- Spool Pools: Find out how trending spool pools offer the benefits of a pool and a spa in one compact space.
- Rain Barrels: Take advantage of spring showers by using a rain barrel to keep your garden happily hydrated through summer dry spells.
- Choosing Windows: Going window shopping? Learn how to choose between single-, double-, and triple-pane windows.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Textured Walls: Dave wonders how to prep his textured bathroom walls so he can add tile. Some sanding will allow better adhesion as long as the tiles lay flat.
- Sewer Pipes: Does a corroded sewer pipe need repair? Cast iron is very durable and Linda should just seal any common cracks with silicone caulk.
- Moisture Barriers: Does Jim need to add a moisture barrier inside his remodeled walls? Typical insulation already includes it, so he’s all set.
- Concrete Sidewalk: After having a tree removed, Bobbie wants to extend the sidewalk. She needs to rake out the area and add stone before pouring the concrete.
- Woodpeckers: Persistent woodpeckers are pecking holes in Terry’s chimney. We’ve got DIY tips on using pie plates and plastic strips to keep them away.
- Florescent Bulbs: Why do Laura’s compact florescent bulbs keep burning out? They may just be a bad batch, but LED bulbs would work even better.
- Window Installation: It looks like Steve’s contractor didn’t measure and install his new windows properly. He’ll need to file a complaint to get them done right.
- Water Softener: Does Ellie need a water softener and can it be installed outside? First, she should check her water source and have it tested, then look into getting a model that’s rated for exterior use and keep it sheltered.
- Landscaping: Sinkholes and hills have formed over a new septic tank. Chris must be careful not to crush the pipes with any heavy equipment, so he should fill and reseed the lawn by hand.
- Repainting Garage Doors: Marlene’s metal garage doors are starting to fade. Sanding, using a metal primer, and adding a topcoat of paint will restore them.
- Slab Foundation: Cracks are forming in various places around Erin’s home, which is on a slab foundation. We suggest having a structural engineer diagnose the issue to see if the cracks are structural.
|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 thrilled to be with you on this beautiful spring day to help you tackle the projects that you want to get done around your house wherever you live, house, apartment, co-op, condo. You’re right. We don’t care if you’ve got a place you call home and you want to decorate, you want to improve it, you want to make it more functional, more comfortable, more efficient, more fun. You are in the right place because that’s what we do. And we love to talk with you about your projects. But your job, your first job on that to do list is to call us. You can do that by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Or better yet, just go to Money Pit icon slash ask and click the blue microphone button. Coming up on today’s show, if you’d love to have a backyard pool but can’t afford it, you don’t have time to care for it. Or are you just short of backyard space? I’ve got two words for you. Spool pool. We’re going to share tips on how you can combine the benefits of a pool and a spa in one very refreshing backyard feature.
|LESLIE: And spring may have sent a lot of rain your way, but if you’ve got a rainwater collection system at your house and you can use those downpours to keep your lawn and garden happily hydrated well into the summer’s dry spells. We’re going to show you how.
|TOM: Plus, you guys thinking about buying new windows this spring? Well, one factor that has a big impact on cost is the number of panes those windows have. We’re going to have you double pane windows versus single pane versus triple pane to see which makes the most sense for your house.
|LESLIE: And we hear many people would love to help you create your best home ever. If you’ve got a project or two in mind, but you don’t know where to start. Well, let us help you to create that best home and finish all of those amazing projects. So whether you want a home, Reno, a condo, project, an apartment, whatever it is you’re working on, wherever you live, we are standing by to lend a hand.
|TOM: So help yourself first and reach out to us. Go to money, BET.com slash asked and click the blue microphone button. Let’s get started. Leslie, who’s first.
|LESLIE: Heading out to Anchorage, Alaska. We’ve got David on the line who’s looking to do a tiling project.
|CALLER: What’s going on up here? We use a lot of textured walls rather than smooth drywall. It’s just sprayed on with a touched your gun and then it’s knocked down, which means they take a putty knife or whatever and.
|TOM: Drag it over it like that now. Little bit. Yeah.
|CALLER: Right. Well, I want to put some tile on a bathroom wall and I’m wondering what kind of prep work do I need to do to this textured wall? It’s not a heavy texture. Like I said, it’s a knock down. So what do I need to do first?
