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 we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. We want to solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas. We want to help you pick up the tools and get to work. And if you’re thinking, "This is a project I can’t do myself," well, we’ll help you figure out how to hire the right pro to get the job done. But you’ve got to help yourself first by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up in today’s program, when it comes to insulation, one of the options to consider is blown-in insulation because it can be super-energy-efficient. The question, though, is: is it a job you can do yourself? Well, it turns out that thanks to some new tools and new products, the answer is yes. We’re going to tell you how, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, fall is a favorite time of year for so many homeowners but it also comes with a chore that you probably don’t love: raking leaves. Now, if you’re thinking of skipping this job, do not. We’ll tell you why raking leaves is crucial to your lawn’s health.
TOM: Plus, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – almost, actually, one year ago this month – one victim decided, within minutes, that the only thing to do was to tear down and rebuild. We’re going to hear that story, as our exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of This Old House: Jersey Shore Rebuilds continues, presented by Red Devil.
LESLIE: And one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a $50 prize pack from Concrobium Mold Control. It’s much more effective and safer than using bleach to get rid of mold. And it’ll keep it from coming back.
TOM: So, let’s get to the phones. Call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ruth in California is on the line with a patio question. How can we help you today?
RUTH: I am wondering how I can get rid of the mold – permanently get rid of the mold – on my patio. It’s a pebble surface. And I’ve tried Roman Cleanser, you know, Clorox? And it takes care of it for a while and then it comes right back.
TOM: There’s a product on the market called Concrobium Mold Control and their website is CureMyMold.com. Now, they have a deck wash that I think would work for this. And the nice thing about the Concrobium products is they leave a protective barrier on the surface when it dries. So not only does it kill and help clean up the existing mold but it leaves a protective barrier that makes it a lot less likely for the mold to grow back.
Concrobium Mold Control. Just go to CureMyMold.com and that is a great product that’s non-toxic and works very well.
RUTH: OK. So it won’t bother the grass or anything around the patio.
TOM: Correct. Exactly.
RUTH: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Terry in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
TERRY: I’ve recently laid blacktop down probably about two years ago. Now, I’m starting to get some cracks in there. And some of them might be at least a ½-inch wide to ¼-inch. And I’m curious if you have a new product you’re aware of, that was rated highly, to use now to fill cracks with on blacktop?
TOM: Well, it’s interesting that the driveway was only two years old and it’s already forming cracks. That can mean one thing and one thing only, Terry, and that is that it wasn’t put down very well to begin with. Perhaps the base wasn’t as solid as it should have been. Is this a project that you had a contractor do for you?
TERRY: Yes. And you’re absolutely right. What happened – I didn’t get the 3 inches I was guaranteed to get. And I drive a semi and in the wintertime, I’ll back my semi up there to plug it in due to the cold weather. I live in Wisconsin.
TERRY: And I got off on the edge a little bit and it pushed it down.
TOM: OK. So, what you want to do is use a latex asphalt crack filler. And then also use a latex top-coat sealer. The latex products today, the formulation is pretty good and they’re a lot easier to work with. But don’t use the sealer on the cracks until you put the crack filler in first. The crack filler has some depth to it, so it can fill up those voids – those ½-inch voids – that you described. Then after you apply the crack filler and seal those cracks up – because, remember, what the purpose of the crack filler is really is to just keep the water out of it and keep it flush so the water doesn’t get in and freeze and make it worse.
So use the crack filler first and then put a coat of latex sealer on the whole thing. I would just buy one of the squeegees on – with one side, the broom on the other – kind of application tools. Start on one end, go to the other and then stay off it for a couple of days.
TERRY: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your kindness in answering my phone call.
TOM: Terry, good luck with that project. 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, we are into October, which means the holidays are not far behind. So if you need some help getting your money pit in tip-top shape before those relatives come a-knocking, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, it’s called "fall" for a reason. We’re going to talk about why raking leaves is so critical to your home’s lawn and its structure. Plus, we’ve got step-by-step tips to make it as easy as possible.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Diamond Crystal Salt. The benefits are bigger than you expected. After all, you’re worth your salt. Diamond Crystal Salt. A brilliant choice since 1886.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Chamberlain Garage Power Station, an air inflator, utility cord, and LED task light all together in a new, 3-in-1 tool. Exclusively at The Home Depot.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you need to pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. We want to hear your home improvement question, we want to solve the do-it-yourself dilemma and we want to potentially give you a great prize. Because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 prize package from Concrobium to help you win the battle against mold.
