TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Podcast. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your how-to or décor question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post it to the Community page at MoneyPit.com. As you look around your home or your apartment, what’s the number-one thing on your to-do list? Give us a call. Let’s chat about it and we will give you the motivation and the inspiration to get it done, 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, spring is a great time to get outside and spruce up your home for the summer ahead, so we’re going to have some tips on easy weekend projects that are perfect to tackle in just a couple hours.
LESLIE: Plus, if you have an older home with beautiful but drafty windows, we’re going to have tips on how you can preserve those classic windows while sealing out the drafts.
TOM: And are you looking forward to laying out on a beautiful, green lawn this summer? Well, you’re going to need to beat back the weeds first. We’re going to have some tips on what needs to get done, right now, to stop those weeds from getting started.
LESLIE: But first, we want to talk to you. So give us a call so we can help you out with whatever it is you are working on, because this really is the busy time of year for all of those things to be happening and getting started around your house. And if you’re stuck or you don’t know where to start, that’s what we’re here for.
TOM: 888-666-3974, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get going. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Kiersten in Michigan is on the line with a leaky situation. What’s going on?
KIERSTEN: We have been in our house for 15 years. It’s Colonial. And came home the other day and my husband said that there were water spots – about four of them – on our family-room ceiling. And just above that is the master bathroom, where lots of showers take place.
TOM: OK. Do you have a shower or a bathtub?
KIERSTEN: We have both.
TOM: Is it a stand-alone shower stall?
TOM: It is. Alright. And what’s the shower pan made out of? Is it tile or is it fiberglass? Is it …?
TOM: It’s fiberglass. OK. And what you’re going to have to do here is to try to do a little bit more detective work to try to figure out where this is coming from. Obviously, it’s coming from somewhere in the bathroom and I can tell you the culprits. The first is the shower pan, which we hope is OK. But I’ll tell you how to test it because if it’s not OK, you have to rip out a good part of the shower stall to fix it.
What you’re going to want to do is take a washcloth or you know one of those rubber pads that you use to open up jars that are – have lids that are too tight?
TOM: Those things work good, too. You put it over the drain and then you fill that shower pan up with 3 or 4 inches of water, as much as it can take without overfilling. And you let it sit there for a while. And pretty much, as soon as you fill it up, I want you to go downstairs right away and look at the ceiling and see if you have any leaks.
TOM: Because I’ve done this test and had it leak immediately. Because, basically, what you’re doing is you’re filling the shower pan up and you’re making sure there’s no fine cracks in that pan.
TOM: It’s especially important if you have tile, by the way, because the water goes through the tile and then when it’s wet …
KIERSTEN: We do have tile in the bathroom.
TOM: Yeah, well, I mean on the shower pan. You don’t have tile on the shower pan.
TOM: But sometimes we see lead-lined shower pans where this goes through quickly.
So we do that. If that’s OK, the next thing you want to do is look carefully at the tile walls. And make sure that the joints are caulked in the corners and also where the tile meets the shower pan itself. Because those are the other areas that water tends to leak through.
And lastly, examine the tile very carefully for gaps in the grout. Because what can happen is it may not leak when you’re just draining water straight through the shower pan. But when you step into the shower and the water starts hitting your body and bouncing off, getting all over the walls, that’s when it leaks. Because that water is now being sort of forced in against those tiles and it will get down behind it. It’s going to be something in that sort of area that generally causes this, if it’s right under a bathroom.
And now, do you notice that it’s consistent with rainfall at all, by the way?
TOM: OK. Because if it was, I would tell you to look at the flashing, where the plumbing vent comes through the roof, which is also going to be vertical at that spot. But I suspect it’s probably something in that master bath. And I hope I gave you a few things to check for there that make some sense.
KIERSTEN: Yes, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Kiersten, and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Greg in Arizona is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help you today?
GREG: We’re in the process of purchasing a place up in the mountains. And we had an inspection on the roof. And they said the reason for the discoloration in the fascia and the rafter tails is due to the fact that they didn’t overlap the roof enough on the metal. It’s a metal roof. And so …
TOM: OK. So let me stop you right there so that I can explain what I think you just said.
