- Gutter Maintenance: Faulty gutters can cause expensive damage all around your home. Learn how to keep your gutters in shape.
- Space Heaters: Want to warm up that chilly room? These space-age space heaters offer the perfect solution.
- Bathtub Refinishing: Tired of seeing that ring around the bathtub? We’ve got 4 refinishing ideas for a tub that needs a good scrub.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Contractors: Is there a way to handle pushy contractors with bad attitudes? We offer Rita a suggestion on how to find the best home improvement contractors.
- Pavers: George wants to know the best way to lock concrete pavers in place. He gets tips on how much space he needs and using a flexible patio border edging.
- Wood Paneling: There’s dark wood paneling throughout Dena’s house. We tell her how to clean, sand, and prime the paneling before painting it over.
- Bathroom Exhaust Fan: Condensation drips down the bathroom walls every time Brian uses the shower. He should get a more powerful exhaust fan that vents outside the house and be sure it runs long enough.
- Window Drafts: It’s freezing in Renea’s apartment! We’ve got tips on using weatherstripping caulk and shrink film to seal the drafts around windows and sliding doors.
- Hard Water: Even with a water softener system, mineral deposits are causing spots when Clair washes the cars. It’s time to have the water softener checked and serviced again.
- Wallpaper Removal: Is there an easy way to remove layers of wallpaper? We tell Thomas how to cut, moisten, and loosen the paste or rent a wallpaper steamer.
- Cleaning Garage Floors: Laurie’s garage floor is coated with layers of oil and grease. Her best bet is to power wash it with a TSP solution, then add an epoxy finish.
- Stone Countertops: Is there a maintenance-free natural stone countertop? Quartz and concrete are good alternatives to granite, but Ross will still need to give them some amount of care.
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: It is officially the ho-ho-home improvement season, Leslie.
TOM: Only a couple of weeks to go now until the end of the year. So, lots of holiday cheer out there. If you’re trying to get a project done in a flash here so you can spruce up your house even more before the end-of-the-year holidays arrive, well, we can help. Reach out to us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we will do our best to get you on the road to recovery.
Coming up on today’s show, if your gutters are not designed correctly, there’s about a dozen serious problems that can result, like rot, leaks, insect problems, you name it. So we’re going to share how to do a simple gutter tune-up, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, do you have a chilly room or two at home that just doesn’t seem to ever get comfortable? Well, we’re going to share a new technology in space heating that can make that discomfort disappear.
TOM: And bathtubs might last a lifetime but their finishes not so much. But if your bathtub finish is worn, you don’t have to get rid of the entire tub. We’re going to share a much less expensive solution that I recently discovered.
LESLIE: Alright. Can’t wait to hear about that.
Also, guys, what are you working on? You know we love to lend a hand with all of your projects. So whether it’s a renovation, a repair or even a decorating project – heck, even a holiday project – we’d love to help you with those. Well, I love the holiday decorating; I can take those.
TOM: That’s right.
LESLIE: So, call them in.
Whatever it is you guys are working on, we want to help you make your money pit your best home ever. So give us a call.
TOM: Reach out to us with your questions by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your questions on MoneyPit.com. Just click the blue microphone button.
Alright. Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Rita on the line from Arkansas who’s looking to put in a metal roof.
How can we help you?
RITA: The contractors that I talked to, they seemed to have really sour attitudes.
RITA: And that’s the nicest word I could put it.
TOM: What do they seem to be so miserable about?
RITA: They get offended that I ask questions like, “What are the measurements of my roof?” And they want me to sign paperwork as soon as they show up.
RITA: Things like that. I want to know a streamlined way to get estimates.
TOM: So one thing that you can do is you can use a service called Angi – A-n-g-i. And so if you go online to Angi.com – A-n-g-i.com – and then you put in what you’re looking for – so in this case, you’re looking for a roofer to install a metal roof. And they may ask you a couple of questions.
