- Stylish Lighting Updates: If you want to create a new look in any room, pendant lights are a bright idea! We’ve got tips on installing energy-efficient pendant lighting as an easy DIY design solution.
- Best Irrigation for Hot Weather Gardening: Micro Irrigation can help with the big problem of helping plants thrive in hot weather. Here’s what to know about directing water right where you need it most.
- How to Prep for a Storm: Are you prepared if unexpected severe weather strikes? Get tips on what to have to keep your home, car, and workplace ready for any emergency.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions:
- Removing Carpet Glue: Removing exterior carpet that’s been glued down is a sticky situation. Maria gets advice from Tom about pulling up carpeting on an outside step and refinishing the surface.
- Leaky Storm Shelter: Storm shelters are meant to offer protection from the elements. Jack finds out what to do about a shelter roof that’s leaking.
- Tile Fireplace: Susan wants to remove tile around her fireplace hearth and paint the bricks. We’ve got info about painting over the tile instead.
- Cracked Tile Floor: If floor tiles crack and you can’t find the same kind, should they be repaired or replaced? We offer Dan some suggestions on why tiles crack and how to get creative when replacing them.
- Building a Deck Step: Steve wants to add a step to make it easier to enter his cabin from the deck. Tom has advice on how large the step should be.
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 take on the projects you want to get done around your house. We are in the money pit-prevention business. Now, look, we know that a money pit can be seen as a bad thing. But to us, it’s a term of endearment, right? I mean it’s a house you love. You do have to put some money in it but we want to help you avoid throwing endless amounts of money into the pit as you take care of that house, as you improve it, as you make it your own, as you erase the past decorating sins of homeowners no longer there, like popcorn ceiling and – we just talked to somebody earlier today about smoke odors and all that nastiness. Maybe you just want to freshen it up, maybe you want to redo a room, take on a bathroom update, a kitchen update, maybe do some more work outside.
Hey, whatever is on your money pit to-do list, you can move it right to ours by reaching out to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your calls by clicking the blue microphone button at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, do you want a new look for any room? Well, there’s one easy way to do that: change the lighting. We’re going to share some tips on installing very energy-efficient pendant lights that can make a real impact for not a lot of bucks.
LESLIE: And if your garden is looking like it’s had too much sun, one of the best ways to make sure that your plants are thriving is with micro-irrigation. We’re going to share how this system’s tiny sprayers get water right where you need it.
TOM: And severe summer storms can strike at any moment no matter where you are. And if that happens, are you ready with emergency supplies at home, at work and even in your car? We’re going to share a list of what you need to keep in your kit at all three locations, coming up.
LESLIE: But first, what are you guys working on? I feel like the summer is slip-sliding away. You’ve got very limited weekends to enjoy, so very limited weekends to work on things out of doors while the weather is still gorgeous. But the fall season is just behind, so lots of things that you can tackle. What are you working on that we can help you get done?
You know, guys, we have an amazing giveaway today, courtesy of Trex. This is a perfect summer-into-fall gift. Trex just launched the new Trex Transcend Deck Kit at Lowe’s. And Trex has provided us with a $500 gift card to Lowe’s to help you get started with that project.
TOM: Wow. Five-hundred dollars at Lowe’s. A $500 Lowe’s gift card to help you get started with that Trex Transcend Deck. If you want to win it, you’ve got to be in it. And how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to participate. You’ve got to call us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you’ve got to post your questions by clicking the blue microphone button at MoneyPit.com.
Now, don’t just call because it’s a great giveaway and say, “I have a question about the color of my wall.” No, no. We can spot you fakers a mile away. We want real questions. What’s going on? Let’s tackle something that can help you and help everyone else that’s listening. And we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and you might just win that $500 Lowe’s gift card from our friends at Trex.
So, let’s get started. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Maria on the line who’s dealing with a carpet situation.
What is going on at your money pit?
