Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 0:25]
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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We want to talk to you about your home improvement projects. Before you pick up the hammer, before you pick up the saw, pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, have you been thinking of building your dream home? Could be a good time to do that. There are going to be a lot of land sales out there and people are thinking about doing it themselves. But before you choose the right spot, you need to make sure that the soil is OK. We're going to give you a warning about some soil types that can actually cause some pretty serious structural problems, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, find out about the cheapest way to add thousands of dollars in value to your home. We've got a hint. You won't have to do a thing to the inside.
TOM: And if you saw a pest lineup could you identify a termite? Well, you'd better be able to because these little buggers can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to your house. They often get confused with ants. We're going to give you some tricks of the trade to help you identify termites in your home and tell you what to do about it.
LESLIE: Yeah, you're going to have to get pretty close to them, though, to do that distinction. (chuckles)
TOM: (laughs) If you're queasy, you may want to not listen to that part of the show, right?
LESLIE: (chuckling) And also, to help you clean up after a hard day of home improvement projects, we're giving away a showerhead. This is actually going to help clean up yourself. It's a showerhead from American Standard. It's worth 90 bucks. Not only is it going to give you a great shower. It's going to help you save water also.
TOM: So give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let's get right to the calls.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Going to South Dakota to chat with Alicia whose bathtub is cracking up. What happened?
ALICIA: I don't know. We just moved into a house and we got - and the shower in our master bedroom has a crack underneath [where you shower] (ph).
TOM: Now, what kind of shower pan is it? Is it a fiberglass or like a plastic pan?
ALICIA: A plastic.
TOM: OK. Well, there's two ways to fix this. I mean the right way to do this is to replace the pan but another way to do it, which will be a lot less expensive but not quite as pretty, is to patch it. And the way you could patch this is actually with a fiberglass repair kit. You can go to an auto parts store, or if you happen to have a boating supply store, you can buy fiberglass and resin at the store and you apply the resin then you press the fiberglass into the resin, then you put another layer of resin ...
LESLIE: And the fiberglass is like in sheets almost, correct?
TOM: Yeah, you cut it. It's like material. It's like a netting kind of a material.
TOM: And you press it in there in a couple of different layers and then the top coat you can use a glaze coat and maybe paint the entire fiberglass pan the same color. Now you'll still see the patch but it won't crack anymore and it won't leak. So those are two ways to fix it, Alicia.
ALICIA: Is there any sanding that you have to do to the edge of this fiberglass resin compound thing you're doing?
TOM: You know, if you're pretty good brushing on the fiberglass you don't have to do much sanding.
TOM: You'll need a couple of layers, though. You don't just do it one layer. You do multiple layers and that's what makes it stick.
ALICIA: Alright, how many layers should I do?
TOM: Probably two layers of fiberglass. I would put one at one angle and then do the other one sort of 90-degree opposed and then you'll probably need probably three or four coats of the fiberglass resin.
ALICIA: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joe in New York, what's going on at your Money Pit?
JOE: Alright, I've got a question on an over-the-stove ventilation unit.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
JOE: I have one from - put in a long time ago. I put it in myself; Miami Carey. I think that company is no longer in business.
LESLIE: Is it just a venting hood or are we talking about ...?
JOE: Yeah, it's a venting hood over the stove. It vents outside the house (inaudible at 0:04:09.5). There was one when we moved in. It was an inside venting. I wanted to do an outside venting so I got brave enough to cut a hole in the wall myself and I installed it.
LESLIE: Yeah, but it makes such a huge difference.
TOM: Yeah, it's so much better than the recirculators.
JOE: But the one I have right now is kind of old and it's kind of looking pretty shabby and I was thinking of getting another one. Yeah, I'm looking for what you would maybe recommend that would kind of fit in the same type of area. I think it's about six inches high, 30 inches.
TOM: Well, you know, it's not so specialized as you might think. You're describing the average vented range hood and I would be willing to bet you could find those at the average home center.
JOE: Yeah, but you don't find too many with the outdoor venting.
TOM: No, no, no. You have to understand that most of these today are set up to either recirculate or vent outside. It's the installation that changes that.
TOM: There's a knockout in the back of them and when you open up the knockout and usually change a damper, then they're designed to vent outside or to recirculate back inside.
JOE: I'm wondering if the hole that's on this one would match up with that.
