Learn tips for kitchen cabinet organization to help create more usable space, get ideas and advice for keeping local wildlife such as deer and rabbits out of your landscaping and garden. Find out about the best natural remedies for weed control without harsh chemicals. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about, floor patching, cleaning roofing shingles, bad window seals, door replacement, mold in the basement, insulation, tiling bathrooms, laying vinyl tiling, and repairing a wood deck.
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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. We want to talk about your do-it-yourself dilemma. We know there’s a project on your to-do list. Let’s put it on the done list. Give us a call; we’ll help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, here on The Money Pit, we like to pride ourselves on staying up on all the important holidays. That is why we’d like you to know that May 10th is officially Clean Up Your Room Day.
TOM: Did you know this? It is Clean Up Your Room Day.
TOM: Now, since I have teenagers, every day is Clean Up Your Room Day at my house.
LESLIE: But does it always get done?
TOM: Never gets done.
But if you’re like most Americans, the room you are in most often is the kitchen. So, coming up this hour, in celebration of Clean Up Your Room Day, we’re going to have some kitchen-cabinet storage tips to help you make the most of your kitchen space.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, do you have to think about a battle plan each spring, to protect your landscaping and garden from the local wildlife? Well, if you’re always looking for ways to keep deer and rabbits and those other garden intruders out of your yard, you’re going to want to hear our advice, coming up in just a few minutes.
TOM: And once that garden is growing great, you can turn your attention to your grass. This hour, we’re also going to talk about tips on how to control the natural enemy of your lawn: weeds. You’re going to learn how to control weeds on your lawn without harsh chemicals, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And this hour, we’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card, courtesy of our friends over at Therma-Tru. And they are the original manufacturers of fiberglass doors and boy, do they look nice.
TOM: And that’s 50 bucks that can come in handy for a whole host of home improvement projects. So call us right now; let’s get to it. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Rick in South Carolina is on the line with a concrete question. Tell us what’s going on.
RICK: I have a garage floor and it has several cracks in it. And I’m anticipating painting the floor but I was going to see if there was something I could do to cover the cracks so they wouldn’t show so badly.
TOM: Yeah, you’re going to have to patch those first and the way you do that is with an epoxy patching compound. Epoxy is sticky enough where it will really adhere to the old concrete and fill those cracks in nicely and then you can paint on top of that.
LESLIE: And that’s really the only thing that’s going to stick. If you try to fill it with more concrete, it’s just going to crack right out.
RICK: OK. Well, I thank you so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now I’ve got Regina in Texas on the line who’s got a window question. Tell us what’s going on.
REGINA: Hi. We bought a house in 2002 new and here it is, 2010, when I started noticing we have got something – it looks like it’s going between the double panes of our windows. Not on all the windows, just some of the windows. And it doesn’t matter whether there’s – just facing north, south, east or west.
LESLIE: When you say it looks like there’s something growing, does it almost seem like it’s a condensation that’s almost like a fog that’s permanently in there?
REGINA: No. It looks almost like a lichen or something.
REGINA: Yes. It looks like somebody has splashed some brown, dirty water up in there. There are no uniform sizes; it doesn’t cover the whole thing. There’s deep spots, small spots, kind of like they took a paint brush and flicked it.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like you’ve got bad seals and you’re getting humidity in there and you probably are growing some mold on the humidity.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because there’s probably some dirt or dust that got in there and then the moisture gets in and now mold is growing. And unfortunately, when a bad seal happens with a window – which just sometimes is the luck of the draw – there’s really nothing you can do about it.
REGINA: OK. Except replace the window or have unsightly windows, am I correct?
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Yes, that’s correct.
TOM: The good news is that it’s probably not affecting your energy-efficiency too much and it’s not a leak in that it’s damaging the exterior walls. It’s really a cosmetic issue at this point and while it’s really gross-looking, it’s going to be something that you have to live with until you’re ready to replace the windows.
