Get tips to keep kids safe. With their smaller size, children are far more at risk for poisoning at home than adults, Tom and Leslie have tips to keep kids safe. Learn how landscaping is an easy and inexpensive way to add value to your home. Find out the best way to keep your hot water heater running efficiently. Plus, get answers to your home improvement questions about: Kitchen cabinets, oil tank disposal, roof replacement, replacement windows, driveway repair and repairing a storage shed.
TRANSCRIPT FOR AUGUST 31, 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: 0:00:25.0]
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: Don’t look now but your home improvement projects just got a little bit easier because we’re here to help. No, we’re not going to come to your house (Leslie chuckles) and pick up the hammers and pick up the paintbrushes and do the job for you but we’ll walk you through it. So whether you’re in the middle of a project or you’re in the middle of the home center aisles and don’t know what product to buy, where to go, where to turn, pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, thanks so much for joining us today. We’ve got a great show for you, lots of information to cover including if you’re like me and you’ve got little kids in your house, you know, their tiny, pint sizes makes them a lot more at risk for household toxins. So we’re going to have tips to help you keep your kids safe.
TOM: And also ahead, as many have learned in the recent recession, some investments are a little safer than others. But here’s a home improvement investment that always pays off a big return: landscaping. We’re going to have some tips on how you can spend a little to get a lot of value.
LESLIE: And to get you started on that landscaping project or any project that you feel like taking on, we are giving away a $50 gift card to Lowe’s this hour. It’s courtesy of Therma-Tru and they are the makers of the Benchmark door, which is available only at Lowe’s.
TOM: So, pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. One caller we talk to this hour, whose name is drawn at random out of the Money Pit hardhat, is going to get that $50 gift card from Lowe’s. Let’s get right to those phones; the board is filling up.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Barbara in Texas needs some help sprucing up a kitchen. What can we do for you?
BARBARA: Hi. I’m calling to find out – I want to do my kitchen countertops and I understand that there’s something called GIANI aluminum paint that you put on in different – comes in different colors and I think that it was a Thomas and something company and I’d like to know where.
TOM: Yeah, you got pieces of it right there. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
BARBARA: OK. (chuckles)
TOM: The product is called GIANI. It’s made by a company that also manufactures liquid stainless steel and that’s why you’re a little confused by it. And the company, in fact, is called Thomas’ Kitchen Art.
So, you got a lot of the words; just got them mixed up a little bit. The website is simply LiquidStainlessSteel.com and the liquid stainless steel is a paint that you can use on kitchen appliances that does, in fact, look just like stainless steel. It’s pretty cool stuff.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And it’s very durable.
TOM: Very durable.
LESLIE: But that’s for your appliances.
TOM: And they’ve invented the world’s first granite paint kit for laminate countertops. You can put this stuff right on Formica countertops and it looks just like granite. And that, in fact, is called GIANI. So go to LiquidStainlessSteel.com and you will see the options there for GIANI and Leslie and I have seen it, we’ve tried it; it works pretty well and I think you’ll like it.
LESLIE: It comes in two different tones, Barbara.
BARBARA: Very good. I’m glad to know that. I’m excited.
TOM: Alright. Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Vic, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
VIC: Well, just – for one, I just wanted to thank you all so much for this show. It’s great for us weekend-warrior, contractor-wannabes. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
TOM: Thanks, Vic. (Vic chuckles)
VIC: My question is – the SharkBites; I had read about them and I’ve seen them and I wondered how well they really work instead of soldering copper piping because it would really make things a lot faster.
TOM: Great technology. We have seen them in action; we’ve seen them at the trade shows. Met with the SharkBite people, saw them demonstrated and pretty impressive technology. Definitely see how that could come in handy and especially I like the fact that because you don’t have to solder pipes, they’re a lot safer when you’re working in tight spaces like crawlspace or something like that.
LESLIE: 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, 7 days a week. We promise we will help you get your project done so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, their pint size puts kids at risk from hidden dangers in your house. Learn how to keep them safe, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:04:34.3]
ANNOUNCER: 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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air is going to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card. You could use it towards a great investment in energy efficiency and curb appeal; that is a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Benchmark doors are made for easy installation. They’ve got the look of wood with all the benefits of fiberglass, so think about it. No rotting, no warping, no swelling, no cracking, no rusting. It’s going to go to one caller who reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question.