TOM: So, you’re talking about discoloration on the fascia, which is the part of the roof that usually a gutter would be attached to. And then the rafter tails, it sounds like your rafters may extend off of the roof edge, which is a common design. And what they – what the prior roofer did not do was extend the shingles far enough over the edge of that roof so that the water now is sort of dripping back against the fascia and those rafters. Is that correct?
GREG: Well, it’s a metal roof and it’s actually …
TOM: Oh, OK. It’s a metal roof. Alright.
GREG: Yeah, it’s even with the edge of the fascia.
TOM: OK. So they did not – yeah, they did not extend it at all. OK.
GREG: So one of the options was to drop the panels down, provided there’s enough gap at the ridge, to overlap the inch-and-a-half or 2 inches. And the other option is to put some flashing underneath the bottom of the roof: take the screws out, put that flashing underneath there and then re-secure the screws.
TOM: Create almost like a lip so that it would extend out even further. You know, that’s what we would do if it was asphalt shingles. And if you were able to do this with metal that was similar in color to what you had right now, I don’t think that’s a bad idea. I think it’s a pretty easy and straightforward way to fix this.
GREG: It’s just not corrugated like the roof is. It’ll just be a flat piece of …
TOM: I think that’s probably the straightforward, easiest way to get that job done. Because if you start to dismantle the fascia and move things around, it’s going to be a lot more construction work. And you could be opening Pandora’s Box. Who knows what’s going to happen when you start taking all that apart, what you find behind it? And it can just get more expensive.
So, I think simply extending that roof edge, in the most cost-effective way possible, is going to solve your immediate concerns.
GREG: Yeah, OK. Alright. Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, whether you are planning a décor project, remodeling your kitchen or bath or fixing a leak or squeak, we are here for you every step of the way. Call in your question now to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
TOM: Just ahead, spring is a great time to get outside and spruce up your home for the summer. We’re going to have some tips on easy weekend projects that can help you do just that.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, what’s your how-to or décor question? Call it in, right now, to 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project.
LESLIE: Maryann in Tennessee is on the line and is doing a little kitchen remodel. How can we help?
MARYANN: Working on an older house and the cabinets are really nice. The issue is we’re trying to refinish it and taking all the hinges and the hardware off of it. And there’s been so much paint that’s been done over those small nails that’s attached to the hinges. I don’t know how to get those off there and to be able to get the doors down to sand it down and finish that.
TOM: Well, obviously, you’re going to need to use some sort of a paint remover here but you could just – in terms of the hardware, that’s pretty easy. And the hinges, yeah.
If you had a metal tray, like an old baking pan or an old pot or something like that where you could put a couple of inches worth of paint stripper in the bottom of it, you could basically just soak those hinges until the paint releases. And then with rubber gloves, take them out and a wire brush gently or even – maybe even not a wire brush. Maybe you can use just any type of a scrubbing brush and try to free up that paint. I think that will do a pretty good job of getting most of that out of there.
MARYANN: The hinges are attached to the cabinet.
LESLIE: But take them off.
MARYANN: That’s what I’m trying to do; I can’t because they’re screwed on with those little screws.
TOM: Well, then you should apply the paint remover right to the cabinet itself, too.
LESLIE: I really think that’s what you’re going to have to do. A chemical stripping agent is going to be the most effective step here, initially. I think just with all the buildup of the paint – and so you can’t even get them off the box itself? Or you’ve gotten them off the box …
TOM: She can’t – yeah, she doesn’t see – I bet she can’t even see the heads of the screws.
MARYANN: No. Uh-uh.
LESLIE: So you’re going to need a stripper that’s going to stick while the cabinets are still on – the doors are still on.
LESLIE: There’s one that comes out like a paste and that one’s Rock Miracle. That’s the least liquid-y of all of them. And that one you kind of just roll on or stipple on, depending on how thick it is in the container. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with it. But that’s the one I like when you’re kind of in a jam and things still have to be in a vertical situation.
LESLIE: And that should – I wouldn’t do that on the entire door, at this point. I would just attack the hinges to see if you can at least loosen it to get them off. If you can’t, you’re probably going to have to abandon these hinges and you’re going to have to drill a hole through that screw to sort of back it out.
