Landscaping is one of the most cost effective ways to create curb appeal. Tom and Leslie get tips from Michael Glassman of Discovery Channels Garden Police. And if you think double or triple glazed only refers to donuts, you’ll be pleased to learn how the difference can mean cash in your pockets when it comes to choosing new windows. Find out how to create a more functional bathroom space with a mini makeover that delivers maximum results. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about cleaning hardwood floors, fixing a leaking basement, cleaning out gutters, installing new siding, installing ceramic tile, repairing a cracked plumbing vent pipe, repairing loose stucco, cleaning paneling, removing glue from carpet and fixing a hard water problem.
TRANSCRIPT FOR AUGUST 24, 2009, HOUR 2
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 0:025]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’re here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas, your cleaning solutions. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We’ve got a busy show planned for you this hour. Up first, curb appeal is a great way to maintain the value of your home and, in this market, maintaining value is an absolute must. One way to get that curb appeal is to improve your landscaping but you need to think it through before you dig in with your shovel.
LESLIE: That is very true and to help you do just that, we’re going to talk with a landscape expert who says he’s fixed more landscapes gone bad than he can count. We’re going to learn what not to do from someone who has truly seen it all. Michael Glassman from Discovery Channel’s Garden Police will join us in just a little bit.
TOM: And if you pick up the phone and call us right now, not only will we shed some light on your home improvement problem; we will give you some light because we’re giving away an Energizer Hard Case Professional Flashlight worth 25 bucks and that can come in darn handy when you have to get under that kitchen sink cabinet to find out which pipe is leaking. I know, I’ve been there. (Leslie chuckles) That’s going to go to one caller we choose at random from today’s call, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Genevieve in Connecticut who’s dealing with a hardwood floor situation. What can we do for you?
GENEVIEVE: Oh, I feel like you’re my neighbor. (Tom chuckles)
GENEVIEVE: I have the hardwood floors and I’ve tried, oh, Murphy’s Oil Soap and this and that. It’s still not right. What can I do?
TOM: Well, what are you trying to do to the floors? You want to – you have stains on them, they dirty, what do you want …?
GENEVIEVE: Yes, stains and dirty.
TOM: Genevieve, if you’re using products like Murphy’s Oil Soap and it’s not coming clean, it might be time to think about refinishing the floors. Now, there’s an easy way to do that. If the floors aren’t physically damaged, you can rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen …
GENEVIEVE: Oh, wonderful.
TOM: … and you can buff the floor and lightly abrade the surface. It’s pretty easy to do. And then once that’s all done, you can damp mop all of the dust away; let it dry really good; and then you mop on a couple of coats of polyurethane. And I do mean mop on. You use something called a lamb’s wool applicator – it looks like sort of a wet mop for your kitchen – and you mop on the urethane, work your way out the door; you know, go away for four or five hours and you’re done.
TOM: So it doesn’t have to be a big job.
GENEVIEVE: No, because I have to tackle that because it would be so nice to get my house in order.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a good project because hardwood floors add a lot of value and this is not a difficult project. If you want more tips, we’ve got a great article on how to do just that at MoneyPit.com.
Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Denny in New Jersey is dealing with water in the basement. Tell us about the problem.
DENNY: Every time that it rains, water is going to come inside.
DENNY: I’m thinking to put a sump pump in there but I don’t know if that’s going to help or not.
LESLIE: Well, I think that’s going to be overkill; I mean especially you’re mentioning that you’re only seeing the water in the basement when it rains, which is consistent with a drainage situation. You’re probably dealing with too much water that gets around the foundation perimeter of your home during these rain storms. So what you want to do is to address it and get that water away from the foundation where it’s not going to come into the basement is you want to look at your gutter system. You want to make sure that you’ve got enough gutters on the house and that they’re clean and that the downspouts are free-flowing.
And then you want to look at where the downspouts deposit the water. You want to make sure that they’re not sort of just stopping against your foundation wall and all that water is just sort of collecting there. You want those downspouts to extend away from the house four feet, whatever you can do – get them underground, bury them, move that water out – just so you’re getting the water away.
And you want to look at the grading around the perimeter of your foundation as well. You don’t want that soil sloping towards the house; you want it sort of gradually rolling away from the house so that it’s moving all of that water away. And if you can do that, you’ll keep that water from coming in during a rainstorm. I think a sump pump is going to be overkill.