LESLIE: That’s right. This package includes Concrobium Mold Control – which will eliminate mold and prevent it from coming back, all without using any harmful chemicals – plus, Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser, which is a powerful cleaning solution that targets mold and mildew stains on both outdoor and indoor surfaces.
TOM: Learn more at CureMyMold.com and give us a call right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jackie in Colorado is working on a flooring project. How can we lend you a hand?
JACKIE: I have a battleship linoleum on the floor. I can live with it but it’s starting to crack in front of the door in the furnace. And it was probably put down in 1930 but …
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you what, those old linoleum floors, they lasted a long time. But I think, Jackie, it’s time for you to consider redecorating.
JACKIE: There’s no way I’m going to get this floor up.
JACKIE: I know it’s underneath some old boards and I have a half-a-basement underneath. And when I walk across it, it squeaks, so I know it’s the flooring underneath the linoleum. It’s probably not good.
TOM: Well, the fact that it squeaks doesn’t mean it’s not good; it just means that it’s dry and there’s – perhaps loose and some boards are rubbing against each other. Quieting the squeaks is one thing; getting a new floor is another. So, let’s just talk about how to quiet the squeaks first.
And this is something that a pro can do for you. Your floor, no matter how old it is, is going to be installed and secured to floor joists below – floor beams below. A pro can identify where those beams are and they can drive screws from the floor, through the subfloor, through the linoleum and into the floor below. Doing that every 12 to 18 inches will stabilize that floor and cause it to squeak less. Be unlikely to expect no squeaks but you’ll definitely quiet it down.
Now, once that’s done, you could put a new floor on top of that. And one of the easiest, new floors to put down is laminate flooring. Laminate flooring doesn’t actually physically attach to the old floor; it floats over it. The panels all snap together and they are cut up to about a ¼-inch away from the wall. And then you trim the edge that’s left and it looks terrific and it’s incredibly durable. I’m not going to tell you it’s going to last the 80 years that your first floor lasted but I tell you what, I’ve had it in my house for over a decade and it’s worked great. And we brought three kids up on it.
JACKIE: I went to a department store in Home Depot and he said, well, the only thing he would recommend – he said, "You can’t put tile or anything like that, marble." He said it will not work. But he said, "We have what they call a ‘floating floor.’"
TOM: Yeah, that’s the same thing. It’s not attached; it floats on the old floor. But laminate is the type of material that you’re interested in. They sell it at Home Depot. Lots of different types are there. You can also look at a website like LumberLiquidators.com. You know, you can buy this laminate floor from anywhere from about, oh, roughly $3 a square foot to maybe $5 a square foot. So it’s not terribly expensive and it’s beautiful.
It comes in many different designs. If you want it to look like tile, it can. If you want it to look like old hardwood floors, it can. And if you want it to look like linoleum again, it could do that. So you choose the design that matches the house.
JACKIE: Sounds good then. So, I just need to go back and tell him I need a floating floor.
TOM: Yeah, laminate. Laminate is what you’re looking for. And have it installed professionally, OK, Jackie? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re thinking about skipping that dreaded chore of leaf-raking this fall, forget it. There are lots of reasons you need to rake up those fallen leaves.
First, if you want to keep your lawn healthy, you’ve got to rake. Leaves will starve your grass of crucial sunlight during the fall months.
LESLIE: Plus, besides the lawn, leaves that accumulate in your gutters can actually cause a whole host of structural issues, from cracked foundations to flooded basements.
TOM: That’s right. Now, if you hate raking leaves as much as we do, here’s a little trick. Pick up a small, blue tarp no more than, say, about 8x10. Then rake the leaves into the tarp and drag that around the lawn as the job progresses. You can even pull it to the street to dump the leaves curbside for your town to pick up. It’s a lot easier to move leaves this way than to pick them up and bag them.