LESLIE: Well, prior to the break, we were talking about kids. If you’ve got them in your house and you’ve got little guys around, pound for pound, kids breathe way more air than adults. And babies have more than double the skin area in relation to their tiny little organs so they’re at greater risk for inhaling or absorbing particles from those household products that you might be using.
So you want to reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals by switching to less toxic cleansers, beauty products and pesticides; whatever you use around the house. Make sure that, you know, they’re a little bit more green and eco-friendly. You want to look for organic or natural cleaners and when you’re painting or doing any project around the house with redesigning, look for things that are low-VOC in paints and in stains.
Now, there are a lot greener options available these days and your family will stay healthier with all of these options and they are much easier to find. So don’t be afraid; do your research and do the right thing for your little munchkins.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement or your home safety question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading out west to Oregon, where Janet is having some issues with a driveway. Tell us about the problem.
JANET: Hi. It’s crumbling … (chuckles)
JANET: … and cracking and it just looks awful and I’d like to find something that I could resurface it with. Is there some product that could go over the existing concrete?
TOM: Yeah, Janet. There’s a product called Abocrete – A-b-o-c-r-e-t-e – and it’s made by a company called Abatron – A-b-a-t-r-o-n. That’s their website, Abatron.com. This is a multi-part product. It’s an epoxy patching compound. You mix it together and it is incredibly durable stuff. It’s unaffected by saltwater, by oils, by other chemicals. It will hold to any type of deteriorated concrete surface and basically allow you to rebuild the deteriorated surface that’s right there.
Now, if you’re doing a big driveway, you might need quite a bit of this and you’re going to have to decide whether the cost of the product is worth it or maybe you just want to tear the driveway out and start again. But that’s the product to use to resurface it.
JANET: OK. Wonderful. Well, I thank you for your information.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Virginia to chat with Debbie about a cleaning project. What can we do for you?
DEBBIE: Yes. I’m just wondering, before I purchase the Haan Steam Cleaner that they advertise, the info-commercial, if that’s OK to use on laminate flooring. It says that it is but I was wondering because I know that if floors get wet, especially the laminate, if they get too wet, they will warp, you know. So I just want to make sure before I purchase that, that that’s OK.
TOM: Well, I’ve actually had mixed results with laminate floor. You know, the original laminate floor, when it first came out, I used to demo the stuff by actually soaking it in a sink or a tub for hours on end and nothing would ever happen to the stuff. I have heard that some grades of laminate seem to be more susceptible to moisture than others but, generally speaking, I think it’s pretty durable stuff.
As far as the steam cleaner – you know, as long as you don’t heat up and really saturate any one place on your floor, I don’t think it’s going to have an effect; it’s basically like giving it a hot-water bath.
DEBBIE: OK. Well, it says that it dries pretty fast.
TOM: That’s what I mean.
DEBBIE: OK, OK. But I just wanted to make sure because I sure would hate to damage them. So, OK.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, yeah. They’re beautiful.
DEBBIE: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And let me tell you, I have seen those infomercials for the steam cleaner she’s talking about and you watch this commercial and you literally want to buy one and clean every single thing (Tom chuckles) in your entire money pit and I swear …
TOM: It sounds like it’s a pressure washer for inside your house.
TOM: Once you get started, you can’t stop.
LESLIE: It’s true. (Tom chuckles)
Well, apparently our next caller, who is Solomon in Virginia, has a lot of dust in the house. (Tom chuckles) So what is going on?
SOLOMON: Hello. How are you?
LESLIE: Great. How can we help you with your dusty house?
SOLOMON: Well, I don’t know. I have a house that seems to manufacture dust … (Leslie chuckles)
SOLOMON: … and I haven’t quite figured out why. Just wondering, any suggestions?
TOM: Do you have kids?
SOLOMON: No. I have pets.
TOM: Well, that could be part of the problem. Pets do generate a lot of dust. You have a forced-air heating system? Heating and cooling system?
TOM: Alright. What kind of filtration system do you have on it, Solomon?
SOLOMON: I’m not sure what you mean.
TOM: A filter.
SOLOMON: It’s got the filters on the furnace itself.
TOM: Yeah. Is it like the disposable, one-inch thick, fiberglass filters?
SOLOMON: Yes, yes, yes.
