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 tackle your home improvement projects. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your décor dilemma, your I-just-don’t-know-how-to-get-started dilemma, 888-666-3974. Because we are here to help you take that all-important first step.
Coming up on today’s program, we have got a fantastic guest. Have you ever hired a shoddy contractor but wish you didn’t? Well, that can happen to the best of us but it’s time for a payback in the form of a new Spike reality show called Catch A Contractor. Adam Carolla is here and he happens to be a master carpenter, as well as a funny man, and he’s going to be cornering contractors and forcing them to make good on their badly executed projects. We will hear all about that, in just a bit, with Adam Carolla.
LESLIE: And you might be looking to hire a contractor soon because spring has sprung. Hooray. And as you’re planning your outdoor projects, don’t forget to add some lighting so that everybody can actually see all of your hard work. We’ve got some tips on outdoor-lighting design, coming up.
TOM: Plus, we’ve all heard of man caves but apparently, now, there’s a new place that women are looking to retreat to. It’s a place where women can get away from it all.
LESLIE: A spa? A shoe store?
TOM: We’re going to teach you about this new trend in tranquil getaway spaces for women, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a Crescent SwitchBlade.
TOM: Is that legal?
LESLIE: I don’t know. It’s a multipurpose tool, so it’s not like we’re arming people but you never know what people’s intentions are. But this is actually a great tool for every handy person and it’s got four interchangeable heads on it.
TOM: It’s worth 25 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Why not make that you? Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cindy in Illinois needs some help with her countertops. What can we do for you?
CINDY: We’ve been doing some remodeling in our older home and we love to decorate with antiques and such, so we decided to leave our kitchen pretty much in original condition. Although the house is almost 100 years old, I think the kitchen was probably updated back maybe in the 60s.
The countertops are really in great shape. They are – they’re very hard and durable. I’m not sure what the product is. I don’t know if it’s a Formica but it’s – the finish on it, it’s like a dark red with some gray through it; kind of looks like a marble-y finish. But it’s dulled over the years.
And when I wipe the countertops off when they’re wet, they look – it’s a really pretty and deep, shiny color. But as they dry, they’re dull. And I just wondered if there’s some kind of a coating or something that we could use to bring out the luster in it and preserve it and give it some shine.
TOM: Now, the countertop is a laminate?
CINDY: Yes, it looks like – it’s some kind of a laminate. It’s shiny. Around the kitchen sink, where it’s been wet quite often, it’s dulled some but it’s very durable and it looks good.
LESLIE: Flood makes a product that they use for vinyl siding and composite decking that restores color that’s been dulled.
TOM: Yeah. But my problem with that is that if you put any of those products on it, I can’t imagine they’re going to be very durable on a countertop.
LESLIE: Or food-safe.
CINDY: Right. That was my problem – was to be food-safe, too.
TOM: You know, there’s a countertop paint that’s out now and pretty durable. There’s a company called Giani that makes it. Their website is GianiGranite.com. And then, also, surprisingly, Rust-Oleum also makes it. And these are both countertop paints that are good for old, worn countertops and they can restore the surface and make them look like – not exactly like granite but pretty darn close if it’s done well.
CINDY: I see. Wow.
LESLIE: Now, I’ve used the Rust-Oleum kit. There’s two different kits when it comes to Rust-Oleum. There’s a small one that’s $20. It’s a solid color. That one goes on pretty well. But then there’s a larger kit that they sell at the home centers that’s like 150 bucks, although – and I can’t guarantee that this is everywhere but up in the Catskills in New York, I just bought a kit for $37, marked down at the Depot from $150.
And it was a several-step process. First step was a lot of sanding of the old laminate. And then I put on this base-color paint that was also like the adhesive. And then they gave me something that looked like a seed spreader and I poured in all these little, colorful flakes. And I sprinkled that all over and I kept saying, “More is better, more is better.” So I mean I really went to town with it. But then I realized after that settled I had to sand it all smooth, so that took a while.
And then I used the topcoat, which they recommend really sort of globbing it on and smoothing it out so you get a thick coat on it. And I could see the areas where I didn’t put it on as heavily once it cured, because the areas that did get a good amount were smooth to the touch, looked like granite. It was gorgeous. I did it in a bathroom countertop which had a built-in backsplash to it. And that curved area was difficult to get as smooth.