LESLIE: And you’ve got to remember, guys, that leaf-raking is strenuous work, so make sure you take some breaks and use proper equipment and drink lots of water. Because it’s a hard job but you’ve got to do it.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Mario in Iowa is on the line with a window question. What can we do for you?
MARIO: I have a frame and obviously, it’s a rectangle. But the top side of that rectangle on the existing frame of the masonry in the bedroom, it’s metal. It’s a metal bar. And I’m replacing my old window with a [Glass Works] (ph) preassembled window.
MARIO: And the mortar – the manufacturer of the mortar, I contacted them and they say that mortar does not adhere to metal. So, I am going to have a gap between the top side metal bar and the window at about a ½-inch. And I’m curious what your recommendation is: whether I should just seal it or actually try to find some material to bond it, not just seal it.
TOM: So, the gap is going to be on the top or the bottom? What about the sides?
MARIO: The sides are OK because they’re masonry; they’re cement. So that’s not a concern. It’s some sort of – there was some sort of reinforcing bar put into the top of the frame, I assume, for some structural reason. So that’s my only real concern. The other three sides are masonry and the mortar works fine there.
TOM: Is this the kind of thing that maybe you could use pressure-treated lumber – a ½-inch piece of – a ½-inch-thick piece of, say, pressure-treated lumber/plywood or pressure-treated plywood as a shim?
MARIO: Yes, I would think so, yes.
TOM: Yeah, because I think that’s what I would probably use, something like that. Because you want to basically close down the opening so that the window can be secured. And you could attach the pressure-treated lumber to the old masonry opening and then attach the window to that.
MARIO: OK. That’s a very good suggestion. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sandy in Florida is dealing with a squeaky door. Tell us what’s going on.
SANDY: Well, we’ve had this squeaky door now for three years. We’ve tried putting oil on it, we tried using WD-40 and then we went out and bought three new hinges and put on it. And it still is a squeaky door.
TOM: Are these hinges sort of standard hinges?
SANDY: Yes. It’s just three standard hinges.
TOM: So what you might want to do is go out and buy some ball-bearing hinges. There are some upgraded hinges. They’re often used on heavier doors but they rely on ball bearings to open and close instead of just the metal sitting on top of the metal. There’s actually bearings there that the different sides of the door will ride on. And those will be absolutely quiet and they’ll last forever.
SANDY: Wow. Where would they carry those?
TOM: Well, I would expect that you would find them – you may need to go to a home center and order them. Go to the millworks section of a home center, bring an old hinge along and try to order a ball-bearing hinge to match it. Or your hardware store. Or you can probably find them online, as well.
SANDY: Yeah, that’s what we’ll try. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Claude in Georgia on the line who’s dealing with some unwanted visitors. You’ve got moles in the yard. Tell us about them.
CLAUDE: These moles are tearing up my yard. I haven’t found anything that can stop them.
TOM: Well, we can stop them for you, Claude.
TOM: Here’s what you need to do. First of all, you need to realize why they’re there and they’re there because they’re hungry. And what they’re hungry for are the insects that are in your lawn, most specifically grubs. Grubs are like a delicacy to moles and they love to eat them. So, if you treat your lawn with a grub product to control the grubs, then they will completely go away.
So, the solution here, Claude, is for you to use grub control. That’s going to eliminate the grubs in the grass and if you eliminate the grubs, you’ll eliminate the moles. Well, you won’t totally eliminate them; they’ll just go to your neighbors and chew on their lawns for a while.
TOM: Bayer Advanced is a manufacturer that we recommend. And they have a season-long, grub-control product that’s also a turf revitalizer. So you might want to take a look at that product, apply it to your lawn, follow the label directions. Get rid of the grubs and the moles will follow by leaving your property and trying to find other places to eat.
I know they can be a very annoying problem and they really can tear up a lawn. But if you get rid of the insects, you’ll get rid of the moles. OK?
CLAUDE: OK. You’re recommending Bayer Advanced?
TOM: Bayer Advanced Grub Control.
CLAUDE: Alright. I’ll get out there tomorrow and buy some and try it.
TOM: Alright. Give it a shot. I’m sure it’ll work well for you. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jeanette in Colorado is on the line and needs some help with a radiant-heating question. What can we do for you?
