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. So help yourself first: pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Look around your house. Peak outside around your yard. What’s a project that you either have to get done, that could be a fix or an update or a remodel? Or maybe you want to talk about your plan for some portion of your house in the future. We’d love to help you set those projects in motion. But help yourself first by calling us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 because that’s what we do. We are your coaches. We are your supporters, your consultants. And most importantly, we’re free, 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up this hour, we’re going to talk about winter storms and the damage that they leave behind. Because while most of that damage can be obvious, like when the tree falls over on your house, there’s also a lot of hidden damage that can occur. And that starts to show its ugly head many months or sometimes even years later. So we’re going to have some tips on how you can give your house a good checkup after winter, to make sure there’s no damage that’s both visible or invisible.
LESLIE: And have you hesitated to tackle a painting project because you’ve had trouble landing on a perfect color? Well, we’re going to share the secrets to picking that perfect color combination.
TOM: And if you have a finished or unfinished basement or even a crawlspace, it’s always a challenge to keep that space dry, so we’ll have some solutions just ahead.
LESLIE: But most importantly, we’re here to talk to you. So give us a call, let us know whatever it is you are working on. We’re here to lend a hand. Whether you’re painting, redoing a kitchen or rebuilding an entire house, we’re here for you.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading up north to Windsor, Ontario where Richard, funny enough, has home improvement problems, too. It seems like all things aren’t better in Canada. They still have home improvement problems. What’s going on?
RICHARD: We live in a ranch house with a crawlspace. And the crawlspace is probably about 4 feet deep and – 3, 3 ½, 4 feet deep. And on the inside of the crawlspace, on the inner foundation walls, it has been weeping tile on the inside of the foundation walls. So at least there is some weeping tile getting around water. The question I have is more on the outside of the house, where there is no weeping tile installed. And the lay of the land is not exactly optimal toward the road.
TOM: Optimal for drainage? Right.
RICHARD: So, it is soiled to an extent but not ideal. So the question I have is with that water coming down, say, when the troughs overflow or heavy rains, to protect the foundation of the wall and the general perimeter, would it be advisable to lay down something like pond liner or some other sort of thicker material to allow for the – to allow the water to not accumulate around the perimeter as much?
TOM: Yeah, I understand your question. You’re basically looking for a way to keep water away from the foundation, which is smart. I will tell you, though, even though you may not have optimal drainage in terms of the site, most of the water that affects foundations is water that’s coming off of the roof, into the gutters and out of the spouts. So that, therefore, becomes the easiest way to manage it.
Generally, if you want to assess how well your house is doing with that, you want to kind of do a mental picture in terms of how much roof is going to each downspout. And we are looking for somewhere around 400 to 600 square feet, or maybe even 800 square feet, of roof surface per spout. If it’s more than that, then the spouts are probably undersized and can easily become overflowing. The other thing, of course, is to make sure they’re clean. And the most important thing is to look at where they terminate.
Now, contractors in the U.S. and in Canada have a really bad habit of taking those downspouts and turning them out just a few inches at the bottom and letting them drain into a splash block that may be a couple of feet long, at most. If you’re trying to keep your foundation dry, though, that water needs to get 4, 5, 6 feet away from the foundation, because then it’s going to drain into the soil out there and not totally saturate the soil right around your house. And managing that discharge is the surest and fastest and easiest and least expensive way to take care of that moisture.
Sure, we could talk about curtain drains and all of that sort of thing but I don’t think it’s necessary. Because I found that most water problems that I’ve seen, in all the years I’ve been doing this show and in the 20 years that I was a professional home inspector, almost all of them can be solved by managing – better managing – the gutters and the downspouts. It really comes to be that easy.
I often have trouble convincing people it’s that simple but it really is, you know? If you keep the water away from that foundation perimeter that’s sourcing off the roof, you will see a big difference in those conditions that you’re observing.
RICHARD: Well, thank you. Yeah, I bet the biggest problem area is one large, long valley. And during those heavy rains, that particular area will just overflow. And regardless of the size of the troughs, it’s just such a torrent of water.
RICHARD: I’m thinking I should maybe install a copper box to – with its own downspout right there or else maybe a couple of splash guards or something. I’m not sure.
