Today’s Homeowner Radio Show Podcast | January 28, 2023

Hear what causes window condensation and how to prevent it, plus our suggestion for a portable paint container that’s easy to hold. (BirgitKorber, Getty Images/3 Echoes Content Studio)

Hour 1

Hear our advice on converting a carport into a living space, our suggestion for a portable paint container that’s easy to hold, Joe’s recipe for a vinyl plank floor revitalizer, and more.

Converting a Carport into a Living Space

View of a carport attached to a home with an SUV parked in it
If you want to enclose a carport for a living space, put down a cap slab to level the floor with the main home. (bgwalker, Getty Images Signature)

A homeowner wants to close in his large, attached carport to use as a main bedroom.

“It apparently has no moisture barrier underneath and gets wet when humidity is very high. What kind of moisture barrier can I add to make it suitable to be a living space?” he asks.

If you’re going to spend the time — and money — to create additional living space, it’s worthwhile to spend the extra money to make it a legitimate living space. That means that you really can’t tell the old from the new.

That transition from the house to the garage is important. Most of the time there will be a step-down, and if it’s not too big, I suggest leveling everything off with the home’s floor.

With a carport, this means putting down a cap slab. This means putting down plastic and reinforcement wire, then pouring concrete on top of the existing slab. This will give you a level surface with a moisture barrier.

Watch: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Pouring a Concrete Slab

Before you put down the cap slab, seal the existing slab with a professional-strength masonry sealer. If you do that, you won’t have any problems with sweating, especially when it’s heated and cooled.

Most of the time sweating takes place because of condensation from dissimilar temperatures. But when you have the space heated and cooled, it’s pulling that moisture out of there if the HVAC is working properly. 

We suggest using a mini-split ductless system so you don’t have to tie the home’s existing HVAC into the carport living area.

Watch: How to Turn a Carport into Indoor Living Space

Portable Paint Container 

Hands pouring a gallon of paint into a HAND-y Paint Pail
The HANDy Paint Pail has a built-in handle that allows you to securely hold it in one hand, leaving the other hand free to paint. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

A homeowner who’s using a stepladder to paint an interior wall says he’s having trouble holding the gallon of paint. 

“It’s just too heavy to hold in one hand! What do you recommend as a small container for the paint that can be securely held in your hand?” he asks. 

What you’re describing is a HANDy Paint Pail. This paint pail has a built-in handle that allows you to securely hold it in one hand, leaving the other hand free to paint. 

It also has a pour spout that helps prevent drips and spills, and a built-in magnet that holds your paintbrush, making it easy to switch between the brush and the paint pail.

Additionally, the pail is also reusable and easy to clean, making it a cost-effective option. It’s perfect for interior and exterior painting projects, whether it be a small touch-up or a full room renovation. 

You can find the HANDy Paint Pail in-store or online at The Home Depot. 

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Revitalizing Vinyl Plank Floors

Gloved hand using a rag to wipe clean vinyl plank flooring
Revitalizing your vinyl plank floors can bring them back to life and give your home a fresh new look. (AndreyPopov, Getty Images)

A homeowner says, “We love our vinyl plank floor but after five years it’s beginning to lose its shine. Is there anything I can do to restore its luster?”

Vinyl plank flooring is durable, versatile and cost-effective, but over time, heavy foot traffic sunlight exposure and other factors can make it fade and dull.  

Revitalizing your vinyl plank floors can bring them back to life and give your home a fresh new look.

Try this homemade solution: Mix one cup of vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Then, add six to eight drops of baby oil to restore the shine. 

First, sweep or vacuum the floors to remove any dirt or debris, and then mop with mild detergent and water. Once the floors are dry, use a sponge mop to lightly scrub the floor with the homemade solution. 

If that doesn’t work, try a specialized vinyl floor cleaner, like Rejuvenate Luxury Vinyl Floor Cleaner.

Also, never use a steam cleaner on a vinyl plank floor. It can damage the flooring and cause warping or discoloration. The high heat and pressure from the steam can soften the adhesive holding the planks together, causing them to separate or curl. Additionally, the moisture can seep into the subfloor and cause mold or mildew growth. 

