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: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are in the money-pit-prevention business. You know, we all love our homes but they can be money pits from time to time. We are here in sort of the anti-money-pit role to help you make the most of your house.
So look around, think about the project. Maybe it’s something you wanted to do; maybe it’s something somebody else in the house wanted you to do, like a honey-do list, a bit of a nag that’s been going on. Let’s get it done; it’s not that hard. We’ll help you take the first step. 888-666-3974 is your first step. We will handle the rest.
We’ve got a great show planned for you this hour. The calendar says summer officially starts in June but if you are fortunate enough to have a pool, you know that Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off. So coming up this hour, we’re going to have some great ideas for keeping that water nice and warm, by teaching you how to harness the heat of the summer sun.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, we’re going to teach you how to go green with your backyard grilling this summer.
Now, traditional grilling methods, that can actually release harmful fumes. But we’ve got some info on a more Earth-friendly way to grill and still cook up a great burger, in just a little bit.
TOM: And when you admire homes while you’re driving around your neighborhood, do you notice that most of them seem to have gorgeous front façades with lots of curb appeal? You, too, can create the same look on your front entry with the addition of just a few pieces of molding, very strategically placed. We’re going to tell you that little tip and how to make that happen in your house, in just a few minutes.
LESLIE: Plus, we’re giving away the Stanley FatMax Tool Box that’s worth 30 bucks. It’s strong but it’s lightweight. It’s great storage for all of your hand tools and it’s a great Father’s Day gift, as well.
We’re going to tell you all about our great Dad’s Day gift suggestions at MoneyPit.com, so check it out today.
TOM: So give us a call right now with your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, let’s get started. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Tom in Wisconsin on the line who needs some help with a garage floor. Tell us what’s going on.
TOM IN WISCONSIN: Well, my wife – with her minivan – she comes in out of the snowstorm. I’ve got snow in now; I’ve got salt and everything out. And when the salt drips on the garage floor, it bubbles up. And it pops.
TOM IN WISCONSIN: And now it looks bad. I was wondering if there was a – something I can patch it with that’ll withstand the garage floor.
LESLIE: Now, what’s already on there that’s bubbling up? Do you have some sort of epoxy coating or is it just the concrete? Is it staying because of the salt?
TOM IN WISCONSIN: I think it’s just the concrete. When they built my concrete floor, the builders, they put a real high polish on it. So it’s real, real smooth; it’s real fine.
TOM: OK. But there’s no other coating on it except for the …
LESLIE: Or sealant?
TOM IN WISCONSIN: Yeah. No, it’s just the concrete.
TOM: Alright. Well, I think the best solution there would be to use one of the new epoxy products. They adhere very well to the concrete and that’s the key is the adherence issue – the adhesion issue, I should say. And you can also add a color flake into them and that gives you some texture, helps to hide the dirt and you can even put a gloss coat on top of that.
Two-part product. Comes with a cleaner that you mix up first to get the surface ready to accept the epoxy. Then you apply the epoxy, wait a couple of days to get it nice and hard and you’re good to go.
TOM IN WISCONSIN: Oh, awesome. And where the – because it always seems to be one spot. Will that bubble up after that again?
TOM: No. It’ll just sit on top and dry to sort of that white, crusty surface. But you can then wash down the floor and get rid of it.
TOM IN WISCONSIN: Oh, awesome. How about outside, for external? Will that work?
TOM: Well, there are epoxy products that work on exposed concrete surfaces, as well. But you might be just a little more careful with those because you don’t want it to get too slippery.
TOM IN WISCONSIN: OK. Awesome.
TOM IN WISCONSIN: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Leslie in Texas is, unfortunately, having a septic issue. Tell us about the problem.
LESLIE IN TEXAS: I am. I have an old, jet-style aerobic system. And the pump went out in one of the tanks and we didn’t know it, so it’s leaked over into the neighbor’s yard and now we were reported. And now I’m told that the only resolution that we have is to have a whole new system put in. Do I have any other options?