JEANETTE: I would like to know if it would be good to do the radiant floor ourselves or to have someone else do it. Is it going to increase my electric bill quite a bit and if it is something I could do, what materials would be best to do?
TOM: Wow. Lots of questions.
LESLIE: Yeah. We only said, "One question," lady.
TOM: Alright. So, the bathroom is the only room in the house that you want to have a warm floor?
JEANETTE: Well, for starters. We would like to do it in the kitchen, also. But we thought we’d start with the small project as the bathroom.
TOM: And what kind of a house do you have? Is it a ranch? Colonial? What are we talking about?
JEANETTE: No, it’s more of a ranch. It has a – the bottom is not sitting completely on the ground because it’s lots of rocks and stuff in the mountains there. So it does have crawlspaces underneath.
TOM: It does.
JEANETTE: Yes, it does have crawlspaces where you – we have sump pumps in there to help anything that might cause that. So you can crawl under the house but it’s not very much room.
TOM: OK. And how is it heated? Is it hot water or a hot-air system?
JEANETTE: Hot air but we mostly use pellet stoves.
TOM: So, it sounds to me like you’re going to be limited to an electric radiant-heating system. There are different types of heating underlayments, so to speak, that you would put on a bathroom floor and you would tile on top of.
Now, is it expensive? Yes. It’s electric heat. It’s expensive to purchase and install, it’s expensive to run. It’s not a way to save money on your heating bill. There’s nothing cost-effective about electric heat. It’s very pleasant and nice to have that warm floor but it is an expensive project and it’s expensive to run. That said, if you put it on its own timer so it’s only on, say, in the morning or in the evenings for a limited period of time, you could manage that expense.
Is it a do-it-yourself project? Yes, if you’re pretty experienced. Because the tile mats usually have to be ordered custom-made. And you have to make sure that they’re installed properly because if you get that floor down and it doesn’t work, you’ve got a big problem. You end up having to tear it up.
Frankly, my advice would be to not do it yourself because I would rather have a contractor do it that’s worked with it time and time again. I’d hate to see the whole thing get together and you’ve got a problem with it and you’ve got to tear it all up and start again. So, the amount of additional expense for labor, I think, would have sort of an insurance quality to it to make sure it comes out right.
JEANETTE: Well, thank you all for your advice and I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next, when Hurricane Sandy hit, one victim decided within minutes that the only thing to do was tear down and rebuild. We’re going to hear that story as our exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of This Old House: Jersey Shore Rebuilds continues, presented by Red Devil.
TOM: Red Devil has been providing quality adhesives, sealants and tools that are made in the U.S.A. since 1872. For special offers and the latest in Red Devil’s innovative products, visit SaveOnRedDevil.com.
We’ll be back with more, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Owens Corning and The Home Depot. The Home Depot and Owens Corning have teamed up to show you just how quick and easy it is to make simple upgrades to your home insulation and save money on energy costs. What’s your insulation project? Learn more. Visit HomeDepot.OwensCorning.com today.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, I’m sure many of you can remember this. On October 29, 2012, a superstorm barreled up the East Coast and slammed directly into the Tri-State Area: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. And one of the hardest-hit areas was the Jersey Shore.
TOM: This season, on This Old House, the team is taking on something that they never have before: they’re documenting the renovation of three badly-damaged homes in three iconic, Jersey Shore towns. And The Money Pit has been given exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to bring you the stories of these renovations and the victims behind them, presented by Red Devil.
LESLIE: And in our first report, we highlight the enormous task three homeowners faced to pick up the pieces of their homes. You can also watch This Old House: Jersey Shore Rebuilds on your local PBS station. This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.
TOM: As I make my way through the bruised and battered towns in the North Barrier Island, it’s clear that progress has been made since Hurricane Sandy reshaped the community that I call home. But the Jersey Shore that welcomed the This Old House team as they prepared to produce their 34th season chronicling some of the rebuilding work here still looks nothing like the place I’ve grown up in and lived my entire life.
In fact, in some areas, the Shore is still like a ghost town, with broken windows and ripped curtains billowing through vacant homes. There’s piles of sand and still lots of debris littering the streets. This area is marked by barrier-island communities, which are vulnerable because the topography here of the area is very fragile. The homes here are built on a thin strip of land with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Barnegat Bay on the other.