MARIA: So, my boyfriend and I just bought a house. And the front step is all carpeted and it’s kind of hard to take off. And I love your guys’ podcast and I listen to it all the time. And I heard you can tile over the carpet. And just – the people before us bought a new door and so there’s just not a lot of room to put in tile.
MARIA: And so I wondered if there was something else to make it a little more curb-appealing and not have that slick texture of the concrete, because it can get wet. There’s a hose hookup just right there, so I want to be able to use that. So, yeah, I just need some suggestions.
TOM: Sure. Well, first of all, congratulations. That’s very exciting. You guys got your first house.
LESLIE: Super exciting.
TOM: Yeah. And with that first house comes a whole new area …
LESLIE: Great responsibility?
TOM: Responsibility. Yes, that’s right. And a lot of education and kind of – you probably wish you paid attention to your elderly relatives when they were trying to tell you about something, how to fix something or what was good or what was bad.
But I can tell you this. Unquestionably, you cannot put a tile on top of a carpet. It just is not possible. So, that’s totally wrong. The carpet is the final flooring there in that assembly. And then, secondly, it’s just plain weird when people use carpet outside. I know there are exterior carpets and I know it was popular at one point in time but there’s nobody happy about that. It’s just a problem you have to deal with. Because I’m sure you probably have noticed that it’s glued down, most likely.
LESLIE: And it’s the most durable glue you could ever imagine in your life.
TOM: Oh, yeah, exactly. That glue, if we could figure out what it is, would probably work for all sorts of other projects, better than what the glue’s designed for because it seems like it never comes up.
TOM: But I think, in your situation, here’s what I would do. I would – first of all, I would do my best to get rid of as much glue as possible. Now, look, there’s bunches – there’s a whole bunch of different types of glue removers out there. I think the citrus-based ones are probably the least caustic and it might be worth you trying some of that. I would try a small area and see how successful it is. But you have got to get as much of that out as possible and there is no easy way to do this. It’s just a matter of scraping, scraping, scraping and trying to get that down to a flat surface.
So, if you get it down to a flat surface and there’s no loose glue there that’s separated from the concrete, I think you probably – and I’m not positive because we’re dealing with sort of the mystery of the chemistry of the glue against the chemistry of the paint and we’re hoping that they’re going to get together – but I think you can probably, at the least, paint that slab. I would probably go with an epoxy paint because it’s very sticky stuff. It’s two parts and it adheres really well. It’s the same kind of paint that you see that they sell for garage floors.
And/or you could take a look at the products by Daich Coatings – D-a-i-c-h-Coatings. And that’s their website, too: DaichCoatings.com. They have a specific product called TracSafe – T-r-a-c – and it’s an attractive coating that is designed to give you traction. You mentioned it was a slippery surface there. That might be the perfect application. It’s good for areas where it could be slippery in the winter, it’s good around pools. But TracSafe.
But you’ve got to just try to get as much of that glue off – rip that carpet off, get as much of the glue off – as possible and then try to find the best way to basically resurface this with TracSafe or to paint it in a way that’s going to stick and stay around. And then it’ll all be behind you and you’ll never have to do that again. And you’ll have a great story to tell all your friends.
MARIA: Yes. Yeah. OK, well, that’s really good advice. Do you recommend any glue removers, specifically? Is there a general one or one that you would recommend for this project? Or just kind of have at it?
TOM: No, I – there’s so many out there. I don’t have a specific favorite because fortunately, I’ve never had to do that project. But I know, from doing this for years, how difficult it is. And I’ve never heard anyone repeatedly – sometimes I’ll hear – the same people will say that they’ll use this particular product over and over and over again. But in the area of glue removal off of concrete, not so much.
So that’s why I say I would read the labels carefully and see if it talks about glue and concrete in any way, shape or form. Do some research on that. That’s what I would do if I had this problem. And then I would try it and see what happens. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You can take it back.