But finished product looked great. Now that I sort of did a first time, if I ever did it again, I know I’d knock it out of the park. But it was definitely worth it and it came in a black tone and a sand color. But it was worth it.
CINDY: Wow. OK. I wasn’t aware that there was anything like that out there but that sounds great.
TOM: Well, give it a shot. I think that’s probably the best solution because anything you put on top of that worn countertop, even though it looks good for a little while, it’s just not going to last. OK?
CINDY: OK. OK. Well, thanks so much. I appreciate your time in taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome, Cindy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Kansas where Russ has a roofing question. What can we do for you?
RUSS: OK. I’ve got a farm that I bought eight years ago and on the farm, there’s a very large, very old barn. A matter of fact, the loft is large enough that you could probably fit a regulation-sized basketball court inside of it. According to the graffiti inside the barn, it was built in either ‘34 or ‘38. And it was done originally with cedar-shake shingles with 1x4 stringers, what, about every 4 inches or about a 3½-inch space in between them.
TOM: Yep. I know the construction well.
RUSS: OK. And as you know, those cedar shingles are not going to be in very good condition as of this point. So I know I’m going to have to go up there. Trying to figure out a safe way to work up there so I can remove the cedar shingles, so I can prep it to go back with, probably, a metal roof. The question is – I’ll have to screw the roof down. The question is: am I – will I be able to go directly with the 1x4s with the metal roofing or would I be better off nailing everything fully and putting down some plywood or OSB?
TOM: Well, I think that a good roofer could work with the 1-by furring strips that are up there right now. Because, frankly, that’s the way metal roof was originally put down. It wasn’t put down on solid sheathing; it was put down on strips just like that. So I think that that’s a fine option for you. I don’t think you need to do the sheathing in this particular case.
If you were going to put down asphalt shingles, I’d tell you you need to sheathe it. But for a metal roof, you may have to do some additional carpentry to get the strips where you want them, to make the seams on the roof and so on, but I don’t see a reason for you to sheathe this barn. I think the metal can go right on top of that.
RUSS: OK. So patch the rotted 1x4s and maybe put in some where the seams are and we should be good that way?
RUSS: OK. Do you have any suggestions on how to safely work on a 45-degree pitch?
TOM: Yeah. Call a roofer. It’s not a do-it-yourself project. That’s a really high-end project and if you do it every day, you have all the appropriate safety gear and scaffolding and skill set to be able to work on that. That’s a very dangerous place to try out your do-it-yourself skills. Because handling those big sheets up there, you get a wind gust and you start flying off the roof. Those medical bills add up very quickly, so I would definitely recommend that you have a professional do this.
TOM: Alright. 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. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, lightscaping. We’ve got tips on adding landscape lights that’ll have your place looking great when the sun goes down.
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: Give us a call right now with your question at 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. We’ll give you the answer and you might just win the brand-new Crescent SwitchBlade. They call it that because it’s a utility knife with four interchangeable heads, each with a different cutting or gripping purpose.
LESLIE: That’s right. The serrated, multipurpose blade is ideal for cutting rope or shingles, while the straight-cutting blade is best suited for metal ductwork. It’s only 24.99. It’s a great, compact tool at an incredible bargain. And it’s a really good prize for one lucky listener.
TOM: The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Laurel in Pennsylvania is on the line.
And I’m reading, Laurel, that your ceiling fell down? What the heck happened to your apartment?
LAUREL: Well, the lady upstairs had a problem in her kitchen and her bathroom. And I don’t know if there was a fire or what but she flooded the upstairs. And so some of my kitchen ceiling fell in with all the water coming down. It smells like smoke, it smells like rotted wood, wet wood. What do I do?
TOM: Well, by the way, why are you dealing with this as opposed to a landlord or an insurance company?
LAUREL: Well, he swept it up and then put another – put a new tile in the suspended ceiling and that was it. He didn’t repair the whole …
TOM: Well, first of all, you asked about smoke smell and the way to deal with smoke smell is to use TSP and scrub the walls and scrub the ceiling. Trisodium phosphate. That will cut through the tar and the nicotine that sticks to the walls.
Now, if you’re concerned about mold, there’s a product called Concrobium, which is excellent. Specifically designed to kill the mold. It’s far more effective than bleach. And the other quality I like about Concrobium is it leaves a protective coating on the surface when it dries so that the mold can’t grow back.
