Money Saving Tips for Thirsty Lawns

TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: And we’re now to help you get started on your next summer home improvement project. Whether it’s inside or out, give us a call right now. We’d love to lend a hand. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

And speaking of summer, as it gets warmer, do you know that your lawn needs a lot more water to stay lettuce? But that likewise passes to a lot of consumed irrigate. We’re going to give you some tips, though, to help cut those ocean rates without losing your chance at a yummy lawn in the process.

LESLIE: And be talking about lawns, you are aware, weeds has not been possible to the only thing that takes away from you having a beautiful garden. So, Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House is here with advice on how to deal with problem patches and common ground killers.

TOM: Plus, are you ready to take the plunge and buy your very first home? It’s a very exciting time but it’s also highly intimidating. We’re going to help you be prepared, though. We’ve got five gratuities for first-time buyers to make sure you’re good to go, simply ahead.

LESLIE: Yeah. Listen, those tips-off are available to second-time dwelling purchasers, extremely. I feel like I’m very excitable to ever take the plunge. So, I’m going to be heeding our own advice at some place, if I ever get the courage.

But first, guys, we’re now to give a hand. So make us know what you are working on this summer season. Weather is certainly spectacular out. Everybody’s enjoying, eventually, a summertime. So give us know what we can do to assist you enjoy your fund crater thoroughly.

TOM: Give us a call right now. The crowd is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888 -6 66 -3 974.

Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

LESLIE: Tanya in North Carolina is on the line with a entrance question. Tell us what’s going on. You’ve got some rot in the framework?

TANYA: The threshold, at the bottom, is coming up; I guess it’s rotten under there. It’s got to be taken out. And then about a foot up, on each side of that make, it’s decomposed out. So do I “re going to have to” take out the whole formulated and placed a new one in or can I really chipped that off and supersede that at the bottom?

TOM: OK. So, Tanya, I think you’re speaking about- when you say frame, I think you’re talking about the door sill and the door jamb. Is that remedy?

TANYA: Right.

TOM: Not the framing of the wall?

TANYA: Yeah, whatever the door meets in, yeah.

TOM: OK. So that’s the door sill and the door jambs. And the most efficient way to supplant the door is to cut the entire opening out, including the sill and the jambs the whole way around, and then install a prehung exterior opening.

So, down in North Carolina, for example, you can going to see a Lowe’s and buy a Benchmark Door by Therma-Tru. Good quality, fiberglass door, all prehung. Pretty easy and straightforward to install that. And you won’t have to worry about it decomposing out because it’s fiberglass.


TOM: You don’t try to repair the jamb or the sill that are heavily decomposed like that; you precisely tear them out. The easy course to do that, by the way, is to remove the trim off of all backs. And a contractor would squander a reciprocating saw to mostly chip the hammers between the trimming and the made of the chamber of representatives. And that door will pop out in like five minutes.


TOM: I signify it’s really easy to get onto out merely with the right tools.

TANYA: OK. Thank you.

TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that assignment. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Alan in Tennessee has got a driveway that’s cracking up. Tell us what’s going on.

ALAN: Well, I’ve got a house; it’s about five years old. And the driveway has started getting some fissures in it. And I precisely went looking for the best way to patch them and keep it from spreading. For the past, probably, three years, every outpouring I threw- pressure-wash the driveway and kept sealer on it. But other than that, that’s about all I’ve ever done to the drive.

TOM: OK. And what’s it look like now in terms of the condition? Does it have a lot of cracks in it?

ALAN: It’s not a lot but it’s got a few that ranged. And some of them has already begun spider-webbing out.

TOM: OK. So, here’s the thing. You want to try to maintain these so they don’t get a lot worse. QUIKRETE has a caulk-like make that’s be taken in order to fill hits in concrete driveways.

ALAN: Right.

TOM: And it’s a good thought to use a make like that, because you know it’s going to adhere and expand and contract with the driveway. The goal here is to try to keep a lot of spray from getting in there. Because as the sea comes in, it will expand and then it will crack. As it freezes, it’ll expand and fissure. And then, of course, it’s a little bigger, a little bigger and a little bigger and that’s how it really starts to break down and take apart the driveway.

So, as those hits start to show themselves and open up, it’s not peculiar, so don’t panic; it’s pretty much ordinary wear and tear with concrete. But it’s likewise a good thought to shut them exploiting the products who the hell is designed just for that.

