Tax Saving Home Improvements #0320172
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on this, the very first weekend of spring. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Kind of the Goldilocks season: not too hot, not too cold. Perfect time to take on projects around your house and we are here to help. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, there may be no way to avoid death or taxes but we can certainly help with the latter. With April 15th right around the corner, we’re going to have tips on the top tax-saving home improvement projects you can do.
LESLIE: Plus, did you know that there’s one home improvement project that takes about a minute to do, costs just a few dollars, saves energy and makes it easier to breathe? Any guesses? Well, it’s changing your filters. We’re going to have tips on a new service that makes it really easy to do.
TOM: Yeah. And just in time for allergy season.
Plus, can battery-powered tools do the same job as those that are powered by electric or gas? Well, we say a definite yes and we tested a battery-powered lawn mower to prove it. That and more, just ahead. But first, let’s get to your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Jim in Illinois is on the line with a driveway question.
JIM: Well, I had a question about my concrete driveway. In the bad weather, it is almost impossible to get up without sliding back into US-51, Main Street, here in Bloomington, Illinois. So, I wonder …
TOM: That doesn’t sound good.
JIM: No. And I’ve done it many times.
JIM: The incline of my driveway is such that if you can imagine – in good weather, you’re sitting by the garage, sipping on a beer, and you’re watching cars come up my driveway. Looks like they’re ready for launch.
JIM: And it’s, I’m guessing, a 20-percent grade.
TOM: Well, are you ready to part with that concrete driveway? I mean what kind of a project are you looking to do here?
JIM: Yeah, we can. My son and I have been talking about it. So, yeah, that’s going to have to be dug out. That’s going to have to be dropped.
TOM: Well, Jim, you know, I’m glad to hear that you’re ready to part with that driveway and certainly, that’s always going to be an option for you. But I’ll give you a couple of other ideas that are short of doing that.
Now, one of which is pretty major. It’s called “diamond cutting.” There are machines that they use, mostly industrially, that can be used to create a textured surface in your existing concrete. It’s going to be a big, nasty project with a lot of dirt and a lot of dust and it is entirely possible to do that.
Now, another option, though, is a lot easy and that is to add a texture to that surface. Now, QUIKRETE makes a product designed especially for this. It’s called Textured Acrylic Concrete Coating. It’s actually available in four different colors, so you can spruce up the look at the same time. But it’s designed to put a nonslip surface, which is very textured, onto old concrete. It’ll step up the look of it and it will give you some traction. And it’s specifically designed for driveways. So it’s going to have good adhesion.
So that’s another option for you, as well. It’s called Textured Acrylic Concrete Coating and it’s made by QUIKRETE. So, you might want to give that a whirl and see how you make out. You can always opt to replace the driveway later. But if you get a good textured surface on that, perhaps you won’t be sliding back down that hill, onto Highway 51, quite as often.
JIM: That sounds like a good shot.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project.
[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Joan in California needs some help with a kitchen remodel. How’s it going?
JOAN: Yes, well, we haven’t started yet and I just need some advice on how to get started. Do you start with an architect or what do you do?
TOM: That’s a good question. So, planning makes perfect. You want to start with a plan. Now, are you essentially going to replace the kitchen in sort of the same layout that you have right now, Joan? Or are you thinking about really changing things up a lot?
JOAN: Well, it’s a very small kitchen and I just want to know how to maximize everything.
TOM: Alright. So if it’s a small kitchen, you can probably do this inexpensively by perhaps starting with a home center. A lot of the home centers have designers that work on the – work on designing kitchens for the cabinetry that they sell. And for a very small fee, they can help you lay that out and take advantage of all of the latest options.
If you want to do more than that, what you’re going to do is hire a certified kitchen-and-bath designer. But this is sort of like hiring an interior decorator that works just on kitchens and baths. And that’s going to cost you a few bucks.
But if you want to just do this an easy way, I would start with a home center, in the kitchen department, and see if they’ll lay out some options for you using the type of cabinets that they sell. Those cabinets are usually pretty affordable at that level and they’ll be able to give you some ideas on things, perhaps, you haven’t thought about.
