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: Call us right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
We are bringing you a very special edition of The Money Pit today. This is a dream location for woodworkers, for carpenters, for mechanics, for the lawn-and-garden enthusiasts and for the L train which just passed overhead because we’re in …
LESLIE: Which if you live in Chicago, you can take right to the Craftsman Experience.
TOM: And that’s where we are here in Chicago, at the Craftsman Experience Store. It’s a brand-new experience for those that are interested in all sorts of tools and tool-storage products.
LESLIE: I mean it really is the best way to describe what’s going on here: an experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind establishment. It’s got hands-on project stations, live demonstrations, clinics and it’s a unique Craftsman store that literally gives the consumers a chance to try the tools before you head out and buy them.
TOM: Yeah but truth be told, some people take this way too far. They’re starting to bring in their own projects to work on them in the store.
LESLIE: I know. I’ve seen lumber walking in (Tom chuckles) the front door, people are bringing in things to repair, cars are parked outside for work with the mechanics’ tools.
TOM: You know, it kind of reminds me of what we in the business call an "editors conference" where you go and they just lay out all the tools for you and the home improvement journalists get to play with them.
You can pick them up, you can check them out and try before you buy, essentially.
LESLIE: That’s right. Well, if you are here in Chicago, welcome. And if you’re listening at home, we invite you to go to the Craftsman Facebook site to play along with us as we try out all the cool, new tools here at this site. Go to Facebook.com/Craftsman, click on the Experience tab and you’ll see everything that’s going on here.
TOM: And if you’ve got a home improvement, a tool or a décor question, pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And for those of you here with us on the floor of the Experience, we’re going to be taking your questions, as well. Alex will be by with a microphone to take those calls or those questions right from the floor.
And so, let’s think about it. What’s going on with your money pit? We’ve all got an issue; we’ve got something that we’d love to improve: something we would love to insulate, something we would love to make better. Think about that question, pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, we’ve got a great prize for you.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’re giving away a Right Angle Impact Driver from Craftsman. It’s worth $99. It’s a really great way to chance to try it out and you can get into some super-tight spaces. And an impact driver, I always feel like you can use it for a light project or a heavy project but it gives you that extra oomph, so it’s a lot of fun.
TOM: Yeah. It’s worth 99 bucks; going to go to one caller we talk to on today’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, this place that we’re at here, the Craftsman Experience, it’s dynamic and it obviously took a lot of effort to bring it to life. And Don Marshall was one of the folks who helped develop the concept for the Craftsman Experience and he’s joining us now to tell us the story about it.
DON: Hi. And welcome to our experience.
LESLIE: Well, thank you. It really is fantastic. Can you tell us some of the thought process that went into how this whole space is laid out and how to deliver the best experience to the folks who come in?
DON: Well, we had the benefit of working with a great designer. Our own in-house, Steve (Hughlane), did a wonderful job of laying it out and my job was making his dream come true. Actually, I’m part of the physical build more than the ideation of it.
It came based on a strategy and a flow but, again, I just made – helped make their physical dreams come true.
LESLIE: There are two cars in here.
LESLIE: How did you get them inside?
DON: That was a little trickier than meets the eye. We have a loading dock that is adequate to bring a car in dimensionally but not practically. So we called a machinery mover, as it turned out. I, first of all, looked at lots of other opportunities of using ramps and using Yankee ingenuity and …
LESLIE: Taking out windows.
DON: Yeah, we looked at a lot of options and as it turns out, it was brought in on a forklift very early in the morning and it made it by about 3/8 of an inch.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. And these are like fancy racecars, so you’ve got to be careful with them.
DON: Three-eighths of an inch.
TOM: And measurements are critical when it comes to NASCAR, especially; 1/64,000 of an inch is one that’s been in the news lately.
LESLIE: Will cost you a race.
DON: Absolutely. And that’s a real NASCAR car; it’s run at Talladega and at Daytona. It’s a real car and has a lot of value and we weren’t up for damaging it in any way.
TOM: Alright. So you had this vision of this place and then you did the physical build. You watched the public come in. What surprised you about how they’re reacting to it?
DON: It’s exceeded our expectations. We were hoping it would be a content-creation factory; a studio where we could take our message to the world. But as it turns out, the folks that come here are really more than impressed with all the kinetic activity, all the width and breadth of options. Always things to do; always lots of live demonstrations. At any given day, we have three or four different things to do.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And for you, I imagine you came in here – it was a blank space – you really had an opportunity to work with some of the finest tools and some really great materials.
