TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here for you. What are you working on? Is it your house? Well, that’s where we come in. We’re here to help you to get those projects done. And if you don’t know how to get a project started, if you’re trying to figure out whether you should do it yourself or hire a pro, those are all great questions to ask us. You can do that 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 show, has your gas grill been getting a workout this summer? I know ours has. I can’t believe how much propane we keep going through. It’s crazy. But it might be a really good time for an upgrade if yours is kind of worn, especially as those gas grills go on sale as the summer sort of rounds to a close. You know, you see them out in the spring, right, and then there’s a big push of gas grills going on sale about now through the end of the summer, kind of up to Labor Day. So it’s a good time to think about getting a new one. But if you’re going to do that, you need to try to figure out which features are really worth paying for, because there’s a gazillion of them. We’re going to try to help you sort that out by determining which are good to go and which are just fluff, just ahead.
LESLIE: Alright. And natural wood adds beauty to your home but it’s also an invitation to bugs and rot. We’ll highlight synthetic options that look just like wood but without the home maintenance headaches.
TOM: And if you’re putting your house on the market anytime soon, one hurdle to get past is the home inspection. We’re going to tell you what inspectors are really looking for and how to make sure your home is ready for the evaluation.
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, so make that you.
LESLIE: Yes. But first, we want to know what you are working on. So many projects this time of year and we can help you with each and every one of them. But we can’t read your mind; you’ve got to let us know what you’re working on.
TOM: Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Robert in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. I understand you’ve got a countertop question for us.
ROBERT: My Formica countertops are starting to come unglued. And I’m trying to find out what a good glue would be to use to make sure that they are fully cemented back into place. It’s not a large section. It goes up about 8 to 12 inches at a time. I do have some C-clamps that I can use to fasten them down.
TOM: As long as it’s the countertop that’s coming unglued and not you, Robert, we can help.
What you want to do is use contact cement. Now, the area that is separated, with contact cement what you want to do is try to actually separate that area as much as you can, because you’re going to kind of work in there. So if you can peel up the loose area, maybe put a piece of wood in there or something as a spacer to really have some area in there, do that.
And then what you’re going to do is you’re going to pick up some contact cement. And contact cement is available as – in either water-based or solvent-based. The solvent-based works a lot better. So a small container of contact cement – not rubber cement, by the way – contact cement, specifically used for laminate. You brush it in there and as the name implied, it dries on contact. So you keep it separated while it’s drying, OK?
And then once it’s dry – which just takes 15, 20 minutes – then you will pull out your spacers and press that laminate back down in place, working from back to the front. And you can put a towel over it or even a rolling pin works good and roll it down really, really good and really, really tight and that’ll hold it. But the contact cement is what you need. Any other type of adhesive that you – will not work.
ROBERT: OK. So nothing like maybe LIQUID NAILS or anything like that would …
TOM: No. In a pinch, for a tiny edge, yes. But if you have a separation like that, contact cement. That’s what it was done originally and that’s what will work. Just make sure you clean it, remove any debris that’s in there and be generous with the cement. Don’t make it lumpy but get good coverage, OK?
ROBERT: OK, great. Thanks a lot for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lisa in California is on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
LISA: I was going to remove – want to remove the linoleum from the bathroom floor. And I was wondering what would be the best material, actually, to use and if I should go back to the linoleum as opposed to something more durable.
TOM: Well, you have so many options today in flooring, wow. You certainly don’t have to use a sheet product like that. You could use laminate flooring, which could look like wood or stone. You could use a wood-look tile, which is absolutely beautiful and really, really durable. You could use extruded vinyl plank, which is a newer type of flooring that, again, can look like wood or any other type of plank-like flooring yet it’s completely, 100-percent waterproof. So I would suggest that you might want to take a look at, say, a Lumber Liquidators store or go to the Lumber Liquidators website. Take a look at all the new flooring products that are out there, that are suitable for bathrooms, and pick something that you really, really are going to enjoy.
LISA: Well, I had an idea, because I’m trying to do it as inexpensively as possible, too. And I thought if I were to maybe just leave the cement and then maybe put kind of a – because then I wouldn’t have to get the products that require for mildew and things like that if I kept it just the cement, right?
