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: Happy Spring Day, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful day. Maybe you’re taking on a home improvement project. Or maybe it’s just so nice, you’re just soaking up the spring fever, not doing a single thing. But maybe we can help you plan your next project around your house. Give us a call – that’s the first step – at 888-MONEY-PIT because we would love to talk to you. Or you can post your question, right now, on the Community section at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up this hour, with more and more of today’s homeowners staying longer in their homes, remodeling is on the rise, impacting both improvements inside and outside your home. And if you’re thinking about new siding, you might want to get in on the latest siding trend. It’s called “mixed materials.” We’ll have the details, just ahead.
LESLIE: And shower shock is something that you may have had happen to you at least once or twice, you know, where you’re standing in your shower and really just enjoying the warm water when all of a sudden, yikes, that water turns freezing cold or worse, scalding hot. Actually, I don’t know which one’s worse: being cold or hot. Either way, both are terrible. Well, we’re going to tackle that topic.
TOM: And also ahead, thermostats keep getting smarter and smarter, which means your bills keep getting lower and lower. We’ve got the scoop on a new generation of thermostats that can sense when you are close to home and set the perfect temperature for when you arrive.
LESLIE: And if you call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT, you might just be the one lucky listener who gets to jump into spring with a brand-new lawn mower.
TOM: That’s right. Our friends at The Home Depot have hooked us up with a brand-new EGO 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Mower to give away to one caller drawn at random. It delivers the torque of gas without the noise, fuss and fumes. And it’s worth $449 but it’s just one of the many great products for spring you’ll find at The Home Depot. So let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Pauline in Washington is on the line with a wood-decking question. How can we help you?
PAULINE: About three years ago, I treated it and put a stain on it and it’s gone back to the same worn look that it had when I first started working on it. And so I wanted to find out what to do to make it presentable all year round, where it doesn’t go back to a worn state.
TOM: What kind of wood is the deck?
PAULINE: It’s not treated wood, so it’s just wood. And it is covered. It’s a covered deck, so it doesn’t get a lot of rain. The rain doesn’t really hit it. But it gets a lot of footwork and dog prints and dust and …
TOM: What you’re going to want to do is apply a solid-color stain and prime it first. So the primer is going to be oil-based and the stain can be water-based. But the primer is going to make sure it sticks really well. And then I would use solid color because it has more pigment in it. And if you do that and use a good-quality product, you’ll probably have a surface that will last you probably five to seven years before you have to do it again.
PAULINE: Oh, OK. Because I used a transparent stain the first time.
TOM: Yeah, well, that’s why. You see, transparent stain has no pigment in it. So, if it’s got no pigment in it, you’re just looking at the natural color of the wood.
TOM: And unless it has a really good UV-inhibitor, that’s just going to wash out pretty quickly. So you have to use something with pigment. You could also try semi-transparent if you don’t want to go solid color but you’ve got to have something with pigment in it if you want it to last and have a consistent, attractive finish, OK?
PAULINE: OK. So after I put it on, is there something I can treat – put over top of it so it wears well?
TOM: It’s not designed for that. It’s designed to be the wear layer. So, you don’t need to put anything on top of it, OK?
PAULINE: Wish me luck.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Pauline. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’re going to chat with some of our Canadian friends. We’ve got Ronald on the line from Ontario who’s got a question about a ceiling fan. How can we help you?
RONALD: I want to replace a light fixture with a combination ceiling-fan light fixture but I’m concerned about supporting its weight. I can’t go into the attic and construct a support because there’s no access. I bought a device called a “safety brace” for ceiling fans, at RONA. It’s Underwriters Laboratory-tested but I’m afraid it might not be trustworthy. You install it by removing the existing junction box and putting the brace through the hole, into the attic, and expanding it outwards by means of a threaded shaft. Would you trust this setup?
TOM: Yeah, I definitely would because it’s going to be just as secure as if you could nail or screw that thing in. As long as you can get from side to side, if you can get to the ceiling joists on opposite sides and you expand it like it’s supposed to, it digs in securely to both ceiling joists and gives you just as much support as you might have if you were able to access that attic and tie those in directly. It’s actually a pretty ingenious device, so I think I definitely would trust it.
