- Are you a do-it-yourselfer but need a better do-it-yourself workspace? We show you how to create a productive and efficient garage workspace to handle projects big and small.
- If your AC is going to go on the fritz… it’s going to happen on the hottest day of the year. We review the top reasons AC systems decide to quit and what you can do to restore the cool.
- Replacing your front door is a project that can increase both your home’s value and its curb appeal. Find out how best to get that project done.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Anthony in New York wants to know how to repair a chimney that is losing its stucco.
- Mia from Iowa is looking for the best way to remove glued outdoor carpeting from her deck.
- Kevin in Georgia needs help getting rid of carpenter bees that are destroying his screened-in porch.
- Sally wants know if there is a fix for double pane windows that are fogging up between the panes.
- John from Maryland is looking for a side venting gas water to reduce the space his current one takes up.
- Fonda in South Dakota needs ideas on how to makeover her patio while she is redoing her backyard space.
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’re here to help you take on the projects you want to get done around your house. And this weekend, that project might include something for Dad because it’s Father’s Day weekend. Or depending on when you’re hearing this show, Father’s Day may be just ahead or maybe it just happened. And this time of year, it’s a great time to think about projects that you can help Dad with. I know that when my kids come home, they always go, “Ugh. What have we got to do now, Dad?”
LESLIE: You’ve always got something for them.
TOM: Listen, my daughter – I’ve got to give her props because we had to do a pretty nasty insulation project in a crawlspace. And so I’m laying on my back, on the dirt. And she was my number-one assistant handing me the insulation batts so I didn’t have to keep crawling in and out. But most of you are going to have much nicer projects than that, like maybe help Dad paint a bench or something, you know, not work into the deep, dark places of your house.
But I’m just saying that listen, you owe Dad a lot and it’s so nice to take this opportunity to give him some thanks for everything that he has done for you. And this is the weekend to do just that. So, hey, if you’ve got a question about a project you want to do with Dad, we’d love to hear it.
Couple of ways to get in touch with us. You can go to MoneyPit.com, click on Leave a Message and then go ahead and record your question. Just click on the blue microphone. You can record your question. It goes right to us in a studio. You get a quick answer, both online and on the show. Or you can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up in today’s show, are you a do-it-yourselfer but need a better do-it-yourself workspace? We’re going to share some tips to create a productive and efficient garage workspace to handle projects big and small.
LESLIE: And it never fails: if your A/C is going to go on the fritz, it’s going to happen on the hottest day of the year. We’re going to share the top reasons A/C systems decide to quit and what you can do to restore the cool.
TOM: Plus, replacing your front door is a project that can increase both your home’s value and its curb appeal. We’ll share some tips on how to get that job done.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear from you. What are you guys working on now or what project are you planning to take on next? Because we’re here to help you create your best home ever. So whether you’re dreaming or doing, reach out so we can give you a hand.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or click on Leave Us a Message – the blue microphone button – on MoneyPit.com.
And by the way, if you reach us for today’s show, you could also qualify for a great giveaway. We’ve got the SpreadStone Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Kit from our friends at Daich Coatings. Worth 150 bucks. Going out to one person drawn at random.
LESLIE: Heading to upstate New York where we’ve got Anthony on the line who’s dealing with a chimney that’s losing its stucco.
What’s going on?
ANTHONY: House is 80 years old. At about 20 years old, I had stucco put on it because some of the bricks were loose and a few were broken. And after – now, it’s starting to deteriorate. Some of the stucco has taken off and some moisture has got under a lot of the other stucco. And I would say about 70 percent of it is loose. And I’m just wondering what would be the best way to repair it.
TOM: Well, it sounds like it gave you quite a few years of service there, Anthony.
TOM: So, what you’re going to have to do now is to remove as much of this loose stucco as possible. The good news is that in that 20-year term, the products have gotten a lot better at adhering to masonry surfaces.
For example, you’ll find if you look at the products made by QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E – they have a wide variety of products that are designed to adhere to old concrete or brick surfaces. And the secret is really in that adhesion. Now, I just use, for example, a product they have that’s called Re-Cap and it’s designed for slabs. I’m not sure it’s designed for chimneys but they have other products (inaudible).
ANTHONY: What’s the name of that again?
