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 with your home improvement project. Let us help solve that do-it-yourself dilemma that we know is on your to-do list. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are standing by to help you with that project that we know you’ve got planned for the coming year. So give us a call; we will help you take that first step, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, as we are all nesting here through the chilly winter days, it might be time for you to take a look at your hobby. Now, if you’re a home improver, that’s a good hobby to have. But if you have some other type of hobby, do you have a great space to do that hobby in?
Well, in honor of National Hobby Month – yes, there is a National Hobby Month; I don’t know if Hallmark has a card for it but January is National Hobby Month – we’re going to teach you, this hour, how to create a perfect hobby room so you’ll have a place to do that hobby without getting in trouble with your spouse for leaving your plastic models or knitting or whatever the heck your hobby is – scrapbooking – all over the house.
LESLIE: And if you are still holding onto those gift cards that are leftover from the holiday season, you’re not alone. You know, it actually turns out that one in four Americans never cashes in those gift cards. Why not? Free stuff. Free food, everybody. Use them.
We are going to give you a good reason to dig out those gift cards out of your sock drawer or wherever you have hidden them – and maybe remind you where you’ve hidden them – and help you put them to good use, with some tips for getting the greatest bargains with your gift cards, coming up.
TOM: And also ahead, the winter season is not only cold for you but also cold for your pets unless, of course, you’ve set your pooch up in style with a climate-controlled doghouse. We’re going to have tips on that and how to protect your pets from other winter-only hazards, coming up.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a great start on any home improvement project. It’s a $100 gift card from Lowe’s, free to put in your sock drawer, courtesy of AirStone. It’s a cool, new product that actually helps you create the look of stone without any of the heavy lifting, which we all hate about working with stone, and of course, the grouting.
TOM: And it’s going to one caller drawn at random from those who contact us for today’s show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get started.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Mitch in Tyler, Texas, who is a repeat caller here at The Money Pit or should we say addicted do-it-yourselfer? Mitch, what can we help you with this time?
MITCH: I think addicted do-it-yourselfer is probably a better selection.
Here’s what’s going on. I live in a two-story, pier-and-beam house. It’s about 95 years old. We have some buckling going on now in our master bedroom, which is on the first floor, under the wood floor. And I want to know, first, what – how can I go about trying to match that wood flooring so that I can replace just the part that’s buckling and not have to redo the whole thing? And then, secondly, what may be causing it to buckle like that?
TOM: Is this a prefinished floor or is it hardwood – raw hardwood – that was finished?
MITCH: I think it’s raw hardwood that was finished.
TOM: OK. Alright. So, the first part of the question is how do you pull out the bad stuff? What you basically do is you take a circular saw – I assume you’re handy, because it’s going to take somebody that’s pretty handy to do this.
TOM: But you take a circular saw and you plunge-cut – set the depth to the same thickness of the floor and you plunge-cut into the bad boards. And you take a couple of rips down, as opposed to a cross-cut. You cut with the grain, down through the bad boards and then you chisel them out at some point and start lifting them out. And so the plunge-cuts actually help to loosen that up; you can actually cut right through the joints, so you’re cutting through the tongue and the groove of the bad boards. So you’re loosening that up, you’re pulling those boards out and then you’re going to put new pieces in.
Now, you may have to cut off – if it’s like a tongue and a groove – on the groove side, you may have to cut off the bottom of the groove so you can build this from the top down. You may have to place new pieces of wood in that way.
Now, when you do that, it is going to be slightly different in color. I don’t know if this is stained or finished but even if it’s just a plain, clear coat of finish, there will be a slight difference in color. It’s going to take …
LESLIE: Well, just because of wear.
TOM: Well, not so much wear, I think, but color. It usually takes six months to a year for them to fade back in to where they’re invisible again. But you can use a throw rug or something in the meanwhile.
Now, in terms of why it buckled, typically it buckles when the floor gets wet or if it was pulled in with not enough space around the outside edge and it just got humid and it just pressed into each other. That’s typically why it buckles.
