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: Happy Holidays, everybody. I think we can say that now, right? We’re past Thanksgiving. We’re on …
LESLIE: Listen, I’m still eating turkey.
TOM: We’re on to the end of the year. We’re on to Christmas, we’re on to New Year’s, we’re on to Hanukkah. You’re busy preparing for the holiday? We get it. Maybe you’re not thinking about your house today but maybe you are. Maybe you’re trying to get your house ready for some holiday crowds that are coming to share some cheer with. If that’s the case and you need some help making some improvements; you want to try to make it a little bit more comfortable, more accessible; you want to spruce up a room or two, maybe do some last-minute home improvement fix-ups to make it more pleasant for the holiday at the end of the year and all those to follow, all great questions to talk about. We can help you do that if you pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We’ve got the tips, the advice to solve those décor dilemmas, to deal with the remodeling projects, to talk about whether or not it’s a project you could do yourself, you should do yourself or maybe it’s one you need a pro to help you get done. Whatever’s on your to-do list, let us help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You can also post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, if the early winter winds have been streaming right through your windows but perhaps you’re not ready for the expense, the time or the hassle of replacing them, we’re going to feature an excellent, new option that’s easy to install and then cutting your drafts by 80 percent. Plus, it is really affordable.
LESLIE: And also this hour, you know, replacing worn or dated carpeting is a really popular project for this time of year, because homeowners are getting ready to celebrate for the holidays. You’ve got parties, people are visiting and you want the house to look nice. But there’s so many carpet choices. How do you know what’s right for you? We’re going to walk you through those options, in just a bit.
TOM: Plus, if your walls are showing cracks, holes or nail pops that never seem to go away, even if you fix them they keep coming back, we’ve got tips to help you get them back in shape once and for all.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear what you are working on this holiday season. Maybe you’re still cleaning the kitchen from making all that turkey just the other day or perhaps you’re starting another meal because family is coming into town. Whatever it is, we’re here to lend a hand.
But we know that kitchen is super busy this time of year, so we’ve got a great prize up for grabs this hour.
TOM: Yep. We’re giving away a First Alert Home Safety Kit. It’s going out to one listener drawn at random. It’s worth 145 bucks. Includes everything you need to step up your home safety, including a kitchen fire extinguisher. So pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Carol in Rhode Island is on the line and needs some help with the exterior of her home. How can we help you?
CAROL: I have a 115-year-old Queen Anne Victorian. Twelve years ago, I replaced all the columns on the porch and they’re rotting out again. And they’re finger-jointed columns and I was told they were installed incorrectly, so I’d like to know the correct way to install them.
TOM: Why were you told that they were installed incorrectly?
CAROL: I was told that because the top was not sealed with some kind of flashing, that there was snow and rain getting in the top of the column and it was rotting the column from the inside out.
TOM: Well, that may or may not be the case. I mean certainly, you need to pay attention to water control when you do a project like that. It’s hard for me to imagine – usually, columns sit underneath an overhang. But if there was some aspect of it that was exposed, then maybe that could be the case.
Another area to make sure you keep it off the ground is at the bottom of the column. We usually advise columns be put on something called a “post dock (ph),” which is like a plate that keeps it up a ½-inch or an inch off of the floor or the slab, depending on how this is built, so that you have some room for the column to dry out and not collect water. But generally, any time you have water that collects in an area, you are going to have rot.
Now, replacing these columns is not a do-it-yourself project, so you need to proceed very carefully with this, because those columns hold a lot of weight and that weight has to be transferred while the repair is being made.
CAROL: So let me ask you this. I’m thinking now of replacing them with the new fiberglass or composite columns, whatever they’re made out of. And I was told by a friend of mine that I should still have some kind of a steel pole inserted in the middle to hold the weight of the porch.
TOM: Yeah, it depends on the column. There are those types of composite columns where there’s, essentially, a metal column, like a Lally column, that does all the work – the structural work. And then the decorative column kind of snaps around that.
CAROL: Oh, I didn’t realize that.
TOM: Because the composite itself may not be load-bearing. In fact, it will be unlikely for it to hold – to handle – almost any weight whatsoever.
CAROL: Thank you for the information. It’s confirming what my friend told me. He’s not a carpenter, so I was questioning him.
TOM: You tell him he’s very smart. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jeff on the line who’s got a question about heating. What’s going on at your money pit?
