Episode #2083: Driveway Do-overs | Easy Deck Restoration | Spring Cleaning Hacks | Space Heating Solutions

Evidence Notes

As we say goodbye to winter , now is a good time to take a look at your driveway to see what winter’s road salt left with. We march you through options for driveway sealing, resurfacing or replacement and share a key detail on the type of asphalt that lasts the longest.Are you dreaming of relaxing on your deck in the heated daytimes onward, but have a deck that glances more like a hallucination? We can secure that with tips-off for a deck makeover that you’ll be able to get done for LESS than the average refund the IRS may be sending your way this spring- in today’s Tax Refund Project Tip, presented by HART TOOLS, available exclusively at WALMART.And as the first day of outpouring approaches, we get you ready with room-by-room Spring cleaning tips to make sure your home is spick and span.If you’re still feeling a cold, we share tips for selecting the best type of space heater.

Plus, answers to your home better questions about: Refinishing furniture, installing a subfloor in vault, installing an under deck ceiling, installing an exhaust fan to prevent bathroom mold.

Do you have a home improvement or decoration question? Call the show 24/7 at 888 -MONEY-PIT ( 888 -6 66 -3 974) or post your question here.

Podcast Transcript

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

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: And oh, guy, spring is almost now and I simply cannot wait to get outside and take on some DIY projects that we’ve went scheduled. If you’ve got a DIY project that you’ve came meant, you may need some assist coming it done. Whatever it is, outside or inside, we are here to assist you generate the very best residence ever.

You can reach us by picking up the phone and calling us at 888 -MONEY-PIT. You leave your message there, we’ll call you back when we’re in the studio. Or you can post your questions at MoneyPit.com.

Coming up on today’s show , now that we are moving towards the end of winter, have you taken a good look at your driveway and kind of checked out what winter’s road rage has left behind? Spring is a great time to plan to repair or even supersede your driveway. We’ll share those options.

LESLIE: And are you dreaming of tightening on your floor in the heated daytimes onward but maybe your floor lookings more like a nightmare? Well, we can fix that with gratuities for a deck makeover that you’ll be able to get done for less than the average refund the IRS might be sending your way this spring, in today’s Tax Refund Project Tip presented by HART Tools, available alone at Walmart.

TOM: And the first day of outpouring is just ahead. It’s March 20 th. So we’re going to get you ready with some room-by-room spring-cleaning tips-off to make sure your home is spic and span.

LESLIE: But first, we want to know how we can help you create your best home ever. What are some of your outpouring dwelling improvement schedules? What are you working on? How can we help you get those done? How can we help you get those done right and create the space of your dreams?

TOM: Give us a see with those questions at 888 -MONEY-PIT or announce your questions at MoneyPit.com.

Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

LESLIE: Heading north to Ruth in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Ruth, what’s going on? Tell us what’s happening.

RUTH: I have a dining-room given that was custom-made and it’s solid oak. It’s carved and bowed and it had six chairs, a buffet and a china cabinet that was all solid oak and custom-made.

TOM: Sound beautiful.

RUTH: And my husband- well, we had to move into a townhouse and it’s really too big.

TOM: Right.

RUTH: And I certainly don’t want to get rid of the table, because it is so ornate and unique and solid. I don’t want to buy another table and in 5 years have it be rickety and whatnot, you know? So I would like to know if I could refinish it. It’s a medium oak right now.

TOM: What shade do you want it to be?

RUTH: An off-white maybe.

TOM: OK. So, right now it’s stained oak and you would prefer it to be a white- sort of like a grey-haired cleanse, gray white, almost like a pickled various kinds of a colouring?

RUTH: Yeah. That “wouldve been” perfect.

LESLIE: But a sheer where you can see the particle and not a solid paint.

RUTH: That would be nice.

LESLIE: I entail at this quality, what you’re going to have to do is remove the finish and the stain that’s currently on the bit so that you can get to a raw-wood surface that will accept the brand-new grime. Because if you wishing to the speck, it’s going to be a semi-transparent or a solid-ish discolour, where you can still construe the particle through but it has more of a more saturated look to it.