|TOM: Could you take a party knife or a drywall knife and scrape that off with the texture lift off pretty easily. Well, in here, that wall is it? Okay, so it’s more like an orange peel kind of a thing that’s really adhered well. Yes. So if it’s adhered well, what I would do is I think as you leave it, I would sand it so that I rough it up a little bit. That will help you get better adhesion from the adhesive for the tile. But as long as you can place that tile, it lays flat on the wall and you can sand the surface a little bit. So you get rid of any dirt or grease or gloss that’s on that wall right now, you should be able to glue that tile on and just basically right on top of it.
|CALLER: Okay. Well, I’ve seen YouTube videos on scoring at first with a knife and things like that. And I’m just wondering how important that is.
|TOM: That’s why I said to Sam, I mean, look, you can’t make it too rough. So I mean, you can’t overdo the roughness. So I would like I said, I would send it to make sure I had something good for the glue to stick to. You know, scoring with a knife is sort of the same idea. But I think if you had a rough sandpaper, like a really rough sample, like a 60 Grit or something like that, and you just hand sand those spots and just use your own judgment as long as it’s clean surface that the glue can adhere to. You’ll be able to tell you should be good to go a.
|CALLER: Random orbit sander and just run over it with a few grit would be sufficient.
|TOM: Yeah, I mean, if it’s small area, I just do it by hand. But certainly if you want to put it on a random orbit, that’s fine. Yep.
|CALLER: Well, it’s a wall.
|TOM: Use your breathing protection. Make sure you’re wearing a mask. Oh, yeah. Is that going to get everywhere? Okay. Okay. All right. Well, good luck with that project. Thank you. You’re welcome, Dave.
|LESLIE: Heading over New Jersey. We’ve got Linda on the line who is dealing with some plumbing issues. What’s going.
|CALLER: On? Well, because we had installed a new HBC at my parents’ house, and I don’t go down in their basement that often. But when I took a look at this, it’s a sewer pipe. I asked the. So I said, What is this? She said, it was a sort of I mean, as I said, my God, it looks like it’s corroded or something. And he said, Yeah, and it looks like he’s starting to get a slight crack in it. So I just was curious to know what kind of a plumber and I don’t know if they possess in their write ups in their advertising that we do sewer, if I should be looking at that or something more important because there’s another problem that besides it going up, that we had remodeled the house like 50 years ago. The house is here 73 years and 50 years ago when my parents we did it in 72, it had the plumbing, then had to go under a cement porch in the back. So it looks like I see that same pipe going out to the porch. So probably we’re going to have to lift that up. And I’m waiting for someone to come. I just want to be sure I might be choosing the right person to be repairing it or replacing it.
|TOM: Well, based on what you said, I’m not I’m not I’m not convinced you need any repairs. So I’m presuming we’re talking about a cast iron right here. Yeah. And cracks in those pipes were pretty common. I wouldn’t panic over that. You can. Those can be sealed with something like a silicone caulk is not going to get it’s not going to be a leak issue. It rarely is. I’ve seen these many, many times in the years and sometimes the joints between the cast iron pipes, they have something in them called oakham and that gets dried out. They can be repacked, but there’s no reason to replace that. The reason it looks so like rough and old is because it is. But cast iron is incredibly durable and it doesn’t really break and it rarely leaks. So I wouldn’t focus on that at all, that you’re opening yourself up to a real song and dance from a contractor, especially when you get into tearing out a porch and stuff to replace that pipe. It just it may not be an issue at all.
|CALLER: What type of a plumber then, would be good to be able to identify that it just needs a patch? Like what?
|TOM: Well, is it leaking? Is it leaking.
|CALLER: Now? No, it’s not. It’s not doing any of that. But like my concern was here, you send 15,000, if at all new.
|TOM: If it starts to do something, then you can call somebody, fix it. If I had a crack that was open in a pipe like that, I would just take some silicone caulk. I’d buy a $5 tube of silicone and I’d cock it myself and call it a day it clean, it usable. I use a brush like a stiff brush or a wire brush to get any loose dust or rust away from it. And then I just fill it with silicone. That’s it. That’s all I do.
|CALLER: All right. It sounds good to me. All right.
|TOM: Sometimes it’s just not that complicated.
|CALLER: Is that right?
|TOM: All right. Good luck, Linda. Thanks for calling. The Money Pit.
|LESLIE: Got Jim and Kaylee on the line. I need some help with an insulation project. What’s going on at your Money Pit?