Their website is CureMyMold.com – C-u-r-e – CureMyMold.com. Check it out. I think that that is the solution to your mold issue, Laurel.
LESLIE: Well, if you spent time and money painting and landscaping and detailing the exterior of your house, why not shine some light on it? You know, outdoor lighting can add drama to your home, as well as safety. And the best part is it doesn’t have to be expensive.
TOM: Yeah. First, you need to figure out which areas you want to light, obviously. So, consider lighting those high-traffic areas, the gathering spots and any areas with safety issues, like steps.
Now, whether you’re doing the lighting yourself or you’re going to hire a lighting designer, it’s important to go with good-quality fixtures and components. Because if you don’t, you’re going to be replacing them and that’s very frustrating after you get the project all done.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s true. This is one area where you do get what you pay for, so you want to look for durable materials, like copper and brass. And of course, you’re going to want to choose energy-efficient bulbs so you don’t regret your lighting when the electric bill comes.
TOM: Now, if you avoided lighting in the past because of cost, think about doing just a little bit at a time. You might even get a better feel for where you want the lights when you spread everything out and see how each area works.
For more tips, search “landscape lighting” at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Ron in Florida is on the line with a leaky water heater. What’s going on? Tell us how old it is.
RON: Well, the breaker had thrown a couple times and I turned it back on. And it stayed when I turned it on and then I’d gone in, took a nap, came back out. When I did, the entire garage was full of water. I guess the pressure-relief valve that’s up top was just – it was just spewing out water extremely, extremely hot. Hotter than we’ve ever experienced having (inaudible at 0:13:22). What I thought it was – it just continued to heat.
And so, any rate, I turned the breaker off, I looked in the panel where the thermostats were and the elements and they were just fried; they were burnt. They were burned up. I got a good scare because the insulation was blackened and could have been worse than it was, I guess, it catching fire. But I just wondered what would have made the hot-water heater do that.
TOM: OK. Well, let’s see. The pressure/temperature relief valve, which is what that’s called on the side of the water heater, is set to go off at about 150 pounds of pressure. And theoretically, the way it works is if the water heater doesn’t shut off, because there’s something wrong with the control circuit, it will continue to heat and heat and heat and build up pressure to the point where to prevent the tank from rupturing, the pressure/temperature valve will open up.
Now, I will say this: very often, those valves fail and they will open up way before they’re designed to open up. And if that’s the case, you just replace the valve. But it sounds to me like this thing got so wet that the water got on the elements and that’s what caused a short, which caused the breaker to trip.
LESLIE: Yeah. But is this associated with an age of a water heater or is this just a random, fluke problem?
TOM: Not really. I’ve seen new pressure/temperature valves that can pop open, as well. And sometimes, you get a little bit of debris that’s stuck under them, too, when you try to close them and that makes it even worse.
Now, where are we at right now with the water heater? You’re still there with it or have you replaced it? What’s your – where are you at with the project?
RON: Just the – what I was looking at didn’t look like it was even worth fixing with all the – like I said, with all the burned …
TOM: Well, it may not. If it’s more than a few years old and you’ve got that much going on with it, I’d probably replace the water heater myself.
But what I was going to say, the one thing that you can try – and assuming that the coils were still OK. You mentioned they were burned out. Burned out is – with a coil, it’s kind of hard to do. If they just got wet and shorted, that’s a different situation. You can clean out the contacts and it’ll work. But if the coils were OK, otherwise, what you could do is you open and close the pressure-and-temperature valve several times.
And by the way, there’s supposed to be a discharge pipe on that that stops within 6 inches of the floor. And sometimes, the plumbers don’t put that on. But if you open and close that a bunch of times to try to sort of clean out that valve, sometimes it’ll reseat itself. And this is assuming that it didn’t open because there is something electrically wrong with it. But I would do that.
There’s things that I would check but there’s – these are things you probably couldn’t check. For example, I’d check the amperage on the coils to see if they were drawing normally and things like that that tells me sort of – the circuit is working correctly. So, I guess what we’re coming to here is if you’ve got this much going on with – you’re probably going to have to replace it and you’re going to need a plumber for that, anyway.
But that’s probably what happened. It probably started with the pressure/temperature valve leaking, that water getting in there and causing a big mess electrically. Because water and electricity do not mix, as you have learned, my friend.