MARYANN: Yeah, I’ve tried to do everything to try to get just one screw off.
MARYANN: And it’s just been almost impossible, you know, so …
TOM: Yep. Yeah, there’s too much paint. You’re fighting with the paint, so you’ve got to get rid of some of that paint. I think Rock Miracle is a good way to start.
LESLIE: It’s a good one.
TOM: Go buy a small can of it. Try it on some of the toughest areas and see how it goes. I think you might like it and you can go from there.
MARYANN: OK. Great. I’ll try that. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s finally getting warmer out, which means it’s a great time to take a good look at the outside of your home for any winter wear and get it ready for that warmer weather ahead. Here’s two easy ways to do just that and avoid headaches and costly repairs down the road.
TOM: Now, first, let’s start by checking doors and window seals. Air leaks are not just a problem during the cold winter months but of course, that’s when we think about those drafts. But if you’ve got drafts in the winter, they’re also a problem in the summer because that warm-air leak – that warm-air draft, if you will – is going to drive up your cooling costs. So you want to keep your home cool this summer and save on those energy bills by weatherizing windows and doors. Plus, it’s a lot easier to work inside or outside when it’s warm than when it’s like 10 degrees out.
LESLIE: And it’s much more enjoyable.
Now is also a good time to inspect and repair any wind-damaged siding or roofing shingles. Those winter winds can really loosen the siding and trim and shingles. And then that allows leaks which could, of course, lead to costly repairs.
So you want to stand back away from your house and inspect the exterior surfaces for anything that’s out of place, like a missing shingle or a loose piece of siding. And some of it’s not going to be so obvious. So the places you can reach, go over and inspect, as well. Just make sure you’re taking a good look.
TOM: Yep. A quick inspection and a few repairs right now can definitely save you from some headaches. And all these things really don’t take a whole lot of time to do.
[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Milt in Delaware needs some help with ventilation. What’s going on at your money pit?
MILT: Well, I bought this house. It’s an older house. And I got these two bathrooms and they have no ventilation. So, I’m trying to put some ventilation in or figure out how to put some ventilation in. And I was wondering, can I just put a hole and a vent and blow it outside the side wall? Can I blow it up into the attic? I guess what can I do to get some ventilation? Because you guys say water makes mold and I don’t want to have any mold in my bathroom.
TOM: Yep. Yeah, yeah. OK. So you certainly could either install the bath-exhaust fan on the wall so it blows directly outside. That’s possible. You need, of course, to make sure you have the right termination on the outside so that you don’t get all that draft rolling in, especially on an exterior wall.
If you want to blow it up towards the attic, you cannot dump the moisture into the attic. So you certainly can go up in that direction but once it gets to the attic, you have to hook up a duct that will take it to the exterior, which could be through the roof or it could be through the side wall up there. But either way is fine.
And then make sure that, since you’re going through all this work, that you wire it with – if the fan doesn’t have this built in which many do, especially the better ones – but wire it so that is humidistatically controlled so that when you step out of the shower and dry off and leave the bathroom, the fan stays on until the air is dry in that space. And that’s what’s going to cut back on the mold and the cleaning that would be required.
MILT: OK. So I can ventilate it out through the end cable – end gable, whatever it’s called? I mean there is ventilation at the roof vent. That’s not good enough. I have to run it up through the …?
TOM: No. Yeah, you don’t want to dump it at that roof vent. What’ll happen is you’ll get a lot of condensation because you’re taking warm, moist air. So you don’t want to drop it underneath the roof vent. I’ve seen those ducts sort of being tacked to the side of a rafter, like right under a roof vent. And then what happens is the roof sheathing rots out in that area or even the rafter starts to grow mold.
So, no, you want to take it right out through that gable and you’re going to put it through a dryer vent. There’s a piece of flashing that has a (inaudible) on the outside and has a flap – a damper – that closes so no birds get in there. And then you’re basically going to drive it out that way, OK?
MILT: OK. So I can’t drop it off – so I was thinking about maybe going out through the fascia on the side of the roof area there. Can you run it out that way or does it matter?