MITCH: So if I have – if it’s buckling, let’s say, because it’s wet, then I probably need to go underneath and there may be another problem I’m going to have to fix then, too, right?
TOM: Maybe not. I mean it could have just happened because of a one-time saturation or it just might, again, have been put in too tight.
MITCH: OK, great. Well, I did want to make a comment on when I called you guys last time.
TOM: Yeah? OK. How did it work out for you?
MITCH: Well, I don’t know if you recall, I called and said that I had the fascia board on my roof was coming off and I had the electrical power line hooked onto that.
MITCH: And I asked you guys what I needed to do before the power line pulled it off and you all said, “Well, call your electric company. It’s going to cost you some money,” and all that stuff. Well, I happened to be – [monitor company] (ph) – we’re in a co-op in the area I live in in Texas.
MITCH: Well, I went down and told them about it. They came up that same day, fixed it. They replaced the fascia board, even, for me and didn’t charge me a thing.
TOM: Wow. That’s great.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s fantastic.
MITCH: They said that the co-op members didn’t. It was nice but it kind of surprised me. I thought, “Man, I’ve got to call you guys and let you know.”
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s fantastic, Mitch.
MITCH: Alright. Well, thank you. Love your show.
TOM: Glad to hear it. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Thought he was going to say, “Well, we had this big, electrical wire you guys didn’t tell me about and now I glow like a Christmas tree.”
LESLIE: Song in Alaska is dealing with a leaky window. Tell us what’s going on.
SONG: Oh, yeah, hi. Yes. I have a rental house that’s in Anchorage, Alaska. Every wintertime, the tenants report that the water is running through the window and window seals, especially on the south side. But they said it has nothing to do with raining or anything but has to do with cold temperature. So every time when the temperature drops, then they see more water running through.
So I actually even had a construction company to look at what’s going on. They didn’t find anything leaking but they said that the ground is too wet. They said I need to dig the ground under the basement and I need to put a sump pump in. But now I have a roofer who said, “Oh, maybe they forgot to seal the window properly when they built those buildings.”
TOM: I understand you’re getting a lot of opinions here but the one key thing you said is that this doesn’t happen when it rains, is that correct?
TOM: And this is a basement window or it’s a first-floor?
SONG: Upstairs windows.
TOM: OK. So, there’s only one thing that could be causing this and one thing only: condensation.
TOM: Condensation. It makes perfect sense.
TOM: In the winter, it’s very cold on the outside of the house, it’s very warm and moist on the inside of the house. The warm, moist air of the inside of the house strikes the cold glass and condenses and then it gets very wet and it drips down. And you can actually get quite a lot of condensation. It could look like a window is leaking from the outside when it’s really leaking from the inside.
Now, the solution is better windows, unfortunately. Because if you don’t have glass that’s insulated well enough, this will happen and especially in extreme climates like you have in Anchorage.
But if it’s not leaking during the rain, there’s no snow or ice that’s melting above it or anything like that, the only possible source of this is condensation. It has nothing to do with the ground.
SONG: OK. So I need to replace the window?
TOM: If it’s condensation, which is what I think it is. And it should be pretty easy to tell. You should be able to see the water forming on the inside of the glass.
And is it a wood window, a vinyl window or a metal window?
SONG: Vinyl windows.
TOM: Yeah. So you should be able to see the condensation forming on the glass and then dripping.
SONG: Right, right.
TOM: It should be pretty obvious.
SONG: That’s what the tenant says, it’s condensation. So, what is the fix?
TOM: Yeah, it’s – well, I mean replacing the window will solve it. Reducing the amount of moisture inside the house will also solve it. It might be that your contractor was talking about ways to reduce humidity in the basement and that may be why he gave you that sump-pump tip but that’s really not accurate. If you want to reduce humidity in the basement, you need to improve your drainage at the perimeter of the house. You need to extend your downspouts, you need to slope the soil away from the house, you need to do everything you can to try to reduce the amount of water and moisture that surrounds that first few feet of the foundation perimeter.