TOM: Yeah, we call those rock-stoppers because that’s about the only thing it stops. You need a more efficient filtration system for your heating and cooling system. What we would recommend is something called an electronic air cleaner. These are about 50 times more efficient than the filters you have on right now and you will see a measurable difference in the amount of dust that is getting out into your house if you put a good filter on.
SOLOMON: OK. And where do I get this?
TOM: It’s something that has to be professionally installed and probably two of the top brands are Aprilaire or Trane. So contact your local heating and cooling contractor and see about having one of the two of those installed onto your system and I think you’ll see a huge difference. And think about all the hours you’ll save cleaning your house. (Leslie chuckles)
SOLOMON: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Solomon. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ernest in Louisiana is dealing with some energy-inefficient windows. What can we do for you today?
ERNEST: My house was built in 1959 with the aluminum, single-graded windows.
ERNEST: And I wondered if it’d be just as efficient to add just a window covering. I’ve got 15 windows in my house. I’m trying to save money putting them in plus money – just see if it’d make any difference in the price to replace them or just cover them with some storm windows.
TOM: Well, I’ve got to tell you, with aluminum windows, they are probably the most inefficient window design out there. Not only is the single pane not going to hold any heat or cool in or out of your house but the metal has such thermal properties that the temperature just kind of zings right through it. Unfortunately, this is not a situation, Ernest, where we could recommend replacement windows because the frames with aluminum windows have to be removed; so you have to put a new construction window in.
So what I would suggest is, first of all, I would not recommend you throw sort of good money after bad by putting in storm windows because those are going to be, you know, expensive …
LESLIE: Unless you have them.
TOM: Well, yeah, but I wouldn’t go buying them.
TOM: What I would do is I would put my money into replacing the windows. Now, if you don’t want to do them all at the same time, that’s fine; you know, do the north side of the house, then the west, then the east, then the south. And in the meanwhile, for those other windows, I would just use different types of materials inside to try to make the house a little bit warmer and deal with the insulation loss there. So I would kind of plug the gaps as best I could but I would definitely put my money into replacing the windows as I could afford it because that’s definitely going to give you the best return on investment.
ERNEST: I see. Well, I appreciate that. I put two new doors in and believe it or not, just putting those two new doors in where – I have a lot of entrances into my house and I looked at my power bill and I saved 192 kilowatts of energy over the same period last year.
TOM: Wow, that’s fantastic. Well, I’ve got to tell you, you’ll save a lot more than that if you replace those windows. And if you’re skilled enough to do those improvements yourself, Ernest, that’s definitely the way to go.
ERNEST: OK. Well, I thank you. That helps a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re remodeling your bathroom you’d be like our next caller. Carolyn in New York, how can we help you on this adventure?
CAROLYN: I’m planning to remodel my bathroom in a month or so and I’ve got a couple of questions.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
CAROLYN: One, as far as the type of bathtub I’ll get – I’m going to take out my existing tub and I’m not sure if I should put in a new cast-iron tub or fiberglass or acrylic or I think there’s a porcelain over steel.
TOM: What’s your style?
CAROLYN: Oh, it’s just a small bathroom in about a 50-year-old house and I’m not – you know, I haven’t gotten everything – you know, all the fixtures picked out yet.
CAROLYN: But I’ve been advised a couple of different ways. I’ve got a few estimates and most people say to go with the cast-iron and then one person said, “No, not the cast-iron. Just get a fiberglass tub.”
TOM: Well, I mean the cast-iron is going to last indefinitely and that’s sort of the old, traditional way to go.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And they’re beautiful and they’re deep and you can get a claw-footed one and you can get a beautiful sort of free-standing tub. I mean, it’s truly a classic choice.
TOM: Yeah. But fiberglass is a less expensive choice but it’s going to have more maintenance associated with it. How long do you plan on living in the house, Carolyn? Is this the house for as many years as possible or is this a house that you might have just for a couple of years and you may need to sell?
CAROLYN: Well, probably at least 10 years I’ll be here.
LESLIE: Tom, when she’s choosing, say, fiberglass or cast iron, is there anything to consider like perhaps the floor joists, their direction, as far as the weight of the tub plus the weight of water?
TOM: I don’t think so because I imagine in a 50-year-old house you probably have a cast-iron tub right now.
CAROLYN: Right, I do. I have a cast-iron tub now.