TOM: So, here, I know what you’re talking about. So, there are certain roof configurations where there’s not enough room for a gutter or a gutter that’s big enough. So, what you could do is do something like that or you could just put in a deeper gutter. The standard gutters are 4-inch, K-style gutters. I, in my house, when I redid my roof I had the roofer operate on the 6-inch K-style. And I knew it was going to handle more water but I was also impressed by the fact that the darn things almost never clog, because the spouts are so much bigger.
And the other thing that you could do up on that roof is you could put diverters in higher up that valley. And a diverter is simply like a piece of a – think of it like a piece of angle iron but it’s made out of aluminum. It’s usually like drip flashing that you use over doors. And you lay that down on the roof and you basically sort of seal it down with asphalt roof cement and some screws that have rubber washers in them, so – and you pierce that roof shingle, lay it right in there. And then if you think about it, as the water – that torrent of water – you described comes down the roof, it hits that diverter, it starts to spread out further on the roof. So it gets into different parts of the gutter system than just that one corner where it always overflows.
RICHARD: Oh, very informative. I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. We appreciate you checking in with us from Windsor, Ontario.
LESLIE: Gloria in Massachusetts is on the line with The Money Pit, looking for some help with a basement bathroom. What can we do for you?
GLORIA: I have one of those soapstone, old-fashioned [sub tubs] (ph). It works good. There’s no leakage. But what we do – my brother, Roger, recycles cans and sometimes he gets the cemented ground wet. And so, I remember on one of your programs, somebody was saying about they want to put a small, just regular rug. And you said that’s not good because it could get moldy.
TOM: So you just want something small for – to stand on in front of the sink kind of a thing?
GLORIA: Yeah, something like that, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. I would use a foam mat or – there’s a lot of different types of mats that are out, like the kind you put in front of your kitchen sink, that are thick and soft and made of foam. And that’ll be fine. That’ll give you some relief on your feet. You just don’t want to put a carpet down because when you put carpet down, it holds a lot of water. And it can get moldy and you can get allergens that get in there. It will support dust-mite growth and that sort of thing. But any type of a vinyl mat would work well.
They also have floor tiles that are made for garages, that are kind of rubberized and they have holes in them. And they lock together like big puzzle pieces. You can get some of them. But just anything but carpet is fine.
GLORIA: OK. So you said a foam or a vinyl mat?
TOM: Yep. Yeah, a vinyl mat. In my house, in my kitchen, we’ve got a 2 foot by 3 foot-thick mat that gives your feet some relief when you’re basically standing in front of the kitchen. And I’m thinking of it because it’s made of a rubbery foam. And there’s no stress when you’re on it and you can just pick it up and wash it off and it’s good to go.
GLORIA: OK. But the bottom would still be rubber, like the vinyl (inaudible)?
TOM: No, it’s like – it’s rubber, it’s vinyl, it’s foam. It’s just – look, anything but carpet is going to work, Gloria, OK?
GLORIA: OK. OK.
TOM: Anything but a rug, alright?
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call. We’d love to hear what you are working on. Whether it’s a big project or a small project, we’re here to lend a hand.
Up next, big storms can leave a lot of obvious structural damage in their wake. But there can also be hidden damage that turns into big expenses later on. We’ll have tips on how to check your house for damage big and small, seen and unseen, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We’d love to hear what you’re working on or planning to work on for the days ahead, including spring projects, right? I mean it’s almost going to be time to get outside and work on those outdoor-living jobs, like the patios and the decks. Give us a call, right now, 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: Tom in Arizona, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
TOM IN ARIZONA: Talk to me about this thing called “stainless steel” that stains: stainless steel appliances and how you clean them.
TOM: Yeah. Stainless steel and the stains that follow it, right?
TOM IN ARIZONA: Oh, yi-yi.
TOM: Yeah. You know, everybody thinks it’s indestructible and always stays beautiful and silvery looking and all of that. But it is indestructible but it doesn’t stay pretty. It’s used a lot in commercial kitchens for a very good reason: because it’s very, very durable. But if you want it to look shiny like chrome all the time, that’s just not going to happen. So, you’ve got to kind of accept that.