Inside the house, you can improve your ventilation fans. Make sure you have one, for example, in the kitchen that vents out. Every bathroom should have a fan that vents out so that you’re dealing with those moisture sources. And you need to use it. You need to have the – you need to be able to turn the fan on when somebody’s in the bathroom taking a shower so you’re venting all that steam. Things like that that reduce humidity inside the house can make this less of an issue.
But the bottom line is that you’ve got a window with glass that’s not insulated very well. You could probably add an interior storm window. That could be a second thing that you could do; it’d be less expensive.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. An additional insulating layer.
TOM: Yeah, it’d be less expensive than replacing it. But you definitely have glass that’s just not insulated enough.
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 repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whatever you are working on, we are here to lend a hand but you’ve got to pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, when the weather turns cold, many Americans dive into hobbies in the comfort of their own homes. We’ve got tips on how to build out a space just for these hobbies, after this.
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.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This hour, we’re giving away a prize that will help you achieve the look and the feel of a real stone wall without the need to hire a pro to do the job. It’s called AirStone. It’s an ultra-lightweight wall-covering system that can transform a drab fireplace, a wall or even a shelf into something very spectacular. The stone pieces fit together perfectly so no grouting is ever needed.
LESLIE: Now, you can actually find AirStone at most Lowe’s locations but if you want to check them out online, go to their website. It’s AirStone.com. You can learn all about it, see some project ideas, really get an idea of how this works.
But one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $100 Lowe’s gift card to get you started on your next project with AirStone. So pick up the phone and give us a call now for help on any project. The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in Georgia is on the line. How can we help you today?
RON: Yeah. I’ve had a plumbing problem in my kitchen. I had a leak and I had a plumber come out and put a used sink part in the hot-and-cold-water thing and it makes a thumping sound now when you cut the water on?
TOM: OK. Yep.
RON: And it thumps every so often.
TOM: Yep. That thump has a technical term. It’s called “thumping.” No, it’s called “water hammer.” And it happens because water is very heavy; it actually weighs about 8 pounds per gallon.
TOM: And as it’s running through the pipes, when you turn the faucet off, it has a certain level of centrifugal force and continues to move forward. And in doing so, it creates that thumping sound that you’re hearing.
Now, there’s two ways to fix this. Number one, you can figure out where the pipes are loose and tie them tighter to the framing. Or number two, you could put in what is sort of a shock absorber for your plumbing system; it’s called a “water-hammer arrestor.” And it basically takes the centrifugal force of that water and dissipates it.
But the good news is that it’s not causing a problem, structurally, to the pipes.
LESLIE: It’s more of a nuisance.
TOM: It would have to be incredibly bad and you’d have to have a really – a system that just was on its last legs for this to cause any damage. So it’s really an annoyance more than anything else.
RON: Yeah. Well, that’s what I’ll do then.
TOM: Alright, Ron. Well, good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
RON: Thank you very much.
TOM: Well, January is, in fact, National Hobby Month. And if you’re into hobbies but would like to have a better space to do that, you might be surprised how easy it is to create a hobby room inside the space you already have. You just need to take a look, first, at your needs. Think about things like whether you need a lot of outlets, storage, ventilation, lighting and so on. And once you’ve identified that, you can take the next step.
LESLIE: First, you’re going to need to pick a space in your home that really doesn’t see a lot of daily activity and then go ahead and sketch out a layout for your equipment. Remember, depending on your hobby, you might have large equipment needs, a bigger space. You might have a small hobby that needs just a little tabletop and some small storage.
You want to also keep your items that you use together near each other, like paint and brushes. Also, think of the way that most kitchens are designed: they form a working triangle with the sink, the fridge and the stove so that you can conveniently get to all the things that you use the most. So try to plan your triangle with the three most critical areas that you need for your hobby.
Now, you can head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got a ton of hobby-room tips there, including the all-important storage issue, because everything needs a place. So get started so that you can maximize your hobby-loving fun and enjoy it all year long.