TOM: Re-Cap – R-e-C-a-p. I’m not so sure if it’s designed to work on walls but I know it works on sidewalks. But they have another patching compound that’s designed specifically for cracked steps and stoops and that certainly would work on a chimney and adhere very, very well. And that’s the key. They bind with the masonry surface underneath and that’s what gives you the longevity.
Because, of course, what happens is any masonry product’s going to get wet in the winter and in the rain and it’s going to freeze. And as it does so, it starts to push itself off and that’s why it gets loose after all those years. Just the expansion and contraction of the freeze/thaw cycle.
So, I think if you pick up the right product, you should be able to repair that again and get a good number of years out of it.
ANTHONY: Should I take all the stucco off or …?
TOM: Well, not all of it but anything that’s loose. If it’s still tightly bound, you don’t have to take that off. But if it’s loose, you absolutely have to take it off, because you can’t put good patching compound over bad stucco.
ANTHONY: Yeah. OK.
ANTHONY: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Hey, you’re welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Maya from Iowa on the line. Now, Maya is dealing with some steps outside that have carpeting glued to them. That sounds like a terrible combination of things.
What is going on at your money pit?
MAYA: My house has two-step brick steps on the west side of my house. And it’s covered in carpet – outdoor carpet – that’s been glued on. Now, there are some holes starting in that carpet and I’m wondering what the best way is to remove it. Once I get it removed, what would be your advice on what I should do with that step?
TOM: Well, Maya, I’ll tell you, that’s a heck of a mess you got yourself into there, because trying to remove that carpet that’s glued on is very difficult under any circumstances. There are adhesive removers that you can use but the best you’re going to get is it’s going to soften it up and they maybe you can kind of scrape it flat.
Now, I do have one idea for you and that is for you to try to apply pavers on top of this old step. You want to just make sure that you’re not altering the height. But there’s a type of paver called a Milano paver. It’s made by the Pavestone company and it’s a thinner paver. So it’s only – it’s probably less-than-an-inch thick. And you can glue these on.
Because the problem is this: with all that old glue on there, you’re not going to – you’re going to have a heck of a time getting anything else to stick. You’re not going to get paint to stick terribly well. You certainly couldn’t use any of the concrete-repair products because they’re designed to basically go over old concrete.
But if you were to glue something on top of that, either the pavers or you could use, also, a ceramic tile. Make sure it’s rated for outside and it’s not slippery. But if you were to think about gluing back on top of that concrete surface – on top of that step or the little stoop, whatever it is, either a tile or a paver – then I think you could have a nice-looking surface there and have something that could stay around for a long time.
LESLIE: Hey, guys, right now you can enter the LL Flooring Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes on MoneyPit.com to win a $1,000 gift card from LL Flooring and a brand-new $400 vacuum to help pick up all that pet hair. Because you’ve got a fluffy pup or a fluffy kitty? We definitely know you need some help cleaning all that stuff up.
Now, there’s two ways to enter. You post your pet’s picture on Instagram with the #LLFloofProof. That’s #LLFloofProof. Or you can enter at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes, where you’ll also find some ways to earn bonus entries. I mean this is fantastic. A new floor and a vacuum? All because of your adorable pup? We love it.
TOM: Well, we’re spending a lot of time outside right now but if your concrete porch or patio needs an update, we’re giving away a great product that can help.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got the SpreadStone Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Kit. Now, it’s a premixed, factory-tinted, stone-coating system and it’s going to lock right onto your concrete. And that’s going to give you a surface that’s both really attractive and very durable.
And the application is fast and simple. You don’t have to be an artist; you just roll on the coatings and you’re going to get a beautiful, new stone surface. And it comes in five different colors, so it’s really going to match with any type of landscaping or design style that your home might be. They’ve got a color for you.
TOM: It retails for 150 bucks and the kit can help you cover 100 square feet of space. Check it out at DaichCoatings.com. That’s D-a-i-c-h – Coatings.com. The SpreadStone Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Kit.
LESLIE: Alright. We’re heading to Georgia where carpenter bees are destroying the day-to-day life of Kevin. Boy, are they annoying.
What’s going on?