And then what happens is Angi then sends your information out to a limited number of contractors, in your area, that have already identified themselves as doing this sort of work. So you’re only going to hear from those that are most qualified and most interested in your project. Because they actually are paying for the leads to get your contact information; it’s an advertising expense for them. So then when they show up, they’re totally prepared to do a proper estimate and don’t expect you to sign something on the dotted line right there.
You know, if they’re trying to push you to get you to hire them without you having a chance to think about it, that’s a bad sign right there. And I would go no further with someone that did that to me.
A friend of mine the other day had to get an estimate for windows. And it was nine windows. And the estimate was $35,000, which was ridiculous. But secondly, the guy goes, “Well, if you can decide in the next 20 minutes, it goes down to $26,000.” Are you kidding me? So she basically tossed him out of the house with a few choice words to boot.
But anybody who tries to push you like that is just bad business. So I would not lose any sleep over that. I would just not work with them at all. But I think if you try Angi, you’ll get an entirely different result.
RITA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what, Rita? There’s other people reviewing that contractor, letting you know how they were to work with, if their prices were fair, what the project was like, the end result. So there’s a community that you can kind of compare things with right there to get a better sense.
RITA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Heading out to Connecticut where we’ve got George on the line who’s got a concrete paver project.
How can we help?
GEORGE: I have some pavers that I’m going to be putting down in the backyard. And I know that they’ll migrate and separate if you don’t lock them in. And I was wondering – I know the professionals use mortar mix or cement and they dig down around them and they put a row of – or a line of cement down. Is that a good way of doing it? And if so, how deep would you go with the cement and how wide would the trench be to lock those pavers in?
TOM: So, typically, you will be building that pad for the pavers probably at least, I’d say, at least 8 inches wider than what you’re going to need, so that you have a little bit of an area where you can lay in some concrete on sort of a 45-degree angle and sort of support that outside lip of those pavers. Or there are products that are basically border-edging products that are flexible, that you can essentially wind around that brick edge. And then you attach them down by stakes and you won’t have to do the concrete, as well it’s a lot neater way to go. It also has the advantage of being able to be disassembled if you ever have to kind of work on that paver edge or you want to expand the patio or something of that nature.
So take a look at the paver-patio edging. You’ll find it at home centers, you’ll find it on Amazon. People have very good success with it and I think that’s definitely an option.
But in any event, you need to prep that base a lot wider than what you think you’re going to need. Because when you make – let’s say you’re going to do a 4-foot-wide walkway and you only prep with compressed soil and sand and stone a 4-foot-wide section, well, that’s not going to work because the edge is going to collapse. So you’ve got to go wider than what you want the finished pavers to do. The grass will grow over that area that you’ve compressed underneath the pavers. But if you don’t make it a little bit wider than what you need, you will find that edge is going to turn a lot quicker.
GEORGE: That sounds like a winner.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. If you start it now, it’ll be ready for spring, right?
GEORGE: That’s right. Thank you.
LESLIE: Hey, guys, how are you spending your holiday season? Are you sprucing up your money pit? Or maybe you’re just hunkering down with family and friends? Well, whatever you guys have going on, do not miss out on The Money Pit Holiday Entertaining Sweepstakes. We’ve got over $1,000 in prizes up for grabs.
TOM: Yeah, check this out. We’re giving away a gorgeous, new refrigerator from LG. It’s got contoured doors, hidden hinges and a host of amazing interior features. It’s ENERGY STAR-rated, as well. And it’s 7 cubic foot, so that means it’s kind of the perfect backup size. So you’ll always have room for extra holiday food.
LESLIE: Alright. That sounds awesome. Well, now you’ve got this fridge, what are you going to put in it? Well, we’ve got a bunch of $100 gift cards to Omaha Steaks to give away which, by the way, make great gifts, as well as a delicious way to stock your own freezer for the holidays.