JEFF: Well, I bought a house a couple years ago and it’s got baseboard heating and it’s also got a heat pump. The baseboard, I don’t think, is operating correctly. So, I would kind of like to just switch to the heat pump but I don’t know if it’s big enough to heat the whole house or not.
TOM: So, the baseboard that you have, that’s electric baseboard heating?
JEFF: No, it’s gas.
TOM: So you must have a boiler then.
JEFF: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: So you had – you have a gas boiler and you have hot-water radiators?
JEFF: Mm-hmm. Yes.
TOM: Oh, well, listen. You want to get that fixed. You definitely don’t want to go to heat pump. If you have hot-water radiators, that’s going to be a much more comfortable form of heating.
See, the heat pump, it’s kind of like a furnace the way it works. And then it blows air, except that a regular gas furnace would blow air at about 130 degrees. A heat pump blows air at about 98 degrees. And it has to run all the time to keep your house warm. It’s a lot more expensive than what it would cost to operate a gas boiler. So I would definitely focus on getting that gas boiler fixed or the radiator system fixed.
You know, it could be something like one of the water pumps is bad or something like that. But it’s got circulator pumps on it and maybe it’s got a zone valve that went bad. I would definitely get that fixed and not use your heat pump for heat if you have that option.
A lot of people don’t have that option and I thought, initially, you were going to tell me that they had electric-resistance heaters. Because a lot of people do that to supplement the heat pump, because they’re so darn cold all the time. And despite all that effort, they’re still paying $400, $500, $600 a month for heat in the winter. But if you’ve got baseboard hot water, you definitely want to fix that up and use that as your primary heat source, OK?
JEFF: Yeah. My biggest problem with it is it gets too hot in some of the rooms, so I’m sure there’s an issue there but …
TOM: You can split it into different zones and add a second thermostat. And then you can control it that way. Because sometimes, yeah, if your thermostat is, I don’t know, on the first floor, on the second floor it can get too hot. So sometimes, you might be worth making the investment to split it in two zones and then you can control each area separately.
JEFF: Well, I appreciate all your help. Thanks.
TOM: Good luck, Jeff. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call anytime with your holiday home repair or holiday home improvement question. I’m just going to keep saying holiday non-stop, because we are cruising into December and we want to give you a hand. So call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, are those winter drafts sailing right through your windows but you’re just not ready for the expense, the time, the hassle of replacing those windows? Well, we’ve got an excellent, new option to share that’s easy to install, cuts drafts by 80 percent and is affordable, coming up next.
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 and give us a call. We are standing by for your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You could 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, at HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: But hey, give us a call. Let us know what you are working on. We’re here to lend a hand.
We’ve also got a great prize up for grabs. Now, it’s great for this time of year because this is the time of year that kitchens are busy and home cooking fires are the primary cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
So we’ve got a solution up for grabs. It’s the First Alert Home Safety Kit. Now, it comes with a kitchen fire extinguisher. It’s really easy to use and it’s made specifically for kitchen fires, which is a very specific type of fire to fight. So you want to make sure that you have the right fire extinguisher for the job. But the kit also includes carbon-monoxide, combo alarms, all of these things that you need to make sure that your family is safe now and throughout the rest of the year.
TOM: Including 10-year batteries, which I love because you don’t really have to worry about changing out those batteries every year.
LESLIE: Oh, it’s great.
TOM: We always say change them when you set your clocks back. Well, not with a 10-year battery. Once a decade is when you need to replace those.
Hey, it’s going out to one listener drawn at random. Do you want to make that you? You know what to do. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Burt in Missouri is on the line with a sump-pump situation. What’s going on at your money pit?
BURT: Yeah, I’ve got two sump pumps under my house and down here in Southwest Missouri, you’re lucky to get a hole dug deep enough for a 5-gallon bucket because of the rock and clay. So, it’s – these two sump pumps are in a 5-gallon bucket and when they go off, one will go off, then the other one goes off and they’re just wild inside the house; you can hear them. And I was wondering what I could do to help quiet this sound.
TOM: So, do these go off in – when it’s raining heavily outside? Is that when you get the water in the basement?
BURT: Yeah, they’re – it’s actually – they’re in a crawlspace. That’s another thing that makes it kind of difficult to work with. But they’re in a crawlspace and there’s a little bit of a slope towards the house in the backyard that increases the amount of volume of water. But we’ve tried to remedy that outside by building the dirt – you know, I’m trying to do everything right. But so, everything is about as much as we can possibly do. Now, all we’ve got left is just to deal with the noise of the sump pump.
