Filling In a Conversation Pit | Ep. 127

Sunken living room in accordance with the podcast script
While conversation pits aren’t as popular today, there has been a resurgence of the style — like in this home! (©moodboard, Adobe Stock Photos)

The sunken living room — often called a conversation pit — is a home feature that you rarely see these days.

It was a popular architectural feature from the 1950s through the 1970s, but that trend wouldn’t continue in the new millennium.

That’s why many homeowners who have a conversation pit explore options to remove or replace it.

It’s good that they do, too, because a conversation pit can prove to be hazardous. This is especially true for senior citizens and those with disabilities, who can accidentally trip from the higher level into the conversation pit.

That’s why homeowners often cover up the sunken area — to prevent spills and liabilities.

If that’s what you need to do, read on…

First, we recommend filling the conversation pit with concrete — this way, when you step on the filled surface, it won’t feel unstable.

In one homeowner’s case, we recommended that they choose a packable type of dirt. The tricky part is getting the dirt from point A to point B!

It’s going to be heavy and difficult, so transport the dirt to the conversation pit in a wheelbarrow and start to fill in the area.

When shoveling in the dirt, put about 5 to 6 inches in first and then pack it thoroughly, leveling it periodically with a shovel, until the new concrete subfloor is ready to be poured.

Pro tip: Consider having this area treated for termites beforehand!

Also in this podcast episode, we cover:

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

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Simple Solutions

Slick Trick for Smoothing Caulk — Here’s an easy, foolproof way to create a perfectly smooth bead of caulk.

Fill a planter mister with water, add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, and then gently swirl to blend. Now, apply the bead of latex caulk, lightly mist the bead with soapy water, then smooth the bead with your finger.

The soapy water will allow your finger to glide along the caulk, creating a smooth, even bead.

If using silicone sealant or other solvent-based caulk, mist the bead with denatured alcohol. 

Watch: Tip for Smoothing Caulk

Prepping New Paint Roller — Before using a brand-new paint-roller sleeve, it’s important to “condition” it so it spreads paint evenly and smoothly.

Place the new sleeve on the paint roller, fill a plant mister with water, then spin the sleeve as you spray it liberally with water. Dry-spin the sleeve to remove any excess water, then roll the sleeve onto a piece of cardboard or other bare, clean surface.

This will help remove any loosened fibers from the roller sleeve—and prevent them from getting into the paint or onto the newly painted surface.

Now use the dampened, conditioned sleeve to immediately apply paint.

Watch How to Condition a New Paint Roller Cover

Question of the Week

Q: How do I repair my deck handrails and steps that have rotted away?

A: The first thing you would need to do is to remove the rotted components. There’s really nothing else you can do other than to remove it and replace them.

However, sometimes, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Put in some temporary supports to hold the deck and cut out and replace the rotting post.

Further Reading

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