|CALLER: We’re remodeling a house it built in the sixties, and so it’s got a lot of challenges. And one of the things has been we’re getting ready to put siding on part of the house has plywood under it could have some kind of one braced up over it, some kind of synthetic stuff. I’m not sure what it is in the other house. Cedar So we’re really friends. Walls We hit it some stuff that we need to remove. But one of the things I heard on YouTube, but I didn’t know if it was true or not, and I’ve never heard this before. I know you got to put tiebacks on the outside, but I didn’t think somebody said you had to put moisture barrier on the inside. Never heard of that. Is that true or not?
|TOM: Have you ever purchased fiberglass insulation? And it had a vapor barrier on it where the edges of it sort of on paper. Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about. That’s a vapor barrier. So it’s just a vapor barrier. And if you use raw insulation, sometimes they just they add that separately. But if you’re going to put the typical insulation on, it’s got the vapor barrier attached to it. So that’s what that is. All right.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’re headed on over to Ohio with Bobby, who cut down a tree but is now wondering what’s going on with the dirt settling and sidewalk. This sounds like it’s got an interesting story, Bobby, what happened to the tree?
|CALLER: Well, got a disease in it, and they recommended that I cut it down before. Also, my house. So I had it cut down and they drowned out the stump. And now I was wondering, how long do I have to wait for these dirt to settle or if I even have to wait to extend my sidewalk?
|TOM: Well, I certainly would want to build a sidewalk on top of all of the ground out sawdust, because that clearly is going to decay away. I think the best thing to do is to try to add some stone to that stomped area, maybe rake out all of the sawdust and pack it with stone, and then make sure that the new sidewalk is poured over that stone or even in bed some of the stone into the concrete, because otherwise you’re going to build a sidewalk on top of an unstable piece of soil, and that could crack. Another option there is to have the Mason add some reinforcement to the sidewalk and make sure the reinforcement straddles the weak area of the soil. So that, again, if you do get some additional compression, the sidewalk won’t crack and sink in that area. You’re wise to raise this question. You do need to work around it. And I think a good quality Mason can help you do that.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you very much.
|TOM: You’re welcome. Bobby, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Now we’ve got Teri in Nebraska on the line, who is dealing with some woodpeckers. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: We have a small woodpecker. It’s about the size of a sparrow. It’s dark gray or black with white speckles on its chest, and it actually pecks holes in the corners of my Germany on the one by fours. And then the guy next door actually redid his Germany with steps that similar to snow stucco type stuff. And they actually pack holes in that stuff and sells them and they pack more holes.
|TOM: Well, look, there’s a couple of things that you can do. One real easy thing to do is to try to dissuade them from landing on your chimney. You can temporarily, by the way, and this is one of my suggestions, only temporarily hang tin pie plates on the chimney because the silvery pie plates kind of drifting in the in the wind. Totally freak out woodpeckers. Another thing that you can do is you could take a hefty bag. And if you were to cut like a hefty bag, like a black hefty bag and cut strips of plastic for the same thing, the words have them flapping in the breeze around the top of the chimney. That also is very intimidating to woodpeckers. And they will leave it alone. And if you do this maybe for a month or so, they might just forget about your house and go attack somebody else’s.
|CALLER: Fantastic. All right. Thanks a lot.
|TOM: Well, if you’d love to have a backyard pool, but you can’t afford it, you don’t have the time to care for it. Or maybe you’re just short of backyard space. We have two words for you, Spool pool. Now, a spool pool is a small swimming pool design. That’s perfect. In a lot of ways. It’s a small pool that’s bigger than a spa or hot tub, but it’s smaller than a traditional in-ground swimming pool. And it fits well within a limited space outdoors or even as an indoor pool.
|LESLIE: And get this now a spool can be anywhere from 10 to 16 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide. So it’s plenty of room for you to stretch out or just simply cool off on a hot summer day. Spools also give you the option to add special features like high powered jets, and that’s going to give you that luxurious spa feel that those hot tubs are known for. And you can simply switch back to a cool soaking pool for those blistering summer days. And it’s easy to switch back and forth, too, with less water. They’re going to heat up and cool down much more quickly. Now, the main reasons pools are becoming so popular is the fact that they work very well in small spaces. This means if you’ve got a small backyard, you might actually be able to have a pool, albeit using a small swimming pool design. Now, you might not want to train for the Olympics in this size swimming pool, guys, but you can swim those shorter laps for exercise. And some of them even have those built in swim jets or an even like an underwater treadmill. So you can really maximize the small space and get the best usage.