DON: A 100-percent blank canvas; it was an empty space. None of these walls existed; this is all brought in. We did it all inside of five weeks.
TOM: Now speaking of bringing things in, you guys have been bringing in a lot of experts to share their knowledge here, as well, and then sharing that with the world through Facebook.
LESLIE: And now that you’ve got everything sort of up and running, what is there from a maintenance perspective? What do you need to do to keep this in, you know, tip-top shape for the folks that are coming in for the experience?
DON: We have the enormous benefit of actually, basically, managing a tool box, so we never really have to reach far for a solution.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s true.
DON: We’re one of these people that when people come over, they don’t – when they come over to the Craftsman Experience to borrow a cup of sugar, it’s usually in the form of a screwdriver or a pry bar.
LESLIE: And like a cup of sugar, you never get it back.
TOM: Don Marshall, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and congratulations on a well-executed place here.
DON: Thank you very much.
TOM: The Craftsman Experience. And that’s where we are in Chicago, at the Craftsman Experience, getting the chance to try out all the latest and coolest tool and storage, lawn and garden – you name it, the products are here.
Now we’ve got some folks standing by at home that need some help, as well. Tony now is calling in from Pennsylvania with a mold question.
TONY: Yes, I have this mold question. I have developed some little mold in my house and I was wondering, how can I get rid of it?
TOM: OK, where is the mold showing up, Tony?
TONY: Like around the baseboard.
TOM: The baseboard. OK. Is this a slab house? Is this the basement? Where are you seeing it?
TONY: In the second floor.
TOM: Oh, boy.
TONY: I have a basement here but …
TOM: OK. So you’re telling me that you have mold in the baseboards in the second floor of your house? That’s not good.
TONY: Yeah but …
LESLIE: But is it sometimes like when you have a ceiling joist, Tom, and you’re dealing with condensation from temperature differences and you see that black spotting but it’s really dust? Is that a similar situation?
TOM: Potentially, potentially. I want, first of all, to make sure that it is, in fact, mold.
Now, there are a lot of ways to test for mold. You can hire a company to do that but if you search out online a lab or if you find a lab locally that can test this, there’s a very easy way to do a test for mold. You simply take a piece of clear tape, you press it into what you think is the mold, you peel it off and then you stick it on another clear sheet of plastic and you send that to the lab.
Now, they can read that very quickly and confirm that it’s mold because before you go off on a wild goose chase trying to deal with a big problem here, I want to make sure that we actually know that we have mold. If you do, in fact, have mold and you’ve got it on the second floor of your house, there’s probably a lot more that you can’t see.
And I have to tell you, this is above and beyond the case where you can do it yourself, because there’s a lot of sources here that you’re not seeing. I don’t know what the sources are but I can tell you that what mold needs to grow is, essentially, moisture. You’ve got to have moisture, you’ve got to have air and you’ve got to have food and you …
LESLIE: And the food could be cardboard, carpeting, wood, drywall; anything that’s organic.
TOM: Dust. Right, exactly. So we need to confirm that you, in fact, do have mold and once we know that, then you can get an expert in to kind of figure out the best way, best plan of attack to clean it. Because if you’ve got it in the second floor, it’s potentially very, very serious.
Tony, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Going to go down to South Carolina now and talk to Debbie. Debbie is calling in with a question about removing rust stains for wood siding. I didn’t know that wood rusts. Is that …?
DEBBIE: Well, it’s actually caused by an underground sprinkler system.
TOM: Ah, OK.
DEBBIE: The water there is full of iron, I guess, and it’s just a constant problem.
DEBBIE: And it just – it’s painted white and the paint is stained and we’ve tried bleach and we’re just kind of tired of painting over it. And we were wondering if there’s a good solution to get rid of it and possibly deter it from happening again.
LESLIE: Well, first up, you need to redirect your sprinkler heads. You want to make sure that you’re not watering what doesn’t need to be watered, like your house, like your sidewalk.
DEBBIE: Well, right, right.
LESLIE: And I know sometimes it’s hard and it could mean changing out the head but if you can do that, you should because that will keep this from reoccurring.
Now once you’ve sort of redirected the sprinkler head itself and you’re keeping the water away, there’s a product that you can get called TSP, which stands for trisodium phosphate. And you can find that in the painting aisle at most home centers; it’s usually a prep product. And that does a really good job.
