TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are so glad to be here with you today. What are you working on? You working on projects inside your house, because it’s so doggone hot right now in the dog days of summer? Well, it’s good to know that Labor Day is just around the corner. Fall follows just after that. And you might want to start thinking about those fall projects that you want to take on because it is a busy season, once it cools off, for home improvement. But whether it’s décor, repair, update, improve, whatever is going on in your money pit, we’d love to yelp. You can help yourself first, though, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
And aside from what you’d like to talk to on today’s show, we’ve got a few tips to share. So coming up this hour, summer’s coming to an end but that doesn’t mean your fresh supply of veggies has to. We’re going to have some tips on how you can turn your summer vegetable garden into a fall vegetable garden.
LESLIE: And are you faced with the task of getting a new door to fit the old door’s opening? Well, for that, you’re going to need a few tricks of the trade, which we’re going to get from our very good friend, Tom Silva, who you might know is the general contractor from TV’s This Old House. He’s stopping by with some great advice.
TOM: And hardwood floors are one of the most desirable floors around, for both durability and the value they add to a home. But the finishes do wear and they need to be replaced. That’s a big project and one that might be best left to a pro. So we’ll have some tips on how to get that job done, in today’s Pro Project, just ahead.
LESLIE: But first, what’s going on at your money pit? Give us a call with your décor, repair, renovation. Whatever it is you are working on, we are here to help at 888-MONEY-PIT.
In fact, we’ve got three copies of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, to give away to three callers drawn at random, so make that you.
TOM: We love to give stuff away. It kind of primes the pump for folks that want to pick up the phone and call us, so why don’t you do just that? 888-666-3974.
And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Get instantly matched with top-rated pros for any home project and book appointments online, all for free.
Let’s get right to it, 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Bob in Wisconsin is on the line with a question about adding a patio. How can we help?
BOB: Yes. I have a 16×20-foot patio. Runs the 20-foot length of the house. And what we’re thinking about is putting an enclosure on it. But the roofline runs along the patio so that it’s sloped down towards the patio. And so, the deck, I should say, is on the outside, of course. And we’re thinking about enclosing the deck.
Is there some way we could enclose that without cutting into the existing roof of the house?
TOM: Why are you hesitant to want to not cut into the roof of the house? Because if you think about it, roofs are always naturally intersecting. And if it’s done right, it can be done in a very permanent way so it will not become a leak problem.
BOB: OK. The roofline, where it comes down to the deck, would be about 8 feet. So I would imagine throughout the 16-foot length, we’d have to probably raise that up about how far?
TOM: Well, let’s just say you wanted to get a 3/12 pitch. So, yeah, it’s going to have to come up quite a bit. But the other option is to go with a very low-slope roof and use a roofing material that’s designed for that.
So, if you were to use a rubber roof – and that’s a heat-sealed roof that goes down and can be perfect, almost flat. It’s not going to be flat; it’s going to be low slope. And if that is intersected correctly with the existing roof, you may be able to maintain that ceiling height.
BOB: OK. I understand. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I don’t think there’s any easy way to do it.
One other question, if I might. We have a patio area that has concrete on it now and it’s 4 feet by 20 feet. And we’d like to put tile on it. It’s outside, though. It is covered by a roof area but it is an outside area. Is there a way to do that without running into problems?
TOM: Well, the adhesive that you use has to be rated for – you know, to have the temperature climate that you’re in. My concern would be, living in Wisconsin, that that tile, even though it’s covered, is going to get wet and it’s going to freeze and it’s going to pop off. So, rather than use tile, you might be better off with a paver brick that is more durable in an environment like that. The tile, I’m just concerned, is not going to last.
BOB: Yep, that was my concern, too, with the freezing and expansion and contraction. So, yeah. OK. Well, that was my two questions and thank you so much. We enjoy listening to your show.
TOM: Well, thank you very much. We appreciate the call and good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Tanya in North Carolina is on the line with a door question. Tell us what’s going on. You’ve got some rot in the framework?
TANYA: The threshold, at the bottom, is coming up; I guess it’s rotten under there. It’s got to be taken out. And then about a foot up, on each side of that frame, it’s rotted out. So do I have to take out the whole frame and put a new one in or can I just cut that off and replace that at the bottom?
TOM: OK. So, Tanya, I think you’re talking about – when you say frame, I think you’re talking about the door sill and the door jamb. Is that correct?