KEVIN: Well, about 10 years ago, we built a – we had a screened-in porch built. About 2 years prior to that, we had a privacy fence put up around the backyard. And we have more wood bees – carpenter bees – than I’ve ever seen in my life. I have 25 traps set up. Every time I turn around, I’m finding more wood bees. I use the wood-bee spray, I fill in the holes with wood putty. And the next year or later on in the year, they just come out in another area. Would you have a trick I haven’t thought of? I would sure appreciate it.
TOM: Well, it sounds like those carpenter bees are sort of wearing a wrecking belt here for this trip around your house, Kevin. Sorry to hear that.
So, a couple of things come to mind. First of all, if you have that severe a problem, trying to chase this yourself, especially with over-the-counter, so to speak, pesticides is going to be an exercise in frustration when it sounds like you’re kind of already there. I would definitely hire a pest-control professional to treat these carpenter bees. They have access to different pesticides that you don’t have access to. They know where to put it, how much to put there. And they also can use pesticides that can stay around a little while longer than the stuff you can buy and therefore give you some long-term protection.
You are doing the right thing by filling the holes. What I also do on properties that I have where I’ve got carpenter bees that attack the fascia or the soffit material, that softwood, is I replace it with AZEK – A-Z-E-K – which basically looks like wood but it’s made of PVC so they can’t eat it.
LESLIE: Oh, they can eat it. They’re going to try.
TOM: They’ll try.
LESLIE: But then they’re (inaudible) to go somewhere else.
TOM: Yeah. They’ll be saying, “Hey, looks like wood, doesn’t taste like wood.” So they do try to eat it.
LESLIE: We had – the last remaining lumber in the yard was the play set. And the carpenter bees – I don’t know how many tunnels and pathways they’ve made in there and the kids were terrified to run past it. And I got rid of that. And for about a week, the bees were like, “Woah, wait, what happened?” And now they are gone. It’s amazing. Because everything else is AZEK.
TOM: They found something else to eat at somebody else’s house, so they left.
LESLIE: Thank goodness.
TOM: Yeah. So, it’s a matter of both. We’re using the right kind of pesticides to treat it and then also trying to eliminate as much of that wood as possible.
So good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you need a space to easily tackle all of those projects. Otherwise, nothing’s going to get done.
If you have a garage, you don’t need to spend a lot to set up a basic workspace. We’ve got some tips on how you can build a garage workshop in a weekend, complete with lighting, for less than 500 bucks, in today’s Home Solution Tip presented by Angi.
TOM: Now, the first essential thing to buy or build is a solid workbench with a good, heavy top. Now, typically, it should be about 24 inches deep and about 38 inches high and have some drawers or shelves and vises. But bench height and depth also have as much to do with personal preference, because comfort is key.
Now, for me, if I lean over a workbench that’s too short, it gives me a backache. It’s really just not comfortable. So, I build all my workbenches tall so I can work comfortably for hours. Now, if you need to do a lot of assembly work, you might also opt to create a workbench that’s deeper to accommodate these projects. This way you don’t have part of your thing you’re trying to assemble hanging off the 24-inch depth of the bench.
And premade benches are usually under a few hundred bucks. So, if you can’t build one yourself, you can buy one. And you can also build a simple one, though, for about $100 in materials. It’s not terribly expensive.
And I like to also suggest you add a cushioned floor. Those cushioned floor mats are king. They’re just great in front of the bench because it really takes the stress off your legs and you could work even longer.
LESLIE: I’m always surprised at how many hours of the day I stand. So you’re definitely right on track to get those really comfy floor coatings that you really can stand longer and be more successful in the work that you’re doing. So that is a smart tip.
Now, a work surface – you’re also going to need some bright lighting. I’m talking high-intensity, halogen or even LED lights are perfect for task lighting over your workbench. And recess lighting in the ceiling is useful for both task and ambient lighting. Now, ceiling-mounted fluorescent light fixtures are inexpensive. They’re a classic option.
But when you’re planning your lighting, the rule of thumb here is to use 130 to 150 lumens per square foot of workspace. So you want to make sure you’re properly illuminating your area for safety but also for your eyes.
TOM: Now, you also want to make sure you’ve got good electrical service with enough outlets and capacity to fire up your power tools. So, think about installing outlets near your workspace, rather than using an extension cord, so you can avoid tripping hazards.