REGINA: OK. Well, that was – I was hoping I – you can’t get in there.
LESLIE: Yeah, no. I’ve looked.
TOM: Yeah. No, you really can’t. It’s not designed to let you in there either. Those windows are sealed in a vacuum.
REGINA: Well, I’ll just replace my windows eventually but the house is new and I hate to do that just for cosmetic reasons.
TOM: Yeah, understood. Alright, Regina. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kumar in Iowa is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help you today?
KUMAR: We have a 1985-built house where the shingles have started to show a blackish discoloration after the past six months. Someone came by and offered to pressure-wash and we’re hesitant.
TOM: Yeah, you don’t want to do that.
TOM: That could damage the shingles.
KUMAR: Yeah. Is there a product you recommend, sir?
LESLIE: Yeah, well, when it comes to mold and moss growth, really, it’s something that you’re going to have to do as far as a maintenance issue. You’re going to have to clean it and then over time, it’s just going to come back. The one thing that does a great job of getting rid of it is allowing more sunlight to get to the area, because the shade is really what causes the mold and the mildew to grow. So, if …
KUMAR: And there’s absolutely no shade.
LESLIE: Interesting. Well, it gets in the air and the mold spores …
KUMAR: It’s all exposed. We had trees in the backyard. We cut all the trees and the whole roof is exposed, open to the sun.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean …
KUMAR: And this is on the front side, back side and everywhere.
LESLIE: Well, with mold growth, what happens with the spores is that they get into the air and they just travel where they want. And so they’ve decided that your roof is the place that they really like and they’re thriving on it.
There are so many different products out there but because of the roof, you want to use something that’s going to continue to do its job over time and not need reapplication. And Tom and I both have a lot of experience with a product called Wet & Forget. And they’ve got a great website: it’s WetAndForget.com.
And what happens is you apply it. You can use it – one of those garden sprayers – and you’ll apply it to the roof surface and then just sort of let it sit there. And what happens is as it rains and more water gets on it, it actually activates whatever is in the Wet & Forget and causes that mold and mildew growth to really go away.
And if you go to the website, you’ll see some amazing before-and-afters. I’ve used it on a second-floor window sill that I just could not get to very well and it’s really done a good job of keeping it off throughout the season, so it’s something that you could invest in and will do a good job of keeping it away.
KUMAR: So you would not recommend any kind of low pressure-washer or anything like that?
LESLIE: Not on a roof surface. No, uh-uh.
TOM: No. No, because you’re going to do structural damage to the roof by doing that. Plus, it’s not the pressure that gets rid of this; it’s a chemical process. You’ve got to kill off the mold spores and the moss spores and that’s what actually keeps it from coming back.
So, take a look at WetAndForget.com. I think that’s a product that’s perfect for this application.
KUMAR: Good, great. Thank you. Appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Kumar. 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, it is officially May. Hooray! Which means Memorial Day is right around the corner. It’s the official kickoff to summer, so give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we will help you get all of those yard projects, patio projects, whatever home improvement projects you want to get done before you kickoff the summer relaxation time. We are here for you at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, did you ever wonder how you can keep weeds at bay without using chemical sprays? We’re going to tell you the green way to do just that, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide four times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. 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 pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, because one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card, courtesy of our friends over at Therma-Tru.
Now, if you’re looking for some ideas for some great spring projects, one is to update your front-entry door. And the best way to go, regardless of where you are in this country, is a fiberglass door because they look just like wood but they insulate up to four times better and the maintenance, you really don’t have to do a darn thing to them. They will stand up to every type of climate and anything that Mother Nature can dish out.