TOM: Not the frame of the wall?
TANYA: Yeah, whatever the door fits in, yeah.
TOM: OK. So that’s the door sill and the door jambs. And the best way to replace the door is to cut the entire door out, including the sill and the jambs all the way around, and then install a prehung exterior door.
So, down in North Carolina, for example, you can go to a Lowe’s and buy a Benchmark Door by Therma-Tru. Good quality, fiberglass door, all prehung. Pretty easy and straightforward to install that. And you won’t have to worry about it rotting out because it’s fiberglass.
TANYA: Oh, OK.
TOM: You don’t try to repair the jamb or the sill that are heavily rotted like that; you just tear them out. The easy way to do that, by the way, is to remove the trim off of all sides. And a contractor would use a reciprocating saw to basically cut the nails between the trim and the frame of the house. And that door will pop out in like five minutes.
TOM: I mean it’s really easy to get it out just with the right tools.
TANYA: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. 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 with your home repair or your home improvement question. We’re standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because, as you know, Tom and I live and breathe home improvement, home projects, décor, spending money on your house. It’s pretty much all we think about and talk about. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, eating fresh and local does not have to end when summer does. We’re going to have some tips for transitioning your summer vegetable garden into a fall vegetable garden, when The Money Pit continues after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by to talk to you about your money pit. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-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.
So, got a call this weekend from my very good friend, Pam, who does all the graphic arts for The Money Pit. She’s amazing. And she had a painting question, Leslie.
TOM: She has an ugly, brown, tiled shower in a house that she just bought and wanted to know if she could paint that tile, a question we’ve tackled on the show before. But I thought it was worth …
LESLIE: You can’t see but I’m making a face. You know how painted tile is.
TOM: Yeah. It was worth repeating.
But I said, “Look, you can either decorate around it,” which we like to recommend because painting tile is never as good as real tile.
LESLIE: Brown tile sounds horrible, Tom.
TOM: It does. It does sound horrible. It’s even hard to decorate around that.
LESLIE: I’m like, “I don’t know if you can make that work.”
TOM: But the other thing, if you do want to paint it, there is a procedure to follow and it’s important. First of all, you need to use a special primer. It’s called a “high-bonding primer.” Basically, it’s like super glue for paint. It’s really sticky stuff.
LESLIE: And first, you should really clean the tiles.
TOM: Of course, of course. Yeah.
LESLIE: Because no matter what kind of bonding you put on it, if it’s sticking to dirt …
TOM: Yeah. No, of course. It goes without saying.
But you’ve got to put this high-bonding primer on, because that gives you the adhesion to the tile surface, which is hard to do. And then, on top of that – now, Sherwin-Williams makes this high-bonding primer and they say that you can use either latex or urethane paint on top of that. I would not use latex; I would only use urethane, solvent-based finishes because they’re just a lot more durable. And you want something that you can wipe down and clean.
And I think that she’s – you know, we talked about decorating around it and all these other options. And I think she’s doing the right thing because they’re planning to completely gut-remodel this bathroom in the next year or two, which is perfect because that’s about as long as the paint’s going to last.
LESLIE: She might as well just get – yeah. If you’re lucky.
TOM: Yeah. So, I don’t know, it might come out better but you can paint over tile. But just don’t have high expectations it’s going to be anywhere near as durable as the original ugly tile that you’re painting over.
LESLIE: Very true.
Alright. Now we’re heading out to Kansas where Tom as a question about decking. What can we do for you today?
TOM IN KANSAS: Yes, we bought a place at the lake. And the deck – it’s a wooden deck. And we’re going to seal it. What’s the best way to seal it and prep the wood for that?
TOM: OK. So, is the wood in pretty good structural condition? Is it – are there a lot of checks and cracks in it now? Did it have an old finish on it?
TOM IN KANSAS: I believe it was sealed before but I believe it’s been a while. The flooring of it – at the one end, there’s a – we have a tin roof on the top but it does drip on it, out at the end.
TOM IN KANSAS: And it’s not rotted or nothing but it – you can see there’s a little bit of mold, green stuff from the water.
TOM: OK. Well, you’ve got to clean it thoroughly and you’ve got to remove any loose finish. And if you can wire-brush it or sand it, just to kind of get the dead wood off the surface of it, sometimes you get a lot of – a little degradation at the surface of the wood. That would be helpful, as well. And that’s really all you’ve got to do to prep it.