TOM: Oh, you mean to the soffit. Yeah, I know what you’re saying. No, the soffit.
MILT: The soffit.
TOM: No, no. Same reason. First of all, the soffit vents are – those pores are not big enough to let the dryer exhaust get out there. It’s just going to clog up. So you’re better off just running it right through that gable wall in the end. If you can do that, that’s what I’d recommend.
MILT: OK, great. Thanks for your help today.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Sharon in Tennessee is on the line and has some questions about tankless water heating. How can we help you?
SHARON: Just my husband and I. We’re in a house that the tank is probably – the one we have is probably 11– 10, 11 years old. But we find that in the bathroom – the master bathroom, which is at the far side of the house from us – you have to run the water 5 or 10 minutes before it gets hot. And we’ve heard good things about those, so I thought, well, what do you guys know about them? Because I don’t know if they’ve been out long enough to “work all the bugs out of them.” Are they a good investment? Are they good economically?
TOM: Yes, yes and yes. So they have been out for a long time; longer than you might think. I’d say probably 10 to 15 years.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
TOM: But the thing is, you don’t really have a need to replace your water heater near that often, so it – sometimes folks are still not familiar with them.
However, one complaint that I heard you mention was that it takes a long time for your water to get hot. That may not change and here’s why: because the time it takes your water to get hot is more a function of the distance between the water heater and the plumbing fixture that you’re standing at waiting for the water to get there.
TOM: It just takes so many minutes for that amount of water to pass through the pipes and show up as hot on the other side. Whether that’s a tank water heater or a tankless water heater is not going to change that. It’s still going to take longer to get – just the same amount of time to get there, alright?
TOM: So, that’s not going to change. What will change, though, is you will have an unlimited supply of hot water. Because tankless water heaters, pretty much, when they’re sized right never, ever run out of hot water. And it’s going to be a very efficient way for you to get hot water.
I should have asked you this earlier but are you on gas – natural gas?
TOM: OK. Yeah, then you’re OK. If you were on electric, we’d be having a different conversation. Because electric tankless water heaters are not efficient at all. But gas is perfect.
SHARON: Good. OK. Well, something for us to give some second thought to and then get some quotes maybe.
TOM: Now, there is also an option that Rheem has right now, where you can actually add a bypass valve at that farthest bathroom fixture from your water heater. And what that will do is it will recirculate warm water through the pipes, based on a timer or based on your use pattern. So, with that addition, you may not be waiting at all for hot water. So that’s another option, as well.
SHARON: Hmm. OK. Well, that sounds pretty good. There’s some good suggestions there that I can look into then. We’re looking at doing some things to the house and I – that was the first thing I thought of.
TOM: Alright. Terrific. Well, thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
SHARON: Thank you.
LESLIE: Bela in North Carolina is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you?
BELA: The floor is hardwood.
BELA: And my wife would like to replace the hardwood with ceramic tile. So the question is: can I put the ceramic tile on top of the hardwood or I need to replace the hardwood?
TOM: No, no. The hardwood makes a great base for it because that’s so strong and straight and flat. So, the hardwood would be a great base for the ceramic tile. You could use a thinset adhesive and probably adhere it right to that existing subfloor.
Now, since the hardwood is finished, you might need to rough it up first. Or at the least, you could put some thin plywood over the hardwood, just so you have an underlayment that could really absorb the glue. So you could use a luan plywood but there’s no reason you can’t put ceramic tile right on top of the hardwood floor.
BELA: Now, the commode would have to be – well, I would have to use longer …
TOM: Yes, it would be a good idea to take the commode up. Because otherwise, you’re going to have sort of an odd cut of the tile around it. So you would remove the commode and there’s a flange that will raise the drain by the thickness of the tile. And then you put it back together again, OK?
BELA: Alright, sir. I like your show a lot.
LESLIE: Oh, thank you.
TOM: Well, thank you very much, Bela. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Just ahead, if you’ve got an older home with beautiful – and those beautiful windows can be kind of drafty at times. We’re going to have tips to help preserve that classic window look while sealing out the drafts, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Chad in Florida is on the line and needs some help sealing a home. What’s going on?
