Earning the title of homeowner is a big financial step, so as a new owner, you’ll probably do anything in your power to protect your investment. Homeowner’s insurance covers certain types of weather-related damage, wind damage associated with hurricanes or tornadoes, but it only kicks in after the damage has been done. So why not prevent these hazards from damaging your property in the first place? These tips can help you plan for extreme weather all year round.1. Most Common Extreme Weather Threats
Knowing what to expect from the weather — and when to expect it — is the first step in prepping your new home. However, a recent Esurance report found that only 25 percent of people proactively prepare for potentially damaging weather events. Before you start stocking up, be sure you’re preparing for the right type of weather.
Your home’s location plays a big part in what type of extreme weather you need to prepare for. If you live along the eastern or gulf coast, for example, summer and fall may bring hurricanes. Summer in the Midwest could mean tornadoes, while winter serves up extreme cold. And if you live out west, wildfires and hail might be the status quo.2. Start With the Roof
Your roof can be a prime target for wind damage caused by hurricanes or tornadoes. If a major storm loosens your shingles, leaks can add to your list of repairs.
Your home inspection most likely included your roof, but if you’re worried about extreme weather, it’s a good idea to give it a second look. Specifically, check for loose shingles, soft spots and loose or overfull gutters, all of which could cause problems if the weather brings strong winds or heavy rains. If you spot any of these issues, get them repaired ASAP.3. Get Ready for Winter Freezes
Extreme cold can wreak havoc on your plumbing if frozen pipes burst. Heading off damage to exposed pipes inside or outside your home can be as simple as wrapping them in foam insulation. If you’re expecting a freeze, turn off the water to outside faucets and open the valves so any water left inside can drain. You’ll also want to disconnect and drain off any excess water from in-ground irrigation systems.
Make sure the inside of your home stays warm to help ward off frozen pipes. Check around doors and windows for leaks, and replace worn-out weather-stripping or use caulk to fill in gaps that may be letting cold air in.4. Check Your Heating System
Your HVAC system and fireplace (if you have one) also need a thorough heating system inspection to prep for extreme weather. If you’ll be cranking up the heat to fight off the winter cold, replace the filters in your heating system and make sure your thermostat’s working properly. If you have a fireplace, look for loose connections in your gas lines or obstructions in your chimney. And be sure to have your chimney cleaned each autumn.5. Check Your Landscaping
Tornadoes and extended rainfall can uproot your trees and other plants. Take time to check out the trees on your property and look for loose or overhanging branches that need to be trimmed or removed.
If you’re not comfortable handling this job, hire a professional to do it for you. While they’re at it, have them check your trees for signs of disease or rot that could make them unable to stand up to a strong storm.6. Consider Upgrading Shutters and Doors
If you live in an area that sees hurricane action during the summer and fall, reliable storm shutters are a must. But don’t forget to check your doors and garage door as well. If they’re too old or worn out, you may want to think about replacing them with something that can stand up to a fierce storm.7. Plan Now to Avoid Disaster Later
Weather may be unpredictable, but dealing with it will be easier if you’ve already taken steps to protect your home. Covering all your bases will help you minimize the risk of extreme weather damage to you your new home.
Eric Brandt has more than 25 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Eric currently serves as Chief Customer Advocate for Esurance, where he leads the customer experience, including claims fulfillment. Prior to joining Esurance, Eric led customer-centered transformations in the areas of claims, risk management and relationship management for carriers offering personal lines, commercial lines and employee benefits protection. To learn more about Esurance’s homeowners and auto insurance options, visit their website.
The post The New Homeowner’s Guide to Preparing for Extreme Weather appeared first on The Money Pit.
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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 to help you with your home improvement projects. Whether it’s décor, remodeling, new construction, whether you’re going to do it yourself or hire it out, we’d love to help you get those projects done the right way the first time. You can help yourself first, though, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can post your question, right now, to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, from cracks to potholes to just general wear and tear, asphalt driveways need a lot of regular TLC to be able to stand up to the test of time, not to mention all of the road salt that lies ahead. We’re going to have the step-by-step to make sure yours is ready for the rough weather, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And updating your home with beautiful, new flooring is one of the most popular projects for this time of year. But is this a project that you can do yourself? We’ll sort out the pros and the cons.
TOM: Plus, this hour, we’re giving away the perfect product to help you clean up your outdoor furniture for the season with all that dirt, mildew, mold and general grime that might have it covered right now. We’re giving away Spray & Forget’s Outdoor Furniture Cleaner. It’s the go-to product to really spruce that furniture right back up.
We’ve got a supply going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ken in Illinois might have an issue with a tree causing some problems with the foundation. What’s going on?
KEN: Well, I have got a tree or – either that or a very stubborn, big weed that is growing right next to my foundation.
TOM: Now, does it appear to be causing any issues? Or you’re not seeing any cracks in the foundation, are you?
KEN: Not yet. Because it’s probably about the size of maybe between a quarter and a half-dollar.
TOM: Yeah, this is kind of a nuisance right now. And as long as it’s not, you know, part of your prized tree collection, I would not let it continue to grow that close to the foundation. I would cut it away.
I mean a lot of folks are concerned about the impact of roots on foundations. And for the level of concern, the times I actually find scenarios where roots have actually impacted a foundation are rare.
TOM: So, it’s nothing to panic over but it’s not wise to allow anything like that to grow that close to the foundation, especially at this early stage. So I would definitely cut it back.
KEN: Every time I cut it back, it just keeps growing. So, I want to somehow get rid of it and I don’t know how to actually kill it.
TOM: So, can’t you just dig it out?
KEN: Well, you know what? I would but we just had a termite treatment around there. And they told me not to disturb the dirt.
TOM: Oh, I get it. Yeah. You don’t want to disturb the treatment chemicals, yeah.
TOM: Well, I tell you what, I think that if you were to dig carefully around it and just cut it down below the surface a little bit, you probably wouldn’t have much effect on those treatment chemicals.
KEN: On the treatment? OK. Well, I might …
TOM: Yeah, I just wouldn’t pull dirt out and put in fresh dirt or anything like that. I would just try to put back what I took out.
TOM: But I really don’t think it’s going to affect you.
KEN: OK. Well, we’ll give that a try.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project, Ken. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
KEN: Thank you. Have a good day.
LESLIE: Suzanne from South Dakota is on the line who’s got some unwanted visitors in the house.
What have you got going on over there? Some carpenter ants?
SUZANNE: Well, we’re not sure where. We don’t see what they’re doing but – and this isn’t the first time. But it seems like in the spring and early summer we get quite a few in the house. And we were just needing to try to get rid of them somehow.
TOM: They may be a different type of ant. But look, here’s the bottom-line answer, Suzanne. If you’re having a significant ant infestation, there are always things that you can do that are low-toxic and sort of natural remedies, like putting Borax around and baking soda and things like that. But truth be told, if you really want to get rid of these insects kind of once and for all – if you want to do it once, do it right – you do need the help of a professional exterminator that’s licensed and has access to the proper products.
Today, the products that are put down to control insects are very well engineered and very heavily tested and monitored. It takes a company an extraordinary amount of time and expense to get their products approved. And when they come in and apply these products, they’re designed not to kill everything in sight but just to basically help you eliminate the insect that you’re trying to avoid which, in this case, are your ants.
So, if it’s a significant population of ants, you’re seeing them frequently, don’t tolerate it. It’s going to be a nuisance to you, even if you kind of – in fits and spurts was able to manage them with some over-the-counter products. If they’re just going to be a constant presence, I would hire a pro to exterminate them.
I would tell you to go to HomeAdvisor.com and use that website to find exterminators in your area that are highly reviewed by your neighbors, because that’s how that works. And then select one and have the house treated. OK?
SUZANNE: I see. OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Suzanne. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I hope you guys had a fantastic Labor Day weekend. I know, for me, the kids are finally back at school. And this time, I’ve got two at school all day, all the time. How amazing is this? What am I going to redo first?