But you absolutely have to use a floor scraper. And you could also use an angle grinder, which is kind of like – well, let’s see, how do you describe this? It has a wheel that basically spins and you run this wheel across the concrete and it grinds the surface. But my concern there is that, with all that glue on it, that grinding wheel is just going to fill up with all that glue gunk and not really do too much to the concrete below it. So I think it’s probably going to be mostly labor: a matter of just really scraping the heck out of that and seeing how you do from there.
MARIA: Alright. Well, I’ll give it a go.
TOM: Don’t we make this sound like so much fun? You can’t wait to do this, right?
MARIA: Yes. Will do. Thank you, guys.
LESLIE: Jack in Arkansas is on the line with a leaky roof.
Tell us what’s going on.
JACK: My topic is a storm shelter that’s made of steel but it’s leaking and it has leaked since it was installed. Is there some way to detect the leak and to fix that with either welding or sealing?
TOM: Well, a leaking storm shelter, that’s definitely something that if you don’t fix – because it’s steel – it’s going to kind of weaken the whole structure.
So, a couple of things, I definitely wouldn’t weld it. That seems like overkill. What I might do is I’d try to seal it. And I would use – if it’s a seam leak, you would use something like silicone. But if it’s the entire roof, what you might want to do is replace it. I would use EPDM – it’s a rubberized roof product – and then re-roof it with that. Because look, that’s going to keep the majority of water off of that. And if during a storm you’re hopping in there for safety and protection and you get a little bit of leak, no big deal, right? But you don’t want it to rot over time and then the roof becomes weak, because that’s part of what’s protecting you.
So, good luck with that project.
Hey, have you guys been doing some outdoor projects this summer? Well, if one of those projects that you would like to get done is a deck, have we got a deal for you. We have an amazing giveaway today, courtesy of Trex, who just launched the new Trex Transcend Deck Kit at Lowe’s. And they provided us with a $500 gift card to Lowe’s to help you get started with that project.
Now, the Trex Transcend Deck Kit includes all the materials you’ll need to build a 12×16-foot deck with Trex’s top of the line Transcend Decking, the Trex Fascia, the Trex Hideaway Hidden Fasteners. And with just one click on Lowes.com, you can purchase all the Trex products you’ll need to get that job done, have it ready for pickup at your local location or you can have it shipped right to your home.
The Trex Transcend Deck Kit’s available exclusively at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
LESLIE: That $500 Lowe’s gift card is going out to one very lucky listener who reaches out to us with their home improvement question. And yes, you must have a question, guys. You’ve got to have the home improvement question to qualify. So give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT or head to MoneyPit.com and click on that blue microphone button to record your question. And it’s going to come right to us.
Susan in Alaska has got a fireplace issue.
What’s going on?
SUSAN: The hearth is covered with tile and I would like to remove it and just paint the brick underneath. So how difficult would that be for me to do?
TOM: Hey, Susan. Well, I’ll tell you, if you remove that tile, you’re probably going to have some adhesive and some other kinds of “goo,” we will call it, on the brick itself. So I’d first be concerned about starting with a clean brick surface.
Second to that, even if you do start with a clean brick surface, just remember tile is easier to clean than brick, which might be why it was tiled in the first place. And once you paint brick, you’re kind of committed and you have to repaint it from time to time, as well.
Now, in terms of difficulty, the first step would be getting that old tile off. And that can be a challenge, especially given how sticky and how solid a lot of the adhesives that would’ve been used. I mean a mastic – a tile mastic –is not going to give the tile up quickly from the brick surface itself.