RONALD: Oh, I guess I’ll move forward with it then. But it’s just got the three claws on each end – three nails or spikes on each end. But it’s been tested.
TOM: Right. And once you expand it into those joists, I mean it’s like a bar that – you open the hole, Leslie, and then you unscrew it. And as you do that, it expands and presses deeply into those ceiling joists.
And as long as you do that and you get a good, secure fit, I think you’ll be good to go. It’s been around for quite a while.
LESLIE: That’s really what’s holding it up there and that’s its job.
RONALD: OK. Well, thank you for that advice.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit on air and online at MoneyPit.com. We are so excited to welcome a brand-spanking-new sponsor to The Money Pit. We want to welcome HomeAdvisor.
Welcome, you guys. We are so happy to have HomeAdvisor on Team Money Pit. We want to get you guys involved in the action, so give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: And 888-MONEY-PIT is proudly sponsored by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
Up next, if you’re thinking about new siding, you might want to get in on the latest siding trend: mixed materials. We’ll have those details, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away the EGO 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Mower.
Now, it’s going to deliver the torque of a gas mower without the noise, fuss and fumes. It’s got an advanced-power 56-volt lithium battery and it uses industry-leading technology to provide up to 45 minutes of cut time on one charge.
Guys, this prize is worth $449 and it really is one of the many great products for spring that you will find at The Home Depot or even online at HomeDepot.com.
TOM: Going out to one lucky caller. Make that you. Pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pete in Pennsylvania is on the line with a siding question. Tell us what’s going on and how we can help.
PETE: Well, it appears that the wind blew a piece of siding off the house. I was able to snap it into place and nail that piece of siding in a different place. But I find that the rest of the siding in that area – oh, maybe 25-, 30-foot square – it all flops and it’s not really locked together. How am I – how do I get that back together?
TOM: Was it originally together and now it’s all disconnected?
PETE: Yeah, we moved in in October and everything looked fine.
TOM: Well, here’s the thing: siding is usually put on very loose. It’s usually not nailed solid. And the reason for that is because it expands and contracts a lot, especially in the summertime. And if it’s not loose, what happens is you’ll get buckling. It’ll look terrible. So when you say it’s kind of floppy – I mean if the pieces are disconnected from each other, that’s one thing. But if it’s just loose where you can grab the piece and slide it back and forth on the wall, that’s normal.
Now, there’s also a tool called a “zipper tool” that can be used to help reassemble sections that have become disconnected, that most siding guys have. But you could probably pick one up at a Home Depot or a place like that. But just remember that the siding is supposed to be loose. Otherwise it’ll look very, very wavy in the summer when it gets hot on that side of the house.
PETE: Alright. Thanks.
LESLIE: Judy in Iowa is on the line with an electrical question. Tell us about what’s going on at your place.
JUDY: My electricity gives me wonder. So far, so good. And our house is old; it was built in the late 1920s. And we love it there. It’s a big, old farmhouse. But it’s got knob-and-tube wiring in it. And the electrician said it was there, that – I’m not sure he’s a full-fledged electrician but he said that it was OK. And he said just don’t mess with it and it’ll be alright. But I just get nervous. In the summer, when we have the air conditioner on, every once in a while the lights seem to go dimmer when the air turns on.
So I’m just wondering if we should stick with what we have or is that a danger? Do I need to switch or do we need to change it over to something else or what?
TOM: So, knob-and-tube wiring is the very first centrally-wired type of house wiring that was available. And it’s called “knob-and-tube” because there are ceramic knobs, like little – they look almost like drawer pulls. And they’re attached to the side of the structure. So that might be, for example, the rafters or the ceiling joists. And then the wires are stretched from knob to knob to knob. And where it goes through a joist, there’s a ceramic tube that’s inserted in it. And that’s why it’s called knob-and-tube.
Now, knob-and-tube wiring, the biggest issue with it is it’s not grounded, nor is it groundable. So it’s unsafe from a user perspective but even more important, you know, that wiring was done in the 1930s and it’s pretty much falling apart today. Very often, you’ll see the rubber insulation just break and fall off and crumble.
And in addition to that, the reason that the wires are strung off the beam is because they have to air-cooled. And so guess what happens when you put insulation over that? It’s no longer air-cooled, so it gets even hotter. So I think that knob-and-tube wiring is unsafe and should be disabled no matter what else is going on with your air-conditioning.