TOM: Well, if you do put in the new system, the neighbors are going to have to invest in fertilizer this year and that’s going to cost them a whole lot of money. So, there is a downside to this.
LESLIE IN TEXAS: I see.
TOM: So the system is leaking, is that correct?
LESLIE IN TEXAS: Right.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean it’s certainly got to be repaired if not replaced. Why do they say that it’s unrepairable and that you can’t – that the only solution here is replacement?
LESLIE IN TEXAS: Well, I’m told that whenever the system was put in back in the early 90s, there was no permit required. And now it’s required that you have a permit, so …
TOM: Yeah and that’s probably smart. The systems are probably going in a lot better these days, because it is – there is some oversight.
LESLIE IN TEXAS: OK.
TOM: You know, I don’t know that they can require you to replace it. I think they have to require – that they certainly could require you to fix it, because it’s a public health threat. But I don’t know …
LESLIE IN TEXAS: Right. I have no question about that. It’s just I wondered if maybe this system could be upgraded or if I can just replace that part that is not working or …
TOM: Yeah but it’s a leak. So it’s a leak in one of the lines, correct?
LESLIE IN TEXAS: Well, actually, it’s not a line; it’s just one of the pumps in one of the tanks has gone out. So it’s not pumping it into the next tank.
TOM: Right. So the system’s not working properly because it’s not lifting the waste from one to the next.
LESLIE IN TEXAS: Right.
TOM: Well, I would think that you simply could replace that pump. Have you talked to a septic-repair contractor about this?
LESLIE IN TEXAS: I have and what he’s telling me is that this system is obsolete.
LESLIE IN TEXAS: And so, I don’t know – I didn’t know if that was just my only option.
TOM: Well, if that’s the case then – now you’re getting it from a couple of different sources. The system is so obsolete that you can’t even get contractors to work on it. You may be better off replacing it.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can be part of the home improvement fun by picking up the phone and giving us a call with your home repair, home improvement, design, décor, plumbing. Whatever you’ve got going on, we can give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, even when the weather is warm, the pool can be super-chilly. But Mother Nature can help and she can also help you save money if you’re trying to warm up that water. We’re going to teach you how to heat your pool with solar energy, after this.
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TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete. And you should give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT because this hour, we’re giving away, of course, home improvement knowledge. But we’ve got a great prize up for grabs. We’ve got the Stanley FatMax Foam Tool Box that’s worth 30 bucks.
And it’s got a watertight seal, which is going to protect your tools in any weather. It’s got super-sturdy construction, an ergonomic handle and it really makes for a fantastic tool box. And it’s one of our gift suggestions for this Father’s Day. So check out MoneyPit.com to learn more about our top picks for the dads in your life. Any guy is really going to be thrilled to get their hands on some of these products but you could be so lucky today to win the Stanley FatMax Foam Tool Box.
So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Well, you also might consider yourself to be fortunate if you happen to own a pool. But if you do, you know that even on the warmest days of the year, it can be quite an icy shock when you drop into that water. The good news, though, is that there are actually some pretty easy ways you can keep that pool water comfortable, including some that don’t cost a whole lot of money.
For example, if you simply trim back any nearby trees, that can cut the amount of shade the pool gets and it can limit the amount of leaves that end up dropping into that pool, causing you to have to skim them out.
And pool covers, by the way, can also be effective to capture and hold the heat from the sun. But they work best when you use them every night, because pools actually lose a lot of that heat that gets soaked up into that water from the sun during the day. If you cover them at night, it will stay much, much warmer throughout the season.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you want to go further and maybe you’ve got the budget for it, you can consider installing an array of solar pool heating collectors. Now, you may have seen these in solar-powered homes or other buildings and they’re usually lined up on a rooftop. But with a pool system, sometimes they’re on the roof, sometimes they’re more of a freestanding solar panel on a post, strategically placed in the yard. It really depends on the installation but there are several kinds of solar-collector arrays that are going to heat your pool.
