Tom and Leslie offer tips on spring storm cleanup including broken windows, discover the recipes for all natural pesticides to help your garden grow green and be green, learn about hardwood flooring options from the founder of one of the most successful flooring companies in America. Plus, get answers to your home improvement questions about remodeling a kitchen, sink worms, repairing walls and ceilings after removing wallpaper, air conditioning replacement, eliminating cigarette odors, replacing kitchen cabinets, plumbing problems, and termite infestation,
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:
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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: And this is where work and fun meet. The work that you have to do to take care of your money pit ends right now, because we’re here to help you get the job done. Now, we’re not going to come there and actually hand you the tools. No, you have to do that part yourself (Leslie chuckles) but we will help you figure out the step-by-step way that you need to know to get that project done, to make your place look great, to stay safe, to have some fun all at the same time. So pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, coming up this hour, we’re going to talk a bit about spring storms. They can bring on damaging wind and rain but you can protect yourself and your home and make it more energy-efficient at the same time with impact-resistant glass.
New trends, now, in the glass used for windows. A lot of folks are turning to impact-resistant glass because we’ve seen so much damage over the years from these high storms. The prices are coming down, the glass looks great and it’s not going to shatter and hurt anybody if something happens to fly through it, like a branch or even, say, a baseball, (Leslie chuckles) which could very well happen at my house. So we’re going to have some tips on the latest in impact-resistant glass, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, we’re going to share with you a very green way to grow your garden pesticide-free, which we all love. We’re going to discover Mother Nature’s all-natural pesticide, a little later.
TOM: And you know, hardwood floors are more popular than ever before, for a very good reason, and they’re also the number one most-asked-about topic we get here on The Money Pit. So, this hour, we’ve decided to dive into the subject of floors with help from the head of one of the most successful flooring companies in America. Tom Sullivan, the president of Lumber Liquidators is going to be joining us, in just a bit, with tips on the latest trends and choices in new flooring, including some info on how to take care of your wood floors in your house.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And this hour, we’re giving away a great prize, in my opinion. We’re giving away a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure.
TOM: I agree. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, (Leslie chuckles) 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question for your chance to win. Let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Alright. Jeff in Texas is working on a kitchen remodel. How can we help you?
JEFF: I’m in the process of gutting my kitchen, basically.
JEFF: I’m taking up the floors and we’re replacing the countertops and I don’t know where to start first; where to begin first in replacing. I bought the tile; we’ve bought the countertops. Where should I start, as far as putting – to be installing?
TOM: I think you should work from the bottom up. I would do the floors first and you have to decide – you have a dishwasher here, Jeff?
JEFF: I do.
TOM: You’re going to have to decide whether you want to tile in under the dishwasher space, because you can’t tile up to it; you won’t be able to get the dishwasher – well, you may get it in but you won’t get it out because you put it in before the top goes on.
LESLIE: Yeah. Once you get the counter on.
TOM: So, keep that in mind and make sure you have enough height for the dishwasher to tile right in under it. And add the countertop as a final step.
JEFF: OK. Great.
TOM: That would be the right order. Just watch the dishwasher issue; that’s where people get themselves in trouble.
JEFF: (chuckling) It’s old Formica and I’m putting in new faux-granite; it looks great [inaudible at 0:03:41.2].
TOM: (overlapping voices) That sounds nice.
LESLIE: Oh, very nice.
TOM: Yeah, that sounds great. But I bet you’re eating a lot of pizza right now while you’ve got the kitchen torn out.
JEFF: Yes, sir. A lot of microwave food. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
LESLIE: Well, you can use a microwave in any room of the house.
JEFF: That’s right. We have it in the dining room. (Leslie and Jeff chuckle)
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Ann in New York on the line. Welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ANN: Yes. In the morning I see, in my kitchen sink, little earthworms. Like very skinny ones and I’m wondering what that’s all about, if you would know anything about that.
TOM: Generally, those are worms that come from drain flies and the reason that they’re there is probably because you need to clean the drains. What I would do is I would get like a bottle brush – and you may even have to take apart your trap under the sink to do this – but you get like a biofilm that sticks to the inside of the pipes and that’s what gives them the food that they sort of like to hang out in.
