Ask This Old House

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Season 7 Show Descriptions

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Episode #726, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner repair a leaking PVC drain trap underneath his kitchen sink...… more
Episode #725, Season 7 of ATOH
Host Kevin O'Connor and an electrician help a homeowner install a new ventilation fan in her bathroom...… more
Episode #724, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner install a new garage door...… more
Episode #723, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prepare his concrete basement walls for finished wallboard...… more
Episode #722, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps install a new type of "zoning" control for her forced-air heating and cooling system… more
Episode #721, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner install a new "dual flush" water-saving toilet… more
Episode #720, Season 7 of ATOH
Our annual "kids" episode features family-friendly projects that parents and kids can build together!… more
Episode #719, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner quiet his banging pipes by installing a water hammer shock suppressor...… more
Episode #718, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscape contractor Roger Cook shows a homeowner how to prune her neglected crabapple tree properly.… more
Episode #717, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner clean, stain and seal his mahogany backyard deck… more
Episode #716, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner convert a claw foot bathtub into a shower… more
Episode #715, Season 7 of ATOH
This special episode is dedicated to making the most out of your existing kitchen cabinets.… more
Episode #714, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner in Charleston, South Carolina fix a sagging wooden gate...… more
Episode #713, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey and host Kevin O'Connor replace an old tank-type water heater with a new, energy-efficient "tankless" unit...… more
Episode #712, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a pair of homeowners break apart and remove a large boulder...… more
Episode #711, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner repair a very dangerous deck...… more
Episode #710, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey heads to Indianapolis...… more
Episode #709, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a pair of homeowners build a retaining wall using pressure-treated timbers...… more
Episode #708, Season 7 of ATOH
ask this old house episode seven-hundred and eight of season seven

Original Air Date: Week of 11/20/2008

General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prepare a shower enclosure for tile using a new type of waterproofing system. Then Tom, along with host Kevin O'Connor, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscaping contractor Roger Cook ask, "What is it?" Then, Roger helps two homeowners install a privacy screen using bushes and a decorative flower garden.

Waterproofing a shower enclosure

Tom helps a pair of homeowners prepare and waterproof a shower enclosure to accept new tile. Rather than use a traditional copper shower pan and cement board for the walls, Tom suggests using a new product that can be applied directly to many different types of substrate, making it totally waterproof and ready for tile. The product is a flexible membrane that is applied to the walls and floor using mortar applied with a notched trowel. Tom applies mortar to the walls and then presses the membrane onto the walls, taking care to flatten out any bubbles; he also cuts for the shower valve and fixtures using a utility knife. For each corner, he applies mortar and a narrow strip of membrane. For the floor, Tom uses a pre-sloped foam tray. With the tray in place, Tom marks for the floor drain and cuts a hole in the subfloor using a hole saw. Next, Tom applies mortar to the floor and sets the foam tray in place. Tom then seals the joint between the floor and walls using more mortar and small pieces of the membrane. Tom then sets the specially-designed floor drain into the tray with more mortar and trowels it smooth. Finally, Tom sets a piece of membrane onto the floor and installs a foam curb, making the enclosure totally waterproof and ready for tile.

Where to find it?

Tom used a new type of waterproofing system for shower enclosures.

Schluter-Systems, L.P.
194 Pleasant Ridge Road
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
(800) 472-4588
Schluter-Systems

What is it?

The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking product.

Where to find it?

Roger showed steel tracks that attach to the wheels of a lawn tractor, making it possible to aerate the lawn while mowing. It is manufactured by:

Gailco Innovations
3330 Cobb Pkwy NW
Suite 17, PMB 354
Acworth, GA 30101-8324
770-975-6516
Gailco Innovations

Planting a privacy screen with shrubs

Roger helped a pair of homeowners create privacy in their small backyard by planting a privacy screen. The screen is made up of several evergreen shrubs called Ilex Glabra "Shamrock," also known as "Inkberry." First, Roger stripped off the grass and dug holes that were slightly shallower than the root ball of each plant. The existing soil had some clay in it, so Roger mixed in new topsoil and compost to improve the soil's structure. Roger then added both super phosphate and starter fertilizer. Before setting the plants in the holes, he carefully loosened the "pot-bound" roots of each plant with a garden claw. With the shrubs planted, Roger planted "welcoming garden" in front of the privacy screen visible from the street. The garden was made up of several flowering plants that won't get more than 4 feet tall, including: Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' (yarrow), Syringa 'Bailbelle' Tinkerbelle (lilac), and Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' (summersweet). Finally, Roger added a layer of mulch over the soil for all the new plantings.

Where to find it?

The shrubs and flowering plants were supplied by:

Mahoney's Garden Center
242 Cambridge St
Winchester, MA 01890
(781) 729-5900
Mahoney's Garden Center
Episode #707, Season 7 of ATOH
This episode has many tips for making your home more energy efficient...… more
Episode #706, Season 7 of ATOH
Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O’Connor how to repair damaged laminate countertops...… more
Episode #705, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner transplant a giant Rhododendron bush...… more
Episode #704, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps two homeowners repair the damage done to their lawn...… more
Episode #703, Season 7 of ATOH
Host Kevin O'Connor travels to Nashville, where he helps a pair of homeowners brighten up their kitchen. Then...… more
Episode #702, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook shows a pair of homeowners how to transplant a large, mature tree to their front yard. Then Roger, along with...… more
Episode #701, Season 7 of ATOH
ATOH kicks off with Tom Silva preventing a garage roof from collapsing by replacing a rotting support post, Then Tom, along with...… more