If you mix it up – sometimes they’ll tell you to mix it until like a liquidy sort of mix, on the back of the package – but mix it up more to a paste and apply it to the siding. And allow it to sit there just for a few minutes and then scrape it off and that’ll pull the rust out of the wood surface. And then you can go ahead prime and paint and you shouldn’t have this problem again.
DEBBIE: OK. That sounds good.
TOM: Alright, Debbie? Does that help you out?
DEBBIE: Alright. Yes. Thank you very much.
TOM: Great. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. 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, we are broadcasting from the Craftsman Experience in Chicago but if you can’t get here, you can have your very own Craftsman experience at Sears or by visiting Craftsman’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/Craftsman.
Well, with the right tools, you can not only accomplish lots of projects for yourself but you can also help others. Sears has a program they recently launched that does just that for American servicemen and women. We’re going to be back with details on that and maybe a few ideas on how you can help on your own, next.
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.
TOM: We are broadcasting from the radio booth at the brand-new Craftsman Experience in Chicago and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
LESLIE: Yeah, this really is a truly unique experience. There are hands-on project stations where you get to try out every kind of tool that’s available, live demonstrations so you can learn how to use them and what to make with them, clinics and a unique Craftsman experience here that really brings visitors closer than ever to America’s most-trusted tool brand.
TOM: Now there are lots of folks stopping by to say hello but if you’re listening at home, you can join us at Craftsman’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/Craftsman. Just click on the Experience tab.
LESLIE: That’s right. Well, we all know that Craftsman and Sears are practically synonymous and in fact, if you can’t make it here to the Craftsman Experience, Sears is your place to get all of the tools that we’ve been talking about. And besides giving all of us an opportunity to try out the latest and the greatest Craftsman tools, Sears also has a number of ways that they’re giving back to the community.
TOM: And that is especially true when it comes to our servicemen and women. With us to talk about that is Larry Costello, Direct of Public Relations for Sears and a frequent Money Pit guest.
LARRY: How are you?
TOM: We were just talking that we’ve been interviewing you since about the year 2000.
LARRY: Yeah. It’s been great.
TOM: Alright. Well, you’re looking good.
So, tell us about the program that you’re doing for servicemen and women.
LARRY: Sure. About three years ago, Sears created the Heroes At Home program and that’s really to show our gratitude to military families for the sacrifices that they’ve made. If you think about the families, soldiers who are deployed, they have a lot of needs with their homes to maintain them and then modifications that have to happen sometimes when they come home.
LARRY: And through our relationship with Rebuilding Together, we help make those things happen. And to date, over those three years, we’ve raised about $12 million for disabled veterans.
TOM: That’s fantastic.
LESLIE: That’s amazing.
TOM: Now, if folks want to participate at home with this effort, can they get in touch with their local Rebuilding Together organization?
LARRY: Absolutely or they can go to our website and click on the Heroes At Home link and …
TOM: OK. That’s on the Sears website or the …?
LARRY: On Sears.com, right.
TOM: On Sears.com.
TOM: What kind of projects are you doing for the heroes?
LARRY: Yeah, so the types of projects we do with Rebuilding Together and Heroes At Home include things like creating wheelchair ramps. We’ll widen doors or raise countertops to make them more accessible and create bathrooms that are also wheelchair-accessible.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. No-threshold bathrooms.
TOM: And you can – what’s cool about that is we’ve actually done a lot of work on that topic for the folks at the AARP. We’ve worked on making homes more accessible and the thing is that actually they can be very, very attractive at the same time; they don’t have to be hospitalesque. So you guys really get a chance to show your creativity here.
LARRY: Right. And we really enjoy it. I mean these are communities that we work and live in, that our associates work and live in and so it’s important to us to give back to the community.
And a couple of examples I can give you – recent examples include – with the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we had about 10 percent of our entire workforce in New Orleans turn out to volunteer there and we renovated 12 homes. So Sears, the Blue Tool Crew and Craftsman all came together to help renovate 12 homes there.
LESLIE: That’s great. And generally, when you’re working on the Heroes At Home program, is it volunteers through the Sears organization who helps actually do the construction process?
LARRY: Absolutely. And your listeners can go on and volunteer if they like and through …
LESLIE: Regardless of skill level?
LARRY: Well, exactly. And we do have skilled tradespeople on site and through our relationship with Rebuilding Together. They bring in volunteers from all over the country who are skilled tradespeople, to assist and kind of oversee the work. And to kind of acknowledge those folks, we – at an awards dinner in New Orleans – donated tools to Tradesperson of the Year, so it was very rewarding and those folks deserve a lot of credit.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.