LESLIE: Well, the cement’s going to absorb the water and it’s going to always feel wet and look wet. And I just don’t think it’s very comfortable for a bathroom space, especially when you have the potential to fall at times. Not that a different flooring is safer or softer in any other situation. I personally just don’t think concrete’s a good look for a bath space.
There are tiles out there that are made to look like wood. There are ceramic tiles that you can get, in a variety of sizes and styles, at a really low price point. I think you just have to get out there and start looking and seeing what’s available in the budget that you have. And you’ll be much happier than leaving the concrete.
LISA: The budget will require me to actually get the tools, too. So I’m trying to figure out – that’s all in the budget, as far as – because I would have to get a tile cutter and stuff if I were to get the tile, too.
TOM: Well, I mean again, if you were going to do tile, yeah. But I would choose something even easier to do like that. Take a look at EVP – extruded vinyl plank – for example. Brand-new type of flooring. Vinyl boards that are absolutely gorgeous. They look just like different types of wood and they lock together and they’re very easy to cut. So there are a lot of options out there. And if you use something like that, you could probably put it right over that linoleum and save yourself the trouble of taking it off.
LISA: Oh, that’s interesting. But wouldn’t I have to put something down, as far as for mildew and things like that?
TOM: No. These are completely, 100-percent waterproof products. They’re designed to stand up to places like that.
Alright? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: Just ahead, are you thinking about buying a new gas grill? We’re going to tell you which features are worth paying for and which are just fluff, 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 how-to or décor dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jane in D.C. on the line who needs some help with an eco-friendly rug. Tell us what you’re looking for.
JANE: I am in search of a type of rug or rugs that one can safely have installed in their home and it’s not toxic or as toxic as the present ones we have.
TOM: Yeah. You know, it used to be that we look forward to that new-carpet smell, because it …
JANE: Right, exactly. Exactly.
TOM: Now we know that it’s bad for you. So, yeah, there are lines with all major manufacturers, that are low-VOC products, that have reduced those odors and made them safer for us to take inside our homes.
The organization that creates standards for the carpet industry is called the Carpet and Rug Institute. And the Carpet and Rug Institute has an indoor air-quality testing program that is kind of like an ENERGY STAR sort of thing where you have a seal. It’s an icon that has a CRI inside a small, green house. And if you see that icon on the carpets, you know that it meets their standards for low emissions. And that’s something you can learn more about at the Carpet and Rug Institute website.
But besides that, the other thing that you want to do is try to have the carpet delivered a day or two before it’s installed so that it can be unrolled outside and aired for a bit or perhaps in the garage or a place like that. That’s important. If there’s any gluing that has to be put down, you want to make sure that you use, also, low-VOC adhesives so you don’t have any adhesives that are contributing to the VOC problem in your house.
And I think manufacturers like, I think, Shaw has made a name for themselves with environmentally-friendly carpets. Mohawk is another brand that I know has those types of carpets.
LESLIE: And when it comes to padding, you might want to use the felt padding instead of any of the rubber padding that they might have.
JANE: OK. What do you call that padding?
LESLIE: Felt padding. It’s just a standard carpet padding. That, of course, cannot be used below-grade.
But airing it out is very important. I remember when we were putting wall-to-wall carpeting in my son’s room when I was pregnant, we had the installer roll out the piece and keep it in his shop for days and days and days and days.
JANE: I remember my mother used to air certain things out when they came back from the cleaners.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Mm-hmm. That’s right. So you took the bags off and let them air out a bit.
TOM: And essentially, you’re going to do the same thing with the carpet. And I think that will make it …
JANE: Yeah, that’s what I’m picking up from you. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Yeah, it’ll be much more comfortable. That plus the fact that carpet today – if you search for the right time, the right kind with the CRI seal on it – is going to have less VOCs to begin with. OK, Jane?
JANE: Oh, OK. Thank you so very much. I really appreciate this. I’ve been waiting and waiting to get this information.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, has your gas grill been getting a workout this summer? Now might be a really good time for an upgrade, especially as those gas grills go on sale as we’re getting close to the end of summer. But which features are worth paying for and which are just for fluff?