And at that point, you’re going to have to determine what you want to put on it. Now, you say sealing but I would recommend a stain. Stain, there’s two different levels of that: there’s semi-transparent and solid color. There’s also transparent but I think semi-transparent or solid color are your options. And I would opt for solid color, always, because it has more pigment and it lasts longer. And if you put the solid-color stain on it, that has the effect of sealing and protecting the deck if you use a good-quality stain. And it’s still going to let the grain show through.
So, prep it properly, follow the label directions and then apply a solid-color stain. Now, it’s not paint; it is stain but it’s called “solid-color stain.” If you have any questions about what it’s going to look like, then just start in, perhaps, on a step or somewhere that’s a small area where it’s not very visible, so you can get confidence in it. But I think you’ll like the way it’ll come out.
TOM IN KANSAS: OK, OK. Well, that was my question. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Janet in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JANET: My house is over 100 years old and there was a large, three-trunk tree in the backyard that had to be cut down. But it had so many nails in the tree that after using two chainsaws and losing the chains because there were so many nails in it, we have this humungous trunk left in the backyard. And I’d like to know how to get rid of it, because I can’t use the grinder on it.
TOM: Why can’t you use a – well, you mentioned chainsaws. But why not a trunk grinder: the type of grinder that tree services have that basically ground down or grind down the stumps to below-grade? That sort of grinder should certainly be strong enough to handle the nails that are in the tree.
TOM: So I would have a pro come out and use a stump grinder. And that’s the best way to get rid of that. You don’t have to get it all out; just get it down to below the surface and Mother Nature will do the rest.
Janet, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, that steady stream of fresh tomatoes from your garden might be coming to an end. But you can keep that produce coming well into cooler weather if you transition your summer veggie garden into a fall veggie garden now.
LESLIE: That’s right. Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, beets, even turnips, they all grow very well in cooler weather. Now, the key here, though, is rejuvenating your soil, replenishing all of the nutrients that it spent growing those summer veggies, because it’s got to have those nutrients to grow the fall veggies.
TOM: Alright. That’s right. So, first, what you want to do is pull out any plants that are done producing and yank out any loose weeds or debris. Then you should add some compost and mulch. And here’s a trick: layer some straw or hay on top of it, too. That’s going to act as an insulator. It will keep the soil warm as the air temperatures start to drop.
LESLIE: Now, most of the fall vegetables that you’re going to grow, they can endure a little bit of frost. But you can extend their season by up to a month if you add a frost blanket on top of that hay.
TOM: Yep. Just sow one seed about every 2 inches and before you know it, you’ll replace those store-bought salad fixings with the fresher versions right from your own backyard garden.
888-666-3974 is our number. Or you can post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a call from Abe in New Hampshire who’s dealing with some sort of septic smell in the house. What’s going on?
ABE: How are you doing? I listen to your program all the time, by the way. In fact, it’s very interesting.
TOM: Glad to hear that.
ABE: We put in a brand-new, engineered septic system about 10 years ago. And I noticed, from the very beginning, the downstairs toilets flushed very well. And upstairs, where I am, flushes well but it burps.
ABE: And when I push the handle, it starts going down and it’s kind of like a small burp at the throat. And it pushes up a little bubble or something like that and then it goes down, every single time.
TOM: So, what’s going on is you don’t have enough venting for that particular toilet. And so, when you flush it and the water’s drawn down, there’s no make-up air replacing it.
LESLIE: It’s gasping for air.
TOM: And so it’s, essentially, gasping, right. You know the vents of those pipes that come up through the roofs of homes?
ABE: Correct. Yep.
TOM: For some reason, this particular toilet is not vented correctly. It’s not getting the air or the vent is obstructed. I’ve seen these vents capped off when they’re put in because the plumbers like to test the systems and never pull the caps off again. So there could be a whole host of reasons why you’re not getting air but it’s really a simple fix. You need to figure out where the vent’s obstructed or if the vent doesn’t exist or it doesn’t properly – it wasn’t properly installed. That’s really the issue. If you can get more air into that vent, you’ll be good to go.
ABE: OK. Yeah, so we can – yeah, so I mean it’s really accessible. It’s an easy private roof. I was hoping it wouldn’t be something like that or plugged up or whatever.
