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: What are you working on this beautiful spring weekend? If it’s your residence, your dwelling, your ground, you’re in accurately the liberty residence because that’s what we do. What a co-occurrence. Give us a call right now. We’d love to help you take on your next home progress assignment at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, are you itching to get the plot germinating but wondering what you should start to plant now? We’re going to have some gratuities on a few weeds that are suited for early-summer planting and late-summer eating, exactly ahead.
LESLIE: And also onward, warm climate brought about by the bugs, including the kind that like to eat your house, like termites. You know, they can certainly do a lot of damage but we’re going to tell you how to recognise them, hopefully, before that happens.
TOM: But first, we want to hear from you. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888 -6 66 -3 974. If you do, we’re giving away an shocking reward that can help you maintain your residence all time long.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got, new from RYOBI, the SMART TREK Self-Propelled Cordless Mower. Now, the RYOBI SMART TREK features gas-like power. It’s self-propelled technology that’s going to adapt to your pace , not you adapting to the mower’s pace. And it truly does have gas-like power.
It’s available at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com for 449 bucks. But we have one to give away today to a very lucky listener, right here at The Money Pit.
TOM: Very exciting. Give us a call, right now, with your residence improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Renee, you’ve came The Money Pit. How can we are contributing to today?
RENEE: My question is concerning my sump spout. Plainly, a sump pump in the vault. And for a very long time- for several months, I had not been able to heard the sump spout going on. A few weeks- a few months ago, when it was raining very hard, I went down to the basement to see why the sump run wasn’t kicking on and it was the well was filled with water. So, I became onward and I drained the water out by bucketing- making buckets of this, spewing containers of water out until I went down to see where the bullet was. And it was better wouldn’t come on. So I tapped the bullet and eventually, when the spray rose, it did kick on again.
But then now I’m hearing this babble racket in my kitchen-sink piping. And I want to know why.
TOM: Where is the sump pump discharging? Is it exhausting into this cellar sag?
RENEE: The sump spout discharges- it’s connected to the outside sewer strand. And that’s- I guess that sewer- the line is connected to the basement- the kitchen sink.
TOM: OK. So first of all, it has to go through a bait. If it doesn’t go through a capture, you are able come sewage gas that comes back into the basement. So that’s the first thing.
Secondly, the gurgling might just- because it doesn’t have enough water in the sump itself. You’re probably gathering a lot of air in there.
And thirdly, because your sump pump was filling up when you had heavy rain, the causes of that liquid is easily within your ability to repair and stop. Generally, when your sump spout fills up after a heavy rain, it’s because your sewers are clogged or overflowing or your downspouts are not discharging away from the foundation. Or the grunge around the house is not sloping away from the outside walls. That’s what causes problems with water filling up in cellars and fills in a kind- because that outside face sewage is just not set up right.
So I would focus on improving your exterior drainage. There’s a great article on MoneyPit.com about how to solve wet vaults. A slew of that advice applies to this. And then you’ll find that the sump pump is gonna have to run that much less.
RENEE: OK. That’s great news.
TOM: Renee, thanks so much better for scream us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bill in Michigan is on the line. How can we help you today?
BILL: My wife and I constructed a mansion about 10 years ago and we have a 2-car attached garage. And their own problems is is that the flooring of our garage is not level. And so, when ocean sags off the car from rainfall or more particularly, ice and blizzard, it throws off onto the garage floor and starts to go in different low smudges on the floor.
BILL: And a lot of it disappears directly towards the wall of our house.
BILL: So I’m wondering if there’s anything we can do to correct that trouble without having to remove the floor and replace it.
LESLIE: Can you use something like Abatron or Abocast- I remember which one is the leveling deepened- but to building and strengthening more on one side? Or will that only automatically try to go flat?
TOM: I’m thinking, Leslie, it’s so much work to be able to deal with a surface this big, to try to get it level again.
I actually envision, Bill, it’s frankly going to be easier to tear out the old-fashioned flooring. That might seem extreme but you may be surprised that with the right tool, like a jackhammer, you can have your entire storey torn out in a couple of hours. It undermines up certainly easily. And then you can suitably level it, accurately reinforce it and then repour it and be done.
BILL: I was afraid you were going to suggest that. Because the problem is is the floor is sitting on precast concrete radiations, because we have a spare storage space underneath the garage. And so the irrigate trickles down there.
TOM: Ah. Oh, man.
BILL: So, I could do that, I guess, but I don’t know the likelihood of being able to take cement off of those precast ...
TOM: Yeah, that does- no, that dramatically- I was thinking it’d be over fill dirt like every other one.
TOM: But no, that does manufacture it a great deal harder. So I guess you are going to have to look into a floor-leveling compound for this. And there’s a variety of commodities out there that this can work with. But the key is is it’s not just more concrete; it’s a produce that’s written specifically to stick to the existing concrete floor.
TOM: Because you have the full temperature fluctuate there in Michigan and if you don’t have good adhesion, you’re undoubtedly going to have that second layer chip off. So, it can be done. It’s a bit of a pain in the neck but it certainly can be done.
BILL: Would you intimate a material contractor? Do you think they would be familiar with the options there?
TOM: You may be better off having a pro make love, because you really have to set some words to get this level just right. And then you should be eliminated as you go so that it drains (inaudible).
BILL: Oh, how much could you put on top of a flooring that I described?
TOM: Oh, you could positioned 2 or 3 inches, easily.
BILL: OK. OK. I increase that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bill. Good blessing with that activity. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are aria to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. But you can also reach us at 888 -MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to encounter top-rated, neighbourhood dwelling improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: And only ahead, are you itching to get your garden germinating but wondering what you should start to plant now? We’re going to have some tips on a few cases bushes that are suited for early-summer planting and late-summer munching, really ahead.
Making good residences better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
You are listening to The Money Pit, which is was put forward by HomeAdvisor.com. Never worry about overpaying for a errand. Only use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others pay off a similar assignment. It’s all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.
And remember, while you’re online, ability on over to MoneyPit.com where you can post your questions in the Community section. You can also be used give us a ask with whatever it is you are working on, right here, at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll give you a hand. And hey, however you ask your question with us on the breeze, you’ve got a chance to win a great prize. And this is really the excellent summertime giveaway.
We’ve get up for grabs the RYOBI 40 -Volt Lithium 20-Inch SMART TREK Self-Propelled Cordless Mower. That’s right. I said self-propelled. So, it’s going to adapt to how you walk along, with the SMART TREK technology. So if you’re walking sluggish, it’s going to walk at your speed. If you’re walking swiftly, same lot. It’s not going to drag you across your ground. And even though it is battery-powered, you get the full gas-power feel. It’s really a great choice.
It’s worth 449 horses. If you want to check it out, you can see it at Home Depot and at HomeDepot.com.
TOM: We’ve got one going out to one luck listener. Make that you. Pick up the telephone, give us a order, right now, with your dwelling better question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Steve in Illinois, you’ve get The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STEVE: Looked outside this year and we’ve got a building that was built in 1929. It’s got a porch above the porch down below. And on the exposed joists, those carpenter bees have framed some flaws in there. And it- we’re looking for a course to eliminate the carpenter bees and not necessarily poison everything in the neighborhood.
LESLIE: Well, part of what they’re doing is - you are familiar, they really enjoy eating this natural wood. So they’re coming there because you’ve got something tasty to offer up. And it turns out that they love to endure these holes that are perfectly 3/8 -inches round.
So, you can do a couple of things. You can have it given by a pest professional and then seal up those pits and that should do the trick. But you’re right: substances are use and that might not be what you have in mind.