TOM: Now, as to the air-conditioning issue, that may or may not have something to do with the knob-and-tube. Whenever you turn on an appliance with a big compressor – it happens often with refrigerators or air conditioners – if the circuit that you’re on there happens to be somewhat close to the lighting circuit, that’s the place you usually see it. That kind of thing happens all the time. But unless you have lights on, you don’t physically notice it.
TOM: But it’s not uncommon, for example, in a kitchen to see the lights dim once in a while in an older house whenever the refrigerator kicks on because, nowadays, we put those all on separate circuits. But when they share a circuit, well, then you’re often going to see that kind of effect.
TOM: So my advice would be to replace the knob-and-tube wiring. Now, you can simply disable it and leave it in place. You don’t take it out but you want to replace it as much as you possibly can. I’d love to see you replace throughout the entire house. I know that sometimes that’s difficult but it’s certainly worth it and would be a lot safer if you did.
JUDY: OK. Well, I appreciate that. I was always wondering and my husband says – thinks it’s fine and I’m a little nervous.
TOM: I think your instincts are correct here and I think you should take it out.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, with more and more of today’s homeowners staying longer, remodeling is on the rise. And that’s impacting not only the inside but also the outside of your home. We’ve got some ideas for updating that space in today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando.
Now, traditionally, homes are covered with one type of siding material or at most, two. So if there’s a brick or stone front, the other siding material is going to be everywhere else. Now, today, however, a new trend is developing called “mixed materials,” where you might find a home featuring multiple types of siding on the same side of the house.
TOM: Yeah. It’s sort of like a mix-and-match approach. You could have a stone entryway mixed with shakes or shingles or even multiple kinds of masonry, like a stone foundation with sort of bricks stacked above. You can highlight other architectural features, too, like maybe a bump-out section of the exterior wall or the gable walls right under the roof line.
Now, the trick is to do this with the reduced cost of composite siding, because this stuff looks surprisingly real and it’s really easy to care for. So you can get this look done on a pretty modest budget.
Plus, synthetic materials today, like Tando, are totally impervious to moisture. So even ground contact isn’t a problem. You could use it to dress up the foundation walls under your current siding or even fill that sort of ugly black space that’s underneath the deck, between the deck beams and the ground. It really works in many places to do just that.
LESLIE: Yeah. And mixed materials really give you the opportunity to create a backdrop for those outdoor rooms you’re creating. You know, by coordinating colors with decking, patios, fencing or railings, you can create a very attractive space for all of your outdoor-living needs.
And that’s today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando Exterior Cladding. With Tando, you can replace wood and stone with beauty, longevity, low-maintenance and moisture-resistance. TandoShake Signature Stain features six stain colors with a true semi-transparent wood stain for rich color. And TandoStone has the rich look of stone without the weight, messy mortar or maintenance. Ask your contractor to use Tando to accent any other type of siding for a visually-interesting, mixed-materials look.
TOM: Learn more at TandoBP.com.
LESLIE: Ray in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RAY: I have a little problem. I have painted my bath – the walls and the ceiling – a few years ago and also put on a border. Well, the ceiling paint is peeling in thick spots. And when I painted it, I used KILZ. And I don’t know why it’s peeling.
TOM: So there must be moisture behind it or – how old is this house?
RAY: Well, the house was built in ‘78.
TOM: Because the other thing that can happen is if you have multiple layers of paint, sometimes you’ll get delamination of an older surface of that paint. So what might be peeling off might not be the paint from the KILZ or the KILZ from the prior paint. It could be a layer several layers back. And when you have such a severe adhesion problem, the best thing to do is to strip the old paint off of the ceiling, then apply an oil-based primer like KILZ or really any other brand that’s a name brand. And then apply a flat ceiling paint on top of that.
RAY: Yeah. I did use a ceiling paint. But now that you mentioned it, looking at where it’s peeling, it does kind of – it’s a – let me think here – yeah, like a grayish color underneath the paint.
TOM: Yeah. So, you see, it may not be what you painted that’s peeling. It might be a prior layer that’s peeling.
RAY: Right. I follow what you’re saying. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah. So you need to get all that old paint off and start from scratch, unfortunately.