But the other thing that comes to mind is that you could actually paint over the tile if you buy the right kinds of paint. There are paints – and I would go to, perhaps, a Sherwin-Williams store for this or a Benjamin Moore dealer for this. And you’re looking for special types of primer that are called “high-bond primers” or “high-adhesion primers,” that are designed to help paint stick to a shiny surface like tile. If you put that on as the first coat, then you could put a regular paint on as the second coat. And perhaps that might be the easiest way to get the effect that you’re looking to achieve.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like an easy weekend update, adding new pendant lighting can do just that. Pendant lights are sleek and they can add style and drama to the lightingscape (ph) in your home. And if you’re just swapping out an old fixture, this can be an electrical project that you can actually do yourself. But if existing wires seem to be brittle or you’ve got to run electricity to a new spot, those are the kind of projects that it’s better to kind of call an electrician for.
TOM: That’s right. Now, the cool thing about pendant lighting is that it’s suspended from the ceiling and it brings the light down kind of right where you need it. There’s a wide variety of shapes and sizes and styles and it ranges from a 4-inch-diameter mini-cylinder to a massive, 30-inch dome. So, there’s a lot of variety there.
LESLIE: Yeah. And they can be very affordable to buy and to run. Now, a 4-inch, colored-glass mini-pendant – you’ve seen them, they’ve been very popular for a while – you can find them at your local home center. They start at about $25. You can use LED bulbs so they won’t drive up that electrical cost. And then you can use those to light up your workspace, a kitchen-island prep zone or maybe a desk in a home office. And they also cast a nice, warm glow in a dining room or an entryway. So it really depends on the space and the usage. And then you’ll get that vibe from that light that you want and it’s a super-simple project to tackle.
TOM: Yeah. And when it comes to the switch, dimmers are definitely the way to go. Very popular for pendants because you can adjust the light in the evening, create some very nice ambiance just when you need it. And if you’re just doing some work on that counter, you can crank it all the way up and see what you’re doing. You’ll probably be a better cook as a result.
LESLIE: Heading out to Arizona. Dan is on the line with a cracked tile.
Tell us what’s happening.
DAN: Yes, hi. I have a home in Rimrock, Arizona. And it was built in 2006 and it has tile flooring. And it’s created – I’m assuming the foundation has settled and I’m really not sure what to do about this. I don’t know if I should pull grout. Yes, it has cracked tiles and I can’t get the tiles anymore. So, anyway, I need to see what your suggestion would be.
TOM: I hate when we get these calls, Leslie. Because when you have a tile floor and it wasn’t installed right, which is probably what’s going on here, there’s no quick fix, right? You either have to keep replacing tiles as they crack or you have to go ahead and tear the whole thing out and do it right.
I suspect what’s happening here is that the installer never used an uncoupling membrane. Now, that’s a very specific type of underlayment that goes between a concrete slab and the tile floor. And it allows the floor and the tile to move differently than each other. And this way, when you have expansion and contraction and movement, you don’t – it doesn’t result in the tile cracking; it just sort of moves with it.
And when you say move, you think, “Well, it’s stationary, isn’t it?” But everything is moving. The house is always moving. The walls are moving in or out; they’re moving up and down. It just happens so slowly and so evenly you don’t see it. But from wind pressure and the forces of nature, it’s moving and you’ve got to account for that. And that’s what an uncoupling membrane does.
There’s a product called Ditra – D-i-t-r-a – Dan, which is the kind of product that I would recommend. You could check that out at Schluter.com – that’s S-c-h-l-u-t-e-r.com. They make a lot of products for tiling underlayments. Kind of the experts in that space.
And that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. It’s a special membrane that’s designed to separate the movement of the tile from the subfloor below or the concrete slab below, in your case. And I think once you’re ready to replace that tile floor, that’s kind of the next step. That’s what you’re going to have to do.
So, between now and then, you can just try to replace those that you can. And by the way, you mentioned you can’t get that tile anymore?
Leslie, I always think that when you can’t find the tile, that you could drop in some decorative tiles and make it look like it was always designed to be that way, right?
LESLIE: For sure. It depends on the size, the shape, the location of those tiles. If there’s something that you can grab, perhaps the tile from behind something – if delicately, you can remove it and it would be well, then go for it.