DENNY: OK, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Our pleasure. Thanks, Denny.
You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, when selling or buying a home, the time between the offer and the closing is crucial. We’re going to tell you what to expect and how to handle that part of the transaction, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:05:32.5]
ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, we’ll toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat because this hour we’re giving away the Energizer Hard Case Pro Flashlight worth 25 bucks. It consists of four bright-white LEDs and Energizer Max batteries that will deliver 30 hours of run time, which is plenty of time to get most projects done around the house that are in the dark. So call us right now with your home improvement or your home décor question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yeah, pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you’re selling your house. Now, if you do have your home on the market, making the deal can be the most important step in the entire process but the time between the offer and the closing is absolutely crucial. Now, once you’ve accepted an offer, you want to help keep the deal together by meeting deadlines and all the criteria including home inspections, buyer visits and any scheduled deposits. Now, as the closing nears, you may also need to perform repairs or do any additional work to the house as agreed upon in your contracts. You have to do those things.
Now, there are many things that could go wrong and be deal-breakers, so pay attention to detail during this part of the process. It is absolutely key or your entire deal can go kaput.
TOM: Absolutely. You know, I’ve got to tell you, as a former home inspector, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen both buyers and sellers sort of count their chickens before they were hatched and have watched the entire deal come apart. So, keeping that on track over this time period is the only way you’re going to ever really get to closing, so do pay attention.
888-666-3974. We are paying attention to your home improvement questions, so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: David in Louisiana needs some help with siding. What can we do for you?
DAVID: Yes, hi. I have this frame house that I’m considering to put siding on but the neighbors have been telling me, “Do it this way. Do it that way.” Like for instance, if I have some bad boards that might be a little dry rot or et cetera, I just go ahead and cover it up; the vinyl will take care of everything. I’m kind of concerned that (inaudible at 0:08:12.0) I had to replace everything. Meanwhile, (inaudible) is blistering real bad. Should I go ahead and scrape it, paint it and then put siding on it? Because I figure …
TOM: No. You don’t have to go through that much work. I can appreciate what you’re saying but I would just tell you that if the siding is rotted to the point where it will not hold a nail, I would repair those areas, David. But if it’s just blistered and looking bad, I wouldn’t worry about it at all because it’s all going to be covered by the vinyl. It’s not going to help it or hurt it by doing any kind of prep work to that old siding; you can go right on top of it with the vinyl. The only concern is if it doesn’t hold the nail because it’s rotted, that needs to be addressed.
Now, remember that when the vinyl siding goes on, over older siding it’s a little bit harder; that you’ve got to have a really good siding company that knows how to nail this stuff and the key is to not nail it too tightly; to leave some – leave it loose, leave a bit of flex so that the siding, if it’s done right, will actually sort of – you can actually take a piece and slide it back and forth in your hand. Because vinyl siding expands so much in the sun that if you don’t do it that way, the first really hot day the stuff will buckle like crazy and you will not be a happy camper.
DAVID: I see. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in New York needs some help with a flooring project. Tell us what you’re working on.
MIKE: Hi, there. I own two rental properties and I just wanted to tell you and Tom that your advice has really helped me several times already.
TOM: Oh, fantastic.
LESLIE: Great, thanks.
MIKE: Here’s the question. When I’m installing a ceramic tile floor, if I have a cement floor underneath it – stripped off the old floor –
MIKE: – can I skip the backer board – what some people would call mason’s drywall step – and go right to thinset and lay the tile down?
TOM: You can, as long as the concrete floor is perfectly flat.
TOM: Sometimes, using the backer over that helps you …
LESLIE: Gives you a more stable surface.
TOM: Yeah, helps you kind of smooth out the bumps and lumps that can occur naturally in a concrete floor. Because remember, that ceramic tile doesn’t bend very well and if you don’t put it on perfectly flat …
MIKE: Right, so if the floor – if I level it out and fix any cracks, then I can …
TOM: You can go right on top of it. Yep. Sure, it’s done all the time.
MIKE: Does it have to be scarified somewhat also?
TOM: No, as long as you have a good adhesive, then I think it should be fine. You’re probably going to put it down with a mastic.
MIKE: Yep. OK.
TOM: And as long as you have good adhesive and use a good glue trowel with like quarter-inch slots in it, so you have good bonding of the tiles to the concrete floor, it’ll be perfect.
MIKE: OK, you have helped me once again.
