Tile Trends from Gritty to Chic

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: So glad to be here with you as we wrap up winter and look forward to spring, which kicks off the real energy and home improvement around your house. If you’ve been thinking about a project that you’d like to get done, this is a great time for you to pick up the phone and call us, because we are here to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to talk tile trends. You know, if that’s a project you’re thinking about doing, we’re going to highlight some trends that are out there now that are going from gritty to chic. So no matter what you’re looking for, there’s a trend waiting to happen in your house.

LESLIE: And have you ever dreamed of having a futuristic bathroom, the kind that practically does everything for you? Well, we’ve got tips on a new technology that can cut cleaning chores – I hope they mean the bathroom and not yourself – and increase convenience.

TOM: And also ahead, we are moving towards the end of winter. And considering that, have you taken a good look at your driveway? Spring is a great time to plan to replace those worn-out surfaces but it is not a do-it-yourself project. That’s why, in today’s Pro Project, we put together some tips to help you hire the best pro to get that job done.

LESLIE: Plus, this hour, we’re giving away an Arrow PT Pneumatic Staple Gun and a supply of staples, which really is a perfect tool for a wide variety of repair and décor projects, like repairing the lattice work around your deck or maybe carpeting the stair treads or even getting brave and upholstering furniture. I find that’s the one project that’s so simple but people are so afraid to attempt. So this is finally the tool that can help you do it. It’s worth 50 bucks and going out to one listener.

TOM: But first, we want to hear from you about your projects that you’re tackling, your do-it-yourself dilemmas that maybe have you stumbling trying to figure out what’s next or maybe a project you’re planning for the spring. Whatever is going on in your house, give us a call right now. We’d love to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

LESLIE: Daniel in Washington is in love with his older home’s windows but needs some help working on them. What can we do for you?

DANIEL: I want to know how I can remove them without destroying them or having to cut off the weights and letting them fall in the wall, as I was told that’s what I have to do.

TOM: Well, why do you want to preserve the weights, Dan?

DANIEL: Well, I just – my biggest fear is they’re upstairs windows and I don’t want them to cause any damage when I cut them loose. And I just want to pull them out intact, I guess, for seeing what exactly they are. They’re being used for weights.

TOM: Yeah, you don’t have to worry too much about that. How old is your house, Dan?

DANIEL: It was built in 1900.

TOM: OK. So, the weights themselves are these sort of round, tubular pieces of solid cast metal. And I wouldn’t worry about letting them drop. They’re only going to drop to sort of the bottom of the wall cavity. They’re not really going to do any damage. They’ll drop down a couple of feet and stop. But what you do is cut those cords or disconnect the chains, let the weights drop, pull out the pulleys, take out the upper and the lower sash and then you insert the replacement window into the rest of the wood, sort of old window frame that’s left.

That’s the smart move because it’s very easy to do. You don’t have to tear up any siding or anything like that. You basically just take apart the operable sashes and slip the new replacement windows inside, which you can do because all replacement windows are basically built to fit. That’s the way the technology is designed to work. If you put in an order for replacement windows, they put all the numbers into a computer and it spits out the window at the other end of the assembly line. And you just slip them in and you’re done. It’s a very easy installation.

You need to be really careful in the measuring, though. And I would have the company that you’re buying the windows from do the measuring to make sure you get it right. But not to worry about the weights. Not a big deal.

DANIEL: And it’s funny you mention that. He actually did come out and look at them and he told me that he wouldn’t be able to give me the measurements to get the windows myself. Because when he – they order them, the guys that install them have to do any work that’s needed to make them fit properly. Because he just takes a rough measurement.

TOM: So was he just giving you an estimate? Was he there to measure for an estimate?


TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean that makes sense. Plus, I’ve got to tell you, every company does it a little bit different. So if you buy it from Manufacturer A, they may measure one way and Manufacturer B might measure it slightly differently. So whoever you buy these from, they have to do the exact measurements. He may have just been measuring so he knows how to price the order. But it may have to be measured again before you actually do the order.