First, you want to choose features that make the grill efficient and safe, like an electric igniter. It’s easier to operate and it’s more reliable than those rotary or the push-button starters.
Now, burners are the most frequently replaced part of a grill, so you want to look for burner warranties of 10 years or longer. Also, seek out stainless-steel or coated, cast-iron grates for durable, dependable cooking.
TOM: And last, don’t be misled by the BTUs. Bigger is not always better. And by the way, if the reason that you’re thinking about buying a new grill is because your burners are rusted out, just replace them. You can replace burners, the crossover tubes, the flame deflectors – sometimes called the Flavorizers – and the lava rock for a fraction of the cost of a new grill. All you need is a model number of your old grill. You’ll be able to find those parts online very, very easily.
I did it to my grill. It was a fun afternoon project. And I’ll tell you what, I now – I have at least doubled the life of that grill. Don’t need to buy a new one; the old one’s working just perfectly with the new burners.
LESLIE: Gayla (sp) in Washington is on the line looking for some cooling solutions. How can we help you today?
GAYLA (sp): So we’re looking at installing air conditioning into our home. And we’re in the Seattle area, so it doesn’t get hot here too much – maybe like one to one-and-a-half months out of the year – but we really need it during that time. And so, we’re not sure if we really want to go the central-air route to get a full system or if – like if we could – we have a gas furnace. If we could get a gas one – or they also talked about heating pumps. We just don’t really know what the options are and what’s going to be the best investment in our money but also going to be effective during those hot months.
TOM: OK. How big is your house, Gayla (sp)?
GAYLA (sp): It’s about 2,700 square feet.
TOM: Oh. And you want the entire house cool and comfortable and done evenly?
GAYLA (sp): Yeah, pretty much. The downstairs is already relatively cool but not the upstairs at all.
TOM: And you have a forced-air system right now?
GAYLA (sp): Yes.
TOM: Look, there’s no easy way to do this. You’re going to either get a central air-conditioning system or you’re not. If you had a smaller house or you had maybe just some limited, uncomfortable areas in the house, then what we might recommend is called a “mini-split ductless,” which can be used for zones in the house and big zones, like a two-room combination kind of a thing. But I don’t think – you’re not – certainly not going to be able to evenly cool the entire first floor or the entire second floor of the house with a mini-split ductless. And frankly, you’d end up needing so many of them that it would be more expensive than putting in a central A/C system.
So, what we would tell you to do is to go ahead and install a traditional central air-conditioning system, to make sure that the home is sized properly. And so the HVAC contractor can do a heat-loss calculation and figure out exactly how many BTUs you need, in terms of cooling power, to deliver cool temperatures on the hottest days of the summer.
You also want to make sure that the system that you use is an ENERGY STAR-certified system, because that’s going to make a big difference in how much this is going to actually cost you to operate. The good news is is that the system is probably going to last twice as long as any other system in another part of the country because you’re going to use it half as much.
But there’s no inexpensive way to do this, even though you’re only using it for two months of the year. You’re still going to have to put in a central system with all the work that goes with that: buying the compressor, buying the evaporator coil, the condensing coil, the condensing pump, all that sort of thing. It’s a job, you know? So it’s going to be several thousand dollars to do this. But I would encourage you to make sure that you do it right and use the most energy-efficient system possible so it reduces your operating cost.
And also find out from your local utility whether or not there are any rebates available to you for using energy-efficient equipment. There very well may be; there’s an awful lot of them scattered about across the country.
GAYLA (sp): OK. Great. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Gayla (sp)? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Eric in Hawaii on the line who needs help with a roofing question and Tom and I to come there and help in person.
ERIC: How are you guys doing?
TOM: We’re doing great. How can we help you with your cedar roof?
ERIC: Well, it is past its life, so I will need to replace it. It’s very expensive out here so I’m wondering, is there any other new products that I can put over – I’ve got skip-sheeted base.
TOM: Right. You have space sheathing.
ERIC: Yes, yes. So, is there any other product besides the cedar shake that I can go with that style? Or would I have to sheet it or – I’m looking for affordability.
TOM: Alright. Maybe is my answer. Is that definite enough for you? I’m thinking about a product that’s a composite roofing shingle that’s called DaVinci Roofscapes.
