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 thank you for spending this fantastic Labor Day Weekend for us. What are you working on? “What? It’s Labor Day, Tom. We’re not working on anything.” OK. That’s cool. But hey, maybe you want to plan a project for a future weekend. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. If it’s on your to-do list, we can move it to the done list with some simple tips and advice to help you get the job done.
We’ve got a great show planned. We’ve got a fantastic guest stopping by in just a bit. You know her from this TV series Taxi and countless other TV and movie roles. Marilu Henner will be here and she’s got a really cool story about one thing you don’t want to do when buying a house.
LESLIE: And you guys might not know but Marilu Henner has an amazing memory. She can recall pretty much everything and anything from any day in her entire life, but you might not have that skill. And here’s something you might actually want to forget: all of that leftover paint that you’re just collecting in your garage or your shed, your basement. Wherever it is, we’ve got some great project ideas to help you use up that leftover paint in some unique ways.
TOM: And it’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to close your pool for the season. We’re going to have tips to help you avoid high repair bills next summer by winterizing it the right way. All of that and we’re taking your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So, let’s get to it, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Jeff in Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JEFF: I want to add some insulation in the attic of my old, old house that I just bought last year and I don’t know where I should go with either the loose fill or the batt. I want to do it myself to save money but the loose fill – I’m kind of uncomfortable with all the weird conduits and outlet boxes and stuff that are up there in the attic. It’s a walk-up attic and we have a little bit of storage area up there. I don’t know if stapling the rolls up against the roof is – I don’t know what’s going to give me the best R-value and time value and money value, obviously, for …
TOM: Alright. So first of all, let’s talk about where the insulation goes. This attic is unfinished, correct? It’s not a sleeping space, is it?
JEFF: Yes. Correct.
TOM: So the attic is not – the insulation in this case does not go up against the rafters? The attic – the insulation goes on the floor – what you would call the “floor of the attic” when you’re standing in it.
TOM: Now, is there a wood floor across the entire attic surface now?
JEFF: Not the entire attic, no.
TOM: There’s not? So it’s open beams there, right? You can look down into the – see the ceiling below?
JEFF: No. It’s got the rolls in between there. But like I said, we have a storage area, which is the center of it that has plywood down on top.
TOM: OK. That’s actually perfect. So here’s what I think you should do: I would buy unfaced fiberglass batts and just like the word says, unfaced means no paper face, no vapor-barrier face. It’s just plain, old fiberglass batts.
Now, you lay these down perpendicular to the floor joist, so not parallel to but perpendicular. And you would lay these across the entire attic floor except for the area that you want to reserve for storage.
So this is an easy way to kind of, say, double or more than double the amount of insulation that’s there but still saving that storage space. Because once you put this down, it’s actually going to be higher than the thickness of the floor joist and you can’t crush insulation. If you crush it, it doesn’t work. So that’s why it has to sit on top. So if you were to put like 10 or 12-inch batts down like that, you would have a dramatic increase in energy efficiency.
JEFF: Woah. That’s not a bad idea. I like that. OK. Great. Thanks so much for your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Jeff. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Stephanie in California is having a heating-and-cooling issue. Well, specifically, a cooling issue in the bedroom. What’s going on?
STEPHANIE: Oh, we don’t know. Right now, we live in a four-bedroom house. Every room in the house, except for the master bedroom, gets cool in the summer. We have not done a winter yet. This bedroom – the master bedroom – is at least 5 to 7 degrees warmer than any part of the house.
TOM: OK. Well, there could be a number of reasons for that. First of all, what side of the house is it on?
STEPHANIE: It would be on the south side of the house.
TOM: The more sun, the more cooling you need. So it’s not unusual for a room on the south or the west side to need more cooling power.
So let’s talk about what you could do to try to improve this. First of all, I would check the airflow at the registers to make sure you’re getting good airflow at all of the A/C registers. In some cases, systems can be balanced so that they supply more air to one room and less air to another.