What are you guys going to redo first? Are you painting? Are you cleaning the upholstery? What are you doing to get the house back to yours? 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, there’s an old saying that good fences make great neighbors. But that’s only if you can get the fence built. We’re going to have some tips to make that project a lot easier, 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: Standing by to take your calls, your questions to 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.
And after the long summer, if your outside furniture is looking a bit dirty or moldy, the best product to spruce it up is Spray & Forget’s Outdoor Furniture Cleaner. And we’ve got a supply of just that to give away to one listener who calls in their home improvement question or posts it, online, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Yeah. I’ve got to say the best part about Spray & Forget Outdoor Furniture Cleaner is it’s a no-rinse formula. So it’s going to remove the dirt, grime, all those bird droppings, sap, all the yucky stuff that comes from the trees right from the fabric and the hard surfaces. It also will remove green and black biological stains that you find are caused by algae or mold or even mildew.
You can use it on patio furniture, the furniture covers, the grill, the grill cover, awnings, hammocks, flags, you name it. Any outdoor surface you can get clean. It also gives you UV protection and helps to keep the color from fading over time.
Check them out at SprayAndForget.com.
TOM: The value of the Spray & Forget Outdoor Furniture Cleaner is 29.90. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now I’ve got Linda from Rhode Island on the line who’s having a hard time being patriotic.
What’s going on, Linda?
LINDA: Well, what I have – the flagpole I have is the actual bracket that you put the aluminum pole into.
LINDA: And I was trying to attach it to the front column, which is aluminum, on my porch.
LINDA: The column is not perfectly smooth. It’s variegated with indents.
TOM: OK. Right.
LINDA: And it is right up close to the frame of the door.
LINDA: So, I put one – I was able to put one screw in that came with it. And when I put the other screw in, it held for maybe a day the first day the flag was up.
LINDA: And the next time I went to put it up, the other screw – one of the screws pulled out.
TOM: Just popped out, yeah. OK.
TOM: So, let me – you want to put this on the column. You say the column is next to your door? Is that right?
LINDA: Right next to the doorframe. It’s a very small area but the whole area in the front is small.
TOM: Alright. So, a couple of ideas. First of all, in a scenario like that, the hardware that comes with the bracket is probably not good enough. Because what you want is a screw that’s going to go deep into that column or deep through the column. And if, in your case, the column is part of the front façade of the house, it would go into the frame. So, a longer screw is going to be helpful.
And the second thing is that you’re going to want to pilot-hole those screws before you put them in, not just try to force them into the column metal. So you’re going to want to use a drill that is smaller than the screw. If you can imagine a screw has the threads and has sort of the solid part in the middle, you want the pilot drill to be just a little bit smaller than that solid part of metal in the middle of the screw.
Now, the other thing that you could possibly do – if you’re having trouble because, as you described, it’s uneven and sort of variegated, I think, was the word you used – is you could put another block on that column first. Now, you could do this with metal, you could do it with a piece of oak, like wood that was finished. And you would attach that really solidly and then you put the bracket on top of that. So, this way, you’ll have another piece in between but it might make, collectively, for a more secure installation by not putting the bracket right on that variegated, uneven column.
So, those are a couple of options for you. But I think you’re going to need better hardware, not just what came with the bracket. Because you’re right: it has to be really secure, especially when that flag starts whipping in the wind. Those brackets take a lot of force. And if it’s not held in well, it’s going to pop out.
LINDA: Oh, well, thank you ever so much. I certainly will take your advice and I will try it.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LINDA: Thank you.
TOM: Well, you know, it used to be that when you wanted to work with concrete for small projects, like maybe setting a fence post, it was pretty much a hassle because you had to buy all the raw materials, you had to mix them up. You probably had to use tools like your garden wheelbarrow or your garden hoe and then clean them off before the concrete became permanently attached to the tools. It was a big mess.
LESLIE: Well, QUIKRETE has made it a lot easier with their Fast-Setting Concrete in the red bag. It’s a special blend of fast-setting cements, sand and gravel that are designed to set in about 20 to 40 minutes. Now, you can use it for setting a fence post, a mailbox, deck footings or even pouring a small concrete slab.
And for those posts, you don’t even have to premix it. You just pour the dry mix into the hole, add the water and the post is going to be solid-set in 20 minutes.
TOM: QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete is available at all home improvement retailers for about $5 per bag, so look for it in the red bag.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Michael in California on the line who wants to start an A/C debate. Let’s hear it.
MICHAEL: I had a question with regards to a window unit changing out to a split system and what your feelings are in regards to cost-saving.
TOM: Yeah, Leslie and I both have split-ductless systems in our homes. Now, I have one in my office and I actually have a central air-conditioning system. But on this side of the house, in the west side of the house, it gets so much sun that the central A/C can’t keep up with it. And so, as a result, it gets really hot, especially on the super warm, summer days.
So I use split-ductless there. It can handle a bigger area than a window unit. It’s going to be quieter than a window unit and it’s actually more energy-efficient than a window unit.
LESLIE: I mean, Michael, they truly do kick butt. We have one in our basement at home because, apparently, we’re the only house in the Northeast of the United States that has a super-hot basement in the summer. Every other person I know, you go down in their basement it’s freezing; ours, it’s like a sauna. So we put a split system down there and it cools fantastically. And to be honest, ours sort of works as an air conditioner, a dehumidifier and we also have the optional heat pump so that we could have supplementary heat in the basement in the winter months.
And in the summertime, I practically never even put it on air condition, just because the dehumidification option cools the space fantastically. It’s super quiet; you would never even know it’s on. The condensing unit, which will go outside, is slim and small; it does not occupy a large footprint. I thought it was an affordable option and it works fantastic.
MICHAEL: And do you have a recommendation for any particular brand?
TOM: Yeah, take a look at Mitsubishi Electric’s Cooling & Heating System. They are one of the leaders in the split-ductless category. Their systems are very energy-efficient and they have a technology that works like a cruise control in a car and then it ramps up to the cooling temperature that you want very quickly. And then it maintains there without turning on and off and on and off; it kind of slows down and speeds up. It actually feeds that cool temperature, leaves it nice and steady. Super-quiet system and also has a couple of cool features.
For example, it has a smartphone app that you can use to run it. So, if you like gadgets, like me, you like good-quality, energy-efficient equipment, take a look at that Mitsubishi system.
MICHAEL: Alright. Well, thank you. I appreciate the info.
TOM: You’re welcome, Michael. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ruth in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RUTH: I have – it’s on the inside of my house. I have redwood stain and I have a white film. I’ve used furniture polish and got it off, thinking that took care of it, but it’s back again.
LESLIE: Where is this stain? Is it trim work? Is it …?
RUTH: It’s the banister and the doors.
TOM: And you have a redwood stain on these areas?
RUTH: Yes. It’s a redwood stain on it.
TOM: Well, if it’s trim work and banisters, doesn’t it have a finish coat on it, like a polyurethane?
RUTH: No, it does not.
TOM: Typically, for banisters and trim, you would use the stain first, then you would have a clear coat on top of that.
RUTH: No, it does not have that.
TOM: So, is it fairly rough to the touch then?
RUTH: Yes, it is.
TOM: So, what I would do then – because the stain is not designed to be the finish coat. Stain is designed to be covered with a urethane. So I would do this and I would do this in an experimental way to start with. I would clean it again, make sure it’s nice and dry and then I would seal it or urethane it.
And I think on the trim, you could use water-based urethane; get a quart of it. And it goes on real thin, it dries very quick and it will seal in that stain. And see if that protects it in the way you expect it to behave. Because stain is really just designed to color the wood and make the grain come out. It’s the urethane that gives you the wear-and-tear protection.
RUTH: I appreciate your help. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ruth. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joe in California is on the line with a leaky chimney. Tell us what’s going on.
