TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this beautiful summer day? If it’s your house, your home, your castle, hey, well, we’re here to help. But help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Or you can post your question online at MoneyPit.com and we will get to it.
Coming up this hour, is summer stuff clogging your house?
You know, Leslie, summer has got its own special brand of clutter, doesn’t it? I mean beach toys.
LESLIE: It sure does. And everything seems to be gigantic.
TOM: Big towels, big coolers, big chairs and boogie boards if you’ve got kids, you name it. So we’re going to give you some room-by-room advice on how you can edit down your summer stuff to get refreshed for the sizzling months that remain.
LESLIE: And also ahead, is your yard kind of a tricky space of slopes and angles and you can’t really utilize any of that backyard space itself? Well, a retaining wall could be the solution. We’re going to share some tips on how you can build one to take back all that valuable real estate.
TOM: Plus, there are a wide range of water filters on the market that can help you enjoy clear and great-tasting water all summer long. And we’ve teamed up with The Home Depot to feature some of the best water-quality products as giveaways, like the new Brita Water Filter Pitcher.
LESLIE: And that’s just one of the terrific Home Depot water-quality solutions going out to a caller drawn at random. So make that you. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Dan in North Carolina is dealing with a streaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
DAN: I am calling you from hot North Carolina today.
TOM: Hot North Carolina, huh?
DAN: I live in the woods. The roof of my house, however, has sunshine over it. It’s four years old.
DAN: A new roof, 12/12 pitch.
DAN: And I have started getting these black streaks coming down all over.
DAN: Is there something that I can spray on that or put up on there that can help get rid of those black streaks on this new roof?
TOM: Yeah. I’ll give you a couple ideas. First off, there’s a roof cleaner called Spray & Forget that works very well. You apply it to the roof and it kind of goes to town right away working on a wide variety of stains. It might take a month or more but they will disappear.
The second thing that you can do is you can take – if you feel up for this or want to have a contractor do it, if you go up on your roof and if you cover the top ridge – that’s that sort of peak of the roof – from end to end with a piece of copper flashing – maybe one piece on one side, one piece on the other – what you’ll find is as rain hits that, it releases some copper which acts as a mildicide and also helps to keep the roof very clean. So a little trick of the trade there. Use a roof cleaner and then a piece of copper flashing installed into that ridge will give you some ongoing protection against future streaking.
DAN: That is a cool idea about the copper.
Spray & Forget. Do I just use my regular hose?
TOM: The Spray & Forget is a concentrate. So all you need to do is mix it up. And what you can use to apply it really depends on what you have. What I like to use is kind of a pump-up garden sprayer. It’s really easy to handle. Doesn’t get too heavy. And then I spray my roof down with that.
DAN: I’m going to try that. I really love your show and keep up your good work.
TOM: Alright. Thanks, Dan. We appreciate it.
LESLIE: Anna in Illinois is on the line with a question about a porch. How can we help you today?
ANNA: Well, I have this problem. This porch is closed in even on the north side. But the north side of it is not finished. And recently, I have had this moldy, musty smell in it.
Now, yesterday it was nice. I opened the windows and you couldn’t smell it or when I had the dehumidifier on. But if I have neither, I can smell that musty smell. And my question is this. I’ve taken off the old insulation that was in there. And do I need to do anything to the porch, to the wood, before I put the new insulation in it? And would that help?
TOM: OK. So first of all, this is a porch, so it’s not a heated space. Is that correct?
TOM: Why are you insulating it if it’s not a heated space?
ANNA: I just thought maybe that would help the moisture or this damp-y smell.
TOM: No, not at all. In fact, it will make it worse. You want to – you basically want to let this dry out as easily as possible. Look, anything that’s outside, Anna, is always going to be damp, just because of the nature of it. But I don’t think you want to close this in, add insulation or anything like that. That’s just going to hold moisture and it has absolutely zero benefit as insulation, because you’re not trying to keep the heat on one side and the cold on the other.
So I would definitely pull that insulation out, Anna. And I would air out those spaces. And what I would also do is I would spray those walls with a good-quality cleaner, like Spray & Forget. That will take care of mold, mildew, algae, even dirt that forms on those walls and take that out of the equation, as well. So, pull the insulation out, spray them down and then let them air out and I think that will solve it.