And while you’re kicking around ideas for a front door, check out the Benchmark line by Therma-Tru. It’s sold exclusively at Lowe’s. It’s a gorgeous door and you could use that $50 gift card to that home improvement project. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Well, if you’re looking forward to tending to your lawn and garden but you’re not ready to battle the weeds, there are some all-natural ways to keep weeds at bay. First, get rid of the bare spots. Why? Because weeds are the very first plants to grow in bare soil. You want to keep plants, you want to keep ground cover or even mulch in those bare areas of your landscaping and that will keep the weeds from taking root.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, another idea is to use corn gluten meal. It comes, actually, in tiny, little granules that you can spread all over your yard. And what it does is it actually prevents those weed seeds from sprouting. And it’s most useful when you apply it before the weeds really get thriving, so it can really do its job. Now, you can also put it down in the fall and that’s going to prevent those spring weeds, so it’s something to kick around. I’m sure you can find it at a specialty yard.
Now, for weeds that grow between pavers or sidewalk cracks, you want to visit your local garden center and get some horticultural vinegar, which is also known as acetic acid, and then pour it over those weeds. And here’s a really green tip that’s going to help you keep those weeds at bay: if the weeds are in an earlier stage of growth, ordinary household vinegar mixed with lemon juice will work.
LESLIE: I swear to you, it will do the trick.
If you want some more ideas, we’ve got a ton of them online. All you need to do is Google "money pit green weed control" and you’re going to get a list of projects that you can tackle this weekend, to get those weeds out of your yard.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Michelle in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MICHELLE: I was curious. We just bought a house; it’s a fixer-upper and it has six exterior, sliding-glass doors on the interior of the house.
TOM: That’s kind of weird, isn’t it?
MICHELLE: Yeah, I think that the people who did the house had – they were an ugly couple and they did a few additions.
MICHELLE: And when did they did the – they didn’t really renovate; they just added.
LESLIE: Added on and kept everything as it was and sliding door and all.
TOM: OK. Right.
MICHELLE: Yep. But I appreciate it because I’m a creative person, so I loved the collection of spaces and what it could be.
MICHELLE: My question is: can I take the sliding-glass doors from the interior and put them in an exterior wall?
TOM: If they are, in fact, exterior-grade doors, I don’t see why you couldn’t. But if they’re an older sliding door, you – the work in doing this is so much so that the expense of buying a new sliding-glass door would – may be insignificant compared to it. So I wouldn’t want you to …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Plus the energy efficiency.
TOM: I wouldn’t – that’s right. I wouldn’t want you to go through all the work of pulling out an old door, having to reframe it open to fit this old door and then put in an old, inefficient door. I’d rather – if you’re going to do all that structural work – that you put in a new, modern, energy-efficient door that’s going to really save you some money.
MICHELLE: OK. Is there anything to do with old sliding-glass doors?
LESLIE: I mean are you taking them out?
MICHELLE: I eventually will have to take them out, just because they’re just cumbersome and don’t make good use of the space.
LESLIE: What you could do is contact your local Habitat for Humanity. Because if they’re in good condition and truly functioning and are exterior doors, they could use them on products and they also have sort of a warehouse that they’ll use to keep this stuff and sell off items that they’re not using anymore. So it might just be a good place that you know it’ll actually get used and not end up in a landfill.
MICHELLE: Oh, that’d be great. Will they come get them?
LESLIE: You know, I’m not sure. I know it varies from state to state but if you check out their website, they’ll help you out with all of that.
MICHELLE: Great. OK, thanks.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kathy in Illinois is dealing with a mold situation in the basement. Tell us about the problem.
KATHY: Hi. My daughter and my son-in-law purchased a home about three years ago. And the first year, they didn’t notice any smell of mold in the summertime and then they painted the walls and put carpet on the floor. And now the last two summers, they’ve noticed a mold smell but there is no mold.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well …
KATHY: I’m just wondering …
LESLIE: There probably is mold, Kathy; it’s just in a place where your kids can’t see it. It’s probably living in that carpeting. Because when you’re dealing with a basement situation – and they probably put the carpet directly on top of the concrete slab; didn’t sort of lift the floor slightly to create some air underneath to circulate out that moisture – what you’re doing is you’re putting an organic substance – the carpeting, the carpet padding – right on the concrete.