RON: Right, right. OK. OK, guys. Well, listen, I really appreciate you taking my call and appreciate the help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lauren in Florida is on the line with a lead-paint question. How can we help you today?
LAUREN: Hi. My husband and I are remodeling a 1907 home that’s been vacant for multiple years, so there’s lots of damage. A lot of the paint is chipping off the windows. There is – on the beadboard and wainscoting, a lot of the paint’s chipping off. And someone has gone in and put sheetrock mud to texture over the original plaster walls, so some of that’s chipping off. And we’ve got three young children, so we need to repaint this house and fix it but we’re really concerned about the lead-paint issue.
LESLIE: Yeah. Understandably so. And your house is in the timeframe where you do need to be concerned about lead paint.
Now, we had an issue when we put central air conditioning in the house when my son was six months old – you know, when he was little, I didn’t think that – any concern. And they did a great job. They were very tidy; they contained all the dust. But something must have gotten on something and when we had gone for his next exam, he had elevated lead levels probably from some dust getting on a toy and then the toy going in his mouth, anything. Anyway, it turned out after we did the next blood work, his levels went back to normal, so we were really not concerned at that point. But it is a very scary issue.
Now, I’m not sure, nationwide, what the rules are – and maybe Tom can speak better on this – but in New York, when you are fairly certain that you’ve got lead paint or the timeframe sort of dates it that way, you have to work with a painter or a contractor who’s certified in sort of lead-paint containment, if you will. Because even if you have it on a window frame and you’re opening and closing that window, you’re creating little specks of lead dust that are getting into the air. And with small children, you do need to be concerned.
So you do need to make sure that, if you can, that this is done by a pro. There’s nothing that regulates when a homeowner does it themselves but knowing that you probably have lead paint and with small children in the home, I would just have a pro do it. And you want to make sure that things are taped off and really sealed up and cleaned very thoroughly. There are specific rules, I know, in New York State that allow for a contractor to be certified. And that’s something you really want to look for.
TOM: Yeah. And especially because the paint is flaking in deteriorated condition right now, that’s the highest risk for this, Lauren, so you’re wise to proceed very cautiously. And make sure that the contractor that you’re working with is certified as a lead professional.
LAUREN: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Lauren. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next, Adam Carolla is catching bad contractors and forcing them to make good. He’s joining us to tell us all about his new reality show, Catch A Contractor, after this.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, every year, millions of Americans set out to renovate their homes, only to find that their dream project became a nightmare, thanks to the combination of a shoddy contractor and overly trusting homeowners. Now, there’s a solution: a knight in shining armor ready to right the wrongs and get the project back on track. And that hero comes in the form of Adam Carolla and his new show on Spike called Catch A Contractor.
LESLIE: That’s right. Not only is Adam a master carpenter and host of Catch A Contractor but he’s also well-known to millions for his daily podcast, The Adam Carolla Show, The Man Show, The Adam Carolla Project and his best-selling book, In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks:…And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy.
TOM: Adam Carolla, welcome to the program.
ADAM: Thanks for having me.
TOM: Hey, so this sounds like a very cool project. It’s a shockingly bigger problem than anyone realizes. I mean we get it. What the heck? Our show is called The Money Pit for a very good reason. You guys are kind of in the money-pit prevention business. How do you find these houses and what do you do to these contractors?
ADAM: Well, people reach out to us and tell us their sob story and they’ve been screwed by a contractor. And we kind of go out and vet them. Then we look at the house and we hear their story and then go after this contractor, get him in a headlock, set up a sting house. So he thinks he’s coming out and giving an estimate or bid on a new job and then we spring out of the closet and get the guy in a headlock, drag him back to the house and make him finish the job.
LESLIE: It’s like To Catch a Predator but only in the contractor division.
ADAM: Pretty much the same except for that part where we go, “You’re free to leave.” They’re not free to leave; they’ve got to come back with us and fix the job right.
LESLIE: Now, Adam, you’re not doing this alone; you’ve got a team with you. Tell us about who you’re working with.
ADAM: Well, I’ve got a couple folks. I’ve got my partner, Skip, who’s a longtime contractor, and his wife and – Alison. And she’s a private investigator. So, we basically get whatever information we can on this guy and sometimes, it’s not much because he’s changed his phone number and he’s been down the road for six months or a year. And she goes out and finds the guy, brings him back to the sting house.