TOM: And I think that that’s a good point, Larry, because a lot of times we think about – that you want to volunteer but there are folks that are afraid they don’t have the exact right skill set to be able to do that. So the point is that there’s really a job for everyone, whether it’s just helping to kind of move the materials around or actually cutting rafters. There’s a project if you’ve got time.
And through an effort like Heroes At Home, with Rebuilding Together, you always know that it’s organized, it’s going to the right cause and you’re really going to get a great result.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Sears really does a lot in employing veterans, as well.
LARRY: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. We employ 30,000 veterans and just last year, we hired 5,000 veterans. We have about 1,500 that still serve in the National Guard or the Reserve.
LESLIE: That’s great because this way they know that when they get home, there’s a job waiting for them. And it really is a source of stability and like you said, it does provide a great assistance and relief to the families who have servicemen and women overseas.
TOM: It’s one of the fun parts of coming to work every day, isn’t it?
LARRY: Absolutely. And I’ve been at a couple of these builds and it’s very rewarding to either help out or to see how it all comes together and the gratitude from the families is unbelievable.
TOM: That’s awesome. Larry Costello, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. I want to mention that you’re here with your sister who is celebrating a birthday today.
LARRY: That’s right. That’s …
TOM: I want to say, "Happy birthday, Brenda."
Happy Birthday. Thanks for coming to the …
LESLIE: We’ve thoroughly embarrassed you. Happy birthday.
TOM: Exactly. There you go. We got you.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Going to head out to the floor of the Craftsman Experience right now and talk to Alex, who’s got some folks with more questions for us.
ALEX: Hey. You know, I had a person who had a question. They seemed to – I guess they snuck away for a second and I think …
TOM: Alright. Now is your chance. I know there’s a question that you have and you didn’t want to bug us and now’s your chance.
ALEX: I do, actually. I did. I’ve been so nervous about it, you guys. I’ve been nervous about even approaching you.
LESLIE: That’s why he’s at the kegnic table, as we’ve mentioned before.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
ALEX: Yeah, so now I’m a little more relaxed at the kegnic table. And my roommate and I were both kind of rock-climbing enthusiasts and we’re looking to put in a fake rock wall in our apartment, over a door frame. The house was built in 1905.
ALEX: So I’m not sure – and all bad jokes aside, I’m having trouble finding the studs.
LESLIE: That’s because you probably have plaster with lath walls there. So there’s a lot of wood and a lot of metal that made up that lath there and you’re probably – if you’re using a stud-finder – getting sort of false readings out of all that metal that’s behind there.
So I don’t know if I’d recommend installing rock-climbing handholds on your (chuckling) plaster wall.
TOM: And also, it would be very predictable because every handhold would be exactly 24 inches apart, at least vertically speaking. But seriously …
ALEX: Well, the plan is …
TOM: Go ahead.
ALEX: We have a – it’s a premolded thing and we were going to just put just some plywood down and …
TOM: Yeah. That’s what I – yeah, that’s what I would suggest.
TOM: I would definitely put something that’s real sturdy and reliable on, say, 1-inch plywood first. If it’s around the door jamb, like you say, you’re going to have to build that out, obviously, so that the trim will work. But what do you – how far can you climb in this house? What has it got, 8-foot walls?
LESLIE: Eight feet?
ALEX: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
LESLIE: So basically, it’s one foot-hold up and then you touch the ceiling and you win.
ALEX: I’m not that good of a rock climber. I just want something to make me feel special.
TOM: Are you going to wire up one of those little buzzers at the top of the 8 feet so you can give yourself a high-five when you get up there?
ALEX: Yeah. Yeah, it’s a little bell. Ding.
LESLIE: It gives out treats. You’re really happy that you win.
ALEX: That’s what – that is exactly what it does. A little candy bar.
TOM: Alright. Well, like you said, with all kidding aside, finding the stud is the critical thing and there are very sophisticated stud finders that will work for this.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Up next, we’ll be back with more of your calls and The Money Pit broadcast from the Craftsman Experience in Chicago continues, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, 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.
TOM: And this special edition of The Money Pit is coming to you from downtown Chicago, site of the brand-new Craftsman Experience; a unique place where you can try out the tools, you can get product demos and even learn a skill or two.
