Today’s Homeowner Radio Show for the week of November 12, 2016

Hour 1

Hour 2

After a long week spent in Indiana taping an episode of our national television show, it’s good to be back in the world headquarters of the radio program! We kicked off this week’s show with a question about painting a ceramic tile floor. While it can certainly be done, I’m not an avid fan, especially on the floor. Heavy foot traffic has a way of peeling up paint even under the best conditions. Epoxy paint would be the way to go if you insist on it, but instead, consider cleaning, staining and sealing the grout.

painting tile

Cabinets that have been in place for a few decades will be next-to-impossible to clean using conventional methods. My preferred cleaning uses nothing but steam. I have a small steam machine just for that, but here’s a budget way that is extremely effective using citrus cleaner and a microwaved sponge.


We took a wonderful call from a listener who uses a wheelchair and also lost one of his arms faced with the challenge of creating an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are some great resources to turn to for ideas and it’s worth noting that any type of ADA advice can also be used for remodeling a house when considering aging in place. Here are just a few sites that will help you with any accessibility remodeling:


A knocking or hammering sound when you use plumbing isn’t uncommon. This usually happens when water pressure causes the pipes to vibrate, or when temperature variations cause pipes to expand & contract. Preventing that “water hammer” noise can be as simple as installing either a water hammer arrester or an expansion tank. You can learn more about eliminating water hammers by watching this video.


Hardboard siding used to be very popular, until the material started falling apart where it was installed close to the ground. If you have spots that are in need of replacement, but you don’t want to have to replace the entire siding, then opt for a fiber cement board. Most hardboards can be matched almost spot-on these days. Of course, taking out just a few select runs may sound intimidating, but it’s easier than you think. Check out this video for more help.


And, here are a few more topics from this week’s show:

Wilma in AL
What’s the best way to paint a tile floor, and what kind of paint should I use so that it holds up?

Shirley in PA
I want to change my bricks at my house to a color, what’s best, color,type and brand to get the best results?

Marlaine in MO
A foul, but not sewage smell is coming up from the bathtub drain. Water drains fine and we recently had the septic tank cleaned. What could this be?

Carol in TN
My cabinets were custom made 35 years ago and are still beautiful except for not having been cleaned well. I have tried all the cleaning advice I have found but nothing works. They are cherry stained. Also, the knobs have a brass “thing” around the handles that I would like to remove but they leave an indentation/outline on the wood. How can I fix this?

Heather in MA
I have two storm doors that have screens / windows that slide up and down. Screens come down in summer /storm go up. Reverse for fall /winter. These are on a cottage at the beach. One has become so stuck (corroded) it will not budge. What should I do to fix this?

Jo in MO
I learned on your website how to remove popcorn ceilings, but Can you use this process if you have radiant ceiling heat?

Glenn in GA
I installed 2new flood lights and the new bulbs are constantly burning out. Help!

Quintin in GA
I need tips on making a bathroom handicapped accessible. Can you help?

Christine in AL
There are some brown stains and mildew on the walls in my bedroom and also in my daughter’s bedroom her walls has brown stains. I would like to know what causes it and what I need to clean the walls.

Henry in AL
We have PEX pipes in our attic and in the last month, we hear them knocking in one area. We tried running all the faucets and shutting off main water valve then turning water back on. Did not work. Help!!

Donald in NH
We do not have an awning or other overhang at our front entry to prevent a person from the elements. We are in our 70’s, first time home owners and retired on a fixed income. What is the most cost effective way to take care of this and improve the looks and value of the home?

Terry in PA
Danny, I recently had a furnace failure (heat exchange leak) The repair man says I need to replace the furnace. I have a heat pump and have used the furnace as it’s source for back up. I’m thinking of having a heat strip added to the heat pump and removing the furnace. Any advice? Also, question 2, while working on the furnace the repair man, once finding the leaky heat exchange, turned off the oil but did not tell me. He then set the thermostat to “heat” rather than “lock out” and the furnace ran until running out of fuel then the oily smoke smell infiltrated the house…any way to get the smell out of the house?

Larry in NV
I have a leak in my cement tile roof, but the repair estimate states that there is no warranty on the repair work. Is this normal for a roof repair, or is the roof company not sure if they can actually do the repair correctly?

Nancy in TN
Can Masonite siding that is close to 25 yrs old be matched? Or does the siding on the whole house have to be replaced?


  1. Is it a good idea to paint an older brick home? Additions have been made to home, bricks do not match very well nor does the mortar. There is not a smooth look to the home.
    Thank you.


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