And if you clean that drain really, really well, then they should go away and they probably will not come back. But they’re basically part of the life cycle of the drain fly and that’s why you get those little worms.
ANN: How about if I pour in bleach?
TOM: Well, I mean, you can do that but really what you need to do is to scrub it clean and get that trap really clean and clean up the film that’s inside. If you just do bleach by itself, you might get rid of them temporarily but you’re going to need to use a little bit of abrasion to get them to stay away once and for all.
Ann, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Hawaii, living my dream. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MIKE: I’m a real estate broker and I have a property on the market and it was built in 1954.
MIKE: And it has shingle siding that, from what the owner tells me, Tom, is that it’s about 18-percent asbestos.
MIKE: What other materials could there be in the siding?
TOM: Well, it’s nothing to worry about here, Mike. What you have is something called cement asbestos siding; very common in the 50s. Incredibly durable stuff because it’s not organic; holds paint very, very well and not an environmental risk unless you break it into a million pieces and release it into the air. Because it’s in a cement binder, it’s not a problem.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because it’s encased.
TOM: Most people end up replacing it because they don’t like the look of it but there’s no asbestos exposure risk issue associated with cement asbestos shingle siding.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home improvement or your home repair question, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, spring storms can bring wind, rain and even hail, as well as some projectiles in the way of the things that perhaps are lying about your yard or your neighbor’s yard that can get picked up by that wind. The good news is that there are ways to protect your home from all the elements. We’re going to tell you about them, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon Horizon decking and their new tropical hardwood colors. Ensure your deck stays as beautiful as the rest of your home. Insist on Horizon decking. To learn more, visit FiberonDecking.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And Leslie, did you see this? We got a really nice e-mail from Tom in Connecticut who explained that he’d been using an expensive antifreeze to winterize his vacation home. But he says after ….
LESLIE: I did see this.
TOM: He says after buying our book, he learned that he could use any marine antifreeze. He immediately went out and bought two gallons and saved himself 20 bucks; the book paid for itself. Well, that’s great. (Leslie chuckles) That’s what it’s supposed to do.
LESLIE: Exactly. And you know what? Speaking of books paying for themselves, one lucky caller that we talk to this hour is going to save a bundle because we’re giving away a copy of our book. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question and your chance to win a very valuable prize.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
Well, you know, spring storms have been pretty nasty this year and the high winds can really damage your house.
At my house, Leslie, we had tree after tree after tree spew off huge branches.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) We lost three Leyland cypress. Mm-hmm.
TOM: It was a really, really rough spring and, of course, winter with tree damage. Fortunately, we didn’t lose any windows but we certainly could have because if a branch or an airborne object breaks a window, that could be a pretty nasty situation.
So, if that happens to you, though, here’s what you need to know. Don’t try to clean out the remaining glass in the frame, because that can be pretty dangerous. You want to use safety glasses to remove the loose pieces and the fallen pieces of glass, of course. And then just go ahead, call your insurance company, get a pro in to take out the window and replace it.
A little trick of the trade, though, to clean up small pieces of glass – you can use several thicknesses of wet paper towels; then toss them right away. You should not use cloth towels, sponges or mops because they can actually harbor tiny pieces of glass and yeah, you won’t know it and who knows? You could use it to wipe your table or your floor later on and leave something behind that somebody could get hurt with.
LESLIE: Yeah, you really have to be careful with glass breakage.
Now, if you do have a broken window, don’t try to replace the glass yourself, because some of the windows have harmless argon glass that actually helps in the window’s energy efficiency. And if you try to replace the glass yourself, you’re never going to get that gas back in there.
Now, a replacement unit, in its entirety, should be ordered and installed by a professional, that perfectly matches the original window. Now, Simonton Windows, they produce Energy Star-qualified replacement windows and new construction windows and doors, including a line of impact-resistant products, which is really, really helpful. And I mean, seriously, as Tom said, this past spring, it just goes to show you, it didn’t matter where in the country you were; we were having hurricane-force winds in New York. I mean, how bizarre with just a regular storm? So you really need to be careful because Mother Nature is clearly going cuckoo this springtime.
And now, Simonton – they’re a great company; they’ve worked with us a lot in putting together window guides and energy-efficient window products that will help you make the right choice for your home. And they’re actually offering special ETC glass packages that are guaranteed to qualify for the energy tax credit.
