The House Whisperer

A free internet archive of Jack Milne's famous House Whisperer Show radio broadcasts.

Public vs. Private Zones Within Your Home
For those of us who live in 2-story colonials, separating the public from the private portions of your home is easy; you go upstairs and this is where you have your bedrooms and your bathrooms. On the other hand, if you live in a bi-level, a ranch, or sometimes even a split-level, separating the areas where you entertain from where you bathe can prove to be more difficult. I ask that you listen in to this segment, as there are various suggestions and tips to help you maintain your privacy where you need it most.
Laminates, Engineered and Solid Wood Flooring: What Are The Pros And Cons?
With John Dolon from Tight Threads Flooring 267-987-4666 I think there comes a time in everyone's home when you look at those old, scarred floors and turn to your significant other and say, "Why don't we update our flooring?" With so many varieties now being available to the consumer, be it true hardwoods, engineered hardwoods, and laminates, I ask that you listen to John Dolon as I interview him about the differences between the laminates and hardwoods, what makes engineered hardwoods different than standard hardwoods, as well as the life expectancy of each. We also talk about refinishing your existing hardwood floors and if it's possible, depending on the floor that is in your home.
Should I Buy A House That Has Been Rehabbed?
This is a question that was emailed to me from Shiela from the Great Northeast of Philadelphia. She had asked initially if she should buy a house in the city that had been completely redone. If any of you are thinking of buying a house from a contractor, who typically bought the house under price and is trying to sell it at the highest price on the market, I ask that you listen in.
Which Home Fixes Work Best In Selling?
I took the title of this show from an article I read in one of the local Philadelphia papers. It is written by a well-known real estate reporter, and after reading through it, I came up with my own list of easy repairs that will help a seller be ready to show their house in any market. If you are looking to sell, I ask you to listen in. You may be surprised how easy some of these fixes are.
Let's Build a Garage (Part 1): From Concept to Start
As it is Father's Day, I thought I would dedicate a show to the men. Oftentimes, during the course of their home inspection, people have asked me what it takes to build a garage. Sometimes it's not the physical part of building the garage, but the prep work to make it happen. Today's segment covers impervious surface ratios, some township requirements, sitting down with an architect, and putting your dreams on paper. Variances may need to be obtained, and court hearings with neighbors are a reality. I ask you to listen in, so that you can plan accordingly.
Let's Build a Garage (Part 2): From Excavation to Finish
Now the fun begins! The dumpster arrives, the backhoe comes on the back of a big dump truck, and a level of noise will surround your house for the next month or so. This segment covers excavation, footings, concrete work, framing, and finish. Dreams can become reality as long as the plan is sound and the contractors are good. Listen in, and let's finish this project together.
The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership
After you go through all the trials and tribulations of buying a home and you have moved in, all of a sudden, small items that are required like blinds, homeowner's association fees, lawn care, as well as electrical updates, start to add up. Today's show covers many items that may cost some initial dollars up front, but in the long term, will save you money throughout the time in your home.
Email Box Revisited: Vol. 8
Delving into the email box is one of my favorite activities. I choose topics that I feel everyone can take full advantage of. Today's topics include: how to run your air conditioning more efficiently, especially during the hottest part of the summer, maintaining your lawn, installing air conditioning in older properties, concerns with older twin homes that require slate roof replacement, and building a garage (with the wife's permission). Listen in, as some of these topics may apply to you.
Cost vs. Benefits: What Should I Do First? (Part 2)
When putting last week's show together, there were so many other options that I wanted to share with the listener, that I created Part 2. This segment again covers some of the things you really wouldn't expect that give you a good return on your investment. Today's topics include: generators, bilco doors vs. foundation windows, kitchens and bathrooms (you would be surprised at your rate of return!) and roofing. These are all things that we can live with on a daily basis, but again, I urge you to listen in, because your hard earned dollars can go a long way if you plan accordingly.
Sheds: Love Them or Hate Them, You May Need One
Sheds, those little outbuildings that sit in the corner of our properties, can either develop into an asset or can deteriorate over time and become a liability. When you run out of room in your home and/or garage, sheds tend to be the only option. Listen in to today's segment as I take you through both types of sheds that are available, either the drop-off or construct yourself types. Before you build a shed, listen in and I will give you the appropriate advice.