CHAD: Yeah, I am actually calling about a – the underside of a modular home. It has a crawlspace. And wanting to see the best way to seal it off to – so rodents and animals cannot get underneath the home.
TOM: OK. Is it wide open right now?
CHAD: Well, it has, you know, some wood plats (ph) for actually décor that go around the bottom. But there is a large amount of space for any animal to crawl through, so it’s not really sealed off. It just has an aesthetic around the bottom that’s just for appearance only.
TOM: Alright. Well, obviously, you’re going to have to change all of that. And I guess you’ve got some options. I think you want to consider, also, the durability and the weather-resistance of whatever product you put down there.
But one thing that comes to mind is PVC lattice. Now, that’s not going to keep the small animals out but it would keep the big ones out.
TOM: I think that the PVC lattice is pretty attractive these days. Not inexpensive but the spaces – the space between the lattice – what do you think, Leslie? About an inch, inch-and-a-half at most?
LESLIE: It depends. There is that more petite lattice and then there’s that wider one that maybe is like a 3×3 square. But you can get both. I mean there’s – you shouldn’t have a hard time finding either option at the home center. And it really does look pretty nice.
TOM: Yeah. And you want to make sure that you create some sort of a frame structure so that it’s well attached. Because it doesn’t have any strength in and of itself. So I would focus on the frame first and then you can attach the lattice to it.
CHAD: Yeah. Makes sense. Put a frame out and then just attach the lattice to it and …
TOM: Yeah. And I would use screws when I put it together. Because this way, you can take it apart in the event you have to get under there to do any maintenance: fix a pipe leak or something of that nature.
CHAD: Exactly, exactly. Well, that makes perfect sense. And it’s kind of where I was leaning. I was looking at some different manufacturers and companies that make different items and – but that’s exactly what I was thinking.
TOM: Well, alright. Well, great minds think alike. We hope that helps you out and good luck with that project.
CHAD: Alrighty. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Well, if you have an older house with beautiful but drafty windows, then adding a storm window might be a smart move.
TOM: That’s right. But is this a job you can take on yourself? With the step-by-step on this project, we turn now to how-to expert Tom Silva, the general contractor from TV’s This Old House.
And Tom, if you love your old windows, do storm windows still make sense as a way to save on those energy costs?
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. Storm windows are a great way to save energy, both air conditioning-wise and heating-wise.
TOM: Now, that’s a good point, because a lot of folks don’t realize that what leaks in in the winter leaks in in the summer.
LESLIE: You just can’t feel it.
TOM: And closing those storm windows, even in the summer, helps save on air-conditioning costs.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. Heat always wants to go to cold. So when those summer – in the summertime, the outside heat wants to get into the house. In wintertime, that heated air wants to get to the outside.
TOM: So, do storm windows all have to be sort of custom-ordered these days? Is that the norm for them?
TOM SILVA: Not always. There are standard-size windows. There are a lot of standard-size windows and you can get them but there’s a couple of different things that you have to remember. And if you’re having a window that you want to get a storm window, too, you ought to think about a few different things about how it’s going to fit onto that window.
There are different windows that – called either an Eastern or a Western. Eastern is also known as a tip-to-tip measurement: the outside or the widest or the highest measurement of that storm window.
TOM SILVA: And you have to figure out what part of your existing window you want that storm window to sit: either on the outside of the trim or inside the trim.
TOM: That’s a good point. And so you have to really know what storm window you’re going to order, obviously, first. And I’m sure the manufacturer is going to give you very specific measuring instructions, because that’s really the critical part here.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. You always want to measure a window in three different locations: the bottom, the middle and the top. Take the smallest measurement and that’s the measurement that you’re going to give them. They will allow for the opening if you tell them it’s an Eastern, for example. That means it’s going to sit in between something.
You can give them a tip-to-tip measurement that sits in between something and that means that they’re not going to allow for that window to get into that space.
LESLIE: Tommy, does it make sense at this point, where measurements are so critical – I know when I’m measuring for a window treatment, if I have the company come out and take the measurements and there is any mistake, it’s their fault; they’ll remake it. If I measure it and there’s …
TOM SILVA: Guess who owns it?