LESLIE: Plus, they’re – the numbers are really guarded. He might be thinking that if he gives you the exact measurements, you’re going to turn around and go to another company or order them yourself and try to do it yourself.

TOM: Which you really couldn’t do because what if he has the numbers wrong? You’ll end up paying for windows that don’t fit.

DANIEL: So if we already did – I measured the frame on the windows, not the window itself. And we did just put the order in. So I could be in trouble here.

TOM: Are you going to put them in yourself?

DANIEL: Yeah. Because it’s – half the cost of the windows was the labor to put them in.

TOM: Well, how did you know how to measure them? Did you get advice from who you bought the windows from?

DANIEL: Yeah. He told me to measure the frame – not the window, not the part of the window that moves – but he said the frame itself.

TOM: Right.

DANIEL: And he said that’s the number that they would use if they sent somebody out.

TOM: Right.

DANIEL: And then he offered, because it was free, and when – to send somebody out. And when the guy showed up, he did the kind of – “Whoa, hold on. I just kind of give them rough numbers and they do what they need to do to make them fit from there.”

TOM: What I would do, if I were normally ordering windows, is I would get the advice on how exactly they need to be ordered. I would make – take the measurements and order them to fit. If that’s what you did and you followed their instructions, you should be OK. The thing is, if you’ve got it wrong, you’re going to get a window that doesn’t fit and you’re going to have a problem. But as long as you followed their instructions, then you should be OK.

DANIEL: Alright. It just kind of made me worry when the guy that showed up here gave me a different story than the guy down at the store.

TOM: Yep. Yeah, well, they’re all experts; they all have their way.

LESLIE: And clearly they’re not talking to each other.

TOM: Exactly.

DANIEL: Yeah. Like I said, that was the part that scared me and why I wanted to get some advice on this.

TOM: Alright. Well, I hope that helps you out, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Debbie in Texas is on the line and is dealing with a basement project. Tell us what you’re working on.

DEBBIE: Well, I have a cement floor that, right now, has indoor/outdoor carpet that’s glued down. And I’d like to peel the carpet up and then paint the floor. So my question is: what type of prep – once I get the carpet up, what type of prep do I need to do and then what type of paint should I use?

LESLIE: Now, have you started to try and remove this outdoor carpeting?

DEBBIE: Yes, we have and it is glued and so there’s a glue, I guess, base that’s on the floor. So we’d need to somehow scrape that off?

LESLIE: Yes. And that – and did you say this was a screened-in porch or a covered porch?

DEBBIE: No, it’s an indoor – it’s indoors.

LESLIE: Oh, it’s completely indoors. OK. That’s going to make it a bit of a chore. The reason I was a little excited that you had a lot of fresh air while you were working is because you’re going to need to use an adhesive remover if your plan is to paint this floor. Because you’re going to end up with so much residue from that glue, that’s going to be all over, and there’s a good chance that it’s going to be uneven and raised and spotty in some areas. You’re going to have pieces of carpeting on it and it’s going to be a mess.

So you’re going to have to find exactly what type of adhesive that is and what is the best remover for it. Because depending on what the base is of that adhesive will depend on what type of adhesive remover you use. So it’s really going to be an experimentation to sort of see what works well.

And then once you find what really is working well at loosening up that adhesive, you’re really just going to have to use a heavy-duty scraper and work on that glue residue until that’s up. And then even then, your painted surface is going to look really not that great, after all of that work.

DEBBIE: So, I guess your recommendation would be go back with indoor/outdoor carpet.

LESLIE: Well, in a lower-level space, carpeting really isn’t the best idea – whether there’s padding or not, whether it’s glued or not – only because you’re dealing with a dust trap that’s sitting right on top of a concrete slab that tends to get moist. All of that moisture gets up into that carpeting, whether or not it’s indoor/outdoor.