TOM: And everyone who enters is going to get a special Money Pit promo code for Omaha Steaks worth 30 bucks, plus free shipping. You can enter once a day at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes. That’s MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
LESLIE: Dina in Iowa is on the line with a painting question.
How can we help you today?
DINA: I have this brown paneling and it goes all the way from the floor to the ceiling in every room. And I wondered if I can paint over this or wallpaper or what is your suggestion?
TOM: Wow. That’s a – what’s that, 1970s?
DINA: Yeah. Yep.
TOM: Yeah. You know, I kind of remember that growing up. We had those – that era in my house. And it’s always better to remove it but you can paint it.
What you want to do, Dina, is you want to prime it. So, the first thing you would do is you would clean it. You would lightly sand it. And because there’s so much of it, I would – when I go the paint store, I would get a sanding extension. It’s on a pole. It’s like a pole with an indexing head at the bottom – at the end of it, I should say. And you can run this pole over the surface and sand it, rough it up a little bit.
And then you’re going to want to prime it. And I would use a good-quality, oil-based primer. It’ll go on nice and thick. It’ll give you a good, solid surface on which to add the wall paint. And then you can use latex wall paint on top of that. And I think it’ll come out nice and it’ll go on easy if you do those steps in that order. Because once you prime it, you get a very nice, even surface. It fills in any of the imperfections in the surface and it will make sure that that topcoat can be accepted properly.
DINA: What about those grooves?
TOM: You’re always going to have those grooves. You can’t do anything about it unless you want to take the paneling down which, by the way, could be an option. Because sometimes, when they put the paneling up, they just nailed it with these types of small, very thin ring nails. You could experiment with the possibility of taking that paneling off the walls. And you may find that underneath it is drywall.
Now, generally, you have to do a lot of spackling, sometimes retaping and that kind of thing. But it is possible that underneath that paneling are some decent, typical drywall-covered walls.
DINA: OK. It sounds like a Saturday job.
TOM: Yeah. Well, at least, if you’ve got that much paneling. It might be a couple of Saturdays’ jobs. A lot of Saturdays.
TOM: Alright, Dina. Good luck with that project. Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, gutters aren’t a very exciting part of a home until something goes wrong and then it’s the wrong kind of excitement.
LESLIE: I mean nobody wants to be dealing with these messes. And it could be a great surprise.
Now, most people think that the gutters are there just simply to keep that water from splashing on your head when you’re walking in and out of the house. But they actually have a very important structural role.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a great point. Gutters and downspouts pretty much form, I guess, what I would call the “first line of defense” against a wet basement or a crawlspace. If you let the water collect along the foundation, that water will eventually find its way inside the house.
They can also prevent cracks in the foundations, rotting of the roof fascia. Because when the gutters overflow, the wood behind the gutter rots out. You get leaks from ice dams, you get slippery sidewalks, you get cracked driveways, washed-out landscaping. They can even increase your chances of developing a wood-destroying insect problem because the foundation stays wet all the time. So it’s really important that they’re set up correctly.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the first step is to assess the gutters that you do have. And in most cases, you’re going to want a gutter on any side of a roof that drains. Plus, you want at least 1 downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roofing surface.
TOM: Now, the two most common gutter repairs needed include fixing sags and leaky joints. Now, when it comes to fixing those sags, most gutters are held in place with large spikes that kind of pass through the tubular sleeves called “ferrules.” And when that spike pulls free, the gutter can sag and in some cases, actually come crashing down. And even if it comes partially crashing down, when it gets bent there’s like no putting it back together; it’s kind of a mess.
So, to repair a sagging gutter, what I recommend is that you replace the spike with a piece of hardware called a “gutter screw.” It’s the same length as the spike itself, except it’s got a lag bolt on the end of it and these will not pull out. Once you install them, they are totally permanent.
LESLIE: Now, over time, the joints between the lengths of the gutters can fail. And even seamless gutters aren’t immune to drips at corners in those downspout outlets. So, you can make a patch and seal it in place with roofing cement.