And another option is to install a solar-powered pool heater. Now, this kind of system, it’s relatively new but it’s growing in popularity.
And if you want to learn some more about solar heating options for your pool, just Google "money pit solar pool heat." You’re going to get a ton of information there and it’s still early enough in the season to implement some of these plans, where you can really see the difference financially and of course, comfortably this summer season.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your summer home improvement project.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Michael in Georgia is calling in with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: Yeah, I’ve got an issue in my house where I have laminate flooring and the whole downstairs flooded, so I’ve got puckering and just – it’s a mess.
MICHAEL: And I kind of wanted to know what to expect when I rip this stuff up. I’ve laid laminate flooring over subflooring before but not on a slab. This is sitting on a slab, so …
TOM: Yeah, actually, I think that you shouldn’t have very many surprises at all. I mean if it was over subflooring, you’d find rotted, warped flooring. But because it’s over a slab, you should find the same slab that was there when it was originally put down.
Now, getting that flooring up could be a bit tricky because the floor probably locks together. What I might suggest is that you use a circular saw and set the depth to the thickness of the laminate floor – like a ¼-inch or whatever it is – and then go ahead and just cut right across the floor and try to take it up in pieces that way.
MICHAEL: OK. So it’s not going to be glued down or anything like that?
TOM: It shouldn’t be. Laminate floor is not designed to be glued down.
LESLIE: No, it’s usually a floating floor system.
MICHAEL: So it’s going to be sitting on a pad just like what I’ve done upstairs then.
TOM: Absolutely, it should be.
LESLIE: It should be. Or the pad might be on the back of each plank, like attached to it.
MICHAEL: Right, right. I understand.
TOM: But that’s the way it’s normally installed.
MICHAEL: I just wanted to get an idea of what to expect before I started ripping it up, so that helps me a lot.
TOM: Yeah. Well, if everything goes the way we’d expect it, that’s what you should be finding: laminate floor that’s on top of some sort of an underlayment pad, sitting on top of the concrete floor. So it shouldn’t be that crazy a project for you to have to replace.
By the way, do you have – did you call your insurance company, Michael? Because you may have – do you have flood insurance on this?
MICHAEL: I did not.
TOM: Yeah, well, are you in a flood zone or was this sort of a result of a broken pipe or something?
MICHAEL: It was the result of a broken pipe, yeah.
TOM: Well, that should be covered by homeowners insurance.
MICHAEL: Well, (audio gap) I wasn’t quite accurate there. It was the result of a broken washing machine.
MICHAEL: And the washing machine was – the pipe that comes out of the bottom of the washing machine was destroyed by a rodent that got into my house.
MICHAEL: And my insurance doesn’t cover any damage covered by any animal.
LESLIE: Oh, wow.
TOM: Oh, that’s kind of tricky. Hmm.
MICHAEL: Yeah, I asked and that was the answer I got.
TOM: You know what? I bet you can fight that. That’s kind of debatable as to what came first: the animal or the broken pipe.
TOM: Yeah, you might want to call an insurance adjuster and let them negotiate because it sounds to me like there ought to be some coverage there.
MICHAEL: That would be great if there was because it’s a lot of flooring.
MICHAEL: So one last question. So there’s no waterproofing or anything that I need to do or prep work that I need to do to the slab before I start laying stuff back down on it then?
TOM: No, just make sure it’s nice and dry.
TOM: It wouldn’t hurt for you to put a layer of epoxy paint down there that will stop some of the natural humidity from coming up through it. But I don’t consider it critical.
MICHAEL: Oh, OK. Well that sounds great. Thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Good luck with that project. Sorry that happened to you. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Give an insurance company any way – speaking of animals – to weasel out of paying a claim and they most certainly will.
LESLIE: That was a good choice of an animal there, Tom.
TOM: Seemed very natural.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Pauline in upstate New York calling in with a decking question. What can we do for you today?