And also, if you’ve not done this already, you want to upgrade to 20-amp circuits. Just head to Angi.com to find a great electrician to run heavier-gauge wire from the breaker box to the garage workbench. And make sure you also, if you don’t have them already, add ground-fault outlets to keep everyone safe.
LESLIE: Now, here’s another thing you want to think about: smart storage. This is super important. You’ve got to consider what you’re going to need to store nearby and what can be out in the open and what you’d want to keep behind a cabinet door. You also want to make it really easy to find the tools, the nuts, the bolts and all the other items that you need.
Now, modular systems are going to allow you to arrange shelves, bins, hooks, you name it, however you want them. And they let you easily reorganize as your storage needs change. Because as you start working in that space, you’re going to find the original setup might not work down the road, so you can constantly adapt with a system like that.
And there’s also lots of other garage-storage systems available on the market. For larger tools and supplies, you can use strong, stackable plastic bins with lids. I mean lots of ways you can keep everything tidy but handy at the same time.
TOM: Yeah. And lastly, if you plan to use the workshop in the winter, consider comfort and plan for space heating. There are dozens of low-cost electric heaters available to help you take the edge off a chilly, midwinter project.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Home Solution Tip, presented by Angi. When it comes to home projects, they know you want to nail it every time. Angi does the heavy lifting for you with top pros who get the job done right.
TOM: Download the Angi app today.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to chat with Sally who’s dealing with an issue with a window where we’re seeing a lot of fogging up.
What’s going on?
SALLY: Well, I have two very large, double-pane windows. They’re like big picture windows. And they have fogged up. It looks like there’s moisture between the two panes. And so I was wondering what can be done about that besides replacing it? Is there any remedy for that?
TOM: Unfortunately, there is not. That is a failed thermopane seal. And when that window was made, that seal was added – that seal was used and it’s placed in a vacuum. And that gap is usually filled with an insulating gas, like argon. And so when the seal fails, you’ll get moisture in there and that’s what you’re seeing with the fogging.
Now, it is unsightly but it doesn’t terribly impact the energy efficiency of the window. So if you don’t mind the fog, it’s not like it’s leaking. It just doesn’t look so nice. But the only way to repair that is really just to take it out and replace it. Because it’s a sealed unit and there’s no way to restore it back to its factory-manufactured condition.
SALLY: Yeah. I have about seven other windows that are about the same age – they’re over 15 years old – and they’re all fine. But so just these two had a particular problem when they were made. Is that what you’d assume?
TOM: Yeah. That’s unfortunate. Are these the biggest windows? Or are they all the same size?
SALLY: Of course, they’re the biggest ones.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I ask you that because they’re going to expand and contract more than the smaller windows. So then that could be a sign, as well.
SALLY: They’re about 84 inches long and 56 inches tall.
SALLY: They’re big. They’re really big.
TOM: Yeah. They sure are. Yep.
SALLY: It’s a panoramic view of the mountains and so (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah. Oh, that’s too bad. Yeah.
SALLY: Unsightly. But OK, I’ll get them replaced and that’s about all I can do. Thank you. OK, bye-bye.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Right now, we’ve got an awesome sweepstakes going on. You can enter the LL Flooring Floof Proof Pet Sweepstakes on MoneyPit.com, where you can win a $1,000 gift card from LL Flooring and a brand-new $400 vacuum to pick up all that pet hair.
Now, there’s two ways that you can enter. One of these, you’re already doing but you’ve just got to modify what you’re doing here, folks. You post your pet’s picture on Instagram and you’ve got to tag it. You want to #LLFloofProof. That’s LLFloofProof. Or you can enter at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes. There, you can also find a ton of ways to earn bonus entries. This is a great prize pack and we’d love to see your animals, your pets, your fluffy puppies and kitties. Whatever you’ve got, we want to see those floofs. So enter today.
TOM: I love the #LLFloofProof. Says so much.
LESLIE: I know. It really does. That’s a floofy buddy.
John in Maryland is on the line with a water-heater question.
How can we help you?
JOHN: Have a gas hot-water heater right now that vents up through – it’s not really a chimney stack but it’s, you know, the sheet-metal pipe. And that takes up a lot of space in a bathroom I have and I’d like to kind of eliminate that. And I was wondering if there are any side-venting gas water heaters, similar to how they have some high-efficiency furnaces that sort of vent out of the side of the house. I was wondering what you guys’ opinion on are – of gas water heaters that might do the same. And that would allow me to get rid of that unusable space in my bathroom, for renovation.