TOM: And if your hobby is home improvement, pick up the phone and call us right now. We’ll help you get started with that next project, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Helen in North Carolina is dealing with a hot-water issue. Tell us what’s going on.
HELEN: Yeah. Our electric, 50-gallon hot-water tank is about 18 years old.
HELEN: And we’ve lived here for probably 16 years. And it’s been like this since we moved in – is that we have to let the water in our bathrooms – which are about 35 feet away from the hot-water tank, which is in the garage – and we have to let it run a couple of minutes before the hot water comes.
TOM: Yeah. The reason for that is that 35-foot distance.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Is the distance.
HELEN: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking.
LESLIE: Is electric the only supply option for power to your water heater?
TOM: So, there is a solution. Rheem makes a water heater that’s very small and designed to fit underneath a cabinet or somewhere very close to the bathroom. And they – even one – have one that runs on 120 volts, so you can plug it into a normal outlet. And it’s designed to just provide a little bit additional amount of hot water …
LESLIE: To get you until the main supply gets to you.
HELEN: Oh, OK.
TOM: So, works in conjunction with them.
LESLIE: So that you’re not wasting as much water and you can at least get in the shower right away.
TOM: And the other thing that you could do is you could zone the water. This is a bigger plumbing project but you would put a second water heater near the bathroom. And you would split it off so that the water heater that was near the bathrooms supplied only the bathrooms and the water heater that was down in the basement, or wherever it is 35 feet away, just did the kitchen sink and the dishwasher or whatever is left that has to be plumbed: the half-bath, that sort of thing.
LESLIE: Supplied the other stuff.
HELEN: OK. Well, thank you.
LESLIE: Janet in Maryland is on the line with an insulation question. Tell us what’s going on.
JANET: Yes. My house was built in the 50s. It’s stucco with cinder-block walls. And when I had the sheetrock replaced, there really was no insulation, so I don’t know if it can be blown in. I was told nothing could be done. There’s some little – it’s a one-and-a-half-story bungalow. There’s some loose insulation in the eaves in the attic and I really don’t see anything on the exterior walls.
TOM: OK. So, with a house, you want to make sure that you insulate in the right order and the order would be the attic first. Now, you mentioned it does have some insulation.
LESLIE: Put the hat on your head.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right. Put the hat on the head.
TOM: You want to make sure – you said it has some insulation. How many inches of insulation do you think you have in the attic right now, Janet?
JANET: Probably like two or three; it doesn’t look like a whole lot.
TOM: Oh, my God. That’s nothing.
JANET: It’s real loose.
TOM: OK. Do you know how much you’re going to – you really need?
TOM: You need 19 to 22 inches of insulation.
TOM: So you should forget totally about these walls; your problem is overhead.
TOM: You need to get as much insulation in that attic as you possibly can. A foot-and-a-half is what we’re looking for and up. And when you do that, you’re going to see an amazing reduction in your energy bills. Amazing. Because you have next to nothing right now. You’re like sleeping outside with a sheet on, you know?
JANET: Oh, geez. OK. OK.
TOM: You need heavy blankets, honey, to make this work for you.
JANET: Do I buy the roll? The pink roll?
TOM: Yes, absolutely. The pink roll, the Owens Corning. You could buy the rolls or buy the loose batts and you want to put – first you fill in between the floor joists.
LESLIE: And you want to get unfaced.
TOM: Yep, unfaced insulation. You fill in between the floor joists. Then you put a second layer on top of that, perpendicular to the floor joists, until you build up enough insulation.
JANET: OK, OK.
TOM: And you’re going to find an amazing change in how warm and comfy your house gets as a result of that.
JANET: OK, great. Great.
TOM: Alright, Janet. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is a very typical question that we got on the show, Leslie. Folks don’t know where to put those energy dollars first. And you’ve got, like in her case, almost zero insulation in the attic.
You should just forget about the outside walls; that’s not your problem. Your problem is the attic.
