegee or a trowel or a brush. And one 40-pound bag covers about 20 square feet, so it goes a long way.
You’ll find QUIKRETE Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer at home improvement retailers for about 28 bucks per 40-pound bag.
LESLIE: Tyler wrote in and he says, “I’m renovating my bathroom and I plan on putting down waterproof laminate over a waterproof underlayment, which will be under a clawfoot tub. I hear that these clawfoot combos are a little messy and I worry about the flooring being exposed to moisture. Is there anything else that you would suggest?”
First of all, yay for a clawfoot tub. That’s the dream.
TOM: Yeah. And probably a little bit messy because, you know, you have to have that sort of oval-shaped bar, right, for the shower – to hold a shower curtain above it? And you have to make sure it’s inside the tub. So, yeah, it can be a little messy but gosh, it’s such a beautiful tub. And it really makes the bathroom look spacious, as well.
Now, in terms of the flooring, you have so many choices now, Tyler, when it comes to waterproof floor or water-resistant floor. Now, there’s a line of products from LL Flooring called AquaSeal. And the determining factor on waterproof versus water-resistant is really time, right? How long the water can sit there before it’s cleaned up.
And I think, for a bathroom, yeah, you can use a waterproof or water-resistant laminate. It’s going to work fine. But if you want a truly waterproof product, then look at vinyl. The CoreLuxe vinyl products, the EVP – the engineered vinyl-plank products – those are fantastic. They look great and because they’re 100-percent vinyl, they basically cannot be harmed whatsoever by water. I’ve used them in kitchens and baths and they work really, really well.
So I think you have a lot of good choices right now and you really can’t go wrong.
LESLIE: Alright. Lots of things to choose. And boy, you are so lucky to be getting a great tub like that. That is going to be a beautiful bathroom and I am so jealous but also happy for you.
Alright. Next up, we’ve got Ron who writes in saying, “I was thinking of leasing solar panels. I live on Long Island and we do have some tall trees, so I wondered if it’s even worth trying. I like doing my part to lower emissions and save some money at the same time but I also wonder if adding solar panels makes changing the roof a lot more expensive. Bottom line, are these leasing companies really worth it?”
TOM: Yeah, that’s a great question. And unfortunately, I have to say that they are not worth it. And here’s why I say that, because it’s gotten to a situation now where there’s so much hard sell that happens when you are trying to add solar to your house. You have good, honorable goals here of being more environmentally-friendly.
But the problem is that these products are really expensive. The leasing deals are crazy. And in particular, what I found when I looked into this is if you lease them, you lease them for, say, 20 years, which is longer than the life expectancy of these things. And also, if you sell the house, guess what happens? You’ve got to pay off the lease because your new owner is not going to want to take over the old lease, right?
So, I’d say if you want to be environmentally-responsible that you focus on the basics. More insulation, for example. Most homes in this country don’t have enough. And if you add more, you will do far more to save energy all the way around and experience that comfort in a much more effective way than you would by dealing with an expensive, unreliable lease for solar panels.
LESLIE: Alright. That’s all good stuff to think about, Ron. And I wish you luck with all of your green ways in your place.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. As we roll towards summer, we hope that perhaps you are thinking about the cooler weather ahead, because it is when home improvement really ramps up, especially those outside projects that you have been putting off. If you’ve got questions, if you’re doing some investigations, you’re trying to figure out what’s the best product or project for you to get done, whether you can do it yourself or you need to hire a pro, we would love to guide you through this as we have for over 20 years on this program. You can reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 24/7, or always post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
But for now, that’s all the time we have. 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.)