Now, that moisture sort of sits with that dust and creates all sorts of allergens and mold and it’s really not the best idea. Tile would work fantastically. And if you got that floor fairly even-ish, even with the adhesive, you could go ahead and do something with that with tile.

You know, it depends on what you want the space to look like. If you’re OK with seeing an uneven surface and you want to paint over that, then an epoxy coating is perfect for a floor in that situation. But it depends. I spend a lot of time in my basement, so I wouldn’t want to see such an uneven floor surface, whether it was painted my favorite color or not.

DEBBIE: And what harm would come if I just peeled the carpet and scraped the glue – scraped it smooth – and then painted? Would the paint not stick if there was still all the glue there?

LESLIE: I don’t think so. The systems, like the epoxy-coating systems, are usually sold in kits. There’s several steps. The first one is an etching or a cleaning step. Then there’s your topcoat that you mix in with, I guess, all of the different process that sort of cures it and solidifies it. And some of them have that little decorative speckle and that gets sort of sprinkled in there at the end. And you want to work yourself out of a corner so you don’t get trapped down there. But it should stick fairly well.

It just – is this a utility space that you’re strictly storing things in? Is this your family hangout? You have to think about what that space is and how you want it to look.

DEBBIE: OK. Well, that gives me some ideas. I guess I first need to get the carpet up and see what it looks like underneath and go from there. Alright. Well, thank you so much.

TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. What is on your to-do list? Well, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT and we will help you plan the best way to get those projects done, 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.

TOM: And just ahead, wood, plaster, resin and steel. Those may not sound like styles of tile but they are and they’re among the hottest, new designer looks. We’ll have those details, 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: What’s your DIY dilemma? Call us, 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: Plus, if you’re a DIYer, we’ve got a great tool that we’re giving away this hour and it can come in pretty handy. It’s from our friends over at Arrow Fastener and we’ve got, up for grabs, the Arrow PT50 – it’s a pneumatic staple gun – with a supply of staples.

And there’s really a ton of things that you can do with that Arrow PT50 Pneumatic Staple Gun. I mean we’re getting into the spring season. I’m being very hopeful that the weather is warming up. So, maybe you’re outside and the lattice work is in some need of repair around your deck or something with your fencing needs some updating or just some seasonal maintenance. This Arrow PT Pneumatic Staple Gun can help you with that.

And if you’re looking for some step-by-step tips, advice, guidance, just go on over to ArrowFastener.com and click on Projects. There you’re going to find all the step-by-step tips and advice that you need to get pretty much every project done that you can handle with a staple gun.

TOM: That Arrow PT50 Pneumatic Staple Gun and supply of staples is going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Rich in West Virginia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

RICH: Hi. I’ve got a drywall question. My house is only about nine years old but a lot of the seams between the sheets of drywall have – where the tape was – the tape is cracked and it’s curled up a little at the edges.

TOM: Yep.

RICH: It’s especially bad out in my garage – the unheated garage – on the ceiling pieces but even some in the house. I don’t know if – I’ve heard different things: that they could have put it in when it was cold and it froze before it set or …

TOM: Let me tell you what’s going on, Rich. Nine years ago, as they do today, the builders will drywall the garage for one reason and one reason only: because they’re required to to maintain the fire separation between the garage and the rest of the house.

But being builders, they only do what they absolutely have to do to get past code. I always tell these guys, “It’s like you guys are proud of being – of getting a D, not an F. You want to get a D. Nobody really strives for an A.” It’s like how would you feel if your kid came home from school and said, “Guess what, Dad? I got a D. Ain’t you proud?” The builders just do the absolute minimum.

So, in the drywall situation in the garage, that means this: they put on the tape and one coat of spackle. Only one. Where in the house, they put on three because that’s the normal thing you do. So they save a few pennies by only putting on one coat of spackle and you’re faced with tape that – what a surprise – falls off over the years.

RICH: OK. Yeah.