Social Media for Referrals
How many times have you seen TV commercials, or been blitzkrieged by social media telling you to find a contractor online? Unfortunately, as a home inspector, I feel that this is the worst way to find someone who is qualified to do the work, based on some anonymous person's written opinion. As you all know, no news is good news, and most of the social media contractors that are posted may actually have a good reputation, but because of an opinion of one particular client who may not care for the work offered, this poor review now gets blasted over social media. I am more from the old school, where referrals are based on personal opinion through friends, neighbors, relatives, and work associates. I ask that you listen in to this show so that I can show you various methods, without using the internet, of finding a good qualified contractor, who is looking out for your best interest and not that of the lists that are being posted on the internet.
Skylights: Are They Worth Putting a Hole in My Roof?
On this show, I cover the history of skylights, which became popular during the late 1970's and continue to be popular in today's new construction. I'll take you through the pros and cons of owning a skylight, as well as general maintenance that will be required. As there are multiple varieties of skylights, as well as varying quality of skylights, I would ask that you listen in before you make that decision to put a hole in your roof.
Sheds vs. Garages
As we accumulate things over time, at some point it may become necessary to construct or have a shed delivered on your property. I ask that you listen to this show, especially if you live in a planned community that has a homeowner's association. Local codes will also dictate what size shed you can purchase and where it can be placed. If your property is large enough to support a detached garage, this show also talks about impervious surface ratios and zoning requirements. Before you spend the big bucks, take a few minutes for some great advice.
It is time to read the newspapers and review the staff writers positions and opinions
Although I may be old school, I like to sit down every night and read the newspaper. I typically find that the internet news or broadcast news on TV tends to be slandered and weak. First, I talk about various topics in regards to humidifiers. The second article touches on insulation and the return on investment for those homes that are well insulated vs. those that are not; especially when your house is being prepared for sale. The third article discusses natural gas prices which have risen for the winter of 2013 and gives my listeners an idea of future costs.
Low Sloped Roof Maintenance for Fall & Winter
If you live in the city, where the vast majority of the homes have low sloped or flat roofs, you may want to listen to this episode as it covers how to prepare your roof for the winter. We discuss the types of roofs, from as simple as a rolled roof all the way up to rubber, and what you have to do to maintain it so that the roof stays watertight without becoming a swimming pool. We discuss coatings and applications as well. As winter is rapidly approaching, and temperatures are dropping, please listen in and prepare for the winter season.
Email Box Revisited: Series 2
Every once in a while, I dive into the email box to pull letters from my listeners so as to cover topics that are relevant to us all. This segment includes the use of pre-fabricated fireplaces, purchasing generators, roof replacement during cold weather, and finally, aging water heaters. If any of these topics are relevant to you, I ask that you listen in, and as always, feel free to email me at Your letter may make it on the air.
Powerless: Fact vs. Fiction
This segment comes at a crucial time where climate change has begun to affect our local environment. With Hurricane Sandy and the recent snow storms, where we lost our power for multiple days on end, this segment covers not only being powerless within our homes, but also powerless because of our government institutions. I typically don't stand on the stump and discuss politics, however, due to the breakdown of communications between our politicians, our legislators, and their parties, the word "powerless" has new meaning. Because of this inactivity, global warming has continued and it's apparent that we are losing power, particularly in our homes, on a more frequent basis. I ask that you listen in to gain some resolve and some insight as to how we can all live better.
How to Hire a Professional Contractor
With Ken Neudecker From Neudecker Construction: 215-443-9200 I've known Ken for well over 25 years. He is my go-to guy in cases when I come across a home inspection where there are serious structural issues that could be related to water infiltration, wood destroying insect damage, or just typical settlement in an older home. I asked Ken to spend some time with me so that he could share with all of us how to hire a professional contractor, and especially how to plan time frames, as no project can be dreamed up today and completed tomorrow.
Ready, Set, Go: Let's Paint, Let it Roll!
Today's episode talks about how to prep a wall for painting. It starts with your purchase of paint, and runs through all of the accessories that will be required to change a drab room into something exciting. Listen in before you buy that first gallon of paint.
Decorating Rooms: It's More Than Just Picture Hanging
Although I'm joking about hanging pictures, I actually do take some time during this show to tell you how to do it properly. We also talk about trim work, be it chair rails, wainscoting, and/or crown molding. Lighting, flooring, and other effects will turn a drab room into something exciting. When your friends and neighbors walk in, they'll say, "Wow! How did you do this?" So listen in before you spend time with painters, carpenters, and flooring specialists.