TOM: OK. So just entertain me for a moment. Have you – you have gutters on the house?
BURT: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’ve got gutters and they’re …
TOM: And are the gutters all extended several feet from the house?
TOM: They are. OK. And this backyard that you’re talking about adjusting the slope, a better option for that is something called a “curtain drain.” Are you familiar with that?
BURT: A curtain train. Uh-uh. Is that kind of like a French drain?
TOM: So, what a curtain drain is is basically – you would basically take and make a trench at the bottom of that hill. And the trench would be about a foot wide and a foot deep. You’d put in a couple of inches of stone and then you’d put perforated PVC pipe in that trench. You’d continue to fill stone all the way around it, add some filter cloth and then put more dirt on it so when it’s done, you wouldn’t see it. You can plant grass over it.
But the trench would basically surround the back of the house and then angle out where it could break out to, say, daylight and discharge the water. The concept being that the rain comes down the hill, hits this invisible trench, falls into it, fills up the pipe and then runs around the house and doesn’t have a chance to get near the foundation where it would leak into the house. That’s the kind of technique that would normally be effective in a scenario like that, in terms of reducing the amount of water that’s collecting at the base of the home, and therefore less water around the home, less need for the sump pumps to run. Does that make sense?
BURT: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: Now that temperatures are dropping, have you noticed more drafts are getting in and around your windows? Maybe you have but you didn’t have the budget to replace the windows. Or maybe you have beautiful, old windows now and you don’t want to lose that charm or cover them over with ugly, outside storm windows.
LESLIE: Well, there is another alternative and it’s called Indow Window Inserts. Now, these inserts are custom-made to fit tightly inside your window frames. And that’s going to block cold winter drafts and the hot summer air. And it can save you energy and money year-round.
Now, once they’re installed, you’re going to save an average of 20 percent on your energy bills while making your rooms feel more climate-controlled and even quieter.
Now, these window-frame inserts also significantly reduce outside noise by about 70 percent and they help control light, as well. And they’re much more affordable than new windows, also.
TOM: The design is really interesting, Leslie. Each insert is laser-measured to provide a precise fit. And it even fits if the window is out of square. Because if you’ve got an old house, you know that that is entire possible.
They’re also the only window insert on the market that has a compression-fit design. So that means there’s no hardware; there’s no nuts, bolts, brackets or other hardware to be installed. You just basically press them into place and you’re totally done. The interior installation makes it easier to also remove them if you need to do some cleaning.
LESLIE: Yeah. And unlike storm windows that can take away from the design of your otherwise beautiful window, these blend in so well with the surrounding frames that you’re not even going to notice that they’re there.
And these are custom window inserts that simply press into place. You really have to see how these Indow Window Inserts work. So head on over to EnergySavingInserts.com and you can learn how window inserts help you reduce your energy bill, increase your comfort, reduce noise and even block UV rays from damaging your furnishings, all at a fraction of the cost of window replacement. That website, again, is EnergySavingInserts.com.
TOM: Yeah, go there. Sign up for a free estimate. What do you have to lose? EnergySavingInserts.com. EnergySavingInserts.com. Or call them at 866-977-9537.
LESLIE: Barbara in Texas is on the line with a brick question. What’s going on?
BARBARA: Well, I have brick around my house and the mortar is coming out. Back when it was built around 40 years ago, they didn’t put in enough of the cement so it would stay in. So, I don’t know if that’s something I should attempt to try to fill in. I know matching the grout color is real important. What do you all recommend?
TOM: So do you have a lot of this to do, Barbara? Or is this just sort of some minor repairs?
BARBARA: No, there’s quite a bit.
TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend you do it yourself. I’d have a mason do this because there is some technique to this. You have to mix up the mortar just right. It’s got to be kind of sticky. And once it’s laid in, it really takes a skilled hand to do it. So, I would have a professional do that. I would not make that a do-it-yourself project.
If it was just some areas that were broken out and needed some minor fix, then I’d say OK. But if there’s a lot of repointing to do, I would not suggest you do that yourself, only because it takes an awful lot of practice and sort of a steady hand. That is something you wouldn’t be able to do right out of the gate.
BARBARA: OK. [My need is] (ph) going to get it right like that. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck, Barbara. Happy to help.