TOM: So, in this case, Rich, if it’s loose and separating, you really can’t put spackle on top of that because it’s not going to get between the paper tape and the drywall underneath. I would cut off any loose tape and then I would put another layer of tape on top of that or in lieu of that. And I would use perforated drywall tape, which is very forgiving, especially for somebody who’s an amateur spackler, because you don’t have to worry about getting the paste underneath the tape. It actually goes through the tape; it’s more like a netting.


TOM: And then you do that with three coats and sand it out in between. Take your time; it’ll take you a little while to kind of get used to it. But that’ll do the trick there. Then prime and paint.

And as for the areas inside the house, it’s not at all unusual for a nine-year-old house to get some cracks in the seams or where corners come together or above windows or doors. And you pretty much handle those the same way. If the tape is absolutely loose, you have to take it off and replace it. But if it’s just cracking, you can actually put that same type of drywall tape on top of that, three coats of spackle, prime and paint and you’re done, OK?

RICH: OK. Sounds good.

TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Rich. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Well, tile has always been a very popular building material. But right now, there are some great trends going on with stepped-up styles and colors that can make a great addition to your home’s décor. Now, here are a few highlights.

Let’s talk about wood grain. This happens to be a trend that I love and I’m so glad that it’s sticking around and only getting better and better every season. Wood-grain patterns on tile are gorgeous and it can create a whole new look for your floor and even wall covering.

And another trend we’re noticing is that many companies are introducing collections that are characterized by pretty much a random assortment of fragmented pieces. Now, these join together in a loose pattern. They’re gaining in popularity. It almost mimics a puzzle. So if you’re into kind of this free-flow design style when you’re laying out your tile, it’s a great way to really show your personality and really highlight some beautiful tile design.

TOM: And tile companies are continuing to experiment with plaster, concrete, metal and resin to give sort of a look that’s called “gritty chic.” It’s kind of a cool, industrial look and it’s really neat in inside spaces. So, lots of neat trends happening in the tile space right now. Think about that if you’re deciding to do a little bit of home décor to spruce up your home this spring.

LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to Patty in Illinois who’s got a toilet that is running constantly. Tell us what’s going on.

PATTY: Well, it doesn’t run constantly but it runs about five seconds, several times an hour. And it’s gone to the point that my water bill has gone up quite a bit and I’m needing to know if I need a new toilet or if I need new seals or a new handle pump or – what would you think?

LESLIE: It’s actually an easy fix and this tends to happen kind of regularly. Unfortunately, people don’t realize that there’s actually some level of toilet maintenance, because it’s just an appliance in your house that’s there and you use it and you expect it to work.

But inside the tank itself, there’s a fill and a flush valve. And those need to be replaced not that often but every couple of years or so. And of course, now that you’re dealing with this water-running issue – Tom, is it Fluidmaster?

TOM: Yeah, Fluidmaster is sort of a mainstay of replacement valve parts.

And they just wear out, Patty, over time, so this is a pretty easy fix.

LESLIE: And it’s probably 10 bucks to get both of them. But if you go to Fluidmaster’s website, the only reason I recommend that is because on their website, they’ve got a really great how-to video. So you can actually see what the fill valve is, what the flush valve, the flapper valves – you know exactly what you’re looking at and how to replace it. And it’s a really easy do-it-yourself project that you can do confidently and definitely decrease your water bill.

PATTY: Thank you. That sounds wonderful. I appreciate it and thank you so much for taking my call. Love your show.

TOM: You’re very welcome, Patty. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Hey, have you ever dreamed of having a high-tech bathroom, the kind that practically does everything for you? Well, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House stops by next with some tips on new technology that can cut those cleaning chores and increase convenience, so stick around.

TOM: 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. Help yourself first by picking up the phone and giving us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

Hey, is there new flooring in your kitchen or bathroom coming up? Is that part of your spring to-do list or are you getting ready to do a deck? Well, HomeAdvisor can help you with those projects. They’ll instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.

LESLIE: Sandra in North Carolina is on the line. How can we help you today?