LESLIE: That’s right. And if you’re not here in Chicago, no worries. You can check it out on Facebook. All you need to do is go to the Craftsman page on Facebook and click on the Experience tab and voila, you are here.
TOM: And we’re taking your calls. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. One caller to today’s program is going to win a great, new product from Craftsman. It’s called the NEXTEC 12-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver.
Now, we had a chance to try this out just a little bit because that’s – a little bit ago – because that’s what you do here at the Experience. We got real hands-on experience with this NEXTEC 12-Volt and I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty darn cool.
LESLIE: And you know what was interesting, I like that the way they’ve set up the area to test is that there’s two one-bys -whatever sort of creating this tiny, little cavern that you can actually drive these bolts in with the Right Angle Impact Driver. And it works like the dickens in the tightest space and it’s worth 100 bucks but it could be yours for free.
TOM: If you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
So, let’s talk home improvement now. Going to go to the floor of the Experience. Alex is standing there. Actually, he’s sitting down at the kegnic table.
LESLIE: He’s still at the kegnic table.
ALEX: I can’t get away.
TOM: And you’ve got Miguel standing by.
ALEX: Yes, Miguel, we finally – we found him. He’s been wandering around all day, trying out all the – especially the NEXTEC, which he loves.
I don’t know. Maybe you’d have to call in for that one.
LESLIE: No, he’s asking the question. He could be our winner; we’ve got to put his name in the Money Pit hardhat.
ALEX: Alright. He’s been dying to ask this question.
Miguel, what’s up?
MIGUEL: Well, I have an old bathroom that I’m thinking about remodeling and I’m just wondering if I should – it has the old-type tiles; the small tiles.
MIGUEL: Is it more beneficial – is it better for me to knock the whole wall down and just start from scratch or to regrout and like do it that route?
LESLIE: Hmm. I mean it really depends on what the styling is of that bath. Are those small tiles in good shape? Do you like them?
MIGUEL: No, they’re not. Not in that great shape. The grout is really bad.
TOM: Are they falling off the wall?
MIGUEL: No, they’re not falling. Above it, the mildew stains and …
TOM: OK. Because the one thing about old bathrooms is that they’re typically made with mud walls, so they’re very thick. They’re like 1-inch-thick walls.
LESLIE: And they’re really set in there.
TOM: And it’s really expensive to replace that, so if you’re only – if your description of "they look nasty" is bad grout, well, we can fix that. Now, you can use a grout saw to essentially saw away the grout that’s inside those tiles right now. It’s a lot of work but it’s not as much work as tearing out the walls. And if you remove all the old grout, then you can regrout it and it’ll look like new.
And I really hate to tell people to tear out those walls because when you do that, you’re basically giving up all that history and you’re never going to be able to replace it and you’ll never get anything that’s quite as durable. So I’m sure that no matter what the color is, too, that you could decorate around it.
LESLIE: Well and also, if the grout itself is sort of in good condition but it’s just dirty, you could use a grout stripper, correct, Tom, that would really attack all of those stains and that dirt that’s on there and really give it a good cleaning?
Now, as far as the decorative style, these tiles are on the floor or on the wall?
MIGUEL: They’re on the wall.
LESLIE: They’re on the wall. So you really have an opportunity to change out your flooring there. You can apply a new flooring right on top of the old as long as you adjust the footing or the mounting of the toilet and the sinks themselves to accommodate for that extra height. And that gives you a great chance to play off on the historical aspect.
You can do a great border tile; you can even use – Daltile has a – it’s called their Timber Glen collection and it actually looks like wood but it’s a ColorBody Porcelain Tile that has this fantastic, rustic finish, which could be a great blend with that historic tile.
TOM: And if you’re going to put the tiles on the floor, there’s a really – there’s a new product out now called Bondera TileMatSet. And what’s cool about this is one of the messy parts of tiling is that you have to spread adhesive down and it kind of gets everywhere.
TOM: This is a pressure-sensitive mat adhesive so it comes in a roll.
LESLIE: It’s like super-glue.
TOM: And you peel it off, you lay it down on the floor so you stick it to the floor and you peel off the top. You can drop the tiles right on top of it and you can grout right away. So it makes it really easy to do a retile job and you don’t have to pull up the old tiles. As long as they’re solid, they’re not popping off, you could put a second layer on top of that.