But you might want to make sure that you use the same metal that the gutter is made out of – aluminum for aluminum, copper for copper – because if you don’t match the metals, you can create electrolytic corrosion. Now, I’ve seen this happen; we always call them “pinhole leaks” in our basement and all over the town I live in. Because the pipe clamps that the plumbers had been using were different than the pipes. So everybody was getting these weird, little pinhole leaks in their basement spaces. So I know firsthand that this can happen. So you want to make sure that you’re not causing this corrosion, because it’s just going to help them eat away at each other.
TOM: Lastly, you want to make sure you keep your gutters clean and the downspouts extended at least 4 to 6 feet from the house. And I cannot tell you how many wet-basement problems I have seen over the years because people did not follow this basic advice.
Just last week, I did a favor for a friend of mine. And I went over and I looked at a condominium that her friend was buying. Now, the basement in this place wasn’t flooded but there clearly was water in a sump pump. It was damp. They had a lot of condensation that had collected on air-conditioning ducts in the basement ceiling. And that sort of wet the drywall because the humidity was just so darn high.
So I said, “OK, let’s go outside.” What do I find? I find these huge downspouts going underground and then not exiting anywhere. So they had run them underground to this black, sort of corrugated plastic pipe but it didn’t come out anywhere. So, somewhere, all that water was leaking right back. So you’re taking this big roof, collecting all this water, basically dropping it into the soil and it goes back right to the basement, causing the humidity problems that they’re having. And the leaking stains were very clear on the foundation all the way around.
Meanwhile, by the way, they had had estimates from a mold remediator – there was no mold down there – and secondly, a waterproofer, a wet-basement company. Both looking for enormous sums of money to fix a problem that I diagnosed and was probably repairable for less than 100 bucks.
If you really want to see what’s going on with water around your house, make sure you go outside and watch your roof in a really torrential rainstorm. Of course, not if it’s lightning out. But go out there and watch what’s happening with that water. You’ll be surprised, sometimes, to see how it gets back to your house foundation and where it sits. And then once you know that, you can take steps to make sure you’re moving it away.
LESLIE: Brian is joining us with an issue going on in the bathroom every time he takes a shower.
Alright. What’s going on?
BRIAN: Every time I get a shower, I have condensation running down the walls and I have to wipe the walls with a towel. Do I need to change the fan or is there another problem?
LESLIE: Now, I think what you’re seeing there is just sort of the condensation from the hot, moist air of the shower touching the colder wall in the bathroom space. And that’s more of an exhaust-fan issue; I don’t think you’re moving out that moist air. I don’t think this is anything more than that. Yes, you may have to dry out the walls, until you correct this situation, with a towel. But changing out the vent fan to something more powerful, opening the window and putting on the vent fan – you have to move that moist air out to correct this issue.
TOM: Yeah, definitely. If you’ve got high humidity in the bathroom because you’re not venting it, of course it’s going to condense on the walls, as well as the bath walls but also – as well as the shower walls and the tub walls but also just the drywall in the bathroom and in the ceiling. So you’ve got to move that humidity out there. Having an effective fan is important, having that set up on a humidistat.
See, we’re just accustomed to taking a shower, leaving the room, even if we have a fan, then turn the fan off. That fan’s actually got to run for a bit after you leave that bathroom, in order to totally move the moisture out. Just make sure that when you discharge it, it’s actually discharging out of the house. Not just in the attic but actually going out of the house. And a good way to make sure that’s happening – if you do see an exhaust duct on the outside, turn the fan on, go look at it. Should have a flapper that actually moves to the open position.
LESLIE: Renee in North Carolina needs some help weatherproofing.
What can we do for you?
RENEE: I just recently moved into a brand-new apartment complex. So, the windows are pretty good windows but what I’ve found is that it is freezing in here now that the temperature has dropped. So I’m looking for suggestions on how to put up temporary fixes to the windows leaking air in. And also the sliding door. I have a big, sliding-glass door that I’m not sure how to weatherproof that.
