Today’s Homeowner Radio Show Podcast | January 14, 2023

Split image of a shattered glass stove cooktop and a pile of acorns in a yard
This week, learn why a glass cooktop can shatter and hear the easy way to remove acorns from your yard. (Adobe Stock/matzaball, Getty Images Signature)

Hour 1

Hear how much money you can save by installing luxury vinyl tile yourself, what to do about thermal expansion gaps in crown molding and more.

Save Big by Installing LVT Yourself

Man's arms installing luxury vinyl tile on a floor
Got a tight budget? You can save hundreds by installing luxury vinyl tile yourself. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Luxury vinyl tile is a great option for homeowners looking for a durable, waterproof, and easy-to-clean flooring option.

Also, it’s one of the most affordable flooring options, making it a great choice for budget-conscious homeowners. Joe researched the costs and here’s what he found: 

Most people pay on average $1,400 to have 200 square feet of vinyl plank flooring installed. However, you can buy luxury vinyl for $2.50-$4 per square foot at The Home Depot.

So, if you install it yourself, it could only cost you between $500-800. That’s a saving, on average, of $600-900 over a professionally installed job!

You don’t need any special tools to install luxury vinyl tile. A box cutter is all it takes to cut the tiles.

The number one mistake people make when installing is cutting it tight against a wall. All floating floors require an expansion space — you’ll need anywhere from a quarter inch to half an inch. 

Run the luxury vinyl tile up to the baseboard and cover the gap with shoe molding. Just be sure to secure the shoe molding to the baseboard. 

Follow the directions exactly regarding any underlayment. Depending on the type you buy, the underlayment could already be attached. 

Watch: How to Easily Install Luxury Vinyl Tile


What to Do About Gaps in Crown Molding

View of a top corner of a wall with crown molding that has a gap from thermal expansion
Changes in humidity or temperature can cause gaps in crown molding. (Chris Vogler)

This is the first winter that Chris has spent in his new Alabama home, and he’s seeing the effects of thermal expansion.

Over the past months, he says significant gaps have shown up in the crown molding throughout the house.

“Should I ask my builder to correct the issue? If the gaps are filled, will it cause the molding to buckle when it gets warmer?” he asks.

It’s amazing how much materials in a home expand and contract, and probably nowhere is it more evident than when you’re looking at crown molding.

The good news is these gaps will usually close on their own once warmer weather comes back around.

However, if you have some gaps that are very pronounced, here’s what you can do:

  • Nail it in place: Use a nail gun to secure the crown molding to the wall.
  • Fill it with caulk: Instead of using traditional caulk, carefully apply an acrylic latex caulk. The trick is to barely feed it into the cracked area, so that when it does close back, it remains flexible. The gap will still appear but it won’t be as deep or as noticeable. 

Hour 2

Listen to learn the easy way to remove acorns from your yard, why a glass cooktop can shatter, what you need to do to cover terracotta tile and more.

Eliminating an Acorn Overload

Shot of hundreds of acorns on dead leaves
Removing acorns from your yard can be a tricky task, but with some patience and the right tools, you can get the job done. (matzaball, Getty Images Signature)

This is nuts! A homeowner says he has more than 250,000 acorns in his front yard.

“Besides raking, which I hate, how can I pick up the acorns? My self-propelled lawnmower doesn’t have the power to pick them up. Is there a piece of equipment suitable for the job?” he asks.

Here’s what you can use to remove acorns from a yard:

  1. Leaf blower: A leaf blower can blow the acorns into a pile, making them easier to collect. Bonus tip: Use a tarp to contain the acorns while blowing them, making cleanup even easier!
  1. Lawn vacuum: A lawn vacuum can suck up acorns and remove them from the yard. These can be pricey, so see if you can rent one, or hire a landscaper who owns one to use in your yard. 

To eliminate this problem in the future, prevent the acorns from falling in the first place. If possible, remove the tree or prune it so that it does not produce as many acorns.

Some chemical treatments can prevent acorn production, but only a professional arborist should apply them.

Keep in mind — removing acorns can be time-consuming and you might need to repeat it as new acorns fall.

Always wear safety gear to protect yourself from falling acorns and be aware of insects or critters in the acorns or hiding in the tree.


‘Why Did My Glass Cooktop Shatter?’

Dirty, Damaged Shattered Induction Stove/Glass Cooktop in Kitchen
A glass stovetop can shatter for several reasons, including sudden temperature changes, improper installation and manufacturing defects. (Adobe Stock)

A homeowner says the tempered glass on his gas cooktop suddenly shattered the other day, even though the appliance wasn’t on and he didn’t drop anything onto it. 