Now, when it rains outside, the ground gets super-wet and then the concrete floor is like a sponge and it just sucks everything from the earth around the house, up through the floor and now into this carpet, which is why they’re getting the mold smell. So they can’t see it but I guarantee you it’s in there.
LESLIE: What kind – do the kids have a forced-air system in the house?
KATHY: Yeah, they do.
LESLIE: They do. And are there ducting in the basement area?
KATHY: The ducting is but there’s no – nothing for the cooling or the heat. Nothing down there for that.
LESLIE: Yeah. So there’s no registers. Because had there been registers, maybe it’s worth adding something to the basement for the benefit of it, because you can get a whole-home dehumidifier, which gets built into the HVAC system. And then it can focus on that basement 24 hours a day until it regulates the situation and then only kick on when it needs for that area. But it can remove up to 90 pints of water a day and you never have to empty a bucket.
But since they don’t have ducting down there – or registers, I should say – I think the best bet is to get portable dehumidifiers, get a condensation pump. Condensation pump? Is that I’m talking about?
TOM: Yes. Mm-hmm, yep.
LESLIE: Because you don’t want to have to deal with a bucket, because you’ll forget. And then all of a sudden, you’ll go on vacation, it’ll get full and then you’ll forget about it for a week and then you’re dealing with that same moisture situation. So if you get a condensation pump, it’ll lift out that water out a window, into a sink, somewhere where it’s constantly emptying that dehumidifier.
And once they get a handle on that, if they look outside and deal with where this moisture might be coming in – gutters, downspouts, the grading around the house – that’ll really cut back on the amount of moisture that’s getting in and reduce that mold and mildew.
KATHY: OK. So that consedation (ph) pump connects to the humidifier – the dehumidifier then?
TOM: Yeah, it sits next to it and it’s a very …
LESLIE: Is it condensation or a condensate? I know I’m …
TOM: Condensate. Condensate pump.
LESLIE: Condensate. I always confuse them, sorry.
TOM: Yeah. Condensate pump. But it’s a small box; it’s maybe about 6x12 or something like that. It’s float-activated so as it fills up, it pumps on and it lifts the water out and drops it outside. I have one in my basement and it works great.
KATHY: OK. OK. Thanks for your help, guys.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And ask our two cents next before you want to put basement carpet down, will you? It’s not a good idea.
LESLIE: David in Oregon is on the line with an insulation question. Tell us about it.
DAVID: Hi. I have a 1957-model house and it’s a ranch style. And we noticed this winter, when we had a little bit of snow, well, our snow left before all of our neighbors’ did. And we live in – around Salem, Oregon there in a valley, so it’s pretty mild winters and not too bad in the summer. I’ve got a half-a-dozen vents up on the – up there on the top of the roof. And those have been blocked off and there’s a fan – an exhaust fan – been put in there that’s on a thermostat.
DAVID: I want to know if I need to take those out, open those back up, turn the fan off and about how much insulation I need to put in. I think about 9 inches or a foot?
LESLIE: Well and you say you have 9 inches or a foot right now?
DAVID: It doesn’t have – it has like maybe three right now.
TOM: You know what, Leslie? It sounds like nothing he has is working correctly.
LESLIE: Is the right thing.
TOM: Or was installed right. That’s right, exactly. So …
LESLIE: Generally, with insulation, regardless of where you are in the country, you want anywhere between 19 and 22 inches and that depends on if you use the fiberglass batt or the blown-in. But that’s how much you need, whether you live in a hot climate or a cold climate, just to keep your home operating efficiently and keep the temperatures the way they’re supposed to be inside.