And also, by the way, occasionally you get a slight – very slight – septic odor coming up when it does that, too.
TOM: I guess that’s possible because you’re – because it’s not vented, it’s just holding more of that water in the pipes than it really should.
ABE: Right. Yeah.
TOM: And the vents are designed to let that septic odor go. So that makes sense, actually.
ABE: Alright. Well, I appreciate it very much. Thank you.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks, again, for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Chuck in Texas needs some help preserving a wood project. Tell us what’s going on.
CHUCK: I have three decks and when I made them, I used, of course, the Wolmanized lumber.
CHUCK: And then I have treated them two or three times now with Thompson’s WaterSeal.
CHUCK: But it seems like it doesn’t even last a year. And we don’t even get that much rain here.
TOM: Right. So when you say it doesn’t last a year, what are you seeing in terms of the wear and tear?
CHUCK: Well, they’re dulling, which I expect, but when they get wet, the water far from beads up.
TOM: Right. So, look, in my experience, Thompson’s WaterSeal is a good application for regular lumber, not pressure-treated lumber.
TOM: And it does preserve it but if you want to really protect the deck, I would use a solid-color stain. I would use a solid-color exterior stain.
Now, exterior stain comes transparent, semi-transparent and solid color. The more color, the more pigment, the longer it lasts.
TOM: You’re never going to – that natural color of the wood will fade no matter what you put on that’s clear. So why not just give it a nice color that you like? If you like it to be a cedar color or a darker brown color, whatever color you like, choose that in a solid-color stain and stain the deck. And then that’s something that could last you five years.
CHUCK: OK. Well, that sounds great instead of having to do it every year, every year-and-a-half.
TOM: What else are you going to do with your weekends, Chuck?
CHUCK: I have got so much stuff going on. I just got done building the wife a big pagoda out here in the backyard and putting the biggest fan and all that stuff in it.
TOM: Oh, nice. Well, there you go. Thanks so much, Chuck. I really appreciate that. Have a great day.
LESLIE: Hey, are you faced with the task of getting a new door? But here’s the rub: the new door has got to fit exactly where the old door was, you know, in that same opening. And you’re probably going to have some spots that rub or just don’t quite fit right. Well, for that, you are definitely going to need a few tricks of the trade and we’re going to get those when Tom Silva, the general contractor for TV’s This Old House, stops by.
TOM: And today’s This Old House segment is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Get the latest fall trends in hardwood, bamboo, laminate and waterproof floors for less.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. 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. We’ve got three copies of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, to give away to three lucky listeners that either call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post their questions online, right now, to The Money Pit’s Community page.
And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews, compare prices and book appointments online.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Vernon in Colorado who’s fixing up the bath. How can we help you?
VERNON: I had heard a while back on your show, if you’re going to recaulk your bathtub, to fill it up with water? But I do not remember if anything was said about removing the water immediately after it was caulked or letting the caulk set up first before you would let the water out. So I wanted to check on that before I started my project with some good kitchen-and-bath caulk.
LESLIE: Well, absolutely. The tip you heard about filling the tub with water is totally correct. And the reason why we do that is when you fill the tub with water, it sort of weighs down and sits down onto the base a little more.
So if you fill it with water and then go ahead and caulk, then you let the caulk dry and then you drain the bath. When it sort of empties out, it’s going to lift back up and compress that caulk. So the next time you actually go to take a bath or a shower and you’re standing in there and the tub presses down on the base, it’s going to stretch the caulk and it’s all going to stay in place.
So that’s really a good trick of the trade, because it keeps it in its place longer and it really lets it adhere to where it needs to be.
VERNON: Perfect. OK. That’s what I’ll do. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Vernon. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, your home’s doors are the lifeblood of the daily activity in your house. Opening and closing again and again over many, many, many years, they break themselves in and then they end up fitting like your favorite, comfortable, old pair of jeans.
TOM: Ah, yes. But what if you’re ready for a change and are faced with the task of getting a new door to fit into the old opening? For that, you need a few tricks of the trade, which we’ll get now from our friend, Tom Silva, the general contractor of TV’s This Old House.
TOM SILVA: Hey, guys. How are you?
TOM: Now, is it easier to make the door fit the space or to make the space fit the door?