It’s like if you have copper – we had somebody that called once and said, “I can’t keep my copper gutters without turning green.” I’m like, “People pay extra for that. That’s called ‘patina.’ It’s the natural way copper turns.” And with stainless, it’s going to get stained and it’s going to get discolored and you are going to have to polish it probably more than you’d like to. But that’s just kind of the way it rolls.
LESLIE: It definitely is. And it’s interesting because some of the appliances have made that turn towards the non-fingerprinting stainless, because it’s amazing how quickly stainless steel does get fingerprint-y. And one thing I didn’t realize, which I should have before I got my stainless fridge, is that you can’t put a magnet on it. So then it’s like all the fun things you’d put up of your kids, it’s kind of useless. You can’t put any of those things up. And in fact, some now manufacturers are putting a magnetic backing on their stainless so that you can do that.
TOM: That’d be a big problem in my house. I don’t think I’ve seen the refrigerator door since it was delivered.
LESLIE: Right? It’s true but there are special products that are meant for cleaning stainless steel. It’s important that when you do clean the stainless that you wipe it in the grain of the stainless itself, because you can then scratch it and cause a weird swirling pattern. In my opinion, it’s gorgeous and I think it’s worth the work. So, it’s just something that you’ve got to deal with, unfortunately.
TOM IN ARIZONA: What products would you suggest or process to clean?
LESLIE: The one that I actually like actually comes in a wipe format and it’s called Weiman. It’s W-e-i-m-a-n. I know you can get it at Walmart or Bed Bath & Beyond. You can get it in a spray, you can get it in the wipe. I think the wipe kind of just makes it the easiest to deal with. Plus, then you end up with extra liquid at the bottom and you can use regular rags when you’re done. But I think the important thing is use a product that’s meant for stainless and you’ll find that you have good success with it
TOM IN ARIZONA: OK. Is there any type of polish to put over that then to help preclude getting stained again right away?
TOM: I don’t think so because you’re not going to be able to buff this to keep it clean in that sense. So, I think it’s just a matter of wiping it down on a regular basis. It’s more of a maintenance issue, Tom.
TOM IN ARIZONA: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, major weather events, like snowstorms, leave a lot of obvious structural damage in their wake. But there can also be hidden damage that turns into big expenses later on. We have some tips now on how to check your house after a storm, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: OK, first, let’s talk about foundations. If you have heavy accumulations of water after that snow melts, that can cause a home’s foundation to weaken and ultimately even fail. So, check your foundation carefully along both the outdoor and the indoor walls, looking for any areas that are cracked or bulged.
LESLIE: Next, you’ve got to identify flooded electrical fixtures. Now, anything that’s been underwater should definitely be replaced. And this includes outlets, appliances and major system machinery, like your furnace. Now, contaminants in water can damage those sensitive components, leading to malfunctions and then electrical fires. So you have to be careful.
TOM: Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen folks have those circuits get wet and think they can just keep using them. But no, if they’ve been underwater, they’ve got to be replaced.
And also, we’ve got to talk about high winds, right? Because they can take a big toll on the outer sort of skin of your home. And that can cause damage in a lot of areas, so check out every side of your house from the ground. You can check it for loose siding, metal trim and soffits that may have loosened up. Give special attention to that roof because driving rain can push up under roof shingles and cause leaks. So if you’ve got loose flashing around chimneys and plumbing vents, that kind of thing can lead to some pretty significant leak issues.
LESLIE: Now, there are some post-storm repairs that you can handle on your own. But for bigger and more pervasive problems, it really is best to call in a pro. And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.
LESLIE: Kim in Missouri is on the line and has a question about a countertop. What can we do for you today?
KIM: Earlier this year, I remodeled my bathroom and I had a new vanity put in and I had a black – it came with a black granite countertop. The kind that’s shiny.
KIM: And for some reason, one of the handles – it’s a faucet – it almost looks like a hard-water stain or a hard-water deposit. I can’t get it off. It almost has a rough feeling. Nowhere else on the countertop looks like that. I’ve tried everything and I’m afraid I ruined it. But do you have any suggestions for me?
TOM: I wonder if it’s a manufacturing defect, Leslie.
LESLIE: I mean it very well could be. So tell us, where is this exactly?
KIM: It’s basically around the right faucet – the base of the right faucet – and the right handle and the base of the faucet. And I’ve tried all the things they recommend. I bought it at a big-box store.