Depending on what type of finish is on there, you are able to generally use a chemical product. I know in Canada they’re very specific about what’s admitted and what’s not, so you’ll have to see what type of chemical-stripping agent is available to you. It might be something that you brush on and then sort of scrape off. I’m not really sure what the products are up there.

If the finish isn’t more dense or is more worn, you can probably sand it off. So there are lanes that you can do so. And then once you’re down to raw wood, they are able to apply whichever discolour in whatever coloring mood you like.

TOM: Yeah. It’s going to be a project. It’s a lot of work to take that grove counter from a finished skin-deep- finished, discoloured skin-deep- like that down to the raw wood. I precisely did a project like this for a friend of mine and his table was made out of pine. And it was a lot of work with a pine table and it wasn’t nearly as ornate as what you’re talking about. But it was a heck of a great deal of work. It’s not just a matter of pulling the finish off. There’s a lot of hand-scraping and sanding and you may need to use enters or scrapers to go in the crannies and crannies.

And then let’s say you get- the whole thing is done, it’s clean as best you can get it. What I would suggest you do is turn it upside-down and I would definitely also sand a good section of the bottom of the table so that you can test the finishes that you want to use. Because the fact that the counter has had another finish on it is going to result in a very unique situation, because it will have already assimilated some of that aged finish. And when you made the new finish on, it may not come out as the same color as it pictures on the can or on the website when you chose it. You know what I signify? So you’re going to have to sort of test it and make sure this is what you want before you devote yourself to doing the entire table.

RUTH: Oh, yeah.

TOM: Because after all that work, you don’t want to end up with something you didn’t expect.

RUTH: I think it would probably take me 6 months to a year merely to get the finish off and- because of all the crannies and crannies and curves and whatnot.

TOM: Yeah. It’s a big job. Maybe it’s- it might be one you want to hire out or maybe a company- a furniture stripper you can take that to, that has the tools equipment systems to make love for you.

RUTH: Yeah, I should see if I can find one of those. I approximate I could look on the internet and just see if there’s one somewhere in the area.

TOM: Yeah.

RUTH: Thank you, thank you. I was hoping there would be something easier- draw it on and wipe it off- but I guess not.

TOM: Yep. Yep. Well, those punishment, aged portions of furniture are worth saving if you can figure out a behavior to get it done, Ruth. So good luck with that projection. Thanks for announcing us.

RUTH: Thank you. Bye-bye.

LESLIE: Now we’ve went Jay on the line who’s dealing with a chilly basement flooring. Tell us about it. Nobody likes it, so let’s give you a hand.

JAY: On the concrete storeys in your vault, you are talking about how to keep them toasty warm.

TOM: Yep.

JAY: Because once that concrete gets cold, it was like an iceberg.

TOM: Yeah. Yes, sir.

JAY: And they’re not warming up.

TOM: Yeah, that’s right. Yep. So, there’s a couple of things that you can do.

First of all, there’s a make announced DRICORE- D-R-I-C-O-R-E- and it’s a subfloor that puts some opening between you and that freezing concrete storey. It’s a somewhat inexpensive commodity. They come in committees that are about 2-foot-square, roughly. They interconnect and you lay them down. And then on top of the DRICORE, you could use that storey if it’s exactly- as an unfinished storey or you were able to introduced carpet, which we really don’t advise for basements, but you could if you wanted to.

JAY: Right.

TOM: Or you could introduce hardwood- engineered hardwood- or vinyl or any kind of a product like that.

And they have two versions of it. One of them has insulation built into it, so it may be a little bit warmer. And that’s called DRICORE +.

JAY: Yeah.

TOM: So take a look at the DRICORE website. It is D-R-I-C-O-R-E and I think you’ll find your solution right there.

Jay, hope that tip heateds up your flooring space and thank you so much for calling us at The Money Pit.