TOM: You know, it may; it may not and even if you are able to find the same brand - if they do happen to still be in business - it still may not match up. But changing that is, you know, a little bit of a carpentry job but it's not terrible. It is most important, though, that when you put this in, Joe, that you have good alignment between the range and the hole itself. I have seen unsafe situations where it didn't line up quite right and perhaps the grease was getting on wood as opposed to getting into the metal duct on the way to the outside and that could be a fire hazard. So as long as you have good alignment and if you have to do a little adjustment to make that happen, I would concentrate on finding one that matches your style.
TOM: I would also compare the CFM - the cubic feet per minute - of the fan because you want something that's good and strong and make your decision based on that.
LESLIE: There's a company that has some really beautiful vent hoods - it's called Vent-A-Hood, which is spelled just like it sounds, V-e-n-t-a-h-o-o-d. Their website is Vent-A-Hood.com. Also, Rangemaster, Broan. Take a look. You've got to find something that matches your design taste.
TOM: Joe, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. If you've got a question we've got an answer, so give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Are you thinking about building your dream home any time soon? Well, don't forget the three most important rules of real estate: location, location and location. When it comes to searching for a lot for your dream home that location better have some good dirt under it. We're going to tell you about a few soil types you need to steer away from, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:54.1]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation's leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information visit ThermaTru.com.
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: And if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you'll get two things: the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a great prize that can help you clean up after your home improvement projects - well, especially if you get kind of dirty during them - because we're giving away the FloWise showerhead from American Standard. It's worth 90 bucks. It's a pretty cool showerhead because it uses a special mechanism to create a powerful spray without wasting a lot of water. You want to win it? Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and ask your plumbing question perhaps.
LESLIE: Alright, and maybe you've got a question about that dream home you've been dreaming about for years and years; building from scratch the home of your dreams. Well, when you finally have the funds and the wherewithal and the energy to tackle this project, make sure you do one more thing in addition to everything else that's already on your plate. When you're looking at that site you want to look down and when we say look down we mean examine the soil because different types of soils react in different kinds of ways. Certain types of soils are going to shrink and swell with the elements and pressure and time. If you've got expansive soils, like a clay, those are going to change greatly depending on the water content. And unstable soils can settle a great deal, causing major structural damage. So, to avoid a soil slip, you want to consult a soil engineer before you sign that contract; before you get that contractor to start digging. Really make sure you do your research so you know everything is going to stay exactly as you want it to.
TOM: Very, very important. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Bea in New Hampshire is looking to replace a hot water heater. What can we do for you?
BEA: Yes, hi. I was just wondering. When I had a new furnace installed - and that was probably 13 or 14; maybe a little older furnace - and I was wondering if I could get rid of that; you know, the hot water heater that's attached to the furnace because every time I need hot water, you know, that's going to go on to keep - you know, to heat up the water.
TOM: You're talking about what's called a tankless coil and you don't have a furnace; you have a boiler. Am I correct?
BEA: Oh yeah, I guess.
TOM: You have hot water heat.
TOM: So, there are different ways to supply domestic hot water. Most of us have standalone water heaters. What you have is called a tankless coil and, basically, your boiler heats both the radiators in your house and also the domestic hot water. And you're right, the down side of that is that your entire boiler has to come on ...
LESLIE: To heat the water. Can you separate them by a retrofit or an install of a standalone tanked water heater or tankless or do they always work in conjunction?
TOM: You can't separate them but, essentially, what happens, Leslie, is you can disconnect the tankless coil and install a separate water heater.
BEA: Would that be practical?
TOM: It would take you a long time to make up the cost savings. I will say that. So yeah, I mean I have a tankless coil on my boiler and we also have a standalone storage tank, which would be another way for you to go. You could have what's called an AMTROL tank which is a water storage tank that basically stores some of my hot water so that the boiler doesn't have to come on every time I demand hot water by turning on a faucet. Some of it is stored inside the storage tank.
LESLIE: Terry in Kansas, you are live on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
TERRY: I built a house in 1975 and when I built it an old contractor told me the best heat was hydronic heat.
TOM: OK. He was right.
TERRY: I put in the hydronic heat but the last few years the more I think about it, how do I keep or test or get rid of calcium that might be inside of the pipes or my heat pipes? Is there a product I can run through it?