Anna, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call now with your home improvement question to 888-MONEY-PIT, presented by HomeAdvisor.
TOM: Just ahead, is summer stuff clogging your house? We’re going to have tips on how you can declutter your boogie boards, your coolers, your lawn chairs and flip-flops to reorganize that space for the months ahead.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, give us a call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT, presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: That’s right. You can get matched with a background-checked home service pro in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free. No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire a pro you can trust.
TOM: And if you just need to ask a home improvement question, well, you don’t need to hire anybody to do that because you’ve got us. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Rhode Island has a question about solar panels. How can we help you today?
JOHN: Solar panels installed the latter half of March. And I have been noticing a steady increase in production up until about two weeks ago. And I have noticed the production falling off. And of course, the pollen has increased. And I’m wondering if there’s anything on the market that I could treat the panels with.
The panels are located kind of high on the roof. It’s difficult to get to. And just like I said, I’m just wondering if there’s something that I could add to it to have the pollen wash off quicker.
TOM: So it’s pollen and tree droppings, huh?
JOHN: Yeah. Well, actually, the tree’s on the good shade with – but it’s really, basically, the pollen. I love in a wooded area. And like I said, I’ve watched the production, you know, with these inverters. You can really carefully monitor what the system is doing. So, although the day is getting longer and the sun is getting higher in the sky, production is off. And the only thing I can relate it to is the pollen.
TOM: John, that’s actually a surprisingly common problem. And the solution is simply to clean those panels.
Now, in your case, that may be easier said than done because you’re telling me they’re difficult to reach. It might also be possible to install sort of a cleaning system that consists of manifolds that are installed right above those solar panels, where you basically can turn on the water and run water over them, occasionally, to clean them out. But of course, that’s a lot of work.
Is it possible for you to get a ladder up against the side of that house there and use a hose or with something – maybe a high-pressure hose to be able to kind of wash the pollen off those panels? Because it’s pretty well documented that solar production goes down, as you’ve discovered, when those pollen – when those panels get covered with dirt or pollen.
JOHN: Right, right. Well, I guess the thing – I’m sure there’s something I could invest in. Clearly a better ladder, a taller ladder. And also, there’s got to be something where I can actually get the hose on a pole – I have a pruning pole – and maybe point it at an angle where it could wash the panels. But again, I thought maybe the solution would be, well, in the spring, get up on the roof, treat the panels and then I should be all set. But maybe it’s just a simple as a hose.
TOM: Yeah. I’m not aware of any treatment there that’s going to basically make them more slippery. I guess there’s – I was thinking in terms of a wax. But Hyde Tools – H-y-d-e – they have a product called PivotPro that attaches to a regular hose and it has an angular nozzle at top. And it’s designed for cleaning gutters and then cleaning boats and getting underneath spaces and things like that. And basically, the head pivots so you can get all sorts of different angles with it. And it also steps up the pressure of water coming out it. Pretty inexpensive tool there. You might want to look that up online and give it a shot.
JOHN: I think I will. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, now that we’re, what, halfway through the summer, is summer’s stuff clogging your house? Summer has its own special brand of clutter, like beach toys and big towels and coolers and chairs and boogie boards. Oh, my God, I’m continually putting away boogie boards. You name it, it’s big, it’s related to summer. But the thing is you can easily edit down that summer stuff and kind of get your house refreshed for the sizzling months ahead.
LESLIE: That’s right. And everything seems to be covered in sand, am I right?
TOM: Oh, my God.
LESLIE: It’s like everything is such a mess.
TOM: Listen, yesterday, I had to take my son’s iPhone and we had to set up the air compressor to blow sand out of it because it was getting in the way of the buttons. We couldn’t put it on mute. So yeah, sand gets everywhere.
LESLIE: And it causes quite a number to things, my goodness. So, guys, this is what I do in my house and I find it’s a great tip for everybody who’s got small kids or at least is very active in the summertime months. It’s almost like the school year because there’s so many activities and so many different things.
So for my boys – and what I do that I think really works well is I keep two sets of my beach/pool bag. And I keep one all ready to go by the front door in case we decide to get going or sometimes I even just throw it in the car. This way, if we end up there, I always have swimsuits and towels available. But I keep two sets of that so I don’t have to worry about quickly rushing to go and do the laundry, right, the second we get back.
for the next day when we’re running back to the pool or the beach, I have it at least ready to go. And it gives me a minute to take a breather and not have to rush and do the laundry.