KIM: And I’ve tried all the things they recommend there. And I’ve tried – I haven’t tried anything abrasive at all. And the rest of the counter looks fine but those two areas just won’t come off.
TOM: So you’re thinking that this is something that’s staining this particular surface, as opposed to just a defect in the original material. Is that correct?
KIM: Yes, I’m thinking is it because I don’t remember seeing it when they first installed it. But within a week or two after I saw that. But it almost looks like a hard-water stain around them.
LESLIE: Have you tried white vinegar?
LESLIE: You did, OK. Because that’s usually – if it’s a hard-water stain or some sort of mineral in the water, that’s going to be the trick.
KIM: And I’m really afraid to try a lot of things because they said you can damage the granite if you use the wrong cleaner.
TOM: Now, you mentioned this was installed. Have you thought about contacting the original installers or the company that you worked with for it? Because they may have access to some products that you don’t. And it sounds like you tried all the basic, over-the-counter-type approaches here that you might need a professional to come in and fix this up for you.
KIM: OK. I could try that. I went to the original big-box store and I went to the departments that – where I purchased this at.
The people who did my bathroom said, “What did you clean this with?” And they showed me that but that didn’t seem to work. And they’d even – I even read an article that you should use something like Ivory on it with a non-abrasive cloth. I’ve tried that but like I said, it looks good when it’s wet but when it dries, it still comes back.
TOM: Yeah. What it might be that – you may have worn off some of the finish. And once you do that, then stains get into the stone itself. So, I suspect that this is going to be something you’re going to need some professional help with.
So I wouldn’t – even if it’s not the store you bought it from, there are going to be companies out there that specialize in granite cleaning and polishing, because everyone that has these types of surfaces in their home – I think when you originally buy it, you think, “Well, it’s natural material. I’m never going to have to do anything with it.” But the truth is they often need to be repolished and resealed from time to time to keep looking good.
And so that’s, I think, what I would do at this point since you’ve tried all the basics that you can try. I would just get a professional in to refinish this for you.
KIM: Oh, thank you so much. Because I said I was just afraid I had ruined the whole countertop for this one little area.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you could if you keep going. That’s why I think you’ve tried everything that is reasonable for you to try. And I would get online to a site, like HomeAdvisor.com, and find a professional in your particular area. Read the reviews, find somebody that sounds good and give them a shot.
KIM: I had no idea where to go. Thank you. I will try that so much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, have you hesitated to tackle a paint project because you had trouble landing on that perfect color? We’re going to share some tips to pick the right color for you, right out of the gate, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: What are you working on? Home improvement? Remodeling? A repair project? Décor dilemma? Thinking about planning a project for the spring ahead? Give us a call right now. We’d love to help you get started or figure out what’s going wrong and how to fix it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free.
LESLIE: Well, painting is the easiest and least expensive way to completely change the look of your room. But unfortunately, it’s still something many do-it-yourselfers are shying away from.
Now, the main reason is: too much of a good thing. The colors available in the paint aisle of your local home centers can really make your head spin.
TOM: Very true. But if you can prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed at the rainbow of paint chips, you will find that a new coat of paint can do wonders to perk up a tired room. With us to talk about that is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.
KEVIN: Hi, guys. Great to be here.
TOM: So why do people always get that sort of deer-in-the-headlights feeling when they think about choosing a paint color?
KEVIN: Have you ever seen the paint wheel?
TOM: Yeah, it’s kind of overwhelming.
LESLIE: Which one? I have like a dozen.
KEVIN: And aren’t they all 300 colors? Four or five?
KEVIN: Oh, no, way too much. Leslie, you are so right: it is overwhelming. And if you’re a guy, you’re at a bigger disadvantage because you probably are color-blind like me. It can be overwhelming.
And I think one of the reasons is lots of choices, as you say. But whatever decision you make, you’re going to be living with it for a long time. You’re not going to want to repaint your walls every year, so you’ve got to pick that color that works just right.
That being said, even though it may feel overwhelming, it is an inexpensive and effective way to make a big change. So people should not steer away from it.
TOM: What are some tips for picking that perfect color?
KEVIN: Well, I think you have to understand that color is basically style. And styles have trends. They come and go, right? And so, always be thinking about what are the trends that you’re seeing right now. And as it turns out, gray is sort of, for some reason, the big trend. People are using gray all over the place, different shades of gray. So, that is good to know.