TOM: Yeah, you’re correct. There are what – it’s called a “direct-vent appliance.” And there are direct-vent water heaters. And if you are going to replace your water heater, I would consider a tankless water heater. You mentioned space. Tankless water heaters are about a quarter of the size of the traditional tanked water heater. And yes, they are available as a direct-vent type of installation.
In fact, that’s one of the things that makes them so cool is that they’re so small and they’re so easily vented that you can pretty much put them anywhere. So, I think your solution is a directly-vented tankless water heater.
JOHN: OK. And there’s no issue there with any problem with the – you’re always worried about getting flue gas and all that stuff. That side vent – those are safe to vent out and there’s no issue, right?
TOM: Well, there’s rules about where you put them. Like, for example, there has to be so many feet away from a potentially open window and that kind of thing. And it has to be so far off the ground so it doesn’t get covered with snow – the vent doesn’t get covered with snow. So there are some basic rules about where you put in a direct vent. But as long as you follow those then no, there’s no issue about them getting blocked.
JOHN: Great. Alright, guys. Thanks a lot for your help. Love your show.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Well, it never fails: if your air conditioning is going to go out, it’s going to go on the fritz on the hottest day of the year.
But Tom, what causes the most common air-conditioning unit failures and can we fix them ourselves? I mean I always feel like, “Ugh, it’s the A/C. We’ve got to get the guy.”
TOM: Well, actually, yeah some you can fix yourself and some not. The first step is to figure out how well the system is working. Now, if it’s a central air – or frankly, even a room air conditioner, you can do the same test – take a thermometer, like the kind you use in a refrigerator, right? Stick it in the supply register; that’s where the air blows out. And then make note of the temperature after 5 minutes or so. Take it back out, stick it in the return, where the air goes back into the system. Again, for 5 minutes and then note the temperature difference. It should be around 15 to 20 degrees difference. If it’s not, that means it’s not doing a good job of cooling and you might have a refrigeration issue.
Now, that is something that you can’t fix yourself but – because it needs a pro to add more refrigerant to it. It’s not just a matter, if you have a leak, of adding the refrigerant because you’ve got to find the leak and fix it first. And then it becomes a question as to whether or not it’s worth doing that and if it’s a really old unit. And since the older units use a different type of refrigerant, it might just be time for a new one. But check the temperature across supply and return first to give yourself a good idea of where you’re at.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, here’s another reason things get a little wonky with the cooling at home and it’s one that you can really tackle yourself. And it’s one that if you don’t do, you’re going to cause some issues. And that’s not properly maintaining the filtration system. So you’ve got to check and change that filter. Now, this applies to both room air conditionings and central-air systems. If you allow those filters and air-conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner is not going to work properly. And then the compressor or the fans are likely to fail prematurely. So you’ve got to put in the work to make sure that it lasts longer and works better.
TOM: Now, here’s something you can spot. It’s a little bit of a trick of the trade and it applies to room air conditioners and it’s called a “sensor.” There’s going to be a thermostat sensor located behind the control panel. And if you’ve ever had the front panel off a room air conditioner, you probably have seen this sort of laying against the coils. It’s kind of like a – sort of like a tube. It’s a couple of inches long, has a metal wire – thin metal wire, like a stiff wire – that’s attached to it.
Now, sometimes if that gets knocked out of position, the air conditioner will cycle constantly or behave erratically because it’s just not registering what the actual temperature is. So gently bend it back in place to get it right near the coil but not touching it and that could solve the problem very easily.
LESLIE: Now, lastly, we’ve got to talk about drainage problems. When it is humid outside, you need to check the condensate drain. You want to make sure that it’s not clogged and that it’s draining properly. Room air conditioners may not drain properly if they’re not mounted level, so you’ve got to check on a couple of things. And it’s very easy for those drains to clog; this is how we ended up with that leak in the bathroom ceiling.
So you just have to make sure that you’re constantly checking these things, maintaining them. If you have a service contract, you’ve got to make sure you utilize it and make sure everything is running properly.
TOM: You know, another way to make – it’s a very easy way to have your condensate just spill all over the floor. Forget to plug in the condensate pump.