JOE: Well, it’s an old one from the 60s, I believe, but it was beautifully built. It’s 15 foot wide and 2 stories up and I’m on the second story. But the water is going through the mortar coming in and it’s terrible. It’s like a waterfall in the wintertime.
TOM: So, you say that water is coming through the mortar. Do you know for a fact that it’s coming through in a particular place? Because, generally, when chimneys leak, there’s two areas that we concentrate on. The first is the very top of the chimney. And if it’s a masonry chimney, you probably have a clay flue liner. Is that correct?
JOE: Yes, it is.
TOM: Alright. And then so the space between the clay flue liner and the outside edge of the brick chimney, that has to have a concrete cap on it. And that should be sloped away from the flue liner to the outside edge. It can’t have any cracks or holes or gaps in it. And very often, you have to caulk it, if that does develop, around the flue liner, as well as through the cracks.
The second place that chimneys typically leak is at their intersection with roofs. And unfortunately, roofers have almost universally lost the skill set that would have enabled them to be able to flash this joint properly between the chimney and the roof. Because the proper way to do this is with a two-piece flashing system where you have a base flashing that goes underneath the roof shingle and up against the side of the chimney. Then counter flashing, which is carved into the mortar joint, folds over the outside edge of the chimney and also over the base flashing.
And the reason that sort of two-piece design is important is because chimneys are always moving and roofs are always moving and they don’t move together. And so, this is sort of a slip joint, so to speak, where they can actually move and shift with the wind and the heat and the rain and the expansion and contraction without actually breaking down.
So, I would look at those two areas. And then I’ll just give you one other tip. If you have a roof where there’s a lot of water running down before it hits the base of the chimney, in a situation like that, what you want to do is put a diverter on the roof, midway, to kind of short-circuit some of the water that’s running down towards the chimney and run it around the chimney. And that will just simply reduce the volume of water that’s getting in there and potentially leaking through into your house.
JOE: This has got a flat, metal top over the top of the chimney that mostly keeps the rain from coming down the chimney but I haven’t really looked at the flue liner up there. That’s a good point.
TOM: Yep. Take a careful look, Joe, OK?
JOE: OK. Alrighty. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, from cracks to potholes to just general wear and tear, asphalt driveways need regular care to be able to stand up to the test of time. We’re going to have the step-by-step to make sure yours is ready for the rough weather ahead, when Roger Cook stops by.
TOM: And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Get the latest fall trends in hardwood, bamboo, laminate and waterproof floors for less.
We’ll be back with more tips and your questions, 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: And we’d love to hear from you right now. So pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what 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. Kay is on the line now and she needs some help painting a door.
Kay, tell us about your project.
KAY: Yeah. And I listen to you every week you’re on.
TOM: Well, thank you so much.
LESLIE: Oh, thanks, Kay.
KAY: I wanted to paint my wood door. It’s a very old wood door. And we lived here since ‘69 and I’m trying to keep it original. It’s red now.
KAY: My husband painted it only one coat and I think it was blue.
KAY: It needs another coat to make it real red but I want to paint it white.
TOM: Well, I mean the color is a personal preference. So, to paint this door, the best thing to do is to take it off of the hinges and lay it flat on a couple of sawhorses. And then you want to sand the old surface. You want to make sure you get rid of any flaking paint, any cracked paint, because you can’t put good paint over bad paint. You’ve got to get all that stuff off.
KAY: It’s not cracking or anything. It’s smooth as can be.
TOM: Alright. So then he must have done a great job when he painted it last time.
KAY: He did. He sanded it down to the wood. It was all, you know, original wood, so it’s really smooth. That’s why I wasn’t sure and I don’t know if I can get the paint off like if you – and I didn’t want to scrape it.
TOM: Well, I don’t think you have to take all the old paint off. If it’s adhering well, then you’re good to go on it. So sand it down and then I would recommend that you put a coat of primer on. Because this will make sure that the new paint adheres as well as the old paint did.
Primer is kind of the glue that makes the paint stick. So, put the primer on.
KAY: Will KILZ work? Because I’ve got a gallon of KILZ.
TOM: It’ll work fine, yep. You put the KILZ on, let it dry and then you could put your topcoat on that.
KAY: To sand it, what do I have to do? Knock the sheen off?
TOM: Yeah, knock the sheen off. Exactly right. You don’t have to sand it down to the raw wood but you have to get that sheen off. So a medium grit, like 100-grit sandpaper, would work really well, OK?
LESLIE: Well, asphalt driveways are the personal roadways of our homes. But just like the roads we travel to work, they certainly take a lot of abuse: extreme weather, sun, road salt, you name it.
TOM: That’s right. And from cracks to potholes to just general wear and tear, asphalt driveways need regular care to be able to stand up to the test of time. Here to tell us how to do just that is landscaping contractor Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House.
And Roger, this is a project I end up doing about every two years. I’d love to identify a more durable solution to keeping that driveway in good shape. Any ideas?
ROGER: Move. No, it’s an ongoing process because you think about a driveway, it sits out and it bakes all summer long and then it freezes all winter long, so there is going to be some movement in it. And you will get, eventually, hairline cracks and even the pavement itself just needs to be recovered with the oil. The oil will dry out.
TOM: And I think a lot of us assume that our driveways should be just as durable as the roads that we drive on but those roads are built quite different than a driveway. And driveways, there seems to be a wide variety to it in terms of how well they’re built. Some of them are thinner, some of them are thicker, some have a good base, some don’t. And you can tell as time goes on.
ROGER: You sure can. In some cases, you can even get ruts in the driveway where you drive because it’s not good material underneath it. But the key is to save that driveway for as long as you can. It’s thousands of dollars to replace a driveway. It’s a big job that you cannot do yourself as a homeowner. But you can go out and you can fill cracks and you can reseal the driveway and get more life out of it.
LESLIE: So is it better to sort of start with repairing the cracks, potholes, et cetera that you might be noticing in your driveway before you go ahead and reseal it?
ROGER: Yes. Hopefully, it hasn’t gotten to that point when you’re there. You can catch everything early because like anything else, the smaller the crack, the easier it is to seal and keep from getting bigger. And that’s the thing: when a crack opens up in the driveway, water goes in and then it freezes and it opens the crack more, more and more. So we’re – hopefully, we can intervene in that cycle and stop it from ruining the driveway.
TOM: Now, what about the low spots or the sort of the mini-potholes? Is there a patching product you can use for those?
ROGER: There is. There’s a couple of them. One is a very – type that can go on very thin. But a lot of time, with those potholes, you really have to dig out and excavate and then use a different product which is good for 2 inches of compaction.
TOM: And that’s more like a stone, kind of blacktop patch sort of product, right?
ROGER: Yeah, it’s literally the stuff you see them using on the street again. And then, what you would do is after you patch that area, you should reseal the whole driveway. Because otherwise, you’re going to have little black spots all over the place.
LESLIE: And that’s really a project that you need to have enough materials start to finish; you don’t want to stop midway.
LESLIE: So how do you know that you’re getting enough for the job?
ROGER: You buy that product in a 5-gallon bucket. It usually weighs about 55 pounds. Now, that bucket usually covers 300 to 400 feet. So you can get pretty close, boy, using that amount, because there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through the job and not having enough to finish. If you get an extra bucket, you can always return it. There’s nothing worse than trying to run down while the other stuff is drying and grab a bucket and get back in time to blend it all together.
TOM: Now, any preferences on sealer type? I know there’s solvent-based and there’s latex products today.
ROGER: I’ve been with the solvent-based ones and had good luck with those. The key, I think, is to use one of the squeegee-type brushes they have to put it on with and get a nice, even coat.
TOM: Right. And those are inexpensive, so you pretty much can – one use and throw it away, right?
ROGER: They’re really not good for anything after you have them spreading that …
TOM: Yeah. You don’t want to have to clean those, right?
ROGER: No, no, don’t try that.
LESLIE: And wear good, protective clothing covers, because it does not come off of anything. I’ve got some work boots to show that it’s never going to go away.