LESLIE: You know what, Joan? I think it’s really smart to keep a notepad in the kitchen. And everybody and anybody, yourself and your family, who use the space, as you walk through and notice little areas where you’re tripping over one another or things that just don’t make sense or you wish that X was here and not there, sort of jot all of those down. So when you do go sit down with – whether it’s a certified kitchen-and-bath designer or someone in the home center, you sort of have all of these issues that could be addressed or might be able to be addressed.
JOAN: One thing I really want is more electrical outlets, so that’ll have to definitely be in the plan.
TOM: Well, it’s definitely in the plan and you’ll do these things in order. The first thing you’ll do is rip out the old cabinets and the next thing you’ll do would be to rough-in new wiring and new plumbing to have it exactly where you want it. And then, of course, you’ll start the installation of the new cabinetry as almost the last step.
It’s also a good time to think about universal design in the kitchen, maybe having countertops of different height. So as you get older, you could sit down and work at the kitchen counter as opposed to just standing up. So, think of the sort of accessibility issues when you design this kitchen, as well.
JOAN: How much time should I allow for something like this?
TOM: Well, it depends on whether you have sort of all your ducks in a row. Sometimes it takes a while to get all the cabinets delivered. But if everything is accessible and on site, you can tear out this kitchen and rebuild it inside of a week.
JOAN: Oh, wow.
TOM: If you have everybody lined up and everybody is there when they need to be there and the plumber shows up on time, the electrician shows up on time and so on, sure, I don’t see any reason you can’t get it done in a week.
JOAN: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Joan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, do you want to improve your home and get the government to help you fund it, too? Tax-saving home improvements are the answer. We’ll tell you about those, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What kind of spring projects are you planning? For me, it’s organizing my garage. Actually, I want to take everything out of the garage so I have an opportunity to paint the floor once again with a nice coat of epoxy paint, have it looking really good. And that, of course, gives me the opportunity to reorganize and clean out before I put everything back. So, kind of a two-in-one project coming up for my spring weekend.
What’s going on for yours? Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Barry in Texas is on the line with a painting question. How can we help you?
BARRY: Well, I have an arbor outside my house. The beams of my house extend out from the roof and it makes an arbor outside. And I’ve painted it a couple of times and the paint keeps wearing off and I’m afraid the wood’s going to start rotting. And I’m wondering if I should do something special to protect the roof – protect the wood – like maybe put some water seal on it. Or I even thought about maybe putting some metal stripping but that might get wet and make it rot even worse. I just really want to protect that wood.
LESLIE: Well, I think, first of all, let’s talk about the process of which to properly paint exterior wood.
Now, to start, you want to make sure that you’re getting off anything that’s sort of peeling and not sticking. So, if you can, you want to either scrape some of it away but without damaging the wood. So you can also use a chemical stripping agent, which would take the paint off of the wood. Get as much of it off as you can and then get it nice and smooth. Sand any rough areas if you’re stuck with them.
And then I would use an oil-based primer and an oil-based paint if you’re allowed in your area, because that’s truly going to adhere. The trick is that wood’s got to be bone-dry before you go ahead and paint it. Because if it’s slightly wet, nothing is going to adhere properly. And that truly will help out a ton.
BARRY: OK. So just use oil-based instead of latex paint?
TOM: Yeah. But as Leslie said, you’ve got to get down to the wood. Because if you’ve got multiple layers of paint on there, it’s just going to keep delaminating between the surfaces of the paint, especially being in such a wet location. So you want to get the old paint off, make sure it’s super dry, an oil-based primer, let it dry real well and then a good-quality topcoat. And I think you’ll find you’ll get a lot more years out of that surface before you have to do this again.
BARRY: OK. She also said – it sounded like she said I needed to get down and smooth the wood but this is – it’s rough cedar, so …
LESLIE: I mean only if you’ve got areas where you’ve got unevenness from any paint that might not come off, just so you’re not seeing that sort of rippled edge of the old paint with the new paint. That’s truly the only places that I would do it.
TOM: And you can also use a wire brush, too, if it’s a rough cedar.
BARRY: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, as well.
TOM: We just want to make sure you get rid of everything that’s loose there, you really get down to an original surface, so you have something that can really bite – that new paint can bite into.
See, the primer is kind of the adhesive here. And that’s why it’s such an important step. If you do a good-quality primer, that’s going to really bind to the wood and bind to the paint and try to keep the whole system together. Because it really is a system. We don’t think about paint as being a system but it is. The binder sticks to the wood and the paint – the topcoat sticks to the binder.