PAULINE: Hi, I’m calling regarding – I’m replacing three decks with synthetic and the contractor won’t be doing it until June.
PAULINE: But I asked him about the new material I heard on your show and no one seems to know about it. It’s called Fiberon, I believe?
TOM: Yes, Fiberon. It’s great material and if your decking contractor is not aware of it, he really needs to become aware of it. Their website is FiberonDecking.com. You can simply add – enter your zip code and find a dealer near you.
PAULINE: So there’s a Home Depot by me and there’s a Lowe’s by me.
TOM: You may not find this at a home center.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s usually at more specialized lumber yards. The product is so gorgeous. At home centers, you’re going to find the lower-end options of composite decking, which is great but they really don’t look like what Fiberon looks like. It can look like all kinds of exotic lumbers that are just truly gorgeous. The graining on it – there’s a textural graining, there’s a visual graining in – it’s almost like a photograph of the wood on these composite panels. It’s gorgeous; it’s truly, truly beautiful.
TOM: And it also has the longest warranty in the business – a 20-year warranty – so head on over to their website, FiberonDecking.com. Take a look at the photo gallery, take a look at the products and then you can use the dealer locator and find a supplier in your neighborhood.
PAULINE: I appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Pauline. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: I’ve heard you address this problem, I’m sure, before but we’ve got mold on the outside; we’ve got vinyl siding. And it’s on the north side of the house and it’s on the siding.
JOHN: And then we’ve noticed it on – we’ve got a bedroom that’s on the north side of the house and we’ve noticed it on the ceiling, in there.
JOHN: And the kitchen is on the north side of the house and we’ve noticed it on some of the kitchen cabinets, on the outside, so …
TOM: Is this a single-story house or is there a ceiling – is there another floor above where the mold is forming?
JOHN: It’s a single-story.
LESLIE: Do the kitchen and the bedroom share a wall?
JOHN: No, they don’t. One’s at kind of at the one end of the house and one’s at the other. They …
TOM: It sounds to me like there’s a couple things going on here.
First of all, mold forming on the north side of the house is not the least bit unusual because that’s the cold side. And …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. The shady side.
TOM: Yeah. You can use a siding wash to clean that. You can also trim back trees and anything that’s providing an excessive amount of shade on that side. Let a little more sun in; that will have a natural effect of keeping it clean.
As far as these – the ceilings are concerned, I would take a look at the attic and make sure you have proper ventilation. Because what it sounds like is that you have a cold section of the ceiling near the exterior wall and as a result, you’re getting more condensation there. And the moisture and the condensation is causing mold to grow.
In terms of attic ventilation, always important. Continuous ridge and vents and soffit vents are best. But a combination of all of those three things, I think, is going to straighten this problem out.
JOHN: OK. Well, that sounds good. That sounds easy.
TOM: Alright? Well, good luck with that project.
JOHN: Well, thank you.
TOM: Yeah, typically the only place you find mold in your kitchen is in the refrigerator. When it gets to the cabinets, it’s not so good.
LESLIE: On the cheese.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Georgia is up with an air conditioning question. What can we do?
MIKE: I’ve got an older, down-flow air conditioner and the pan under the coil is rusted out and it’s leaking onto the ceiling downstairs.
TOM: OK. Right. OK.
MIKE: And everybody wants to sell me a whole new unit and I’m trying to figure out a way to see if that pan can be fixed or replaced or somehow rigged, something so that I don’t have to buy a whole new HVAC unit. Now I have been told that that pan is welded – you know, the coil is welded to the pan.
TOM: Right. Right. Well, here’s what you can do. First of all, you could have another drip pan put under the existing unit. Is that possible? Has that been discussed?
MIKE: Well, that’s what I’ve been thinking I could do but most of the people who come – or all of the people who come out here are just saying that’s not going to work. But I …
TOM: Yeah, I don’t see why it won’t work, Mike. I think that they want to – think those guys want to sell you a whole new system. And if you’re not ready to buy one, I don’t think you should be forced to.