|TOM: Now, spools may be smaller than a traditional swimming pool. However, that doesn’t always mean the cost to install one is less. Despite the smaller size, all the same costs of building an in-ground swimming pool go into building a spool. But they are no doubt a great option to consider for the right space. If you want more insights. We have a great post on this topic on Money Pit Rt.com. Just search spool pool.
|LESLIE: Laura in Pennsylvania needs some help with a lighting question. What can we do for you?
|CALLER: Oh, well, my son gave me some compact fluorescent bulbs because he didn’t like them, okay? And I had never used them before. And I thought, well, I’ll put them in my little lights that I use with timers only they all blow out.
|TOM: There’s no reason you can’t there’s no reason you can’t use a compact fluorescent bulb in an outlet that has a timer. I mean, a timer, it simply automatically turns the light switch on or off. So that shouldn’t have an effect on damaging the bulb.
|CALLER: Yes, that’s what I thought. And I have incandescent bulbs in them now and they work just fine. Well, maybe.
|TOM: Gave you some bum bum compact fluorescent. I don’t know. But it’s kind of an odd thing for it to happen to compact fluorescents work really well in most fixtures that take incandescents. In fact, you can even have them work well in fixtures that are controlled by dimmers. There are special dimmers today that are that are designed to work with compact fluorescents and with LEDs, where you can adjust the range of the dimming so that it doesn’t ever flicker or go out. So compact fluorescent bulbs are a great option. I don’t know why they’re not working for you, but the timer shouldn’t have anything to do with it.
|CALLER: Okay, well, maybe I’ll try them again or I have two left or I’ll try to buy some. Maybe he has an off brand or something like that. I don’t know, because they should last a really long time, right?
|TOM: They should. You know what I like better than compact fluorescents are the LED bulbs. Take a look at the Philips LED bulbs. These are they’re very distinctive. They’re yellow. They look like bug lights, but they have a very pleasant white light that comes off of them. And they’re going to be more expensive than compact fluorescents. But they last like forever and they’re super energy efficient.
|CALLER: Okay. I will be happy, too. That’s a really good idea. Thank you.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: All right. Time to talk Windows with Steve. What are you working on?
|CALLER: Well, I’m not working on a lot of this is working on it. And they hired a contract to come in and do it and they put the windows out far. The windows are four inch vinyls and they replace steel like a one inch aluminum single panes. And so they then patch the hole that it would fit in. So now, even though it’s cropped on the front and the back, there’s air leaking from the sides. And so they test that is I just turn on the fan in the bathroom and I go to the farthest window in the house and put it by the sashes, or there’s a couple of holes in the actual vinyl and there will be sucked through that. And when I turn on the back, it will it’s so strong, it’ll blow out a candle. So there’s the heat from humidity coming into the house. And I just had an inspector there and the inspector kind of said that he’s just there to look at the screws and anything he says he like the clock tower, but it’s all he can say. Finally, I guess he went back to his boss and they said, they’re going to fail it. We’re yet to see that if Lowe’s gets to hear that the job failed.
|TOM: Well, look who did who measured who measured the house? Did the contractor measure for the windows?
|CALLER: Yeah, the lower contractor do that.
|TOM: Yeah. Look, this is a problem with their installed sales department, so I think you need to go back to Lowe’s and file a formal complaint about this job. They certainly don’t want to have that work out there. It’s pretty clear to me, from your description that the windows were not measured correctly, because if they were measured correctly, they would have been properly sized. They’re always going to be a little smaller than the opening and then the space between the window and the wall would have been properly filled, usually with an expandable foam sealant that has some flex to it. Not like there’s different types of great stuff. That’s a brand that’s common. And one is specifically rated for Windows and Doors because it doesn’t like move the window, it doesn’t expand so much. That sort of squeezes the windows shut. There’s ones that’s more soft in terms of the foam, but that’s only for what’s left. It shouldn’t be like a huge gap between the windows and that opening. So I think you need to go back to Lowe’s and file a complaint about this. I don’t know if the inspector is going to be your source for this. You know, if they fail it, it helps you. But I don’t think that they’re necessarily going to be the determination of quality. They just want to make sure it’s watertight. And it sounds like it made me want to type in on air tight. So I think I need to go back to Lowe’s and raise the issue and hopefully they’ll address it.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you.