Just as important is to check the return registers, Stephanie, because not only do you have to push cold air into the room, you have to pull the air back so it can be recooled. If you don’t have a return in the bedroom itself, it’s going to be a central return, like in the hallway, perhaps, outside of the bedroom. If that’s the case, you want to make sure that when you close the door of the bedroom, that there’s at least a 1-inch gap under the door. Because that’s how the air gets pulled back and again, recirculated.
Other things that you can do would be to increase insulation over this particular room. So if there’s an attic access above, for example, you could double up the insulation over that and that would also help to keep it cooler.
So I would speak with your HVAC professional, initially, to try to get the balance working a little bit better. And then if that doesn’t work, think about adding some additional insulation. And if that doesn’t work at all, the other thing that you could do is you could add supplemental cooling to that.
I have a room, for example, in my house where I have a split-ductless system because it happens to be on the west side, in my case, and it overheats. It’s far away from the air-conditioning-system supply and so I never quite get enough cooling air into this one room to make it comfortable. So we have a split-ductless system in there that supplements it.
So those are all good options to help even out the temperature of that room in the house. Stephanie, 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 whenever what you are working on goes awry or perhaps you just need some help getting through that project. We’re here to give a hand at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, it’s almost time to close your pool for the winter. We’re going to help you avoid one common mistake that can make the water unsafe. We’ve got the details, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And Labor Day is upon us, which means it’s almost time to close your pool for the season. If you want to make sure, when you open it next year, it’s as good as you left it, you need to follow a few simple tips for preventing winter damage and making it safer, too.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, your pool’s filtration system is the most susceptible to freezing temperatures and that requires special attention. Now, you can avoid costly repairs by thoroughly flushing and draining all the pipes and fixtures now before those cold winter temperatures set in.
TOM: Yeah. And to do that, just blow compressed air through the pipes. You want to keep the pressure at less than about 20 pounds per square inch to prevent any system damage.
Now, if you’re thinking, “I don’t have a compressor and I’ve got a small pool,” well, a wet/dry vacuum on the blower setting will work just as well for those smaller systems. That’s really all you need.
LESLIE: Yeah. But you’ve got to remember this: you need to then fill the system with not just any automobile antifreeze; you want to use specially-formulated, propylene-glycol RV antifreeze. Now, choosing the right antifreeze product is really important for the safety of swimmers in the spring and for people or pets that might come into contact with it and swallow any spilled or stored liquid.
Now, this specialized antifreeze provides freeze- and burst-protection to as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s generally safe for people and the environment.
TOM: And also, here’s a tip: don’t forget to plug the skimmer. Otherwise, the system will fill with rainwater or melted snow and it’ll develop damage despite all of your efforts to keep that exact thing from happening.
LESLIE: Gary in Pennsylvania unfortunately had a flood and needs some help picking up the pieces. What can we do for you?
GARY: We had a flood here – a flash food. Rain came down in 8 hours, about 7 to 10 inches. It flooded our basement with about a foot of water. And I’m interested in finding out from you folks how we can get back to normal as far as the basement is concerned. It smells. We did manage to get the sump pump going and get the water out of the basement. But it was – like I said, it was a foot around the furniture and everything. And how can I manage to get things back to where they were before the flood?
TOM: Alright. So, when you have a flood situation like that, of course it’s human nature that you want everything back just the way it was, as soon as possible. But from a practical standpoint, it doesn’t always work that way. Here at the Jersey Shore, we faced one of the worst hurricanes in history, last October, with Hurricane Sandy. And that was the natural reaction: everyone wanted to get back. And we always say, “No, you can’t get back that quickly, because you’re going to make some mistakes along the way.”
So what you want to do first is you want – as you’ve already done, you got rid of the water. Secondly, you want to prevent further damage by removing all of the wet materials. So, wet carpet has to be tossed out. If the basement is finished, does it have drywall down there? Those drywall sections have to be cut out to above the flood line. If there’s insulation in the walls, that has to be pulled out. If you have furniture that’s water-damaged, you may have an option of saving some of that if you can get it upstairs and start to dry it out and kind of make a decision as you go. But frankly, a lot of that should be covered by insurance, so I wouldn’t maybe try too hard to save it. But get all of that material out of there.