But otherwise, depending on where those tiles are, you can pop one out and then sort of look and kind of create a pattern based on what was broken and kind of work with that. You can add in something more decorative, you can add in something with a little bit of a different sheen, you can add in something that’s a grouping of smaller tiles. So there’s really a lot of great options to make it look like what happened was a design choice, you know?
TOM: Right, yeah. And you know what always happens when you do stuff like that? People come in and they notice and they go, “Oh, I love the pattern in your tile floor. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
LESLIE: “Oh, thank you. I totally did it on purpose.”
TOM: Keep your mouth shut and just thank them very much for your amazing creativity.
So, Leslie, I have a new tip for how to keep deer away from your landscaping.
LESLIE: This has been your lifelong saga.
TOM: Well, I think this is really good. Now, I did not know about this. And I will tell you that a friend of mine suggested it to me and I kind of vetted it by going to Google University and seeing if anyone else was doing it. And so far, it’s working great. You will never guess what we are now putting around our daylilies. They cannot stand the smell of Vicks VapoRub.
So what you do – because it’s kind of like a paste, right? – you put it on a thin stick or a straw or something like that. Some people rub it, actually, on the plant itself.
LESLIE: Yeah. It helps them breathe better. I’m kidding.
TOM: Well, right. Exactly. Well, they want nothing to do with this stuff. Has something to do with the eucalyptus that’s in it and all sorts of other things. But it’s been really amazingly effective. I’m like, “No way.” And yep, it absolutely works.
So, if you’re trying to keep some deer away from eating your lawn and garden, try Vicks VapoRub. If it’s not a vegetable that you’re growing to eat, then just – if it’s a vegetable that you’re growing to eat, you could put it on a little stake, a little piece of wood, stick it in the ground kind of underneath it. And boy, when they hear that – when they get that smell, they’re going to head the other way.
LESLIE: I love it.
TOM: And if they’re a bit congested, it’ll be good for them.
LESLIE: I mean it’s perfect for the upcoming fall season. So it’s – really, you’re doing everybody a favor.
Now we’ve got Tammy in Philadelphia on the line who’s looking for a better shower.
How can we help you today?
TAMMY: Hi. I was calling in because I wanted to find out – I have an old Victorian house and I have a three – it’s three stories. I have a bathroom on the third floor and a bathroom on the second. And when I – if someone is in the shower on the second floor and then someone takes a shower or runs the water upstairs, on the third floor, the shower goes cold. And I’ve been asking my contractors and my plumbers and I’m not getting a consistent answer. So, I’d like to remedy that, because I’m doing remodeling.
TOM: OK. So are you opening up walls as part of this remodeling?
TAMMY: Yes. Completely stripped down to the studs.
TOM: OK, great. So, first of all, the reasons you have reduced water pressure in older homes are generally because you have old steel pipes that suffer from internal rusting and they clog. They close down, kind of like a clogged artery and then you can’t push enough water through it.
Now, that could be your main water pipe, it could be the supply pipes that are inside the house or a combination of them. And so, since you’re taking the walls apart, the general rule of thumb is that whenever you expose these old, steel pipes, you want to replace them with copper pipes or with PEX, which is a different type – a newer type of plumbing pipe.
Now, the other thing is that you may not have enough water pressure coming in from the street.
TAMMY: Well, the pressure is not that big of a deal, because I think that the pressure is kind of OK. It’s just that, basically, we have two bathrooms in the house and you can only use one at a time. Like the water completely goes ice cold if you’re in the shower and somebody comes in and uses the sink.
TOM: Well, that’s because the pipes may not be supplying that hot water. They may not be moving enough hot water.
What size water heater do you have?
TAMMY: Forty gallons.
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s a minimum size but it should be OK for two bathrooms.
TOM: And is it an older water heater?
TAMMY: No, I just replaced the water heater.
TOM: When you replaced it, did they change any of the plumbing around it? Is it still going through the steel pipes?
TAMMY: I don’t think that they changed the pipes around the – no, I don’t think so.