The other thing is you can cover that or change that joist perfectly- or whatever the patronize is- with a synthetic wood or a composite that looks like wood but it’s not actually timber. It is likely to be extruded PVC, it is able to recycled plastics. This path, it looks like wood; it’s doing the same job that the lumber case was. However, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, termites, whatever pests like to eat a natural informant as lumber, they’re going to try it, they’re not going to get into it and they’re going to be really confused and fly away and find somewhere else to eat.
STEVE: Yeah, that sounds like an option. Yeah, I was wondering if there was something that- I assume that painting it has not been able to make a difference. I didn’t know if there was something that could be topically applicable in it that would be environmentally friendly and keep the bees out.
LESLIE: Unh-unh. I’ve had them eat through the decorated grove that compiles up my entire screened-in porch. And then what happens is they bore a hole but they won’t bore all the way through. They’ll bore into the wood, even if it’s just a 1x6 or whatever. They found to stand into it and then bore through the grove itself and lay their eggs in there.
STEVE: OK. And it- yeah, it’s amazing. It looks like somebody got out with a instruct and taught the hole in there.
LESLIE: It’s precisely bizarre. It’s perfect how they do it.
STEVE: So, basically, the options, mostly, are having someone come out and treat it or either submerge or converting the material that’s there.
LESLIE: Yeah, reforming material is typically the best bet since they were won’t eat it. And then, as an added benefit, it doesn’t require any upkeep except the periodic cleanup. You’re not going to be painting it all the time. It really is a win-win situation.
STEVE: OK. Yeah, I’ll look into that. I’ve got a contractor that’s got to come out regardles, so I’ll look into both options. But it sounds like it- I’d prefer something that wouldn’t have to do with pesticides but ...
TOM: Steve, I hope that takes care of those carpenter bees once and for all. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Deb in Wyoming, you’ve came The Money Pit. How is impossible to help you today?
DEB: Yeah, I’ve got some trouble with an area of grass right in the midst of my ground. It’s probably 20 x20.
LESLIE: The yard? Or the problem area?
DEB: The difficulty range is probably 20 x20.
LESLIE: OK. That’s a big problem.
DEB: Yeah. And the lawn is pretty big and it thrives actually good the whole way around such areas. And it simply- it’ll grow maybe an inch or two and then it kind of heads out and never really get dark-green. We leant additional water on it and we fertilize it and aerate it, just like the rest of the lawn, but it only doesn’t look good. And seems funny that this organization is time in one area.
LESLIE: Well, it could be that that area, for whatever reason, has a different pH balance than the other parts of your lawn itself. And hence that the grain that you’re utilizing is reacting differently to the soil than the other areas.
So, you might want to take a couple of soil samples from the question expanse and have those experimented. Sometimes, the dwelling centers sell hardly kits. Sometimes, you might have to contact your neighbourhood construct bureau to find out who you can do that with. But you can have a soil test done pretty easily and inexpensively.
And formerly you know exactly what’s going on with the soil in this area, I mean that could be instructing to have this information. Because you could be using the mistaken grain, you could be using the erroneous fertilizer. That will tell you exactly what type of fertilizer, when, how to sea it. That’s really the key now and that should clear up a lot of this problem.
DEB: OK. That like the sound of that. I’ll sure give it a try.
TOM: Deb, I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, there are lots of early-summer veggies to choose from, like turnips and beets and radishes and carrots and onions, that are great for early-summer planting. If that’s on your to-do list, it’s best to start with the small seedlings for those working with the shorter changing seasons. Now, some of these seed crops need 90 epoches for maturity but others, like the winter varieties of radishes, they’re ready to begin harvesting in 22 days from seeding. So, you are able to basically eating them in less than a month.
LESLIE: That’s really fast and kind of amazing.
Now that you’ve got a bunch of fresh veggies, well, what are you going to do with them? You can also be used contributed them to leafy salad speck that are also perfect for early-summer germinating, like Swiss chard, arugula and needle lettuce.
And hey, good story: if you like snow peas and you want to add them to a salad, go right ahead and stretch them in your yard. They are excellent for growing in this type of weather. And even though we’re not hoping for any wintertime climate anytime soon, snow peas change in the snow.
TOM: How about that? For more details, check out “Green Goodness: 12 Veggies You Can Plant Right Now” on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Tony in North Carolina is on the line with a water-heating question. What can we do for you today?
TONY: My wife and I are in the process of- I suspect we’re trying to gather as much datum as we can. About to build another home in the next few months and we very much are interested in some of the ENERGY STAR features that we are- have been seeing.
Just wondering, is it feasible for us- there’s only four of us in their own homes- to install the tankless water heater or would we be squandering money there?
TOM: A tankless irrigate heater is an excellent option for a family of four or even more. You buy the tankless water heater based on the number of bathrooms in the chamber of representatives. And the advantage is that you’re simply applying it to heat the sea as you need it. A cistern liquid heater maintenances all of that water red-hot, 24 -7, whether you’re exploiting it or not. A tankless liquid heater attacks on challenge and hots irrigate as it delivers across its heat exchanger, basically. So I do think that a tankless liquid heater sounds like a good engineering in order to be allowed to consider.
And how perfect that you’re building a dwelling now and can strategy it. One of the more common accusations we get- that you might want to consider, Tony- is parties complain that it takes too long for their liquid to get hot in the morning. So, the reason that happens is because the sea heater is very far away from the lavatory. That is a condition that would continue even with a tankless but the advantage is that since the tankless spray heaters are very small and can also be direct-vented through the exterior siding, that you could actually have the ocean heater more centrally located to the lavatories. So that when you do turn the ocean on in the morning, you’re not waiting very long for that irrigate to actually get there.
TONY: OK. I thank you so much for it.
LESLIE: Now we’re chief on over to Washington State where Sabrina is dealing with some grout that’s cracking up. And it’s not roaring; it’s falling apart. Tell us what’s going on.
SABRINA: So I had some grout set fairly some time ago. And they’re about 18 -inch tile sections. And what I’m detecting now is there are several residence- it’s kind of happening all over- where the grout is actually cracking. And I’m not sure what to do.
TOM: So, is it a penalize cracking or is it a big crack?
SABRINA: The grout is cracking and now some of the tile article are cracking.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem. It resonates to me like the tile was not put down on a locate that was solid enough. When you use a big tile like that, you need to have a really strong base. So you have to have a mud base or you have to have a tile locate. And you are able even have to have an expansion material underneath that so that you don’t get this kind of cracking. If you don’t get good substantiate across an 18 -inch tile and you get a little bit of movement in the floor, it cracks very quickly.
So, I think this- at this spot, it’s going to be something you’re going to have to manage. And if it gets really bad, you’re going to end up making those tiles out and supplanting them. It’s very hard to recover from this when the tile hassle was potentially not done right to begin with.
SABRINA: Yeah. And I was wondering if it has anything to do with- I’ve heard a couple of beings "re trying to tell me" the underlayment- and maybe you said that- the underlayment wasn’t procured down properly or whatnot.
TOM: It wasn’t strong enough, right. It wasn’t strong enough. You identify, if there’s more- if there’s flex in the storey, the tile is not going to bend, it’s going to crack. And so that’s why the tile- what’s under that tile has to be really solid. With a- bigger the tile, the wider the tile, the little forgiving it is. If you settled mosaic down, you know, it can move the working day long and you’re never going to see those sounds. But when you positioned a big, 18 -inch square tile down, it’s got nowhere to go.
SABRINA: It’s got nowhere to go.
SABRINA: And what is your recommendation for my- for correcting it?
TOM: Unfortunately, there’s no easy recommendation. If the tile project was done wrong to begin with, there’s nothing I can tell you to do that’s going to fix it at this top in time. It’s really going to be something that you’re going to have to condone and eventually, you’re going to end up replacing them. And this time, you’re going to do the suitable place with putting the flooring down.