So head on over to their website. It’s Simonton.com/taxcredit and you’ll get all the information you need right there.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Debbie in Texas needs some help with a painting project. How can we help you?
DEBBIE: Yes. I live in a house that’s about 25 years old and I have some rooms that still have the original wallpaper.
DEBBIE: And I need to know, after I remove that wallpaper, how it is best to prepare the wall before I paint it. And also, I have popcorn ceilings. So if you could help me with that, on whether I should paint over those or try to remove the popcorn and do something else.
TOM: You have a lot of painting in your future (Leslie chuckles), don’t you, Debbie?
DEBBIE: I do.
LESLIE: And unfortunately, a lot of that painting needs a lot of prep work.
DEBBIE: I’m sure it does and that’s – I want to do it correctly.
TOM: Well, you want to get as much of that sizing off the wall as possible and then you’re going to need to prime the wall. And we would recommend a good-quality, oil-based primer in this instance because, you know, we don’t know exactly what that sizing was made of, what that adhesive was made of. We want to make sure that you have a wall that’s really neutral and ready to have new paint applied to it.
If you don’t prime it, then we’re not sure the new paint is going to stick and we want to make sure that not only do we get a nice, even coating to that paint, but it doesn’t come off in a year or two. So that’s the secret there.
As for the popcorn ceiling, the key to painting that is the type of roller that you use. The paint roller you’re looking for is very thick. It’s about an inch thick and it’s sliced – it has like slits in it – and that does hold a lot of paint. It’s kind of a sloppy project but it’ll roll over that popcorn and make it look bright again.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Quinn calling in from Battle Creek, Michigan who, as Tom likes to say, is battling an air conditioning unit that’s gone awry. (Tom chuckles)
Quinn, what’s going on?
QUINN: Well, let’s see. I have a house and it has central air and – well, there’s a line, a hose that goes from the air conditioning unit and it runs down along the bottom of the floor and runs down to the drain in the floor.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. That would be the condensate line. Correct.
QUINN: OK. All of the manuals that I have for this don’t have very good diagrams about this part of the unit.
QUINN: You know, I’ve got electrical diagrams and such but …
TOM: No, you normally wouldn’t have a diagram for that.
QUINN: So basically, what happens is if I run the A/C hard, on one of the summer – you know, hot days of summer for a week, let’s say, it must build up enough water where it just – it basically just about floods that part right around the furnace.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Right.
QUINN: Because it just fills it with water and I’m assuming it’s …
TOM: OK. So listen, the hose that comes down, is it running somewhere where it can drain or are you telling me that it leaks out before it gets that far?
QUINN: I think it leaks out before it gets that far.
QUINN: Either the plug – either it’s plugged where that hose comes out or there’s a drain pan or something. I don’t know about inside …
TOM: Alright. So here’s what happens. Sometimes, inside the air conditioning air handler itself, where the evaporator coil is, you get dust, dirt or sometimes even labels that come off the equipment and sort of float on down and will partially cover the hole where the condensate line comes out.
So, what you need to do is take the condensate line apart and stick a flashlight in there and see what’s in the way. There’s probably something clogging that particular area and so the water is not rising to go down that hose.
The water has got to, you know, get up high enough and be unblocked so it goes down the hole and runs off. I mean, what you’re explaining here is just a normal operation of the air conditioning system. On a hot, humid day, you have more moisture in the air. You lower the air temperature and that moisture turns to condensate; the condensate collects and has to run off. If the plumbing system that’s designed to do that is blocked, then it’s going to overflow the furnace and get water all over the floor.
LESLIE: Natalie in Louisiana, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
NATALIE: Hello. My question is about removing cigarette smoke odor from a house before selling it.
NATALIE: In this economy, I think I need every advantage I can get.
TOM: Probably do. Do you have carpets?
NATALIE: Yeah. But I’m planning to replace them because they’re worn out.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Good. That’ll make a big difference.
NATALIE: (overlapping voices) So that takes care of that problem.
TOM: Yeah, that’ll make a difference. If you pull the carpets out and the padding, for sure …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And the padding.