LESLIE: Fifty. Fifty shades of gray.
KEVIN: That, too.
KEVIN: I’ve seen that for something else, I suspect.
So it’s good to know that there are trends out there. You probably want to find them so that you feel like the job that you’re doing is going to be contemporary and well-received. The one caution there is that, obviously, because it’s a trend, trends change. So you may have to actually change with the trends over the coming years.
LESLIE: Or utilize that trendy color in a smarter or smaller application so that if it does change or you tire of it, it’s easier and more manageable to do so.
KEVIN: Well, you definitely can be thinking about accent colors and little places where you can dress up a room with just one color. And so think about some of the beautiful details that a lot of rooms have or that you can add.
A ceiling medallion would be a great way to introduce a pop of color. Wainscoting is a beautiful architectural detail. We often think about it as painting it white or just off-white but why not give it its own color? It’s not the entire room but you can bring some of those trendy colors in through those things. Same thing with molding details and such.
LESLIE: And I think one of the bigger trends this year – and we’ve been seeing it sort of recurring throughout this year and for the next year – is that the trend is to paint trim sort of in the similar color family to your wall color, maybe a shade darker with a different sheen, just to sort of bring in that color in a little bit more pungent or powerful way.
KEVIN: We have worked with a number of designers who have done just that. And quite honestly, a lot of times we just leave those decisions to the designers because they really know what they’re doing. But just like you said, Leslie, a wall color is – call it a “bluish color” and then the trim is sort of a lighter, slighter different color of the blue. And the ceiling, yet again, maybe drop it down another tone or two. Play with it like that.
And to my surprise, I would have thought, “Oh, this is going to make a very busy room. This is not going to work.” Done right, it’s a very good effect.
TOM: Now, what about complementary colors beyond that? Is it true that opposites attract?
KEVIN: Well, one of the things that the designers always talked to us about is this idea of complementary colors. And what that means is if you look at the colors on a color wheel, you pick one color from one side and then you look at the other side of the color wheel and that would be a complementary color.
For example, red and green are on opposite sides of that color wheel. Now, that may sound a little bit Christmas-y if you think, “Oh, I’m going to paint the room with red and greens.” But it doesn’t have to be just a bold red or a bold green; you could be thinking about sage green for your walls and then the cabinets could be a dark cherry, which have the reddish hues. In that situation, you’re using that idea of complementary colors.
TOM: So what if you are inspired by something else in the environment, something that you have in your home? Maybe it’s a drape, a cushion; maybe it’s a leaf, some color that you really find really resonates well with you and you want to match that. You try to match it up against the paper samples or is there a better way?
KEVIN: Well, it’s a good place to start. You know, take some sort of a feature in the house that you love. And again, we work with designers who do this all of the time and say, “That is going to be the focal point right there.” And you might not have to replicate it perfectly but want to play off of it.
And the good news is is that if you go to the home centers, the paint-mixing technology right now is so sophisticated that you can pretty much bring in a swatch of anything – that curtain, that pillow, another paint color – and give it to them. And they can do a really good job of matching that color or giving you a hue or two off of exactly that color so that you can now play off of that feature that you want to play up.
LESLIE: And I think another interesting technology point is that so many of the paint manufacturers have on their websites – or have apps where you can sort of upload a picture of your room and then apply their paint colors to it, so to speak, in the applications so you can see it.
KEVIN: Imagine the old process of looking at a room and putting up some test paint on the wall, in a little corner or something like that, and then trying to have to imagine what that entire room would look like and make all these big decisions. Well, flash forward to today and do just what you said, Leslie: take a picture and paint the room virtually. Boy, that really gives you a leg up on making those sorts of decisions without having to do all the messy work of getting out the paint can and putting it up on the wall.
But I will say that’s a pretty good method, too – is to actually get it up on the wall. Get away from those small, little paint chips if you can. Use a much bigger paint chip or take a section of the wall – 3×5, 4×8 – and paint it there so that you can see it in the room, see how it adjusts to the light between morning, evening, during the day.
TOM: Good advice. Kevin O’Connor from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: My pleasure, guys.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot.