LESLIE: Jeff in Iowa needs some help with a low-flow showerhead. In true Seinfeld fashion, you’re really not get a good washing moving?

JEFF: No. No, I’m not. My house is a 1978 ranch. We’ve lived here about 10 times. I’ve always had good ocean- what I felt was reasonably good water pressure. Still has the original showers and showerheads in it, so I decided to upgrade all is more eco-friendly stuff. Replaced the toilets , no problems. But the showerheads, I settled these low-flow showerheads on and it’s like the spray is just barely- I expected some decrease in performance, undoubtedly, but the ocean is just like falling out of them. It’s not spraying out like I would expect.

TOM: Is this just happening at one showerhead, Jeff, or is it happening at various showerheads?

JEFF: Two showerheads.

TOM: Two showerheads, OK. So, we can rule out any kind of blockage because it wouldn’t be happening to both at the same time.

Now, what various kinds of showerheads did you put in there? Can you tell me the brand?

JEFF: Well, the first one was the dwelling better store’s brand showerhead. The second one I’ve got is a Waterpik. It’s not the highest end of- I pictured maybe I exactly went too cheap on the first one, so I exited kind of middle-of-the-road. Made it- I didn’t know if I maybe needed to upgrade even more or just go back to the old-fashioned showerheads.

TOM: So, when you install a low-flow showerhead and you didn’t have one before, you are correct in that you’re going to get a reduction in the ability of the shower that perhaps you were used to.

Now, there should be an adequate amount of ocean. And the facts of the case that you’re not feeling that means that maybe you don’t have the right showerhead or there’s something wrong with the facility. I’d like to, for the purpose of this conversation, rule in the installing, rule out any choking, although that is entirely possible. And you might want to take it off to look behind it to make sure that’s the case.

But what I would recommend is that you upgrade the showerhead to a honour symbol, like a Moen or perhaps a Delta. Because these guys expend a lot of time and a lot of fund engineering their showerheads so that they don’t decrease performance when they save you water. And the other thing to look for is a certification called WaterSense. And it’s sort of like ENERGY STAR for gizmoes but it’s like calibrating irrigate efficiency for faucets and showerheads.

JEFF: I is certainly grant that a try because what I’ve got going on now, it takes me so long to shower and get frothy and nonsense, I might as well use the high-flow and …

TOM: Not is gonna work, right? Yeah.

JEFF: Then in and out, you are familiar with? It takes the globs. So, yeah, it’s not doing the trick. I will look into the more expensive one and understand what that does for me.

TOM: Alright. Yeah, you can always take it back if that doesn’t work. But take a look at the installing first, merely to be sure. Make sure you don’t have any plumbing tape that got jammed in there or anything of that nature, OK?

JEFF: OK. Phone good. Thanks, guys.

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

LESLIE: Well, asphalt driveways take a major beating from Mother Nature: sun, moisture and certainly this winter’s freeze/ melting cycles/seconds. And all that weather combinations to begin hits and deteriorate the asphalt ring-binders that hold your driveway together. That’s why it’s really important to amend those driveway crackings or potholes and apply driveway sealant 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 you need to know before you call in a pro.

TOM: First, you need to know what you’re buying. Aside from driveway closing, which is a very thin coating of asphalt sealer that’s addrest, there are two ways to redo a driveway.

First, a pro can add a stratum to what you already have or they can absolutely tear out the driveway and start from scratch.

Now, if the driveway is just worn but it doesn’t have large-scale potholes or rifts, a topcoat could be an option. Now, if the driveway is in really bad shape, adding a topcoat is not going to change that. And the brand-new asphalt will likely sag and crack very quickly.

LESLIE: Yeah. Now, for a driveway permutation, the most important thing is the preparation of the base. Once that old-fashioned asphalt is removed, a brand-new gravel locate, normally about 6 inches, should be installed and then flattened- “ve been thinking about” a big, 3,000 -pound roller- until it’s almost as solid as a finished superhighway itself.