LESLIE: That’s it. Too bad.
TOM SILVA: Right, right. Oh, well, listen, everybody makes a mistake. I’ve measured quite a few storm windows over the years and once in a while, you get a measurement wrong and you eat the window.
TOM: So if we have them measure them and we get the windows in, is this something that we can install ourselves?
TOM SILVA: Sure. They’re pretty easy to install. You’ve got to make sure that it – first thing, before you do anything, is you want to take the window and dry-fit it. Make sure it fits, OK? Now that it – you know that it’s going to fit, you can run a bead of caulking up the sides and across the top. Never on the bottom.
TOM: Because that’s got to drain, right?
TOM SILVA: You want it to drain. I can’t tell you how many windows – storm windows – I see where people go and caulk along the inside of their window sill.
TOM: They’re trying to do a really good job on those drafts.
TOM SILVA: They don’t want those drafts to come in. That is so important that that stays open. And you …
TOM: Yeah. Because how many rotted sills have you seen as a result of that, right? The water gets in and it sits.
TOM SILVA: A ton of them, a ton of them. It keeps me in business, so I think they should still keep caulking those sills. But it’s crazy. But you want to also make sure you use the right kind of caulking. You don’t want to use a silicone caulking; you should use a butyl caulking because the butyl will stay flexible forever. And a nice, thin bead is all you need; you don’t need a lot.
LESLIE: Now, does it ever make sense, depending on the type of window that you’ve got in your home, to also install interior storm windows? Or is that really in a historical, drafty window case?
TOM SILVA: Well, interesting enough, there are different types of storm windows: there’s an interior, an exterior. And on the exterior, there’s multiple choices: you can get metal, you can get a combination of metal and wood or you can get wood. All of them have glass in there, too. I don’t want to forget that.
But they all benefit just about the same. An interior storm window is fantastic if you like the look of an old window and you don’t want to cover it up with a storm window. The problem with an interior storm window is you now have to deal with a screen that you won’t have, because that storm window usually is one flexible pane of glass that sits – it’s actually not even glass. It sits into that opening with compression or sometimes there’s even a little flipper that you can use to take the window out. And now they actually make a storm window – interior storm window – that does have a screen on it but I don’t like the look of that on the inside of the house.
TOM: So you kind of have to pick your poison here. I mean you – it’d be nice if you could just live with the beautiful, old window that the home was originally constructed with. But let’s face it: that’s going to be prohibitively expensive because they’re just not as energy-efficient as we need them to be today.
TOM SILVA: Exactly, exactly.
TOM: So beyond that, it’s really outside or inside. You’re going to see it; it just depends on where you want to see it. And then, of course, as you mentioned, the functionality really plays into this, too.
TOM SILVA: Right, right. Now, the storm window – the exterior storm window – will protect the window itself, because it’s – the wind and the driving rain is not getting to the glazing. So if you have an old window and you want to keep it looking good, with less maintenance, the storm window will protect it.
If you want to increase the efficiency of a storm window, you can actually add a coating to the glass. It’s a low-emissivity coating, also known as low-E. And what that does is it reflects the radiant heat from the inside of the building. When it tries to get to the cold, it bounces it back into the house.
It also will do the same in the summertime but unfortunately, people put their screens up unless they want to keep their air conditioning on. They put their windows down and that is actually a radiant barrier; it pushes the radiant heat coming off of that hot driveway or your neighbor’s house or the ground. It’s trying to get back into the house because, remember, heat is always trying to get to cold.
So if you have your air conditioner on, that heat’s trying to get in. That low-emissivity coating pushes the heat – that radiant heat – away.
TOM: That’s great advice.
Now, before we actually hang that storm window, it’s also probably a really good opportunity to scrape, prime and paint and clean up any worn areas of the existing old window, because now is your chance, right?
TOM SILVA: Now is your chance. You don’t want to have it on raw wood. You want to – also want to make sure that it’s on a nice, flat, clean surface. Because you want to make a good connection and you want to make sure it sits flat so it’ll work correctly.