TOM: Yeah. Have you thought about having the existing tub reglazed?
CAROLYN: Well, I’ve been told that that doesn’t last that long.
TOM: Well, it doesn’t but it’s a lot less expensive.
TOM: I mean, you could probably get several years out of it.
CAROLYN: Well, they’ll be taking the walls down and retiling. That’s another question that I have, too, is that – can I tile over the existing ceramic tile or should they rip the floor out and put new underlayment and new tile?
TOM: If you’re going to replace the tub, then you probably want to take all the old tile down. If you were keeping the tub and you wanted to put another layer of tile, you can, in fact, put tile on top of tile. As long as you have a good tile installer that can make the corners look nice and neat and nothing is terribly – looks out of place, it is possible. It’s done on floors all the time.
CAROLYN: OK. Alright. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carolyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jerry in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JERRY: Well, I burn fuel oil and it – I have hot water baseboard heat and my water is heated through the oil furnace. Well, the last time I got oil – it was about a month ago – it was $3.90 a gallon, so – which is pretty scary. And so I’m looking at some other types of ways to save fuel. You know, I thought about a fireplace insert, a hot water heater; and I’m just not sure if any of those things are good ways to save money or if I’m throwing good money after bad.
TOM: Well, instead of looking at your mechanical system, which is pretty expensive to change, have you thought about doing a home energy audit of your house, as it is now, to see if we can make your home more efficient?
JERRY: No, I never did think of that.
TOM: Yeah. You might want to think about doing that. You know, there are some sites online that can walk you through the do-it-yourself version. There are energy auditors out there that can do it professionally. And I would concentrate on trying to figure out how I could make my home more energy-efficient so you burn less fuel.
You know, having a hot water baseboard system is fantastic; I mean, it’s the best kind of heating system that you can have because it’s warm and it’s moist. The oil is expensive right now but other fuels are not going to make that big of a difference to you because you’d end up having to replace your system, your mechanical system, which would ruin the cost efficiency.
So I would think about improving insulation; I’d think about cutting back on drafts. In terms of a fireplace – well, do you have a fireplace right now?
JERRY: Yeah, I do.
TOM: And you talked about putting an insert into that? Well, you know, the damper on the fireplace, if it’s closed, that’s going to be as efficient as you can make that, with or without an insert, so that you’re not leaving it open all day long so the heat isn’t rushing out the chimney. But little things like this can make a difference on how much energy you use.
So I think, in your situation, I would concentrate on making the home as efficient as possible and then get an energy audit to help me do just that.
JERRY: Mm-hmm. OK. I’ll give that a whirl.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, a small investment in landscaping can bring you a big return when it comes time to sell your house. We’ll help you do that math, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:29.0]
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to say these words: fall is on the way. (Tom chuckles) Say it with me, folks: no more humidity; no more heat. Hurray! Autumn! And you know what? Because of the no-humidity and the no-more-heat that we are about to experience around the home improvement industry, we like to call it Goldilocks season because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold; it’s just …
TOM: It’s just right. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Exactly, for just about any of those projects that you’ve got in mind. So if you’re looking for some ideas to help you get started with your project, then check out our article. We’ve got one called Fall Fix-Ups and it’s online right now at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And while you’re on MoneyPit.com, you can check out the projects that are going to help you save time and money and increase the value of your home, like landscaping. You know, spending just $500 on an entryway landscaping project can improve the curb appeal and deliver a $5,000 increase in purchase price when it comes time to sell your home. Try getting your stockbroker to give you that kind of a promise. (Leslie chuckles) Well, I’m pretty sure that Bernie Madoff did but that didn’t work out so well.
TOM: For more ways to improve that entryway, think about container gardening: adding some potted plants, some small trees, some flowerboxes. They can all improve the look of that space. And by the way, you don’t have to have a yard to improve the look of your entryway. Container gardens work fine in small apartments, in condos, in co-ops; any place that you have a little natural light, you can definitely spruce it up with a little local landscaping around that front door.
888-666-3974. Who’s next? Let’s get back to those phones.
LESLIE: Virginia in Michigan has got a leaky roof. Tell us about the problem.
VIRGINIA: In 1994, I had a new roof put on.
VIRGINIA: And we had a really bad storm and my roof leaked but they can’t seem to find anything that was wrong with it.
