TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we’re now to help you get started on your next summer home improvement project. Whether it’s inside or out, give us a call right now. We’d love to lend a hand. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
And speaking of summer, as it gets warmer, do you know that your lawn needs a lot more water to stay lettuce? But that likewise passes to a lot of consumed irrigate. We’re going to give you some tips, though, to help cut those ocean rates without losing your chance at a yummy lawn in the process.
LESLIE: And be talking about lawns, you are aware, weeds has not been possible to the only thing that takes away from you having a beautiful garden. So, Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is here with advice on how to deal with problem patches and common ground killers.
TOM: Plus, are you ready to take the plunge and buy your very first home? It’s a very exciting time but it’s also highly intimidating. We’re going to help you be prepared, though. We’ve got five gratuities for first-time buyers to make sure you’re good to go, simply ahead.
LESLIE: Yeah. Listen, those tips-off are available to second-time dwelling purchasers, extremely. I feel like I’m very excitable to ever take the plunge. So, I’m going to be heeding our own advice at some place, if I ever get the courage.
But first, guys, we’re now to give a hand. So make us know what you are working on this summer season. Weather is certainly spectacular out. Everybody’s enjoying, eventually, a summertime. So give us know what we can do to assist you enjoy your fund crater thoroughly.
TOM: Give us a call right now. The crowd is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888 -6 66 -3 974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Tanya in North Carolina is on the line with a entrance question. Tell us what’s going on. You’ve got some rot in the framework?
TANYA: The threshold, at the bottom, is coming up; I guess it’s rotten under there. It’s got to be taken out. And then about a foot up, on each side of that make, it’s decomposed out. So do I "re going to have to" take out the whole formulated and placed a new one in or can I really chipped that off and supersede that at the bottom?
TOM: OK. So, Tanya, I think you’re speaking about- when you say frame, I think you’re talking about the door sill and the door jamb. Is that remedy?
TOM: Not the framing of the wall?
TANYA: Yeah, whatever the door meets in, yeah.
TOM: OK. So that’s the door sill and the door jambs. And the most efficient way to supplant the door is to cut the entire opening out, including the sill and the jambs the whole way around, and then install a prehung exterior opening.
So, down in North Carolina, for example, you can going to see a Lowe’s and buy a Benchmark Door by Therma-Tru. Good quality, fiberglass door, all prehung. Pretty easy and straightforward to install that. And you won’t have to worry about it decomposing out because it’s fiberglass.
TANYA: Oh, OK.
TOM: You don’t try to repair the jamb or the sill that are heavily decomposed like that; you precisely tear them out. The easy course to do that, by the way, is to remove the trim off of all backs. And a contractor would squander a reciprocating saw to mostly chip the hammers between the trimming and the made of the chamber of representatives. And that door will pop out in like five minutes.
TOM: I signify it’s really easy to get onto out merely with the right tools.
TANYA: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that assignment. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alan in Tennessee has got a driveway that’s cracking up. Tell us what’s going on.
ALAN: Well, I’ve got a house; it’s about five years old. And the driveway has started getting some fissures in it. And I precisely went looking for the best way to patch them and keep it from spreading. For the past, probably, three years, every outpouring I threw- pressure-wash the driveway and kept sealer on it. But other than that, that’s about all I’ve ever done to the drive.
TOM: OK. And what’s it look like now in terms of the condition? Does it have a lot of cracks in it?
ALAN: It’s not a lot but it’s got a few that ranged. And some of them has already begun spider-webbing out.
TOM: OK. So, here’s the thing. You want to try to maintain these so they don’t get a lot worse. QUIKRETE has a caulk-like make that’s be taken in order to fill hits in concrete driveways.
TOM: And it’s a good thought to use a make like that, because you know it’s going to adhere and expand and contract with the driveway. The goal here is to try to keep a lot of spray from getting in there. Because as the sea comes in, it will expand and then it will crack. As it freezes, it’ll expand and fissure. And then, of course, it’s a little bigger, a little bigger and a little bigger and that’s how it really starts to break down and take apart the driveway.
So, as those hits start to show themselves and open up, it’s not peculiar, so don’t panic; it’s pretty much ordinary wear and tear with concrete. But it’s likewise a good thought to shut them exploiting the products who the hell is designed just for that.
ALAN: OK. So the QUIKRETE is probably the best way to go?
TOM: Yeah. It’s called the QUIKRETE Concrete Repair. It’s a sanded, acrylic latex caulk and it’s designed specifically for cracking repair. Comes in two different tube widths: either a 10 -ounce tube or a 51/2 -ounce tube. Not expensive, easy to apply. Gives you a really good adhesion and it’s get to stand up to the weather and more importantly, keep the water from getting into those cracks.
ALAN: Excellent. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that projection. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are adjusted to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on aura and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a bellow with whatever it is you are working on in this gorgeous summer weekend. It’s the first official weekend of summertime, so I been in a position to certainly call it “summer” and be totally honest about that.
Let us help you. We want you to enjoy your home. We want you to have a relaxing summer. So cause us "know what youre talking about" we can help you achieve that. Give us a call anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: And only onward, is it you people want a light-green lawn but don’t want to waste all that water it takes to make it light-green? We’re going to have some tips-off on how you are able to chipped that lawn-watering bill down to size, when The Money Pit returns after this.
Making good dwellings better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a announcement, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com. You’ll never have to worry about overpaying for a job. Just use their True Cost Guide to see what others paid under a similar projection and then get matched with top-rated pros, predicted reviews, get excerpts and book appointments online. That’s all free of charge at HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Daniel in California on the line who needs some assist with a travertine floor.
When did you placed it down, Daniel?
DANIEL: Oh, I guess it’s been about a week now.
LESLIE: OK. And there’s nothing on it?
DANIEL: Well , no.
LESLIE: Are you sure?
DANIEL: Well, OK. There was nothing on it but yeah, actually, I applied a sealer on it just like Sunday, after it’d been installed four days.
TOM: OK. And did your installer give you a sealer to use or advocate a sealer to use?
DANIEL: No, my installer didn’t.
TOM: He didn’t. So where did you- what sealer did you have chosen? How did you find it?
DANIEL: I got it at the home improvement store.
TOM: OK. And so it sounds like you did the right things. It’s a beautiful storey. It’s a little absorbent, so you are going to need to seal it from time to time. But what’s your question?
DANIEL: Well, my question is, well, one, after I positioned the sealer on, then I did some reading and I found out that there’s some that are better. This one’s probably the third largest and I’d like the best.
DANIEL: Is there a problem with buying the better one and putting it on top of it or ...?
TOM: Potentially. I would save that for the next tour. See, this has already soaked into your storey and so ...
LESLIE: And travertine is so porous.
LESLIE: With the first thing you put on it, that’s in there.
TOM: Just alcohols it right up. So I would wait until the next time it’s- until it’s time to apply this again and choose a different product that time. But I is certainly not put a second coat on top of this with a different produce because you’re - you don’t know what kind of chemical reaction you’re going to create there.
LESLIE: How are they going to react to each other?
LESLIE: It could be bad news.
TOM: Not worth noting. I’d just experience the floor.
DANIEL: OK, enormous. Could I ask you a little follow-up question?
TOM: Sure. Go ahead.
DANIEL: Yeah. Also, I was reading- they were saying that matteds with rubber tushes are bad for it. Is that true-blue?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. For travertine ...
TOM: Well, it’s not bad for marble; it’s bad for vinyl.
LESLIE: Yeah, if you have a vinyl storey and you putting in place a kitchen matted or a shower matting and it doesn’t move and it stays in its blot, the backing on the matted has some sort of weird chemical reaction with the floor and causes a blotch. We get calls a lot for parties being like, “I’ve get this weird stain that’s the same as my shower mat. How can I get it out? ”
TOM: And it won’t come up. Yeah, right. Because it oxidizes the rubber against the vinyl. But I don’t know that there’s a problem putting that against marble; I’ve never heard that.
LESLIE: Yeah. No, I’ve never heard that.
DANIEL: OK. Great, then. Thanks a good deal, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome, Daniel. Good fortune with that assignment. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
I tell you what, he’s treating it at the right time. There’s never a better time to treat it than when it’s brand new.
LESLIE: Right at the beginning. Because if you wait and it gets even slightly dirty, you may never be able to do that discoloration out and then you’re going to seal in that stain. So it’s like only do it right away.
TOM: Well, if you adore a thick-skulled, green lawn but you’d like to get that without squandering one tonne of water, when, where and how much water you use on that lawn can necessitate the difference between that luxuriant lawn and an drain wallet.