ROGER: And do not walk in the house afterwards without inspecting the shoes, because you don’t think you have any on you and you go walking across the kitchen floor and someone will bring to your attention that you will be cleaning the floor.
TOM: And very quickly.
Now, what if the driveway is just structurally deteriorated? Is there a point where it makes sense to have another layer added to it or just to take it completely down and start from scratch?
ROGER: You know, if you put a layer on top of it, it’s still bad underneath.
ROGER: And eventually, it’s going to fail. So it’s the economics of is – it’s less expensive to just put a layer over the top than obviously it is to come and rip out what you have, take away a foot of material, put a foot of gravel, compact it and then come back and re-asphalt the driveway.
TOM: Good advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: Oh, it’s great. Primetime drive.
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 how you can repair your driveway, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by GMC Trucks and SUVs.
Up next, updating your home with beautiful, new flooring is one of the most popular projects for this time of year. But is it a project you can do yourself? We’ll have details, just ahead, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, next.
Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, we’ve just come off of a really big holiday weekend, sort of officially ending summer. I mean not the actual end-of-summer date but you guys know what I mean. Well, when you were outside, did you notice maybe your outdoor furnishings or the deck kind of looking a little worse for the wear? Maybe you see some dirt, maybe some mold? They’ve been sitting out there in the elements all summer long.
Well, we’ve got a great product to help you spruce up that furniture. It’s Spray & Forget’s Outdoor Furniture Cleaner. And we’re giving away a supply to one lucky listener who calls us or posts their home improvement question or even a décor question. We’ve got up for grabs the Spray & Forget Outdoor Furniture Cleaner worth 29 bucks.
TOM: Yep. It’s a no-rinse formula. It’s takes out the dirt, the grime, the bird droppings and the tannins that are left in fabric and hard surfaces. It also takes out the green and the black biological stains that are caused by algae, mold and mildew. It works great on furniture covers. It works great on cushions, all that upholstery. It really is going to make it look terrific.
It also leaves some UV protection behind, so that’s going to rejuvenate and prevent color-fade protection over time. And it’s friendly for the planet.
You can get more info at SprayAndForget.com. It’s worth 29.90 but we’ve got a supply going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can post your question online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Richard in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICHARD: I’m interested – I have an older home I remodeled. It’s built in the 30s and I wanted to put in a whole-house water-filtration system. And I was going to connect right to the service line going in.
And I’ve been shopping around. I found the small canister types and then it just jumps up to a big, 33-gallon, barrel-type filtration, which is too much. And I just wanted to know what a good brand is and what I need – reverse-osmosis and all that.
TOM: Richard, 3M makes the Filtrete line. That’s F-i-l-t-r-e-t-e. And they have single filters for use under maybe your kitchen sink or bathroom but they also have a whole-house system. It’s not terribly expensive; I think it’s under 100 bucks. And installation is pretty straightforward, so perhaps you could even do it yourself. And they also have various levels of filtration.
So I would take a look at the Filtrete Whole-House System Water Filters and I think that’s a good choice to make sure your water is tasting good throughout the entire home.
Well, updating your home with beautiful, new flooring is a great way to add value and enjoyment to it for years to come. But is this a project you can do yourself or should you hire a pro to help? We’ll help you sort that out, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators.
LESLIE: First, just like any project, just because you can do the job yourself doesn’t mean that you should. Now, some floors can be difficult to install and can require special tools that you might not have. Plus, if you’re not experienced, mistakes made could even ruin the flooring or impact the product’s warranty, only adding to that project’s overall expense.
TOM: Now, that said, whether you’re DIY-savvy or not, there are a lot of benefits to having floors professionally installed, like having licensed and insured installers to assess, measure, install and even clean up that installation mess. Pros can also make sure your floor is installed the right way, which means you can have the peace of mind the job was done right and just get on with enjoying your floor.
LESLIE: And today’s Flooring Tip has been presented by Lumber Liquidators. Now offering professional installation nationwide. With Lumber Liquidators Install+, you’ll get the floor you want, the quality installation you need and the value you deserve.
TOM: Visit your local Lumber Liquidators store nationwide today or online at Lumber Liquidators.com. Lumber Liquidators, beautiful floors for less.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joseph on the line with an electrical question. What’s going on at your money pit?
JOSEPH: I’ve got an older house. It was built in the 1940s and my daughter’s nursery, the overhead fan and lights work but none of the sockets in the room function. And I have no breakers that have tripped.
TOM: So, somewhere, those sockets are disconnected. Now, are you sure the sockets are not connected to a light switch?
JOSEPH: I am 99-percent positive, sir.
TOM: There’s a seed of a doubt there that perhaps they could be. You know, sometimes the light – the outlets are operated by a light switch. But I would say that it’s not normal for that to happen in a 1940s house.
But what you need to do is this – and when I say you need to do, more accurately an electrician needs to do. You’ve got to get into the wiring that’s supplying those outlets and try to figure out why it’s disconnected. I can’t imagine a reason it would have been physically disconnected, which means it’s most likely some failure in the wiring of the outlets themselves. But if you open up the outlets, you can see if you have hot wires there and try to figure out at what point they became de-energized. Because they are probably wired in series, so the wiring goes from one to the next to the next. And you need to do a little bit more investigation to figure out why that is.
But it’s really not a do-it-yourself project. I don’t want you to make a mistake and I don’t want you to get electrocuted.
JOSEPH: Yes, sir. Then I will definitely look at calling an electrician.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Still ahead, when the water pressure in the shower is low, blood pressure can get sky-high. Find out what’s causing your home’s water pressure to fluctuate and what to do about it, 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: Hey, we’re here to answer all your home improvement questions. There’s lots of ways to get in touch with us. You can post your question online to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com or call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, Kathy from California posted her question and she’s having an issue with water pressure.
LESLIE: That’s right. Now, Kathy writes: “The water pressure throughout my house is intermittently high and low. Within a 1-minute period, it goes from being very low to wonderful for maybe 6 to 8 seconds and then low again. It makes laundry take forever, washing dishes a pain and showers less than enjoyable. Any advice on what the problem might be and how to fix it?”
That sounds terrible, Kathy. I’m very sorry.
TOM: It absolutely does. And if it’s happening throughout the house, you’ve got to start by looking at the main valve.
Now, I wonder if you are on city water or this is well water. Because it would explain a lot of it was well water. But it could be an issue with the pump that’s cycling like that.
But the first step, Kathy, is determining how much pressure you have at the main water line, because that needs to be constant throughout the entire house. And if you don’t have enough pressure there, then that could be the reason you’re having this inconsistency. So, I would have a plumber check the water pressure at the main.
Now, if you do have well water, you may very well need to take one additional step and check not only the well water but also a pressure tank. Because what happens is the well water is pumped into the pressure tank and then supplied from the pressure tank to the rest of the house, with the tank sort of maintaining pressure throughout that entire period of time.
So, a couple things to look into, depending on whether or not you get your water from the ground or from the municipal main water line. Hope that helps and thanks so much for writing us at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Richard in Connecticut who writes: “The skylight in my kitchen ceiling condenses in the winter, dripping water down the drywall and wrecking the paint around the opening of the skylight. The best solution I’ve come up with is using a plastic sheet to seal off room air from reaching the skylight. Needless to say, it doesn’t look very nice. Any better suggestions?”
TOM: Well, Richard, look, the reason you’re getting this condensation is because you have two things happening here.
First of all, you have a lot of wet, humid air in the kitchen. So, I would ask that you check your vent fan over the range and make sure it’s venting out and not recycling, if that’s at all possible.
Secondly, the skylight itself is obviously not insulated or the insulation in the glass, if it is glass, has failed. So, unless you have an insulated glass surface, when that warm, moist air strikes the cold surface, you get condensation and the drips and the mess.