ALAN: OK. So the QUIKRETE is probably the best way to go?

TOM: Yeah. It’s called the QUIKRETE Concrete Repair. It’s a sanded, acrylic latex caulk and it’s designed specifically for cracking repair. Comes in two different tube widths: either a 10 -ounce tube or a 51/2 -ounce tube. Not expensive, easy to apply. Gives you a really good adhesion and it’s get to stand up to the weather and more importantly, keep the water from getting into those cracks.

ALAN: Excellent. Thank you.

TOM: Good luck with that projection. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: You are adjusted to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on aura and online at Give us a bellow with whatever it is you are working on in this gorgeous summer weekend. It’s the first official weekend of summertime, so I been in a position to certainly call it “summer” and be totally honest about that.

Let us help you. We want you to enjoy your home. We want you to have a relaxing summer. So cause us “know what youre talking about” we can help you achieve that. Give us a call anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

TOM: And only onward, is it you people want a light-green lawn but don’t want to waste all that water it takes to make it light-green? We’re going to have some tips-off on how you are able to chipped that lawn-watering bill down to size, when The Money Pit returns after this.

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

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Give us a announcement, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by You’ll never have to worry about overpaying for a job. Just use their True Cost Guide to see what others paid under a similar projection and then get matched with top-rated pros, predicted reviews, get excerpts and book appointments online. That’s all free of charge at

LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Daniel in California on the line who needs some assist with a travertine floor.

When did you placed it down, Daniel?

DANIEL: Oh, I guess it’s been about a week now.

LESLIE: OK. And there’s nothing on it?

DANIEL: Well , no.

LESLIE: Are you sure?

DANIEL: Well, OK. There was nothing on it but yeah, actually, I applied a sealer on it just like Sunday, after it’d been installed four days.

TOM: OK. And did your installer give you a sealer to use or advocate a sealer to use?

DANIEL: No, my installer didn’t.

TOM: He didn’t. So where did you- what sealer did you have chosen? How did you find it?

DANIEL: I got it at the home improvement store.

TOM: OK. And so it sounds like you did the right things. It’s a beautiful storey. It’s a little absorbent, so you are going to need to seal it from time to time. But what’s your question?

DANIEL: Well, my question is, well, one, after I positioned the sealer on, then I did some reading and I found out that there’s some that are better. This one’s probably the third largest and I’d like the best.


DANIEL: Is there a problem with buying the better one and putting it on top of it or …?

TOM: Potentially. I would save that for the next tour. See, this has already soaked into your storey and so …

LESLIE: And travertine is so porous.

TOM: Yeah.

LESLIE: With the first thing you put on it, that’s in there.

TOM: Just alcohols it right up. So I would wait until the next time it’s- until it’s time to apply this again and choose a different product that time. But I is certainly not put a second coat on top of this with a different produce because you’re – you don’t know what kind of chemical reaction you’re going to create there.

LESLIE: How are they going to react to each other?

TOM: Yeah.

LESLIE: It could be bad news.

TOM: Not worth noting. I’d just experience the floor.

DANIEL: OK, enormous. Could I ask you a little follow-up question?

TOM: Sure. Go ahead.

DANIEL: Yeah. Also, I was reading- they were saying that matteds with rubber tushes are bad for it. Is that true-blue?

LESLIE: Mm-hmm. For travertine …

TOM: Well, it’s not bad for marble; it’s bad for vinyl.

LESLIE: Yeah, if you have a vinyl storey and you putting in place a kitchen matted or a shower matting and it doesn’t move and it stays in its blot, the backing on the matted has some sort of weird chemical reaction with the floor and causes a blotch. We get calls a lot for parties being like, “I’ve get this weird stain that’s the same as my shower mat. How can I get it out? ”

TOM: And it won’t come up. Yeah, right. Because it oxidizes the rubber against the vinyl. But I don’t know that there’s a problem putting that against marble; I’ve never heard that.

LESLIE: Yeah. No, I’ve never heard that.

DANIEL: OK. Great, then. Thanks a good deal, guys.

TOM: You’re welcome, Daniel. Good fortune with that assignment. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

I tell you what, he’s treating it at the right time. There’s never a better time to treat it than when it’s brand new.

LESLIE: Right at the beginning. Because if you wait and it gets even slightly dirty, you may never be able to do that discoloration out and then you’re going to seal in that stain. So it’s like only do it right away.