TOM: Alright. Renee, first of all, as far as the windows are concerned, one of the things you might want to look into is weather-stripping caulk. There’s a certain type of caulk that’s designed to be removable. And one of the products is called Seal ‘N Peel with the letter N – Seal ‘N Peel. And I think that one is by Red Devil or DAP. Both manufacturers have a version of this.
And the way it works is you essentially can caulk the windows shut. So you can caulk around all those gaps. And then in the spring, you can grab the caulk bead and peel it off. And it comes off like a piece of rubber.
LESLIE: Just make sure you leave one window unclosed, unsealed because – just in case you need it for an egress in the event of an emergency. Because it comes out but it just doesn’t come out that fast.
TOM: Now, as far as the door is concerned, I would just use shrink film for that. So the shrink film – basically, you put a two-sided adhesive tape around the door and then you attach the film to that. And then you take a hair dryer and warm the film and it shrinks and gets nice and taut and crystal-clear.
RENEE: OK. So the film would actually prevent the door – the sliding-glass door – from opening?
TOM: Correct. You would not be able to use that door in the winter, mm-hmm.
TOM: If you have to be able to use it, then you’d just have to use weather-stripping. But it’s probably not going to be as effective.
RENEE: OK. Well, this has been very helpful. I’ve just been afraid to put up anything that was going to destroy the window or the paint.
TOM: I know. You want to get that security deposit back, eventually, right?
RENEE: Definitely. Or not pay more.
TOM: Alright, Renee. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, you getting ready for the holidays? We’re almost there.
LESLIE: Oh, my God, I’m so excited. You know I love this time of year. It’s funny, though. At Good Morning America, we do so much holiday stuff. So much that it kind of dilutes my enjoyment for my own holiday stuff at home because it’s so busy. But I just love spending the holiday at home with my family and seeing the kids’ faces light up and all the holiday magic. How about you?
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you what, soon as Halloween is done, the Home Depots and Lowe’s and big-box stores I like to frequent switched immediately to the holiday items: the trees and the wires and the lights and the bulbs. So I was kind of over it early but now I’m kind of rested and getting back into it.
LESLIE: Good. I know. It’s funny. It’s like you go through waves with the holidays. And you’re right: it’s like Thanksgiving just is kind of in the middle, even though Thanksgiving’s always the best holiday because the food is so yummy.
Claire in Maine, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CLAIRE: Yes, I have a little problem with my water softener. I seem to have nice, soft water with it. The soap lathers good and everything. But when I wash my vehicles and then one of those is black, after it dries, wherever there were any of the droplets of water, when that dries off I get all these little white deposits all over the vehicle. And I was wondering why, if it’s soft water, why I’m getting those.
TOM: Yeah, because it doesn’t sound very soft; it sounds more like hard water. You’ve got a lot of minerals in that.
Now, the water that you’re using to wash the vehicles, this is coming from the water softener?
CLAIRE: Yes. All my water – my hot and my cold – go through the softener.
TOM: Including the hose bibbs that you’re hooking up to to wash the car?
TOM: Well, obviously, the water softener is not working correctly. You’ve got a lot of minerals in there and that’s what’s showing up on your beautiful, black car.
CLAIRE: Well, I know I had the hardness checked about 3 years ago and they gave me a number, 23, and they set it at that. And that’s what I’ve been going with ever since.
TOM: Well, maybe it’s time to have it serviced again and have it checked again, because things can change. And that’s got to be what’s causing it, though.
LESLIE: Well, every home has a chilly room or two that just never seems to get as comfortable as you’d like it to be. So the folks at EdenPURE recently sent Tom and I a new space heater that they designed. And I have to say, I was super impressed. First of all, it functions amazing but it looks great.