Skip, who’s kind of a scary dude with tattoos, he and I wait for the dude. And both of us know the subject well, so there’s nothing that – these guys can’t talk around it with us, you know? And they try a little contractor double-talk but we usually – we understand what a GFI outlet is and how far it’s supposed to be away from the sink. And they can’t get around us. And then we get them back to the job and then the woman starts crying and freaking out and screaming at him. And it’s great TV.
TOM: Now, I love when the contractors come to pitch you and they don’t quite know what you do for a living. Now, for Leslie and I, whenever that happens to us, we just keep our mouth shut and just let them talk and talk and talk and talk. Because the bad guys come out really quick when they start to BS you and you know it instantly. But unfortunately, so many people don’t and they get taken by this crap.
These guys must be somewhat hard to find, though. And once you do find them, how do you get them to come back? Why would they want to come back? Is it the threat of being exposed on national television?
ADAM: Yeah. It’s like basically – we tell them, “Look, we’re going to make this and we’ll make it with you or make it without you. And you can run out to your truck and haul ass down the road and you’re just going to look like a coward and we’ll finish the house. Or you can come back and look like you have a shred of dignity left in you.” And that’s pretty much it.
TOM: Now, a lot of times, when there’s problems with contractors, it comes down to just bad communication. I’ve never found one of these guys that really communicates really well. Does a lot of this come down to misunderstanding or are some of these guys just truly bad dudes?
ADAM: Yeah, it’s a combination. Guy underbids the job, gets in – some of these guys get in over their head. They say they can do a bathroom or a kitchen and they’re just – they don’t have the skills to do it. It involves plumbing, electrical, tile work and that kind of stuff. And they’re just – the cabinetry, whatever. They’re just – they’re not up to it, they underbid it, they get over their head, they get down the road and they’re just – they get 80 percent of the money and the job is 30 percent done and they just figure, “Screw it. I’m just not picking up my phone.”
LESLIE: That’s such a bad situation. I imagine that – you’re a big dude, your friend is a big, scary dude. You’re probably going to find yourself into some potentially scary situations. Have you had anything unfold like that so far?
ADAM: No. We’ve been pretty lucky but some of these guys are caught off-guard and some of these guys – contractors sometimes are big, scary dudes. And when we ask the homeowner about them and they’re like, “Yeah, he’s a big dude. He’s into motorcycles, got a lot of tats and he’s kind of volatile,” I’m always thinking, “Ugh, this is going to be great when we jump out and surprise this guy.” Because a couple of these dudes have been some pretty good-sized cats. But they’re usually so caught off-guard that they just don’t know – they don’t know how to process it. They think they’re coming in and giving a bid to a family and the next thing you know, here comes a couple of guys from around the corner with a camera crew and they just don’t know what to do.
So, some of them want to flee and we try to drag them back in. And we convince them to come back and do the job and so far, we’re batting a thousand.
TOM: The show is called Catch A Contractor, hosted by Adam Carolla. It’s on Sunday nights at 10:00 Eastern Time and Pacific Time on Spike TV. Great concept, great show, great host.
Adam Carolla, thanks for being a part of The Money Pit.
LESLIE: It’s always so great when Adam stops by The Money Pit. Millions of people out there listen to Adam’s daily podcast, The Adam Carolla Show. But if you love it so much, as we all do, that podcast could be in jeopardy because of a lawsuit against Adam.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right. Just before the show, Adam was telling us about a situation called “patent trolls.” Now, that’s a non-operating company called Personal Audio and they’re suing Adam, along with ABC and NBC, for using what they say is patented podcast technology. Now, the problem is that these patent trolls are simply companies that make money by suing others.
And in fact, if this company, Personal Audio, wins this, every podcast that you’ve ever listened to, even ours, could be in trouble. And if that’s a problem for you, like it is for us and for Adam and anyone that enjoys audio online, you might want to take a look at FundAnything.com/PatentTroll because that is Adam’s legal-defense fund for these patent trolls. It’s FundAnything.com/PatentTroll.
I was taking a look at it today. Right now, there are more than 1,000 people that have donated to try to stop these idiots from taking advantage of people, big and small. Keep your rights to listen to podcasts. Visit FundAnything.com/PatentTroll.
LESLIE: It’s really – it’s super-important, guys.