TOM: Another reason it’s not a DIY project, by the way.

LESLIE: Yeah, for certain. I’m like, “Where do you even get that roller? ” It’s amazing. It’s like you need a huge tool there to shape that gravel delightful and flat.

So, I want if you do that side well, you can actually expect that your brand-new driveway is going to look the acces it is on the first day it goes down, for a lot of years. It’s also important that that driveway be sloped so you get suitable drainage. Nothing is going to wear a driveway out faster than puddling sea, so you’ve got to make sure you’re moving the spray away correctly.

TOM: Lastly, it’s important to choose the right type of asphalt. Yes, there are currently various types of asphalt. Who knew? And some have more aggregate or stone in it than others and wear better.

Now, you don’t want to articulated an asphalt coating down that’s very sandy, because that driveway won’t be very strong and you’ll have difficulties in as little as a couple of years. You want to put one down that’s came more aggregate. That’s going to last 10 times or more. That sandy asphalt, sometimes people want it because it has a smoother appearance but it simply doesn’t last.

So, don’t do it. Ever prefer a mix with more gravel, for durability.

LESLIE: Cheryl in Wisconsin has a question about heating. How can we help you stay toasty?

CHERYL: I have a large sphere downstairs. It’s about one-third- it’s 11 x36 feet and about one-third of that we used to support a dining and kitchen area, principally when we have company.

TOM: OK. Mm-hmm.

CHERYL: And I’m not looking to heat that entire field, only the area where we eat. And I was wondering if one of those oscillating opening heaters would be a good mind. One of the taller ones?

TOM: Well, search, here’s the thing. I think your question is about effectiveness and most gap heaters are not very efficient. They’re simply efficient if you’re going to do what you’re do, which is- that is to isolate the heat to precisely one very narrow space of the chamber of representatives. But this is a big area. If it’s 30 -something feet long, it might be hard to do that. It’s different if it’s like one individual bedroom or something of that nature.

But I said here today that, generally speaking, they’re more expensive to run than your heating system on a BTU basis: in other words, equating the cost to create a BTU in your main heating system versus the space heater.

What kind of heat do “youve had”? What kind of fuel do “youre using”?

CHERYL: Natural gas.

TOM: Yeah. Natural gas is always going to be less expensive than electric opening heaters. But if you’ve got an area that’s a little bit chilly and you want to exactly add-on it on a limited basis, like just when you’re use that apartment for company or dining, I think it’s OK. But there’s time not very much that- there’s not very much that’s efficient about the use of a cavity heater.

CHERYL: Yeah. I was just thinking right close to the table in the area where we eat.

TOM: Yeah. But exclusively in those limited circumstances, when you’re using that area, do you want to use the space heater. Then you’ll keep the heat down the rest of the time?

CHERYL: Actually, our basement is so cold. When we have company, we really crank up the heat and the vault is still really cold. You know, we live in Wisconsin.

TOM: Yeah. So even when the heat’s up, it’s chilly.

CHERYL: Yeah.

TOM: So, if you’re precisely exercising it on a temporary basis to supplement it only when you’re down there eating, then I think it’s probably OK. But I think your original question: is it efficient? No, it’s precisely not.

CHERYL: OK. That’s what I wanted to know.

TOM: Good luck with that campaign, Cheryl. Thanks so much for announcing us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: John is on the line and he’s dealing with a mold situation. Tell us what’s going on.

JOHN: I have a mold problem around my shower entrance. I bought the house two years ago. I deprived all the caulking out when I had the mold problem. I’ve threw caulking in with a nationally known brand. I even ill-used a Saran Wrap-type thing on my digit to eliminate any pollutant. Before I did that, I cleansed it, I deprived it out with a plastic scraper. I also used mineral tones to clean it out. I made it in and I still have problems with it.