We have a condo that we own – it’s like a garden apartment – and we had a tenant in there. And they were cleaning and they pulled out all of the wires for the washer, the dryer and the condensate. But somehow, the condensate was not plugged back in. And I got a call the next day from the guy who lived underneath. He said, “It’s leaking down here.” And I’m like, “Oh, man, what’s going on?” I’m checking all of the plumbing. Sure enough, I looked at the condensate pump. There was a big puddle underneath because it wasn’t plugged in. So make sure you plug that in.
LESLIE: It’s amazing how quickly that water does add up just from the condensation. It’s amazing.
TOM: Yeah. I was going to say that. There’s a lot of water that will pull out of the air – that humid, summer air – and it can really fill up quickly. So you’ve got to have the pumps working, you’ve got to make sure they’re clog-free. And this way, you will have an issue-free summer.
LESLIE: Who doesn’t love this time of year? The weather’s kind of perfect. We have had some weird hot spells here and there. But you’ve got to love the fact that we’re all spending so much time outside.
So if you’re spending a lot of time outside right now, maybe you’re noticing that your concrete porch or your patio is in need of an update. We’ve got a great prize for you, because we’re giving away a product that can help.
TOM: Yep. It’s the SpreadStone Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Kit. Now, this is a premixed, factory-tinted, stone-coating system that locks onto your concrete. It’s going to give you a surface that’s attractive and durable.
And the best part is the application is fast and simple. You don’t need to be an artist. You just roll on the coatings for a beautiful, new stone surface. You can pick from five colors and it retails for 150 bucks. That covers 100 square feet.
Check it out at DaichCoatings.com – D-a-i-c-h – Coatings.com. Or you can win one today by being one of the callers to The Money Pit.
LESLIE: That’s right. And the SpreadStone Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Kit from Daich Coatings is going out to one listener who’s drawn at random.
TOM: Make that you. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or click the blue microphone button on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to take on one remodeling project that can increase the value of your home and improve curb appeal for years to come, installing a new front entry can do both.
TOM: That’s right. Surveys show that installing a new front entry to your home can deliver a pretty dramatic boost in what home buyers think your home is worth. And that leads to a lot more interest at the time of sale.
LESLIE: Now, doors, you can find them in wood or steel. But new fiberglass entry doors can look so much like real wood that it’s hard to tell the difference. They’re also far more energy-efficient than both wood or steel doors and often they come with multi-point locks that make them almost impossible to break into.
TOM: Now, installing a new door is not for the inexperienced home improver; it’s probably best left to a pro. Removing the old door, though, opens your home up to the elements and surprises like rot and insect damage are often found. And these are issues that a pro could handle quickly. Plus, if you’ve got a home security system or if you had electrical wiring, they all require special care.
Now, the pros know how to install a door so it’s not going to shift over time. Because don’t you just hate when the door gets stuck in the winter or the summer? Well, if it’s installed correctly, it’s going to work for many, many years without a hassle.
So, think about just popping in a new door if you’re getting ready to sell your house. It definitely has an impact on how quickly your house will sell.
LESLIE: Fonda (sp) in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FONDA (sp): We are demolishing our old deck that leads to an old patio at the ground level. And the old patio has two substrates. You lead down to a plank patio. It’s like wood – 2x6s, I think – which is in awful shape. It’s probably 30 feet by 30 feet. And then it butts up to a pretty substantial cement pad that’s 20 feet by 20 feet.
And we know we’re going to demo the wood pad but it’s – the question is: what do we put in? Do we have to chop up the old cement pad, which is in great shape, because it’s so substantial? Or can we put in another cement pad next to it for the new patio? Can you go over the old cement with something and stamp it or make it just – and then the other problem is is it’s square. And I would like the new patio at the ground level to be rounder and curvier.
TOM: One idea that I have straight off is to go over the old patio with brick pavers. And if the patio is flat and strong and solid, there’s no reason you can’t put pavers on top of that. And so you could basically create a – do almost a patio makeover by preserving the concrete and putting brick pavers right over the concrete. They’re all going to assemble together. You won’t see them when they’re done.
Now, you mentioned changing the shape. That, of course, is a little more complicated because you’re going to have to build up to the edges. Part of the patio would be over concrete and part of the patio would be over traditional, built-up stone, if that’s possible. But if you want to avoid changing the shape, then it becomes a very easy project to do it with brick pavers. And of course, you have lots and lots and lots of choices on shapes and colors and all of that that you could go with.
