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S20 E35: Crown Molding, Future of Solar

In this episode, Heath Eastman shares why he became an electrician, and Mauro Henrique shows a trick for applying caulk in gaps. Then, Tom Silva demonstrates how to install crown molding around corner angles, and Ross Trethewey explains the future of solar at MIT.

Previous episode: S20 E34 | Next episode: S20 E36

In this episode:

Master electrician Heath Eastman tells us how he became an electrician. Heath explains that he hadn’t considered the trade until he and his wife started renovating their first home. After hiring an electrician to handle some of the projects they had on their plate, the electrician mentioned knowing someone looking for help. With a basic understanding of carpentry (thanks to his father), Heath decided to jump into the trades and try something different.

A few years later, Heath’s crew was working with a contractor that landed a This Old House project. He made a brief appearance on the show. Two years later, the show was looking for an electrician for a project and asked if Heath would be interested. From there, he landed a role on the cast; the rest is history.

Next, we meet painting expert Mauro Henrique as he shows host Kevin O’Connor a better way to caulk. After first showing Kevin how most people caulk and why he dislikes the technique, he details the finer points (literally) of caulking.

Mauro shows Kevin how to decide where to cut the caulk tube’s tip for a correctly sized hole and how to prepare the tube with the caulking gun. Next, Mauro applies a bead of caulk to the crack, using his finger to force it into the crack immediately, rather than applying the bead and then wiping it away. The result is a finer, thinner bead with less clean-up.

Next, general contractor Tom Silva shows Kevin how to handle a common problem: crown molding around awkwardly angled walls. Tom explains that most folks cut returns that avoid the angle rather than wrapping the crown molding around, and that’s not necessarily the best solution. He also shows that simply wrapping the molding around the angled wall leaves a large, eye-catching gap at the bottom of the molding, and that won’t do either.

For a better solution, Tom shows Kevin how to wrap the molding around the angled wall and close off the gap by creating a custom angled filler piece. First, Tom uses a piece of scrap and transfers the wall’s angle to create a guide. He then uses the angle to adjust the saw blade before cutting the perfectly-fit filler piece under the molding.

Finally, home technology expert Ross Trethewey heads to MIT to talk to Professor Vladimir Bulović, Director of MIT.nano, about the future of solar for a Future House segment. After a brief discussion about the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and current state of solar tech, Vladimir shows Ross what he believes to be future tech: an electricity-generating film that can be applied to windows and other materials to produce electricity.

Next, Ross and Vladimir head to MIT labs. First, they visit a lab containing a tool that transfers solar cells to a substrate, such as a piece of glass, which is tested for use as a solar material. The second lab contains powerful microscopes that analyze the solar cells’ performance. Finally, the two head to a clean room to check out a printer that applies a coating of solar cells over any material, including a sheet of the same plastic used in water bottles, which could be the future of solar tech.

How Heath Became an Electrician

Master electrician Heath Eastman explains how chance brought him to both the electrical trade and the This Old House crew.

How to Use Less Caulk When Filling in Gaps

Painting expert Mauro Henrique shows host Kevin O’Connor a common mistake DIYers make when caulking and a helpful tip for avoiding it.

How to Install Crown Molding Around Corners

After some electrical work, This Old House paint expert Mauro Henrique helps a homeowner patch a hole left in a textured ceiling.

Future House | Emerging Solar Technology

Home technology expert Ross Trethewey takes us to MIT to discuss the future of solar technology.

Where to find it?

Ross tours MIT.nano and discusses the future of solar with MIT.nano director Vladimir Bulović. Bulović gives Ross some insight into innovations that could change the way solar power is delivered.

Original Air Date: July 7, 2022, Season 43; Ep. 35 23:42

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