Now, these look more like a stone roof, like a slate roof, than they do a cedar roof. But they’re a tile product. So because they’re a tile-like product, I don’t know if you need to put a solid-plywood sheathing underneath. I suspect that you will not have to. So you may be able to put them on in much the same way that you have with your spaced sheathing on the cedar.
How old is that cedar roof, by the way?
ERIC: Unbelievably, 30 years old.
TOM: It’s not unbelievable to me and here’s why. The fact that you have it on spaced sheathing means that it was able to dry out from the top and the bottom. Cedar is not waterproof so you wonder, “Well, why does it actually keep the water out of my house?” Well, because it absorbs that water and allows the – most of it to run off. But the way it lasts as long as it does is it has to be able to dry very easily. And so many people that put cedar roofs on today nail them against tar paper on top of plywood sheathing and you really can’t get any air underneath it, so that’s why those roofs last a very short timeframe.
So, I think your options are either to consider a composite roof, like the DaVinci product – you can look online, find them at DaVinciRoofscapes.com – or you consider replacing the cedar or you could go with plywood and a new asphalt-shingle roof that looks like cedar. I would price it out all three ways, do a little more homework and then make the best choice for you.
The nice thing about your roof is that it rarely is an emergency. I think you’re starting to identify the fact that it’s worn. I don’t know if you’ve had any kind of major damage. But generally, you can nurse a roof along for a year or two if you absolutely have to. But now is definitely the time to start looking into the options.
ERIC: Alright. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Natural wood can add beauty to any home but it’s also an invitation for bugs and rot. Tom Silva from This Old House is joining us next with an update on synthetic options that look just like wood but without the headaches.
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 Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by for your calls, your questions. Post it, right now, to the Community page at MoneyPit.com or call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
Do you need some new flooring in your kitchen or your bathroom? Do you need a new driveway? I just got one and I found my pro on HomeAdvisor. They instantly matched me with the right pro for the job, for free, and they can do the same for you.
LESLIE: Jack in New York needs some help with a crawlspace. What can we do for you?
JACK: Well, I have an area that is – was a crawlspace and we dug it out. And so it’s – we have about a 7-foot ceiling now. And I put some gravel in it and I wasn’t going to do anything but now I want to expand my shop. And I don’t really have access to where I can put concrete in it. And I was wondering if you would have any ideas.
TOM: Well, first of all, Jack, since you dug it out down to 7 feet, how did you support the soil under the foundation wall?
JACK: We left a step. This dirt that was in there was so compact that it was almost impossible to dig it out, so we weren’t too worried. But we did leave a step around the foundation, the footer.
TOM: OK. Right.
JACK: There’s about 2½ foot – we went about 2½ foot below the footer.
TOM: That’s what we call, in our part of the country, a “Yankee basement” where it’s dug out. It’s not a joke; that’s actually what they call it. They call it a “Yankee basement” or, well, sometimes a “root cellar,” where basically you take the interior perimeter of the foundation wall, move in about 2½, 3 feet and then dig down there. So you leave this sort of berm of soil to support the foundation that’s under the footing.
So, options for cleaning – for finishing that floor. Why can’t you get concrete into the floor? Because most times, there would be a situation where they’d set up a chute that goes right through a window and pour some concrete into that floor. That’s clearly the easiest way and fastest way to create a floor in a basement.
JACK: Yeah, I agree with you but I really – the time to – the expense of the concrete and having – you know, doing a whole project would be pretty pricey.
TOM: How big is the floor area?
JACK: Well, it’s about 25×15 and then with an 8×8 jut to – on one end of it. So it’s L-shaped, basically.
TOM: Well, I don’t have any quick ideas on how to create a hard-surface flooring when you don’t want to put concrete down there. You could frame something but I mean it would be very temporary. I would really prefer that you put concrete. And you don’t have to do – it doesn’t have to be 6 inches thick. I can be 4 inches thick and pour it in sections. But I really think you should just budget for and use concrete down there because anything else you do is going to be very substandard. It’s not going to contribute to the value of your house.
JACK: I hear you. Yeah, it sounds like a foot (ph) I was afraid I was going to hear.