LESLIE: Sal in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
SAL: Well, we had – the A/C got a leak. The whole house – A/C [got a leak] (ph). So, there’s a leakage in there and we were told the diagnosis. And they recommend we replace the whole A/C system in the house.
LESLIE: Like just the air handler and condensing unit or all of the ductwork, as well?
SAL: I think it’s just the condenser thing.
LESLIE: OK. How old is your unit?
SAL: Well, it’s old, like about 20 years old.
LESLIE: Oh, OK. So it’s time. OK.
SAL: So, I was wondering if there’s a recommended, affordable company that can supply – can replace the whole system, with affordable, too. We live in Durham, North Carolina.
LESLIE: Well, you’re going to want to find a local HVAC contractor that you checked their references and that you trust. Ask people that you know. Ask people in the neighborhood. Look online, maybe an Angie’s List. Check their references, call them up. And find somebody that you feel comfortable with.
Now, when it comes to a manufacturer of a condensing unit, Carrier is a fantastic brand. Trane is a fantastic brand. You really want to look at things, such as energy efficiency. You want to make sure – now that you’re doing some work, you want to make sure that it’s properly sized for your home. And the right HVAC contractor can calculate which size condensing unit you’re going to need for the amount of rooms and distance of the house that you’re really trying to cool.
So you want to make sure that you’re looking for high energy efficiency. If there’s any rebates going on, ask those questions. A good HVAC contractor is going to know that and help point you in the direction of which manufacturer has those going right now, as far as tax rebates. Those are things you really want to look into. But I say you can’t go wrong with a Carrier or a Trane.
SAL: Oh, good. But I have another question. Some manufacturers offer an insurance – two years of insurance – for the replacement. Do you want me to buy the insurance or it’s a new one, we don’t have to get insurance for that?
LESLIE: It depends. Now, usually, a brand-new piece of equipment is going to come with some sort of manufacturer’s warranty. And you have to make sure and find out what the term on that is. And that’s usually included. I wouldn’t buy anything extended.
What I would look into is if there’s a service contract with the HVAC company that’s doing the install. Because it’s a piece of equipment that you’re going to want to have looked at once a year. Levels are going to have to be checked. Everything is going to have to make sure it’s in top operating condition, number one, for the efficiency. But also, you want to make sure it’s cool on the days that you need it to be cool.
So I think the money is better spent on an annual maintenance contract, because it’s going to include most of those things, as far as parts. Sometimes they include filters, sometimes they don’t. But you want to make sure that you get filters, because you do have to change those monthly and that’s in the return duct. But I think the money better spent, other than an extended warranty, would be on an annual service plan.
SAL: Oh, great. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Remember, you can reach us anytime at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Up next, replacing worn or dated carpeting is a really popular project for this time of year. A lot of you homeowners are out there getting ready for holiday parties and have visitors coming by. But we know it: there are so many carpeting choices available. So how do you know which one’s the right choice for you? We’re going to have some tips on how to track down the right product and contractor, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, 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, with your home improvement question. As we roll towards the end of the year, is there a project you absolutely must get done? Let us help. That number, again: 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Chris in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
CHRIS: Well, I’m calling about a leak in a copper pipe that is coming from the boiler in the basement, up and running along the ceiling of the living-room wall and into the radiator, which sits in the bathroom. And right in the ceiling, in the living room, it’s dripping about one drop per minute. And we’re emptying the bowl.
And I had a fellow look at it. He said that there is a leak where the two pipes are connected. And it’s called “the 90.”
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. That’s a 90-degree bend. OK.
CHRIS: Yes, which is something I did not understand. And then he said he would be back to repair it and hasn’t come back yet. The boiler is also working but we have to kind of watch the water and the pressure in it.
TOM: Do you have a hot-water system or a steam system?
CHRIS: It’s a hot-water boiler.
TOM: So it probably has an automatic-feed valve that puts more water in it if it starts to get low. Do you know if that’s the case?
CHRIS: No, I think we turn the valve in the basement and it adds water.
TOM: Well, you certainly have to have it fixed, unfortunately. To do that, they’re going to have to drain the boiler off to below where that leaking joint is. And then the plumber can go in and repair it and then refill the boiler.
So, you’re definitely going to need to have your plumber or your heating contractor come out – come back and take care of that. If this guy is ignoring you now, then you’re going to have to call somebody else. Maybe he got busy.