TOM: Well, if you adore a thick-skulled, green lawn but you’d like to get that without squandering one tonne of water, when, where and how much water you use on that lawn can necessitate the difference between that luxuriant lawn and an drain wallet.

LESLIE: Yeah. But chipping ocean expenditures without giving up that lettuce lawn that you really cherish can be easier than you think. And it just takes a few steps.

First of all, you have to sea your lawn early in the day to prevent evaporation. If you water that lawn at night, you’re leaving the lawn wet overnight and that grass could develop a fungus, simply because there’s no chance for that ocean to go anywhere. It just sort of sits and saturates that dirt and it’s not going to do any good for anybody.

Also, “youve got to” make sure that you adjust your sprinkler heads to avoid squandering liquid by having it steered apart. You have to get it away from your driveway, your sidewalks. Spray things that can actually ripen. Concrete is never going to grow, I promise you this.

TOM: I see that all the time.

LESLIE: It’s amazing.

TOM: You know what does change when you spray your concrete? Your water bill.

LESLIE: It’s true.

TOM: And we see it all the time. Folks are spraying the street, they’re watering the concrete, they’re watering the steps. The steps are getting all rotten and lettuce and mossy because of all of that misdirected ocean. And the invoices simply keep on disappearing. So, take a look at those sprinkler directions and make sure that “youre not” among them.

You too want to make sure you use timers on your sprinklers. And that’s going to limit the spray habit to only what’s needed. Two or three times a week is better than daily, which can actually overwater your grass. You know, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your lawn receives about an inch of ocean per week. So, that’s a good way to make sure you’re not giving it too much but precisely the right amount to keep it green.

There’s likewise smart timers, that have become available today, that can connect with your Wi-Fi system and with the weather reports and then simply water based on rainfall. So, take a look at that option, as well.

Be smart about how you water and the authorities concerned will make sure that that spray legislation stays in check while the lawn continues to get nice and lush and green.

LESLIE: Now we’ve went Pat in Hawaii on the line with a roofing question. Calling to shape us apprehensive, I am sure.

Welcome, Pat.

PAT: So what we have is a house where the interior temperature is- during the day is perhaps 83 to 85.


PAT: And so it has a roof that has the flattened asphalt. And we’d are happy to put one over this application and they’re available at places like Home Depot. There’s two different rate degrees. You were applicable it three different ways and so on but parties have told us, that live in that same place as the members of this house, that they have reduced the heat in their residence by 20-plus percent by doing this reflective thing on the roof.

And now, our question is: how do we prep the roof? Do we sweep off any rock-and-rolls with asphalt? What is the prep?

TOM: It’s reasonably forgiving. You want to get rid of the liberate nonsense and of course, any moss or anything like that that’s grown in it. But what you’re talking about is fibrous aluminum cover and it’s a UV-reflectant paint. And it does construct the ceiling a good deal jug and that can actually make your room cooler. It’s a very common application , is not merely in tropics like Hawaii but even situates on the East Coast. I’ve seen it on ceilings in Washington, D.C. Definitely a good thing to do.

PAT: OK. And so if- also, my husband’s question was- and so does your roof last longer with that on there?

TOM: Yeah, theoretically, it will because if you reflect the UV, you’ll have less deterioration of the petroleums in the asphalt, less evaporation of that. And that are in a position compile the roof last longer. Another good reason to do it.

PAT: OK. And any specific on work? Whichever one works out best for you? Is that what they’re saying?

TOM: Well, I don’t have any specific recommendations in this regard a make but on the concept, I think it’s solid.

PAT: That’s superb. That’s a great idea. I thought you said you been answered. Thank you very much.

TOM: Alright, Pat. Good fortune with that programme. Thanks so much for calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Fonda( sp) in South Dakota, you’ve went The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

FONDA( sp ): We are razing our old-fashioned deck that leads to an old terrace at the ground level. And the old patio has two substrates. You pass down to a plank porch and it’s like timber- 2x6s, I fantasize- which exist in unpleasant shape. It’s probably 30 hoofs by 30 paws. And then it butts up to a quite substantial cement pad that’s 20 feet by 20 feet.

And we know we’re going to demo the wood pad but it’s- the question is: what do we throw in? Do we have to chop up the age-old plaster pad, which is in enormous chassis, because it’s so substantial? Or can we put in another cement pad next to it for the new patio? Can you go over the aged cement with something and mold it or make it only- and then the other problem is is it’s square. And I would like the new terrace at the ground level to be rounder and curvier.