TOM SILVA: I would say, usually, easier to make the door fit the space because if – you don’t want to take the whole jamb and trim off and rehang it to make it square and true and plumb and level and all those good things.
TOM: Because the deeper you get, the more complicated the repair can be, right?
TOM SILVA: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, you’re going to end up having to repaint or restain the whole jamb and all the trim and probably patch the wall because you’ve ruined that and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, you want the door – you want to cut the door so it fits. And you want to make sure that it – the space around the door is even. You’ve got to follow the angle of the header and also the threshold.
TOM: Now, that’s a good point because over years, those openings actually can become – and frankly, frequently are out of square.
TOM SILVA: Exactly. The house moves; it settles.
LESLIE: And you’re going to end up with a door that’s perfectly square.
TOM SILVA: Hopefully, if it’s a new door, yeah.
LESLIE: So, how do you make one fit into the other when things have sort of shimmied and shifted?
TOM SILVA: You’ve got to figure out what’s what. I like to take a level and I measure from – I take the level and I mark right across the door frame, anywhere around it at all.
TOM SILVA: I just put a level line, usually at my eye sight, so I don’t have to bend down, because I’m kind of lazy.
So I have a level line across the door jamb. I measure from the line on the left up to the inside of the jamb and down to the threshold. I take the same measurement on the other side and measure up to the jamb and down to the threshold.
TOM: Interesting. So you create your own reference point with a level line and then you measure the offset from there.
TOM SILVA: Right. And then I do the same thing on the door: put my square line across the door and I measure those four reference points.
TOM: Got it.
TOM SILVA: And now I have both angles ready to be cut all at once.
TOM: And you know it’s going to fit.
TOM SILVA: Right. Well, I have to subtract a little bit because I want to allow for play.
TOM SILVA: So on the top, I want to be able to fit a nickel or a quarter in there. In the bottom, I may need a little more space in the bottom if I have a rug or something like that that I want to go over.
TOM: So this is probably a situation where you want to actually measure more than twice before you cut once.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. And then now I want to check the distance down on the door. I want to also make sure that I look at the door. You want to eyeball the door. I suppose I should have said this first of all.
You want to make sure that you’re setting the door in the opening the correct way. If you look at the edge of a door and you look down on it from a bird’s eye view, one side of the door has an angle to it. And that angle always goes into the opening first.
TOM: Are you talking about the edge of the door?
TOM SILVA: Edge of the door. And that angle is the allowance for the thickness of the door. So when the door swings into the opening, that beveled edge will just go by the edge of the jamb and the space on the side will be correct.
TOM: And clear nicely.
TOM SILVA: Yes.
LESLIE: Now, when it comes time to make the necessary cuts to the door, I mean generally, you’re dealing with a beautifully made piece of lumber and a really gorgeous door. How do you ensure that your cuts don’t splinter and wreck it?
TOM SILVA: Well, first of all, you want to make sure that you have a good-quality saw blade. A fine-cutting saw blade is very important. Now you want to prep the door. So you can run a nice layer of tape right across the edge where you want to cut. You want to put all your marks on the tape, score it with a utility knife. I like to score right through the tape, leaving the tape into position, and then cut it with a straight edge and my saw follow my mark.
TOM: And that’s going to make sure that, really, no feathering is left behind.
TOM SILVA: Exactly.
TOM: Now, what if we have an old door and maybe we don’t want to replace it but we – it’s just not closing well. How do you actually identify where the door is sticking and do something about it?
TOM SILVA: Well, you can, lots of times, see where it’s scraping on the trim, on the jamb or even on the edge of the door. There may be some lines or squaring – a wearing of paint.
And so now you can simply plane it with a hand plane. You can use a block plane if you wanted to or some kind of a plane. If you don’t have that, you could take a block of wood with some coarse sandpaper and sand it. But you also want to make sure that there’s no lead paint on the door. So you don’t want to sand it or cut it with the lead paint. If there is, you want to make sure you protected yourself and the space.
And then also, be very careful, again, to make sure that you have the correct bevel on the edge and on the top so that it will swing into the opening correct.
TOM: So that’s a good point. You want to actually lean in towards the inside of the door a little bit so that you create a little bit more space on that side. And the outer edge is just the minimal amount of space. And if we get that just right, though, that door is going to swing smoothly once again.