|LESLIE: Ellie in Florida, You’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: Yes, I just recently moved to Florida and the house I bought the water softener was broken because I believe it’s because they had it outside the home. Every other house in my community has them in the garage and mine. They for some reason, the water line is on the opposite side of the house and the garage. So it would be I believe it would be a major thing to have the waterline brought from one side of the house to the other so I could have it inside. And serious tells me that I could have it put outside. But you have to have some kind of protective covering. Lowe’s tells me that they don’t sell any thick go outdoors and private plumbing company is telling me that they have one that sells the go to put outside specifically and other people are saying you don’t even need one to go, don’t even bother the expense.
|CALLER: So I don’t know what to do. So.
|TOM: First of all, the question is, do you need a water softener or not?
|CALLER: Right. I mean, I would looked online and I see the pros and cons, Right.
|TOM: Well, I mean, if you have if you’re accustomed to a water softener and you eliminate it, you may find that you don’t like that experience. You certainly could bypass the water softener just to see if you like the water Is the water city water?
|CALLER: Well, it’s not well water. So does that mean it is city water? I don’t know.
|TOM: Yeah, it’s city water. If it’s city water, you probably do not need a water softener.
|CALLER: Well, I would, I think. No I don’t think it is city water because people in Ocala, I think they told me that they that they don’t need it. They have city water. I could be wrong, I’m not sure. But everybody in this development says you need it.
|TOM: Only the first thing you want to do is figure out if you’ve got city water. If you do, it’s going to be treated. If you’ve got well water, then you do need probably a water conditioner as well as to have the water tested to make sure that it’s safe. And that’s something that should be doing it on an occasional basis. Now, in terms of the enclosures, given the fact that you’re in Florida, we’re not concerned about freezing pipes. I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting it outside. I wouldn’t want to have it enclosed. Now, how do you do that? Well, you either use one that’s rated to be outside and perhaps you’re the water treatment company. The plumbing company has one that that has such a certification is designed for interior or exterior use. And that’s fine. And if not, you’re going to have to construct something or have something constructed or perhaps pick up a small shed or something of that nature where the equipment could be protected from the weather. But I think the first thing you need to do is determine whether or not you need it and determine the what kind of water supply you have. It’s well water. Get it tested. You can even have the hardness tested. You’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with. And if it’s city water, then I think you could try bypassing the system you have right now and see if you like it. I hope that helps you out. Ellie, thanks so much for calling us at 88 Money Pit.
|LESLIE: Well, spring may have sent a lot of rain your way, but if you’ve got a rainwater collection system at your Money Pit, you can use all of those downpours to keep your lawn and garden very happily hydrated once those summer dry spells hit. Now, Tom, this really is a great way to save water, but how can you make sure that your garden is getting the water it needs without turning on the hose? I mean, this is really what the system is here, right?
|TOM: Yeah, that’s what it’s all about. So installing a rain barrel is really not that difficult to do. I mean, basically all you do is create a base usually out of solid concrete blocks. I recommend three because it’s always going to be well-supported. Make sure they’re really level because remember, water is very heavy. You’re going to put that rain barrel on top of the blocks with the spigot facing the garden, and then you can attach a water diverter to the doubts about elbow that’s going to divert the rainwater from the down spout into the barrel With a couple of steps like that. You will be ready and good to go. You can even connect it up to a soccer hose with a thick layer of mulch. So it sort of drips out a little irrigation. You get that water right where it needs to be.
|LESLIE: Now, I mean, traditionally I’ve seen rain barrels at the home centers and about 50 gallons or so. But what if you need more water on your property during like a very long dry spell?
|TOM: Well, look, there’s a wide variety of rain barrels out there. You know, they start maybe 50 gallons. They go up to hundreds of gallons. There’s also collapsible types that are large and flat, and they can fit like under a deck or in a crawlspace, for example. And they can hold even seven or 800 gallons of water or more. So I would see if I could get an idea, sort of figure out how many gallons you’re really going to need to get you through an average dry spell and use that sort of as a guiding principle for setting up your own rain barrel system.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’ve got Chris from Tennessee on the line who just put in a new septic tank and need some help with the yard work. What can I do for you?
|CALLER: Yes, we had some paper to come and put our set my tank in about five years ago. And the yard looked great when I got done with it. Now we’ve got a bunch of sinkholes and a bunch of hills in the backyard. And I just want to know the best way to fix that without messing up the sediment tank.