How long have these tiles been down?
SABRINA: About five years.
TOM: I was going to say, whoever threw them down didn’t really do the job freedom. You’re going to end up having to tear it out and do it again.
SABRINA: That’s OK. Well, thank you, guys. I just wanted to talk to some professionals. And I heard your show and I really appreciate you guys giving me the advice.
LESLIE: You are adjusted to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online.
Hey, if you’ve been experiencing a beautiful garden-variety and landscape but you’re noticing that you’re not the only one, you could be dealing with wildlife that’s making a snack out of your ground. We’re going to have some tips on a natural solution to keep them away, after this.
TOM: Making good residences better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, if you’ve been enjoying a beautiful garden and landscape but you’ve noticed that you’re not the only one, you might be dealing with wildlife who’s making a snack out of your yard.
TOM: Well, whether it’s rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks or my own personal nemesis, deer- yes, that’s right, I’m at war with Bambi- there’s a mixture that can control these and many more.
LESLIE: With us to talk about that is lawn-and-garden care expert Jim Wood from Bonide, a company that’s been helping homeowners save wildlife at bay now for over 90 years.
JIM: Hi, Leslie. Hi, Tom. Thank you for having me.
TOM: This can be really annoying. You think you’ve done everything right and you’re flourishing a beautiful scenery or a beautiful garden, you wake up one morning or you come home one nighttime from creation and you find out that some of your beautiful return has been snipped at ground level by some of the neighbourhood wildlife. You must get a lot of questions about that at Bonide.
JIM: Yes, we do. And we have a very large assortment of repellents that we have available for customers. But Repels-All Animal Repellent is by far our best seller, as it assures over 15 different animal pests.
TOM: Interesting. So, this particular product naturally repels them? What is it about the produce that stirs these swine want to stay away?
JIM: Well, it’s reached with all-natural ingredients. And what it does, Tom, is it creates a negative tendernes with the animal. The animal does a bad response to either the smell, the savour or the irritation.
JIM: That’s the style that commodity employs. So it was working on all three abilities: bouquet, flavour and irritation.
TOM: Then formerly they get sort of a sense of that and know they don’t want to go back to it, do they generally stay away or is it something that you have to do over and over again?
JIM: It will have to be reapplied about every two months. It’s rain-fast formerly baked and it’ll last up to two months. So they’ll need to procreate some reapplications.
And the other thing you need to realize- individual consumers need to realize- is as bushes thrive- let’s say you scattered the seed in late April. And as that weed germinates through the month of May, understand the brand-new raise doesn’t have any spray on it. So you have to come back and spray that brand-new growth, as well.
LESLIE: Jim, do you think that the animals get used to that taste or that smell of a product and then maybe you shouldn’t be using the same product again and again, because they do develop that same flavor for it? Or can you echo the concoction?
JIM: Leslie, the ideal scenario is to change up the repellings that "youre using" so animals don’t get accustomed to the one experience, one smell, one irritation. If homeowners continue to use the same commodity month in, month out, the animals will get used to it and they’ll exactly mostly manipulate right through it. So the ideal scenario is to change up the repellings that the homeowner uses.
They can use Repels-All- one application- followed up with Bonide’s Animal Repellent, which is a totally different active ingredient and then go back the next time, which would be the third application - you can prepare that with Repels-All. So, yes, it emphatically is a benefit to switch up your animal-repellent concoctions that you use.
LESLIE: So you really should be applying every month or so as the growth in season is happening.
JIM: Yes, I is undoubtedly agree with that. And I would also have indicated that if they get a heavy rainstorm, it has not been able to be a bad notion to reapply after that, as well.
TOM: We’re talking to Jim Wood- he is a lawn-care expert with Bonide- about how to keep some wildlife at bay.
And Jim, what about the type of bush you’re trying to keep this wildlife away from? Does it matter if it’s a vegetable or say, a undergrowth or your lawn? Time this commodity undertaking equally well on all of those types of floras? Is there any concern about, say, putting it on vegetables that would be harvested?
JIM: I’m glad you fetched that up because that is a critical point with Repels-All. Excellent item for apply on shrubbery, trees, perennials, flowers, et cetera, et cetera. Nonetheless, the homeowner should not apply Repels-All immediately to an palatable. So, vegetables and fruits, happens like that, no.
However, you can use either the liquid or the granular copy as a perimeter therapy around those flowers that are being chewed by a targeted animal you want to control.
TOM: Or doing the outside of it and not on the flower- or the vegetable, in such cases- itself.
Now, is this a concentrate? Do you have to mix it up? Or how is it applied?
JIM: Well, Repels-All comes in liquid and granular. In the liquid copy, we have a hose-end, we also have a concentrate that prepares 2 gallons of scatter and then we have a ready-to-use quart container. Then "were having" three sizes of a granular edition. So, the smallest size does up to about 1,000 square foot and then the 6-pound pocket does 5,000 square feet.
TOM: And I’m looking at the list now of all the various the different types of swine that it fights and it includes deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, skunks, fledglings, armadillos and more. Can’t be mentioned that I’ve ever had a problem with an armadillo but those deer, they just love my bushes.
JIM: Oh, this’ll clearly help keep them away.
TOM: Alright. Jim Wood from Bonide, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you’d like to learn more about Repels-All, brain on over to Bonide.com. That’s B-o-n-i-d-e.com.
JIM: Thank you, Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Still to come, can you spot rot? Well, maybe not. Now, if it’s termites that have taken up residence instead, you could be mistaken. We’re going to tell you the difference and what the hell is do about both, after this.
TOM: Where residence answers live, welcome to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888 -MONEY-PIT. We’re going to help you with all the things you are working on around your money oppose. And 888 -MONEY-PIT was being submitted by HomeAdvisor. You can get instantly matched with top-rated pros for any home project and record appointments online, all for free.
TOM: Give us a call right now. We’ll not only answer your home progress question but we’ll toss your reputation in The Money Pit hard hat because, this hour, we’re giving away the RYOBI 40 -Volt Lithium SMART TREK Self-Propelled Cordless Mower.
This is a stupendous mower. It’s worth 449 horses. Accessible at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com. It’s get SMART TREK technology, which matches your tempo. It’s got gas-like power, cordless amenity , no messy fumes and oil and gas and maintenance associated with a gas superpower. It gets the job done without any of that trash. And I like the bagger intend. It’s easy-lift. So, single action. You face-lift it right up in between the holds, quit it right back up. Pretty simple.
The RYOBI SMART TREK Self-Propelled Cordless Mower is going out to one caller paint at random. Make that you. Call us, right now, with your residence better question at 888 -6 66 -3 974.
LESLIE: Alan in Idaho is on the line with a fissure in a foundation. Tell us what’s going on at your coin pit.
ALAN: You know, when I first bought the chamber of representatives, a contractor chum of mine said it was no big deal and he gave me some epoxy. Said to drill some gap in it and squirt it in there until it mushed out all the way through and then just go ahead and smooth it off. Well, I didn’t seal it but it’s cracked right again beside it.
TOM: OK. So you have a crack in the foundation that you filled with epoxy and it’s continuing to crack. Is that the action?
TOM: How aged is your house?
ALAN: Sixty-seven is when it was built.
TOM: Alright. So it’s concrete-block wall or cinderblock wall, chasten?
ALAN: It’s concrete.
TOM: Now, do you have any drainage questions around the house?
ALAN: Not that I know of.
TOM: Have you had any moisture in the vault or clues of that?
ALAN: The only time I’ve ever had any moisture in the vault is a previous owned instructed a gap in the storey and ran away the condensate pump through the air conditioner into the floor.