TOM: Yeah. It’s called the GEN40 Heater and it works by combining infrared heat and convective heat to warm a room. These two technologies basically work together and then heat the chilly areas of your home much better than conventional space heaters. The unit has a fan that sort of oscillates, right? It oscillates; it goes around, side to side, up and down. And that does a great job of circulating the heat to cover the entire space.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, old-style heating technology allows that heat to collect at the ceiling because, you know, hot air rises. And that means the floor in your home have temperatures somewhat 7 to 10 degrees colder than what’s going on at the ceiling. The GEN40 Heater heats a room evenly – wall to wall and floor to ceiling – so you’re not getting those cold spots in your home.
TOM: Yeah. And it’s also completely safe around pets and children because there are no exposed heating elements that can be touched. And it’s got multiple safety shutoffs built in to help prevent a fire.
Plus, you can use that GEN40 all year round, too. It has a fan-only function that can actually keep you cool in the summer and reduce your air-conditioning bill.
LESLIE: I mean the heating costs, guys, they’re expected to skyrocket this winter. But the GEN40 Infrared Heater is guaranteed to start saving you money on your heating bills as soon as you turn it on.
Check it out. You can check out the EdenPURE GEN40 Heater at EdenPUREDeals.com. And right now, Money Pit listeners can get an additional $50 off the lowest sale price by using our discount code MONEYPIT50.
TOM: So if you guys would like to take the chill out of the air in your house and save money, go to EdenPUREDeals.com, discount code MONEYPIT50. That’s EdenPUREDeals.com – E-d-e-n-P-U-R-E-Deals.com. And use that discount code MONEYPIT50.
LESLIE: Thomas in Tennessee is on the line with a wallpaper question.
How can we help you today?
THOMAS: I have two layers of wallpaper in a small half-bath that I’m trying to take off. And I was wondering what you guys’ best solution is. One is a lighter wallpaper, like you would find in the rest of the house. But the other one is a very thick, waterproof-type that’s mostly used in bathrooms.
TOM: Yeah. Well, removal is pretty much the same regardless of that type. Essentially, what you have to do is you’ve got to run a tool across the paper called a “paper tiger.” And it’s a tool that puts small, prickly-sized holes in the paper. And then once you have those holes in there, you’re going to apply a water – a wallpaper-paste remover to it which will soak into the paper, get behind it and start to loosen it up.
Now, it’s a lot of work but considering it’s just a bathroom, perhaps it won’t be that difficult for you. If you really, really, really have a hard time getting that paper off, you could always rent a wallpaper steamer and that will make the job a little bit easier.
THOMAS: Oh, OK. Well, do you have any home remedies for this where you don’t have to buy a whole lot of tools? Because I’m kind of on a budget.
TOM: Well, the paper tiger is not very expensive. It’s a little hand tool. It’s probably $7 or $8, something like that. So that plus a few dollars for the wallpaper-paste remover is – that’s really all you’re going to need.
THOMAS: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: Alright, Thomas. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got Laurie in New Jersey on the line who’s dealing with a very greasy garage floor.
What’s going on over there?
LAURIE: I have a question about my daughter. She just bought a home in Bricktown and she has a garage floor that is coated, probably about ¼-inch thick, with oil and grease probably from changing the oil in the car. So, anyway, we were wondering how to deal with that and what would be the best way to get that oil or grease up. Or can it just be covered over with something?
TOM: So, Laurie, I think that an epoxy floor-finish product would be really good in this situation. You do have to clean the floor. And that’s going to be done by pressure-washing it. You can use a TSP solution that will help you loosen up some of that old oil that’s in there.
And also, if you use a product like a garage floor-refinishing kit – I actually am working right now with a product from Daich Coatings called DaiHard 100. It’s designed to be a garage-floor kit. I’m actually using it in a basement for the same reason. And it’s a two-part epoxy that you mix up and then you pour on and it has sort of a color flake in it, so it sort of hides the dirt once it’s hardened. But before you get there, you really need to clean this floor very well. You can do that with a pressure washer. Also, there is a concrete etcher that you can use, that the Daich Coatings Company also sells.