Frankly, most of the time, you have an overflow pan under an air conditioner, so I don’t see why you can’t put a bit of a beefier condensate pan underneath that and simply go with that. Have that drain properly into a condensate pump and take the water out that way.
Now, if there’s just small areas that are rusted out, you can also repair the metal with an epoxy patching compound. You can use auto-body filler on metal to seal areas that are rusted out. That’s how you would do it on a car; there’s no reason you can’t do it on the metal jacket of an air conditioner, as well.
MIKE: Do you know if they make something for that? Because I just – I thought I might be able to just go to Home Depot or something like that.
TOM: No, I mean typically those pans are made up at a sheet-metal shop or HVAC contractors make them themselves back in their own shops. Anyone that makes ductwork can make an overflow pan for you.
MIKE: So just got to find the right person, huh?
TOM: That’s right, that’s right. Somebody who wants to sell you a repair and not a replacement, because I don’t think you need it yet.
MIKE: OK. Well, I’ll keep looking.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still to come, just adding new molding or trim to your front door can make your entire house stand out on the street. We’re going to tell you how to create these details and make your front entry one that everyone will envy, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil. And now you can easily cut through the most difficult projects with ease, with a Power Cutter from Skil. With powerful, lithium-ion technology and an auto-sharp blade system, Skil’s lightweight Power Cutter will soon become your favorite tool, too. The Skil Power Cutter. It cuts just about anything.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete. Well, a front door, on your money pit, that’s trimmed out with beautiful, architectural details might sound like it’s out of your reach or out of your budget. But you can make it happen.
Best of all, today’s synthetic materials, they’re tougher, they’re way more energy-efficient and here’s the coolest: they really need very little maintenance.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Years ago, you would choose a beautiful wood door. Then you would match that up with wood trim, which is nothing but work, work, work. And man, I tell you what, a front door really takes punishment from the weather and from the sun and the UV and all that.
Today, there’s much better options. There are fiberglass doors, like those that are made by Therma-Tru who, in fact, invented the fiberglass door many, many years ago. And you can couple those with synthetic millwork and Fypon is one of the terrific managers of that.
Representing both of those brands, we have on the phone right in there, Derek Fielding, who’s a senior product manager for Therma-Tru.
And Derek, the market has changed a lot. These synthetic trim pieces used to be more costly to pick up and difficult to install. Now, Fypon seems to make that very easy and you have a lot of options when you’re selecting your door design, so you can really come up with something that matches the house and the door you’re putting it on, correct?
DEREK: That’s right, Tom.
One of the great things about the Fypon products today is we try to make it fairly simple, out of the box and onto the home. So whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner, we try to make it fairly simple.
And one of the things, in terms of cost-effectiveness, we actually have been able to prove out that whether you’re building up that surround out of wood or some of the other materials, such as PVC, you actually can get a savings primarily due to the labor savings that you would have attributed to trying to build up the different decorative options out of the wood and/or the PVC components.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, for folks who might not be familiar with it, is this something – the PVC product that you use for the trimming – is this something that you sort of finish in the same way or you buy it and it’s ready to go right on the house?
DEREK: All the products come pre-primed so the great thing about it, all you have to do is just apply your final top-coat color that you want to use to match your home and you’re good to go.
TOM: Now, when it comes to the return on investment for an entryway makeover, there was a survey done – actually, they do it every year. It’s the Cost versus Value Survey that’s done by Hanley Wood and Remodeling Magazine.
What are the numbers looking like, right now, for those that are installing new doors? What’s the payback?
DEREK: Well, the great thing – on the last two years, the entry doors was one of the only categories that actually ranked over 100-percent return on your investment, which is really great when you think about today’s economy and people trying to make their dollar go a little further.
TOM: Ah, that’s terrific. So that means when it comes time to sell your house, you’re likely to get the entire investment in the front entryway back at the time of sale.