Now, for the garage where all those boogie boards and buckets and pails and skateboards and bicycles and everything else that ends up being used ad nauseam over the summer months, I try to keep everything that’s in use, at that current moment, towards the front. Anything else that’s autumn, holiday-related, it’s all to the back. I keep things in clear bins so that I know exactly where things go and I can easily get to them.
But the same thing with the summer stuff; everything’s got a spot. Whether it’s a bin or a place to hang it up on the wall, I try to keep as much real estate available to me in the garage space so that I can get to all of those things when I need them.
The other thing is your mudroom. Utilize your mudroom. Keep spaces there to sort of – if you’ve got a mudroom or even if you just have a bench with a couple of hooks where you hang your coats and things, utilize that space for the summer season. Have backpacks ready to go for the next day with whatever camp is going on. Make sure all of your sports equipment – cleats get dirty, things get dirty. Put them in a bin right next to that bench so you’re not tracking that dirt or mud everywhere in the house. If you take some moments to just kind of get better organized, the summer season can actually be fun and not feel like such a messy cluttered season that it can be.
TOM: Great tips. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call, right now, or post your question at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Marge in New Jersey is on the line with a kitchen question. How can we help you today?
MARGE: I have a carousel in the kitchen for the kitchen cabinets. And the shelf – the top one is dropped a lot. And I can’t figure out how to go about to secure it or – how in the world do you repair something like that?
TOM: So is this sort of like what we would call a Lazy Susan? Like sits inside of a cabinet and spins around?
MARGE: Yes. And holds the pots and pans.
TOM: They take a lot of wear and tear don’t they, Marge, I mean over all those years?
MARGE: Sure. And does it have to be replaced or can it be repaired?
TOM: Well, it depends. The first thing you do is clean that cabinet out and take the existing carousel apart.
Now, if the mechanism itself – like the ball bearings have fallen apart – there’s a bracket between the carousel and the bottom of the cabinet that has two plates on them and they spin on ball bearings. If that access has broken down – which it could over many years – that has to be replaced. And the thing is that those parts are all available, especially for those old cabinets. You can usually find them online if you research them. And essentially, what has to happen here is you’ve got to take that whole thing apart and then rebuild it.
Now, this might be a job for a carpenter or a cabinet maker or somebody that’s just handy enough to be able to tackle this. But I find – and I look at something like this, that cabinetry will speak to me. It will tell me how it went in and what has to be done to take it apart. If you look at it very carefully, you can usually figure it out, because somebody put it in to begin with and there’s got to be a way to disassemble it. Does that make sense?
MARGE: Yes, that does. Now, since there are two levels – one on the bottom and one on the top – the ball bearings would be in the bottom level? So that if I start unscrewing everything, where would I find them? Does it make a difference if it’s a two-shelver? There’s one shelf way on the bottom, then there’s this space and then you have another shelf.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right. I don’t think it makes a difference because I think it’s all part of the same assembly. And the ball bearings are going to be on the bottom, not the top. The top, it may have an access point, like an axle. But the spin is going to be under where all the weight is, OK? So that’s the side of it.
Does this carousel still move or is it too stiff?
MARGE: No, it still moves.
TOM: It still moves. What part of it is broken, Marge?
MARGE: The actual shelf itself. The top shelf appears to have dropped about 8 inches.
TOM: Alright. So here’s what I would do. If it was just the top shelf that dropped, I would look for a way to repair that top shelf. And I can’t tell you exactly how to do it but probably figure out a creative way. If that’s dropped down – if it’s sitting like on a center column, then you have to get something up underneath that to support it.
MARGE: OK. Alright. So that’s what I’ll do.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tim in New York is having an issue with the tub. What’s going on in your bathroom?
TIM: So, my wife and I moved into our home two years ago and the previous homeowners recently redid the bathroom. It’s very nice but unfortunately, the bathtub has two cracks in it. So I recently had – to be real quick, I recently had a bathtub fitter come in and take a look at it. They can’t do it because they don’t have the molds for it and they would have to cover up the tile anyway. So my question is: is there an easy fix? And even if I had to replace a tub, do I have to take out tile to do so?