And in your case, since it sounds like it’s so thick and so persistent, you’re going to really want to spend a lot of time cleaning this floor and then making sure that it’s dried very, very well. You can’t wash it on Saturday and put the floor down on Sunday. You’ve got to let that water evaporate out. So plan accordingly and I think you will have a very beautiful garage floor, for what sounds like the first time ever in the life of this home.
Well, replacing a perfectly good bathtub because of a worn finish is a very expensive project. But a complete replacement is not the only way to spruce up that worn look. We’ve got four ideas to help you get that reno done for a heck of a lot less.
LESLIE: Now, first, let’s talk about your tub replacement. Now, most tubs are set into an alcove or the corner. They’re overlapped by the flooring and the wall finishes, because that’s how you get that watertight seal.
So, now, if you’re at a point where you’re really ready for a big bathroom-remodeling project, you’re gutting spaces, then replacing that tub makes a lot of sense. If you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ll just replace the tub,” you’ve got to keep in mind that it does require removing parts of the tile wall and the floor, which is why this becomes an expensive project.
TOM: Now, another option is called a “tub liner.” These can add years of life to an existing tub at a fraction of the cost of a full-scale replacement and in a lot less time. They’re made form high-strength acrylic and they’re designed to fit inside your existing tub. They actually have to find all the old tubs and they make molds from them. So, somehow they get it covered and they make the tub a little tinier. But considering that you can get back in the bathroom in a day, it’s definitely probably worth it, especially if it’s the only bathroom in the house.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s definitely a great option if you’ve only got one bathroom, which I know a lot about.
Alright. Now, let’s talk about tub reglazing. Now, reglazing – you can also call it “refinishing a worn-out bathtub” – is a more site-intensive process and it’s got to be done by a pro. And it does involve some very hazardous chemicals that dissolve what is left of that porcelain glaze. And it kind of etches the surface so that that new finish you’re putting on will for sure stick.
TOM: But I’ve got a much easier option, especially if you’re a DIYer. I just did this on a bathroom reno that we were working on. Now, mind you, the tub was an absolute disaster. It was an old metal tub, oddly shaped, in a corner. It would’ve been very difficult to take it out without completely gutting the entire bathroom. It had been painted before – before we owned it – and the paint was chipping off. So, we prepped it by scraping off the loose paint, sanding it. And then we used Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner to wipe it down, because it has hydrochloric acid in it and it kind of etches the surface.
Now, once we had it prepped, I used a product that I discovered that has an odd name. It’s called Ekopel 2 – E-k-o-p-e-l 2. And it’s touted as a recasting product. And basically, what it is is a special epoxy that you have to mix in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully. They tell you how long to stir it, how long to just wait and let it sit and how long to stir it again.
They also recommend that you heat the room before you do this project. So I put a space heater in the bathroom overnight so it was nice, like about 74 degrees when we started working on it.
And then what you do when it’s ready is you pour it down the side walls of the tub and it sort of all runs together. And man, when it was dry, Leslie, it looked like a brand-new tub right out of the showroom. I was absolutely blown away by this stuff. I did not expect it to come out that nicely. It’s going to be a rental, so I’m thinking, “Eh, if I have to do it again in a couple of years.” No. This has got a nice, very long-term finish on it and it wasn’t that expensive.
So I found it on Amazon. I read the reviews, I watched the videos and I did it. And I’m really happy that we took it on.
So, keep that in mind if you want to redo your bathroom. Check out Ekopel 2. I think it was a really good option.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’re heading out to Hawaii, the most beautiful place in the world, with Ross.
What can we do for you today?
ROSS: Thank you for saying this. And I had a question for you guys about countertops. What can you recommend that does not require treatment every 6 months or year like granite or – I know Silestone is supposed to be good. But what can you recommend in the natural-stone arena?
