Ask This Old House

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Season 4 Show Descriptions

Showing results for "Season 4"
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Episode #426
Installing a mini-split air conditioning system, what is it?, de-thatching a lawn… more
Episode #425
Cutting ceramic and stone tile, installing a sump pump … more
Episode #424
Replacing an old dishwasher, what is it?, sharpening a wood chisel, using lawn spreaders… more
Episode #423
Replacing an interior "hollow-core" door with a new "solid-core" door, repairing a leaky kitchen faucet… more
Episode #422
Repairing stripped threads on a cast-iron radiator, fixing a grading problem, what is it?, stabilizing a wobbly newel post, refinishing an old cast-iron bathtub… more
Episode #421
Installing an instantaneous water heater, planting trees to save energy, installing cellulose insulation … more
Episode #420
Installing a granite driveway marker, what is it, repairing a hot water radiator system … more
Episode #419
Building a custom radiator cover, installing a steam humidifier in a forced-air heating system … more
Episode #418
Transplanting a white spruce tree, what is it?, extending a staircase handrail … more
Episode #417
Repairing a residential well, repairing a hole in vinyl siding … more
Episode #416
Choosing and using hammers, repairing a pressure-assisted toilet, repairing a plastered wall … more
Episode #415
Installing a low cost in-ground sprinkler system, what is it?, pouring a concrete footing for a deck … more
Episode #414
Installing a radon mitigation system, pruning an apple tree for fruit production… more
Episode #413
Installing a new vinyl floor, what is it?, preventing frozen pipes… more
Episode #412
Washing windows like a pro, what is it?, flushing an electric water heater… more
Episode #411
Snowthrowers, what is it?, where to find it… more
Episode #410
Pruning an overgrown privet hedge, installing a new basement laundry sink … more
Episode #409
Viewer tips, re-shingling a garage roof using asphalt-fiberglass shingles… more
Episode #408
Circular saw 101, what is it?, installing a new outdoor faucet using PEX, cabling an oak tree to prevent splitting… more
Episode #407

Original Air Date: Week of November 17, 2005

General contractor Tom Silva shows a homeowner how to remove moss and lichen from his shade-covered roof and keep them from coming back. Then Tom, along with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscaping contractor Roger Cook, and host Kevin O'Connor ask, "What is it?" Up in the loft, Richard shows Kevin how to repair a leaky valve by replacing the washer and valve seat. Then, Roger helps a homeowner plant shade-loving groundcover under a 100-year-old beech tree.

Removing and preventing moss, algae and lichen from a roof
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prevent moss, algae and lichen from growing on his shade-covered roof. Tom explains that these types of organisms can hold moisture against a roof's shingles, thereby shortening the life of the roof. After installing roof brackets and platforms on which to work, Tom installs strips of zinc flashing near the ridge. When it rains, the zinc will dissolve into the rainwater and wash over the roof, preventing future organisms from growing. After installing the zinc strips, Tom kills the existing moss, algae and lichen by applying a mixture of bleach and water with a garden sprayer.

Where to Find It
Zinc strips manufactured by:
Shingle Shield

Ladders, roof brackets and aluminum planks manufactured by:
Lynn Ladder & Scaffolding Co, Inc.

Bleach and garden sprayers are available at your local home center.

What is it?
The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking object.

Where to Find It
Tom shows an antique device used for forming cardboard egg cartons. It was sent in by viewer Michael Heydenburg of Jersey City, New Jersey. Thanks, Michael!

Repairing a leaky water valve
Up in the loft, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows host Kevin O'Connor how to repair a leaky faucet by replacing the faucet's washer and valve seat. He first shows how to remove the handle using a tool called a "handle puller." Once the handle is removed, Richard exposes the valve's worn out washer and retainer ring. He also shows the valve's "seat" and removes it using a special tool called a "seat wrench." Once the worn seat is removed, it can be replaced or re-milled to improve the seal between the washer and the seat.

Where to Find It
Valve parts are available at your local home center or plumbing supply house.

Planting shade-tolerant ground cover under a European Beech tree
Roger helps two homeowners plant ground cover under a century-old European Beech tree that is creating too much shade to grow a lawn. Roger begins by having the homeowners carefully remove all of the weeds underneath the tree. He then creates a planting bed by putting a 4 inch layer of compost, sand and topsoil around the base of the tree. Next, he spreads some fertilizer into the new soil by hand and rakes it in. Roger shows three different types of groundcover that he intends to plant: Epimedium Rubrum, Tiarella Cordifoli, and Waldsteinia. Roger divides the planting space under the tree into six sections and puts 20 plants of each variety into each spection, spacing them 12-16 inches apart. Before planting, Roger takes each plant out of its pot and loosens the roots. After planting, Roger waters everything and recommends spreading an inch of pine bark mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

Where to Find It
Groundcover plants were provided by:
Gold Star Wholesale Nursery
1265 Massachusetts Ave
Lexington, MA 02420

Other assistance was provided by:
Bartlett Tree Experts

Matthew R. Foti Landscape & Tree Service
30 Fairbanks Rd
Lexington, MA 02421
Episode #406
Building a raised garden bed with landscape timbers, clearing a bathtub drain. … more
Episode #405
Caring for a rose bush, how to steady a wobbly toilet, plugging a basement water leak using hydraulic cement.… more
Episode #404
Repairing a flat wheelbarrow tire, repairing an aluminum rain gutter, viewer tips, installing a thermal expansion tank … more
Episode #403
Installing an under-sink water filter, planting a drought-resistant tree.… more
Episode #402
Quieting creaky stairs, static cling solution, and installing an electric shut-off valve for a washing machine … more
Episode #401
Repairing a mortared stone walkway, patching an oak floor… more