God, I’m just at my wits’ end here. I range the humidity in my basement between 40 and 50 percent. I leave the shower door open. I even slammed the furnace volcano off in there to try and keep it so it doesn’t have a breeding of bacteria or anything or mold in that.

You’ve got to tell me what I need to do. I don’t know if I have an off-spec caulking that I exerted, which is nationally known, or if I have an off-spec aluminum made and entrance that causes the mold. I have no idea.

TOM: Well, seem, you’re going to get mold when you have moisture and organic matter. And in a shower, that organic material can be soap and grime and that sort of thing. So you’re doing the right thing but let’s really back it up and try it again here.

You want to remove the old-time caulk. You mentioned mineral atmospheres. I typically recommend a bleach-and-water solution because this kills- this is a mildicide that kills anything that’s stuck behind. After you get that all baked out and cleaned out truly, really well, then you can apply a caulk with mildicide. I would use a caulk that has Microban in it. DAP caulks are available with Microban and it’s a good antimicrobial additive that will not germinate mold.

Now, the other thing I would do is I would also make sure that you have- patently, have a bath exhaust fan and that you have an exhaust fan that’s hooked up to a humidistat, which makes sort of you and anyone else that’s using that bathroom out of the equation. If it’s on the humidistat, it’s automatically going to kick on when the humidity goes high enough to cause mold problems. And it will stay on for some number of minutes when that humidity goes down, to make sure that the office is thoroughly ventilated out.

That’s the best way to handle that. And I think if you do those steps, you will find success.

JOHN: Hey, thank you very much.

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

LESLIE: Now we’ve got Charlene in Tennessee with a flooring question. What can we do for you?

CHARLENE: Well, we built our house in 2006 and we bought, from the mill, solid-oak hardwood planks that we were going to put down for flooring. And it’s 6 inches wide, tongue-and-groove.

Underneath that, we applied- my husband thinks it’s called AdvanTech. It was a 50 -year warranty and the mill told us between that and the tongue-and-groove solid oak to frame 6 mil of plastic.

TOM: Alright. So what’s the problem we’re trying to solve here?

CHARLENE: The trouble that we’re solving is in a few spheres, one which essentially the bath and the other is the kitchen, there’s a squeaking sound. It’s like you can’t sneak in that area. It’ll shape that noise.

TOM: So when you go on a nutrition, your spouse can was told you when you try to sneak into the kitchen to get to the refrigerator, huh?

CHARLENE: Yeah, something like that.

TOM: Alright. So, examine, this has little to do with what is underneath the floor and more to do with just sort of regular wear and tear and stretch and contraction. The conclude those floors are- those boards are squealing is because they’re moving. And so, what you need to do is to tighten them up.

Now, since it’s a finished flooring, you can’t just go willy-nilly throwing tacks and nails into it; you’ve got to be a little more strategic. So what you want to do is find the place where there’s a floor joist underneath. And you can do that with a ornament finder.

And formerly you mark that place, you drill big loopholes through the flooring and you use what’s called a “trim bolt, ” which is only a little bit bigger than a finish claw. You fastened through the finished flooring, into the floor joist, and that will pull that flooring down and make it tighter and reduce the amount of movement that it’s capable of. And that’s what’s going to quiet down your squeal. A little harder to do when it’s a finished floor but that’s the best way to do it.

CHARLENE: OK. It sounds like it might be an easy fix.

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

Well, it is tax season just about. I mean we’ve got a little bit longer before you’ve got to mail in those checks. And then what happens after that? You get a refund. And it turns out that the average refund that Americans are going to get is about 2,800 bucks. And guess what? That’s fairly money to do a whole bunch of residence improvement projects.

So, we partnered up with HART Tools, which you’ll find alone at Walmart, to create a series called the “Tax Refund Project Tips.” We’re always up for helping you spend that fund efficiently. And today, we’re going to talk about a deck remake. If yours is looking a little precarious, a bit rough, maybe a deck do-over can refinish and rejuvenate that category room and have it looking just great for the season ahead.

Here’s what you need to know.