TOM: So, you need to talk with your plumbers about what kind of pipes you have, whether or not that’s contributing to the problem. And you need to know what the water pressure is at the street. Because if you’re not getting enough pressure, that could be the whole cause of it.
TAMMY: OK. Now, I Googled and I saw something online called a “pressure-balance valve.” Would that remedy the issue at all?
TOM: So, a pressure-balance valve is designed to be used primarily in a shower. And what it does is it keeps the mix between hot and cold balanced so that you don’t get scorching or freezing-cold water when the pressure drops. So if somebody was to, say, run hot water downstairs and now rob all that hot water from the upstairs shower, it would not change the balance of water from – the mix of water between hot and cold. So the flow would be less – you’d have less of a stream – but it wouldn’t be – the temperature wouldn’t change.
TAMMY: OK, OK.
TOM: Right. So, no, that’s not it. I don’t think that’s the cause. That would certainly be a good thing to have and something you should consider. But I don’t think that’s the reason you’re not getting hot water on the second floor. I just don’t think you’re moving enough water up there.
TAMMY: OK. So, basically, what I need to do is tell them to check the piping around the water heater.
TOM: Yeah. And the plumber should know this. Not only around the water heater but basically, if you’re going to open up those walls, what kind of pipes do you have and are they corroded? And should they be replaced to help alleviate this, OK? And if all else fails, you could always add a second water heater upstairs. You can add a tankless water heater, which would be a really small unit. And it would supply additional water to that second-floor bathroom.
TAMMY: Oh, OK.
TOM: Well, if the best defense is a good offense, one of the best ways to beat the heat and make sure your plants thrive is with micro-irrigation. We’re going to explain how, in today’s home solution tip presented by Angi.
LESLIE: Alright, guys, micro-irrigation. You’re like, “What’s that?” It is a system of drip tubing and tiny sprayers and it’s a great way for you to get the water right where it needs to be. Unlike your lawn-irrigation system, installing a drip-irrigation system is not as complicated. You don’t need a sophisticated irrigation network to supply micro-irrigation; a spigot for your hose will do the trick.
And it’s perfect for flower beds and shrubs, because it will take that water and put it exactly where it’s needed under low pressure. So it’s really watering right where you’ve got to get it to.
TOM: Now, most of micro-irrigation consists of drip tubing. These are ¼-inch or ½-inch hoses fitted with tiny, plastic nubs that are called “emitters.” And they allow the water to drip out at a regulated pace without clogging.
Now, the tubing, you want to snake it around and among the trees and the plants to get the water into the soil at the roots. And there’s also lots of accessories you can choose from. There’s sprays for ground cover, there’s foggers for hanging containers and even single emitters for reaching plants that are sort of off the grid and away from the majority of the garden. And basically, all in, you can customize a system that’s perfect for your particular situation.
But the best way to get started is to get organized. And to do that, you want to draw a plan of your garden and then map out the configuration of the tubing and the accessories that you’ll need. And then you can put together a little shopping list before you head out to pick up the stuff.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the actual plumbing connection is simple, too. It does not have to be permanently installed. Instead, you can connect the system to an outdoor faucet. You just screw the vacuum breaker to the pressure regulator to prevent contaminated hose water from back-washing into your home’s supply line. You have this when you have an irrigation system; it’s just a little bit more sophisticated. This is definitely a great way for you to achieve the same thing. And then you just attach the filter to the pressure regulator and connect the hose to that filter.
TOM: Now, once the tubing is installed, you want to make sure you cover it with a couple of inches of mulch. And this is going to keep that water from evaporating before it reaches the plant roots. And that’ll give the garden a very manicured appearance.
And that’s today’s Home Solution Tip. It’s presented by Angi. And tackling home projects has never been easier. Just tell Angi what you need and they can handle the rest, start to finish. Download the Angi app today.
