Today’s Homeowner Radio Show for April 14, 2018

Hour 1

Hour 2

Simple Solutions

Back Priming – Here are two tips for painting or staining any wooden boards that will be installed outdoors. First, set the boards on sawhorses and apply the paint or stain before installing them. This will save time and allow you to do a much better job without bending or reaching. Second, always back prime the boards, meaning apply stain or paint to the back surface. This will help prevent moisture from passing through the rear and blister the finish on the front surface.

Root Cutting Shovel – Use an angle grinder to cut a small ”V” in the tip of a pointed shovel. Then, sharpen the two inside edges of the V-notch with a file. Now, if you encounter a root when digging in your yard or garden, simply set the “V” over the root and stomp on the shovel. The V-notch will prevent the shovel blade from skidding off of the root.

Hour 1

Barbara in SC
When our house was built 10 years ago there were so many decisions to be made that it was overwhelming for me. I have a three-season porch with the vinyl windows, an outside patio and a small area at my front entryway that are plain concrete. I thought that I could decide later how I wanted to finish these areas. Well, it turns out that I am stuck because there is brick surrounding the concrete. I had a tile guy come out and he said he can’t put tile over the brick so that is not a possibility. I really wanted the tile look so I called a concrete business for some ideas on staining. I have waited 10 years to have this done and I am a bit nervous as to how this will turn out! He showed us some samples of paint and stains and suggested staining the enclosed area and using a paint for the patio area. I cannot have a stamped overlay which would have been a second choice for me because of the brick border. I know I do not want carpeting on the enclosed area either. Do you have any other suggestions that may help me to finally finish these areas? I appreciate any ideas!

Brian in NJ
Our electric water heater finally succumbed of old age, after almost 15 years. I was going to replace it with a similar unit, but the plumber suggested a hybrid water heater, at nearly twice the cost! What exactly is a hybrid water heater and is it really that much better than a regular heater?

R in CO
I want to hide an electronic thing sitting on my shelf. I heard there is a way to gut some old books to hide something like this. How do I go about doing it?

Bill in FL
I have a quick painting question: I started painting our bedroom and realized too late that I had accidentally purchased flat paint. Can I paint over the flat with satin paint?

Hour 2

Linda in TN
I have a sixteen year old house and the varnish on my kitchen cabinets started bubbling and flaking off years ago. I am a widow and I need to know how I can refinish them myself. They are light oak in color. I would consider painting them white with a glaze but I would need to remove the current finish. I would like the steps I need to do in order to make them look more modern. I would also need to probably change out the hardware.

Matthew in TX
I noticed swelling on a portion of my outside tile. What could be the cause?

Jim in NC
I have several wooden kitchen cabinet doors that are slightly warped. What are recommended ways to straighten them? Several are warped about a 1/4 ” at the top opposite the hinge side. I have thought about adding fasteners at the top where it is warped or removing the door, clamping it, & putting it in the sun. Thoughts?

Chuck in NC
My wife and I are seniors. I am 83 and she is 77 with Parkinson’s. Our son and his wife just bought a big, older (1977) house in and have suggested we move in with them – possibly adding an extension to the house that would be senior friendly. As the population ages and more families are hunkering down together, there would seem to be a lot of interest in this. Our son and DIL’s offer is tempting, but we know that an “add-on” would have to be a pleasant, accessible, attractive place to make us feel comfortable about accepting it. Can you give some advice about the kinds of things we should be thinking about?

Doug in MD
We recently had our home re-sided with fiber-cement shakes, and I have a whole bunch of shakes left over. Do you think I can use them to shingle the roof of a storage shed that I plan to build?

Steve in ME
I want to lay porcelain tile over a concrete slab in our mudroom. I’ve read about using a membrane to isolate the tile from the concrete, but I need to raise the floor about 1/2 inch. What would you suggest?

Jeff in Blackville, New Brunswick CA
I want to install a metal threshold across the seam where two pieces of vinyl flooring meet. The flooring is laid over a concrete-slab floor. How do I attach the threshold?


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