Fences and Privacy: Same Effect, Different Directions
The old saying goes, "A good fence maintains good neighbors," does have a ring to it. Fences do offer not only privacy, but also seclusion. There are many different types of fences available, from chain link, to post and rail, to privacy. There is also another type of fence available for pets, called Invisible Fence. But I always think like the arborist, where I like trees to act as my protective and private barrier between myself, the street, and the neighbors. Before you spend big bucks, why don't you listen in to this show, and I'll tell you how to get a fence established, what type of trees to grow, and how well the invisible fence may work for your pets.
How To Build a Better Basement (Part 1): How To Prep
I have never had Part 1 and Part 2 of a radio show, however, because of the complexity of this subject, I have broken it up into two shows. It appears that finished basements are becoming a priority in a lot of our homes. Part 1 discusses how to get prepared. I talk about consulting with an architect, obtaining permits, current codes regarding egress, including either foundation windows and/or Bilco doors, and the general layout of the space. Planning an endeavor like this comes down to the minute details, because once the work starts, it's hard to go backwards. I ask that you also listen to Part 2, which will air on 9/23/14.
How To Build a Better Basement (Part 2): Let The Construction Begin
On last week's show, we talked about how to prepare for a huge endeavor like finishing a basement. This show takes you to the next step; from the arrival of the dumpster and the mechanics, to the sound of demolition and the dust accumulation around the home. I discuss installing steel studs in lieu of wood because of potential mold issues, insulation, egress, etc. Once again, if you plan to finish your basement, I would ask that you listen to both segments so that you can be fully prepared. Good luck with your project!
Demolition vs. Construction: How To Be Ready When Things Come Down
The idea for this segment comes from Donna from the Great Northeast, just outside of Philadelphia, who is planning on installing a sunroom on the back of her home. She asked for the advice of The House Whisperer as to how to prepare for an addition of this type. Listen in, as quite a few helpful hints are enclosed for those of you who may be ready to do an addition.
Egress: What Does It Mean And How Does It Apply To Me? It May Save Your Family's Lives
The definition of egress is the action of going out or leaving a place. I dedicate the first segment of this show to appropriate window sizes and why this is relevant if you are planning to update your windows. You may want to consider egress windows over your typical sliding or awning style windows. The second segment of the show covers basic egress: bilco doors, foundation entries, walkouts, or alongside entry points. Listen in, because as winter approaches, we tend to close up our homes even more, and we want to make sure that we are all safe at this time of year.
The Garage: A Man's Favorite Place, And A Woman's Place To Put Stuff
When a couple buys a home, the man is typically interested in two things; the garage and the basement. Optimism usually abounds, saying "I'm going to put this in the garage, I'm going to put that in the garage." However, with time, this area tends to get overwhelmed. This show is a whimsical look at how to control the amount of "stuff" that enters your sanctum. With the holidays ahead of us, it may be time to clean out the cavern and donate what you can to those in need.
Inspecting New Homes vs. Old Homes: There Is A Difference
Working in and around the Philadelphia market, home inspectors are offered a plethora of different aged properties, from pre-revolutionary farmhouses to brand new construction. Older homes require more due diligence on behalf of the inspector, who must be properly trained to evaluate older properties. At the same time, new homes, especially the new "engineered" homes, have to be inspected properly as well. Listen in as we look at both sides of a broad spectrum.
Furniture Placement: How To Make It Work
You and your significant other have finally figured that it's time to "change up" that living room, family room, or dining room. This segment takes you from planning the space to the exciting trips to the furniture store. There are a lot of good ideas here to help you make sure that your first purchase is the right purchase.
Cost vs. Benefits: What Should I Do First? (Part 1)
Whenever we put our hard earned dollars into our home, we always have to weigh the cost vs. the benefit, as to how will my investment work best for me. Today's show covers what I feel are some of the most important things you should consider that give the most rapid rate of return, but at the same time, give you a good amount of return on your investment when you sell your home down the road. Today's subjects include: insulation, windows, updating your heating and air conditioning equipment, and installing gas appliances over those current electric appliances that you may have in your home now. Listen in, as this show is invaluable.

© Jack Milne