BARRY: OK. Great. So oil-based primer topped with oil-based paint.
TOM: You’ve got it. Good luck with that project, Barry. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s almost tax time again. Ugh, I hate even saying it out loud. You guys, we are not tax experts and we suffer through this just like the rest of you. But one question we’re frequently asked about, that we do have a pretty good handle on, is which improvements are tax-deductible.
Now, like everything with our tax systems, it’s beyond complicated and with plenty of ifs, ands or buts. However, this really is the basic idea: if you’ve made an improvement to your home that adds to its value, prolongs its life or adapts it for a new use, you can add the cost of those additions and improvements to the base value of your home when it comes time to sell, which can reduce the taxes that you owe.
TOM: Well, that’s right. And here’s some examples of those kinds of improvements. For example, if you do an addition – if you add on a bedroom or a bathroom or even a deck or a garage or – check this out – a swimming pool, they can qualify. Big system improvements, like new heating or cooling systems or electrical systems or security systems, major upgrades to your outside, like windows or doors or roofs or siding, all deductible. Insulation, kitchen appliances that are built-in, wall-to-wall carpet, all of these things are potentially tax-saving home improvements. But you’ve got to save your records to take advantage of it.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, let’s talk about those things that you cannot – cannot – deduct. These are any costs of repairs or maintenance that are necessary to keeping your home in good condition but don’t add to its value or prolong its life. Now, examples include painting – and that’s the interior or the exterior of your home – fixing leaks, filling holes or cracks or replacing broken hardware.
TOM: So your favorite décor project is out, I guess.
LESLIE: Dang it.
TOM: So listen, be sure you keep good records of what you’ve done and what you’ve spent, because these improvements can definitely help you enjoy your home now and reduce your taxes when it comes time to sell.
[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Heading to New Jersey where Vicky has a painting question. How can we help you?
VICKY: I have dining room and part of my living room. I had – the ceiling was peeling – painting and peeling.
VICKY: As the pieces were running wide, opening, coming down, I had a painter come and he scraped all the peeled paint off. And there were parts that were not peeled, so he didn’t touch that. He just peeled the pieces coming down.
Now, he painted. I have no idea if he put a sealant or not. But after that, about a year or so later, I had the same problem. Now, this is all coming down, so I have another painter, another $4,000 I put into this and it’s peeling again.
TOM: Let’s talk about what’s probably happening with your paint. When you have paint that starts to peel like that, it’s essentially sort of delaminating. The paint between the layers of paint, it loses its ability to remain sort of stuck together or loses its bond. And it’s very common for this to happen when you have a lot of coats of paint. Because at some point, you’re really at the point of no return where the paint – you can’t just keep adding more paint, because it will peel. You have to strip off the paint that’s there.
So if you’ve got this problem of paint that repeatedly peels, the next time you work on this project, you have to apply a paint stripper and pull off the old paint. Then you need to prime that space. And I would use an oil-based primer for maximum adhesion. And then you can add the final, finishing touch of a latex ceiling paint over that. But if you keep adding good paint over bad paint, you’re continually going to have this problem where you get peeling and delamination and the process will have to be repeated.
Vicky, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Now I’ve got Andy in New Jersey on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you today?
ANDY: I added on an addition – an enclosed porch – to the back of my rancher. It’s a 12×24 addition. And so, first, it was just a porch. And now, we’re closing it and trying to make it part of the house. So, the question I have was about insulating the ceiling. Because what it is – it has a gambreled (ph) roof on it. And it comes out of the house 14 feet to the back door and it’s 24 feet wide.
And then there’s an A-frame, OK, that goes on top. So I call it a “great gambreled (ph) roof.” I don’t know if I’m using the right terminology but – so the insulation in the ceiling on the two sides, OK, it’s like a vaulted ceiling, I guess you might say. See, the rafters are 2×8 and then they drop into the eaves. So, I’m not sure about the ventilation of the roof.
TOM: So that’s what we call a “cathedral ceiling.”
ANDY: Right. But it only comes up that far for about 8 feet.
TOM: Right. It’s like a partial cathedral, so part of it’s flat and part of it is cathedral. Is that correct?