TOM: Alright, Mike. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Lot of people buying homes right now. It’s a good time to buy investment properties. Prices are down, rates are great.
LESLIE: And you know what? It’s amazing to me how many people have sort of abandoned the “I’m selling my house” and have chosen to rent the property out.
TOM: Yes. Well, it makes a lot of sense.
LESLIE: Because the rental market, they have not seen a drop in the amount they’re charging for rentals per month.
TOM: And it’s the same way when prices are really high. People don’t buy, they rent and wait for the prices to come down. So now it’s the flip side. Hey, as long as you can rent and pay your note (ph) every month, why not? I mean why should you sell the house for a loss? Especially people that are retiring and have a lot of their equity tied up in their house; they’re much better off renting themselves and renting their house out and just kind of just coasting for a while until the value comes back up again.
LESLIE: No, it’s true. In fact, we’ve seen – where we live on Long Island, we’ve seen several people – you know, just on our block alone there were three homes that sort of were sold about a year ago and the people had yet to move in. And it was because they could not sell their initial homes and now they were stuck with two mortgages, two properties to maintain and it was sort of a struggle. And in chatting with them – you know, saying, “When are you going to move in? What’s going on?” – they all decided to rent; everybody’s sort of in a situation where they’re earning money. Now they can move into their second home and they’re not worrying about all of these financial situations. So it’s working out. It’s nice to see the silver lining in what’s been going on in this crazy economic situation.
888-666-3974. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Catherine in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
CATHERINE: Well, I’ve got a cracked vent pipe and I opened up the part that was cracked and it’s going up to my third floor bathroom as well as to the roof beyond. I don’t know how I can repair this.
TOM: Is this for your plumbing system?
TOM: And is it the cast iron pipe?
CATHERINE: And it’s cracked right along the length of it at the elbow.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, very, very common condition. That’s pretty much the way those pipes wear. They’re very heavy. There’s a lot of weight above them and they go through different forces and they will crack. So how do you fix that? Well, generally, you replace it. Is it leaking now, though?
CATHERINE: Well, actually, I disconnected the toilet because sometimes the water backs up into the cracks. So the third floor bathroom is not functioning and is hasn’t been for a year because I can’t find a competent individual who can give me a reasonable answer.
TOM: Right. Well, you know what you ought to do? Are you familiar with Angie’s List?
CATHERINE: Angie’s List. No.
TOM: It’s a really good service. It’s online and, basically, if you join Angie’s List it’s sort of a social networking site that helps you find contractors. You have thousands upon thousands of people in any one area that are on Angie’s List and they all openly share ratings on contractors. And I bet if you spent a little time on that service, you’d be able to find a good guy because it definitely sounds like you’re not talking to the right plumbers. You know, cracked cast iron pipes is sort of plumber 101. If you don’t have a plumber that can fix it, you’re not talking to the right guys.
LESLIE: Bill in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
BILL: I purchased a home in 2000. It was a spec home built by a contractor. And so when I saw the home and found the home it was finished, but it was new; had never been lived in. It had stucco on the exterior and the stucco was the traditional stucco, which is you know the cement – the lathe and the cement and the stucco finish.
TOM: Right, mm-hmm. Right.
BILL: Probably four years after we moved in the home, it started developing cracks – horizontal cracks; not vertical along the expansion joints but horizontal cracks. The cracks progressed until they actually started bubbling and the stucco started falling away from the home.
TOM: Oh, man.
BILL: Exactly. Oh, man. Nightmare. So I have a contact who is a stucco person and he came out and looked at it and when he pulled some of it away he told me that stucco, correctly applied – and you guys maybe can tell me if this is accurate or not, but should be roughly 3/4-inch thick. That's from the lathe or the wood backing all the way out to the finished surface. Mine was probably 1/8 to a 1/4-inch thick at the thickest places.
TOM: Oh, boy.
BILL: This was not the new ...
TOM: Yeah, EIFS; the exterior insulated foam siding. No, it's real masonry stucco.
BILL: Real masonry stucco. So my question is how would I fix this correctly ...
BILL: ... so that if I ever decided to sell the home I wouldn't be selling a junk product to the future homebuyer.
TOM: Bill, you know there's a company called Gardner that makes a whole line of stucco repair and masonry repair compounds that can address this. They're sold under the brand name of Permanent Patch and their website is Gardner-Gibson.com.