SANDRA: We’re trying to decide which filter to use for our furnace filter – switch out? Should we use the ones that are cheaper, like the 4-for-$2 or should we use the HEPA-filter quality ones that are like $20 for your furnace filters, when you change them out?

LESLIE: Well, with filters, you’re definitely getting what you pay for. And it really depends on what the situations are with everybody in your house.

Now, the less expensive a filter, the thinner that membrane is going to be and of course, the wider that webbing is, if you will, so it’s really not going to stop very much. You know, Tom and I always joke that they’re called “pebble stoppers,” because that’s really the only thing that’s not getting through there.

TOM: Exactly.

LESLIE: So it really depends. The less money you spend, the less things that are getting trapped. If you’ve got somebody with allergens in the house, you want to spend a little bit more money, because you’re definitely going to get what you pay for.

SANDRA: OK. So I need to go to a quality filter, because I have a lot of allergies. And the people that built the house say to go with a cheaper filter so you can let air circulate.

TOM: Yeah, well, look, a good-quality filter does not block the air, whether it’s one that’s designed for better filtration or one that’s designed for lesser filtration. None of these things block the air. So if you have allergy issues, you have asthma issues, you definitely want to use a good-quality filter.

And if you want the ultimate in filtration, what you might want to think about doing at some point is installing an electronic air cleaner. This is a device that’s built into the HVAC system right near the furnace, generally. And these are incredibly efficient at taking out 95-percent plus of the contaminants that are in the air. I mean these electronic air cleaners today can take out microscopic-size particles.

SANDRA: OK. Well, I really appreciate your information. You’ve been very helpful.

TOM: You’re very welcome, Sandra. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Well, high-tech remodeling innovations have improved just about every room in our homes and there are a slew of these products available for your bathroom. From touchless faucets to towel warmers, these modern marvels help us save energy, save water and make things just a little more convenient.

TOM: With us to talk through some of the latest innovations is This Old House host Kevin O’Connor.

Welcome, Kevin.

KEVIN: Hi, guys. How are you?

TOM: So This Old House has always been on the cutting edge of innovations in the projects that you choose, especially when it comes to bathrooms. We’ve come a long, long way since the outhouse.

KEVIN: Yeah. It’s a good thing, too, right? Does anyone have any fond memories of outhouses? Did you know that there’s a museum to outhouses down in Louisiana?

TOM: Of course there is.

KEVIN: Yep. I’ve been there.

LESLIE: Oh, geez.

KEVIN: Yeah. Yep. The tickets are free.

TOM: I bet, right?

KEVIN: No, it definitely has come a long way. And I think one of the things that we’ve noticed is some of these innovations that we’re seeing in the house, in residential construction, actually migrate over from commercial construction. Which is why you’re seeing things like touchless faucets. Imagine when you went into the public restrooms, they’re everywhere.

TOM: Right.

LESLIE: Because if you’re a germophobe, you might as well be a germophobe in your own bathroom.

TOM: Yeah.

KEVIN: If you’re stopping on the parkway or the turnpike, you probably don’t want to touch the faucet. But yes, right? So you sort of develop that sensibility and now it’s available in your house where you can just wave your hand over it or put an elbow to the actual spout and turn on and off.

LESLIE: Yeah, I like it in a kitchen.

KEVIN: A pretty good feature.

TOM: And it’s not only the bathrooms, it’s also the kitchen. Delta has one now where you wave your hand over the top and it comes on, you wave your hand again over the top and it goes off. And if you bring a pot up to it close with both hands, it will actually go on for as long as the pot is sort of in front of the faucet.

KEVIN: Who doesn’t like that, right?

TOM: Yeah, exactly.

KEVIN: So, they’re happening with faucets, bathrooms or kitchens. They’re also happening with toilets. There are a lot of things out there right now. KOHLER has just introduced a toilet that actually has touchless-flush technology. So, you just have to wave your hand over the back and it will flush for you. Another thing is they actually have lighted toilets, alright? We just showed off one of these recently. Two lights. One of them is a location light so you can find the toilet as you walk into the bathroom.