LESLIE: Well, whatever that adventure is, we want to help you get that project done. Because we have an amazing giveaway today, courtesy of Trex, who just launched the new Trex Transcend Deck Kit at Lowe’s. And you guys, Trex has provided us with a $500 gift card to Lowe’s to help you get started with that project.
Now, the Trex Transcend Deck Kit includes all of the materials that are required to build – this is a great size – a 12×16-foot deck with Trex’s top of the line Transcend Decking, the Trex Fascia and the Trex Hideaway Hidden Fasteners. Trex Transcend, it’s gorgeous and it’s the industry’s leading composite decking. It features high-definition grain patterns, rich, saturated colors that really feel like they’re inspired by nature.
This is a fantastic prize, you guys. It’s available exclusively at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
TOM: That $500 Lowe’s gift card is going out to one very lucky listener who reaches out to us with their home improvement question. And yes, you must have a good home improvement question. I mean a decent one. Not one that you made up just to get in on this drawing. No, we want you to have a real home improvement question and leave it for us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can head to MoneyPit.com, click on the blue microphone button from your phone or from your laptop and just record your question right there. If we pull your name out of that Money Pit hard hat, you’ll be getting yourself a $500 Lowe’s gift card. And you can use that to help purchase the new Transcend Deck Kit, which is absolutely beautiful.
LESLIE: Steve in Pennsylvania needs some help with a building project.
I love that you’re planning and you’ve asked us to help. What’s going on, Steve?
STEVE: Yeah. I have a small summer cabin at Lake Tahoe and the deck was built in the early 60s. And the step-up from the deck into the cabin is a stretch. So I was wanting to put a stoop or a landing or step, or whatever you want to call it, on top of the deck that’ll make the step-up into the cabin a little less severe. So, I was looking at maybe something about 54 inches wide and 6 to 7 inches tall but I didn’t – I don’t know how deep to make that step.
TOM: When you say deep to make the step, you mean what’s the tread depth when you put your foot on it?
TOM: So, what are you going to build it out of?
STEVE: I was just going to put in wood. Everything else is wood up there.
TOM: So I would just use a 2×12 for that step. Why not make a nice, big, deep step? You could use a 2×10. Most steps are narrower than that. But I think a 2×12, which is 11½ inches, would be fine.
STEVE: So 12 inches deep from the edge of the cabin door to the edge of the deck.
TOM: So, it’s just one step basically between the deck and the cabin doors. Is that correct, that you want to put in?
TOM: So I would make it a 2×12. Why not? It’s about 11½ inches deep and that’ll be fine.
STEVE: Well, thank you very much for your help.
LESLIE: Well, storms can strike without warning. One moment, you’re comfortable and the next, you’re worried about how long you can get by with what you’ve got. Now, when the forecast calls for severe weather, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready for the storm, whether you’re at home, you’re at work or you’re even in your car.
TOM: Yep. And a well-stocked emergency kit is really essential to any place you and your loved ones are going to spend a lot of time. So think about what every family member needs to get by for several days without power or even water. And keep some emergency items in one spot in your home and make sure everyone knows where to find them. So we’re talking about stocking things like food and water and medicine and toiletries and survival tools, like flashlights and even tents and tarps and extra batteries.
LESLIE: Yeah. And remember, guys, emergencies can strike when you’re not at home. So at work, you want to keep a supply of water, food, toiletries, even your medicines in close range. And you want to be sure to have comfortable sneakers with you, too, just in case there’s an evacuation that might require a lot of walking.
And finally, don’t forget your vehicle. You want to keep jumper cables, flashlights, shovels in the trunk. Also think about some water, food, blankets. You really have to think because you never know where something might happen.
TOM: And you know what else is a really good idea? Install a whole-house generator. A whole-house generator will be permanently installed outside your home. It comes on automatically within seconds of a power outage. You will be much more prepared if you’ve got that backup generator to take care of you and your home when the lights go out.