RAY: So now, do you have to just scrape it or sand it or do you have to …?
TOM: Well, no, you’re going to need a paint stripper. You’re going to need a paint stripper because you’re not going to be able to scrape it. You’ve got to get that loose stuff off.
RAY: That’s a lot of work.
TOM: I mean look, the other thing you could do is you could put another layer of drywall right on top of that and just skin it. You wouldn’t even need to use ½-inch drywall; you could use ¼-inch drywall. You’d have a seam or two to tape and spackle but then you’d start from scratch.
RAY: Alright. Well, I appreciate the help on that.
TOM: And I think we just filled up a couple of weekends for you, too.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lucy in Kansas needs some help cleaning some lawn furniture. How can we help you?
LUCY: We left our lawn furniture out of doors all winter long. And it is covered with a film of just grime, accumulated from the weather. We have a combination. Some of it is plastic, some of it is metal furniture and there’s some fiberglass. What can we use on that?
LESLIE: Alright. Well, everything is going to kind of be a different approach.
Now, for the fiberglass, you can really just use a basic cleanser with a mild, abrasive brush. And you just want to brush on some cleanser, clean it up like soapy water. That should do the trick. You can even use dry erasers on them to see what it is on there.
For the wood, you’re going to want to also use a soapy cleanser with some water and you want to gently use a pressure washer if you need to. But you also want to make sure that once that’s all done, that depending on what the wood is – is it painted, is it stained, is it natural? – you might have to reapply whatever that finish is.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Just ahead, Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor from This Old House, will be stopping by with solutions for a rather annoying plumbing problem: shower shock, what happens when your warm shower suddenly turns freezing cold for absolutely no reason.
TOM: And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find bamboo, laminate, wood-look tile, vinyl plank and hardwood floors for less. This plus more of your calls to 888-MONEY-PIT, after this.
MARILU: Hi. This is Marilu Henner from The Marilu Henner Show. And I’m obsessed with these guys. You’re listening to The Money Pit, my buddies Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT which is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: And just ahead, Richard Trethewey from This Old House is stopping by with tips to prevent shower shock, like when you’re standing in your shower and the water turns freezing cold or scalding hot and of course, you weren’t expecting it.
TOM: And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is presented by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy.
But first, let’s get back to your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Scott in Illinois is on the line with a driveway question. Tell us what you’re working on.
SCOTT: We have a house. It’s 13 years old. And our driveway is finished in aggregate at the surface, which is a little rough. The problem is it’s now starting to crumble. And I wonder what’s the best alternative to try to repair that.
TOM: So when you say aggregate, it is a stone surface?
SCOTT: Yes. It’s a little rough. Right.
TOM: Yeah, so it’s hard to maintain. Is the driveway sloped? Is it pitched? Is that why it has a rough surface?
SCOTT: Yeah. It’s only a mild slope. It’s about 3 degrees.
TOM: Well, it’s hard to repair a surface like that because it is so rough right now, you know. Is this the kind of thing that you might think about replacing?
TOM: The problem with driveway construction is that even though we all think driveways are as tough as roads, there are often not. And they’re often very thin and therefore, they have short lifespans. And so, if this is starting to crumble now and it’s not that old, I think it’s just going to continue to deteriorate and you might be looking at a replacement rather than a repair.
SCOTT: Probably maybe better to do it in cement than – rather than put up aggregate.
TOM: Yeah. I mean that would be a really tough surface. Just think about, since it’s pitched, you want to make sure – on your end in Illinois, you want to make sure that you’ve got some surface on there that will give you some traction. So you don’t want to make it too smooth.
SCOTT: Yes, yes. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
TOM: Good luck, Scott.
LESLIE: Well, it’s probably happened to you at least once or twice. You’re standing in your shower and you’re having a great time, the water’s hot, you’re feeling good and then all of a sudden, it’s like, ah, zoiks. The water turns either freezing cold or super-duper hot.
TOM: And that’s an experience that can knock anyone off balance. The solution, however, is to install a pressure-balanced valve. With us to talk about that is Richard Trethewey, the plumbing expert for TV’s This Old House.
RICHARD: Hey, guys. Nice to be back in The Money Pit.