TOM: Alright. That’s not the various kinds of sweat we’re concerned about. The rationale I would like to request that question is why there is just like your wall is a little unstable and that it’s continuing to move. And the first occasion to do when that happens- if it’s not a serious crack , not one where the wall is being removed- is to make sure that your grading and your drainage case are absolutely letter-perfect. Because the more sea that drenches around the outside of that house, the more spray that comes off gutters and gets discharged against the wall, the weaker that footing gets.
It’s kind of like this: when it’s rainy and "youre walking" across a field, you sink into the mud because wet dirt is not as strong as baked grime. So we want to try to keep the dirt around your room- and specifically, under your footing- as cool as is practicable. So sewage ascendancy is important.
Now, beyond that, if this is just sort of a hairline rift that’s forming- is that what we’re talking about here?
ALAN: Yeah, yeah, it is. Well, the original one was a moderately good-sized fissure but ...
TOM: Well, what I would do if it’s a hairline sound is I would fill it with silicone caulk, because it will expand and sicken and won’t- epoxy is pretty rigid if it’s going to break and sound through it. So I would just load it with silicone caulk; that will merely keep out some moisture and drafts from coming through it.
ALAN: Alright. And now, if I dig down- I know it doesn’t go clear to the footing because I’ve been down that far. I mine down to see how far it went down. And so, dig down and indicate perhaps tarring it up below grade?
TOM: I wouldn’t go through all that. I convey right now, it’s- I would simply improve the sewage problems and seal the sound from the inside where you can.
TOM: Alright? I don’t think it’s going to really add to it to tar up the whole foundation. You don’t seem to have any major moisture problem here, so we’re just trying to deal with the drafts and any potential leakage in the future.
Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’ve noticed that some of the wood surfaces around your live examine a bit, say, off and then maybe you touch them or you poke at them and you was of the view that the wood pretty much is no longer there, how do you know if what you’re seeing is lumber that’s rotted or wood that’s been damaged by bugs or maybe even both?
LESLIE: Well, injured lumber can shape your home’s exterior look aged, tattered and then it leads to deeper structural difficulties. Either way, the wood’s got to be restored whether that impairment is caused by insects or decomposition. But if it’s insects that are doing the attacking, you might also need to call in a pest professional to make sure that they are not going to come back and get it on all over again.
TOM: Now, if the lumber is rotted, it’s going to look spongy, kind of almost like cork. But if it’s been attacked by wood-destroying bugs, that damage will have a distinctly different pattern to it. Think about the reverberate of a tree: "youve had" the thin reverberates and then you have the thick peals. Now, the thin hoops are of the hard, sluggish wintertime proliferation of the tree. And the thick rings are the soft, rapidly summer growth.
Now, both carpenter ants and termites will gobble that softer summer raise and then they’ll leave that thin wintertime raise alone. So if you encounter a tree that looks like it’s kind of carved out based on those reverberates, you definitely are dealing with insects.
LESLIE: Yeah. Plus, termites are also going to leave dirt or sand behind, which they use to build these tunnels that keep the insect themselves protected while they go out and about and do all that munching away on your house.
Often, though, people will refer to rot damage as dry rot but that’s genuinely a misnomer, because dry rot is nothing more than rotted grove that’s bone-dry out.
TOM: Yeah. And rot needs sweat to develop. So, besides the repair, you do need to protect the timber with a proper finish to keep it from happening again.
LESLIE: Now we’ve get Laurel from Louisiana on the line with assist with a tiling job. How can we help you today?
LAUREL: My husband and I are building a new room right now and we’re putting ceramic tile in the front room and the kitchen. And it’s not "re going to be" closed, so we were wondering what was the best kind of sealant to put on that ceramic tile.
TOM: What various kinds of tile are you using that’s not closed? Are you trying to say that it’s not glazed?
LAUREL: No, it was glazed but I was told that you are required to put a sealant over it to stir the tile last longer?
TOM: No , absolutely no truth to the rumors. The glazing is abundance tough sufficient to protect the tile. What you- the sealant frequently refers to the grout. And if you seal the grout, it can help keep it cleanser and rebuff spray. And the grout sealants are silicone-based.
So, as long as you use a good grout sealant- and the time to do this is before you keep moving, you are familiar? Because once you keep moving and you start grinding some dirt in that tile, it becomes a lot harder to maintain. But if you seal the grout right after the tile is installed, that’s the best time to do it.
LAUREL: What would be the best kind to use?
TOM: A silicone one. A silicone-based grout sealant is what you’re looking for.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you want to look for one that applies in a style that you are comfortable with. Like if you’re doing a smaller grout line, you would look for one that roughly looks like a nail-polish brush or a rolling foam motor. With a floor tile, you could be looking at a 1/4 -inch to a 1/2-inch grout direction, so that’s easier to apply. But you want to make sure you have something that "youre feeling" comfy applying rigorously to the grouted areas.
LAUREL: OK. Alright. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Laurel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up, if you realise a crack, does it always spell structural hassles? We’re going to tell you how to sort the serious from the cosmetic, after this.
TOM: 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 label, right now, with your dwelling increase question at 888 -MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your residence job before you hire a pro and instantaneously work one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros for free.
LESLIE: And don’t forget, chief on over to MoneyPit.com where you are able to affix your question in The Money Pit’s Community section.
And I’ve got one now from Vicky. Now, Vicky is in Hawaii and she copies: “We’re about to interview two different contractors who are willing to build our room. What are important questions that I is well aware when he met with these contractors? We once is well aware they improve the whole house and it comes with everything, from the storeys to the roof, even appliances, kitchen, tub, electrical, plumbing, et cetera. I want to be able to compare the entreats equally.”
TOM: That’s a great question, Vicky, and the only room you’ll be authorized to liken those dictations evenly is if you have a very firm, well-developed placed of architectural specifications. Because all of those situations that you just mentioned, from the floorings to the roof to the appliances, they all need to be described in great detail in those specs. Because otherwise, how do you know what kind of insulation, for example, one make is offering over another?
I had a cousin that was building a home that was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and I had sent him the names of some insulation contractors. And I asked him how it proceeded. He said, “Well, one gave me the prices and they were dramatically different.” I said, “Something’s not right.” And I look back their estimates. He didn’t realize that one contractor was literally putting in half of the separation of the other contractor, because he didn’t have the right spec there or in such cases, I think that because it was a repair, maybe there was never one developed. But it’s time a good example of what can happen. So you need to have a really good set of specifications.
Also, you need to make sure you have an attorney look at the contract with the builder. You want to make sure it furnishes, for example, how many people are going to be on the website. Is he exerting subcontractors? Is he doing most of the wield himself? Find out what that crew experience "il go to" be like and make sure you provide for change dictates, because you’re always going to change your sentiment. And if you do that, you want to make sure there’s a mechanism for either lending or removing from the cost of the overall profession so you have not yet been astounds at the end.
LESLIE: And you know what, Vicky? Make sure you leave plenty of apartment for a guest room for Tom and I, so we can visit.
TOM: I’d love a good reason to go to Hawaii.
LESLIE: Who wouldn’t?
TOM: Well, if you spot a hit that’s happening in your wall or ceiling, does it spell deeper disturb? Not typically. And Leslie has the detailed information about how you are able to know, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, if you do notice a hit in your wall or in the ceiling, don’t panic. Although you’re going to feel concerned about it, you’ve got to realize that usually it’s a function of age and then, of course, movement of the house rather than a clue of a real structural problem.
Now, as it ages, the house is going to settle. A grassland patch or precisely spackle is going to fall out because it’s not filling into that hole and then nursing onto the gap. It’s too going to fall out as things are moving. So, the best way for a homeowner to fix it is to use a strong, perforated drywall tape.