Call us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And remember, we’re giving away that $500 Lowe’s gift card, courtesy of our friends at Trex and the Trex Transcend Deck Kit, to one lucky listener who calls us with their question.
LESLIE: Julie in Nebraska has written in to Team Money Pit and she’s asking: “I’m a new, first-time homeowner. I’m going to change all of the paint colors inside and I can’t figure out what finishes to use. I’ve got kids who love to make messes.” Alright. Welcome to that club. “Which finish is the easiest to clean?”
TOM: You know, I think a lot of folks are not really – not tuned in to the fact that there so many different finishes that you can buy paint in, right? I mean you’ve got the basic, which is flat, right? And flat paints are good because they’re non-reflective and there are times when you don’t want to have anything reflect off your walls or your ceilings.
Like, for example, if you have ceilings and you have ceiling lights, you absolutely want that to be as flat as possible. Because as that light sort of casts off that fixture, it’s going to sort of shadow every little defect in the ceiling. And sometimes, it can look really bad if it’s an old house or if it’s got some badly-done drywall finishing and that sort of thing. So flat paint is good for that.
But flat paint – as you well know, Leslie, with two boys – it doesn’t clean so well, does it?
LESLIE: No, it really does not clean so well.
And I always tend to lean towards eggshell. I do love an eggshell but that’s just sort of a sheen that’s between sort of semigloss and kind of above flat. It’s beautiful to me. It doesn’t clean as well but it cleans pretty darn nicely and you can use it to enhance a lot of spaces throughout the home. So that’s what I kind of love because it’s satin, it’s low luster.
The other end of the spectrum from a flat, though, you guys, that’s super easy to clean is high-gloss. But you’ve got to have a very specific spot for that.
Don’t you think, Tom?
TOM: Yeah. I think, for example, high-gloss is good for cabinetry or for trim. I like high-gloss or semi-gloss because it does have sort of that hard finish on it that’s easy to clean.
But I’ll tell you what else makes a big difference: the quality of the paint. You can actually clean a wall that’s painted with flat paint, if it’s sort of a scrubbable flat. If it’s a better-quality flat paint, you can do some cleaning. Now, not as much as you might do if it was semi-gloss or if it was, say, satin, which is kind of like one step under that. But if it’s a good-quality paint, you could definitely do more cleaning of that paint than if it were a bad-quality paint. Let’s just say that the Mr. Clean erasers go a lot farther if the paint is good underneath, right?
LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s interesting. I always find with the eggshell not so much but a little bit. And with the flat, definitely. When you use that Magic Eraser, it’s interesting to watch how it sort of loosens the paint and kind of grabs it and moves it along. So you end up with these kind of funny spots. I always call them “holidays.” It’s where the paint’s taken a vacation. You usually get those when you’re applying the paint but that can happen, as well, if the finish isn’t so great.
Now, the last one I don’t think we’ve spoken about yet is semi-gloss and that’s kind of a compromise between the two sheen extremes. And there’s some benefits. It’s not as reflective as the glossy paint, so it won’t show as many surface imperfections. It offers good stain resistance, it’s easy to clean. I always use semi on the windows, doors, trim, cabinets. You could use it on walls, too, like in a kids room or a bath.
TOM: Well, absolutely. And by the way, if you need durability in a finish, like for – like we talked about kitchen cabinets. That’s a place where you really don’t want the finish to get nicked easy. In those cases, I would use an oil-based paint. I know it’s harder to clean up but it’s a much harder surface and it’s really super durable when you have doors and drawers that are opening and closing against those surfaces.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you out, Julie. Good luck with the new house. Good luck with all of the painting. Good luck with the messy kids. They grow up. They still make messes, just different kinds of messes. So, good luck on that front.
TOM: That’s right.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your summer day with us. We hope that you’ve picked up a couple of ideas that will help you improve the space you call home.
If you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can always post your questions by going to MoneyPit.com and clicking on the blue microphone button.
Until next time, 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 2022 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.)