Now, you said it was a flash flood and it flooded the basement quickly. Any time you have water infiltration that’s consistent with rainfall, it can always be reduced, if not eliminated, by making sure that your drainage conditions outside are proper and that you have gutters, they’re clean, they’re extended from the house 4 to 6 feet – not just a few inches like normal gutters are – and that the soil slopes away. So those sorts of things can prevent further water infiltration.
And then after it’s all torn out, then you’re going to want to spray those – that basement floor and the walls down with a solution of bleach and water, about 10 to 20 percent bleach with water. That will kill any mold spores that are left behind. Then get some fans down there; dry that all out. And then once it’s dry, then you can think about putting it back together.
And next time, I would not put carpet on a basement floor, because that’s a breeding factory for mold and mildew and dust mites, as well. OK?
GARY: Sounds like a winner to me. I certainly appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gary. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line and having a hot-water issue. Tell us what’s going on.
NANCY: Well, my hot water takes so long to – or my water takes so long to get hot when I turn on the spigot. And washing the dishes by hand makes that – I waste a lot of water that way.
LESLIE: Nancy, is this a new problem or has this always been the situation?
NANCY: No, it’s an old problem.
TOM: Yeah. And it has to do with the physical distance between the faucet and the water heater. The farther they are apart, the longer you have to wait for the water to heat up.
Now, newer water heaters today, and especially the tankless water heaters, are very small. And so the way a lot of builders are addressing this is they’re putting in multiple water heaters closer to the bathing or the washing areas of the house. So, typically, you’d have one for the kitchen and maybe the laundry area and you’d have another one for bathrooms. Because these water heaters are so small and so efficient, they can literally squeeze into anything that’s smaller than a closet.
In your case, though, it’s just a matter of the distance that the water has to travel. Unfortunately, in a house like this, though, I would say that it’s unlikely you will save enough money in water costs to make the installation of an additional water heater worthwhile, Nancy.
NANCY: But is there anything else I can do? Like I have been told, different times, that insulating the pipes wouldn’t help or some people say it would.
TOM: Well, the only thing that insulating the pipes will do is it’ll keep the water that’s in the pipes, once it gets there, warmer longer. But again, it’s a distance thing. You turn the faucet on, the water starts to move from the water heater, where it’s hot, to the faucet. And it has to purge all of that cold water along the way. Once it purges, it’ll stay hot but it just takes a certain amount of time for that amount of water – that amount of volume of water – to move through the pipes.
Does that make sense, Nancy?
NANCY: Yeah, it does. And so there’s basically nothing I can do except different water …
TOM: Well, except moving a water heater closer to the – to you. I mean there are recirculators that sort of take water and recirculate it back all the time. But again, that costs energy, too, and that costs plumbing expense, too. And I just don’t think you’re going to save enough to make it worthwhile.
Nancy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Delaware is dealing with a spider problem. I can’t even talk about it for fear they will jump into my house. What’s going on?
JOHN: I moved to the beach about 10 years ago. I’m not – I’m 12 miles from the water but I don’t know whether that’s part of the problem or not. But we have spiders inside the house all the time. They’re always in the corners of the room. It’s rare to come into any room and not have one. And it seems like as quickly as you get rid of them, a week later you have more in the same areas. And it is very annoying.
TOM: What do you do to get rid of them, John?
JOHN: The only thing I do is I try to kill them and knock down their little web.
TOM: Good luck with that. That’s not working out too well for you, I bet, huh?
JOHN: No, it’s not.
TOM: You’re not going to win the war if that’s your treatment approach. The thing about insects today is the best way to control them is through science. And if you look at a company like Orkin, a company that’s been around forever, these guys know exactly what insecticide to put down, they know how to put it down in the right amounts and the products that they use today are very insect-specific.