LESLIE: Yeah. You know, first of all, take a good look at it. Because over day, your floor- when it’s exposed to the elements, especially if it’s a grove deck- actually can only be worse for the wear. So, depending on the amount of wear and damage, the solution just simply could be to clean, refinish, amend, perhaps supersede a few segments. But if your deck is needing a little bit more of TLC or some more serious attention, we’ve got five ways to help you restore your deck to a safe, voice and beautiful state.

TOM: Now, first, we want you to do this: a deck refuge check. There is no sense reno-ing a deck that’s in need of structural tending. A good deck check is going to examine the ledger, which is where the deck attaches to the house- and separates for the chamber of representatives, by the way, if “- its” bad appearance, which is very dangerous- as well as the equipment, the framing, the railings and the footers. And any restores that are needed need to be the first priority on your list.

LESLIE: Yeah. Next, you want to clean the floor. So, a unclean deck, it could be covered by moss, mildew, algae. It’s going to look shameful. But they actually can be hiding some areas that could need a repair. So, deck emptying, it’s an easy DIY project with a good deck soak and a persuade washer. You just have to be careful to keep that influence setting at a lower level so that it doesn’t damage the deck surface itself.

TOM: Now, you also want to repair any cracked deck cards. This is one of our favorite tricks of the trade. Wood deck committees take a lot of corruption from the sunlight and high winds and the sprinkle. And they often will crack or splinter.

The fix, though, is easy. Here’s what you need to do. You lever off the old-time floor board and then you turn it over, upside-down, because the back of the deck council hasn’t been exposed to the weather. And chances are it will be in near-perfect condition, regardless of its senility, and it can be reattached.

And likewise, you want to check those railings for any loose sections and repair or replace them as needed.

LESLIE: Yeah. And for the finishing touch, you restain that deck. For this project, you want to be sure to use solid-color exterior stain. A mas of beings prefer to use that semi-transparent stain, because they’re afraid that a solid grime is going to look too much like paint. Yeah but it doesn’t. That grain is still going to show through and that discoloration will last far longer, because solid blot contains more paint than the semi-transparent version.

TOM: Yeah. And eventually, if you’ve found that your floor enclose is structurally sound but the floorboards or railing are so badly worn and cracked and twisted there’s exactly no saving them, you can remove those age-old timbers and replace them with composite decorate and railing.

Composite decking is widely available. It’s beautiful. It can take the condition better than any type of wood decking or railing. It’s what we call a “deck-over.”

LESLIE: And that’s today’s Tax Refund Tip presented by HART Tools, available alone at Walmart. Do it with HART. You can learn more at HARTTools.com, where you’ll too find step-by-step plans for dozens of fun projects.

TOM: Yeah, including several that will help you really enjoy your outdoor gaps this season, like a hall fluctuating, a invoked garden berthed, a grill cart and even the terminated, step-by-step plan to build your very own beings Jenga game set. Check it out at HARTTools.com.

Jenga is so much fun, peculiarly when you make a really big set.

LESLIE: It’s a entertaining sport to play outside in the yard.

Doug in Illinois is dealing with some irrigate under a floor. Tell us what you’re working on.

DOUG: Well, I’m interested in a roof or a water-drainage system up underneath my deck. I have a 16 x40 deck and I interpreted somewhere on Tv that they have some sort of a structure that goes up in between the joists. I was wondering if you knew nothing about that.

TOM: Yeah. Is this like a second-floor deck and you guys sit under it or something?

DOUG: Yeah. There’s this- there’s a full lower level under the deck, yes.

TOM: Well, this really is announced “deck drainage systems” and there’s quantities and heaps and lots of different manufacturers of it. There’s DEK Drain, there’s DrySnap.

LESLIE: Yeah, there’s something called UnderDeck that seems to be a Depot product.

TOM: Trex has one that’s announced RainEscape.