LESLIE: Right. It really is. You put a hat on your head, it keeps the warmth in your body. So it’s the same for your home. You really need to think about working from the top down. And I think people forget that over time, there’s so much settling that you do either need to replace or add so that you meet that R-value.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, take advantage of a slow retail season by using up those leftover holiday gift cards. We’re going to teach you how to get the most bang from your plastic buck, after this.
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.
Well, if you are still holding onto some of those gift cards that you may have received as holiday gifts, you’re not alone, which I can’t understand why. Free stuff, guys. Go shopping.
It turns out that one in four Americans never use those gift cards, which is a huge mistake. You can really cash in, especially this time of year, which is slow for retailers, which means lots of deals for you.
TOM: Here to tell us more is Trae Bodge and she is the senior editor of RetailMeNot.com’s Insider Magazine.
TRAE: Thanks so much for having me today.
TOM: So, this is the time of year – look, we’re like a month out of the holidays now and you’ve probably stuck that gift card away in your sock drawer or wherever you keep it, forgot you had it. It’s shocking that one out of four Americans doesn’t really even use those cards. How do we take advantage of those cards and how do we make sure that we’re really maxing out the value that was intended by those that gave us the gift?
TRAE: It’s interesting with gift cards. And to your point, they do often get tossed into a junk drawer and left unused. And we were shocked to find that one in four are leaving half of their gift cards unused.
So, what I would remind people is that consider your gift card just like it is a credit card. It is cash in hand. Put it in your wallet, make sure you have it with you at all times. And also, you can use it online to shop, as well. So, use that gift card, because it is cash.
And a great way to maximize the value of your gift card is to look for the best price on the items that you’re looking for. So utilize those price-comparison tools, like Google Shopping or Nextag. If you’re out and about, RedLaser is a great mobile app for comparison shopping. And then take advantage of coupon sites, like RetailMeNot.com. We have hundreds of thousands of coupons available from all your favorite retailers, so be sure to look for a coupon prior to shopping, to make the best use of that gift card.
TOM: We’re talking to Trae Bodge. She’s the senior editor of RetailMeNot.com’s Insider Magazine.
So tell us about RetailMeNot. What’s the basis for the site and how can consumers take advantage of the site to get the best deal on whatever they want to buy?
TRAE: Well, RetailMeNot.com is a coupon aggregator, which means that we gather coupons on a consistent basis and so we’re always looking for the best deals that are out there. We are the largest coupon site in the country and as such, we have hundreds of thousands of coupons available at any given time, for anything from Home Depot to Lowe’s to Groupon to anything you could imagine: a lot of the big retailers to the smaller retailers, everything from home improvement items to toys to apparel to pizza to conferences. So it’s really a one-stop shop for consumers.
It’s free to use. You don’t need to sign up. However, you can curate special e-mails from RetailMeNot that are on deals that are pertinent to you, which is great. We also have a mobile app for iPhone and Android, which offers you in-store and online coupons, as well. So, essentially, we are – you know, we’re a depot for savings for consumers and a great resource, as well.
TOM: Trae, let me ask you one final question. If we are shopping with a gift card and we have a problem – because they are problematic. I mean it’s not like a gift certificate, which we’re – these were, obviously, easier to lose but they were certainly easier to use, as well.
I found that when you’re using a gift card, it can be problematic, as Leslie said earlier, because there are so many rules. If you have an issue, if you have a complaint, how do consumers best file that issue? Do they go to the FTC? Do they go to the gift-card supplier? What’s the best way to make sure that you’re heard if you have a problem?
TRAE: I would definitely call. There should be a toll-free number on the back of the gift card. And like I said earlier, many gift cards require a registration and that’s an – actually, it’s a way to protect you, as well. Some of those gift cards actually offer – if you lose it, you can actually recoup the gift card.