LESLIE: Oh, not an aiming sensor for my small boys?

KEVIN: That’s the second one. And then the second light is a – they call a “task light.”

TOM: You’re coming in for a landing.

KEVIN: But instead of a night light in the bathroom, why not have the toilet seat light up so you always know exactly how to find it?

LESLIE: All of these seem like an invitation for both of my boys to put their hands in the toilet.

KEVIN: Hmm. No, maybe we should turn the lights off.

LESLIE: Great innovations. Just not for a six or a two-year-old.

TOM: Alright. Enough toilet talk. Let’s talk about the shower right now. There are also some innovations in showers and baths, including one device that actually prevents shower shock, where you actually get an alert in terms of water temperature.

KEVIN: I think the shower is the new luxury destination in the American home it seems. There are lots of gadgets and gizmos that can go into a shower.

And as you point out, Tom, there’s something out there where the showerhead will actually display the water temperature, even as it changes, so that you can see exactly what the temperature is before you stick your head underneath there so that you do not stick your head under some either cold or really hot water, causing some discomfort.

TOM: And that’s the Delta product; it’s called the Temp2O.

Now, you’re also going to see audio systems built into bathrooms.

KEVIN: Can you imagine listening to your favorite tunes in the morning when you’re in the shower? But yes, speakers that are actually in there, that are playing tunes in the shower so that you never have to be in a room where you’re not being …

LESLIE: Entertained?

KEVIN: Entertained, absolutely. And we’ve even seen chromotherapy where the lights change so that they can produce different moods when you’re in a bath or in a shower. So lots of innovation coming into these spaces.

There are also things like – well, heated floors are something that we’ve done all the time on the show, where you put radiant underneath either electric or a water-based system that’s hydronic. But also, towel warmers that are heated up right out of the gate so that you never have to pull a chilly towel off the rack. As I say, the new luxury destination.

TOM: You can have a lot of these options without spending a lot of money. I mean just kind of adding one thing at a time.

KEVIN: Yeah. I think if you’re doing a bathroom remodel, you probably want to plan them all out. We’ve seen some very cool grab bars that you want to be thinking about where do they go and where are the controls for these types of things. But yeah, you could sort of add them incrementally.

LESLIE: You know, the thing that I find interesting is that – I’ve been working with a client and they’re fixated on having one of those Dyson super hand dryers in the bath. Not like the fancier one that you can get, because Dyson actually makes one that’s integrated into the faucet. So you wash your hands and then you sort of step back and then put your hands under it in a different way and the air comes out, which is a great technology. Oh, no, they want like the one that you see in your local store with the big, yellow – dip your hands in here, make some ruckus.

TOM: Blue jets, big air jets.

LESLIE: Yeah. So people really want this stuff in their house.

KEVIN: And a perfect example of that migration from commercial space to residential space, because we’re used to them now in those commercial restrooms and bathrooms.

LESLIE: Right. God forbid you use a towel.

TOM: It’s so unsanitary. Other people may have touched that.

Kevin O’Connor, great advice. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

KEVIN: Pleasure to be here, 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 is brought to you on PBS by Marvin Windows and Doors.

Up next, now that we are moving toward the end of the winter, have you taken a good look at your driveway to see what winter’s road salt has left behind? Spring is a great time to replace that driveway but it’s not a DIY project. That’s why, in today’s Pro Project, we put together tips to help you hire the best pro to get that job done, presented by HomeAdvisor.com. That’s all coming up, 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: Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where you can 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: Give us a call. We’d love to give you a hand with whatever it is that you are working on. You know how to reach us: 888-MONEY-PIT. Call us. We’re going to give you a hand. Plus, if you’re feeling super lucky today – and maybe you are super lucky today – we’ve got, up for grabs, the Arrow PT50 Pneumatic Staple Gun with a supply of staples. This is going to deliver some serious pneumatic tool performance at a price that you are going to love. And if you’re our lucky winner, it’s going to be free, so you can’t beat that.

