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S20 E16: Replace Vinyl Floor, Heating Bill Savings

Jenn Nawada shares how she became a landscape designer; Richard and Ross Trethewey explain cost-effective ways to save money on your heating bill this winter; Nathan Gilbert helps a homeowner replace a vinyl kitchen floor.

Previous episode: S20 E15 | Next episode: S20 E17

In this episode:

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada tells us how she got started in her trade. Knowing that she wanted to make the natural world her office, she went back to school and achieved a master’s degree in landscape design. After getting her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, she began teaching outdoor education at a farm in Vermont.

After starting at the bottom at a nursery, Jenn worked her way up to working on construction sites with design teams. With two children and a boss on the verge of retirement, Jenn decided to start her own company. Through this company, the This Old House team found Jenn, and in 2015, she took a role on Ask This Old House and has never looked back.

Next, we meet host Kevin O’Connor, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and home technology expert Ross Trethewey at the shop. With winter rolling in, the Tretheweys explain cost-effective ways to save money on heating. After presenting the tendencies and physics of heated air, Richard and Ross discuss the importance of insulating the roof of a home.

It’s just as essential to get a handle on air leakage. Ross explains that ceiling light fixtures poking into attic spaces need to be air-tight to retain as much heat as possible. He even explains different ways to insulate windows and doors and the importance of ceiling gaps around outlet boxes in exterior walls.

Finally, we follow carpenter Nathan Gilbert on a house call as he helps a homeowner dealing with a dated kitchen floor. After explaining to Kevin what goes into planning a floor, such as materials and subflooring, he heads to the home to lend a hand.

After removing the furniture, appliances, and baseboard moldings from the kitchen, Nathan and the homeowner started removing the old vinyl floor. The two discover two layers of flooring, making the best option cutting the floor into small squares and removing those squares with a pry bar. With the old floor gone, Nathan explains the flooring choice (a floating vinyl floor that locks in with a tongue and groove system) and shows the homeowner some tools to make the job go smoother.

The two get to work laying the floor, making custom cuts for around floor vents and cabinets, and being sure to stagger the seams as they go. With the final piece in place, the two reinstall the baseboards, appliances, and vents before installing some transitions between the existing hardwood and the new vinyl for a seamless finish.


How Jenn Nawada Became a Landscape Designer

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada explains how she found her trade and how she ended up on the team at Ask This Old House.


How to Save Money on Heating Bills

Master plumber Richard Trethewey and home tech expert Ross Trethewey teach host Kevin O’Connor some cost-effective ways to save money on heating this winter.


How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Carpenter Nathan Gilbert helps a homeowner replace a dated vinyl kitchen floor with a more modern product, complete with an updated look.

Where to find it?

Nathan installed Pergo Defense+ 7.5 in. W Classic Weathered Pine Antimicrobial Click Lock Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring in a homeowner’s kitchen. Nathan used Marshalltown 13-inch Flooring Shears. To account for the expansion and contraction of the planks, Nathan used 1/4-inch flooring spacers along the perimeter.

To remove the existing vinyl flooring, Nathan used a circular saw to cut the floor into 2’x2’ squares, then removed the squares using a pry bar and hammer, all of which are found at home centers.

William C. Gilbert Carpentry provided expert assistance with this segment.

Original Air Date: Jan 27, 2022, Season 20; Ep. 16 23:42


Products and Services from this Episode

  • Vinyl plank flooring manufacturer: Pergo
  • Flooring shears manufacturer: Marshalltown
  • Expert assistance: William C. Gilbert Carpentry