LESLIE: Yeah. But chipping ocean expenditures without giving up that lettuce lawn that you really cherish can be easier than you think. And it just takes a few steps.
First of all, you have to sea your lawn early in the day to prevent evaporation. If you water that lawn at night, you’re leaving the lawn wet overnight and that grass could develop a fungus, simply because there’s no chance for that ocean to go anywhere. It just sort of sits and saturates that dirt and it’s not going to do any good for anybody.
Also, "youve got to" make sure that you adjust your sprinkler heads to avoid squandering liquid by having it steered apart. You have to get it away from your driveway, your sidewalks. Spray things that can actually ripen. Concrete is never going to grow, I promise you this.
TOM: I see that all the time.
LESLIE: It’s amazing.
TOM: You know what does change when you spray your concrete? Your water bill.
LESLIE: It’s true.
TOM: And we see it all the time. Folks are spraying the street, they’re watering the concrete, they’re watering the steps. The steps are getting all rotten and lettuce and mossy because of all of that misdirected ocean. And the invoices simply keep on disappearing. So, take a look at those sprinkler directions and make sure that "youre not" among them.
You too want to make sure you use timers on your sprinklers. And that’s going to limit the spray habit to only what’s needed. Two or three times a week is better than daily, which can actually overwater your grass. You know, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your lawn receives about an inch of ocean per week. So, that’s a good way to make sure you’re not giving it too much but precisely the right amount to keep it green.
There’s likewise smart timers, that have become available today, that can connect with your Wi-Fi system and with the weather reports and then simply water based on rainfall. So, take a look at that option, as well.
Be smart about how you water and the authorities concerned will make sure that that spray legislation stays in check while the lawn continues to get nice and lush and green.
LESLIE: Now we’ve went Pat in Hawaii on the line with a roofing question. Calling to shape us apprehensive, I am sure.
PAT: So what we have is a house where the interior temperature is- during the day is perhaps 83 to 85.
PAT: And so it has a roof that has the flattened asphalt. And we’d are happy to put one over this application and they’re available at places like Home Depot. There’s two different rate degrees. You were applicable it three different ways and so on but parties have told us, that live in that same place as the members of this house, that they have reduced the heat in their residence by 20-plus percent by doing this reflective thing on the roof.
And now, our question is: how do we prep the roof? Do we sweep off any rock-and-rolls with asphalt? What is the prep?
TOM: It’s reasonably forgiving. You want to get rid of the liberate nonsense and of course, any moss or anything like that that’s grown in it. But what you’re talking about is fibrous aluminum cover and it’s a UV-reflectant paint. And it does construct the ceiling a good deal jug and that can actually make your room cooler. It’s a very common application , is not merely in tropics like Hawaii but even situates on the East Coast. I’ve seen it on ceilings in Washington, D.C. Definitely a good thing to do.
PAT: OK. And so if- also, my husband’s question was- and so does your roof last longer with that on there?
TOM: Yeah, theoretically, it will because if you reflect the UV, you’ll have less deterioration of the petroleums in the asphalt, less evaporation of that. And that are in a position compile the roof last longer. Another good reason to do it.
PAT: OK. And any specific on work? Whichever one works out best for you? Is that what they’re saying?
TOM: Well, I don’t have any specific recommendations in this regard a make but on the concept, I think it’s solid.
PAT: That’s superb. That’s a great idea. I thought you said you been answered. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Pat. Good fortune with that programme. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Fonda( sp) in South Dakota, you’ve went The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FONDA( sp ): We are razing our old-fashioned deck that leads to an old terrace at the ground level. And the old patio has two substrates. You pass down to a plank porch and it’s like timber- 2x6s, I fantasize- which exist in unpleasant shape. It’s probably 30 hoofs by 30 paws. And then it butts up to a quite substantial cement pad that’s 20 feet by 20 feet.
And we know we’re going to demo the wood pad but it’s- the question is: what do we throw in? Do we have to chop up the age-old plaster pad, which is in enormous chassis, because it’s so substantial? Or can we put in another cement pad next to it for the new patio? Can you go over the aged cement with something and mold it or make it only- and then the other problem is is it’s square. And I would like the new terrace at the ground level to be rounder and curvier.
TOM: One doctrine that I have straight off is to go over the aged terrace with brick pavers. And if the patio is flat and strong and solid, there’s no reason you can’t articulated pavers on top of that. And so you have been able basically create a- do almost a patio makeover by preserving the concrete and putting brick pavers right over the concrete. They’re all was just going to assemble together. You won’t consider them when they’re done.
Now, you mentioned changing the chassis. That, of course, is a little more complicated because you’re going to have to build up to the edges. Fraction of the patio would be over specific and part of the patio would be over traditional, built-up stone, if that’s possible. But if you wish to avoid changing the mold, then it becomes a very easy project to do it with brick pavers. And of course, "youve had" lots and slews and lots of selections on shapes and hues and all of that that you could go with.
FONDA( sp ): And on the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers?
TOM: On the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers is this. First of all, you dig up, clearly, all the grass and that sort of thing. Then you put down about 4 to 6 inches of grey-haired gravel. You tamp that down certainly, certainly, really well. Then on top of that, you lay some sand. Come that neat and flat. On top of that, you settled the brick pavers and then you put additional beach in between.
But tamping and properly preparing that sand and tamping that stone really well is critical. Because if you don’t, it gets all roly-poly over its first year and weeds start to grow up through it.
FONDA( sp ): Alright. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Fonda. Good fortune with that project. Time in time for summer. 888 -6 66 -3 974.
LESLIE: Charlie in Tennessee is on the line and looking to do some revamping at his money quarry. How can we help you today?
CHARLIE: I have a small kitchen that- I’m trying to knock out the walls to increase space, to realize my kitchen and my dining room one big-hearted room. My dilemma is the fact that I don’t know whether the wall that I’m knocking down is a load-bearing wall or not.
LESLIE: Well, step away from the project and don’t knock it down just yet.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, what kind of house do "youve had", Charlie? Is it a ranch? Is it a Colonial? Describe it to us.
CHARLIE: It’s a wood-frame home.
TOM: OK. One floor or two?
CHARLIE: One story.
TOM: And the ceiling peaks in the middle? Extends up from the front, goes up from the back, peaks in the middle?
CHARLIE: Kind of. It’s L-shaped.
CHARLIE: And where the wall "couldve been" "couldve been" pretty much right where the two meet.
TOM: Yeah. So you’re in the middle there; you’re not quite sure. And the breakfast nook and the kitchen are side by side? Is it aligned front to back on the house or is it aligned cease to expiration, so to speak?
CHARLIE: It would be- that wall would be parallel for the breast to back.
TOM: So, it’s aligned figurehead to back. OK. I is of the opinion that in most cases, that is a demeanor wall. That doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water; it precisely implies it’s a little more complicated for you to open this up. Because if it’s a producing wall, you have to support the structure while it’s disassembled and then "youve got to" framed a new radiation in to carry that consignment in the new, open-plan design.
It’s not something that you would do yourself. It’s not like- I don’t want you to- like, “Hey, I’ve never done residence improvement but today, I’m thinking about tearing down a producing wall.” Bad idea, OK?
TOM: So you need to know what you’re doing or get some people to help you to know what you’re do or hire a pro. And get a building permit.
And basically, the road it acts is temporary walls are improved on either side of the bringing wall and this braces up such structures that they’re supposed to be holding. Then the tolerate wall is taken apart. The birth wall is reconstructed but now you would use a girder. And it could be a wood girder, it could be a metal girder, it could be a combination wood-and-metal girder that becomes the whole span. It could be a girder that sits below the ceiling or it could be a girder that’s actually flush with the ceiling so when it’s all done, it’s invisible.
But one room or the other, you’ll need this beam to carry the load above that. And then formerly it’s all put back together, you are aware, you’re really not going to know that it’s there. But you’ve got precisely to do it right so that you don’t damage your house in the process, OK?
CHARLIE: Yes, sir. Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Charlie. Good fortune with that campaign. Now, employed the saw down, OK?
CHARLIE: No question. Thank you. I appreciate.
LESLIE: Well, from fungal infections to Fido, your lawn is up against a lot. Coming up, landscaping contractor Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, is stopping by to help you overcome it all so that you can have the lawn of your dreams. That and more when The Money Pit continues.
TOM: Building good residences better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the telephone, give us a label, right now, with your residence betterment question. The amount is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com. Never worry about overpaying for a responsibility. Use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others paid under a same programme. That’s all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Now we’re leading over to Tennessee where Daniel is dealing with carpenter bees and of course, those lovely, perfectly round, accepted loopholes that they love to make all over your timber residence. What’s going on?