TOM: … and if you clean the rooms that have the most tar and nicotine on the walls and then you prime everything with oil-based primer – don’t use water-based – that will do a really good job of sealing in whatever is left on the walls and probably eliminate most of that smoke odor.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Tom? There’s a company that makes a topcoat latex paint that puts perfume in it. (chuckles) You could go that extra level. And I believe that sort of scent in the perfume, it only lasts about six weeks but it could be enough to sort of make it very inviting.
TOM: And I know that Dutch Boy is coming out with a paint that actually has ARM & HAMMER in it and so that will actually help, as well. But the base coat is really important here so choose KILZ and a nice, good-quality topcoat and you’ll be good to go.
NATALIE: OK. I’m also worried about the woodwork. I have stain-and-varnished cabinets and built-in bookshelves and I’m worried about the air conditioning ducts, because I know nobody smokes in the walk-in closet in the bedroom but boy, you can smell the smoke.
TOM: It’s probably from the clothes more than anything else. You could have the ducts cleaned; that might help a little bit. You’re also going to want to make sure that you replace the filters. And if you don’t have one, put in a good-quality, electronic air cleaner and that’ll help with the odor situation, as well.
LESLIE: And you know what? The name of that additive for the paint is called Paint Pourri – like potpourri but Paint Pourri – and it comes with a ton of different scent options. And if you Google search it, you’ll find that some people have been advising that it does help sell your home.
TOM: Natalie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Igor in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
IGOR: I would like to replace our kitchen cabinet doors with European sizing; it’s in metric.
IGOR: And I would like to replace them with a glass or tinted glass. My question is, what kind of hinges I can use so I can – from outside they’re not going to be as visible or – and mountable.
TOM: So do you want to set the glass inside the cabinet door or do you want the entire door to be glass?
IGOR: Entire door to be glass.
TOM: OK. You’re going to need a glass hinge. You see these a lot on like glass door cabinets. I’m sure they’re special order but I’m sure, also, that they’re available.
IGOR: So it’s a special glass hinge?
TOM: Yeah, it’s a glass door hinge. You very often will see it on, well, China cabinets or other types of glass cabinets. It kind of looks like a clamp that holds the glass in place.
IGOR: I would have to drill something or it’s …?
TOM: You may very well have to drill but there are also others that just simply clamp onto the edge of the glass.
IGOR: Oh, clamp. OK.
TOM: Yes. So I would search on glass door hinges; I bet you’ll find them that way. You’re not going to find them in the hardware store or the home center but they should be available.
LESLIE: Yeah, there’s actually a great website. It’s called Sugatsune – which is S-u-g-a-t-s-u-n-e.com – and they manufacture every type of glass door hinge: ones that are sort of glass-to-glass-mounted with overlay; complete overlay. And they don’t sell them on the site but they tell you exactly where to buy what you need.
IGOR: You have wonderful program. I always listen.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, thank you very much, Igor.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, learn how you can have the beauty of hardwood flooring at a great price. We’ve got tips from the head of one of the most successful flooring companies in America, Lumber Liquidators, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch, professional-quality hand tools, pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers. Choose the brand that pros trust most – Bostitch, available at Lowe’s and other retailers.
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.
TOM: And it’s time to talk about flooring. You know, hardwood flooring is one of the most durable, beautiful and valuable improvements you can make to your home. And it’s also the subject of one of our most frequently asked questions here on the show.
And you know, Leslie, installing a hardwood floor is totally a do-it-yourself project that can be done in a weekend and can really transform a room.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know, there are so many choices available, including new, green flooring made up of easily renewable materials. And it’s also very affordable, if you know where to shop.
That’s why we’ve got a great guest joining us now. We’ve got Tom Sullivan, the founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators, one of the most successful flooring companies in the country.
TOM SULLIVAN: Thank you, Tom and Leslie.
TOM: It’s great to have you. Tom, I want to ask you about hardwood flooring and the fact that it is gaining in popularity. You know, I was in the home inspection business for 20 years and used to date houses based on how they were built. And the houses that were built, say, in the 40s and 50s and 60s, hardwood flooring was standard then; they put it in but then promptly covered it with carpet. And then they stopped doing it for a long time and now hardwood flooring is back in a really big way. What’s making it so popular all over again?