And in fact, it’s so narrow in some places that you can actually see water on both sides, something local officials were very aware of when Sandy hit. Like Bill Curtis. He’s the mayor of Bay Head.
BILL: Well, we tried to decide whether we were going to evacuate and when. We paid very, very close attention to the governor and we decided what our emergency evacuation plans would be, how to save our vehicles and how to save people, basically.
TOM: A lot of the early rebuilding focus was on getting towns ready for summer visitors, like making sure the boardwalks and the attractions were up and running. Removing all that storm debris and getting dunes in place and beaches cleaned up was really a critical first step to restoring the local economy and getting the Jersey Shore back to what we think is a new normal.
But for the millions of people who call the Jersey Shore their home all year long, life is not just about boardwalks and beaches.
CARLOS: It started out as just a normal, you know, severe storm. I looked at the tide outside. It seemed normal. Nothing unusual.
TOM: Carlos Santos in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, knows firsthand exactly what it was like living through Hurricane Sandy.
CARLOS: Through the current coming into the canal was something like I had never seen before. And I kept seeing the water rising quickly. I’ve seen the tide coming in and out and they just don’t notice it but this time, I could notice it very clearly. When the water got over the bulkhead, I knew that we were in for a little bit of trouble because that’s where the end point of Hurricane Irene was and here we are, we were just starting off and we were already beyond that. So, I knew we were in for a rough night.
TOM: And that was only the beginning of the journey for Carlos and his wife, Maria. They then had to figure out how to move forward. But one thing they knew for sure was that they wanted to stay and to rebuild.
And in fact, they’re doing just that even though, at this point, most of the construction costs are coming out of pocket for them because they’re still battling their insurance company for coverage, a situation that’s become way too common around here.
Another Jersey Shore homeowner is Rita Gurry. She’s a nurse who calls Manasquan home. And Rita had actually just paid off her home in September of 2012, just one month before Sandy hit.
RITA: So, I opened the door into my living room. All my furniture and my chairs were – they were in other rooms. They had floated, I guess, all around the house. Everything was just destroyed. My lamps were on the floor, my furniture was completely soaked. It was just – and I made the decision within 10 minutes that there’s no way I can repair this house. My house …
TOM: So Rita didn’t repair. Instead, she decided to demo her house and put in a new modular home in its place.
These homeowners are a couple of the fortunate few. Despite enormous challenges, they have been able to move forward with rebuilding and renovation. And they’re doing that under the expert eyes of the cast and the crew of This Old House.
I met up with host Kevin O’Connor at Rita Gurry’s house in Manasquan. It was a big shock for Kevin to see the damage caused by Sandy firsthand.
KEVIN: We were looking at several communities on the Jersey Shore. But for us, the ground zero has been Mantoloking, one of the towns on the barrier islands. And the devastation there was like nothing I had seen anywhere else on the Jersey Shore. A hundred percent of the homes in that community where affected by the storm: either houses destroyed or flooded. Houses that literally look like they had been through a blender, twisted and turned.
It’s a remarkable site. And unfortunately, a lot of folks aren’t back and aren’t going to be back for a while. So even though we’re not doing a house in Mantoloking, for us it serves as sort of the starkest example of how devastating Hurricane Sandy was.
TOM: So, for the first time ever, the team at This Old House is following the renovation of three homes at the same time: an 1880 Shore cottage in Bay Head, a 1950s Colonial in Point Pleasant and Rita’s new prefabricated house in Manasquan.
SARAH: I guess the hardest thing is deciding what part of the story to tell and what part of the story not to tell because we have a limited amount of time.
TOM: Sarah Monzón is one of the producers for This Old House: The Jersey Shore, which kicks off the show’s 34th year on television. Every season is a challenge and this one was no different.
SARAH: It’s the year of everything. To have to choose three house of everything that’s going on down here and the raw tragedy that we are seeing every day as we drive by, people who have completely been left homeless. I mean it’s heart-wrenching to see row after row of houses that you don’t know if those people are coming back. It’s heartening to cover the ones that are but part of you always thinks, "Am I telling the whole story if I don’t tell the story of those who can’t come back?"