DANIEL: Ah, well, I’ve got these carpenter bees that restrain drilling flaws into my fascia board right there underneath my ceiling. And I filled them in and I’ve repainted and they keep coming back. I don’t know if there’s maybe something I can do to prevent that or something I can use to paint it with.
TOM: Yeah, a couple of things you can do. First of all, in terms of stopping the bees from coming back, you would have to have the carpenter bees professionally dealt with at a proper insecticide that will basically exterminate what’s there. Now, even if you did do that, though, they may come back the next season.
A surefire nature to make sure they don’t coming back here is to replace your wood trim with something that’s not lumber. I had this precise problem on a garage on our quality and I simply supplanted the wood trim with AZEK- -AZ-E-K. And there are other symbols, as well, but basically, it’s a cellular PVC material that looks like wood, pieces like wood but the carpenter bees can’t eat it. In fact, it was very whimsical to me because after I replaced the fascia with AZEK, the bees kept clique it but they couldn’t figure out why it didn’t taste like wood.
LESLIE: It’s like, “This looks like wood. I don’t understand.”
DANIEL: Yeah, that would actually be absolutely worth make just to see them roundabout and ...
TOM: In frustration, yeah. Alright? I hope that helps you out.
LESLIE: Well, weeds aren’t the one thing reputation between you and the luxuriant lawn of your dreams.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Once your territory is established, you’ve got to watch out for pests, fungal disease and even Fido. If you’ve got a inscrutable chocolate-brown discern or a baked spot plaguing your grass, here to tell us how to get to the bottom of it is Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Age-old House.
ROGER: Thanks for having me.
TOM: So, let’s start by talking about one of the most common causes of lawn problems: the four-legged genu. How do we address the dog damage?
ROGER: Well, unless you’re going to chase your dog around the yard with a hose, there’s really not much you can do except try to train them to go in one area. It’s hard. The dog’s get going where he’s going to go.
TOM: Right. But that’s kind of a special type of damage, freedom? The acidity from dogs and that sort of thing?
ROGER: Right. And it’s going to leave a dead circle in the anchor. Sometimes, it’s real lush on the edges where it wasn’t as strong but it’ll actually manure the lawn. But what you have to do is stay on top of it. I often placed a little compost down, rake it in and reseed the field. Because after one rainstorm, the salts have leached out and you can reseed again.
There’s other trouble that are going to pop up that’ll cause bad spots in your lawn and one of "the worlds biggest" ones are the white grubs.
TOM: Grubs, OK.
LESLIE: Yeah. How do you know you’ve got them?
ROGER: You’ll know. There’ll be a spot that a grass- it’ll only die. Sometimes, you’ll get birds down picking at it, like crows, or you’ll get a raccoon that’ll came to see you there, a skunk and rind it back and gobble the grubs.
TOM: And don’t you have more mold problems when you have grubs?
ROGER: You do. They eat them, too. But the biggest giveaway is if you take that grass and pull on it, it’s going to peel up like a rug because the ...
ROGER: Yep. The maggot ingest the roots off the merits of the grass.
TOM: So what’s the solution?
ROGER: The solution is to treat the grubs when they’re most vulnerable. Usually, that’s late summer or into the fall when they’re small-scale. If you try to treat them early in the season, they’re pretty big and pretty strong and they won’t be controlled easily.
TOM: OK. Now, what about chinch defects? We experience a lot of those in some parts of the country.
ROGER: It all depends, you know? The great thing about home countries is we all have our own pests.
TOM: We’ve all came our own bugs.
ROGER: So that’s a pest of St. Augustine lawns, where it actually penetrates the blade and sucks on it and stimulates it turn brown. There’s a lot of medicines. I like to do additional soil prep, extra watering before you turn and look at an insecticide. But in some instances, you do have to use an insecticide.
LESLIE: How would you tell if your lawn, say, had a fungus? I imagine you’re dealing with a awfully moist statu, on the most part, for your lawn that generally would lead to a fungus.
ROGER: Right. In some of them, it’s very easy to look at the stanch and it turns brown. In some cases, there’s a fungus announced “red thread disease” where the blade actually turns red and you can notice it.
And again, it’s from too much spray and not drying out or fertilizing less. And those are all physical things you can do before you take and turn to spraying for the fungicide.
TOM: I think it’s interested that every single one of these conditions is telling us something about our lawn. Something is happening that’s in excess, like excess sea, we’re not getting enough sea, we’re getting too much shade, we’re not coming enough subtlety. I symbolize there’s always some decision of these- well, I suspect the disease is the result but it’s actually resulting back to a solution that "re going to have to" do with lawn health.
ROGER: Right. And that’s why I’m ever talking about when you framed a lawn in, do the suitable preparation ahead of time. Because it’ll pay off in the lawn run.
LESLIE: Now, it’s interesting. I’ve seen- because I have a dog, so I be brought to an end walking around the block quite often. I’ve seen almost a striped look upon a lawn that’s typically kind of at the beginning of the season.
LESLIE: What the heck is that about?
ROGER: We call it “amateur damage.” That’s when a person goes out, particularly with a remove spreader, and fertilizes the lawn.
ROGER: And they don’t quite overlap fairly, so you get those delightful 4- to 6-inch pieces of yellow, shining dark-green, yellow, colors lettuce the whole way through the lawn. If you’re going to use a lowering spreader, what I tell people to do is set it at half of what the normal rate is, go one direction and then turn and go accurately 90 degrees to it. You use the same amount but you’re going to eliminate 99 percentage of those stripes.
TOM: We’re talking to Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House.
So, Roger, what if we don’t have enough grass? What if instead of grass we’re getting, say, moss?
ROGER: Moss is telling you that it’s probably more shady there for grass to grow. And which is something we do is- then we switch to groundcovers.
You can’t fight Mother Nature. Shade is going to get worse every year as trees and shrubs get bigger and bigger, so you’re better off transitioning into a natural groundcover that will tolerate those conditions.
TOM: And what would be a good groundcover that’s kind of similar to grass, in terms of its appearance?
ROGER: Some of the sedges will work really well for you. I like things like Vinca.
LESLIE: Hmm. Vinca minor is really pretty.
ROGER: Yeah. And some of the ferns will fill in and exactly give you garden- work with Mother Nature. You save seeding and putting fertilizer down and the grass doesn’t grow, she’s trying to tell you something.
LESLIE: Yeah. “I don’t lack the grass here.”
ROGER: It’s not going to work. But you putting in place ferns and Vinca and stuff like that, she’ll love it. And they’ll grow in and fill in and you won’t have to cut them, either.
LESLIE: Roger, what if the lawn is just really in such bad determine that you want to call it quit and to get started? Can you do that?
ROGER: You can, absolutely. And we use the 45 -percent rule: formerly it gets bad to 45 percentage, you’re not was just going to deplete any more coin overseeding or anything like that.
So, typically, what we do is we come in and instead of spraying with an herbicide, we like to use a sod cutter. And we take and cut off the top 2 inches so that removes all the grass, all the roots and all the weeds at one time. Then we rototill, we compute compost, we rototill again and we determine whether the sand needs- whether the soil needs some sand mixed in or some more compost. And then formerly we get a good 4- to 6-inch and even 8-inch layer of good grunge, then you can either sod or seed. So those are like the icing on the cake. If you don’t spend the money on the cake, it doesn’t matter how good the frosting is on top.
TOM: Good advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: My pleasure.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local leanings and step-by-step videos of many common dwelling better projects, see ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Aged House on The Money Pit is presented by the Sense Home Energy Monitor, the single best style we’ve found to reduce electricity penalties. Sense helps you understand what your home’s gadgets, flames and maneuvers have to say. See what’s up, know what’s on. See Sense in action at GetSense.com. That’s GetSense.com.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a order, right now, with your residence increase question. The quantity is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presentation by HomeAdvisor.com. Never is concerned at overpaying for a enterprise. Use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others paid for a similar project. That’s all for free at HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Betty in California needs some help with a lavatory question. What can we do for you today?
BETTY: I’m interested in the high-rise toilet and I’d like the pros and con and perhaps a firebrand. Because our plumber is thinking of using KOHLER- the quick flush- and we’re on well water and that’s it.
TOM: Well, there’s really no cons of using- a “comfort-height toilet” is what’s that called. Not a high-rise but comfort-height. They’re a bit higher than a standard toilet. And in matters of brands, one that I can recommend is announced American Champion 4. I’ve came American Champion comfort-height toilets in our mansion. And it truly doesn’t matter what senility you are, they are just easier to use. And the other benefit is that they use very little irrigate and they don’t clog.