TOM SILVA: Exactly. Now, the key to keeping that door in the opening so that it won’t go tight again is once you’ve cleaned off the paint and you’ve made it fit and you’ve allowed for the gap, you want to make sure that you prime and paint all six sides of the door. And that means behind the hinges, too.
TOM: Good point. And people are going, “Six sides of a door? There’s only two sides of a door.” Nope. You’ve got to remember all the edges; they count. And if you don’t get them right, if you don’t seal them properly, the door is going to move.
TOM SILVA: It is absolutely going to move.
TOM: It’s going to swell, it’s going to twist and you’re going to be back where you started.
TOM SILVA: Yep, yep.
TOM: Great advice. Tom Silva, from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
He’s one guy that can make a square peg fit in a round hole, any time of the day.
TOM SILVA: I have a big enough hammer I can do that.
LESLIE: We like to call those “The Great Persuader.”
TOM SILVA: Ooh.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some really great step-by-step videos on home improvement projects that you can tackle, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm.
Up next, hardwood floors are one of the most desirable floors around, for both durability and the value they add to a home. But the finishes do wear and they need to be replaced. It’s a big project that might best be left to a pro. We’ll have tips on how best to get that project done, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. Got three copies going out. Help us send one to you by picking up the phone and calling us, right now, with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Well, hardwood floors are a real benefit to any home. You know, they add beauty, durability and value when it comes time to sell. But they do need to be refinished from time to time and that’s a project you might want to consider hiring a pro to accomplish. We’ve got tips on how to get that project done, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Now, first off, how do you know if your floors really need to be refinished or not? There’s actually a simple test that you can do that’ll give you some indication of how badly they’re worn. What you need to do is to go to a high-traffic area where the finish takes kind of most of the abuse and pour a tablespoon of water onto the floor. Just a tablespoon.
LESLIE: Now, if you do have to refinish the floor, it’s a pretty big job. And while you might be able to do it yourself, it’s probably not going to be a job that you want to.
Now, the process starts with removing the old finish. And that’s one area where we constantly see well-meaning DIYers get themselves in a pretty big jam.
Now, pros use floor sanders for that part of the project. And even if you were to rent one, it does take a lot of practice to get the skills to use it properly. And one slip-up means that you’re going to be staring at a deep, ugly gouge for all of the days you’ve got left in the lifetime of that floor. And it truly just take one misleaned spot or a sneeze or anything and you can really mess up that floor.
TOM: Absolutely. Those floor sanders are pretty aggressive.
Now, as far as refinishing the floor after it’s sanded, it’s kind of a big job and it’s got to be done right. And if you’re restaining the floor, the color you see in a paint store is rarely the color you see when you apply it to your floor. And here’s why: I mean the age of the floor, when you combine it with the old finish, means that the absorption rates vary. Now, a pro is going to understand how to apply the stain to keep everything looking nice and even.
Plus, the finishes – the clear finishes – the pros apply are often a lot tougher than what you or I might be able to find in a home center or a paint store. They also dry quicker and they get you back into your newly finished room as fast as possible.
LESLIE: And today’s Pro Project has been presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Blair in Virginia who’s taking on a painting project. Tell us about the ceiling you’re working on.
BLAIR: I pulled out my power washer and decided to clean off the deck and the walls and the ceiling. But now the ceiling needs to be repainted. And it was originally painted with an oil-based paint. I would like to not use oil base; I would like to go over it with a water base. But I don’t know, first off, if I can do that or – and what would be the best brands to look into?
TOM: So, the first question is adhesion. What’s the ceiling made out of? Is this a drywall ceiling? A wood ceiling? What is it?
BLAIR: It’s a wood ceiling.
TOM: What kind of wood?
BLAIR: It’s just a plywood.
TOM: The first thing I would do, now that you’ve got this all cleaned off, is I would prime it. And I would use either an alkyd primer, which is water-based, or I would use an oil primer. Just the primer.
The primer, it’s important that it sticks really, really well. And it’s also important that it adheres to whatever was there initially. And through the life of that ceiling, it may have had different paints, different finishes on it. We want to make sure we get primer on there that’s going to have a real adhesive effect. Because once you get primer that sticks really well, then you could put latex ceiling paint or any type of solid stain or something like that on top of it. But you’ve got to use a good-quality primer. That’s really critical.
So do the primer first. On top of that, since it’s wood, you could use solid stain or you could use exterior paint. I would stick with a flat, though, if you’re going to use the paint.