BILL: (overlapping voices) OK. OK.
TOM: Gardner-Gibson.com. And I think this is a situation where we all know that the best thing to do would be to rip all that stucco down and do it right all over again; but while that's not practical, you're going to have to stay on top of the cracks that are forming and the key here is to stop the water from getting behind it because, as you know, once you have that water get behind it you're really opening Pandora's box because of the fact that the water is going to rust out the fasteners and make it come off the wall all that more quickly.
BILL: Great. Thank you for your time.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Carol in Texas is doing some redecorating. How can we help you with that adventure?
CAROL: Right. We have a TV room – which, you know, some people call a den – and it’s got lovely, dark walnut paneling. And we’re sort of tired of the dark wood and the rest of the house is beige; sort of regular walls. And we’d like to have this stained – you know, do it ourselves, of course – and make it a sort of a tan color – you know, maple or something; a color like that. But we didn’t know how to get from dark to light.
TOM: Carol, is it solid wood or is it actually paneling?
CAROL: Really it's paneling.
TOM: OK. Well, you can't change the color of paneling by staining it. It's a manufactured product and that color layer is not going to ...
CAROL: Oh, that's not good news, is it? Oh, dear.
TOM: No, but you can paint it. You can paint it, right Leslie?
LESLIE: Well, you can paint it and there's really no way it's solid paneling? Because sometimes – I mean depending on the home and the time period it was built – it could be real wood.
CAROL: Well, this house is 40 years old.
TOM: Well, that's – you know, that was pretty much the paneling's mainstay period. If you've got the 4x8 sheets of paneling on your walls nailed up, then you definitely can't save it and restain it but you can paint it and actually it's becoming quite popular. Now, the key here is if you're going to paint it you've got to clean it really well ...
LESLIE: And it's all prep work.
TOM: ... and you've got to prime it and we'd recommend an oil-based primer. Once you do that, you'll get really good adhesion and then you could put a top color coat right over that.
LESLIE: And you want to clean it with a product like trisodium phosphate; something like TSP, which is a painting prep cleansing product. You can find it in the painting aisle of any home center or painting shop.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, TSP. Give it a good washing with that, make sure you dry it very well.
LESLIE: Then the oil-based primer; let that dry really well. And then your top coat.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, learn what not to do when designing your next landscaping project. We’ll get tips from Discovery Channel’s Garden Police, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:59.0]
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And curb appeal is a great way to maintain the value of your home. Adding some landscaping goes a long way to driving up the investment that you have in your house. But before you pick up the shovel, before you pick up the saw, you really need to think it through and come up with a plan that you’ll need to create that backyard of your dreams.
LESLIE: That’s right. Our next guest has certainly seen what not to do many times. We’ve got Michael Glassman who is an award-winning landscape designer. He’s the co-host of Discovery Home Channel’s series Garden Police and author of Outdoor Designs for Living. He’s joining us now with some of the top landscaping challenges and he’s got some great solutions.
MICHAEL: Hi, how are you?
TOM: We are excellent and we’re very impressed with your website at MichaelGlassman.com.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Really beautiful work, Michael.
MICHAEL: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Lots of gorgeous, gorgeous images there. So it looks like you’ve been a busy boy. Why don’t you start by talking with us about some of these landscape challenges. The first one, you say, is privacy problems.
MICHAEL: Absolutely. One of the things that people don’t understand is if you go out in your backyard, the last thing you want to do is feel like you’re in a fish bowl with people looking in. And that’s one of my biggest pet peeves. I mean you think about it; you want to be in your own little castle, your own little haven and the last thing you want to do is walk outside, eat outside, be in a bathrobe and a nightgown (Tom and Leslie chuckle) and have the neighbors selling tickets, all looking in on you.
So the number one thing I try to say to people is if you’re creating this environment, this room, this place that you actually can retreat to, you don’t want everyone looking in, so you need to think in terms of how you’re going to achieve the maximum amount of privacy – whether it be with evergreen trees; a pergola, gazebo or something that, again, is going to block out the views of the neighbor; whether it be a really decorative lattice screen with flowering vines on it – but you have to think in terms of giving yourself maximum privacy.
LESLIE: What about when it comes to choosing your materials? Is it OK – and even your plantings? I mean is it OK to go crazy with color and mix up wood and stone or is it better to sort of think in sort of a pallet of things like that?