Now, this videotape has large squares and it approximately looks a lot like a stiff netting. So, first, you want to apply this to bridge that divergence in the crack. Then go ahead and smooth a magnanimous sum of spackle or mud over it. And formerly that area is baked, you’ve got to sand it. You might have to do a pair of beds, sanding in between. You want to feather it out so it makes a nice, smooth transition from the new to the aged. And then is moving forward and repaint it.
And I dislike to say it but you might have to repaint the whole wall because, sometimes, time decorating a patch reaches that spot a bit more obvious. So, assess and experience. Try the small spot firstly and then probably travel paint that whole wall.
TOM: Yeah, that’s good admonition. Now, if you do be understood that a crack seems to be moving or is brand new- in other words, it wasn’t there last year and now it’s there and maybe it’s getting worse- that might be a different reason that’s compelling that. And when you be understood that, you might want to call in a pro, specially if it’s a groundwork crack.
Look, all residences have fissures of some sort. But the ones that are really active are the ones we want to try to stop.
Coming up next time on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about how to turn your patio or porch into a sizzling kitchen gap. It’s not quite as expensive as you might think. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House is going to stop by with suggestion for making this amazing addition to being able to your hall or yard.
But for now, that’s all the time we have. 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.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
( Copyright 2019 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this record or audio datum is also available are described in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Creation, Inc .)
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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you with your home improvement projects, your remodeling challenges, your DIY dilemma. If you don’t know what color paint to choose for your project, you don’t know where to start on building that beautiful deck you’ve been thinking about for your backyard, you’re thinking about redoing your kitchen or redoing the bath, all great topics for us to chat about. But help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, a beautiful, spacious home might be what you’re aspiring to own as those kiddies start to grow up. But for empty-nesters, trading in all that space for a very cozy, low-budget, tiny home may be the way to go. We’ll highlight the options and the benefits of this new trend, just ahead.
LESLIE: And are you looking to spruce up your yard without dropping too much cash? Well, you can start by fixing your sagging gate. Roger Cook, the landscape pro from TV’s This Old House, is here to help you get that job done just in time for spring.
TOM: And also ahead, April showers are on their way which means termites are, too. We’ve got some natural solutions for keeping them and their costly damage away from your home.
LESLIE: But first, we want to talk to you. What are you guys working on? Come on. Spring is here. It’s time to get outside and start figuring out what this house is going to look like for the amazing summer season that is just around the corner. So give us a call and let us give you a hand. We’re standing by.
TOM: That number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Bob in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
BOB: I have a brick stoop and a decorative – the decorative piece on the end, it’s a corner piece. It appears like it just fell off. So, it fell off and the concrete mix is attached to it; the “mortar,” I guess you call it.
BOB: And my question was: is there a way of kind of – I hate to say gluing it back on but is there some type of material or something I can purchase, where I can just put it on and it kind of put it in place and put something underneath to hold it in place so it won’t fall off again?
TOM: So what broke off was a chunk of the concrete?
BOB: Not a chunk, actually. A real piece.
BOB: But it’s like a decorative corner piece.
TOM: If I told you what material to use, could you recreate the corner piece?
TOM: So then what you’re going to need to do is you’re going to need to use a concrete adhesive. And QUIKRETE makes one. If you go to their website at QUIKRETE.com, you can find that type of product that would be able to essentially – it is, essentially, an adhesive and it’ll glue it back on.
And I will tell you this: after you get it glued on, if you wanted to cover the crack, there is a new product out from QUIKRETE called Re-Cap that’s basically designed to go on top of old concrete. And you wet it down and you clean it real good and then you could, basically, re-stucco this whole area. And with this Re-Cap product, it’ll stick to the old concrete really, really well and it’ll look like brand new.
BOB: Doesn’t sound hard. Great.
TOM: Nope. It’s made to be pretty easy.
BOB: Oh, listen, I appreciate you taking my call. Thank you very much. I’ll give it a try.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Jeannie, you’ve got The Money Pit. What are you working on?
JEANNIE: We moved into a house that had a big deck around the house. And so we ended up taking all the boards off because the old boards had never been treated with anything. So we put the boards and everything on and then we go – we went to Lowe’s, Home Depot and all that to find a stain that we could put – or a liquid that we could put on there that we wouldn’t have to do it every year. It was an oil-based stain.
JEANNIE: We put it on there and they said, “Well, you shouldn’t have to do it every year, you know. You should be able to go three or four years.” And every year, we’ve had to redo it because our deck has been in the sun all the time.
TOM: Yeah. Is that right? Hmm.
TOM: I’m not sure what product you’re using but there’s a wide variety, when it comes to stains, that you can choose from. And what we generally recommend is solid-color stain. And what most people get is semi-transparent stain.
So, what I would tell you to do is the next time, make sure you prep that deck really well, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But I would apply a solid-color, solvent-based stain, not water-base. Solvent-based stain. That has a lot of pigment in it. And what that will do is you will still see the grain but it will actually last a lot longer, in terms of how it stands up to that surface. Solid color, not semi-transparent. And I think you’ll see a significantly different result.
JEANNIE: OK. Well, I listened to you on Saturday morning and I was – thought, “Well, I’ll ask them.”
TOM: Alright. Well, we’re certainly glad you did and we hope that works out. Perfect time now to do that to the deck, get it ready for spring.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Missouri is on the line with a roofing question. What is going on at your house?
MIKE: OK. My problem is I have a stain on my ceiling, in my second-floor hallway, which is directly underneath my A/C unit. I went up in the attic, I look on the roof and I was thinking maybe it was blowing in the ridge vent. I looked all around the beams. I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t see any water but I noticed the A/C unit itself, it kind of seemed like there was condensation on it. And there were little rust spots on the corner.
MIKE: The house is only about eight years old.
TOM: What I think is going on is one of two possibilities. If it is condensation, it can happen in the winter but it has nothing to do with the A/C system.
TOM: When you go up in the attic, here’s a home inspector’s trick of the trade. I learned something in 20 years doing this.
TOM: When you look up on the underside of the roof sheathing, you’re going to see the nails that come through it from the shingles.
TOM: If the tips of those nails are rusty, then you have got a lot of vapor pressure, a lot of condensation and humidity that’s building up in the attic, forming that condensation and dripping down. That’s one way you can get water drips on the ceiling.
I think, however, it’s more likely, given its position, that this was either condensation or a condensate link that happened during the air-conditioning season. It may not even be active anymore. I’ve had condensation problems that I’ve seen happen because you had a particularly humid month and you’ve got a lot of moisture forming on ducts that actually leaked through the ceilings below. But when the conditions change, it goes away.
What I would tell you to do is to prime over that section of stain with something like KILZ. Because if you just paint over it, the stain will continue to come through. You’ve got to seal it. So I would prime it and paint over it now and see if it comes back. It might just have been a one-time thing. And I suspect it’s more likely it has to do with the A/C but you can eliminate the possibility of the roof sheathing by looking for those rusty nail tips. I would go with that theory before I started to explore any other far less likely causes for this.
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 at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews and book appointments all online.
TOM: Up next, are you bouncing around a formerly busy house? Downsizing may be the way to go. We’ll help sort out the options, after this.
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, with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Whatever challenge you’re getting ready to do around your home, we’re here to help. The number is 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.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’re going to talk with Teresa in South Carolina who’s dealing with a wet basement.
Teresa, what’s going on at your money pit?
TERESA: Well, we’ve just recently bought this house and we’ve been here a little over a year. And we were told that the basement floods but we weren’t really aware of how bad it did flood. So, every time we get a heavy rain, it fills up a front landscaping area and it flows in through the bricks, I guess. I’m not sure how it comes in but it comes into the basement.