TOM: One doctrine that I have straight off is to go over the aged terrace with brick pavers. And if the patio is flat and strong and solid, there’s no reason you can’t articulated pavers on top of that. And so you have been able basically create a- do almost a patio makeover by preserving the concrete and putting brick pavers right over the concrete. They’re all was just going to assemble together. You won’t consider them when they’re done.

Now, you mentioned changing the chassis. That, of course, is a little more complicated because you’re going to have to build up to the edges. Fraction of the patio would be over specific and part of the patio would be over traditional, built-up stone, if that’s possible. But if you wish to avoid changing the mold, then it becomes a very easy project to do it with brick pavers. And of course, “youve had” lots and slews and lots of selections on shapes and hues and all of that that you could go with.

FONDA( sp ): And on the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers?

TOM: On the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers is this. First of all, you dig up, clearly, all the grass and that sort of thing. Then you put down about 4 to 6 inches of grey-haired gravel. You tamp that down certainly, certainly, really well. Then on top of that, you lay some sand. Come that neat and flat. On top of that, you settled the brick pavers and then you put additional beach in between.

But tamping and properly preparing that sand and tamping that stone really well is critical. Because if you don’t, it gets all roly-poly over its first year and weeds start to grow up through it.

FONDA( sp ): Alright. Well, thank you.

TOM: You’re welcome, Fonda. Good fortune with that project. Time in time for summer. 888 -6 66 -3 974.

LESLIE: Charlie in Tennessee is on the line and looking to do some revamping at his money quarry. How can we help you today?

CHARLIE: I have a small kitchen that- I’m trying to knock out the walls to increase space, to realize my kitchen and my dining room one big-hearted room. My dilemma is the fact that I don’t know whether the wall that I’m knocking down is a load-bearing wall or not.

LESLIE: Well, step away from the project and don’t knock it down just yet.

TOM: OK. Well, first of all, what kind of house do “youve had”, Charlie? Is it a ranch? Is it a Colonial? Describe it to us.

CHARLIE: It’s a wood-frame home.

TOM: OK. One floor or two?

CHARLIE: One story.

TOM: And the ceiling peaks in the middle? Extends up from the front, goes up from the back, peaks in the middle?

CHARLIE: Kind of. It’s L-shaped.


CHARLIE: And where the wall “couldve been” “couldve been” pretty much right where the two meet.

TOM: Yeah. So you’re in the middle there; you’re not quite sure. And the breakfast nook and the kitchen are side by side? Is it aligned front to back on the house or is it aligned cease to expiration, so to speak?

CHARLIE: It would be- that wall would be parallel for the breast to back.

TOM: So, it’s aligned figurehead to back. OK. I is of the opinion that in most cases, that is a demeanor wall. That doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water; it precisely implies it’s a little more complicated for you to open this up. Because if it’s a producing wall, you have to support the structure while it’s disassembled and then “youve got to” framed a new radiation in to carry that consignment in the new, open-plan design.

It’s not something that you would do yourself. It’s not like- I don’t want you to- like, “Hey, I’ve never done residence improvement but today, I’m thinking about tearing down a producing wall.” Bad idea, OK?


TOM: So you need to know what you’re doing or get some people to help you to know what you’re do or hire a pro. And get a building permit.

And basically, the road it acts is temporary walls are improved on either side of the bringing wall and this braces up such structures that they’re supposed to be holding. Then the tolerate wall is taken apart. The birth wall is reconstructed but now you would use a girder. And it could be a wood girder, it could be a metal girder, it could be a combination wood-and-metal girder that becomes the whole span. It could be a girder that sits below the ceiling or it could be a girder that’s actually flush with the ceiling so when it’s all done, it’s invisible.

But one room or the other, you’ll need this beam to carry the load above that. And then formerly it’s all put back together, you are aware, you’re really not going to know that it’s there. But you’ve got precisely to do it right so that you don’t damage your house in the process, OK?

CHARLIE: Yes, sir. Thank you. I appreciate it.

TOM: You’re welcome, Charlie. Good fortune with that campaign. Now, employed the saw down, OK?

CHARLIE: No question. Thank you. I appreciate.

LESLIE: Well, from fungal infections to Fido, your lawn is up against a lot. Coming up, landscaping contractor Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, is stopping by to help you overcome it all so that you can have the lawn of your dreams. That and more when The Money Pit continues.