Now, the idea of putting in some sort of a barrier in between will help but as you mentioned, it’s kind of ugly. There is an opportunity, though, to put in what’s called an “interior storm window.” These are custom-made to fit how windows – like old, wood windows that are drafty in old houses, where you love the windows but you hate the drafts. And they go in temporarily, basically, during the winter season on the inside. But frankly, it’s so much darn work to have one of those made. I’d almost rather see you replace the skylight if at all possible.
If you did, make sure you get a good-quality skylight with low-E glass that’s going to insulate your home well. And since it will be insulated glass, you won’t have the problem of the warm, moist air striking the cold glass and then dripping down all over the place in your kitchen.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because that’s a mess you really don’t need to deal with. Plus, anything’s better than that piece of plastic.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. As we ride closer towards the fall season, we’re here to help you with all your fall home improvement projects, whether they’re do-it-yourself projects or ones you want to hire out a pro. If we didn’t get to your call today, remember, you can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And always post your questions online at MoneyPit.com.
Thanks so much for listening. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2018 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
The post Do-Overs: Solutions for Potholes, Cracks and Stains appeared first on The Money Pit.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
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 so glad you are here with us today, because there’s nothing better than a spring weekend to tackle projects around the house, around the apartment, around the condo. Maybe you’re going to go help out a friend, help out your mom, your dad. Whatever is on your how-to to-do list, we’re here to help you. How about that? So give us a call with your question at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s show, are rainy days driving you crazy? You know, if you’re looking to get everybody up and active on those not-so-sunny spring or even summer days, a basement game room is kind of a fun project that you might would like to take on, if you are lucky enough to have a basement, that is. So we’re going to give you some tips on how to get this project started.
LESLIE: And also along the lines of fun summertime things to do, do you love seeing butterflies floating around your home and garden? I know I do. So why not plant a butterfly garden with the plants that butterflies love? We’re going to have the step-by-step tips for creating that garden, plus a checklist of the best plants to include.
TOM: And are spring rains finding their way to places they shouldn’t be, like your crawlspace, your basement? Or the middle of your yard is now a muddy mess? We’re going to have the easy solution to dry up all those damp places.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away exactly what you need to have a weed-free lawn this summer. We’ve got a supply of Weed Beater Ultra Lawn Weed Killer from Bonide going out to one caller drawn at random. And that’s enough to treat over 20,000 square feet of lawn. That’s a lot of lawn.
TOM: And I’d like that lawn to be weed-free and that’s an excellent way to do that. So, give us a call right now. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s going out to one caller drawn at random that reaches us for today’s show or one that has posted a question this week – this entire past week – on our Community page, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Dorothy in Tennessee is on the line and has a question about an inground pool. What’s going on?
DOROTHY: I have a definite money pit.
TOM: Alright. Welcome to the club.
DOROTHY: I have a – really. I have a huge inground pool that it just wouldn’t do any of us to not buy this house with this pool because we thought we’d just love it. And yet the kids promised to help take care of it and all that stuff.
DOROTHY: They’re grown and gone. I don’t want to take care of it. Don’t want to pay all that money. And I’m wondering if there’s a solution to doing something interesting with this space that isn’t such a money pit.
TOM: You’re not in an unusual scenario. I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector and when we did inspect homes that had pools, I’d say a pretty good portion of the time the question from my client was the same question you just asked: “I don’t want the pool. I want nothing to do with it for a whole variety of reasons. What can I do with it?” And in those cases, generally, what folks do with it is they fill it in. They tear up any concrete edges or that’s anything on top that might be part of their patio or whatever. And they basically fill it in and tamp it and compact it and it becomes yard space.
So, if you don’t want to use it as a pool, that’s pretty much your only option.
DOROTHY: Well, exactly. Is there an inexpensive way of doing that? The little bit of research I’ve done, it’s not inexpensive to fill it in.
TOM: Well, look, you need to find – it’s not a hard – look, putting dirt in a hole is not a difficult thing to do. What you have to do is first of all, obviously, you have to disconnect all the mechanical systems, right?
TOM: Then reduce power out there. All that has to be disconnected and any plumbing has to be disconnected.
TOM: So you get rid of all of the stuff that’s easy like that. And then, for the rest of it, if you have a decking or a curbing around the outside edge of the pool, that will have to be broken up.
Now, if that’s the case, I can’t imagine that would take more than an hour or two to break up with a jackhammer, because it’s only going to be a few inches thick of concrete. So it’s actually pretty easy to break up. And then you have to have excavators that will come in and probably with a small piece of equipment, like a Bobcat, start to move a lot of dirt into that space. Because it has to be tamped. You can’t just put it in there without tamping it.
TOM: And in fact, you might also – actually, you may need to break up the bottom of the pool. Otherwise, you won’t have drainage, right? So you probably have to bust that up, too.
TOM: And then it’s just going to have to be filled in and tamped and filled in and tamped and filled in and tamped. Because if you don’t, it’ll become a sinkhole, just be a depressed area in the yard. You want to really fill it up.
You’re going to use clean fill dirt for that; you’re not going to use topsoil, obviously. So the dirt is pretty much the cost of the transportation. It’s almost like you don’t pay for the dirt. But that’s probably the best thing to do with it and then start thinking about what you do want to do with that space.
DOROTHY: Well, I can imagine a really nice, formal garden out there or a fire pit, gazebo, all kinds of neat things.
TOM: Well, there you go.
DOROTHY: But getting to that point is not going to be cheap. I do have fencing around the property, so that’s going to have to come down. And getting rid of all the concrete, that’s just – it just seems like it’s a nightmare any way you look at it. I can’t leave it just covered with water stagnating in it. That would be just a breeding ground for various and sundry things and …
TOM: Well, you mentioned getting rid of the concrete. Actually, you don’t have to get rid of the concrete. You can just throw that in the hole.
DOROTHY: Well, you can put that – most of that in the hole, yeah, now. I thought about …
TOM: So that’s the choice. How long do you plan on staying in this house? I mean this is basically – is this it forever or do you think you …?
DOROTHY: Oh, probably. Probably, possibly.
TOM: Yeah. Because that is one thing to consider and that is if the pool is functional and you take it out, whether or not it’s going to deter from the value of your home.
LESLIE: From the resale value.
TOM: Yeah. And sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t.
TOM: Depends on who’s buying it and what their needs and wants and desires are, OK?
DOROTHY: Yeah. And the house was kind of built around the pool. It’s a U-shaped house and the pool was in the middle of the U.
TOM: Yeah. Oh, OK. Yeah.
DOROTHY: It’s pretty.
LESLIE: It all sounds lovely to me.
LESLIE: But I know for a fact – you know, my sister and her husband, their house has a pool and they had the darndest time finding an insurance company that would tackle them – that would take on their insurance for the new home, that wasn’t a gajillion dollars. So losing the pool could probably be an insurance break. But maybe there’s a temporary solution of some sort of cover for it, if it does seem that you’ll lose a lot on the resale, that you can make a structural cover.
DOROTHY: Well, yeah, that’s a possibility. There’s all the dilemmas of – it really needs a new liner. I’m looking at spending a lot of money on it either way.
TOM: Right. Alright. Well, hopefully we’ve given you some ideas on what is possible. And good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit presented by HomeAdvisor.com, where you can find top-rated home pros you can trust. Call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are April showers driving you a bit nuts? Are you looking to get everybody up and active on those not-so-sunny days? A game room might be the answer you’re searching for. We’ll tell you how to get this project started in your house, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And if you’ve got a décor or improvement question, you can call it in right now. In fact, you can call your question in 24/7. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: And hey, here’s another great reason to reach out by phone or the Community section. If you are dreaming about a beautiful, green lawn this summer – and I think we are all dreaming about this summer if it would just get here already – we’ve got up for grabs a great product.
We’re giving away the Weed Beater Ultra Lawn Weed Killer ready to spray. It’s a quart-size container but that can treat up to 20,000 square feet of lawn or a ½-acre. There’s no mixing. You just hook it onto the end of a hose and spray and then it’ll mix itself at the correct rate. And it can control over 200 broad-leaf weeds in your home’s lawn, which will make for a beautiful, green, lush lawn.