TOM: Good advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: My pleasure.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and a step-by-step video on installing a storm window, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Gorilla Glue.
Just ahead, if you’re looking forward to laying out on a beautiful, green lawn this summer, there are things you need to do, right now, to keep those weeds at bay. We’ll have tips to stop weeds from getting started, next.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Now you can call in your home repair or home improvement question, 24/7, 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: Chris in Pennsylvania is on the line and has a question about snow coming in some venting. What is going on?
CHRIS: When it snows, for whatever reason our ridge vent seems to let snow get up inside. And then we pull anywhere from a small bucket – you know, like a snowball size – to many, many buckets depending on how much snow and how much wind we get. And I’m trying to figure out what can I do to stop that from getting inside the house.
TOM: So there’s a type of vent that’s called a “filter vent.” And it’s made by CertainTeed. And it’s a good-quality ridge vent but it has the added addition of a filter material that is in the baffle part of it – in the porous part of it – so that that stops the snow from doing exactly what it’s doing in your case, which is blowing in. Because it’s nice that you have a big, wide, open vent that’s letting all that warm, moist air out in the summer and the damp air in the winter but it’s going to blow – let some snow get in. So if you were to replace that with a filter vent, I think that that would solve the problem.
CHRIS: So they have to replace the whole ridge vent? There’s not anything I could stick inside of it?
TOM: Unless it happens to be the same product; it’s just missing the vent. But no, you would have to replace it.
CHRIS: OK. That’s fair enough.
TOM: It’s pretty straightforward because it’s from the outside. It’s easy to kind of take that off and put a new one on.
TOM: It’s not like a major roofing project but it is going to take some work and some expense. And it’s also going to take somebody that is not afraid of working on a roof. So if that’s not you, hire a pro to do that, OK?
CHRIS: Yeah, there’s a couple pitches that are pretty tough, so probably would be a pro job.
TOM: Yep. That’s hard to work on a place like that. Yeah. Definitely want to be careful.
CHRIS: Alright. Yeah. That’s really all I had.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, we all love a lush, green lawn but sometimes what’s green, well, it’s not exactly grass nor is it very lush. We’re talking about weeds and they can destroy a lawn and remove any chance of turning your backyard into a perfect putting spot real quick.
LESLIE: Yeah. That’s right. But when you consider that just one dandelion plant can make up to 15,000 weed seeds, that’s crazy. It’s a wonder any of us win the battle against those invaders.
TOM: Well, if that’s what you’re fighting this spring, not to worry. There’s a great product we can recommend for this called Weed Beater Ultra. Now, it’s made by Bonide and it can kill over 200 broad-leaf weeds without harming the lawn. And this weekend is a great time to apply the product.
LESLIE: Yeah. And usually, after you apply a weed killer you have to wait a month before reseeding the lawn. Another reason why we like this product is you can reseed just two weeks after application, so you can get your full lawn going that much faster.
TOM: And it works in cool temperatures, down to 45 degrees. So, chilly spring nights are not a problem.
Bonide Products are family-made in the U.S.A. for over 90 years. Learn more by visiting Bonide.com.
LESLIE: Mike in Michigan needs some help with an insulation project. What can we do for you?
MIKE: Well, I’d like to know if there’s a do-it-yourself spray-in insulation, to do in my rim joists?
TOM: So to do the entire rim joist, it’s probably too big for a product like GREAT STUFF but that’s pretty much the only do-it-yourself spray-foam insulation. If you’re talking about a product like Icynene, that’s put on with very specialized equipment and it’s definitely not do-it-yourself.
But if you’re just trying to seal gaps around the rim joists, why not invest in a few cans of GREAT STUFF? It’s very effective and it expands to fill all those cracks and crevices. You could do the rim joists and then you could put some fiberglass insulation batts on top of that after it dries and it should be quite warm.
MIKE: Well, thanks a lot.
LESLIE: Up next, does your water heater run out of, well, the most important thing a water heater does: hot water? And sometimes while you’re in the middle of that shower?
TOM: Of course.