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

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Pick up the telephone, give us a label, right now, with your residence betterment question. The amount is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by Never worry about overpaying for a responsibility. Use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others paid under a same programme. That’s all for free at

LESLIE: Now we’re leading over to Tennessee where Daniel is dealing with carpenter bees and of course, those lovely, perfectly round, accepted loopholes that they love to make all over your timber residence. What’s going on?

DANIEL: Ah, well, I’ve got these carpenter bees that restrain drilling flaws into my fascia board right there underneath my ceiling. And I filled them in and I’ve repainted and they keep coming back. I don’t know if there’s maybe something I can do to prevent that or something I can use to paint it with.

TOM: Yeah, a couple of things you can do. First of all, in terms of stopping the bees from coming back, you would have to have the carpenter bees professionally dealt with at a proper insecticide that will basically exterminate what’s there. Now, even if you did do that, though, they may come back the next season.

A surefire nature to make sure they don’t coming back here is to replace your wood trim with something that’s not lumber. I had this precise problem on a garage on our quality and I simply supplanted the wood trim with AZEK- -AZ-E-K. And there are other symbols, as well, but basically, it’s a cellular PVC material that looks like wood, pieces like wood but the carpenter bees can’t eat it. In fact, it was very whimsical to me because after I replaced the fascia with AZEK, the bees kept clique it but they couldn’t figure out why it didn’t taste like wood.

LESLIE: It’s like, “This looks like wood. I don’t understand.”

DANIEL: Yeah, that would actually be absolutely worth make just to see them roundabout and …

TOM: In frustration, yeah. Alright? I hope that helps you out.

LESLIE: Well, weeds aren’t the one thing reputation between you and the luxuriant lawn of your dreams.

TOM: Well, that’s right. Once your territory is established, you’ve got to watch out for pests, fungal disease and even Fido. If you’ve got a inscrutable chocolate-brown discern or a baked spot plaguing your grass, here to tell us how to get to the bottom of it is Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Age-old House.

Welcome, Roger.

ROGER: Thanks for having me.

TOM: So, let’s start by talking about one of the most common causes of lawn problems: the four-legged genu. How do we address the dog damage?

ROGER: Well, unless you’re going to chase your dog around the yard with a hose, there’s really not much you can do except try to train them to go in one area. It’s hard. The dog’s get going where he’s going to go.

TOM: Right. But that’s kind of a special type of damage, freedom? The acidity from dogs and that sort of thing?

ROGER: Right. And it’s going to leave a dead circle in the anchor. Sometimes, it’s real lush on the edges where it wasn’t as strong but it’ll actually manure the lawn. But what you have to do is stay on top of it. I often placed a little compost down, rake it in and reseed the field. Because after one rainstorm, the salts have leached out and you can reseed again.

There’s other trouble that are going to pop up that’ll cause bad spots in your lawn and one of “the worlds biggest” ones are the white grubs.

TOM: Grubs, OK.

LESLIE: Yeah. How do you know you’ve got them?

ROGER: You’ll know. There’ll be a spot that a grass- it’ll only die. Sometimes, you’ll get birds down picking at it, like crows, or you’ll get a raccoon that’ll came to see you there, a skunk and rind it back and gobble the grubs.

TOM: And don’t you have more mold problems when you have grubs?

ROGER: You do. They eat them, too. But the biggest giveaway is if you take that grass and pull on it, it’s going to peel up like a rug because the …

LESLIE: Really?

ROGER: Yep. The maggot ingest the roots off the merits of the grass.

TOM: So what’s the solution?

ROGER: The solution is to treat the grubs when they’re most vulnerable. Usually, that’s late summer or into the fall when they’re small-scale. If you try to treat them early in the season, they’re pretty big and pretty strong and they won’t be controlled easily.

TOM: OK. Now, what about chinch defects? We experience a lot of those in some parts of the country.

ROGER: It all depends, you know? The great thing about home countries is we all have our own pests.

TOM: We’ve all came our own bugs.

ROGER: So that’s a pest of St. Augustine lawns, where it actually penetrates the blade and sucks on it and stimulates it turn brown. There’s a lot of medicines. I like to do additional soil prep, extra watering before you turn and look at an insecticide. But in some instances, you do have to use an insecticide.

LESLIE: How would you tell if your lawn, say, had a fungus? I imagine you’re dealing with a awfully moist statu, on the most part, for your lawn that generally would lead to a fungus.