TOM: Absolutely. That Weed Beater Ultra Lawn Weed Killer is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Joel in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOEL: I have a new home that’s now nine years old. From day one, when you flush the toilet, it gurgles in the shower. And then, several months ago, it stopped gurgling. But now, when you take a shower, you smell sewer gas.
TOM: So you have a ventilation problem, clearly.
TOM: Some part of the system is not designed correctly.
Now, when you hear the gurgling sound, that’s because the plumbing system is gasping for air. And when you look at a plumbing system and you have drains that are below the floor and then if you stand outside and you see these vent pipes that come out through the roof, basically they’re supposed to be letting the air in and they’ll vent some sewage gas out. But that stops pressure from building inside the pipes, which is what’s happening. That’s why you have that gurgling sound. And the fact that you get a sewage-gas smell is really bad, so I – you need some pretty serious inspection work here to figure out what’s going on.
Is there any chance you can get to the area below this bathroom to see how the pipes are run?
JOEL: Yes. And I really expected there to be a pipe going up to the ceiling directly from that but there’s not. The plumber came in and put in a – I’m going to call it a longer P-trap or a deeper P-trap.
JOEL: And then he also put in a vent there underneath the floor. It doesn’t go anywhere. It’s just …
TOM: It’s basically designed to let air in, I think.
JOEL: Right. The shower’s at the end of the system and it runs into the toilet. And then the toilet goes on into the sewer. So it’s between the toilet and the end of the – and the sewer is where that vent is. And he’s at a loss, we’re at a loss. We’re going to have to go up through the walls and out through the ceiling?
TOM: Yeah. I mean that’s the best place, because you should be getting plenty of air in there. That first thing, the first clue, is that you’re still getting a gurgling.
JOEL: Well, the gurgling has stopped.
TOM: Oh, it has stopped. So that vent stopped that?
TOM: If you’re getting a sewage-gas smell, that might be backing up through the vent.
Look, the best way to do this is to have the vent go up through the wall, through the attic and out the roof. That’s the way it normally would be done. And if that’s not what you have, because of this configuration, that’s probably what I would try. I would be aiming to try to get there the easiest way possible. I know it’s not that easy because running plumbing pipes after the house is built is never good.
How old is this house?
JOEL: It’s nine years.
TOM: Nine years, OK, yeah.
TOM: Well, I think that’s what you’re going to have to do.
JOEL: OK. Does the vent need to be between the shower and the toilet or on the downhill side of …?
TOM: The vent would actually probably come out about where it is right now, it would seem to me.
TOM: But it would go in the wall and up.
JOEL: Right. OK.
TOM: Alright? Well, listen, I hope that helps you out, at least, a little bit. Good luck with that project and thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Are rainy days driving you crazy? If so, adding a basement game room might be the answer you’ve been looking for. It’s easier than you think, with just three simple steps.
First, let’s cover some basement game-room basics. You’ve got to address any moisture or dampness issues that are stemming from that basement itself. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to finish your basement but adding a space heater or a dehumidifier might be all that you need to help make your guests feel comfortable. Because with basements, you’ve got to feel comfortable. Sometimes they’re damp, they’re chilly.
Now, if there are leaks in your basement, be sure to read our tips on how to fix a leaky basement, on MoneyPit.com. It is a lot easier than you think, I promise.
TOM: Next, let’s talk about the energy needs. Depending on what you plan to add, you might need to add some extra electrical outlets for lamps, speakers, overhead wiring, even phone chargers. Make sure these things are conveniently located.
Another thing you might think about adding down there is, say, perhaps a little bar area or a basement fridge. Now’s the time to think about that before you start taking on some of the décor projects that will really make this space feel comfy.
LESLIE: Alright. And thanks for mentioning the décor, Tom. We don’t want to forget about that, because you want the basement to look good, feel good. You want to go down there, so don’t be afraid to let your creative juices flow when it does come time to add the décor.
You can find some awesome, vintage, game-room finds online that are very, very budget-friendly. And that’s going to give your game room that added touch of enhancement. And you’ll be winning game night in no time. There are so many ways to incorporate a fun game theme, whether it’s darts or any type of board game that your family loves.
You can find décor pieces that sort of accentuate what that game is to your family and really have fun with it. Think of marquee lights with those big letters and maybe spell out the game’s name or your family’s last name or fun, something like that. Think of bringing in these little details that will make the space just stand out and everybody will want to hang out down there and get off of their devices. That’s the goal.
TOM: For all the details, check out “3 Key Design Tips for a Beautiful Basement Game Room.” That’s online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Heidi in North Carolina is on the line with an electrical problem. How can we help you today?
HEIDI: Well, I have kind of a two-part question. I have an older home. It’s about 68 years old. We paid an electrician to come in when we converted over to a heat pump from an old furnace to up our service. And we have an old fuse box that are the screw-in type fuses. And when he put the system in – the new electrical box – he was supposed to convert everything over into the new electrical box and he left the little electrical box – the little fuse box – in my kitchen.
And unfortunately, he put the new electrical box on the outside of my house. That would be OK, except I’m a single woman and I don’t – safety reasons. I don’t think it’s really smart considering I have a full-size basement it could easily be put in.
HEIDI: So do I need to – I mean I would never call this guy again, for lots of reasons. But do I need to pay somebody else to come in and convert that last part of my home into this other fuse box or – you know, these little fuses are hard to find and when they blow …
TOM: So, it’s definitely an active panel, right? The fuse panel?
HEIDI: Oh, it’s active. Yes, sir.
TOM: OK. So that’s called a “sub-panel” and that’s going to be a sub-panel from the main panel. You said the main panel is now in the basement or the main panel is outside?
HEIDI: It’s outside. We have a full basement and why he put it outside, I have no clue. But he put the main panel …
TOM: Yeah, that makes no sense. Because the only time you usually see full panels outside is maybe a condominium situation and then they’re in utility closets. So I can’t imagine why that was done that way. It doesn’t make sense. It sounds to me like you do need a better electrician to come in and take care of this.
If it makes you feel any better, the fact that you have a fuse box does not mean that it’s unsafe. Fuses are actually quite safe if it’s the right-size fuse matched against the wire that’s hooked up to that circuit.
And so, to know if that’s the case, somebody has to open the panel and say, “OK, this is Number 14 wire, so it’s a 15-amp fuse. And this is Number 12 wire, so it’s a 20-amp fuse,” and so on and physically write that right above the fuse on the panel so you know what size to put in there. Because it’s too easy, with a fuse box, to put in a 20-amp fuse on a wire that’s only rated for 15 amps. Then, of course, that’s potentially unsafe.
So, it does sound like you need another electrician. It’s obviously not a do-it-yourself project. And unless there’s some compelling code reason in your part of the country to put that outside, I don’t understand why they would have done that. And you could consider rerunning it back to the inside and unfortunately, that’s kind of where we’re at. It’s not an easy fix; it’s one that’s going to require the investment of a good electrician.
HEIDI: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Heidi. Thank you for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dan on the line calling in from Ontario, Canada with a question about a drafty home. How can we help you?
DAN: To try to explain this stuff, you know the backer boards – what they put on cabinets?
TOM: Yes. Mm-hmm.
DAN: OK. Now picture that made in tile but 4×4 sheets.
DAN: And it’s white and it looks like it’s got this stucco tile.
TOM: Yeah, it’s called “composite siding.” So what’s going on with it?
DAN: Well, I’d like to know if I could put this – they’ve got this paint, OK? It’s like a stucco? I was just wondering if I – could I put that kind of material on this fiberboard?
TOM: Well, you can generally paint fiberboard or composite siding with anything that you – with any typical exterior-grade paint. It doesn’t require a special paint. In fact, it actually requires quite a bit of paint. Because I used to joke that that kind of siding stood up as long as you painted it every day before you went to work. It’s not known for its durability, you know?