Now, it’s packed with a ton of features like bump-firing to speed up big jobs, which I find super helpful. That’s sort of when you have the trigger pulled back and you’re just pressing back on the safety and sort of firing multiple staples at one time or multiple nails. And it really works well if you’re doing upholstery or doing some carpeting projects. It’s just so helpful; it kind of frees up that one hand and just makes the project go so much more smoothly.

And if you’re looking for projects and you don’t really know the step-by-steps, be sure to check out ArrowFastener.com. Click on the Projects section. You’re going to find step-by-step tips, advice, tons of projects that you’re going to want to tackle. And that will really boost your confidence. But it could be yours today if you are our lucky caller, so give us a call now.

Jeff in Pennsylvania is on the line and has a question about the order of things when it comes to a roofing project. What can we do for you?

JEFF: Wanted to check with a neutral third party to see if they have any recommendations or if you’d have any recommendations on putting a heavy, architectural shingle over top of an existing three-tab that’s very thin, very flat.

TOM: Well, first of all, we generally don’t like to put – to recommend you put a second layer of roofing shingles on it but it comes down to economics. Yeah, we’ll say this: if you put a second layer on, the second layer doesn’t usually last as long as the first layer. Because the first layer holds a lot of heat and that can, over the long haul, wear out the second layer because that heat is the enemy of the asphalt shingle. It forces more oil to evaporate out of it and more of the materials that make it pliable and watertight. And so, second layers generally don’t last as long as the first layers.

The other thing to consider is how long you’re going to be in the house, because you’ll probably have a shortened roof life. If it’s a short-term house for you – maybe you don’t care or you’re trying to save some cash – then maybe you want to go ahead and put a second layer on. But the best way to roof a house is to tear off the old layers and put on a second layer. Weight is not an issue, if that’s what you’re concerned about. Can it handle it? Yeah, it certainly can handle a second layer. But it’s just not good building practice.

JEFF: OK. I thank you much.

TOM: Good luck, Jeff. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Well, asphalt driveways certainly take a beating from Mother Nature: sun, moisture. And this winter’s freeze/thaw cycles I mean go from -10 to 50 degrees in the course of two days. And all of that weather can really combine and cause cracks and deteriorate all that asphalt binders that hold that driveway together. This is why it’s super important to repair those driveway cracks or potholes and apply driveway sealing on a regular basis to protect it.

But if you’ve done that or maybe you should have done that and now it seems like that driveway is ready for replacement, there are a few things to know before you call in a pro.

TOM: That’s right. Now, first, you want to know what you’re buying. Aside from driveway sealing, which is when a very thin coating of asphalt sealer is applied, there are really two ways to redo a driveway. First, a pro can add a layer to what you already have or they can completely tear out the driveway and start from scratch.

Now, if the driveway is just worn but it doesn’t have a big pothole or cracks, a topcoat might be an option. But if that driveway is in really bad shape, adding a topcoat is not going to change that. And the new asphalt will likely sag and crack pretty quickly.

LESLIE: Now, if you’re looking for a full driveway replacement, the most important thing is the preparation of the base. First off, they’re going to remove the old asphalt. Now, once that old asphalt is removed, a new gravel base, typically 6 inches, should be installed and then rolled. Now, think big, like a 3,000-pound roller, until it’s almost as solid as a finished road. If this part’s done well, you can expect that new driveway to look like the day it was put down for so many, many years. That’s why this first prepping step is really the most important.

Now, it’s also important that the driveway be sloped so that you get proper drainage. Nothing is going to wear out that driveway faster than sitting puddles of water.

TOM: Now, lastly, it’s important to choose the right type of asphalt. Some asphalt has more aggregate, which is the stone, in it than others. If you put an asphalt down that’s too sandy, that driveway won’t be as strong and you’ll have problems in as little as two years. If you put one down that has more aggregate, it’s going to last at least a decade or more.

Now, sandy asphalt might have a smoother appearance but it just doesn’t last. So always choose a mix that’s got more gravel and less sand.