TOM: And this is a situation also called “shower shock” for a very good reason. Can you tell us exactly why it happens so at least when we do get zapped the next time we’re in a shower, we’ll understand it?
LESLIE: We know the reason?
RICHARD: Well, you’ve got a hot pipe and a cold pipe that come up to your shower area. And they should have the exact same pressure, because the pressure coming in from the street should make it consistent. So let’s say that’s 40 pounds on each side. If you now flush a toilet and all of a sudden, the pressure drops on the cold-water side while you’re taking a shower, then the hot-water side has higher pressure, thereby more heated water goes through the showerhead and you get scalded.
TOM: So it’s really a matter of volume. If you spill off some of the cold water to flush the toilet or run the dishwasher, all of a sudden there is that imbalance.
RICHARD: That’s right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s volume but it’s really pressure.
RICHARD: Some volume of water goes when you flush the toilet but it is the – all of a sudden, there’s a pressure imbalance and the hot-water pressure wins.
LESLIE: So it’s like the tortoise and the hare.
LESLIE: Suddenly, the hare takes off and it’s gone.
RICHARD: That’s right. And it is a common problem and I – we’ve been in love with this basic, single-lever, pressure-balance shower valve for years. It was one of the great innovations in plumbing because it can eliminate this completely.
TOM: So how exactly does that work then?
RICHARD: Well, imagine it has a piston. We did a great cutaway explanation of this on Ask This Old House in the studio. And so now there’s a little piston inside this shower valve that when it feels the cold-water pressure drop, it slides the piston in the opposing direction – it’s very counterintuitive – and it makes the pressure on the hot-water side go lower to match whatever the cold water is. So it’s constantly going to slide that piston back and forth to make sure that the pressures at both hot and cold, regardless of what happened in the house, stay the same. What a joy to be in a shower and not have to worry about that scald.
LESLIE: Now, are you going to notice a drop in the pressure of the shower water itself, just because it’s balancing it?
RICHARD: Slightly. It really depends on how much the pressure has dropped. Meaning if the plumbing system is properly sized, you won’t see any real noticeable change. If it’s undersized, you’ll see a drop. But if it’s sized properly, you’ll see no appreciable change in pressure.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, the pressure-balance valve, this is something that’s installed behind your shower wall. And I imagine that every house is pretty much getting one of these but what happens if you’re one of the unlucky few and you don’t have one? How do you sort of correct this without tearing down a wall?
RICHARD: They have the most ingenious repair kit – a replacement kit. Now, the 1930s, 40s and 50s bathroom – maybe not the 50s but it would’ve had the three handles: the hot, the cold and then the middle one to determine whether or not …
TOM: The mix.
RICHARD: That it went up to the showerhead or down to the tub spout. Now with this, you can mount a template. You can remove that valve, chip away the tile and there’s this cover plate that can cover exactly where those three handles were and allow you to retrofit this single-lever, pressure-balance valve.
LESLIE: Oh, wow.
RICHARD: We’ve done it on the show a couple of times. And it’s really a great solution for people. It’s amazing people live with this level of fear. They spend their whole life …
LESLIE: “Don’t flush the toilet.”
RICHARD: “Don’t do it. You’ll make it …”
TOM: Yeah, it’s the source of all this domestic stress.
RICHARD: That’s right.
TOM: And it doesn’t have to be.
RICHARD: “Don’t run the dishwasher while I’m up there.”
TOM: Divorces have been caused by less.
RICHARD: But we do marriage counseling, too.
TOM: Alright. He’s a very, very flexible guy. Lots of skills, including teaching us how to avoid the dreaded shower shock.
Richard Trethewey from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit once again.
RICHARD: Glad to be here.
TOM: And actually, on ThisOldHouse.com, there is a very, very good article called “Stop the Shock” that walks us through some of these very same tips.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, remember, you can watch Richard and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Gorilla Glue. For the toughest jobs on Planet Earth.
Just ahead, wouldn’t it be nice if your home knew when you were coming home and could adjust the thermostat all by itself to have the temperature just right when you arrive? Well, it can. We’ll tell you about the next generation in thermostats that do just that, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: That’s right. You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away the EGO 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Mower.