Now, with your venting, you really need a continuous ridge vent and you need soffit vents. Because with insulation, you need ventilation to make sure that it works properly. So those are really the ideal situations. And a lot of times what happens is you may have a soffit vent but you’ve put insulation right over it or if you stored things – and you can’t even get the airflow in there. So if you have soffit vents, you need to expose them and allow them to do their job.
And exhaust fans are never a good idea.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right because they depressurize the attic space and they actually reach down into the house and they’ll steal air-conditioned air. So we say get rid of the exhaust fan, get in continuous ridge vents, continuous soffit vents. Add that 19 to 22 inches of fiberglass insulation and finally, you will have an energy-efficient attic and that’s going to really impact both your heating and your cooling bills in a very positive way.
DAVID: OK. That sounds like a good idea and I really enjoy you guys’ show. I listen to you every weekend.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Well, still ahead, deer and rabbits, they are so cute in animated movies. But when they’re in your yard using your landscaping and garden as their own, personal buffet, maybe not so much adorable. Am I right?
So up next, we’re going to have tips to keep that local wildlife out of your yard.
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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: So did you ever wonder if you should repair your older appliances when they break down or replace them? We’ve got a simple barometer that can help you decide. You can read all about it at MoneyPit.com. Just Google "money pit repair or replace" and you will find our very, very handy chart. You can look up the age of your appliance, you could look up the value and you can get a number that will tell you how much that you should be spending on repair. And if the estimate is more than that, well, it’s just time to toss it, contribute to the landfill and move on to the next appliance.
Give us a call right now, in the meantime. It is 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rick in Delaware is on the line with a bathroom question. How can we help you with that project?
RICK: Yeah. I want to tear out my fiberglass shower and I’d like to rebuild it with this stone tile. And they say, from everything I’m reading, that the backer board is really important for the flooring of the tile.
RICK: But of course, I want to go up the wall with it about 6 or 7 feet. And so, I want to know how to frame out the walls. I mean I guess I need the backer board. Do I need plywood in back of that and where does the drywall come into play as far as where the tile – and at the top of the wall and the …?
TOM: Well, are you gutting this? We’re starting from scratch here, Rick?
RICK: Yeah, yeah. Pretty much.
TOM: OK. So when you frame in the walls, you apply that backer board right to the studs; you don’t have to put it over drywall. And then the drywall can start around that. So the area that’s going to be tiled is essentially covered with backer board first and then the tile is attached to that.
RICK: OK. Very good.
Now, is it possible to just spackle that backer board and make it look like drywall? Just paint over it for the top on it?
TOM: No, no. Why would you want – no. Why would you want to do that? No, you put backer board where the stone goes and you put drywall where the wall surface is.
RICK: Oh, OK. It just seems like at the top of the stone, there would be – where the drywall would start, it would stick out over the stone; it wouldn’t be a seamless …
TOM: No. You’re going to have a drywall – you’re going to have a stone edge and the drywall is going to be up to that. And you’ll probably cut the stone so it’s a fairly square line that the drywall would be attached to. And you’ll tape it right to that line, so to speak.
RICK: Oh, OK. So there – it’s like a flush meeting.
RICK: Gotcha, gotcha. OK.
One other quick question. On the drain, where I’ve got to slope things, how would I build up the tile so it slopes down towards the drain?
TOM: There’s a couple of ways to do that but one way to do it is with a mortar base. You form it with a mortar base so that the mortar’s thicker on the outside edge and then sort of leans down to the tile. You could also use a premade shower pan.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And tile over that.
TOM: And that might be the best thing to do because then everything sort of attaches, plumbing-wise, right to that shower pan. And you start your tile walls from the bottom up.
RICK: Ah, I like that. I like that.
TOM: Saves you a step, my friend.
RICK: Yeah. Very good. Well, hey, I appreciate it very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, are your kitchen cabinets a clutter of pots and pans that practically jump out at you when you open the doors? Why not start by organizing your cabinets by installing a few, simple space-savers?