“What would cause that to happen?” he asks.

Tempered glass is designed to be strong and durable, but it can shatter unexpectedly for several reasons.

Some of the most common causes of tempered glass shattering include:

  • Improper installation: If the cooktop is not installed correctly, it can put stress on the glass and cause it to shatter. For instance, if the countertop is overlapping the cooktop, it could put some stress on the top, eventually causing it to shatter. 
  • Thermal stress: If the cooktop or the glass is exposed to rapid changes in temperature, such as from a hot pot being placed on a cold cooktop or vice versa, it can cause thermal stress and cause the glass to shatter.
  • Manufacturing defects: Sometimes, tempered glass can have manufacturing defects that make it more prone to shattering. If this is the case, report it to the manufacturer.

You can call a professional to replace the glass cooktop, but it might be expensive. Consider replacing the appliance with a stove that doesn’t have a glass cooktop. 

To prevent a glass cooktop from shattering, follow these tips:

  • Don’t place a hot pot on a cold cooktop or turn the cooktop on high and immediately place a cold pot on it. This can cause thermal stress and can cause the glass to shatter.
  • Use cookware with flat bottoms to distribute heat evenly and prevent warping or bending.
  • Do not slide cookware across the cooktop, as it can scratch or chip the glass.
  • Don’t place heavy objects, such as cast iron pans or pressure cookers, on the cooktop as they can cause impact damage.
  • Clean the cooktop regularly with a mild detergent and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to remove any dirt, grime or stains.
  • Use a stovetop cover to protect the cooktop from scratches or stains when not in use.
  • Do not overheat the cooktop, as it can cause the glass to overheat and shatter.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the care and use of your cooktop.

Covering Terracotta Tile

Terracotta tile on a kitchen floor
Terracotta tile can be cold to the touch, which may not be comfortable for some people, especially during the winter. (Michelle West)

A homeowner has terracotta tiles throughout her second-floor California condo.

“The surface is too hard, very uncomfortable!” she says. “Can we have more comfortable flooring installed on top? It seems like removal will be very expensive, disruptive and noisy.”

Because traditional terracotta flooring has such an irregular surface, you’ll want to apply a self-leveling underlayment to create a smooth, even surface for installing another type of flooring over it.

You might run into the problem of raising the floor height too much to where it can block appliances from opening or make them not level with your cabinets and counters. Check the height of the new flooring to make sure this won’t happen after you’ve installed it.

There are several options for covering terracotta tiles, including:

  1. Vinyl flooring: Vinyl flooring can be installed over the existing tiles and is durable and easy to clean.
  2. Engineered hardwood flooring: Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed over the existing tiles and provide a warm and natural look.
  3. Laminate flooring: Laminate flooring can also be installed over the existing tiles and is available in many styles and colors.
  4. Floating floor: A floating floor is a type of flooring that is not attached to the subfloor, this type of flooring can be installed over the terracotta tiles and can be made of different materials like laminate, engineered hardwood, or cork.

Consult with a professional flooring specialist to determine the best option for your specific situation.


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Simple Solutions

Joe Truini siphons standing water from a bathroom sink with a water toy
Need to remove standing water from a clogged sink? This toy doubles as a siphon pump! (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Pool-Toy Plumbing Tool — Before repairing most plumbing clogs, you must first remove any standing water. Now, you could use a sponge or wet/dry vac, but here’s another option: take a kid’s water-squirting toy, commonly called a water blaster, and use it like a siphon pump. Simply place the nozzle of the toy into the water and draw back on the handle to suck up the water. Then you can squirt it into a bucket, toilet or tub. This is great for sink clogs, toilet clogs, or if you have a malfunctioning washing machine that has water standing in the tub. 

Watch: How to Remove Standing Water From a Clogged Sink

filtering paint with a window screen
Filtering paint through a window screen catches any impurities or particles. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Paint Screen Saver — When using paint from a previously opened can, it’s best to pass the paint through a filter to screen out dried paint chips and other small bits of debris. You can buy disposable paint filters, but they’re flimsy, not reusable and the paint flows through much too slowly. Instead, use a piece of vinyl insect screening. Cut the screen about 12 or 14in. square, secure it to a new, clean paint can with three small spring clamps, and then pour the old paint through the screen. When done, rinse out the screen with a garden hose and save it for the next paint job.

Watch: How to Filter Paint Using a Window Screen


Further Reading


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