FONDA (sp): And on the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers?
TOM: On the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers is this. First of all, you dig out, obviously, all the grass and that sort of thing. Then you put down about 4 to 6 inches of gray gravel. You tamp that down really, really, really well. Then on top of that, you lay some sand. Get that nice and flat. On top of that, you put the brick pavers and then you put additional sand in between.
But tamping and properly preparing that ground and tamping that stone really well is critical. Because if you don’t, it gets all roly-poly over the years and weeds start to grow up through it.
FONDA (sp): Alright. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Fonda. Good luck with that project. Just in time for summer. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Lauren wrote in and she says, “We have eight cracked ceramic floor tiles in the master bathroom. What’s the best way to remove and replace the broken tiles?”
TOM: Well, that’s a good question. So, you can remove those tiles. What you’re going to want to do is probably use a grout knife to try to loosen up the grout lines around them and then get a putty knife under it and sort of pop it up.
But one thing I would say is that if you’ve got a few broken tiles now, you’ve got to ask yourself whether or not the floor underneath those tiles is weak. Because if the floor underneath the tile is weak, you’re just going to have more cracked tiles when you put it back. There’s not a really good solution for that.
But unfortunately, too often contractors will not solidify that floor by either doubling up on the plywood or doing a mud base. And then over time, just from all the walking in a spot where you might get a lot of wear and tear, like in front of the sink or in front of the toilet or where you step into the tub, that area can get softer and the tiles can start to crack in that spot. And so, yeah, you could replace them but they very well may crack again.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, Laura, I hope that helps you out.
Alright. Now we’ve got one here from Linda who writes: “How expensive would a good-quality, two-car garage floor be using epoxy paint?”
TOM: You know, Linda, the cost of epoxy paint is really affordable. I am using a product right now that’s made by Daich Coatings. I’m actually not using it in my garage; I’m using it in my basement but same conditions apply. Of course, I don’t have the tires there. But it does get a lot of wear and tear down there and I’ve been really impressed with how tough this product is and how easy it was to apply.
Now, when you use an epoxy paint, it’s a two-part process, right? So you have Part A and Part B. You mix them together. Usually, there’s also a second cleaner that comes in the same kit that you use to clean the floor to make sure it’s good to go. Then you mix that paint up together, you start to roll it on like you would any paint project. And then you add decorative flakes, which are going to come in the kit. And this gives it a little bit of texture.
But most importantly, I notice that it hides the dirt, Les. Because when they have the flakes in there, you just don’t see – like when the leaves start to blow into the garages and things like that, you just don’t see them as easily, so …
LESLIE: Yeah. It all kind of blends. It’s an excellent camouflage.
TOM: Exactly. Yeah. So it hides it very, very nicely.
Now, when you’re all done, you can also put a clear coat on top of it and then you get a really thick, shiny, decorative finish. And if you like that look, put the clear coat on it but you don’t have to. And the nice thing about epoxy paints is they stand up to the wear and tear they’re going to get from hot tires, from nasty road salt falling off your car in the winter. They’re easy to clean and super easy to sweep up, by the way, afterwards. Because that smooth first surface is a lot easier to clean than the rough concrete.
LESLIE: And you know what? There’s so many different colors that you can choose from that then come with a coordinating different set of flakes. So you can really find something that works well for what your – what style, I would say, you’re trying to go for in your garage. Because some people have a design plan in there and some people just put all the stuff in. So, totally your call but there’s definitely a color and a look available for you with that Daich Coatings kit.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending a bit of your Father’s Day weekend with us. We hope that you’re taking good care of Dad and maybe you’re doing some projects for him, whether you’re hearing this show before the weekend, after the weekend or a day or two later.
Hey, remember your Dad. He needs help, too. Speaking from all the dads out there. When my kids come home, I put them to work because I need the help. I’m sure that your dad does, as well.
Hey, we hope that we helped you pick up an idea or two with this show today. Remember, if you’ve got questions, we are available 24/7. All you need to do is go to MoneyPit.com and click on the blue microphone button and leave us your question. We’ll get back to you on the next show.
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 2022 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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