Ask This Old House

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Season 5 Show Descriptions

Showing results for "Season 5"
Scan the episodes below and select "more" to get information on products or services you saw on that episode.

Episode #526
Building a Workbench and What Is It?… more
Episode #525
Lawn Mowing and Edging Basics, What is it?, Repairing and maintaining electric water heaters, Repairing a broken stair tread … more
Episode #524
Replacing a damaged mailbox post,Repointing Brickwork … more
Episode #523
Installing a new radiator/towel bar warmer, What is it?, Controlling crabgrass … more
Episode #522
Replacing a corroded shut-off valve with a "compression" fitting, What is it?, Selecting and planting "climbing" roses … more
Episode #521
Installing composite decking with hidden fasteners, Quieting a noisy steam radiator… more
Episode #520
Replacing a Shub, What is it?, Installing a roof-mounted attic fan… more
Episode #519
Refinishing cast-iron radiators, Installing a standby electric generator… more
Episode #518


Original Air Date: Week of February 1, 2007

General contractor Tom Silva heads to Sacramento, California to help a pair of homeowners patch a hole in their vinyl kitchen floor. Then Tom, along with host Kevin O'Connor, landscaping contractor Roger Cook and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey ask, "What is it?" Then, Roger heads to Las Vegas, Nevada to help a homeowner repair a leaky in-ground sprinkler system.

Patching a damaged vinyl floor
Tom helps a pair of Sacramento homeowners repair a damaged section of vinyl flooring in their kitchen using a remnant left over from the original installation. Tom explains that the floor's "pattern" repeats itself every few feet, so he begins by laying the remnant over the damaged area, being careful to match the pattern with the surrounding floor. He tapes the remnant on top of the existing floor and cuts out the patch along the simulated grout lines. This allows him to cut both the new piece and old piece at the same time, ensuring a perfect fit. Tom uses the straight side of a notched trowel as a straightedge to guide the utility knife's blade along the grout lines. He then uses a wide-blade knife to pry up the old piece of flooring and scrape away the old adhesive. He then uses the notched trowel to apply new adhesive. Tom inserts the new patch and rolls it flat using a special flooring roller, being careful to wipe up all of the glue that has squeezed out of the seam. Finally, Tom seals the seams of the patch with a special seam-sealer which will keep water out when cleaning the floor.

Where to Find It
The vinyl flooring and high-gloss seam coating kit (item no. S-595) are manufactured by:
Armstrong Flooring
800-233-3823

Technical assistance was provided by:
Apollo Distributing Company
866-294-1800

Notched trowels, vinyl flooring adhesive, rollers, and seam-sealer kits can all be purchased at your local home center.

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

Where to Find It
Roger showed plastic balls, sometimes called "bio-balls," used to grow beneficial bacteria in an outdoor pond's filter. They are manufactured by Sunterra.

Repairing a leaking in-ground sprinkler system
Roger helps a Las Vegas homeowner repair his leaking in-ground sprinkler system. The homeowner has three "zones" in his backyard that control water to different areas of the lawn. The homeowner had noticed puddles of water around some of the sprinkler heads and also water filling up an underground box that contains the system's "solenoid" valves. The valves allow water to flow to the sprinkler heads and are controlled by an electric timer. Roger determines that each of the valves is leaking due to a worn-out diaphragm. These diaphragms make a watertight seal between each valve's "bonnet" and valve body, and also double as a "plunger" that goes up and down allowing water to flow through the valve to the sprinkler heads. Roger removes each of the valve's bonnets and replaces the diaphragm. Finally, he recommends installing a new type of electronic sprinkler control system which will save the homeowner even more water by using local weather data to determine when the lawn needs to be watered.

Where to Find It
Roger replaced the diaphragm gaskets on three Hardie 205T solenoid valves. The 205T valve is an older model originally manufactured by James Hardie Irrigration. That company was purchased by The Toro Company in 1996 and replacement parts are now manufactured by Irritrol, a division of The Toro Company (part #100232-H).

Roger also installed a Smart Dial Controller (retrofit module model #SD-MOD) that uses local weather data to control when the sprinklers operate. A rain sensor, which prevents the sprinkler system from operating during rainfall, is also available for this unit (model #RS-1000).
Manufacturer: Irritrol
800-634-8873
Episode #517
Shopping for and installing wall-to-wall carpet, What is it?, Table saw safety… more
Episode #516
Removing an overgrown Juniper bush, Coiling an extension cord, Replacing a pop-up assembly in a pedestal sink … more
Episode #515
Clearing clogged drains, What is it?, Install Kitchen Cabinets… more
Episode #514
Prune a willow tree, fix a hot-water heater… more
Episode #513
Mulching, Sash Balancers … more
Episode #512
Shower Valve, Recycling Batteries … more
Episode #511
Cedar Clapboards, Chainsaw Etiquette … more
Episode #510
Kitchen Backsplash, Installing Sod … more
Episode #509
Child safety, What is It?, Installing a sump pump… more
Episode #508
Maintaining stone countertops, what is it?, Installing a chain link fence… more
Episode #507
Home Energy Audit, what is it?, Removing a toilet seat with corroded bolts… more
Episode #506
Rebuilding a small exterior deck and stairs.… more
Episode #505
Planting flower bulbs in fall, making straight rip cuts with a circular saw, what is it?… more
Episode #504
Installing garage storage cabinets, What is it?, Installing a ceiling fan… more
Episode #503
Installing a new shower base, Installing a rain barrel… more
Episode #502
Replacing a clogged faucet aerator, Selecting houseplants, Quieting a squeaky subfloor under carpet… more
Episode #501
Repairing a bathroom door, planting a bamboo privacy screen, what is it?… more