So you should always, if given the option, register that gift card. Sometimes you can check the balance that way, as well. It just depends on whether it’s, for instance, a Visa gift card or it’s an in-store gift card. The rules will apply somewhat differently but they will come with some fine print there. Be sure to read that and obviously, make sure that you’re protected as much as possible.
And what’s really interesting about gift cards now is that there are these great services, that if there’s a gift card that you receive that is from a store, perhaps, that you don’t shop from but you would like a gift card from another store, there’s a website called GiftCardRescue and there’s another one called Plastic Jungle.
And you can actually visit those sites. It’s free and easy to sell your gift card back to them. You do take a little bit of a hit off of the balance but then, because they buy gift cards from other people, they actually sell gift cards at a discounted rate. So that’s a really good way – if you get a card from Macy’s and you want one from Lowe’s instead, you can definitely do that right on those websites.
TOM: Great advice. Trae Bodge, the senior editor of RetailMeNot.com’s Insider Magazine, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TRAE: Thanks for having me. Have a great day.
LESLIE: Well, you think you’re having a tough time with this cold winter season? Think about how your pet feels. I’ve got a 7-pound toy poodle; she can’t even go outside to pee without coming in shivering. We’re going to give you some cold-weather safety tips for your furry friends, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This hour, we are giving away a prize that will help you get the look and feel of a real stone wall. Now, it’s a new product called AirStone and it’s ultra-lightweight and you can put it on your wall. And the stone walls, they’re really popular. Pick up any home décor magazine and you’ll see that they really have a mid-century look that’s in right now. You can create a stone wall, you can create a stone accent wall, you can wrap a bookshelf.
Whatever it is that you are thinking about, you can create with AirStone. And it can be mid-century, it can be traditional. Totally up to you.
TOM: And the nice thing is that with AirStone, you can actually expect to pay about 80-percent less than you would for a real stone project. One caller this hour is going to win a $100 Lowe’s gift card, which you’d use towards the purchase of AirStone.
You can check it out at AirStone.com and give us a call right now with your home improvement question, for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nate in Utah needs some help with a home office. What can we do for you today?
NATE: I’m building (audio gap) and I’m building an office. I got the walls all up and I drywalled the outside of the walls but I’m noticing a really annoying cracking, popping, creaking sound in my floor that wasn’t there before I put this wall up.
NATE: And I don’t really want to (inaudible at 0:26:42) the other side of the wall if there’s something I can do to get rid of that noise.
TOM: Hmm. Where did you put the wall up?
NATE: Right in the middle of my living room, so …
TOM: OK, you sort of divided it in half?
NATE: Well, yeah, I divided the room in half.
TOM: I see. OK. And so now you’re getting a cracking sound in the floor.
TOM: Well, you didn’t do anything that affects it structurally. This is just a partition wall? If you tied that wall into the floor, you may be impacting the expansion and the contraction of the flooring products; that could be causing that noise. What kind of floor is it?
NATE: It looked like it was waferboard when I put the 2x4s for the wall down.
NATE: And underneath it, it’s wood and I-beam joists that are about 24 inches apart.
TOM: Oh, yeah. There are actually sound-control products that you can use to quiet a floor like that. It’s essentially an underlayment, Nate, that goes between the waferboard floor and then you would put a second layer of flooring on top of that. There’s a number of them available from manufacturers around the country. You can find them online.
One product is called Quiet Qurl. And I think something like that would give you the silence that you’re looking for. Because you have a waferboard floor or an aspenite floor on top of those plywood-beamed joists, you’re always going to have a lot of movement there and that’s always going to result in a fair amount of sound.
What was your finished floor plan for this? Was it going to be carpet or what?
NATE: It’s carpet. The carpet is there.
NATE: This is – I cut my carpet down the middle where the wall was going to go and I put the wall up.
TOM: I see. Yeah. Well, unfortunately, this is a solution that would require you to pull all the carpet up, so you really have to decide whether or not it’s that important to you.
NATE: OK. Well, I will look into that. Thank you.