CHRIS: Alright. Yes, well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, installing carpeting is a popular winter project. And if it’s one that you’re planning for your money pit, understanding material options, the costs and measuring accurately are all key to making sure that that project comes out right. We’ve got tips on how to do just that, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
Now, first of all, the cost to install a carpet is going to average around $1,600, with most homeowners paying $32 to $100 per square yard. So to get a rough idea of how much carpeting you need, you want to measure the room in feet, multiply the length times the width and divide it by eight to get the yardage that you need.
Now, if you’re wondering why we say to divide by eight when there’s clearly nine square feet in a square yard, this trick is going to allow you to have just the right amount of waste.
TOM: Exactly. Now, there are other nuances to consider, like stairs or rooms that have odd angles, as well as the width of the carpet you choose. Because carpeting is going to be available in different width rolls, so you’re definitely going to want to have your pro make the final measurement before it’s ordered. But this trick will definitely get you in the ballpark.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, next, you want to consider the quality of the carpeting as there’s a big range. You’ve got cotton, nylon or polyester. And that could run $32 to $60 a square yard. But it’s not going to be as durable as wool, which could run well up to $100 a square yard. But if you’re only in the house for a short amount of time or it’s in a room that’s not going to get a ton of daily use, you can save some money and still have a beautiful floor by purchasing carpeting from the lower end of that price spectrum.
TOM: Now, finally, don’t undermine your new carpet with bad padding. I think too many times it’s the last and perhaps the least thought-about decision in the carpet-buying process. But quality padding is important to your carpet’s performance and longevity and frankly, your comfort. In fact, if you don’t follow the carpet manufacturer’s padding guidelines, you might actually void the carpet’s warranty.
So, there’s at least a half-dozen types of padding. You want to make sure you check with the carpet manufacturer. Find out what type is recommended for the particular carpet you’ve selected.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project 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’ve got Darren in Iowa on the line. What can we do for you today?
DARREN: I have a problem with my basement walls. They’re a poured concrete wall. And in the wintertime, I get a thick frost on the inside of the basement wall, on the area that’s not underground, per se.
TOM: OK. So what’s happening is you have warm, moist air inside your basement striking a very cold, concrete surface condensing and freezing. The solution is to add basement-wall insulation.
Now, there is a specific type of insulation that’s designed to cover those poured-concrete basement walls. It’s like a fiberglass batt that’s surrounded in a reflective, foil Mylar kind of covering. It’s pretty easy to install and that will stop that from happening. Because once you have the warm fiberglass across that wall on the inside, you’ll no longer have that thermal contact between the moisture in the air and the chilly basement wall that’s causing it to freeze and crust over.
DARREN: OK. Would you put a vapor barrier in between? A thick plastic, per se?
TOM: Nope. Just put the insulation on and you’ll be good to go.
DARREN: OK. Will the same suggestion be correct to do if we’re going to fur (ph) the basement out later?
TOM: Yes. And the other suggestion I would make is to reduce the amount of moisture that could possibly be getting into those walls from the outside – is to improve your drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. And that means making sure your gutters are clear, the downspouts are extended well away from the house and the soil slopes away from that wall, as well. OK?
DARREN: Excellent. Well, I sure appreciate your help.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Remember, you can reach us anytime, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home repair or your home improvement question.
Well, now that we’re in the heating season, are you noticing cracks or holes in your walls that seem to open up out of nowhere? You know, it happens a lot in the wintertime as those walls dry and shrink. We’re going to have some tips to help make repairs once and for all, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Pick up the phone, call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Yeah. Give us a call. Let us know how we can help you out this holiday time of year. We know you’re all busy out there. You’re probably doing a lot of cooking this time of year, which brings up a scary statistic. This time of year, there’s so many home fires and the primary cause of these home fires and home fire injuries is cooking.
Well, we’ve got a solution up for grabs this hour. We’ve got the First Alert Home Safety Kit. And that includes a kitchen fire extinguisher. It’s really easy to use. It’s designed specifically to fight flammable liquids and electrical fires, which are the type that occur in the kitchen during cooking incidents. And it’s small enough to fit in a kitchen cabinet or mount unobtrusively on the wall; you can kind of hide it away. It’s a very sleek design, so you’re not even going to notice it’s there but you’re going to want to know exactly where it is.