TOM SULLIVAN: Well, I’ll tell you the top three reasons why it’s popular. One, the look, like you said; it’s beautiful. You know, a traditional or a contemporary house, you can put in wood flooring and it just looks beautiful; Two, it’s very clean compared to carpet; and then the value, like you said.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, what I’m so impressed about the Lumber Liquidators website is that you guys really have launched a big initiative to make folks aware of green flooring and you really offer a large selection of bamboo and cork. How has that been doing for you guys? Are you seeing a big sort of rise in popularity of these green choices?
TOM SULLIVAN: Yeah. The bamboo we’ve had for quite a while; that was always very popular. I thought, initially, it would be kind of a fad but bamboo has really caught on and we use all different types of bamboo now. We have stained, hand-scraped, different colors.
And as far as the cork, we started getting people asking for it about three or four years ago and we started carrying it and it has become very popular.
TOM: It’s also – they’re also very durable choices. I mean, especially the bamboo; folks don’t realize but that is an incredibly dense wood.
TOM SULLIVAN: Yeah, you want – one thing about bamboo, you want the older-growth bamboo. It can be soft if it’s cut too early, so you want to check on if it’s older-growth bamboo. And then we have a new type which is called strand bamboo, which is made up of like woven fibers of the bamboo, which is extremely hard.
TOM: We’re talking to Tom Sullivan. He’s the founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators and certainly a hardwood floor expert.
Tom, let’s talk a little bit about the durability of hardwood floors. Pre-finished floors seem to be tougher than ever these days. Is technology finally delivering a durable, pre-finished product that people can really count on?
TOM SULLIVAN: Yeah. Pre-finished floors have become extremely popular. It’s probably now 95 percent of what we sell is pre-finished and it makes it much easier for a do-it-yourselfer. If you’re doing the project, you don’t have to clear out your whole house. You can do one room, move the furniture back in. You don’t have the sand and the mess of the old type of floor.
And then with the technology, the finish on the floor has gotten better and better. And that’s one thing to check. If you’re looking for pre-finished floors, ask for the Taber test results.
TOM SULLIVAN: And we have a brand called Bellawood, which has an 1,800 Taber test compared to the industry of 400 to 600, so it …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, wow.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, let’s talk about that because I don’t think a lot of folks know what a Taber test is. You’re talking about, of course, the Taber Abrasion Resistance Test and essentially, what this is is a disk that is spun like a grinding wheel or a sanding disk that’s spun through the finish. And they actually count the revolutions it takes to cut through the finish and …
TOM SULLIVAN: Yeah, exactly. It’s like a little wheel with like a sandpaper on it and each rotation is one Taber.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
TOM SULLIVAN: So if it takes 1,800 turns to wear through the finish, then you have an 1,800 Taber test.
LESLIE: Now, Tom – I mean, it really does seem like a prefinished floor is an excellent choice and since we’re going for the long haul in durability in these products, what if, say, 10, 15 years down the road it’s time to refinish, can you refinish the prefinished or is it sort of once it’s done factory, you’re stuck?
TOM SULLIVAN: No, no. We have plenty of three-quarter-inch prefinished that is – you know, the base wood is the exact same as if it had been made for 200 years. It’s three-quarter tongue-and-groove and then it has a finish on top. But that – if you do wear it out, that’s one of the best things about hardwood flooring is you just sand that down, put a new finish on it and it’s good as new. And with a three-quarter-inch floor, you could do that three or four times.
TOM: And that’s really the key, is the difference in the thickness. Now, there are also 5/8-thick floors but those are not designed for refinishing or just you can’t refinish as frequently?
TOM SULLIVAN: No, you could. That’s – what you’d want to look at is, you know, an engineered floor which could be 3/8, 1/2-inch, or 5/8.
TOM SULLIVAN: The top layer is the real wood and then underneath is like a plywood. But the thicker that top layer is is how many times you can finish it. So it depends on the top layer.
TOM: We’re talking to Tom Sullivan. He’s the founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators.
Tom, you just mentioned engineered floors. Let’s talk a bit about that because that’s really opening up the possibilities for rooms you can use flooring in – hardwood flooring in, I should say.
Now, the basement is an area that you typically would not put solid hardwood but you can put engineered. Is that correct?