Hour 2

Hear what causes window condensation and how to prevent it, why you shouldn’t close your foundation vent fans to keep your house warmer, and more.

Dealing With Window Condensation

Strong condensation on a window during winter
Condensation on windows is caused by high humidity levels inside the home. (BirgitKorber, Getty Images)

A homeowner has been living in her newly built home for about two months. In that time, she’s noticed that as the weather has changed, the windows have become covered in condensation.

“It’s in every window in this home including the sliding glass door. So much, in fact, the windowsills are completely soaked and running out of the sills down the walls,” she says.

“My question is, first of all, what’s wrong? Secondly, is there a solution to correct this problem?” she asks.

Condensation on windows is caused by high humidity levels inside the home. When warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a window, it condenses into water droplets. This is similar to the way water droplets form on the outside of a cold glass of water on a hot summer day.

First of all, you want to minimize any air from the outside infiltrating the windows. Caulk around the trim and the frame. 

But the bottom line is, you need to get the humidity down in the home, and the key to achieving that is ventilation. Always use your bathroom vent fans and range hood fan and make sure they’re venting to the outside.

The HVAC system should be pulling the moisture out of the house so you have a relative humidity below 50 percent. When you reach that, you won’t have a problem with window condensation.

To keep an eye on humidity levels in your home, and address the underlying causes, get a hygrometer to measure the amount of humidity in your home.

‘Will Closing My Crawlspace Vents Make My Home Warmer?’

Hand closing a home foundation vent
Closing foundation vent fans can lead to moisture issues. (SLRadcliffe, Getty Images Signature)

A homeowner who lives near the coast in Washington says strong winds regularly blow through the eight or so vents on his home’s foundation. 

He wants to know: “Can I block off a few of them to have my home hold its heat better?”

Blocking off some of the foundation vents in your home may potentially improve its ability to retain heat. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these vents are there for a reason: to allow for proper ventilation in your crawl space or basement. Blocking them off can lead to moisture buildup and potential mold or structural damage issues in the long run.

Unless you have an encapsulated system with a dehumidifier built into that to remove the moisture, then you need that ventilation all the way around the house. You need one square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of living space. So if you have a 1,500-square-foot home, you need 10 square feet of vents. Most houses don’t have enough cross ventilation. 

Make sure there’s insulation on the underside of the floor, and there’s a plastic barrier between the ground and the underside of the floor. 

If you don’t have that plastic barrier, the ground moisture can migrate up into your house, which can lead to mold or other issues. 

Instead of blocking off foundation vents, you could try other methods to improve the insulation and energy efficiency of your home, such as adding weather stripping to doors and windows, sealing cracks and gaps, or upgrading to energy-efficient windows.

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Simple Solutions

Whole house humidifier installed on a furnace duct
Before turning on the heat this fall or winter, clean the filter on your furnace-mounted humidifier. (BanksPhotos, Getty Images Signature)

Whole-House Humidifier Tip — Furnace-mounted humidifiers can become clogged with lime and hard-water deposits, which prevent moisture from escaping.

So before turning on the heat this fall or winter, remove the humidifier’s filter and soak it in white vinegar mixed with lemon juice for about 30 minutes or so.

If any limescale remains, try using a commercial lime remover, such as Lime-A-Way or CLR: Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover.

In severe cases, you won’t be able to clean the filter, and you’ll need to replace it.

Loaded paintbrush being submerged in water with blue paint beginning to disperse
Immediately after using a paintbrush thoroughly rinse it clean in warm water for latex paint, or mineral spirits for oil-based paint. (ngaire-n, Getty Images)

Paintbrush Cleaning and Storage Tips — Good-quality paintbrushes will last for many years, if you clean and store them correctly.

First, immediately after using a paintbrush thoroughly rinse it clean in warm water for latex paint, or mineral spirits for oil-based paint.

Then, use a brush comb to rake out the bristles, making sure they’re perfectly straight and not tangled.

Finally, wrap the bristles in newspaper or paper towel and lay flat to dry.

Further Reading

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