TOM: So it only leaked this one time and you’ve never had a problem with it before?
TOM: It’s probably wind-driven rain that came, you know, in some angle and pushed up under some portion of the roof and into the house.
TOM: But where did it show up in the house?
VIRGINIA: In my bedroom.
TOM: In your bedroom. Hmm. Well, I’ve got to tell you, I would tend to maybe want to live with it a little bit, maybe through the next couple of rainstorms, to see if it happens again. If it does, I can tell you the most common places that roofs leak would be around intersections; so where two roofs come together or where the roof intersects a wall or …
LESLIE: Or where you have a protrusion like a chimney or a vent pipe.
TOM: Exactly. Those are all the usual suspects, Virginia.
VIRGINIA: Wow. OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Nick in Alabama needs some help in the basement. What’s going on at your money pit?
NICK: Well, my money pit is a lead problem with paint.
NICK: I’ve got an older house and, as you know, you don’t want to – I’ve read all the abatement rules and all that. But in places where you cannot scrape or clean or whatever, is there a primer or an overcoat on the market that you can put over that would safely seal the lead paint under it?
TOM: Yeah, there’s two techniques: one is removal; the other one is encapsulation and that’s what you’re talking about.
TOM: And there are primers that are designed specifically to encapsulate lead paint.
LESLIE: You know, Nick, there’s one actually online that you can find called Nansulate and the website is Nansulate.com. It’s a little bit pricey. You’re looking at about $80 for a gallon and almost $400 for a five-gallon pail.
TOM: And Nick, if you have kids that you’re real concerned about, there’s another encapsulating paint called Child Guard and what’s different about Child Guard is it has an additive called Bitrex which basically makes the coating bitter. So if any kid tried to taste any of that paint at any point in time in the future, it would have a very, very bad taste to it.
So the products are out there. They’re called encapsulants and that’s the way to coat that lead paint so you get a nice, neutral surface and you can go from there.
NICK: OK. That’s good. Well, that’s all I need to know.
TOM: Nick, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, up next, if you’ve got a little guy like mine who is constantly obsessed with touching the knobs on the oven, (Tom chuckles) we are going to have kitchen safety tips for your kiddies; so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:23:01.0]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100-percent 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. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT and one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 gift card to Lowe’s. Now, you can use it toward a great investment in energy efficiency and curb appeal, which we know everybody is looking at. You can get yourself a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. It’s available exclusively at Lowe’s. It is absolutely gorgeous; totally energy-efficient. If you want to be in it to win it, pick up the phone with your home improvement question and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Now, a special message for parents out there. Let’s talk about some child-safety tips for the kitchen because, first off, stoves are a real danger zone.
TOM: What you can do to prevent accidental burns and fires is to turn all the pot and pan handles away from the front of your stove and use those backburners whenever possible. This is a habit that we had to get into as parents because the thing with kids is, they learn new stuff every day and just when you think …
LESLIE: Yeah, every minute.
TOM: Yeah. Just when you think you know what their behavior is, they learn something else, so they always have to be …
LESLIE: Or they get taller.
TOM: Right. (Leslie chuckles) Or you always really have to be ahead of the game. The other thing that you could do is pull the lighter knobs off the stove when they’re not in use and keep them in a nearby drawer. This can also help if you have pets. In fact, we heard a story once of a cat that actually jumped up on a stove, turned on a gas line and when the family came home several hours later, their entire home was filled with gas.
LESLIE: Oh, my God.
TOM: Not only do you have to make your kitchen kid-proof but you have to make it somewhat pet-proof. And the newer stoves today actually have sort-of child lockout devices that makes it a lot harder to accidentally turn things on as well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You also want to really be sure to teach you kids to stay away whenever Mommy or Daddy are doing any of the cooking; just keep them away. And also, when you’re installing a new range, you want to install anti-tip brackets, which can prevent the entire range from tipping over if your kids climb up to or pull on your oven door because my son really thinks it’s fantastic to try to hang on the oven door; it’s excellent. And our newfangled stove doesn’t have a locking mechanism for the door; only when it’s in cleaning mode. So I really have to be diligent and, like Tom said, you know, the kids become more monkey-like every day so just be careful and teach them to stay away.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Going over to Maryland now, where Karen has got a driveway that’s cracking up. Tell us about it.