TOM SULLIVAN: Yes. Engineered – the best use is – yeah, if you have a high-moisture area like a basement, because it has the plywood backing, it’s more stable. Yeah, it gives you many more options to use. In different parts of the country where they don’t have basements – you know, you’re on a slab – you can use the engineered there and it can give you the look of a regular hardwood floor.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Sure. Yeah, I mean, you really can’t tell the difference when it’s down.
TOM SULLIVAN: No. Especially the new engineered floors are really well done.
LESLIE: You know, Tom, I think one of the biggest questions that we get, when it comes to wood flooring, is that people really don’t know how to maintain and clean and they want to use all these products and they want to slather a lot of moisture on it. What truly is the best approach to cleaning a hardwood floor?
TOM SULLIVAN: You want to use very little moisture. You want a very slightly-damp mop and just wipe the grit off and the hair and it’s very easy to clean. But you can use Murphy’s Oil Soap, that type of thing, or we have a Bellawood floor cleaner that we sell. It’s very easy; just a slightly damp mop and wipe up the grit and hair and it’s very easy to keep clean.
TOM: Wow. That’s great information. Tom Sullivan, the president and founder of Lumber Liquidators.
Before we let you go, I want to ask you one more question about warranties. I know one of your products, Bellawood, has a 50-year warranty. Is that correct? What does the warranty really mean?
TOM SULLIVAN: Well, the warranty – yeah, it’s a good way to judge the quality of the wood but as I said before with the Taber test, that’s really the best way.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
TOM SULLIVAN: Because what you’re really warranting is the finish; if it’s going to wear out or peel.
TOM: That’s terrific. And Tom, I’ve got to tell you that our office manager here, Lisa, just ordered Bellawood for a ski house.
TOM SULLIVAN: Oh, great.
TOM: And she was thrilled and you know what kind of abuse a ski house can get with boots and skis and everything else and she was absolutely thrilled.
TOM SULLIVAN: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) Yeah.
TOM: And she also mentioned that after she made her purchase, you guys followed up with her with a survey to make sure she was satisfied. I thought that was very commendable.
TOM SULLIVAN: Oh, glad to hear it. She was happy with everything?
TOM: She absolutely was.
TOM SULLIVAN: Oh, good.
TOM: Tom, thanks so much. You do a great job. We’re happy to recommend you and keep up the good work.
TOM SULLIVAN: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: For more information on Lumber Liquidators, you can go to LumberLiquidators.com or pick up the phone and call them at 1-800-HARDWOOD.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, up next, we’re going to share tips on a free – which we love – and an all-natural pesticide for your plants and your garden, so stick around.
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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: Hey, give us a call right now – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a free, autographed copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. And it is designed specifically to help you hold up that wobbly leg on the table in your house (Leslie chuckles); you know, the one that kind of shakes a little bit. Stick that book right under there; it’ll take care of everything. But if you happen to crack the cover (Leslie chuckles), you actually will get many, many more useful home improvement tips.
LESLIE: It’s a great book. It’s got far more uses than just the table holding up.
TOM: Hey, as long as you use it, that’s all we care about. (Leslie chuckles) Give us a call for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you will use it, so do give us a call.
And you know what? It’s springtime. Maybe you’re getting to work out in the garden and some things are going on that you’re just not really sure what’s happening; how do I fix it. You know, a lot of times, I find that when I’m dealing with potted planters or even annuals that I’m putting in decorative pots around the yard, I might find that whatever I put in those pots ends up with bugs or other problems and I never really know what to do.
So we did a little research and before you start resorting to those toxic chemicals that you find in pesticides that you can buy, your first and best defense is actually water. That’s right. A good, strong spray of water often takes care of bugs and any other outdoor plant problems and it’s much safer for you. I mean, heck, it’s just water and it’s great for the environment.
Now, if you want to make your own pesticide, you want to take a soapy spray; that’s another great option. You can use liquid dish detergent; use about three tablespoons into one gallon of water and then put it in a sprayer and then spray it all over the plants. And what happens is the bugs just – they don’t like the taste of that soapy water plus they can’t really sit on the leaves the way that they want to; it gets a little slippery.