It used to be that there was sort of a broad-spectrum pesticide that was put down. Today, the pesticides are very, very specific for the problem. And if I was dealing with this in my house, I wouldn’t be running around with my boot trying to kill them all. I would have the pesticide applied in the right amounts, right place and be done with it.
So, I would recommend that you call Orkin and have that taken care of the right way. It’s safer to do that than to buy over-the-counter pesticides which you end up over-applying – which are far more dangerous, in my view – and certainly a lot less frustrating than having to stomp them to death, OK?
So, I would use a pesticide to control these spiders and that’s the best solution.
JOHN: OK. And you would not advise trying to do it on your own. You’d advise getting a company that’s – would pay regularly to have them come back?
TOM: Yeah, you can’t buy the products that a professional can buy. They’re not available to the general public because they have to be applied just right. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn to a pro like Orkin.
John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mary in North Dakota needs some help with a concrete floor. What can we do for you?
MARY: We’ve got crumbling concrete on the basement floor after water problems this spring.
TOM: OK. Alright.
MARY: And it’s very crumbly and powdery. And there are places on it that I’d like to paint, if I could.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Do you want to try to stabilize the deterioration of the concrete?
MARY: Yeah. I was wondering if there was some kind of sealant that could be sprayed or poured on it.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. First of all, in terms of the water problem, is this a problem that happened after a heavy rainfall?
TOM: Alright. So if you’ve got water that comes in after a heavy rainfall, I want to make sure we try to slow this down so it doesn’t happen again. Adding sump pumps, things of that nature, is not going to stop this from happening again. What stops the heavy rainfall from getting in is outside, looking at your gutters and your grading, making sure the downspouts are discharging away from the house, making sure your gutters are clean, making sure soil slopes away from the house.
We’ve got extensive articles – actually, several of them – on MoneyPit.com. Just search “how to stop a leaking basement“ and it’s the same advice. And we talk about the proper drainage improvements. So, do that first.
And then, in terms of the concrete itself, you can use a patching compound. QUIKRETEhas a patching-compound product. You definitely want to use the patching compound, because it’s designed to stick to the old concrete. If you try to put new concrete over it, it’s not going to stick. So, the ready-to-use patching compounds are trowel-applied. They’re latex formulas, so it’s easy to clean up. But that will seal the old concrete.
Then, once that dries, then you can paint it. And what I would look for is an epoxy floor paint. The epoxy paints I like because they’re a chemical cure. When you buy the floor paint, you get the paint in a gallon can that’s about three-quarters filled and then a quart of hardener. You mix them together, stir them up and then you apply the paint. Sometimes, there is an additive that goes in after the fact that gives you some texture to the floor, helps kind of hide the dirt. But patching it first, then adding an epoxy paint will have that looking like new in no time.
MARY: OK. But the name of the sealant was called what?
TOM: QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E. It’s QUIKRETE Concrete Patching Compound. Good stuff.
Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You know, home makeovers are popular but what if you put the same time and energy into making over your memory? No more forgetting where you left your car keys, huh? Well, actress/guru Marilu Henner is here to tell you how and to share an important home buying lesson she learned the hard way, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand and a leader in air-quality solutions. Haier is a new kind of appliance brand, focused on home solutions designed for each stage of the emerging consumer’s life.
TOM: This is 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: Welcome back to this hour of the program. Hey, our next guest is a woman who’s become a very good friend of this program. She’s a respected and renowned actress of stage and screen. She’s also a best-selling author, a self-help guru, a radio host and she’s been given the title Talk Show Guest of the Year.
LESLIE: That’s right. We are honored to welcome Marilu Henner to the program.
MARILU: Hey, you guys. I feel like we’re family now. I’m so excited. I love you guys.
TOM: That’s because we love to talk home improvement, like your stuff and our stuff.
LESLIE: We love you back.
TOM: And I hear that you have some terror stories about mistakes people make when they buy houses.
