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Cold Home Addition – Need Insulation

I need a good insulation company for our family room addition – the room is always cold and we continually have to turn up our hot water heater.

Mary,

Thank you for the inquiry – we appreciate you.

You need a good insulation company that can help with the attic and the sidewalls. Do not be fooled in to thinking adding a lot of insulation to the attic alone will solve the problem of being cold in your addition. You need to think ..read more

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Prepping Basement Floor for Carpet

I want to carpet my basement floor – what should I do to “prep” it?

Gene,

Thanks for the inquiry – we appreciate you.

Seal the smaller cracks with a high quality silicone caulk – the larger ones with a Sika-flex liquid caulk – either available at a big box store or local hardware.

The concrete itself can be sealed with a breathable sealer such as Vexcon. Follow all manufacturer’s directions regarding safety and installation and prep.

Hope this helps with your concerns.

Please stay in ..read more

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Sealing Casement Windows

We believe air is entering the house around the window cranks on our new casement windows.

Deborah,

Casement windows are generally rated as more energy efficient than other types of operable windows because the locking mechanism pulls the sash tight against the frame in the closed position.

If you open a casement window you will note a recess in the frame where the crank assembly sits.

This can be a thermal weak spot for weather stripping.

If the sash is not tight enough against the ..read more

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Best Type of Ceiling in Finished Basement

Is a drywall ceiling better in a finished basement than a “dropped” ceiling? 

Bob,

A vapor sealer on the concrete walls and floors can only help – not hurt. It can minimize water vapor intrusion from the ground outside and dust from the concrete. We suggest a breathable sealer such as Vexcon or similar product.

Dropped ceilings in basement finishes make future access much better if you can install them.

Access to pipes and ducts, etc. is always advisable to installing drywall that may ..read more

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Sealing Cracks in Concrete

How do I seal larger cracks in concrete – especially those next to the house?

Dianne,

Thank you for the inquiry – we appreciate you.

Those concrete cracks have to be thoroughly cleaned – ideally power-washed – and dry before you attack them.

You can either use a dry sand or a closed-cell backer rod available from the store that sells the caulk to “fill” the crack to just below top of concrete. You will want to follow the caulk manufacturer’s specifications and directions ..read more

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Installing a Wood Floor over Concrete

Can I install wood over a concrete floor?

Dale,

Thanks for a great question – we appreciate you.

Hardwood has been installed over concrete for decades – but only according to some basic rules – the first being to make sure the floor is not in direct contact with “raw” concrete due to moisture issues.

If you could totally seal the concrete moisture would not be a concern – but it always will be.

If a piece of wood gets wet on the bottom while ..read more

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Painting Basement Walls

What can I use to paint my basement walls – especially those dark, discolored spots?

Ron,

Thanks for a great question!

If the existing paint is solid and appears in good shape, the use of a good Kilz primer per manufacturer’s directions should take care of those dark patches.

We always suggest that you use the plastic test for moisture prior to painting in the basement.

Place a sheet of plastic/saran over a couple spots on the floor/walls and seal the edges with duct tape.

Check ..read more

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Conventional Furnace vs. Geothermal System

We’re trying to decide on conventional furnace or a geothermal system.

Chris,

Thanks for the great questions – we appreciate you being part of the show!

You have to ask yourself – “has the house been comfortable? Has it been efficient? Was I feeling I needed to “change something” when the old furnace began acting up?

Geotherm will be a large, up front, investment. If you stay in the home, it will certainly pay you back several times since it supplies nearly “free” heating and ..read more

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Porch Repairs

Should I have my porch repaired/replaced before we re-do the siding and roof? Is wood better than metal rails or a concrete cap?

Robin,

Thank you for being a part of the show – we appreciate you!

For that front porch you could go either way – concrete or wood, depending on the type of look you want when the work is complete.

The same thinking applies regarding the rails/guards. Wood vs metal – either can be beautiful and work well – it depends ..read more

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Dip Tube on Water Heater

How can I obtain a copper dip tube for my water heater?

Steve,

Thanks for a great question – we appreciate you.

The dip tube is the tube that brings fresh, cold water in to the heater.

It is generally made of a plastic – although there was a time a few years ago when the plastic disintegrated and caused some issues.

Why are you thinking you want it made of copper? Some have heard of the horror stories of the cheap plastic tubes that ..read more

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