So, any paint that’s a good-quality exterior paint should work. Now, are you trying to get a textured look to it to places?
DAN: I’m trying to get that stucco look.
TOM: Yeah, the stucco look. OK. Well, if it’s a paint product that’s designed to do that and you’ve researched the paint product and it is a good-quality product, I don’t see any reason why it won’t work.
DAN: Well, you’re telling me more than what these two guys knew at the paint store.
TOM: Just tell them you want to buy more stuff; they’ll agree with you.
Good luck, Dan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
DAN: Well, thank you. I enjoy your program. It’s very informing.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, are you thinking about getting your kids involved in gardening? Well, one kind of garden that they might like to plant is a butterfly garden. We’re going to have the step-by-steps for creating that garden, next.
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.
Well, whether you are buying, selling or just enjoying your home, we are here for you every step of the way. Call in your improvement or décor question now to 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.
John in Massachusetts on the line with a heating situation. What’s going on?
JOHN: Yes. My question is – I moved into a new condo. I have gas heat and the vents come up above in the ceiling. And in one of the vents, when the heat goes on, there’s a ting-a-ling – it comes – sometimes it comes right away. Sometimes it’ll come 10 minutes after or 10 seconds after. And it’s just like ding-a-ling (inaudible). It maybe lasts for about 30, 40 seconds, aggravate you and then it will go away as the heat continues to run.
TOM: So, there’s a couple things that can be causing that. It’s basically expansion of the metal ductwork. And the way it’s attached to the surrounding framing, it’s rubbing.
Now, it could be that where the ducts are heating up and expanding and so you get that creak-creak-creak or tingle-tingle-tingle sound, whatever you’re hearing.
TOM: Or it could be a condition we call “oil-canning.” And that’s a term that is – has a lot of history. When we had oil cans, before we had plastic oil bottles, they were made of a very heavy metal. And if you sort of pushed your thumb into the side of it, it would make a ping sound. Now, we don’t have those anymore but the concept stuck around. And what that means is that when the duct itself gets inflated, it kind of pushes outward in all directions and that could cause the duct to actually flex. And that makes a sound that we call an “oil-can sound.”
So it’s probably one of the two that I just described. The good news is that the only thing that it’s really damaging is your nerves. But it’s really not hurting the house or the system in any way. It’s just a little bit of poor workmanship there.
Now, if you can get to that space above the ceiling, where you hear this coming from, it’s possible that you could do some things to straighten that out. But if it’s inside of a concealed ceiling, it’s almost certainly not worth it.
JOHN: Yeah. So, now, if I took the vent off itself and looked up there, I could see if something was …
TOM: No, it’s probably on the outside of the vent, not on the inside. It’s probably on the outside of the vent where it’s attached to the framing, yeah.
TOM: At least you know what’s causing it now and you have nothing to worry about, OK?
JOHN: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Well, good luck and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Houses have a lot of noises that happen and we can usually explain them. And that’s one that’s pretty clear what causes it.
LESLIE: It is amazing how noisy homes can be. And it’s funny: you can be in a home forever and it can be a new sound or maybe a sound that’s been there, for the whole time you’ve been but you’ve just noticed it, that can be completely unsettling.
TOM: Right. Right, exactly.
LESLIE: It can give you a whole new appreciation for your home.
TOM: Yeah. Well, people deserve – develop a sensitivity, right? Like those that live near train tracks never hear the trains come.
LESLIE: Never hear the train.
TOM: If you were visiting that person for a weekend, you’d be like, “Oh, my God. How can you live here?”
LESLIE: You’d be like, “What train? There’s a train?”
Well, one of the most pleasant sights of summer are butterflies taking flight around your home. And if that’s the kind of wildlife you’d like to see more of, there are butterfly-friendly landscapes that you can create to make them feel even more welcome.
TOM: That’s right. Butterflies actually have some favorite plants that deliver them the nectar that they need to stick around your yard. Here to tell us how to create our very own butterfly garden is landscaping contractor, Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House.
ROGER: Thanks for having me.
TOM: Now, is it possible to create a butterfly garden pretty much anywhere in the country?
ROGER: It is. And what you have to do is figure out what type of butterfly you have in your region and then there’ll be specific plants that that butterfly comes to, that it really likes.
TOM: So if we see butterflies no matter where we live, there are things that we can do to get them to hang out a little bit longer.
ROGER: Right. But before you think about the plants, you should think about the caterpillars that are going to become the butterflies. Every butterfly has a tree that it specifically will lay its eggs on.
ROGER: And that’s because when those eggs hatch, that tiny, little caterpillar that comes out has to start feeding right away. And it has a preferred leaf it wants to feed on. If it’s not on the right tree, they won’t grow up to be butterflies.
LESLIE: So now that you know exactly what type of butterfly you have in your area, you head on over to the garden center armed with your research and you sort of pick out a variety of flowers and plants that will both host the caterpillar and then feed the butterfly?
ROGER: That’s right. And you want to get plants that are going to flower throughout the season so you keep the butterflies in your garden. So you have a sequence of plants. And when you buy the plant, don’t buy one; buy like three or five because that really attracts the butterflies and will hold them in the garden.
TOM: Now, besides the plants, what about water? Don’t they need moisture to hang around, as well?
ROGER: Well, they don’t need a big water feature. What they need is a little area that’s moist, that has mud. And they’ll land there and then they’ll take and get minerals from the mud, which helps their diet.
TOM: Alright. So we’re not talking about a big pond; big, aggressive waterfall; a big aerator spraying water all over the place. That’ll just chase them away. We’re just talking about something with maybe just a little tiny bit of movement to keep the mosquitoes down but allow the butterflies to be happy, correct?
ROGER: It doesn’t even have to have standing water; it just has to be wet mud. That’s all you need. So pouring a little bucket every day on an area will be enough to suffice.
TOM: True. You could water your own butterfly garden that way, couldn’t you?
ROGER: You could, yeah.
TOM: Now, what are some of the most common plants that butterflies would like – you’d say it would apply to a good part of the country?
ROGER: Well, we see them on lilacs, which is a fairly common one. There’s one called “butterfly bush,” aptly named because the butterflies love it. And even a plant called “milkweed,” which you see a lot growing in meadows but you can actually plant in your garden.
TOM: So the whole process starts with a bit of brain work, followed up by a little bit of grunt work: putting those right plants in the right place. But after that, it’s a very relaxing feature to have around the house.
ROGER: Well, it’s a great way to adapt the gardens that you already have and just make them a little bit bigger. Get some more flowering plants and just make sure you do it in a sunny area, because that’s what the butterflies like.
TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: Thanks. I love butterflies and I’m glad to share the information.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by American Standard.
Just ahead, is spring rain showing up in places it should not be, like your basement? We’re going to have three tips to help end those damp spaces, in today’s Building with Confidence Tip presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, after this.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We’d love to talk with you, right now, about your home improvement or décor question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And we’d also like to help you create a beautiful lawn this summer through a phenomenal giveaway we’ve got.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got up for grabs the Weed Beater Ultra Lawn Weed Killer ready to spray. Now, it’s a quart container but it can treat up to 20,000 square feet of lawn. And that’s about a ½-acre. There’s no mixing. You just hook it onto the end of a hose and spray. Everything is going to automatically mix at the correct rate. And you can control over 200 broad-leaf weeds in your home’s lawn. You will be on your way to a beautiful, lush, green lawn in no time. And hopefully, summer comes soon so we can all enjoy this.
TOM: Yep. That Weed Beater Ultra Lawn Weed Killer is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Erin in Louisiana is on the line. How can we help you today?
ERIN: Hi. I have a slab house that’s about 35 years old and it’s showing signs of needing to be leveled. But I thought I heard on a previous show of yours that you do not recommend leveling a house; just fix the issues that come up as it needs it. And I didn’t know if I heard correctly or not, so I thought I would call and ask about that.