ANDY: Yes. It comes up – yeah, it comes up right along the rafters of the ceiling for about 8 feet and then it cuts right across.
TOM: OK. So let me give you some suggestions.
So, first of all, unrelated to your question, you just mentioned that you built this addition on a porch. Does the porch have a proper foundation?
ANDY: Well, no, I’m sorry, we built the whole porch there as a porch.
TOM: Oh, it was all part of it. OK, fine. Because a lot of times, we see folks that take old porches and try to turn them into additions and they don’t have the right foundations. Because before we put money in this, we want to make sure you had a good foundation.
Now, in terms of insulating the cathedral section, the way you do that is if you have a 2×8 cathedral, roof-rafter kind of span, you can only put 5½ inches of insulation in that. You need to leave the balance of the space for ventilation, as you’ve mentioned. And you are going to need to make sure that you have ventilation at the peak and also towards the bottom of that.
Now, depending on how it’s configured and how it intersects with the lower slope or the flatter section, you need to figure out a way for air to move above that insulation and get up underneath between the insulation and the rafter and out.
Now, another way to do this is to not use fiberglass at all. What you could do is use spray-foam insulation – Icynene spray-foam insulation. I did this in my house. In fact, I just got an assessment of how well the home was insulated compared – or how energy-efficient the home was compared to my neighborhood. And it went up to being in the top 19 percent of the neighborhood for insulation, which I thought was quite an accomplishment because my house was built 125 years ago. It’s not like we started with a house that was built in the year 2000. This is a 125-year-old house. It’s in the top 20 percent of the most insulated homes in the area because I used Icynene spray-foam insulation.
And if you use the spray-foam insulation, you don’t need to ventilate. Basically, you’re changing that area from an unconditioned space to a conditioned space. You can spray up right against the underside of the roof sheathing and case the whole thing in foam and it’ll be far more insulated than you could ever get with the fiberglass. Because let’s face it: we like to see R-30, R-40 in terms of insulation ability. But all you can get is R-19 because you can only get 5½ inches of insulation in there.
ANDY: Alright. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: Yep. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, do you know the one home improvement that takes about a minute to do, costs just a few dollars and can save energy, as well as making it easier for you to breathe? We’ll tell you what that is, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, as many of you know, before I got on the radio, I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector. So I inspected homes from soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles. And very often, when we looked at the HVAC system – the heating and the air-conditioning system – we would look to see if it had a filter. And more often than not, it either didn’t have a filter or the filter was the wrong size or the last time the filter was changed, you know, your kids were two years younger.
And I tell you what, that’s a real problem. We’re moving into the allergy season now. You want to have good filtration on your home. And there’s a great, new way to get that done.
LESLIE: That’s right. It’s called FilterEasy. And going us is Kevin Barry, the COO of FilterEasy, with some great ideas on how you can get clean air at home.
KEVIN: Hey, Leslie. Hey, Tom.
TOM: Yeah, I’ve got to tell you this is a terrific idea. What FilterEasy is is it’s a subscription service so that you can never forget to change your filter. Because, basically, when you need a filter, it shows up. I had never heard of this before. Is this something you kind of dreamed up, I don’t know, when you were in college or something?
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s right. My colleague, Thad, and I came up with the idea while we were in college and it stemmed from a unfortunate incident where we had, just as you were mentioning, one of those dirty air filters that hadn’t been changed in forever. And it looked like a Christmas sweater.
LESLIE: That’s horrible.
KEVIN: And we took a trip to Home Depot and we were, unfortunately, returning home with the wrong-size air filter. So, it was a catastrophe having to go back, return the air filter just to change it out. And that’s not something that anyone wants to do on a weekend.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. Now, it really is important to change those air filters. And a lot of folks don’t recognize how frequently you need to do that. Do you find that when you’re talking to your customers?
KEVIN: Yeah. On average, homeowners only are changing their air filters two times a year. And it’s really important to have your air filter cadence at roughly every 60 days to every 90 days, depending on where you live. Now, that varies depending on your home conditions: whether you have animals or potentially asthma- or allergy-prone folks in your home. So, just keeping your filters changed when they’re starting to look gray, rather than when they look like the Christmas sweater, that’s when you know it’s really time to change them out.