TOM: You know, not that I'm aware of but I don't think - I've never read that that's much of a problem. When you have - the water inside the pipe, it's fairly stagnant; you know, it doesn't get refreshed very frequently. Only, you know, once in a bloom moon do you have to add water to that. Because it doesn't have a lot of oxygen it flows almost no rust inside of those pipes. And so, you know, mineral deposits are really not a concern because you're only going to have the minerals that's in, basically, the water at any one time. It's not like it's building up like in a water heater where it can build up because you're always running new water through it over and over and over again. I don't really think that's much of a concern.
TERRY: Alright, sounds great. Thank you.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now with our number one topic question asked here at The Money Pit - flooring - we've got Jim in North Carolina. What's going on with your floor?
JIM: Yes, we have a house that's about seven years old and we have hardwood floors on the entire first floor. And over the years, you do get wear and you get scratches and so forth. We used to own apartments and it seemed that when we had hardwood in the apartments - this is many years ago - we could go in there and we could just put a varnish on the floor and the floor would be great. But today, when I put the same type of varnishes - I think same type - on the floors, they don't work. They end up, after you put on the varnish, that you can take your fingernail and rub your fingernail across the floor and they will lift.
TOM: Are you using varnish or polyurethane?
TOM: OK. Well, a couple of things here. First of all, are you using an oil-based polyurethane or water-based?
TOM: Alright. A couple of things. First of all, I agree that the polyurethanes of today are not as durable as the polyurethanes of yesteryear. That's what happens when you take VOCs out of finishes.
TOM: The paints are actually getting safer now but, to some extent, they're not nearly as durable; the one exception being the prefinished hardwood today because that's done in a factory with an aluminum oxide coating. But for the rest of us that just have regular hardwood floors, not so much.
Now, the exception to that is sometimes when you hire a professional floor finisher there are still commercial products available - the kinds that are used in gymnasiums and places like this - that are actually two-part finishes that, with the help of a chemical reaction, are far harder than what you can buy over the counter, so to speak. But if you don't do it correctly you can also make quite a big mess. So one option is to have it done professionally. If you're not going to do that then what I would recommend is the following process.
First of all, if you have just a worn floor, you don't necessarily have to pull all the old finish off. What you want to do, Jim, is rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. That will take off sort of the upper surface of the floor. And then what you want to use is a good-quality, oil-based urethane and don't brush it on but apply it with ...
LESLIE: Want to use like a woolly mop?
TOM: Yeah, you'd apply it with a lamb's wool applicator. Correct. And you sort of mop it on; work your way out of the room. You're going to need three to four coats and that's the best way to finish floors ...
LESLIE: And you need to make sure that it fully cures and dries between coats because if you go ahead and put the next one on while the other one isn't fully dry or cured, they're never going to dry.
TOM: Jim, let me recommend a website for you that has somewhat more industrial products on it than what you may find at the average hardware store or home center. It's called Duraseal.com; D-u-r-a-s-e-a-l. And there you'll find some of the two-part products that we talked about as well as some of the products that are recommended for gym floors, for example, or stages and that sort of thing and those are going to be far more durable than what you're going to be able to find at any local home center or hardware store.
JIM: OK, well that sounds great. I will look those up.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, Manny in New York is dealing with an insulation situation. Tell us what's going on.
MANNY: Basically, in my attic I have insulation on the floor of the attic ...
MANNY: ... but I don't have insulation on the roof of the attic.
TOM: Well, you wouldn't want to put it ...
LESLIE: Well, you don't want it there.
TOM: No, you don't want to put it there. You only want to insulate - I'm presuming your attic is not a finished living space, correct?
MANNY: That is correct.
TOM: Alright, so you want the insulation to be only on what you're calling the attic floor; the space between the attic, which is unfinished, and the floor below which is finished or, as we call in the business, conditioned versus unconditioned. The attic is unconditioned space. You don't want to put attic insulation up into the rafters because, first of all, you don't want to trap heat in the attic and, secondly, if you put insulation in between the rafters you will absolutely fry your roof shingles because they will overheat and you'll find that a roof that would typically last 20 years starts to last about 10. So if you want to warm up your house, Manny, what I would do - and you're in the New York area, so I would put 15 to 20 inches of unfaced fiberglass insulation across that attic floor. It'll be thicker than the ceiling joists that you have right now and that's OK; don't compress it. You won't be able to use that space for storage or if you do need storage, just sort of carve out one little area where you have less insulation than the rest.