TOM: Well, Silestone is quartz. And quartz is not as absorbent as granite and that’s why it needs a little bit less care. Concrete tops are gaining in popularity. But again, all of those stone-based products do need more maintenance and more care than something like a basic, solid-surfacing material that is designed to look like stone.
So, if you want to use the natural products, you’re going to have to buy into some of that maintenance. And I think if you are definitely committed to natural, I would look at quartz over granite.
ROSS: And that would include Silestone?
TOM: Yeah, that’s a type of quartz.
ROSS: Does that require maintenance?
TOM: Yep. They all require maintenance, so you’re not going to get something that’s completely maintenance-free. But I think it requires less maintenance than granite because it’s not quite as absorbent. A little more forgiving to those tomato-sauce and coffee stains.
ROSS: OK, great. Well, I appreciate that very much.
LESLIE: Send us an email, just like Carol did. Now, Carol wrote in saying, “Whenever my HVAC system kicks on, I notice a lot of dust collecting in a short amount of time. It’s almost like sucking outside air into the home from the attic.”
That sounds terrible.
TOM: Yeah. See, the thing is, I’m guessing that she has a return duct in the second-floor ceiling, which is not unusual. And when the heating system kicks on, the return duct is how the air gets back into the system to be reheated or recooled in the summertime.
But generally, that has nothing to do with the dust collection. The dust collection that’s happening here – or the dust distribution, I should say, that’s happening here – is most likely because you don’t have a good filter system, Carol. Now, there’s a wide variety of filter quality out there. The least expensive, blue fiber filters that we see very often, they don’t really catch very much. I kind of jokingly call them “rock-stoppers” because if it’s anything smaller than a rock, it’s just going to go right through.
What you really want to look at first is to use a much better-quality filter, so a high-efficiency filter. The best is an electronic air cleaner but this will cost you some couple of thousand bucks to get one installed. Or you could just look at a pleated filter, which will fit in the same space as that fiber filter I was talking about. But it has a lot more surface area and hence, it’s a lot more efficient. I really think you need to improve your filter efficiency, make sure it’s properly fitted so that you don’t have air that escapes around it. You will find that that filter works much more effectively at stopping that dust from sort of distributing throughout your house when the system kicks on.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got an email here from Fanny. Now, Fanny writes in saying that they’re considering a metal roof and wants to know if she has to use snow guards. The last time she had a house with snow guards, the snow just curled around it and then over the gutters.
TOM: Yeah, they may have done that – some might have done that. But what it didn’t do was come falling down and crashing into whoever is below. So, you do need to use snow guards if you have a metal roof, because that snow will just slide right off at some point and it can really seriously hurt somebody that’s underneath it. The snow guards are designed to slow that down.
If you’re bothered by the fact that you’re getting ice or snow that’s formed on the gutters, you can also add heating cables right at the edge of the roof. And that will speed up the melting in that area. But keep in mind that those are really expensive.
LESLIE: And really fancy. What a fancy thing to say you’ve got. “Oh, I’ve got a special heater.” Right?
TOM: I’ve got heating cables in my roof, yes.
LESLIE: “My roof gets warm.”
TOM: Won’t you be the talk of the town?
LESLIE: Right? “You know, it’s amazing. The Kraeutlers’ house never seems to have any snow on the roof. That’s so strange.”
TOM: It’s a miracle.
Alright. Well, good luck with that project, Fanny. I think having those roof guards is really going to be something that you need to do.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck, Fanny.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Hey, we hope that you guys are enjoying this very special holiday time of the year, you’re spending it with family and friends. Maybe you’re enjoying some hard work in your home that you put in to make it more comfortable, make it look nicer for all those holiday visitors.
If you’ve got questions and you’ve got some projects you want to take on now or you want to maybe take on some projects that you planned for the new year, remember, you can reach us, 24/7, when you go to MoneyPit.com. Click the blue microphone button and record your question. We’ll answer you the next time we produce the show.
Until then, Happy Holidays, everybody. 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.)