So I would take a look at the American Standard Champion 4 toilets and merely get the accessible width and you’ll be good to go.
Alright, Betty? Good luck with that job. Thanks so much better for term us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve decided that apartment life is no longer for you and you’re ready to do the leaping to buying your own home, there are a few things that you can get started on now that will oblige the entire home-buying process a lot easier.
TOM: Yeah. And the first one is to boost your credit score. Now, most of the major credit authorities are going to provide you with such reports, one time a year, free of charge. So you want to review the report. Determine sure there are no errors.
You know, the first time I look back a ascribe report, I was blown away with how far back it croaked and how many details were in there. I could perfectly accompany opportunities for inaccuracies. So, check for errors. Try to pay off any debts.
And in the meantime, scaped purchasing big-ticket items and don’t apply for any brand-new recognition. That was advice I didn’t get when I bought my first residence. It was actually a condo. And I actually- back when we bought it, I was on a waiting list. And so, I tried to buy it but then I couldn’t buy it because there wasn’t one accessible. So I bought a auto instead.
LESLIE: You just wanted to buy something.
TOM: “You know that condo you wanted? Well , now you can buy it.” I’m like, “Oh, man.” So now I didn’t qualify.
But luckily, my wife and I were engaged, so we bought it together and she helped me qualify. She’s still helping me qualify.
LESLIE: She helps you qualify a lot, Tom. I’m merely saying. She’s pretty awesome.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely.
LESLIE: I’ve got to say she might be my favorite Kraeutler. I’m merely in awe. She’s various kinds of the best.
TOM: I would agree with you.
LESLIE: But that’s true-life. You really have to be so careful about what you’re doing, because every single thing feigns your approval report. It’s just amazing.
Now, next, you guys, start looking for the right real-estate operator. A good worker can make all the difference for your first-time home-buying know. The town that I live in is sort of- it’s very closed off.
And you have to- if you want to buy in this town, you’d better have a good real-estate agent who works within this town, who knows what’s coming up and when it’s coming up. Because sometimes, that little fleck of inside information is the difference between you getting the asset and you completely missing out and not even knowing it existed. So the right operator is huge. Make sure they’re local to the town you like. Make sure you precisely have a good rapport with them.
And then, work on getting preapproved for financing. Now, there’s two good reasons for that pace. First of all, you’ve got to know what you can really afford, what you qualify for and what kind of loan you want. And once you have that sanction in your hand, you unexpectedly become a much better prospect for those potential home sellers who potentially have multiple gives for that same room. Some of them are very similar. And if you have all your ducks in a row and you look like a great buyer, you will be that huge buyer.
TOM: And you are going to be excited about buying that residence. But don’t be too excited until you get it checked out by a professional home inspector, because that’s the chap that’s going to make sure you’re not buying a real-life coin crater. I was that guy for about 20 years. And believe me, I cannot tell you the number of members of era that what we found in a house was very, exceedingly surprising, even scandalizing to the people that thought it was just a really excellent residence for them, until they figured out they were going to need $20,000, $30,000, $50,000, $100,000 to fix it. So, you want to make sure you get a good home inspection.
LESLIE: But you know what? That home inspector is a great tool for you as a buyer. It can be a negotiating implement. It can help you really decided that and what you can afford to put in that house. So, absolutely get a home inspector and go with one that you select- right, Tom?- not one that the realtor or somebody’s who’s selling suggests.
TOM: Yeah. Oh, absolutely.
And you can go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. It’s HomeInspector.org. Those people are the best in the country. Put in your zip code. They’ll give you a listing. Call them, interview them, question lots of questions. Choose somebody you’re cozy with but get a good home inspection. It’s key to offsetting sure you don’t buy into a real-life money pit.
LESLIE: When we come back, we’re going to tackle a home problem that many of you have and not a lot of you cherish. I’m talking about popcorn ceilings. They’re easier to remove, sometimes, than you think. So stay around.
TOM: Where residence answers live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888 -MONEY-PIT presentation by HomeAdvisor, where you can find top-rated dwelling busines pros and record appointments online, all for free.
TOM: You can post your question to MoneyPit.com, which is what Jeff did.
He has a question, Leslie, about popcorn ceilings. Popcorn is something you should enjoy with a good movie but not on your ceilings. Popcorn has no place in home decor, as far as we’re concerned.
LESLIE: Oh, my God. People, it’s so funny. It’s just- parties hate them. They utterly hate them, so I’m very curious.
TOM: Do you know why makes situated popcorn ceilings on?
LESLIE: So that they can hide imperfections.
TOM: They obscured all sorts of flaws. That’s right. The ceiling, where you have ceiling lamps, the ignites cast in the different regions of the ceiling sort of sideways and it has a partiality to highlight every little imperfection, which are capable of expense them a lot of callbacks. Because parties would say their drywall was finished poorly, they could see the videotape seams, the nail pops. They’re like, “We’ll fix that. We’ll precisely cover it with all this textured stuff announced' popcorn.’” And that’s what was did.
But now, decades later, we get call after call after call about beings just want to remove it. And it’s not a pretty responsibility. It does take a lot of hassling.
LESLIE: It’s true-blue. And I want I think it really depended on how it’s requested. Sometimes the popcorn ceiling indeed is a foam missile mixed into a complex that’s then exerted. If that’s the occasion, that’s the easiest way to remove it. That generally - you merely need to add some humidity and then implement a wide paint scraper to really carefully and smoothly remove it from the ceiling. And sometimes, it’s more of a skill applied with actual stucco. And that really requires a lot of work to get that one off.
TOM: Well, that’s kind of what Jeff is asking. He wants to know what’s the most efficient way to go about smoothing a painted popcorn ceiling. He says scraping gets too hard-handed, so he wants to skim-coat it. But you cannot skim-coat over all of that popcorn.
LESLIE: Oh, that would be the thickest coating of skim coat.
LESLIE: It’d be a ponderous coat.
TOM: You have to wet it down.
And you know what, Leslie? I have found that there are a couple of tools on the market today that are sort of like long-handled scrapers and some that you can actually hook up to a shop vac, so you could kind of suck up the debris as you’re scraping it off the ceiling.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s interesting.
TOM: So, it’s getting a little bit easier. But the thing is, even when you get all of that material off of the ceiling, it’s still going to be fairly rough underneath. You’re still going to have that uneven surface.
So, if you don’t want to made a textured colour back- and why would you?- what you might want to do is make sure you use flat ceiling colour. Never use any kind of paint that has only one sheen whatsoever. Because the more sheen, the worse that ceiling is going to look when it gets a little light given on it, sort of at an inclination. You’ll start examining those imperfections.
So, you need to get it off there. You need to go ahead and decorate it with a flat draw. And if the ceiling is really bad when you get it all off, what you could do, likewise, is just cover it with another blanket of drywall. With that second layer, you could use very thin drywall that’s about 3/8-inch thick. And that goes up pretty easily and you’ll time have the seams to deal with after that.
But those are the two ways to really deal with that ceiling, Jeff. You can’t spackle over it. It’s just not going to work.
LESLIE: And then, Jeff, you might find that fixing those strata on that brand-new drywall might see you want to kept a textured ceiling on. Time don’t. Don’t hide your imperfections.
Alright. Louis in Florida writes: “I had new 6x6 posts installed to support my porch-roof overhang. Now, there’s horizontal separates on one announce. Should I drive in fastens to minimize that splitting? ”
TOM: That’s an interesting idea but there’s no way that a fasten or a bolt is going to stop a pole from splitting. It’s got a mind of its own.
You know, cracks in lumber fundings like that, Louis, are pretty normal and they’re likewise expected. So the only thing that I might do is to seal those crackings with a silicone sealer, a silicone caulk or even a latex caulk. Depends on how that affix is finished. Because this way, you’ll prevent some of the liquid from coming in there and perhaps slow it down as time goes on.
LESLIE: But enjoy that new patio.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on this very first weekend of time. We hope we’ve been able to give you some ideas on how to get started on your summer home improvement project, resolve some of those DIY dilemmas. All time long, you can reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions online to The Money Pit’s website at MoneyPit.com.
For now, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don’t "re going to have to" do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
( Copyright 2019 Squeaky Door Product, Inc. No segment of this record or audio document is also available reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Creation, Inc .)
According to a recent report by Fico, a total of 43.4 million people have a credit score of 599 or less. For those hard working Americans, getting an apartment with bad credit, conducting many other basic financial transactions is difficult if not impossible.