|CALLER: And that’s not the waterlogged stuff.
|TOM: So is the distribution field in the area where all these sinkholes are and the depression?
|CALLER: Yes, sir.
|TOM: So you got to be really careful because you don’t put any heavy equipment over that, because you can crush those pipes. So you can add topsoil on top of that. But I wouldn’t go over it with anything heavier than a wheelbarrow full of dirt.
|TOM: And so I would fill them in by hand, would rake that out, and I would reseeded. The good news is that it will probably grow quite, quite nicely being over the septic field. But I would be careful not to put anything heavy equipment wise into that area because you can crush the pipes and then you’re going to have a bigger problem.
|CALLER: All right. Well, thank you for your question. And I listen all day and now we’re great.
|TOM: All right. Thanks, Chris. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Malina in Minnesota is on the line. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: We have two looming cloud factory finished garage doors. Dark brown in color. Or at least they were okay. They’re beginning to fade due to oxidation and sun exposure. Is there anything we can do to restore that finish?
|TOM: Well, not short of painting them. Because if you when you say restore them, I mean, that would presume that there’s a way to kind of bring back the luster of the original paint finish. But after years of exposure to Sun and especially those darker colors, you do get oxidation where the paint surface is broken down and you’re not going to bring that surface back. The good news is that because they’re metal doors, they’re fairly straightforward to paint. You want to make sure that you lightly sand the door. And then I would use a metal primer. So a good quality metal priming paint, and then whatever your top coat of paint is going to be beyond that. And if you do that right, because it’s metal and it’s not organic, so it’s not subjected as much to expansion and contraction and certainly not moisture absorption. A good paint job on a metal door like that could easily last ten years.
|CALLER: Okay, well, thank you for your help.
|TOM: You’re welcome. Marlene, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Hey, guys, take a look at the windows around your house. Now, most older homes with the original windows are going to have single pane glass. However, a lot of these newer homes or even homes that just have newer windows are going to be much more energy efficient. And you’re going to see some of those windows are double pane or even triple pane windows.
|TOM: Yeah. And here’s why it matters. Double and triple pane windows are much more energy efficient than single pane windows. Now, the new windows can save hundreds of dollars a year in energy and heating costs. And the number of panes is really a big factor in efficiency. But it’s not the only thing that matters. Other window improvements include low key coatings and inert gas fillings. These characteristics help reduce the Windows youth factor or its ability to resist heat flow from inside your home to the outside in the winter and vice versa outside. Inside, in the summer. The lower the you factor, the more efficient the window. Now, generally speaking, double pane windows are pretty much the right selection no matter where you live in the country. But if you live in the far north, that’s where triple pane windows, which are much more expensive, can make some sense. And actually give you a good return on investment.
|LESLIE: Aaron in Louisiana is on the line. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: Hi. I have a slab house that’s about 35 years old and it’s showing signs of needing to be leveled. But I first heard on a previous show of yours that you do not recommend leveling a house. Just fix the issues that come up as it needs it. And I didn’t know if I heard correctly or not, so I thought I would call and ask about that.
|LESLIE: Well, tell me, how much of a slope are you noticing throughout the property on the interior of the home?
|CALLER: No, we’re seeing cracks in the walls. Cracks in the ceiling. Cracks in the floor. Okay.
|LESLIE: Now, if you’re seeing cracks in the walls and in the ceiling, are they sort of near a doorway or a window or are they just square in the middle of stuff?
|CALLER: Well, there is a crack in the floor that’s square in the middle of the floor, and it extends out into a sliding glass door and the brick above the sliding glass door is separated. And then we also see it also see the room next to the wall. You know, we’re like the house is shaped like a key. And where one part of the top of the key goes into the long part of the T, I can see it separating there against the in the ceiling.
|LESLIE: You know, generally, if you see cracks and they’re by a door frame or a window, that’s just general movement because of the opening in the envelope of the home being in a window, opening or a doorway in an interior wall. Now, if you’re seeing it like in the middle of the floor and above a doorframe in brick, you might be concerned there could be some structural issues going on. However, you might want to bring in a structural engineer. You bring in an engineer or even a home inspector, and for a couple of hundred bucks they’ll come in and look at these areas and diagnose specifically what’s going on there, because it could be something structural that could need to be fixed in a way that you can’t just do by repairing the crack. Or it could just simply be natural settlement of the home over the duration of the home’s lifespan. And that’s easily fixable. But because you have a crack forming in the middle of a floor and that continues to a doorway, I would definitely bring in somebody who’s a structural engineer and they can write up a report on it and the benefit of doing that is that when you do fix this, whatever the problem may be, you are going to have a full written pedigree of what you’ve done to the problem in the home, how you fixed it, and what everything was done correctly. This way if you go to sell the home and somebody says, Oh, I saw a crack or whatever the situation might be, you can say, Actually this happened. We did this repair and it’s all square.