Now, it can easily switch between mulching, bagging or side-discharge options. And then it’s going to fold flat for compact storage, which makes a lot of sense when you’re got a super jam-packed garage like most of us do. It’s got LED headlights and a quiet engine, so you can even cut your lawn early in the morning without disturbing the neighbors.
It’s a prize worth $449 and it’s one of the many great products for spring that you’re going to find at The Home Depot or online at HomeDepot.com.
TOM: And that Ego 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Mower is going to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone, call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement project and your chance to win at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’ve got a household like us where our only schedule is to have no schedule, it’s kind of hard to use a regular clock-setback thermostat. Because that device runs on an actual schedule that is pretty much the same for weekdays and weekends. And that can lead to a lot of waste in heating or cooling dollars when you heat or cool your house and nobody’s home to enjoy it.
LESLIE: Well, Honeywell has just released a new thermostat that solves this and it’s pretty amazing. It’s called the Lyric T5 Wi-Fi-Connected Thermostat. It uses geo-fencing technology, right through your smartphone, to know when you’re on your way home. And then it adjusts the heating or cooling to right where you like it. And it’s going to automatically go into energy-saving mode when you leave the home.
Now, you can program it based on your schedule or let it adapt to your life as your plans change. Either way, it’s going to provide maximum comfort and help your home operate at maximum efficiency, all while lowering your family’s energy use.
TOM: You know, the smarter the home, the more efficient it is. And the Lyric T5 is a great option whether you’re just getting started or already have a totally connected home. It sells for $129 and it can be found at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other mass retailers. Learn more at YourHome.Honeywell.com.
LESLIE: Steve in Kansas is on the line and has a question about siding. What is going on at your money pit?
STEVE: Well, it’s time to repaint my money pit.
STEVE: Been nine years. And the windows are old. I replaced them but they’ve got wood frame on the outside and brick mold. And they’re an annual event and I’m tired of that.
STEVE: So, my wife and I have narrowed it down to the Hardie board siding.
STEVE: And we’re getting conflicting reports from friends and people that have it. Some like it, some don’t.
STEVE: I like it because I’m out in western Kansas and we like hail out here and storms. So, I said I would go to a neutral party and you two are the party.
TOM: OK. Well, welcome to our neutral party.
So, I think HardiePlank is an excellent product. I actually have HardiePlank – I think it’s called HardieShingle – on my garage building. And I did that because I wanted to match cedar shingles that were on my house. And when you look at the two buildings side by side, the house is painted or it has a stain, I should say, the solid-color stain. The shingles are painted but from the street, they pretty much look the same. You really can’t tell the difference.
That said, there are a lot of other composite materials that are out there now that bring new elements to the table. For example, we were recently working with the guys at Tando Building Products. That’s a new brand of shingle that is a composite shingle, much like HardiePlank, but they’ve got the coloration down. So if you want that natural siding look, the natural cedar look, they had one called Beach House Shake. They did different colors.
I was at a trade show with these guys and I watched experienced remodelers go up to the wall with this stuff and touch it and scratch it, because they couldn’t believe that it was a composite. It wasn’t real wood. It just looks that good.
So, if you want a product that looks like shingle, that takes a stain like a shingle but doesn’t wear like shingles, you could use something like the Tando Products. If you want a shingle that maybe you’re just going to paint and is really durable and stands up to the hail like we’ve discussed, I think the HardieShingle is fine, as well.
STEVE: Our biggest thing is we’ve had some people say that they’ve had some fading issues with it. And I’ve looked at the houses and I haven’t seen it from the beginning, so I really can’t be a judge of it. But I’ve had people say they’ve had it for 13, 14 years and have no issues with it. I’ve got some that are 10 years and they don’t like it.
TOM: Well, the stain-fade warranties are definitely something to consider. I think the Tando warranty was 20 years or something like that. But check it out and compare and contrast. But when you see the synthetic product today that looks just like the real thing, it’s pretty amazing what they can do now. And it’s not that long ago when this technology didn’t exist. But it’s just absolutely beautiful and it really looks like traditional wood siding.
Or they have products that look like stone, too. And it does look a lot like the real thing. And I never used to be able to say that. And I remember years ago, I was on a planning board and I had architects come up and try to tell me they were going to put vinyl siding in a historic area of our town because it looked like wood. I’m like, “Yeah, not unless you’ve got the worst vision in the world.” But this new product, it really does look like wood and it’s made of synthetic composite materials.
