Ask TOH | Deck, Conceal Wiring

Coming up on this episode of Ask This Old House

Tom repairs a broken board on a front porch. Richard analyzes a homeowner’s green-stained shower. Scott brings more power to a bedroom and is able to conceal the wiring with crown molding.

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How to Conceal Electrical Wires with Crown Molding

Scott brings more outlets to a bedroom and is able to hide the wires behind crown molding. Where to find it? Scott installed Crownduit, a crown molding system that’s designed to double as a wiring chase. Scott used standard receptacles in most locations and an outlet with a built-in USB charger near the desk. Both of these are available from electrical supply houses or home centers.


How to Identify and Treat Soft Water

Richard receives an email about a shower stained green. He believes it could be from soft water.

Where to find it?

Richard explains a green-stained shower is likely caused by soft water.

Richard says when the pH level of the water drops below 6.5, the water becomes acidic. That means elements like iron, manganese, lead and sodium could be in the water.

When the water becomes acidic, it can start to eat away at the copper pipes.

To illustrate how acidity works, Richard places a copper pipe into a vinegar and sodium solution for 45 minutes, then lets it sit for another 45 minutes. That quickly, you can see a buildup of patina from oxidation.

That greenish/blue oxidation can build up over time. When water flows through the pipes, it picks up that corrosion and comes out of the showerhead and into the shower itself.

Richard explains to combat soft water, homeowners could get a calcite acid neutralizer tank. That uses white marble limestone to dissolve into the water and neutralize those extra elements and bring up the pH level of the water.


How to Replace a Broken Front Porch Board

Tom fixes a front porch by replacing a single deck board in a tight space.

Where to find it?

Tom replaced a piece of 1x4 fir decking, which can be purchased at lumber yards and some home centers.

To remove the old board, Tom used a cat’s paw pry bar and nail pulling pliers. He then secured the new board using construction adhesive and 8d finish nails. All of these can be found at home centers or lumber yards.

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