LESLIE: Now, those are all great features but I think when it comes time to actually choose a new door or redo your door, there’s so many options. And you have to be really careful because it’s such an architectural standout to the house, that you sort of work in concert with the home’s architectural style. So how do I, as a homeowner, go about picking a door and picking all of that millwork that’s really going to enhance its styling that it already has to begin with?
DEREK: So, really, what homeowners need to do is choose between, ultimately, do they want a smooth, paint-grade product or do they want a textured product which they would stain? From there, that would lead them into a product selection within our Fiberglass products, in the Classic Craft product line, which is our premium fiberglass products which, really, at the end of the day, looks most like wood. And/or we also have the Fiber-Classic collection that’s available in oak grain, as well as mahogany grain.
And both of those collections come in a variety of different door styles, with different decorative glass options that they can really use to complement and pair with the home architecture.
LESLIE: And your website is so user-friendly, so there’s really a lot of great opportunities there to see how things sort of work together and even look at sample architecture of homes, right?
DEREK: Leslie, that’s right. On our website, there is a feature called the Door Designer, which actually allows you to go in by home architectural style. And it’ll actually give you some ideas to start with.
And then from there, you can go into each of the different product lines and play with different door-style options and glass options to really build that home entryway that really fits your home the best.
TOM: And besides the door, the synthetic materials go beyond that. You can even get railing systems today that are made out of Fypon and materials like that. So, there’s really a lot of options to get energy-efficiency, to get beauty and as we said just a moment ago, to get rid of that maintenance and not have to worry about picking up the paintbrush every couple of years and dealing with the rot. The prices are great and the impact on your home is terrific.
And as you said, Derek, over 100-percent return on investment is certainly good for my neighborhood and everyone else across the country. Derek Fielding, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great information on really where the technology is today, in terms of entryways.
DEREK: Well, thank you for having me.
TOM: Our pleasure.
If you want more information on Therma-Tru or Fypon, you can go to ThermaTru.com or you can go to Fypon.com. That’s F-y-p-o-n.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, the secrets to eco-friendly grilling so that your backyard barbecue can be kind to the environment and kind to your stomach, as well.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide four times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This hour, if you do pick up the phone and call us, you might just win the Stanley FatMax Foam Tool Box worth 30 bucks. This has got a watertight seal that protects your tools in any weather. It’s got sturdy construction and it’s got ergonomic handles to make it a great tool box and it is one of our dandy dozen gifts for handy dads that we’re featuring right now at MoneyPit.com.
So, why don’t you check out the site and learn more about our top picks for Dad’s Day at MoneyPit.com? And pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on.
Well, since last weekend was Memorial Day and we’re all really now in this super-excited start to summer season, you know there is nothing like grilling for that great outdoor meal. But did you know that traditional grilling can be associated with a number of health concerns?
For example, toxic deposits that can be left behind on the meat that you’re about to eat, if the source of the gas flame is not adjusted properly, can sometimes contain a cancerous substance. And then that gets released into the meat when it’s cooked too close to the flame, so you have to be really careful.
And when you’re using charcoal, you know, grilled meats and vegetables can actually soak up chemicals like coal dust, limestone, borax, starch, even sodium nitrate, not to mention the emissions that are released from grilling with charcoal, which we all know really aren’t the best for the environment.
TOM: But there is a more environmentally-friendly option. There are actually eco-friendly charcoals that are out there. There’s a super-efficient, very hotter-burning charcoal, that’s actually made from ingredients like coconut shells, that’s available. And I like this because it’s a very self-sustaining alternative that doesn’t tax the forest during its manufacture. And it’s also is going to make that exposure to harmful carcinogens and other chemicals a total non-issue.
There’s also one other forest-friendly grilling product and that is grilling planks. Have you seen these?
TOM: They’re made from sustainably-harvested wood and they actually help keep the meat away from the flame, which …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And sometimes, they add a lot of nice flavor, as well.