ROGER: Right. In some of them, it’s very easy to look at the stanch and it turns brown. In some cases, there’s a fungus announced “red thread disease” where the blade actually turns red and you can notice it.

And again, it’s from too much spray and not drying out or fertilizing less. And those are all physical things you can do before you take and turn to spraying for the fungicide.

TOM: I think it’s interested that every single one of these conditions is telling us something about our lawn. Something is happening that’s in excess, like excess sea, we’re not getting enough sea, we’re getting too much shade, we’re not coming enough subtlety. I symbolize there’s always some decision of these- well, I suspect the disease is the result but it’s actually resulting back to a solution that “re going to have to” do with lawn health.

ROGER: Right. And that’s why I’m ever talking about when you framed a lawn in, do the suitable preparation ahead of time. Because it’ll pay off in the lawn run.

LESLIE: Now, it’s interesting. I’ve seen- because I have a dog, so I be brought to an end walking around the block quite often. I’ve seen almost a striped look upon a lawn that’s typically kind of at the beginning of the season.

ROGER: Yeah.

LESLIE: What the heck is that about?

ROGER: We call it “amateur damage.” That’s when a person goes out, particularly with a remove spreader, and fertilizes the lawn.


ROGER: And they don’t quite overlap fairly, so you get those delightful 4- to 6-inch pieces of yellow, shining dark-green, yellow, colors lettuce the whole way through the lawn. If you’re going to use a lowering spreader, what I tell people to do is set it at half of what the normal rate is, go one direction and then turn and go accurately 90 degrees to it. You use the same amount but you’re going to eliminate 99 percentage of those stripes.

TOM: We’re talking to Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor on TV’s This Old House.

So, Roger, what if we don’t have enough grass? What if instead of grass we’re getting, say, moss?

ROGER: Moss is telling you that it’s probably more shady there for grass to grow. And which is something we do is- then we switch to groundcovers.

You can’t fight Mother Nature. Shade is going to get worse every year as trees and shrubs get bigger and bigger, so you’re better off transitioning into a natural groundcover that will tolerate those conditions.

TOM: And what would be a good groundcover that’s kind of similar to grass, in terms of its appearance?

ROGER: Some of the sedges will work really well for you. I like things like Vinca.

TOM: Vinca?

LESLIE: Hmm. Vinca minor is really pretty.

ROGER: Yeah. And some of the ferns will fill in and exactly give you garden- work with Mother Nature. You save seeding and putting fertilizer down and the grass doesn’t grow, she’s trying to tell you something.

LESLIE: Yeah. “I don’t lack the grass here.”

ROGER: It’s not going to work. But you putting in place ferns and Vinca and stuff like that, she’ll love it. And they’ll grow in and fill in and you won’t have to cut them, either.

LESLIE: Roger, what if the lawn is just really in such bad determine that you want to call it quit and to get started? Can you do that?

ROGER: You can, absolutely. And we use the 45 -percent rule: formerly it gets bad to 45 percentage, you’re not was just going to deplete any more coin overseeding or anything like that.

So, typically, what we do is we come in and instead of spraying with an herbicide, we like to use a sod cutter. And we take and cut off the top 2 inches so that removes all the grass, all the roots and all the weeds at one time. Then we rototill, we compute compost, we rototill again and we determine whether the sand needs- whether the soil needs some sand mixed in or some more compost. And then formerly we get a good 4- to 6-inch and even 8-inch layer of good grunge, then you can either sod or seed. So those are like the icing on the cake. If you don’t spend the money on the cake, it doesn’t matter how good the frosting is on top.

LESLIE: Right.

TOM: Good advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

ROGER: My pleasure.

LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local leanings and step-by-step videos of many common dwelling better projects, see

TOM: And This Aged House on The Money Pit is presented by the Sense Home Energy Monitor, the single best style we’ve found to reduce electricity penalties. Sense helps you understand what your home’s gadgets, flames and maneuvers have to say. See what’s up, know what’s on. See Sense in action at That’s

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

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a order, right now, with your residence increase question. The quantity is 1-888-MONEY-PIT presentation by Never is concerned at overpaying for a enterprise. Use the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide to see what others paid for a similar project. That’s all for free at

LESLIE: Betty in California needs some help with a lavatory question. What can we do for you today?

BETTY: I’m interested in the high-rise toilet and I’d like the pros and con and perhaps a firebrand. Because our plumber is thinking of using KOHLER- the quick flush- and we’re on well water and that’s it.