MARILU: Oh, no. I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. It pretty much broke – or sealed the deal in breaking up my first marriage.
TOM: Oh, no.
MARILU: Because we always made jokes that we didn’t buy Tara, like Gone with the Wind. We didn’t have Tara; we bought terror. Because no – because we bought – I mean this was in 1980. We were both doing well and we always say that we bought a $500,000 toboggan, because it was sliding down the hill.
TOM: Oh, no.
MARILU: They had put a little bit of money in escrow before we closed it, to say, “Oh, yeah, we have to do a little retaining wall. And it’s only about $10,000, so let’s just put it aside and yeah, you guys can take care of it later.” And it’s so – it turned into a $260,000 retaining-wall situation because it curved around the side of a mountain. And the whole thing was sliding down.
TOM: Oh, man.
MARILU: And by the time we tracked this woman down, who did not disclose it, she had no money left because she had sold a promissory note to a bank. She had changed her location; she moved to Atlanta. She changed her name and she changed her face.
TOM: Oh, my God.
MARILU: She used the money for plastic surgery and other things.
TOM: No way.
MARILU: Yeah. So that’s my terror story.
TOM: Oh. And that’s why we always tell folks, time and time again, to get a professional home inspection. And when you’re buying a property like that, that’s got this kind of potentially significant sort of engineering issue associated with it, not only get a home inspection but get an engineer to look at that. Because that just really gets really ugly, really quick. I’m so sorry that happened to you.
MARILU: Terrible situation.
TOM: Now, you always impress me as kind of a handy person. Do you like to do projects around the house?
MARILU: I do. I’m more like organizing; I’m a big organizer.
MARILU: So I like to take a space and I love filling a space and figuring out what goes where and what colors are right for it and picking out fabrics and stuff. So I would say I’m more decorator-y and organizing than I am, you know, saw and drill and that kind of person, yeah.
LESLIE: I can see that that’s the way your brain is set up. It’s like you remember so many specific details and organizing is just basically putting all of the details in a very specific grouping, whether it’s socks or silverware or knickknacks.
MARILU: Right. Yeah.
LESLIE: It’s the same type of categorizing.
MARILU: So I really believe in setting up your environment to win and making sure that everything is convenient, so that you’re saving time and your health is working more efficiently and every – things like that.
TOM: Now, we were together a few weeks ago and you actually offered a décor tip that I had never heard before, which I thought was brilliant. And we were talking about picking paint colors and what a challenge that is. And you mentioned that you’d like to be able to paint a little splotch on your walls so that you could take your picture against it and see how you look against that color.
MARILU: Well, this is what I did. I knew that being an actress, of course, I get photographed a lot in my home. So what I did is with every fabric, piece of tile, piece of paint chip, whatever, I would take it out to natural light – not super-sunny but natural light – and a mirror and I’d say, “Does this go with my skin tone?” And you want to feel really good in where – in your environment, you know what I’m saying?
TOM: Exactly. We’re talking to Marilu Henner.
Marilu, you’ve got a lot going on right now. Let’s talk about your radio show, for those that have not heard it. Tell us about it.
MARILU: Oh, well, I love doing this. I’ve been doing it for almost two years. It’s called The Marilu Henner Show. We stream online at MariluShow.com – M-a-r-i-l-u-Show.com. So I get fan mail from Patagonia but we also have terrestrial stations all over the country. And every couple weeks, we pick up some more and it’s just growing. And I get to interview fabulous people like you. And today, I had on Martin Short and Aaron Tveit and I had a homicide detective and …
MARILU: I had so many great – I talk about a lot of different things, things that interest me. I talk a lot about memory, I talk about parenting and children and relationships and a lot of health and a lot of celebrities. So it’s a lot of fun.
LESLIE: So, now, you have a book out right now that we’re talking about. It’s called Total Memory Makeover. And sometimes, I really feel like I could use a total memory makeover. I find myself forgetting certain things, leaving the front door wide open, the trunk of the car. So, how is your book helping everybody to get their brains back in order?