Alright. Still to come, we’ve got a new trend in personal space: a backyard retreat that doubles as a greenhouse. The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.
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TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where work and fun meet. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And we want to hear from you, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a Crescent SwitchBlade. Now, they call it that because it’s a utility knife with four interchangeable blades, each with a different cutting or gripping purpose.
TOM: Now, the serrated, multipurpose blade is ideal for cutting rope or shingles, while the straight-cutting mat blade is best suited for metal ductwork. At 24.99, the Crescent SwitchBlade is an incredible bargain and a great prize for one lucky listener. So if that’s going to be you, pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading over to Arkansas to chat with Oren about a flooring project. How can we help you today?
OREN: I bought a house that was built late 40s, early 50s. We’re not sure exactly when. It was part of the railroad. It was one of their old pay houses. And we ripped up the carpet that people before us had put down. And we found that it’s hardwood underneath. We just don’t know if it would be worth trying to get out all the staples and sanding and refinishing that floor or if we’d be better off to get a laminate, one of the drop-down floors that you put together.
TOM: That would be a sin, Oren. That would be a sin. It is absolutely totally and completely worth it to clean up that hardwood floor, refinish it. You will enjoy that for many years to come. You know, hardwood floors are very expensive today. They’re considered to be very valuable when it comes to the value of your home. So, we would strongly encourage you to get up that tackless that I’m sure was holding the carpet down and be thankful that that carpet acted like a good drop cloth for all these years.
A 1940s, 1950s house – a very good year for quality of construction – usually you get Douglas fir studs, usually get the oak floors, you get good-quality copper piping and so on.
So I would definitely encourage you to clean up the hardwood floor, to sand it. Have a company come in and professionally sand it for you. They’ll fill in all of the gaps that those nail holes came out of and it’ll look perfect when it’s done. You’ll be really, really impressed.
OREN: Alright. I appreciate you guys’ help. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck.
LESLIE: Alright. Most guys I know, they need a place to retreat to: a man cave, if you will. And they’ve gotten a lot of attention over the years and are almost a staple now in interior-design plans. But there is a new trend literally cropping up all over and it’s all about being outdoors.
Now, avid gardeners, they’re building backyard greenhouses more than ever but it’s not just a spot for gardening. You could call it a “woman cave.” Maybe you want to relax in there or do some yoga or meditate or lounge or craft and sew or hang out with yarn and kittens. I’m being silly but truly, it could be anything that you want sort of surrounded by the beauty of nature in your backyard.
So it really is a lovely thought and it’s kind of a trend that grows hand in hand with growing your own produce, which is also economical, as well as eco-friendly.
TOM: Now, according to recent reports, residential sales of greenhouses have gone up 30 percent from 3 years ago. So, if you’re interested in getting back to nature and getting back some time for yourself, why not consider a greenhouse or maybe even an inexpensive version of that: a garden shed or even a covered outdoor patio that you could decorate with lots of greenery.
Need some help getting started on that project? You know what to do, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rick in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RICK: When our house was built, in place of the usual wooden boards that are used to trim around the edges of the roofs and around the bottom of the house, they used a plastic composite-type material.
RICK: And it’s used in place of wood and it’s maintenance-free, lasts forever, that kind of stuff. With the exception that any place this wood is – this composite material is cut, it becomes kind of a haven for mold and mildew. And you get green growth there and it’s – you spend a lot of time and effort continually pressure-washing to clean it out. So, what I’m looking for is some means of sealing – is there some way of sealing this to prevent this mold growth on what is otherwise a maintenance-free material?
TOM: Well, if it’s composite, it may be a product called AZEK – A-Z-E-K. And that’s paintable. And so you could paint those areas and that might tend to seal it in a bit more. Because I think what you’re saying is that the cut areas are probably more absorbent than the surface areas and so you’re getting a little more moisture. Maybe it’s a trap. There’s a little rougher surface there that might be a trap for dirt that feeds mildew or algae and that sort of thing.
So, what comes to mind right away is that you simply could paint it. But of course, you know what comes after paint: repaint.
RICK: Exactly. It takes away the maintenance-free aspect of it.
RICK: But is there a type of paint that would be more conducive or last longer, like an epoxy-type paint or something like that?
TOM: Not for a surface like that. No, you would just use an exterior paint and you would probably prime it first.
RICK: So it wouldn’t be latex. It would be an enamel?