TOM: Well, winter is not going anywhere anytime soon and while you’re busy making sure the cold stays outside, you also need to pay attention to your pet’s needs. Now, there are lots of gadgets available that can keep your four-legged friends toasty, happy and comfortable and occupied the whole time they spend inside the house. But if you’ve got a strictly outdoor dog and you’re in a colder climate, you might need to heat his or her doghouse. And there are portable, climate-controlled units that can actually do just that. They can keep your dog warm in the winter and actually prevent them from getting overheated in the summer.
LESLIE: Now, if your pet is too pampered to spend that much time outdoors, like my 7-pound toy poodle, you might want to consider doggie boots and a coat for those necessary outdoor trips.
Now, deicers, they could actually hurt your dog’s sensitive paw pads, so you want to make sure that you are using products that are chemical-free. And of course, as you’re walking around the block and you pass a neighbor who might not be using the same pet-friendly melting salt, you want to make sure you wipe them off of your pet’s feet before they get inside. And this way, it really helps them keep their feet in good condition.
And if you happen to turn your thermostat down at night, you might want to consider a heated dog bed. You can actually get cordless ones in case you have a furry friend that is a chewer. And of course, chewing and electrical cords do not mix. We do not recommend that.
TOM: Not a good combination.
LESLIE: Not a good combination for anybody.
So if you’re looking for some more ideas on keeping Rover or Daisy or Spot safe this winter season, search “dogs and winter safety” on MoneyPit.com.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. We are standing by for your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Doug in Delaware on the line working on a basement project. What can we do for you?
DOUG: I have a problem with finishing my basement. I’ve gone in to get a permit and I’m getting conflicting viewpoints on whether I should install a plastic sheeting barrier between the studs in my poured concrete wall?
TOM: Hmm. Well, do you have a moisture problem down there? Have you ever had flooding or dampness?
DOUG: No. A little bit of dampness. I’ve noticed that some things do mildew over a time period but it’s not a great problem.
TOM: Right, OK. OK. Well, we can give you some good tips on this.
First of all, let’s talk about making sure that the area below grade stays as dry as possible. Before you finish that basement, you want to really examine your exterior drainage conditions, making sure that your gutters are clean, they’re free-flowing, the downspouts are extended 4 to 6 feet from the house and that the soil around the foundation perimeter slopes away, as well. Doing so is going to reduce the volume of humidity and moisture that’s going to wick out through those walls into that basement space.
Now, when it comes to actually assembling the basement walls, you want to frame those walls and you don’t want to frame them, though, against the concrete. You want to frame them and leave a few inches in between the wall and the concrete, so you’re going to leave an air space behind it. And this way, you’re not going to have direct contact between the studs and the wall. You’ll avoid a potential mold problem there and you’ll also have the ability for air to circulate.
One additional way you can facilitate that circulation is by adding sort of fake heating vents in the wall – a couple down low, a couple up high – and so air will circulate from the inside of the finished basement, back through the wall and around.
DOUG: Uh-huh. OK. That sounds reasonable.
TOM: Now, when it comes to the drywall material, you have a couple of good options out there.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there’s a – it’s a really smart decision to go with something that’s truly made for these high-moisture spaces, like basements. And there’s one from Georgia Pacific called DensArmor Plus. And instead of the traditional paper facing that they put on a drywall product, they’re using fiberglass, so there’s no mold food, it’s moisture-resistant; you’re not going to grow any kind of mold in your basement.
And then you finish it with fiberglass tape to get your seams and then you can paint it, wallpaper it, whatever you wanted to do. It finishes just like traditional drywall but it’s truly made for the space and really does not cost that much more, so it’s worth it to consider or at least go out there and get it if you are finishing the basement space.
DOUG: Uh-huh. Our local code does allow for a 1-inch gap between the studs and the concrete wall and they recommend an insulation with a moisture barrier in it – the facing of it – on the warm side of the room. And you said a couple inches so that’s …
TOM: Well, I mean it’s OK. What I don’t like to see is walls constructed right up against it. So if you want to put an acceptable foundation insulation product on that – either the foam board; there’s also some wrap products that more look like sort of a fiberglass blanket with a foil face – that’s all fine. But I wouldn’t attach the walls right to the concrete; I would build the walls in front of it.
