Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | October 8, 2022

This week, hear how to insulate around recessed lighting, plus the best options for vinyl floor underlayment. (3 Echoes Content Studio/psahota, Getty Images)

Hour 1

Hear underlayment options for vinyl plank flooring, a tip for insulating around recessed lights, and more.

Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring

vinyl plank flooring with a cork underlayment
The proper underlayment for vinyl plank flooring will block out moisture and serve as insulation. (psahota, Getty Images)

Paul in Illinois wants to replace the carpet on the lower level of his tri-level home with vinyl plank flooring. This level is on a concrete slab, and the floor gets very cold in the wintertime. 

He wants to know if he can put a quarter-inch or half-inch high-density foam board under the flooring to act as insulation between the concrete floor and the flooring.

“Will that cause problems with trapping moisture under that?” he asks.

Having existing carpet there will be a pretty good test of moisture accumulation. If you pull the carpet up and don’t see signs of moisture damage, he should be fine. 

In terms of putting anything dense over the slab, any layer will certainly help insulate it a little bit. A quarter-inch underlayment, glued and screwed down properly, will work well, and some would even say it’s overkill.

Check with the vinyl floor manufacturer first. Some are very specific about what types of underlayment to use. Some will allow a very thin underlayment, no more than an eighth of an inch, and others don’t recommend one.

Vinyl plank flooring doesn’t have structural stability or strength like engineered wood flooring or plastic laminate. Anything underneath that might be soft could make the floor unstable. You could get some waviness and some joint separation.

Try Homasote ComfortBase. It’s an engineered bottom surface that provides a built-in ventilation system that allows concrete to breathe naturally without causing panels to curl or bow.

Insulating Recessed Lights

Recessed light, seen in extreme closeup
Inside air can escape through the crevices around recessed lights. Make sure there’s a proper layer of insulation above them. (DepositPhotos)

Adding insulation to your attic is one of the best returns on your home improvement dollar. And, it’s a lot easier than you think because you don’t have to do it all at once. Every time you put a piece of insulation in your attic, you’re going to be saving money.

But, if you have recessed lights, how do you insulate those? Some units have an IC rating, meaning they can come in contact with insulation. If your units don’t have this rating, here’s what you need to do: 

  • Change to LEDs if you haven’t already. This will reduce the amount of heat generated by the lights. 
  • Then, enter the attic, pull the insulation back and caulk around the recessed can where it penetrates the drywall.
  • Create 1-by-1-by-1 baskets from hardware cloth, pull the insulation back, and set each basket on top of the drywall, encasing the can. 
  • Then cover it with insulation.  

Attic insulation should have an R-value of 36-38. You can achieve this by adding about 13-14 inches of insulation. 

Hour 2

Listen for an easy way to cut insulation, how to remove metal dust from a painted door and more.

Easy Way to Cut Insulation

To cut thick batts or rolls of fiberglass insulation easily, use an extendable utility knife that has snap-off blades. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

To cut insulation squarely and accurately use a utility knife with snap-off blade. Extend the blade all the way out and lock it. The resulting 3- to 4-inch blade will make it easier to cut through thick batts of insulation.

  • Position the insulation on a piece of scrap plywood where you want to cut it.
  • Lay the straight edge of a piece of wood across the insulation.
  • Kneel on one end of the insulation to compress it and run the blade down the edge of the wood for a nice square cut.

For thicker pieces of fiberglass insulation use a board to compact the insulation and provide a straight edge for cutting.

Remember, to keep the fibers from irritating your skin wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, gloves, dust mask and safety glasses.

Watch: Tip for Cutting Fiberglass Insulation Easily

Removing Black Dust from Door Hinges

Door hinge with metal dust around it
Tightly secured pins in door hinges can shave off metal dust over time. (Photo illustration: Jupiterimages, Photo Images)

Kristin in Oregon recently installed new hinges on all the doors in her master bedroom, closet and bathroom. 

Now, after about six months, there’s black dust on the newly painted doors all around the hinges. 

“Any idea what’s causing this? And how do I clean it off?” she asks.

Assuming no one put graphite lubricant on it, it’s probably metal dust. Because they’re new, the pins are probably lodged tightly inside the hinge, and the friction is causing the dust to deposit on the door.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge will wipe those dust spots right off. They’re not abrasive, to they won’t damage the new paint job on your doors. 

Sooner or later, enough metal will rub off the pins, and they won’t create this black dust, but there is a way to prevent this:

  • Tap out the hinge pins
  • Sand them with 120-grit sandpaper 
  • Buff them clean 
  • Apply a single bead of light machine oil to the pins 
  • Tap them back into the hinge.

Get Your Home into the Spooky Spirit

Towering phantom and floating witch Halloween decorations from The Home Depot
The Home Depot’s 15-foot Towering Phantom and 12-foot Hovering Witch will make your home the scariest house on the block. (The Home Depot)

Spooky season is creeping up on us, so it’s time to start thinking about ways to bring the spirit of Halloween to your fall decor.

From the scary to the silly, The Home Depot has a wide variety of fall and Halloween decorations that will set the tone no matter what your personal style.

Want to fill your yard with larger-than-life scary decorations? Take a look at the 15-foot Towering Phantom, 12-foot Hovering Witch or the 9.5-foot Animated Immortal Werewolf.

Or, do you prefer more silly and family-family friendly yard fare? The Home Depot offers inflatables featuring some favorite Hollywood characters from classic films and shows – perfect for the kids!  

Hosting a Halloween party? Don’t forget about these new indoor decor items too, like mini orange and purple LED string lights and styrofoam tombstones.

For a more hands-on approach, The Home Depot has a wide variety of projects on that are perfect to round out your Halloween collection this year, from how to decorate and carve a pumpkin, to how to make a jack-o’lantern flower pot or candy holder for your porch.

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Simple Solutions

Apply Glad Press'n Seal to a bathroom counter for paint protection
When painting, tear off a sheet of plastic food wrap to the length needed, and apply it, adhesive side down, to the surface you want to protect. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Press-in-Place Paint Protection — Protect surfaces from paint spatters by covering them with adhesive-backed plastic food wrap, such as Glad’s Press/N Seal.

This trick is great for protecting items that can’t easily be moved out of the way, such as toilets, light fixtures, sinks and counters. 

Watch: Plastic Wrap Paint Masking Tip

Plain wood glue bottle spilling wood glue onto a wood surface
Restore wood glue to its original consistency with some water and a hex-key wrench. (EasyBuy4u, Getty Images Signature)

Rescue Old Wood Glue — When old wood glue becomes too thick to dispense easily, twist off the bottle top and pour out as much glue as possible into a small bowl.

Then, add a couple of tablespoons of water and mix with a hex-key wrench chucked into a drill.

When the glue is the right consistency, pour it back into its original bottle.

Products and Links Mentioned

Further Reading

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