TOM: Joining us now with some tips to do just that is Tom Silva, the general contractor on TV’s This Old House and a very organized guy.
TOM SILVA: How are you guys?
TOM: We are great. And we all covet more cabinet space but having a lot of space doesn’t solve your storage problems if you can’t find what you want when you need it. So, where do we begin on straightening out these cabinets?
TOM SILVA: Well, you’re so right about that. I think the first piece of advice I would say is pare down your kitchen possessions. And if you haven’t used something in a couple of years, maybe you don’t need it, you know what I mean?
TOM: So I really don’t need four colanders.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Get organized. That’s what it’s about, right?
It’s always a helpful exercise to pull everything out of your cabinets, see what you have and then you can organize it and get rid of what you don’t want.
LESLIE: So, Tommy, what are some clever items that you can actually just pick up and insert into those cabinets themselves, to make them more functional?
TOM SILVA: Well, think of the storage inside your cabinet. Don’t think of it as shelf space; think of it more of cubic space, the space that’s wasted. So, they have these small Lazy Susans that you can put in the shelves and you can spin them around so it’s easier to get to the jars and the cans. And then they also have these hooks for – that you can put on the underside of the shelf, so now you hang some cups on that. So that’s space that would be otherwise wasted.
You can install all kinds of racks that will hold pots and lids and spices and cans, goods. And a lot of these racks go inside the cabinet doors.
TOM: And then don’t we have a lot of pull-down and pull-out options? Some of those cabinet-shelving devices are pretty sophisticated.
TOM SILVA: They are really sophisticated. You can get all kinds of stuff from pull-out to you can take your shelf that’s on the cabinet – the lower cabinet – that are hard to get to, put a drawer in there that will pull out and you get – really see what you have.
TOM: We’ve even seen pull-out shelves that essentially empty the entire wall cabinet, like right down – bring it right down almost countertop height.
TOM SILVA: Oh, right. I actually installed one in my kitchen, over my stove. My wife had a hard time reaching up to that high. You open the door, there’s a little lever right there, you pull it, it swings out and the – all of the shelving comes right down to her height.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, Rev-A-Shelf is the leading manufacturer of that type of insert, which really brings the contents down. And if you head over to their website, they have a ton of different inserts that are available. And even if you’re in the process of redesigning your kitchen, getting new cabinets, talk to your kitchen designer and say, "These are my concerns," and you’d be surprised what options are available to you.
TOM SILVA: Oh, yeah. There’s practically an organizer for just about anything that you want.
TOM: Now, Tom, some cabinet designs have hidden areas that can be tapped for storage. Like, for example, the big, dead corner in a base cabinet. Are there any tips for tapping into that space?
TOM SILVA: Yeah, like to the right of the sink, for example, or right beside the refrigerator?
TOM SILVA: Well, there’s all kinds of Lazy Susans. There’s a Lazy Susan that’s just a circle; like it has a piece of pie cut out of it, where the door swings around. There’s types of Lazy Susans where you open the door and that whole circle spins around. They even have them now, that they’re 90 degrees; it pulls out, there’s a basket that comes out, around and over so you can really get to every inch of that cabinet.
TOM: So there’s really no reason not to be able to use every cubic inch of space that you have inside of that cabinet.
TOM SILVA: No reason at all.
TOM: Great advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: It is my pleasure.
TOM: For more tips, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And you can watch Tommy and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And Ask This Old House is brought to you by the National Association of Realtors.
Still to come, we’ve got ideas for keeping the local wildlife from turning your garden into their own, personal buffet. And that’s all coming up, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac, makers of the number one-selling Guardian Series Home Standby Generators. Now introducing a full line of consumer and professional power washers. Whether you need to power it, clean it or protect it, Generac can help. Visit Generac.com to learn more.
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 now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card, courtesy of our friends at Therma-Tru. A great spring project is to replace your wood front door with a beautiful, new, fiberglass entry door made by Therma-Tru.