TOM: Well, there’s really no cons of using- a “comfort-height toilet” is what’s that called. Not a high-rise but comfort-height. They’re a bit higher than a standard toilet. And in matters of brands, one that I can recommend is announced American Champion 4. I’ve came American Champion comfort-height toilets in our mansion. And it truly doesn’t matter what senility you are, they are just easier to use. And the other benefit is that they use very little irrigate and they don’t clog.

So I would take a look at the American Standard Champion 4 toilets and merely get the accessible width and you’ll be good to go.

Alright, Betty? Good luck with that job. Thanks so much better for term us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Well, if you’ve decided that apartment life is no longer for you and you’re ready to do the leaping to buying your own home, there are a few things that you can get started on now that will oblige the entire home-buying process a lot easier.

TOM: Yeah. And the first one is to boost your credit score. Now, most of the major credit authorities are going to provide you with such reports, one time a year, free of charge. So you want to review the report. Determine sure there are no errors.

You know, the first time I look back a ascribe report, I was blown away with how far back it croaked and how many details were in there. I could perfectly accompany opportunities for inaccuracies. So, check for errors. Try to pay off any debts.

And in the meantime, scaped purchasing big-ticket items and don’t apply for any brand-new recognition. That was advice I didn’t get when I bought my first residence. It was actually a condo. And I actually- back when we bought it, I was on a waiting list. And so, I tried to buy it but then I couldn’t buy it because there wasn’t one accessible. So I bought a auto instead.

LESLIE: You just wanted to buy something.

TOM: “You know that condo you wanted? Well , now you can buy it.” I’m like, “Oh, man.” So now I didn’t qualify.

But luckily, my wife and I were engaged, so we bought it together and she helped me qualify. She’s still helping me qualify.

LESLIE: She helps you qualify a lot, Tom. I’m merely saying. She’s pretty awesome.

TOM: Yeah, absolutely.

LESLIE: I’ve got to say she might be my favorite Kraeutler. I’m merely in awe. She’s various kinds of the best.

TOM: I would agree with you.

LESLIE: But that’s true-life. You really have to be so careful about what you’re doing, because every single thing feigns your approval report. It’s just amazing.

Now, next, you guys, start looking for the right real-estate operator. A good worker can make all the difference for your first-time home-buying know. The town that I live in is sort of- it’s very closed off.

And you have to- if you want to buy in this town, you’d better have a good real-estate agent who works within this town, who knows what’s coming up and when it’s coming up. Because sometimes, that little fleck of inside information is the difference between you getting the asset and you completely missing out and not even knowing it existed. So the right operator is huge. Make sure they’re local to the town you like. Make sure you precisely have a good rapport with them.

And then, work on getting preapproved for financing. Now, there’s two good reasons for that pace. First of all, you’ve got to know what you can really afford, what you qualify for and what kind of loan you want. And once you have that sanction in your hand, you unexpectedly become a much better prospect for those potential home sellers who potentially have multiple gives for that same room. Some of them are very similar. And if you have all your ducks in a row and you look like a great buyer, you will be that huge buyer.

TOM: And you are going to be excited about buying that residence. But don’t be too excited until you get it checked out by a professional home inspector, because that’s the chap that’s going to make sure you’re not buying a real-life coin crater. I was that guy for about 20 years. And believe me, I cannot tell you the number of members of era that what we found in a house was very, exceedingly surprising, even scandalizing to the people that thought it was just a really excellent residence for them, until they figured out they were going to need $20,000, $30,000, $50,000, $100,000 to fix it. So, you want to make sure you get a good home inspection.

LESLIE: But you know what? That home inspector is a great tool for you as a buyer. It can be a negotiating implement. It can help you really decided that and what you can afford to put in that house. So, absolutely get a home inspector and go with one that you select- right, Tom?- not one that the realtor or somebody’s who’s selling suggests.

TOM: Yeah. Oh, absolutely.

And you can go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. It’s Those people are the best in the country. Put in your zip code. They’ll give you a listing. Call them, interview them, question lots of questions. Choose somebody you’re cozy with but get a good home inspection. It’s key to offsetting sure you don’t buy into a real-life money pit.

LESLIE: When we come back, we’re going to tackle a home problem that many of you have and not a lot of you cherish. I’m talking about popcorn ceilings. They’re easier to remove, sometimes, than you think. So stay around.