MICHAEL: Well, that’s another thing that I always talk to people about is I try to tie in the architecture and the interior design of what you’re doing inside with the outside. And again, what you want to do is the less materials that you use and the more unification you do, the bigger it’ll look and the more tied in it’ll look. So what I tell people is like if you have slate inside your house – and you like it – use the same kind of slate out in the yard. If your color palette inside your house is like jewel tones – purples and lavenders and whites and blues – try to use the same color palette outside so it ties the whole thing together. Otherwise, what’s going to happen is it’s going to look like a hodge-podge and it’ll look like you have one of everything.
TOM: We’re talking to Michael Glassman. He is an award-winning landscape designer and co-host of Discovery Home Channel’s series Garden Police and author of Outdoor Designs for Living.
So Michael, let’s say we are staring at our blank backyard. We’ve got fantastic ideas. We’re ready to head over to the landscape center, order up the stone, order up the materials, order up the wood, stick the shovel in the dirt and start building the patio. Is there something we need to do before that to make sure we actually have permission to do a total makeover in our backyard?
MICHAEL: Absolutely. What people don’t realize is – again, it’s like building a home – there are building permits, there are easements, there are setbacks. You can’t just arbitrarily go out into your yard and just start merrily building away. You need – different communities have different building setbacks. So for example, if you go down to – and I recommend going down to the city or the county, either the planning department or the building department and asking, primarily, “What are my building setbacks? What’s the primary building setback? What are the codes? What are the restrictions?” and they will come out and they will – and I always tell people, “Do it in person, get it in writing,” because there’s a lot of stuff that goes on that would make you crazy if you don’t have it in writing.
But they will say to you, “OK, your building setback may be at six feet” and a lot of people will go, “What does that mean?” That means that within the property line, in six feet, you may not build any sort of structure – permanent structure – that’s over six feet high.
TOM: And there’s that whole little minor issue of underground utility lines to consider.
TOM: I seem to remember Leslie, on your last makeover show, you had a little incident with an underground utility line that got broken. Didn’t you break a main water line?
LESLIE: (chuckling) We did. We broke a water line. (Tom chuckles) It was an over-enthusiastic use of a Bobcat but everything was OK.
TOM: (overlapping voices) That’ll do it; do it every time.
MICHAEL: (overlapping voices) Right, and people don’t – a lot of people – what I tell people, number one, is go to contact – and there’s a lot of times they’re free services, they’re called free locating utility services, where they will come out at no charge to you and mark where your gas, your electric, your water, your power is and they’ll mark it down so that when you are there with a Bobcat you’re not digging through it. But if you didn’t have them come down for free and mark them down and you start digging and you hit one of their gas or electric lines, yes, they’ll come out and repair it; they will charge you for the repair and then they fine you and the fines can be as much as $2,500.
LESLIE: I mean that’s very serious plus think about all of the danger and the potential hazards that you could cause by having an incident like that. Now …
MICHAEL: Oh, you’re right. I mean can you imagine breaking a gas line? You could blow up an entire house.
LESLIE: Well, let’s hope none of that happens. So say we’ve marked everything out. We know what we’re doing and we’re planning our yard. Is it important to sort of think about one focal point and design around that or is it better to have an overall plan of the space?
MICHAEL: I think it’s – well, once you have a plan, part of planning it is to think of a focal point. So, in the yard, you want the same drama; whether it be a wonderful fountain or an unusual piece of art or sculpture or it’s an outcropping of rock.
Now, the most important thing that I try to tell people is that old saying, “Less is more.” Do not overdo it. Like for example, people think – they get carried away with their garden ornamentation. Before you know it, it looks like something out of a miniature golf course. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: So bottom line, little bit of drama goes a long way; huh, Michael?
MICHAEL: You got it. Less is more. So one really dramatic focal point is powerful enough for the entire yard.
TOM: Perfect. Michael Glassman, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you want to check out some of Michael’s designs, go to his website at MichaelGlassman.com. Good tips, good advice. Thanks again, Mike.
MICHAEL: Thank you and it’s my pleasure.
LESLIE: Well, it’s always fun to chat with Michael.