LESLIE: Today’s Pro Project has been 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: Hey, DIY or get a guy or girl, whoever’s qualified? Just ahead, we’re going to have tips on how to know when you need a pro or when you can handle that project yourself, so stick around.

TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your décor challenges. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

Joan from Massachusetts did just that. She couldn’t get through to us at 888-MONEY-PIT so she posted a question to The Money Pit’s Community page.

LESLIE: That’s right. Joan from Massachusetts writes: “I do a lot of entertaining and would like to put a second refrigerator in my garage. But I’ve heard that since my garage isn’t insulated that the refrigerator will not work properly. Is this correct?”

TOM: That is actually true, Joan. That’s right, because refrigerators are designed to work inside your home where the temperature range is somewhere in that, say, 60 to 80 degrees. But in an unheated garage, the temps can range from below freezing to very, very, very hot. And in particular, when it’s hot like, say, 100 degrees or higher, your fridge is going to have to work extra hard to keep everything cold. That’s going to mean you get extra wear and tear on the compressor and other components and that could shorten the lifespan.

But what’s even more surprising is that your food can rot in the wintertime being out there. And you figure, how can that happen? Well, when the temperatures go below, say, 38, especially when the freezing temperature is 32, the fridge may not do any of the work at all because it doesn’t think it has to come on, right? But the problem is that that food is actually kept inside the freezer, which warms it to the point where it can actually decay.

So, not a good idea to use a standard refrigerator in a garage. That said, there are special refrigerators that are designed for a garage environment and can handle that big temperature swing. So, thanks for posting your question, Joan, to The Money Pit’s Community page.

LESLIE: And Tom and I will accept party invitations and we’ll see you at the next one.

TOM: Yeah.

LESLIE: Alright. Next up, I’ve got a post here from Bob from North Carolina who writes: “There are smoke marks above one of my electrical outlets in the kitchen.” Ugh. “Do I need to call an electrician? I don’t use the outlet but at some point, flames came out of it, apparently.”

TOM: Yeah, apparently there’s some char going on there. And in the kitchen, we like to see that char limited to the range area where you have a nice, big vent hood above it. But not from an electrical outlet.

Yeah, I definitely think you need to call an electrician. That’s not a DIY project. There’s a reason that happened. I mean it could have been whatever was plugged into it was the defective part. But that outlet should be opened up and checked.

I’ll tell you that I’ve had a problem with outlets in my house once when I was actually doing a TV show. And sometimes, we use our own homes for these houses because it’s hard to knock on a neighbor’s door and say, “Hey, can I take your electrical system apart? It won’t take long.” They just don’t respond positively to that kind of quest.

So, I was taking apart an outlet in my kitchen that was a ground-fault outlet. And to my surprise, it was burned out on the back side. And I had no way of knowing it because it was working just fine. So, yeah, if you get any cue like that, there’s a problem. You definitely need to have an electrician check that out, because that could cause a fire.

LESLIE: Now, I think it’s so interesting. You know, the technology has allowed us to have ground-fault circuit interrupters built into outlets but there are other technologies that we can put in place. And there’s even one for catching arcing, correct, Tom?

TOM: Yeah, that’s right. It’s actually called an “arc-fault detector.” And that’s a really good point because this is similar to the GFCI – the ground fault – but that’s designed to prevent shocks. The arc fault is designed to stop exactly what Bob described with his charred electrical outlet. If you get any kind of an arc, it’s going to shut down the entire circuit. And I think you’re going to see more and more of those in new construction. But if you’re replacing outlets and breakers, you ought to take advantage of that technology today.

LESLIE: Yeah. It’s so much safer and it’s really designed to do just that, which is protect your family and let you know when something’s wrong. Otherwise, you’d have no idea.

TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending part of this day with us. We hope that you’ve picked up a few tips and ideas on projects you might be thinking about taking on in your house. If you’ve got questions, you can always reach us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.

I’m Tom Kraeutler.

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


(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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