The reasons for bad credit can be many, but often include:Unpaid medical bills Delinquent taxes Too much credit card debt Large student loan balances Foreclosure Bankruptcy Job loss Illness
Regardless of why you have a poor credit score, getting an apartment in any city — from an affordable place like Bloomington, Indiana to expensive New York City — with bad credit can certainly be an issue.
Landlords regularly check the credit scores of prospective tenants, and if they have a lot of qualified applicants, those with less-than-perfect credit can quickly be eliminated. For whatever reason, if you are interested in getting an apartment with bad credit, there are some things you can do to improve your chances.
Clean Up the Credit You Do Have
If you have had a major negative event like a foreclosure, your credit score can rapidly drop by 100 points or more. This isn’t the time to ignore your issues, however, as there could be other items that are causing your score to drop even further. According to the FTC, 20 percent of Americans have credit reports that contain mistakes, and these errors can lead to lower scores. Even if you had a devastating economic event occur, check your report and dispute any errors as these could be making your score even worse.Find Apartments with Local Owners
If you are intent on getting an apartment with bad credit, look for rentals that are locally owned. If you merely apply to big complexes, you may find that there are rules in place that regular employees just cannot override. If the place you are looking for requires a credit score of 620, and yours is 615, you may be out of luck since large bureaucracies are not equipped to deal with individual situations. You can beg and plead to the local representative, but if a computer rejected your application, no one may be willing to help you.
Even if you have some credit issues try to find a suitable residence that has local ownership. In this situation, you may be able to speak directly with the owners. If you have sufficient income, and if your credit problems appear to be over, you could convince a local owner that you are a better credit risk than your score shows.
Offer to Pre-pay Rent
Even with a bigger rental complex, you could offer to prepay some of your rent to persuade the owners that they will not have a problem collecting rent from you. If you can raise the cash, offer to pay the first three months’ rent plus your security deposit up front. If you can show a steady income, offering to prepay can be another reason to persuade a landlord to say yes instead of no.Get a Co-signer
A co-signer is someone that makes themselves responsible for your rent payments if you don’t make them. If you have had a credit issue and are intent on getting an apartment with bad credit, the use of a co-signer can solve your problem. Always remember, however, that your co-signer will have to remit the payments if you cannot, and their credit can be seriously dinged if they don’t pay your rent.Assemble Good References
Not everyone in the rental business is cold-hearted and uncaring, and if you can show a prospective landlord that you are less of a credit risk, you can be successful in getting an apartment with bad credit. Work and personal references along with a good job can certainly help convince someone to rent to you.
Get Another Job
Approaching a landlord with a strong employment picture can definitely put points in your favor. Even if you have a credit score in the 500s, some great check stub history that shows you make more than enough money to cover the monthly rent can help put a landlord at ease.Set Up Auto-pay
Some landlords, especially non-corporate ones, get really antsy at the first of the month when rent is due. The last thing they want is another problem child that they have to chase for rent every month. If your credit has been dinged and your potential landlord is worried about collecting the monthly rent, offer to set up auto-payments where the rent can be automatically deducted from your bank account each month on a designated day. Once a few months have passed and your payments have been credited, you will get off the danger list.
Get a Roommate
Even if you like living by yourself, if it becomes impossible to get an apartment because your credit is a problem, consider getting a roommate with a good credit history. If you’re lucky, the application can be primarily in your roommate’s name, they can be responsible for the rent, and you can pay them. This may get you in the door, and after a while, you will have a better track record to present to other landlords.Consider Buying a Home Instead
This may seem counter-intuitive, but it isn’t in some cases. If you are a veteran, you can be approved for a VA loan that will allow you to purchase a home with a very low down payment and with a low credit score. Of course, there are always hoops to jump through, but this can be a way to solve your problem.
Also, in some states, deals like contract for deed can work. In Minnesota, for example, a surprisingly large percentage of homes are sold this way, and there are companies—blessed by the government—that specialize in these deals. Be careful of scams, however, as they are somewhat prevalent in the contract for deed industry.
The task of getting an apartment with bad credit is not a pleasant one, but you should not give up merely because you have encountered problems because of past difficulties. There are positive steps you can take that include repairing your credit, boosting your income, offering to pre-pay, setting up auto payments and more. Bad credit, although annoying, need not necessarily stop you from getting the apartment you want.
The post 9 Key Tips to Getting an Apartment with Bad Credit appeared first on The Money Pit.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. We want to solve the do-it-yourself dilemmas. We want to answer your questions, your concerns about the improvements and the repairs and the projects you want to take on in your house. Help yourself first, though, by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s program, when you decide to bring home a family pet, there can be a lot of changes. Your home décor, however, doesn’t have to be one of them. If you’re pondering any decorating or improvement projects, we’re going to have some tips to help make sure those improvements are pet-friendly.
LESLIE: And are you thinking about adding a central air-conditioning system but you’re afraid the construction needed to run those ducts will make a real mess of your house? Well, a type of A/C system called “mini-ducts” could be the answer. We’ll explain later on.
TOM: And also ahead, if you’re planning a project to improve your outdoor living but need to be confident the project is a good investment, we’re going to have details on a project that can deliver years of carefree enjoyment and good return on investment when it comes time to sell.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour, we’ve got a very fun tool to give away. It’s the iconic, American-made Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun, along with a supply of staples, worth 50 bucks.
TOM: Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Call in right now. We want to hear about your home repair, your home décor question. We want to solve it for you. And the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Michael in Arizona, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MICHAEL: I bought a little ranch here in Arizona. And during the winter months, my electric bill runs about $60 a month.
MICHAEL: And during the summertime, it goes up to about $300 a month.
TOM: (inaudible) It would be nice if it stayed at that level all summer long, wouldn’t it?
MICHAEL: Oh, yeah. The house was built with a swamp cooler and there was just a single vent. They had swapped it out for a heat pump with cooling capability.
MICHAEL: And the problem is they put ducting in but it’s all on the roof.
MICHAEL: So, everything that the air conditioner is cooling, it goes through 20 or 30 feet of plenum that is exposed to all that sunshine and sunlight and all that desert heat, right there on the roof.
MICHAEL: And I was wondering if there was an economical way that I could insulate those plenums so that I could hopefully cut $100 a month out of my electric bill.
TOM: Well, are the air-conditioning ducts on the roof that are exposed – are they insulated now?
MICHAEL: No, they’re not. They just had a coating, like an elastomeric or something put on them.
TOM: That’s nuts. That’s completely nuts. Yeah. Well, they didn’t put the right type of ducting in. Because, you know, having ducts run on the exterior of a building or across the roof is not unusual. I mean it’s unusual on a residence but it’s not so unusual in commercial establishments.
TOM: But there are types of duct insulation that are designed to go around, in that scenario. And usually, it has a type of foil face that has a low-E capability. In other words, it reflects the UV radiation off. And usually, it’s a couple of layers.
There’s a product called Reflectix that I’m familiar with, that makes reflective insulation and radiant-barrier products. That’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about. So there are products out that can be used to insulate those existing ducts. It’s just that you weren’t – they weren’t installed. And that was pretty much malpractice, as far as I’m concerned, because there’s no way you’re going to be able to compensate for the loss of that air conditioning traveling through those scorching-hot ducts. It’s just kind of silly for them even to think that’s a possibility.
So, insulating those ducts with the proper material is one thing you could do. And that’s probably going to be the least expensive way to go. Because the other option is if you wanted to run it through the building, you don’t have to use full-size ducts.
There’s a type of system that’s called a “high efficiency, low volume.” They run through ducts that are about 3 inches in diameter. And it’s different than the large, typical ducts where the air moves slowly. This air moves very quickly through these smaller tubes. But because they’re less than the width of a 2×4, you can run them through a lot of places. But that kind of requires a complete system replacement. So I think just getting the right kind of insulation on those ducts is going to be the shortest distance between you and a lower electric bill.
MICHAEL: Okay. Yeah, I’ve seen that kind of material. As a matter of fact, I’ve got some of it. I actually made a solar oven for the backyard where I can cook in a crock pot all day long in this heat.
MICHAEL: I can put a roast in there in the morning and by the time that 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon rolls around, it’s stew.
TOM: Yeah. Well, then you want to manage the sun. In this case, you want to keep the sun out and away from those ducts. So, I think take a look at Reflectix, just as a place to start. And that’s ReflectixInc.com – t-i-x-I-n-c – ReflectixInc.com. You’ll get a sense as to what we’re talking about. And I’m sure there are other manufacturers; I just happen to know about that one. But you need to find the right type of duct insulation to get those ducts wrapped, quickly, before the summer sun really heats – sets in. Okay?
MICHAEL: Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
MICHAEL: Alrighty. Thank you.
LESLIE: Angela in Washington D.C. is on the line with a question about waterproofing her basement.