MARILU: Well, I have a lot of tips and advice. And I kind of explain how my memory works, because I have an unusual memory. Someone who has highly superior autobiographical memory, we remember virtually every day of our lives. So you can name a date within my lifetime, I’ll tell you what day of the week it was and what I was doing on that day. And as a result, I feel like the more you develop your autobiographical memory, the more you’re able to take information from your past, bring it to your present and let it inform a better future.
TOM: Marilu, we thought we might have some fun with you, if that’s OK. We picked a couple of dates in Money Pit history.
TOM: We thought maybe we’d ask you what you were doing those days and we’ll tell you what we were doing.
TOM: Sound good?
TOM: Alright. So let’s start fairly recently: March 16, 2012.
MARILU: OK. March 16, 2012 was a Friday, right?
LESLIE: I don’t know.
MARILU: Yeah, I think. OK. March 16 – and I didn’t look this up. We haven’t discussed this at all, right?
TOM: No, not at all.
MARILU: OK. So March 16, 2012, I was working on something for Unforgettable and I was actually visiting – it’s like the whole day starts to fill in. And I figure out what I was doing and the people that I was having dinner with. And we went to Cheebo and it’s just like the whole day starts to fill in for me.
TOM: Oh, man. That’s amazing. So on March 16, 2012, The Money Pit broke 300 radio stations picking up our program.
MARILU: Ooh, wow.
TOM: And we celebrated with a live broadcast in Times Square. So that was a big day for us.
LESLIE: So fun.
MARILU: Oh, wow.
TOM: Really super fun.
MARILU: Did you know it was a Friday? Yeah, you did. You must have.
TOM: Yeah. And of course it was a Friday, yeah. Here’s another one: September 20, 2011.
MARILU: OK. So that was a Tuesday.
TOM: That’s true.
MARILU: Yeah. September 20, 2011.
MARILU: I was going to New York. First, I was going to Orlando, Florida for a meeting with some people and then the following Monday I was – so I was just leaving for Florida and then moving toward New York for an event that Howard Stringer was honored at on September 26th. So I was in New York for that period of time.
TOM: And you were absolutely dead on when you said, “Tuesday.” And I knew that so instantly because you know what else happens on Tuesday nights? Jeopardy! airs. And Jeopardy! used The Money Pit as the answer to a home improvement question.
MARILU: Oh, that must have been great.
TOM: So that was a big night for us.
LESLIE: It was amazing.
MARILU: Yeah, that’s cool.
TOM: Oh and finally, a very important date for us: December 9, 2004.
MARILU: December 9, 2004. So that was a Thursday.
MARILU: Is that the first you aired?
TOM: No, close.
LESLIE: No, that was the first day I joined The Money Pit team.
MARILU: Oh, then that’s the best day of all.
MARILU: That’s funny.
TOM: Marilu, you are such a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy day to visit with us today. And best wishes for continued success and we will look forward to catching up with you on your show in the very near future.
MARILU: Thank you. I love you guys. Alright. Bye.
TOM: Right. Have a good day. Bye.
LESLIE: Alright. We love it when Marilu stops by.
Well, guys, when you’re working on your do-it-yourself projects, you want to make sure it doesn’t turn into a do-it-yourself opportunity for thieves. We’re going to tell you why making sure that your tools are stored properly overnight will help take you off of the easy target list for burglars, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, the FBI says July and August are the top two months for residential break-ins. To avoid becoming a part of those scary statistics, don’t make it easy for burglars. Do you leave tools or ladders outside? That’s like handing them the keys to your house.
LESLIE: Yeah. And after your do-it-yourself projects are done for the day, you want to make sure that your tools get back into the shed or garage promptly. You may be surprised to learn how many break-ins happen because of an opportunity, like a ladder being left leaning against the house.