TOM: Yeah, I know. They’re really tasty and they stop you from overcooking the meat and creating all of that nasty charcoal in your beef, which is worse than actually cooking on it. It’s creating it while you’re doing that.
So if you want some more eco-friendly ideas for safe grilling, all you need to do is Google "money pit eco-friendly bbq" and you will find those solutions pop up right there.
LESLIE: As long as you promise, Tom, if I go eco-friendly in my grilling practice, I don’t have to have a tofu dog.
TOM: That’s true. I think you’re safe on that.
LESLIE: OK, good.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Rex in Alaska who’s working on a flooring project. What can we do for you today?
REX: Yes. I want to know if I can lay a laminate floor straight over a Berber carpet rather than putting the padding down that usually comes with the laminate.
TOM: Yeah, generally not a good idea. We prefer to see you take the carpet up. Is it glued down?
REX: Yeah. That’s a problem; it’s glued down to vinyl and the vinyl is glued on subflooring over a crawlspace.
TOM: OK. Ugh.
LESLIE: It’s like a history of ….
TOM: You have a crazy flooring sandwich there, don’t you?
REX: Well, yeah, so I don’t really want to tear into it. What would be the worst thing? I mean doesn’t a Berber carpet – seems like it would act as the padding.
TOM: Yeah, it could but if it’s too soft, it could make the joints break apart on the laminate floor. You have to have a certain level of sort of stability to that underlayment. I would like to see if you could try pulling the Berber carpet off, even if it’s glued and you had some residual glue left behind. I’d rather see the Berber carpet be pulled up. Then you can lay the underlayment down and put the floor over that. I’d give that a shot; at least try to see if it’ll rip up.
REX: OK. So then I can – I don’t have to cover that – I don’t have to get all the glue or anything off? Because I’m just going to cover that with …
TOM: No, as long as it’s relatively flat. You put the underlayment down. It’ll be fine.
REX: OK. Because the Berber seems pretty sturdy. There’s not any padding under it; it’s just the vinyl and then the Berber and I was thinking that that might work.
REX: But I also thought of that because the floor is just floating; it’s not attached to anything.
TOM: It might work but I prefer to see you take it up, if possible.
REX: OK. Thanks for the advice. Appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Rex. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Helen in New York has a wallpaper question. What can we do for you?
HELEN: Yes. I had wallpaper removed and the sizing was still on the wall but it was painted over. What can be done about that? But the paint is not mulled (ph).
LESLIE: So is the paint sticking or you don’t like the fact that you can see the seams and it looks like there’s still wallpaper?
HELEN: You can still see the sizing.
LESLIE: Right. So you want to try to cover that up.
HELEN: I want to try to get rid of all of that, yeah.
LESLIE: Well, if you want to try to get rid of it, your best bet is to probably score the sizing first. There’s a product out there called a Paper Tiger. It’s like a circular, handheld tool that has a lot of little blades on it. And you score that wallpaper and then you would rent a steamer, like a wallpaper steamer. And you would steam that wall to sort of loosen up the adhesive on the backside and all of those little cuts and perforations that you’ve made on the sizing itself will allow that moisture to get behind it and then you can peel away those strips.
Now, it’s a time-consuming project and chances are, when you get done with it, the wall is still going to have a little bit of residue from glue. And you can try to clean that up with TSP, which is trisodium phosphate; that might get a little bit of it off. But you may still have some unevenness on that wall surface and if you do, that’s OK. There’s really not much you can do about it. You can sand, you can try your best to sort of freshen it up. But I would cover over it; prime first and then paint with a flat finish. Because if you go anything higher than a flat, you’re going to notice every uneven surface because of the sheen in the paint.
HELEN: Yeah. OK. And another thing, how do you – how can I wash my windows without making them streaky?
LESLIE: Do you use paper towels? Is that what’s going on?
LESLIE: Try using black and white newspaper. Be really careful when you get around the panes by the painted areas because sometimes the newspaper ink can transfer. But that – there’s something miraculous about newspaper that makes it so it doesn’t get streaky. And also, you can use vinegar and water rather than using a window-cleaning product.