Just ahead, if you’ve got a finished or unfinished basement or even a crawlspace, it’s always a challenge to keep that space dry. We’ll have a solution, 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: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. It doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find those top-rated pros.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Ruth in Michigan has got a window question. What can we do for you?
RUTH: My windows fogged up and they had condensation on them, on the centers of them, as well as when it was really cold two years ago. I actually had frost on the inside of the window. And I didn’t know what’s wrong with the windows. What do we need to do with them? They were put in new about 25 years ago.
LESLIE: OK. So that could be the problem: the age factor. So now, when you say you see frost and condensation, is that on the interior side? Or are you sort of seeing it in between the two panes of glass?
RUTH: On the interior.
LESLIE: OK. So, generally, what’s happening is that the thermal seal – the gas that’s in between those two panes of glass that regulates that temperature difference – when you’re starting to see condensation or when you see freezing on the interior, that means that the gas that was in between those two panes isn’t there anymore. So you’re not getting that thermal space in there to block that heat or the coolness transfer. And that can happen because there is a seal within the windows that eventually will fail. It’s not guaranteed to fail but a window that’s 25 years old, it’s a good chance that that’s no longer functioning for you.
And I think at this point, that’s not something that’s really worth repairing or you should look into a replacement window for that, which could be super affordable. You can find some great prices out there. And then you’ll be able to get one that’s truly thermal-pane and help you with all of your cool-transferring situations.
RUTH: OK. So I may have to replace my windows is what you’re saying, rather than try to repair them.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Once the window seal fails, it’s not repairable. Now, generally, it doesn’t result in a huge energy loss. It’s mostly inconvenient because, as you’ve learned, they’ll condense and fog. But if you want it to go away, you have to replace the windows. It’s not repairable.
RUTH: OK. But you’re saying it doesn’t necessarily reduce the insulation factor, huh?
TOM: It does, to a certain extent. It’s certainly not as efficient as a new window. But are you going to get a return on investment by replacing that window that’s going to equal the amount of energy you saved? Probably not or certainly not for a long time.
RUTH: OK. That’s what – I was wondering about that, too. OK. That’s been very helpful. I wasn’t sure what was wrong and I was wondering whether replacements would be the best option or not.
TOM: Well, now you know. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you have a finished or even an unfinished basement or maybe even a crawlspace, it’s always a challenge to keep that space dry. And with all that moisture, those spaces can be breeding grounds for mold and a variety of allergens. So, taking steps to stem that moisture is important. And one product that can help you do just that is called E•Z Breathe.
LESLIE: Now, E•Z Breathe is a ventilation system that takes moisture out of the air and then improves indoor-air quality by helping remove odors, allergens, chemicals, mold spores, dander, soil gases, all manners of indoor-air pollutants.
Now, it works by exhausting the stale air from below-grade spaces, as well as the contaminants and moisture that come with it. And then it replaces it with fresh air, thereby creating a healthier atmosphere.
TOM: Yeah. And as a result, E•Z Breathe customers report they have less coughing, less sneezing and a decrease in allergy and asthma triggers. Plus, the product helps balance temperatures by keeping the air moving and not allowing for stagnant spaces.
You can learn more about E•Z Breathe – the healthy, happy home people – at EZBreathe.com or call 866-822-7328. Again, that’s EZBreathe – B-r-e-a-t-h-e –.com or 866-822-7328.
LESLIE: Ian in North Carolina is on the line and wants to build a recording studio. We might be able to help with that.
IAN: Well, I am – it’s kind of a bucket-list project. I was given my grandmother’s old house and they built on an extension to the house and I’m trying to convert it into just that: a semi-professional recording studio. And I’ve done a little research on this acoustic-foam stuff but it’s ridiculously expensive. And I’m trying to figure out a different method to basically achieve the same effect.
TOM: First of all, if you want to soundproof a room in a residential home, you have to use materials that are specifically designed to do that. Probably the least expensive way to do it is with a material called “soundproof drywall” or “sound-resistant drywall.” There’s a couple of different brands that sell this product. But essentially, what you would do is you would put a second layer of drywall over the existing layer. And this new drywall has sound-resistant capabilities to it or qualities to it so it absorbs the sound and keeps it nice and quiet.