LESLIE: And remember, fresh accessories – changing out your faucets in your – in the sink and in the tub – that really does make a huge difference; adding towel bars, adding great accessories, some live plants. If you’ve got a place in there for a light fixture, why not add a beautiful sort of period chandelier with a dimmer? You can really change the look of the space for not a lot of money.
MIGUEL: OK. Thank you both so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Miguel. Thanks so much for stopping by the Craftsman Experience here live at The Money Pit.
You know, one of the coolest things about this place is that it’s a place where you can come and get hands-on experience with Craftsman tools. But besides that, it’s also the place where lots of real craftsmen come to demonstrate their experience to the folks here and through the world, through the live feeds on Craftsman.com. We’re going to talk to one of the craftsmen that’s in-house here today with his son, building some really interesting projects, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac Automatic Standby Generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
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: And we are at the home of lots of solutions here: the Craftsman Experience Store in Chicago. They gave this place the right name. It’s truly an experience, with live demos, products you can touch and feel and use before you buy and experts who come in on the weekends to teach us some very cool projects step by step.
LESLIE: Yeah. Everybody’s having a great time; the folks are visiting all of us doing presentations. But if you can’t make it here, you can still be part of the fun. Just head on over to Facebook and go to Craftsman’s page at Facebook.com/Craftsman, click on the Experience tab and you can see everything that’s happening live.
TOM: Or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s go to Pennsylvania now and talk to Sandy who has a cleaning problem.
Hey, Sandy. What’s going on?
SANDY: Oh, hi. It’s nice to talk to you both. Or you and your buddy there that’s going to help me out, I know.
TOM: We’re both here standing by.
LESLIE: Oh, hi, Sandy.
SANDY: Hi. What I have is a small bathroom and in this bathroom there is no fan. So what happens is the moisture will collect on one half of the bathroom. It’s tiled on the ceiling, on the walls and on the floor.
LESLIE: You have tile on the ceiling?
SANDY: Yeah but it’s really pretty. It’s a nice, neutral color and it looks really nice. But when they built this house, they never put a fan in and when we moved in, we put so many other renovations in, we never did that.
LESLIE: Yeah but a bathroom vent fan is not really a difficult thing to add to the space if you’ve got a place to vent it to. And in fact, if you have – do you have any ceiling high-hat lights in there?
SANDY: No, I don’t.
LESLIE: Like ceiling-can lights?
TOM: Like flush lights in the ceiling?
SANDY: No, not …
TOM: Because they have bath vent fans that actually fit into the ceiling light itself; it’s like a light/fan combination so you don’t even see them hanging down.
LESLIE: Yeah but that’s what we have at our house and all you need is the space in your attic or whatever the space is above it and then to make sure that you properly vent it outside. And it really does a great job of moving all of that moisture out-of-doors, which is where you want to get it.
And the important thing is when you’re done showering or bathing, run that exhaust fan for a good 10, 15 minutes because that’s really when the condensation happens.
TOM: And in fact, Sandy, you can put that on a motion detector so that it automatically sort of times out and goes off automatically after that period of time.
Now, are you having cleaning issues as a result of this?
SANDY: Yes, I am. And I think I’ve tried every product and every old remedy, whatever. And it’s just on the one half. I’ve tried using a squeegee, drying it off, Clorox with water; any product that you know that’s on the market. And I just wondered if, temporarily, until I can install the fan that you suggested, which sounds great, there’s a product I thought that took moisture out of the air. They use it in Florida. I believe it comes in a little, plastic container but I didn’t know …
TOM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No. There’s nothing.
LESLIE: Oh, they’re like rocks and gels. For a bathroom, you’re never going to get all that moisture out of the air. Really, the trick is open a window, which isn’t going to help because you can’t really move the air out, but you do need that exhaust fan.
SANDY: Right. That doesn’t do a thing.
TOM: Yeah. No, you absolutely – there’s no miracle cure here; you’ve got to have ventilation in your bathroom. You just have to. So if you don’t have it, you need to add it. It’s not terribly difficult, so don’t put off the inevitable.
Now, meanwhile, yes, if you get the tile really, really clean – I mean the grout really, really clean – you can apply a silicone sealer to it and that’s the best way to prevent it from getting bad. And if you ever replace the grout, if you saw it out, there’s a product called LATICRETE which has an additive called Microban, which won’t grow it and that’ll cure it.
LESLIE: Which is built right in. It’s a mildicide.
TOM: Sandy, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, we mentioned that there are lots of real experts here at the Craftsman Experience stopping by to help us learn new, cool projects. Joining us is one of those expert craftsmen right now. He is Darryl Witte.