TOM: Well, you have to take out probably the first couple of rows of tile. It depends on how difficult it is to get the tub in and out of that space. It’s a pretty big job. It might be that it’s just not worth trying to save the tile. This is the time where you might just want to think about whether or not you could just renovate the entire bathroom. Because frankly, by the time you get that tub out, you’re going to be taking so many other fixtures out of the way to kind of get the tub in and out, you might end up doing that anyway, Tim. You know, the bathtub is the first thing that goes into a bathroom and everything else works around it or fits around it. And I think the bath-fitter idea was a good one but if they can’t do it, they can’t do it.
TIM: Yeah. I looked up online and they have these epoxies that fix cracks. I don’t think it’s going to work or be a permanent fix. Do you have any knowledge on that?
TOM: That’s true. I would agree with that. It’s very difficult to repair a crack or a chip in a tub. Is it a fiberglass tub?
TIM: It is. It’s a fiberglass tub.
TOM: So, look, they repair fiberglass boats, right? Or fiberglass cars? So you can use – right from an auto-body shop, you can use fiberglass repair compound to fix this. It’s not going to be pretty, right? I mean like a Bondo product or something like that. It’s going to be obvious but if you want to buy yourself some time and use the tub for a while, you could do that.
I had a shower stall once where the fiberglass pan cracked. Then I repaired that with fiberglass and Bondo just by basically applying the fiberglass in a couple of layers and then putting the compound over top of that. And you could see it but it didn’t leak after I fixed it.
TIM: OK. Well, maybe I’ll look into that. The bathroom is so new that I don’t want to rip out, well …
TOM: I know. I hear you. It hurts. And it may be very well that the tub was put in incorrectly. Because when you put in fiberglass tubs, you’re supposed to put a solid fill under them. Usually, you’ll put a loose mix of mortar mix underneath it because it basically gives you something solid to step into, because the tub has some flex.
TIM: Yeah. I don’t think they did that because you could actually feel the tub moving underneath my feet.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately, it sounds like it wasn’t put in right.
TIM: OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much. That was very helpful.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Up next, as do-it-yourself projects have become more popular, the products that help us accomplish those projects have gotten a lot smarter and easier to use. We’re going to have tips on advances in concrete that make setting a fence post, mailbox or basketball hoop super easy.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, as do-it-yourself projects have become more popular, the products that help us accomplish those projects have gotten a lot smarter and easier to use.
LESLIE: And that includes concrete. There’s no need to order a truck’s worth just to set a fence post, install a pole for a basketball net or even pour a small sidewalk. Now that can all be accomplished with a formulation made by QUIKRETE called Fast-Setting Concrete Mix. With us to share how this product can be used around your house is expert Mike Major from QUIKRETE.
MIKE: Hi, Leslie. How are you today?
LESLIE: We’re good, thanks.
MIKE: We’re real excited about this product. And this product has been around for a little while but we’ve got something new that’s going on, right now, for the next couple of months. We’re selling this product in a 20 percent-more bonus bag, so it gives our customers a little opportunity to save a little bit more money using the product.
But this product has just done so many great things as far as making it really, really simple for do-it-yourselfers, as well as contractors, to take care of those jobs that they’re doing in a quick and timely manner and save money at the same time.
TOM: So, Mike, let’s talk about the product first.
Now, this sounds to me like sort of a chemistry accomplishment here because traditionally, concrete would take a lot longer to set. And what that means to you as a consumer is you basically have to schedule your work that involves this part of it, whether it’s sort of pouring a footing for a deck or really anything else, kind of at least a full day in advance. And I remember, years ago, we used to pour them one week and come back the next week to do the work. It sounds like the chemistry that’s involved with a product like this makes it easier for consumers and pros to save quite a bit of time on all the projects that you might use concrete for.
MIKE: You’re absolutely right, Tom. Our weekend warriors, as well as the contractors – you know, time is important. And we know that you get these projects that you want to get done on a weekend. And there’s nothing more frustrating than reading on a regular concrete mix and knowing that you’ve got to allow a 24-hour set time before you can even start to do your project.