LESLIE: We’re going to have – and that’s the worst. We’re going to have tips on a fix to avoid those cold-shower surprises, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And The Money Pit is presented by HomeAdvisor.com where you can find top-rated home improvement pros you can trust. Call in your home improvement question, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Or head on over to MoneyPit.com and post your question in the Community section, just like Jeff did who writes: “I purchased a water heater thinking I needed a 40-gallon heater but realized afterward that I should have bought a 50-gallon tank. They will not let me return or exchange it. I have a 2,700-square-foot, 2-story home with 3 full baths. There are four adult family members living here but only my wife and I take the showers in the morning. Do you think a 40-gallon gas water heater will be enough to replace the 50-gallon gas water heater, which is about 20 years old?”
TOM: Hmm. Well, I think the 50-gallon water heater is probably the ideal size for a home with three full baths.
LESLIE: But now it seems like he’s stuck.
TOM: Yeah. Because he’d have to replace it, right? The only silver lining is I don’t think he and his wife in the home are going to need more than the 40. So I think, as you live in the house, Jeff, you guys are going to be fine. But if your water use increases – like, I don’t know, maybe the kids come home for the summer or you have guests over the holidays – the 40 is going to be definitely stressed at that level. And certainly, if you go to sell the house, the new owner, especially if they have a good home inspector, is going to know right away that 40 is just not enough, especially if you’ve got teenagers. Trust me, it’s just not going to be enough.
So, I definitely would have recommended a 50 but I think for you and your wife right now, the 40-gallon is fine.
LESLIE: Alright. Sorry that you got stuck with that. But at least it’ll be good for you guys to take some nice, new, efficient warm showers.
Alright. Next up, I’ve got a post here from Lynn who writes: “I need to replace my roof, which has solar panels installed for my heating – for heating my pool.” Excuse me. “What do I need to watch out for when talking to the roofing contractors? The panels have to be removed and then reinstalled upon completion of the roof. Every roofing contractor reassures me that it’s not a problem. However, I’m skeptical.”
TOM: Yeah, I’d be a little …
LESLIE: Do you think the same contractor could do that or should you have the solar people come and remove them and replace them?
TOM: I tell you, I would be more comfortable not having the roofers do this job. And I’ll tell you why: because good roofing companies that roof every day, they have kind of a flow to them and solar panels just are not part of that flow. If it’s not something that has to be destroyed or ripped off the roof, like old shingles and that sort of thing, I’d just – I’d be worried about them having to handle that electronic equipment.
LESLIE: Right. That’s true.
TOM: Because it is. I mean you could damage it if you drop it or just too rough with it. I’d much prefer to have the solar – a solar installer come out and take those apart for the roof project and then put the whole array back together. I just don’t feel like the roofers are going to be qualified for that particular skill set unless they can, you know, show you that they do this all the time and maybe they have a relationship with a solar company or something. Unless they really can really prove it, I would definitely not be comfortable with having roofers do this.
I’ll give you an example. When we did our roof, we decided to put in Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation at the same time. And one part of the roof that was low slope required the insulation to be sprayed from the outside in, basically, as the sheathing was off. Those roofers could not stand the fact that I stopped their flow, because they’re like a machine: they rip it off, put it back together. And anything you do to stop that flow is a problem.
So I just wouldn’t be comfortable having those roofers do that repair. I would much rather see you use a solar pro for that.
LESLIE: I wonder even if you feel more comfortable calling the solar company that installed the panels the first time. Maybe they have a roofing company that they work in partnership with. You never know. It’s worth asking to ask because you don’t want to find yourself with broken panels, which is very likely.
TOM: And this is something to consider, too, if you’re going to put solar in your house. You should really put it on a newer roof because otherwise, you’re going to be facing this pretty significant repair if you put it on a roof that’s only got a few years of life left in it, right?
LESLIE: Yeah, ouch. That could be a lot of money wasted and you want to do it smartly.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some great ideas on projects you’d like to tackle. Or if you are standing there in the middle of the room with a paintbrush in hand, maybe we solved a problem for you on how to take care of a project you’re working on right now.
Remember, you can reach out to us through The Money Pit’s Community section at MoneyPit.com or call us, 24/7, with your home improvement or décor question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
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.
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(Copyright 2018 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.)
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