Fiberglass doors look like wood but they insulate up to four times better. They’re also much easier to maintain and they won’t warp, they won’t dent, they won’t rust. Benchmark by Therma-Tru is sold exclusively at Lowe’s. And one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 Lowe’s card, courtesy of the Benchmark manufacturer, which is Therma-Tru.
Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on.
And now that it is springtime, no doubt all of us have our windows open across the country and we are enjoying that springtime view. And for some of us, that can include the occasional deer that might sort of pass by our deck on a spring morning or maybe a rabbit who’s hopping through your grass. It’s really a pleasant sight and it’s a nice reminder that spring is definitely here, unless you are one of the many gardeners who see these animals as unwanted intruders. Beware.
Well, one thing to know is that female deer, they don’t migrate; they’re going to come back to that same, familiar setting year after year. And guess what? The females, they are the moms; they’re going to bring their kids with them and then everybody is going to pass on this wonderful location of your yard as their best dinner spot. So, you kind of need to do something about it.
Now, the best move that you can make to stop the damage that the deer are causing to your yard or garden is to consult with your local extension service or your local university. And find out what native plants are the most deer-resistant, because a single deer – one deer on his own – can eat more than 10 pounds of foliage a day.
LESLIE: That’s an entire tree practically.
TOM: That really is a huge amount. In our house – in our backyard – we occasionally get the lollipop trees, because the deer will only eat up what they can reach.
LESLIE: What they can reach, yeah.
TOM: That’s right. And so they leave the top but they eat the part that’s closest to the ground.
Now, as for the rabbits, the groundhogs and the other nesting animals, you want to consider their size and use it against them. Small, decorative fences and walls can be a great way to hide your true intention, which is protection. But if you’re able to find out where these animals tunnel and make their nest, you should also consider decorative ways to close and cover them up, like a large potted plant, for example. You can also use freshly-mulched beds, which can disrupt a familiar nesting spot just enough to encourage them to relocate to another spot.
Now you can also consider using something like a Havahart trap. We had a raccoon that was making a nest in our garden and after a meal full of tomatoes, the raccoon moved into the Havahart, we were able to trap him and then take him over to a wooded area and release him.
And there are also some homegrown remedies that you can use, as well as products that you can purchase that help to keep wildlife away. For the complete list, you can Google "money pit wildlife garden" and you will find an article with everything that you need to know to keep the small critters and even some of the big ones away from your yard.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mac on the line from Hawaii who’s got a question about flooring. Aloha.
MAC: I’m a lazy man, Leslie. I’m from (inaudible at 0:30:42) vinyl tile I’m taking off, those 12x12 squares?
MAC: I don’t want to buy the glue cleaner and oh, man, can I just rough it up somehow and put those – I went to a local hardware store and they have those nice, vinyl peel-and-stick but only the front edge has that stick-on sticky part.
MAC: I thought they would work fine.
TOM: Well, let me ask you a question: why are you peeling up the old floor? Because you could probably go right on top of that.
MAC: Well, I just want to redo it this way, from scratch. I don’t want to add on any other layers.
TOM: Yeah, I understand that, Mac, but the best thing to do – if you don’t want to deal with the demolition part of this. Because once you peel off the old layers, you’re going to get a very uneven surface and it’s going to be a lot more work for you to try to clean that up. And peel-and-stick is not going to stick to an uneven surface like that. And even, frankly, if you add glue to it – a tile adhesive – it may be kind of bumpy. So if your existing floor is intact – in other words, the tiles are not loose and falling off the floor – I would put the new floor on top of that.
Now, the other thing that you could do is to think about not vinyl but engineered hardwood or laminate floor. In both cases, they can be assembled right on top of the old floor, as well. And again, you don’t have to take it up.
MAC: I see. OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate the help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mac. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, most of you have already started spending more and more time outside and that means you’re probably spending a lot of time on your deck, making sure it’s in good shape for a summer of grilling and chilling. We’re going to have tips on how to make sure your deck is up to the challenge, next.