We’ve talked to several companies and they want to do things inside but I don’t understand why they don’t want to do something on the outside.
TOM: Well, you are absolutely correct because the solution to this problem is not inside. So, what happens in situations like this is, typically, a homeowner will contact a so-called basement-waterproofing company. I think that those titles are inaccurate because these contractors don’t really waterproof anything.
What they really do is just put in a water-evacuation system that allows the water to saturate the foundation perimeter, soak through the walls and fill up your basement. And then before it shows itself, kind of above the floor, they pump it out. But you have to know that that allows a lot of damage to happen, even before that water collects to the level where they can pump it. You have increased pressure against the foundation, you have mold growth, all sorts of things.
So, you are absolutely correct in that you need to stop this on the outside. And the good news is is it’s really not that hard, nor that expensive to do. So there’s two areas you need to focus on: one is grading and the other is roof drainage. So we’ll start with the biggest culprit and that’s roof drainage.
You need to look at all of the gutters that are on your house. You need to make sure that, first of all, you have gutters. Secondly, that you have an adequate number of downspouts on those gutters. And you want to kind of stand back sort of from the street level, look up at your roof, try to do a little sort of rough, back-of-the-hand math. Because you want 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface draining into each downspout. So if you have one downspout and you have a bunch of roof surfaces going into it, it might be that that gets overwhelmed and therefore, the gutter will overflow even if it’s not clogged. Of course, to that point, they have to be clog-free.
And most importantly of anything else is this: you must, must, must extend the discharge from that leader at least 4 to 6 feet from the house. Because we need to move this away from what’s called the “backfill zone.” That’s the area of soil that’s dug out when you build the foundation. You need to get the water beyond that 4- to 6-foot perimeter.
Now, you can do this simply by putting in an additional piece of leader material on there. And of course, it’s not very attractive; it’s somewhat unsightly. But I would at least do that for starters so that you can prove to yourself that this works. And then later on, if you want to try to make it neater, you could always sink some underground, solid PVC pipe and drain through that and perhaps discharge it into the street or some other lower area on your property.
Now, once that’s set, then you could look at the grading at that foundation perimeter, starting on the area where you see water collecting. And you want to make sure that the soil slopes away about 6 inches over 4 feet. And that soil has to be well-tamped fill dirt, not topsoil. Topsoil is very organic. Sometimes when folks have drainage issues, they put more topsoil on it. That’s kind of like throwing sponges around your house. You want to create that slope with clean fill dirt. It’s more of a kind of clay-like, compactable-type soil that can be sloped to drop that 6 inches over about 4 feet. Over that, you can put a little topsoil to sustain growth or plantings or whatever but you need to get that slope established first.
So this way, you have direct rainfall, hits that grade, runs off and all of the water that collects on the roof hits those downspouts and gets discharged well away from the house. Those two things will stop this wet basement. And I know that for certain because when you said that your basement floods after heavy rain, all of that always sources on the outside. It’s not a rising water table and that’s the only time you’d ever need to put in below-grade drains, such as what these waterproofing companies are suggesting.
TERESA: OK. Great. I really appreciate your help.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome. And I’m so glad we could get to you before you spent the money on waterproofers, because I can’t tell you how many times we get this same call after someone has spent $10,000 or $20,000 on a waterproofer only to find out that they still have the same problem.
TERESA: Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Norm from Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. Tell us about this insulation issue.
NORM: Second story of our house has a suspended ceiling with 12 inches of insulation on top of that ceiling – on top of the suspended ceiling. Should there be a vapor barrier in between? Because there’s no vapor barrier.
TOM: No. Not really necessary. So you have 12 inches on top of the drop ceiling, essentially?
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think so. Not in that particular case. You’re good to go.
NORM: Old homes had high ceilings and so we dropped it down a bit to match the paneling and …
TOM: Yeah. Yeah. Is that drop ceiling still standing up OK?
NORM: Yes, yes.
TOM: Alright. Good. No, I think you’re OK the way it is. There’s no need to change that. And if it’s an old home, it’s plenty drafty as it is anyway.
NORM: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you and your spouse are empty-nesters and you’re bouncing around a house that used to be very full, downsizing might be the way to go. But the extreme end of that is moving into a tiny home and it’s something a surprising number of folks are looking to do.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, moving into a smaller home is going to force you to get rid of a lot of things that you don’t really need. And it usually helps put into perspective how little you do actually need to live comfortably.
Now, money is as much a motivating factor, as is fewer responsibilities. You could own a tiny home for as little as, say, $10,000 to $20,000 depending on customizations.
TOM: Yeah. And a large home not only requires a lot of maintenance but that actually ends up to be pretty expensive, as well. If you consider that as we age, most of us tend to stick to just a few essential areas of the house, downsizing and moving into a tiny home definitely seems like a potentially prudent thing to do, I would say, as long as you get along really well with your spouse. Because you can’t put any rooms between you.
LESLIE: Heading to Minnesota where Beth is doing some work in the bathroom. And you want some toilet help. What’s going on?
BETH: Toilet kept running. The water kept running into it, so I decided to install a new fill valve and flapper. And I measured everything and I followed the instructions and I did solve the original problem. But now I developed a new one. When I flush it, the water goes into the bowl OK, except now anything in the bowl goes to the top of the bowl, almost to the rim. And then when the tank itself is filled, then the bowl goes down slowly and it flushes but then it only leaves a little water in the bowl.
So I called the manufacturer and talked to them. He said, “Well, try plunging it because it might be a clog.” So I did that. I tried hot water and bleach to see if I could get that if it is a clog. And nothing has worked. And I don’t know what to do. I give up.
LESLIE: I mean that’s what happens, typically, in a clog is it’ll fill to the top and then the tank will fill and then it’ll – the suction force will just bring everything down.
TOM: Yeah. And the one’s with the trickiest to diagnose is when you have a partial clog where you have some water that’s getting past but not a lot. So I wonder if something is lodged in either the trap of the toilet or the line beyond that. And really, the next step is to have a plumber come out and do a drain-cleaning on that.
I’ll tell you a funny story about how this happened when my kids were younger. We had a toilet that was clogged in a downstairs bathroom and I – outside this bathroom, we had a willow tree. And I knew that the willow-tree roots used to get into the plumbing line, so I immediately assumed that was what it was. And I went outside and dug up my yard and found the pipe cleanout, which was a couple of feet below the surface. And I snaked one way and snaked the other way and I couldn’t find any clog.
So, I thought, “Well, maybe it’s between the pipe break and the toilet.” So I decided to pull the toilet off. And don’t you know that when I did that, I turned it over and noticed something blue in the bottom of the toilet. And of course, you’re not supposed to have anything blue in a ceramic toilet. It turned out to be a little toy telephone that one of my kids had dropped down there that was letting just enough water through to trick us.
And so you never know what’s going to be in there. And if you have a partial obstruction like that, that could explain for what’s happening.
BETH: OK. Well, the only thing I can do then is to get a plumber?
TOM: Yep. You don’t want a carpenter, that’s for sure.
Beth, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Doug in Illinois is dealing with some water under a deck. Tell us what you’re working on.
DOUG: Well, I’m interested in a roof or a water-drainage system up underneath my deck. I have a 16×40 deck and I saw somewhere on TV that they have some sort of a system that goes up in between the joists. I was wondering if you knew anything about that.
TOM: Yeah. Is this like a second-floor deck and you guys sit under it or something?
DOUG: Yeah. There’s this – there’s a full lower level under the deck, yes.
TOM: Well, those are called “deck drainage systems” and there’s lots and lots and lots of different manufacturers of it. There’s DEK Drain, there’s DrySnap.
LESLIE: Yeah, there’s something called UnderDeck that seems to be a Depot product.