Still more to come. You know, fall is right around the corner and if you’re thinking about replacing your windows, the available tax credit makes it the perfect time to do just that. We’re going to have tips to help you choose the right kind of glass for those windows, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:26:08.8]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where our motto is to measure twice, cut once and always paint over your mistakes. (Leslie chuckles) I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Energizer Hard Case Pro Flashlight worth 25 bucks. It’s got four bright-white LEDs. It uses Energizer Max batteries that are going to give you 30 hours of running time and a shatterproof lens, which is fantastic because I tend to get the dropsies a lot. The number here again is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, so give us a call right now and have your home improvement or your home décor question ready to go.
TOM: Well, it’s a great time to think about replacing your old windows for more energy efficient ones with a tax credit that can help defray the cost of those new windows. You want to pay close attention, though, to the type of windows you’re buying because safety is a big element to look for. Do the windows have good locks? You know, multi-locking systems on windows can help protect your home from intruders while also making it much more difficult for curious kids to find their way to open windows as well.
LESLIE: Next you want to think about the glass. Now, tempered or impact-resistant glass can help protect your home from potential intruders and the stray baseballs that perhaps your neighbors might …
TOM: Important in my neighborhood.
LESLIE: (chuckles) It happens a lot in my neighborhood as well. Now the thickness of the glass also adds to your home’s energy efficiency. So to help with your window shopping, we’ve put together a bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. Now we put it together with the help from our expert friends over at Simonton Windows. It’s available to download for free right now at MoneyPit.com and you can also visit Simonton’s website at Simonton.com/TaxCredit for all the information you are ever going to need about which windows qualify for the tax credit so you will get ones that will absolutely give you a big return on your investment.
TOM: There’s never been a better time to replace your windows because that tax credit is worth $1,500 off of the money you owe the government. So it’s a good time to think about doing that project. We’ve got all the tips on MoneyPit.com. Download the free replacement window guide right there.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Janine in Texas has a mess that is giving her a hard time cleaning up. How did you get the glue on the carpet, young lady?
JANINE: Well, first of all, it's a rent house so we don't know and we're not certain that it is glue. It's in front of one closet door (Tom chuckles) and then it's in - kind of in the pathway between the kitchen and the living room.
TOM: Man, what project were they doing there? (Janine groans)
LESLIE: It sounds like a lot.
JANINE: (overlapping voices) Too many bad things. But any idea what might take up something that's dried that hard that is like glue.
TOM: Well, you can't really soften the glue. It's almost impossible to do. So what we have to talk about here is some options for strategic replacement. Now you mentioned that one area was in front of the closet. Does the carpet happen to extend into the closet?
JANINE: Yes, it does.
TOM: OK, because the carpet that's in the closet could become the patch material. If you were to cut the carpet in front of the closet and have it professionally seamed, a good carpet installer can do this.
LESLIE: You would never even notice.
TOM: Yeah, it'd be absolutely invisible.
TOM: So that's one option. Where is the second area? You said in the hallway?
JANINE: In the living room.
LESLIE: Man, this was a big disaster.
TOM: Yeah, it was. You know in an area that's a little more obvious like that, you could do an inset carpet that was a different type of carpet and kind of creating a pattern this way. You could use carpet tile or you could simply use a throw rug, frankly, just to cover it.
JANINE: Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bill in Michigan is dealing with a hard water situation. How can we help?
BILL: Hi. We've got well water at our house and it tastes pretty good but we get this buildup and it kind of looks like sand but it's kind of white and grainy. I mean you've got to clean the aerators out of the faucets all the time.
TOM: Bill, you have what is known in the industry as hard water and it can happen with well water and it can happen with city water.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It can happen with city water, too.
TOM: Yeah, and it has to do with what the source supply of the water is. If there's a lot of rock where the water pulls from, you're going to end up getting a lot of mineral deposits inside that water and it does tend to clog up faucets and showerheads and sometimes it can build up as sediment in the bottom of water heaters and cause the early failure of water heaters.
So two ways that you can tackle this. You can use a salt-based water softening system; effective but pretty expensive and costly to install. Or you can use another product that's fairly new to the market but is getting a lot of really great reviews. It's called EasyWater and basically what EasyWater does it works electronically to stop the water from building up. You purchase an EasyWater unit; you wrap a signal wire around the main water pipe and basically this unit charges those mineral particles so that they will no longer stick to the faucets ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Together.
TOM: ... and no longer stick together – right – and no longer build up as sediment. And that's a lot less expensive way to go that is very, very successful. In fact, some of the – this company actually started in the industrial business of serving clients like Frito-Lay and other big manufacturers that have a lot of tools and a lot of water that is used in the manufacture of their food products and used to get all kinds of mineral buildup and these are the kinds of products that would solve that. So check out that product ...