TOM: Where residence answers live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

Give us a call at 888 -MONEY-PIT presentation by HomeAdvisor, where you can find top-rated dwelling busines pros and record appointments online, all for free.

TOM: You can post your question to, which is what Jeff did.

He has a question, Leslie, about popcorn ceilings. Popcorn is something you should enjoy with a good movie but not on your ceilings. Popcorn has no place in home decor, as far as we’re concerned.

LESLIE: Oh, my God. People, it’s so funny. It’s just- parties hate them. They utterly hate them, so I’m very curious.

TOM: Do you know why makes situated popcorn ceilings on?

LESLIE: So that they can hide imperfections.

TOM: They obscured all sorts of flaws. That’s right. The ceiling, where you have ceiling lamps, the ignites cast in the different regions of the ceiling sort of sideways and it has a partiality to highlight every little imperfection, which are capable of expense them a lot of callbacks. Because parties would say their drywall was finished poorly, they could see the videotape seams, the nail pops. They’re like, “We’ll fix that. We’ll precisely cover it with all this textured stuff announced’ popcorn.’” And that’s what was did.

But now, decades later, we get call after call after call about beings just want to remove it. And it’s not a pretty responsibility. It does take a lot of hassling.

LESLIE: It’s true-blue. And I want I think it really depended on how it’s requested. Sometimes the popcorn ceiling indeed is a foam missile mixed into a complex that’s then exerted. If that’s the occasion, that’s the easiest way to remove it. That generally – you merely need to add some humidity and then implement a wide paint scraper to really carefully and smoothly remove it from the ceiling. And sometimes, it’s more of a skill applied with actual stucco. And that really requires a lot of work to get that one off.

TOM: Well, that’s kind of what Jeff is asking. He wants to know what’s the most efficient way to go about smoothing a painted popcorn ceiling. He says scraping gets too hard-handed, so he wants to skim-coat it. But you cannot skim-coat over all of that popcorn.

LESLIE: Oh, that would be the thickest coating of skim coat.

TOM: Yeah.

LESLIE: It’d be a ponderous coat.

TOM: You have to wet it down.

And you know what, Leslie? I have found that there are a couple of tools on the market today that are sort of like long-handled scrapers and some that you can actually hook up to a shop vac, so you could kind of suck up the debris as you’re scraping it off the ceiling.

LESLIE: Oh, that’s interesting.

TOM: So, it’s getting a little bit easier. But the thing is, even when you get all of that material off of the ceiling, it’s still going to be fairly rough underneath. You’re still going to have that uneven surface.

So, if you don’t want to made a textured colour back- and why would you?- what you might want to do is make sure you use flat ceiling colour. Never use any kind of paint that has only one sheen whatsoever. Because the more sheen, the worse that ceiling is going to look when it gets a little light given on it, sort of at an inclination. You’ll start examining those imperfections.

So, you need to get it off there. You need to go ahead and decorate it with a flat draw. And if the ceiling is really bad when you get it all off, what you could do, likewise, is just cover it with another blanket of drywall. With that second layer, you could use very thin drywall that’s about 3/8-inch thick. And that goes up pretty easily and you’ll time have the seams to deal with after that.

But those are the two ways to really deal with that ceiling, Jeff. You can’t spackle over it. It’s just not going to work.

LESLIE: And then, Jeff, you might find that fixing those strata on that brand-new drywall might see you want to kept a textured ceiling on. Time don’t. Don’t hide your imperfections.

Alright. Louis in Florida writes: “I had new 6×6 posts installed to support my porch-roof overhang. Now, there’s horizontal separates on one announce. Should I drive in fastens to minimize that splitting? ”

TOM: That’s an interesting idea but there’s no way that a fasten or a bolt is going to stop a pole from splitting. It’s got a mind of its own.

You know, cracks in lumber fundings like that, Louis, are pretty normal and they’re likewise expected. So the only thing that I might do is to seal those crackings with a silicone sealer, a silicone caulk or even a latex caulk. Depends on how that affix is finished. Because this way, you’ll prevent some of the liquid from coming in there and perhaps slow it down as time goes on.

LESLIE: But enjoy that new patio.

TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on this very first weekend of time. We hope we’ve been able to give you some ideas on how to get started on your summer home improvement project, resolve some of those DIY dilemmas. All time long, you can reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your questions online to The Money Pit’s website at

For now, I’m Tom Kraeutler.

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

LESLIE: But you don’t “re going to have to” do it alone.


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