LESLIE: Well, and you want to sort of fill up to the top of the joists, you know, with the insulation going in between and then you want to go across it over the top, correct?
TOM: Yep, like you're making a pie crust.
TOM: Only I could tie insulation and baking together. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) To food. (Manny chuckles)
TOM: Manny, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, if you're planning to sell your home any time soon, curb appeal is probably one of the most important things to consider. It can really drive a high sales price. So when we come back we're going to tell you one improvement that can add to your curb appeal and your asking price.
[audio timestamp: 0:17:15.4]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: 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. Remember, we're giving away that $90 American Standard FloWise showerhead to one caller that reaches us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and asks a home improvement question, which could be, 'What's the least expensive way to improve the value of my house, Tom and Leslie?' Well, we're glad you asked that because the answer is landscaping. You know, improving the landscape; improving the curb appeal of your home is a very inexpensive yet very effective way of not only attracting buyers - because you have to remember, your home is sort of competing with all the other homes that are on the market - but also delivering an increased sales price. Studies have shown that if you spend 500 bucks on landscaping you could increase your sales price by 5,000 bucks. Now that's a pretty good return on investment. Now mind you, you have to be very strategic about where you spend that 500 bucks. A truckload of fill dirt, probably not going to do it. (Leslie chuckles) But some nice flowers and well-landscaped exterior of your home would do it.
Hey, do you have a landscape question? Do you have a home improvement question? Do you have a repair question? Maybe you are thinking about putting your house on the market and need to fix it up before you do just that. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let's get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Edith, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you in Georgia?
EDITH: Yes, I have a question. My living room has two large windows in it and my den is at the other end of the hallway and when I'm sitting at my computer I get a cool draft down the hallway and I was wondering if I could use, maybe, folding doors or a curtain. I would just like to know which one would look better.
LESLIE: To go in front of your windows or to separate the two rooms?
EDITH: To separate the two rooms.
TOM: First of all, the windows seem to be the source of the problem here?
TOM: OK. Have you - how old is the house?
EDITH: I live in an apartment.
TOM: Oh, it's an apartment. OK. So this is predominantly a wintertime issue for you?
TOM: Alright. Now, do you need to open the windows in the wintertime?
EDITH: No, not (inaudible at 0:20:10.4).
TOM: Alright, we're going to give you a couple of suggestions here. If you don't have to open the windows in the wintertime for any reason - and this includes emergency egress in the event of a fire or something like that - you can use a product that is a temporary caulk and it's a clear caulk. Actually, what you're doing is sort of caulking the windows shut with this clear caulk so it's invisible when you're done. But it's a temporary caulk so that in the spring it peels right off. Edith, you know when you get like a new credit card in the mail and it's kind of stuck to the paper with like a clear, gooey stuff?
TOM: Well, that's what it kind of feels like. It's sort of a temporary sticky material like that that dries smooth and then in the springtime you peel it right off; comes all off in one piece.
Now, in terms of the next step and maybe separating these rooms, then I'll turn it over to our in-house decorator here.
LESLIE: Now, I think if you're going with a folding door, that's going to require quite a bit of carpentry or at least screwing in of hinging or a track system and you might not be able to do that; especially since it's an apartment. But if you're looking to do something more of - you can get a good-quality tension rod that can go in that doorway that separates the two rooms ...
LESLIE: ... and then you can get a good, weighty curtain to sort of hang in there and it'll make a nice transition between the two rooms so even in the springtime you can sort of tie them back into that doorway to sort of create a nice entrance between the two rooms; but in the winter you can close it up.
LESLIE: And make sure that they are a little bit longer so you get a little bit of puddling on the floor because if you get them flush with the floor, where they're almost even floating above it, they're still going to allow that draft through. But make sure that you get a good tension rod that can really support the weight of that drape that you're going to put in there.
TOM: Edith, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
So, if you had to - and this is a very serious, police-type question - if you had to look at a pest lineup, could you identify a termite; say, if one stole your purse or ate through your dining room floor?
TOM: Do termites steal purses?
LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, it's like a cop lineup, you know? (Tom laughs) What if there's a crime? In this case the crime would be that the staircase has fallen through. But we are going to tell you how to spot these pesky criminals, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:22:20.8]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. 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 and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now and you could be entered into our weekly giveaway and this hour we're giving away a great prize. It's a $90 showerhead from American Standard and it uses this new technology called FloWise which uses about 40 percent less water than the current standards but it's still going to give you an invigorating shower that you are hoping for, looking for, demanding each and every day. You've got to be in it to win it and one lucky caller wins it this hour, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question, which might be 'How do I get rid of wood-destroying insects in my house?' You know, there's a quick way to identify what type of bug that you may have around that could be eating you out of house and home. If it's a termite it's going to be about a quarter of an inch long and termites are actually smaller than ants. Most people think they're bigger but they're really smaller than ants. They have only two body segments - you know, like a head and a torso - but ants have three body segments. So, if you see a black insect - it could have wings; it may not have wings - if it has two body segments it may be a termite.
LESLIE: Well, they only keep the wings for a certain amount of time, correct?
TOM: That's right. Now, if you happen to find them when they're actually eating your house - like if you're opening up or tearing open a piece of wood or knocking down a mud tunnel - they may not be black; they may be white, like sort of colorless.
LESLIE: Like larvae.
TOM: Kind of larvae-looking; exactly. Those are termites and if you see those, gosh, you better get a termite inspection pro; a pest-control pro or a home inspector in there to try to determine the extent of the problem. Now, it can be solved. It's not terribly difficult or terribly complicated. We have the technology. Today we use undetectable termidicides that go in and, basically, the bugs don't know it's there; it goes into the soil, goes into the walls and they kind of go through it, take it back to the nest and no more termites. Bye-bye, see you later termites. (Leslie chuckles) But you've got to find them first and the best way to do that is with a regular inspection at least once a year.
LESLIE: And not to scare you any more but just when you thought it was safe to go back into your springtime home, termites aren't the only type of wood destroyers that you're going to see around your house this time of year. In our next Money Pit e-newsletter we're going to talk about them all; from carpenter bees to powderpost beetles. All you have to do, go to MoneyPit.com; sign up for our e-newsletter. It's free. It comes with no strings. We're not going to sell your e-mail address to anyone and you're going to get it delivered every Friday into your inbox.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: John in Utah is dealing with a situation in his basement. Tell us about what's going on.
JOHN: Hi. I just went through - we had a lot of snow - more than usual - and it all started melting and not only my house but several homes around the area have got water seeping through the basements. And it came in through one of the basement floors that we have carpeted and paneled.
JOHN: Wondering how we can get that repaired so that we've got ...
TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, whenever you have a heavy snowfall, just like heavy rainfall, you can get a basement leakage situation. Sometimes with snow it's even trickier because the snow tends to sort of hold the water right where it lands; right there at the foundation perimeter. And so, you know, you say that the floor leaked but really the whole area is leaking. It just happened to find its way in at the floor. The secret here is to improve the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter so that the soil slopes away from the wall and so that the downspouts extend water away from the wall. If you improve it at the outside, that will stop it from coming on the inside. Now, in terms of those materials, Leslie, carpet is not such a good idea.
LESLIE: No, with carpet in a basement, you know, it may seem like it's OK but even if you're not dealing with water in the basement, at some point you're going to be dealing with moisture, with dust mites, with all sorts of allergens that are causing even mold growth underneath the carpet and the padding that's right on top of the concrete just because there's too much moisture. So we always recommend get rid of it. There's a lot of great options, as far as flooring goes, for a basement. You can go with a laminate floor, which is made to look like wood or look like tile; pretty much any product out there laminate mimics. You can even go with tile for a basement. And if you're wanting something that's a lot warmer and more natural-looking, you can go with a hardwood but it has to be an engineered hardwood because engineered hardwood is sort of built in a cross-ply construction, almost like a very durable plywood, so that it's not going to warp or twist or have any sort of structural issue with all that moisture. And if you start with the outside and then work on the inside cosmetic, you'll really do a great job of keeping that basement dry.
JOHN: Thank you both. Have a great day.
LESLIE: Kinea (sp) in California is dealing with some mold issues. Tell us about the problem.
KINEA (sp): Well, in my closet - in my master bedroom closet - in the middle of the wall I noticed a small spot maybe about two inches wide and long and I'm just wondering what could I do to get rid of it.
TOM: Well, that's a very common condition because in master bedroom closets you don't have a lot of airflow in there and sometimes you'll get mold that'll start there. And what you should do, Kinea (sp), is you should pull out all your clothes that are in that closet and you should spray that with a bleach and water solution.
KINEA (sp): OK.