DOUG: Uh-huh. A plastic film between the studs and the wall wouldn’t stop the moisture?
TOM: Well, the moisture’s going to get in one way or the other. Putting the film is not going to hurt it but I think if you manage the moisture from the outside, that’s the best way to reduce the volume of humidity.
DOUG: Uh-huh. OK. Sounds doable. Thank you very much, Leslie and Tom.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
DOUG: I appreciate it.
TOM: 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, between electrical wires, computer cords and phone lines, some areas of your house can quickly become a jumbled mess, unless you know the tricks to clear that cable clutter. We’re going to share those tips, after this.
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: With all of us spending more and more time indoors during the winter season, it’s a good time to think about indoor air quality, which some studies have shown can be up to 25-percent more polluted than the air outside your house? So, if you’d like some tips on how to make sure the air that you’re breathing is as clean as possible, head on over to MoneyPit.com and search on controlling mold and allergens inside your house.
LESLIE: Yeah, because we’re spending a lot of time indoors this winter, so you might as well enjoy some nice, clean air.
TOM: Well, have you ever in your life had what you consider an arch enemy? For Leslie Segrete, that is the cable – the errant cable – that’s lying about, right there in your face where you can trip on it or at least stare at it. Leslie, however, has a whole kit and caboodle full of tips to get rid of that cable clutter, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Cables are Lex Luther to my Superman, if you will. They are my nemesis. I just hate them so much. I am not a big fan of cords, speaker wires, cables, computer cables. Even just knowing that behind the desk or a TV there is just a mass of messy cables is enough to ruin my day. And they really can actually ruin the look of a room. But we live in an age of technology, so you really can’t do anything without them. So, why not embrace them?
You know, there’s a lot of interesting and pretty easy options that you can choose from. Years ago, on an episode of While You Were Out, we did a great room for these two girls who were professional bull riders, which is so crazy. And we did a really cool light installation on an upper ledge, so we had to run an extension cord from the upper area down to the outlet on the lower wall.
And instead of just hanging down this crazy orange cord, we got a super-long one and we sort of wrote out “cowgirl” in script in like a really cool writing, with the orange cord, and carefully tacked them to the wall with cable tackers. And that was a great way to functionally electrify what we needed to do up top but create a really cool piece of art with the electrical cord.
So, if you’ve got something like that and you’re interested in creating a cool art installation, think out of the box when it comes to the cables. You can wrap them up on the wall, use some cool cable tackers, make spiral patterns, box patterns. Whatever you’re kind of into, you could do that. And if you’re using multicolor extension cords, you’ve got some cool cable wires or some cool computer cords, it could look pretty interesting in the right space.
Now, there’s also – you have to keep in mind that extension cords could be kind of tripping hazards. You never want to put them under a rug, so really think about a great way to keep them off of the floor.
Also, cable ties – those little zip ties that you see; they usually come a couple in a box when you get something with a lot of cables. But you can get them at Radio Shack, Staples, any sort of home or office store. And these zip ties are great, because when you’re working with your computer or your TV system, you want to make sure that you group cords together of things that will go together should you need to open them. So I’ll put my speakers and my computer-monitor wires together, zip them all around and then lay them neatly behind my desk.
So if you can organize your cables or your wires into a group of things that sort of work together, should you need to undo, then at least you’ve got everything organized. And you can also flag a little piece of masking tape off of things so you know this cable goes from the back of the cable box to the TV or this one goes from my modem to the computer itself.
So keep organized, label things, be creative. And just knowing that things are organized behind your desk will actually make your day and believe it or not, my day a heck of a lot better.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, did you know that a can of old paint is technically considered hazardous household waste? We’re going to have tips on what exactly that is and what it isn’t and how to properly dispose of what’s left, 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 2013 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.)