TOM: Trex has one that’s called RainEscape.
So, these are all deck-drainage systems. I don’t know enough about them to give you a recommendation of one over the other but that’s what you want is a deck-drainage system. They basically – as you say, they fit in between the joists, so they fit under the deck. They’re designed to collect the water and then run it to some sort of a traditional gutter and get it away from the house, so that you could have some living space underneath that deck and not have the rain falling on your head.
DOUG: Absolutely. That’s what I’m looking for. Did you say something about Home Depot?
LESLIE: Yeah, Depot has a product called UnderDeck, which is basically like – I guess you could call it an “under-joist gutter system.” And it sort of pieces together; it’s modular.
DOUG: Oh, OK. Wonderful. Well, I sure will check there.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, do you have a failing fence that could use a few fix-ups before spring sets in? Well, Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is stopping by with tips for that project, 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: Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what that project is, they make it fast and easy to find those top-rated pros.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Now moving on to Bean (sp) in Kansas with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
BEAN (sp): We’re purchasing a home – my wife and I are purchasing a home – and it has marble flooring on the staircase going down into the basement, as well as throughout the entire basement.
TOM: That’s pretty nice.
BEAN (sp): I like it but my wife doesn’t. And so we’re trying to figure out what to do. And I’ve thought about – you know, I’ve tried to get her convinced on throw rugs and everything else. But just trying to get my backup plan in place. If we were to resurface that somehow, what are my options as far as putting a product on top of that marble flooring or actually tearing it out? And what would that – go into that home project?
TOM: Well, first of all, Bean (sp), let us say – and I think I speak for Leslie – that this would be a darn shame for you to cover up that marble flooring. That’s very expensive flooring. And if your wife doesn’t like the look of it, the color of it, I would say to decorate around it. And I’m sure there are lots of ways to do that with complementary colors that could make that blend very, very nicely.
I would tell you to clean it, polish it, maintain it and enjoy it. Because it’s never going to wear out and it’s definitely going to add to the value of your house. And it would be terrible for you to go ahead and cover it with carpet or laminate flooring or even engineered hardwood, which would be some of the options to cover that over.
In terms of the staircase, I don’t know exactly what you’d be able to put on that except for something that was, perhaps, glued down, which again would just be a sin. So we’d hate to see you change it.
LESLIE: Here’s an idea, though. I mean I love the look of marble and I think it works in the right spot. However, I agree: it can feel cold and it doesn’t feel very comfy, at times. And if you want a space to have more of that feel, I wouldn’t go about permanently getting rid of it.
Have you looked at FLOR carpet tiles – F-L-O-R?
BEAN (sp): No, I have not.
LESLIE: Now, they’re a carpet tile – exactly what they are – and they’re – I think they’re like 20 inches square. And they’re available in a variety of piles and loops and Berbers and colors and patterns. It’s really fun, all of the options that they have. So you can be a little wild or you can be totally traditional or you can mix. And you can place that right on top of the marble flooring. In the basement, you can go wall to wall. You can build it as a very large area rug.
Their prices vary, depending on the type of carpet that you’re selecting for the tile. But that’s a great idea, because you’re not exactly then adhering anything to the marble or damaging that marble in any way.
You can’t use them on the stairs because you’ll be slipping and sliding. But at least it gives you an option to cover up the large space that is your basement floor.
BEAN (sp): Sure. Thank you very much. If we were actually to remove that flooring, are we not digging into the – are we going to have to resurface concrete and everything else?
TOM: Yeah, it’s going to be difficult to get that flooring up. I would not take it up. I would leave it in place and cover it. Because who knows? The next person – especially if you use something like what Leslie is suggesting, you’re really preserving it. Because the next folks that buy your house might decide that you were nuts to cover it and they want to take all that flooring – that carpet tile – up and enjoy the marble again. So, why deny them that opportunity and why chance on your home’s value being reduced accordingly?
BEAN (sp): Absolutely. I appreciate it. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, given enough time, it seems that most fences will begin to sag and even drag. While a sagging fence-scape might not seem like the biggest issue, the problem can get worse if ignored.
TOM: Well, luckily, repairing the root cause of a sagging gate is a pretty simple do-it-yourself task. Here to tell us more is Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House.
ROGER: Pretty simple, huh?
TOM: Well, when you do it, it’s pretty simple. Perhaps you’re going to tell us how to make it pretty simple. It seems like the first problem with a saggy gate is usually not the gate as much as it’s the post that holds the gate, right?
ROGER: It all starts with the post. That’s where you look first. Obviously, if the post is rotten, you’ve got to replace it.
ROGER: Start from square one. Take the hinges off, put in a new post, put some concrete in it to hold it in place properly, reinstall the hinges and then hope the gate works.
TOM: Now, you just mentioned using concrete to hold the post. In all the years I’ve been doing fence projects around my house, I really don’t use concrete. I prefer to put stone in and pack it around the post. It seems to hold it really, really well. Is concrete more important because it’s being used for a gate?
ROGER: I totally agree with you except when it comes to the gatepost, the one that the gate’s hanging off of. That needs the extra reinforcement of concrete to support all that weight that’s hanging off it.
LESLIE: Well, all that weight and all that movement – consistent movement – too.
ROGER: Yeah. Nothing like a little extra weight and a little extra movement to make you get out of line.
TOM: Now, when you put your post in, you let it run tall and cut it off later? So this way you don’t have to be too accurate about the height?
ROGER: Yeah. Because if you’re trying to adjust the height to be perfect and the hinges and everything else, it’s a lot easier to just put the post in at the right spacing, rehang everything and then cut the top off.
TOM: OK. So if the hardware is good, now we’re looking at the gate itself. Sometimes the gate is the only part that’s sagged, that’s sort of – I guess the term is “racked.” It’s not square anymore, it’s almost diagonal. How do you address that?
ROGER: Well, the easiest way to address that is they make kits with a cable and a turnbuckle. You anchor them on the gate and then you tighten the turnbuckle and it’ll pull them back so they’re at – they’re back in the position they originally belong.
LESLIE: Do you keep that there permanently or is that just until you retighten attachments?
ROGER: No. That’s a permanent thing, because you can go out every year and turn that turnbuckle a little more and help keep it square.
LESLIE: That’s smart.
TOM: So what you’re saying is it’s simple.
ROGER: Keep it simple, right?
TOM: And that’s where we started. It’s a very simple project now that you’ve explained it.
Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: Ah, thanks for having me.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by American Standard.
Still ahead, spring is just a couple of weeks away. And with April showers, you get termites. I know. You thought I was going to say flowers, right? Well, we’re going to have some tips to keep those termites away from your home, 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: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where you can find top-rated home service pros and book appointments online, all for free.
LESLIE: Kelly in South Dakota is on the line and wants some help removing wallpaper. What can we do for you?
KELLY: I have a – some wallpaper that I want to remove. And I believe we primed the walls. This has been about 10 years ago. And when I pulled back on the edges of the wallpaper, it seems as though it’s taking a bit of the drywall with it.
TOM: So, what you want to do is you want to get a tool called a “paper tiger,” which puts small holes in the surface of the paper. And it helps the wallpaper remover get behind it and loosen up the adhesive.
Now, in terms of wallpaper remover, you can use fabric softener, which works well or you could use a commercially available product, like DIF – D-I-F. But putting those holes in there is important because, otherwise, it doesn’t saturate the paper.
Now, if you do that and it still doesn’t loosen up and pull off, then what you need to do is go out and rent a wallpaper steamer. And that will use warm, moist air to separate the paper from the wall.
No matter how you do it, it is a lot of work. And once that wallpaper is off, you’re going to need to reprime that wall with a good-quality primer so you have a nice surface upon which to put your final color of wall paint.