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LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you might want to consider joining The Money Pit community. If you do, you’ll get great project ideas, info and advice from your fellow do-it-yourselfers and Leslie and me, as well. We write a blog every single week. It’s all there online at MoneyPit.com.
You can contribute with your own blog. You can also answer questions that are posted by other users of The Money Pit community. It’s a very friendly site, all there online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And while you’re online, you can post your own question, which will be answered. And I’ve got one here from Joanne in New York who’s asking: "Our wood deck has many cracked and/or split boards and some are starting to peel. We can’t afford to replace it at this time. Is there any way of fixing this problem? Can it be sanded? We coated it last year with a semi-transparent stain, which took a beating over the winter months and now looks terrible."
TOM: Hmm. Interesting. Well, a couple of things you can do, Joanne. First of all, for all of those cracked and split boards – of course, anything you put on top of them now is not going to change that.
But what you can do is you can actually take those boards up and turn them upside down, because the back side, since it was not exposed to the sun, it’s not been affected by all that ultraviolet energy that tends to crack and check the boards. It’s kind of like starting new again. Now, of course, you’re going to have to re-stain after you do that but it’s like starting with a brand new board and let’s face it, you can probably still use the same nail holes. Because any damage that you did to pull the old nails out, well, that’s going to be now on the underside of the deck.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Once you’re at this point, you’re going to want to remove whatever’s on top of there. Give it a good cleaning; see how that does as far as it’s removing the stain that’s on there. If there’s still a lot of stuff, you might have to use something that will help you remove it, like a chemical stripping agent.
But you should be able to just get the deck surface clean and then you might want to go with a solid stain, because the age of the deck and you say that it’s not looking that great. But you also need to make sure that you let that deck really be dry before you apply anything to it.
And it should last you. You know, most of the manufacturers of solid stains say that it’s about a five-year last on a horizontal surface. But there’s some upkeep to a wood deck but a solid stain’s probably going to give you the best finish, given the age and the condition of the deck itself.
TOM: Question from Ted in New Jersey who says, "I have a double-pane window that has fogged up on the inside. I want to know if it’s possible to clean it somehow."
Well, the bad news, Ted, is no, it’s not possible to clean it. The fogging is a failure of the seal. So what you’re having – what you’re seeing inside is actually condensation that is now forming. You can’t really get in there. The seal is broken, there’s no way to clean it but I will tell you, for what it’s worth, it’s probably not affected the energy-efficiency in a dramatic way. You’re probably OK on that. It’s just going to get foggy and it will get cloudier, based on the difference in temperature between the outside and the inside.
So, in some periods of time, typically in the summer, it’s a little clearer. When it gets to the winter, well, then you’ll see a lot more of that condensation. You can, however, replace the pane; you’re just going to work with glazer, have a new one ordered to fit and then it can be replaced and you’ll be clear once again.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a question posted by Barbara in Florida who writes: "I’m thinking of buying a house but when the owner turned on the microwave, the lights in the family room and dining room went out and had to reset the circuit breaker. Is this a problem?"
TOM: Yeah, sort of. I mean it’s a problem. It’s a pretty embarrassing problem to put your house on the market and have the breakers blow.
But here’s what’s going on. In an older house, you didn’t have as many circuits. So in a kitchen, typically the lights, the outlets and the counters and even near the floor, all on the same circuit and probably some additional rooms, too. In a more modern home, the kitchen would be on a separate set of circuits.
So all you need to do here is to divide up the power, add an additional circuit and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you can run the microwave and the lights at the same time. Just in case you don’t want to do it in the dark, you know? Cooking in the dark.
LESLIE: And remember, Barbara, get that house inspected before you make a formal offer, to make sure everything is in proper working condition.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. The show continues there, in fact, right now. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
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 2011 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.)