Today’s Homeowner Radio Show | May 14, 2022

This week, we’re giving home improvement tips from floor to ceiling! (David Shao/Getty Images/Adobe Stock Photo)

In this week’s radio show, we’re talking about painting hot water baseboard heaters, adding outlets in a garage workshop and filling gaps in crown molding.

Painting Hot Water Baseboard Heaters

Hot water baseboard heaters can rust in high-humidity areas like the bathroom. (Adobe Stock Photo)

Maryann Pivonka, from Tolland, Conn., wants to paint her rusted hot-water baseboard heaters. She’s a senior citizen who wants to do the job herself — she’s just not sure about the best way to do this. 

First, let’s talk about hot water baseboard heaters, which channel hot water through pipes inside these units. They’re rare in the South but common in the Northeast. 

They’re also a little fragile compared to other home heating methods. These units can easily be damaged while you’re vacuuming, or whenever they’re exposed to moisture. 

To paint them, first, you need to take off the front panel and the louvered damper on the baseboard heating unit. You shouldn’t need any tools; they should quickly come off.

Use a scraper or sandpaper to remove the rust. You’ll need to sand the front panel, prime it and paint it. Then you can reassemble it. If the panel is rusted badly enough, consider replacing it.

You don’t need to remove the back panel of the heating unit to paint it because most of it is hidden behind the heating element. Just paint the top inch or so that’s visible.

Pro tip: You’ll be kneeling on the ground frequently to remove the panels, so buy some inexpensive knee pads to protect those kneecaps!

Skip to [30:37] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.

Adding Outlets in a Garage Workshop

Old kitchen cabinets work great for workshop storage. (Nicholas Free/Getty Images Signature)

Steve Sorbo, of Plant City, Fla., got a deal on some oak kitchen cabinets at a garage sale and wants to install them in his garage.

The problem is, once the cabinets are there, the electrical outlets are hidden inside them. He has to reach into the cabinet to plug anything up, and that’s just not practical.

Now, Steve is wondering, what’s the solution?  

Most of the time when you use your garage for a workshop, there are never enough outlets. Getting more outlets is an advantage, but you might not want to spend money on an electrician to install those additional outlets.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative.

You can route an extension power strip to the outside of the cabinet. Just drill a hole through the side of the cabinet that has the outlet inside. Then, plug the power strip cord into the outlet and attach it to the side of the cabinet or on the wall. Now, you’ve doubled your outlets, plus you have easier access to them!

If you don’t like this idea, hire an electrician to relocate the outlet. That person will cap off the existing outlet inside the wall and drop down a new electrical line to the height above the cabinets. 

Either way, you should have good access to the walls and maneuver that.

Skip to [54:16] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.

Filling Gaps in Crown Molding 

Changing temperatures in the attic can cause crown molding to swell and contract. (David Shao/Getty Images)

The crown molding in Judy McLeod’s Mississippi home once enhanced the room — now, it’s separating from the ceiling and the result is an eyesore.

That’s because the caulking swells and contracts and has made the popcorn ceiling come loose.

Now, Judy has one question: How can she fix this without scraping the rest of the ceiling?

First, it’s important to understand that expansion and contraction are common for crown molding. This is because it’s close to the attic, where the temperature fluctuates more drastically than in the rest of the home.

If you have this problem, one thing you can do is carefully apply an acrylic latex caulk. The trick is to barely feed it into the cracked area, so when it does close back, it remains flexible. The gap will still appear but it won’t be as deep or as noticeable. 

Now, this would be a wasted effort if the trim isn’t installed correctly. Sometimes the nails don’t penetrate deep enough into the molding to reach the wall.

So, before you do anything, make sure the molding is properly nailed into place.

Skip to [1:03:18] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.

Also in this episode:

  • Fixing a gap in concrete
  • Removing Wrinkles From Carpet
  • Brightening up a Dark Wood Den
  • Repairing a Cracked Wood Door
  • Removing Caulk Without Damaging Drywall
  • Saving Time and Money With a Dryer Vent Booster Fan
  • Smoothing a Slip-Resistant Floor

Closeup of Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix poured into a post hole
Setting a fence post is easy with Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix.

Q&A With Quikrete

Question: “I’m getting ready to build a privacy fence around my backyard and I’m getting mixed information about how to set the fence posts. I’ve seen people just mix the concrete in the post hole, but my neighbor says that makes the concrete weaker so I shouldn’t do it that way… which is it? I want to do it right, but I’d like to make it as simple as possible.” — Kevin from Nashville

Answer: Actually Kevin, they’re both right… sort of. Most normal concrete mix is not designed to be mixed in the hole that way so it’s not a great idea to try it if you want maximum strength. However, there is a specific type of concrete mix that is designed to be mixed in the hole and still achieve full strength.

Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix, in the red bag, is made for exactly the kind of job you’re doing. Once you plumb the post in the hole all you have to do is pour the red bag mix into the hole and top it with the appropriate amount of water per the instructions on the bag.

Depending on the temperature, within about 20 to 40 minutes the concrete will be dry enough to hold the post still and within a few hours, it will be completely set.

Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Tape, seen on moving boxes
Everyone needs basic moving supplies: boxes, cushion wrap and tape. And it’s better to have more than you think you’ll need. (©3M)

In the Aisles of Home Depot

Moving to a new place can be exciting and feel a little overwhelming at times, but with the right amount of preparation, the whole process can be more streamlined and a lot less stressful.

The Home Depot has all your moving supplies and offers an online Moving Hub that features tips, tricks, guides and lists to help plan, prepare and organize a move.

Use the moving calculator to help create an itemized list of the supplies needed and help take the guesswork out of figuring out which supplies will be needed. 

Need to rent a truck or a tool? The Home Depot also offers an online reservation and in-store fulfillment program so you can reserve tools to help settle in after you move. 

Watch Homeowner 101 livestream workshops to make your new place feel like home. Or, save time and money by hiring a Home Depot certified Home Services professional.

The Home Depot Home Services partners with local, licensed and insured pros and contractors offering over 400 services in your community to help get the job you need done right.

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