LESLIE: Well, tell me, how much of a slope are you noticing, throughout the property, on the interior of the home?
ERIN: No, we’re seeing cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceiling, cracks in the floors.
LESLIE: OK. Now, if you put a marble on the floor in some of these rooms that you’re seeing these cracks, does it roll all around wildly? If it does roll, how fast?
ERIN: I actually have not done anything like that.
LESLIE: Ah, the marble test. It’s very fun. That will tell you if the ground itself is level.
Now, if you’re seeing cracks in the walls and in the ceiling, are they sort of near a doorway or a window or are they just square in the middle of stuff?
ERIN: Well, there’s a crack in the floor that’s square in the middle of the floor and it extends out into a – we have a sliding-glass door and the brick above the sliding-glass door is separated.
And then, we also see it – I also see it in rooms next to the wall, where it’s like – the house is shaped like a T. And where one part of the top of the T goes into the long part of the T, I can see it separating there against the – in the ceiling.
LESLIE: You know, generally, if you see cracks and they’re by a doorframe or a window, that’s just general movement because of the opening in the envelope of the home, being in a window opening or a doorway in an interior wall. Now, if you’re seeing it like in the middle of the floor and above a doorframe in brick, you might be concerned that there could be some structural issues going on. However, you might want to bring in a structural engineer.
You bring in an engineer or even a home inspector and for a couple of hundred bucks, they’ll come in and look at these areas and diagnose, specifically, what’s going on there. Because it could be something structural that could need to be fixed in a way that you can’t just do by repairing the crack. Or it could just simply be natural settlement of the home over the duration of the home’s lifespan and that’s easily fixable.
But because you have a crack forming in the middle of a floor and that continues to a doorway, I would definitely bring in somebody who’s a structural engineer and they can write up a report on it. And the benefit of doing that is that when you do fix this, whatever the problem may be, you are going to have a full, written pedigree of what you’ve done to the problem in the home, how you’ve fixed it and what everything was done correctly. This way, if you go to sell the home and somebody says, “Oh, I saw a crack,” or whatever the situation might be, you can say, “Actually, this happened. We did this repair and it’s all square.”
TOM: Erin, some cracks are really typical wear and tear, so to speak. But this one definitely sounds like you need a pro to check it out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, the basement is a tremendous source of extra space in homes that have one. But many homeowners just don’t utilize them as they could or should because they’re leaky. Now, the good news is that in most cases, this really is an easy thing to fix.
TOM: Yeah. Now, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you’re maintaining adequate gutters and downspouts. Preventing a wet basement really does start on your roof. That’s the main collection point for the water during any rainstorm, whether it’s big or small.
And a well-maintained, continuous gutter system, well, that’s going to carry things basically in the right direction. You’ve got to keep those gutters clean, they’ve got to have no debris in them that’s going to dam up that water flow. Because if it happens and they overflow, it’s going to send water right where you do not want it: against your foundation. And guess where that leads to? Well, it leads to your crawlspace or your basement. Or even if you have a slab, it’s going to get under that slab and it could make the floor structure weak.
So, gutters, really important to maintain.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, next to those gutter problems, the angle of the soil around your foundation’s perimeter is the second major cause of wet-basement woes. So, the soil should slope away from your house so it doesn’t allow water to flow back towards the house and then collect against those outer walls. If you do need to improve the grading to make it flow away, you want to do it with clean fill dirt and then add just a small layer of topsoil over that to support grass and whatever other plantings.
Heavy amounts of topsoil itself can actually hold that water against a foundation. And you should avoid that at all points possible, because you don’t want that water right there. You want to improve the drainage, not add more water-soaking things there.
TOM: Yeah. And along those same lines, don’t do anything to trap water against the house. So, sometimes you see folks do railroad ties or brick edging around the sort of the landscape bed, around the front of the house or the side of the house. Don’t do that because that’s like a pool; it’s holding the water against the house. You want to make sure that water runs away and doesn’t get obstructed in any place.
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: Hey, are you getting your deck ready for the warmer weather but really wondering where to begin? We’re going to have a trick of the trade for replacing those cracked deck boards without having to buy any new wood, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: You can call in your repair or home improvement question, 24/7, courtesy of our friends at HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: Or you can post your question online, just like Joanne did from New York who writes: “Our wood deck has many cracked and/or split boards and some are starting to peel. We can’t afford to replace it at this time. Is there any way of fixing this problem? Can it be sanded? We coated it last year with a semi-transparent seal, which took a beating over the winter and it looks terrible now.”
TOM: Yeah, that’s unfortunate. Some of those semi-transparent products, if they’re not applied properly or if it’s not a good-quality product, it really should last certainly more than a winter’s worth.
But anyway, here’s a trick of the trade, Joanne, for that cracked deck board. It’s actually pretty easy. What you want to do is take that board up. Now, you can pry it up. You can use a pry bar, you can use a tool called a “cat’s paw,” which basically is a way to sort of dig in and grab the nails and pull them out of the board. And don’t worry about damaging that top surface of the board because what you’re going to do is take it and flip it over and then put it back down.
You’ll be surprised to know that the other side of that board is almost as perfect as the day it was first put in there, because it hasn’t been exposed to the sun. Since it’s got no UV exposure, it’s not dried out, it’s not cracked, it’s not checked. In fact, you might find it’s a little mossy or mildew-y which, of course, you can clean. And then when you restain the whole thing, you won’t even know that the board was ever replaced. A really great way to fix up a cracked board without even having to buy a single piece of wood.
LESLIE: Now, I would recommend going with a more solid stain now that you’re going to be refinishing the whole deck surface again, because that will really saturate those boards a lot better. It’s going to have a lot more pigment. It doesn’t look like paint. You still see the grain but it stays on a lot longer. It protects it from the UV. It really just does a better job of protecting that wood. And then it keeps you from having to redo it again next year. You should get five years out of it.
TOM: Yeah, great point. Absolutely. Totally agree.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Barbara writes from Florida. She says, “I’m thinking of buying a house but when the owner turned on the microwave, the lights in the family and dining room went out. And then he had to reset the circuit breaker. Is this a serious problem and what would cause it?”
And note to that seller: don’t use the microwave when the people are in the house.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. There’s no telling what caused that to happen, Joanne, but it’s certainly not a good indication of a solid electrical system. So, at least, you need to have that system evaluated.
Now, if you had a professional home inspector go through the property, certainly that’s a question you should raise with that individual. But if not, I would highly recommend that because this is something – you happened to be there and happened to notice at that very second, right?
LESLIE: Right. And what else is going on?
TOM: Right. What are the chances that something else is going wrong? Probably pretty good. Because you’re just not that lucky, right? Otherwise, you’d probably would have won the lottery already and buy a much bigger house.
So, anyway, I would definitely get a home inspector to check that place out. And at the least, you ought to have an electrician fix that one particular problem, because it certainly doesn’t sound right. You know, in older houses, they’ll have one circuit that everything will be on, including the refrigerator. Sometimes it can get overwhelmed and it might be that some of this has to be split off to a second circuit.
LESLIE: And I think the point is if you bring in an inspector, you’re going to get a full sort of workup of what’s going on with that house. And then you’re educated in knowing what you can negotiate. And if the electrical work is something that you feel like taking on or making that seller take on for you, you can negotiate that in the price. It’s really important to do so.
TOM: This is The Money Pit. Hey, thank you so much for hanging out with us for this hour of the show. We’d love to chat with you about what’s going on in your house, giving you some tips and advice to help you get those projects done that maybe you’re stumped on or just don’t know where to begin with.
You can reach out to us even when we’re not on the air, 24/7, by calling 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And the way that works is we’ll call you back next time we are in the studio. And of course, you can always head on over to The Money Pit Community page and post your questions right there.
That’s all the time we have this hour. The show does continue online. 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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From Source Article: moneypit.com