So with the Fast-Setting Concrete, you can set your posts. It takes about 20 to 40 minutes for the concrete to set, so you don’t have to worry about level after that point. And right after you set the posts, you can start sawing your lumber. Say you’re building a fence or a deck. You can start sawing lumber and in four hours, you’re hammering. So that gives you the opportunity to complete this project and be grilling out on the same weekend that you’re starting your deck.
TOM: Mike, I discovered some years ago that your product will actually cure underwater. Is that the same with the fast-setting product?
MIKE: It sure is.
TOM: I’ll tell you how we figured that out. Years ago, my eldest son was working on his Eagle Scout project and it was a bridge across a stream. Of course, we had to build some footings for that but because it was along the stream, guess what was at the bottom of every footing? Lots and lots of water. And you guys told me to mix it up outside of the hole and then pour the product in the hole. It displaced the water and it set solid in under an hour. It was amazing.
MIKE: Right. And one of the products that’s kind of come out of that, Tom, is – using even our regular concrete mix, you see some uses for erosion control around lake docks. You will take our product and you can actually take it in the bag underwater and drive rebar down through it and build a concrete wall just by stacking the bags together.
TOM: Hey, we’re talking to Mike Major – he’s an expert with QUIKRETE – about their new QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete Mix, which is a blend of fast-setting cement, sand and gravel that sets hard in under 40 minutes.
While we have you on the line, I want to ask you another question about an issue that many, many of our callers bring up and that is cracks in concrete. This could be cracks in a slab, could be cracks in a block wall. And we want to basically cover these up, we want to seal them in, we want to stop water penetration. But we want to use the right product so it doesn’t chip away and fall out of that crack. What do you recommend for that out of the QUIKRETE line?
MIKE: We have several different products that’ll serve that purpose, Tom. It kind of depends on what the crack is and where it is. Some of the cracks that develop are basically caused by improper placement of expansion joints. So you’ll see some cracks that may develop in your driveway where maybe the expansion joints weren’t placed close enough or something along those lines because concrete will – if enough pressure is placed on it by the expansion and contraction of the soil around it, it will eventually crack.
But you’re right: we’ve got to make sure we seal that crack. We’ve got some polyurethanes for taking care of cracks that are in driveways and sidewalks, that’ll keep water from getting down in that. Because what you mentioned is absolutely true. And as we go through this season and we prepare for winter coming up, we know that it’s not too far around the corner. We’ve got to make sure that we keep water out of those. Because as water penetrates down inside of those cracks and then wintertime comes and it freezes, the freezing of that water causes more expansion and it’ll cause more damage.
TOM: And you end up having to do it every year.
MIKE: Exactly. And you can also find that by sealing that crack for just a few dollars, you can basically eliminate hundreds of dollars of damage or even having to break up a slab and repour it.
LESLIE: Mike, is there a general rule how large this crack or gap can be to allow you to repair it with some sort of filler. Or is it at a point where it’s just too big and you’ve got to scrap that and come up with a different plan?
MIKE: No, there’s really not. Like I say, we have a wide variety of different products that do work depending on the thickness of the crack. We’ve got a new product that is a – it’s a hybrid polyurethane that will penetrate down inside hairline cracks, which that has always been a real problem. Because if something is so small as a hairline crack, you really need a liquid to be able to penetrate down into it.
MIKE: So we do have a hybrid polyurethane that is – goes down like a liquid but it does seal these tiny, tiny, little cracks. And then we’ve got products that go all the way up to our vinyl concrete patcher, which is designed to fix the really big cracks and to fix the areas where you see a sidewalk or a concrete where the rocks are starting to show, where the initial surface has flaked off of it or, as we refer to it, has spalled. You can take our vinyl concrete patcher and it is a product that’s designed to go down in thicknesses up to an inch but it’ll go – it’ll thin down into infinity. So you’re not having to build a big hump on the concrete just to get the surface back onto it.
TOM: And that’s great to know because the other thing that we hear a lot from with our callers is come spring – early spring – when all that snow has melted away – and for those that have used perhaps a rock salt or some other type of product like that to try to keep the ice off the sidewalks, they are very surprised to see all of the sort of the pockmarks and the indentations where the concrete has seemingly melted away.
So the vinyl-patch product is the one that you would use to sort of resurface those damaged areas and it’ll stick?