KAREN: Well, thank you very much for taking my call.
LESLIE: Our pleasure.
KAREN: I have some cracks in the driveway. We’ve just moved into the house not long ago and there are some cracks in the sidewalk. And I had listened to one of your shows a while back and written down what you suggested. Went to two hardware stores – Lowe’s and Home Depot – and they said they didn’t know what I was talking about.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
KAREN: Since then, I’ve lost the …
LESLIE: The piece of paper.
KAREN: … paper with the name of the product.
TOM: Alright. How big are these cracks?
KAREN: Oh, I would say no more than maybe a quarter-inch.
TOM: OK. And it’s concrete we’re talking about?
KAREN: We’re talking about concrete. Yes, sir.
TOM: Alright. So you can use either a flowable urethane or if you can’t find that, you can use silicone caulk. I’m sure both home centers will sell you silicone caulk.
KAREN: OK …
TOM: And that will sit in there. It’ll wear well, last about five years and it will expand and contract. And what it will do, Karen, is it will reduce the amount of water that gets into those cracks …
TOM: … and that’s really what you want to do because, as the water gets in, it freezes and it makes them worse.
KAREN: Oh, OK.
TOM: So that’s why you’re filling them up.
KAREN: OK. And what suggestion do you have where I could find – what’d you say it was? Flowable urethane?
TOM: Flowable urethane? Well, that’s another sort of hardware store/home improvement store …
LESLIE: Staple, really.
TOM: … sort of staple. I mean, it’s pretty common. But if you can’t find it, use silicone caulk. That’ll work just as well.
KAREN: OK. I thank you so very much and I think your show is absolutely fantastic.
TOM: Thank you very much. We appreciate that, Karen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading over to Texas to chat with Gene about a shed project. What can we do for you?
GENE: Yeah, I’ve got a storage shed – a 10x13 – and I’ve had it, oh, 15, 17 years; something like that. And the material that it’s built out of on the outside, it’s kind of like compressed paper with wood grain on top of it.
TOM: Ah, the dreaded composite siding.
GENE: Yeah. And it’s decompositing. (chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, well that stuff …
LESLIE: It’s become a sponge.
TOM: That stuff is fine as long as you paint it every day before you go to work.
GENE: (chuckling) Oh, yeah. So, what would be the best to replace that with …
TOM: Well, it’s makes a good …
GENE: … so that it doesn’t happen again?
TOM: You know, it makes a good sheathing product and so you could probably put new siding right over that. Now, you’ve got a number of choices. What’s your house sided with right now?
GENE: I’ve got vinyl siding on my house.
TOM: You’ve got vinyl? Well, you know, if you – it depends on what you – how you want this thing to look. I mean, you could vinyl-side the shed or, if you wanted to sort of do it yourself, you could put T1-11 on top of the composite siding. T1-11 can look like sort of board and batten siding. You could use a shingle product like a hardy plank shingle, a cement asbestos shingle. You could pretty much put any siding product right on top of that and just consider the existing composite to be the sheathing for it.
GENE: Alright. Why, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gene. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Judy in Florida is looking to insulate her home. What can we help you with?
JUDY: Hi, I’d like to ask a question about using foam inside a new home that we’re constructing and wanted to know the pros and cons.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
JUDY: And we were looking at the – closed-cell? Closed-cell.
TOM: Are you referring to polyisonene?
JUDY: Uh-huh. Something similar to that.
TOM: Yeah, good choice; very, very energy efficient; has to be installed at the time the home is constructed but does a great job of not only insulating the home but also sealing against drafts, because it does fill up all of the cavities and all of the bays. It’s an expandable foam. So when it’s sprayed, it expands; it takes up all the space and it’s trimmed and that really does a good job.
You know, when you just put fiberglass bats in there, there’s still a lot of air that can get in around that.
TOM: But the expandable foam insulations eliminate that problem.
JUDY: Uh-huh. Any problems with it being too tight? Making the house too tight?
TOM: No, absolutely not. And in fact, if your home was too tight that would be a good thing because you would then put in an air-to-air heat exchanger which will let in fresh air but it will trap the heated or the cooled air on the way out so you don’t have to reheat or recool.
So, you don’t have to worry about whether or not the insulation will make the home too tight. If it is too tight, there is another appliance that could be installed that will fix that and it’s called an air-to-air heat exchanger.