Angela, first tell us what’s been going on.
ANGELA: I’m having problems in my basement with water coming in in my garage, not in the other part of my house. But it would have to rain really hard for the water to come in.
So, I have some mold and mildew downstairs in the corners and I also have peeling of the paint. And also, I have a crack that goes across the wall about 8 feet. And I was interviewing some companies to waterproof my basement and they all wanted to drill my house down to the footer and I really don’t want to do that. For some reason, that doesn’t sit well with me.
TOM: Yeah, well – and you’re wise to question that advice. Because if you’re talking to these so-called waterproofing companies, they’re in the business to sell you very expensive repairs. And I just would venture a bet that it came with a fair degree of panic-peddling about all the bad things that could happen to you if you didn’t open up your checkbook for them. Is that correct?
ANGELA: Yeah. And I was – I had – gave them money and I was going to do it and they delayed it for about a day because they needed some more of the – whatever they told me. And I was – I went online, I was surfing the net and I came across your article and it said, “Don’t do it.” And I called them right then and there. I said, “I don’t want to do it.”
TOM: Yeah. Good, good. Well, we saved you and I’m very happy that you found the articles that we have about waterproofing your basement and how not to get ripped off.
TOM: That’s actually among the most popular content that we have on MoneyPit.com. We get tens of thousands of people that see that article every single month.
And so let’s talk about it, Angela. If you read the story, you know that we believe that most water problems that are consistent with rainfall, such as what you’ve described, have nothing to do with rising water table.
TOM: And if you don’t have a rising water table, there’s no reason to dig out your basement and put in drains and pumps and all of that. What we need to do is get this in under control from the top down.
So, you need to kind of go through a checklist here. The first thing is to look at all of the drainage around your house. Start at the roof. How is the water being collected at the roof edge? Do we have gutters? Are the gutters clean? Are the gutters free-flowing? Are they big enough for the volume of roof surface that they’re servicing?
The downspouts. Are they clean? Are they free-flowing? And very, very important, if I had to pick one thing out of everything, where is that downspout discharging? If you’ve got water in corners of the basement showing in, I bet you there’s a spout above it that’s leaking water there or backing up or clogged or something right above that area. We need to direct the water from the roof away from the house.
Now, I know in D.C., that could be a challenging area, depending on how close your home is to the next house. Do you have a single-family house or do you have a …?
TOM: OK. So you have some room to move around, in terms of this drainage?
TOM: Can you get the water 4 to 6 feet from the foundation perimeter?
ANGELA: Yes, I could do that.
TOM: OK. And I’m going to tell you how to prove this point to yourself very easily and inexpensively. Head out to a home center and buy some downspout material. It’s very cheap. Probably $10 or $20 worth of downspout material. And just stick it on the end of the leaders and run it out into your yard 6, 8 feet, whatever length they come in. And just stop right there, OK? This is a temporary thing; we’re not going to leave it like this year-round.
But what you will find, if we move through a couple of rainfalls, that the volume of water and moisture and humidity that you’re seeing in your basement will be dramatically different. Why? Because you moved the water away.
Now, once we’ve proven that point, how do we do this in a neat and orderly fashion? You’ve got options. You could run it underground through solid PVC pipe, if you can find a place that discharged that to daylight. We want it to come out somewhere low where the water will stream away. So if you have a low spot in your yard where you can do that, great. If you can take it out to a curb and put it into a storm sewer, even better. So that’s a way to make it completely hidden.
If not, then maybe you tighten up those spouts and try to landscape around them so we hide the extensions. But they’ve got to get out there at least 4 to 6 feet, because those first few feet around the house are critical. If they get wet, your basement is going to flood, because that’s the backfill zone. Soil there is more porous than in other areas of the house; it’s where the house was dug up to build the foundation. So, the gutters are critical.
Second to that is grading. You know, if the soil around your house is very flat, then once the water lands, it has nowhere to go but in. So you want to add clean fill dirt – not topsoil but clean fill dirt – and tamp it to slope away from the walls. You want a slope of about 6 inches over 4 feet.
And then once that slope is established, then and only then do you put some mulch or topsoil and grass seed to control erosion. But you don’t build it up with topsoil. Why? Because topsoil is very organic and because it’s organic, it’s going to hold water and that’s not what we’re trying to do here.
So grading and gutters are the two major things to address and of all of those, downspouts are most important. Does that make sense?
ANGELA: Sounds great. Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Leslie. Thank you so much.
TOM: Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit. Call in your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Just ahead, pets and projects don’t always go together well. So if you’re thinking about any decorating or improvement project, we’re going to have some tips to help make them pet-friendly, 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: And we want you to join the show. Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can get instantly matched with top-rated pros for any home project and book appointments online, for free.
And there’s another great reason to call us, right now, with your question because we’re giving away the iconic, American-made Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun, plus a supply of staples. It’s the most popular, American-made staple gun ever. It’s all chrome. It’s got steel housing, jam-resistant mechanism. It’s got a really powerful coil spring. It’s got a staple-viewing window so you’re going to know when you’re running out of staples. And it’s all steel working parts. It’s made right here in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, not too far from us, by a great company, Arrow.
It’s worth 35 bucks. Going to throw in about 15 bucks worth of staples. So, we’re sending out $50 worth of staples and a staple gun to one lucky caller. You can check it out at ArrowFastener.com. But give us a call, right now, for the answer to your question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Richard in Wisconsin is on the line with a lighting question. How can we help you today?
RICHARD: Yes. I would like to know where a person could find a floor lamp or a table lamp with a dimmer switch on it instead of the three-way switch. That way you could have one bulb and it wouldn’t – it’d last longer, I know, than a regular three-way switch does.
TOM: Well, certainly, you can find lamps that are capable of having dimmer switches. I think it would be unlikely for the lamp itself to have the dimmer. It’s more likely that the lamp – you want to get one that’s not on three-way and put it – plug it into a dimmer switch. There are, for example, floor switches that I’ve seen that are on a slider. It’s almost a foot switch where it slides from full brightness down to the dimmest setting. And it’s basically just ramping up and down the power that’s going to that lamp.
So I think you want to find a standard floor lamp and then you want to find a second dimmer switch that you can plug it into. So there are portable, so to speak, plug-in dimmer switches as opposed to the kind that are wired into the wall, Richard. And that would be the solution to that problem. They’re very inexpensive and I’m sure you’ll find them online or in an electrical-supply store. So take a look and I think that is the solution.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re a pet lover and considering a new décor or remodeling project, you probably already know that all home improvements don’t necessarily fit well with pets. A Persian rug might look nice in your home but it’s probably not the best choice if you’ve got pets where durability is definitely a factor.
TOM: Yeah. If you’ve got pets, you need to think about things like easy clean-up floors, like laminate or engineered hardwood. Or the new engineered vinyl plank is beautiful or luxury vinyl plank. And even the new, wood-look porcelain tile or ceramic flooring can make sense, because these are really hard-surface products. So, of course, they’re easier to keep clean and to keep them stain-free than, say, a rug, which pretty much you can’t keep stain-free.
LESLIE: Yeah. Another great benefit to this is that hard-flooring options will be more comfortable for your cat or dog during the hot summer months if it’s got a lot of hair or fur. You can definitely get pet-friendly flooring that will make your house look amazing.
TOM: For more tips, check out our blog post, “Pet-Friendly Design and Decorating Tips for Your Home.” It’s online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And now we’ve got Kimberly in College Station, Texas with a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
KIMBERLY: We bought this house many years – several years ago. And we had an inspection of the house and we didn’t know that we had a problem with a roof leak. The inspector didn’t catch it because the people who owned the house first put some plastic over the leaking areas. So when it rained, it held water and we didn’t know that until four or five months afterwards, after we bought the house. And then our insurance wouldn’t cover anything.
And we’re just – we’ve got more leaks now because the house is getting older. And so, instead of replacing the entire roof, we’re looking for some suggestions on some kind of a seal. And we don’t even know – there’s all these things out there. We don’t know what would be the best, if there’s anything available, or what we should do.
TOM: OK. So, you say that they covered this with plastic and your home inspector never noticed that it was covered with plastic? I mean duh.
KIMBERLY: No. And it was – it’s on the – up in the inside of the house. And also, they painted the ceiling. They had a 5-gallon can of white ceiling paint in our garage, which – so they kept it covered all the time, which – nobody caught that. Now, I didn’t think anything about it.
TOM: Was this roof accessible? The area that was covered with plastic?
KIMBERLY: Yes. And he walked around up there and it – and I guess it hadn’t rained in a while. So, those little sealed-up areas weren’t full of water at this – at the time.