TOM: Everybody loves a comeback story. And when the comeback involves the millions of residents and visitors of the iconic Jersey Shore, it takes on a special meaning for those of us who grew up here. And that includes This Old House host Kevin O’Connor.
Hey, Kevin, welcome to the Jersey Shore. Nice to have you in my neighborhood.
KEVIN: It’s good to be in your neighborhood and it’s good to be home.
TOM: Yeah, you grew up here, didn’t you?
KEVIN: I did. I grew up in Maplewood and I lived there straight through until I went to Massachusetts for college. But I still have a lot of family in New Jersey. I still come back to the Jersey Shore of Long Beach Island every year. I haven’t missed it in almost four decades.
TOM: There’s clearly a lot to do to restore these communities but the good news is that with what we now know about how to build homes that can stand up to storms, they’ll be better than ever.
And just like they have for disasters in the past, This Old House is here to follow what three homeowners are doing to get on the road to recovery. And they’ll help inspire millions more who will watch This Old House show the rest of the nation what it really means to be Jersey strong.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask "Who left the lights on?" again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, pick up the phone and give us a call because we want to help you with whatever home improvement or repair question, project – whatever you’re working on. And we’re going to give you a hand. But also, you’ve got the opportunity to win a great prize.
And we’re giving away $50 worth of Concrobium products. Now, Concrobium makes a line of mold-removal products that are way more effective and of course, less harmful than bleach.
TOM: And the winner gets two bottles of Concrobium Mold Control, one bottle of Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser and one House & Deck Wash, which is pretty cool. It’s a non-toxic solution that removes dirt and grime from exterior surfaces.
Visit CureMyMold.com to learn more about these great products. And give us a call right now for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win, 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s the time of year that us homeowners are out there looking for ways to insulate our homes a bit better, to prevent those high energy bills all winter that we’re on the verge of facing. Owens Corning has an insulation product that really helps.
TOM: Yes. You know, adding blown-in attic insulation is a really effective way to cut those energy costs and increase energy efficiency. But did you know that you can actually install blown-in yourself? Well, now you can because Owens Corning has a product called AttiCat Insulation, which I think is pretty cool. It’s a very fast and easy way to insulate an average-sized attic in less than four hours. And that’s at R-30, which is plenty of insulation to keep you warm all winter long.
LESLIE: Yeah. And more than most need.
Now, the AttiCat Blown-In Insulation System has a hose-mounted remote control and it’s designed with reliability and safety in mind. It’s got a self-feeding system, which is going to put the insulation exactly where you want it. Plus, it’s a no-mess, low-dust system, so you get easy work and easy cleanup. And best of all, you can rent it right at your local Home Depot.
TOM: Now, while this is certainly a do-it-yourself project, if you’re not comfortable doing the job, The Home Depot can do it for you. You can see a live demo of AttiCat at your nearest Home Depot store on Saturday, October 12th. So visit HomeDepot.com/Insulation for product information and product how-to guides. Or you can call 800-GET-PINK for questions about specific projects or products.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rick in Pennsylvania who needs some help getting candle wax out of a wood deck. So was it an awesome party?
RICK: No, it was just a silly mistake. I was actually carrying a citronella candle and I dropped it and it splashed back on myself and the deck.
LESLIE: Well, are you OK?
RICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah, this was a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t. Wax all over me, in my eyes and it was not pleasant.
LESLIE: Oh, what a mess.
TOM: Oh, man. That was a mess.
TOM: Alright. So, it splashed all over the wood deck. It’s soaking into the wood, I presume?
RICK: Yeah, I scraped off what I could but a lot of it did go into the deck. It’s a brand-new deck and I did not seal it or stain it or anything. I was letting the wood dry.
TOM: Well, there is a trick of the trade for pulling wax out of wood that you could give a shot to.
LESLIE: Pulling wax out of anything.
TOM: Really anything, yeah.
LESLIE: If you get wax on fabric, a tablecloth, on your clothing, this is the way to get rid of it.
TOM: So what you’re going to want to do is get a clothes iron and a paper bag. And you put the paper bag over the deck and then you put the hot iron on top of the paper bag.
LESLIE: No steam. Just a hot iron.
TOM: Just a hot iron. And what it does is it melts the wax and it soaks up into the paper bag.