And again, it’s good for you, it’s good for the environment; you don’t have to worry about putting chemicals around the yard, especially if you’ve got small kids or pets. So really think out of the box when it comes to, you know, what you might want to treat your plants with.
TOM: And you know, you can also use a mixture of a half-cup alcohol, two to three tablespoons of dry laundry soap and a quart of warm water. You have to make the solution fresh every time you use it but it works really well. Alcohol spray is also excellent for houseplants, which can be very prone to mealbugs. So now is the time to try to spruce up both the indoor and the outdoor landscaping so that you can enjoy it all spring and summer long.
888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. Let’s talk about your next project.
LESLIE: Pauline in Massachusetts, welcome to The Money Pit. What's going on at your house?
PAULINE: Well, what's going on in my house is that on my bathroom window and also my den window, which are both on the same side of the house, there's a water mark as though there was a spill on the windowsills all on the right side and it looked a little blown up. I was away and I came home and it was a little blown up and now it's dried up but we're left with water marks as though there's still a spill on it but they're dry. What can I do or is there a possibility that it's not dry somewhere else underneath?
LESLIE: This is on the sill; not on the glass, correct?
PAULINE: Yeah, on the sill and a little in the bathroom where there's a Jacuzzi underneath. You know, it's flush against that wall, which wasn't used at all.
TOM: I think you're going to have to keep an eye on it because we need to know if it's still active or not.
PAULINE: No, it's not active now. It's totally dry.
PAULINE: But it looks as though there had been a spill there and now it's stained. It's sort of – it's the same color but it looks – there's a watermark like you get sometimes in carpeting? That line?
TOM: I understand. But it's on the windowsill. Is the windowsill ...?
PAULINE: It's on both sills.
TOM: The sills are painted or stained?
TOM: OK, well then, this is easy to fix. Do you happen to have any of that paint around?
TOM: Good. Don't put it on before you put a primer step on first, OK? You've got to use a primer coat because what'll happen is if you try to repaint that with a water stain, that stain will pull right through the paint and it'll show up again.
PAULINE: (overlapping voices) Yeah? Oh, OK.
TOM: And you'll just be – you'll be hating yourself. So ...
PAULINE: Is there any particular kind of primer? Is there a kind that I have to use?
TOM: If it's just a little water stain like that, you can use a water-based primer. You can go out and pick up a Behr water-based primer or a KILZ water-based primer. Get a little small can of it. They come in the pint-sized can. Get one of those foam brushes as you have a really small paint job here and do a coat of primer first.
Prime the entire sill, not just the spot because, otherwise, when you put the paint on it won't sort of lay right.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Not going to match.
TOM: Yeah. Well, it's like rougher in one area than the other. And then just repaint the sill and ...
PAULINE: How long do I wait in between the processes?
TOM: Just enough for the primer to dry; you know, an hour or so if it's a warm day. Shouldn't be a problem.
PAULINE: OK. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.
LESLIE: Jack in Texas is calling in with a plumbing question. What can we do for you today?
JACK: Hi. I have a home that’s about 13, almost 14 years old now and I have an upstairs bathroom that is an extra bathroom and it has two sinks in it.
JACK: And there seems to be a lot of suction on one of the sinks and I don’t know how to stop it from doing that.
TOM: So it drains particularly well, is that what you’re saying?
JACK: It drains well but there’s constant air being pulled down in it and because there’s constant air being pulled down in it, there seems to be a – it dries out and then there’s like a growth in there and then it clogs it all up again.
TOM: Yeah. Well …
JACK: So it can’t keep water in the …
TOM: It won’t keep water in the trap?
JACK: Correct. In the trap.
TOM: Well, was the trap formed correctly? Does it look like a normal p-trap under the sink?
JACK: Yes, sir. And then it feeds off from one sink to the other.
TOM: Right. And is the p-trap after both sinks?
JACK: No, sir. I believe it’s just one trap.
TOM: And so it’s after both sink drains.
JACK: Yes, sir.
TOM: And if you fill that up with water, do you still think you have the suction problem?
JACK: I do because it seems like the – even with the plug down, it eventually just sucks it right out of there.
TOM: That’s very unusual. Well, one thing you could do is you could make the trap deeper and it would hold more water and it would be less likely to be able to drain out. The trap is very shallow; that could account for what’s happening here. So that might be a matter of just extending the trap so it becomes deeper and holds more water.