We’ve also got in the kit, which is valued at $145, smoke and carbon-monoxide and combo alarms. And all of them have a 10-year battery, so no longer remembering or forgetting, rather, to change out those batteries. It’s going to stay good for 10 years.
So it’s definitely a great prize pack for this time of year but for all year long, as well. So give us a call. Let us know what you are working on and get your chance to win.
Now we’ve got Gloria on the line. What’s going on at your money pit?
GLORIA: Well, don’t pick a bad contractor, I’ll tell you that. I didn’t understand the difference between general contractors and contractors. And I picked somebody to do my home renovation back about 10 years ago that – he didn’t have anybody that was his. He was just like an orchestra conductor and then, of course, you’ve got the middle man, see. But the worst news of all was they did a really bad job.
I know something about houses. I grew up in a house that was built by my family. And I told them exactly what to do. I had to go to work, right? And when I came back, the main thing I saw wrong was I have a gable on the top, on the front of the two-story house with a third floor that’s just attic. But there’s a gable.
GLORIA: The gable is louvered.
GLORIA: So there’s no reason to put vents in that louvered gable except, I’m figuring, he must have got paid by the number of vents he put in. And now, I have contractors telling me both ways – and I’m going to take your way as the tie-breaker. Some are saying leave it; other ones are saying, “No, it’s bad. It’s counterproductive.”
And what they’re suggesting is that I have somebody get up there and measure the OD (ph) on it and come down and get some corners, plywood, paint it white and cut it to size and take it back up there and nail it in place. What do you say?
TOM: Alright. So, first of all, they did not give you bad advice by putting a gable vent in a gable. Frankly, that is the very common and most popular thing to do.
Now, today, however, there is – there are other more, perhaps, efficient ways to vent that attic space. Do you have soffit vents and a ridge vent on this house? Soffit vents would be at the overhang and a ridge vent would be down the peak of the roof. The entire peak of the roof would be a vent. Do you have that or not?
GLORIA: Yep. Yeah.
Well, if you have a complete ridge vent and you have a fully open soffit – and I think – I mean I want to be very clear about this. The soffit has to be all the way open the whole way down. The ridge vent has to be all the way open the whole way down. We’re not talking about roof vents, which are the square ones that are cut in like holes. If it’s fully open on both the soffit and the ridge, then you can block off that vent from the back side. I would just put a piece of foam …
GLORIA: Well, it’s not. I just had the little rectangular vent.
TOM: OK. Well, then, you’re OK. Leave them alone. Then you’re going to probably need that additional ventilation.
See, if your attic is properly ventilated and it’s an unfinished attic, I’m presuming, it should always be the same temperature as the outside. It should be at ambient temperature.
TOM: So, don’t worry about that vent. If somebody’s trying to tell you you don’t need it, only if you have ridge and soffit vents would you not use it. Because that’s only when – that’s when you get an interruption of the airflow. Because with the ridge-and-soffit-vent system, the air pushes at the soffits, rides under the roof sheathing and out the ridge. And sometimes, you get turbulence when you have gable vents on top of that. But if that’s not what you have, you’re perfect the way it is.
GLORIA: Oh. Thank you. Thank you.
GLORIA: One in a row today. I’ve had a bad day. You just made it. Thank you so much.
TOM: Oh, well, there you go. We’re glad we could help you out, Gloria. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
So easy to get confused when you’re talking to new contractors. And unfortunately, you know, they’re in the business of selling you their services. And they don’t always have your best intentions when they give you some of this advice. Maybe they’re just looking for some work and it sounds like that might have been what was going on here with Gloria. So, glad we were able to get her straightened out.
Well, if you notice cracks or holes in your wall that might not have been there before, this is pretty typical, especially once the heating system really gets going. Because the walls, frankly, dry out and they shrink. A lot of folks don’t realize how much movement happens to those walls but it’s quite a bit. And if you’ve got a crack in the wall, you’re going to see it open and close and open and close throughout the year. But at this time of year, it’s usually wide open.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, here’s a really good way to handle both of these issues.
First of all, we’re talking about nail pops. Now, this is going to result from a nail that’s loosened up and then starts backing its way out of the drywall. You’ve got to simply tap it back in and then drive a new nail right next to it. But you have to make sure that you cover the head of the old nail with the head of the new nail. That sort of drives it back in and really keeps it there. And then spackle over the area smooth, allow it to dry really well, sand and then touch up with paint. And you’ll never even know that that was there.