LESLIE: Well, Kevin, I think we’re all sort of taking for granted the first initial step. We’re talking about the frequency of changing the filters but I think a lot of times, homeowners don’t even realize there are filters to be changed or where to find those filters.
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s 100-percent true. And by going through your home – nearly every home is going to have some sort of air filter, whether that’s in your walls or in your ceiling or in the HVAC system in your house. And since they’re out of sight and out of mind on a regular basis, it’s really hard to remember, on such a regular cadence, that you actually need to change these things.
And that’s where we step in. FilterEasy makes filters easy by delivering them to you exactly when you need them, in the exact sizes that you need.
TOM: Now, you would think that a customized service like this would cost more than going out and buying it at the store. But you guys are doing so much business now, you actually can keep the prices down and make it fairly consistent. Is that correct?
KEVIN: We actually provide all of our air filters to our users for the exact same cost that you’re going to be paying for them at the store. Now, there’s actually an additional benefit. By changing your air filters on time, the Department of Energy states that you’re going to save anywhere between 5 and 15 percent on your heating-and-cooling bills. That can be a pretty big chunk of change that you can put back into your pocket instead of down the energy tube.
TOM: That’s going to make a dent. And plus, of course, the air is much fresher and cleaner inside your house.
Now, when it comes to selecting filters, I know that there’s different densities of filters. Some are better at, say, smaller particles than others. Can you kind of give us an overview of how that works and how it’s determined which filter is really best for your particular situation?
KEVIN: Sure, yeah. There are many different types of air filters on the market, from the little cheesy filters that you can see through and you can clearly tell that they’re not stopping much, all the way up to the high-quality air filters that are able to filter out the things that come out of your nose when you sneeze and viruses and bacteria that could be floating around your home. And it really depends on the level of filtration that you need in your home.
There’s a common misconception that the cheap, see-through air filters are what you should use for your home because the other air filters restrict airflow and cause problems. And again, that’s a misconception. The air-filter manufacturers make these filters to be installed in your home. So it depends on the level of filtration that you need for your home.
You can use the medium-quality filters if you have a relatively clean home. But again, if you have the needs of taking care of allergy-prone folks in your home or folks with asthma in your home, you really want to lean towards the higher-quality products.
LESLIE: And Kevin, do you guys offer a checklist to help people sort of figure out which is the best filter for their home?
KEVIN: Yes, we do. We have a list on our website, which shows what each one of our air filters filters out. So you can determine which filter is the best for your needs and your family at your home.
TOM: The website’s called FilterEasy.com. And Kevin, I want to thank you because you’ve been very generous in offering our listeners a promotion for this weekend only. And it’s fantastic. Here it is: if you go to FilterEasy.com/MoneyPit – you must go to FilterEasy.com/MoneyPit – you’re going to get your first delivery free. Not only the delivery, you’re going to get your entire shipment for free.
I mean you’ve got to do this right now, though, because this is a good deal. If you need one filter for your house, you get one. If you need three filters because you have three different places to change them, you’ll get three. Whatever it is that, that shipment, it’s going to be totally free if you go, this weekend only, to FilterEasy.com/MoneyPit.
That’s a great offer, Kevin. We really appreciate you setting us up.
KEVIN: Absolutely. We are here to deliver clean air to as many folks as possible and we look forward to helping out the Money Pit listeners.
TOM: Alright. Go to FilterEasy.com/MoneyPit. But remember, you must do it this weekend. At the close of business Sunday, it’s over, it’s gone. It will never be offered again. So go, this weekend, to FilterEasy.com/MoneyPit and get your first shipment of filters for free from FilterEasy.com.
Kevin Barry, the Chief Operating Officer of FilterEasy.com, a subscription service for filters that he thought up while he was in college. And now he’s doing phenomenally well in providing clean air for all.
Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Kevin.
KEVIN: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Just ahead, can battery-powered tools do the same job as those that are electric-powered? What about those that are gas-powered? Well, we say they can and we tested a battery-powered lawn mower to prove it. We have the details, plus more of your calls, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: You’ve got a spring project planned there, Miss Leslie? You did a lot of work last year. What have you got to do this year? Just maybe some touch-up?