HELEN: Ah, vinegar and water?
HELEN: Oh, OK. I’ll try that. OK. Thanks a lot.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that project, Helen.
HELEN: Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, still to come, cooking odors, they’re sometimes really hard to actually get out of your house. So we’re going to tell you what you can do to help clear the air, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:34:22]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We are on-air and online at MoneyPit.com, where we have a very active home improvement community: lots of folks posting their questions, suggesting answers for other community-member questions. All very active, very lively at MoneyPit.com. We so appreciate all of those of you that are participating in our community and we want to highlight a couple of questions right now that came off those pages.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And John posted: "I have a mold problem growing on the side of my house." And John is from New York, by the way. "The siding is composed of asbestos shingles. Would power washing do the trick or is there a better way?"
Now, Tom, since these are asbestos shingles, do you have to be concerned when you approach siding like that with a power washer? Or because it’s encapsulated, it’s contained? Is it kind of OK to go that route?
TOM: Well, because it’s encapsulated, it’s – there’s no risk of really asbestos exposure here. But I will say that old asbestos shingles tend to be fairly hydroscopic; they soak up a lot of water. And so they’re great landing grounds for mold, for algae, for mildew to form. Those spores will attach quite easily to the old asbestos shingles.
Now, you mentioned pressure washing and certainly, that is one way to go. But there’s a new product out now that I’ve been using recently on my siding and also on my porch, which had a bit of an algae problem and I really like it. It’s called Wet & Forget.
And what it essentially does is makes it so that the mold, the mildew, the algae will no longer grow and naturally deteriorates, naturally degrades and then falls away. So, it’s a nice, very safe, environmentally-friendly way to deal with this problem of spotting on siding and spotting on roofs and on other surfaces. Check out their website, John. It is at WetAndForget.com.
LESLIE: Alright, John. I hope that helps you with your mold problem.
TOM: Well, small spaces can be difficult to decorate and if you’ve got a small bath or a powder room that’s giving you a hard time, Leslie has got some solutions for working with that space, on today’s edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. If you’ve got a small bathroom in your house – and you know what? It might even be your only bathroom. It doesn’t have to be a problem. There are so many products out there – if you take the time and do your research and go to the right stores – that can actually help you transform that small space and make it way more functional.
For example, a corner sink. I know you probably think, "Oh, that sounds kind of industrial or maybe kind of something from a hospital." But corner sinks, you can find some cute, stylish ones and they’re actually going to free up a ton of space. And they can be pedestal-style, they can be wall-mounted; it really does open up that footprint for that bathroom.
Also, you can set up space-saving storage elsewhere in that room, which means that you don’t need that traditional cabinet vanity. And then a smaller bowl for that sink is actually going to provide plenty of capacity. So don’t feel like you’re going to get the short end of the stick if you go with something like that: a corner sink for your bathroom.
Now, another sink option is the vessel sink, which gets mounted on a scaled-down cabinet or any other type of furnishing that can give you a little bit of storage. And even if you’ve got a creative carpenter or a creative plumber in your life, you can turn pretty much any piece of furniture into a surface that can accommodate a vessel sink, so don’t feel like you have to spend a ton of money. You can hit the local salvage yard and find something really cool that you can turn into something awesome.
And also, that flat top that’s around that vessel sink, that’s going to give you another storage spot that’s going to help you sort of organize yourself. Whatever you do, you can really take advantage of all that space. And think about the wall space above your commode. You know, there are some options that you can get for behind the closet door that sort of slides into the hinges, that extend towel storage. Instead of just one bar, it’s like four or five.
Be creative. Do some clever researching on the web. You’ll find some awesome products that are going to free up that bath space and give you more storage than you knew was possible.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, it might not be your favorite chore but mowing your lawn correctly is an important part of making sure it looks good and stays healthy. We’re going to have tips to make that job easier, 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 2011 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)