BILL: Do I need a plumber?
TOM: No, you don't because it's just a signal wire that's wrapped around the water and it changes the composition of the minerals in the water so they no longer stick.
TOM: Sounds easy.
TOM: It is. EasyWater.com is their website.
BILL: Thanks, guys. Love the show.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, are you looking to create a more functional space in a super-tiny bathroom? Well, if you are, we’re going to tell you how to do a mini-makeover for maximum results, when we come back.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:24.2]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and if you are looking for one last book to cram into your summer reading schedule, well why not add us to that summer reading list. We’ve got our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and it is the ultimate look-before-you-leap guide to home improvement. So if you’re planning a project and looking for a good read, it kills two birds with one stone.
Now, in our book, we deliver the tips and advice that you need to successfully tackle almost any home improvement project and we will tell you how to get your hands on a copy if you head on over to MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And while you’re at MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie just like Vic did in Florida. And Vic says, “I live in a condo on the seventh floor of nine floors. Would it be possible to have a powerful air vent fan above the stove to eliminate odors when cooking?” and the answer, Vic, is no. (Leslie chuckles) Because when you live in a multi-family situation like this, the ventilation is part of what is termed the common element; in other words, it has to be common to the entire building.
Now, if there is ductwork that goes through the entire building that you can connect into, then fine and, yes, you can buy a better-quality exhaust fan that can move more air. But if not, then there are no options. I mean there are recycling exhaust fans, as you well know, but most of the ones that we see around here are pretty lousy. But you can special order ones that have much more higher-efficiency filtration systems in them but that’s probably the best that you’re going to be able to do. So I would start by finding out what the infrastructure this building has for you and find out if you can duct into that.
LESLIE: And always ask because, in a condo situation, you don’t want to get in trouble for that.
Alright, now we’ve got one from John in New York who writes: “I have a mold problem growing on the side of my house. The siding is composed of asbestos shingles. Would power washing do the trick or is there a better way?”
TOM: First of all, everyone calls anything that grows on their house mold. It’s usually not mold, it’s moss. And power washing can do the trick but only if you treat it first with a bleach-and-water solution or a siding wash material which is essentially an oxygenated bleach. You have to saturate it first, let it sit for ten minutes or so and then you can blast off what’s left with a pressure washer set on a gentle setting.
LESLIE: And you know what, John? It is going to be the most satisfying project because once you put that bleach and water on there, it will just vanish. So enjoy.
TOM: Well, is a small bath or powder room giving you a real decorating challenge? Leslie’s got some solutions in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Just because it’s a small bathroom doesn’t mean it has to be a problem bathroom. If you head over to an organizing store, there are plenty of products out there that you can install without a major makeover to make that super-small space seem not only bigger but more functional.
For example, consider a corner-mount sink. You know, whether it’s a pedestal style or wall-mounted, a corner sink will free up a good amount of floor space; thus making that tiny powder room much larger. Now you can set up some space-saving storage elsewhere in the room also and that means you don’t need the traditional cabinet/vanity and a smaller bowl sink. If you get the smaller sink, it’s still going to provide plenty of capacity. You’ll be able to wash your hands, your face, whatever you need.
Now, another sink option is the vessel style, which is mounted on a scaled-down cabinet or other furnishing that you might find at a thrift store or a salvage yard that could provide a good amount of storage. But you have to make sure that there’s room for all of the plumbing components that you need back there. You might need to make some changes to that piece of furnishing but if you find something cute, it can work.
Now, your toilet – if you’ve got a flat-top tank, that gives you another storage spot. Whether you take advantage of that flat top and put organizers directly on top of it or think about using that wall space above for a hanging cabinet or shelving or even those nice cabinets that stand right above the toilet itself, you can find some beautiful things, do some research, take advantage of all those little, hidden spaces and a tiny powder room will suddenly become your favorite bathroom in the entire house.
TOM: Good tip.
Coming up next week on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about backup standby generators. You know, they’re a great addition to any home because having one means you’ll never be left in the dark when the power goes out. We’re going to teach you everything that you need to know to choose a generator that’s right for your home on the next edition of The Money Pit home improvement radio show.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
[audio timestamp: 0:37:05.9]
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(Copyright 2009 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)