Darryl, welcome to the program.
DARRYL: Thank you.
TOM: We’ve been watching you here all day and last night. You guys have been here with your son, Emerson. Want to give a shout-out to Emerson?
DARRYL: Yes, sir.
TOM: And you’re doing a father-son project here. Talk to us about it.
DARRYL: We’re designing – actually, we’re building a soapbox derby car. Last night, we started building one of the Super Stock cars from the All-American Soapbox Derby, the group out of Akron, Ohio. Been racing for 73 years. I’m part of the Chicago Soapbox Derby group. We have our next rally race the weekend of October 16.
LESLIE: And I think this is amazing because your son seems like he’s completely fearless with this whole thing. I imagine you’re going at high speeds, you don’t seem very nervous about this at all and he’s like, "Yeah, it’s a great time."
DARRYL: Emerson surprised me at an early age. We were working, building our own house about eight years ago when he was only, what, four? And I asked him to help put a handle on a doorknob, asked him to hold the screw in and it was a doorknob you had to move the handle – latch type – and he had to move the handle out of the way to put the screw in to start the thread and he started moving the handle.
DARRYL: I asked him why he was moving the handle and he said, "Dad, I can’t put the screw in without moving the handle." So he’s naturally gifted with mechanical things.
TOM: Natural, yeah. It’s in the genes, apparently.
DARRYL: That’s correct.
TOM: Now, Darryl, there’s a lot of dads out there and moms that would love to get involved with their kids on a project like that. Feels a bit overwhelming, I imagine, building a big soapbox car like that. Talk to us how you got started and how other folks at home can get started learning and enjoying tools and doing projects with their kids like this.
DARRYL: We had a distant relation that was part of the derby that introduced us to it; started off really slow. There’s groups – the nice part about the derby is it’s a small-knit organization; it’s a community. We go out to races and even though we’re racing against each other, all the car handlers are really wanting everybody to have a good experience. So if a car crashes, you’ll find four or five parents/car handlers get together and tweak whatever needs tweak to make sure the car works.
And new people come out; we’re always trying to show off what we know. We want to make them competitive because we want them to come back and race us again, so we end up really giving everybody all the tricks so you really can compete and make everybody have a good time.
TOM: And speaking of those tricks, you came here with all of your personal tools; you’re using the Craftsman tools that are here. You guys are actually building a car right here. They’re streaming it live, they’re capturing it on video; it’s there archived on the Craftsman – Facebook.com/Craftsman – page, so you’re really sharing a lot of your knowledge here.
Are you afraid you’re going to give away some tips to your competitors?
DARRYL: Not at all. Not at all. The derby is really – the derby and the spirit of the race is about the kids racing, so we end up – at every race, we swap wheels to make sure that there’s nobody playing any games with their wheels; that we have very equal footings.
Everybody has a chance to go out on both lanes in a race, so we take the time differences from two different phases, add it together to determine the winner and there really isn’t any chance that there’s anything in a specific car that can make a difference. We’re really about the kids racing.
LESLIE: Now both you and your son, Emerson, obviously are very skilled when it comes to construction and mechanics. Since you’re here at the Experience, have you learned anything new or seen some really cool tools that just strike you as something different?
DARRYL: We absolutely have. There’s a couple of tools out there: the new DOG BONE Wrench; I’m going to try to sneak one of those in my tool box on my way back out because that’s a really nice tool.
LESLIE: Well, now everybody knows that that’s your plan.
DARRYL: No. The guys have been nice enough to help me out there and we’re going to enjoy that tool for a long time but …
TOM: Darryl Witte, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Hey, if you want more information on how to get involved in soapbox derby, there are websites that you can go to: the ChicagoSoapboxDerby.com and also AASBD.org.
You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. And as you’ve heard, for the entire broadcast we’ve been asking folks to name their Top Five Must-Have Power Tools of All Time.
So, up next, Leslie, I guess it’s our turn to give you our picks.
LESLIE: I’ve got my list.
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 up to five 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 on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And today, we are on Facebook.com/Craftsman because we are broadcasting a very special edition of the program, from a tricked-out radio booth at the Craftsman Experience in Chicago.
LESLIE: That’s right. And from a very social experience here in Chicago at the Craftsman Experience, you can have your own social experience on Facebook. All you need to do is head on over to Craftsman page at Facebook.com/Craftsman and click on the Experience tab and you’ll be right here with us live.
