Ask This Old House

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Season 4 Show Descriptions

Showing results for "Season 4"
Scan the episodes below and select "more" to get information on products or services you saw on that episode.

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

Original Air Date: Week of March 4, 2006

Up in the loft, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows host Kevin O'Connor how to repair damaged threads on a radiator using a drill and "tap." Then, landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner solve a grading problem that is causing wood rot on the side of her house. Then Richard and Kevin, along with general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O'Connor ask, "What is it?" Afterward, Tom shows Kevin how to stabilize a wobbly newel post. Then, Kevin and a tub refinisher help a homeowner refinish her old cast-iron bathtub and make it look like new.

Repairing stripped threads on a cast-iron radiator
Richard shows Kevin how to repair the stripped threads on a cast-iron steam radiator. Richard explains that fittings used in plumbing applications have a special type of tapered thread known as "National Pipe Thread" (NPT). Since the threads on the radiator are severely damaged, Richard must first drill a larger hole in the radiator. Once the hole is drilled, he uses a ¼" "pipe tap" to form new threads inside the radiator. Finally, he applies pipe dope and threads-in a bushing that reduces the larger hole to the original size.

Where to Find It
Richard used a ¼" NPT pipe tap manufactured by:

Air vents, bushings, drill bits and pipe dope can be purchased at your local home center or plumbing supply store.

Fixing a grading problem
Roger helps a homeowner fix a grading problem that is causing the wood above her home's foundation to rot. The house is downhill from her neighbor's and erosion has caused soil from her neighbor's yard to wash onto her property. The result is damp soil in contact with the wood on her house. Roger's solution is to remove all soil within 8" of the sidewall shingles. Next, using pressure-treated lumber, Roger builds a small retaining wall to prevent her neighbor's soil from washing down onto her property again. Roger also uses a length of PVC pipe to extend one of her gutter downspouts to direct water away from the house. Finally, he lays crushed stone on top of the pipe and all exposed soil. This will hide the pipe and also help prevent water from splashing onto the house during a rainstorm.

Where to Find It
Pressure treated lumber, crushed stone, and PVC pipe can be purchased at your local home center or landscape supply center.

What Is It?
Richard showed a plunger that uses compressed CO2 cartridges to clear clogged drains.

Where to Find It
KleerDrain Plunger
M.A.G. Engineering & Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Stabilizing a wobbly newel post
Tom shows Kevin how to stabilize a wobbly newel post. One method involves using a kit designed for attaching a post to the floor or landing using j-brackets and specially-cut baseboard mouldings. Tom also showed how to add extra screws or lumber underneath the stairs to help stabilize the post. He also showed how to tighten the post from above using countersunk lag bolts and bungs to hide the bolt heads.

Where to Find It
Tom showed a kit for fastening a newel post to the floor or landing using brackets and pre-mitered mouldings:
4J's Post Mounting System manufactured by Conifer Products, Inc.

The lag bolts Tom used are manufactured by:

Refinishing an old cast-iron bathtub
Kevin and bathtub refinisher Jack Donaruma show a homeowner how to refinish her old cast-iron bathtub to look like new. Jack begins by removing all old caulking and soap on the porcelain surface of the tub. He then washes the tub down with an acid cleaner. He then applies an acid etching paste to rough up the surface to accept primer and paint. He then spray-paints the tub using an automotive-type paint that will last for several years.

Where to Find It
Tub Refinisher: Jack Donaruma
Donaruma Fiberglass & Porcelain Repair
P.O. Box 189
Hudson, MA 01749
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
Removing and preventing moss, algae and lichen from a roof, what is it?, repairing a leaky water valve, planting shade-tolerant ground cover under a European Beech tree … more
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