TOM: Yeah, OK. Well, look, you got all the hard work done digging it out. I would just budget for and save up for some concrete. Get a mason to help you or get somebody that’s used to finishing concrete. And get it all poured and it’ll be done in a day.
JACK: Oh, yeah, sure.
TOM: It has to be done in a day because the concrete’s going to cure.
Alright, Jack? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve ever torn out a rotted piece of trim off the outside of your home, you know how difficult it can be to prevent just that from happening.
TOM: True. And in some ways, the rot process starts from the very moment it is installed. It’s just a matter of time before it gets so bad that you have to replace it.
But what if there was a material that looks, cuts and paints just like wood but it can never rot? Well, there is. It’s called “cellular PVC.” There is a wide range of manufacturers that make it and here to tell us all about that is Tom Silva, the general contractor for TV’s This Old House.
TOM SILVA: Thanks, guys. It’s nice to be here.
TOM: Now, we’ve had synthetic materials around for years but what really seems to make this stuff stand out is that you can work it just like wood, correct?
TOM SILVA: Exactly. Same tools for using the PVC that you use when dealing with wood. It cuts easy, it planes, it sands. You can mold it, you can turn it. I’ve easily turned it on a lathe.
TOM: Oh, is that right?
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Heated it and bent and made big arches out of it. So you can do all kinds of things with it.
TOM: And most importantly, it doesn’t rot.
TOM SILVA: It doesn’t rot. It’s not organic, so it doesn’t take on moisture, it doesn’t take on an insect. They can’t eat it; they don’t like it.
TOM: Now, I’ve had an experience with insects. In fact, we had a carpenter-bee problem at my garage and we had – the bees would attack the fascia over and over again. I’d treat them every year, I’d fill the holes. And you know what stopped them? Replacing it with cellular PVC.
TOM SILVA: Yeah.
TOM: And it was funny because they would sort of fly around it and go, “Looks like wood. Doesn’t take like wood.”
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Yeah. “I can’t land on it. This stuff isn’t any good. I don’t want to eat this.” Yeah, yeah.
No. But it is great stuff. I mean it’s waterproof, basically, so water can’t get into it. Insects don’t get into it. It doesn’t peel, it doesn’t chip. You can paint it; you don’t have to paint it. I don’t recommend painting it with a real dark color. I wouldn’t use black or a dark brown, because it does expand and contract just like wood. But the difference is it expands and contracts over length, not width.
TOM: Oh, interesting. So it’ll stretch.
TOM SILVA: It’ll stretch. So you want to make sure that when you put it on in the summertime, you allow for it to compress in the wintertime. So, if you have a board that’s going to go from point A to point B and it’s like 18 feet long, you want to make that board 18 foot, ½-inch and force it into the opening because it will shrink down. If you cut it to fit in there just nice, in the wintertime, you’ll have a ½-inch gap on one end or the other.
TOM: Interesting. Now, where are some of the places it makes the most sense to use PVC trim?
TOM SILVA: Well, I tell you, I’m using it more and more everywhere. It is a little more money; there is no question about it. But again, the working tools are the same. But let’s say around a garage door, where the trim hits the concrete. Window sills.
TOM: Now, that’s a good point because that is a spot that rots every single time.
TOM SILVA: All the time.
LESLIE: It’s just an invitation for rot.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. All the time.
TOM: Yeah, the wood strikes the concrete, concrete is wet all the time, water gets drawn up. Rot, carpenter ants, you name it.
TOM SILVA: That’s right, that’s right. So any place like a threshold: underneath the threshold of a door and up against the house where you may have a flashing detail under a sliding-glass door where you’re into the deck.
TOM SILVA: Anywhere that water splashing off the house can run down. The list can go on and on and on.
It’s just a great – it’s a great product. You can screw it, you can glue it. If you scratch it, you can sand it, fill it, whatever you want to do. They have epoxies that basically glue it together that are very, very strong.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, we’re even seeing these synthetics in so many other places, as far as decking and railings. Do you recommend those, as well, especially if you’re in a moister climate?
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. I just renovated my house. Now, my house is 1845, 1850. And there isn’t a piece of trim on my house that is now not PVC.
TOM: Wow. That’s quite an endorsement.