LESLIE: You know, last year, we did a ton of work at the house, which is great. And we’ve seen the benefits of it. The new windows and the more insulation really reduced our heating costs, so I’m excited to see that happen again and see those cooling costs come down. But I have to tell you, the yard kind of suffered at the wayside. All the little, cute stone edges I have around the flower beds and things, they’re kind of crumbled apart and a little too short. And I want to do some just things around the yard.
And I also have this little, slate patio that I had given to Ed for his 40th birthday that I put in myself. And this is 10 years ago.
LESLIE: And I have this gigantic white pine. And the roots have just caused such disruption of that patio. So I think either I’m going to start it or maybe I might have a pro come in with some heavy machinery and really dig down for me and get that good base and get rid of that big root for me. And then I can go ahead and do everything else. I’ve got to see because it’s that root that gives me such a hard time and I’m not as strong as you all think I am.
TOM: You’re pretty strong. And you’re definitely tough but I agree. Use the pro for those big projects and you can work on the rest.
Hey, we’re pros and we’re here to help you with your projects. So if you’ve got a question on how to get it done, now would be a great time to call 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, now that it’s spring, it’s about time we start hearing the lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and chainsaws getting fired up around the neighborhood. But thanks to the advancements in brushless-motor technology, battery-powered tools are getting better and better and now can do those jobs just as well.
TOM: Yep. And a good example of this is the new line from Greenworks called Pro 60-Volt. They’re available exclusively at Lowes and Lowes.com and they sent me the new Greenworks 60-volt Lithium Walk-Behind Mower to check out.
So, a couple of things worth noting. Straight off, you’ve got to notice this: it’s a push-button start, right? So that means no cords to pull, so there’s no gas or oil hassle to deal with. Plus, this brushless motor – you’re, of course, concerned is it really going to do the job? It’s battery-powered. It’s not gas or oil. Listen, with this brushless-motor technology, it was super powerful. I plunged it into some tall grass and barely noticed anything. The battery can handle up to a half acre, so that’s a lot of reasons to give up gas mowers for good.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I liked that it folds for storage and you can even store it vertically, which is going to save 70 percent of storage space in your garage. And I mean that is already valuable real estate, right?
TOM: Definitely. Now, the Walk-Behind Mower is part of a full suite of Greenworks Pro 60-Volt Lithium-Powered Outdoor Equipment. It also includes a string trimmer, a hedge trimmer, a chainsaw and a handheld leaf blower. Wouldn’t you love to quiet those things down? You can with this new line from Greenworks Pro 60-Volt, available exclusively at Lowes and Lowes.com.
[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is dealing with a squeaky floor.
Tell us, Doug, where is it?
DOUG: I have a – there’s a couple of spots in the master bedroom where when you walk over those spots, they squeak. Now, the room has wall-to-wall carpeting and I’m wondering if there’s some type of a fastener that can go through the carpeting without damaging the carpeting. But I also have access to the joist and subfloor, from the basement, and I don’t know if there’s something I could do with that from that end.
TOM: Yeah, there is. Now, how old is your house, Doug?
DOUG: It’s 25 years old.
TOM: OK. Perfect. So, there’s two things you can do here. First of all, the reason the floor is squeaking is because there’s movement between the subfloor and the floor joist, so if you can tighten up the attachment of the subfloor to the floor joist, then it’s going to quiet the squeak.
Now, you can actually do this through the carpet and this is method one. If you can identify where the floor joist is through that carpet by use of a stud finder – because they can look, actually, deep into the floor boards, about 3 inches in there. So if you can find where those joists are, you can either take a finish nail – and I like to use a galvanized Number 10 or Number 12 finish nail. And I’ll drive it through the carpet at a slight angle so it’s going through the carpet, through the subfloor and into the floor joist.
Then what you do is grab the carpet nap and sort of pull it up so it comes through the head of the nail. And kind of brush it and it will disappear. When you first do nail the – drive the nail in, the carpet will look dimpled. But if you grab the nap of it and pull it up so it actually pierces the nail, you can sort of make it disappear. You can also do this with what’s called a “breakaway screw.” There’s a screw that’s like a drywall screw except it’s designed to snap off at the head. And that can be done through carpets.