So, these are all deck-drainage systems. I don’t know enough about them to give you a recommendation of one over the other but that’s what you require is a deck-drainage system. They mostly- as you say, they fit in between the joists, so they fit under the deck. They’re designed to collect the ocean and then run it to some sort of a traditional sewer and get it away from the house, so that you could have some living space underneath that deck and not have the torrent descending on your head.

DOUG: Absolutely. That’s what I’m looking for. Did you say something about Home Depot?

LESLIE: Yeah, Depot has a product called UnderDeck, which is basically like- I guess you could call it an “under-joist gutter system.” And it sort of pieces together; it’s modular.

DOUG: Oh, OK. Wonderful. Well, I sure will check there.

TOM: Well, have you been feeling the ache to give your house a really good once-over cleaning that comes with spring? It’s time. And we’ve got some times and don’ts to fix that proceed more smoothly.

LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, let’s talk about that often neglected upholstery. You can rent an upholstery-cleaning machine but do not do anything without testing a small patch first. This acces, you’re going to avoid any surprises.

Now, for pillows, most of them you can remove the slipcover. Maybe they can be machine-washed or dry-cleaned. You know, you make the inside the pillow itself, employed it outside. Let it fill up with breeze and sort of freshen itself out. That’s a great route to start.

TOM: Now, for windows, don’t clean them when the sunshine is reflecting. Why, you say? Because the sun actually causes the cleaner to evaporate a lot more quickly and that buds flecks and a monotonou residue.

LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You’ve got a ceiling fan? Make that scavenging easier by sprinkle the blades formerly a season with a U-shaped brush. Now, after laundry the blades, don’t forget to dry them, because wet blades are just going to attract more dust.

TOM: And while you’re up there, don’t forget to reverse the rotate of the blades so all of that cool breeze that you’re engendering with your air-conditioning system hoists up throughout the entire house.

If you’d like some more quick spring-cleaning gratuities, check out our resource template at MoneyPit.com.

LESLIE: Ann in North Dakota, you’re on The Money Pit. How can we help you?

ANN: I am living in a house that is over 100 year olds and it has only one open staircase. The problem is is that there is a bedroom that is above the staircase and adjoins it at the top. And part of that bedroom is cantilevered partly and then wholly over the open staircase. And I have a big crack that’s developing on an open field. And that area is cantilevered out about 6 paws from a load-supporting wall.

And I don’t know if I can exactly patch it or if I it is necessary situated a endorsement ray or jack or something underneath it, because this area is getting jolly worrisome. I’ve got two rifts that are about 3/8 -inch and pretty long.

TOM: So, Ann, are these new crackings or has it always been cracked?

ANN: It’s always been cracked but it’s been a hairline for many years.

TOM: Oh, boy.

ANN: And then we had a massive flood.

TOM: How long ago was the flood?

ANN: That was in’ 97. And then the field has been shifting ever since. Since that flood, the cracks have gotten bigger. That was in’ 97.

TOM: When we have cracks in walls and foundations and things like that, we ever like to determine if they’re active or inactive because, frankly, all dwellings have hits. If “youre asking me” that over the last 20 or so years that this crack has opened from a hairline to 3/8 -inch, it might be active. I’m not actually convinced of that more but I am concerned enough to tell you that you probably should have it looked at by an expert.

What I’d like you to do is go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors; that’s ASHI- -AS-H-I-. com. And find a home inspector in your locality- there’s a zip-code sorting tool there- that’s a member of ASHI. And talk to two or three of them and find one that specializes in structural issues like this and have them look at it. And see if we can determine, based on that inspection, whether or not this is an active, ongoing situation or precisely a hit in an old, plaster wall that needs to be fixed.

It’s not surprising for old homes to have lots of hits in their own homes and specially around a staircase, because exactly the room homes were enclose back then is different than they would be today. And so, that’s not an peculiar province for cracks to develop. But I think we need to determine- for your own sort of sanity, if nothing else- whether or not this is active and ongoing or something that’s really only historic. Does that make sense?