TOM SILVA: I made my railings – I have a curved stairway that enters into my house. Just a small stairway. And I actually bent all the curves. All the risers, all the stringers, everything are solid PVC.
TOM: You want to spend the time repairing other people’s houses, not your own.
TOM SILVA: Well, this is something that I had to do. It was long overdue.
TOM: Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: My pleasure.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great step-by-step videos on home improvement projects that you can tackle, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Gorilla Glue.
Just ahead, if you’ve got a house on the market, surviving the buyer’s home inspection is critical in the sale of your home. We’ll tell you what you need to know, after this.
Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on this fine day? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place. We’re here to help you get those projects done. Help yourself first, though, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
LESLIE: Sandy in Iowa is on the line and she has got a problem where the stairs meet the wall. What’s going on there?
SANDY: In my stairwell, where the sheetrock meets the floor joist, when they originally did that, they put that – you know how they use that heavy paper stuff and then they mud over that? Well, that cracked. And I peeled that off and now I’m trying to figure out how to smooth that over there between the sheetrock and the floor joist in the basement. Because it’s sheetrock to wood, I don’t know what material to use to fill that crack so that I can paint over and it look smooth.
TOM: So, what you want to do – it sounds like you pulled the old tape off – the paper tape off. Is that correct?
SANDY: I did.
TOM: Well, that’s OK. Because what you want to do now is you want to go out and buy some fiberglass tape.
Now, fiberglass drywall tape is perforated. It’s kind of like netting; it’s a little tacky. When you cut a piece off, you put it on top of that seam. And what that’s going to do is bridge the gap across the seam. And then you cover that with spackle.
And you want to do about three very, very thin coats. Don’t put too much on. A little bit of spackle goes a long way. Sand in between in each one and then just build it out and build it up over those three coats and that’ll be fine. And because you put the tape over – the fiberglass tape – it shouldn’t crack again.
SANDY: That sounds like something I can do.
TOM: I think you can, Sandy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re selling your home, the buyer’s home inspection can feel like a scene from a bad reality show. Strangers show up and start going through every nook and cranny of your house. But if you survive the experience without blowing a fuse, a big payoff awaits.
TOM: Well, that’s right. I mean the home inspection is critical to the sale of your home and it’s included in almost every home-purchase contract. Usually happens right after that contract is signed, too. And the way it works is the home inspector shows up and with buyers in tow, he or she is going to perform a two-to-three-hour review of your home’s structural and mechanical condition. They look at everything, pretty much, from roofs to basements. Some inspectors might also test for radon gas and they might also check for wood-destroying insects, like termites. And when it’s all over, they will issue a detailed report.
But you might be surprised to know that the report goes to the home buyer, not the seller. Usually, the seller is only going to see if it there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.
LESLIE: Now, one of the best ways to avoid getting yourself in that situation is to have a home inspection done for your own benefit before putting the house on the market. This way, you find out how the home shows in the eyes of potential buyers’ inspectors. And you’re able to either repair or disclose any of those problems to prevent last-minute negotiations over those repairs.
TOM: Plus, if the buyer’s inspector finds something your inspector didn’t see, you’ll be able to get an opinion immediately as to whether the problem is something you really need to fix or not. It’s a smart investment that you might want to consider making. You can easily find a very good home inspector by going to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org. That’s A-S-H-I.o-r-g.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jeff in Iowa on the line who’s got an air conditioner that doesn’t always smell so great.
What’s going on, Jeff?
JEFF: I can’t smell. The wife can smell.
JEFF: Yeah, we have a …
LESLIE: We smell everything.
JEFF: There’s a smell emanating from somewhere. I thought it was maybe the basement drain or it’s not flowing like it should. And she seems to think that it – she says it comes on – the smell comes about when the air is turned on – when the air comes on.
JEFF: So maybe it’s not cleaning – or am I on the right track?
TOM: Maybe. So let’s talk about some basics. If we want to get to the bottom of this, we could start with duct cleaning, just to kind of eliminate that as a possibility. The second thing we should talk about is what kind of filter do you have?