Now, you asked about doing something from below. Yes, what you could do, also, is if you could figure out the noisy places, you could take a block of wood – I’ve done this with maybe like a 1×3 or a 2×4. And I’ll put a lot of adhesive – like a LIQUID NAILS, a construction adhesive – on two edges of the board, like the places – the part that’s going to be up against the subfloor and the part that will be up against the floor joist. And I’ll put the 3½ inch side against the floor joist and push it up tight into the subfloor and then I’ll screw it into the floor joist so it’s really tight, right? And then I’ll kind of leave it alone and let it dry. And that will give you some additional support for that loose area and that can quiet the squeak, as well.
DOUG: Yeah. I understand exactly what you’re saying.
DOUG: Alright. Appreciate it. I’ll try it out again.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you getting ready for a painting project? Well, we’re going to have the secret to getting those nice, clean lines between the colors, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And hey, if you are a DIYer, there’s now a national holiday just for you. Sunday, April 2nd, is National DIY Day. And to help celebrate, we have teamed up with the folks at the DIYZ mobile app, who are all about getting you the help you need for all your DIY projects.
TOM: Yep. DIYZ is a very handy app. It lets you video chat with a professional advisor that’s got years of experience in their field. And the advisors can answer questions about home repairs, remodeling, craft projects or even help you plan your next big home improvement. And the best part is that, right now, the service is free for a limited time. I mean where else can you talk to a contractor for free and get good, independent expert advice? You can with the DIYZ app.
LESLIE: That’s right. Plus, for DIY Day, Tom and I will be taking a shift as pro advisor for DIYZ. On Sunday, April 2nd, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, you will be able to connect with us personally, one-on-one, or should I say one-on-two. Tom and I will both be able to answer for all the answers to your home improvement, décor, remodeling, even crafting questions.
So download the DIYZ mobile app, today, for free in the Apple App Store for your iPhone or Google Play for your Android. And mark your calendars to connect with us, one-on-one, on April 2nd from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You know, we talk to so many of you each week. It’s going to be really nice to actually see you guys in person.
TOM: Alright. So Joan now has posted a question to the Money Pit Community section. And here’s a question you can probably help with, Leslie. Joan wants to know: “How do I get nice, clean lines when repainting my living space?”
This is something that DIYers always struggle with. The professionals never even use masking tape but us DIYers, well, we really need it. But I guess the trick here isn’t how you use that tape, right?
LESLIE: It pretty much depends on what tape you use. If you’re going to use a standard painter’s tape – that paper tape that you get at the home improvement store – what you want to do is you want to put down your tape and then take the color that you’ll be painting with and sort of seal that paint edge, so that whatever paint is going to bleed through will bleed through that same color. So that’s a helpful tip.
But there are some tapes out there that have a really amazing technology built into them. They have this sort of absorbent quality so when the paint hits the tape, that tape then sort of seals itself to your wall surface so nothing can get underneath it. And that’s truly in the tape’s technology itself. There’s a couple of different manufacturers out there that make this. You’ve got to see it. I think one calls it Paint Lock and another calls it FROGTAPE. You’ve got to look in the aisle but you’ll find the tapes there that do this magic.
TOM: Alright. Andrew writes from Buffalo – says, “In the last few years, my 12-year-old house has developed dark areas where the sheetrock has screwed to the trusses. This is only at the outer edge, where the ceiling meets the wall. Should I be worried? Should I seal the spots and then paint?”
Alright. So what’s happening here, we call it “ghosting,” Andrew. And because where the wall is attached to the framing, it’s actually colder than, if you think, the left and the right of that because there’s insulation on the other side of that. So where it’s cold – what happens where it’s cold, you get condensation. So as the air moves around your house, it’s always circulating. Air has dust and dirt in it. It strikes that ceiling surface where it’s cold, it condenses and it stains right in that stripe underneath the truss.
So, nothing to worry about. Maybe increase your filtration but you can go ahead and prime it and paint it and you will be good to go. Or perhaps just clean it and you might see that it comes back without any further paint.
LESLIE: We’ll see how much you’ve got to do there, Andrew.
TOM: You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on this, the very first weekend of spring. We hope that we’ve helped you get some ideas and some inspiration for the projects you’d like to take on around your house. We are here to help, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
It doesn’t matter when you hear this show. You can pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we are not in the studio to help, we will call you back the next time we are. And remember, you can always post your question to the Community section at MoneyPit.com.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2017 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)