TOM: And having a good security system in place is also a great idea. And one that we really like is SimpliSafe. It installs in 30 minutes without wiring or drilling and there are no long-term contracts. I mean for less than 15 bucks a month, you can have a professionally-monitored security system, 24/7, that protects your home and gives you peace of mind.
LESLIE: And the best part, guys, is that Money Pit fans get an exclusive 10-percent-off deal. So to grab your discount, you want to visit SimpliSafeMoney.com to learn more. That’s SimpliSafeMoney – S-i-m-p-l-i-S-a-f-e-Money.com.
TOM: Try it risk-free with a 60-day, money-back guarantee. Again, that website is SimpliSafeMoney.com – S-i-m-p-l-i-SafeMoney.com.
LESLIE: Daniel in Illinois is on the line dealing with a dipping bathroom floor. What’s going on?
DANIEL: I’ve got an older house that I’m doing some work on. And the bathroom floor seems to dip from the bathtub on one side, down, and from the sink and the toilet on the other side, down towards the middle.
DANIEL: And I’m wondering what would be the easiest way to – for a homeowner to be able to fix something like that.
TOM: Bathroom floors typically get weak in two places. One is at the edge of the bathtub and that happens from just years and years of water splashing over the side of the tub or as you get in and out of the tub, just water dripping down there getting the floor wet and it started to decay. And the other area is right around the base of the toilet.
Based on that, do you think that any of this could be decay or do you sense it’s more of a structural defect?
DANIEL: I’m thinking it probably is more of the decay because it’s more prominent towards the toilet side of the floor.
TOM: OK. So what you’re going to need to do in that situation is basically replace the floor. So you have to take out the toilet and you would have to tear up the floor and get to the – whatever is below the tile. I presume you have tile. There’s probably going to be plywood there.
And you want to get down to something that’s reasonably flat. It doesn’t have to be completely rot-free because if it has some structural integrity, you can put a new layer of plywood on top of that. And that will transfer the support to that upper layer and it will work quite well.
The other thing to keep in mind is the toilet flange may have to be adjusted by your plumber up a bit so that it ends up being flush with whatever the new floor level is going to be. But when the floor decays like that, there’s no way it can be patched. It really is a structural issue and it has to be properly repaired. It’s kind of a pain-in-the-neck job because you’ve got to work in such a small place and you’ve got to take the toilet out to do it. But it really is the best way to do it.
DANIEL: OK. Alright. Sounds great. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sarah in Iowa needs some help with a carpeting project. Tell us what you’re working on.
SARAH: I have a house built in 1975. And when it was built, they installed this carpet in the breakfast, kitchen and unfortunately, bathroom areas. And it’s glued down. It’s really low pile, almost like linoleum.
TOM: Is it on a wood floor or is it concrete?
SARAH: It’s on – just on the wood subfloor. And I did try to scrape it out of the little bathroom area that we had and it took hours and hours of hand-scraping. And I probably did some damage to the subfloor in doing it.
TOM: Well, the subfloor is not a finished floor, right? It’s a 1974 house. It’s probably plywood. Is that correct?
SARAH: Yes, it’s plywood.
TOM: So, can you pull up the carpet part itself with – obviously, leaving the glue behind? But will the carpet part peel off?
SARAH: If I pull up the carpet part itself, what gets left behind is this black, spongy gunk that I can kind of scrape off. And then the bottom part of the black is glued onto the floor.
TOM: What I want you to do is to pull the carpet up and then I want you to put a new piece of subfloor down on top of that using ¼-inch luan plywood. It’s very inexpensive and it’s the easiest way to get back to a surface that you can work with.
I would not try to remove the glue from the subfloor. It’s just not worth it; it’s a rather impossible job. So, I would just opt for a smooth surface by adding another layer of subfloor on top of that. And then whatever you want to put on top of that, you can, whether it’s more carpet or whether it’s laminate or tile or whatever.
But just pull up the carpet so – because you don’t want to sandwich carpet in between this. Pull the carpet up, then you’ll just be sandwiching the old glue and that’ll be fine, OK?