BLAIR: Right, right. OK. So as long as I prime it well.
TOM: You’d probably be more tempted to use that than oil-based but honestly, oil-based works better than anything else. I just repainted my entire house and I have a cedar house. And we used solid stain, which I’m always promoting on the radio show, because it has the most pigment in it. But what I don’t mention is that we had to prime this – prime the entire house. And the last time – you know when the last time was I painted my house?
TOM: Fourteen years ago. Fourteen years because I used oil-based primer back then and solid stain. And I did the same thing all over again because I want to get another 14 years out of it. But that’s what you’ll get if you do it right.
BLAIR: OK. I can do that then. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up, antique doorknobs and hardware look great. But function? Well, that can be another story. We’re going to tell you how to keep that great vintage look without sacrificing modern locks and keys, when The Money Pit Home Improvement Show continues.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, because we’ve got three copies of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure to give out to three listeners this hour. That could be you. That is our book, written by Leslie and me.
LESLIE: That’s right.
TOM: You will recognize us in our very Photoshopped image on the cover, which we are never, ever changing. We’re never taking a picture again, because that one is good and doesn’t get any better than that.
LESLIE: We’re also very young in that picture.
TOM: We were, yes.
LESLIE: I love that we keep using it.
TOM: I know. It’s funny, right?
Anyway, give us a call with your how-to question. We’re here to help you out, 1-888-MONEY-PIT which is, of course, presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free.
LESLIE: Alright. And you’ve got two pros, right now, answering some questions for you. We always like to jump into the posts.
Now, I’ve got one here from Chris who writes: “We are in the process of remodeling our 1940s house. All of the existing doors have mortise-style locks, antique knobs and backplates that are original to the house. However, all of the keys are missing. I would like to replace the locking mechanism but keep the antique backplates and knobs, because they look great. Is there a way to keep using these old knobs and backplates but add new locks? Thanks for your help.”
TOM: Well, look, there’s two ways to go about this, Chris. First of all, I mean you could potentially engage a locksmith to find the missing parts or make them for you. I suspect they’ll be really expensive. And while it would be nice to have everything the original, I don’t think it’s the smartest thing to do.
There are websites out there that specialize in antique-looking hardware. And they’re made new but they look rather old. There’s a site called House of Antique Hardware that’s a pretty big player in that space; I’m sure there are others. But you’re probably going to be better off just replacing all those locks with the replica hardware. You’ll still have that look and feel of the antique, old-fashioned locks but those will be a lot less expensive and it’ll get done a lot quicker.
LESLIE: Yeah. The other one I like is Rejuvenation.com. They always have a lot of nice things, as well: you know, everything from hinges and hardware to lighting. Truly, things that complete that whole look. And I think Tom is right: you’ll be much happier with something that’s made to look old and function with today’s standards.
Alright. Next up, we’ve got one here from Marie. Now, Marie writes: “I want to move my washer and dryer from the basement to my unheated garage. Other than plumbing for the washer, do I need to do anything special beforehand, like add insulation to the space or heat it? Also, I believe this will help dry up the basement and our poor, little humidifier will finally get some relief.”
TOM: That’s interesting. So, a lot of things going on there, Marie, at your house. But I would say there’s very few real deterrents to moving your washer and dryer to your garage but it depends on the climate that you live in. If you are in a Northern climate, you may have issues with frozen pipes. And certainly, it’s going to be uncomfortable to go out there and have to wash and dry your clothes all the time.
But you mentioned the issue of humidity in your basement and that dehumidifying your basement will occur by taking that dryer out. That shouldn’t be the case. That dryer should be vented out. If anything, it should help dehumidify.
LESLIE: Yeah. It sounds like it’s venting into the space.
TOM: Yeah. Because it’ll take air from inside the basement and vent it out. So that’s kind of a separate issue that you’ve got to kind of get on top of. If I was you, I would focus on that issue separately. And it may be possible to find space on your first floor to stack a washer and dryer and not have to deal with going out into the chilly garage all winter long.
LESLIE: Alright, Marie. I hope that helps and good luck on your amazing, new laundry journey.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this hour with us. If you’ve got questions and we couldn’t get to them, we apologize. But you can reach out, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll call you back the next time we’re in the studio.
That’s all the time we have this hour. 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.)