STEVE: Yeah. We’ve had to get out of the car a couple of times driving around and go up to the house just to check, because we really couldn’t tell if it was a composite wood or a – or the HardiePlank.
TOM: Just to see what it was, right? Yeah, yeah.
STEVE: And I’ve got a neighbor behind me and he’s got the one of the wood composites. And I like it but we just kind of settled into the concrete mode, I guess, so …
TOM: Well, I don’t think you can make a bad choice, Steve. You’re asking the right questions, OK? Good luck with that project and thanks, again, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Up next, hey, are you in the habit of leaving your washer door open or closed between uses? Well, one way helps the machine. The other can hurt kids. We’ll tell you which way to go, 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.
Hey, have you guys checked out MoneyPit.com lately? Come on, have you? Well, if you haven’t, go immediately because we have completely revamped MoneyPit.com. It looks great, it’s super organized. Lots and lots of great, helpful information there to help you get all of your projects done and I mean some really interesting articles. It just looks good, guys. Go check it out right away.
And while you’re online, head over to the Community section. You can post your questions there. And I’ve got one here from Julie in Chicago and she writes: “Should you leave the washing-machine door or lid open when the machine is not in use?”
TOM: Great question, Julie.
Now, if you’re in a household with small children, you really want to keep those closed if you can, to avoid kids that just love to sort of climb up there and could fall in, could step in, could play with the buttons. Just not a good idea. So, keep the doors closed if you’ve got small kids.
But for the rest of us, you do want to leave the washer door or lid open between uses because it can help evaporate all that residual moisture. And in doing so, you can prevent mold growth and odor. And that is a very good thing because when that mold starts to grow, it really gets quite stinky. And that does often come from the washing machine.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up here, I’ve got a post from Chuck in New Jersey. Now, Chuck writes: “Our home sale fell through because we couldn’t agree to replace our dining-room window, which has a broken seal. Please explain what a broken seal is, whether it affects energy efficiency and if this is something I should fix to avoid a problem in the future.”
Man, that seems like a small problem to lose over a house, you know what I’m saying?
TOM: Yeah. It seems like maybe that buyer just was looking for some reason not to buy your house, Chuck, because it really is a minor problem. What this problem is is really quite simple. Today, most of the windows we see are insulated glass, right? So there’s at least two, sometimes three panes of glass that make up the glass panel.
Now, in between those panes of glass, there is a gas. And there’s different types of insulating gases that go in there. A common one is argon. And over time, the seals can leak between those two panes of glass, letting out some of the argon gas. It can also let in moisture and that’s how you get the fogging and condensation inside that glass pane.
It’s not leaking in the sense that rainfall is coming in. It’s just condensation. It gets worse in some times of the year and not so bad in other types. It makes the windows slightly less efficient but it’s kind of a static defect, more of a cosmetic one and a slight impact on energy efficiency. It’s absolutely no reason not to buy a house if you love it.
So, should you change it? Listen, you’d probably feel better knowing what you’ve been through if you did change it. If you can get a replacement glass, that’s great, go ahead and do it. But I was a home inspector for 20 years and that is no sign of a serious structural problem. And if that’s all it took for these folks to get out of buying your house, then I think you probably need a bit tougher contract next time.
LESLIE: Alright, Chuck. That’s really nothing to worry about. And you know what? Since you’re putting your house on the market, why not consider staging your home? You can do it yourself or you can have a pro come in. I mean I recommend a pro just because that’s what I’d like to do for a living.
But a pro is going to come in, pick out nice furnishings or rearrange what you’ve got already there to make it look well-designed, well-styled so that these perspective buyers can really picture their own stuff and their own style in that space. So it really just helps sort of edit what you’ve got already or renting new pieces to style this house perfectly. It’s not a huge expense but it can yield big returns.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this beautiful spring day with us.
We would love to continue to take your calls, your questions. You can reach out any time of the day or night at 888-MONEY-PIT or visit the brand-new Community section at MoneyPit.com. Post your question right there. We’ll give you an answer and then everybody else gets to chime in and let you know if they agree with us or not. Either way, you’re going to get the advice you need to get your project done, because that’s what we’re all about.
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.)