TOM: Let me ask you this: is this a sloped roof or a flat roof?
TOM: And has it ever been covered with tar or anything like that?
TOM: So the metal is still fresh in the sense that it has never been tarred over?
KIMBERLY: No, it’s not tarred.
TOM: Well, have you had a roofer look at it?
KIMBERLY: We have; we’ve had several. And one told us that it would cost us $6,000 or $7,000 to put a seal on it. And now there’s some of those things out there at the home improvement stores. We just don’t know if …
TOM: OK, look, let me make this real easy for you. You don’t seal a metal roof; you repair a metal roof. Metal roofs can last 100 years. So, if any roofer is trying to sell you something in a can that he’s going to seal the roof with, that is a disaster waiting to happen, for a lot of reasons.
First of all, it’s not the right way to fix it. Secondly, it actually does more harm than good and here’s why: because when you seal a roof with tar – a metal roof with tar – water still gets in; it gets under the tar and then it quickly rusts the roof away. If you have a roof that is cracked or has rusted out in a piece of area, then you repair those; you don’t tar over them like you might, say, an asphalt roof.
So, that’s – what you need to do is to find a roofer who is a craftsman. And I realize that that’s easier said than done. But if you find a roofer that’s a craftsman that really has experience with metal roofs and doesn’t just know how to tear one off – that doesn’t count as experience with a metal roof which, unfortunately, many will just say, “Oh, we’ll tear it off and do something else.”
No. If you find somebody that really knows metal roofs, then that should be completely repairable. And I would not encourage you to put any kind of sealant on it but to figure out where it’s leaking and why it’s leaking and fix it.
You’ve got to dig into it further, Kim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you thinking about adding central air-conditioning but you’re worried about the mess of tearing open your walls and ceilings to make room for those ducts? Well, a type of A/C system called “mini-ducts” could be the answer. Richard Trethewey of This Old House will be by to explain.
TOM: And today’s edition of This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by ADT. Introducing ADT Go, the new family mobile safety app and service. Go to ADT.com to learn more today.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And right now – I mean right now – on MoneyPit.com, you can enter The Money Pit’s Power Your Summer Sweepstakes for your chance to win the quiet, clean and very portable Cat INV2000 Inverter Generator.
LESLIE: It’s great for tailgating, camping, taking to your job sites. So many more places you can bring this thing. It’s small but very powerful 1,800-watt generator. It retails for about $749.99 but you can win one free, right now, at MoneyPit.com. You can enter from now until June 10th and you’ll be able to power your entire summer with ease.
TOM: Enter The Money Pit’s Power Your Summer Sweepstakes today at MoneyPit.com for your chance to win.
LESLIE: Well, one of the biggest projects that we undertook at my old house was installing central air-conditioning. Believe me, it was well worth it but it took quite a bit of construction to get all of the ducts to fit.
TOM: And that’s pretty typical when you need to retrofit a home that was built before air conditioning was common. There is, however, a way to install A/C into an existing, older home or really any home where you’d like to minimize the construction necessary to get those ducts where they have to go. These systems are known as “mini-ducts” and they can actually be run through the wall with very little disturbance.
With us to talk about how they work is Richard Trethewey. He’s the plumbing-and-heating contractor from TV’s This Old House.
RICHARD: Hi there.
TOM: Now, when Leslie’s system was installed, the mess actually released enough lead paint into the air, which put her family at risk. Minimal disturbance is really a hallmark of these mini-duct systems, though, isn’t it?
RICHARD: Right. In a typical, conventional, ducted system, you need to have large ducts. You need a separate supply to every room and a return from every room. With a high-velocity system, it has one 2-inch flexible supply for every 8×10 or 10×10 area. So most rooms would have just two of them. And you’d have one common return, so it’s minimally invasive to put into the building.
TOM: Now, you just mentioned high velocity. I think that’s an important point to make. Existing systems are bigger in volume but they’re low-velocity; these are smaller in volume but they’re high-velocity, so you can move enough air to actually do the job.
RICHARD: Right. It actually works to your advantage. If you go conventional, low-velocity system, wherever the register is is where you’re going to have heating and cooling. Then the air becomes a prisoner of the temperature that’s leaving the register. If it’s in heating mode, most of the air wants to stay at the ceiling. If it’s in cooling mode, it wants to drop right below that register and it’s going to be pulled over to wherever the return area is in the room, if it’s there.
With high-velocity, it’s a stream of air and it makes the air in the room blend together, so you have no more than 2-degree temperature difference side to side or top to bottom.
LESLIE: And then it’s sort of sucked back in through the return duct and then cooled again through the air handler, which is maybe in your attic.
RICHARD: That’s right. And the cycle repeats. It just puts the right amount of air in every room, comes back through one central return that has a filter on it. The air goes back and gets either reheated or recooled.
LESLIE: Which system tends to be more efficient?
RICHARD: A high-velocity system will dehumidify. In areas of high humidity, the small-duct system will outperform on efficiency standpoint, because it takes out 30 percent more humidity because you have less air across a very, very cold air-conditioning coil.
TOM: Now, is there anything different about the return-duct setup with a high-velocity system?
RICHARD: No, only that there’s only one. The properly-done conventional system should have a return in every room and it should actually have two returns: one for installation of a cooling system and one for a heating system.
RICHARD: You should close one off in the appropriate season.
TOM: But you almost never see that anymore.
RICHARD: No. No one does it and so that’s why you have so many complaints from conventional systems of being dirty, drafty, dusty, unbalanced, some cool – cold 70. “The thermostat just has shut off and I feel uncomfortable.” So, it’s mostly because of improper installation.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, in the high-velocity systems, because they’re moving so much air so much more quickly, is there any noise associated with that? I would imagine you’d get a whistle.
RICHARD: Well, properly installed, it’ll be as quiet as any system. So, just like anything, if it’s not done properly – and the other thing that was introduced in the past year is a thing called an ECM motor. This is really like cruise control for a blower fan, so it feels how much resistance and just brings on the fan at the right speed. And that’s really made a big difference, because it tries to overcome the realities of poor installation.
TOM: Now, that’s got to have an efficiency benefit, as well, because you’re only really moving as much air as you absolutely need to.
RICHARD: Yes. That blower will be about 10 to 15 percent more efficient than the conventional blower.
TOM: How about the cost of a high-velocity system compared to a standard? You have less construction disturbance.
TOM: Is the equipment cost a little bit higher? Does it all balance out?
RICHARD: Absolutely. The material is higher, the installation is almost always lower. What happens is people – installing contractors will say, “I’ll try one of these,” but they only usually try it on the hard job where they couldn’t do conventional.
RICHARD: And then they become hooked. They say, “Boy, I could do this a lot of different places.”
TOM: Good advice. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
RICHARD: Glad to be here.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and a step-by-step video on installing a mini-duct system and even other projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Gorilla Glue.
Up next, are you planning a project to improve your outdoor living but need to be confident the project is a good investment? We’ll share the details on a project that can deliver years of enjoyment and a good ROI when you sell, in today’s Building with Confidence Tip presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, next.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, to ask your home improvement question. The number is 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 the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.
TOM: And there’s no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kirk in California on the line who’s dealing with a patio issue. Tell us what’s going on.
KIRK: I have a 1974 house. And in the back, I have a patio that I believe was probably poured in the 70s, too. It’s approximately 20×14, cordoned off into about 6 quads separated by 2x4s.
And under the eaves, with the little bit of rain we get, and along the main walkways, it’s kind of getting worn down a little bit. And I wanted to know how to preserve that.
TOM: OK. So, first of all, in terms of the patio itself, if the surface is wearing off, you can use an epoxy patching compound on that surface. QUIKRETE makes a whole bunch of products that are designed just for that. You want to make sure you choose a product that’s designed to stick to concrete and one that’s designed to be a patch. Because if you try to use any type of just regular concrete or mortar, it just won’t stick well. It might look good for a week and it’ll start to chip and break apart, so you want to use one that’s really going to adhere very, very well.
KIRK: OK. But how about with the epoxy? Will it still give it the original look?
TOM: Actually, if you do it to the whole patio, it’ll look like a completely new patio. It will be actually quite attractive. You can get it in different colors, as well, OK?
KIRK: OK. I’ll try that. OK. Thanks so much.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading over to Oklahoma, right now, to talk to Sheila about a kitchen do-over. How can we help you paint those countertops?
SHEILA: I recently – my husband and I remodeled our kitchen and we refinished our cabinets and we – they had – we had some recessed lighting done and we didn’t have enough money for our counters. So, I’ve been looking at, online, some stuff about repainting your countertops. And I wanted to know your opinion about it or if you’d heard anyone doing that or what your thoughts are on that.