ANN: It sure does.

TOM: Alright, Ann. Good luck with that programme. Thanks so much for announcing us at 888 -MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Barry in Texas affixed a question about generators on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/ TheMoneyPit.

Now, Barry wrote: “With all the ice and snow and outages we had this winter in Chicago and spring squalls in weather forecasts, I’m wondering if I should lay in a backup generator. What are my options and will it add to my home’s value? ”

TOM: You know, Barry, I think that given the fact that energy has, unfortunately, become somewhat less reliable because of the aging infrastructure …

LESLIE: And the demand.

TOM: And the demand. I make a backup generator, peculiarly now post-COVID- even when we get past this, when inoculations are very common, I think we’re still going to be spending a lot more time than we have in the past. And I think it’s a really smart thing to do. I do think it’ll give you a good return on investment. In fact, I feel Consumer Reports says- what was it, Leslie? Three- to five-percent increase in your home appraise?

LESLIE: Yeah, it’s three to five percentage, which is amazing because- I intend it’s something I would look for in searching for a brand-new home, because I have one. I know the value of it. And I certainly to be expected that my next home would have one. And if it doesn’t, I’m putting one in.

TOM: Oh, yeah. Me, extremely. Utterly. Once you have one, you don’t want to go back. It’s like having a garbage disposer: formerly you buy one, you never want to have the house that doesn’t have one.

If you’ve got gas going into the house, that’s what’s going to be key for you, because natural-gas generators are really the best. They involve no maintenance of the ga. You was only able to run a portable one on gasoline. But your merely other gas alternative is propane and that becomes expensive. So if you’ve got a natural-gas connection, surely go for it and get a whole-house generator. You won’t be disappointed.

Well, if you’re a renter and you’re suffering with a cold and drafty apartment, picking up a opening heater might be a great solution to get rid of those goosebumps. Leslie explains how to choose the best one for your infinite, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

LESLIE: Yeah. There’s a couple of things to know when you’re picking out a opening heater. First of all, there’s basically two different types of heaters out there: beaming and convection. And they wield very differently from one another.

Now, glowing heaters heated objectives- and that includes you- by radiating hot, as their appoint shows. Convection heaters, on the other hand, heated the breath in a apartment and eventually warm the entire area, provisioned you buy one that’s appropriately sized for the size of room that you have. Now, there’s different types and forms for both types of space heaters, ranging from tabletop beaming heaters to bigger, freestanding convection heaters that can warm an part space.

Next, you’ve got to consider price, including not only the toll to buy the space heater but most importantly, the price of running it. Now, opening heaters can expense as low-toned as $30 and go up to well over $ 100. But if you’re paying for your own electricity and you use that heater for an average of 6 to 8 hours per day, it’s probably going to add about $10 to $20 per month to your electric bill. And that’s why it’s super smart to choose the right-sized heater. Too tiny, you’re still going to be cold. Too big-hearted, you’re going to be paying way more coin for power than you need to.

Now, lastly, let’s talk about safety. You want to make sure that you buy a infinite heater that includes a sensor, which will provoke the unit to been closed down if it starts to overheat. There are also freestanding frameworks with a swap that slams off the heater if it tip-off over, which is always a possibility. People have domesticateds, parties have boys. Cats get very curious. Things get thumped over. So that’s an excellent security feature.

And now, this is super important: never, never, never use an extension cord for a cavity heater or even a capability deprive. Now, gap heaters use a great deal of energy. And if that increase rope or ability piece isn’t rated properly, they can and they will catch on fire. So you’ve got to be safe now. We miss you to be warm but we want you to be alive.

TOM: Excellent advice.

This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, before “weve had” walls made of drywall, “weve had” walls made of plaster. Now, many of us have walls made of plaster cracks. We’re going to tell you how to fix those plaster breaches once and for all, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.

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” get it on alone.

( Copyright 2021 Squeaky Door Creation, Inc. No segment of this record or audio record may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Production, Inc .)

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