JEFF: Just your generic, basic one from the hardware store.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem. So what I want you to do is I want you to pick up a Filtrete filter – 3M Filtrete brand. And they sell one that has activated charcoal built into it and it’s specifically designed for eliminating odors. It’s called the Filtrete Home Odor-Reduction Filter. And it’s got activated charcoal built in and so that’s designed specifically to get rid of the odors. And of course, it does a great job with dust and pollen and mold and that sort of thing.
JEFF: Oh, alright. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
TOM: And that’s going to make your wife very, very happy.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you love to cook, you probably don’t love the built-up grease that can result. We’re going to have some easy tips to help keep things clean, 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: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects. Give us a call, right now, 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 the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Alright. And if you’ve got a question right now, Tom and I are here to help. You can post your question in the Community section. We always answer those right now in the program.
Now, T.J. in Missouri writes: “The house I just bought has a lot of old grease stuck to the cabinets and even the walls in the kitchen. I didn’t realize how hard this would be to get off. Is there any reason why I can’t use one of those adhesive removers on it, like Goo Gone or Goof Off?”
TOM: Well, I mean you would need a boatload of that stuff to work on grease.
TOM: I don’t even know if it would work.
LESLIE: And on the walls, it’ll stain.
TOM: Yeah. It’ll soak it in, too.
No, I think what you want, T.J., is called “trisodium phosphate,” – TSP. Now, it’s available in a powder form; you can mix it up. It’s usually a good solution to use before you paint walls. And you’re going to have to apply that and scrub it. And what you might want to do is get a sponge mop, like you would use for a floor, and then just get a little bit of the TSP on the solution on there and start mopping those walls down and rinse frequently. Aerate that room pretty thoroughly so the walls dry out.
And then, when it’s time to paint, you definitely want to prime them first. I would use a good-quality primer, let it dry thoroughly and then put your topcoat on right over that. And that should solve it.
LESLIE: Alright. And this time, you know, make sure you have good ventilation in your kitchen so you’re getting all the grease and stuff that’s in the air out of the kitchen space. And just stay on top of it. Clean continuously after you cook so that it doesn’t build up again.
Now, Ava in Texas writes: “Can you tell me the advantage of stripping my old fiberglass roof before putting on a new roof?”
TOM: Hey, that’s a great question, Ava.
Now, a lot of folks wonder whether or not they should take off old roof shingles first – old layers of roof shingles – before putting new shingles on. I generally recommend it and there’s a couple of reasons why.
First of all, if you leave the old shingles on, that makes the roof a lot hotter. It holds a lot of heat. When the sun gets exposed to that roof, it really sticks around when you have all of that mass of that old asphalt in there. And because it’s hotter, it’s going to accelerate the wear and tear on the top layer – the new layer – that you’ve just put on. And the warmer that layer is, the harder it is for it to cool, the shorter the lifespan it’s going to have. Because asphalt is – has an oil in it and when the oil evaporates out, the shingles start to crack. So that’s one reason to remove them when you’re replacing your roof.
The other reason is that if the first roof is badly deteriorated – sometimes old shingles can be really curled and cracked – it’s not going to make the second roof layer look very good. It’ll be kind of wavy and lumpy and it’s just not a very good look. So, unless you’re going to be in there just a really short period of time – like maybe less than five years, so you really wouldn’t get the longevity out of removing that old roof and maybe you don’t care about how long that new roof is going to last – I would just tell you the best way to do this is to remove the old layer, go right down to the plywood or whatever sheathing you have and then put tar paper on and go up from there.
LESLIE: And you know what, Ava? While you’re at it, when you’re replacing your roof, you want to add something called an “ice-and-water shield.” It usually goes right on the bottom edge of the roof. And that’s because as you get snowy weather or anything that might sort of leak or freeze underneath the roof, you don’t want it to get underneath the shingles and then come inside. And the tar paper doesn’t work as well in that edge that tends to freeze more quickly because it’s exposed to the cooler air. Definitely a good addition while you’re at this process of the roof.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for staying with us on this beautiful summer day. We hope that we’ve given you some tips and ideas or inspiration to get your home improvement projects done and take on those décor jobs, the remodeling projects or at least plan a project for the future. We invite you to take a look at our website, MoneyPit.com. It’s a great resource for a wide variety of home improvement projects. It is there for you, 24/7, as is our phone number, 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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