TOM: And then after it dries for a few minutes then you can go ahead and wipe it off. Now, if you want to stop it from coming back you might want to think about getting a little more air into that closet space. That could happen if you were to undercut the closet door just so there was a little bit bigger gap underneath it so it would move some air through.
KINEA (sp): Oh, OK.
LESLIE: Or you can put in a louvered door or some sort of fabric door for your closet. But you have to get air in there.
KINEA (sp): Mm-hmm. OK, well thank you very much.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the telephone number or you can go to MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question. Speaking of which, we've got a really unusual one coming up, after the break, from Eugene in New York who has noisy siding on his house. We'll try to get to the bottom of that mystery, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:29:27.1]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America's choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.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: And coming up this week on AOL, check out my column on the greenest new products for your kitchen and bath. My review comes straight from the details learned at the kitchen and bath industry show. Fabulous show. Learned a lot. Loved it. Sort of the to-die-for kitchens you learn about at this industry show, which was in Chicago last week. We're going to tell you all about the products that will save money and maybe the planet, too. To find our AOL page, simply go to MoneyPit.AOL.com. That's MoneyPit.AOL.com.
LESLIE: Hey, another great website is MoneyPit.com and while you're snooping around there and looking for all the information for your dream home improvement projects, if you've got a question you just have to have an answer to you can click on the icon that says Ask Tom and Leslie and we will answer your question like we do every week at this hour. And we've got one here from Eugene in Suffern, New York who writes: 'I recently had my house sided with vinyl siding. When the sun hits the siding or the temperature changes outside, I hear rippling and creaking sounds. It has woken me up at night because it's pretty loud. What could be the cause of this and is there a way to fix it?' That sounds crazy.
TOM: I have to say, Eugene, this is the first time I have actually heard of siding - vinyl siding - being noisy. Actually, I've heard of aluminum siding being noisy because it had sort of that buckly, tin-canny sound. But I can tell you exactly what's happening. Vinyl siding has a very high expansion and contraction rate. This is the reason that if you've ever looked at a piece of vinyl siding when it's off your house it doesn't have nail holes in it; it has nail slots.
LESLIE: Slots. Because it moves so much.
TOM: Right. And when you nail vinyl siding up, if you do it correctly, you're supposed to nail it loosely; not sort of slam the nails home but leave a little space. In fact, in the years I spent as a home inspector to check this, I used to grab a piece of vinyl and you should be able to physically slide it back and forth. Now, if the contractors that did your vinyl siding, Eugene, nailed it on too tight -
LESLIE: Or too enthusiastic.
TOM: - a bit too enthusiastic with that hammer - they may, in fact, be causing this issue. Unfortunately, it's not a real easy fix. You would probably have to take off select pieces of this vinyl that are put on that are very, very tight. The other thing that I bet you're going to notice here is if this is the situation you're going to see buckled vinyl siding in the summer. If you ever notice a home that's got buckly vinyl siding, that's also another symptom of siding that was put on way too tight - yep - and it buckles and it rips. So it's basically put on too tight; that's the cause of the noise. If you loosen it up that'll solve the problem.
LESLIE: So the only way is to literally take things off and start from the bottom?
TOM: Yeah, he'll have to take off several pieces. I would kind of do an inspection and see how widespread this issue is. Perhaps with that bit of extra information, Eugene, you'll be able to look and say, 'You know, now I know why it looks buckly in this corner' or whatever and then maybe just work on that space. But yeah, you unfortunately have to take it off.
LESLIE: Alright, we've got another here from Barb in Broken Bow, Nebraska who writes: 'I currently have carpet in the downstairs, unventilated bathroom that needs to be replaced. What would be the best covering for a concrete basement floor that is not smooth?'
TOM: Anything but carpet, right? (chuckling)
LESLIE: Yeah. Well first, I would say if you're doing this yourself or if you're having a pro do it, they'll know to do something like AboCast or AboCrete which is a self-leveling, concrete topper. You're going to have to get that floor even and then I would say go with a laminate or a tile. You want something that's not going to warp or twist, you know, with all that moisture that you're going to get in a basement area and especially all that added moisture in the bathroom. And then I would say find a way to vent that bath. Avoid further trouble.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com where you can also sign up for our free Money Pit e-newsletter and get good tips and advice every Friday morning. Thinking about a weekend project? You'll find it in the Money Pit free e-newsletter.
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 2008 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.)