TOM: No, you would use a 100-percent acrylic latex paint. That’s what AZEK recommends be used. And you also might want to take a look at Sherwin-Williams for the paint manufacturers. I know that they have paints that are specifically made for vinyl or PVC products, which is what that product is. AZEK is simply an extruded cellular PVC.
LESLIE: Not everybody does this but some contractors tend to skip the step of filling holes when it comes to a composite trimming. You know, they’re like, “Eh, you can’t see it. It’s OK.” But this could give you the opportunity – if you’re going to paint the trim, as well – to go ahead and fill any nail holes. And that’ll really give it almost a more natural wood look, the brushstrokes. It could be a good thing.
RICK: OK. Thank you very much. That’s a great idea.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, the saying goes that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Well, we’ve got tips on scouring your closets for stuff you no longer want. If you can part with it, it could mean some extra cash for your pocket.
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LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement project. We are standing by to help you get the job done at 888-MONEY-PIT. And if you’d like to get some spring-cleaning advice and a chance to win enough dough to help stock your supplies, visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and start pinning in our Pin to Win Sweeps.
LESLIE: That’s right. It runs through the end of the month and we’re giving away three Home Depot gift cards. A $250, a $150 and a $100 gift card are all up for grabs. If you enter today and share the contest with five of your friends, you’re going to win some bonus entries. You’ve got to love it.
And while you’re online, you can post your question in the Community section, just like MicCholes did – I’m sorry, I’m guessing this is their name. It says, “I’m looking for the inexpensive cabinets for my kitchen that won’t affect my remodeling budget. Please help me with the best advice.”
TOM: Well, the best advice is to make sure you get a good kitchen design done first so you know what you’re shopping for. After that, I would recommend Cabinets To Go. Their phone number is 800-CABINETS. Their website is CabinetsToGo.com. Saw their products at a recent, major trade show and was blown away by both the quality and the affordability. So take a look, MicCholes, at Cabinets To Go. I think you’ll be very happy with what you discover.
LESLIE: Yeah. They come knocked-down flat but you put them together. It’s not a big deal and you’re going to save a lot of dough.
TOM: Well, spring-cleaning time is here and part of that cleaning includes clearing out, especially when it comes to those closets. Leslie has some great ideas for making a few bucks while you’re getting rid of stuff you no longer use, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Closet clutter, it really is the worst kind of clutter and it leads to a major problem: you’re buying multiples of things that you already own because you can’t find them. Not saying this happens to me but it happens to me. And I know that you can relate.
So, I’ve got a few ideas that are going to help you let go of the stuff that you might be kind of hesitant to part with. Because the incentive here is you might actually make a few bucks.
First off, consider consignment. Now, if you own clothing with tags still on them or high-end items, like designer shoes or dresses or bags that are in good shape, you can find a consignment shop in your area. Now, these stores are going to sell your items but they keep part of the proceeds. Now, it’s worth it because you could get a better price. People trust these establishments. Different consignment shops are going to take different percentages of the sale, so you want to shop around.
Now, we all know of the online version: eBay, of course. Takes a little bit more time and planning and effort on your part, quite frankly. So if you’re short on all those, a local consignment shop is going to be the way to go.
Next, consider a yard sale. These are great for getting rid of clothing, toys, housewares and other stuff that you simply just don’t use anymore. You could even look for town-wide sales that are going to attract a lot of shoppers. Garage-sale junkies, they shop early so I’m serious, if you don’t want them knocking on your door at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, make sure in your listing you put “no early birds.” I mean it. Otherwise, they’re going to be knocking on your door.
So put out your best stuff first and be ready to haggle. Now, you might want to price your stuff a little higher than you really want. This way, you have some wiggle room there. And be sure that you’ve got everything labeled correctly and whoever is helping you out understand your labeling process.
Now, you can also use closet items for a fundraiser. Many companies are going to pay for clothing, stuffed toys and other items by the pound. It makes for a great moneymaker for schools, sports teams and other recreational groups.
Whatever you guys choose, remember that coveted closet space is at a premium this time of year, of course, because you’re shopping for your new spring and summer wardrobe. So you’ve got to make some room now.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about wainscoting and that’s an age-old remodeling project that can really warm up a room and make it feel more like home. We’ll teach you about the different styles and the methods to get the job done, 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 2014 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.)