JUDY: So that’s a good idea, then?
TOM: Excellent idea.
JUDY: OK. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Judy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and enjoy your new home.
JUDY: Thank you.
LESLIE: Hey, you’ve got a half an hour? Well, if you do, it is plenty of time to take on one of the dozens of home maintenance musts. We are going to give you one to get you started, right after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:30:52.7]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where home solutions live. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete. And hey, if you think that home maintenance projects have to take ages and ages, they don’t. If you’ve got a half an hour, you have got the time to take on one of those 30 home maintenance musts. Now, we list them all for you in our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. And maintaining your house can feel overwhelming and you can feel like there’s just never enough time.
TOM: Yeah. But just put aside 30 minutes once a month or so and we can tell you exactly what to do. Go to MoneyPit.com to learn where to get the book. We’re going to have your first of 30-minute maintenance tips right after we answer a few e-mails, starting with Mike in New Jersey.
LESLIE: Alright. Mike writes: “I have a 35-year-old concrete, yellowed, discolored patio surrounding my 35-year-old inground pool. We …”
TOM: It’s nice to have matching (Leslie chuckles) concrete and pool.
LESLIE: Now he says: “We would like to stain or paint the patio to make it more attractive and bring it back to life. It’s in good structural shape otherwise; the concrete patio has never been stained or painted. What do you recommend?” Now …
TOM: Sounds like a good candidate for acid staining.
LESLIE: And acid staining is absolutely gorgeous. Now, you can have it done by a pro; they kind of know all the tricks of the trade – what colors to mix and match – and they can make it work exactly as expected. But if you want to try something yourself, QUIKRETE has an acid-staining product, which I have seen and tried and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
For exterior, they do sort of like a golden ochre-y color, a coppery color and a green. And you can create a pattern, you can mix it in swirls, you can just do sort of a tone-on-tone wash. It’s gorgeous; it permeates right through the surface of the concrete. It will stay on there and it will really be a great project so check out QUIKRETE’s website.
Now, we’ve got one here from Shane who writes: “A tenant recently vacated one of my apartments and I can’t get that cat urine smell out of it. It’s got an old, wood floor. Is there something that I can clean the floor with that will neutralize the smell?”
TOM: Yes. And that product that we like is called Odor Free 1-2-3 or is it 1-2-3 Odor Free?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, 1-2-3 Odor Free.
LESLIE: And the website is JustRite.com.
TOM: That’s right. JustRite.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And it’s R-i-t-e. And it really is a great product. Mike is the owner; he’s fantastic. I tell you, we used it when we first got our puppy, Daisy. I know I’ve told you this a hundred times but it really got rid of the odor. So give that a try, Shane. You’ll have to sort of mix and match and use the products in a very specific order but, if you follow the directions, you can really make that smell go away for good.
TOM: Now, Leslie, if little Henry has any accidents, does the 1-2-3 Odor Free work for that as well?
LESLIE: (chuckling) We haven’t gotten to that point yet. (Tom chuckles) I am sure we will.
TOM: Well, sometimes people think that home improvement projects, and especially maintenance tasks, take a long time to do. We’re here to tell you they do not. Have you got 30 minutes? It’s enough time to take on one of the 30 home maintenance musts that we’ve got listed in our book, My Home, My Money Pit. And draining your water heater is one of those tips. Leslie has got the step-by-step in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Your water heater – you love it. It gives you hot water when you ask for it, so why not show it some love? Now, your water heater – it can build up sediment, on the boot, that makes them less efficient. So to keep yours running at peak efficiency, you want to use the tank’s drain valve and carefully let a few gallons of water out of the tank every six months.
Now, if this seems like too much of a chore, go ahead and install a tankless water heater. These are going to give you maximum efficiency and far less maintenance and, let me tell you, they take up a lot less room. So pay attention to your water heater because one day you’re going to be like, “Why is the water cold?” And then you’ll be aware of exactly where your water heater is. So, spend the weekend with yours and help it out.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We’re just about out of time but before we go we want to tell you that coming up next week on the show, there’s one secret to making sure your do-it-yourself plumbing projects are sealed up tight. We’re going to get that insider tip from Rich Trethewey; he’s the plumbing and heating expert for This Old House. He’ll join us next week on the program.
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: 0:35:34.6]
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(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.)