TOM: We’re going to head out to Maine now and talk to Kristen. She’s got a ceiling-crack issue.
TOM: So are the leaves turning there yet?
KRISTEN: They are. It’s beautiful.
TOM: And I bet it’s beautiful. So how is that infecting your ceilings? (Tom and Kristen chuckle)
KRISTEN: Well, I’m looking outside instead of in.
TOM: There you go. So how can we help you?
KRISTEN: Well, we’ve got an old, plaster ceiling in a 12x20 room. And in the front third of it, about a 4x6 section has cracked and is starting to sag. We don’t really want to rip the whole ceiling out and replace it with drywall. We were wondering if there’s a good alternative.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. I think what you have to remember is that your house is always moving; it’s always expanding, it’s always contracting. And cracks, people freak out about them but realistically, they’re pretty normal; every house is going to have a crack or two.
LESLIE: Just because the material is not moving as the house is moving.
TOM: Exactly. So, what you need to do is to repair that and the way you do this – first, you sand it so we get rid of anything that’s shiny or sticky or gooey or any kind of dirt deposit on it. And then you’re going to apply a tape and you’re going to use a drywall tape that’s perforated; made of fiberglass. We do that because it’s kind of a no-brainer. When you use paper drywall tape, you have to get a smooth coat of plaster or spackle underneath. With a fiberglass tape, no big deal; you put it on there, it’s like netting and then you can plaster or spackle right over it. The key here is you want to use multiple coats.
LESLIE: And you want to sand between coats and sort of feather out.
Now, Kristen, did you mention that it was sagging, as well?
KRISTEN: Yeah, it’s sagging, because we live in a dance school. So the girls tap dance upstairs and that’s really why it’s cracking.
TOM: Ah. Oh, well, that changes things a lot, OK? A little detail.
KRISTEN: I forgot to mention that.
TOM: The dainty dancers, yeah.
LESLIE: And how noisy is that?
KRISTEN: It’s fairly noisy.
TOM: Well, let me tell you something here, kiddo. You’re going to have to repair this and you’re going to have to cover it with drywall and here’s why. Because if it’s sagging, the little plaster fingers that hold this are definitely, definitely loosening up and they’re going to fall.
LESLIE: To the lath, right?
TOM: And that plaster is very, very heavy and potentially dangerous.
LESLIE: Now, to replace it with drywall, do you need to remove all of that existing plaster or can you sort of just encase it with the drywall?
TOM: No. You can, you can. Let me give you a little tip here, Kristen. There is sound-resistant drywall out there. So if I were you, I would cover it with drywall and I would use sound-resistant drywall.
LESLIE: And I think there’s even sound-resistant adhesive that you might want to slap in between the extra layers.
TOM: Yeah, actually, it’s called Green Glue. So there you go; you’re going to solve all your problems in one, Kristen.
KRISTEN: Is that – is it expensive fix to cover with drywall?
TOM: It’s more expensive – well, no.
LESLIE: But how much money are you spending on headache medicine?
TOM: Exactly. Yeah, I think it’s a small investment and I think you’re going to appreciate it. Certainly the sound-resistant drywall is more expensive than regular; it’s quite expensive, actually. But it does a great job and it will deaden that.
Kristen, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, Leslie, for the entire program we’ve been asking folks what their Top Five Power Tools of All Time are. I’ve got a few suggestions of my own. My first one is one that you actually don’t see any more.
LESLIE: Oh, really?
TOM: The radial arm saw.
TOM: I love the radial arm saw.
LESLIE: Just straightforward backward motion?
TOM: I loved it. I mean I would not have developed into the craftsman I am today without having a radial arm saw to start with, because you could do cross cuts; you could rip with it. But the thing is, the tools have evolved and as we’ve seen here at the Craftsman Experience, now we have chop saws.
LESLIE: Right. And I have on my list the compound miter saw, which really makes me super-happy.
TOM: Well, then, we’re the same.
LESLIE: Any drill driver; more bells and whistles the better.
TOM: With you on that.
LESLIE: I love it. I love impact drivers; they’re cute, I like the size on them and you can do all sorts of projects with them.
TOM: How about reciprocating saws?
LESLIE: I don’t have that. I have an upholstery staple gun.
TOM: And that is one that only you worry about.
LESLIE: Of course.
TOM: That’s all the time we have for this hour of the program. Thanks so much for being a part of The Money Pit and the Craftsman Experience.
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.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2010 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.)