TOM: Yeah, the countertop paints have been out for probably five or eight years now and they seem to do very, very well. I know Rust-Oleum has an extensive line of countertop paints out that are available in many, many colors. So I think it is a good option.
I think it’ll buy you a little bit of time on those countertops so that you can avoid having to replace them. And you’ll have the opportunity to paint in either a solid color or they have countertop paints now that kind of look like stone countertops. They look like granite and other types of natural materials. So I think they’re a very good option and I would encourage you to pursue it.
SHEILA: Yeah, I actually found a company online that sells them – their product locally at one of our wallpaper stores and have actually purchased the items. I just haven’t started the project yet.
TOM: What you might want to do is try to get your hands on a piece of laminate. And you can go to a home center and buy a really small piece of laminate, like a scrap. And this way, you can practice a little bit before you actually get it on your countertop.
SHEILA: Do you know about the length of time and how durable it is as far as lasting?
TOM: It’s not as durable as the laminate but it’s pretty good.
SHEILA: Yeah, OK. Well, great. Thank you, Tom, for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sheila. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, as you enjoy the warm weather of summer, are you one of the millions of homeowners thinking about ways to further improve your outdoor spaces? If you are, it’s smart to mind the return on investment, because not all home improvements deliver the return on investment that you can count on. But one that does is building a deck.
TOM: Yeah, good point. I mean the cost of building a deck can vary widely based on the number of levels the deck has, as well as the material. But regardless, decks deliver one of the 10 best returns on your remodeling investment when it comes time to sell your home.
And building a deck also helps your home stand out in the marketplace, making it a much more desirable home to buy. This is going to increase buyer competition for your home and it can result in a sale at the highest possible price.
LESLIE: And today’s Building with Confidence Tip has been brought to you by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. It’s completely online, reduces annoying and time-consuming paperwork and gives you a real, accurate and personalized mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation, with no hidden fees or hassles.
TOM: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Apply simply, understand fully, mortgage confidently.
LESLIE: Elvis from Texas is on the line. He is in the building and he has a question about plumbing.
Elvis, what can we do for you?
ELVIS: My wife and I had a house built. Started back in early 2005 and it’s in Lubbock. Houses are made on concrete slabs.
ELVIS: Before they poured the slab, they put in a – with all the plumbing was installed. And instead of copper plumbing, which was in kind of short supply back in 2005, the going thing then was called Kitec. I think it’s K-i-t-e-c. And it’s a double-walled plastic pipe with aluminum in the center, instead of regular connections that use, if I’m understanding, a bronze connector. And we’ve had a couple of small problems with the plumbing but it seems as though I’ve read that the bronze can cause a delinkification (ph) in the copper.
And I’m wondering if there’s been any studies done, if there’s different fittings that can be replaced. If the plumbing has to be replaced, it’d be very labor-intensive to go underneath the house. And we get down to fairly low winters, maybe to zero, and I don’t think I’d want any plumbing overhead for it to freeze. Or if you have any suggestions or thoughts.
TOM: Yeah, Elvis. The problem with Kitec plumbing is, as you suspect, the fittings will leak.
Now, what’s interesting is that Kitec starts with PEX, which is cross-linked polyethylene which, by itself and as installed today, is actually an excellent plumbing pipe with fittings that don’t leak. But the Kitec system has definitely had a history of leaking. In fact, there are many class-action lawsuits over that product that are active and going on around the country. And you certainly should investigate those that you may qualify to join.
Unfortunately, your solutions only include, really, replacing it. And what I would advise you to do is to only replace it where it’s accessible. I wouldn’t create the emergency if the emergency doesn’t exist, so I’m not going to tell you to tear open your walls and pull all the plumbing out and start from scratch. But I would say that if you do happen to be doing a bathroom renovation or you open a wall and you find Kitec, it should be sort of a matter, of course, where you always replace it. Because it’s not going to get any better; it’s only going to get worse.
ELVIS: Not news I wanted to hear but kind of what I suspected.
TOM: Yep. Unfortunately, that’s the case. Every once in a while, we get a building product like that and I’ve seen it happen many times over the years. And there’s just no way to make it better because at its core, it’s a defective system.
ELVIS: OK. No way to just replace the fittings. It’s going to be the pipe itself, too, that’ll have problems.
TOM: That’s correct. So I would attach it to a plumbing – to copper piping or to traditional PEX piping.
ELVIS: OK. So I can talk to some local plumbers and discuss it from that point.
TOM: Exactly. I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, do you live in a community that kind of limits your creativity when it comes to what you can do to your home? Well, we’re going to help one person who posted a question about how they can make changes that fit into their community, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone right now. Call us with your how-to question at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Hey, you need flooring in your kitchen or your bathroom or maybe you need a new roof or you want to get going on that deck? HomeAdvisor can match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: Alright. You can post your question on The Money Pit Community page for two pros right here willing to help you, right now, just like Carolyn did who writes: “We installed a one-piece tub/shower in our basement only about a year ago, as well as linoleum flooring. Already, the linoleum is rolling up where it meets the tub. What’s the best product to use to hold it down? We really don’t want to use quarter round due to the moisture but worry that caulking just won’t do the job.”
TOM: Well, look, bathrooms – basement bathrooms – are good, in particular, but they’re apt to have more moisture than bathrooms that are up at higher levels, as you apparently found. So, this is a pretty common problem. I would steer away from trying to accomplish this with adhesive. Quarter-round molding is really the best way to go and …
LESLIE: It’s just going to trap it there.
TOM: You’re just going to trap it down mechanically. You’re going from an adhesive seam to a molding seam. You may not know that there are composites available in quarter round, which are really, really flexible. This could be very helpful when it comes to going around a tub.
And they can be fairly small in terms of their profile. In fact, I would tell you that if you were able to use a quarter round-style composite molding, you’d probably get it so close to the tub that it really wouldn’t be noticeable. It would permanently hold down that edge. Because even if you get it sealed down now, it’s apt to come up again. And once you’ve got the molding down, you can put a thin bead of caulk above it and below it, paint it to match. And I’m telling you, it will just disappear into that space. You won’t even see it but you’ll know you’ll have a good, solid seam there and it’ll keep that flooring right where it belongs.
LESLIE: Alright. And lucky duck with the basement bathroom. That’s an awesome addition.
Alright. Next up, we have a post from Dave who writes: “I live in a neighborhood of Mediterranean-style stucco homes. Our homeowner’s association requires all sheds to match their house. I’m building a new shed and plan to use WonderBoard to frame it out and stucco to finish, with paint to match the house and need to know: how do I attach the WonderBoard to the shed?”
TOM: Well, I mean the first thing to keep in mind, if you’re going to cover that shed with stucco, is it needs to be dimensionally stable. You can’t have movement in the walls because the stucco’s going to crack and fail. So, that starts at the foundation. You need a good stone base, concrete footings so that when the job’s complete, the shed’s absolutely rock solid. So, that’s really important. When you put that sheathing on, here’s another tip, though: I would use screws because they’re not going to pull out.
Now, WonderBoard is typically used inside, like in showers, right? So you put it up over the studs and then it gives you a pretty dense wall and you can attach your ceramic tile to it. I suppose it could work outside, as long as it’s – that stucco finish is water-resistant, which it should be. But it’s real important that you get this done right. Otherwise, you’re going to have kind of a big issue there.
So, I would suggest that you attach it firmly with screws. In fact, there are special screws that are used for WonderBoard that are like drywall screws except they have a wider head, kind of like – almost like a built-in washer so it pinches it real tight. So get that on there and then make sure you put on the stucco carefully. Multiple coats so it becomes very water-resilient. Be careful around the seams. And hopefully, that will be done well enough that it will match nicely to that Mediterranean style of your home. And hey, the good news is you’re going to have the longest, toughest, lasting shed life out there ever, because it’s never going to fall apart if you do it that way.
LESLIE: So, Tom, when it comes to the stucco, I know you do multiple coats. But kind of the first step is really important because you just need to lay a basis and that’s called a “scratch coat.” Maybe tell people what that is.
TOM: Yep, it’s a scratch coat. So it’s a real rough coat. It’s not supposed to be smooth or pretty. It’s supposed to have enough texture to it so that the finish coat of stucco can stick to it. And if you do a good job, you’re going to have a very long-lasting stucco surface on that shed.
You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thanks so much for spending this part of your day with us. We’d love to hear from you. We love to take your calls, your questions. If you didn’t get through to today’s show, please post your question online in The Money Pit Community section of MoneyPit.com.
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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