KELLY: OK. Do you need to sand that once you get it all done?
TOM: Well, if it’s a little rough, just lightly sand it. You don’t want to sand it too much, especially because you don’t want to cut into the paper that’s part of the drywall. But a little bit of light abrasion is not a bad thing.
But the most important thing is a good-quality priming paint applied to that wall surface, because you’re going to have old sizing material and who-knows-what-else stuck to that. And if you put the primer on, it’ll give you a good surface upon which to apply the paint. The paint will flow nicely and it’ll look better when it dries.
KELLY: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Well, in the 20 years I spent as a professional home inspector, I usually told my clients, Leslie, there were three kinds of houses: those that had termites, those that have a termite problem and those that will get a termite problem.
LESLIE: Basically, you’re going to get termites at some point.
TOM: Exactly. You know, they were here first, a lot longer than we have, and they’re not going to go away. But I mean the good news is if you take the right steps, you can keep those termites away now and there’s a good chance that you can keep your home off their menu.
LESLIE: You know what? This really is the time of year to do that. Termites are going to nest in the soil all winter long. But come springtime, this time of year they are busting out and they are searching for new food. And your home’s walls are – guess what, guys? – their favorite meal.
TOM: Now, you can keep termites from chowing down on your house in a few ways. For starters, moisture and wood are termites’ favorites. So, keep the stacks of firewood or mulch away from your exterior walls.
LESLIE: Yeah. You also want to keep your gutters clear. Termites love gutters. And keep them pointed away from your home so that the runoff washes the bugs further away from the foundation and not right into the ground and then into your house.
TOM: Yep. And if your porch or crawlspace is dirt-filled, keep an eye out for signs of the bugs. If you see discarded wings, cracked or bubbling paint or mud tunnels – these sand tubes the termites build to crawl through. If you see those on the outside of your home’s foundation walls or inside – if you’re under the porch, sometimes you’ll see them coming up on those foundation blocks there – it is definitely time to call a pest pro.
This is not a do-it-yourself project. If you call the professionals, they have access to the right materials. They can do it once, do it right and you will not be bothered by termites anymore.
LESLIE: Wayne in Iowa is on the line with a septic issue. Tell us what’s going on.
WAYNE: Well, when I take a bath, I have odor when I drain the tub. If I take a shower, I have no odor when I take – when I take a shower, obviously, I don’t plug the drain. But everything runs through down to one pipe, which goes out to a septic tank. I do know the line is good from the house to the septic tank, because I had to dig that up before I ever did any of the plumbing in the house. I did not replumb the drain on the tub but otherwise, the house has new plumbing throughout.
TOM: So we don’t think that it’s in the drain line. For example, when you talk about sewer odors, the first thing you think of is a missing trap. But if the plumbing has been redone, it’s not likely that that’s the case, correct?
WAYNE: No, it has a trap. And it doesn’t leak into the basement but I – whenever I take a shower, it works fine. But if I take a tub bath and pull the plug on the drain, I get a sewer odor in the hallway outside the bathroom.
TOM: Because the other cause of those odors is something called “biogas” – is when you get a lot of bacteria that can form in a drain. And it may not even be the drain of the tub; it could be the drain of the sink. I presume there’s a sink in that same bathroom. And sometimes, even in the overflow channel of the sink, you get this bacterial buildup that can have just an awful odor to it.
And the solution there is to thoroughly clean it with an oxygenated bleach so that you kill that bacteria, flushing out the overflow channel, scrubbing the drain with almost like a bottle brush to make sure that all of that bacteria is eliminated.
Biogas can be very pungent and unpleasant to live with but relatively simple to get rid of once you get to the spot where it exists. Will you give that a shot?
WAYNE: Yes, sir. I most certainly shall.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Still ahead, nothing keeps your home looking updated better than a current kitchen. If you’re thinking about switching out old countertops for granite, we’ve got some design tips to help, after this.
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: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post that question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
We’ve got one here and we are ready to jump in. Sarah is asking us about a granite countertop, Leslie.
LESLIE: That’s right. She writes: “I’m ready to install my granite countertop. Should I do the 4-inch backsplash of granite or should the granite go flush to the wall and then use a tile backsplash? Some say the granite backsplash is outdated.”
TOM: I kind of feel like if you’re going to have granite, you don’t want to have a stone backsplash; you want to use tile. What do you think?
LESLIE: First of all, in a kitchen, that 4-inch backsplash, to me, does nothing.
TOM: Right. It collects a lot of grease.
LESLIE: I just – I don’t think, stylistically, it looks good.
LESLIE: I think it doesn’t protect the wall from anything.
LESLIE: I think you’re just going to make a mess that’s going to need to be painted. Better have something there that’s wipeable and fully wipeable.
Now, depending on the area we’re talking about, some people will do a full – I guess they call it a “waterfall” at these places. You know, a waterfall is really when the counter sort of then turns and goes down and sort of creates a waterfall, of your granite or your marble, of whatever that is. But some people will do a full backsplash, maybe behind the cooktop, of all in that same granite or same marble or whatever you’re using as your countertop.
LESLIE: And that is gorgeous. Truly, I love tile. I think there’s a lot of great ways that you can mix up tiles, mix up shapes, mix up sizes without spending a ton of money and creating a look that’s truly yours, depending on whatever that style is. Subway tile is still very big and modern and clean. And I think that’s a look that’s not going to go away. Herringbone. I’m finding that things that are more linear and more tonal tend to be what’s in right now.
LESLIE: But you’ve got to pick something that you like, because these are projects that you do once and you really don’t do them again for a very long time. So, pick something that you like and that you’re going to enjoy and that’s not going to break your budget.
TOM: Alright. We’ve got a question here on a heating system. Barry writes: “I am questioning getting a heat pump installed in a house that I’m in the process of buying. It’s located in Western Pennsylvania. Currently, it has a gas furnace and no cooling. The idea of taking most of the heavy lifting of the gas furnace and gain cooling in the summer seems good. However, I’d like some other opinions.”
Look, if you have natural gas, I would not give that up to get a heat pump, because a heat pump is going to end up being at least as expensive, if not more. Plus, there’s potentially more maintenance associated with it. So, I don’t think I would give up my gas furnace. If you want to go with air conditioning, fine. Add the central air conditioner. You’ve already got the duct system. Perhaps it can be updated or modernized or it may just be fine the way it is for A/C. But I don’t think that giving up natural gas to go with a heat pump is a good idea.
If you were fueling by propane that’s pretty expensive or oil, that’s expensive, a lot of maintenance. But I would definitely not give up natural gas. That is probably my go-to type of fuel for heating because it is clean, it is efficient and I think it’s a much more cost-effective way to heat your home.
LESLIE: Oh, 100 percent. And when things go wrong with oil, it’s a messy, lengthy, expensive, smelly fix. I don’t know. I’m just used to gas and that’s what I know for the house. And even when I look to sell the house and move, anything with an oil furnace I get very nervous about, for some bizarre reason.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t blame you. I mean you’ve got the whole tank issue, too. Even if it’s above ground, it’s still a mess to get rid of. And I had to abandon an underground tank. It was a big job. We had to dig down, cut it open, clean it out. And we filled it with an expandable foam that made it kind of rock solid. But if they start to leak, boy, that’s a real expensive problem right there.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. And then once you sort of – they call it “abating” the tank, correct? Once you do that, there’s a ton of paperwork that goes with it. But doing it, if you have oil, is a fantastic thing that’s cost-effective and wonderful. And I say do it. I’m all for natural gas.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. You’ve got questions? We’ve got some tips and advice to help you, 24/7, at MoneyPit.com. And remember, you can always pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-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.)