Where the rubber meets the road with this is at the penetrations to the wall. So if there’s a light, an outlet or a switch, there are some very specific steps you have to take in those areas to soundproof them. And there’s a putty that has to be installed around it. It’s quite involved. But that’s the least expensive way to probably – to do this.
You know, generally, when you have sound-resistant construction, you have kind of a wall inside of a wall so that the two walls are not touching each other.
IAN: Like floating?
TOM: Yeah, kind of like floating. Like a non-bearing wall.
IAN: Right, right. OK.
TOM: But you could do that to the walls and the ceilings but then, what do you do about the floor?
IAN: Right. OK.
TOM: So, take a look at soundproof drywall and see if that kind of gets you closer to where you want to go on this, OK?
IAN: That sounds great. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, is replacing your windows a do-it-yourself project? We’ll have the answer, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
LESLIE: But you’ve got two pros here, right now, so post your questions to the Community section, just like Rick from Crystal Springs, Mississippi did.
Now, Rick writes: “I want to know if putting in replacement windows is a do-it-yourself job. I’ve got a brick house with the original aluminum frame, single-pane windows and they’re super cold and drafty.”
TOM: Ah, yes. We know exactly what you’re talking about with that kind of window, Rick. It is a miserable window. I wish it was never invented. They’re very, very cold and drafty and there’s nothing you can do with them.
Now, to your question about whether replacing those windows is DIY or not, I say this: you know, if you have a traditional, double-hung window – wood window inside of a – with maybe some storm windows on it – I mean that’s kind of the average sort of replacement-window setup – that you possibly could do it yourself if you’re a very handy person.
However, with these metal windows in a brick house, I say not because there’s actually a bit of reconstruction that has to be done. Because if this is the type of window I’m thinking about, you really don’t have a traditional window jamb. And as a result, that will have to be built as part of the window-replacement project.
So, I’d say that this kind of job probably is not do-it-yourself, even for somebody that’s handy, because you don’t want to get it wrong. You’re going to have leaks that will get behind those windows, into that brick wall, and that could rot the exterior structure of your home. So I would recommend you call a pro to get that project done, Rick.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Karen in Maine writes: “I just removed horribly ugly wallpaper from the kitchen and living room.”
I don’t know. It wasn’t …
TOM: Oh, wait. But how does she really feel about it?
LESLIE: It wasn’t so bad. I do love wallpaper.
Alright. But she writes: “To my pleasant surprise, underneath is beautiful, natural, real finished, real wood paneling underneath. Most of the glue dried, which makes it easy to remove, but some is stuck pretty well. I’ve been using vinegar and water to soak and scrape the rest. Is there anything I should do to the paneling before I apply Liquid Gold or Murphy’s Oil Soap to it?”
TOM: Hmm. That’s a good question. If she’s got that on there, because that was – she also said that was what was there before it was papered over, that’s probably why it’s coming off so easily. Because it sounds to me like she’s getting away pretty easy on this because, typically, getting rid of that paste is a real mess.
Now, because you have real wood paneling, I would wonder why you’re not just going to lightly sand off the rest of that glue, right? I mean why scrape it? If you scratch through some of the stain, you could simply restain it and then refinish it or put the finish on top of that.
When you talk about Liquid Gold or Murphy’s Oil Soap, that’s kind of a material used to wash wood but it’s not really a wood finish. So, you may have to refinish that. I would think that a light sanding is probably a good way to go. And if you happen to cut through a dark stain, you can always restain. And then you put a coat of, say, polyurethane on that. And with the walls, you could probably – you can use water-based polyurethane, a satin finish. It’ll dry fast, it’ll seal it in nice. It’ll be super easy to clean going forward, right?
I don’t think she should keep wetting these walls down, Leslie. What do you think?
LESLIE: No, I don’t think there really is a need. And you can put a beautiful finish on it that looks really natural but will help preserve the look of that wood. And that’s probably the best way to go.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thanks so much for spending this part of your February day with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips and ideas for inspiration, perhaps to avoid some perspiration when you’re thinking about getting those projects done around your house.
If something comes to mind and you weren’t able to get into the show today, you can always call us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And we will grab that message and return that call the next time we are in the studio. And of course, you can also post your questions to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com. Lots of ways to reach out to us for the solutions you need for your home projects.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2019 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)
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