SARAH: OK. Fantastic.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, another paint can in your garage is the last thing you need, right? Well, put all that leftover paint to good use instead. Stay tuned for money-saving ideas using every last drop, when The Money Pit continues after this.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by QUIKRETE. It’s what America is made of. For project help from start to finish, download the new QUIKRETE mobile app.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, hey, those backyard burgers aren’t the only things sizzling this summer. The Money Pit is giving away big-ticket prizes in our Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway Sweepstakes. And time is running out to enter.
LESLIE: Yeah, we’ve got three grand prizes up for grabs: home security system from SimpliSafe, along with a month of monitoring; also, a prize package from WORX that includes the 8-in-1 Aerocart – it’s better than a wheelbarrow cart – and the WORX Blower/Sweeper, just in time for that fall-leaf cleanup that’s about to happen; plus your choice of outdoor equipment, worth up to 500 bucks, from STIHL.
TOM: These are some pretty fantastic prizes. You can visit Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit to enter and you can help increase your chances of winning by sharing our Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway to earn bonus entries. It’s all online at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post a question, just like Scott from Massachusetts did. And Scott writes: “My basement has one finished room where water is coming in. Short of tearing down the drywall and uncovering what is, I am sure, a mold fest, what are my best and most frugal options for fixing this? It only leaks in the early spring with the thaw and heavy rain.”
TOM: A-ha. Listen, Scott, if you’ve got rain that’s coming in that basement and it only seems to leak when the rain is really heavy or there’s a big snow thaw, there’s only one thing that’s causing that, my friend: that’s a drainage problem right outside that wall.
So, the good news is all you’ve got to do is fix this one limited area. Take a look right outside the wall where it’s leaking. Your soil is going to be really flat. Something is wrong there. Maybe it’s pitched into the house, maybe you’ve got a lot of mulch there or a lot of topsoil. You’ve got to get that soil sloping away from the wall so that water that lands there can run off.
And more importantly, take a look at the gutters above that. Make sure the gutters are clean, they’re free-flowing and those downspouts are extended 4 to 6 feet. If you do those two things – and if you only do one, do the gutters – I think you’ll find that that problem will dry right up and disappear as quickly as it showed up.
LESLIE: Yeah, the gutters have a huge effect, even from the other side of the house. I mean I had that experience in my own home and just fixing that gutter repaired the problem for good. So start there.
TOM: Well, if there’s one thing most home design projects have in common, it’s leftover paint. Well, don’t throw it out or stash it in your garage just yet. You can put that leftover paint to good use instead. Leslie has tips for doing just that, on this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, leftover paint can feel like a headache when every other aspect of a project is done. But with a little imagination and some creative flair, you can actually use paint leftovers to give your home extra appeal and have lots of fun in the process.
Now, if you’re looking for the perfect accessories for your freshly-painted room, add a little of that leftover paint to canisters or vases, planters or even flowerpots. And that’s going to help pull the room together a little bit more. And you can paint them one solid color or maybe even embellish them with some patterns, just to give a little added punch.
Or maybe you want to tie that freshly-painted room to the rest of the house. So you can use that leftover paint to update maybe baseboard trim or a door in another room or even breathe new life into a worn-out, old dresser, rocking chair, stool. You really can use it on any piece of furniture in your home. Now, you can also pick up an inexpensive canvas from an art-supply store and then create your own artwork using your home’s design palette.
And painting bookshelf interiors, that’s really a hot trend right now. It looks so great. All you have to do is add a coat of paint to the recessed portion of the built-ins and it gives it a nice, contemporary twist. Just make sure you let it dry completely before you excitedly put back all of your books and knickknacks. You don’t want anything sticking in place, guys.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, are you having a hard time keeping your yard looking lush, thick and green? Well, we’re going to have tips to help you stop fighting that uphill battle by replacing all the grass with groundcover instead. We’ll tell you how to choose the best groundcover for your yard, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
Happy Labor Day, everybody. 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 2015 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.)