MIKE: Yes, sir. It’s got a polymer rosin built into that product, which makes it stick to anything. That’s the real difficult part, when you start trying to do any kind of patchwork on concrete, is by nature new concrete and old concrete do not bond. So what we have to do is we have to put the special additives into products that make it to where it will get a good bond and it’ll stay on there for a long period of time.
TOM: Well, that’s great advice, Mike Major. And we can see why he is the expert from QUIKRETE. Thank you so much, Mike, for taking some time to stop by The Money Pit and filling us in on the new red-bag product, the fast-setting product, as well as some great insight on how to repair those common cracks and holes that we find in our concrete surfaces.
MIKE: Thanks a lot, Tom. It’s great to talk with you and Leslie. Have a great day.
TOM: If you’d like more information on all the QUIKRETE products, head on over to their website at QUIKRETE.com. And it’s spelled Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E.com.
LESLIE: Alright, Mike. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Just ahead, if you’d like to make your backyard an actual usable space because you’ve got too many slopes and hills and slants, a retaining wall could be the solution to all of your backyard dreams. Stick around. We’re going to share the steps, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where you can find trusted home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.
If you call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, you’ll get two things: the answer to your home improvement question plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great product to help you improve the water quality in your home.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve teamed up with the team over at The Home Depot to provide you with the perfect water-quality solution no matter where you live. One of those items that really helps everyone out is the Brita Water Filter Pitcher.
Now, that comes with a supply of long-lasting filters to give you great-tasting water with every single glass. The filters themselves are carbon-spun to help eliminate that chlorine taste and that odor you sometimes find with water. From pitchers and faucet mounts to whole-home systems, The Home Depot is a great place to pick up whatever water-quality solution you might need.
TOM: This Home Depot water quality-solution package is worth 62.89 and is just one of the many we’re giving away. So call us now with your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you have a yard that slopes, it’s difficult to use that entire space. You can’t set up a play area or build a patio, have tables and chairs. Everything will just tilt downhill and potentially roll right off your table. Well, the solution is to build a retaining wall at the lower end of the yard to bring that space up enough to level out a larger area.
TOM: Now, typically, that’s been a pretty difficult job. But now it’s a lot easier thanks to a product from Pavestone. It’s called SplitRock Retaining Wall Blocks. And these blocks can actually stack to create the retaining wall.
SplitRock is pretty cool. It’s a cutting-edge product that gives you a set of natural-looking, split-faced building blocks that work for lots of different outdoor hardscape projects, including retaining walls.
LESLIE: Yeah. The SplitRock Retaining Wall Blocks, they’re versatile and they come in six sizes that can be assembled in a variety of configurations. You can use them for straight or curved walls and they’re really easy to install, because they’ve got a modular design. All heights and widths are 3½ inches, 7 inches or 10½ inches, so they’re all going to work together.
TOM: Pavestone products are available at home improvement retailers nationwide. You can learn more at Pavestone.com.
ESLIE: Now we’ve got Alice in Wisconsin on the line who has a question about imitation bricks.
What can we do for you?
ALICE: Well, I just want your opinion on some of the advantages or disadvantages or the types of installation, whether it’s better one way than another. And just your opinion on it.
TOM: Where are you putting these imitation bricks?
ALICE: On the front of the house, from top to bottom, but just this section.
TOM: OK. Well, like all projects, Alice, it can be done well or done poorly. But the idea of using synthetic brick and synthetic stone is one that is a solid process. And not to coin a phrase but I mean it’s a good idea. You can get a lot of beauty out of those bricks and out of that sort of synthetic stone, at a lot less weight than you would have to deal with if they were real masonry materials. You might want to take a look at the company called Boral – B-o-r-a-l – Boral Brick. They make brick and stone synthetic products that are – adheres to the outside of homes and look absolutely terrific.
ALICE: And then there’s different ways. I’ve got the information on three or four different styles. Some are nailed, some have clips and some have no mortar.
TOM: OK. Well, the ones that are nailed or clipped, that’s a type of siding. That’s not like a stucco process where it’s adhered to the outside of the house. That’s basically a siding that looks like brick.
And I don’t know about you, Leslie, but I haven’t seen any of those siding products that really look like brick.
LESLIE: No. I really would go with a faux product. Tom’s recommendation is a good one. Kodiak is another one that makes an exterior faux stone. And those will all be applied like a tile would be, with mortar with – to really stand the test of time. And they’ll look amazing and they’ll look more realistic.
