Ask TOH | Play Area, Space Heaters, Bath Fan

Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a young couple transform a muddy backyard into a low-maintenance play area for their two children. Then, up in the loft, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows host Kevin O'Connor several different types of portable space heaters and offers suggestions on how to choose the right one. Then Roger, Kevin and Richard are joined by general contractor Tom Silva for the regular "What is it?" segment. Afterward, Tom helps a homeowner with a bathroom fan that drips water down into the room.

Removing a dangerous tree

Roger helped a pair of homeowners with a shaded backyard. Large trees prevented any grass from growing and, as a result, created a very muddy area where the children played. Since removing the trees was not an option, Roger chose to install bark mulch on one side of the yard for the kids to play on and crushed stone on the other side for a small patio area. He began the project by removing all the grass and weeds with hand tools. Next, he used a small roto-tiller to loosen up the soil so that he could rake the area flat. Once the yard was raked, Roger installed edging around the perimeter of the yard using pressure-treated lumber. Next, he used a flexible piece of 1x4 cedar to divide the yard into two sections – one for the mulch and one for the crushed stone. Roger then applied a layer of landscape fabric over the entire area to prevent weeds from growing and prevent mud. Next, he applied the mulch and stone and the project was finished.

Where to find it?

All of the materials for this project, including bark mulch, crushed stone, landscape fabric, and lumber, are available at any garden or home center.

Choosing space heaters

Richard showed Kevin several types of portable gas-powered and electric space heaters.

Where to find it?

The portable space heaters that Richard showed were supplied by the following companies:
(800) 788-5350

Holmes Products
(800) 284-3267

Mr. Heater Corp.
(800) 251-0001

What is it?

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

Where to find it?

Tom showed a device used for holding and aligning drawer slides while installing them inside a wood cabinet.

Drawer Slide Mounting Tool (model #NZ03)
Manufacturer: Kreg Tool Co.
201 Campus Drive
Huxley, IA 50124
(800) 447-8638

Preventing condensation in a bathroom fan
Tom helped a homeowner with a bathroom fan in the ceiling that was leaking water down into the room below. After inspecting the vent on the roof and determining that it was flashed properly, Tom looked in the attic and discovered that condensation was building up inside the flexible fan duct during the winter months. To fix the problem, Tom simply removed the old duct and installed an insulated duct. He also insulated the fan itself using rigid two-inch foam board.

Tom installed "MasterFlow" insulated flexible ductwork, manufactured by:

LL Building Products

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