JACK: OK. Well, I will give that a try.
JACK: I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jack. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Well, spring is in the air and that means one thing: termite swarming season. When we come back, we’re going to answer an e-mail question from a listener who thinks he’s got some uninvited creepy crawlies, so stick around.
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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 we at Team Money Pit, we’re online and we’re on Facebook. In fact, The Money Pit, you can’t escape us. (Tom chuckles) We are available whenever and wherever you need us. So check out our Ideas and Solutions section at MoneyPit.com right now. We’ve got all the help that you need for keeping your home healthy. We’ve also got tips on dealing with everything from mold to dust to VOCs – those volatile organic compounds – and it’s all in one place for you at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is our 24/7 phone number; MoneyPit.com, the website where you can also send us an e-mail question, just like Matt did from Ohio who says: “I was working outside. We had a warm weekend and I noticed thousands of bugs congregating on the stoop of the back door of my house. I’m concerned that they may be termites. How do I know if they are termites and what do I need to do about them?”
Hmm. Well, it certainly is a sign of spring when termites congregate. How do you know that they’re termites? If you get a whole bunch of them on a stoop like that, I’m going to say it’s probably a pretty good chance that they are termites. But here’s how you can tell the difference between termites and, say, a winged ant: it’s actually the number of body segments. Termites have a head and torso and ants have a head, a torso and sort of a middle section and like a tail.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like a middle section, right?
TOM: And they both can look identical in size but if you have sort of the three-piece body, it’s an ant; if it’s a two-piece body, it’s a termite. In your case, Matt, I would recommend that you have an inspection done because you can be sure that some of those wings are evidence that the termites have been left behind somewhere. I’d also want to check out the framing inside the basement of your house, or the crawlspace, by poking and prodding all of that wood to make sure that termites haven’t chewed through it.
And if you do find termites and decide to treat the house, you want to use something called an undetectable termiticide because the termites – it gets placed into the soil around the house. Termites don’t know it’s there so as they dig through it, they get it on their bodies, they take it back, they spread it to the rest of the termites and that will wipe out the colony once and for all.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you do want to take care of it before, suddenly, you fall right through those porch steps. (Tom chuckles)
TOM: Well, we know you love your kitchen. It’s probably the room that you spend more time in than any other in your house and it needs a little care and maintenance, especially something as useful as that kitchen fan. It really shouldn’t be ignored; it needs a very thorough spring cleaning, just like everything else around your house. And right now, Leslie has got tips on how to do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Now, a lot of us in our kitchens, we’ve got those recirculating exhaust fans and they’re in that better-than-nothing category, as far as air-cleaning appliances are concerned, for your kitchen. But that doesn’t mean that you just ignore them; you don’t have to do anything to keep them operating at peak efficiency because, heck, they don’t do that great in the first place. “Oh, why should I bother?” That’s not true; they actually really do help in their own special way. You really do want ones that vent outside but when you can’t have it because of location or you just can’t afford to, no worries; they really do make a big difference.
So what you want to do is you want to remove both the metal and the charcoal filters that you’ve got in your exhaust fan. You might have both, you might just have metal but take a look and see what you’ve got in there. If you’ve got those metal screens, you want to soak them – dish soap, hot water; it’ll get rid of all the grease and grime. You can even put them in the dishwasher.
Now, if your unit does have the charcoal filters, you want to replace those every six months. You can do it when you set the clocks ahead and back; it’s kind of a good marcation. Change the batteries in your smoke detector; change the charcoal filters in your recirculating fans.
And also, look at the underside of this vent hood and you want to wipe away any grease because you don’t want a fire hazard; you don’t want a big, sticky mess. And also, just change the light bulb. Be preventative; swap out that light bulb. Everything will work fantastically and it really does do a great job. So turn it on when you’re cooking, reduce the moisture in the air and get those odors, you know, circulating into the dining room. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
TOM: Good tip. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’ve got the low-down on the best lawn mower for you and your yard. Should you have a gas-powered mower or an electric mower? You know, there have been huge advances, especially in the electric battery-powered area of mowers. We’re going to cover all that on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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.
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(Copyright 2010 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.)