And basically, when you’re dealing with a faux stone, it’s made from – is it poured concrete, Tom? They pour it into the forms and colorize it to give it all of that natural depth and beauty.
TOM: Right. It’s a slurry mix but it basically is made in a factory and can take on any shape or color or form that you wish. I would look into Zodiac or Boral as the manufacturers of those synthetic brick products. I think you’ll be very happy with either one. OK?
ALICE: OK. And are they fine in a northern climate?
TOM: Absolutely. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, you already recycle but do you upcycle? We’re going to tell you how to step up to the next level of green living, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Ready for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor. Do you need new flooring in your kitchen or your bath? HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is. They’ll make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros and there’s no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. Check them out at HomeAdvisor.com. But email us or post your question right here at The Money Pit.
And I’ve got one here from Greg who writes: “I’m thinking about installing hardwired, integrated smoke detectors. Is it worth my while and what should I know beforehand?”
TOM: Well, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, which is exactly why you really should have a dual-sensor smoke detector. As you probably may know, there are two different types of detectors and one is ionic, which will respond to flaming fires. And that’s kind of the ones that might be caused when a candle ignites a piece of paper or a towel. And then there’s photoelectric, which alarms when it detects sort of a smoldering fire. So, you want to consider smoldering and flaming fires can happen with the same kind of frequency. That’s why a dual-sensor can really make the most sense.
LESLIE: And yeah, I would go ahead and hardwire those detectors. You know, hardwired detectors have backup electricity, so that’s really going to assure they go off even if your home loses power. And they’re usually interconnected, so if one goes off, the others are going to go off, as well. My advice, though: make sure you have a detector in every room to further improve its chances of detecting fire early and notifying all of the members in your home very early.
TOM: Yeah, better play it safe.
Alright. Now we’ve got a question from Sue in Oklahoma who has got a neighbor’s child that poured a whole glass of juice into her floor air-conditioner vent. She says, “The A/C seems to be running fine but do I need to worry about that causing problems down the road?”
Well, because the lovely child poured it into your vent and not your air conditioner itself, I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. I mean it might be a sticky, smelly problem; your whole house might smell like apple juice or whatever kind of juice it was. But what I would simply do, Sue, is I would take off the register. I would reach in carefully into the air-conditioning vent and I’d try to kind of damp – with a damp sponge, maybe wipe that down. Be careful, though, because there’s usually screws that stick out into the air-conditioning ducts themselves and you don’t want to get stuck.
LESLIE: Yeah. And if you do find that it is a little smelly or smells juicy or a little funky, depending on what kind of juice it was, stick an air freshener down there or even a dryer sheet, something like that just to help sort of overcome the odor from the juice until it all kind of washes out.
TOM: Well, you might be a pro at household recycling but have you ever tried upcycling? If you’re not exactly sure what that is, Leslie has got tips in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
And this is something you’ve done a lot of.
LESLIE: Yeah. I’ve really enjoyed doing it because I sometimes hate to get rid of things, especially when they have an interesting shape or frame or size, something. And I think about different ways to utilize that piece of furniture or that frame, whatever it might be. And that’s what upcycling is. It takes recycling to the next level. It also reduces waste, saves money and it can inspire really creative summer projects for you and the family.
So, while you’re cleaning out the garage or your basement or even a storage shed, keep your eyes peeled for items that can be transformed into unique home accents. A forgotten piece of furniture can be upcycled into a really cool bath accessory. An attractive old window – you can convert that into a table, a mirror or a message board. So many great ways to use that.
Now, if you need new storage for your tools and other gear, you can scan online idea boards for inspiration. You might already have everything you need to create those smart organizers and displays. It’s really about keeping things where you can see them and keeping everything aesthetically pleasing so it’s easy to find what it is you’re looking for when it comes to storage.
Now, items large and small become better with a little creativity. Work upcycling into your summer projects for unique, personalized results.
TOM: Coming up next time on The Money Pit, between barefoot traffic and blazing sun, lawns can take a real beating, especially as we get closer to those dreaded dog days of summer. We’ll have tips to help make sure the grass stays green straight through to the fall, on the next edition of The 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.
(Copyright 2017 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)