LESLIE: Yeah, somehow it magically sticks to the paper bag but not to anything else.
TOM: It sort of blots up, yeah. But just make sure it’s a paper bag and not a plastic bag or you’ll get the opposite result.
RICK: Right, right.
TOM: You’ll be calling for a bigger problem.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it can be a grocery-store bag or a lunch sack or a shopping bag. Like any kind of brown bag.
RICK: OK. And just melt it? It’ll suck right up into the bag. Alright.
TOM: Now, I suspect that once you do that and you wait another season or so before you’re ready to stain or treat the deck, I would just wire-brush that area right over the – where the wax soaked in, before you stain. And I think it’ll just go right in there; I don’t think it’s going to block the stain. Those two tricks will help. OK?
RICK: I was kind of worried about that but yeah, well, great. I appreciate you guys helping me out.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, learn how to dry out a wet crawlspace and prevent mold from taking hold.
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LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
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TOM: Or Leslie and I crashing the This Old House party a couple of weeks ago.
LESLIE: Yes. Lots of awesome pictures from there. We always have a great time when we get to hang with those guys.
TOM: We do.
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And while you’re online, you can ask us a question in the Community section by posting there. And we’ve got one from L.J.C. in Delaware who writes: "My crawlspace recently flooded for the first time in the nearly three decades I’ve been in my home. Crawlspace is sand with a plastic vapor barrier. I removed the water with a portable sump pump and a wet vac and ran a box fan. Do I now need to remove the old vapor barrier and install a new one because it got wet? Should I have a sump pump installed? Should I spray the crawlspace with some kind of anti-mold solution?"
TOM: Wow. So, one flooding in three decades, that’s no need to panic, L.J. And the fact that the plastic got wet is no big as long as you’ve got it dried out right now. In fact, it sounds like you did all the right things.
Now, the reason it flooded bears some conversation. You want to – it’s probably happened because of a storm. And usually when you get those sort of once-in-a-while floods, it’s because the gutters got disconnected, the gutters got clogged, the downspouts dumped water too close to the foundation. Something like that happened. So if anything, I would address that.
But the fact that you got that all dried out is critical. And the fact of the matter is that if the wood is dry, it can’t grow mold. So the fact that it was wet just for a few days is not going to cause a mold problem because once you dried it out, you get that moisture down in the lumber beyond 25 percent, you’re not going to have a problem with mold.
So, I think you did it all right. I would not panic any further. Keep that fan going until all that moisture evaporates off the plastic and then try to examine why it got flooded in the first place and address that. Put your energy into correcting that issue and you’re good to go.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Sue in Georgia who writes: "We recently lost some big limbs off of a large tree in our yard from a storm. How do I know what’s left of the tree is stable? I’m worried about it falling down onto our house."
TOM: Now, with a bad storm – look, any healthy tree can come down in a bad storm. So, what are the chances of having it happen again? Probably not that high because all the weak stuff would have been broken off by the first storm. But if you’re concerned about disease or something of that nature, I’d have the tree looked at by a landscaper or a tree surgeon or somebody that does this for a living. But if you don’t see any obvious signs of decay and the damage has been cleaned up, then I wouldn’t worry too much further about it.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, George in Massachusetts writes: "My hardwood floor is pretty dinged up and uneven in color where the sun has faded it. I want to have it refinished. What’s the best way and can I do it myself?"
TOM: I wouldn’t do this yourself. If the floor needs a heavy sanding, like with a commercial belt sander, I would not encourage anyone to go out and rent those and try it themselves because it’s very easy to damage the floor badly with that tool. It’s extremely destructive and especially in the hands of someone that doesn’t use it every single day.
If it just needs a light sanding, you can do that part yourself. But if you’ve got fade in there in different colors, you’re most likely going to have to take it down below the old finish. And that means you’re going to need a pro to at least do that part of it. Refinishing, OK; sanding, not so much.
LESLIE: Yeah. This is definitely a project you want to leave to the pros. It takes a lot of time. You want the good products. So, really, get somebody in there and you’ll be so thrilled with the long-lasting results.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air, online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Happy Fall, everybody. Get out there, pick up some tools, get to work fixing up your money pit. And remember, if you have questions, you can reach us 24-7 at 888-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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