TOM: Now, if you do have a crack, the best way to fix that is to use strong, perforated drywall tape. This kind of tape has large squares. Almost looks like a bit of netting. You want to apply this first to bridge the gap in the crack. You want to smooth some spackle over that tape, over that whole crack. And once the area is dry, it can be sanded and then repainted.
Now, mind you, when you put the spackle on, you’re best to do two or three thin coats rather than one big one. And then sand it so that it’s nice and smooth when it’s all finished. And when you do prime it, which is important before you repaint, make sure you use a flat paint on the surface, because there’ll be a bit of a bulge there. But if you use flat paint, it won’t show that badly.
LESLIE: The Money Pit is presented by HomeAdvisor.com. Never worry about overpaying for a job. Use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others have paid for similar projects. It’s all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.
Coming up, have you had leftovers sitting around so long that they’ve left a foul smell in the fridge? Well, we’re going to have some tips to freshen up your refrigerator this holiday season, when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
Are you ready for a basement makeover you can enjoy all winter long? HomeAdvisor can instantly match you with the right pro for the job for free.
LESLIE: Don’t forget to post your question at MoneyPit.com, just like Dustin in Bonita Springs, Florida did. Now, Dustin writes: “I just bought a new range and now my kitchen appliances are looking a little tired even though they’ve got plenty of use left in them. Is it possible to paint major appliances?”
TOM: Sure. Why not? I mean most folks are used to painting walls and doors and trim but you certainly can paint appliances. And in fact, there is a special type of paint that that works very well with. It’s an epoxy-based finish.
Now, the thing is you can’t paint them in place. You usually have to take them out. If it’s the refrigerator, for example, you need to take the handles off the refrigerator. And it all does come off pretty easily. And of course, you’re going to have to empty it because it’s going to have to be down for a couple of days.
But when you clean the outside surface very well and then if you use the epoxy spray paint, put on at least two thin coats. The thing you’ll find with epoxy is it takes forever to dry. A solid 24 hours is not unusual. But I also find that the longer the finish takes to dry, the harder the finish is.
And this definitely applies to epoxy appliance paint. It really does a good job of going on there. You don’t see any kind of spray marks or brush marks, of course. It sits on it very nicely and it’s going to be almost like a professional finish.
Now, you can also change the color. There’s some new finishes that are out now that are like – one’s called “liquid stainless steel.” So if you want to take something that is right now just, say, white and you want to make it into a stainless color, you can do that.
But you absolutely can paint your appliances. It just takes a bit of patience and a really good prep job. Because if you skip those prep steps, then the paint’s not going to stick and that could get ugly.
LESLIE: Yeah. That’s the biggest part of painting is prep. So take care to do that right, Dustin, and you’ll have some new-looking appliances to match that snazzy, new range.
TOM: Well, now is the week when leftovers start to take over your fridge. It’s a good time to clean out and freshen up this hard-working appliance before that happens. Leslie has seen her share of leftovers left too long and has some tips to freshen the fridge, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Yeah, there is definitely an expiration date to those leftovers. And if you miss it, it’s going to stink up big time.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it can really do a number on the fridge, so you’ve got to tend to that refrigerator every now and then. And if you don’t, those stinky stinks are going to stick around for quite some time. You know, that insulating material inside your fridge is made of foam. And once that foam absorbs some foul odors, there’s really no way to get rid of them. We’ve seen some refrigerators that work perfectly well just need to be tossed to the curb, because of those forgotten leftovers that stink up the inside.
So, get in the habit of cleaning out that refrigerator fairly often. If you’ve got a spill in there, clean it up immediately. Every week, toss those leftovers. Check those old condiments. Make sure everything is before its expiration date. Those are dated for a reason. Because when they go bad, they can start to get really funky.
Now, if you want a fresh-smelling refrigerator, there’s really an easy trick. Empty the fridge, clean all the surfaces with a solution of water and baking soda. Then soak a paper towel with vanilla extract and leave it in the fridge overnight. Come morning time, that fridge is going to smell delicious. I promise you, you’re going to want to bake cookies; it smells so good.
But it’s really a habit of maintenance. Take care of the fridge so it can take care of you.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. Coming up next time on the program, if you’re tired of shoveling after every storm, a snow blower can do that shoveling for you. But they’re not a one-size-fits-all purchase. We’re going to teach you how to choose the best snow blower for the job, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2019 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.)