Today’s Homeowner Radio Show for the week of October 22, 2016

Hour 1

Hour 2

Let’s kick things off this week with a tough repair that could be a little easier than you think. If you have a crack in your acrylic tub, you may think it’s time to tear it out, but you can make the repair yourself as long as you follow a couple of simple rules. First of all, if there’s any flex at all in the crack when you step in it, then you have to stop that before any repairs are attempted. Otherwise, the crack is just going to re-appear almost immediately. In many cases, you can drill small holes in the tub near the crack and inject some expandable foam to stop any movement. Use it sparingly, though. Too much foam and you’ll cause more damage! Next, look into purchasing an acrylic tub repair kit, preferably one that is from your tub’s manufacturer. An online source I’ve used before is They carry most of the major manufacturer’s products and come with good, detailed instructions.


Painting old, dated countertops is always a popular question and the short answer is, yes, you can do it, but I can tell you from experience that not all products are created equally. My favorite go-to paint for countertops is the Giani Granite Paint. You can easily create a faux granite look for a fraction of the price of real stone and it truly looks good!


Julie Day Jones dropped in today to talk about extending the growing season with a winter harvest garden.


She and I also decided we’re going to develop a novelty garden covering called the Salad Snuggie. I’ll keep you posted on any developments from our R&D department….


I’m still amazed at how many questions we get each week about venting a range hood someplace other than all the way outside. Sure, you can vent it into the attic or into the basement, but you’ll only be adding problems to your home with accumulating moisture, odors and greasy particulates.

And finally, what’s a radio show without some off-the-wall fun? This week, it was a whistling toilet. My solution was to stuff the bowl with saltine crackers….but seriously, in almost every case, you can stop that irritating whistling by changing the fill valve. Even if you’re a complete novice, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes of your time for that project.


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

Tina in OH
I am looking for a way to repair a crack in a bathtub. It is a single thin crack on the bottom of the plastic tub that opens up when stepping near it. The crack seems to sit on top of a joist. With all the “fixes” out there, I want to do the best one for my money and my ability. I am not into doing this repair several times over. Help please.

Patricia in AR
I cannot afford to do a total gut job on my 1948 kitchen, but can do it in stages. I would like to replace the vinyl (2 layers) floor with tile right now, but don’t know if you put the tile up to the existing cabinets, or if it needs to be under the cabinets. If the cabinets eventually get reconfigured, will this be a problem for the floor?

Tom in KS
My small bathroom has linoleum on the floor and I plan to install ceramic tile in the room. The linoleum is in great physical condition, well adhered with no blisters, cracks. Can I overlay my tile directly over the linoleum or do I have to remove it first?

Nate in MI
I have a customer that wants me to put a vapor barrier over the top of existing vermiculite insulation then install spray foam insulation. Is this advisable?

George in CA

I have a composite type of countertop that looks old and used, and it needs to be replaced or restore/refinished. Can you give me some idea of how to possibly restore/refinish before I take the plunge into replacing the countertop?

Barrie in N.S.
I just painted front and sides of my new pine wood siding. I’m new to this so I asked the guy at the paint shop if I needed to prime. He said two coats of the paint should be fine. Now I’m seeing that I should have primed. What will be the repercussions of not priming? Also, I haven’t done the back yet. Should I use primer or use the paint that I currently have? The paint is the highest quality exterior paint I could find.

John in WA
Is it advisable to install crawl space vent blocks in the fall? When should they be removed?

Joyce in IA
We live on a farm and our water is contaminated with bacteria and nitrates. For cooking and drinking purposes, we buy water in town by the gallon. Our refrigerator has a built-in ice maker and water dispenser which we can’t use because of the water situation. Is there some way we could hook the refrigerator water system up to a 5-gallon jug (in the basement) of the water that we buy so we can used the ice maker and water dispenser in the refrigerator?

Marie in MO
Can you paint kitchen and bathroom counter tops? If so what is the best way? Also can you paint ceramic tile?

Althea in NC
Many of the globes on my low voltage landscape lights are very hard to unscrew and I cannot replace the bulbs. Do you have any suggestions on how to get them off?

Robin in AL
I want to put a tin ceiling in my house but I’m worried about it causing the walls to sweat. Will this be an issue? I know someone who did this in a mobile home that had this problem, but my house is a regular two story home.

Roslyn in SC
We just acquired my family’s (very old, needing extensive repairs) home. Where do I start? Do I start with getting 3 estimates?

Marie in FL
I tried draining my 5 year old, 120 gallon water heater per your directions. No water drained. My water heater has added piping going from the drainage port that I don’t understand. I had trouble opening the TPR valve and instead, opened a hot water faucet when I was trying to drain the water heater. From what I’ve read, the tubing from this valve is supposed to be connected to a discharge or drain pipe.

Duane in MI
Can I vent my range hood down to the basement instead of through the roof outdoors? It is an old “Michigan” basement.

Geri in FL
I am trying to install a built in ironing board. I found out I have metal studs way far apart – how can I build wood 2X4 frame to attach the cabinet to? Metal screw to available metal stud on right side? Do I need a bottom support 25″ from floor, Left side metal stud about 30″ away

Susie in WI
When I flush my toilet, it makes a “whistling” sound (quite loud!) until the water re-fills in tank. How can I stop that from happening?

Mary in MO
On Simple Solutions recently it featured Joe giving the “formula” for cleaning shower doors. It was liquid dish detergent, vinegar and water. I don’t remember the formula.

Irene in MA
We have a garage which when it rains water comes in corner of garage. Have opinions as to what to do – one says dig hole and fill with stones and other says make a slab of cement over corners.


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