|TOM: You know, and some cracks are really typical. Wear and tear, so to speak. But this one definitely sounds like you need a pro to check it out.
|LESLIE: Audrey wrote into Tim Money Pit and she says, I’m getting sudden bursts of very hot water in the middle of my shower. Any idea why this is happening?
|TOM: Yeah. I suspect that you have an older shower valve. That is not a pressure differential valve and what happens with a pressure differential valve is this. You know, the reason you get hot and cold spikes is because somewhere else in the house, another plumbing fixture is using that water. So let’s say, for example, you have the temperature of the shower balanced out just right and you’re merrily enjoying your nice first shower when somebody flushes a toilet in the house or runs the dishwasher or washes dishes in the kitchen sink. Now they’re spilling off extra cold water. And that mix that you had, which was based on the amount of water, the pressure of water going through the lines is shifted. Now you have more hot water than cold water, and that’s why the shower gets hot. And the reverse happens when the shower gets cold. So the solution is a temperature differential valve. And what that does is it means change the mix regardless of the pressure. So once you set the mix between hot and cold, that doesn’t change. The flow may change, it may get stronger or it may get weaker, but the mix doesn’t change and hence you don’t get that term we call shower shock, which can happen when it turns icy cold or red hot. And that will put that problem behind you forever.
|LESLIE: Literally behind you. I always feel like I notice it’s super hot when it’s like on my backside. All right. Now we’ve got one from Margot, who writes in, I want to do some spring cleaning. And let’s just say I moved into a house with carpeting on all of the second floor bedrooms, and I want to clean them, but I don’t know where to start. What are my options?
|TOM: Yeah, well, cleaning your carpet is a good idea for a lot of reasons. Not only does it make them smell a lot better, it eliminates any dirt that’s in the carpet. And that is what causes carpets to where it’s just the dirt, the dirt that grinds on those fibers breaks them down. It’s all that foot traffic. So I’ve had a lot of experience with steam cleaning. I have a condominium that we bought when we first got married and now it’s been a rental for us and it’s got two rooms. It’s a little hardwood, there’s two rooms, the bedrooms have carpet. And I’m always amazed at what a great job’s team cleaning does to that carpet when we get a new tenant. The steam machine just reaches down into that carpet. It loosens up the dirt and then the vacuum action sort of sucks it back up steam cleaner. It’s kind of like a warm, wet drive vac, right? It pushes the water in and then you take it back out again. And usually I go through those rooms about twice with the steam clean and I usually just rent one. There’s no point buying one because you just need for a day or so. And it does an amazing job. And that’s the only way I’ve ever cleaned carpet. Some people say that if you use steam, if you have newer carpets, it could ruin a warranty. I guess that’s going to be manufacturer specific. But the carpet is a couple or a few years old. I think steam is the best way to handle that.
|LESLIE: And you know, Margo, now that you’ve moved into this house, know it is a great opportunity to clean all of those rugs. But since you’re moving maybe you’ve brought like a larger area rug with you that sort of traveled the distance and has seen a lot of foot traffic in your previous home before you set it down to its new spot.
|LESLIE: You can also have larger area rugs, steam cleaned, and depending on the size the folks that come in to steam clean, the wall to wall carpet, they can do the larger area rugs on site. Sometimes they take them with them and do a bigger cleaning. It’s definitely a good idea to sort of get a fresh start with all of those surfaces now that you’re in your new place.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show on a beautiful spring day, smack dab in the middle of home improvement season. We hope that your projects are going well. If you’ve got questions about those projects, remember, you can reach out to us 24/7 by going to Money.com slash past or calling at 188 Money Pit. For now, that’s all the time we have.
|TOM: 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.
|(Note: The above referenced transcript is AI-Generated, Unedited and Unproofed and as such may not accurately reflect the recorded audio. Copyright 2023 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.)